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: 25 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

Advertisements

Oh World, by Debi Swim

Oh World
by Debi Swim

Have I seen enough sunsets,
enough pale dawns, ample
waves rushing to shore?
Have I listened to sufficient
hoots, trills, sweet melodies
and followed the flight of
hawks and geese and stars?
Oh, world, tell me true will
I rue these days of visits with you
or will I more regret those times
I bent dutifully to my tasks not noting
the honeysuckled scent of summer breezes,
the way it teases butterflies and bees.

Then, at the day of reckoning
will I, sated, sigh that I
have lived to full balance
of work and rest, blessed
with memories for eternity
of all creation’s glories?
Will I, world? Will I?

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 343.

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

Choke, hold, by Joseph Felser

Choke, hold
by Joseph Felser

I wrestle
with you
angel
bless me
please
last time
you left
me
for dead
laid out
on a
stone cold
slab
of cruel
lies
this time
I won’t
let go
until
you
smile

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate in philosophy from The University of Chicago. He is is on the faculty at Kingsborough Community College/CUNY in Brooklyn, New York, where he has taught since 1997. The author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as two books, The Way Back to Paradise (2004) and The Myth of the Great Ending (2011), he also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia. He recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals, including Whatever Our Souls, Wildflower Muse, Ordinary Madness, Joey and the Black Boots ReBoot, Red Wolf Journal, Ariel Chart, and The Mystic Blue Review.

Mementos Of Love, by Debi Swim

Mementos Of Love
by Debi Swim

Two short bits of rough wood
nailed together and presented
to me with love and pride, works
of art on my fridge in crayon or
finger paints, thank you cards
printed in huge letters that
course in downward slants,
nose and fingerprints on windows,
hazard lights flashing, wipers flapping,
radio blaring, heater cranked to the
highest speed when I start the car
after you have pretended to drive.
These things speak to me of the past
and of the future. They bring a smile
even when I pack them away or wash
them off or reset things to normal.
Oh, my disheveled grandmotherly life
I love each slobbery, messy, riotous
moment between the passages of
sedate and pristine clean.
Relief when you leave and
exhilaration at your coming.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 342.

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

Blessed Are the Peacemakers, by Debi Swim

Blessed Are the Peacemakers
by Debi Swim

Praise to the mild mannered ones
who don’t succumb to fits of ire
who plod through the fray of
rainy days, delays, missteps, upsets
and suffer the fools of the world
with lips upcurled. Praise to the ones
who are slow to wrath, pick a path
of peace, throw a fleece of agreeability
over the shoulders of the rabble-rouser
and be a douser of incivility. Praise,
oh, praise the mild mannered ones.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 341.

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

Reparations, by Joseph Felser

Reparations
by Joseph Felser

With each
smile
frown
pout
burning question
passionate opinion
you sabotaged
my defenses
ancient walls
crumbled
to dust
and I
surrendered
to your
entreaties
you conquered
me
you entered
victorious
the lost
citadel
of my
heart
then
only then
you looted
the treasury
stole the
crown jewels
made off
with the
golden fleece
sacked and
burned
the city
to the
ground
where I
wait
covered
in dust
and ashes
to hear
from you
a hint
of regret

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate in philosophy from The University of Chicago. He is is on the faculty at Kingsborough Community College/CUNY in Brooklyn, New York, where he has taught since 1997. The author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as two books, The Way Back to Paradise (2004) and The Myth of the Great Ending (2011), he also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia. He recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals, including Whatever Our Souls, Wildflower Muse, Ordinary Madness, Joey and the Black Boots ReBoot, Red Wolf Journal, Ariel Chart, and The Mystic Blue Review.

Flat Line, by Debi Swim

Flat Line
by Debi Swim

       The cursor blinks
              patiently
     steadily
          impartially
between words, between thoughts
waiting. for words. to appear.
waiting.
Sometimes, I get up. Walk around.
hoping for inspiration, direction,
not even considering that it blinks.
like a heart, like a pulse, keeping
me alive. I take it for granted, like
my heart. How many beats left
before the end? How many blinks
till it is over? No more poems?
     No more inspiration?
That will be a kind of death.
     Breathless. Wordless.
        Straight line.
               Scream.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 338.

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

Getting Away, by Christopher Hileman

Getting Away
by Christopher Hileman

Things evolve, she said.
Makes me want to peek under
rocks and seek causes.
Or else get away
quickly, ducking low and tight.

I hoped to head out
by now – on the asphalt road
only so long as
is necessary –
then across the ripe wheat fields
to the south of town.
But I keep going
back for stuff I think I want
knowing all the while
I’ll dump half of it
in the heat of the damn day
and the wheaten dust.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 330.

Christopher Hileman moved to Oregon in 1973. He has retired to live on the volcanic bluff overlooking Willamette Falls in Oregon City, Oregon. He ascends the stairs from his basement digs to improvise on his Yamaha keyboard or the house Playel grand when the calico cat releases him from below. The part-Irish Wolfhound here likes him.

Count Down, by Debi Swim

Count Down
by Debi Swim

Grandpa got it at the green stamp store.
He built a small shelf on the wall
in the living room and placed upon it
the black and faux gold clock. I would
watch the pendulum swing back and forth
unaware of time ticking away, unaware
that this moment wouldn’t last,
nor Grandpa, nor my youth.

A clock sits on the bookshelf
in my reading room.
I listen to its steady beat,
faint, droning under the din of life.
Its rhythm keeps me grounded
with its steady tic-tic- tic
setting the pace, reminding me
with every second-hand lurch
I live one second at a time,
until the last …
tic-tic toc.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 320.

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

Language Of Lies, by Roslyn Ross

Language Of Lies
by Roslyn Ross

It was the first lie which led the way,
like an orange beacon on the hill of
deceit, beginning that march into evil,
which left love hanging on the broken

gate of betrayal, where more lies stood
as statues, carved in sad facts of denial,
and right, kneeled, whimpering in the
skirts of yesterday; adultery’s hood had

defined my truth, hidden your face in such
blackness, that no amount of torches could
ever bring enough light to bear upon what
now was an impossible, searing, darkness.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 321.

Roslyn Ross is a former journalist, who has worked in newspapers and magazines around Australia. In recent years she has worked as a freelance manuscript editor. Born in Adelaide, she has spent much of her time living overseas, including Antwerp, Belgium; Bombay, India; Luanda, Angola; Cape Town, South Africa; Johannesburg, South Africa; Lusaka, Zambia; Vancouver, Canada; London, United Kingdom and Lilongwe, Malawi. She has also spent extended periods in Russia, Portugal and the United States, as well as living across Australia, including Adelaide, Port Pirie, Wagga Wagga, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, and is now settled in the Adelaide Hills. She began writing poetry at the age of twelve and has had work published in a number of anthologies, mainly in the US, but also more recently, in When Anzac Day Comes Around, 100 Years from Gallipoli Poetry Project, edited by Graeme Lindsay.

Computer Chess, by Jared Pearce

Computer Chess
by Jared Pearce

I keep clicking undo
to trace my losing
streak, to find out

All my mistakes.
If I go another way,
if I had allowed my brother

To tag along more often,
or if I had not lied to my friends
to protect my embarrassment,

Or if I had been more subtle
or more striking, would the children
be happy then? And with her,

What could I have done
better to love? I’m not sure
I can find my way past those bishops

Of self-deceit or the surprising leap
from revelatory knights
to hold that Queen

So she’ll see me and want me.
I’m always back at the game’s beginning,
fretting over the pawns of diet

And so many hours slept, holding
dear to my rooks for the endgame—
the end that comes no matter

How far back I go or how
much I can erase of where
I started or how I got here.

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.