Green-Weak Poems by Therese Broderick–A New Poetry Release

Red Wolf Editions is pleased to announce the release of a new poetry collection by Therese Broderick.

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A daughter’s labor in grass-cutting epitomizes these elegiac familial poems. The three sections of this endearing collection act together as memory and catharsis, with an overall tone of love and whimsy. The first “green-weak” section opens with the remembrance. It defines the father-daughter relationship, its roots in the practice of scissoring the cardboard found within her father’s Roxy shirts into a child’s hand-made cards.

The poems take us through art and illness, a mother’s sense of lack, a brother’s divorce and other undoings. At heart the poems honor the perfection of imperfections: “And I loved him/to the end/despite a lifelong lack/of luster.” (Song for the Colorblind Artist). The collection’s title refers to her father’s congenital “green-weak” colorblindness, a faulty perception of reds and greens.

Her idyllic musings while cutting grass by scissors is at center, a meditation (glimpsing “the conjuring garden knot, its green snaking”) serving as transition to the third “regreening” section. It deals with death and loss. It is grief contained by noticing “an opened bag of nougat and milk/chocolate truffles” at her mother’s cremation and tellingly endured through the arrayed riches of Morocco. The reader takes each mouthful of poems, cupping them, full of weight and weightlessness.

Then there’s the one and only erotic poem, which is clinically breathtaking, a kind of Spanish blessing.

Green is the trope, whether in the Moroccan silk of “Paradise Green”, or in grass’s “emerald blade”, or “the neon L sprouting from Google’s trademark.” How deep sorrow, how deep the green. It becomes blue.

Download the collection here.

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How Does It Feel?, by Debi Swim

How Does It Feel?
by Debi Swim

When death is summoned to do his duty
is he emotionless and unyielding
even as he bends over a child’s bed
or a man pleading at his wife’s side?
Are there ever times he drags his feet,
hunches his shoulders, tries not to weep
when coming to the scene of a burnt home
or wretched twisted metal on the highway?
Does he know some sacred secret that
eases his conscience, lightens his load?
Is he a reaper grimly scything the wheat,
harvesting souls for a fiendish yield
of banshee screams and sorrow’s tears?
Do wars, nature’s wrath, and terrorist
random pickings just fill his inbox with more to do?
Maybe he is just content with his job security
on a planet where life is so little valued.
But, I hope when he comes for me
he shows a little compassion.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 217.

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

Beneath the South Taurids, by Jared M. Gadsby

Beneath the South Taurids
by Jared M. Gadsby

Thinking of you again,
I realize that I have always been unfair
to those who love me.
I struggle to hold back parts of myself
like oak leaves in late autumn.

Too late I loosen and give
what is asked of me,
though my promises are dry by then
and made brittle by frost.

Naked and alone, I close myself
and wait for spring. That,
that is what is so unfair: in my greedy
restraint, I always anticipate
another spring.

Jared M. Gadsby lives in Lima, Peru and teaches writing and literature courses at a local university for one of Broward College’s international centers. He holds an MA from SUNY Oswego and finds time to write the occasional poem between teaching responsibilities and travel opportunities.

Apollo, by Jean Voneman Mikhail

Apollo
by Jean Voneman Mikhail

He wound his watch
its numbers omitted
numbers he knew
already anyways, enough
to imagine the face of time. By heart,
strumming songs on tenor banjo,
he would play Happy Days
Are Here Again from the film
Chasing Rainbows. Dancing in,
we’d say Daddy, go faster
but you know the strain of not
being able, not knowing enough–
the anger oh anger.
On steel strings,
the one bad middle finger
he butchered, leaving
a cleft that refused to close.
One small faraway heart
corresponds with the other
beating inside the hand
holding onto its life long pain
the day he stapled his finger
onto a paper about Morse Code
leaving a trail of blood.
My father was told
by his father Be a man, Honey
all fists and knots, a buckle
in the waiting room floor
a hand waving over the face
telling you come to your senses
you can wake up now
emptied of pain. It’s just a little
fold in the finger
under stitches pulled
like marionette strings
dragging their red Howdy Doody.
Cries from your mouth
do not seem your own.
There is a falseness never heard before.
Music pulled from under the skin
with its top hat of severed flesh
you dance to Moon Over Bourdon Street.
Disconnected, with the now dead flesh
it falls off into the sink
white with antiseptic fizz.
There were the songs
he’d have to leave behind.
But he proved them wrong
when he played again
ignoring the spot where
the metal string stuck
inside the groove.

The day he turned on
the TV, black and white
in those days, he said it’s possible
everything could go wrong but it didn’t
when Apollo 11 landed June 20, 1969,
and the pastor read Genesis,
slipping communion under
one astronaut’s tongue, he read
When I Consider thy Heavens
the works of thy fingers.
Blank bubble of a face,
Do you really believe the stories he tells?
The ones so far fetched?
My sister didn’t care about the landing.
She sang Beatles’ tunes like Get Back
as Apollo landed
on the moon’s basalt
in The Sea of Tranquility.
He points up to something
still missing. I believe
he was crying
when they touched down.

Jean Voneman Mikhail lives in Athens, Ohio and is a graduate of OU with a MA in Creative writing. Her work has appeared in Westminster Review, Riverwind and Canary Journal. She takes part in public readings such as “Women On the Line” and “Women of Appalachia.” She tries to write every day.

Daughter/Dragonfly, by Jean Voneman Mikhail

Daughter/Dragonfly
by Jean Voneman Mikhail

You bring your daughter to campus
on your shoulders or in a backpack.
She longs for travel, her eyes
the color of amber from the Baltics
or from the Oak’s dead rustle of browns
that come alive at sunset, almost scarlet.
You haven’t decided if she can come yet.
She makes you a little angry.
She wants both up and down–riding,
belching the wind as she goes
scuttling over the sidewalk, nearly
tipping you with her tantrums
the hard apple of her hand
turning to mush on your neck.
The soft reflective bubble of her mouth, pouting.
She scurries over your shoulder
like a dragonfly, her iridescense–
when she turns this way
her eyes are green,
swooping green darners
seaming up a snake,
cottonmouth in the grass
that warm November
with the yellow jackets sipping
hard cider under the trees
where you were
with the love of your life.
You love your wife but don’t love her. You know what I mean.
Your daughter pleads with you
to take her to water
to the Lake or the Bay.
It doesn’t matter.
The light this way makes her blue, the sapphire
in candlelight we sometimes see.
You say, get down, your weight crushes my soul.
Can you believe you used those words?
She is carried to you on a swarm
through the door like Cinderella.
Now, she is suddenly queen of the seafoam.
Her voice becomes thick with spirits
on the lips of the waves she says between sips
Unclasp the necklace
you made me, the charm of arms
around your neck.

Jean Voneman Mikhail lives in Athens, Ohio and is a graduate of OU with a MA in Creative writing. Her work has appeared in Westminster Review, Riverwind and Canary Journal. She takes part in public readings such as “Women On the Line” and “Women of Appalachia.” She tries to write every day.

The Wolf, by Julia Cirignano

The Wolf
by Julia Cirignano

We’ve traveling down a snowy road together
You are eating me alive
Like the wild, majestic wolves
But I just smile
I gaze into their eyes
I pull you in
And remove your clothes

You’ve ripped out vital organs
I’m bleeding out
As we laugh and wrestle
And eat cereal together

I’m pale
All the blood has drained from my body
I feel sleepy, so I close my eyes
And rest my head on your chest

I wake up alone
Like a bad dream that followed me
Into reality
I see my open wounds gushing
I realize your eyes are yellow not brown

There are claw marks all over my body
Teeth marks
But I was the only one who didn’t notice

Julia Cirignano is a writer from Boston Ma. She goes to Endicott College where she is a senior. Julia is a creative writing major, and music minor. She have several articles published by That Music Magazine and Limelight Magazine, and poetry published by The New York Literally Magazine and The Somerville Review.

Photograph, by Marg Walker

Photograph
by Marg Walker

You stand before the mirror holding me
to your cheek, my blanket bunched
against your flowered dress. My eyes
are bright, adoring, as daughters all begin.

This is a time before memory, when being held
was enough, a time before I knew of words
and needed them. But here it is in grainy black and white:
you loved me too, and just as helplessly.

If only you had not been so afraid
to lose yourself in us, I think you would have found
— oh beloved field general —
our terms of surrender dear.

Turning toward me in the end, you asked me
to guard your unprotected flank, take care
of death’s details, then find my own way home.
It must be here, in these old photographs

for even as I gave you what you asked
you would not speak of love, a thing
too holy to be reduced to words (was it?)
too intimate and strange for comfort (yes).

Marg Walker is a life long writer and student of poetry who is especially drawn to lyrical work with a strong story to tell. Her poems have appeared in Wilderness House Literary Review, Page and Spine, ArtWord Quarterly, The Minnesota Monthly, and Cairns Art Journal.

The Heart, by Marg Walker

The Heart
by Marg Walker

A helium balloon the first time
           slipping upward into impossible blue.

Next time
           a kite.

Fistfuls of perennial he-loves-me-
           he-loves-me-not; pitiful, really.

The currency
           of a spend thrift God.

Work boots and, every now and then,
           dancing shoes.

Fingertips and also, of course,
           fingerprints.

What I dreamed you, repulsed,
           held dripping from your hand.

Pepper spray
           sometimes.

A cello
           solo.

String theory, which is a candidate for the theory
           of everything, which nobody understands.

Marg Walker is a life long writer and student of poetry who is especially drawn to lyrical work with a strong story to tell. Her poems have appeared in Wilderness House Literary Review, Page and Spine, ArtWord Quarterly, The Minnesota Monthly, and Cairns Art Journal.