Arsenic Lobster poetry journal
Issue Ten
Sping 2006
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Issue Ten,  Spring 2006
A Springy Lobster

I want you to listen to me while I whistle the song of the Nightingale, he said. He commanded Trout to be silent by giving him the evil eye. What adds peculiar beauty to the call of the Nightingale, much beloved by poets, he said, is the fact that it will only sing by moonlight. Then he did what almost every black person in Midland City would do: He imitated a Nightingale.      – Kurt Vonnegut from Breakfast of Champions

Everything in this house of ants and lizards,
from the firecrackers down to the fat lady smoking
cigarettes on the buckling ice rink,
is conditional.

If I'm the one who never forgets, then you two
never remember.
     – Matt Hart from Dirigible. Dog Breath. Timbuktu.
The Getaway by Nancy Morgan Barnes
The Getaway by Nancy Morgan Barnes
About the Artist
           A full year has passed since I began editing the Arsenic Lobster. I've been living on the south side of Chicago for close to two years now (and must note that I have yet to experience a winter half as dreadful as any in Kent, OH). I've been married for nearly four. It has been six years since I quite smoking cigarettes! Eight years have passed since I graduated from college. YIKES! My fifteen year high school reunion is hovering like clouds around the Sears Tower and I feel time passing as quickly as the whispering Nightingale.

Happiness. Beauty. Midland City. Poetry. Pavement. And plumbing are all as conditional as Matt Hart's buckling ice rink. And time: a strand of hair caught in the fan breeze. Turning into light. Loneliness. Welts on the heart. Life. So much the strain that we must lay down every night. The dust. I can feel it in my hands. Spring. Energy. Almost. Spring. Finally.


           Nancy Morgan-Barnes's amazing painting, The Getaway, is filled with an energy so spontaneous it nearly springs off the page—an infectious energy, mysterious, black humor and immediately accessible—the perfect image for our spring Lobster. That being said, having solicited this piece from Nancy many months ago and knowing that I would be using it for the spring issue; it was a true delight to select poetry not only amazing but mysterious and leaning slightly toward the lighter side…yet, still clinging to something personal, true, dark and puzzling.

Michael Paul Ladanyi's unique poem, Open A Copper Pouring, bubbles with original imagery and sensitive language. Angela and Sylvia transport the reader into another world where, thigh-dress country roads / bird-pop-chatter. Once I’m there, it is difficult to leave, difficult not to keep reading and rereading and still to discover something anew and venus-glass-beautiful. I simply never tire of reading it. I also find Thomas Reynolds’s refreshing take on the dramatic monologue delightful! His poem, Hog Heaven, reveals an original and meaningful voice that remains true to its subject all the way to the dark and looming end.

Puzzling. What could be more splendidly so than John McComick's curious poem, Dream I Almost Had where the bride's veil [is] a low cloud and the groom tends turtles, pointing them out to sea. Contrast. What contrast!
The dissimilarity between Sampson Starkweather’s bitter, searing second person, letter-like narrative—a poem that could have been written with an ice pick— A Brief History of the Love Life of Samson Rudderow Starkweather… and the easy, experimental nature of Accidental Music is astounding. I was surprised to find that the author who penned the line, abortions are as close as you come to family reunions also wrote, the tree of rain is split by light; all its little children scramble into my heart.

I am certain that when you read, omwumbiko, by Treasure Williams you will find her verse awake and beautifully concise; each word bears the full weight of the poem and it is rich and heavy—you were a point on the map we wanted to get to. Mark Gaudet's poem, Emmie reveals the small and haunting land of colored Legos and doll heads. And, it is no wonder that the poem, The Trail of Garlic Tears Leads Right to My Door, with its goat people, light wisdom and naked lady riding a Loch Ness mule reads right into my very heart—drifting like the frost line. Oh, how I want to tie a new red bandanna around each goat's neck.

Nanette Rayman-Rivera’s line, It's sleeping on pavement moments that uncork us, always startles me. Her poem, Sugar, is full of passion and the elegant poem I Know exposes an exploration of self through poetry—a breath of truth—a place where sea lavender puff fire. Benjamin Pealer's poem, Beneath the Comforter, delivers the sensual swimmingly and with one fluid artist's stroke. Truly, with her very first words—Want to need—L. Kelly's poem, -un, promises an unbalance and delivers it keenly. And still there is the anchor, as Leda, Laura Bontrager's poem entrancingly exhausts me—the ins and outs of it, the bashing wings. A truth so simple, we all may never getaway from the drowning.

Just breathing thinly creases our faces. Time is a bottle of water away. Energy. I can feel it in my hands. Finally. The getaway.

           I do invite you to soak your feet in the boiling brine of Lobster Poetry and to tell me you are ardent.
Susan Yount
Editor, Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal

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