The Return

January 14, 2016


Some day, if you are lucky,
you’ll return from a thunderous journey
trailing snake scales, wing fragments
and the musk of Earth and moon.

Eyes will examine you for signs
of damage, or change
and you, too, will wonder
if your skin shows traces

of fur, or leaves,
if thrushes have built a nest
of your hair, if Andromeda
burns from your eyes.

Do not be surprised by prickly questions
from those who barely inhabit
their own fleeting lives, who barely taste
their own possibility, who barely dream.

If your hands are empty, treasureless,
if your toes have not grown claws,
if your obedient voice has not
become a wild cry, a howl,

you will reassure them. We warned you,
they might declare, there is nothing else,
no point, no meaning, no mystery at all,
just this frantic waiting to die.

And yet, they tremble, mute,
afraid you’ve returned without sweet
elixir for unspeakable thirst, without
a fluent dance or holy language

to teach them, without a compass
bearing to a forgotten border where
no one crosses without weeping
for the terrible beauty of galaxies

and granite and bone. They tremble,
hoping your lips hold a secret,
that the song your body now sings
will redeem them, yet they fear

your secret is dangerous, shattering,
and once it flies from your astonished
mouth, they–like you–must disintegrate
before unfolding tremulous wings.

Geneen Marie Haugen,

(Geneen Marie Haugen is a writer, wilderness wanderer, scholar, and guide to the intertwined mysteries of nature and psyche. She delights in offering wild questions, ceremonies, escapades and reflections to stir the imagination and expand perception of the world, perhaps shift the sense of who we are and what we’re about, and deepen an experience of participation with an intelligent, animate Earth/cosmos. Her creative non-fiction and eco-essays have appeared in many anthologies and journals, including Thomas Berry: Dreamer of the Earth. In her scholarly work, she is exploring the awakening of what she calls “planetary imagination,” and the possible emergence of a new mode of the human that she has called Homo imaginens. She is a former tipi-dweller and whitewater river guide who lived for decades in the land of bison, grizzlies, elk, and wolves, absorbing their furred, antlered, clawed, and howling teachings. She now lives amidst the creatures and features of southern Utah’s sandstone labyrinth).


January 14, 2016


In 19th century Rome it was said that the monks
kissed the backs of their hands as a sign of repentance.
Oh, how I repented as a Catholic girl, even as I kissed you –

kissing and repenting, kissing and repenting—as I pulled your top lip
with my teeth, biting ever so gently. How absurd to think
kissing gets any better than the first time you leaned over me,

breath thick with Jack and Coke, that rogue teenage elixir,
and whatever warp speed hormone instigates back seat sex
and what is now considered nothing but a little teasing

in the area of petting. Sounds like a zoo, kissing does, back then
travelling north on the county road just after dusk, after the cattle
lumbered off on their arthritic hocks, kicking up dust that smelled

like manure and left us alone in your idling car in the middle of the pasture.
I’ve fought the urge for years to write a poem about your lips, for which
I can only think in terms of “exquisite” and other adjectives strictly forbidden

in poetry classes – your perfectly aligned teeth, your soft boyish whispers.
Sometimes I think I was never actually there in the afterlife of your words,
those jerry-rigged one-liners bolstering my heart, stopping, not stopping

in my ear as you pulled back my hair. Now I think there was nothing to repent for,
nothing to confess. If ever there was a sin for which penance was required
it would be for never kissing like this not once since.

(Susan Doble Kaluza has been writing poetry since she was 12 years old. She began publishing in literary magazines at age 18, and for 14-years worked as a newspaper columnist. But she has now returned to her first love, writing poems, which she is currently compiling into a chapbook length collection).

When I see

January 14, 2016


We Can’t Stop Buying the Whore
A Miley Cyrus/Anne Sexton Mashup

This house is a hard hell shaking,
a strip club stuffed with night. Red cups
and sweaty bodies searing the flesh until
it is nice and juicy. You are a glass I have
paid to shatter, the boat I have rented
by the hour and we can’t stop dancing. All night
we own love, take Molly like girls or roast beef.
I vomit into your hand like a jackpot getting
turned up, warm my trembling
mouth, get a line in the bathroom.
Under your bra I swallow the pieces down
with my spit. You are the sunlight I have purchased
and if you’re ready to go I’ll steer until you run
aground. Forget god (haters), it’s our party
we can do what we want.


(Kayla Wheeler is a poet and pottymouth from New Hampshire. Her work can most recently be found in The Orange Room Review, Ghost House Review, Wicked Banshee, and nin).


He slid his hand beneath her skirt, kissing her hot breath. His fingers came back liquid. With his fingertip, he slowly glossed her lips. Again, he kissed her and dipped into the stream between her legs. Again, he painted her lips. Looking in her eyes, his hand returning to the crux of her heat, he spoke into her mouth, “this is how it will be. You will make this for us, I will feed us with it…”

an age of madness

January 14, 2016


Of course, in an age of madness, to expect to be untouched by madness is a form of madness. But the pursuit of sanity can be a form of madness, too.

Saul Bellow
Henderson, the Rain King

lost myself in watching

January 14, 2016


All I’ve ever done is dream. That, and only that, has been the meaning of my existence. The only thing I’ve ever really cared about is my inner life. My greatest grief has faded to nothing the moment I opened the window onto my inner self and lost myself in watching.

I never tried to be anything other than a dreamer. I never paid any attention to people who told me to go out and live. I belonged always to whatever was far from me and to whatever I could never be. Anything that was not mine, however base, always seemed to be full of poetry. The only thing I ever loved was pure nothingness.

Fernando Pessoa

The Book of Disquiet, tr. Richard Zenith