Red Wolf Editions Spring 2022: A Change of World

a change of world spring 2022 issue 20

Red Wolf Editions Spring 2022
Theme: A Change of World

Since 2020 the world has changed radically. Who could have imagined this, a pandemic world? Should I say, post-pandemic, going forward? To be honest I’m not so sure how that will be, but hopefully it will, as they say, morph into an endemic flu situation, where fatalities are relatively low even though new variants continue to spread like wildfire. Our new issue here is not meant to be about the pandemic as such; it definitely takes it on board though, and you, like me, may wish to do so in our writing. But change is meant to be taken in a generalised, more internalised sense. But of course what is internal is reflected in the external world. One mirrors the other. Isn’t that true?

Before things changed, before anything changes, there is a sense of a lack of change, of deadwood, and of the desire for change. Since the time for change hasn’t come, one has to wait it out. The state of waiting for change is one of apparent passivity, but it need not be. What one does to fill the time while waiting is one question. The other question is one of dissatisfaction and longing, and with that comes an internalised clock where one prepares for change. This is an intricate process, perhaps like how a spider constructs its web, or how a bee flies from flower to flower to gather pollen. It is a process of long patience and internal work coupled with actual steps of doing. Change takes time. Time changes things.

Which brings me to the next point, and that is that loss is change. Even if things are in a state of equilibrium, it cannot remain still. Change happens whether you will it or not. When you look back at the stages of your life, you will realize this. It’s as if the curtain falls, the stage that opens in the next scene is different, has progressed. Sometimes the scenery changes, or the people are new, or if the same, they are altered by events. The social dynamics also change with time. Do things change for the better, or for the worse? How does one deal with loss, with change? Does it lead one to cynicism, bleakness, depression? How does one deal with such shifts?

How do you feel about the world’s environmental issues of change, which appear to be at tipping point? What changes have come over us? Yet it’s never one thing, is it, but losses and gains. The body deteriorates, the spirit comes into abundance? And isn’t the ultimate change death? A change of world that we’ll have to die to find out. Though it may be your death you’re thinking about, the world doesn’t end. Like a wheel, it spins, as seen in Chagall’s The Creation of Man, and a new human and other new creatures shall spring forth. Nature works in cycles, in seasons of change.

Time may be silenced but will not be stilled,
Nor we absolved by any one’s withdrawing
From all the restless ways we must be going
And all the rings in which we’re spun and swirled,
Whether around a clockface or a world.
—Adrienne Rich, “A Clock in the Square”

Finally, I’d like you to think about poetry and change. Do you, like Rich, believe that poetry, as it is imaginative, is also transformative? That it is not mere self-indulgence, a marginal activity, that its voice, alongside other human endeavors, grounds us, reminds us, prods us, that it is “not a resting on the given, but a questing toward what might otherwise be” (Rich, What Is Found There: Notebooks on Poetry and Politics), toward change? Perhaps not ‘change’ in capital letters yet but changes within the self, toward a new reflection of self and world? A rebirth of your world begins with the self. I believe that imagination leads to a change of self and a change of world, however you interpret it. A person, after all, is a world. To quote Alan Walowitz, in his poem, “Revision”:

I assure you, from vast experience,
to change a life requires more than one’s full portion.
But to revise, to see yourself again,
that can be an everyday miracle, if only we’d try.
Some of our fathers tell us we’re not quite chosen,
but just to be certain, we had better be better
and a light unto the nations.
This is hard work, the toughest there is,
but, didn’t I hear God say, in some unrecorded verse,
Hey pal, isn’t this what you signed up for?

The world as you imagine it, day by day by day, is a powerful one, can determine your mood, stance, everything. With poetry, we can perhaps practice the zen that Jane Hirschfield speaks of: “Zen pretty much comes down to three things – everything changes; everything is connected; pay attention.” Then write it down.

Read our submission guidelines here. Please check back on our site to see if your poem has been selected. We will not be sending out any rejection letters.

Submissions period: September 2021 to February 2022. Selected poems will be posted here on this site as well as on this site and compiled into a PDF release in Spring 2022.

Good writing.

Irene Toh
Spring 2022

Leaving, by Larry Oakner

by Larry Oakner

Autumn falls and dances
spinning pirouettes.
This is the season’s ballet
of death and awaited resurrection.
What was once verdant
is now sere
and clutters the gutters
in shades of crimson, salmon,
mustard, golden, orange.
I am grey
and when my Fall finally comes
and I am swept away
there will be no greening sprout of me
come Spring,
only memories
on these leaves of paper.

Larry Oakner draws his sources from his life and popular culture. With a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from UCLA and training to be a professor, Oakner has written and published poetry for well over four decades. He is the author of two books of poems, including SEX LOVE RELIGION (Blind Tattoo Press), The 614th Commandment (under his pseudonym, Eleazar Baruch) (Blind Tattoo Press), along with the chapbook, The Canticles of Private Lucius Swan, (Pen & Anvil Press). His poems have appeared in Red Eft Review, WINK, The Oddville Press, Pink Litter, Tricycle: Buddhist News, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, Lost Coast Review and many others. Oakner lives in New York.

A Sketch of a Wilted Flower, by Timothy Resau

A Sketch of a Wilted Flower
by Timothy Resau

Somewhere in this city, she stares,
spending her dreams like pennies.
Months are between us—
Slowly we’ve become strangers.
I can only wonder where she is?
Who listens to her voice?
She remains constant, steadfast, the same—
a memory.

Timothy Resau has been internationally published. Most recently his poems and prose have appeared in Sideways Poetry Magazine, Sylvia Magazine, The Beautiful Space, Loch Raven Review, Poetry Quarterly, Babel Tower Notice Board, Native Skin, Better than Starbucks, among others, and forthcoming in Fictional Café, and Burrow. He’s just completing a novel Dirty Blonde.

New Mushrooms, by Ivor Steven

New Mushrooms
by Ivor Steven

After the storm
Old boundaries were transformed
Fences were moved and torn
Fields smelled of rotting corn
Patient vultures remained airborne
Above the drowning longhorn’s

After the storm
I rested under the peppercorn
And I saw new mushrooms rise with the dawn

Ivor Steven was formerly an Industrial Chemist, then a Plumber, and has been writing for 20 years. He is a member of Geelong Writer Inc (Australia), a team member with the on-line blog-site ‘Go Dog Go Cafe (America), and is a writer for the Coffee House Writers Magazine (America).

Lights Above Bridges, by Ivor Steven

Lights Above Bridges
by Ivor Steven

Bridges span our invisible years
And carry our many fallen tears
Crossing over old hidden fears

Bridges are burnt over time
Years turn to ashes in an instant
And time is our only constant

Beyond the longest bridges
Under the ocean’s deepest blue
And above nature’s darkest green
Love’s evolving hues renew
And Aurora lights are on debut

Ivor Steven was formerly an Industrial Chemist, then a Plumber, and has been writing for 20 years. He is a member of Geelong Writer Inc (Australia), a team member with the on-line blog-site ‘Go Dog Go Cafe (America), and is a writer for the Coffee House Writers Magazine (America).

Umika, by Paul Brooke

—an Eintou, an African form poem
by Paul Brooke

I am
the vessel placed
under the palm tree to
tap the sap. Emptied, I remain
uncherished. Far off, the
party roars with
palm wine.

Paul Brooke is the author of six books including Arm Wrestling at the Iowa State Fair and Jaguars of the Northern Pantanal. These poems come from a collection of form poems from every continent. The book comes out in March 2022.

Baobab, by Paul Brooke

an Eintou, an African form poem
by Paul Brooke

the elephant,
the seed churned, acid burned,
germinated by brutality.
We learned from misery,
a stone deep in
our guts.

Process notes: Elephants love to eat the seeds of this tree and they say it tastes sour and surprisingly like yogurt. The seeds are dispersed far from the baobab and this prompts a better chance for them to survive (in terms of resources such as water consumption).

Paul Brooke is the author of six books including Arm Wrestling at the Iowa State Fair and Jaguars of the Northern Pantanal. These poems come from a collection of form poems from every continent. The book comes out in March 2022.

Marie, apartment 5C, floor 11, by Emalisa Rose

Marie, apartment 5C, floor 11
by Emalisa Rose

Seldom at ease, in a world that
forgot her, now becomes norm for
the spinster, 5C, floor eleven. The
walls growing flowers, robins are
wearing their wings for her, on day
99, paused in the funk and the fury
of what’s become now. Through the
filigree of branch over branch, birds
become focal point, morpheme and
muse to her state of attrition, as life
leans towards parody. In the semi-
charmed state, Marie becomes numb,
embracing the reign of recluse, this
Tuesday, dark morning, seeking the
sparrow’s song.

Process notes: It is based on observations of living in a neighborhood, sometimes for years, yet many neighbors remain nameless. Sometimes we are fearful to get to know someone other than giving a quick ‘hello’ or nod. In these most troubling times, behind the closed doors, someone may be hurting emotionally, feeling alone, without anyone reaching out to check on them. This is sadly more pressing for the elderly. My great-aunt, who lives alone, very far from me, is fortunate to have someone that does look in on her, unlike Marie in 5C, floor 11.

When not writing, Emalisa Rose enjoys crafting and birding. She volunteers in animal rescue. She lives by the beach, which provides much of the inspiration for her art. Some of her work has appeared in Mad Swirl, Literary Veganism, Writing in a Woman’s Voice and other wonderful places. Her latest collection is On the whims of the cross currents, published by Red Wolf Editions.

A Book of Beasts, by Royal Rhodes

a book of beasts cover

Centaurs, unicorns, and flying horses
are dreams, but these are possible to ride. (“Zebra”)

Royal Rhodes’s paean to beasts will surely delight. Inspired by the medieval bestiary, the collection is a series of 28 sonnets with animal subjects. Richly descriptive, invocative of medieval texts and fabliaux, the poems are felicitous of meanings associated with each beast. Being earthly and mythological, these beasts which breathe and die like us, partake of our imagination.

Royal takes each animal subject, riding along with it in myriad ways.
I ride hard naked, while the flying mane
whips me, purging me with ghostly pain. (“Horse”)

Does this give you an image of Lady Godiva?

As creatures, they clearly inform a teleological view of our universe—do you see God’s hand in them, does one need more evidence of a God?

The creature that we think bizarre and odd,
creating awe, no odder is than God. (“Kangaroo”)

Of course they’re also emblematic, and we need go no further than “Tiger” whose meaning is of “all our body’s burning,/tongue and touch”. Royal embraces that as a referent of mortality:
If you embrace the dread, the heart will know.
Only a mortal hand or eye could trace
and hold such rare ones close, and let them go,
while deadly terror shows its holy face. (“Tiger”)

The poems treat language with a sense of play, to switch meanings, generally using humor in generous dollops, rinsing out seriousness as a panacea probably.

The sea is rising. All our future ends,
when great white bears will swim where Broadway bends. (“Polar Bear”)

The final sonnet, “The True Zoo” sums up the menagerie nicely, a final indictment of man, but funny.

Download the collection here.

a book of beasts


A Book of Beasts, The Illustrated Edition

Red Wolf is pleased to collaborate with Royal with a special illustrated edition. The animal subjects, it is thought, deserve a visual presentation. Irene, who took up the mantle, played the wild card. Untrained, yes, but does the result bring joy? Yes, we think! It led her to a close scrutiny of her animal subjects, and with it, an affirmation of their mesmerising beauty, even the darn spider! We hope you enjoy our serendipitous collaboration.

a book of beasts illustrated edition3

Making small, by Emil Sinclair

Making small
by Emil Sinclair

“Trees are
so very tall;
they make us
so very small.”

So, have you heard the news?
The rivers are overflowing,
or drying up;
the icecaps are melting,
as the seas rise
to the chins of our cities;
the forests are on fire,
burning down the house
of no shame.
The rains come
and do not go;
the graceful elands
wither and die
on plains of dust and ash,
as we play cost
with Mother Earth.
The Blue Man
of greed—
the fat-taker—
was not banished
by the red seer,
after all.

I heard the crows
this morning,
singing their hymn
of supplication.
The grey squirrels
run along the top
of the fence,
clucking their prayers.
Where is our humility?
Can we surrender
our own hubris
and sacrifice
our self-love
to Persephone
and Great Pan?
We cannot remain
until we have made
very small.

Emil Sinclair is the pseudonym of a sometime poet and longtime philosophy professor in New York City.

One Long Summer is Not Enough, by Debi Swim

One Long Summer is Not Enough
by Debi Swim

Now. Now, I need the change
It used to be they were abrupt,
a shock, a dread because I was
young and youth wants sun,
fun, long days in which to play.

Now, I crave each season as it comes
and as it ages comes to the end
I’m ready for the next to begin.
Continuity is what I love as the year
slips gently into its fourths
and forth again, again, again, again.

I need the spring of shoots and buds
the summer of flowers and slinky days,
the fall a time to wind down
and winter a time of rest and mending.

I need them all as the earth needs rain
and sun and harvest and a cooling down
They seep into my innerness and connect –
a symbiosis of life to life, content.

Debi Swim has had poems published in two anthologies, online publications and in the Bluestone Journal for Bluefield College. She is a persistent WV poet who loves to write to prompts.