On the first day of the new year our theme is to forget, to put out of one’s mind: we offer a blue plastic whale, bleak light billowing, too-frozen fan-ice.
Next month we:
Submission guidelines can be found here.
I’m more wonder than I am doubt
In Conversation with Andrea Gibson: Part II
“Thanks to years of therapy when I take a minute to touch into my emotional state I can pretty easily determine if I’m operating from a place of clarity, or reactivity. If I’m feeling reactive my lens is almost certainly being fogged up by old wounds, past traumas. With ‘You Better Be Lightning’ I didn’t want to write from that place, so even if I was feeling a little bit edgy I’d step away from my writing desk and wait for the fog to clear. That’s not to suggest that’s the only healing way to write. Many people find a great deal of comfort and release writing through the edge, giving voice to the wound. I respect that and it’s been helpful to me in the past, but it wasn’t what this new collection was about for me. I wanted the softest part of my heart to write these poems.”
We are honored to be in conversation with Andrea Gibson, author of many books of poetry, including recently released You Better Be Lightning.
I walked between the trees
where locals said I could find a beach.
It wasn’t much of anything,
a thin strand, fumble of rocks and seaweed.
How or why, I walked so far? To get away
from the workshop group,
the poem about a lover’s death sliced me.
I returned with a cup,
blue plastic whale jumping
out of its open mouth.
Natural Blue was playing in
the bar where I saw him drowning.
Why is blue so rare in nature?
If you zoom in on a Morpho-wing butterfly
light bends through air into another material
making the wings appear blue.
The sky when I first saw you,
like the fish in the blue tank,
in a bar filled with laughter,
filled with air you couldn’t breathe.
I tried to turn every head, get you out,
both of us bug-eyed and screaming.
Mary Lou Buschi’s second full-length collection, Paddock, was published through Lily Poetry Review Books, 2021. Mary Lou is the author of one earlier collection of poems, Awful Baby, and 3 chapbooks. Her poems have appeared in literary journals such as The Laurel Review, Willow Springs, Radar, Rhino, among others. To see more visit maryloubuschi.com
New Religion II
I caught myself doing it again, being
needlessly depressive. All she said was,
there is hope. & me, in my ever-chronic
pessimism, mumbled something about
dead butterflies. I must admit, it is hard
unlearning old philosophies, cutting
down the altars of my nihilism. I mean,
I knelt in this temple, bathed in the bleak
light billowing from its windows. Now,
suddenly, I must abandon the familiar
shelter, orphan myself from its cradle.
Forgetting is the quickest threshold to
emptiness. You shred the darkness from
your heart, & then what next? Days spent
alone, cramming your new god’s dialect.
It slits the tongue, you know? Here is my
willingness—take, but be gentle with it.
I am eager to forget my gloom, but all
these lights, so sudden, they wound me.
Samuel A. Adeyemi is the author of the chapbook, Heaven is a Metaphor. He is a Poetry Editor at Afro Literary Magazine and a Poetry Reader at Salamander Ink. A Best of the Net Nominee and Pushcart Nominee, he is the winner of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize 2021. His works have appeared—or are forthcoming—in Palette Poetry, Frontier Poetry, 580 Split, Agbowo, Brittle Paper, Jalada, and elsewhere. When he is not writing, he enjoys watching anime and listening to a variety of music. You may reach him on Twitter @samuelpoetry and Instagram @samuelpoetry.
unlearning the (he)art of remembrance
i pubbed my first paid poem last
night like we’d always envisaged. but
today still yawns awake with lazy
song by bruno mars. & my tongue bleeds
into the reminiscence of your body
sugaring into music in the dark
hollows of my mouth. forgetting is my greatest
frailty. i remember your pull of cologne, black
opium scent lingering on my shirt two
weeks after au revoir. i remember how we vowed
to read the poem together over honorarium-
bought ice cream under a moonlit sky. now
i eat my too-frozen fan-ice alone. before i began
this poem i was either unwrapping a pack
of cigarettes or writing some other poem or
repainting memories of you sizzling turkey
fat in the black kitchen pan. in another poem
we’ll watch yoruba-versioned bollywood movies. kuchi
kuchi ota e’. kabi kuchi kabi gham. how
many times did we watch indian hearts
break on blurred tv screens, falling
asleep in each other’s arms? i promise to stay
teetotal after the next glass of screwdriver
cocktail & the next & the next, till i
stop stumbling into nightmares or
yellowing into sour remembrance.
Muiz Opeyemi Ajayi, Frontier XVIII, is a Law undergraduate of the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. He writes on diverse subjects including identity, contradictions and uncertainties. He has works featuring/forthcoming on Nigerian News Direct, Kissing Dynamite Poetry Journal, Ice Floe Press, Fiery Scribe Review, ARTmosterrific, Sledgehammer Lit, Brittle Paper and elsewhere. He was second runner-up in the 2021 PROFWIC Poetry Contest. He was a 2021 ARTmosterrific writer-in-residence. Asides Law and Literature, he’s intrigued by sport and music. He’s @muiz_ajayi on Instagram and @opendites on Twitter.