Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Steve Langan



THE MIDWEST

I remember this old guy at the bar
where I worked gestured toward a girl
seated with friends at a round table
and said, You really need to learn to pause,
study the small of a woman’s back,
the parallel lines subtly curving upward—
are her shoulders little shouts or whispers?—
and her neck, slightly untuned, does it plead?—
to know how best to begin to pursue her.
But I was mainly interested in scoring then,
in showing you how many bottles I could
hold aloft in the dim light, and getting
and staying loaded for days at a time.

It’s rude to talk too much about yourself.
That’s what we learn here in the Midwest.
Days are numbered, we ask you to contribute
to the bottom line, to catch one another
in your sullen reproaches, crashing swoons,
make it look easy these next squalid hours.
Some little nitpickers claim we’re improving.
But we can’t all be angels of mercy or pain,
hunting and gathering, failing and building,
saving nothing for later, sleeping it all off.



About the Poet:
Steve Langan was born in Milwaukee and raised in Omaha. He earned degrees from the University of Nebraska and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Langan is the author of Freezing (2001), Notes on Exile and Other Poems (2005), Meet Me at the Happy Bar (2009), and What It Looks Like, How It Flies (2013).




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, August 17, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Natalia TreviƱo


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.