Issue 101
 

Remnants
of the Dodo

 

 

 

M. J. Arlett, Ian Brand, William Cullen Jr, Nicholas Froumis, Howie Good, Ann Howells,
M. A. Istvan Jr., Michael Kriesel, John McKernan, Tom Montag, Terrie Leigh Relf, Brad Rose, Ina Roy-Faderman, Sanjeev Sethi, Phil Shils, Robert Vile, Rodd Whelpley, Mark Young

  

 

Dale Wisely, Editor-in-Chief

 

 

 

The Note

 

Careful readers of this journal—the best kind, really—may note that our practice, generally, is to take the title of our issues from a word or phrase in one of the poems. Occasionally we will use the title of a poem, but more often it’s just a phrase a reader will encounter at some point while going through the issue. RHP Editor Laura M Kaminski solo-edited this issue. She made the picks, put them in sequence, and selected the excellent title, “Remnants of the Dodo" from Ina Roy-Faderman's poem on this issue.

 

More often than not, I create or borrow or steal some kind of cover image for the issue that is inspired by the title. Most of my visual work consists of making collages out of found images. So, this issue called for dodo art. (Considered a sort of Dada dodo, but thought better of it.) In this issue, I made physical pieces, scanned them, and then manipulated them with image editing software. It’s not a bad approach for a guy who really can’t draw. You’ll see what I did.

 

My little adventure in doing research on the dodo led me to this question: What is the deal with the dodo?

 

I’ve been hearing about the dodo since I was a child, which I no longer am. It is the best-known non-dinosaur extinct animal. The Wikipedia entry is, well, encyclopedic. The critter was peculiar to Mauritius, one island in the Indian Ocean. They died out before 1700. They had a comical name that fit an odd appearance. They were big birds, more than 3 feet tall and weighing in at something approaching 50 lbs. That's about the size of a 5-year-old. A short 5-year-old. So, maybe a 5-year-old sumo wrestler. Dodos couldn’t fly, which is a really annoying feature of some birds. I mean, if you’re going to be a bird, fly for crying out loud. You’re embarrassing yourself. (In fairness, very few 5-year-old sumo wresters can fly.)

 

They probably were not good eatin’, as we say down this way. Wikipedia says people preferred to eat parrots and pigeons, which ought to tell you that the dodo was not exactly a delicacy. Plus, you know, how do you cook a 50 lb. bird? Some believe people ate the dodos’ gizzards. So, just think about those weird little chicken gizzards, and imagine them the size of a size 10 shoe. Yum.

 

The thinking is that the dodo had the bad fortune of having encountered humans, because they died out within 100 years or so of first making the acquaintance of people. "Died out" may not be the best way of putting it. More likely they were shot with guns. My advice to creatures is to stay away from peope with guns. They tend to get mad, drunk, and/or stupid and shoot people with them. Now the dodo may have been a pretty robust creature. Dodos appear to have had large, sharp, and powerful beaks. But, as the saying goes, don’t bring a beak to a gunfight. 

 

Thanks to Laura M Kaminski and all the poets whose work appears in issue 101. Great stuff!

 

Dale

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Mark Young

 

bon temps

 

It is the first day of coriander
 

I go for a walk uptown

 

The absence of intelligent design perplexes me

 

 

 

 

Massacre

 

 

 

Howie Good

 

People think gunshots are normal.

If they wait long enough,

 

a bullet may come through their window.

Art show? Performance? Gunfight? 

 

I need to remember. You saw

the eyes of the jaguar. I didn’t.

 

Look at this, showers of gunfire

in a distinct shade of yellow.

 

And yes, please keep the blood

in place of Jesus in the wine bottle.

 

 

Source text: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/nyregion/queens-couple-sees-art-in-the-bullet-holes-piercing-a-public-housing-complex.html

 

 

 

USS Haleakala

 

 

 

Mike Kriesel

 

 

Ball caps at the VA Clinic

read USS Nimitz,

Vietnam Veteran,

Operation Desert Storm.

I wish I’d kept my old

command ball cap.

I sailed it off a pier

my last day there.

Gold letters spelled

a failing ammunition ship

named for some volcano

only local Hawaiians

and three hundred sailors

knew how to pronounce.

 

 

 

Small Town Skeletons

 

 

 

Ann Howells

 

 

The past isn’t here. Isn’t now. Does not exist.

Locked trunks bulge with asterisks, parentheses,

those ubiquitous question marks. Everything

is boxed-up, stored in mental attics—purple ink

on unlined pages. Dead lips, once stitched,

maintain secrecy. 

 

 

 

 

Remembrance

 

 

 

Nicholas Froumis

 

Candles are lit

in remembrance.

 

Smoke rises above,

while wax drops below.

 

Two opposite destinations

with those who remember

stuck somewhere between.

 

 

 

At hymns we miss them.

Not their voices

baritone, alto,

alto who thought

she was soprano.

Softer, older ones.

Tones they’d reach.

Or fall just under.

It’s the space between

the rests. You hear them

sharpest then, the end

of every phrase, when

the congregation takes

its breath. And they

do not. 

 

 

 

At Hymns

 

 

 

Rodd Whelpley

 

 

Oh, crow, bassist

for the Blue Sky Cowboys,

 

keeper of the beat, the beat,

crooner of the sad old songs,

 

father of the broken heart,

sing us a love song.

 

 

 

Oh, Crow

 

 

 

Tom Montag

 

 

yesterday I was equidistant

between my two children doing the calculations

of parenthood. today felix went to

the back yard and picked up a saw

that he swung like a scythe. I made

certain the gate was locked then took

the saw from him and put it back

into the pile of timber that had been

torn from the house. its absence  

opened a gap above the back

steps that's made a

roosting place for pigeons.

everyday I clear their shit away

and hold my breath. the front

door is locked. or is it? lucia

is in her chair. or is she?

 

 

 

Math

 

 

 

Phil Shils

 

 

Spiral red then white light

Wrapped itself around

           

The sliding siren for ten miles

As I followed the fire trucks'

High-beam white-line straight-ahead tuning fork

 

Curving right    Flat

Then sharp  left

Across the concrete bridge

Over the frozen mountain creek

 

It was delicious    To brake & slow down

To see the fire trucks

Speed right past my house

& disappear

Over the upgrade hill's silent curve   Delicious

 

 

 

The Pulsing Zero to Fifty in Eight Seconds

 

 

John McKernan

 

 

Iris,

blocking the fire outside.

 

Volcano,

storing the fire inside.

 

Everyone fears dilation.

 

 

 

Dilation

 

 

 

Nicholas Froumis

 

 

While at the airlock

 

 

Terrie Leigh Relf

 

 

The door hisses open and I dangle this poem

at the threshold, threaten to leave it there.

 

It remains mute, the poem, as I check the tether,

open the outer hatch, gaze outward at the dark expanse

 

as a constellation inches closer,

curious, perhaps, what we're up to.

 

Somehow, this poem manages to release the safety,

hooks itself to me, then leaps outside the airlock.

 

"I finally get what you mean," I say, as we drift

further away from the shipand then its sails,

 

its glorious sails, unfurl.

 

 

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