“The Sound of Metal” has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize

Thank you so much to Weasel Press for nominating my poem, “The Sound of Metal,” for the Pushcart Prize. The poem, first published in Degenerates: Voices for Peace, appears in Slide a Mirror to Me (Transcendent Zero Press, 2017).

Button Poetry Press

This week, I’ve been reading amazing poetry from Button Poetry Press. I’m wrangling my thoughts (like herding cats) to write something down about their collections. In the meantime, I wanted to say–go read! The press publishes performance poets, artists who write and perform slam poetry / spoken word poetry. As I flip through the Button Poetry books, I end up reading the poems out loud, and now my throat is hoarse. Worth it.

The Jinni’s Wish (new poem)

The Jinni’s Wish

A wish for endings
like tied shoe strings.

A wish for finishing
like stains on cut tree limbs,
glossy in death
and dining-room tables…

Read the rest in Star*Line (issue 40.4, fall 2017). The issue is 40+ pages chock-full of poetry, available for sale in PDF and print.

Thank you to Vince Gotera​ and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association for publishing the poem.

Vine (new poem)

Thank you to Stoneboat for publishing Vine in their fall 2017 issue, available now.

Vine

my toes, roots

hands, leaves curling

growing into my loves
like ivy on a chain link fence…

I was partly inspired by the sculpture, “The Vine,” by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth (pictured above).

This is the first poem I’ve published that appears for sale in a print edition, you guys!

(photo courtesy of ketrin1407)

Arriving at a Shelter from Violence (new poem)

Your wounds are fresh
and still too deep
to paint your surfaces blue.

Only pinpoints of blood
decorate your skin,
like freckles on little girls
before we train them
to blush, gloss,
conceal.

The red dots are petechiae…

Read the rest…

Fingernails (new poem)

my psychotherapy teacher taught me to counsel
with his fingernails…

a deliberate inattention,

staring at my nails as if they were
the most interesting thing in the world;

giving space for a woman with wounds
to unwrap them, carefully,
without accidentally being touched…

Read the rest…

New poem: The Sound of Metal (on bullying)

Degenerates: Voices for Peace just released an anthology on bullying. Two of my poems are included.

The Sound of Metal

love your brothers and sisters, momma said
carry us like a song in your heart

in high school, i whispered gossip to mean girls
and, on alternate Tuesdays, tried to not to drown

in labels
and expectations

and a labyrinth of dented lockers
that made hollow sounds

when bodies and metal collided
for the thousandth occasion

at the same high school
at the same time

my brother was molested

we didn’t learn what happened ’til years later
after he stopped coming home…

Read the rest…

The editor of Degenerates, a fellow named Weasel, also reprinted Paper Cheerleaders.

Emailing him “Dear Weasel…” was possibly my favorite part of the publishing process. (My friends all have boring names.) However, Weasel made the whole endeavor delightful. He send proofs to authors–early–and released the issue on time.

Weasel Press is open to submissions.

New flash fiction: To My Friend with Diabetes, On Losing Her Foot

Somewhere between a prose poem and flash fiction, please enjoy To My Friend with Diabetes, On Losing Her Foot. Just like my friend, the poem is quirky, uplifting, and full of heart.

To my friend with diabetes, on losing her foot

You walk sixty-seven years while childhood diabetes, against your iron will, poisons your peripheral nerves with sugar, and the muscles of your feet, starved of circulation, gradually dissolve.

Your toes gnarl and curl backward at wild angles, as if aspiring to adorn gargoyles. (You’ve always had a dragon-and-knight heart.) Unruly tendons draw themselves into bows, aiming toes in every direction.

The doctor calls nerve death a blessing: unmuffled shrieks of twisting bones, no one could stand. But nerve death isn’t sudden, like cremation; electric signals climb your calves like flames.

First, you walk in special shoes; then, titanium braces, laced to your knees. Then, as orthotic specialists bite their fingernails, you cut holes in shoe leather with razors, because you have places no one can touch.

A medical resident offers custom replacements: braces with art printed on the back of your calves. You imagine the black-on-black silhouette of an animal whose feet don’t have to touch the ground. You imagine a city to save. You say, “Batman.”

Black on black is more than a side-eye at fate. You’re making an all-season fashion statement: black shirts, black knee socks, elastic waists in cropped black pants to hold insulin pumps and air your knees.

(Your nerves still crackle like static.)

The new braces arrive, featuring 1950s comic-book Batman—blue cape and yellow belt, swinging a punch and yelling “Bam!” because nothing turns out as we anticipate. At the checkout line in the grocery store, you become popular among small children…

Read the rest…

Thank you to Hektoen International for publishing “To My Friend.” This was the first piece of my creative writing accepted for publication, ever, and by coincidence, the acceptance arrived on the night before my friend went into surgery. All good news–my friend came out of surgery and continues to heal.