Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Stain: A Literary Journal

Stain is based out of Brooklyn, New York and is a product of a group called the Stained Glass Confessional that meets at the Stain Bar to perform poetry, stories, and more. Janice Brabaw, the editor, created this anthology featuring the performers from her press, Tangled Up In Blue which you can find out more about with the links provided at the bottom. The variety in the anthology is a great collection of various personalities in poems, pictures, stories and emotional expressions as anyone could wish for. Luckily, Janice Brabaw has given me permission to share a few of the poems in their entirety:

By Patricia Carragon

Innocence came out to play
And saw storm clouds instead.

The fluffy days of childhood
Played tag with problems,
But never could get the stains out
As new problems settled in.

We still wash our dirty laundry
In water and detergent,
Not expecting them to look
Squeaky clean.

The more we scrub,
The darker the stains
After each rinse.

We dry our clothes inside,
Never hang our history
On a clothesline.

It would only clash against
The pretty greenery
Next door
And the neighbors
Would complain.

Don’t you think this is a clever poem? I do. Comparing innocence to washing the laundry may not be a novel comparison but I love that the stains only get darker the harder you try to scrub them away and how the neighbors would complain if you hung your “dirty laundry” out to dry for all to see. Very typical of society who is typically dysfunctional but always going to great lengths to hide it or get rid of the dysfunction.

STR8 Appearing
By Frank Kelly

When was it first uttered,
This boast?
Who first devised this intricate equation?
But not gay appearing.
Not straight, no
(Let’s get that straight),
But straight appearing.
Or, even better,
S-T-R the number 8 appearing –
Like some fabulous brand of straightness
To complement our iPhones and Sean John hoodies.
No one will know what you are
By what I appear to be.
We can pass
For our admired
Former (and occasionally current) oppressors
Now become our role models.
Not-like-them in sexual orientatin
Like-them in everything else.
Indeed, on a good day,
We march out of our closets and into the gym
The iron closet
Where we sweat and strain
To become STR8 appearing.
Free? Not exactly.
Free weights? Exactly!
Broadway buzz? Sure!
But also buzz cuts!
And abs?
My dear, abs-solutely!
We can and do discriminate in our color schemes
Between seafoam and mint,
Heather and oatmeal,
But in this era of sensitive straight males
So do they!
Not just equals,
With kids and house and church and family,
We’re the same.
So the question now becomes:
Why go to all the trouble of being gay in the first place?

Frank Kelly brings up an interesting dichotomy, of gays appearing to fit in with the very same people who have or may still be oppressing them. There are plenty of questions to ponder on about that strange socialization of fitting in and an excellent poetic way of bringing about those questions.

By Darcie VanHamlin

Fall to madness as often as you please,
but do not faint.
Fall to your knees at the songs of birds,
but do not practice fits of fancied dreams winging their way
into the night.
Fall to loving things like pools of light,
wrinkles in your clothes and papers without words,
but do not exit a room without leaving someone with a
peculiar admiration and more.

Fall into habits of whispering when no one’s there to hear,
but do not write the words of your heart upon your skin or in your hair.
Fall to the ground as often as you can, in tears and blubbering sobs,
but do not fall into a lover’s arms without first taking careful consideration
as to whether or not you feel like pushing them out the
window at the slightest provocation.

Fall to being idiosyncratic,
but do not fall to being a heroine to those with idle hands and idle minds.
Fall to life as often as you please.
Just fall,
but do not faint.

I think this poem says more the more often you read it. In general, you know you can fall for and into things with full awareness but then you can look deeper into the kinds of falling Darcie describes.

If you enjoyed this short excerpt into Stain, you can pick up your very own copy and find out more about Tangled Up In Blue Press by going to:


You can also join Stained Glass Confessional and find out more about them at:
Stained Glass Confessional on Facebook

Thanks always for reading and please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…

1 comment:

Justine said...

Gosh, very elegant presentation and intriguing ideas -- I will wander a bit more, and cite you in my blog.

Thanks, Justine