An avid introvert, full-time carbon-based life-form & aspiring himbo, Ashley Cline’s poetry has appeared here, & also there. A two-time Pushcart nominee & Best of the Net 2020 finalist, she is the author of four chapbooks of poetry: “& watch how easily the jaw sings of god” (Glass Poetry Press, 2021), “electric infinities” (Variant Lit, 2023), & “cowabungaly yours at the end of the world” (Gutslut Press, 2023) are available now, while “should the earth reclaim you” (Bone & Ink Press) is forthcoming. Once, in the summer of 2019, she crowd-surfed an inflatable sword to Carly Rae Jepsen, & her best at all-you-can-eat sushi is 5 rolls in 11 minutes. Twitter: @the_Cline. Instagram: @clineclinecline. Linktree: @ashleycline.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Ashley Cline and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
yellow bruise, in F# Major (god bless Carly Rae Jepsen)
i think about the way Carly Rae Jepsen sings run away with me / three minutes & forty-nine seconds into the song / of the very same name / more often than i think / of more important things / like, i already know that the planet is dying, for example / know how she is burning herself alive / for a lover who calls her nothing / calls her maybe / calls her venus, redux / & only Carly Rae Jepsen understands this / what it is to spin on an axis of want / knows that you can’t fake passion / like pleading / like burning / like the way she sings run away with me / near the edge of that final chorus / the way she extends that one me in particular / until it hangs shimmering like caramel lovers / unspooling their legs from / the split lips of diner-booth vinyl / sticky & sweet from the flush of an august heat / knows that you can’t pull it from yourself no matter how hard you try / the heat, i mean / & knows that to be in love is a culmination of the body, humid / the way it clings to your skin like a bramble, feral / like pressing a finger into a bruise on purpose & watching the sky drape herself in something softer than violence / knows that this is a love language, too / the body, i mean / & leans in anyway.
Patsy Cline sings of heritage, in G major
there is an old myth/joke/legend in my family that goes something like this:
we are related to Patsy Cline, the famous country-music singer, we just can’t prove it yet.
it is 1997. or 1998. between the bursts of hands & the cascade of feet, i tell everyone
on the recess field that Patsy Cline is my great-great grandmother;
when they do not know who she is, i run even faster.
i do not know how much of that is true, but i can tell you is this—
the smoke clung to the crushed red velvet of the car’s interior—
i was sitting in the passenger seat—
i saw my name (her name) on a cassette tape cover—
& assumed we must be family—
assumed the world was smaller than it was—
small enough to fit in the tape deck of my grandmother’s car—
my grandmother, who would outlive the woman she loved by several decades—
a fact i learn later, in a used bookstore—
i am there because it is my birthday—
at thirty-one, i have outlived the woman my grandmother loved, as well—
& when my teeth kiss the driveway decades before my feet—
i assume this is inheritance, too—
the way the blood keeps this memory, this tempo—
plays it back & rewinds—
plays it back. & rewinds.
i stumble across Patsy Cline again by accident—buy her albums in bulk the shape of
tree roots & nicotine. later, a cardinal mistakes a doorway for a window & divorces skull
from spine, discovers two new hemispheres of flesh—& we call this a clean break.
later, a glacier flows down a valley in Seward, Alaska—
& this, too, is our inheritance.
Jan Harris lives in Nottinghamshire, UK. Her poems have appeared in literary journals including Acumen, Atrium, and Poetry Wales, and in various anthologies, including several e-books published by Poetry Kit. Her poems also feature in the Iamb poetry archive. Jan was awarded third place in the Wales Poetry Award, 2019 and came second in the Poetry Super Highway 2022 Competition. Her first collection, Mute Swans on the Cam, was published in July 2020 by Oversteps Books.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Jan Harris and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
While still, we journey far
Our plans deflated by a nail in a tyre,
we must wait by the big cream phone
in our holiday lodge, while Cranecleugh Burn
rushes past the veranda on its journey
from moor to Kielder Water.
Our mobiles silently reproach this remoteness,
but the grey heron wings low along the river
with news of fish, and a robin
romances the rowan with song.
We pace, sit, sigh, while morning slides
into afternoon. The landline brings news
of delays, our rescuers diverted to emergencies.
Here, the only urgency is the swallows’
insect-hunt, their mechanical whirr.
With each new call we fall down the list
into tomorrow, patience ebbing
with the late-summer light, until we dine
al fresco, pass bowls of broth from hand to hand,
dip warm bread, sticky with butter
that pools on the soup’s surface, like words
that linger on our lips, before we speak them
into the cool evening air where buzzards circle
higher and higher – do you remember…
with an inflection that lifts like wings,
of course, and did I ever tell you…
and while the dark sky darkens
and is pricked by stars, we wonder
which ones are now just memories, light
carried through time and offered to us now,
like an unexpected gift.
First Published in Poetry Kit e-book Journeys 2020
If we travel towards each other, you and I,
we will meet at a point neither of us has reached before,
where a welcome bench is neither rickety nor new
………….and the view is not of silent, scented pinewoods
rolling down to sea, or city skylines drawn with steel
and glass, where traffic travels endlessly to somewhere else,
but something in between,
………….………….………….and there may be a small café
with food that doesn’t zing with chilli on our lips
and isn’t bland as rice without a hint of spice or seasoning,
………….………….………….……..and we will sit awhile, careful
not to close the gap too soon for fear
of something strangely undefined but real, until you say
a quiet namaste, shalom, or maybe the salaam,
………….………….………….and I will offer you my hand,
and you will hold it, warm in yours,
………….………….………….with your hand warm in mine.
First Published in Poetry Kit e-book Journeys 2020
Kathrynn Axton is a poet, spoken word artist, Indigenous advocate and nationally certified Canadian addictions counsellor. She is the author of Uncultured Girl (That Writer Kwe Publications, 2017) and was awarded fourth place in the 2022 Poetry Super Highway summer contest. Her poetry has been featured on AllPoetry Spotlight, Bywords, PoetrySuperHighway, The Peregrine Journal and elsewhere. Her editorials have been featured in Native Hoop Magazine, and elsewhere. When she is not writing she spends her time dedicated to supporting the development and implementation of therapeutic communities within the correctional system as a Team Lead with Rosc Solutions Group in Alberta, Canada.
The following work is Copyright © 2023, and owned by Kathrynn Axton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
The Other Side of Brawley
One-hour and forty-five minutes
symphony of sad songs clash
angry metal spoons
raging against the veins you use
and we stayed sick
I wish you felt the loss
but you only feel the burn
toxic dust from a dying California lake
filling your lungs from the edge of a pipe
and we stayed sick but
I could have done so many things
instead I answer the phone
the call of my
we could have driven to the Salton Sea
but when I got well
you stayed sick
and now what?
you stayed shaking on the other side of oblivion
and here I am looking into the eyes of recovery
but I don’t see you there
Vignettes for Three Children in the Archway of a Funeral Home
Have you ever been afraid to exhale?
Guilt is a noose that tightens each time I swallow,
having never learned to hold my breath I stagger-
leaning into the bruise
Static connects, that awful ping
It taunts me, goads me
lulls my heavy tongue into submission
with six-seconds of silence, shaking fingers fumble
I leave another message
you will never hear.
I remember the beach.
Before the bottles, the pills
there was nothing but the smell of the seaweed
desperately trying to warn us
there’s more than one way to drown.