26 June 2010

Featured Poet: Laura Goldstein


Put your money where your mouth is. Please. Place your jewelry on the table before you leave. I’ll give you a ring. Just before dawn, a dinosaur roared and a call rang out across the land.

Push here to be cut off immediately. When we were speaking we were disconnected inevitably because of the way that we bounce off of towers on our way down to the ground. Even if we part, I know I’ll always be in your phone.

Soon talking to you will be an emergency, on the order of red flashing lights somehow reaching out soft on the mushrooms on the forest floor. More retreat to a warmer light. No keypad close to code your cue.

The receiver is not usually thought of as a weapon but when in bed it should be just in reach and easily the heaviest thing in the room.

How the shifts in zip codes sound with your mouth wrapped around the round end of a company phone. You’re tapping out someone’s dinner reservations from your home phone on off hours. How our silverware sounds when set down.

Do you tend to short-change conversations that lose the war with the cord? And we fold into a sort of norm when unaware, talking up a storm.

A quarter of some monologue in monotone slips out of a slot called “old coins” A handful of numbers, a wealth of wires, a simple recording, a graduated tone

Copyright © 2010 Laura Goldstein

09 June 2010

Featured Poet: Jason Bredle


One doesn’t make a bowl of cereal, bowls of cereal just happen
is what I’d say if you were sitting across from me at the breakfast table
right now. And then,
if everything were to go as planned,
two bowls of Corn Flakes would appear in front of us, milked,
berried, spooned and ready to eat!
Then I’d say,
one doesn’t make a potato pancake, potato pancakes
just happen, and a plate of potato pancakes
would appear in front of us,
cooked, sauced, forked and ready to eat!
Then I’d say,
one doesn’t make honey and brown sugar sausage links,
honey and brown sugar sausage links just happen,
and a plate of sausage links
would appear in front of us, honeyed, browned, sugared
and ready to eat!
Then I’d say,
one doesn’t pour a glass of chocolate milk,
glasses of chocolate milk just happen,
and two glasses of chocolate milk would appear in front of us,
milked, chocolated, glassed and ready to drink!
Then I’d say,
one doesn’t consult the food guide pyramid to ensure
we’re getting a balanced breakfast,
and you’d cry out like a hawk
and we’d soar over our happening breakfast like two hawks soaring
over an open meadow
full of field mice and chipmunks. Then I’d say,
one doesn’t hunt, swoop down upon and capture a field mouse
or chipmunk, field mice and chipmunks just happen!
It’s been so good to see you again, you’d say,
the sun beginning its path
above the browning ridge.
Soon, winter.
Already some of our closest friends have gone south.
I miss them already, I’d say, I really do miss them already.
And that’s when you’d turn south too,
the wind taking you over the horizon,
and I’d think to myself,
if only you were sitting across from me at the breakfast table right now.
I’d say, one doesn’t make a bowl of cereal, bowls of cereal just happen.
And then, as if everything had gone as planned,
two bowls of Corn Flakes would appear in front of us,
milked, berried, spooned and ready to eat.


I’d eaten too many crackers. I couldn’t get anything done—
not even think about getting anything done.
Doing things is important, Mike says,
but I like to get things done.
I wanted to
pay ten dollars
to ride on a bus with teenagers
and have an intense spiritual relationship with a wolf. 
Instead someone pushed me from behind,
placed a bag over my head
and drove me around the suburbs,
occasionally stopping
and forcing me to photograph churches, hospitals and circuses.
Whoa, I thought. Look at this baroque architecture.
This was what I’d been waiting for. 


Yesterday at the lagoon
I watched frogs mate with a Colombian guy.
He had a fascinating frog-man superior race theory.
It’s so windy here.
The sky is like an ocean.
It feels so weird.
If I had a washcloth
I’d run warm water over it.
I’d lie on a bed and place it over my eyes.
I’d take sleeping pills.
I’d begin writing a book.
I’d call it Politics and Religion.


At night we’d bandage ourselves with gauze and visit restaurants
to delight others with stories of what happened:
realized we had no breaks,
confrontation with alpaca at petting zoo,
sandboarding mishap on active volcano.
Is this it, you’d ask.
But we get free food, I’d say.
And then there was the I’m filled with rage part.
And then there was the I’m filled with love part.
And then there was the I’m filled with sadness part.
And then there was the driving around part.
And then there was the confusing part,
the embarrassing part,
the part where you found yourself without pants in front of a group,
the part where you decided not to live a lie anymore,
and the part where you ask
how many meatballs I’d like for dinner,
and I say, just this once, let’s see how many I can fit into my mouth
at the same time. 


She apologized and delivered a message of tolerance
may complete one story but only begin the next. Here, she’s accidentally
killed her husband to save a stray kitten.
What does she do now?
Does she take the kitten home?
Does the moon rise above the city as she sits on a veranda
with the kitten on her lap?
Does she name the kitten Snickers?
Does she set aside a saucer of milk and cry herself to sleep?
As she cries herself to sleep, does Snickers lie under a quilt next to her?
Does Snickers lick her hands, purring?
Do you like this story?
I like to buy stupid magazines and set aside entire days to read them.
That’s funny because I like to buy smart magazines
and place them in a pile and never read them.
I like to cut them into small pieces,
arrange them on construction paper in a threatening manner
and send them to loved ones.
I love how, in your head, I hate you means I love you,
if you don’t leave I’m calling the cops means stay forever.
Here, people are kidnapped from their own homes and I don’t like this!
How I wish our tears were made of strawberries!
Do you remember her husband?
She lied next to him for hours waiting for help.
If I could only properly describe to you that night,
the way the darkness felt so heavy—
the way the silence, the way the silence felt so heavy.
And the mountains to the south dotted with light,
and the ocean to the north, the ocean to the north also dotted with light.

These poems are from Jason Bredle's collection Smiles of the Unstoppable, forthcoming fall 2010 from Magic Helicopter Press.  He is also the author of Pain Fantasy (Red Morning Press, 2007), Standing in Line for the Beast (New Issues Press, 2007), and  the chapbook A Twelve Step Guide (New Michigan Press 2004)
Copyright © 2010 Jason Bredle