August 12-18, 2019: Poetry from Josh Medsker and Layla Lenhardt

Josh Medsker and Layla Lenhardt

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Josh Medsker

Bio (auto)

Josh Medsker is a New Jersey poet, originally from Alaska, and is the author of five chapbooks of poetry. His work has appeared in many publications, including: Contemporary American Voices, The Brooklyn Rail, and Haiku Journal. Check out Josh’s small press: Twenty-Four Hours.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Josh Medsker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

1001 Ways to Survive 2019

(after Tuli Kupferberg)

Flip off the president on TV.
Flip off Kim Jung Un on TV.
Flip off Putin on TV.
Rig the election in your favor.
Become president and declare the US a failed state.
Become president and fire Congress.
Kiss your neighbor.
Kiss your neighbor’s wife.
Kiss your neighbor’s husband.
Kiss your neighbor’s dog.
Declare your neighbor’s dog president.
Melt down your guns and make statues of school shooting victims.
Block the entrances and exits of the capitol and refuse to let Congress leave until they dismantle the NRA.
Join the NRA and steal their guns.
Declare yourself an independent country and secede from the United States.
Write a poem detailing 1001 ways to survive 2019.
Only give 18 solutions, just to be perverse.


Layla Lenhardt

Bio (auto)

Layla Lenhardt is Editor in Chief of 1932 Quarterly. She has been most recently published in Poetry Quarterly, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Opiate, The Charleston Anvil, and Scars. Her forthcoming Poetry Book, These Ghosts are Mine is due for publication this fall. She currently resides in Indianapolis.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Layla Lenhardt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Mother of my mother, her knotted knuckles cradled
my scraped elbows, the heaviness of my childhood
heart. Her beauty unrepeatable, blistering. She stands
hunched over the sink, peeling potatoes, buttering bread,
in the yellow light of the pre-war kitchen she is ageless.
When I think of home, I think of her,
kindness dripping from her embrace like honey.
The wrinkles of her cheeks soft, like crushed velvet.
We are the same faux rose in a dusty, crystal vase.
I am cut from the long sinews of her arms,
I am stitched together with her veins.
The treble of my voice is the child of her voice,
that timeless, velvet rasp.

Sylvia’s Son

I was wrapped in a bad dream like a towel,
wet feet on linoleum. I was too preoccupied to see
the cracked blood, to hear the silence until I was knee-
deep in your tomb.
Sometimes, I dreamt you were a baby being born,
waking to a pain that was not yours, a motherhood
I never had. It was always the same, the air was metallic
when I woke up. You were there, sleeping slack-jawed like a
skeleton on my makeshift mattress,
for what would be the last time.
I didn’t know there was something insidious living in your ribcage,
quietly sifting through the cracks, waiting for spring so it could spring.
I still wake up screaming,
“please crawl into my mouth, you can make a home in there!”
I saved your beard shavings in a porcelain egg, I no longer call my
mother. The tin can on the other end of the string is silent and rusted. I put crystals
everywhere to try to see your fleeting reflection,
to know that I’m capable of remembering more
than the warmth of your blood on my hands.



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