Issue 100

C

 

for Jerome

 

CL Bledsoe   
Anuja Ghimire   
Howie Good   
Elizabeth
McMunn-Tetangco
Corey Mesler   

Cindy St. Onge   
Allan Peterson
Ray Templeton   
Larry D. Thomas   
Guy Traiber

C

Issue 100 

Amy Miller   
Tristan Moss   
Mary-Jane Newton   
Brad Rose   
Philippe Shils   
Sarah J. Sloat   

source photo by Mark Maldia.

 

 

 

The C Note

 

 

Dale Wisely, Editor-in-Chief

We’ve all had strange experiences with the Internet. You Google something and you find yourself looking at a link to a porn site that features models wearing helmets made out of raw meat. (Oh, don’t act like you haven’t seen that one.)

 

You get a Facebook account and find yourself “friends” with your 11th grade boyfriend AND the girl who bullied you mercilessly for years who is now a nun running a shelter in Honduras.

 

Or you make an order on amazon.com. You order a book of poems and then remember you need a roll of duct tape and you order that too and a box comes to your porch two days later with a book of poems and a roll of duct tape.

 

Twenty years ago I bought a pennywhistle and then started a website called Chiff & Fipple, dedicated to the instrument. It was good timing because about that time there was a huge wave of interest in traditional Irish music. It grew into a huge community of musicians that’s still online today.

 

Twelve years ago, I threw up 7 or 8 pieces of creative writing on the internet, called it Right Hand Pointing. It kind of picked up over time. Along the way, I was joined by an amazing team of editors, F. John Sharp, F. J. Bergmann, and Laura M Kaminski. Fine, generous, sensitive, gifted friends and colleagues. 

 

I became an editor and friend to some of my favorite poets. I am tempted to name some of them, but I wouldn’t know where to quit, and I’d leave some people out.

 

There are poets who entrust their work to us, who still send us their work even though they typically publish in more prestigious venues. (Granted, the number of journals more prestigious than RHP is declining. In the last couple of years, almost everything I read in that rag The Paris Review had been rejected by RHP.) But we're also almost as moved to get a submission from a high school student as from, say, Corey Mesler, who appears in this issue in the same year he landed a poem in POETRY. I said almost.

 

So. There you go. This is issue #100. That's a really round number. It's significant in mathematics. I would explain that to you except space doesn't permit it and it involves math.

 

I’m keeping this short. I am blessed and grateful. I thank my co-editors. We thank our readers, our contributors, and everyone who submits their work to us.

 

Dale

 

P.S. That thing about amazon.com and a book of poems a duct tape? True story. It was me! That thing about meat helmet porn?  I made that up.

 

Notes on Creation

 

 

 

Amy Miller

 

 

We love the look

of the body, the apple

in his pocket. The idea

of dropping blossoms

 

must be discussed

with the safety people.

Rarely do floating things

land directly below.

 

We would like to discuss

the size of a normal head.

This head is too small.

We need details,

 

rigging, dimensions.

Very few are aware

of exactly how tight it is

in the heavens.
 

(found poem from rehearsal notes on a production of  Cymbeline)

 

 

 

Amy Miller

 

 

You Kept the Bed

 

and I bought a brand-new

beauty that felt so good

in the shop, that satiny

expanse, strange peace

of lying alone

while the salesman watched,

a clipboard in his hand.

 

 

 

Brad Rose

 

 

Swan's Way

 

Awake as electricity,

I feel the square weather tightening

the velocity of my room. 

I’ve got a ghost camera in my head.

It helps me to organize my nouns and verbs,

adjust my short-term memory. 

 

My brother, Bob, says I’ve been cleaving

to within an inch of my life.

Says I should check myself in. 

I guess he’s right.

Swan meat is no longer considered a delicacy.

 

Bob said, Don’t worry Miles,

it’s nothing to be ashamed of. 

Nearly everyone could benefit from a better diet. 

Besides, hear that thunder?

Even the sky tears itself apart

to get rain.

 

 

 

Brad Rose

 

 

Shelter

 

The worst of it is, when I close my eyes now, I nearly forget what you looked like. Your back turned to me, your departure, a misshapen blur. Bags already packed and in the car, you left so quietly, without protest or complaint. At the door, the dog, its head bowed, obediently waited for a beating.

 

 

 

 

 

Tristan Moss

 

 

A Good Day on Stanage

 

My hands are numb with cold

but they are dry, too,

and tiny crystals in the gritstone

give my fingertips grip,

and I climb

a grade I've never climbed.

 

Later, etched into the pads of my fingers,

like runic inscriptions,

signs of how it was done. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Howie Good

 

 

1

Is this your career?

Seriously?

Get a real job!

Writing postcards doesn't count!

 

2

Turn up the television.

Anyone can do it.

 

3

I don’t get it.

The window has shut.

Don't you even care?

Success depends upon money!

Asides must be dumped.

 

4

Your house is burning.

We're out of vodka.

Your document is blank.

It’s a good start.

 

 

Based on entries in “Spoil a Writer's Mood in 4 Words” contest, https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=spoil%20a%20writer%27s%20mood

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fail Better

 

 

 

Cindy St. Onge

 

 

At the End of Rabies

 

Your throat is a limestone quarry

refusing its own spit.

The parched basin is motionless

but for momentary spasm.

 

Your eyes widen as if

to drink from the cool

silver memory of water,

but to lap is to drown and

froth and tears are wasted

in this poverty of fluid.

 

Eyes continue to thirst

trying so hard to receive

what your throat can’t swallow.

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy St. Onge

 

 

The Edge 

 

See it?

 

From land’s end to the shoals

where the dream fades

and the ocean rushes in

to wake you.

 

Black tide, killing time,

it’s waiting for you.

So step out of the story and

leap over its wide, blue face.

Right over those sleeping,

and over those drowning,

unashamed of the extravagance

of knowing how and when.

 

 

 

 

 

 

CL Bledsoe

 

My Father, Driving

 

He drove so slow, Death

got out to walk.
 

* * *
It saves on cleaning,

because he doesn’t raise dust.
 

* * *

Everybody was so friendly;

they all waved, but real

cool-like with just one finger.

 

* * *

Sometimes, he liked to race old

Grampa Taylor; he usually

won now that Grampa was dead.

 

* * *

Hard to tell if he’s going

forwards or backwards until

someone lays on the horn.

 

* * *

When the horizon comes up

too fast, he gets scared he might

fall off the Earth and miss supper.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

CL Bledsoe

 

The Frog

 

On the way to the store, the gloom exploded

in yellow flashes, an infinity of butterflies.

 

I stood guard in the narrow, curvy road

the rich kids liked to fly down as you danced

 

in the wing-shower beside a puddle. I wanted

to go. The world is too bright and beautiful to bear

 

sometimes. I hope you never learn this. At one end

of the puddle, we saw wings with no bodies, and then

 

eyes—a frog collecting breakfasts that paused

in their swirling meditation—watching us

 

from his lucky spot. Even this was a blessing. 

.  

 

 

 

 

 

Corey Mesler

 

 

The door is a metaphor

 

The door is a metaphor.

My knocking on it

a dead end.

Some part of me doesn’t

believe in the

door. Some other part of

me keeps knocking.

If you can hear it, be still.

If you can hear it, be, still. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Corey Mesler

 

I am the male child

 

I am the male child

unsure of things,

literal things:

tools, cars, baseballs.

My father, be-

fuddled by his

second born, was

patient. This

was his strength:

patience. I even-

tually grew up. I

became a man.

It was a long course

and I faltered

often. These things

I am now sure of:

wife, children, and

the importance of

these dark marks

against the marked darkness. 

 

 

 

 

 

Larry D. Thomas

 

Nursery Rhyme

 

Just beyond her reach,

the parts of a mobile

revolve in silent orbits

 

like the brightly colored

disks of distant planets,

circling a make-believe sun.

 

Outside her window,

a sightless moon

amuses itself

 

with the cool,

linear braille

of closed blinds.

 

She is wide-eyed,

spellbound by the addition

and subtraction of breathing,

 

rapt as a mathematician

solving the long

division of her cells.

                                                

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ray Templeton

 

 

Get out. Watch and listen.

Make the most of wind and rain.

Lie on grass, count waves

or stars - not here with all this

paper. I know someone

who'll teach you local names

for birds, plants, insects.

Try them on your tongue:

pee-weeps, doakens,

slaters. That's the stuff.

Forget the Greek and Latin.

When it sounds like earth beneath your feet,

you'll know, and only then -

the track you're on will take you

where you need to be.

 

 

            

 

 

 

Blether

 

It was the perfect afternoon to buy gold rings

And the man could not pick

One band for a finger

 

So, he stood at the edge of the store

Stretched his right hand with four rings to the light

The midday sun landed slightly above each knuckle

The man, bedazzled

 

It was as extraordinary as the collapse, the shattered glass

And his feet that carried him far

Long after the shaking had stopped

 

Even the man did not see his one hand pointing to the sky

 

 

 

            

 

 

 

Right Hand Pointing

 

 

 

Anuja Ghimire

 

 

 

 

Anuja Ghimire

 

 

He is uprooting the bean stalk

to find the magic beans

 

He couldn’t put the golden eggs back

or resuscitate the hen

 

But he is meeting the old man again

Bringing home the cow that is barren

 

He is returning the giant’s feet into the sky

 

 

 

            

 

 

 

Salvage

 

Dust rises

like a tarp

across your feet: stiff

and gray. The sun

 

is white,

an ironed

shirt. A folded

 

invoice.

You feel

 

sweat

on the inside of your hat brim

 

like a clock.

 

In the airport bar, of course,

you think of lions, with their tongues

rough as a girl’s bare

unshaved legs, with their bodies

 

taut and firm

 

and their hearts

so much smaller

than you’d hoped.

 

 

 

            

 

 

 

After the Lion Hunt

 

 

 

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

 

 

The ivory that is almost grey.

The cool that could pass for cold.

 

Seven winds delivered in one gust

in the afternoon cut short by dark.

 

Isn’t the lack of distinction sometimes too much?

And then the craze for being grateful.

 

Let me go off-script, and

play the jaded femme fatale.

 

Except for my book of Patchen poems

I don’t feel grateful at all.

 

 

            

 

 

 

November

 

 

 

Sarah J. Sloat

 

 

I must admit this got my attention,

jutting out

from the other wreckage at the dump.

 

I’d never noticed such

a something, though the junkman lumped it

 

among the oldest inventions.

Extracted from a heap of knick

knacks long lapsed

 

into obsolescence, it stood decrepit.

Its nails bent, yes, but still sharp, still biting.

 

What madman fathered this,

I wondered, twirling

it creaking around its hinges.

 

Not the most practical

contraption, I thought, bending

over to haul it home.

 

            

 

 

 

The Backache

 

 

 

Sarah J. Sloat

 

 

dreams aren't prophetic.

they’re about your last dinner.

 

in my dream I had a gun

but no one got shot.

 

it was a paperweight securing

Important Papers from the ceiling fan.

 

idiot country is where

I sometimes think we live.

 

a cup of coffee

followed by a nap.

 

no traitors but

treachery all around.

 

my daughter is the first

and only of her kind.

 

let’s abandon cynicism.

I'll explain my love for

you by not explaining at all.

 

 

            

 

 

 

beat the drum

 

 

 

Philippe Shils

 

 

 

 

Guy Traiber

 

 

Silent Testimony

 

There is a familiar song
in the middle of the forest. It is
Saturday morning and G-d
rests. The trees
are silent testimony
to past movement, the clouds
to the one coming.

 

 

            

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary-Jane Newton

 

In the autumn of that year
the world reclined in its rocking chair
It had grown old and lost its teeth
and shed its hair
forgotten its name
forgotten where the sun rises
and how to turn
where to turn
And the string of time
like an ancient umbilical cord
looped in on itself
hungrily made history
without knowing its purpose
eating up
its host
Meanwhile some
twiddled their idle thumbs
and some shook hands, ruffled their feathers

 

 

 

            

 

 

 

Making History

 

 

 

Allan Peterson

 

 

Homework

 

Parting curtains so light struts reinforced the walls
I studied the segmented heads of Phrenology
showing the areas of resident competencies
Petulance right next to Self-righteousness
I knew redundancy was meant for assurance
but then I discovered a whole earth on a pedestal
in Michael’s room another in the library
It was like finding night and day hidden
many times in a wall switch  or seeing aquaria
as spare rooms of ocean with yellow tangs  angels
Pittosporum was a lung with bronchia  buds alveoli
some kind of bee whose stinger pulsed with my heart
The more I learned the more I saw right through me
feathers and all    I felt  heart was the organ of memory
By heart I could say    and have it play Samuel Barber
and Eliot’s Quartets

 

 

            

 

 

 

 

 

Allan Peterson

 

 

Frightening clothing strung on a wire 
pieces that altogether make a man
hung like a message   a distress
pulled from one window to another
arms out pleading   legs limp as rags
What could have happened in that apartment
and what have they done with the body

 

 

Felony

 

Contributors

 

CL Bledsoe is the author of a dozen books, most recently the poetry collection Riceland and the novel Man of Clay.  He’s had two RHP chapbooks: Goodbye to Noise and Tulsa. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize thirteen times, Best of the Net a couple times, had a couple stories selected as Notable Stories of the year for Story South’s Million Writers Award, had hundreds of stories, poems, essays, plays, etc. published all over, and his grandmother thinks he’s a handsome boy. CL Bledsoe lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.  

 

Anuja Ghimire is from Kathmandu, Nepal. She has published creative nonfiction and poetry in more than 30 journals in the U.S., Nepal, and Canada. She writes in English and Nepali. A 2015 Pushcart nominee, she lives in Dallas, TX, with her husband and two little girls. Anuja works as an editor/publisher in the e-learning industry and writes poetry. 


Howie Good's work has appeared in, on, or at Right Hand Pointing since very near the beginning 12 years ago. And, he's been known to publish a poem or two now and then in other publications. He loves Bob Dylan.
 

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco co-edits One Sentence Poems and is an ardent admirer of rain, though these things are unrelated. Her chapbook, Various Lies, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.

 

Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and Esquire/Narrative. This allows Right Hand Pointing to appear in the same bio as Poetry and Five Points. He has published 8 novels, 4 short story collections, and 5 full-length poetry collections. His new novel, Memphis Movie, is from Counterpoint Press. He’s been nominated for the Pushcart many times, and 2 of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife he runs a 145-year-old bookstore in Memphis. He can be found at https://coreymesler.wordpress.com

                                                       

Amy Miller’s poetry has appeared in Nimrod, Rattle, Right Hand Pointing, Willow Springs, and ZYZZYVA. Her chapbooks include Rough House (White Knuckle Press) and I Am on a River and Cannot Answer (BOAAT Press, forthcoming). She works as the publications manager for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and blogs at writers-island.blogspot.com.

 

Tristan Moss lives in York with his partner and two young children. He has had poems published in Magma, Shadow Train, NOON, Fat Damsel, Obsessed with pipework, Snakeskin, The Journal, Ink Sweat and Tears, Word Riot, Camroc Review, elimae and Alba. He can be contacted at tristanmoss@hotmail.co.uk

 

Mary-Jane Newton was born in India and grew up in Germany. She is the author of two poetry collections, Of Symbols Misused (2011) and Unlocking (2013), both published by Proverse Hong Kong, and her work has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies internationally. Her third collection of poems, Cruel Little Bird (OrientOccident Press), is forthcoming in 2017. She is the Publishing Manager at Macmillan Publishers China and currently lives in Hong Kong with her husband and daughter.

 

Brad Rose was born and raised in southern California, and lives in Boston.  He is the author of Pink X-Ray. Links to his poetry and fiction, which appear in print and on-line, can be found at: http://bradrosepoetry.blogspot.com/

 

Philippe Shils has had poems published in Underground Books, Stirring, and elsewhere. A chapbook is available from the fine folks at Right Hand Pointing.

 

Sarah J. Sloat lives in Frankfurt, Germany, a stone’s throw from Schopenhauer’s grave. Her poems have recently appeared in Radar and The Journal.


Cindy St. Onge is a multimedia poet who’s poetry has recently appeared in Dappled Things, Timberline Review, and VoiceCatchers.

 

Allan Peterson is the author of five books, most recently Precarious (42 Miles Press 2014), a finalist for The Lascaux Prize; Fragile Acts (McSweeney's Poetry Series), a finalist for both the 2013 National Book Critics Circle and Oregon Book Awards; and multiple chapbooks, including  three from Right Hand Pointing. Forthcoming from Tupelo Press is Other Than They Seem, winner of the 2014 Snowbound Chapbook Prize. His work has ben published in Ireland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Wales. He lives in Ashland, OR and Gulf Breeze, FL. www.allanpeterson.net

Ray Templeton's poetry has appeared recently in Right Hand Pointing and Eclectica. If you happen to be passing the Gibraltar Castle pub in Batford, Hertfordshire, England, on a Tuesday evening, you might hear him sing a few of his songs (they do a nice pint of Fuller's London Pride, too).

 

Larry D. Thomas lives in west Texas and is a former poet laureate of Texas. Larry's work has appeared many times on this website. His tenththat's righttenth chapbook from RHP is Jake & Violet.  

 

Guy Traiber is currently so busy with the end-of-the-year exams he even dares to forget the submitting rules of RHP. He has just sent out his first-ever manuscript and is very excited about it all. He is in love.

 

 

 

Coming up in Issue 101: Poems about airline meals.

 

 

 

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