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. 

Memoirs

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.