Sunday, April 18, 2021

DANIELLE BEAZER DUBRASKY—"PETROGLYPHS AT PAROWAN GAP" (Issue 17)



PETROGLYPHS AT PAROWAN GAP

All things crisscross before they disappear into a silence
throbbing between jutted rocks. A trucker drives on a road

perpendicular to the wind gap, visible for a moment, then gone.
A Pontiac guns from the closest town, swerves toward me, honks,

and the men spin away, laugh at my startled jump—I give them the finger. 
We break the reverie summoned from eons of layers that streak rock

masked with graffiti. Names trespass a map carved five centuries ago in 
   sandstone: 
notches, ladders, a sun-circle of concentric rings that gives passage to the next
   traveler.

If we live in dreams, our eyes opening and closing to vistas we create
unless we step into someone else’s meditation, then which ancient one

dreamt this intersection of lines—the distant trucker, the men, and myself,
who wander past a length of road into spirals so carefully engraved?

Our crossing notches a groove in my palm—a new map I now see in my hands.


ABOUT THE POET
 
 Danielle Beazer Dubrasky directs the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values and is an associate professor of creative writing at Southern Utah University. Her poetry has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Chiron Review, South Dakota Review, Ninth Letter, Main Street Rag, Pilgrimage, saltfront, Sugar House Review, Cave Wall, Open: Journal of Arts & Letters, Under a Warm Green Linden, and Terrain.org. Her chapbook, Ruin and Light, won the 2014 Anabiosis Press Chapbook Competition. Her poems were also published in a limited-edition art book Invisible Shores by Red Butte Press of the University of Utah. She has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and twice for Best New Poets. And she is a three-time winner of the Utah Original Writing Competition for poetry. Danielle is also the director of the Eco-poetry and the Essay Conference at Southern Utah University. She received her PhD in creative writing from the University of Utah and an MA in English/Creative Writing from Stanford University.

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 

 We loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), and we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We're featuring audio recordings of poems from our pages, read by the poet. 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.

Monday, April 12, 2021

OMOTUNDE OREDIPE—"IF I DON'T DIE." (Issue 21)

IF I DON'T DIE

News reaches us of men burning

at home. The police disperse

the crowd with tear gas and bullets.

We have all seen the footage. I can

still smell the fear, that Saturday afternoon

when the air crackled as the rifles chorused.

My father told me that during the war

the children were told to dive into the

gutters if the ground tremored or planes

roared overhead. I imagine my father

in a ditch somewhere, his skinny arms

flat in front of him, his nose in the dust,

as I hold my own breath under the bed,

in the dimming light of the guestroom.

Father Lord, If I don’t die

I promise to tell daddy about the TV stand I broke.

Amen.


 

ABOUT THE POET 

Omotunde Oredipe was born and raised in Lagos and studied at South Carolina State University, where he served as the Poet Laureate (2016–2017) and founded the Poetry & Ideas Organization. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in Obsidian: Literature & Arts in the African Diaspora, The Southampton Review, and The Carolina Quarterly.

 

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 

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 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.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

JOHN GALLAHER—"THE PERFORMANCE (ARCHITECTURE 28)" (Issue 21)

THE PERFORMANCE (ARCHITECTURE 28)

Mother. Noun. My mother died piece by piece. It took
a decade. And now I get a replacement, going through adoption records.
“Better not fuck this up,” I tell myself, because I think I’m funny,
which means I’m always apologizing and realizing I’m not so funny,
like how I walked into the dance studio just now
to say hi to Robin and Natalie before the high school football game,
and without taking the temperature of the room, which only
occurred to me later to imagine, I made some comment
about Natalie’s dance makeup, which turns out to be
just the thing she and Robin had been stressing over an hour,
because makeup, for halftime dancers, is ¾ of the world,
and I just blundered in with “Ew” or “Ugh,” funny dad,
look how funny I am, and so Natalie leaves saying “I hate you”
and Robin won’t talk to me. And I know this. And what the fuck
is wrong with you, in this town, in this world, saying “ew”
about this makeup that she didn’t want to wear in the first place,
but the dancers have to wear the makeup the theme committee
comes up with, and The Incredibles is stupid, of course it is, yes,
everyone knows that, but to say so is—we must not say so
and why didn’t I already know that, why do I continually
not know that? I’m trying to think here. Let me think.

I’m sitting in the stands with Robin. It’s halftime. The dance team
takes the field, performs. Natalie has a trick where she
stiff-arm rolls forward and then flips over the backs of two
other dancers who lean forward. After, she comes up
to where we’re sitting to say hi, and she’s all smiles.
“I usually slip the first time I do that trick,” she says.
“And I didn’t slip in practice, so I thought for sure I would
then. But I didn’t.” And so everything is fine. Ha. Funny joke,
this shape we take, as water takes shape, that we rise to
and fill. As all the years there ever were are right now.

 

ABOUT THE POET 

John Gallaher’s most recent collection of poetry is Brand New Spacesuit (BOA, 2020). Recent poems appear in American Poetry Review, The Missouri Review, Crazyhorse, Pleiades, and elsewhere. He lives in rural Missouri and co-edits The Laurel Review.

 

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 

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 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.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

KATHLEEN LOE—"CIRCLE OF TEETH" (Issue 21)

CIRCLE OF TEETH

who shall measure the heat and violence of the poet’s heart when
caught and tangled in a woman’s body?

—Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own”

come summer, mama’s home
and all shoes are off
she sets our roving borders
according to risk
and then she sets us free—
west to the tracks and east
to deep creek, no crossing blind
highway of course and no one
goes past jubilee’s.

i’m too skinny, but i’m fast
and hate to be asked
where i’m going, escaping
on my spider’s legs across
the blistering blacktop
cutting my un-calloused soles
on the rocks to the woods—
dense sentries of loblolly pines
with a thousand thin fingers to point.

summer-heated resin singes
my hair—its hot scent hangs
in the piney lunes i squeeze
through, lugging smuggled
volumes of saved-up-for sonnets
and a column of crispy saltines,
into the shaded, quiet, clicking
of insects unseen—private
orchestra of the understory, invisible
witness to my hidden weather.

alone in the family
of the fallen cones, i lay
my circle of their dark blunt
teeth, their emptied skin
paused on my palm—
let them keep their lion’s share
of light, these are my scattered
shards, falling all around me
like spells—my thin skin cools
and encircled unseen, i read
until the twilight echo of mama’s
car horn calls us home.
the tiny flare of her lit cigarette draws
its slow arc in the darkening driveway.


ABOUT THE POET 

Kathleen Loe is a poet and visual artist living in Hudson, NY. She teaches poetry at the The Writers Studio, Hudson Branch. Having grown up in one house, in one small town in the deep South, a desire for change has been a big feature of her life: she has moved 32 times, and the resulting discoveries, chaos, and longing for home are at the center of her work.

 

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 

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 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.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

JOHN SIBLEY WILLIAMS—"THE MOON IS TWO HALF-MOONS JOINED TOGETHER" (Issue 21)

THE MOON IS TWO HALF-MOONS JOINED TOGETHER

Her body still // yoked to histories retold // so often even her great
grandmother, who lived it, cannot // remember the river’s name she
// crossed to get here. Tigris. Rio Grande. Euphrates. How the men
& more // men & when the men were done, they’d touch finger to
forehead to chest to shoulder & zip up their flies. How sometimes
the world // works like that. The bullet passes right // through & on
the other side another // language to learn, another god to // feed, &
a child that wears half your face. Try not to take it // as a sign, how
they see // you, momma says. The books the kids don’t read don’t
mention it. This name. That first name. The constellations it takes to
turn // sky into map. How boys still // rock-paper-scissor their way
to cruelty, which hurts // less than their taking her // as white, which
at least means they love // what they see. & a red clay stain that once
was a river.

 

ABOUT THE POET 

John Sibley Williams is the author of As One Fire Consumes Another (Orison Poetry Prize), Skin Memory (Backwaters Prize), and Summon (JuxtaProse Chapbook Prize). A twenty-three-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various awards, John serves as editor of The Inflectionist Review, teaches for Literary Arts, and is a poetry agent. JohnSibleyWilliams.com

 

ABOUT SUGAR HOUSE REVIEW 

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 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.