Cloudbank 8

Cloudbank 8Cloudbank 8 includes poetry and flash fiction by Rebecca Lilly, Jake Young, Deborah H. Doolittle, Bill Brown, Dennis Saleh, Barrett Warner and others. Even So: New and Selected Poems by Gary Young, Animism by Dennis Schmitz and Floating Heart by Stuart Friebert are reviewed.

Issue introduction by Michael Malan

Rhyme and Off-rhyme

Is rhyme cool? Or has it gone the way of Robert Frost and Richard Wilbur? There are signs that rhyme may be making a comeback. Kay Ryan, former Poet Laureate of the United States (2008-2010), is a practitioner, although many of her rhymes are really off-rhymes or near rhymes—they don’t rely on precisely the same repeated sounds. Here’s an example from her poem “Blunt:” “What is the / blunt of this / I would ask you //our conversation / weeding up / like the Sargasso.” “Ask you” doesn’t quite rhyme with the sea, but it’s close, and Sargasso is a fun word to include in a poem.

“Is the snail / sharpened / by crawling / over diamonds?” asks Ryan in another poem:

No. Snails
make mucus.
Even the
most precious
to lettuce
are useless.

Sarah Murphy is also a competent rhyme-ster. Consider this excerpt from “Letter to the Past after Long Silence“:

I’d wager you wish to live in peace,

to wake at night to silence, no guns,
no thunder, flame and plunder, just

a cadence of rain, each drop erasing
failure’s stale taste. And I’d bet

my name dismays you greatly, so
let me state my case.

How many rhymes and off-rhymes can you find in these seven lines? “Thunder” and “plunder,” “flame” and “name” are the only pure rhymes. “Taste” and “case,” “rain” and “name” are very close. And unlike end-rhymes of past poetry, these little gems sneak up on you (and say “Peekaboo!”).


Tanya, Tanya, Tayna
by Barrett Warner

Florida. Know it well. Drank kerosene there in 1970. My father wanted to know why I’d drink kerosene. I was thirsty. Looked like water.

Did it smell like water? No. Was it a fountain? Were birds bathing in it? It was a tank drum, I said. Skull marked with an “X” right above the word kerosene.

He hauled me to the hospital to have my stomach pumped. The next day we visited the Execution Museum and saw an electric chair from the 1920s.

Last night, Tanya called from St. Augustine to say her husband was sleeping in the garage beside the Mercury. I listened and closed my eyes and sucked air through my teeth.

I was so thirsty, lying next to my wife who was plugged-in to a book about Flanders, the cries of the wounded, mustard gases.

I thumbed an atlas, scanning varicose highways. What could forty years have done to Florida? When my wife asked me for water I reached for the bottle, drained half, and gave her the rest.

I wanted to say, because I’m a mean bastard. Instead of asking why I had done that, Lisa stared at the ceiling. The rain hammered our tin. Lisa said, Who’s Tanya?

Poets and writers in Cloudbank 8

Ray Amorosi
Jene Beardsley
Hannah Mae Bissell
Kathy Brisker
Bill Brown
Christopher Buckley
Chris Bullard
John Davis
Deborah H. Doolittle
Jennifer L. Freed
Stuart Friebert
David Lee Garrison
Anna Halberstadt
Maya Hickman
Henry Hughes
Tim Hunt
Charlene Langfur
Richard Michael  Levine
Rebecca Lilly
Richard Luftig
George Looney
Kathleen McGookey
Val Morehouse
Jed Myers
Leonard Orr
Aimee Penna
Maya Polan
Lee Reilly
Marc Rosegold
Russell Rowland
Lex Runciman
Dennis Saleh
Dennis Schmitz
Jeanne Shannon
Marc J. Sheehan
Marc Tretin
Diane Vreuls
Jeanne Wagner
Barrett Warner
Tom Wayman
Matthew Westbrook
Helen Wickes
Francine Witte
Gary Young
Jake Young