Robert Nisbet, “My Father and the Age of Lady Chatterley”

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who writes a poem most Sunday mornings in a large-windowed room looking towards the coast and the Irish Sea. His work has been published widely and in roughly equal measures in Britain and the USA, appearing regularly in San Pedro River Review, Jerry Jazz Musician, and Panoply.

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My Father and the Age of Lady Chatterley

     in memory of Alister Nisbet, veterinarian, 19121996

Chaos has come, he must have thought,
finding in my effects that new-wave book.
(Okay, a silly book in many ways
but my adolescence gloried in a world
new-found, a world in which a womanhood
brought praise and not embarrassment.)
But virtue’s ambush shot me down in flames.

A vet, Dad cursed the Min of Ag officials.
Then lecturers, effete and bearded clique,
were targets. (He didn’t seem to realise
that I was talking on King Lear, Twelfth Night
from a Cardiff podium.) Those other lecturers
stirred revolution, blasted embassies,
led demos, were bad buggers all.

We settled. The world settled. Life settles.
I became the confidant to a narrative
that ran from anecdote to something near
a prophet sounding order’s knell.
Once he declaimed (in perfect ballad metre),
A man who can’t castrate a horse
can’t call himself a vet.

In the nursing home he still made waspish jabs
at his targets, the actors, singers, councillors,
the Iron Lady, Number Ten, for sure.
But in time the protest tones grew gentler.
It seemed now he was firing off his darts,
but recalled the love for those he sided with
and even the bad buggers he maligned.

 


 

 

 

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Giamila Fantuzzi, “Petrichor”

Giamila Fantuzzi is a teacher and researcher in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Body Messages: The Quest for the Proteins of Cellular Communication (Harvard University Press, 2016) and of several scientific articles about inflammation. Her short essays appeared in Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, and Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine. She is currently working on a memoir about love and illness.

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Petrichor

—To Don

The smell produced when rain falls on dry ground, usually experienced as being pleasant. —The Cambridge Dictionary

   Parched my heart is not; heavy tears wet it from above.
   Earth is where my two feet stand; grounded is how they keep me.
   Tender is my moist heart for the men I loved and love.
   Rough is my skin, thirsty in the dry wintry air.
   Ink is in your eyes and on your fingertips.
   Collected, composed, not panicked is the way to be.
   Heart (mine) is what I give to you.
   Obscure worlds are what’s hidden inside our strong skulls.
   Rain is what is falling again.

 


 

 

 

Giamila Fantuzzi, “The End of Binary”

Giamila Fantuzzi is a teacher and researcher in the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is the author of Body Messages: The Quest for the Proteins of Cellular Communication (Harvard University Press, 2016) and of several scientific articles about inflammation. Her short essays appeared in Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, and Pulse: Voices from the Heart of Medicine. She is currently working on a memoir about love and illness.

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The End of Binary

On this fine autumn morning
What ever happened to blue and green?
It’s beauty blush, golden glow, and soft peach up in the sky,
A dash of chablis for the grownups.
There is sepia, contessa, husk, and indochine
Down in the woods,
A touch of moss thrown in a corner for those who need comfort.
On this fine autumn morning
What the heck happened to blue and green?
This world.
This crazy world.
This crazy world of beauty.

 


 

 

 

J. I. Kleinberg

A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, J. I. Kleinberg is coeditor of 56 Days of August (Five Oaks Press, 2017) and Noisy Water: Poetry from Whatcom County, Washington (Other Mind Press, 2015) and coproduces the Bellingham-based SpeakEasy poetry series. Her poetry has appeared in One, Diagram, Otoliths, Psaltery & Lyre, and elsewhere. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, and blogs most days at chocolateisaverb.wordpress.com and thepoetrydepartment.wordpress.com.

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This Cloth

This folding and refolding of clouds, this rippled quilt of sea
pulled to shore and away—this is not the work of a god I believe in,
only a cinematic trick, a way to speak of the unfathomable,
distract eye and heart from bodies bloodied and fallen
in a synagogue, at a concert—oh, any place bodies can huddle
in a moment’s hope or grief. The cloth of us ripped and frayed,
every thread torn from itself, warp from weft. And still,
here is what we do: collect the threads, pick the strands of light
from darkness, hold the gnarled ball in open palms to gather
our tears and then, slow as autumn’s night absorbs light,
we begin to weave.