3 POEMS BY D. E. KERN
It claimed a padlock yesterday, withered in my hand. In Denny Brovsky’s Ford this morning,
my foot pushed through the cab.
A coat of paint slows the spread; I’ll surely lose my fence. Anna sliced both legs on the
porch rail’s ragged edge.
With every rain stains like fat-bottomed girls edge down the factory walls. Gravity, the only
act of God seen in a mill town.
They sold stainless steel visions down on the docks—a promise per page boy hat—divided us
rats from the Balkans, half to Carnegie, half to Schwab.
Nightshift forged the modern Navy, one turret at a time. Day shift bound this land to your
land with a ladder of railroad ties.
But then, the Empire’s glowing I-beam thrust into our ribs. We gathered in tin lean-tos
like flocks of iron pigs.
Rain, the color smokestacks cough, rolled off our oven-baked skin. It ran to the shiny Lehigh,
where even Baptists would not swim.
Now these powdered dreams dust my dungarees, keep washing from my hair. But the red
imprint of chain link is stubborn on my hands.
In the deejay’s hands, “Talk About A Revolution” faded after three minutes, bled
into the news of boat people from Saigon.
The Times on both coasts led with Yankees versus Dodgers, tales of Reggie Jackson
hot in the October cold.
Our family table, a hand-me-down with a chipped and brownish faux-Formica top and
a band of aluminum wrapping its girth, was “Brady Bunch” stuff, paired
with Fiestawear, sea shells, corral-colored walls.
It was the site of the first family meeting I remember, as a booster-seat boy fingering
macaroni and cheese.
God called Daddy west; Momma was glad to go. But I—the Bit O’Honey Kid—
hesitated, dragged my feet in favor of trips to 7-Eleven with Poppop, his pint-sized
partner on a newspaper mission.
I lay aside my column, contemplate twenty-eight years of a life hemmed in by rivers.
From a restaurant known for its view, I admire the Delaware, coiled on itself like a
garden hose, eye the opposite shore and my own where it comes back around.
Leaning on my table, I test the stability of things, measure the swells in my glass
against those I remember from that house down on Barnegat Bay.
All hail the boy bric-a-brac, three years old and two-foot-five, marching the perimeter
of the room with his magic glasses and enchanted horn …
living life in circles around us all.
With Osh-Kosh bibs slung over one shoulder, and little boy blue eyes full of mischief
tapped from a familiar vein, his eyes search for chances to carve chaos out of
Using charm and a grin, he can hook your heart and draw it straight out, providing you
haven’t already yielded it on your own.
And with a simple request he can melt away the thousand pounds of residuals from the
real world spanning your shoulders.
“Send me into space!” he will cry. “Again! Again!”
But you’re already flying, Jonathan, circling us all on a plane I can only remember as I
to hold you high and spin you around my head.
D. E. Kern is an author and educator from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. A 1995 graduate of Syracuse University, he
worked at newspapers in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and California for more than a decade. Kern earned an MFA in
Creative Writing from San José State University where he studied poetry and fiction. His work has appeared in
journals nationwide, twice earning him recognition from the Academy of American Poets. He lives with his wife in
Parker, Arizona, where he teaches at Arizona Western College. You can follow him at
https://www.facebook.com/DE-Kern-689300447747815/ Previous printing: Crate – “Corrosion” Volume 11 Issue One,
Fall 2014 (crate.ucr.edu)
4 POEMS BY MEGAN MEALOR
The dog-eared Douglas
denuded of limelight
nullifies in needle drops
by the abominable awning
contra drifting ditches.
Catchpenny snowmen jitter in echoes,
the hawkish two-dog night
enkindling pear trees,
vitriolic vapors vaulting.
The rosewood portico spangles
dragon fruit wine, flashy forest pine,
sugared macaroon, overdue berry-blue.
Grandmother’s ambidextrous organ,
once flamboyant with fantasias,
vascular with virtuoso,
collects kelpies in the crepiscule,
conducting caliginous choirs
for patchwork heirloom festoons
entwined with notched nativity.
I begrudge, bereave roseate moons
electrifying elixir eau de vie.
There, in that fatigued hearthside
glutted with storming, serpentine logs,
unfurls a motley messianic majesty
bearing my astray atonement,
wrought with requital and anthracite.
Daddy defined that consummate cachinnate,
overflowing ossuaries, spurring cryptic celeste
to jawn, juxtaposit, journalize, jive.
I’ve distorted your verve,
the sycophantic shadows of pet azaleas
against the hoydenish houndstooth drape.
It’s a looping lexicon:
your contour around cats,
the soldier’s ruins of your seeming,
prehensile paper-thick cantatas,
how aboveboard you resist molded neon buckets.
You delineate thesbian graffiti
in that carved Cadillac of billboard bones.
Canonizing the melody of his baritone: tranquil, reposing,
a black birch’s susurration to wintergreen.
There is something frivolous in the way
he ponders paper birches,
holding their heartstrings
in the balletic symmetry of his shoulders.
He composes a congress of seashells, overflowing
electric coolers, patriotic plastic pails
with False Angel Wings, Scotch Bonnets, Bittersweet Clams, Beautiful Crassatella.
Sparse Doves crown the molded mahogany highboy
in his antarctic citadel on a gangplank golden hill.
Jars of Junonia husks shanghaied from atmospheric instability
embroider the soapstone pedestal sink,
a greenhorn pastel of a shark’s eye moon
beating in a harborage of palomino sand.
From the prosaic to the shipshape to the freewheeling,
from the quixotic to the wuthering to the wakerife,
I’ll take him as I can, all jejune bluestockings and terradiddles,
that Philly urban corridor, roughhewn resonance atingle.
she was ensorcelled by the redstarts
as intricate and immaculate as that
elan effigies skyrise-high amid mantis lacery
lilting laureate litany at the lemonade stars
northwestern navy feathers catch bitter alloy in the vespers
mayflower moon exacting opencut orisons
the frolic of her fingertips free-mapping fenestellas
A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Megan Mealor’s work has been featured widely in numerous
journals, most recently Really System, Beakful, Degenerates: Voices for Peace, Liquid Imagination,
Danse Macabre, The Lake, Children Churches & Daddies, Former People, and Neologism Poetry
Journal. Her debut poetry collection, Bipolar Lexicon, is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press. She
lives in imperfect harmony with her fiancé and our 4-year-old son in Jacksonville, Florida.
FROM THIS IS HOW MY SPEAKING MOVES resumes when the mirror’s
BY FELINO A. SORIANO
Absence but the Clarity of Closeness
eyes open. Toward me an
resembles younger selves with alphabetic structures
contemplating name and
corporeal understanding. Within what holds
this time stilled in the paused
function of memory reconstruction
preference is what finds
the mouth needing organic
faith to lend light toward
the corner of this room of
contemplating prophecy… tongue and sound in
Forward into what and
who embraces me fractions now whole
sits within my need to attach myself
to the listener with
Rhythm section (family findings in the watching of our unbroken flying)
upon me |upon my desire to walk into a light apparent
in the holy eyes of my daughter’s smile|
then when listening, the textual version of
my voice expands into visceral reach
wandering from silence and the
wholeness I am seeking
interior to my father
teaching me to
Vocalizing What is Missing
Tomorrow’s function met
my early awakening
with a silent configuration of
tonal memory, a
plural of dual mirrors: crow/my father’s absconding.
Both, final breaths
held to the chest, held inward to
cultivate remission from
a darkened hall
leading into ___________
Interior to What Hears Me
Various gardens across the open palms
of my mother’s ongoing smile.
Said of what needs reciprocation
is originally blurred into clarity’s
eventual rise in the noon of my
name’s halfway expiration. To
-ward my brother I often examine
paths of devoted camaraderie
too, of our voices’ differences
braiding, bridging, bringing
elated offerings amid the gardens
of conversational colors
to my wife
I Praise you (in prayer and the language of physical momentum)
in the italicized tradition. Importance. To | for you
each of my breathing shapes belong
among what hears how our devotion
spells itself into distance far enough to
live toward with
unseen, kaleidoscopic rhythms
arranging path and
favorite meanings of
Through early morning / early roles
syllables of promise have
how this piano
lead me from pensive
intuition into entering halls
now covered with years
of hallowed, vocal interpretations
Hearing is how I know you. Healing is why my breath has yet to twirl into an absent, neoteric
rhythm. Laughter, first, in the praising way blessings outline the body against wall and the sun’s
noble articulation of preferred warmth and syncopated value. Voice, second, not out of
relevance: your laughter, a piano solo of multilingual bridges, bridges becoming what leads and
involves birth and the finalities of my previous miscalculations
Certainties are already with us. Cancer, yes, but too,
the elated existence children and grandchildren
provide in the full body collaboration of what spells
happiness even across a darkness of elaborate,
decadent mathematics. Our bodies, aging. Mine,
weakening into stages of unrecognizable physio-
logy. Yours, though, the smallness I hold
in my good hand’s desire to envelop your
whole version of ornamental relief. Beside you
I breathe-in water’s functioning calm. What
you blend into my darkness is an earth
of light and desirous continuation. While
your hands shape themselves into praying
symbolsmine are emblems of syncopated
throbs of neuropathic evolution. I hear you
awaken, see when the warmth divides itself
into broken fragrance; upon fragmented
moments my fears are elaborate and erase
selected mirrors. Toward you, I lean. I
must, for your strength builds an arch
-itecture of spoken devotion, one that
etches vows and humility into the humid
view from my oscillating hope
Each nearness (organic function of father|daughter reaction) each
moment each layer of what etches elation
into my daily, five year
to fathering your
Intuition, I’ve written
to my daughter
directions into each eye to
memorize what smiles
react to, what laughter
does amid gray and a
function of multilayered visualiz
Moments are scents
related to how you
perfume twirls of
daddy is the name
you’ve written into
adoration, my name, a
given music when leaping
from how my listening
in the measure of our
movement’s amid silence I rearrange
my Cancer’s prophecy to
years endure prognosis and
interior emerge within the healing
awaiting faith and
determined confession of
needing to interact with
more of your laughter’s
Each crow we count (remember, their silhouettes blend softened into our memory), how their
absconding creates shapes of illusion and unconventional echopurpose overwhelms me in the
context of knowing my teaching will etch your tomorrow’s language within piano solo paradigms,
and the form in which you listen will determine aggregations of singular or multiple paths on
which to merge, yield or sprint toward your isolated fathoms. Why I must leave before the
earth decides, my body is too secretive to explain this purpose in the philosophy of Death’s
prophetic occultation. I promise to never hide from you, nor abscond as with the early morning
crow atop the roof of our certain observation. Love is how I see you. Jazz is how I define you.
Each rhythm of the daddy’s girl paradigm shapes my fading eyes into magnified versions of
my pulse pulls me then imagines you, listens to
the water of your voice, the clarity of stages beginning with silence of the before birth anxiety,
leaning toward the now of imagining our dance of continuing conversation
Felino A. Soriano was awarded the 2017 erbacce-prize for poetry. His writings appear in CHURN,
BlazeVOX, 3:AM Magazine, The National Poetry Review, Small Po[r]tions, and elsewhere. His
books of poetry include A Searching for Full Body Syllables: fragmented olio (2017), Aging within
these syllables (2017), Acclimated Recollections (2017), and Vocal Apparitions: New & Selected
Poems: 2012 – 2016 (2016).
Visit Of the poetry this jazz portends for more information.
ISSN: 1929-7238. Published by Fowlpox Press. Editor: Virgil Kay.
Layout and graphics: Paris Pâté. Cover: Sky Adventurer.