TURTLE ISLAND QUARTERLY 11
poem by Patricia Bollin, poem by Judith Arcana,
poem by Doug Holder, 2 poems by Alan Catlin
POEM BY PATRICIA BOLLIN
A white sky obscures time and seasons - it’s
a palate of guess, append, pretend zen.
Her disease, a white sky. A blind distance.
An open, cotton country without shape.
Each diagnosis - her own white sky. Now
daily days teach her to live with reckless
blur. So she refuses the radiation.
Rolls the cigarettes. Reads of corporate greed.
Maps a future in chalk on a white sky
while I stop for blackness - a local crow
struts bundled feathers awkwardly past
my car. Why not fly, crow? If I had wings
I’d toss my body up at every chance
I got. Arrow straight, black into the white
sky. But it’s fall - rain and the furnace. Leaves
ready to remove their green coats, blink true
colors before they crumple. Before wind
comes, shakes them shattered, into the white sky.
Patricia Bollin’s poetry has appeared in print and online publications including: The Clackamas Review, The Fourth River, Tulane Review , Mezzo Cammin and is forthcoming in Soundings Review Her book reviews appeared in CALYX and NW Writers. She serves on the board of Soapstone, a non-profit in Oregon that promotes women’s writing.
POEM BY JUDITH ARCANA
The sorceress speaks through smoke:
freezing above a sheer crevice in thin sun
while north wind slams my roughcut shield:
stone walls cold air taut face rock skull
south wind laughing inside my April earth
new leaves pushing out to sun outside:
light blue pale gold bright green spring
silverwhite through darkling waves
loose hair streaming across the sun:
west wind blowing inside my mind
sunset burns my fragrant caravan
crossing fiery outlands under clouds:
calling down that wild east wind
Born and raised in the Great Lakes region, Judith Arcana lives now in the Pacific Northwest. She writes poems, stories, essays and books - including Grace Paley’s Life Stories, A Literary Biography, and the poetry collection What if your mother. Judith's poetry and fiction recently received chapbook publication awards: Here From Somewhere Else (2015 Turtle Island Editor’s Choice) + Soon To Be A Major Motion Picture (2014). Also recent are a set of three lyric broadsides, The Water Portfolio (2014); a fiction zine, Keesha and Joanie and JANE (2013); and a poetry chapbook, The Parachute Jump Effect (2012). Judith hosts a monthly poetry show on KBOO community radio in Oregon (listen online anywhere/anytime). Her newest collection of poems Announcements from the Planetarium will be published early 2017 by Flowstone Press. For more info:
POEM BY DOUG HOLDER
My Mother Prepares Me For Death
She wants me to stay in a hotel
she hides in her home
like an old house cat
before her costume
a pasted on
the murmur of the dead
hover around her bed.
She can't understand
what ails her.
Is the pain
in for a permanent
And the doctors croon,
"Take one of these dear
you will feel
We face each other
in a dark corner
plastic suburban cafe.
We know what lies in
our receding gums
the tip of our coffee-
the fantasy of our
we have said it all--
of the dead
Doug Holder is the founder of the Ibbetson Street Press. His work has been published widely in the small press. His latest collection of poems is "Portrait of an Artist as a Young Poseur" (Big Table Books).
TWO POEMS BY ALAN CATLIN
Self-Portrait with Hired Hand
Dust bowl hardened, skin
baked dark as callous, as dark
as the insides of ash cans
rummaged, trash barrels rifled
for comestibles, for cinders to
cook within hobo villages in
front of dwellings made from
road signs and chicken crates,
cardboard boxes and daily news,
Want Ads cut out or circled in
coal dust, leads that take you
nowhere, add no food to an empty
larder, even slop buckets made
from discarded coffee cans have
nothing inside. Once you’ve gone
this far past hungry what is human
inside is replaced by feral urges,
instincts of the pack; separate one
from the others and you can have a man
such as this one dressed in overalls
so filthy and torn not even the rag
man will have them: no shoes, no hat,
no shirt to protect against the elements,
against the sun his hand cannot adequately
shield, the heat and the light passing
through the skin as if the hand was
not there at all.
Self-Portrait as the Artist in a Jar
Pressed against the cold transparency,
fingers flush against the solid frame,
smearing the surface, palms flat and scarred,
ringed with sweat that beads inside
the glass containing light in the form
of sunflowers in full bloom, arched
against the hard clamping ceiling
the artist cannot see, his eyes sewn
shut, painted brushes like thin stalks
these towering artificial flowers grow
from, cramping the space of torn sketches,
discards that grow as new leaves where
the older works, now gone, once were
as stains that shadows left behind,
still visible in the thin veins that remain
in leaves leaking precious fluids, paint
into blood streams that no longer have
a source, that larger body, once fecund
and whole, long ago dried out, barren.
Alan Catlin has been publishing stuff for five decades. His latest full length poetry books are Last Man Standing from Lummox Press and American Odyssey from Future Cycle Press. he is poetry editor of the online journal misfit magazine.