Best of the Net Poetry Nominees
Best of the Net Poetry Nominations
[for work published between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013]
Kate Bernadette Benedict
“No Occasion Whatsoever for a Parade,” December 12, 2012
“The Wife’s Mid-Life Crisis While Dusting the Bathroom Cabinet,” August 8, 2012
“Small Love Poem” February 13, 2013
Michaela A. Gabriel
“109, Meitnerium (Mt), Three chapters in the life of Lise Meitner,” March 6, 2013
“Trilafon,” September 12, 2012
“Olga Nethersol On How Not To Appear Wounded,” October 17, 2012
No Occasion Whatsoever for a Parade
No bleeding of brass, no clarion,
no one hawking helium balloons—
why do we/why do we march today?
The asphalt thuds as we step/as we step.
It clarifies the mind if you let it.
I see now that we are together in this,
this forward march
which began with an initiation none remember,
which advances toward an end point none can see.
Too much haze there, in the distance.
Impossible to tell if the destination is far or near.
Impossible to divine much of anything.
Such a narrow avenue, such sparse shade,
no overhang to shield us from the hostile elements.
That burned boy in the wheelchair, at the curbside—
is he the only spectator, then,
cheering inaudibly, waving his fingerless hands?
The Wife’s Mid-Life Crisis While Dusting the Bathroom Cabinet
Even the seabirds are lost,
clinging to my arm. I would carve
an estuary for you, if you let me. I would ride
the tortoise into the deep ravines for you, interpreting
the dream of each undulating wave. This is where I hold
our song of the ocean, here in my secret canoe where the migrating
whales curse me. You have stolen my riverbanks. You have stolen my clouds.
How can we navigate through all this dust?
Small Love Poem
To the saved dumplings;
to the friend who made them;
to the people I shared them with;
to the certainty of more dumplings tomorrow.
It’s small but it’s not nothing.
Scrubbing the tub, I paused
to listen to the love duet
that closes Act I of Verdi’s “Otello.”
(source: various Facebook status updates)
Three chapters in the life of Lise Meitner
In the shadow of a swastika flag, Lise wipes sweat off her brow. Last night she dreamed of Otto. His hand as he casually placed the ring on her desk. Now the trees whisper, repeating his advice, a staccato mantra: Geh. Patterns on the pavement take on shapes of safety, a trembling map of Denmark, Sweden. The light hurts her. Lise closes her eyes, calculates the odds of bribing a border guard with the beauty of spectral colours.
Otto is puzzled. Lise reads his letter at breakfast every morning, stares at the dim Swedish sky. Her vocabulary shrinks to a handful of words: uranium, barium, perplexity. People begin to talk. The woods are all winter and stillness. Lise rests on a log, sketches diagrams in the snow. Breath hangs in the air, miraculously taking shape like a theory. She delivers it to Otto’s doorstep like a baby that might not survive the dark days of December. Like some kind of payback. He smiles, closes the door behind them.
III Chain reaction
Lise has them all alarmed. What if the little dominoes fall just like that? Albert signs a letter. Franklin considers potential weapons in German hands. This provokes insomnia, a project, an invitation. Lise declines. She watches from a distance, clutching her own Pandora’s box, fingers curled around its broken lock. When the first bomb falls, she marvels at the darkness in the hearts of men.
By the time you were done with me
you’d made me into a woman,
surprised my body into hips
and breasts, thick thighs, jacked
all the hormones, shattered my
bloodwork scatterplot into datapoint
shrapnel. All the docs lined up
to kiss my chart for luck.
An outlier, I spent long hours lying
and eating. Had to tend the change
of cloud formations behind my eyelids.
This was your job: to cloud the night terrors
right out. Only you just made them meta.
I breakfasted on leeches. Held my hand
under the tap until I had an envelope
of pinking scald. I wanted to lie in bed,
eat and eat, and you let me. Fat little cumulus
was how you liked me best. So I would
lie still while they picked my mind
like a bird takes meat from a shell.
Olga Nethersol On How Not To Appear Wounded
agree even if it isn’t necessary
use good posture and swallow everything
make hand gestures between bosom and chin
smile even if it isn’t necessary
listen to nothing but give them everything
show up anyway
Olga Nethersol On How Not To Appear Weary
go on a laudanum binge but break it off quickly
never lose control of your fevered right hand
too important are theatrical posturing and manners
so let your eyes twinkle with the epiphany
that you’re the only one who knows where the dishes go
knows the secret to washing them
Olga Nethersol On How Not To Show Despair
repeat I’m happy everything is perfect I am better now
go on a laudanum binge and let no one seek your heart
adieu adieu adieu [He goes up and sits by the fire.
She goes to the piano and plays.] allow no scarcity
of amusement forget everything but the final act
Olga Nethersol On How To Make A Successful Final Exit
go on a laudanum binge
kiss the nearest person passionately
have yourself carried up a winding staircase
step off the third floor balcony
Marci Cheary’s prints Tightrope Walker, Flamenco Dancer, and Bird on a Wire can be found in the EIL Store.