Feb 2 2017

Poet Republik Ltd. is happy to publish J. Hope Stein’s new collection of poetry, Occasionally, I Remove Your Brain through your Nose. No spoiler alert, but there’s something going on in this collection that is a kind of petroglyph for the times we are living through. These poems are original, experiential and vital. Read on….

Occasionally, I remove your brain through your nose

Sure, I’ve thought about fucking you in my desk chair, silently not to disturb the neatness of your yellow summer shorts. Silently, not to disturb our colleagues in surrounding cubicles. You putting small paperclips in my hair, your hands suggesting the rocking of my skull. Me straddling your lap, your bare ass in my desk chair, shapes suctioning into each other— We would continue to make the sounds of good business. A conference call with Coca-Cola, an email to Citibank, a spreadsheet of year-over-year gross profits. Me elevated in your lap, my face clearing just over the cubicle partition, just visible enough across the office, my expression dismembered like a poet who’s fallen out of favor with her king.

J. Hope Stein is a secret poet living in Brooklyn. To read another poem from her collection, Ted & Sylvia, go here Lenny Letter

Here blog can be found here: J Hope Stein and here: Poetry Crush

Feb 2 2017

I spent the summer of 2016 traveling in southeast Asia, mostly in Penang, Malaysia and Bali, Indonesia. While there the Soberanes Fire broke out in Big Sur, California, subsequently 132,000 acres of some of the prettiest land I’ve ever seen. Many of my friends and loved ones were in danger, some lost their homes. I was keeping track each day while also spending my time in temples: Taoist and Buddhist temples, or meditating at the ocean’s edge. This poem came out of these meditations. It was published on the program for the Jesse Goodman presents/Henry Miller Library benefit concert featuring Sharon Van Etten, Al Jardine, Michael Nesbith and many other musicians who donated their time. We ended up raising over 40K for the victims of the fire. Here’s my poem:

Ash for Breakfast

We reconnect at the moon gate, like clouds colliding,
and use measuring sticks to plumb the death of solitude.

With no one watching,
we solder meaningful doubt.

Hello, it’s me hauling my load of dust toward Bethlehem
under a shelter of corrugated sky.

A fire cannot extinguish us, but when we sit on the ash heap,
we may need reminding.

How to break through? The fire burns everything
except clouds.

The smoke fogs our glasses, while condor nests go up
in summer flames. How do we save them?

Ash floats over the charcoal house we painted turquoise.
At the charred edge, a bobcat runs with a squirrel.

The progress of stars is humbling.
We bow to the spectral ash
we all of us
are in this universe.

Maria Garcia Teutsch
HMML Chair/Board President

Poster by Steven Erdman

author’s note: It is not lost on me that the fantastic German poet and essayist Durs Grünbein has a collection entitled: Ashes for Breakfast. I love this collection (highly recommend you read it) and want to give this devil his due for in part inspiring the title of my poem. I woke up each morning wondering what damage the fire had caused, so it was literally like having ashes for breakfast.

 

Jan 14 2017

In my backyard, I wrote a letter to god.
Dug a hole with my mother’s
silver serving spoon

bent with the effort,
knees in dirt,
sunburnt neck in a crinkled cotton dress.

Four years old, I couldn’t spell
but knew my hieroglyphs
would be deciphered.

Words folded into white paper.
I thought, “When people are buried,
they shoot right up to god’s face.”

So I planted my letter,
shaped a mound on top
and placed a yellow marigold as marker.

I asked for a painted horse.
My father’s stone agenda
did not include horses for girls.

 
I didn’t get that horse,
though a fire maple
did grow from that spot.

The lingua franca of the wind
scratches a riot of leaves
across a blackboard sky.

 

Photo Credit: Stewart Ferebee

Jan 14 2017

How many ways of knowing can you think of? Sure, there’s the kind of knowing physically, emotionally, or psychologically, and then there’s a bird’s kind of knowing, or a turtle’s, or a girl’s. Here Joanna Penn Cooper invites you to explore a kind of knowing shared with scrawny trees as witness. And everyone knows what Shakespeare says about trees, they give many their ear, but to no one their voice.

Kenning

How to cultivate wound-deep knowing
with only these scrawny trees around.
Even on the first really warm day
strangers at the park remain closed-
faced, squared off.  The wrong kind
of wounding.  One girl, though,
blond, Hasidic, alone in middle childhood
surreptitiously follows you around
the playground.  Testing out
knowing.  Going the wrong way down
the slide, twisting into a circle to get
her shoe back on.  Soul pate, is what
you think. Whole-souled human,
kenning what she can.

Joanna Penn Cooper is the author of The Itinerant Girl’s Guide to Self-Hypnosis (Brooklyn Arts Press) and What Is a Domicile (Noctuary Press).  Her creative and critical work has appeared in South Dakota ReviewZocálo Public SquareOpen Letters MonthlyMELUSPoetry International, Ping Pong, and other journals.  She is an editor at Trio House Press. 

Dec 2 2016

Brynne Rebele-Henry is a poet who maps the body’s horizon with a surveyor’s prism stick, and plums the emotional lanternfish of the deep like Jacques Cousteau. Who is the mighty Read More >

Nov 10 2016

revolution cover

Here’s a groovy interview with me conducted by Climate Activist, Dan Linehan for Monterey Poetry Review

Nov 7 2016

Have you ever been at war with yourself? Have you ever not been? “Devotional poem” by Kate Lutzner, explores this particular human predicament with the precision of an astro-physicist studying the star that may one day annihilate the earth. We here in the Poet Republik love all of Kate’s poetry, and this is just a sample of her forthcoming collection, Invitation to a Rescue which will be out by Poet Republik Ltd. later this month.

Devotional poem

I am at war with myself, all the cells
in my body gathering their weapons,
their fists. The doctor says there will
be a decline, to look for it, to give
myself over to it when the time comes.
I was used to suffering before words
formed on my tongue, my mouth
filled with a concern, the opposite
of empathy. Bits of grief build
like nodules in my throat, all
the devotion that will someday
form there threatening to dissolve
into need. Help me to express
all the uses of my being, to learn
what it means to live with this
urge, this right to nothing
but lending myself to others,
this right to be healed.

fullsizerender15

Kate Lutzner‘s poetry and stories have appeared in such journals as Antioch Review, Mississippi Review, The Brooklyn Rail, BlazeVOX, Rattle and Barrow Street. She was awarded the Robert Frost Poetry Prize by Kenyon College and is recipient of the Jerome Lowell Dejur Award and the Stark Short Fiction Prize. Kate holds a J.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MFA from City College. She has been featured in Verse Daily. Kate has a novel, The Only One Who Loves You, on Amazon Kindle.

hotpinkprl

Nov 2 2016

Smooth hands are suspect.
I love the way your hands
snag my silk blouses.
Sandpaper calluses are kisses.

I have tortilla-making hands,
and fingernails with chipped red polish.
My hands are tattooed with the ink of poems.
They touch moonlight
on your cheek while you sleep.

Originally published in The Sierra Nevada Review

 

Nov 1 2016

Not the Sound a Drum Makes
Her son’s last name pounds “little drum.”
Beat of heart, rain on flat rock,
his father’s voice.

Her maiden name is her father’s name, obvious I know: Mexican tiles, adobe mouths that could say more.

Her mother’s name cries Southern wind on white porches. Tobacco teepees drying death. Black-eyed peas.

Her first name screams long-suffering virgin. Pieta. Crosses made of abalone on the roadside—

She learns how to spell a new name—
The sun says it’s green. Her last name
fields red circles, blue cloth, not the sound a drum makes.

Oct 28 2016

Calaveras (literally, sugar skulls,) are traditional satirical Mexican poems published on and around the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos). The celebration of the day of the dead predates the independence of the countries in North America. Something native here, this idea of the dead living amongst the human. B-waaaaaahhh. Below you can read a calavera in Spanish about Donald Trump, everyone’s favorite meerkat. Feel free to add your calavera here!

The Calaca of a Vaquera
(The Skeleton of the Cowgirl)

Not a tequila swilling,
sombrero wearing,
bandolier brandishing,
pistol-poppin dama,

but something pre-Columbian,
both creator and destroyer.
A molcajete grinding,
horseback riding Calaca.

Hot the pepper,
cool the salt,
when she licks the dust
from your bones.

Maria Garcia Teutsch

peniscarriage

Penis carriage from Dia de los Muertos, Mission District, San Francisco, 2014

Below you can read a calavera in Spanish with a loose English translation. It’s from here. It’s making fun of that pro-choice, tree hugging candidate we all know and love, (that’s also a joke, remember when we wrote stuff and made fun of each other?) yeah, that’s a calavera.

Donald Trump te lo aseguro

Le dijo la calavera
Que no vas a hacer el muro
Porque una hirviente caldera
Rebosante de cianuro
En el infierno te espera.

Y por lo tanto, te auguro,
Que todo buen mexicano
Predecirá tu futuro
Que allá en un lugar lejano
Por tu discurso tan duro
Se te va a podrir el: anillo periférico.

Donald Trump I assure you
He told the skull
You will not make the wall
Because a seething cauldron
Brimming with cyanide
In hell awaits.

And therefore, I predict,
Every good Mexican
It will predict your future
That there in a faraway place
For your speech so hard
You’re going to rot on: beltway.

redprl

Calavera for Thelonious Monk

Play asymmetrical swing
with hands
hep to the jive.
Cherubim don’t let fly
Maybe Bird and Dizzy
Can take it high.

River Atwood Tabor

ofrendacroppe2015

Calavera for Kauai

The ancients speak through Pele’s children,
scarlet roosters who reprimand pushy Nene geese,
chase tiny mourning doves into hibiscus groves.

The jagged silhouette of a sleeping giant
lifts volcanic hills, sprouts ghostly plumeria.
Steep Na Pali coastline protects royal bones.

Kauai sneezes silver rain,
scatters battalions of wandering banyan.
Poetry spills from belligerent clouds.

Jennifer Lagier-Fellguth

kauaiheliocoastline