The Easter Bunny has seen some shit.
We fear what we can’t define.
I come to you, cupping my breasts:
these sometimes strangers
negating my newfound pronouns.
Have you ever bound your chest?
The first time, I did it with elastic bandages:
another actor walking around my chest,
securing the bust espionage with
metal fasteners. It took three rolls.
Safe beneath a tuxedo shirt, mustard vest
and green velveteen coat (with tails),
I felt a sense of power and freedom
that ended up meaning more than
I could comprehend at the time.
I have two binders now; they are safer.
They flatten tissue without the harsh
compression of fluids. I pull them
over my shoulders and delight
in the flatness of my chest.
A passerby yells
“Hey, white boy!”
And my heart leaps
outside of the binding.
Kate Lebo is the author of Pie School: Lessons in Fruit, Flour, and Butter (Sasquatch Books), A Commonplace Book of Pie (Chin Music Press), and The Pie Lady’s Manifesto, a zine republished by The Rumpus in 2014. Her poems, essays, commentary, and recipes have appeared in Best New Poets, New England Review, Gastronomica, Willow Springs, AGNI, The Washington Post, City Arts Magazine, 94.9 KUOW, Poetry Northwest and other places. She teaches poetry and food writing workshops across the nation, but especially at Richard Hugo House and The Pantry at Delancey. A graduate of the University of Washington’s MFA program, she’s the recipient of a Nelson Bentley Fellowship, the Joan Grayston Poetry Prize, and a grant from 4Culture.
Kate has judged the Iowa State Fair Pie Contest, baked at the American Gothic House, and won Best in Show at the first annual Cake vs. Pie Competition. At Pie Stand she taps into the social magic of pie to create conversations across communities and give people a taste of her original baked creations.
A devotee of book art, she’s an editor for the handmade literary journal Filter and has a long history of zine-making. Her video installation for Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery, Bliss, asks viewers to eat a book and read their food.
Kate was raised in the Pacific Northwest by Iowans and now lives in Spokane, Washington. She has ambivalent feelings about pie a la mode. She adores rhubarb.
The living violins of the forest I traverse.
The yellow wind is in my hair
And I gallop down the red lane to the meter of hooves.
They dig in the soil, iron rich. A blood red road.
I say it out loud with relish.I enjoy the sensation of phonetics dancing across my white teeth like thick, delicious pasta.
I play with the idea.
Triplets trip over my tongue
Null and void
This meal tastes better than the last one I had.
The one I forced down my throat,
It was so vile, I had to wash it down with the bitter tang of my ex lover.
Sex like chewing a raw leek.
Afterglow that requires palate cleansing.
He made my tongue big and awkward.
A lumbering dullard
Rolling oddly into consonants
Trying to right itself by overcompensation.
Like a clumsy person walking on ice.
I’m drawn from my reverie.
I’m a bit lost in the woods by now.
The violins have grown silent with the condensation of trees.
I try to choose a specific path, but I am unable to turn down the way I wish.
It’s not me. It’s my horse.
“When the time comes, you’ll know your way,” he declares.
What a miserable douche.
There are children alongside this undesirable road.
They reach for me
The children back away wide-eyed and shocked
(Glottal dental)I want the basket
My mouth might as well be empty
Like the basket
Might as well be quiet
Like the forest
Might as well be blood red
Like the road
Like marinara sauce
Like my frustrationMaybe my horse will let me turn off this road soon.
Maybe I will make the decision.
Maybe I will stay on this horse forever.
A miserable douche.
Favorite poets: “My favorite poets include Thomas Gray (of Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard fame), Thomas Hardy (Christmas 1914 & so much more), Robert Louis Stevenson, and Robert Burns. (Everyone needs the Complete Works of Robert Burns.)Calvin Trillin is my favorite modern poet.”
Amber Tamblyn is a contributing writer for the Poetry Foundation and the author of two previous works of poetry, Free Stallion and Band Ditto. As an actress, she has been nominated for an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and an Independent Spirit Award. Her writing has appeared in Bust, Interview, Cosmopolitan, the San Francisco Chronicle, Poets & Writers, Pank, and elsewhere.
the light will cut through this terrain of darkness soon.
the moon, suddenly out of itself, disappeared behind some trees. or perhaps a
mountain. or an owl’s cry.
I have navigated the thickness of night’s forest in each minute.
(not always with delicacy. which was perhaps what was needed)
nevertheless, there will be light soon. it will open its
unreadable pages. without knowing.
and the day will dawn (as they say) too bright for seeing
(though the ever-wound in my heart might actually hear if my hands
can quiet themselves of their keening secrets)
in the meantime I will unravel. carefully.
touching with eyes stretched. body pulled from the debris of another
and continue. (undone by the smallest bird pushing his thin knife
of song between my ribs)
seeking that place from whence breath arrives.
only the trees know how thin the skin is behind the ears.
Rose Woods is the Founding Artistic Director of Island Shakespeare Festival. She has been the Artistic Director of three theatre companies in the San Francisco Bay Area and has worked across the country with both professional and youth theatre companies, most recently with Seven Stages Shakespeare Company in New Hampshire. She is a professional screenwriter and playwright as well as a published poet. She was awarded a commendation from Senator Barbara Boxer for her work with youth theatre and is the recipient of a number of awards for both her writing and directing, including the Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, Humanitarian Teacher of the Year Award, the Bay Area Critics Award and a variety of national and international awards for her screenwriting.
Edna St. Vincent Millay
so many poets… so little time…”
Read the full text of the poem here.
This poem was originally published by Moss Trill.
Jaimie Gusman lives in Kaaawa, HI where she is a freelance writer, blogger and founder of Mixing Innovative Arts. She has three chapbooks: Gertrude’s Attic (Vagabond Press, 2014), The Anyjar (Highway 101 Press, 2011), and One Petal Row (Tinfish Press, 2011).
Favorite poets: “Gertrude Stein, Alice Notley, Adeena Karasick & Catherine Wagner have been major influences on my work!”
I was having so much trouble with my roses
you couldn’t see the poor leaves for black spot,
so I called up the gardening centre,
They said they’d send the best man that they’d got.
With pomp, he arrived on that Monday
His chariot – a weathered landscapers van.
Written across the sides in bold letters,
“Trigger-hand Trevor The Bug Spraying Man.”
Behind my net curtains, I eyed him
As in spurs, he clanked to my door
a swaggering weed-wrangling cowboy
in my chest something started to soar.
He towered over me on my doorstep:
a mass of smoldering good looks and brown skin.
Clad in cowboy boots and jeans of tight denim
He must have jumped off the truck to get in
He wore a frayed, 10-gallon hat of raw leather.
His belt was crammed with every tool, an array.
Stretched across his great barrel chest a tight T-shirt
With the words “Come on, bugs. Make my day!”
My whole body started a’ quivering
at this beautiful masculine sight.
He uttered, as if gargling gravel
“I’m here to put an end to your blight.”
Still shaking, I led him out back then
to the place where black beetle still reigned.
He slipped on his gloves like a master
His hawk eyes my garden surveyed.
Pulling out two spray bottles from his belt loop,
armed and deadly, he pulled down his hat.
As his fingers twitched on the triggers
he warned, “Ma’am, you’d better stand back.”
As a master, he started a’ firing
first to the left then the right with such speed,
little bodies dropped all around him,
when he’d finished, there wasn’t even a weed.
“It safe to come out ma’am,” he called to me.
“You won’t be having no more trouble with your pest.”
As he blew smoke from the tips of his bottles, added
“That’s why they call me the best trigger in the West.”
As he left, I just couldn’t stand it
Running up my path I clung to his leg.
“Trevor I can’t live without you.
Please take me with you,” I cried, and I begged.
He flashed me a smile that did melt me
Pulling me close, rasped, “hop on my van.”
My days are now spent filling his bottles –
My Trevor, the Bug Spraying Man.
Suzanne Kelman is the author of “The Rejected Writers Book Club” and her writing voice has been described as a perfect blend of Janet Evanovich and Debbie Macomber. She is also a multi-award winning screenwriter whose accolades include Best Comedy Feature Screenplay – L.A. International Film Festival (2011) Gold Award – California Film Awards (2012) and Winner – Van Gogh Award – The Amsterdam Film Festival (2012). Born in the UK she now resides in Washington State.
Favorite poets: “Pam Ayres–great comedy poems.”
Lower the flags;
clasping a cloak
red with clay and
blood from battle
deep in the valley.
A broken shield
wants to glint
in the sun,
downtrodden by hooves
carefully shaped steel.
Armistice of ash and oleander
for the villain slain
hovering still over
bodies living and dead
with no reprieve offered
for the victorious hero
who also requires a pyre
adorned with white and brambles.
Leather groans at the sight
of hands drifting toward
release of ties that bind
the maker to her tools.
Hoist the flag;
the hero will not die today.
Bonnie Stinson writes about feminism, travel, identity, and trust. When she is not writing, Bonnie is either baking, watching films, or designing installations.
Favorite poets: Walt Whitman, Warsan Shire