Fall/Winter 2016/2017 Issue 10

rwj-fall-winter-2016-17-issue10

 

We are pleased to announce the release of Red Wolf Journal’s Fall/Winter 2016/2017 Issue 10:

 

red-wolf-journal-fall-winter-2017-issue-10

The poets with work in this edition are:

Julia Cirignano
Darren C. Demaree
Arika Elizenberry
Edilson Afonso Ferreira
Jared M. Gadsby
Peter D. Goodwin
Jessica Goody
Christopher Hileman
Andrew Hubbard
John Huey
Patricia McGoldrick
Jean Voneman Mikhail
Frank Prem
Diana Raab
Pegi Deitz Shea
Sanjeev Sethi
Debi Swim
Larry D. Thacker
Maja S. Todorovic
Marg Walker

You are welcome to submit work to our upcoming Spring/Summer 2017 issue. The theme is “Sweet Sorrow”.

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

Spring/Summer 2017: Sweet Sorrow

Red Wolf Journal Issue 11 (Spring/Summer 2017)
(cover art forthcoming)
Our theme: “Sweet Sorrow”

BROWN

Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2017 issue.

What? Sweetness in sorrow? In heartbreak? In saying “goodbye”?

Do we see poems as memento mori? We attempt to immortalize what is already lost, or passing. What emotions well up when memory brings us back to the people and events that have filled our scant lives with richness, and our souls with an overflowing spirituality? In retrieving them through memory, in our poems, we filter everything into universal truths; through the impersonality of art, we invent fiction in order to see what truths continue to haunt us thus expressing our humanity. There is a kind of moral imperative in art. What is art but moral, though some may disagree.

Fellow sojourners, there is sorrow in the parting, as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet says, but sweetness too. There is a difference, whether the parting is temporary or lasting. When Juliet says, “Parting is such sweet sorrow”, she had meant it in the first sense. Parting is only sweet if her lover departs but is expected to return, thus filling her heart with joyful anticipation. The French says it well, au revoir (till we meet again). Imagine if one is at all times with one’s lover, wouldn’t the law of diminishing returns set in at some point? Aha. Perhaps we are creatures who need melodrama, because there is an intrinsic duality in our nature. We are ruled by the principle of opposites. How complicated we are, waxing and waning, goodness commingling with bad stuff. C’mon nobody’s an absolute angel or saint. And if the lover never shall return? If your heart still pulses with true love, a sweetness would have gone out of life, wouldn’t it? The tea would have gone tepid. Then of course, if the lover does return, the concomitant crap also returns. Nothing’s pure bliss. Love, or the lack thereof, could even drive one to suicide, as Romeo did, in the end, and Juliet too, in her turn. In the words of Emily Dickinson, “Parting is all we know of heaven,/And all we need of hell.”

This life is a paradox. We don’t know what joy is, till we’ve known sadness. We do not see light without shadow. We cherish life because there is death. Is it possible to experience pleasure and pain at the same time? Yes. This can come in whatever form. Our time together is pleasurable, deepened, heightened by the knowledge that we will ultimately part. So the deep abiding human experience is grieving. We grieve past relationships and things. We grieve injustices and anomalies that come up again and again to cause pain and suffering. We grieve our ageing bodies which we all know will one day bail on us. We grieve the dead. Death comes to us all. We do not know what comes after. Like birth, death is a mystery. This hit us acutely, and then with a dull nameless ache. If we see into our selves, we hear an echo. We move constantly between the poles of hope and despair. Human consciousness elevates us and also besieges us with a sense of loss and uncertainty. From our angst we have found religion, philosophy, spirituality, art. The last, particularly, is what art does. Art survives us. Remember that one time when Meryl Streep quoted Carrie Fisher, “Take your broken heart, make it into art”? Bittersweet.

The sweetness in the memory, not in the sense of anticipation, alas, the second time round. Also in the sense of accepting the deep mystery of existence, by finding a peaceable way of being.

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

–Wendell Berry

As sweet ol’ Charlie Brown would say, “Oh, good grief!” It is ultimately up to us to find sweetness in sorrow, if only to bear that sorrow.

***

Interpret the theme however you wish.

SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS 25 AUGUST 2017. SUBMISSIONS OPEN.

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

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 March to August 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.

Au revoir, mon ami, au revoir mon amie.

Irene Toh and Tawnya Smith
Editors, Red Wolf Journal
https://redwolfjournal.wordpress.com/

Sweet Heritage, by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Sweet Heritage
by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

I surely know they are lost on the brumes
of a magic almost surreal past time, but
we are always, mainly at longing nights,
pushing away the mists and remembering
so sterling old days, when we did not know
how happy we were.
Surrounded at home by family,
guests commonly stared at us
admiration and ecstasy glances,
yet envious and jealous ones.
People cannot ever dream all the joy we have
on remembering those glorious unique days,
for so little affordable.
Although sorrowful we feel,
doubtful of current and coming times,
the bliss of our past still shines, being
proud pledge for the rest of our lives.

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, Spirit Fire Review, Red Wolf Journal, Indiana Voice Journal, Creative Talents Unleashed, Algebra of Owls and some others. Ferreira lives in a small town (Formiga (MG) with wife, three sons and a granddaughter and, unhurried, is trying to publish his first Poetry Book. He began to write at age 67, after retirement as a Bank Manager. Has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2016.

Collateral Damage, by Debi Swim

Collateral Damage
by Debi Swim

grief did not ask if it could come.
nor beg my leave. nor was civil
in any respect of civility…barged
in, she did and changed my life
again. Beside the thin ghostly
lines marked in rows over my heart
she, with surgeon’s precision, scalpel’s
keenness cut the wound with one swift
straight slice removed another part
of my heart, daubed the blood, and sewed
with the finest measure and skilled hand
the daintiest seam that would in time
leave the faintest trace of white. But, I
disappear one small piece at a time
leave behind the rasp of withering husk.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 250.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.
georgeplace@suddenlink.net
Poets Parlor – https://fmeoformyeyesonly.wordpress.com/

Keeping Warm, by Christopher Hileman

Keeping Warm
by Christopher Hileman

It turns out after
all the pleading and squirming
that I have partners
in robbing the store.

It turns out after vespers
I have a halo
of sorts and nubbins
where either pimples or wings
might erupt and soon
reveal how to hold
my tangled life. I hope to
keep it warm with love.

Thank the Goddess please –
and all the trueheart bastards
who sing near Her throne.

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.

The Voice In My Head, by Debi Swim

The Voice In My Head
by Debi Swim

This poem doesn’t want to be written.
Its voice taunts me that I don’t know
enough. It shouts that I am not a poet,
for goodness sakes, who do I think I am?
Well, obviously, I’m not a Poet with a
capital P but I do write something I call
poetry and what does it matter if I’m
not published or well known or whatever,
my voice trails off softer and softer.

The voice snickers.
All the great poems, she says, have been
penned, all the great topics taken. All the
glorious words, lissome phrases, perfect
forms used. You, she sneered, are too late
to this hallowed task. Just a want to be.

Well, but we can’t all be a Dickinson, a Heany,
an Oliver, or a Pardlo. Besides when they first
got those itchy fingers and those emotions
clamoring to be thrown up like yellow bile,
and hurt that throbbed like an abscessed tooth,
well, did it all come out ready for publication
or did it all come out in a rush of whooeeee
I needed that. I needed to say that. I NEEDED
to hear myself say that.

Okay, so answer me that, voice. But, voice had
left. Voice had no more sneer or snuff left. And
I thought, humph, well, and so. I am going to
write me some words. I’m going to let these
words speak for themselves and if, if, IF, they want
to tumble into a poem, well, okay, then. Like, I
have anything to do with it. When the words want
to come, when they are ready to be born, when that
head crowns, baby, you got yourself a lusty cry of life.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 248.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Coffee, by Alan Toltzis

Coffee
by Alan Toltzis

On this exceptional
cream and sugar day—

not black
not bitter

nor some sorrowful residue
settling to the bottom of the pot

reducing
thickening

until the last drop of hope
evaporates and scalds itself

leaving a stain of
pungent neglect—

drink endlessly
of joy unchained.

Alan Toltzis, the author of The Last Commandment, grew up in Philadelphia and now lives and writes in Bucks County. Recent work has appeared in print and online publications including Right Hand Pointing, Provo Canyon Review, IthacaLit, Hummingbird, r.k.v.r.y. Quarterly, and Burningword Literary Journal. Find him online at alantoltzis.com.

Restoration, by Alan Toltzis

Restoration
by Alan Toltzis

Did I wear you out?
Did I leave you spent,
tattered, cut, bruised?

And when,
O weary, weary soul,
you left me again last night,

barely able to fill
and empty my lungs,
I waited for morning,

my body
and my heart
awash with you again.

Today will be different.
Today will be pure.

Today will be
a waxing crescent
moon at dawn.

Alan Toltzis, the author of The Last Commandment, grew up in Philadelphia and now lives and writes in Bucks County. Recent work has appeared in print and online publications including Right Hand Pointing, Provo Canyon Review, IthacaLit, Hummingbird, r.k.v.r.y. Quarterly, and Burningword Literary Journal. Find him online at alantoltzis.com.

Picturing You, by Debi Swim

Picturing You
by Debi Swim

Old photographs and 8mm home movies
boxed and stored away waiting for a
rainy day of perusal and the usual
smiles, embarrassed grins, tears and yens
for those old days, gone days, nevermore days.

Christmases, birthdays, picnics, family reunions,
graduations, weddings, babies, toddlers and teens,
the years fly by like a dream, a stream of poignant
memories and faces no longer seen. Alive then,
long time gone now, just a hiccup, an interrupt

in the continuum of life. And the rain pours down,
peters out, the sun comes blaring through the clouds
and the seconds fly by and here am I wondering
who’ll be next. Someday, on another rainy day,
who will be looking for my face?

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

Coming And Going Colors Of Life, by Debi Swim

Coming And Going Colors Of life
by Debi Swim

I began in righteous redness
knitted like yarn into a
recognizable thing. I grew
in darkness, inky onyx,
warm and snug in my fleshy bed.
I came wailing and kicking
purple-tinged, red-faced,
mottled mess of blood and vernix
into the afterbirth of turbulence…
and still I struggle to become,
probably always will, and yet
I’ve made a little progress
toward the coming end when
in hues of blue and parchment,
I’ll close my eyes against the bloody,
mottled mess I leave behind,
and snuggle into the inky onyx darkness
of my alabaster marble rest.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 246.

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

Reflections On Love, by Debi Swim

Reflections On Love
by Debi Swim

Who can understand love?
It is a tarnished mirror distorting
images, little chinks of
silver missing, reflecting poorly.
It is algebra, quantum physics,
a nursery rhyme of counting
one, two buckle my shoe.

It is a recipe with vague measures…
a sprinkle of salt, a pound of butter,
enough flour to make wet dough,
sweeten to taste and bake in a hot
oven. We never seemed to get the
ingredients just right, the measure
near enough. Must we throw it out?

Let’s try something new like chicken
tikka masala or the old math, with no
division, only the multiplication table
at which to eat our fill of love.
Let us get rid of this ancient mirror
and gaze into each other’s eyes.
Let’s be clear in our reflections.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 245.

Debi Swim is a wife, mother, grandmother and happy WV poet.

Unplanned Feelings, by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

Unplanned Feelings
by Edilson Afonso Ferreira

The world did not know, nor did we,
until today, of our relatedness,
soul mates by birth, although unknown
to each other, so long separated by fate.
Our eyes betraying us, shining by an announced
and foreshadowed sin, our hearts beating loudly,
strange emotion reddening our faces.
We know it is presage of love,
Lord of all of us humans.
Presage also for unhappy days of sorrow,
for a man cannot betray his best friend
and a woman must honor her husband.
Story that recalls old prohibited affairs
suddenly reborn in unsuspected parties
to incautious people like me and you,
quite unable to hide their feelings,
letting go so late found a love.

 

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, Spirit Fire Review, The Provo Canyon, Red Wolf Journal, Whispers, Indiana Voice Journal, Synesthesia, Algebra of Owls and some others. Ferreira lives in a small town (Formiga (MG) with wife, three sons and a granddaughter and is trying to publish his first Poetry Book by this year of 2017. He began to write at age 67, after retirement as a Bank Manager. Has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2016.