Cloudbank 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
fool of hope
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.
PRIZE WINNING POEM
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
Deborah H. Doolittle
Gary L. Lark
Abby E. Murray
M. E. Silverman
Toni Van Deusen