Alternating Current's biannual literary magazine, Poiesis, was released back in January and once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. There are over fifty poets featured, some of which have been featured in Poet Hound before such as Hosho McCreesh, Justin Barrett, Leah Angstman, and Timothy Gager. The collection of poems is as diverse as the writers and you are sure to find more than several poems you’ll want to make copies of to share with your friends, family, and co-workers. Each issue has a Featured Writer who happens to be J.J. Campbell in this issue and when I read his poems I said “I like this guy!” So let me start out by sharing one of his poems below:
my fellow man
often as i watch the seconds aimlessly
tick away each day as i wait for my
number to be called certain thoughts
will enter my head
like how my fellow man could ever
allow reality tv to become popular
or how my fellow man could ever let a
government of the people, for the people
and by the people become so corrupt and
hell bent on greed and ruling through fear
when did my fellow man become
a member of the religious right
how did my fellow man
forget the one rule for this planet
keep the rich rich
and the poor poor
why did my fellow man allow the
schools to rot into ruin and suddenly
become naïve and think raising a
collective voice would change
anything, anything at all
my fellow man must have missed
the memo about the almighty dollar
but anytime i’m out there, waiting in
line, running a red light or pulling up
a chair at the bar next to my fellow man
it only takes me a few seconds to order
another drink, something stronger this
time, for the look on my fellow man
says it all
we’re fucking doomed
J.J. Campbell’s poem is very abrasive and visceral which I like because blunt people are my favorite type of people—you know exactly where you stand with them. All of his poems featured in this collection have the same visceral quality and you need a strong stomach to read them all.
Another poem not quite so abrasive but also blunt is one by Joseph Veronneau below:
An Artist’s Night Out
Entering the building, I could
see the academics sitting
stiffly in cushioned chairs.
I quietly filled a seat in the back
Amongst snob-nosed “professionals.”
The poet kept his wine glass
closer than his book of poems,
selling his words to us in monotone.
A delicate two-finger clap
to the palm and then silence –
for the English Professor wannabe-poet
is about to speak again.
After the last metaphor
and sentences of “grandmother’s
crisp apple pie,”
I was ready to leave.
I received a dirty look
on the way out
by the bookstore owners.
I was pleased because
I had finally received something
from the evening.
I congratulate Joseph Veronneau for being so candid about the poetry reading he describes. I can picture perfectly the scenario and know that I may have struggled internally whether to leave or not if it had been me but Mr. Veronneau walked out and was pleased with the dirty looks he received as a result which makes a great ending for this poem.
I will now share one final and more sentimental poem by Janice Brabaw:
You were too young to love me
The way I thought I needed to be loved
And in the end I wasn’t enough
I was too young to love you
The way you thought you needed to be loved
And in the end you weren’t enough
Dusk does not settle
Without the dust
of our love
from under the floor.
And every night
Before I sleep
I have to sweep it back
So I can rest again.
This poem sounds like first young, true love that you can never be rid of. Most of us have that experience and I love the repetition of “wasn’t enough/Too much” for each other. I also like the idea of having to sweep back the feelings to rest peacefully at night, it makes the relationship in the poem more pronounced and like a fresh memory than an old wound. This poem avoids being trite on a topic we all read and write about and I think Janice Brabaw does a wonderful job with her choice of words.
There are countless more poems I could share with you but I think you should check out the collection for yourself.
To purchase a copy you may find it for $4.00 at the link below and I hope you’ll take a look:
Thanks for reading and please stop by tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…