Cloudbank 1

Cloudbank 1Cloudbank 1 includes poetry and flash fiction by Christopher Buckley, Vern Rutsala, Sarah Lier, Alex Weiss, Jennifer Richter, Tim Hunt, Kimberly O’Connor, Jay Rubin and others. Vertigo by Martha Ronk and Light Here, Light There by Alexander Long are reviewed.

Issue introduction by Michael Malan

Touch the Universe

As A. R. Ammons wrote:

I would rather be
the flakey
fool of hope
than the
of the
small and mean.

[The Snow Poems]

We were also looking for poetic expressions that placed us on the cusp of human experience, at the edge of something greater than ourselves. Ammons again: “. . . touch the universe anywhere you touch it / everywhere. . . .” [Sphere]

Many of these poems do that; they bring us closer to the larger and more sublime. We hope you enjoy them.

Christopher Buckley’s “In Memory of the Winos at the Moreton Bay Fig Tree, Santa Barbara, CA“ was a finalist for the Cloudbank Poetry Prize. His edge of the universe is Southern California in the late ‘50s and ‘60s. Many thanks to all those who entered our contest and subscribed to Cloudbank. We appreciate your support.


Heaven in the Bad Borough
by Sara Lier

When you die in Brooklyn,
you’re already running late
to a party started in 1909
by an obscure Democratic candidate
who bribed his way into office
and died in a drinking binge 2 weeks
later. (They said it was politics
or his mother never taught him
discretion.) When you die in Brooklyn,
he buys you your first beer, then takes
you to see the fire eaters,
illusionists, and the tattooed girl
who turns out to be the one
you fell in love with that spring
of 1967 (or was it ’68?), just before
she caught a plague sleeping in draugh-
ty warehouses by the waterfront,
and you went on and fell for
an art school kid that September, forgot how
beautiful she was with those snakes
up her legs, and the apple tree
calligraphied on the tendons of her neck,
bearing fruit near her mouth like it’s the only
living thing in the whole damn dusty city.
When you die in Brooklyn,
you’ll wish you’d told her that.
When you die in Brooklyn, the first kiss
you get after is moist and
tastes like basement poker games
and sailor gossip. It’ll make you superstitious,
it’ll make you sad, it’ll make you
buy another round, then dizzy your way
past the fortune-teller stalls, where
you give up your last 2 coins
to hear them all say: you’re dead,
you’re here, and tomorrow
you will wake up drymouthed on a pier
you thought burned down a century ago.

Poets and writers in Cloudbank 1

Ron Bloodworth
Christopher Buckley
Don Colburn
Michael Colonnese
Charles Dallmann
Deborah H. Doolittle
Barbara Drake
George Drew
John Elliott
Maynard Freemole
Maralee Gerke
Arthur Ginsberg
Leanne Grabel
Henry Hughes
Tim Hunt
Kate Hutchinson
Dave Jarecki
Steve Jones
Carole Kalk
Marianne Klekacz
Gary L. Lark
Sara Lier
Phyllis Mannan
Margaret McGovern
Carolyn Miller
D.C. Miller
Abby E. Murray
Kimberly O’Connor
Korkut Onaran
Marjorie Power
Jennifer Richter
Jay Rubin
Beth Russell
Vern Rutsala
M. E. Silverman
Bill Siverly
Lianne Spidel
Jie Tian
Toni Van Deusen
Alexander Weiss
Chad Woody
Jennifer Whetham
Victoria Wyttenberg