Cloudbank 7 includes poetry and flash fiction by Gale Acuff, Sylva Fischerova, Gary Young, Jennifer Freed, Michelle Salcido, Dennis Schmitz, Tim Hunt and others. Axis Mundi by Karen Holmberg, A Glossary of Chickens by Gary Whitehead and Varieties of Religious Experience by Christopher Buckley are reviewed.
Issue introduction by Michael Malan
Some poets feel short lines add emphasis to words or phrases that normally would not get much attention. Let’s add some context to W. C.‘s first example:
There is no end
Let us break
and go there—
The long pause after “in” breaks up what we would normally expect: “in” and “vain” stand out more than they would if they were placed side by side.
C. K.’s long line from “The Marriage” is more conversational, especially with the addition of non-specific words like “somewhere” and “anyway.” So, it’s a matter of style—the Williamses use very different techniques to speak to their readers. W. C.’s short lines were considered ground-breaking back in 1913; now they seem a bit gimmicky. Most of us are more comfortable with talky poetry, long sinuous lines rather than short, jazzy
PRIZE WINNING POEM
If you find this candle,
By Michelle Salcido
strike a match. When the wick catches, you will find you are not where you thought you were. You are not who you remember being, like going to sleep a tadpole and waking up the pond. This candle will burn blue and smell like your first kiss. Light it only on second Wednesdays and only in months that contain an O to match the shape of your mouths.
This candle shines constantly without spark, without air, in any storm, through any last desperate hope. Plunge it in a river. Bury it in a mass grave. It will not go out. Learn to live with the light. Learn to sleep inside that burning. Let go of the dark, of shadow, of hiding. You are done with those.
This candle removes spots from carpets, gum from hair, wet from towels, chill from wind, doubt from possibility. A disgraced evangelist once lit this candle and removed his ambition from his devotion. What would you remove, from whom would you take it? Answer that first.
Walk counterclockwise three times around someone who has forgotten the flavor of lemon and light this candle. Results will vary. Once, a species of tree frog went extinct when the last mating pair was accidentally fed to a snake by an inattentive assistant at the local zoo, only one block from where the candle was lit. Once, a woman walked 20 miles to the home of her estranged mother and cried for two days. Once, a nearby bus burst into bloom.
Light this candle to hear your mother’s voice calling you in from the cold. If you are alone in March, you might feel her breath on your cheek. If it is a dark Monday before dawn, her smell might linger in the room for days.
But don’t forget about the light from your own hands or the first fire you sat beside and thought, This would consume me. This would lick my skin to ash. Some of that is in every flame. Some of the sun. Some of the farthest star. Even if you are afraid, this candle is no different. Even if you are far from any place that feels like home, there is always something that burns.
Poets and writers in Cloudbank 7
Robin Schectman Richstone
James K. Zimmerman