June 25 – July 1, 2012: Teresa Tulipano and Joan McNerney

week of June 25 – July 1, 2012

Teresa Tulipano and Joan McNerney

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Teresa Tulipano

Bio (auto)

Teresa Tulipano was born in San Francisco, CA, grew up in England and the Republic of Panama, and she now lives with her dear husband in Brooklyn, NY. She used to cover the San Francisco Bay Area’s night beat for the Contra Costa Times and wrote the nightlife section of Time Out’s guidebook to San Francisco. She published a chapbook, The Whetting Stone, and her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Lines+Stars, Marco Polo Arts Mag, Menacing Hedge, and Two Hawks Quarterly.

The following work is Copyright © 2012, and owned by Teresa Tulipano and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


It is still too early for what’s left of Coney Island’s boardwalk next to the sea
to be open, but there are a few smoking carnies, creaking slow hustlers, tying back
shutters with gnarled fingers. Those former forms of themselves have withered,
important teeth missing, grimy faces creased from years of suspicious squint, and their
sinew braided, leathered arms now covered with soft blue impressions – watercolors
where once were pin-up girls, tigers and flaming skulls.

This work has been done in early April for thirteen decades, re-dressing the rickety
tawdry game of chance shacks that appeal to rubes – a slap of whitewash across the
frayed boards and splintered rigging, a splash over lumps of ancient dirt consisting of
lifetimes of dropped cotton candy, torn coaster tickets and hotdog wrappers mulched
under baseboards. Signs slung cockeyed by winter winds that need to be re-hung, are
hurriedly touched up with crude daubs of day-glo paint.

Most of the rides are gone and the sideshows, too, what remains is chained behind a fence –
a busted caravan in the corner of the lot, rusty metal cages that once resembled sidecars,
lengths of disembodied coaster track, stacks of peeling, fading, hand-painted, plyboard
freakshow signs: The Wild Man of Borneo, Fat Baby Alpine and Rob Roy the Wonder
Albino, which are guarded by a gentle, pinkish-white pit bull lolling on a plank in the one
patch of sun on the lot.

The dog there to keep the restless impoverished youths, those jackal vandals, from
jumping the fence and dismantling the rides for sport and trophies. His morning bowl of
dry chunks is always gone by noon and he laps rusty water from the dented paint can
until he can’t reach it. He paces because the memory in his bounding muscles demands it
of him. He is lonely and barks expectantly at any men who pass, but few do, so he
sleeps, twitching, the rest of the day,

dreaming of his one true love all, shining brightly, mighty, setting him free to run back to
the time when there were still Dutch rabbits to chase and chomp from burrows in the
sand, when he was Jo-Jo the Dogfaced Boy and she was Ursa the Bear Girl, stars the both
of them, strolling down the boardwalk, fine as you could please, her paw tucked tenderly
in his crooked arm, his furry face silky and groomed, when the crowds would part for
them to take their turn on the Wonder Wheel.

Espíritu Santo

We don’t point with fingers, we pout our lips towards what we want and the store keeper
will fetch it down, a bolt of red cloth, a cylinder of Ajax, a hairy coconut

We greet with light kisses, while touching the elbow, the shoulder, the forearm of the
person we are kissing, we make direct eye contact and keep it while conversing

We paint our toes dark red and tip them with opalescent white, we paint stars like the
fields on our flag, paint flowers like heliotropes, paint crosses to show our faith

We wear American clothes whenever we can get them, Calvin Klein jeans, Panama Jack
t-shirts, Bass flip flops, but we have montuna skirts in our closets too

Our dances are allegories, reenactments of the triumphs of angels over devils, virtue over
sin, they are named after little birds, little flowers, little bulls, they are danced hip to hip

Our heroes are generals who negotiated shrewdly, priests who covered golden altars with
mud, doctors who cured malaria with a thin coating of gasoline on standing water

Our people survived conquistadors who sacked our cities, churches who captured our
souls, troupes who marched black boots across the thin neck of our isthmus

Our belief is in the trinity; when Tía Rebecca shows us the plantation, she points out
banana, banana, banana, montuno, montuno, montuno, Padre, Hijo y Espíritu Santo


 Joan McNerney

Bio (auto)

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, 63 channels, Spectrum, and three Bright Spring Press Anthologies. She has been nominated twice for Best of the Net in 2011. Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses.

The following work is Copyright © 2012, and owned by Joan McNerney and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lost My Voice

Around the house under the bed,
on top of book shelves,
perhaps flung over my closet door,
or hidden inside cubby holes.

Have to look for it at all my usual haunts.
Check out the library, ask my pharmacist
circle gas stations and stomp up down
that dam old supermarket.

Not anywhere…geez this is tiring
better sit down and think.
When did I last have my voice.
Is it missing or maybe somebody took it?

Now I remember losing my voice at
the doctors’ office. Did those creeps
steal it for insurance purposes?
Makes me want to scream.

I’ll get to them tomorrow!