Category: Poetry (Page 1 of 5)

TCR Talks with Ruth Nolan

BY: Nathania Seales Oh

In a time when the power of a woman’s voice rings louder and clearer than ever, Ruth Nolan is putting her money where her mouth is. From the beautiful ecopoetry in her latest project, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, where she acted as coeditor and contributor, to her deeply personal poetry collection Ruby Mountain, Nolan is, in a word, an activist. She is a profound advocate for the respect and conservation of the California desert, a landscape she has always called home. She speaks not only to its beauty but also to its transformative power. Nolan tells of our relationship, history, and encroachment upon lands where wildfires have burned for centuries. Yes, it’s true. Wildfires are not a new thing. Our living in the places where they unfold, is. She also reminds her readers, students, and fan base of the importance of speaking your truth. As we witness this watershed moment in time, The Coachella Review is honored to spend time in conversation with the passionate and incomparable Ruth Nolan.

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Lust Will Ewigkeit

BY: Robert Beveridge

 

The needle at seventy.

The plains states pass,

one endless road and miles

of crops. Now and again,

corn becomes barley.

 

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TCR Talks with Mag Gabbert

BY: J. Markowitz

The physicality of Mag Gabbert’s poetry and essays is dreamily overwhelming. We enter a twilight through the medium of a body—her body—which her craft makes so palpable that it could be our own. Via the sensations of her vulnerabilities, Gabbert delivers us to the liminal spaces between pleasure and shame, power and exploitation, existence and the body. She takes us to the edge of her mortality, because it is there that we are most aware of our own aliveness.

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Retrograde Movement

A poem

BY: WILLIAM CULLEN JR.

 

A spider on the window

centers its web

like a bull’s-eye

on the full moon

and then moves diagonally

eight legs in motion

across its creation

to the darkest corner

where it will wait

for that hypnotic light

to draw white wings near

until the faintest tremor

radiating outward

from the dead center

sets in motion

a very local eclipse.

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Suicide

By: Stephanie Kaplan Cohen

 

No, I didn’t commit suicide.

I did not jump off

the Empire State Building.

 

No matter how many tell

the story of a young girl

who jumped.

 

They speak of many years ago,

before the balcony was
enclosed. They saw

 

with their own eyes,

a desperate young girl

her coat fluttering behind

 

jumped, jumped, jumped.

With their own eyes

they saw it.

 

Look, here I am.

 

But not my coat.

It was, in the style of the time
thrown over my shoulders,

 

and that new red coat of mine
was embraced by the wind.

It flew, it fluttered.

 

People screamed

while it cavorted in the breeze

until it came to land

 

on the top of a now-defunct

store, B. Altman by name.

And because it was

 

so long ago, the store was closed.

In those golden years

stores were closed on Sundays.

 

My cousin and I

traipsed across the street

and told the superintendent

 

My coat was on his roof.

His eyes widened,

without a word,

 

he entered the elevator

and in a few minutes, came down

holding the rag of my coat.

 

But look at me.

I’m still here,

but not my new red coat.


Stephanie Kaplan Cohen has been published in many literary journals as well as The New York Times. Her memoir, In My Mother’s House, was published by Woodley Books and her poetry books, Additions and Subtractions and Body Work, have been published by Plain View Press. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. For many years she wrote the column “Ask Stephanie” for the Alzheimer’s Association Quarterly in Westchester and Putnam, New York. She is also an editor of The Westchester Review. Stephanie has had many public and private fiction and poetry readings, and her work has been read on NPR.

The Beginning and The End: A Love Poem with 2 Parts

By:  Danielle Foley

 

  1. Words

 

When words are insignificant what does a phone conversation become?

When you can’t find the vocabulary to say what’s in your heart,

Because your brain can’t find the letters

To make up the words

To make up the phrases

To make up the meanings

Because what you are feeling

Is more than a sentence?

How much do you want to talk love?

It’s not a talking thing

It moves you

Me

Together

 

  1. Remember

 

I remember a long, black dress

Paper-thin

Bohemian-esque

With tiny, gold stars (flecked on the fabric)

I remember shingles

That burned my skin like fire ants

I recall floating away on a

Cloud of pills

I remember

Thinking that I was so cool

And you were so cool

And that our love would never die


Danielle Joy Foley received her BFA in Theatre Arts from Miami University of Ohio and MA in Dance/movement therapy from Drexel University. She is a Philadelphia based actress, illustrator and yoga teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, gardening and interpretive dancing.

Passing Storm

By: Michael Seeger

 

Whiplash lightning

cracked then

 

thunder stuttered

rolling wildly with

 

rain falling through

the early morning

 

desert sky leaving

its wet print

 

before the day

broke over

 

the distant cloudy

horizon.


Michael Seeger lives with his lovely wife, Catherine, and still-precocious 16-year-old daughter, Jenetta, in a house owned by a magnificent Maine Coon (Jill) and two high-spirited Chihuahuas (Coco and Blue). He is an educator (like his wife) residing in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California. Prior to his life as a middle school English instructor, Michael worked as a technical writer for a baseball card company and served as a Marine infantry officer during Desert Storm. Michael considers poetry a passion and writing generally a way of life. Some of his poems have appeared recently either published or included in print anthologies like the Lummox PressBetter Than Starbucks, and The Literary Hatchet and as Finalists in several Goodreads contests.

 

Five Arguments in Favor of My Beatification

By: David Starkey

 

Antioch

 

In Yellow Springs, Ohio,

I stood at the campus gates

calling out, Fraud! Apostate!

 

Nevertheless, the grizzled chief

of security offered me a sandwich

and a business card from a local clergyman.

 

Then he asked me for a prayer.

 

*

 

Bob Jones University Museum

 

In the Old Master Collection,

the Italian Mannerist paintings

near me seemed suffused

with an ethereal glow,

which clearly diminished

when I left the room

and just as plainly

became more radiant

upon my reentering the gallery.

 

*

 

Bethlehem, PA

 

Whilst playing the role of Melchior

in the annual Live Nativity Pageant,

I crossed paths with the donkey,

who stepped on my bathrobe

and pulled my sweatpants to the ground.

My underwear that day was golden-hued,

although I would have sworn

on a stack of Bibles that very morning

I had dressed in red.

 

*

 

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

 

It was a pleasant September morning

in Elizabeth, New Jersey,

when I drove to the Home Depot

to buy a pair of two-by-fours.

 

I nailed them together and surprised

even Father Aleksander with my initiative.

 

Afterwards, several members of the assembly

suggested the Offertory Verses were sung

with special gusto in honor of my rough offering.


David Starkey served as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2011 Poet Laureate and is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Santa Barbara City College. His poetry has appeared in many journals and in seven full-length collections, most recently Like a Soprano (Serving House, 2014), an episode-by-episode revisioning of The Sopranos television series. His textbook, Four Genres in Brief (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017), is in its third edition.

Calendar

By:  Nels Hanson

 

The absent ring’s white circle

remains long after the bare finger

turns the color of the hand.

 

For a second where the great

walnut tree stood 90 years

and its high branches reached

far higher than the tall farm house

passing robins hesitate, sensing

a familiar roost, before flying on.

 

In the drought year on the empty

pond on the farm once ours

we cease rowing to watch

the sapphire kingfisher hover

like a huge hummingbird

before it dives for fingerlings

of the sunfish we planted.

 

Someone calling through tule fog

last century cries the horse is loose

above the clean snap of shears

as I prune the vine’s dormant canes

for summer’s yellow grapes.

 

The Christmas presents bought

and wrapped in August and hidden

and forgotten under the bed

dream of a holiday fallen from

a 1965 Great Northern calendar

of a freight train, sure engine

entering the gorge of yellow

aspen through October Rockies.


Nels Hanson grew up on a small farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California and has worked as a farmer, teacher and contract writer/editor. His fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart nominations in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. His poems received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s 2014 Prospero Prize, and 2015 and 2016 Best of the Net nominations.

What

By:  Bonnie Watts

 

What secrets lie

  beneath the soul?

Those doors are closed

  forevermore.

What carnal dreads

  what charnel threads

that hidden,

  clothe our psyche’s core?

The innermost

  of who we are

will go with us

  into the void.

What weighty matters

  we attach  

to our frail link

  to humanness.

What joy to be

  as light and free

as birdsong

  caught upon the breeze,

without the thought

  that burdens me.

 


Bonnie Watts holds a BA in English from Washington & Jefferson College, and MS Ed in Reading from Duquesne University. She has taught English, remedial reading, ESOL, fourth grade and first grade. Bonnie has lived and worked in several locations, including Pittsburgh, PA; Mandeville, Jamaica; San Francisco, CA; and Gwinnett County, GA. Her hobbies include reading, travel, and cooking.

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