Fall/Winter 2016/2017: The Heart Knows

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Cover art forthcoming

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

What I Leave Behind, by Debi Swim

What I Leave Behind
by Debi Swim

Maybe it was the mist rolling
low over the fresh mown field
obscuring fine details of day,
pressing a cool hand against the
brow of an Indian summer.
Or maybe it was just the faded
colors and imminent coming of
winter that awakened the sadness.
And yet, not really sadness, I think,
but a kind of surrender, a concession,
to the pattern of life, beginnings and endings.

The seasons come and go, come and go,
each with a story to tell, a work to do.
And the earth remains, though I will not.
Maybe this is my abiding work, to tell my story
in prose and poem and memory.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 210.

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

What The Heart Knows, by Debi Swim

What The Heart Knows
by Debi Swim

When you can look at the star-splattered sky and watch the phases of the moon… hear thunder growl a warning, then bay a rumbling attack… when lightning zags in fiery tongues of sizzle and illumines streaks of rain… when fireflies on a warm June evening flash their serenade silently… when a smile, a touch, a kiss… when the taste of a strawberry, the scent of a rose… when these things and a hundred others no longer touch your soul with their bewitching magic, their humbling strangeness as miraculous hallowing… Then. Then, the heart knows you are a wraith half dead.

Snow lights on my nose
the faintest tickle I feel
life is tender sweet.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 208.

 

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

Graceful, by Christopher Hileman

Graceful
by Christopher Hileman

I am normally
too clumsy but when it comes
to you, my love, grace
happens and I can
undo the ribbing around
your heart as though it
was not welded tight
by your own tensioned device,
by how the years fell.

 

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.

How Can I Survive This, by Debi Swim

How Can I Survive This
by Debi Swim

tsunami of pain
like a refrain
on continuous play
it flays
me raw
I draw
a ragged breath
at the slow death
of hope
how will I cope?
I simply will.
Still,
it will leave a mark
a dark
bruise.
Dues
paid.
I limp through life.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 204.

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

Simple Is Best, by Patricia McGoldrick

Simple Is Best
by Patricia McGoldrick

On a cold winter morning
He makes a quick trip to the market
Returning with a brown paper bag
Filled with red fruit and veggies
And shiny red-wrapped chocolates
Buttery croissants with
A creamy slab of local white cheese
Topped with a crimson ribbon.

Note: It seems to me that the heart really does know. Originally, I wrote this for a love theme poetry prompt at Poetic Asides blog site. Later, I shared under my name on February 16th, 2010 at 7:25 am on Poetry Ireland Guest Blog.

Patricia McGoldrick is a Kitchener, Ontario, Canada poet and writer, inspired by the everyday. Patricia is a member of The Ontario Poetry Society and the League of Canadian Poets. Visit her blog at patriciamcgoldrickdotcom or on Twitter @pmcgoldrick27. Recent publications include the poems “Limerick on Laundry” and “haiku on home” in Verse Afire print issues; online titles are posted at commuterlit.com and in Red Wolf Journal you’ll find her poem “Urban Upcycling”.

Cocktail Hour, by Sanjeev Sethi

Cocktail Hour
by Sanjeev Sethi

Your ingress
generates
Zen-like stillness.
Is this because you aren’t expected?
Have my hankerings been met?

This evening an aperitif will do.
Your entry
has quenched me.
Though I can spot
other longings swell.

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three well-received books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). His poems are in venues around the world: Off the Coast, Drunk Monkeys, The Beatnik Cowboy, Right Hand Pointing, The Blue Mountain Review, Squawk Back, The Five-Two, W.I.S.H. Press, Easy Street, Mad Swirl, Your One Phone Call, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Ofi Press Magazine, Expound Magazine, Postcolonial Text, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Woozy Whistle, by Sanjeev Sethi

Woozy Whistle
by Sanjeev Sethi

When I am drenched in drink
dysanagnosia strikes me.
I begin to see old meanings
in new words
like foibles of my former lovers.
Of the present one
I never spot anything.
This is the unique thing about love.
When in the loop
one is as on a happy day
all smiles and silly stuff.
In a sense heart is ho-hum.

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three well-received books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). His poems are in venues around the world: Off the Coast, Drunk Monkeys, The Beatnik Cowboy, Right Hand Pointing, The Blue Mountain Review, Squawk Back, The Five-Two, W.I.S.H. Press, Easy Street, Mad Swirl, Your One Phone Call, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Ofi Press Magazine, Expound Magazine, Postcolonial Text, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Refluence, by Sanjeev Sethi

Refluence
by Sanjeev Sethi

Whelk in your eyes more expressive
than betrayal ever could be. I’m used
to grief. It’s my alter ego, my emollient.
I understand its guidelines, crisscross
between said and unsaid. But to steer
the sighs of one’s other heart? To regulate
its remorse? Love is okay, logjam begins
when one is in love.

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three well-received books of poetry. His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015). His poems are in venues around the world: Off the Coast, Drunk Monkeys, The Beatnik Cowboy, Right Hand Pointing, The Blue Mountain Review, Squawk Back, The Five-Two, W.I.S.H. Press, Easy Street, Mad Swirl, Your One Phone Call, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Ofi Press Magazine, Expound Magazine, Postcolonial Text, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Lost On Earth, by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Lost On Earth
by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Nothing is sadder to a soaring eagle,
used to flying above the highest ridges
and to defying the top of the volcanoes,
than to be obliged to walk on earth,
like men and those other animals
that live on the ground floor.
Crooked by the suns, rains and snows
of countless days, nights and seasons,
it is unable to raise that ultimate flight
to the last sleep on the rocky caves,
around its native country the skies.

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 Poet), Indiana Voice Journal, The Lake, Young Ravens, Whispers, Every Day Poems, Dead Snakes, The Basil O’Flaherty (Featured Poet), among others. Ferreira lives in a small town with wife, three sons and a granddaughter and, unhurried, is collecting his works for a forthcoming book. He began to write at age 63 (nine years ago), after retirement as a Bank Manager.

Marks and Echoes, by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Marks and Echoes
by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

There are still marks on the ground
where I have kneeled and cried in despair.
The tears I have poured in it had been exhaled
and were lost forever.
My screams startled the birds which took,
around the skies, news of dread and fear.
However, the laughter once I launched,
also recorded by the birds,
had not been lost and echoes till today.
There were also some triumph’s yells
and some love’s whispers, which, along
with all the rest are faithful witnesses
that, in despite of merciless a destiny,
made at least one life worthwhile.

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 Poet), Indiana Voice Journal, The Lake, Young Ravens, Whispers, Every Day Poems, Dead Snakes, The Basil O’Flaherty (Featured Poet), among others. Ferreira lives in a small town with wife, three sons and a granddaughter and, unhurried, is collecting his works for a forthcoming book. He began to write at age 63 (nine years ago), after retirement as a Bank Manager.