The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Month: November 2014

Poetry by Matthew Konkel

So This is What I’ll Do

 

I’m gonna turn that switch off.
Turn that valve and make sure that’s off too.
Then I’ll unscrew this thing over here. (I don’t even know what that is.)
Then I can disassemble that.
Take that thing apart piece by piece.
Just completely dismantle everything that’s around me:

My TV.
My furniture (including the bed and dressers.)
That lamp.
The refrigerator.
Then the walls of my house too. Everything.

Get everything down to its barest pieces until there’s nothing left to take apart.
And once that’s done I can move on to my car and the neighbor’s car and his house and the house next door and the house and car after that and so on. However long that takes it takes.
And once that’s done I’ll start on my toes— take those off one by one.
And then I’ll take out each shin bone. (They’ll make good doorstops if nothing else.)
Remove my feet and disconnect my legs from my hips.
Detach the knees and throw them in a corner somewhere. (Or somewhere where there used to be a corner.)
Twist off my torso and chest and bend away every rib like plastic branches of plastic trees.
Remove every tooth and strand of hair and pluck out each eye and tear away each ear.
And then finally…
I’ll plant whatever is left in the ground.
Cover it up with dirt packed nice and tight and hope that maybe something grows there.
Something different.
Because sometimes it’s good just to start over.
Start again from absolute peaceful desolate scratch.

seminal incident #3

it was early 1981.
alas
the change from the
previous year
had not fully
integrated into my eleven
year old consciousness and I
I still believed it was 1980. so much so
that when
I discovered that
newspaper in
art class underneath our
rudimentary
watercolor paintings
with the
current year I was
convinced with
indisputable certitude that
a genuine
document from the
future
had been delivered
to my hands.
breathless,
I turned to my
classmate, “Jason, look at the date
on this newspaper. 1981.”
“So,” he responded derisively.
“It’s 1980,” I said in the voice of
a fraudulent scholar.
even before he could
contradict me with
words of simple fact, the
true date
finally became realized
in my
brain and
I shrunk up like plastic in a flame.

You Can’t Avoid That Swerve in the Road

The willow in the yard where I grew up is no longer there.
And I am no longer there.
My brothers are no longer there.
The willow was tired of us leaving and got out before anyone else did.

There’s an unopened package from a guy named Schrödinger.

That swerve in the road is there whether you continue to move or not.
It’s unavoidable— like the smell of new painted walls.

There’s a comic strip character walking the streets.
He doesn’t know he’s left his frames.

A child from China digs a hole in his yard trying to reach America.
He’s got one match in the rain.
One chance to get it right.

The devil lurks somewhere in the dark sharpening his pencils.
He’s composing a complaint letter to the cereal company that sold him a stale box.

The phone rings, caller: unknown.

 

Matthew is a teaching-artist, playwright and independent filmmaker from Milwaukee. His latest film is titled Neptune (www.lasthouseproductions.com). You can find his fiction and poetry at the Newer York, Paragraph Planet, Postcard Shorts, Linguistic Erosion, The Eunoia Review, Danse Macabre and Streetcake Magazine. His plays have been produced nationally and internationally by theater companies including Edmonds Driftwood Players, Pink Banana Theatre, Cupcake Lady Productions and Screaming Media Gi60. Pennster Media recently published his short play Walk, Don’t Walk. www.matthewkonkel.com

“As Einstein Pedaled” … Excerpt from Love Poems

The Furious Gazelle is continuing to serialize Charles Bane’s new book of poetry, Love Poems. You can find more of his poetry here.

As Einstein Pedaled

As Einstein pedaled his
bicycle in wide and wider arcs
and laughed among the multitudes
of pi, did he sense what
you and I discovered too,
that there is a great unsaid
and you alone with me walk the wildness
of its storms? Its circumference is garlanded
around your head and granaries
of unborn stars are sifted through the
hands, and my love, I fall.
I fall.
I fall unbordered and
unwound as time
and surrounding like snow.

Charles Bane, Jr. is the American author of The Chapbook (Curbside Splendor, 2011) and Love Poems (Kelsay Books, 2014). His work was described by the Huffington Post as “not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them.” A writing contributor for The Gutenberg Project, he is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida.

“Monsters and Kings,” by Rebecca Kirschbaum

Monsters and Kings

Written by Rebecca Kirschbaum

——

The gentle town of Kingsburrow has a handful of stoplights, an unstimulated police force, and an elderly man who tiptoes out of his house every morning for a predictable stroll. On Main Street, there are a handful of unordinary buildings cloaked in unassuming shadows. The town is aged, overgrown with vines and shrubbery, filled with potholes and cracked cement. Grass and dandelions grow up through the cracks in the sidewalks. A few stone fences remain from the Civil War and they line the yards of the largest houses. Children often whack at the stones of the old fences with sticks they pull from old dogwood, oak, and maple trees.

Ironically, or maybe predictably, Kingsburrow is only known for its monsters.

A little after eight, the night descends into Kingsburrow and the lights of the stores begin to go out, one by one. Here, it might seem the most wretched of threats are the feral cats, who roam the broken sidewalks, seeking a miniature victim. Ask that old man on Maple Street, the one who sits on his porch, in his rocking chair. If you sit with him as he rocks, long into the night, you will notice he is at ease as he sips at the end of his pipe. He will tell you, “Lightning never strikes twice. This town’s as safe as it’s ever been.” Continue reading

“For Jane Kenyon” … Excerpt from Love Poems

The Furious Gazelle is continuing to serialize Charles Bane’s new book of poetry, Love Poems. You can find more of his poetry here.

For Jane Kenyon

The hollow is
filled with every
kind of traveling
bird that lowers its
wings to drink, and
I rage beside the flock
and remember I closed your eyes.
It is difficult to be snared
in warmth and cold
and pressed inside
a page. Unread times
are so far away; with
every taste that holds
me, my lips close
on yours.

Charles Bane, Jr. is the American author of The Chapbook ( Curbside Splendor, 2011) and Love Poems ( Kelsay Books, 2014). His work was described by the Huffington Post as “not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them.” A writing contributor for The Gutenberg Project, he is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida.

“How to Get a Jewish Divorce,” by Nina Bennett

How to Get a Jewish Divorce

 

Don’t live in the same house with your wife

after you’ve decided to divorce her. See your rabbi,

find a scribe. Observe the sun, divorce

proceedings must take place during daylight.

Do not let the scribe use a form, or any paper

that can be erased, it should be parchment.

Choose two righteous men as witnesses.

 

Your wife removes all rings, holds cupped hands

beside each other, palms up, fingers

somewhat raised. You hold the Get, tell her

This is your divorce. Accept this document

and you are divorced from me from here on.

Allow the paper to fall into her hands.

She closes her fingers around the document,

lifts it up, places it under her arm, walks away.

Have no further contact.

 

Delaware native Nina Bennett is the author of Sound Effects (2013, Broadkill Press Key Poetry Series chapbook #4). Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies such as Kansas City Voices, Big River Poetry Review, Houseboat, Bryant Literary Review, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Philadelphia Stories, and The Broadkill Review. Nina was a 2012 Best of the Net nominee.

 

“Sleeping There” by Charles Bane

The Furious Gazelle is continuing to serialize Charles Bane’s new book of poetry, Love Poems. You can find more of his poetry here.

Sleeping There

Sleeping there
enclosed and loving
even as you breathe
unaware of mockingbirds
talking in the dark and you
turn, eyes opening, to look
at me and each time you do
I fall. I am whole in you
and you in me are
daughter and wife, but I say
only, birds that were night
are breaking now as day.

What I Whisper

What I whisper
is not single celled,
but a colony and trees
bent in light leaving from
their stems wash the depths
of me. I am stunned when
morning comes; dew beads
every blade, and we who
loved the night shadows
are painted green.

Charles Bane, Jr. is the American author of The Chapbook (Curbside Splendor, 2011) and Love Poems (Kelsay Books, 2014). His work was described by the Huffington Post as “not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them.” A writing contributor for The Gutenberg Project, he is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida.

“Deborah Interviews Debra” by Kayla Pongrac

Deborah Interviews Debra—

Artist Admiration Series: Vol. 2, Issue 7

 (C) Kayla Pongrac

Deborah: Allow me to begin this interview by asking what inspired your new body of work.

Debra: The ladder outside my bedroom window has been growing exponentially. I hear it at night, crawling past my second-story window, scratching its chest against the brick walls of my apartment complex. So it was this ladder, mostly.

Deborah: I see. And how would you describe this ladder?

Debra: Oh, I think it’s just like everything else. I spend a lot of time contemplating how lovely it would be to cup it in my hands and then toss it down my throat like a piece of popcorn, you know, just so I can spend an entire afternoon painting it different colors.

Deborah: What color would you paint it?

Debra: Coloring Book Background, probably.

Deborah: White then, right?

Debra: No, more of a tan—a sad tan. And I’d mix that with the color of my dad’s initials tapping me on the shoulder.

Deborah: Is your dad still alive?

Debra: He tends to be.

Deborah: And what about your mom?

Debra: My mother reminds me of a kite that I once flew by my bedside.

Deborah: You once flew a kite by your bedside?

Debra: It was storming. All my windows were open. The strangest part about that night was the thunder—I could feel the thunder in my gums. It made my teeth vibrate and shift counter-clockwise.

Deborah: I think I want to go back to discussing this ladder. Did you mention that you own it?

Debra: I own everything I see, so I would be silly not to consider that ladder mine.

Deborah: What do you mean by “I own everything I see”?

Debra: Everything that gets put in my cup gets dissolved, and that is all. I really don’t like these questions. I thought you wanted to talk about my art?

Deborah: One critic recently compared your art to “cracking an egg on a trampoline made of seahorse intestines.”

Debra: How flattering. I don’t often read reviews because they make me seasick—all the black words floating atop the white pages, you know—but it sounds like this review could be worth two pills.

Deborah: Do you think that critics are generally helpful or hurtful? Oscar Wilde once said, “A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.”

Debra: “The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.” That’s something else that Oscar Wilde often says.

Deborah: Hmmm . . .

Debra: And here’s another: “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” I enjoy being talked about. I find it quite comforting.

Deborah: Do you consider yourself well-read?

Debra: No. I just know Oscar Wilde personally.

Deborah: I don’t see how that could possibly be true.

Debra: He comes over for tea on weekends.

Deborah: Comes over where?

Debra: To my apartment.

Deborah: And you two drink tea together?

Debra: Not together, but that is correct.

Deborah: Is he familiar with your ladder or your new body of work?

Debra: He knows nothing of the ladder, or the latter.

Deborah: Can you confirm his existence?

Debra: I thought you wanted to talk to me about my art? I don’t feel like we’re talking about my art.

Deborah: But we’ve learned a lot about you.

Debra: Who is “we”?

Deborah: Everyone reading this.

Debra: You mean all the nervous jellyfish?

Deborah: Perhaps we can try to re-schedule this interview at a more convenient time for you. I’m not quite convinced that I have your full attention today.

Debra: No. Just tell everybody that I like saltwater, too. That should be enough. Yes, that should plenty. Tell them that I like saltwater and that I will meet them all on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean at this time next year. I’ll have my ladder with me. We’re going to tour the country.

Deborah: Thank you. Good luck to you . . . and your ladder.

Debra: Please, allow the jellyfish to panic for a little longer. They have no hearts, bones, eyes, or brains. Someone needs to remind them of the benefits of keeping it that way.

 

Kayla Pongrac is an avid writer, reader, tea drinker, and vinyl record spinner. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in theNewerYorkSplit Lip MagazineOblongThe BohemythDUM DUM Zine, and Mixtape Methodology, among others. When she’s not writing creatively, she’s writing professionally—for two newspapers and a few magazines in her hometown of Johnstown, PA. To read more of Kayla’s work, visit www.kaylapongrac.com or follow her on Twitter @KP_the_Promisee.

“There Is” and “I Knew” by Charles Bane

The Furious Gazelle is continuing to serialize Charles Bane’s new book of poetry, Love Poems. You can find more of his poetry here.

There Is

There is no
nothing as I
sleep inside
your soul.

I Knew

I knew that poetry transforms
the ordinary of the soul
but like Creation I did not
sense what you, so lovely
made in gathering light,
writes in me to the margin
of the stars.

Charles Bane, Jr. is the American author of The Chapbook (Curbside Splendor, 2011) and Love Poems (Kelsay Books, 2014). His work was described by the Huffington Post as “not only standing on the shoulders of giants, but shrinking them.” A writing contributor for The Gutenberg Project, he is a current nominee as Poet Laureate of Florida.

Halloween Contest Winner!!!

Hello all,

Happy Day of the Dead. On an unrelated note, since it’s not the same holiday, we would like to announce our Halloween contest winner. We loved all our finalists for the Halloween contest and this was a very hard decision to make. But we made it. Because we had so many great submissions, we have decided that in addition to our first prize, which is a book and a $25 gift card, we will also be awarding the first runner up a book in the genre of their choosing.

The second runner up is: Mureall Hébert for her flash pieces “The Side of the Road” and “Why I Had to Bite You” Congratulations Mureall, you’ve won a book in the genre of your choice!

The first runner up is: J. J. Steinfeld for “The Nefarious: A Tale of a Notorious Halloween Dance”

Congratulations J.J., you also get a book in the genre of your choice!

Our first place winner of the book and $25 gift card is Michael Puican for his poem “Halloween”

Congratulations everyone and good job to all of our finalists.

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