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Poetry Summer 2014    fiction    all issues


Anne Rankin-Kotchek
Letter to the World
from a Dying Woman
& other poems

Sara Graybeal
Ghetto City
& other poems

Tee Iseminger
& other poems

Lisa Beth Fulgham
After They Sold the Cows...
& other poems

Mary Mills
The Practical Knowledge
of Women
& other poems

Monika Cassel
Waldschatten, Muttersprache
& other poems

Michael Fleming
To a Fighter
& other poems

Daniel Stewart
& other poems

John Glowney
& other poems

Hannah Callahan
The Ptarmigan Suite
& other poems

Lee Kisling
How the Music Came
to My Father
& other poems

Jose A. Alcantara
Finding the God Particle
& other poems

David A. Bart
Veteran’s Park
& other poems

Greg Grummer
War Reportage
& other poems

Rande Mack
& other poems

J. K. Kitchen
Anger Kills Himself
& other poems

Jim Pascual Agustin
The Man Who Wished
He Was Lego
& other poems

Jessica M. Lockhart
Scylla of the Alabama
& other poems

James P. Leveque
Three Films of Jean Painlevé
& other poems

Kelsey Charles
& other poems

Therese L. Broderick
& other poems

Lane Falcon
& other poems

Ricky Ray
The Bird
& other poems

Phoebe Reeves
Every Petal
& other poems

David Livingstone Fore
Eternity is a very long time...
& other poems

Tim Hawkins
Northern Idyll
& other poems

Abigail F. Taylor
On the Pillow Where You Lie
& other poems

Joey DeSantis
Baby Names
& other poems

Cameron Price
Every Morning
& other poems

David Walker
Sestina for Housesitting
& other poems

Helen R. Peterson
& other poems

Writer's Site

Lee Kisling

How the Music Came to My Father

Sort of a miracle, you might say because

I never saw or heard him practice. Just one day

there he was playing an accordion in his baggy pants

and white shirt looking like he was holding two bags

of potatoes, squeezing the air in and out of them.

The miracle of it—so sudden and unexpected—I now

picture God reaching down his wavering finger to touch

some other man with musical sensibilities, some father

two doors down, but accidentally touching Glenn.

And there he was, blessed, in our crackerbox house,

playing some nickering old-world polka and a passed-over

father down the street pulled his belt from his pants

and went looking for his boys.

The cosmic error was corrected eventually by

whoever it is that fixes God’s mistakes. We went back

to our yelling and the whippings and the accidental

Myron Floren moment passed. The world I knew

made sense again, and the holy finger must have

only barely brushed against him—he never said this

is going to hurt me more than it hurts you. And now

he’s in a sort of band of accidental squeeze box angels

on 42nd Street in heaven and there is a champagne bubble

machine, and sometimes they go marching in their old

army uniforms down that gold paved road,

shaking with palsy, tickling the ivories,

singing Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.

Kindly Give Up

Kindly give up these seats for the elderly and the daft,

arthritic abuelos singing pharmacy songs.

Kindly give them up.

Where they have been you are going.

Where they are going you are also going.

Give them directions, not to there-

they will find there easy enough, soon enough,

to where else they are headed before there

with always bags of stuff on the bus.

Kindly give them your seats

your help, your hand, your memory.

Eyes magnified by thickening lenses, leopard spotted.

Less admired certainties, less effective remedies.

Less likely recoveries, less remembered memories.

Like strollered babies eying their peers,

they watch each other disappear.

Landmarks of long lives, having passed by here before,

creased old maps, now everything’s changed,

what with the by-pass and one-way streets to the shiny

spotless hospital on the hill where

       Once upon a time

                 cows stood.

What is most depressing about cemeteries is the heavy yellow

machinery—once just a couple of bums with shovels

lowering themselves, making it last.

Please give up thinking of their movement as mass transit.

Picked-up pilgrims along the road, slowly boarded,

carried to clinics, casinos and churchyards,

deposited on corners. Speak to them

in Polish, Spanish, or Serbo-Croat.

Nod in understanding,

yes, yes.

Babies once, transported in arms, never alone,

tiny fingers, pink toes wee wee allthewayhome,

soothed, sheltered, spanked, adored. Kindly make

a place for them, give up your seats, soon

the return, to the corner of

Here & Gone, en memoriam, the gray

guests of honor.


Here is the imaginary library

where you can borrow a father—a book

you didn’t finish. Old books about fathers

and grandfathers with brittle pages,

pictures and maps of Kansas and Iowa

may show signs of wear. They are anecdotal—

the price of a horse, the hot weather in September.

Here, the reading room.

Empty chairs and morning sun

slanting through the windows,

the slow quiet turning of pages. Shhhh.

No howl here—no keening, no Shall We Gather,

but someone has written these books because

someone needs to read them.

I will be your father if you’ll be my daughter.

a loaner to get you around the town;

oh what a family we could be—

understudies, bound to say

sorry, I loved you,

and goodbye.

Write 50 Times

(for Dave Moses)

1. I will not chew gum in class. I will

2. not chew gum in class. I will

3. not gum in class chew. I will

4. in class chew not gum. I will

5. not sing The Marseillaise in class.

6. I will not, just incidentally, ever work for the telephone company.

7. And I will NEVER put my hand in my shirt like Napoleon Bonaparte.

7. Well yes, I suppose it all started with the gum chewing.

8. And some things just happen, of course.

9. I will remain gum-free, attentive, and responsible,

9a. but possibly not in class.

10. I will not chew gum at my Uncle Inor’s funeral.

11. Tomorrow afternoon at 2 pm. Thanks for asking.

12. I will not chew more than one stick of gum in class.

13. I will not, as a rule, respond well to petty discipline in class.

14. I mean, who the hell really cares about gum chewing?

15. With all due respect.

16. Or bloody prime numbers. Or King Whatsit. Or wretched poems.

19. Like going to school ever did you any good.

22. Bongo the Clown probably makes more money than you

29. and he drives a red Camaro.

34. Christopher Columbus chewed gum and he discovered Virginia or someplace.

37. Actually, chewing gum is a sedative.

38. It helps me concentrate.

39. It’s a health issue really—I could get a prescription.

41. You don’t want to see me when I haven’t had a chew for a few hours.

43. Thousands of people work in the chewing gum industry.

44. Good decent Americans with mortgages and car payments.

45. Next I suppose we won’t be permitted to sleep in class.

46. What’s this class about, anyway?

48. We the People demand to have the right to chew gum!

49. Give me liberty or give me some gum!

50. E chewibus pluribus gumbus!

Lee Kisling is a senior at Hamline University in St Paul, Minnesota. In December 2013, his poetry chapbook The Lemon Bars of Parnassus was published by Parallel Press in Madison, Wisconsin.

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