Nebraska 41: ‘Discovered’ by Shirley Buettner

While clearing the west
quarter for more cropland,
the Cat quarried
a porcelain doorknob

oystered in earth,
grained and crazed
like an historic egg,
with a screwless stem of

rusted and pitted iron.
I turn its cold white roundness
with my palm and
open the oak door

fitted with oval glass,
fretted with wood ivy,
and call my frontier neighbor.
Her voice comes distant but

clear, scolding children
in overalls
and highbutton shoes.
A bucket of fresh eggs and

a clutch of rhubarb rest
on her daisied oil-cloth.
She knew I would knock someday,
wanting in.

From Walking Out the Dark (Juniper Press, 1984). Copyright © 1984 by Shirley Buettner

‘One-Sided Conversations’ by Rupert Loydell – Facqueuesol Books

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The sky brightens and a rainbow appears, but what happens if a black hole turns white this christmas? This question from ACROSS THE COSMIC COMPUTER/WEIRD FALLOUT, one of the prose poems in this collection, is seasonal if unanswerable, not that asking is looking for a response. These prose poems deal with thinking about / looking for / rejecting anything and everything that comes with being adrift, doing so in the floating poetics of thoughtfulness – personal and universal – candour and honest introspection typical of Rupert Loydell’s writing.

You can read it all here.

Nebraska 40: ‘Mornings’ by Susan Aizenberg

Before the train screamed him through tunnels
to his windowless office, the idiots
he had to “sir,” my father needed a space
without us, so in a crack of light from the bathroom,
he dressed, held his shoes by two fingers,
and left us sleeping. That walk

to the diner, the last stars fading out,
the sky lightening from black to blue to white,
was his time. He walked in all weather,
let each season touch him all over,
lifted his face to rain and sun. He liked
to watch the old houses stir awake
and nod to the woman in her slippers on 27th,
smoking as she strolled her little mutt.
To step back, smooth as Fred Astaire,
from the paperboy’s wild toss.

Milk bottles sweated on doorsteps,
sweet cream on top, and once, he lifted a quart
from its wire basket, drank it down
beneath our neighbor’s winking porch light,
and left the empty on the stoop.

Poem copyright ©2015 by Susan Aizenberg, “Mornings,” from Quiet City, (BkMk Press, 2015).

Nebraska 39: ‘Waking Up My Daughter’ by Greg Kosmicki

I am sitting in sunlight reading
when Debbie calls to talk from some store
to ask me what size coat she should buy me.
We decide I don’t need a new coat.

It is mid-morning on a Saturday.
I go upstairs to wake my daughter
who is twenty-one years old
and who has a psychology test to study for.

I lean down to kiss her and it is then
I see for the first time in her life
how much she looks like my mother
when she was this age, the rest of life

as they say, ahead of her.

“Waking up My Daughter” by Greg Kosmicki from Some Hero of the Past. © Word Poetry Books, 2006.

‘swimming’ by Charlie Baylis – The Red Ceilings Press

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Charlie Baylis’ chapbook swimming – bathed in baby blue – backstrokes across ripples of keeping afloat in its pool of romantic and other variables. The sweet hue is in the beauty of its cover as well as soothing moments of lyrical reflection. In essence, this is a bittersweet play on the seriousness of romance, intent and frustration, poetry, and how language oscillates within and beyond this universe.

An obvious account of such vicissitude in romance occurs early in the title poem, when

char1

which then moves certainly/realistically to this on the very next page

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Surface but also pleasing playfulness is shown in lines like

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and

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where pararhyme and rhyme remind it isn’t just a poetic convention when given fresh gaming like this.

I write this review the day after Remembrance Day [but posted now] and such a context perpetrates further dances with intention and meaning

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an explosion of unresolved hope and outcome.

If I can find lyricism in a writer’s work I will because this is a personally welcome poetic door to the sweetspot of language, opened [when clever, and Baylis is] in unexpected places

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At this poem’s close, the ‘sham’ within our lyrical moments might be inherently as well as declaratively forgiven

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In the second poem divers, there is more uncertainty conveyed because it is being conveyed again. This is presented in writing that is more than playful, though it still is, and reveals – as we have clearly seen – that within lyricism there will always be interruption. Ending on one page [I think really just the result of sequential placing on pages], the following ava in moves onto the next as

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I love the sound of this as much as I do its surprise and its confirmation.

As with so many of the wonderful Red Ceilings Press chapbooks, this is a quick read – impact and reflection transcending – so were I to write about and quote more I would be spoiling. So I won’t.

To purchase, go here.

The Lonesomest Sound has Arrived

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As I have already written on Twitter, I genuinely enjoy seeing other writers post pics of the arrival of their books, but it is so much more fun to receive your own work! In thanking the publisher via email, I did say I hoped it was normal to be my age and feel this excited like a kid…

I think this is a great cover: designed by the publisher Alec Newman with a painting [I have the original] by Rupert Loydell.