|Arsenic Lobster poetry journal
|Issue Twenty-nine, Summer 2012
Dog Hair & Honeysuckle, Necessary & Deathless
It’s been a hot summer—i must be a heater on the fritz when you complain about the heat, writes Laura Theobald—and likewise this issue of The Arsenic Lobster is filled with some hot stuff. There’s a little something for everyone—poems that speak to the times we live in, this place / that smells like dog hair and honeysuckle in May, according to Logan Hancock.
I mean, there is something hopeful and hopeless about the state of our being these days, wouldn’t you say? I suppose it could be said about any time in history, any poetic zeitgeist, but because we’re living and working and writing in 2012—the last year of humanity according to some sources—it feels more real and obviously more present. Our poems know this, our poets are writing about it.
We find ourselves in a post-economic-meltdown world, a world where mental illnesses manifest themselves in bullets (you will find small trinkets that / look like a broken mind / but you will discard them as you did me writes Connie Post), a world that sets aside political differences and comes together gleefully to see their finest athletes compete in the London Olympics, a world concerned with governmental oversight (or lack of, or too much of, or as Cristofre Kayser writes, King Louis decreed all knives, / on the street or on the table, / blunted down).
It’s hard to be human but necessary, writes Stepha Peters. Some of that necessity is writing about the things that haunt us, the things that move us, as John Calavitta writes, I’m moved by the thought of two individuals getting together to negotiate the world. Adam Walsh was moved to write about the necessity of work: work / at a meat factory plant in indiana pushing / the green button for steel racks of beef /that hang like they always do.
And there are those of us who don’t have work, who long for it and need it in order to pay our bills. Jessi Lee Gaylord tells the newspaper editors of the world, Editors, let’s get deathless. That deathlessness is the new American way; we fail and flunk but still manage not to be beaten, we pick ourselves up again when we fail. Valerie Loveland writes, The daisies wilt and revive / in their vase depending on the state of things. We are the daisies!
There’s hope in Harriet Carter—to you I sing all praise and hosanna—for convenient didn’t-know-I-needed-it mail order goods (a list can be found in our first poem of the issue, by Jane Sellman). There’s hope in the free meal at the end of salmon fishing, as Scott T. Starbuck writes, Pour cheap bourbon up stream/ to make salmon lethargic / and easier to snag.
Lobsters from Bobby by Rita Brace
About the Artist
For a chuckle, consider this alongside your favorite/least favorite American Idol/The Voice/America’s Got Talent participant: The cat sings as though somebody’s ripping out her sinew, (Joseph Goosey). Or this, alongside the pages and pages of “political” or “funny” pictures on Facebook: yelling at the ground wondering / why it won’t answer back (Adam Walsh). Yes. Yelling at the ground, indeed (10,000 people like this. Be the first of your friends).
I hope the summer Lobster fills you up, and tides you over till the winter arrives, as does Jeanne Stauffer-Merle: I do not want to know the wind’s secret. / The mouth of the wind is jagged and hanging and / cold and cold and this is the lost longing of the wind.
We need these poems in times of not knowing what to do about anything as John Yohe put it. Summer won’t last forever. These poems will. I need to read and reread them. So do you.