Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Natalia Treviño


Tortilla Skins

In the hot light of your kitchen, ‘Uelita, you showed me how to
press the thick dough against your popping, aluminum table. Your
hands the size of the tortillas to come, willing the mass to open
as soft disk. My hands too small to maneuver, to stretch over it,
to pull the dry powder in. I was fifteen and knew you were happy.
Years after ‘Buelito had died, you a new kind of woman. Certain eyes.
Laughing, traveling, playing cards. Able to wake and say no, to skip
the heat of the day to cook the midday meal. Bake a cake instead, at
night. Crochet and smoke at the same time. Speak up around men.
Accept a small glass of beer. The dough as cool as your hands, your
red fingernails disappearing into the ball. Would you remarry? I
ask. You are quick to answer. Yes, it is ugly to live alone. Your fingers
have memorized this motion, this touch. All I can think is how the
wives in Mexico flail in sick waters, in tired, wakeful oceans, choppy
white crests salting their faces, silenced and gasping by the slap of
spray. Romantic novella endings kneaded into the eyes and ears of
daughters, spiteful neighborhood chisme, the sealing orders from
men, sons, brothers, husbands. The lines on your face, Uelita, deep
like the folds of the dough in your hands. The portraits in your
living room, bridal framed faces, faint as shells at the end of flat
beach, stripped of color by the brine of dry sunlight, waiting for
the tide to soak them, turn them, or swallow them. Bone exposed at the
back of the neck, you bend to your yes. And we press our tortilla
skins to the heat, their faces down, to cook them.




About the Poet:

Born in Mexico City, Natalia grew up in Texas where her mother taught her Spanish and Bert and Ernie gave her lessons in English. Natalia has won several awards for her poetry and fiction including the 2004 Alfredo Moral de Cisneros Award, the 2008 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2012 Literary Award from the Artist Foundation of San Antonio. Currently, Natalia is an assistant professor of English at Northwest Vista College where she works with students of all levels.



About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Vidhu Aggarwal



umbilical with titles from Vidhu Aggarwal on Vimeo.


Humpadori Umbilical Cord Friend

Euphoria:
I arrive, singly—
prizing

the belly to unfuzz
the static orchestra,
to expand the warm feelings, play jump rope!

A neon pulse—a dimple—wanders
in
and out on you—

Lickety split. Spit and lick
the seal.
Close your eyes. And all the shine will migrate there:

lubing the tube, where the oxygen bells and surges,

ripening incidence, wings,
and miscellaneous
appendages.

Worlds-a-rama lotus out
of your skin and hinges. Soft
Camelots

peep and spore. A door opens.
You’re adored.

You’re another Venus

Hottentot, Venus with fur. It’s almost a dream:
You can always be more than you are—
Since you’re more than you want to be.

I’m your live feed
of nerves dangling, attached and rhyming, going to seed.

If you pluck the grub-end, I might bleed
horizons,

a free-form history, but never free.




About the Poet:
Vidhu Aggarwal grew up in New Orleans, Louisiana and Sugar Land Texas, and currently lives and teaches in central Florida. Her poetry and video are a mash-up of cultural forms such as Bollywood, Star Trek, video games, internet porn, anime, minstrel shows, and tourist attractions. Her poems can be found in Sugar House Review, The Pedestal Magazine, Juked, Nimrod, PANK, desi-lit, and interlope among others. Readings and videos are available at the website
www.vidhu-aggarwal.squarespace.com. She is the found editor of SPECS, a journal of arts and culture with issues on Toys, The Perverse, and Homuncular Flexibility – www.specsjournal.org.



About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Kevin McLellan



There's Hard Light and Soft Light

everyday. The same church van

driver insistently honks
for the same elderly lady

dressed for God. My open

3rd floor window faces
the street. The sidewalk

dug up. Now it appears

the same young mouse
I released last week is under

the neck of a red wine bottle

in the recycling bin. Bring it
outside again. Runs clumsily

toward the liquor store.

The bright yellow sign. Yesterday
a man ran out of there

and got hit by a taxi. As the driver

argued with a witness
the man lying conscious across

the yellow lines. Only his left arm

moved. Caressing the bumper
as he looked blankly into the sky.




About the Poet:
Kevin McLellan lives in Cambridge, MA, and sometimes teaches po- etry workshops at URI. He is the author of the chapbook Round Trip, a col- laborative series of poems with numerous women poets. Kevin has recent or forthcoming poems in journals including: American Letters & Commentary, Barrow Street, Colorado Review, Kenyon Review Online, Sixth Finch, Sugar House Review, Western Humanities Review, Witness, and numerous others.




About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Sandra Marchetti

 
GIRL IN STONE


I’m sheaving off the morning
in swells and scrolls,

Athena’s curls wave
past my back to the sea.

Diadems of light come forward
in sweet births. The day

laurels in their neat way
turn to greet me—

I slip my sandal up
the fluted curves, the steps

that roll over, Ionic,
stomped in place like
divots in a loaf.

My eyes, without irises,
gaze into place.

Round ovums, sleep centers—
they fall back to sockets, soft

as children come
to nest beneath my arms.




About the Poet:
Sandra Marchetti’s debut full-length collection of poems, Confluence, will be published as part of Gold Wake Press’ 2014 Print Series. Sandy is also the author of a chapbook, The Canopy (available from MWC Press), and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Subtropics, Thrush Poetry Journal, Nashville Review, The Journal, Gargoyle, and elsewhere. sandrapoetry.net.



About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Rob Carney



HOME APPRAISALS

1. TWO-STORY, STONE AND BRICK, SINGLE-FAMILY DWELLING

If there’s added value in a ceiling fan,
then there must be value in a hawk. They come

for the doves, the ridiculous quail, and quick sparrows
squabbling daily on our neighbor’s lawn,

suddenly plunging from nowhere, suddenly gone—
launched off before my eyes blink open.

And there must be value every time they miss
so plunge becomes pursuit, becomes a game

played out in fan-tailed figure-eights; it’s wild:
your heartsong humming, the sky brighter blue. . .

I know this won’t go into the appraisal—
just bedrooms, baths, etc.; two-car garage.

There isn’t any math that factors this.
No box to check if the front yard comes with a hawk.



2. TOOL SHED, WORKSHOP, FULLY FENCED BACKYARD

Tomatoes can be yellow!
Also small and shaped like ovals! We’re learning things here:

that leaving out a shovel equals rust,
that seeds and dirt can make food out of air,

that carrots follow their own thoughts underground—
they must, or why so many knots and curves

and none of them the same? We’re learning sounds:
how August wind chimes mean a break from heat.

We’re learning smells like rain on dust. It’s too much
to count, to fit inside an estimate.

I’d measure me carrying the baby around
before I went in, verified square feet.

I’d measure me holding up things for him to touch,
saying This is a pine cone, Jameson. This is a leaf.



3. .17 ACRES. CULINARY WATER

Not every decimal point is accurate.
They sometimes miss dimension, overlook

the sweep a peach tree adds to the backyard
just by moving in the wind. . . Imagine it

gone now, downed by a storm. Imagine books
with missing pages . . . you know it’s more than words

that disappear. So don’t discount the tree.
There’s more to calculate than area.

Last summer, for instance, in the kitchen—peaches peeled,
the crust rolled out—who knows what she saw,

exactly, as I stood there making pie?
But she flashed a smile as bright as cinnamon,

and I could tell exactly what she meant. . .
Best one-point-something hours that whole July.



4. 2,140 SQUARE FEET
says nothing at all about the unsquare angles.
The living and dining rooms are heptagons—amazing

I didn’t even know that was a shape.
You pass between the two through an open arch

but not the kind of arch you see in church,
the kind you find in women: rounded hips,

the small of her back, her somersaulting laugh,
her slow smooth way of coming ’round from sleep.

Upstairs follows the roof line—trapezoids,
odd polygons. Three windows look out

at the mountains—more angles balancing the sky. . .
Once when I was seventeen, the moon

looked close enough to walk to. Right there. Huge. . .
The archway makes me think of that sometimes.




5. JANUARY 26, 2009

Forty-three thousand job cuts in one day,
in just one morning. Thirty thousand more

by late-afternoon. Mine wasn’t one of them.
We’re not part of the millions since last May

who’ve lost their homes—lost porches and front doors,
the mantel ’round their fireplace, the trim

they painted ’round the windows one April:
pale green to go with her flower garden.

Or the place where he first saw her naked.
Or their kids’ favorite hiding closet. All. . .

whatever the details, whatever their plans. . .
How do you fit that in boxes, tape-gun it shut?

I don’t know; the news didn’t answer. Instead they ran
the weather: Cold. Then a story about a duck.




6. 3 BDRM, 2 BA, KITCHEN, FRML DINING

The baby has a bed but likes ours more.
He lets us know it, too. He lets it fly—

like crossing two cats fighting with a war
between accordions—but he is cute, for sure.

And he’d eat everything if he had teeth,
eat all the foods his sister won’t: the fruit,

the eggplant parmesan, whatever’s there;
already he’s reaching like a quick-draw artist.

And here is where he’ll learn to walk, then run,
then go out back in our sun-fat garden. . .

Yes, the house has a crawl space underneath.
Yes, the radiator’s certified. . .

I’m picturing him with his brothers and sister:
all that noisy tangle in the yard.




7. UPGRADES TO THE PROPERTY: N/A

So none of what I’m telling you applies;
it’s all not applicable. I’m not surprised;

it’s just another headline like the rest:
like Economic Crisis Faces Pres.,

like More Firms Pressed to Liquidate,
like Home Sales Sluggish, Price Decay, that’s all.

My cat, for one, could care less. He’s focused
on squirrels: right up the tree trunks, onto limbs.

He’s pretty bad-ass. He’d stretch out on the news,
or credit report and appraisal, and go to sleep. . .

I think that’s worth a note or two, don’t you? . . .
And the grape vines, hawks, the backyard corner

where the swing-chair hides behind camellias? . . .
And how, when it’s still, you can hear the whole house purr?






About the Poet:
Rob Carney is the author of three collections—Story Problems (Somondoco, 2011); Weather Report (Somondoco, 2006); and Boasts, Toasts, and Ghosts, winner of the 2002 Pinyon Press National Poetry Book Contest—and two chapbooks, New Fables, Old Songs, winner of the 2002 Dream Horse Press National Chapbook Competition, and This Is One Sexy Planet, winner of the Frank Cat Press Poetry Chapbook Award in 2005. Home Appraisals, a new chapbook, including several poems that first appeared in Sugar House Review, is forthcoming from Plan B Press in fall 2012. He is a Professor of English and Literature at Utah Valley University and lives in Salt Lake City.






About the Sound of Sugar:
We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Natalie Bryant Rizzieri

Now I Am Ready To Tell How Bodies Are Changed Into Other Bodies.


Plane trees are dressed for severity;
snow drapes their sturdy shoulders

like wool wraps. Twists of collarbone
lie exposed, each vein coagulates

in the cold. Even their bare bodies
look alive against stormed skies.

To better survive concrete and smoke,
the native sycamore was crossed

with an Oriental. Lost in the transfer
to urbanization, my name changes

as the plane tree’s. Time requires
my body as a sacrifice. Or is it love.

Most century-old sycamores are
hollow at heart, not by scythe of shit

and smog but as a shield for swallows
and swifts. I watch their bark gleam

like picked bones at midnight, clicking
to the tremors of the blizzard. This

is how I console myself along with
the fact that sycamore wood is almost

impossible to split. Yesterday I saw
an aged plane tree at the butcher’s,

a bloody block, atoms still tightly
wound, endlessly hacked. I thought

of how it didn’t stand long enough
to become a hive for swallows and

squirrels but bleeds now through
other skins. After not eating meat

for years, I bought a rack of lamb.
The butcher tucked it in brown paper,

made a swift knot of twine and
wiped the blood on his apron.







About the Poet:

Natalie Bryant Rizzieri is a poet by morning, an activist by day, and a mother by night, except it isn't quite as neat as that.  She runs a tiny group home called Warm Hearth for orphans with disabilities in Armenia.  She also spends her time, at least in spring, digging for earthworms with her two sons and husband in Queens, New York. 



About the Sound of Sugar:

We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Teri Youmans Grimm



My Mother Tells Me I Was Conceived In Fire Before I Was Condemned By It

I was admiring the trimmings in O.L. Keenes,
the lace, the ostrich feathers in pale colors. Was it
the steam whistle I noticed first, grey clouds
rolling up from the ground? I don’t remember.
The city was imperiled. From the doorway, I saw
flames in the northwest moving at a gallop.
It was terrifying. Bay Street filled with people
heading east, I joined them, passing families laden
with mirrors, dishes, children leading dogs on strings,
carrying bird cages, so many horses and drays loaded
down with trunks, me holding only a pale pink feather,
worrying how I’d pay for it now.

At Monroe Street,
unable to help myself, I turned around to face the blazing
pursuer. Angels of oblivion pummeled toward me
on billowing,black smoke, like an engraving by Dore’—
this nightmare rendered so precisely.
Isn’t it magnificent? I said to a man nearby. His eyes
considered me. They were oddly green, like verdigris
and heavy-lidded.

Sparks landed like confetti, but long I was willing
to stay there and watch this parade of danger so close
he brushed it from my hair and I brushed it from his sleeve,
before he clutched my hand, pulled me with the others
past Hemming Plaza, into the Windsor Hotel crowded
with the displaced, belongings stacked everywhere,
then down a corridor into a room.
Even when the door clicked shut, I thought of him
as protector while wondering who would save me now.

Ostrich feather gripped in my hand, I did all he told me to do.
Why I never let it go. Why I never fought at all, but laid there
long after he left until smoke filled the room clearing my head
and I fled with hundreds of other bodies, empty-handed
out of that hotel, each of us racing in the direction that felt right.

Toward the river I ran. Across it was this house, untouched
and I wondered if William was imagining me dead.
At the dock I turned around one last time,
and this is what I know of Hell:

The Windsor had become a furnace, radiating heat far and wide,
the flame of its burning ascending towards Heaven, groaning
with a thunderous voice in its agony. The steamer pulled
away and a dead moccasin floated by. Another then another
and another and another. What to make of it, I didn’t know.
As though it was a sign that evil had been vanquished.
But it hadn’t been. It burned inside and half the sky was on fire
and what trees remained in the distance looked like skeletons
and everyone on the boat was cast in the strangest yellow light,
like none I’d ever seen, altering features until any one
of the passengers could have been him.

Still riding the billows of smoke like clouds,
the angel of oblivion appeared to me and in my own bed
that night. Awake or dreaming, it was a true vision all the same.
I was with child and this one would live. She smirked at me
and the clock read 11:00 exactly and your father’s face
(your father’s face?) was bathed in that same yellow glow
and it was more than I could bear. I turned from him
and pressed my hand to where it hurt and was horrified grateful.
Looking at you now, I’m horrified grateful.

At church, in a park, on the trolley,
when I see men that resemble my memory of him—
a grey serge suit, drowsy-lidded eyes, a cleft chin,
to this day I want to ask: Were you that stranger?
Were you that stranger? Please, tell me your name.










About the Poet:

Teri Youmans Grimm lives in Jacksonville, FL with her husband and two children. Her first collection, Dirt Eaters, was chosen for the University of Central Florida’s poetry series and was published by the University Press of Florida. Her work has appeared in the Connecticut Review, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, South Dakota Review, and Homegrown in Florida: An Anthology of Florida Childhoods, among other publications. She teaches in the University of Nebraska’s low-residency MFA program.



About the Sound of Sugar:

We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it.