TURTLE ISLAND QUARTERLY 15

Summer/2018

Chapter one:

2 poems by Alan Catlin, a poem by S Stephanie,

and a poem by Gary Lark

 

 

 

2 poems by Alan Catlin

 

Small-town Women circa 1913

 

Were the troops marching then?

All those Kaiser boys with pointed

helmets...

Yes, maybe, no...

 

If they weren’t, they would be

soon enough.

 

And these would be the women

they left behind:

the somnolent, after-tea sit ins

almost a relic, time frozen

as eternal girls that got left behind.

 

One young woman emanating a kind of,

let’s have sex as soon as we can- appeal

to the camera and to what waits beyond.

 

The other, more modest,

the large black bow at her neck

suggestive of mourning clothes

they will soon be obliged to wear.

 

                       

 

 

 

Working-class Mother, 1926/

Farm Woman and Her Children 1920-26/

Mother and Child 1927

 

The women all seem careworn to some degree.

Are not the Aryan ideal of stolid Brunnhilde

stock or if the dirndl wearing frauleins

always eager for patriotic rallies and,

after-the-inspiring speeches, energetic

rolls in the, literal, hay.

 

Their men are either always in the fields,

or away on business trips, leaving wives

to be domestic widows wedded to their

chores and children.

 

All the younger men, especially the proud,

uniform wearing, healthy boys, will preen

in bar room mirrors, in biergardens, resplendent

in freshly ironed brown shirts and spit shined

shoes, as yet unaware of the fronts they will

be sent to, the inglorious campaigns in Russia

or the African desert. 

 

And the women, what of them?

 

All the ones who survive the targeted bombing

raids, the clustered ones, the fire bombings,

Armageddon’s wrath from above, what of them?

 

Widows every one.

 

                      

Alan Catlin has dozens of chapbook and full length books in print.  Most recently Three Framers on the Way to a  Dance (based on Sander photos) from Presa Press and Wild Beauty, a full length book from Future Cycle Press. 

 

 

poem by S Stephanie

At Dorrs Pond I see,

 

I will not be drowning myself today.

Not because I am happy, I am not.

But because the wind has turned

the water a menacing grayish blue.

Because the closed yellow pond lilies

those floating, flashing suns

and moons are all the planets

I cannot reach.  And I can’t go under

while trees stand idly by, drinking

in whatever the sky offers.

True, the lady-slippers in their pink

breathy fullness might have a word

locked inside them that any poet

would wait another Spring for,

but I think the real reason is

that lone blue heron out there.

How she stands stick still

impervious to the shallow cold

swirling about her.  How

her lidless eye seems to accuse me,

seems to say:  Go Back.     

You do not belong here.

 

 

S Stephanie’s poetry, fiction and book reviews have appeared in many literary magazines such as, Birmingham Poetry Review, Café Review, Cease, Cows, Literary Laundry, OVS,  Rattle, St. Petersburg Review, Solidus, Southern Indiana Review, The Southern Review, The Sun and Third Coast.  Her three chapbooks are Throat (Igneus Press), What the News Seemed to Say (Pudding House - re-released by Igneus Press in 2015), So This is What It Has Come To (Finishing Line Press 2015)  She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and teaches at the NH Institute of Art in Manchester, NH.   

 

 

 

poem by Gary Lark

 

Frog Legs

 

For some reason the bullfrogs didn't escape

into the summer warmed water

when we slid the boat close to the bank.

A dangled Flatfish on an invisible line

was somehow worth jumping at,

and the treble hooks deadly.

We would drop them into a wet gunny sack

in the bottom of the boat,

stick a knife in their brain

and take them home.

A skinned frog looks human,

like a skinned bear does, but the legs

do taste good.

 

In biology class we would pith the brain

of our lab frog for the sake of knowledge

but wasted the rest.

 

 

 

Gary Lark’s work includes: "River of Solace," Editor's Choice Chapbook

Award from Turtle Island Quarterly, Flowstone Press, 2016, “In the House

of Memory,” BatCat Press, 2016. “Without a Map,” Wellstone Press, 2013,

“Getting By,” winner of the Holland Prize from Logan House Press, 2009.

"Ordinary Gravity," is forthcoming from Airlie Press, 2019.

His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, The Sun, Poet Lore, and

ZYZZYVA.

 

 

 

 

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