August 15-21, 2011: J. Patrick Lewis and Anca Vlasopolos

week of August 15-21, 2011

J. Patrick Lewis and Anca Vlasopolos

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J. Patrick Lewis

Bio (auto)

My first book of poems—Gulls Hold Up the Sky—was published in October 2010 by Laughing Fire Press. My poems have appeared in Gettysburg Review, New England Review, New Letters, Southern Humanities Review, new renaissance, Kansas Quarterly, Fine Madness, Light Quarterly, and many others. (Westerville, Ohio)

The following work is Copyright © 2011, and owned by J. Patrick Lewis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Seven Words

Five months’ pregnant, unhappy as 1.5 persons
were ever meant to be, I wore a bedspread dress
to hide his need, my mistake, and a field goal
kicker. Walking toward my unintended like an
Aztec virgin (but for the Firebird one-and-doner),
I thought, Could this be an ancient sacrifice
on the stone steps of a ziggurat as the high priest
pulls my heart out of my chest?

It’s been thirty-two years to the minute that I
married the future alcoholic. I calved twice—
once from the Pontiac and then on a heartless
Valentine’s Day. Divorced him, made unholy
congress with a door-to-door missionary,
divorced him to marry whatshisname, the line
of unintendeds like squirrely children, holding it
to pee.

As my father and I approached the altar
and the manchild I mistook for forever, I now
realize that every god-pocked thing in my life
has depended on what my hero my idol my rock
whispered at that moment. He turned to me
and said, “This could have been a great day.”

The Girl on the Bus

On the bus to Cincinnati, I sat next
to Helen of Troy. (The Troy just north
of Dayton.) But seriously, she had
an unforgettable classical beauty.

After an hour of pretending to nap,
I opened my eyes.
“Would you look at that?” I said.
“A scarlet tanager with a tufted titmouse.”

She said, “Haven’t you heard the saying,
‘There’s nothing new under the sun?’”

“But they were mating! How is that not new?”

She said, “Haven’t you heard the saying,
‘Love is blind?’”

Then she went back to reading her Bartlett’s.

Southern Ohio Truckers’ Notes

Standing behind a father and his family
at a McConnellsville bookstore, I watched
his three girls step up to the author.
“I’m Autumn Day.” “I’m Stormy Day.”
“I’m Rainy Day.” The author grinned
at Daddy Overalls, who said, “By God,
if we’d of had another one, we’d a called
her Helluva.”

At an all-night diner in Portsmouth,
I heard a long-hauler say, “Check out
the waitress’s eyes. Ain’t them the bluest
things ever was?” “No,” said his buddy,
“the bluest things ever was was my balls
at nineteen. I was raised Catholic.”

Anca Vlasopolos

Bio (auto)

I live in Grosse Pointe, MI, and work at Wayne State University, in Detroit. My credentials: the award-winning novel The New Bedford Samurai, the award-winning memoir No Return Address: A Memoir of Displacement, a collection of poems, Penguins in a Warming World, three poetry chapbooks, a detective novel, Missing Members, and over two hundred poems and short stories. Nominated for the Pulitzer for The New Bedford Samurai and nominated several times for the Pushcart Award in poetry and fiction. Associate editor of Corridors Magazine.

Visit Anca on the web here:

The following work is Copyright © 2011, and owned by Anca Vlasopolos and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

No Permanent Loss
I have become accustomed to the leprosy of age
as each day a fingertip an ear a lifetime friendship
take leave as if I were deciduous
standing in autumn’s parsing light
it’s hard enough to watch these falls and losses
see eyeless mask where my face used to be
hard enough to feel these wrenchings
pulsing-hot arteries cauterized
without this near-daily rising
these loosed pieces of what I once saw myself
as owning
as owning me—these strays these insolent specters
coming at me through radio speakers as I drive
drifting like last year’s undecomposting leaves
hitting the windshield with heartstopping pops
making certain I know that even mind
loosed by prankster eaters of the gray
a dinghy leaking on its journey down
will fill with empty shells reinhabited
those sideways scuttlers who refuse that final letting go


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