Make your own free website on Tripod.com
The SMOKING POET
Kalamazoo & Beyond II
Home
Our Gift Shop
A Good Cause
Art of Margo McCafferty and Tom Rudd
Talking to Joannie Stangeland
Talking to Traci Brimhall
Talking to Laura Kasischke
Kalamazoo & Beyond
Kalamazoo & Beyond II
Kalamazoo & Beyond III
NonFiction
NonFiction II
Fiction
Fiction II
Poetry
Poetry II
Zinta Reviews
Kim Reviews
Submission Guidelines
Submitting Ads & Giving
Links and Resources
Archives
The Editors

ruddscfishparkdetroit.jpg
Fish, sculpture by Tom Rudd

Kathyrn Almy

 

Six Years Later, You’ll Tell Me How Much You Enjoyed This Weekend

 

 

When we get to Bullhead Lake it is late, our pizza already cold, and the bedroom

window broken. We drag the mattress in front of the fireplace until the cabin fills

with smoke. The fire out, we shiver until morning comes gray and damp. In a leaky

boat we catch three sunfish, throw them back. You talk about pumpkinseeds and

drum riffs. I tell you nothing is right in our year-old marriage, as if everything else is,

and I cry all night to punish you. The next day is perfect autumn. Before leaving, we

feed the rest of our night crawlers to bullfrogs on the shore. They use their front feet

like hands, stuffing their wide, hard mouths in a worm-eating contest.

 

 

 

Kathryn Almy is a freelance writer living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Her poems have been published in Willow Review, shady side review, All Poetry is Prayer: A Fire Anthology, Lansing Online News, and City of the Big Shoulders: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry.

 

April Endres

 

Never-Ending Kansas

 

 

cirrus clouds sweep nested pines

hidden in the folds of horizon

valleys cradling the sun in soft ripples

skeletons of dogwood whitened, fragile-boned

roadside trees bending prairie-side

safe from factories and progress

 

bronzed wheat welcoming the haze of dusk

rolls of hay bundled tightly

adorning otherwise barren acres

and I am only passing through

rolling along with tumbleweed lightness

 

only earth and asphalt on cobalt canvas

before the distant shadows of telephone wires

emerge through my windshield

severing the sky like tiny veins

strung out across brittle, pollen air

 

and if I lit a match

I could set the whole state ablaze

but I just speed through

in search of civilization

 

 

 

April Endres received her B.A. in communications from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland.  She currently works part-time as a freelance writer and lives in Portage, Michigan.

 

Katie Prout

 

It starts out small enough

 

 

It starts out small enough. The prick

of sweat nipping your neck's nape

as you glance up at the street sign

for the third  time; the shape of the hand

on the cold glass of a passing bus, the shadow

of a palm lit by light from elsewhere, from somewhere

that’s not here, the palm the suggestion

of a hand, not the thing itself. You too are suggestive

 

of more than you are: a hint, a hush,

a rough draft of someone in the know, someone

who has a working knowledge of the public

transportation system, of where

to get a haircut in this city. Where to buy

cream. Where is the Hilton? the woman

 

in the plastic kerchief asks as she moves

towards you slowly on the street in clothes

the color of trash bags, moves as if she left her home looking

for you, as if you've been her plan all

along, but the lipless socket of her mouth

goes slack in surprise when you don't stop but duck and

run, mouthing as you pass I don't know, I don't

 

know, I'm sorry. Nervous to hurry to a home

that will never be yours, despite the lavender

by its steps, you trip as she turns to watch you

go and you hate her, just a little bit, for seeing how

even the ground spits you back out, for seeing

that you know now just how big a word

lonely is, the sear of its fearful smell, the gray

of need on its monstrous face.

 

 

 

Upon graduating with honors from Kalamazoo College’s writing program in 2009, Katie Prout spent one year as a youth development leader in an after school program for at-risk youth, one year as a coordinator in a shelter for homeless, mentally ill or otherwise struggling adults, and the last five months farming in Ireland. She has worked as a freelance writer for Hyperink Press and is currently freelances with Revue Mid-Michigan. 

 

Nicholas Canu

 

 

A Dream Starring Myself and Ginsburg’s Corpse-Ghost

 

 

I dreamt you wrong, I thought we were together

in Sockland, in the center of some mythically

 

unnamed metropolis circa 1987 where you were aging

and waste management was using our bodies

 

of work for kindling. The ashes blowing like locusts

on avenues until we churned back together and coated

 

skyscrapers in paper scraps, shook them out, peppered

their contents over the city and we were dressed

 

for walking, we gave our blackened hands to stunned

stock traders and debutantes, we stitched them up

 

from concrete with sherbet, we ran about and ate

our dessert in neon stockings and I think that’s all

 

that we will ever be, just our city of floating

words and ice cream and knee-highs.

 

 

Nicholas Canu is a senior at Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI where he studies English with a writing emphasis. He just completed work on a senior thesis in poetry and will be graduating with his B.A. in June 2012.

Jasmine An

 

 

The summer I turned nine, my dad made me a cow. I kept her

 

 

in the garage next to the old boxes my family had not yet

unpacked and the bike my dad rode to work year round. After

the mowers had roared over the lawn, I dragged her to the grass

 

and pressed the gasoline-scented clippings to her cardboard lips.

While she ruminated, I learned the names of her stomachs and chanted

them like a prayer: Rumen, Reticulum, Omasum, Abomasum.

 

Trying to reach her udder, I rapped my knuckles on the wardrobe

box of her belly, and her girth echoed like a drum. Her corrugated

sides grated and reverberated with pleasure as I rubbed her teats

 

between my fingers. The warm texture of latex glove was slippery

and stiff with milk against my palms. I set my steel pail between her legs

and rested my forehead against her flank as I worked, murmuring sweet

 

words for her ears only. I wept as she grew old, a bend developing

in her neck that dragged her head sideways, her black eyes listing

mournfully to the floor. When her tail fell off, I opened the flaps

 

of her ass and reached into her to staple a new one to the underside

of her spine. Finished, I closed her and sealed her shut with packing

tape. It was my new bike that killed her. Red, with nine gears.

 

The handlebars tore into her side, leaving a dent that never healed.

The wooden dowels of her legs grew weak and rattled in their sockets.

Her flanks were streaked with grease from the bike’s chain. When she began

 

to flounder, flailing hooves bruising our shins, ponderous girth pressing

against us as we tried to wheel our bikes from the garage, my father

decided we had to flatten her. I watched him slit the tape about her neck

 

and she crumpled. We set her carcass in the alley by the trash cans. I looked back

and saw her hipbones jutting sharp and lonely; the corners of an empty box.

 

 

Jasmine An is a first-year student at Kalamazoo College. Originally from Ann Arbor, she was an active participant in the literary scene at the Neutral Zone Teen Center. Two of her short stories were published in the Neutral Zone's annual anthology Knock on Sky. She is a member of Kalamazoo College's Poetry Collective and the DeLux Poetry Slam Team.

Kate Belew

The Taste of Swan

 

 

Easy to lose your way in traffic.

Lost, in the snow and shit from winter

was a swan in the median,

orange billed, white winged,

I turned the radio down,

his wingspan, his arched neck,

his beautiful arched neck

snapping. How easy it would be to hit him

flying one hundred and three down the shoulder,

I know what you did to her,

with your feathers, your beating wings.

 

Kate Belew is an English Major at Kalamazoo College and from Marshall, Michigan. Kate spent a summer at Interlochen’s writing program, and often writes about soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Kate’s work will be published in the 2012’s edition of the Cauldron, the literary magazine at Kalamazoo College.

 

02tomrudddarterscopy.jpg
Darters by Tom Rudd

Johnathan Craig

 

 

9303 East Jefferson

 

 

After Pops parked along the curb cluttered by

junkies and drug dealers I ascended the sorrow

 

stained staircase that occupied the space in front

of ninety- three-oh-three East Jefferson and came face

 

to face with a door marked one-oh-three.

I was standing there in the place where in a split

 

second a pile of niggas shooting dice became a broken

bunch of brothas beggin the hired henchman with the nine

 

millimeter handgun to take the money not a life.

At the back of the bunch was lil bro grippin the glossy

 

white cubes covered in black specks.

Dice often remind me of my monumental

 

 

movement from public school to private where my face

led to me fighting a war on two fronts.

 

Until now I felt as if I might win, but now

I stand here in the hall of your last breath.

 

 

 

Johnathan Craig resides in Detroit, Michigan. He is a recent grad of Kalamazoo College where he majored in English with a concentration in poetry. There he studied with Diane Seuss. The poem above is from his senior thesis, a collection of poems focusing on his brother’s murder.  

Lauren Moran

 

Witchcraft

 

I slip my skin off after midnight and hang it in the closet next to the remnants of a hundred ex-lovers and my father’s pocket watch. They say it’s the devil’s work, you know, but I just want to feel the wind vibrate these two hundred bones of mine. I move all my tendons and teeth cradled against tight vessels and hushed organs towards the lake that presses up against the mountain’s edge. They say I’m full of misery, a lost cause living in a rotting cabin, but they’ve never felt the cold water hit every single nerve ending, all those uncountable stars exploding at once. 

 

 

 

Brother

 

He leaves me here, tucks my weight into the soft sediments of the riverbed, fingers stretch to unravel threads, pulls off my watch, slips my ring into his pocket. He’ll claim tragedy, a lost brother swallowed by the forest that creates myths, while a murder of crows suck lick my bones clean with the soft points of their tongues. The layers of water sink me deep, begin to rinse and wring away my only song. This is a rhythmic ache, waiting for someone to come here and give a name to what’s left.

 

 

The Quilter

 

Sitting on top of the world, this woman with tree bark skin stretches the corners of worn out cloth together. She stitches together the history of the world and you can see the shimmer of the misshapen squares and moons spread across her lap, spilling off as she sews together your mother’s death and my inability to cry with thread spun from dust and air. They pull into each other. They are forever connected to those bombings in the country you can’t remember the name of and the first slick creature that crawled out of the water and onto the mud. Take a deep breath, you didn’t always have those lungs you know. When she stops combining heartache with history, the world will end.  Don’t cry, we all thought it would last forever too. A stitch here and a knot there, that’s all it is. Yank the thread through and pray that it holds through the night.

 

 

 

Lauren Moran attended Kalamazoo College where she studied English and creative writing. Her work has appeared in multiple issues of the college’s literary magazine, The Cauldron.

 

 

ŠAll materials, print, artwork and photography on this site are copyrighted and not to be reprinted without written permission by The Smoking Poet.

Feedback, submissions, ideas? Email thesmokingpoet@gmail.com