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Poet of the Month: ‘Confession,’ by Virginia Valenzuela

Two Bohemias sit at a table
winking into our mouths
as we wet our lips to speak.
They are neat and subtle
unlike me. I fidget in place.
My thoughts are swindled, swishing
along the scalloped walls
of my brain. My father’s been trying
to tell me something, for months
and since we’re here, I think he’d better.
He says so much
but only to himself, for his lips
begin to shape, then rest
or pucker to drink. I don’t think
I would know what to say.
Virginia, he startles me, and I nod,
about last summer—
I wonder if we remember it the same way.
I suppose not.


Virginia Valenzuela is The Inquisitive Eater's Poet of the Month for November 2017.

Virginia Valenzuela is a poet, essayist, and yogi from New York City. She is a second-year MFA candidate for Poetry and Creative Nonfiction at The New School. She is an Education Associate with Teachers and Writers, a Research Assistant at The New School, the Prose Editor for LIT, and the Curator/MC for a monthly reading series at KGB Bar. You can find more of her work on her blog, Vinny the Snail and on the Best American Poetry Blog.

Featured image via PublicDomainPictures.net

Poet of the Month: ‘Fable of the Starfruit,’ by Virginia Valenzuela

A drunken star fell from the sky
and looking nothing like the others
he felt much relief in leaving.

A drunken star fell into the trees
and the crickets, thinking him a God
took him into their arms.

A drunken star, engorged with heavy light
looked down on the crickets, feeling
unshapely, and rather green.

He looked not like a star
but a cricket without any legs
and the crickets, thinking him a God

decorated him with many leaves
offered him a cloak with magic sleeves
quoth the crickets: we will be your legs.

A young girl fell from the sky
and feeling cold and uncertain
she wept beneath the trees.

A drunken star fell out of the branches
fell right beside her, and glowed.
The young girl wiped her tears

and brushed them over the star
which began to shine brighter.
The little lost girl, thinking it a gift from the Gods

bit into it, hoping to find her home
but beneath the glowing, green skin
were constellations.


Virginia Valenzuela is The Inquisitive Eater's Poet of the Month for November 2017.

Virginia Valenzuela is a poet, essayist, and yogi from New York City. She is a second-year MFA candidate for Poetry and Creative Nonfiction at The New School. She is an Education Associate with Teachers and Writers, a Research Assistant at The New School, the Prose Editor for LIT, and the Curator/MC for a monthly reading series at KGB Bar. You can find more of her work on her blog, Vinny the Snail and on the Best American Poetry Blog.

Featured image via Pxhere.

‘Lemon Shark,’ by Rosiere Moseley

Moist with a burst
of lemon from added
zest and a drizzle
of elderflower-lemon
syrup soaked into
the gills, made lovely
the lemon shark blossoms
fragrant, richly symbolic
transient, combine
the gin and shark in a shaker
add ice, shake vigorously
and strain into the ocean


Rosiere Moseley lives in Boston.

Featured image via Pixabay.

Poet of the Month: ‘The Visitors,’ by Jennifer L. Knox

Jen, come look at this.
            What is that?
A woodpecker.
            That thing’s huge—like a raccoon! Why’s it on the ground?
Grubs.
            What is it with the grubs?
*
            So that bird we saw this morning was really a northern flicker.
How’d you find out?
            I Google-imaged “woodpeckers.” Flickers are in the woodpecker family.
Big dude.
            Huge!
*
So that bird we saw this morning was really Bobby.
            Our Bobby? Bobby who left a broken boat in our driveway for a
            year Bobby?
Yeah, I Google-imaged “flicker” and apparently Bobby’s in the flicker
family, too.
            Why didn’t he tell us? I would’ve cooked him grubs!
He told us not with words but with his bobbing in the grass, his changing shape,
and the furious red feathers on his head.
            Sounds like a lot of work!
                  I inhale an epic breath and try to change my shape into a
                  woodpecker, er, flicker, er, Bobby by pushing the air against the
                  inside of my face. Colors, glitter, tiny neon bubbles swirl then link
                  together behind my eyes…I come to on the floor.

            Did I make it?
No, but what did you see?
            Grubs!


Jennifer L. Knox is the author of four books of poems. Her work has appeared four times in The Best American Poetry series as well as in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and American Poetry Review. The Los Angeles Book Review said of her most recent book, Days of Shame & Failure, ‘”This panopoly of twenty-first century American human experience leaves the reader a different person.” She teaches poetry writing at Iowa State University and is currently at work on a culinary memoir. Jennifer is also the proprietor of Saltlickers, a small-batch, artisanal spice company.

Featured image via Pexels.

Poet of the Month: ‘Yogyakarta,’ by Jennifer L. Knox

In the first hotel, an icky river of ants moving under the black wool blanket. In the houses, ceilings were low and the windows small—inside anywhere was always dark. Hawkers in the market needed lamps in their stalls by noon, but not when the light was more even, like dawn. On Idul Fitri, people who spoke English thanked us for coming, shook our hands, and the newspapers under their prayer rugs blew around turning the whole green world black and white. Leaded gas fumes made a wavy curtain of rainbows in the air. The railroad tracks, and a few blocks beyond, fried chicken, with its head still attached—amazing. You thought it was just OK. A jackfruit, like a blanched, pitted heart, hid in the milky soup. Tutti frutti ice cream at the Tip Top. We took in and in, spat nothing out—barely even words. We passed on the volcano trip—the bus left way too early. I learned to love bad books there, when I wasn’t swimming in the oddly pristine pool hidden behind two pillars and a wall of rocks alone.


Jennifer L. Knox is the author of four books of poems. Her work has appeared four times in The Best American Poetry series as well as in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and American Poetry Review. The Los Angeles Book Review said of her most recent book, Days of Shame & Failure, ‘”This panopoly of twenty-first century American human experience leaves the reader a different person.” She teaches poetry writing at Iowa State University and is currently at work on a culinary memoir. Jennifer is also the proprietor of Saltlickers, a small-batch, artisanal spice company.

Featured image via Pixabay.

‘A Case for Not Doing Acid at the Beach,’ by Keri Smith


I’ll already be experiencing
so many emotions
being home
handling all that sunlight
preparing to burn
but there are those spots
on my shoulders I need to get checked
I will have convinced myself they’re cancer
before noon and I don’t want to think about that
in the sun and Kirk will start thinking of LA
because Miami reminds him of home
except here he fits in so well
and I stand out
white on white sand
and he’ll want to buy a ticket back there
or we’ll stay forever
get a job bartending on the beach
shaking daiquiris for retired ladies all afternoon
I’ll steal a car
end up in Publix
licking the floors out of gratitude.


Originally from Gainesville, Florida, Keri Smith received her MFA from the New School in 2017. She continues to live in Brooklyn, New York where she works as a bartender. Her first book will be out soon on Hanging Loose Press.

Featured image from Pexels.

Poet of the Month: ‘Field Guide Acknowledgements,’ by Jennifer L. Knox

Some plants’ names just came
to me like that! Even in Latin:
“Worry Wartius!” You’re getting
smarter, I assured myself in the hotel pool.
I was proud of myself: it’s hard to swim
and think at the same time. But soon
other names stopped sticking to
the chalkboard. Letters’ balls and sticks
ran into ranks, all fired up, it seemed,
to reveal the word then…nada. Ink drops
hovered, spun and (“I know I know you”)
sunk. “Careful!” you said just as
the crested lizard-snake sunk its fangs
in my arm. You knew to pinch the hinge,
snap its neck, and suck out the venom.
You knew but didn’t need its Latin name.


Jennifer L. Knox is the author of four books of poems. Her work has appeared four times in The Best American Poetry series as well as in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and American Poetry Review. The Los Angeles Book Review said of her most recent book, Days of Shame & Failure, ‘”This panopoly of twenty-first century American human experience leaves the reader a different person.” She teaches poetry writing at Iowa State University and is currently at work on a culinary memoir. Jennifer is also the proprietor of Saltlickers, a small-batch, artisanal spice company.

Featured image by Tontan Travel.

‘Guzzler,’ by Robert Beveridge


Eight quarts on the table
before you. The bootlegger
has retreated to the shadows,
awaits your taste test.
Nameless liquor the color
of your ex-wife’s eyes.
You uncork the first bottle,
smell almond, pumpkin,
something earthier. Decant
into a shotglass shaped
like the skull of Australopithecus
Afarensis, raise it to your
lips. Pause. Wonder why no one
hires tasters anymore. You think
you see his eyes gleam
there in the dark. Freeze
with the rim of the glass on your
bottom lip. This tableau may sit
static for all eternity.


Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, The Ignatian, and YuGen, among others.

featured image: “Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette,” by Vincent Van Gogh

‘Predilections of the Carnivores,’ by Don Hogle


I was trekking to Udaipur in my Navy pea coat.
In my backpack, I had a solar-activated crystal radio,
a swimsuit by Hugo Boss, and a herd of Buffalo nickels.
I stopped at a family planning clinic, where I flirted
with young men waiting for their girlfriends,
while the girls discussed blue and white pills
with their counselors. It doesn’t hurt to flirt.
As a character in a Kurt Vonnegut novel observed –
What is flirtatiousness but an argument
that life must go on and on and on?


Udaipur was thirty kilometers on. I asked a nurse
if I would make it. She said, no, it was too dangerous;
I’d have to take a car. Yusuf, the Tajik who drove me
the rest of the way to Udaipur, asked if I’d eaten horse
in Kazakhstan. I had. He asked if we ate horse
in America. We don’t, I said, horses being for labor,
transportation, or show jumping.

What about camel? Do you eat camel? he asked.
We don’t have camels in America, I explained.
He smiled sheepishly and seemed disappointed.
So I told him that sometimes we ate buffalo,
and that seemed to cheer him up.


Don Hogle was the winner of the 2016 Hayden’s Ferry Review poetry contest as selected by Alberto Rios and a finalist in the 2015 Northern Colorado Writers and Aesthetica Creative Writing contests. Poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Chautauqua, Mud Season Review, Minetta Review, Blast Furnace, New Verse News and Shooter and A3 Review in the U.K. among others. He lives in Manhattan. www.donhoglepoet.com

featured image by Bernard Gagnon.

‘Everyday,’ by Honor Moore

Everyday

to myself I say I want to bite his shoulder.
I like thinking about it, snow, the sky
either blue or gray and I am eating
a man’s living shoulder. Am I so
hungry the shoulder to cry on I would
eat instead? Like meringue, not meaty though
toughened five days a week lifting
weights, calf brain, egg white, tartufo, texture
like that sirloin in Florence when I was
nineteen, consistency of soufflé, chocolate
never equaled, made watching Dracula
when I was in seventh grade. Lay my cheek
against it, but I keep dreaming I want
to bite that shoulder, even wound it.


Honor Moore’s most recent book is The Bishop’s Daughter, a memoir, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Los Angeles Times Favorite Book of the Year and her most recent collection of poems, Red Shoes. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The American Scholar, Salmagundi, The New Republic, Freeman’s and many other journals and anthologies. She has been poet in residence at Wesleyan and the University of Richmond, visiting professor at the Columbia School of the Arts and three times the Visiting Distinguished Writer in the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa. She lives and writes in New York where she is on the graduate writing faculty of the New School.

featured image: A screenshot from the trailer for Dracula (1958), a Hammer Horror production.