Bramble: Winter 2018 print issue is now available.
Greetings from the Editor
I was honored to guest edit this one-year anniversary issue of Bramble. I write this note on another anniversary - the first day of the new year – and despite my best attempts to not make any resolutions, I can’t help but think about what 2018 may or may not bring to my life, this community of poets, the world.
2017 was a challenging year for many of us. While I didn’t want a topical theme for this issue, I did want contributors to think about the notion of “challenge” – what it means to us as poets and as humans, how it informs the words and the way we write. I was delighted by the results, so many (too many!) wonderful poems that came at this (no theme) theme from all angles. I was drawn to those that played well with form – like “Why We Took Away Mom's Car Keys” by Joan Wiese Johannes – and those that caught me off guard – like “Regarding Mary” by Lisa Vihos. Perhaps because of how challenging a year it was for me, personally, I was especially drawn to those that filled me with a murmur of hope, like Jim Landwehr’s “It Matters.”
I hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as I enjoyed reading all of your work. Keep writing, keep challenging the status quo.
Cover art is "In Motion" by Kimberly A. Blanchette. Kimberly is a Janesville Wisconsin poet, photographer, artist, LGBTQ activist, minister, mystic and motivational speaker; she also has a B.A. in Philosophy. Kimberly's award winning art has been showcased and published in magazines, national and international art shows and many other venues. For more information please visit: http://www.kimberlyblanchette.com
these things I know —
it’s 7:10 in the morning
when the school bus
passes my house
red sky at dawn
my grandma said so
life is a banquet
but a sorrow too
bless their great hearts
know things we don’t
and for sure I know
that butterfly I saw
in the West Virginia hills
that day they buried you
that bright spring day
when the rhododendron
was bravely blooming
that blue and black
and beautiful butterfly
Sharon Auberle is the author of seven books, four of which are collaborations with other poets. Most recent is "Dovetail", art and ekphrastic poetry with Jeanie Tomasko. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Auberle is honored to be currently serving as Door County's Poet Laureate.
it will feel like bells
or a slender green reed
or how a prayer should,
even a brusk wind
off the big lake
trees bent half-way
it will all come back
whatever it all is
Jeanie Tomasko has published several books, most recently Dovetail (Bent Paddle Press), a collaboration with Sharon Auberle, and forthcoming from Redbird, dear little fist. All of her works can be found at jeanietomasko.com.
Normally, it wouldn’t be
a second thought;
a worm writhing
In Praise of Challenging Cycles
Freed of ice, rivers murmur rippled melodies. Butterflies, befuddled by plum-scent,
frenzied by desire, cartwheel in the breeze. Gaunt pines survive challenges of time
and weather– old stalwarts, cloaked in new glitter, tease with promise.
at the new big wong
my friend Ben
orders duck soup
sifts through the broth
There is a French woman
There is a French woman
who comes each day to the Cafe by my flat. She sits alone,
eyes half closed, lost in thought.
Why We Took Away Mom's Car Keys
Joan Wiese Johannes
The sun is setting when Mom arrives.
She tells me semis blew past her
and a white limousine rode her bumper
Things Favorite My Road
wiper whoosh wipes
polished asphalt wet
Ma Come Get Me (the Phone Slams)
Frosh football players: You will be kind to your mother when using this phone to ask for a ride home. This is not a suggestion.
fed up with players’ rude phone calls
to their folks to pick them up after practice
I taped this mandatory script
Diary of a Disabled Veteran
I miss practicing my ideas
I miss my opinions being safe
I miss leaving my house
This afternoon I looked at the fraying
elbow of my favorite gray hoodie
the warp threads
My Life as a Bullet
I remember heat
from being forged,
then fitting neatly
Never mind that drift’s a thing,
grit the glaciers left behind—
or in this case, didn’t.
Wake, blink, moan, regret,
Stretch, roll, plod, piss, repent,
Brush, wash, splash, dry,
African swamps still harbor dinosaurs—
brontosaurs and triceratops, mostly.
Cryptozoologists cite coelacanths,
God wanted to come down to try some flesh,
an antidote to formless bliss.
He wanted to get with his creation.
The Girl with the Lazy Eye
She thinks she is the night. She reads
the lamp. Dry flutter on the tongue,
the aroma of moss, soft leather
Plath, February 1963
Another snowier morning
sparklets of light on ice
Roberto Nicholas Gornet Palombi
Stunned by a previous car
the deer lay
on the country road
"Abstract: Dung Beetles Use the Milky Way for Orientation"
What is this glow to you
A streak a blur,
how you made me