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TURTLE ISLAND QUARTERLY 16

Winter/2019

Chapter two:

poem by Mike Lewis-Beck, poem by Sara Backer,

poem by Changming Yuan, and a poem by Gerard Sarnat

 

 

 

poem by Mike Lewis-Beck

​​

 

LORCA AS TURTLE

A las cinco de la tarde,

at five in the afternoon

a turtle crosses the road

lumbering to the far side

to bajar al pozo, to reach the well.

A Vermonter stops her car

to ask de dónde vienes, amor,

from where do you come, love?

Me he perdido muchas veces por el mar,

I have lost myself many times by the sea.

But where do you come from, love?

Mi corazón reposa junto a la fuente fría,

my heart rests next to the cold fountain.

 

Alas, as Lorca, I left Lake Adam long ago

cuando la luna negra salío, when the black moon rose

 

y voces de muerte sonaron,

and voices of death sounded out.

I gave a cry.

 

What did you do then, love?

Que yo me la llevé al río,

then I took myself to the river.

 

Verde que te quiero verde,

green how I love the green

of the meadow I must reach over there.

 

Ay! qué trabajo me cuesta,

Oh! what work it’s taking

to cross this road before that bus.

 

 

 

Mike Lewis-Beck writes and works in Iowa City.  He has pieces in Alexandria Quarterly, Apalachee Review, Big Windows Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, Pure Slush, Pilgrimage, Iowa Review, Rootstalk, Seminary Ridge Review, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, Writers’ Café and Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues.  His short story, “Delivery in Göteborg,” received a Finalist prize from Chariton Review, 2015.  His essay, “My Cherry Orchard in Iowa,” received recognition as one of the ‘Notable Essays’ in Best American Essays of 2011.  His poetry book manuscript, Wry Encounters, was a Finalist for the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award 2016.

 

poem by Sara Backer

​​

 

Pencil Leaf

 

Leaves drawn with plastic pencils

look like wallpaper.

Wood pencils lead the lead into the woods

where leaves become leaves.

 

One summer, she says she wants to do nothing

but draw the veins of leaves.

She doesn’t.

She irons red maple leaves between waxed paper.

 

Leaf ignores pencil.

Pencil calls leaf Mother.

 

 

 

Sara Backer, an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts, has published two chapbooks: Scavenger Hunt (dancing girl press, 2018) and Bicycle Lotus (Left Fork) which won the 2015 Turtle Island Poetry Award. Her writing has been honored with eight Pushcart nominations and residency fellowships from the Norton Island and Djerassi programs. For more information and links, visit sarabacker.com

 

 

poem by Changming Yuan

 

Towards Dataism

 

1/ The End of a Beginning

 

Given   each organism  as a biochemical  algorithm

Your life               is a programed process proving

Your consciousness         is actually far      less

Valuable              than a fucking         Frankenstein’s AI

 

2/ The Beginning of an End

 

Through               human-computer interface

My mind has become     part of     a robot

While the robot                part of me

 

As     data exchanges with     my consciousness

Or flow                 between each other      on their own

Where                  can I find my true self?

 

 

 

 

Changming Yuan published monographs on translation before leaving China. Currently, Yuan lives in Vancouver, where he edits Poetry Pacific with Allen  Qing Yuan; credits include ten Pushcart nominations, the 2018 Naji Naaman's Literary Prize, Best of the Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline and  others. 

 

poem by Gerard Sarnat

 

BANGLADESH 

    

i. Oy 1.0

 

While

My son,

Otherwise

Known as

The Bug Boy

 

Conscientiously collaborates

With colleagues toying at Japan’s

             fab Okinawa Institute of Science/

             Technology (OIST) -- not to make

             Mountains out of a cut-open anthill

 

             But below is Bangladesh where men,

             Not euscocial insects, flatten high terrain

             So some Muslim Rohingya refugees fled from

             Buddhist Burma can avoid drowning soon in a race

             Against monsoon rains made worse by Homo sapiens.

 

 

ii. Oy 2.0

 

 

Rain

Gullies

Creeks

Ponds

Lakes

Rivers

Oceans

Overflow

Shores

 

Though

Buddha’s

Intention

Signaled

Compassion’s

Rainbows

Consider

-- Organize

Anti-Global

Warming

Coalitions.

 

 

 

iii. OyOy

 

While

My son,

Otherwise

Known as

The Bug Boy

 

Conscientiously collaborates

With colleagues toying at Japan’s

             fab Okinawa Institute of Science/

             Technology (OIST) -- not to make

             Mountains out of a cut-open anthill

 

             But below is Bangladesh* where men,

             Not euscocial insects, flatten high terrain

             So some Muslim Rohingya refugees fled from

             Buddhist Burma can avoid drowning soon in a race

             Against monsoon rains made worse by Homo sapiens.

 

 

 

Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, has been nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards, and authored four collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016) which included work published beyond medical in academic journals such as Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins and in Gargoyle, American Journal of Poetry (Margie), Main Street Rag, MiPOesias, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, San Francisco Magazine, Voices Israel, Muse-Pie Press, Blue Mountain Review, Canary Eco, Military Experience and the Arts, Tishman Review, Suisun Valley Review, Fiction Southeast, Junto, Lowestoft, Heartwood, Tiferet, Flash and Cinder, Foliate Oak, Parhelion, Bonsai plus featured in New Verse News, Eretz, Avocet, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords, Floor Plan, Good-Man-Project, Anti-Heroin-Chic, Poetry Circle, Fiction Southeast, Walt Whitman Tribute Anthology and Tipton Review. “Amber of Memory” was the single poem chosen for my 50th college reunion symposium on Bob Dylan. Mount Analogue selected Sarnat’s sequence, KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY, for pamphlet distribution on Inauguration Day 2017 as part of the Washington DC and nationwide Women’s Marches. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, interviews; visit GerardSarnat.com. Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO and Stanford Med professor. Married for a half century, Gerry has three kids/ four grandkids so far.

gerardsarnat.com