The Furious Gazelle

Literary as hell.

Tag: poetry (page 1 of 12)

“The Giants,” a poem by Holly Day

the giants sleep as the snow comes down

covering their lumbering bodies in sheets

of frozen white. their warm breath

carves holes in the unbroken

rolling hills, melts snow into  runoff.

 

the giants sleep as the village children Continue reading

Poetry by John Repp

Horticulture

 

after Ed Ochester

 

Because Judy had given me for Christmas

a lumpen pot she’d pinched & baked

right in her kitchen, I tried my first

African Violet just after New Year’s.

The cat nosed its four furry leaves,

so I braced a two-by-six where fan belts

had hung when the place was a gas station. Continue reading

“Interview,” a poem by Dan Tarnowski

Interview

 

a couple weeks ago

isolated in my room

i had watercolor-painted a landscape

of me sending the bat signal

over the city

maybe a hero would come save me

Continue reading

“Gathering in the dark,” a poem by Richard Weaver

She holds in her skull

the quilted memory of a pain

fused with a metal plate.

Some nights she can feel the sky

hard as steel building to a muscled

roar. She is always fourteen.

In her the lightning waits Continue reading

Poetry by Donna Dallas

Apparitions

I’ve seen them

in a breeze or a rain drop

A slow shadow or stunning beam

of light through the trees landing

on my child’s eyelash creating God

in a prism Continue reading

Book Review: Out from Calaboose by Karen Herceg

calaboose. noun. A jail or prison; cell

Karen Herceg spent three decades working on her collection of poetry, Out from Calaboose. The poems reflect that; they feel slow, deliberate, not a single word more than what is necessary.

The individual poems are deftly woven together- this collection in five parts takes you on journey through the seasons, scattered snapshots of thoughts, literal and spiritual travels, and through the concrete highs and lows of Herceg’s life. “Part 1: In the Wake of Frogs,” covers what separates us: walls, continents, desires. Ownership in a relationship is introduced here and remains a driving force throughout her personal work in this collection.

Herceg shows the full range of her talent, at some points the prose stark and pointed, “I am a woman too, / have herded children, objects and desires.” And at others sinister yet lyrical- “Rather you strip me down / and yoke me stark / pare and parse the lace / the sugar that hides the taste / of me / honesty in your need / to own my love”

In part two we move through physical time while Herceg reveals her internal mechanics. Herceg has a talent for describing nature, and connecting her creativity to the physical environment. Summer holds her down- the one summer poem finds heat stagnant, oppressive. Fresh, frigid winds, breathe life into her observations. “I see the puzzle of a sky / between skeletal fingers / and its stark patches / bore into me / like a hopeless romance.”

In The Silence of Snow there is Peace, reflection, and stillness, in the heat of summer there is motionlessness. Heat brings us to concrete reality. Smog covered streets, the smell of blacktop, to the story of Toulon 1971 “In the white glare of an afternoon / I watched you stroll up the dirt road / while, straw hat in hand, I fanned the heavy air,”

Herceg’s thoughts never seem cliched, though the volume covers well-worn tropes: love, the environment, family. She takes tiny moments and magnifies them, spinning entire imagined worlds from small glances, such as in “Shadow Dance” (p. 27), when she describes a couple’s embrace: “you cover me / like a crucifix”

In “Part 3: A thin Season,” Herceg offers snapshots of the everyday and answers what it means to her, what she views as the truth. The ways we think of the world, and don’t think of it. People’s relationship to the world and each other. This is one of the more concrete sections and at times Herceg turns toward a political bent. “Corporate Menu” takes a swipe at the devastation to the planet caused by our industrial farming: “petroleum plastic packaged / for the convenience of our impatient lives.” In “A Thin Season,” Herceg’s elegy for “a young man beheaded for listening to Western pop tunes in his father’s grocery store,” is hauntingly beautiful. Her beautiful words are in harsh contrast to the gritty reality: “Isis goddess of love, the moon, / magic and fertility, / a healing sister of deities / daughter of earth and sky”

Like Part 3, “Part 4: Loving Hands” offers a section of more concretely worded poems- pointedly weighting down the reader into the heart of the collection. In “Maternal Elegy” she is literally bound to her mother. “cutting the cord / where you dragged me /through the mire / of your own sins / a maternal bloodbath.”

Her words, as always, are beautiful, cold, and describe unrelenting life. “the inscription of their names, / the chiseled dates / making impressions on my flesh.”

Though accepting of what is, rarely at peace with it “I awake to the immeasurable sadness
of loss, / not for whatever was / but what was not, / the dream of possibilities and lost connections, / the incurable pain of memories / that never existed.”

And again, we are never free from other people- especially those who made us. “spines straight as rulers / with impressions from loving hands, / my sister and I learned early / about a queen who must be obeyed,” These loving hands leave a permanent mark that holds true across her life. Herceg sums it up best herself as, “the unendurable obligation / of love,”

Even in the final part of the book, where Herceg quotes Carl Sagan “For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love,” love is a necessity and a burden. Her works are scattered again and still melancholy. Because even here at the end she doesn’t let go of what could have been. “If I could thrust my hands outward / ripping through embryonic clay / I would sculpt the lives / we did not have”

In Out From Calaboose Herceg explores every prison you could encounter- being bogged down in the material world, bound to another person, your past, the reality of what is while miring yourself in thoughts of what could have been. Herceg’s imagination stretches the mundane, escapes the confines of the physical and beautifully describes ugliness at every turn.

Out from Calaboose is available from Nirala Press.

2017 February Contest Finalist: “Instead of a Valentine” by Pamela Sinicrope

If a couple gets married

and one commits suicide on February 11th,

is it anyone’s fault?

Feminists can blame all they want.

Husbands can lament and take lashes

while they rewrite poetry.

 

Like a blinking eye that opens then closes-

what is-is.  Unless it isn’t.

Depression was a black lung hung off

a rat’s tail on the tree by her window or-

asbestos pilled on plumbing pipes-unwrapped

and falling like snow-long before they said, ‘I DO.’

Long before, Sylvia swallowed 48 pills, slept

beneath her house, woke to try again.

 

Marriage is hard, poets complex,

Poetry is hard, marriage complex.

Like pulled threads in a sweater, they unraveled.

Depression created a triangle.  

Factor in children and the figure converted

to a love pentagon-where two people wanted winged

poems sailing space and three sides were left hanging.

Pentagon then add a lover? That’s a hexagon.

The shape shifted, lost all sides, became thread-a heart,

became a pneumatic noose around a head roast.

 

Sylvia gasped air and faltered, fell asleep.  

She wrote every day in the dark before a baby

banged pots on the floor, uttered, ‘ma-ma,’

while Ted left to write, wrangle crows.

Rejection lassoes perfection.

 

How romantic-two poets in the same house-

unparalleled love letters, mirrored muses:

in truth, for them, it was murder-

no, it was a contest-

no, it was academia-

publish, perish, publish, Pulitzer-no

 

noose was wide enough to capture

the universe of words that broke them-

no-broke her.

Instead of a valentine,

the noose became a knot.

“Letter to the Stepdaughter I Might Have Had,” by Caitlin Johnson

You hate me. I can respect that.

After what your momma did to your daddy–

the lies like frozen honey, too cloudy

to look through–you can’t trust

a woman near him, like you have

an allergic reaction from proximity

alone, no need for a sting.

Continue reading

Poetry by Adam Gunther

ONE OF THOSE SPRING DAYS WHERE THE RAIN FORGETS TO STOP

Rain comes down hard.
It feels like weeks on end now.

The weather is supposed to break for better,
But it never does.

And yet,
I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

Continue reading

“Color. My life.” by Gayane M. Haroutyunyan

Color. My life.

1. Silver

This structure was built in the 1800s. I can hear voices nibbling the dark, plum-colored gowns dancing the rooms, cigars burning. I am standing outside a heavy wooden door smoking a cigarette, somewhat hating its taste. I am alone and afraid of ghosts fond of an old building wearing a new life. This day is nothing but a mean lady coming out of a mean light. It feels like my life has been over for years and I have been standing here, smoking and watching my hands, paralyzed, hiding everything I am in my stomach next to a pie I just ate. I can only convince myself for a minute or two that New York is something more than good food and bad weather and cold talk of the cold men; that this never-ending minute will end and somewhere across the horizon the sun is watching the clock, waiting to deliver another impatient child I call “morning”. I will be a mother to it. Meanwhile – silver. Continue reading

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