Archives for posts with tag: Massachusetts

susan and me
Fish Dinner at the Beach
1958-2016
by Christine Potter

At first, it was architectural: breaded, oblong, the
color of cedar two by fours, from the wee Alaskan

wilderness of a rented cottage’s freezer. And I was
forbidden to erect fish stick log cabins on my plate,

using tartar sauce for mortar. Next, deep sea fishing—
my father and grandfather with new-caught baskets

of glitter and silver eyes. Lord, don’t TOUCH them!
my grandmother said, stooping to run something

white under the broiler: swordfish. It took ten years to
chew, and lemon just made it sour. Didn’t swordfish

have serrated-knife noses and fight underwater duels?
Seafood in my teens: wild paisley, hippie gems. Hot

pink shrimp. Octopus like purple fists. Iridescent
mussel shells black as turtlenecks. No lobster because

my father was allergic. It reddened his face and two
pimples bloomed on his forehead. You are growing

antennae, said my mother, her joke too dangerous
for me to laugh at. Now, sushi, tidy as a new ring

in its pillowed box. So why am I a bear, wading this
cold and noisy river? My mouth is full of salmon.

PHOTO: The author and her sister Susan next to a statue of Massasoit in Plymouth, Massachusetts (early 1960s).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Fish Dinner At the Beach” started out during a National Poetry Month poem-writing spree with a group of online poet friends. I like to write poetry about being a child (same reason I like to write time travel YA fiction, actually). Also: I really, really like fish. My family went to Cape Cod when I was little to hit the beach, but also to eat fish. These days, my husband and I go to Nova Scotia for the same reason. So it was pure joy working on a poem about growing up from fish sticks into a sushi-eating bear-creature! Which reminds me that I have a little smoked Arctic char in the freezer and it’s time for lunch.

me and elvis

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Christine Potter is a poet and YA novelist who lives in the almost-exurbs of the lower Hudson River Valley. Her two full-length poetry collections are Zero Degrees at First Light (2006) and Sheltering in Place (2013). Christine’s poems have appeared in Rattle, Crab Orchard Review, American Arts Quarterly, Rain Town Review, Eclectica, The Literary Bohemian, The Pedestal, and Fugue. The first book of her young adult time-traveling series, Time Runs Away With Her, was released in the fall of 2015, and the next installment, In Her Own Time, is forthcoming from Evernight Teen.

AUTHOR PHOTO: The author with a statue of a young Elvis Presley (Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi).

kelly-square 2a
Learning to Drive at Seventeen
by Kristina England

Criminal lawyer takes me to Kelley Square,
a seven-way intersection
where everyone hits the gas at once.

At sixteen, told my mother I wouldn’t drive,
didn’t want to tow her around,
her blindness not my problem, my choice.

Criminal lawyer a good friend of hers.
I put my foot to the pedal,
hope to make it to the other side,

so I can call my mother and cry.

PHOTO: Kelley Square, Worcester, Massachusetts.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The only thing I can say about this piece, which I hope it shows, is how arrogant and stupid we can be as teenagers. I attempted to write this one as a prose piece, but eventually it found its way into the form of a poem. Silver Birch Press’s prompts seem to inspire memories of my mother when I was younger which is a pleasant break from other themes I’ve been writing on.

kristina-england1-2015

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kristina England lives, bikes, and sails in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been published in several magazines, including Gargoyle, Moon Pigeon Press, Silver Birch Press, and Yellow Mama. She is a regular contributor to the flash fiction magazine, Story Shack in Germany. Her first chapbook of flash fiction, Stanley Stanley’s Investigative Services, was published in September 2014 by Poet’s Haven Press in Ohio.

corey
Sturbridge, Massachusetts
by Joanne Corey

people envision honeymoons
in romantic cities
             Paris
             Rome
tropical islands
             Caribbean
             Hawaiian
wonder-of-the-world-and-traditional-honeymoon-capital
             Niagara Falls

we chose an 1830’s living-history museum
             village green with church and general store
             blacksmith, cobbler, potter
             draft horses pulling a hay wagon through a covered bridge
             water-powered sawmill, grist mill, carding mill
             pastures, fields, barns
             farmhouse kitchen with creamery attached

perfect for a pair of New England history buffs
with limited time and budget
on their first-ever vacation together

PHOTOGRAPH: The bride and groom cutting the cake, shortly before leaving for Sturbridge Smith College Alumnae House, Northampton, Massachusetts (June 1982).

jcorey

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joanne Corey lives and writes in Vestal, New York, where she is active with the Binghamton Poetry Project. Her 2015 publications include the spring 2015 anthology of the Binghamton Poetry Project, Candles of Hope anthology (GWL Publishing, U.K.), the “All About My Name” poetry series from Silver Birch Press, and Wilderness House Literary Review fall quarterly. She invites you to visit her eclectic blog at topofjcsmind.wordpress.com.

blizzard-2015_0
Blizzard Sestina
by Charles Levenstein

We thought the end would be flood, a fire,
maybe something nuclear and quite unspeakable.
Snow, of course, never occurred to us,
not the acres that now blanket our city,
not in breathtaking flurries,
not in smothering blizzard.

Once I imagined cozy Christmas blizzards,
urbane wine mulling on a tended fire,
cosmopolitan laughter sprinkled in flurries;
to be stranded did not mean unspeakable,
whether rolling countryside or sparkling city,
cossetted affluence protected us.

Narcissus never conceived an “us,”
distant from limpid pool was the Arctic blizzard
and the bleak wint’ry streets of the city.
Imagine him drowning in fire!
Imagine sirens speaking the unspeakable!
Completion not with a bang but a flurry!

Real estate speculators were in a flurry –
Prices soared beyond the reach of most of us,
Unspoken deals remained unspeakable,
Ticker tape falling like confetti in a blizzard –
How to explain these snowy dunes set afire
by desperate search for warmth in the city?

As you may know, there can be comfort in the city;
the rush, the lights, even bistros are flurries —
a credit card, some cash, the intimacy of fire –
for the young in urban anonymity there’s an “us”
that overcomes windchill in the blizzard!
For others the streets are unspeakable –

Poets are called to speak the unspeakable!
To comprehend and reveal the cruelty of the city!
If in blind comfort we ignore the blizzard,
imagining the mountains of new ice and snow are flurries
incapable of freezing our friends and families – “us”–
who will interpret simmering revolutionary fire?

We who feel the fire and have learned about the unspeakable,
we perceive a re-discovered “us,” a suffering city:
the cries are not mere flurries, they foretell the blizzard.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I live in Brookline, Massachusetts, next to Boston — eight feet of snow and counting!  My daughter has sent me a set of snap-on metal cleats so I can go walking on days that the temperature stays above 10 degrees or so.  It’s beautiful, but I am old.

IMAGE: “Boston Blizzard” (Jan. 27, 2015), Reuters

professor 3

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Charles (Chuck) Levenstein is a retired professor. Levenstein has been writing poems since he was 15 years old, but burned them every 10 years, some because of shyness about them, some because they were really awful. He began writing poems again in 2000, largely because Internet poetry forums were an easy vehicle for trying out new work and learning from other writers. He also had erratic sleeping habits – exacerbated by sleep apnea – and late-night sessions on the computer were easy. He also became a yoga student of the late Tom Stiles (Mukunda) and that cleared away a lot of debris. In 2001, he published a collection of poems, Lost Baggage, with Loom Press in Lowell, Massachusetts. In the subsequent years, he published poems in a raft of e-zines. He was the winner of some small prizes – from Flashquake and from MiPoesia for poems in a Goya contest and a bonsai contest. His work was featured in Gary Blankenship’s e-zine and in The Hiss Review and Loch Raven Review. He became involved heavily in the now defunct Poetry Niederngasse, an e-zine based in Zurich, became a contributing editor for PN, and wrote a regular poetry/rant called “Poems of World War III.” Many of these poems were collected in a book published with Lulu.com called Poems of World War III. Most recently, he published another smaller collection with Lulu.com called Animal Vegetable.

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“As all the world knows, the opportunities in Boston for hearing good music are numerous and excellent, and it had long been Miss Chancellor’s practice to cultivate the best.”

HENRY JAMES, The Bostonians

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A Boston-based costume website advises would-be customers to “Capture the Great Gatsby Era.” I have to hand it to the culture-loving folks in Beantown. While revelers in other cities are dressing up as ghouls, zombies, witches, and Honey Boo Boo, Bostonians are celebrating Halloween by dressing as Jay Gatsby, Tom and Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, and Nick Carraway. Très elegant…

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In Vineyard Haven, on Martha’s Vineyard, mostly I love the soft collision here of harbor and shore, the subtly haunting briny quality that all small towns have when they are situated on the sea.”

WILLIAM STYRON

The second stop on our summer road trip is Martha’s Vineyard, an 88-square-mile island off the southeast coast of Massachusetts. Long a playground for the rich and famous. the island can only be reached by boat or plane. William Styron (1925-2006), quoted above, author of Sophie’s Choice, spent time on Martha’s Vineyard and found the atmosphere refreshing and rejuvenating. Here’s another Styron quote: “A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end.” 

Photo: Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, by Scott Tidlund. (Find him on Flickr here.)