James B. Nicola’s “E-Mail with Variables” is endearing, playing on the “xoxo” that may end a note to a long-distance lover:
But if you saveKelly Nelson’s “The man I nearly married calls years later unexpectedly” is as quick and swift as the call itself, ending “He said, okay, good night / I’m so glad I called.” Katy Davidson’s “Smog,” too, is short, with a quick glimpse in the morning, “Sun or left-over moon, for a moment we could not tell.”
the X and print
it out—enlarge it first—
you can, if you wish,
place it on your lips,
cheek, forehead, anywhere.
Tina Egnoski’s “Busking, Providence” is probably my favorite of the bunch, bursting with sounds that would do well as spoken-word poetry. The street jazz player is frustrated with advice as a tip that “doesn’t pay rent” and says, “Take and shove your John 3:16, your Do Unto Others, / your Dongbang 15 mm needles. Your pressure / points, charkas, tourmaline, calendula, kripalu, Stairmaster . . .” It meshes into a list first with commas and then mashed together creating both a swifter sound and an intonation that you can take all of those things together and just “shove” it. It ends on a clever note: “Two-fifteen / and I gross seventy-five and a Chinese puzzle. / Cosmic joke, it reads: chicken or egg?”
I should point out that I have a few qualms about this journal which include a small difficulty in navigating within the issue and to the TOC and the lack of dates on issues. And while I wasn’t caught up in every poem, some which felt unpolished and in need of some more vivid descriptions, there are a few gems that make it worth exploring.