Dotted Line Dotted Line

Poetry Summer 2013    fiction    all issues


Sharron Singleton
Five Poems

Sarah Giragosian
Five Poems

Jenna Kilic
Five Poems

Kristina McDonald
Five Poems

Toni Hanner
Five Poems

Annie Mascorro
Five Poems

Brittney Corrigan
Three Poems

S. E. Hudgens
Four Poems

Ali Doerscher
Four Poems

David Sloan
Three Poems

Olivia Cole
Five Poems

Lucy M. Logsdon
Four Poems

Marc Pietrzykowski
Four Poems

Donna Levine Gershon
Five Poems

Eva Heisler
The Olden Days

Stephanie Rose Adams
Five Poems

Jill Kelly
Five Encounters

Ben Bever
Five Poems

Michael Hugh Lythgoe
Five Poems

Arlene Zide
Three Poems

Harry Bauld
Five Poems

Lisa Zerkle
Four Poems

Peter Mishler
Five Poems

Tim Hawkins
Five Poems

Marqus Bobesich
Four Poems

Abigail Templeton-Greene
Five Poems

Eric Duenez
Five Poems

Anne Graue
Five Poems

Susan Laughter Meyers
Five Poems

Peter Kahn
Two Poems

D. Ellis Phelps
Five Poems

Linda Sonia Miller
The Kingdom

Nicklaus Wenzel
Skagit River

Holly Cian
Five Poems

Susan Morse
Five Poems

Daniel Lassell
Five Poems

Svetlana Lavochkina
Temperate Zones

Daniel Sinderson
Three Poems

Catherine Garland
Five Poems

Michael Fleming
Five Poems

Eric Duenez

Your Itinerary

1. Eke out an existence.

Begin by coaxing atoms into molecules into shapes into self.

Stay away from the abstract. By all means, a starfish (fig. 1).

God willing, a pug (fig. 2).

2. Gain a perspective.

To the north: you should see smoke pillowing from the factories.

Do not be alarmed. This is progress. Your automobile,

should you choose to accept one, will garner a 5-star safety rating.

To the east: there’s one now, a star, rising like a tiny fist to the top rail of a crib.

If it has the strength to pull itself into a position of standing, it will see

this is not a prison, but for its own protection. Dangers wait:

a spider’s web, an electrical outlet, finding yourself within a figure-eight

with no means of slowing down (fig. 3).

To the west then: the wagons of pioneers are already setting out, searching

for a more pure north, a different east; but that east is here, you see. So

they have already begun to die, wilting beneath a too clear sky, fouling up

the too fresh air with their self-fulfilling decay, choosing now & again

to rest upon a cinder block overgrown with grass and twisted wire.

A heron sculpted from a shovel head and scrap iron.

And to the south: a marbled sea as beautiful as any spry young thing.

No—she’s off limits. You see, it’s toxic, but we’re working around the clock

to make sure there will be fish or some passable imitation (figs. 4 & 5)

for your salad sandwich.

3. Pay it forward.

Operators are standing by, but due to heavy traffic expect long hold times.

We’d like to apologize for any inconvenience. We really would.

Please have your site ID ready. At least, there are so many things to see.

(Fig. 6) a factory fire. (Fig. 7) a salary man.


From origin to each

local limit

on the x and z

and y axes,

what the living would refer to

as skin, so smooth and white

like a pristine porcelain

sink fixture

or an egg shell:

something could be or has been started here.

It feels like I’m walking on water.

It feels like I’m healing the sick.

There’s a burning bush in my mouth

where my teeth used to be.

The lights with my eyes closed.

A golem for a tongue, a totem for a bone.

And so what if God is a fag?

I’ll take my reach around.

You can’t trust in Hollywood.

Our mouths grow out from our asses.

Here’s your cup of coffee.

Here’s your forty-three cents.

More. More. More.

The Nature of the Beast

Even with its jaw un-

hinged, it seems impossible

that a python could swallow a six-

foot gator; but I’ve seen the evidence:

my hand two knuckles deep in the side of Christ—who, also, was tempted.

I will confess; I thought it was consensual:

the green hills, the white noise of the sea,

all that beyond breathalyzer machine.

Here: a house.

What you have to understand . . .

on one hand, a dash cam;

on the other, Sleep Number Bed.

We’re hardwired to open

our mouths, when our noses are pinched

(when our stomachs are punched).

The politest incursion:

I was serving (myself).

Just two kids and some cold beer:

I was protecting (myself).

You’ll see: balloons will fall from the ceiling.

Our Host will explain everything after we cut to commercial & . . .

come back.

I’ve been piecing this together all my life.

The best defense is a seven-headed prosecution.

Her name will be changed to protect the dream.

Solar-powered floodlights along an s-curve to the front door.

Wildflowers herded into this alcohol-induced lullaby.

And everywhere you’ve found a scab and scratched,

we’ll put another tiny, little, golden badge.

Virgin Soil Epidemic

It’s frightening how quickly the changes come.

Your skin—a storm window nailed shut for winter—opens.

The rolling brown outs. The fine print.

The doctor merely mentions a scalpel

and your heart balks. Your skin and pericardium

recede to their antediluvian levels.

There’s a gap in the fossil record; it belonged to your teeth

before your teeth belonged to you. They will return there soon

with tales of spirant elements and religious ballyhoo.

A mantis perched upon a burning cigarette

goes through the motions of praying.

We’re past the heat break now.

You can fold a piece of paper in half only so many times.

All the lingering furbelows on the periphery, glittering

things, diminish: the two car garage you meant to clean out

before summer, the six-pack abs, the sky,

and a photo album we put together, together,

but couldn’t agree on how to remember best

the shared events, so we left it empty and blank.

But look out the window: the hummingbirds are back.

Eight months from now that will be all

you wish to remember anyway.

Intervention: Your Malignancy

I am here today because I love you.

You have a disease and this is how it affects me.

We used to walk along the fence row, touching

everything, believing that with everything touched

molecules or at the very least electrons were being

shared, that somehow we were all in this together,

that even with just a fleeting touch our muscles

would develop memory. So, if one picked a flower—

say, that daisy—and put it behind another’s ear,

this could be repeated over and over and with

every turn we’d be ever better. One morning,

you woke to find you could only turn left. Walking

in circles, your body was trying to unwind the clock:

stop the ticking and the cancer spits out healthy bone,

retreats back to its origin—some nothing, some

healthy cell with only an underhanded notion that

we pretend isn’t inside of us all—as if the arrow

could leave its target and return to find the bowstring

taut. All this movement becomes only the potential

for actions yet to be realized.

I am here today, touching everything, believing.

Eric Duenez lives in Plymouth, Indiana, with his wonderful girlfriend and four horrible cats. He discovered his love of poetry while earning his English degree at Indiana University South Bend. He enjoys listening to music and drinking craft beer. Revive poetry, revive America.

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