Weekly Write: “This Body Will Not Carry” by Annie Elizabeth Cigic

This Body Will Not Carry

I go on long drives–childless–
a loud peace. An empty backseat,

ignoring seatbelts & airbags. No bodies
traveling at the same speed as mine.

No questions about the sky–why the clouds hang
low & heavy some days. No one to count the broken

white lines or ask why the roads light up
at dark. I drive until I see barren

landscapes–hurricanes won’t touch
this wasteland.

 

Annie Elizabeth Cigic is a poetry MFA candidate at Bowling Green State University. She teaches first-year writing and plans to pursue a PhD in Rhetoric and Composition to study how to merge creative thinking and pedagogy together. She is currently working on a poetry chapbook.

 

 

 

“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2019 Anthology.

Click here check out Parade: Swimming with Elephants Publications Anthology 2018 available for only $10.95.

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Weekly Write: ” Somnambulist” by Charles Duffie

Somnambulist

The pills knock you out, so you’re asleep when I make the rounds. That’s good. Easier. You hate that I still do this. I got into the habit when you were pregnant. It was prayer back then, pausing in each room, murmuring, “Thank you” and meaning it. Every night. Sixteen years.

So, I make the rounds, even now. Stand in the kitchen, where he picked up your love of cooking. The living room, where every Wednesday was Family Game Night, even when he got busy in high school. Our bedroom, where you fell asleep so easily, curled in contentment. The little sunroom where I pretended I was a novelist and he pretended he was a songwriter. His bedroom, where he evolved like the history of man, from neanderthal toddler to cro-magnon tween to a sometimes surly, often fine homo sapiens.

So every night I make the rounds, pause at each station, but without “Thank you” now, those clasped words slammed apart as easily as the Honda slammed through the guard rail, our boy asleep at the wheel. He just fell asleep. That’s all. Why is that the one detail I can’t accept?

The first few weeks, it hurt you, that I kept making the rounds. Your husband became a somnambulist and all you could do was sleep. I envy your hibernation. You’ll survive this long winter and wake in some unseeable spring. Meanwhile I go through the motions. I feel unmoored even from my grief. I kneel in the surf of the shag carpet; I’ve been in a shipwreck, a castaway washed ashore in my own home.

That annoying grandfather clock he loved chimes downstairs. As if summoned, I shuffle into the kitchen. This routine I do for you, while you sleep. I make the rounds for me, I make dinner for you. This was your sacred space with him. God, he was a chubby kid. That’s why you learned to cook. No more fast food, you said. All the diets the two of you started and quit.

I flip The No Meat Athlete Cookbook to the next recipe. I hated all his plant-based lectures. But I have to admit, he lost weight, got trim and fast. Watching him glide downcourt, stretch his body, pluck the ball from the air and finger-float it through the rim — he was more beautiful than anything in nature. A gazelle leaping is a graceful machine, but a boy doing that? That’s conscious grace. That has to be proof of something.

Tonight I’m making Loaded Spaghetti Squash, Garlicky Rosemary Potato Soup, Kale Salad with You-Won’t-Believe-It’s-Cashews Ranch Dressing, and No-Bake Mocha Cheesecake. The silvery sounds of new pans, ceramic plates, glass bowls, steel measuring cups — his birthday present from you, a complete set. Crisp cuts through squash, potatoes, kale stems; easy motions, pouring, whisking, scooping; distinct smells, garlic, rosemary, basil, bay leaves; stirring slow like cranking a gurney or prayer wheel. I lose myself in these mundane things until the flavors sweeten the air and pull me back.

It’s a feast. Center all the bowls on the white table, each filled with color: bright orange pasta, golden soup, blue-green salad, small black cheesecake with blanched almonds serrating the edges. Sometimes I notice there’s no silverware, sometimes I don’t.

It’s almost 3 AM. We haven’t sat together, husband and wife, at this table since the crash. But I end up here every night. Maybe I’m waiting for the day I’ll feel hungry again. I don’t know. It’s only been six weeks. Give it time, people say. I’ve lost thirty pounds. How do fathers do it? This is an old story, losing a son. How have all the fathers before me carried on? Why can’t I wake up?

My foot bumps something. His basketball rolls out from under the table, across the hardwood, taps against the front door. Yesterday when you went shopping, I played in the driveway, then hid the ball when you came home. I forgot to move it back to his room. You don’t like me doing anything we used to do with him. His death grated across us, leaving all these holes in our life. Everything is falling through.

It’s cold outside. Look at that moon. Almost full, almost there. I shoot a few hoops, the ball bouncing, hitting the rim, so loud in the silence I stop, waiting for someone to shout out their window. But if anyone’s awake, they keep it to themselves.

I should go back in, but the park is just down the block. I can’t see it, so I walk to the street lamp on the corner. From here, the jungle gym looks like a pile of empty cages; the trees are as still as a diorama. And all that night behind it. Somewhere out there is the basketball court where we played until, one day, he magically was better than me.

“What?” I say to the half park.

It’s so quiet, I hear water in the sewer flowing under my feet. Somewhere behind me, the freeway sounds like a river too. I feel like I’m being swept away.

“What?” I call. “What?!”

I throw the ball like I’m trying to hit something. It loops high into the dark, gone. A moment later I hear it bounce on the court, again, again, then gone.

It takes a long time, until the sky softens, but I turn around. There’s nothing to do but follow the curve of the earth back home, choke the food down the disposal, and clean the kitchen before you wake up.

 

Charles Duffie is a writer and designer from California. His work has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and Role Reboot, and will be featured in the 2019 American Story Anthology published by New Rivers Press.

 

 

“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2019 Anthology.

Click here check out Parade: Swimming with Elephants Publications Anthology 2018 available for only $7.95.

Weekly Write: “Limit” by David Magill

Limit

Fish guts on the Sunday paper, one of my favorites,
Herman, covered by an eye and some gills.
She tells him it’s too sharp for me but
he ignores her and hands me another sunfish.
I work it under the tail and slide it along the spine,
careful of the meat under the skin.
He guts another one and shows me the eggs; I nod
and rinse the fillet in a steel bowl.
She sees blood on my hand and protests again,
but I have learned to ignore her, too, as long
as he is with me and I am busy.
The smell is acrid for a moment but it passes,
the scent of my father’s cigar cutting through
the scales and the blood and the guts.
“Will them hogs eat the heads?”
“They’ll eat anything you throw over the fence. Don’t forget
to bring them bowls back.”
I stood by the pen and looked at them.
I hadn’t given them names yet.
I wondered if they’d ever get a chance to eat
fish heads

without me.
I threw one far over their heads
so they would go away
and then dumped the rest inside the fence.
I didn’t want to see those fish die twice.
I heard the air compressor roar to life
and went and got the hose.
Summer was a short walk
away.

 

David Magill, born in Kansas City, Missouri, moved to Minnesota as a young boy and grew up on a hobby farm in Afton. He has been married to his wife, Patti, for 23 years. His work has recently been published in Metonym,The Esthetic Apostle, and Cagibi.

 

 

“Like”, “Share”, and comment on this poem to nominate it for the Annual Swimming with Elephants Publications 2019 Anthology.

Click here check out Parade: Swimming with Elephants Publications Anthology 2018 available for only $7.95.

Are you ready for the Weekly Write?

Starting next Sunday, January 6 2019, follow this site for a new featured work of writing every week.

The Weekly Write will post a variety of poetry and prose. Each week, read our new addition and if you like it and share it, it may be featured in the 2019 Swimming with Elephants Print Anthology.

The twenty pieces with the most “likes” and “shares” get a spot in our 2019 anthology, so don’t be shy about promoting the work you like, especially if it is your own work.

If you would like to learn more about our yearly anthology, click here to check out Parade: Swimming with Elephants Publications Anthology 2018 for the current low price of $7.95 plus free shipping through Amazon Prime. This collection features a variety of poetry from around the world and would make a great addition to any poetry lovers collection.

Tune in next Sunday and every following Sunday until October 2019, for the Weekly Write.

Featured

Open Call for Chapbooks 2018

THE OPEN CALL

Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC (SwEP) is hosting a chapbook open call to find some fresh work and new voices. With over 50 publications under our belt, SwEP works hard to represent our authors and create publications of which our authors are proud. Please visit our website and check out some of our publications to see if we are a good fit for your writing, then polish up your best pieces to submit.

From our submissions, our guest judges will choose three for publication. All our publications include an ISBN, Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC contract, and creative control over cover and production. For more information on what SwEP provides its authors or to see a general contract, please email us.

In the past we have run this as a competition with a first, second, and third place, and various prizes awarded based on rank. This year we are not placing the submissions and instead, will choose three (3) to publish. All three chosen publications will receive the same award of 25 author copies.

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR

SwEP is seeking previously unpublished manuscripts of poems 25-75 pages in length. We are looking for well-crafted, visceral and daring material that promotes crossing physical/psychological/spiritual/gendered borderlands, therefore breaking boundaries and blurring the lines.

SwEP enjoys promoting diverse voices and are particularly interested in poetry that promotes an innate intersectionality of social issues and a deep respect for humanity. We like our poetry achingly raw and true to who YOU are as a writer.

We have a goal of promoting marginalized voices and those who are most often overlooked. If you feel your work doesn’t have a place to ‘fit,’ it may be perfect for us.

Open to writers worldwide, the open call is facilitated as a blind submission process via SwEP Submissions Manger. Additionally, all finalists will be considered for further SwEP publications and features.

HINTS

  • Get to know our press to make sure we are a good fit for you and your publication goals. Explore our website, order some of our publications, review our works on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and Goodreads.
  • Send your best work. Make sure your collection is complete, edited, and polished before hitting the submit button.

HOW TO SUBMIT

Swimming with Elephants Publications accepts submissions and payment of the entry fee ($25) exclusively through our online submission manager, Submittable. To learn why we change a submission fee, please click here.

We are not able to accept submissions via email or postal mail.

All entries are read blind. All manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the collection). Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Times New Roman. (More creative fonts may be incorporated after publications – see books by Wil Gibson as an example.)

Identifying information for the author should not be included anywhere on the manuscript itself, including in the name of your file or in the “title” field in Submittable. Please include a brief bio and your publication goals in the cover letter on Submittable, which will be made accessible to the editorial panel only after the Finalist manuscripts has been chosen. It is important to include your publication goals. If your goals are outside of our abilities, we will let you know.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript from Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

Multiple submissions (the submission of more than one manuscript to the open call) are permitted. A separate submission fee is required for each submission.

OUR GUEST JUDGES:

Maxine Peseke

Maxine L. Peseke is a book reviewer, editor, and administrator with Swimming with Elephants Publications, LLC. Her poetry can be found on our website as well as various anthologies. She plays an intricate role in website and social media maintenance.

Her work has previously appeared in the Winter 2015 edition of Catching Calliope, in both the poetry and prose sections; and she has worked previously as a coordinator and host of Valencia County’s first poetry slam and open mic, encouraging new and young writers to participate in the active poetry community in Albuquerque.
During her time as an active member of the ABQ slam poetry community, she qualified and placed third in the OUTSpoken Queer Poetry Slam Championship, in 2013, and again in 2014 when she tied for third place.

In 2013, she was among the top 10 female poets in Albuquerque and competed to represent the city at the 2014 Women of the World Poetry Slam. In 2015, following a brief hiatus, she competed and qualified for the Slam of Enchantment finals stage, where she placed in the top five and represented New Mexico at the 2015 National Poetry Slam in Oakland.

Lately, she loves on other writers and can be found in an snowy small town in Northern Ontario, where she finds poetry in the giggles of her two girls and in every falling leaf, though her neighbours know her as the lady who tells her dogs to stop barking all too frequently.

 

Gina Marselle

Gina Marselle, M.A.Ed, resides in New Mexico with her husband and children. She is a high school English teacher, and finds enjoyment in being creative through poetry, painting, and photography. She has been awarded three grants for various philanthropy poetic projects. In addition, she has published poetic work with The Sunday Poem Online Series, in the Alibi, the Rag, SIC3, Adobe Walls: An anthology of New Mexico poetry, Catching Calliope, Fix and Free Poetry Anthology I and II, and La Palabra Anthology I and II.

Gina reads her poetry at local coffee shops, art galleries, and has been a featured poet at the Church of Beethoven (now known as Sunday Chatter). She has one chapbook (self published) titled ‘Round Midnight (2012). Furthermore, she has coordinated the poetry event for the Summer Open Space Series sponsored by The City of Albuquerque since 2009. Currently, she is honored to be part of the collective La Palabra: The Word is a Woman, which is a writer’s collective founded by poet Jessica Helen Lopez.

Beyond poetry, she is an accomplished photographer. Her photos of New Mexico poets have been featured in the Santa Fe magazine Trend (March of 2011). She also photographed the cover of Jessica Helen Lopez’ poetry book, Always Messing With Them Boys (West End Press, 2011), and has her photography featured in September: traces of letting go a poetry book by Katrina K Guarascio (Swimming With Elephants Publications, 2014).