Once again, we had reader poets who made us really sweat over this decision. I was so happy to receive a poem from Jennifer Hernandez, who was a Reader Poem winner in our 2015 project. She hit it out of the park with her entry that utilized not just one but a whole bunch of our March prompts. And I was thrilled to see another poem by Vincent Tromboli, this time invoking the voice of a mother who lost her son in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in June 2016.
Lucky for me, this month’s intrepid dis•articulations 2017 collaborator, Art Currim, was willing to make the choice, and he says the cash prize will go to Sarah Jones for her haunting poem, “Tears for Fears Is Full of Shit, or Not All Mothers Come from Heaven,” I’m happy to make all three of these poems available for your reading pleasure, and grateful to all the poets who are willing to play with these prompts and the dis•articulations 2017 project.
Tears for Fears Is Full of Shit, or Not All Mothers Come from Heaven
I crack like car upholstery
when I hear “drugs” or, more specifically,
“mother.” I don’t want
to be driven from home.
I want to cup a dead quail in my hands,
watch it come back to life—
not to be a monster.
(That’s not the nature of an undead thing.)
When it falls, it spoils—
always mottled, piss soaking into soil.
A rainbow of colors
appears in the bruise my father leaves
on my mother’s eye.
Here’s a pink petal I picked
for mother—it’s still soft.
She cannot dig a hole
deep enough to bury the void.
Here’s my cavern—
She fills it with feathers.
What does she want? To smoke
on the outside of this building.
I can’t hear my footfalls in this crosswalk—
Her black clogs clapping pavement.
I can’t puzzle this rose back together,
so here I am holding a dead flower.
Sarah Jones is a poet and freelance writer living in Seattle. She is an editorial intern of C&R Press. Before interning with C&R Press, Sarah was an assistant poetry editor of Lunch Ticket and Soundings Review. Sarah’s work has appeared in The Normal School, City Arts Magazine, Yes, Poetry, and many other places. www.sarahjonespoet.com.
We’re all in need of protection. When you cross yourself
in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
how different is it from throwing a gang sign? Both are
entreaties that safety in numbers, a thumping of the chest
will be enough to keep the beasts at bay.
Landslides engulf our homes, entire neighborhoods
convulse in mudflows like lava — hungry, unforgiving.
When we try to escape through the apocalyptic rain,
our Hybrids sink in potholes the size of kiddie pools,
Are these torrential downpours part of our tropical DNA?
We carry steamy landscapes of luscious leaves, heady blooms,
buzzing insects, slithering serpents, squawking birds inside
our shells, as we plod along tortoise-like ready to withdraw
into our mitochondrial paradise.
The upside of ignorance
is if you don’t know what you don’t know,
then you don’t suffer from the not-knowing.
Do we cling ever tighter to protective ignorance
in the hope of finding that elusive bliss?
Jennifer Hernandez lives in Minnesota where she teaches immigrant youth and writes poetry, flash, and creative non-fiction. Recent work appears in Dying Dahlia, Mothers Always Write and Yellow Chair Review.
From the prompt: Did you know all mothers come from heaven?
In her eyes, were I a boat
For my mother, post Orlando
When I float here
Between the spandrels of your legs
I can hear my mother Quietly
Let the sun rise tomorrow
My son rise
The blistering Myrtle
Let no creature tear it from its boughs
May it smell as sweet in late Summer
In this copper cage
Might I keep his heart there too
Inside a box of steel
To keep his heart safe
Inside his body
That was creased together inside this body
If I could keep him there
Where I may still sing him home
Where bullet is not a word
Vincent Trimboli holds a MFA in Creative Writing from West Virginia Wesleyan College. In 2016, Trimboli published two chapbooks with Ghost City Press (Condominium Morte and other milkweed diners). His poems can be found in Connotation Press and Still Journal.