February 10-16, 2020: Poetry from Peggy Turnbull and Paul Koniecki

Peggy Turnbull and Paul Koniecki

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Peggy Turnbull

Bio (auto)

Peggy Turnbull returned to her birthplace in the upper Midwest after living in West Virginia for over 25 years. She began writing poetry after retiring from her work as a college librarian. Recent poems have appeared in Mad SwirlVerse-VirtualAncient Paths Online and are forthcoming in Your Daily Poem. Visit Peggy on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Peggy Turnbull and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Midwest Different

Their mother sews cotton dresses for the two girls,
stitches hems deep enough to carry apples in, lets
them out for decency’s sake when their legs elongate.

Their plain-faced factory town smells of rotting fish
in summer, acrid smoke in winter. Their house rests
on top of the old town dump: four rooms and an attic.

A Christmas tree commands the living room. Generous
as the sunshine in southern Cal, their diplomat uncle never
forgets the holiday. Each year he sends a box to their frigid

stoop. Inside are packages purchased abroad: a Swiss
music box, French dolls in aprons and bonnets, a wooden
figurine from Japan without arms or legs, slim dress boxes

with their names attached. The oldest unfolds tissue paper,
finds ivory organza flocked with red poppies, a velvet sash.
Can she wear it to school, please? She longs to be beautiful

there, show Miss Joyce her hidden wealth. Mother says no.
It’s for Sunday only. One day the zipper resists her waist.
Mother whisks the dress away to give to another family.

The girl wails because her sister will never know the joy
of touching its textured flowers. Sister says she doesn’t care.
They thank Uncle in letters written to the myth of him,

a newscast version of their Daddy. In a dark suit and spectacles
Uncle flies First Class across oceans to where dignified strangers
await, shake his hand on the tarmac, smile while flash bulbs pop.

They scramble over snowbanks on their way to school.
White wisps undulate over each chimney. Thunderheads spew
from the plant. Beyond these smokestacks lie cornfields. Beyond

the cornfields: cities. Beyond cities: countries where even the toys
are different, where children live who could be friends. The girls
look into a bin of potatoes, expect to find tropical fruit.

What will become of them?




Paul Koniecki

Bio (auto)

Paul Koniecki lives and writes in Dallas, Texas. He was once chosen for the John Ashbery Home School Residency. He is the Associate Editor of Thimble Literary Journal. His books of poetry are available from Kleft Jaw Press, NightBallet Press, Dark Particle Press, and Spartan Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Paul Koniecki and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.



Bologna knows it is bologna
and it knows
it must be fried. The heat
of the frying pan holds it’s eyes,
slow lidded but quickening, heavenward
to the celestial crucibles where all atoms
originally burn. Soon the pink circle
curls at the circumference like an offering
plate or open palm slightly closing to make
a fleshly cup.

When I watch a chess match I fixate
on the forearms of the players.
Forearms and the smell of fried bologna
bring me running
to July 1974.
Those years I loved the grill and the pool.
Listening to Iggy Pop’s The Passenger
and writing a poem for Bobby Fischer
I wish I never knew my real dad.

Bobby’s dad was probably
a Hungarian physicist named Paul.
A superior
mind watches half the world
from a atop a glacier while sliding over
everyone, mankind, the Statue of
Liberty, Wrigley Field, Madagascar,
or a camera stretching out it’s longest telephoto lens.
Chess is warfare. Mankind and warfare are oxymoronic.

That summer I was almost
eight. Our backyard Weber Grill
was an intense red and wobbling
sun. Passing
by the family room t.v. I notice
Charles Bronson hand-gag Capucine
in the movie Red Sun.
Toshirō Mifune appears noble and out of place although I could be wrong.

Back in the backyard
he notices he forgot to wear a belt.
As proper
punishment for the basement light-
switch I forgot to flick
they hold
my leeward humerus to the Weber’s
metal dome.
What remained
of that year was a cast autographed
No Swimming Allowed.

Time has erased
my beautiful oval of puckered skin
Twisted helix of yellow

proofs come back to me. Checkmate goes
to forgetting and erasure
forgiveness and still everything feels

like castling
a hot red sun.



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