Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Fall 2013    fiction    all issues


Chris Joyner
Wrestlemania III
& other poems

Carey Russell
Visiting Hours
& other poems

Marc Pietrzykowski
Cabinet of Wonders
& other poems

Jonathan Travelstead
Prayer of the K-12
& other poems

Jennifer Lowers Warren
Our Daughter's Skin
& other poems

Jeff Burt
The Mapmaker's Legend
& other poems

Patricia Percival
Giving in to What If
& other poems

Toni Hanner
& other poems

Christopher Dulaney
& other poems

Suzanne Burns
Window Shopping
& other poems

Katherine Smith
Mountain Lion
& other poems

Peter Kent
Surliness in the Green Mountains
& other poems

William Doreski
Gathering Sea Lavender
& other poems

Huso Liszt
Fresco, The Forlorn Virgin...
& other poems

Clifford Hill
How natural you are
& other poems

R. G. Evans
& other poems

David Kann
Dead Reckoning
& other poems

Ricky Ray
The Music of As Is
& other poems

Tori Jane Quante
Creatio ex Materia
& other poems

G. L. Morrison
Baba Yaga
& other poems

Joe Freeman
In a Wood
& other poems

George Longenecker
Bear Lake
& other poems

Benjamin Dombroski
South of Paris
& other poems

Ryan Kerr
& other poems

Josh Flaccavento
Glen Canyon Dam
& other poems
& other poems

Christine Stroud
& other poems

Abraham Moore
Inadvertent Landscape
& other poems

Chris Haug
Cow with Parasol
& other poems

Mariah Blankenship
Fiberglass Madonna
& other poems

Emily Hyland
The Hit
& other poems

Sam Pittman
Growth Memory
& other poems

Alex Linden
The Blues of In-Between
& other poems

Bobby Lynn Taylor
& other poems

D. Ellis Phelps
Five Poems

Alia Neaton
Cosmogony I
& other poems

Elisa Albo
Each Day More
& other poems

Noah B. Salamon
& other poems

Winner of $1000 for 1st-place-voted Poems

Writer's Site

Chris Joyner

Wrestlemania III

So much depends upon

a scoop slam, an atomic

leg drop. Hulk Hogan’s shirt:

red wheelbarrow ripped open

as if by tornado or rust.

Jacked, his waxed skin

glazed with sweat, he is flexed

perfection. Bleached strands

worn like a bald-rimmed crown,

if ever he was apex, it is now:

all 7’5” 500 pounds of André the Giant

muscled impossibly overhead

like a mythological burden,

like Muybridge’s mid-gallop,

airborne horse. Though too young

to have witnessed, I somehow remember

gripping rabbit ears, counting to three

as Hogan peeled back the Giant’s leg.

I remember my father posing, partly

to me, partly to himself,

What makes a man? but never

the answer. I am trying

to pretend I don’t see the future

in his now slouching breasts,

or deeper inside slack flesh,

his heart hammering like a one-

armed carpenter worked too long

into the gloam. I am child again,

beside him under what relief

(I’d yet to fathom) a hot shower

bestows blue-collar bones.

Naked, I make lathering

grease from his hands

a game. Father, can I know

of love’s inglorious sacrifices?

Can I someday sing of its gristle?

Can I? Can I sing?

Hatred and Honey

Fledgling blunders, routine

tragedies, a dusk-bourbon sky

chasing us home. Suburbia—

what’s salvageable:

this viewfinder of warped images?

Or rather, memory as a hose

untangled with coordination

and patience? Copper-sweet

water the spigot rewards?

Now the sour must of an office

where my uncle hid monolithic

stacks of skin magazines, all airbrushed

areolas and bush. When it seemed enough

to simply palm my flesh

like an injured chick. Flash

to swimsuit snatched below

my bony knees, prick a sudden

offering to the golden

lifeguard with Fibonacci curls.

How the yelp I mustered

before bolting sounded

not my own. A summer anthem,

shame became inescapable,

became like gravity

teaching the moon

              to orbit alone.

So I lifted weights in our oily garage,

tore muscle like sacrament bread.

The friend I hated most once snapped

my hockey stick in half for no reason

other than cruelty craves reaction.

So too he set fire to a pine

in the neighboring woods;

I entered briefly to see it blaze—

              a blood-red exclamation.

That was how it went: rarely living

between hatred and honey, not rebellious

but ignorant of consequence

until we witnessed how indifferent

and vibrant the flames, how surely,

when stepped on, a rusted nail

settles the soft meat.

This tender recess left

once the nail is loosed.

Ode to Mosh

             But for now, 17, we are

acned and beautiful, tornadic

in our angst. The venue’s strobe-

             dark striates our flail


Lost in an undulation of knuckles

and chains, bedraggled bangs

and B.O., we are tossed—

paper lanterns in a storm—

             slip, are lifted, return

to riffs clipping the beer-thick air,

kick drums pummeling our love

             for the necessary rebellion

punk rock affords. After,

             the lingering

sting in our ears we smuggle

             home like anything good

that fades. But for now our bodies,

apertures through which

revolt and song, prism brilliantly—

             solar flares through stained glass.

Ode to Asymmetry

Bless the smaller, left breast, untethered, swimming 

          under faded cotton you wear to bed, 

          mattress begun to cup like hands 

                    held out for the drizzle of our sleep.

Bless the 37 crumpled drafts of “Virtuvian Man” 

          Da Vinci, flustered, arced into his waste bin.

          Drafts with one testicle slightly drooped, 

one longer leg, six fingers, wonky eye.

Bless the crooked pocket sewn for pennies 

          in a country not quite our antipode.  The unpredictable

course blood runs from a needle-nicked finger.

                    The unpredictable course by which cancer conquers,

                              finally, the dictator’s lymph and marrow.

          Bless the fractal crack of lightning,

          its flighty refusal to lick the same ground.  

The drunk man struck while scrawling 

          sloppily, with earnest into the oaks’ flank 

he hearts her—a declaration 

to whichever sidereal big shot 

                    rules over us but does not appear

                              to reward our psalms.

Which is not the way I feel for you now, 

          Honey-Bum, as you saunter braless, against 

                    exhaustion, toward the commitment 

of another dawn.  Not asymmetrical, exactly, our love 

                    but chiral, Icarian in its fluctuations.  Not golden 

our mean but a perfectly flawed stone

          in a ring too small.  This, the only way 

I’d have it:  waltzing off-beat, 


          mooching booze 

                    at oblivion’s dance party.

Chris Joyner is a recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of Miami and calls Virginia home. In 2012 he won honorable mention in Winning Writers’ Sports Poetry and Prose Contest and in 2011 received the Alfred Boas Poetry Prize. His work has appeared in B O D Y, Penduline Press, Brusque, Fiddleblack, the Barely South Review, and elsewhere. While he is currently an adjunct professor of English by day and a server by night, in a parallel universe he ghostwrites for a well-respected rapper.

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