Picaroon Poetry - Issue #4 - September 2016

Issue #4 has arrived on your shores, this time bringing - amongst other things - murder (of a sort), mayhem (of many sorts), rather interesting bedroom shenanigans (just the one thankfully), and a rather more liberal use of the c-word than we'd usually contain (look away if this offends). CN/TW for child abuse, miscarriage. Features work by Nancy Iannucci, Cathryn Shea, Kevin Casey, Jeffrey Kingman, Ricky Garni, Paul Vaughan, Andie Berryman, Caroline Hardaker, Maurice Devitt, Daniel Roy Connelly, Al McClimens, Grant Tarbard, Meygan Cox, Anna Percy, Matt Duggan, Lizzie Holden, Holly Magill, Evie Worrall, Justin Hilliard, Antony Owen, Larry D. Thacker, R.A. Clemens, Lauren Suchenski, Amy Rea, Darren C. Demaree, and Courtney Lavender.

Issue #4 has arrived on your shores, this time bringing - amongst other things - murder (of a sort), mayhem (of many sorts), rather interesting bedroom shenanigans (just the one thankfully), and a rather more liberal use of the c-word than we'd usually contain (look away if this offends). CN/TW for child abuse, miscarriage. Features work by Nancy Iannucci, Cathryn Shea, Kevin Casey, Jeffrey Kingman, Ricky Garni, Paul Vaughan, Andie Berryman, Caroline Hardaker, Maurice Devitt, Daniel Roy Connelly, Al McClimens, Grant Tarbard, Meygan Cox, Anna Percy, Matt Duggan, Lizzie Holden, Holly Magill, Evie Worrall, Justin Hilliard, Antony Owen, Larry D. Thacker, R.A. Clemens, Lauren Suchenski, Amy Rea, Darren C. Demaree, and Courtney Lavender.


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<strong>Issue</strong> <strong>#4</strong><br />

<strong>September</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

Edited by Kate Garrett<br />

All poems copyright © <strong>2016</strong> individual authors<br />

Selection/issue copyright © <strong>2016</strong> Kate Garrett

This Month’s Rogue Poems ● <strong>September</strong> <strong>2016</strong><br />

A History Lesson on Salem, Massachusetts, 1692<br />

Nancy Iannucci<br />

Aspirin and Guns<br />

Cathryn Shea<br />

How to Make a Halo<br />

Kevin Casey<br />

Sadie<br />

Jeffrey Kingman<br />

Still, It’s Nice to be Kissed<br />

Ricky Garni<br />

The Lost Olive<br />

Paul Vaughan<br />

The highway code<br />

Andie Berryman<br />

Pigeon English<br />

Caroline Hardaker<br />

The Etiquette of Loss<br />

Maurice Devitt<br />

In the local bathroom mirror<br />

Daniel Roy Connelly<br />

Passing the Yeames Test<br />

Al McClimens<br />

In My Lover’s Womb<br />

Grant Tarbard<br />

Uprooted<br />

Meygan Cox<br />

Thetford Forest<br />

Anna Percy

The Visitor<br />

Matt Duggan<br />

The Hands that I Loved<br />

Lizzie Holden<br />

A whole lot of horse tranquilizers<br />

Holly Magill<br />

Manangaal<br />

Evie Worrall<br />

To Rust<br />

Justin Hilliard<br />

They are Voting in Lesbos<br />

Antony Owen<br />

Esprit de Corps<br />

Larry D. Thacker<br />

For Thine Is<br />

R.A. Clemens<br />

To my baby who just learned how to walk<br />

Lauren Suchenski<br />

Making Chicken Stock on Day of the Dead<br />

Amy Rea<br />

A Letter to Auguste Rodin About the Thinker’s Privileges<br />

Darren C. Demaree<br />

A (Close) Call<br />

Courtney Lavender

A History Lesson on Salem,<br />

Massachusetts, 1692<br />

Nancy Iannucci<br />

I tell my classes this to jar their wits:<br />

The howling started after the last hanging.<br />

Sauntering spirits drifted in torment<br />

climbing trees grasping at leaves;<br />

they exhaled in reverse force, a microburst<br />

that pushed saltboxes off foundations.<br />

Foliage swirled to sod the skies in streams<br />

of crushed crimson & sobbing rain.<br />

Voices haunted every crack & sill in Salem Village.<br />

The gale blew sustained by the force of each name:<br />

John Proctor -- Susannah Martin – Mary Parker<br />

Martha Cory -- Miles Cory -- Bridget Bishop<br />

Rebecca Nurse -- Sarah Good -- Margret Scott<br />

Wilmet Redd -- John Willard – Elizabeth How<br />

Sarah Wildes – George Burroughs.<br />

They were drawn to their accusers like possessions.<br />

Rev. Parris opened windows to settle the tempest.<br />

He watched each soul pass through roped<br />

& bruised, wounds evident of their<br />

restless innocence. He let them in<br />

one by one, and they…<br />

until that one slick student<br />

interrupted me;<br />

the one who stared cynically;<br />

the one who lacked that<br />

Cotton Mather mouthed<br />

impatience for me to continue;<br />

the one who wasn’t gazing stupefied<br />

as though she had just witnessed<br />

Minerva McGonagall emerge from a cat.<br />

No. The Hermione know-it-all silenced<br />

my authority like Hathorne:<br />

But, Ms. I, that wasn’t in the reading last night.

Aspirin and Guns<br />

Cathryn Shea<br />

Every intelligent woman should become<br />

familiar with the use of firearms. —Annie Oakley<br />

Dawn gulps the moon like a desperate aspirin.<br />

I’m woozy. The din of recycling, clank<br />

of bins along the gutter. Engine dirge<br />

like urban tinnitus.<br />

Recycling is a sure sign<br />

a civilization is on the verge<br />

of collapse.<br />

Ask the Aztecs.<br />

My lovesick cousin toasts<br />

the poster of Annie Oakley,<br />

a mythic, sassy Ophelia<br />

we didn’t study in high school.<br />

If women were rifle-toting Annie Oakleys<br />

in midi culottes with spats over boots,<br />

we wouldn’t have climate change. Seems logical.<br />

Would we have a climate to change?<br />

Would anybody care about recycling?<br />

One sure thing:<br />

since Annie Oakley never drank,<br />

there wouldn’t be any hangovers.

How to Make a Halo<br />

Kevin Casey<br />

1. Spin a broom at the sky to catch the flight<br />

of swifts in loops of liquid silver.<br />

2. Hammer out a pewter ring from a length<br />

of smoke escaping a morning bonfire,<br />

using a sunbeam as an anvil.<br />

3. Steal the twenty-seventh year growth ring<br />

from a lightning-struck sycamore tree.<br />

4. Having pulled the darkness from a hole<br />

four feet deep, cut off the very bottom<br />

and roll up the sides to form a hoop.<br />

5. Pare the rind of a manhole cover, then<br />

seal the ends with a paste of dew and pollen.<br />

6. With the whittled end of a cattail stem,<br />

lift a ripple from an autumn pond<br />

the night before its surface slows to ice.

Sadie<br />

Jeffrey Kingman<br />

Light cannot find you<br />

behind canned spinach and soap flakes,<br />

the boxtops<br />

shout merrily merrily.<br />

Hide in the purse and smell<br />

Wrigley’s and powder, nervously<br />

snapped open and closed<br />

until your other has driven you home.<br />

Sadie looking at you in the compact.<br />

Down the hallway the study,<br />

husband’s ropey neck—quickstep!<br />

Ah, now steam and bubbles are way up, fogging<br />

your browline glasses. Drain the sink,<br />

rather slide the dishes into slippery mineral oil,<br />

curve of the bowl.<br />

Your ear to the cat for the full throttle,<br />

pillowy belly, warm.<br />

Stroke the harlequin pillowcase, bells<br />

on the corners, conjuring<br />

this morning’s sweater girl. Filene’s hat counter.<br />

What did you<br />

want to whisper soft?<br />

Small enough to come inside your own pocketbook.

Still, It’s Nice to Be Kissed<br />

Ricky Garni<br />

They say kisses sweeter than wine but most wine – particularly<br />

good red wine – let’s say from Burgundy – and now I am<br />

thinking specifically of Domaine de La Romanee-Conti in<br />

Vosne whose wines often more than five hundred dollars a<br />

bottle and there is a very small supply available of these<br />

wines every year in spite of the exorbitant price – is not at all<br />

sweet, in fact, you might even call it earthy, loamy, with hints<br />

of moss and black tea and tobacco leaf, or as the French<br />

might succinctly suggest, of redolent terroir, quite delicious,<br />

and dry.

The Lost Olive<br />

Paul Vaughan<br />

She lies awake,<br />

she wonders why;<br />

why she liked that he ate those olives<br />

in that novel way she had never imagined<br />

that made her squeak and wiggle<br />

but the fun<br />

stopped<br />

when one just disappeared<br />

just like that<br />

and it may never come out -<br />

perhaps a tree will grow?<br />

He just sleeps and snores, of course,<br />

but she still lies awake.

The highway code<br />

Andie Berryman<br />

The graffiti tells me what’s going on<br />

ducks have four legs now,<br />

your nan's a cunt,<br />

and men at work swallow cum.<br />

The stop sign<br />

tells me to fuck off the other way<br />

and the give way sign means<br />

bisexuality is cool (for girls)<br />

Amber means do want you want.

Pigeon English<br />

Caroline Hardaker<br />

Leave me with the palest grey pigeons.<br />

They understand me with their<br />

shaded backs and painted necks<br />

iridescent green tattoo inks<br />

puffed full throat and ragged collar<br />

worn through every weather.<br />

Like me, they’re out on the asphalt,<br />

a lack of toes, fumbling for crumbs,<br />

always pecking for the bit that doesn’t exist<br />

and layered on grey<br />

ingloriously blue, so blue.

The Etiquette of Loss<br />

Maurice Devitt<br />

When the milkman left<br />

two cartons this morning,<br />

I happened to be<br />

looking out the window<br />

noticed how he seemed<br />

to linger for a minute,<br />

take time to set them<br />

in the corner of the porch,<br />

as though, just at that moment,<br />

his memory tripped<br />

and his eye caught<br />

the shadow of a blue tit,<br />

waiting for the clink<br />

of glass on the step.

The local bathroom mirror<br />

Daniel Roy Connelly<br />

The local calendar is set to the third<br />

day of the first month of year fifty in<br />

which it is written that a host of my<br />

younger faces are to gather in the<br />

local bathroom mirror which brags a<br />

smattering of magic still, I will not lie.<br />

Sure enough, they cluster round my<br />

hairline as I shave, the younger ones<br />

bemused by my actions, the<br />

teenagers in awe of the blade. The<br />

sun is lancing through the window, it<br />

is almost clear to see but for the<br />

steam that billows up from the<br />

pristine porcelain sink. Every chin<br />

from twenty-four on is scarred, I<br />

note, the gums in the thirties mouths<br />

recede, into the forties faces come<br />

hollowed cheeks and tired eyes. Up<br />

they rise to the reflected skylight,<br />

one after the other my historic selves<br />

coil away vaporously into a radiant<br />


Passing the Yeames Test<br />

Al McClimens<br />

Hi, it said. Does this kid look like you?<br />

A handwritten note posted from somewhere<br />

I didn’t recognise either. There’s a photo<br />

of a boy, or it might have been a girl,<br />

long fair hair and jeans, I’m guessing boy,<br />

taken in a patio area. A blue sun shade<br />

waved hello from the edge of the shot. Six<br />

or seven, maybe. Her reflection in a French<br />

window. She taught school. We met at a party.<br />

Brighton. Late seventies. And all the trimmings.<br />

She left for Buenos Aires the next day. By six<br />

that evening I’d forgotten her. Now, Does this kid<br />

look like you? A date in faded pencil on the back.<br />

The numbers don’t add up. And no, it looks happy.

In My Lover’s Womb<br />

Grant Tarbard<br />

1.<br />

In my lover’s womb<br />

I play her ribs like<br />

A xylophone. We<br />

Make music until<br />

The roses wither.<br />

2.<br />

In my lover’s womb<br />

I knew that I would<br />

Have to clamber down<br />

Out of her jelly,<br />

Swaying crook morning.<br />

3.<br />

In my lover’s womb<br />

She flowers inside<br />

A crimson kiln, a<br />

Roses firestone<br />

Seeking the Sun’s flames.<br />

4.<br />

In my lover’s womb,<br />

It is a place for<br />

Making noises, hear<br />

The breeze outside her<br />

Lining of sunset.

5.<br />

In my lover’s womb<br />

Desire is a red<br />

Dye of joy untold,<br />

Cocooned in her shy<br />

Blue November eyes.

Uprooted<br />

Meygan Cox<br />

We pull at weeds that have been gathering in the garden<br />

for some time.<br />

With the sun beaming down on us,<br />

neither of us says a word.<br />

We work on opposite sides, tugging at roots that refuse to release,<br />

I want to ask you how your day was, but I stop myself.<br />

You’ll just give me the same answer and I can’t handle<br />

that right now.<br />

In the middle of tangled weeds, I spot a robin’s egg—cracked.<br />

Isn’t it beautiful? I ask. Put it down, you say. Bird’s eggs are filthy.<br />

While you continue to pick dead flowers, I hold on to tomorrow.

Thetford Forest<br />

Anna Percy<br />

May and it is boiling<br />

my partner for orienteering<br />

has the map upside down<br />

insists it is the right way up<br />

as a result we are dead last<br />

later the headmaster has to<br />

find us on his mountain bike<br />

the pine trees are very tall<br />

at their height and concentration<br />

they block out the sun for<br />

large distances we are running<br />

in shadows into clouds of fat<br />

bodied may flies it is too hot<br />

and the map is upside down<br />

I am trying to enjoy being lost<br />

the searing injustice of knowing<br />

the map is upside down is filling<br />

my eleven year old mind<br />

at this age being away from adults<br />

is thrilling we are so supervised<br />

that any time to wander in<br />

places that are green and feel safe<br />

is welcome this day there are<br />

thick clouds of fat bodied mayflies<br />

that I have swallowed and<br />

the map is upside down.

The Visitor<br />

Matt Duggan<br />

Come lay with me in the hayfields<br />

among circles in yellow and stone,<br />

stare at a sky with bright stars<br />

like toasted crumbs on blue gingham,<br />

we hide from the opening of rooms<br />

the secrets disguised as lies;<br />

undress the pretty heart inside<br />

may the visitor never catch us.<br />

Come lay with me in the hayfields<br />

where the sun meets the day,<br />

catch the dew dropping from mouths in spring<br />

tasting the stolen fruit that lay beside me,<br />

a love exhumed from an assassin’s sight<br />

where nightingales whispered songs to the dead.<br />

We were lost in each other’s limbs<br />

hidden from the man with the favoured snout.

The Hands That I Loved<br />

Lizzie Holden<br />

I remember the roses<br />

glossy on her silk knee.<br />

Stocking feet in kitten heels.<br />

The wrinkled hands I loved<br />

smelling of her pink hand cream,<br />

squeezing my waist,<br />

holding me tight<br />

so I wouldn’t wriggle,<br />

so he could feel.

A whole lot of horse tranquilizers<br />

Holly Magill<br />

Who would do such a thing? people gasp,<br />

One of God’s great creatures – it’s murder!<br />

No one will tell what they do with Steve’s body;<br />

would need an enormous hole to bury it,<br />

like a crater on the moon.<br />

There’s jokes about an almighty hog-roast,<br />

only not a hog – I’m going vegetarian.<br />

We don’t see The Ring Master for days;<br />

empties fly from the windows of his trailer,<br />

glass tears shatter on the hard-standing.<br />

My ruined foot tingles. Wasn’t me<br />

that did it – but I wish I had.<br />

On the third evening, a portable CD player magics<br />

up on his front step, blaring and distorted.<br />

Nellie the elephant packed her trunk<br />

and said goodbye…<br />

In the folds of night across the way,<br />

I press repeat on the remote<br />

over and over.

Manangaal<br />

Evie Worrall<br />

You planted a rose bush in my stomach.<br />

A Winter bud that furled itself inside,<br />

sinewy twines stretched to line my skin<br />

and replace my veins with<br />

frosted gossamer webs.<br />

The petals bloomed and collected;<br />

blood red<br />

wet stains in the snow<br />

on my thighs<br />

on the bathroom floor.<br />

I planted lilies in my throat<br />

to fill the empty silence.

To Rust<br />

Justin Hilliard<br />

decompose, breakdown<br />

oxidation<br />

destruction and degradation<br />

steel pole<br />

integral<br />

holding up the framework of<br />

an intricate garden of<br />

tomatoes and strawberries<br />

to rust<br />

to dust<br />

the pole gives in<br />

slowly flakes in maroon blotches<br />

to dust<br />

weight gives in and<br />

the pole gives way<br />

framework with vines woven intricate,<br />

fall. tomatoes tumble to the ground<br />

and crush fertile strawberries<br />

to dust

They are Voting in Lesbos<br />

Antony Owen<br />

I want to stay here in paradise and vote for bream and rice as<br />

children shoot each other safely dying like pretend refugees. I<br />

want to raise the runt that was tied to the leash of a mongrel<br />

and walk it through the ferns and stare south to my homeland<br />

and pray. I want to tell my nephew that his Mother and Father<br />

were astronauts of water and live floating among the stars<br />

that whales blow out to the sky. Oh my beautiful friends I have<br />

had to vote for many things that would break your red little<br />

ships and sink them in your chests. I have had to vote to<br />

leave my daughter and place my faith in driftwood. I want to<br />

stay here in paradise and watch my brothers boy dream and<br />

tell him that sea monsters do not yell in Arabic to be saved. I<br />

want to open this locket and tell my wife that the olives here<br />

are bitter and how greek widows stand on towels to collect<br />

them for the women. I want to vote for water tomorrow and<br />

ask Jurgen why he wears a Leicester top when last year he<br />

supported United. I want you to hear how children here pass a<br />

football, my turn, your turn, my turn your turn, my turn, my turn<br />

my turn, my turn.

Esprit de Corps<br />

Larry D. Thacker<br />

“No live plants,” ought to have told us something was up.<br />

“No more than two personal framed photos,” was another clue,<br />

along with never opening our windows or adjusting the air.<br />

And when we all were instructed to come to the pot luck,<br />

lined up alphabetically, holding our assigned food dishes,<br />

only allowed in if wearing our name tags and properly attired<br />

in khakis and polos, as the rumors circulated that our offices<br />

were being inspected as we attended the mandatory gathering,<br />

many of us were just “happy to have a job in this economy,”<br />

and enjoyed a meal of fellowship and school spirit as we<br />

listened to how wonderful the coming year would be<br />

if we all just tightened our already tight belts and understood<br />

the factory-like efficiency benefits of “limiting all personal<br />

belongings equivalent to a single box for ease to pack up<br />

at a moment’s notice while observed by an immediate<br />

supervisor and an officer and carried with minimal strain<br />

on our backs while making way to our vehicles as to avoid<br />

any liabilities.” The laugh-track skipped a few times during<br />

the presentation, but the communications department worked<br />

out the kinks. While a surprise at first, it was all much easier<br />

to understand once the soul extraction options #1 and #2<br />

were explained at the required annual insurance presentations.<br />

Examples of an eased professional existence had been<br />

provided by leadership for some time it was explained.<br />

We were expected not only to comply, but to do so gladly.<br />

Everyone was also invited to this spring’s Margaretville Cruise.

For Thine Is<br />

R.A. Clemens<br />

The sterile office incubates<br />

an embryonic batch of hacks<br />

who dream of pastures green behind<br />

the technicolour screens of macs<br />

Today the dark Satanic mills<br />

are concrete, steel, and tempered glass<br />

If Progress were an obelisk<br />

you'd still require an I.D. pass<br />

to enter through its pearly gates.<br />

And still, tomorrow's Bright Young Things<br />

who normalise that Hell awaits<br />

accept the debt to earn their wings.

To my baby who just learned how to<br />

walk<br />

Lauren Suchenski<br />

If I could wrap the world around your tongue<br />

into the slightest sliver of a word<br />

I’d tell you all the twisting things that will meet you<br />

when you walk.<br />

I’d tell you, sweet baby,<br />

about the paths that lead nowhere at all<br />

the fragments of days that will get stuck on the roof of your mouth<br />

the snowflakes that will rest on your eyebrows<br />

and the fires that will never be put out.<br />

I’d tell you how these feet<br />

will burn, will turn and tumble<br />

over themselves; these feet will lead<br />

you into stories, will run you hot with air,<br />

these feet will walk through measured moments<br />

and tiny triumphs. These feet will learn to dance.<br />

I’d tell you about shoes,<br />

how people will convince you they’ll protect your<br />

ten small toes. But truly, they will never teach<br />

you what it is to feel the ground beneath you.<br />

I’d tell you about legs,<br />

how muscles will cling to your bones<br />

and rush you out the door. Will fly you across a field<br />

and fail you at the end of the road. These legs will<br />

hold. These legs will keep secrets.<br />

I’d tell you about your feet,<br />

and all the feet that have walked<br />

to let you walk.<br />

But my words are just mumblechatter to you<br />

they just sing in tunes and whistle out your ears<br />

you smile back at me and still feel unafraid.

Making Chicken Stock on Day of the<br />

Dead<br />

Amy Rea<br />

November first.<br />

Chicken carcass.<br />

Farm market haul:<br />

heads of garlic halved horizontally<br />

onions, skin and all,<br />

carrots, celery, root to leaves,<br />

tomatoes, whole cloves, bay leaf.<br />

Water.<br />

Low heat.<br />

Merest simmer, barely a bubble.<br />

By day’s end, gold.<br />

The fragrant stock<br />

conjures my grandmother’s kitchen<br />

and the weekly pot—<br />

carrot peelings, beet tops,<br />

marrow bones, chicken feet,<br />

drooping celery. Salt. Nothing wasted.<br />

All returned at holidays. Ham, turkey<br />

lutefisk, Jello salad<br />

stuffing, mashed potatoes<br />

relish tray<br />

krumkake, berlinkranser, lefse.<br />

And gravy, the heart of the matter,<br />

new drippings, old broth.<br />

Later, my mother,<br />

working two jobs,<br />

dazzled by cans and cartons<br />

of timesavers—<br />

Bouillon! Bisquick!<br />

Cake mix!<br />

Instead of the tyranny of time:<br />

a can, a whirring opener—

Presto! Broth.<br />

Home-cooked<br />

and not.<br />

I look for them<br />

in the ghostly wisps of steam<br />

that rise as the water<br />

draws its flavor<br />

its golden-red color<br />

from the weakening vegetables.

A Letter to Auguste Rodin About the<br />

Thinker’s Privileges<br />

Darren C. Demaree<br />

Yes, he is special enough<br />

to be treated specially<br />

twice a year, but good lord<br />

he’s brutish, isn’t he? Could<br />

you break the hymn to hum<br />

him enough song to be human?

A (Close) Call<br />

Courtney Lavender<br />

he wore uncertainty<br />

as a cloak<br />

for that moment<br />

only<br />

in a dark café on a late night meet.<br />

next thing he spoke<br />

- they either love you<br />

or they think you’re a cunt -<br />

and i nearly said i loved him.<br />

i think you’re a cunt,<br />

i said.

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