Tongue doesn’t claim to provide any answers, to provide stories that reveal them, but the editors “revel, instead, in poems and art at ease with a kind of ambivalent vulnerability.” And as I read this issue, I certainly felt that.
Malena Mörling’s “See the Second” dedicates imagery to different increments of time in each stanza. The first stanza, about seconds, moves into a stanza about minutes, and so on, until the end of the poem ends with an entire day. The length of time is felt within the words:
See the second
and the second
like quick marks
at the minute
how it has time
like a raindrop
on the underside
of a railing
before it too drops
into the past—
Brynn Saito’s “Mother and Children” prose poem certainly doesn’t offer up any answers, but the language is so captivating that I found myself reading it four times. Split into six sections, labeled by roman numerals, the piece moves from the mother to the children. It starts, “My children as they wandered from me took on the shapes of beauty. I was proud of the way they suffered though I know they were undone by the sharpness of the earth’s asking: Do you know hunger, do you know rage, do you know the color of grief?”
There are six poems by Gemma Gorga translated from Catalan by Julie Wark. I was drawn in from the very first one, “Semantics and Nutrition.” It shows that everything can be broken down into smaller pieces; “Everything is matter.” It starts,
A leaf falls to the ground and decomposes
into smaller meanings -humidity,
pigment, lamina, oxygen, warmth,
light–, like someone spelling his full name
to a stranger: car bon di o xi de.
The speaker in Tarfia Faizullah’s “In the room I was born,” in short lines, reveals:
She will point
out other graves: corpses
stacked upon each other
to save space. . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . Time unfolds
a wing. Soon, I will be a wild,
wind-bent map worth loving.
The issue—although designed more as a print issue than an online issue, available as a PDF or through issuu—is welcoming with bright colors and a fun design with art by Radio Sebastian. Tongue is saturated with beautiful images and ideas, poems that delightfully use language to create insight.