Category Archives: Poetry

Crushed Lily by Rebecca Schumejda

Crushed Lily

The crushed lily, cradled in my daughter’s hands,
proves there’s beauty in the folds of our faults.

She spreads back petals and examines the inside;
Focus, flip then fold as if a paper fortune teller

or as pre-teen girls call them coochie catchers.
Ask me a question, I tell her, pick a number, lift the flap.

                – Rebecca Schumejda

Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Falling Forward, a full-length collection of poems (sunnyoutside, 2009); The Map of Our Garden (verve bath, 2009); Dream Big Work Harder (sunnyoutside press 2006); The Tear Duct of the Storm (Green Bean Press, 2001); and the poem “Logic” on a postcard (sunnyoutside). She received her MA in Poetics and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University and her BA in English and Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley and online at rebeccaschumejda.com. Her book, Cadillac Men, is forthcoming from NYQ Books.

The Many Reams of Perfect by Jason Neese

The Many Reams of Perfect

the night pours over us like starshine
that ankle wrapped dance

a mood

like a crude
revival, our hearts stitched together
a giant balloon

with a hot wet naked
to the air and a stringed flower
in the lush

little toes across the creek

and the flutes ring
and the silver
wears a feast
clinking to smile
the ridges lined
and you in white the red curling
and me in black the curl ready

our little ship floating in the bay
the lapping waves bouncing
us the starry night rinsing
us
off

                – Jason Neese

jason feels like they should play the national anthem directly following every episode of jersey shore before cutting to white snow. he lives in los angeles and works in tv. he has written four unpublished novels. snooki has written one. published.

Reflection by Susannah Conway


photo by Susannah Conway

Reflection

I look in the mirror and see a woman there.
I recognise the sour smell of my
mother’s armpit as she reached over
to put dinner on the table,
her hot summer skin,
olive oil on her Sophia Loren legs
while my skin blistered
red and angry.

I look in the mirror and
hold handfuls of the flesh
that cushions my bones,
rubbery and pliant,
the shape not compliant
with my expectations,
the mind and body disconnected –
how can a belly so empty look so full?

I look in the mirror and remember
learning the language of widening hips
and dark hair between the legs,
not yet knowing that the
body will be reined in when
all it wants to do is grow wild,
to colour outside the strict
demarcated lines of adulthood.

                        – Susannah Conway

Susannah Conway is a photographer, writer and the creator of the Unravelling e-courses. Connect with her @SusannahConway.

Nothing Unrequited Here by Heather Bell

Nothing Unrequited Here

Poetry by Heather Bell

Nothing Unrequited Here is a series of love poems. It expresses that without a doubt, love is not just love, but all of the dark & messy things in between.

   

Heather’s voice is proud, unashamedly feminist and unmistakably American. This is not poetry that sits back to be appreciated and then moved on from – this is poetry that slaps you in the face and demands attention, poetry that sticks in your head like a great pop song.

Claire Askew, One Night Stanzas  

Bell marries kaleidoscopic images with the familial in her unforgettable collection Nothing Unrequited Here. With honesty and faint humor, she illustrates the evolution of relationships and redefines poetry as the distance between two people. In “the Reason You Are Not A Poet,” she nails the chasm of intimacy when she writes, “He says / I Love your hair in my shower. I love your hair in my shower. / You exhale and realize / he will never be a poet, but you love / the way he called / your eyes kettle drums one night, / for lack of anything else to say. The way he carved / names into his kitchen table.” After taking a dip in this impressive first chapbook you will emerge, towel-less & shivering for more.

Rebecca Schumejda, author of Falling Forward  

More reviews below!

Heather Bell graduated in 2005 from Oswego State University in Oswego, NY. Since, she has been published in Mannequin Envy, From East to West: BiCoastal Verse, Empowerment4Women, Ditch, ReadThisMagazine, Pomegranate and Killpoet, among others. She spends her time polishing boots, gardening, painting and looking brightly at all raw stars.


The title poem, “Nothing Unrequited Here: Nine Essays on Romanticism in Photography,” speaks to the human need for, if not love, then at least meaningful companionship. But this is something present in the collection as a whole. Bell’s gift—and it is one all-too-rarely seen—is an ability to convey the intricacies and intangibles present between lovers in language so original that it has no need to acknowledge that the word love, in and of itself, has lost meaning to much of the world.

Cynthia Reeser, Prick of the Spindle  

If ever there were a poet to rip off, Ms. Bell is it!

Leah Angstman, Alternating Current  

   



small stones : first day of school

first day of school

the wipers rub across
the windshield, a soundtrack
to my thoughts in
4/4 time, the turn signal
breaks up the
beat
of my heart
like your little hand
letting go
of mine

Amanda Oaks

Amy Palko tweeted this morning about a wonderful writing practice which I intend to use. Ideally, I’d love to write one a day & post it here, to get back into the swing of writing since I haven’t been writing much lately but I will be kind to myself if I don’t. ;)

If you’re interested in knowing when I do post up a new one, you can sign up via email to receive new posts.

So, what is a small stone?

A small stone is a very short piece of writing that precisely captures a fully-engaged moment.

If you’d like to learn more about this practice, please see: How to Write Small Stones.

The concept is by the lovely Fiona Robyn. I connected with Fiona a couple of years ago when she posted one of my small stones on her blog, A Handful of Stones. She has an entire network of goodness going on at Writing Our Way Home & a free eBook I DEVOURED & adore.

Pick up a free copy here:
How to Write Your Way Home

Enjoy! Love,


Love & Insects by Jessica Dawson

Love and Insects

The ride home
dragged on
like a Sunday sermon.

His words were butterflies.

Eyes on my bare legs,
he barely filled
the space of a minute
with spurts
of hesitant conversation.

My lashes worked
overtime,
thumping subliminal messages,
fireflies in a coffee can.

                – Jessica Dawson

Jessica Dawson is the editor at Gunpowder Mouth Press, mouth full of gunpowder, belly full of twigs, you can connect with her on Facebook here.

*poem first appeared in Words Dance #9


Four Ballerinas Resting Between Scenes by Tammy Foster Brewer

Four Ballerinas Resting Between Scenes

This is the part of the song
where he sings it’s a little
unclear and I can’t focus
on anything except to push
the headphones deeper
until I find myself staring
at a calendar painting of Degas’

ballerinas, time caught in strokes of blue
yellow fighting for attention
a naked shoulder, a shadow brushing
across an open back, concentrate

on the phases of the moon wrapped
in her hair, a girl’s secrets do not
disturb, it’s the music that makes her
vulnerable beneath her costume
a guitar climbing up her thigh
she can’t make it loud enough

but remember this isn’t art just
a calendar tacked to a cubicle wall
where everything fits neatly inside
black and white boxes of days
spent waiting between scenes.

                                – Tammy Foster Brewer

Tammy F. Brewer is married to the poet, Robert Lee Brewer, and is mom to 2 sons, 2 stepsons & a daughter. She received her BA in English from Georgia State University in 1997. She was born, raised, and still resides in Atlanta, GA where she works as a paralegal.

*poem first appeared in Words Dance #11


Welcome to Words Dance

Hi! Heaps of Love & Gratitude for being here to celebrate this with me, truly, it means so much to me. I am so stoked to breathe new life into Words Dance.

Poetry has been a large part of my life since I was 12, writing ABCB poems in middle school to living & writing alone in my attic apartment in my early 20’s immersing myself in the Beats, Bukowski, Plath, Sexton & so many others. To bringing Words Dance to life in 2003 & then a few years later connecting to some of the brightest lights in the small press, it has been a constant in my life. It has been the water running through the pipes of my creativity. Words Dance, of course, has seen a few transformations over the years but the passion never withered, only deepened, hollowing out my bones to make a home & at the most uncanny time, it began to dance again.

I’ve poured so much of my passion into this space over the last week. Days before Scott’s death, I started the site’s revamp, taking small steps. (For those of you that aren’t familiar with Scott Wannberg & his work, please, take the time.) After, watching the community come together, my drive was pushed forward to rekindle it, staying up long past this mama’s bed time most nights.

What I was reminded of this week most of all is that I love the community just as much as I love the poetry.

Thank you Scott, you will forever be an inspiration to me & so many.



Up there in the left sidebar, or by clicking here, you can sign up to receive a free issue of the magazine (you’ll have to jump through a couple of emails to confirm, etc.) It’s a compilation of poetry from past issues of Words Dance. It howls – it’s dedicated to Scott because he did & still does. I know all of this is still so fresh & tender for so many of the people that were closest to Scott. I hope that what I’ve done here shows my deep respect, love & gratitude for him & you.

Slowly getting my footing here, I’m not sure what shape the blog will take besides announcing issue & book releases — my hope is to continue to share some of the poetry from the past print issues that didn’t get to be in the free issue, here on the blog, along with new poetry, art, book reviews, mine & others’ musings on poetry & the state of it, interviews, poetry happenings, just a realm of goodness if you love the art. If you would like to receive blog updates via email you can do that here. I would love for this to be a community effort. I hope that you will feel at home here to share your stories, memories, anecdotes. Your opinions, dreams & hopes. I hope to get more poetry into more hands with the help of yours.

Submissions are open for the first issue, release date is during the first week of November! Deadline is October 1st.

Click here to read the Submission Guidelines. I’d love for you to be part of this.

Love & deep respect,