My poems from Confluence

Last year I submitted four poems to IPFW’s literary magazine, Confluence. I got accepted in January of this year with a letter directed at all the people who were accepted. So I had four poems, but no details as to which ones were accepted. I emailed the editor, who was very kind and told me she would look up what had gotten accepted, and then she forgot to write me back. I decided that rather than freak out and email her, I would concentrate on new work and just wonder what became of them. 

Turns out all four made it. I found this out last month when the magazine finally came back from the printers. Looking over the magazine, it looks like anyone who submitted more than one poem made it. Each page is in a different font, as if the editor just accepted things and didn’t bother unifying the text. It’s very jarring. Had I known it would be like that, I’d have submitted my work in Comic Sans or Wing Dings.

There is some good stuff in the magazine. However, it is only on sale through IPFW’s English office. So, rather than try to pimp the magazine (which I would have no idea how to do, since they never update their website), I thought I would share the four poems that made it in here. They are presented in the order they appear in the magazine. Please leave me comments letting me know what you think, either here, on Twitter (@wombatdeamor) or on Facebook. 


Memory is a gladiator who uses insurance.

It is the place you were born and the place you will die.

Memory is a smack of gristle and a grownup who wants toys.

It is the opposite of sight and the beginning of sound. It is the way we communicate and the way we sell our homes. It is spell check and movies made in the summer. Memory is a plot but it is also character development.

It is faith. It is the feeling of fear while the politicians sing and spend and dance. It is the type of thing that makes you want to wear a hat to prevent the crazies from eating your brain. It is a red tie. It is the feeling that funerals aren’t real.

It’s CGI in a commercial. It is the ability to dance despite the fact that monkeys are stealing your medicine. It is the medicine that makes everything feels like fuzz. It is a dog who watches cats while wishing it was a fish.

It is the ability to laugh when fear is easier. It is the thing you ignore when you want to be someone else. It is a game to feel bigger. It is watching someone sleep while they laugh.

It is the funniest thing since ITunes. Memory is a pink flowing dress that clings gently to the curves of beautiful woman.

Memory is a god with poor eye sight.

Memory is a PG rating in an X rated reality.

Mortality Tingling

Just past the last grave in Oakwood Cemetery,
Purple plastic slide and yellow swing set

Silent against the wall of green
Planted to hide the dead.

It’s a part of the cemetery or the house next door—
It doesn’t matter—I’m not sure as I drive past.

I want to stop and look but I also want to stay
Unsure about parents whose children

Sleep next to ghosts. I imagine buying the most
Expensive set because Deaglan’s friends are scared

By devils in the lawn. As the evening ends,
Cicadas chirp against the buzz of live wires.

The boys of the neighborhood won’t understand why
As the light fades, sound multiplies;

It’s mortality tingling against the wall of their veins.
There is no fence between them and history.

The writing on the stones are koans.
As they slide and swing, they only see the dusk:

The world is flat, the far shore too distant.
It’s hard to want what isn’t being sold.

After everyone has gone home,
I imagine forgotten children playing,

Adopted grandparents push them Higher! Higher!
Unafraid of skinning ethereal knees.

They swing faster, unburdened by puberty
As it rains moonlight.

I Am Here

My ship lands on foreign
clay. The airlock sets me
Free. My foot shakes, yields.
One small step for man and I
Almost sprain my ankle.

My stomach twinges from
The gravity of this strange,
Untamed wilderness.
Deep breath in. Slowly release. Safe,
Less afraid. No other man

Has smelled this air.
I am the alien, light
Years from love and hate.
No tempest here, only rays
Of fragrance embrace my skin.

I become a child.
I look to this world’s star,
Her caress the warm
Touch of an adulterous
Lover. There is no guilt here.

Stars Burning in a Frozen Vacuum

The moon lights my balcony,
A cool wind finds me, alone.

I shiver next to my wife.
The liquid silence between us

Could drown those on the ground.
I’m holding a pen, trying to become

The next great Poet Laureate.
The blue lines on the page mock me.

She’s reading Sylvia Plath
And lamenting the oppression of wives.

She reminds me to clean the stove.
When will you touch me again, I don’t say.

A shooting star tears through the sky
Like the tips of cigarettes thrown from the roof.

Crickets ride crotch rockets in the distance.
A silence is only comfortable when it goes unnoticed.

“Show, don’t tell” was the first commandment
Handed down by the Prometheus of Literature.

Could Aphrodite have been far behind?
I wish she could tell me what to show to Brandi.

I want to read her Neruda, quote
The sweetest lines of Shakespeare and Frost,

Write sonnets that would make Caligula blush.
I fear the vengeance that good intentions bring.

We are stars, burning in a frozen vacuum,
Distant from even our closest satellites.



About wombatdeamor
I am a writer who has yet to be published. I am using this blog to shame myself into writing more regularly, in the hopes that I will be able to improve the "About Yourself" box to something less awkward. I also like to cook and use profanity.

3 Responses to My poems from Confluence

  1. Greetings and Salutations! This is Carrie @DivineBlkPearl from Twitter:

    I did roll up my sleeves, make a new cup of tea and settle into the tiny universe where your poems resided…and I can say it was a pleasant distraction from all the many responsibilities on my plate today.

    Let me first say that while each poem is different, each poem carries its own weight. Carries itself into a different direction. The style or the way you write seems so familiar, not that I’ve seen it somewhere before. But familiar like in a voice that hear while standing at the entrance of someone’s house when you attend a party and it’s in full blast. You hear a voice speaking that seems so chill, so at ease and you feel like you must know this person or at least what to share a beer with them and hear them speak of marvelous things.

    Out of these four gems…I don’t have a favorite. And…I don’t know if that saddens me or should make me happy. I’m quite fond of all four. And each poem has a stanza or two that makes the literary geek in me blink quickly in succession and sing aloud in my alto voice at my computer, lulling my dog who lays at my feet to sleep. I’m quite pleased. And so is my dog.

    Perhaps it is really the last stanzas of the fourth and last poem “Stars Burning in a Frozen Vacuum” that make my heart burst and beat and repeat viciously in cycles too complicated to detail:

    “Could Aphrodite have been far behind?
    I wish she could tell me what to show to Brandi.

    I want to read her Neruda, quote
    The sweetest lines of Shakespeare and Frost,

    Write sonnets that would make Caligula blush.
    I fear the vengeance that good intentions bring.

    We are stars, burning in a frozen vacuum,
    Distant from even our closest satellites.”

    They are, for certain, some of the most profound words that have touched me this year alone.

    In fact, I’m at a true loss for what to say. This excites for because, I, too am a poet.

    And what other than the brilliance of life and other poems should make another poet be in awe and unable to say more?

    I’m honored to be able to have read these.

    you for sharing. Please promise that WHEN you are published, my copy is autographed with a snarky comment and/or drawing of a wombat.

    • wombatdeamor says:

      Thank you Carrie. Your comment was way more thoughtful than I could have possibly hoped. I guarantee you a copy of anything I publish. (When Bran and i finally catch up on Walking Dead there will be Walking Dead poems.) I just hope to see more of your writing in the future. I know you’re smart because of our twitter interactions and the poems you’ve shared there, but when you are able to write without worrying about character limits your voice really shines through. And it’s a good one. Thank you again. (I followed your blog, but when you write something drop me a tweet.)

  2. Chas Sloderbeck says:

    Hello friend! I am finally able to sit and read through these beautiful works again so I can add my $.02. Each one spoke to me in a different language, on a different level. I think the expansive breadth of your voice is incredible.

    “Memoirs” reads like a continuous stream of thought and I enjoyed that foray through your mind. The quick flashes of imagery you created caused me to stop and start while reading it because I was flashing back to own memories, brought up by your words. It was quite enjoyable. My favorite line was, “Memory is a pink flowing dress that clings gently to the curves of beautiful woman.” I don’t know why, but it’s just lovely.

    “I am Here” is just gorgeous. The cadence and flow is sweet and lilting, almost southern in its delivery. There is no part or line that I love more than another because each word, line and stanza works in seamless harmony. No single word works without its brothers and sisters. It evokes the grandiosity of human emotion as it cuts right to the core of anyone who was to read it. Absolutely stunning.

    “Stars Burning in a Frozen Vacuum” again, is just beautiful. It’s a lovely testimony to the reality between a man and a woman, the ebb and flow in a relationship built on trust, faith, honesty, and most of all, love. You can feel the tender longing you have for someone who is so dear and close to you, even when she feels far away. It’s also a lovely glimpse into the mind of a man who loves a woman who, at times, is prone to fits of doubt and confusion because of her life before you. Granted, I know a great deal more about those things because of the length of she and I’s relathionship, but I still think a great deal of the push and pull that’s evident in your relationship comes through in the strength of your words.

    I saved “Mortality Tingling” for last because it’s my favorite, and it was no easy task to pick one in this caliber of work. However, it struck such a deeply personal chord with me on more levels than I can even discern. I am not ashamed to tell you it brought me to tears the first time I read it; actually, it wrecked me for close to 48 hours. The elegance and innocence wrapped throughout the whole poem is sweet and aptly poetic. It’s also quite haunting, that delicate balance between macabre and bittersweet right there on the razor’s edge; you walk it beautifully. “It’s mortality tingling against the wall of their veins.~ There is no fence between them and history.” I’ve re-read that one stanza dozens of times, each reading evoking something new for me. It makes me ache for my sister and the history she didn’t get to create- she is simply part of the landscape of my history now. Again, this poem is just utterly divine.

    All of these works are written in such uniquely different voices, but still somehow come together cohesively as the voice of one incredibly talented man. Thank you so much for sharing and I love so forward to reading more from you in the future! You are talented beyond measure.


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