Karla Huston, Wisconsin Poet Laureate (2017-2018) is the author of A Theory of Lipstick (Main Street Rag: 2013) as well as 8 chapbooks of poetry including Grief Bone, (Five-Oaks Press: 2017). Her poems, reviews and interviews have been published widely, including the 2012 Pushcart Best of the Small Presses anthology. She teaches poetry writing at The Mill: A Place for Writers in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Author’s Statement: While I write about many subjects, inherent in many of my poems is the desire to write from voices of those without voices. My poems definitely have a feminine/ feminist slant. The poems I’ve collected here are poems about mothers and daughters, those historical and mythical women who have come before me. Exploring aging and sexuality for the older woman is important me. I addition, I rely on memory as a stimulus for poems. By writing from my mother’s generation, I have a greater understanding of where I am in the larger scheme of things.
Ellaraine Lockie is widely published and awarded as a poet, nonfiction book author and essayist. Her fourteenth chapbook, Sex and Other Slapsticks, was recently released from Presa Press. Earlier collections have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England, and The Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award. She also teaches writing workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, LILIPOH.
Author’s Statement: In preparing this short collection of poems to reflect the foci of my life, I thought about what is most important to me right now. I realized how different the list would have been in my earlier life, and no doubt how different it will be later in life. It seems the poetry we write can chronicle our lives much like a photo album does.
Connie Post’s poetry has appeared in Calyx, River Styx, Slipstream, Spoon River Poetry Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review and Verse Daily. She has published two full length collections, Floodwater (Lyrebird Award) and Prime Meridian both from Glass Lyre Press. Her awards include the Crab Creek Review award and the Liakora Award.
Author’s Statement: The theme of my poems is water. Water is part of our world, our bodies, our souls. At times there is too much water and we run and seek shelter. At other times there is not enough, and we thirst. The metaphor of its existence in our lives seems to lead to the roads of poetry, language of being quenched.
Love That Red
The mouths of their tubes open,
luscious tongues reaching.
I’m drawn to them—the thick
color embedded and shaped,
the sheen glistening,
the slanted tips fat with promise.
My mother wore Love That Red
and when she put it on, I knew
she was going farther
than the clothesline
or the edge of our corner lot,
knew the way her lips pursed
that love it or not, red was her color,
the way it lit her brown eyes
and she was taking all of it with her.
If Women Ran the World
Hankies with holes and dried snot
hung as public assistance signs tied to a fencepost
in front of the house that bordered the railroad tracks
If wind whipped them into tumbleweeds
notches carved in hobo shorthand in the wood
advertised the community service
My mother fried Spam in bacon grease
minutes after the 5:15 screeched to a halt
The whistle having dinner-belled need for food
as dependably as the knock on the door
She squeezed the pink slices between buttered bread
that folded into recycled waxed paper
And delivered it to the man wearing whiskers
and filthy clothes waiting by the fencepost
Back then I saw it as charity
Even though Dad wore the look he did
when Mom made him go to church
The same look probably that Grandpa wore
when Grandma made pork sandwiches for Willow Stick
whenever he appeared on his pinto
at the edge of their homestead
Grandpa said Woman, those Indians are gonna scalp you
She built a bartering business with the Cree anyway
Homemade lye soap and pickled pigs’ feet
for chokecherries, firewood and peace of mind
Grandma knew how to hold onto her hair
In California I offer the plumber, tree trimmer
and furnace repairman
homemade cinnamon rolls and coffee
My husband wants to know why
since we’re paying them
I Have Always Lived Near the Water
the mosquitoes have always found me
have always brought their shrill sting
to my vanquished ears
even with thick sleeves and indecision
they found me
even with sorrow and dirty skin
they found me
they need my blood to live
but so do I
–I don’t know how to tell them
I need it more than they
I don’t know how to tell them
there are other things under my skin
they may not want
there are clots of futility
nights I’ve kept
covered by thin nets
how must it feel for a mosquito
to ingest the serum of self loathing
how must it taste to swallow
blood, still warm with wrath
how must it be
to leave my alabaster skin,
take flight on a balmy night
searching for a place to land
full from the hunt
but the pulsing fluid
End of excerpt.
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