Bramble: Summer 2017 is also a print issue.
Greetings from the Editor
Welcome to the third issue of Bramble. As WFOP’s president, I am excited about this new venture and thrilled that it is now being offered as a print journal as well as online. As guest editor, I appreciate the opportunity to read poems from around the state.
We are approaching high summer here in northern Wisconsin where summers don’t last long. We hang on to each day and store memories away to keep us warm come winter. The poems chosen for this issue all touch on the theme of “hanging on” in some way: hanging on to memories, loved ones, freedom, even those habits we can’t let go of. If you haven’t submitted to Bramble yet, please give it a try.
If your work was not selected this time, please try again. Acceptance is tricky; it depends on available space, connection to theme, and the editor’s preferences. Please “like” our WFOP and Bramble pages on Facebook to keep in touch. Poetry is often a solitary endeavor, so the more we connect with each other the better.
A Note from C Kubasta, Managing Editor
In addition to our “hanging on” poems, we’re excited to share a reprint from Kelly Morse’s award-winning chapbook Heavy Light (Two of Cups Press). Morse’s chapbook was selected by Amy Lemmon for the WFOP’s Chapbook Prize this spring, and her poems engage with a range of forms, meditating on the experiences of pregnancy, birth, motherhood and identity.
We are also pleased to share essays by David Southward and Abayomi Animashaun that address the practice of poetry in two very different ways. Animashaun writes about the experience of editing an anthology, gathering voices to bring into being a poetic community, and sharing that community on the page and beyond. Southward writes about making a commitment to one’s self – and the ways that poetry can be deeply personal and intimate.
From Heavy Light (Two of Cups Press)
2017 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Prize
Kelly Morse's chapbook Heavy Light (Two of Cups Press, 2016) recently won the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Competition, and received an honorable mention for the Eric Hoffer Book Award. Her creative work appears in Gulf Coast, Mid-American Review, The Cincinnati Review, Brevity, and elsewhere. Kelly holds an MFA from Boston University, is a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow, and has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, and the Mineral School.
Joyce M Latham
The winter of the ice-capped yard,
where even the dogs were imperiled
on their four padded paws, the doctor
tested my heart with chemicals and scanners
Joyce M Latham
If I were in a boat
riding low in the water
with 600 other people
I would be afraid.
Pelt of fur or cotton cuff,
all but Velcro
to the burly burr,
You brought home gifts
from your tour of duty
as if from a pleasure trip,
a mini-camera for Dad,
Mary Jo Balistreri
They crashed with the stock market on a Friday-failed bank.
Credited with a trunk of paper promises,
he forfeited himself. After a nervous breakdown,
relief was a jug of wine.
Letter to My Mother
On my last antiquing trip I bought a vintage ballpeen hammer
like the one we used to crack hickory nuts when I was a boy.
The earthenware red Hall casserole for baked beans I found earlier,
and your yellow milk pitcher from a small shop on the East coast.
I Hung On
to my mother’s toes as she swam
on her back, taking me down
to the narrow end of a mountain creek
then up again.
Pain of Passage
I sit on the seventh floor, east wing,
on the eve of my birthday
listening to the quiet noises
of the machines keeping you alive.
I heard Loreena, the hospice aid
who had shaved my dad three days a week
for a month, say in a quiet, intimate voice
It’s okay, Rick. It’s time to go be with your wife.
Jeannie E Roberts
― Inspired by Frida Kahlo's painting, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird /Autorretrato con collar de
espinas y colibri, 1940, oil on canvas
with penetrating force―
blood and pain
More joyful than tinsel, the birds in the tree,
Soft breaths of ornaments—fluttering wings—
Alight to taste crab apples, ripened not sweet.
As simple as stems, a festive hope brings.
Below the emerald iron
vertebra, between the
gingerbread, the gardens
the boreal, lies prairie
Because no boy wants a poster of a Schwinn on his bedroom wall
Because crude wants company
Because of car seats and fifth wheels and six on a volleyball team
Because coffee and cigarettes and Power Ball need a reason
Jody Murad Curley
We say we are holding on
as days turn into weeks.
When months become years,
it's clear we are losing our grip.
Wolf at the Door
huffs at the gap
A Widow's Wish
Hold fiercely to
this winter's night
that nestles like the softest snow
in the empty spaces of a life.
Everywhere I See Plague Signs
An X drawn on a door,
men in carts carrying away the dead:
at a dinner party, a stranger announces the end
of her chemotherapy. I count those I know.
Hold the Line
It starts so innocently
And before I can say
“I don’t want to"
Stood Up at the Sheboygan County Fair
Joan Wiese Joannes
Crazy for being so lonely,
she pulls tufts of sweetness
from a cotton candy tutu
as big as Dolly Parton’s hair
Cover Art: Diana Randolph
Wild Iris in Starlit Grasses, oil on canvas
More about Diana Randolph
Diana Randolph, Drummond, writes and paints at her Once in a Blue Moon Studio, which will be open to the public Aug. 11 - 13 during the CHARAC (Cable Hayward Area Art Council) art crawl. She created the Bramble cover art which is also included in her poetry/art book, Beacons of the Earth and Sky (Savage Press) www.dianarandolph.com.