The VGP Literate No. 19

Playing The Odds

a great clay jar
full of koshares, stripped clowns

shaking dice
you are sure that at night

when no one is about
they scramble forth

it is one thing to look
at the players before the slots

who seem, you say
as if they are at work

and another to ask myself
what brought me here

highway going north
so familiar

yet, how everything has changed
we must remark

I remember dancing at the Line Camp
thirty years ago

I remember when this, so magical, unknown
was not what I called home.

Miriam Sagan is the author of 30 published books, including the novel Black Rainbow (Sherman Asher, 2015) and Geographic: A Memoir of Time and Space (Casa de Snapdragon). which just won the 2016 Arizona/New Mexico Book Award in Poetry. Her awards include the Santa Fe Mayor’s award for Excellence in the Arts, the Poetry Gratitude Award from New Mexico Literary Arts, and A Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa.

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Virgogray Press Seeks Poetry for New Print Anthology

Good afternoon, poets and writers.

Virgogray Press is now looking for poetry for a new print anthology featuring the poets of the great state of Texas. Virgogray Press has long called Texas home, proudly publishing out of central Texas, specifically Austin and its roots stretching down the I-35 corridor. To celebrate its state of origin, we are now looking for work produced specifically from poets and writers living in Texas.

Texas is a diverse state, and as such has a diverse community of writers. As a participant, and in some cases a facilitator, of  public events (see The Austin Salon Poetic, a poetry reading that transpired in downtown Austin proper for a period of three years or so), we know first hand poets range from traditional, to spoken word, to slam style writing with topics from pastoral to political, science fiction to erotic—all sides of the poetic spectrum are welcome. With this in mind, we’d like poets to submit any style and topic of work they feel best represents who they are as a writer. The only catch is the writer must currently reside in the state of Texas. We are looking for quality, so send your best work.

We do not have a release date set, though a safe bet is we’re looking around March 2018. The anthology is yet to be titled. We will release more detail in the coming weeks, but here is submission information for those interested.

 

General Guidelines for the Texas Poetry Anthology

  • Send a minimum of 5 poems and a maximum of 8 poems.
  • No simultaneous submissions.
  • No previously published work will be accepted
  • Send 50 word bio.
  • Send mailing address and contact info.
  • ATTACH poems w/name and address in (.DOC) file.
  • Mark subject line: Texas Poetry / (last name)
  • Poet must currently reside in the state of Texas, USA.
  • Email to: virgograypress (at) gmail (dot) com

 

All poets whose work is accepted for publication will receive a copy of the anthology, and will be able to acquire more copies at a discounted rate, as well as receive the VGP Authors’ Discount which may be used to purchase any other title in our catalog.

Our reading period formally opens on October 2nd, 2017, but if you are reading this blog post, you are more than welcome to send now.

We look forward to reading all the great work from our neighbors and family in the great state of Texas! Have a great week.

 

 

Carcinogenic Poetry Recap No. 5

Stumblebum Dawn

To some, dusk is a stumblebum dawn tripped on the stairs.
A grand entrance was planned, the staircase fabulous,
the dazzling sunlight behind the window atop the stairs
half blinding all the upturned eyes awed by the sight
of that top-floor prodigy prepared, preordained to gracefully descend.
But reckless feet tangled in the folds of the poorly laid red carpet.
The sharp edges of each step made for a bruising fall.
Of course the banister was grabbed many times,
but the sheer momentum of the tumble
yanked the arms like an inquisitor’s rack.
The torso turned over and over until it hit bottom,
its potential and kinetic energy spent.
Finally the falling body was at rest
on the cold naked floor beyond the reach of the chintzy red carpet.
Inertia forbade any attempt to rise and try again,
and pain deterred even the thought of it.
There can be only one descent from beginning to end.
And now Stumblebum’s eyes are closing but can still see up the stairs
all the way to the top window no longer filled with sunlight,
but dim and growing dimmer, the grand entrance reduced to pratfall

 

 

The Same Chemistry of Tears

Dad let me stay up late medicating with eyedroppers full of milk, a hopeless remedy.
Next morning I cried when dad and I in solemn procession carried the garbage bag coffin.
There by the front-lawn bush was the funeral.
Dad offered a parody of prayer.
But I, a six year old who nursed then lost his pet, really cried.
Years later I said prayers for my father and cried the same chemistry of tears,
for all tears of grief are for washing out not motes from the eyes, but sorrow from the soul.
Grief-laden tears, all tears of emotion, share the same concentrations of proteins and salts.
Of course for dad I still cry, sometimes.
Now I’m here again, and once more there’s a congregation of two.
I am the father now; my son is bored.
He proclaims that all old bones are dust; and so they are.
He scolds that there’s nothing to find here,
and claims I’m being silly, no worse—sappy.
He wants us to get back into the car and move on.
But I recall exactly where the ancient grave is,
there to the right of the door under that tree that was once a bush.
Father and son—I recall. Father and son—now. Father and son—someday
How selfish of me, ridiculous, cruel even.
Decades from now, I will want him to remember this futile visit
and cry the same chemistry while boring his son to tears.

 

 

Richard Fein was finalist in The 2004 Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition. He has an upcoming chapbook to be published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Richard has been published in many web and print journals, such as Southern ReviewMorpo ReviewPerigee, SkylineOregon East, Southern Humanities Review, TouchstoneWindsor ReviewMaverickParnassus Literary ReviewSmall PondKansas QuarterlyBlue UnicornExquisite CorpseTerrain Aroostook Review and many others. Richard also has an interest in digital photography and has published many photos.

Originally published on December 12, 2009 at Carcinogenic Poetry.