“Artifacts of Our Affection” By Amber West (2014)

Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize, Second Place (2014)

When I notice mold in my toothbrush mug
I remember the pigeons
roosting in the airshaft:
their toilet, their nest, our bedroom view
dusk and dawn

Monogamous, amorous, pigeons are known for their soft cooing calls

Once I had
three mugs. Gold-trimmed.
Blond carousel ponies
painted on each side. A gift from your parents
our last Christmas. I thanked them
politely, might’ve even cooed

Slaughtered indiscriminately, the passenger pigeon became extinct
in 1914

One shattered in the sink.
I sold another on the sidewalk. The last survives
demoted: bathroom workhorse

Servants and slaves often saw no other meat. Pigeons in your
dreams suggest

You left the photo I gave you
in the emptied dresser:
us against the wind on Golden Gate Bridge

you are taking blame for the actions of others, or may express
a desire to return home

but you took the bread maker,
the banjo engraved with a golden eagle

Once used for carrying messages, pigeons represent
gossip or news. It is thought they may navigate by the sun

I take down the cloth paintings
we bought in India. Pigeon
this message to the moon:

There is no true scientific difference

in the afterglow shuffle,
bedroom to kitchen,

between a pigeon and

your Valentine bathrobe remains
useful –

a dove

releasing
each man it embraces

This poem first appeared in the 2014 edition of LRR.

“Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Last One-Artist Show at the Baghoomian Gallery” By Kate Monica (2014)

Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest, Second Place (2014)
Collins Literary Prize, Poetry Winner (2014)

The passion’s bled out.
I’ve split open all the oranges I possibly could to see
the wet jewels shining like teeth in the sun and I’ve pushed

my fingers into the meat of it and I’ve popped the small
striated pouches; the sweetness is all over my hands and I am washing it off
without ever having tasted it.

This is how my mother describes my life to me over the phone.
I’m tearing the skin off all the oranges,
flushing the juice down the sink.

For a while I wanted no money and every night
met a girl on my neighbor’s roof to tell her
something inconsequential.

For a while I had a jean jacket with white-ringed sleeves and a sign saying
’Death To Docility.’
I had her hand
also.

I played clarinet in the hysterical twilight on the corner of Green and Franklin –
Feel better feel better feel better
I rotted under her pillow and it was dark and warm and I liked it.

There is a sore under my chin from sitting so long
in the smoke of the city while my father loudly changed the page of his newspaper.
The graffiti on the walls and freight cars are about him.
I wrote it in my sleep sort of.

I am nodding off in someone’s basement.
I like the way this music goes with her hair.
I feel better don’t you feel better –

in the corner of the room do you see him the boy from my 9th grade science class is sucking cock for coke
for the past 15 years I have felt like a hollow skull with an unhinged jaw and a
football helmet on

my mother told me of Samson breaking down the temple
I am tearing all the nets off the tennis courts

these two broad brush strokes this orange this blue
are a madman crying in his hands or laughing
you don’t care which

I dreamt of my lifeless body because I didn’t know what else to do
I kissed her because I didn’t know what else to do
she tasted like a black-alley cackle and a figure slouching
towards me and the dripping and a Cheshire cat grin from a
red red face yellow eyes and
i’m standing there equidistance apart from both brick buildings
all the audience are poorly drawn mannequins
only their yellow heads visible oval-shaped and gawking
they eat me alive and i love it
the quick flick of their tongues over my corpse-thin extremities
red face yellow eyes
my art is hanging on the walls it’s as simple as that i am striding in front of the paintings in an armani suit the gallery is full of people the girl i love is smoking outside she won’t come in i’m icarus and she’s the sun i’m icarus and she’s the sun my father my father my mother is so proud i am the yellow skeleton oval-shaped corpse-thin extremities raised overhead in triumph riding my black horse towards death my mother my father are so

This poem first appeared in the 2014 edition of LRR.

“The Wall” By Miller Oberman (2014)

Wallace Stevens Poetry Contest, Winner (2014)

Once, drunk, and having just
avoided a fight,
the two walked outside
from the dark dive
smelling thrillingly of sour
beer and sweat and clapping
the blue pool chalk
from their hands, they,
coming to a boarded up
construction site,
made fists, their hair
stuck up stiff with grease
and punched the wall
as hard as they could.

The wall did nothing.
The wall did not respond
or retaliate, except if you
consider its lack of splintering
a kind of taunt.

He thought his knuckle
would be tender forever.
Though the green skin faded,
the bone bruise remained
and finally leached away, unnoticed.
It was ten lifetimes
later, he realized his friend
was gone and his knuckle
was also left lonesome
for that longtime buddy,
pain.

This poem first appeared in the 2014 edition of LRR.

Focail Sneachta — Words of Snow

Our 2013 print issue of the LRR included a Foreign Literatures section. We purposefully published these pieces—two in Irish (Lisa Nic An Bhreithimh’s piece, “Grá Fómhair”; Alex Fogarty’s poem “Focail Sneachta”) and one in Spanish (Mikel Lorenzo Arza’s “Deola”) —in their native languages with no accompanying translations in order to assert our belief that our increasingly polycultural world requires a knowledge of various languages. We wanted our readers to struggle a bit. We wanted readers to appreciate the beauty of the written words in the original languages, even if they could not understand the literal meaning, to try to translate the pieces on their own, and to realize that all translations are separate works of art that serve as approximations of the originals.

However, for those readers who nevertheless love literal meaning (myself included), we are providing the English translation of Alex’s “Focail Sneachta” below (a translation of Lisa’s piece was posted on November 17th and a translation of Mikel’s piece was posted on December 27th). The original versions of all three foreign literature pieces can of course be found in the 2013 print issue of Long River Review and copies are still available for sale at a small price at the UConn Co-Op.

Alex 1

About the author: Alex Fogarty is an English major who specializes in Irish literature and the Irish language. He used to be computer science major and somehow ended up with more work after the switch to English. He also won first place at the Sterling Count Fair Butter Dance when he was eight.

 

 

 

Photo for Focail Sneachta Post

 

Focail Sneachta

Amharcaim mo shaol bán

agus tá sé poncaithe le dearaí dorcha.

Tá an áit beag seo fuar agus glan

agus ’sí mó thearmann í.

Mar bhuail an stoirm faoi bhallaí an tsolais.

Feicim an reacht nuair a amharcaim amach,

Is féidir leis an domhan a ghlanadh orm go dtí a dhath.

 

Words of Snow

I lean over a white landscape,

Dotted with my dark creations.

This small world, cold and clean,

As the storm rages outside,

Becomes my harbor,

Crafted from light.

As I turn from my light,

I see the chaos brewing outside,

Threatening to cover my world and wipe it clean.