From Julie Dill, editor of LOCUSPOINT: St Louis

Stefene Russel’s “Equinox” is still one of my favorite poems of all time.

St. Louis is getting pretty beat up lately with the economy making everyone miserable and violent and losing our favorite anarchist artist/businessman to a bulldozer accident.

And yet, Stefene and I just read with three other people in the sculpture park, perched on installation pieces commissioned for the sole purpose of serving as platforms for our poems. And most of the things I’ve always found amazing about St. Louis are still as great today as they were five years ago.

Things are always looking up if you know where to look.”

Here’s “Equinox” by Stefene Russel:

Equinox

This is the part where I drive through Dutchtown in the springtime,
trying to lose a chunk of coal in the sock of my heart.

I looked for a blue marble Pieta,
and found a church called The Melvin that used to be a theater.

I was looking for an Indian mound with a diamond at its center.
I found a gleam that fell from a Mississippian’s eye,
lying on the road, a lost black sequin.

I looked for a hat trick to blind me with fist fighting stars.
I found a demolition man and his pile of yellow bricks.

I looked for Our Lady of Jupiter, embroidered with purple scars,
and found a toy ballerina in a grease-trap jail.

Factory that manufactures springtime, please pick me
to be the next U-turn or figure eight or just glaze me senseless.

Give me a cherub to keep in my glovebox and the choice
between chlorophyll and ozone.
I can’t stop driving, looking for the spot to dig
up the spring of thirteen going on fourteen,

standing on the edge of the river, coughing car fires out of my voice,

searching my wallet for a number
for some smart he or she to gunpowder me into a permanent magnolia.

LOCUSPOINT: Seattle, 30 September 2006

Of her city, editor Rebecca Loudon wrote, “Seattle is a city known for its rain, its lush green beltways, its flourishing theater and music communities, its suicides, and its serial killers. The Pacific Northwest poetic tradition includes Theodore Roethke, Richard Hugo, Sherman Alexie, Sam Hamill, Tess Gallagher, and Carolyn Kizer. When people think of the present Seattle poetry scene, they might think of the most visible type of Northwest poems; watery pastels, heron, the soft, the political, the easy landscapes, the ever present crow.”

Here’s a poem from that edition by Susan E. Butler called “Egypt Texas Ohio”:

Egypt Texas Ohio

Where were you when it happened
when it happened
where were you and after
when November stayed November
did you go stare at the screen
watch Cleopatra sail away
are we too late if we decide to live
did you know the answer
say the words out loud
no Mark Antony don’t go!
did you know what would happen
when it happened
did you read hear see
hill tomb flame
when the crazy man ran out
his bloodied wife
sagged in the doorway
when he lifted his white shirt
screamed here is my heart
when the chained dog lunged and cried for help
you stood silent
bookbag clutched against your chest
like a shield

LOCUSPOINT: Saint Louis, 30 Sept 2006

“If you look really hard, you can probably find some of these fine St. Louis poets any given Saturday night in the downstairs used book section at Left Bank Books, in the upstairs art gallery at Subterranean Books, or in someone’s basement with a case of Schlafly and half a dozen friends who hate poetry, but they’re none of them plotting their escapes any time soon.”

Editor Julie Dill

Here’s a poem by Richard Newman called Heartland Haiku”:

Heartland Haiku

In 1970, when then-president Richard Nixon returned from China, he brought back home more than just a press secretary recovering from appendicitis . . . the youth culture of the day absorbed Eastern Philosophy faster than McDonald’s cheeseburgers. . . .
                         —from the internet site heartlandhealing.com

spring

Cadillac cuts through
satin wheat field, JUST DIVORCED
soaped on back windshield.

summer

Black roofs lick the sun
like an orange sucker. Hurry—
mow, motherfucker!

fall

Dirty magazines
curl under dead leaves, hot pink
pages burning red.

winter

Sandwich wrappers—whoosh!—
whip across the parking lot,
bloom in the bare bush.

LOCUSPOINT retrospective: celebrating 5 years

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be reposting selections and notes from past editors of LOCUSPOINT‘s editions to celebrate our five years of publishing.

First, we go back to the beginning. LOCUSPOINT launched on September 30, 2006 with three cities. The first one we’re reviewing (because it’s first in the alphabet) is Boston, originally edited by Christopher Hennessy.

Here’s a poem from that edition, Wendy Mnookin‘s “Blue.”

Blue

There were buildings,
and rooms in those buildings,
and in the beginning
it seemed the rooms were perfect
to contain us.

And then you fell
and cracked a rib.
I said, It doesn’t hurt.
I looked at your face and said,
It doesn’t hurt much.
Blame adhered like a bandage,
calming me.

It was never just the two of us.
There’s sky behind the buildings
and smoke and flames
and people who jump
from those buildings,
some of them holding hands.

Some days I try to live
knowing, really knowing,
the worst can happen.

I should have touched your rib
gently, the way I am going to imagine
God touched Adam’s rib
to make a partner.

If I can imagine God.
If I can imagine gently.

Ardenday

Happy birthday Arden! Today you are 5, or, according to an online schnauzer age calculator, you are 33 in human years.

Here are five special things about you:

1. Your grunty old-man-clearing-his-throat noise you make all the time (a-hem-hem-hem-hem) is totally adorable and makes everyone fall in love with you. Also, your “NAR NAR NAR” growly bark you make when you think someone is up to no good in the hallway.

2. Your eyebrows, or “awnings,” as we call them, when they grow too long and hang over your face like Tammy Faye Bakker.

3. Your “diva toenail” that has grown to be about four inches long, so you can wag it in the face of all the no-good dogs you run into outside who don’t show you the courtesy you deserve!

4. That you give kisses all the time, although sometimes reluctantly when we ask for them. That you yawn in our faces with your mustard gas breath. That you don’t fart until you are deep under the covers…and we least expect it.

5. That even though you are always a lady, sometimes you are a fierce lady!

Happy birthday, Arden!

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Today is Arden’s fourth birthday! In honor of the occasion, she asked that I share some of her impressive stats and fun trivia with you:

Name
Arden Lily Jensen

Nicknames
Arden Lily, Ardentina (as in “Don’t cry for me, Ardentina”), Ardenza (rhymes with “credenza”), Bug, Lady, Lil, Missy, Muffin, Muppet, My Boo, Nugget, Snugglebunny, Stinkerbell, Stinkerella

Astrological sign and dominant traits
Capricorn: can be hard-working and obedient but also stubborn when she wants something

Commands learned
10: Sit, lay down, stay, come here, shake, crate, get down, go to bed, up, kisses

Prefers
Larger, hairier dogs who are dominant

Dislikes
Knocking, door buzzers, chatter in the stairwell, poorly behaved children

Secret shame
Consistently sneaks in and eats cat food

Favorite treats
Rawhide chews with Omega-3 for sensitive skin, any kind of biscuit treat

Great accomplishment last year
Losing 6 pounds! Good job, lady.

And now, a trip down memory lane:

Arden 7
Her first day at home (7 weeks)

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After she learned to climb the stairs on her own.

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Cozied up during a chilly Arizona winter!

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Hanging out at home with dad.

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Showing off her Christmas parka and Pablo, her fake boyfriend until she chewed open his flank.

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Her first “glamour shot” (vaseline on the lens)

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Awww…who can go to work after seeing a face like that?

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Lounging in the summer sun at Grandma and Papa’s house while dad’s out of town.

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Still as “Offred” from her one-woman production of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale

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Dressed for dinner the only time she’s been able to fly back to Phoenix to see Grandma and Papa.

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In DC with her new stepsister Kitty.

Happy birthday, beautiful!