Wednesday, January 11, 2017

EDWARD MAYES, "UNTIL JUST SECONDS AGO, IF I MISSPOKE" (ISSUE 14)



UNTIL JUST SECONDS AGO, IF I MISSPOKE

Until just seconds ago, if I misspoke
And if I now stand corrected, or
An understanding finally of rain, as

If all the many deaths were the hailstones
That hit the olive trees last June, a histogram
Of death, a moment between stet and

Everyone else in a hurry, someone’s
Clamor trumping someone else’s clamor,
The clumsiness of something as simple

As night fall, into a day not unbroken,
And if it’s a sleep we can’t speak
About, the gnat clouds that try to lose

Their g’s, or to say the t in hatch, or would
That be a blot on one’s escutcheon, a drip
Of fresh red paint on the architrave, what

Warning, what bells rang in the shtetls, and
If we all are a bad batch, proof of the existence
Of bad gods, the kind that glitch, the kind

That botch, and us, apostatic and eldritch,
Seeing more glass through the glass, an armistice
Only for an instant, wet and worried and worn.


Until nearly daybreak night fell; steed, stud, arrest, instant, understand, static,
prostitute, insist, ecstasy, system; stage, stance, stanch, stanchion, stanza, stet,
circumstance, constant, cost, distant, extant, oust, restharrow; stalag, shtetl, apostasy,
switcheroo, bedstead, armistice (arm-stopping), solstice (sun-stopping); epistyle,
architrave; steer, stern; apostrophe; Pär Fabian Lagerkvist, Nobel Prize 1951

ABOUT THE POET


Edward Mayes’ poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals and magazines, including The Southern Review, The New Yorker, APR, Kenyon Review, Best American Poetry, Agni, Harvard Review, and others. His books of poetry include First Language (Juniper Prize, University of Massachusetts Press) and Works and Days (AWP Prize in Poetry, University of Pittsburgh Press). Edward lives in Hillsborough, NC and Cortona, Italy with his wife, the writer Frances Mayes. Their latest collaboration is The Tuscan Sun Cookbook (Clarkson Potter).

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 1, 2017

DANIEL ARIAS GOMEZ, "FORTUNE COOKIE" (ISSUE 14)



FORTUNE COOKIE

You pick up the cookie and crack
it open. You spread the paper with your fingers
and read—Happiness begins
when you face life with a wink and a smile.
You snort and throw it away. And you wish
that just once you’d get a shitty fortune.
You wish the cookie would say that your father
will spend the next ten months in the hospital
with a plastic shunt sticking out of his skull
to drain fluid from his swollen brain
until he finally dies—you wish it’d say
that by the end, your father won’t even recognize
you, that he’ll be rambling about chickens
and horses, believing that he’s still in his ranch
in Mexico, that he’ll say he likes the pozole
when he’s eating a tuna sandwich you bought
for him in the cafeteria—you wish it’d say
that in his last moments of lucidity he will look
you straight in the eye, and he will tell you he’s sorry
for having been such a horrible father,
that you’ll answer that it’s okay, that you forgive
him—you wish the cookie would say
that when your father finally dies, it’ll hurt
more than anything has ever hurt
in your life, but that every year after his
death you’ll buy one of those cloying tres leches
cakes that he loved so much, and as you eat
it next to his ashes you’ll remember his calloused
hands cutting up the beef for the pozole
that he used to cook on Sundays after church,
and you’ll smile.

ABOUT THE POET

Daniel E. Arias-Gomez was born and raised in Guadalajara. He is currently a poetry student in the MFA program at CSU Fresno.

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.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

FAY DILLOF, "BLOSSOM" (ISSUE 14)



BLOSSOM

Either grief has no shape,
sneaks through the cracks

like a poisonous gas
or I was born

forgotten. Nurses fed me milk, scotch-
taped a ribbon to my head.

It probably wasn’t so bad.
Just a little bit

arbitrary. As arbitrary as this
February morning when,

driving home and not wanting
to get there, I passed a Magnolia exploding

so pink, I was brought to my knees
in unrehearsed worship. God,

how it hurt–– seeing it; how close
that was to being seen.

ABOUT THE POET

Fay Dillof has had poems selected for publication in Field, New Ohio Review, Bellevue Literary Review, and Shadowgraph.

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. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

MAGGIE SMITH, "PANEL VAN" (ISSUE 14)



PANEL VAN

You know the one about the white panel van,
the one about the dark sedan, the one I told
my daughter this morning,

the one about the man who’s lost and needs
directions, the one about the man who lost
his puppy, the one that goes come here,

I’ll show you a picture of my puppy,
the one that goes he’s so cute, isn’t he,
such a cute little lost puppy.

I told my daughter the one about the not-lost
not-puppy. I redacted the part about what’s lost
being something in the man, something

he thinks a child can help him find, or maybe
he thinks she has it. She doesn’t have it.
I didn’t tell my daughter

the man was once a child. He had a mother
who zipped his tricky winter coat, tamed
his cowlick with her spit-wet thumb,

and how could she have known her son
would search the web for cute puppy
pictures, then roll past a park. This morning

I told my daughter the one about still loving
the world we live in, the world the man
lives in, lost. Yes, the same world.

ABOUT THE POET

Maggie Smith is the author of Weep Up (Tupelo Press, forthcoming 2018); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison; and Lamp of the Body. The recipient of fellowships from the NEA, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Maggie is a freelance writer and editor, and a consulting editor to the Kenyon Review. MaggieSmithPoet.com

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 30, 2016

The Sound of Sugar...Jen Lambert



FROM VISITATIONS

This country has no lamps for its alleys,
but I know the streets like the body
of a whore, those wounded stones, valleys
of dark water. There is sorrow
in wet nights, and the yields will not give.
I don’t know what is worse, to burn or to drown,
but either way there is famine. The dog will howl
in the limping city, the wasp will burrow
deep in the unforgiving plum, and tonight,
I will learn the bend of a girl, the give
and take, the way to turn her hard dirt
so I won’t starve on my own instinct,
so I won’t bite through my own foul tongue.
That flesh is ripe. It will bleed and run.


That flesh is ripe. It will bleed and run
if I’m not careful, but I am a patient man,
and your body is a map I can read
with my hands. Be a compass, a candle.
I am desperate for a course, and your body
is the way back. I miss a woman in my bed,
but I am too old for rules, for routes.
You, though, you can be my true North,
be a heave of iron, the sad, round
spinning Earth, and I will be the glass face,
the grid, the bearings. A man doesn’t need
directions, his heart is a magnet, it pulls,
his hands steady the steep pitch and roll.


My hands steady your steep pitch and roll,
but these hills are on fire and I
haven’t seen the sky in years. Direction?
I am your geography. I am your
book of maps. I am your sun. And you,
tiny planet, you insignificant
collection of stars, will spin and spin
until you burst into flame. Your black lakes
will boil, your fields sear, your safe little houses
of mothers will blaze, and I will rattle
your paper walls, my hot mouth at the door.
I will break the bones of this town. I will
burn down every tree, scald every girl I touch.
And you? You will blister. You will scorch.


You will blister, you will scorch, you
will burn you wicked little crow.
This is how it happens. This is how you die.
Don’t believe any of this. My hands are liars.
The way they touch you, the way
they fall on your body like moonlight, like rain.
Maybe it’s like this: maybe you drown.
Let’s say there is a black lake. Let’s say
there are hands, many hands, hands in your hair,
hands in your mouth, hands covering your mouth,
holding your mouth underwater. No, let’s say
the hands are stars, falling in the water
like hot stones. Open your mouth. Catch one.
This will keep you from drowning. This will save us both.


I tried to save you, to keep you from drowning.
How was I to know you were made of glass?
This whole city is a boneyard of broken girls,
slight wrists and stony kneecaps like landmines
under the sand. There is nothing left of you,
just threads of hair on a pillow, a damp dress,
be careful where you walk, girl. Every night
a new burning, every night I melt you down.
Tinder bound and boxed, you will love me.
My body can be the house you hide in,
and I will say, this is how you love,
and I will say, this is how you pray.
You were built for my kneeling, your mouth,
my own collection of trembling boughs.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jen Lambert is a founding editor of Spark Wheel Press and burntdistrict magazine. She received an MFA from the University of Nebraska, and her work has appeared in journals such as Pank, The Los Angeles Review, Sugar House Review, and Redactions, among others. This recording is five sonnets from a longer series, Visitations.

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 31, 2016

The Sound of Sugar....Liz Kay



SUNDAY EVENING

          The twins were found dead Sunday night
          in their father’s home after police got a call
          around 8pm requesting they check on them.


We found him lying
on the bed—
not asleep, but neither
quite awake—his eyes fixed
on the wall behind us,
and below him, tucked
beneath the bed
were the two small
bodies, bundled together
in a large towel and placed
face down.
How long had they lain
there? And him
above them, covering
them with his body,
the way a man might
throw himself on a grenade
and wait
in that long still moment
for the world to erupt.

ABOUT THE POET :

Liz Kay's poems have appeared in such journals as Willow Springs, Beloit Poetry Journal, Nimrod, RHINO, and Sugar House Review. Alongside co-editor, Jen Lambert, Liz is a founding editor of Spark Wheel Press and the journal burntdistrict. Liz's debut novel, Monsters: A Love Story, is forthcoming from G. P. Putnam's Sons in 2016.


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, December 6, 2015

The Sound of Sugar....Laura Stott



INTO THE BLUE

At the edge of a boat dock

the blue nudes look far down a ladder—
 

to where it hits surface glass.
They can see rungs barely

waver as their blue heads peer

over. Their own eyes

and the stars reflect in dark tide.

It seems they will be climbing

down into sky, one
blue nude after another.

It couldn’t feel anymore night.
Seals swim in their black

milky way. Sky ripples
with the color glaciers create.

One moon bathed, barnacled
rung at a time, the blue nudes

disappear, past mussels
in their blue shells,

kelp tangled in mid-air.
One nude stops at the rim

before arranging herself
over the side—torso twists,

as hands cling. She looks back.
It is this leaving that’s beginning.

Her hair blows in the wind.



ABOUT THE POET:

Laura Stott received her MFA from Eastern Washington University and she teaches writing at Weber State University. Her poems have appeared in various publications including Hayden’s Ferry Review, Bellingham Review, Sugar House Review, and are forthcoming in Crate.


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.