Jim Bourey, Wes Civilz, Chet Corey, Timothy Gager, Howie Good, M.J. Iuppa, Ravitte Kentwortz, Jesse Miksic, Maximilian Lloyd, Alexander Nachaj, Thomas O'Connell, Belinda Rimmer, Sanjeev Sethi, Don Thompson, Sugar Tobey, Guy Traiber
Laura M. Kaminski
F. John Sharp
José Angel Araguz
F. J. Bergmann
about the editors
by Dale Wisely
Laura M Kaminiski is an editor of Right Hand Pointing. This issue is solo-edited by Laura. Thanks to Laura for her hard work and impeccable taste.
There are two people who are mostly responsible for the fact that RHP exists in 2017. Me, because I started the darn thing in 2004 and Laura, because, but for Laura's work, I would have had to have given up the project some years ago because of my insane schedule (and a massive catalog of character flaws.)
Laura is a fine person and, as an editorial colleague, just spot-on perfect. She's also has had and has an interesting life. Here's a recent email from Laura, shared with her permission.
We just finished harvesting for the year this past weekend, and the final total came to 1260 lbs (571kg)—not including strawberries and blackberries, as those were generally grazed while gardening and only a couple of pounds made it into the house for weighing and cooking: 94 lbs yellow squash, 508 lbs zucchini, 178 lbs tromboncini, 110 lbs apples, 367 lbs tomatoes, 3 lbs winged beans (test crop).
One dwarf apple tree proceeds shared liberally with an old horse before weighing in—plus 2000 sq. ft. of garden space—an abundance of frozen vegetables and sauces, plus two people fed most generously all summer, plus one sculpture in the living room. Next year is for peppers and beans. And I should be clear: I do very little of the actual gardening. It comes to the front door in a wheelbarrow, and from there, my job is to wash it, weigh it, and turn it into something—usually food, occasionally art.
Earliest indication of autumn:
Those stray, dusty, and half-unhinged
Migrants who’ll never make it
To their mild winter refuge.
A video loop;
a couple stripping
naked, not looking at each other,
or taking the next step.
No music, no
until someone hit a button marked
stop. I hit it.
A girl shouldered me aside,
hit another button marked start.
A couple on a screen
stripping until naked,
at each other.
to a different room.
Loop: A Gallery in Soho
This peculiar moment is like…
what is it like?
This is like
driving using only the rear-view mirror
And the rear window has been painted black
by the elves whose job it is to paint windows shut
This Peculiar Moment We're Undergoing
I waited for Peter along the Appian Way, intent on robbery. It was so easy. He said, Take everything I have, my friend. I'll have no need where I'm going. Turns out he was right. Outside of Rome they spun him right-side upside down. They say only breadcrumbs fell from folds of his tunic, enough perhaps to feed a few birds. I went looking for Paul in Antioch, Ephesus, Tyre. He could’ve made it easy if he'd said we'd hook up back in Rome. I paid Paul everything Peter had. A few table scraps. For Paul, the journey was enough.
Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
Once we had a life
we didn’t even know
we had a life until we lost
everything. That’s a privilege
we didn’t have gratitude
in truth we had it all
threw it away. It was easier
No one can get any further
disappointed in our
living in an Oldsmobile
we parked on top of the bridge.
Two hundred feet down was a river.
That’s 2.5 seconds of doubt
whether it will hit the water
less doubt on whether it would be found.
They don’t send divers to find a single weapon,
The cars that pass think we’re broken
down, perhaps urinating over the side.
No time to assume what was going on
It happens quick, the 2.5 and add 10 tics
to pull over, nervous, toss a gun.
Back in those days, a lot of people died because of the electricity situation. Me, I only lost my job. There was ash already in the air. They told us to stay at home and then they bombed us. Trees were on fire like torches. I left everything. So things are much better now, though clouds and rocks still occasionally speak about it and in a voice I feel in my body rather than hear.
Notes for an Upside-Down World
Loaves of crusty bread, stacked on wooden shelves
that line the wall, smell warm and yeasty in this
bakery that’s been in the family for four generations
of fuss & flour dust, and what will you have kindness.
It’s difficult to pick the perfect loaf, the one you know
will last the week of making morning toast. You ask
the clerk if the loaves have a particular name.
And she answers, “Hard” & “Soft.”
And you say, “I’ll have one of each.”
What Will You Have?
M. J. Iuppa
Born in a jar, she raises
a self, at first
as a rind, then building
Herself a rind
the threshold of consciousness,
tastes for the strange, grows
I would freeze to death in a cloud.
I would do that. Fine, I’d say
As I felt the pressure loss.
Decorate me in your disco barbs —
White eyebrows are very becoming.
That's One Way to Go
We ordered pizza every day that year. When the boxes piled up, we built greasy forts and carved stinking homes from stained cardboard shells. Crawling on our hands and knees, we lived out juvenile fantasies, chasing the door each time the man rang in a new order of our foolish disease.
With Extra Toppings Please
Imagine yourself four inches tall, sitting at a table, bowl of fruit in the middle
In a house where only necessary rooms exist, we become part of stories. We never have to climb stairs (wherever they may be)
Sometimes we are left in separate rooms, our primary fear that some boy will distribute dinosaurs, crouching in the kitchen.
I'd like to be an apple—a windfall
with grass knitted to my skin.
A woman intent on baking a pie
could scoop me up,
peel me and gouge out
my patches of rot.
She could pulp me
or cut me into wedges
and pop me into the oven.
This is all I want—
to die and be reborn.
The city is a birthday cake for a very old person resting on a table made from indigenous trees, we sing the birthday song
Pretending that we approve, encourage even, the passing of time. Smoke rising from the factory stack off to the right, the final candle extinguished.
Skyscrapers in a Dreamscape
Watchfully divinity unwraps its bounties and blows.
Like a bystander at another’s setback I calm myself.
When legacy of loss is your fiefdom, fist pumps are
alien. Possibilities beckon me to the tarmac. Symbols
of the universe warn and warm me in strange but
wonted territories, some offshore.
The road lengthens like a fan
from green into yellow into red
into emptiness, the emptiness of the heart
Sometimes longing is love
larger than the meeting of lips
The rain is spreading together
heaven and earth
the waters of our love
a great lake
in which everything will drown
Between September and October (autumn brush stroke)
Sand hills rise in the wind
man travels fast-
-er and faster
than the capacity of the heart
the whole landscape outside is
staring into the man eyes
his soul, perhaps those are his thoughts, lost
like the sun in the morning mist
Sand Hills Rise
is a carpenter remodeling
a bar Downtown.
His dusty vest wings and
cigarette scythe fit the bill.
And he is covered
head to toe in dust,
like he is made of stone
or grey marble.
He keeps time with the dust
between his fingers:
rubbing it together
and watching it fall.
The drive was so long
it made us sick and by the time
we got back there
we were evil
so with the windows
we passed through our old town
Jim Bourey is an old poet living on the edge of the Adirondack Mountains. His chapbook Silence, Interrupted was published in 2015 by the Broadkill Press. His work has appeared in Gargoyle, Broadkill Review and Double Dealer. He was a judge for POL competitions and can often be found reading aloud in dark rooms. There is, however, nothing wrong with him.
Wes Civilz lives in Vermont. Recent publications appear in The Threepenny Review, Entropy Magazine, The Chiron Review, and others.
Chet Corey’s poetry has previously appeared in Right Hand Pointing and most recently in Hummingbird: a Magazine of the Short Poem, Shot Glass Journal, and The Talking Stick, in which two of his short-short stories also appear.
Timothy Gager is the author of thirteen books of short fiction and poetry. Chief Jay Strongbow is Real (Big Table Publishing) is his first book of poetry in four years. He's hosted the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts since 2001 and was the co-founder of Somerville News Writers Festival.
Howie Good is. His poems are.
M.J. Iuppa, Director of the Visual & Performing Arts Minor Program and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College, and a part-time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport, was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017.
Ravitte Kentwortz studies philosophy and writes poetry in Colorado.
Maximilian Lloyd's most recent work has appeared on his laptop and in his notebook. He creates, reads, and revises every day in the hopes of publishing a book of poems.
Jesse Miksic is a graphic designer and writer living in Peekskill, New York. He spends his life hanging out with his wonderful wife and daughter and cycling rapidly through projects that rarely seem to get finished. This is his first poem in publication.
Alexander Nachaj has previously appeared in Right Hand Pointing, and more recently in Grievous Angel, Mad Scientist Journal and Shotgun Honey. He still enjoys ramen and eats it too.
Thomas O'Connell is a librarian who has decided to only live in towns named after Monkees songs. (Your editors were going with Clarksville, but have now been informed the current town is Pleasant Valley.) His poetry and short fiction have appeared in Elm Leaves Journal, The Los Angeles Review, Hobart (online), and Blink-Ink, as well as other print and online journals.
Belinda Rimmer has a varied career: psychiatric nurse, counsellor, lecturer and creative arts practitioner. Her poems have appeared in Brittle Star, Dream Catcher, ARTEMISpoetry and Obsessed with Pipework, and elsewhere. She won the Poetry in Motion Competition as part of Cheltenham Poetry Festival.
Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry. A Best of the Net 2017 nominee, he has been published on six continents. Recent credits: Ann Arbor Review, Empty Mirror, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Paragon Journal, First Literary Review- East, Communicators League, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India. If there is anything we at Right Hand Pointing can do to get Sanjeev published on the seventh continent, we will absolutely do it.
Don Thompson was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, and has lived in the southern San Joaquin Valley for most of his life. He has been publishing poetry since the early sixties, including a dozen books and chapbooks. For more information and links to his publications, visit his website San Joaquin Ink (don-e-thompson.com).
Sugar Tobey has been published in The Indiana Voice Journal. Bangalore Review, and Five to One Magazine, as well as various US and UK publications, where Sugar Tobey is envied for having one of the coolest names ever.
Guy Traiber writes. He studies & practices acupuncture & shiatsu. He likes to see the stories in the people who allow him. He likes a good story and even more, a good poem. He likes it if you write to him, a letter or an email. His works appear, sometime.
photo remix by dale wisely
Thanks again to Laura for putting together a fine issue. Thanks to all contributors. And, as always, thanks to you for reading.