Fall/Winter 2017/2018: Memento Mori

fall winter 2017 2018 cover

Poetry for Disaster Relief (September 2017)

Josh Medsker read the poems posted to the current Fall/Winter 2017/2018 issue in September 2017. We got talking about how poetry does nothing and so came up with this collaboration to make a donation fund for disaster relief. When Josh eventually makes the donation he will post a receipt so you know exactly where your money goes.

The first poetry reading was posted on Facebook on Tues, 5 September 2017, 4pm (Eastern Standard Time). The links are provided below.

Josh Medsker Reading Poems.

Josh reading poems by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Josh reading poems by Marilyn Braendeholm, Debi Swim and Barbara Young

Josh reading poems by Martin Willitts Jr and Irene Toh

Josh reading poems by Dah

Josh reading poems by Howie Good

Josh reading poems by Howie Good, Arthur Mitchell and Joseph Felser

Josh reading poems by Sergio Otiz and Christopher Hileman

Josh reading poems by Alan Toltzis

You may donate here.

A poem was posted daily on this site in September 2017. You may still donate to Josh’s paypal. The donation window is open till the current issue ends in February 2018. Even a dollar would do, if we add up all the dollars. Who can’t afford a dollar? In a way this is an experiment to see if poetry can bring in any bucks at all. It’ll be donated to help Puerto Rico, folks.

Here’s the first donation. If there’re any more donations we’ll update.

HURRICANE RELIEF DONATION

Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near;
And yonder all before us lie
Deserts of vast eternity.
Thy beauty shall no more be found;
Nor, in thy marble vault, shall sound
My echoing song;
–Andrew Marvell, “To His Coy Mistress”

Memento mori–you know what it means. Transitory things. Perishable people. When you are in transit you seem to fit into some kind of plan but then find yourself in an empty space. In a parking lot. Sitting on a staircase in the middle of a social event. On a park bench under a chestnut tree. There’re really lots of empty spaces in between when you seem to be waiting for something or someone. Forever waiting.

On a mortal note, you’ve noticed too, “the body’s decrease/Of power and repair as these begin/The ultimate indications of old age.” (A D Hope, “Memento Mori”). When I was thirty I wrote about my mother’s ageing lament, noticing her slower gait, graying hair, spots and all. And tried to mythologize. Well now I am the exact same age that my mother was at the time of writing. Time’s winged chariot, kiss my ass!

Where did all the time go?

All the more then, shouldn’t it be that, as Andrew Marvell said, “the last age should show your heart”? We are bound to our hearts. That is truth. Back to Marvell’s famous first line.

“Had we but world enough and time,
This coyness, lady, were no crime.’

Time enough to love. We still have time, and if we cared not for Marvell’s conceit, then even to be coy, awaiting love to ripen.

So by all means write about love. Write about happiness in the living. Because existence is predicated on life and death. What is life if we’ve not loved? What is life’s meaning if we do not die? What is death if not the end of living? And the end of writing, if I may boldly add. If you’re entranced by an author’s work, and had secretly read all her work, you’d weep when the said author has died. I know I did, read a postage stamp size of her obituary, and wept. Isn’t it by reading that we kind of enter another person’s soul? Pray, let me enter your soul.

Love, it would appear, is the ageless thing. If love is redemption where does it come from? Are there different kinds of adulthood other than the standard romance/sex/happily ever after? Why is that the main narrative? Surely there are other sorts of narratives, romantic or otherwise, that are equally true. Are you even going to surface them? Write about places where people find solace. What about the lack of solace, the limits of love?

And then there’s God, to whom most will eternally cling to. How do you deal with the concept of God, and are there other ways of godliness? Write about the mystery that is at the heart of human existence.

And then there’s eternity itself. Surely it’s not a “desert” as Marvell put it?
What is eternity, dear poets? Can eternity exist if there’s no concept of mortality? Or the converse, what is mortality without the concept of eternity? Are these purely rhetorical questions, like a blast of hot air?

On that mighty dubious note, let your mythologizing begin then.

Submissions are open for the Fall/Winter 2017/2018 issue. Closing date: 28 February 2018. Please read our submission guidelines before submitting.

Selected poems will be posted on this site from September 2017 to February 2018.

Our journal has a prompt site, Red Wolf Prompts. You are encouraged to write to the prompts over at the site, if you so wish.

Irene Toh & Tawnya Smith
Fall/Winter 2017/2018 Editors
Red Wolf Journal

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Music, by Martin Willitts Jr

Music
by Martin Willitts Jr

Leaves fall out of silence
into the unknown,
depending on essentials
of sound, touch, sight
to discover them
crinkling underfoot.
They were once firmly attached,
then let go, as light as an eyelash,
heading into the understood
end of life, fearless,
unburdened.

In death, we all make our own unique music.

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks and over 10 full-length collections. His forthcoming full-lengths include The Uncertain Lover (Dos Madras Press) and The News From the Slow Country (Aldrich Press).

Departure, by Martin Willitts Jr

Departure
by Martin Willitts Jr

What seems like departure
is really a movement to another place:
whether to a city
or beyond the invisible horizon.
It is the next arrival.
Does a person head towards the elusive
or the predetermined?
Will there be a better obtainment of light?
Or abundant darkness?

I have been on the move
like a nomad for a long time,
putting up temporary camps,
taking out stakes, rubbing my hands
barely on the surface — just enough
so memory never adheres to them.
I know about disquieting places
in the head, in the body, in the toss
of dreams shaken loose from nowhere.

I have observed the Eros of destructiveness.
I have seen war
and how bodies can spool out while dying
like wrens. Their blood hangs like fruit
of wracked trees, yet still
countries are drawn into war
like it was a cesspool.

Today, a train pulled away
carrying people to their appointments
with tragedy. The heavy engine of grief
took a while to gain speed, then it left
behind schedule, trying to make up time
and distance. A person on the platform
waved goodbye, although the train
was further away than memory.

The passenger inside could see only ahead
where the future came near, then sped into the past.
The middle is always present and changing,
fixed and unhinged like wing beats.

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks and over 10 full-length collections. His forthcoming full-lengths include The Uncertain Lover (Dos Madras Press) and The News From the Slow Country (Aldrich Press).

When Geese Leave, by Martin Willitts Jr

When Geese Leave
by Martin Willitts Jr

When geese leave, I ask them,
please take me with you.
I’m convinced they are going elsewhere —
a place of many secrets.

I want that out-of-body experience;
not to be earthbound,
left behind.

Martin Willitts Jr is a retired Librarian. He has over 20 chapbooks and over 10 full-length collections. His forthcoming full-lengths include The Uncertain Lover (Dos Madras Press) and The News From the Slow Country (Aldrich Press).

Émile Coué Sings The Blues, by Joseph M. Felser

Émile Coué Sings The Blues
by Joseph M. Felser

Every day
in every way
things are getting
worse and worse
greedy shadows
grow fat and rich
eating light
sparrows sing dirges
the postman snarls
and you never
call me
anymore

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate from The University of Chicago and teaches philosophy in Brooklyn, New York. The author of numerous articles and two books on philosophy, religion, myth, and parapsychology, he recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals.

Dying Is Not The Time For Crackpot Theories by Diane Jackman

Dying Is Not The Time For Crackpot Theories
by Diane Jackman

In the last week, her friend’s husband said,
Mind over matter. Mind over matter.
This man also believed
in the giant cabbages of Findhorn,
though he had never seen them;
the triumph of his mind (blind belief)
over matter
(the actual size of the cabbages)
definitely not proven.

He went home satisfied
he had delivered a word in season.

In the bed my mother stared at the ceiling.
How? she said,
she who knew so well
the rampage of rogue cells,
the fresh waves of pain
as another organ was attacked.
How to stem the onslaught
by exercise of brain and will?
If we knew how, I said
we would live in an overcrowded world.

That was no comfort either.

Diane Jackman’s poetry has appeared in small press magazines and many anthologies, and has won several competitions. Starting out as a children’s writer she now concentrates on poetry. Her writing draws heavily on the past, and often reflects elements of magic realism.

Flame Out, by Joseph M. Felser

Flame Out
by Joseph M. Felser

Eternal flame
burns out
gives heat
and light
to none
save your
self
Marley’s jest
sixty candles
on a dead
man’s chest
blown out
no more
wishes
for her
code blue
he’s gone

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate from The University of Chicago and teaches philosophy in Brooklyn, New York. The author of numerous articles and two books on philosophy, religion, myth, and parapsychology, he recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals.

Nicht diese töne, by Joseph M. Felser

Nicht diese töne
by Joseph M. Felser

Nine daughters
of joy please
pour me
a double
life is short
art eternal
he said
if the deaf
can hear
music
why couldn’t
you hear
mine?
not a long
time
not everlasting
but no time
like the
present
past
or future
that dimension
of here
and now
that you
cut out
when you
left me
time less
this is your
eternal
life!
he said
no life
after death
—or before,
either,
if it comes
to that

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate from The University of Chicago and teaches philosophy in Brooklyn, New York. The author of numerous articles and two books on philosophy, religion, myth, and parapsychology, he recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals.

Holy Night, by Debi Swim

Holy Night
by Debi Swim

Let your words
be few
fevered pitched
with awe
with woe
with hope
borne aloft
into the ether
scattered
across the vast
plains of the sea
swelled in a symphony
of swallow-tailed
butterfly wafts.
Oh, God, hear
these ignoble
squeaks
of piteous man
pleas of mercy
crush the clank
and clamor of
hubris
let the silence
of the downy
eve peal
like a Christmas
bell. Toll
for me.

“In the midst of a world of light and love, of song and feast and dance, Lucifer could find nothing to think of more interesting than his own prestige.”
–C.S. Lewis

Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 354.


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

Falling, by Joseph M. Felser

Falling
by Joseph M. Felser

Snow falls
gently
on her
shoulder
frozen crystal
tears
reflecting
light
lost
in time
close to
him

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate from The University of Chicago and teaches philosophy in Brooklyn, New York. The author of numerous articles and two books on philosophy, religion, myth, and parapsychology, he recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals.

Lost Track, by Joseph M. Felser

Lost Track
by Joseph M. Felser

Stood on
platform
waiting
for you
until you
kicked it
out
from
under
me

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate from The University of Chicago and teaches philosophy in Brooklyn, New York. The author of numerous articles and two books on philosophy, religion, myth, and parapsychology, he recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals.