Green-Weak Poems by Therese Broderick–A New Poetry Release

Red Wolf Editions is pleased to announce the release of a new poetry collection by Therese Broderick.

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A daughter’s labor in grass-cutting epitomizes these elegiac familial poems. The three sections of this endearing collection act together as memory and catharsis, with an overall tone of love and whimsy. The first “green-weak” section opens with the remembrance. It defines the father-daughter relationship, its roots in the practice of scissoring the cardboard found within her father’s Roxy shirts into a child’s hand-made cards.

The poems take us through art and illness, a mother’s sense of lack, a brother’s divorce and other undoings. At heart the poems honor the perfection of imperfections: “And I loved him/to the end/despite a lifelong lack/of luster.” (Song for the Colorblind Artist). The collection’s title refers to her father’s congenital “green-weak” colorblindness, a faulty perception of reds and greens.

Her idyllic musings while cutting grass by scissors is at center, a meditation (glimpsing “the conjuring garden knot, its green snaking”) serving as transition to the third “regreening” section. It deals with death and loss. It is grief contained by noticing “an opened bag of nougat and milk/chocolate truffles” at her mother’s cremation and tellingly endured through the arrayed riches of Morocco. The reader takes each mouthful of poems, cupping them, full of weight and weightlessness.

Then there’s the one and only erotic poem, which is clinically breathtaking, a kind of Spanish blessing.

Green is the trope, whether in the Moroccan silk of “Paradise Green”, or in grass’s “emerald blade”, or “the neon L sprouting from Google’s trademark.” How deep sorrow, how deep the green. It becomes blue.

Download the collection here.

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Fall/Winter 2016/2017: The Heart Knows

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Red Wolf Journal Issue 10 (Fall/Winter 2016/2017)
Our theme: “The Heart Knows”

Welcome to the Fall/Winter 2016/2017 issue.

What does the heart know? Which heart? Yours? Mine? It matters whose heart it is. Does it?

I believe that since everyone’s life experiences differ, the kinds of truths one learns through them are different. For instance someone who’s never lived through a war would be quite different from a person who has survived one. The distinctions of race, class, gender, age, geography, income, lifestyle, etc also matter. So while we may empathize with another, unless we’ve gone through a similar experience, we will not really know what it means. I was just reading Langston Hughes’ memoir and in one part he talked about how during a night bombardment in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War, everyone had gathered in the hall and the record player kept playing (with the amplifier turned up real loud) “Organ Grinder’s Swing” till dawn to drown out the loud explosions.

A life’s experiences lived, seemingly small moments included, is unique to each person. One’s trajectory of experiences helped shaped one’s world view. So for another person who lives in a remote cold place and hunts seabirds for food, she would have a very different sense of the world. Of course there’s the human imagination and access to film documentaries to get a sense of what it means. Still it will never be the same as any truths arrived at by a person who becomes experience’s living embodiment. Secondary truths carry little weight; primary ones, much.

As said, the multiplicities of experiences make us unique and scintillating in each our own way. The subjects we choose to write about and the way we write about them in our poems ought to reflect this diversity. But of course there’re universal truths and these may be the same values learned no matter the experience or lack of experience. They’re the reason a piece of writing resonates with us if at heart, we accept the truth being parlayed in a poem. In writing that is intimate, we experience something of the author’s soul—his or her truth, his or her way of looking at the world. What Irish memoirist Nuala O’Faolain said was exactly on point: “My despair is my own, their hope is their own. Their spirituality is their own. My way of looking at the world is my own. We each end up differently facing this common fate.”

The heart–love’s dwelling–knows intimately. It knows love and the lack thereof. Its measurement is love. The converse of love is despair. Love isn’t love if it doesn’t know its shadow.  The heart flits secretly between the two poles. And what’s in between–hovering between assurance or indifference, steadiness or uncertainty, loyalty or betrayal–where all kinds of sabotage happens. Love is how one overcomes one’s wounds. If one’s heart is at all filled up with love, joy overflows. And there’re all kinds of loving–loving the way your lover talks to you, loving how your son gets excited over food, loving your pet’s adorableness, loving to dance and sing, loving to see the world, loving art, loving poems…there’s simply no end to loving. It seemed that if you cease to love, you cease to live.

In your poem tell us, how do you apprehend your world? Perhaps it’s through the dazzling precision of science and mathematics, or the way of the observation of the phenomenal world. Or do you also gravitate toward what’s there that’s not really visible or empirical–the noumenal world? That’s a different kind of knowing. A wisdom located in the heart, not the mind. Probably if you have lived long enough and suffered all manner of tragedies, you’re being repaid in small wisdoms. The biggie is this one–that we live in a material world and this materiality is not to be trusted (sigh). Decay and death will do us part.

The mystery isn’t mind
(what else are we, evidently,
besides aware?)

but materiality, intersection
of solidity and flame,
where quick and stillness meet—

Materiality the impenetrable thing.
We don’t know what it is
other than untrustworthy—

Mark Doty, “Notebook/ To Lucien Freud/ On The Veil”

Given that, what will save us? Of course we need saving. The only thing that will save us is love, isn’t it? When we’re stripped of every last thing, and have only the void, our experiences refill us, leading us back to love. Love of what’s lost, but also loving that “there is always something left to love” (Gabriel Garcia Marquez). So that in place of darkness, there’s immanent light; in place of emptiness, there’s bliss.

***

Interpret the theme however you wish. Submit poems to us by email here.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 28 FEBRUARY 2017. SUBMISSIONS OPEN.

Please review the submission guidelines and then send us your poems in the body of an email.

Poems will be published in ongoing posts on this site. Each posting will be announced on the Red Wolf Journal page on Facebook. Your poem may be published at any time from September 2016 to February 2017 so please check back here. If you do not see your poem(s) appear, you may deem it as not accepted for publication. We will not be sending out any acceptance or rejection letters.

The entire collection will be released in PDF format in due course. An announcement will be made at that point.

Regards,
Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Fall/Winter 2016/2017 Editors

Hound’s Tooth Sharp, by Debi Swim

Hound’s Tooth Sharp
by Debi Swim

Remember that jacket you wore?
Black and white hound’s tooth,
wool blend paired with a straight
skirt, hem just at the knee – sleek,
sophisticated. It said I am somebody
look at me, look at me.
I admired you. You were the prettiest
Mom of anyone outside of TV I knew.
But, you always pushed me aside in
your affections. I was the oldest, gawky,
plain – I think I reminded you too
much of a rocky marriage. I was a pawn,
tug of war, with his parents. Unfortunate
for me, even after Daddy died.

The pattern of our relationship
is hound’s tooth sharp.
Seems there is always a bite
behind the smile. I wait for the nip.
It’s made me gun shy, careful,
getting just so close, but no closer.
The irony is that now you want
to love me and me to love you. You want
that relationship my daughters
and I have. I’m sorry we can’t be closer,
but I can’t break through this pattern.
Black and white checks hound me.
I do love you but not wholly.
I love you carefully, reservedly. I stay
safely in the margins of the pattern.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 221.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Ode to Maiya, by Jessica Goody

Ode to Maiya
by Jessica Goody

You sit at the top of the stairs, willing us home.
When the door bursts open you spin in delight.
It is worth leaving just to receive your ecstatic

homecoming: you meet us at the door, dancing
around our feet, unwilling to wait for us to take
off our coats or set down the groceries before

you anoint us with kisses. The sunlight stripes
the rug where you lay surrounded by humans,
emitting a shuddering sigh of pure contentment.

Your shiny dark eyes are limpid as you beg for
table tidbits. You eat like no other dog, vegetarian
from birth, preferring rice, fruit slices, seaweed,

a noodle plucked from a plate of pasta and slurped
so that the sauce flies and stains your fuzzy chin.
Curling up in the dry tub like a rodent in its burrow,

you wait for someone with opposable thumbs to man
the taps. Once soaked, you squirm from fluffy towels,
preferring to dry yourself on a freshly-made bed.

You are a loafer, a lounger, a lapdog, apathetic to
any and all sporting activities, unable to fathom
why other dogs chase these round missiles with

such delight. Your cheerful skip is that of a lamb
gamboling in a carpeted field, your fur sometimes
blonde, sometimes white. You adore riding in the

car; in your mind you are Amelia Earhart taking
flight, a daring aviatrix. Your tongue lolls from
your grin, ears blown back from the open window.

Jessica Goody was born and raised on Long Island. She currently lives in South Carolina, where she writes for SunSations Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, The Seventh Wave, Event Horizon, Really System, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Maine Review. Her poem “Stockings” was awarded second place in the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her poetry collection Defense Mechanisms will be released by Phosphene Publishing in January 2017.

The Selkie, by Jessica Goody

The Selkie
by Jessica Goody

The air is heavy with salt and smelt,
the ripe odor of green kelp and something sharp,
bitter and medicinal, like chlorine.
In the infirmary, the biology interns stomp

in basins of disinfectant to sterilize their shoes.
Large glass aquariums quarantine each patient.
A yellowcoat pup with peach-fuzz fur
forlornly scratches the air, itchy and miserable.

Seal pox is a scourge among marine mammals
as virulent as chicken pox on an grammar-school playground.
The pup is spotted with a rash, and sneezes weakly.
opening his eyes just long enough to blink and notice me,

He delicately waved, clawing at empty space.
It is a benediction.
He knows who I am.
The marine biologists and the veterinarians

are too pragmatic to admit it. It is a coincidence,
that’s all. But I know the truth in the veil of
synchronicity that has followed me since birth.
The seal recognizes me as one of his own.

He remembers my scent, the selkie among the humans.
He arrived thin and battered,
his fur patchy, his stomach empty.
He is fed through a feeding tube, a slurry

of seafood, fish oil, and milk protein.
He sucks and gulps, emaciated and hungry.
Exhausted and feeble, he is lulled
into sleep by a stomach finally full.

Weeks pass as he regains strength.
His fur grows back, sleekened and glossy,
his sores fade as the serum nullifies the virus.
Now plump and energetic, he is deemed rehabilitated,

ready to be released back into the wild.
He nudges the plastic walls of the cat-carrier
with curiosity, exploring its scent and texture.
The transport crate has been upholstered

with sodden towels to keep him cool en route.
Ice cubes shift and clatter against the sides.
He nuzzles the door, his plea unspoken and obvious,
His nose poking charmingly through the grate.

Freed, he worms his way out of the box,
emerging and blinking at the flash of the sun.
He feels the sand under his flippers,
gritty and familiar.

Like a shipwrecked sailor
giddy at feeling land beneath his feet,
he races toward the ocean,
his watery pilgrimage almost complete.

A single image throbs in his mind: Home.
He runs into the arms of Yoruba,
splashing joyfully, water droplets beading
the tips of ears and whiskers.

I watch him go, knowing I cannot follow.
For this lifetime, at least, I am earthbound,
barred from the watery terrain, my true home.
The seal’s head is a brown spot, almost invisible now,

receding with the horizon. I will see him again someday,
when I am released from this physical form, this limping body.
I turn to go, my human footsteps pressed into the sand,
the only evidence of my existence, liminal and transitory.

Jessica Goody was born and raised on Long Island. She currently lives in South Carolina, where she writes for SunSations Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, The Seventh Wave, Event Horizon, Really System, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Maine Review. Her poem “Stockings” was awarded second place in the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her poetry collection Defense Mechanisms will be released by Phosphene Publishing in January 2017.

Changeling, by Jessica Goody

Changeling
by Jessica Goody

I loved your searchlight eyes, your storybook golden hair,
the scent of lavender wafting from the harem of your bed.
I remember the candles burning like your eyes, and the
sound of laughter over sea-tart oysters. The rich river mud

was slow and warm, like your voice. Now the candles burn
low with impatience, and the telephone sits expectantly, white
and forgotten, where you no longer call. I wait to the hold-music
of foghorn dial tones and remembered conversations, without

your shadow, your scent, the curve of your smile to guide me.
My eyes could not see the truth even as they sought you.
I knew it in the cold North Sea of my subconscious, where the
wave of marrow-deep truth burst onto shore. You remain

countries and waters away from where I sit, The shock is not
the residual pain of you, my phantom limb, being torn from me.
With your tongue tasting like fruits with long, romantic names
and native garb wafting about your sand-golden feet, I leave you.

Jessica Goody was born and raised on Long Island. She currently lives in South Carolina, where she writes for SunSations Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, The Seventh Wave, Event Horizon, Really System, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Maine Review. Her poem “Stockings” was awarded second place in the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her poetry collection Defense Mechanisms will be released by Phosphene Publishing in January 2017.

The Red Cadillac, by Jessica Goody

The Red Cadillac
by Jessica Goody

Every time I see a red Cadillac,
I think of him, the car matching
every stop sign and traffic light.

A magical, metallic red, a candy
apple color with a summer-heat
shimmer like quartz. I am the co-pilot

belted beside him as the car consumes
the striped asphalt passing beneath us.
The red Cadillac idles at the red light.

My eye is drawn to the tinted window,
waiting for him to lean out and wave.
It will not be him in the driver’s seat.

He no longer plays fighter pilot at the
steering wheel, wearing his leather
aviator jacket, his pale eyes shielded

from the glare. The music changes with
every passing year; I grow taller, leaving
a higher imprint in the headrest, a ghost

of a bygone childhood. The car no longer
shines with enthusiasm at our imagined
adventures of fighter jets and car chases.

It has been driven away, sold or scrapped.
Someone else sits in it now, watching the
rain beading the windshield and arguing

in the backseat. The scent and sounds
of our weekend excursions, our secret
missions, have evaporated, replaced by

pine-forest air fresheners and bleached
upholstery. No longer are we two spies
tailing double agents in the sedan ahead.

The taillights flash red in the darkness
like curious nocturnal eyes, a distance
measured in memories instead of miles.

Jessica Goody was born and raised on Long Island. She currently lives in South Carolina, where she writes for SunSations Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, The Seventh Wave, Event Horizon, Really System, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Maine Review. Her poem “Stockings” was awarded second place in the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her poetry collection Defense Mechanisms will be released by Phosphene Publishing in January 2017.

Life Quest, by Debi Swim

Life Quest
by Debi Swim

I’m in that in-between stage
of middle-aged and Old but not
as dirt, nor elderly, but definitely
senior. I’ve given up on dyeing
my hair and wearing three inch
heels or really any heels just a
wedge but always sensible shoes.
I’m at that age where there’s more
time behind than in front and more
of me than there used to be and most
of it crinkly but on the positive side
I wonder more, am less cocksure,
stance more grey than black and white
It doesn’t matter near as much
what I want to be when I grow up.
There’s aches and pains in all my joints
and a drunk controlling my gait.
But, I’ve lived, overcome, survived,
thrived, trusted, loved, birthed, laid
to rest… been human, abided, steady
to the end and have what I always wanted-
growing old with someone just like you.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 220

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Black, by Debi Swim

Black
by Debi Swim

I’m writing an ode to black
misunderstood, abused, lack
of frivolity, sober, tacked
onto the back of despair. Unfair.
Black has depth and richness
mystery and glamor within us
making red redder, enhancing,
entrancing, like the ebony sheen
of the raven, the placid shade
between I lay me down and sleep
counting dark sheep with a tender
heart all part of twilight and surrender.
It is a contender for favorite color–
hats, cats, licorice, espresso, Van Gogh’s
background that pop the poppies
no melancholy in their enthusiasm.
All praise to the black dark chocolate
sweet, confident, sassy, bold. A chasm
of ebony, sable, inky, pitch, coal.
When truth is told, before
creation all was black, now
everything is stitched at the seams
with black… is beautiful.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 219.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

My Creed And My Tears, by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

My Creed And My Tears
by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Today I opened my mourning’s season.
I cried for the lack of solidarity and brotherhood,
for the existence, till today, of countries’ borders,
increasing inequalities and suffering among people;
for the estrangement among whites and blacks,
yellows and browns, Christians and Muslims;
for the rich that reach water from golden faucets
and the poor by carrying it in the buckets;
for the wine and salmon’s tables of the mansions
and the yesterday’s bread passing from hand to hand;
for the security of the politicians for the coming years
and the fear of common people for tomorrow;
for the dreams of the righteous that have not come true
and the audacity of the insolent who are not intimidated;
for my lack of faith that everything is on our Lord’s hands
and in His extreme love for us.
My tears have washed my body and eased my soul.
When I die, no need to cry more.
I have already cried for what matters, at least for me.

Mr. Ferreira, 73, is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than Portuguese, having been published in venues like Right Hand Pointing, The Lake, The Stare’s Nest, The Provo Canyon, Red Wolf Journal, Whispers, Every Day Poems, Indiana Voice Journal, The Mocking Heart and some others. He lives in a small town (Formiga (MG) with wife, three sons and a granddaughter and is trying to publish his first Poetry Book, with about 70 poems.

Nimble, by Maja S. Todorovic

Nimble
by Maja S. Todorovic

Here you are.
In between my thoughts,
juggling like an acrobat,
on a thin wire.

In between my thoughts,
hiding like a bat in the dark
corners of my mind.

In between my thoughts,
white dove
knocking on my window
carrying a message of love.

In between my thoughts,
I try not to think of you,
but you’ve become nimble.

Maja S. Todorovic is an educator and writer from Belgrade, currently living in the sunny Hague. After finishing her PhD in Organizational Sciences and years of academic work, she switched her scientific pen for more creative expressions. “Business in Rhyme” is her creative corner where she blogs about beautiful uses of poetry and poetic techniques for improving writing, personal growth and creativity.

Earth’s Settlers, by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Earth’s Settlers
by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Half divine and half human,
sons of God and cousins to the angels, those
of the pure lineage as well of the fallen ones.
Always wavering from earth to the heavens,
we must give way to the ground sustaining
and sheltering strange while lovely dreams,
some nocturnal ones, some by the sunlight.
Although pure blue of heavenly landscapes,
we prefer the brown ochre of our native earth,
smelling to dear sinful brothers and sisters,
faithful companions of suffered a race.
Race that, since the dawn of our era has colonized,
on God’s command and by hard a toil, all the lands
of so rough otherwise sometimes exquisite a world.

Mr. Ferreira is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than Portuguese. Recent works have appeared in Red Wolf Journal, Right Hand Pointing, Creative Talents Unleashed (Featured Writer)), Indiana Voice Journal, The Lake, Whispers, Dead Snakes, Algebra of Owls, The Bees are Dead, The Basil O’Flaherty (Featured Poet), among many others. Ferreira lives in a small town (Formiga-MG), with wife, three sons and a granddaughter and is trying to release his first poetry book in 2017, with about 70 poems. He began to write at age 66 (seven years ago), after retirement as a Bank Manager.