Nanette Rayman-Rivera, author of poetry books, Shana Linda Pretty Pretty, Project: Butterflies, two-time Pushcart nominee, Best of the Net 2007, DZANC Best of the Web 2010, winner Glass Woman Prize for prose. Publications: The Worcester Review, Sugar House Review (mentioned newpages.com), Stirring’s Steamiest Six, gargoyle, sundog, Berkeley Fiction Review, Editor’s Pick prose at Green Silk Journal, Pedestal, ditch, Wilderness House, decomp, Contemporary American Voices, featured poet at Up the Staircase, Rain, Poetry & Disaster Society, DMQ, carte blanche, Oranges & Sardines. She lives with her puppy, Layla.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Nanette Rayman-Rivera and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
a husband goes missing
I could, in one evening, learn to dispose of my body you spent
…………years touching and telling me was blinding pretty.
I could wrap the sash from my yellow sundress four times around
…………my neck. I could rip the bodice of my sundress with my pocket
knife, engrave my breasts, then draw over the blood, cords and grooves
…………of purple pen. I could become a portrait for no light because no
light will ever escape the black hole of the sky. I could wish for the hiss
…………of capricious lightning, caught up in Honeysuckle air I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe. No poem, no letter, no entreaty will help me push through
…………alphabets as gardens of language describing death as haven. I could
sit on my patio, and write: Has someone birdlimed the branches of those
…………rumpled trees? Yet I find no birds perched on a windowsill beckoning
another world. You and me, we are treasurable of our pain—our eyes are still
…………life lowered below birds. We are our own asylum, a freedom that is always
love before there was sky or anything. Could you be my widow whisperer?
Charlie Brice won the 2020 Field Guide Poetry Magazine Poetry Contest and placed third in the 2021 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Prize. His fifth full-length poetry collection is The Ventriloquist (WordTech Editions, 2022). His poetry has been nominated twice for the Best of Net Anthology and three times for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Atlanta Review, The Honest Ulsterman, Ibbetson Street, The Paterson Literary Review, Impspired Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, and elsewhere.
The following work is Copyright © 2022, and owned by Charlie Brice and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
I’m Not Writing a Poem
I’m not writing a poem about smashing a wasp
that’s bugging me on my back porch in Pittsburgh
with Rick Lupert’s new poetry collection,
I Am Not Writing a Book of Poems in Hawaii.
To write such a poem would memorialize
and glorify a barbarous act that’s totally
against the principles of my lackluster,
fallen away, pseudo-Buddhism—my feeling
that, at this age, I don’t want to kill anything,
and yet, that’s not entirely true. Gerry Spense,
the famous Wyoming attorney, asked a client
on the way to his execution, why he murdered
the man he killed. “Some people,” he told Gerry,
“need killin’.” And at this old age of mine,
I’m sorry to say, he’s right. Some people
in our troubled world need killin’, but not,
of course, by me. It’s the same with the beef
I eat: someone else kills the cows.
Death, that hollow-eyed beggar, sits
atop your washing machine, hides
in your garden, and crawls, at night,
to where your pillow meets your head.
You always knew that death would
mark the time hope ends, but you
didn’t know that hope would take
so long to circle the drain.
Wife old, feeble, talking about assisted
living. Dog slowed down, stares with
midnight dark eyes. You pretend that
your ass doesn’t wake you up
in the middle of the night. Backyard
blue sky, birch tree bark, service berry
bush, tulip tree, now more temporary
than the idea of yesterday.
This doesn’t end well.
This doesn’t end well.