Pushcart 2022



 

Richard Foerster, volume 3 number 1

Hole In The Head Review


At Uluru


Off-season, before any tour bus would arrive, the desert

seemed a theater all my own, its house lights dimmed. I waited


on a bench with the Southern Cross and Coalsack overhead.

Around me, spinifex bristled beneath the wind. I could tell you


Aboriginal lore about that great rock, how a serpent dreams

of an everywhen atop the dome, but in real time, on the stage


of this poem, the sun as expected lit its flare; molten ferric reds

descended to the desert floor. I sat in awe, a speck on the brightening plain


and thought I’d gotten all I’d come for, until I spotted a dot beelining

toward me out of that vastness—a mere sparrow, no threat, coal-black above,


snowy below, it settled on the tip of my shoe, then cocked its head and flashed

a white eyebrow, questioning, questioning. When its tail began to joggle


side to side arrhythmically, I bobbed my foot. It would not go. A half hour

I pondered that flicking semaphore, its flares and twitches, and registered


nothing but a tourist’s amusement. A local elder when I told him

said, “Tjintir-tjintirpa, Willie wagtail. He brought you a message


from the otherworld.” I sobbed right there. Why am I writing this,

twenty years on? Oh, envoy of bewilderment, what is it you have to say?

 

Anny Jones, volume 3 number 2

Hole In The Head Review


en plein air


for many years I fucked en plein air : not to transgress : felt neither fear nor frisson at being caught : seen in the open


it was a stinging desire for the places: within Lake Trasimene as the washerwomen on the shore sent carbolic bubbles across the water : crisp

autumn leaves in a ditch in Yorkshire : on haycocks : archaic : in a field

under moon & owls in Kenilworth : on golden cowslips under apple trees

in Normandy


I don’t remember the men : I remember the owls : the smell & caress

of the hay : blossom : dome of sky over lake : flesh under water


it was the only way I knew to enter the privilege of being unhumaned

dishumaned : unhoused from my history : our history


mouse : owl


owl : mouse


to enter a state of being that was reckless : not according to human mores

reckless because doomed


because returning to the human world is what breaks the heart


to know the heart must re-enter mere language


 

Linda Aldrich, volume 3 number 2

Hole In The Head Review


Utopia

I

Who I was started to disappear along the edges of myself at first until I was a meld of common good, and after some years, unrecognizable to my past, I took walks alone in the foothills, but not really alone because I could still hear them calling me back to the work there was so much of, the gardens, the kitchen, the many loaves, the voices well-intentioned, filled with purpose and multi-headed benevolence, all of them having settled into me and built nests, beautiful intricacies of feeling flying in and out and landing there, and I couldn’t close off (I mean, who would want to?) or form a word that wasn’t (I realized later) realized by them and made into so much eloquent flesh. Not a word of my own because who was I unless gathered into them with them in the name of one hundred fifty or more and to think of what emanated from us, most especially from us, our mission of radiance into the troubled world sadly ignorant of how things were? And who knew if the love we felt was love or just the tight weather of togetherness, the commitments we made to each other to keep from wanting too much or making something of ourselves or going out and finding a job somewhere when the job we were doing right where we were was so much greater we told ourselves and sang to ourselves and fell into bed dead tired at night dreaming to ourselves?


But if I walked far enough into the hills, the tethered tenor of their voices barely sifted through the ponderosa fragrant with summer’s heat, showering yellow pollen on me and the path in front of me, and I found my two hands again, found wild calypso orchids, rubbed dirt from arrowheads pointing north away or south doing the same with my thumbs.


II

A wide, sun-filled stream, lower Montana or maybe

the northern corner of Wyoming, not sure where


I stopped and saw how smooth flowing and slow it was,

how quiet and clear, no one around, no one on the road


above, how golden the light inside the water, dream

of Eve, the morning of my first day, and so stripped and


immersed myself and floated there, my hair suspended

in a rippling circle around my head, my body carried


as vessel of essential self, gentled, cooled and emptied

of worry there, bright blown egg, weightless luminaria.

 

David Weiss, volume 3 number 2

Hole In The Head Review


Getting the Bird Out

. . . to disimprison the soul of fact – Coleridge




1 Getting the Bird Out

You could hear it under the ribs

its flutterings wet and papery

Between her lips you could see it:

seedlings tipping their dicots toward the light

The shipping manifest the suede buttons

that last look over the shoulder: all that could be pulled out

Even the flywheel could be extracted

Without much damage delicacy itself would come free

But getting the bird proved difficult

For one thing the bird was a paraphrase

It clung like motion’s most intimate movement

to the principle of no-stone-unturned

Only when we gave up did it come out

It looked like no bird we’d ever seen

a gob of slag unheaped

On its side it lay the long red cord still deep in its throat

So many things its immobility seemed to say

were now going to be a thing of the past



2 On Broil


Onset with its per second per seconds

with its crude meticulous hustle


Onset exhilaration’s unsavory twin

that invades the definite article flip-book fast


Onset

whose mounted police line the demonstration route


Onset

that roaring tit that distress emancipator


who noisies up the lacerations

who strips of of its belongings


with its eastward-aiming

and westward-rumbling voracity


Onset and its magpie inroads

its sunset effusions


pouring out like the gospel of Job

lapsed and relapsing rolling out the patterns of pandemonium


with its brass knuckled and prowling epicenters

its mortar bandwagon


its furious fury-wilting curating

bursar of the bursting


itself homeless and perishable

luscious and heady as it passes through the turnstile


rummaging through the trash

for a boot to


kick you with when you’re down

to clog your throat with thick spit


to disrupt and foreclose on

our paradigm of governance equilibrium and care



3 At Egg


We have prepared my heartbreak

a list to rhapsodize

The irreversible in thee is what I revere


You have the toll- the doll-house to consider

It’s just me who wishes and reenacts

and wanders the house


Love loves to impersonate

So put some diminutive

in yourself some


liquify some groundwork

some believe

Calcium can be startled


just as a basement can be wooded

Has elegy ever been known

to decompose


4 Reverse Frosting


Say goodbye to my hair my anyway no longer resplendent hair

(which I’ll buzz cut before the die off)


but not to my head and its galaxies

in which you burn like a star


Say goodbye to my breast the left the larger one

but not to the rites of touch


Say goodbye to my looks but not to my lips

which still spell their wishes in a braille of tongue teeth


No more the frost of familiarity

I am molten molting


Say goodbye to my lips but not to my words

mouthed like an inmate through the walls of her cell


Say goodbye to the unlashed

but not the inward eye the deep-sea eye


where etymon sends out its nomad filaments

the pump primed for redefining


The books have been written Reread them

from memory Like me they won’t ever be the same




5 Another Thing Coming


Deadlier thing let’s scale this down

to torn luminance to the strictly dynastic

You’ve ridden the rail of motherhood


exacting of upheaval malfunction mutation

And those cow bells in your daily gazette clank obsessively

Headwind cross-hatchings are all your doing


Deadlier thing

all your atmospherics are load-bearing

all your feats of docility all our ointment and our joysticks


that you have gathered up will induct us

However misty in the pond-light of late cataclysm

you don’t neglect to pick up margarine and paper towels at the corner grocery


And if you misspell Byzantium or put a cold snap on the calliope

you’re our chief engineer after all

The work itself is ours to do


Redundance wears its royal robes

and the missiles are now so easy to make

No need to fear that we’ll recant


We love the small problems to solve

the logistics

It’s heartbreak still that breaks our hearts



6 Malady Transfusion


The short of it is: preclude precluding

Sometimes insensitivity that fall-guy is caring itself

The hive the lost and found the ocean bottom all share progeny

all share an unrestrained unreserve

our postulate and our bounty


The circling hawk is unfamiliar with masochism

The marinade unfamiliar with impatience

Cancer with self-reflection

One after another the unspeakables fall away ruptured into harvest


O my fig partner it was henhouse lovely