Larry Smith: “The Story of Rugs”

 

 

The Story of Rugs

They cover holes in the earth
we walk upon when all else
has let us down.  
Woven by elders from the 
hair of sheep fresh shorn
their faces kiss our feet.
For days at a time 
the old sit in silence
peddling and bobbing
to continue our line.

And so, their deaths
move us closer to the time
when no rugs are spread before us,
and their faces are worn through,
when empty spaces
fill our hearts.

 

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About the Author: Larry Smith is a poet, fiction writer, and editor-publisher of Bottom Dog Press in Ohio where they feature a Working Lives and an Appalachian Writing Series. He is also the biographer of Kenneth Patchen and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. He lives in Huron, Ohio, along the shores of Lake Erie.

 

More By Larry Smith:

Forget Math and Science

Wages

No Walls

 

Image Credit: “Two women making rugs on porch” The Library of Congress

“Transplant” By Tony Gloeggler

 

TRANSPLANT

Everyone tells me
I’m a lucky man,
blessed and fortunate
to have four willing donors.
And I know they’re right,
people wither away 
waiting for kidneys 
on endless lists
with no guarantees. 
I’ve talked to doctors, 
did extensive research 
and came away convinced
it’s a highly successful 
procedure. Everyone’s 
encouraging, assuring me
it’s not nearly as bad 
as last year’s open heart 
surgery and my two friends 
with transplants are both 
alive and living normal lives.  
Yes, I am so sick of dialysis 
treatments, three times 
a week for three and a half 
hours a day with its sudden 
blood pressure drops 
and crippling cramps
that leave me hobbling
around like a slow motion
half dazed zombie who only
wants to sleep my life away
that I’d do almost anything.

My youngest brother proved 
a perfect match. We’re looking 
at July when his work slows down
and his wife’s school breaks 
for summer so she can watch 
their kids while he recovers. 
There’s no way to thank him 
and yes, I can hardly wait. 
Except my mind keeps 
filling up with thoughts 
of  something going wrong, 
something bad happening 
to him during the operation, 
and then who will tell me 
what to say to his wife, 
to his kids, Daniel and Lexie.

 

About Tony Gloeggler: I am a life-long resident of New York City and have managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. My work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Rattle, The Examined Life Journal, Raleigh Review, New Ohio Review, Stirring and The NY Times. My full length books include One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015) which focused on my job and the autistic son of a former girlfriend. My next book, What Kind Of Man, will be published by NYQ Books in 2019.

 

More By Tony Gloeggler

“Crossing”

“Visitor’s Day at the Group Home”

“In the Building”

 

Image Credit: Henry Gray “The Relation of the Kidneys from Behind” (1918) Public Domain

“The President Called the United States a Company” By Prince Bush

 

 

The President Called the United States a Company 

A Christmas mourning / I mourn God’s slain child
and Jesus Christ, a wall that’s hard to yield
to while crows eat / kids starve / ovaled stomachs 

feed on human flesh / hosts as repurposed
puppets or proponents purporting laws
and slips on behalf of Freudian slips 

            the President called the United States
            a company / and there’s truth / I too sing 

company / throwing precious repastures
away / enough to feed refugees they
say there’s no food for. I mourn a Jesús

             and Jesus / you might not / so how can I
             show you mercy?—replace Jesus with green

wood-plants / white people / you / must keep Jesús
because death is owned by a company
that must throw away precious repastures.

 

About the Author: Prince Bush is a poet attending Fisk University. His work has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, SOFTBLOW, Cotton Xenomorph, Protean, and Mobius, among others. More work and biographical information can be found at pbush.com

Image Credit: D.R. Payne “Border monuments 223, 224, and 225, along the California-Mexico border” (1892) The Library of Congress

As It Ought To Be Magazine’s Nominees for the 2019 Best of the Net Anthology

 

As It Ought To Be Magazine is proud to announce our nominees for Sundress Publications’ 2019 Best of the Net Anthology.

 

Poetry

Ruth Bavetta “A Murder”

John Dorsey “Anthony Bourdain Crosses the River of the Dead”

Mike James “Grace”

Rebecca Schumejda “i don’t want this poem to be about the death penalty, but it is”

Bunkong Tuon “Gender Danger”

Kory Wells “Untold Story”

 

Nonfiction

Daniel Crocker “Mania Makes Me a Better Poet”

Nathan Graziano “The Misery of Fun”

 

Congratulations to our nominees and thank you to all of the writers and readers who have supported As It Ought To Be Magazine.

 

Image Credit: Henry Pointer “The Attentive Pupil” (1865) Digitally Enhanced. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

Charlie Brice: “The Truth About Indecision”

 

 

The Truth About Indecision

Our poetry reading was a great success
even though the heavens opened that day
in Pittsburgh and turned Maple Avenue,
our street, into Deluge Boulevard.

“The only time I believe in a supreme
being,” I told my wife, Judy, herself a poet
who was to read that night. “Only a god
could be this nasty,” I said, falling into the same

self-centered lunacy that my religious friends
favor. “This is god’s revenge upon my poor
atheist self,” I proclaimed, but she (for in
my atheist lexicon, god is an angry woman)

relented, the rain stopped, and it was 
standing room only at our reading.

What I really wanted this poem to be
about was the day after our reading 
when our friends fell in love with the 
flowers and trees Judy had planted

in our back yard. They didn’t even mind 
the organic calling cards our poodle, Mugsi,
had left for them, but that’s not what 
I wanted to write about either.

It’s the names of flowers that inspired
this poem. Why do they call them Rose 
of Sharon? Why not Sharon’s Rose—just
the kind of economy an editor requires.

What of these gorgeous bursts of pink
we call azaleas? Are there zaleas that
azaleas negate, as amorality negates morality?
And where are the lips that tulips connote? 

Looking at them a strange misshapen mouth
comes to mind, but lips? Were marigolds
originally Mary’s gold? What happened
to the apostrophe? Has someone named

Mary ever traded a marigold for goods or cash? 
What a bright and colorful world it would be
if Marys, or Kathys, or Larrys, or Johnys could
trade marigolds for movie tickets, tomatoes,

maple syrup, or bacon and eggs—especially
bacon and eggs. What if flowers became currency?
People could pay off mortgages with roses,
their cars with orchids, rent with dahlias,

and their college debt with peonies. But here’s
what I really wanted to write about:

Day lilies, the only aptly named flower 
in our garden. They are lilies that last
a single day—like the fame of a poet,
or the bloom of Buddha’s final breath.

 

About the Author: Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, Permafrost, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere.

 

Image Credit: Kazumasa Ogawa “Group of Azaleas” (1896) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

 

“Acetylene Sunsets: Edward Dorn’s Recollections of Gran Apacheria” By John Macker

 

Acetylene Sunsets:

Edward Dorn’s Recollections of Gran Apacheria

By John Macker

“In the internal resistance of his thought, Dorn has been able to understand the American Indian more deeply perhaps than any recent writer, scholarly or poetic, who is not himself an Indian. In these works, as in the larger body of his writing, Dorn makes marginal figures, as they resist external authority with an indivisible spirit of self, land and history, morally central to the inner life of American Culture.”

                                                                                                         – Paul Dresman

 

I dug Ed Dorn because he wd rather
Make you his enemy
Than lie
           – Amiri Baraka

 

I first encountered Ed Dorn at a reading I did with him and Linda Hogan in Denver in the spring of 1983, at Muddy’s Coffee House in the Slightly Off Center Theatre on 15th street. I was a young, green poet and it was my first major reading with a theatre full of people, most of whom I didn’t know. I remember being anxious, pacing as I read, almost stalking the words as they came from my mouth. In contrast, Dorn was seated for his reading and read from Hello, La Jolla, or, possibly, Yellow Lola, late 1970’s works that, in contrast to the wild-crafted, rhythmic surrealism of his Gunslinger series of books, seemed arrestingly aphoristic. I knew of Ed Dorn — he was teaching at the University of Colorado — but it would be some years before I began reading all of his works and concluding, along with many others, that his was a distinctive, uncompromising and wildly original American voice and, as his friend the late Amiri Baraka described him, “Thin straight blonde Cowboy/movie looking white guy with the mind/of a saw.”

    Fact is, I didn’t appreciate him as much in those days. And that was as much due to my immaturity and insecurity as it was my inability to recognize great writing character when I was in the same room with it. He was particularly generous to my wife and I and after the reading we spent some time together talking about Denver — he was interested in it as a collection of characters in a landscape, its roots as well as its contemporaneous presence as a major metropolis. He was intrigued by its straight, cosmopolitan, newly corporate cow town development vibe verses the academic/counter-culture exoticism of post-hippie mountain town Boulder. At that time, Naropa Institute was sucking much of the literary air out of the room. Allen Ginsberg and Anne Waldman had conceived the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics there, and Trungpa Rimpoche’s hijinks were becoming legend. (I attended the summer poetics program in 1978, so, guilty.)

    After a brief summer teaching stint there in 1977, Dorn evidently wanted no further part of it. In fact, he eschewed the authoritarian implication of all labels and categories: definitions, belonging to a particular school or group of writers. He disdained being classified as Beat, outlaw, academic or avant-garde or belonging to any particular “movement”; as for his primary poetic education with Charles Olson and Robert Creeley at Black Mountain College in North Carolina, as Lisa Jarnot put it, “the formidable constellation of Black Mountain poetics”, it was a transformative experience that would transcend all manner of category or label. In fact, his appearance in Donald Allen’s seminal 1960 anthology of non-academic, avant-garde writing, The New American Poetry, where his work appeared with the greatest poetic minds of his generation, would be as close as he came to belonging to any group. Continue reading

“A Good Bad Day” By Tony Gloeggler

 

A GOOD BAD DAY

John walks slowly up the stairs
to my office every day. Between
four and four-thirty, after the bus
brings him home from day program
and after he uses the bathroom,
he says, “Oh, hello, Tony,” as if
he’s surprised to find me
sitting at my desk. He says
he had a good day, stands
by a chair, and after six years
of living at the residence,
his home, he still hesitates,
wonders if he needs permission
to sit down. I don’t give it,
wait until he sits on his own.
He tells me if he read or painted,
exercised or sang today and I ask
questions as if I was his mother.
Maybe he went to a park, a store,
the library. All along he wears
this pleasant, half smiling,
perfectly balanced, zen-like gaze
across his Fred Flintstone face
and I don’t know if I’m stressed
or bored, mean, or just a smart-ass
acting like we are friends;
but when he asks me about my day
sometimes I tell him the truth.

Uselessly endless meetings, piles
of paper work, asshole administrators.
Not enough sleep. Girlfriend trouble.
Yesterday, I told him that a woman
I loved is getting married on a boat
in September and I wished
I owned a torpedo. He didn’t say
anything, just sat there smiling
and I’m sorry, but I couldn’t help it
I had to ask him if he ever
had a bad day. When he said no,
none that he could remember,
I said are you sure. He said
I don’t think so and looked like
he was thinking hard. I leaned
forward, said that I felt very sad
when my father died and I wondered
how he felt when his mom and dad
passed away. John jutted out his chin,
looked beyond me and said yeah
that was a bad day. When I asked
if he missed them, he chewed
on his lips, said sometimes,
and I said I know what you mean.

 

(This poem first appeared in Rattle)

 

About Tony Gloeggler: I am a life-long resident of New York City and have managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. My work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Rattle, The Examined Life Journal, Raleigh Review, New Ohio Review, Stirring and The NY Times. My full length books include One Wish Left (Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015) which focused on my job and the autistic son of a former girlfriend. My next book, What Kind Of Man, will be published by NYQ Books in 2019.

 

More By Tony Gloeggler

“Crossing”

“Visitor’s Day at the Group Home”

“In the Building”

 

Image Credit: Paul Klee “Senecio” (1922) Public Domain