Review For “Her Animal Inheritance” Poetry Chapbook

By: Julia Laxer

Our bodies learn through pain and pleasure, and our lives of measured risks leave their mark upon us through the scarring imprint of memory. We wear our scars like these poems wear their words. “Her Animal Inheritance” is a collaboration of poems by Tai Woodville, Alissa Hattman, and Sara Jackson-Holman. The manuscript is formed of their alternating voices, woven like intimacies; shared by women in a sacred spiritual circle. These poems take turns as they speak, question, honor, and validate each other. These poems listen. In this purposeful intimacy, bodies shed sentimentality; bones are left— truths; just meat and muscle. While showing themselves in this way, the poets are aware of their judgements, and they are aware of their losses. It is not easy to be this vulnerable.

Expressions of desire and dreams live and thrive across the deep ravines of regret and grief. While the collection does occasionally edge towards the nefarious edges of the unknown, it does not let go completely… Just when depression is about to give in; just when the sullenness sticks around— too long— like a long Portland winter, the July sun appears… And, like an altar on the hearth of a wise woman’s home, these poems hold space for spirit.

Poems dive, seeking answers to questions not yet asked. There are meditations of the past, symbolized through the archetypal language of dreams. And in these symbolic reflections, beyond the surface, there is spiritual light. It comes like a miracle. Hits you like traffic. It will prickle the stiffest hairs on the body of a nonbeliever with the crystalline-electric shock of wonder. Our bodies tell the time, tell the story— whether we like it or not… Some things you can not help but feel, can’t forget, no matter how… This collection is an imprint of the experience of three women. Truths. Three women’s voices— these poems are her body. They are her story. They change with the tides, with the seasons, and with her environment. When she is supported, she will flourish. When she is lifted, she will soar. Open these pages to see the full moon… You may howl wildly in recognition.

 

“Her Animal Inheritance” will be available for purchase on & after August 17th 2017 at Portland’s Mother Foucault’s.  There will be a reading of the collection at 7 pm. 523 SE Morrison.

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Where Souls Are Sold

by Matt Panfil

 

Deep within the still-beating heart of my bloodless city

black suited bankers kneel before a throne of gold: their God—

pay sacrifice in blood that’s olive green and slippery black

the blood of products!-

products they produce in endless rows that

smoothly roll off black conveyor belts,

greasy with the slime of slickened dollar bills.

 

The worn hands of men and women tremble,

fresh from Chinese cancer villages,

their babies dead and shriveled,

tainted infant formula, toxic children’s toys—

 

while, half a world away, those who can afford it

apply synthesized oils to their naked flesh,

consume processed packaged goods,

guzzle bottled water laced with petrochemicals,

nibble shiny poison-polished oranges,

chew chicken fresh from ammonia baths.

 

It’s in this place where souls are sold

and —black with mold—

whole libraries burned in a bonfire,

blazing since the revolution,

consuming ancient wisdom,

blackened to a crisp.

 

Now,

lost shamans dip into the potent snuff,

the earthy stuff that deconstructs existence,

or, reality consensus,

 

prophets loose like mad men search for words along the plastic shore,

crushed pills like grains of sand beneath their naked feet,

while in demand instead

are talking heads which smile pleasantly, eyes lost,

and tell us everything they think we need.

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Misery is Real

by Matt Panfil

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Kali Yuga Blues*

by Matt Panfil

 

Kali Yuga blues burn brightest in the midnight hour,

teeming dark with mortal woe and terror,

rumors seeding troubled minds, haunted

by nightmare epileptic visions, flashing undaunted.

 

We’ve all been weaned on TV’s neon nipple,

 

poisoning the blood in highway veins,

seeping electric coded knowledge,

 

nourishing cerebrums soaked in overwhelming

gobs of information,

processing the stream of psychic data.

Overloaded,

we are overloaded,

immersed in toxic stimulation.

 

Minds are all but burnt out husks of tissue,

flashing dully in the skullhouse,

driving men to boredom, blind to

glory.

 

Oh beautiful forgotten world!

Science and the law of man

does such disgrace to mystery and magic,

blind eyes turned callously

from beauty,

permeating all.

 

*Kali Yuga (“the age of the male demon Kali,” or “age of vice,”) is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually during the Kali Yuga,which is referred to as the Dark Age because in it people are as far removed as possible from God. Most interpreters of Hindu scriptures believe that earth is currently in Kali Yuga.

* * *

 

Matt Panfil is a poet and experimental filmmaker from Indianapolis, IN. He considers poetry and film to be powerful forces of communication, through which he seeks to visually transport his audience to what Aldous Huxley dubbed “the mind’s antipodes”: subconscious realms of bliss and emotional states of pure awareness. He loves poetry’s unique magic, believing in its strange transporting power due to “lingual transformation of rhythm and syntax, or otherworldly diction through which primordial sensory data can be transmitted to the viewer.” The communicative goal of his poem videos, which combine music, language and imagery, is to over-stimulate the viewer, thereby inducing a psychedelic experience,  a sensory overload resulting in a newborn relationship between subject and observer.

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At Both Ends

by Susan DeFreitas

You burned candles all night while the house slept. You burned candles in the empty room with the checkerboard floor. You burned candles with your cracked-out teenage girlfriend with the tour-kid bedhead and patched overalls. One night coming home from the bar, we found the front door jammed. You’d pushed all the furniture up against it, so we climbed in a window instead. We found the room with the checkerboard linoleum covered in candlewax, like the drip castles of our youth.

You mumbled when you spoke, shaking your head. Sometimes it almost made sense. “I’m straight, I’m straight, I’m straight.” You only were after you weren’t.

You broke glass, knickknacks, and saucers. There were times when I couldn’t find a plate. Goddammit, I thought, eating eggs out of a coffee mug, yet again.

You burned candles all night, every night, and that one time, lit the shag carpet on fire. Dave said you were a good person, deep down. Rich spent most nights with his girlfriend. Mike was moving out anyway.

The night before I left, you kept me up, talking to someone, laughing, but in the morning, you were alone. A living ghost, pale as a flame by day. I left you there to haunt the house.

* * *

Susan DeFreitas’ creative work has appeared in The Bear Deluxe, Third Wednesday, and Southwestern American Literature, and is forthcoming from Sin Fronteras; her nonfiction has been published in Yes! Magazine, E: the Environmental Magazine, and The Utne Reader, and appears regularly on The Huffington Post. She is an MFA candidate at Pacific University, and lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works as an independent editor with Indigo Editing and Publications.

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The Ten

by Cassie Ridgway

 

Figures remain anonymous

not people but types

each with a secret

sneaky ten percent.

 

10% subtlety. Ten percent aloof.

When you’re super sexy

you can be missing your front tooth

flipping pint glasses

in low lighting

and the girls are likin’ all of it.

 

I know you, faceless blotch.

You’re that paint stroke

in the precipitating audience

moving to and fro

like a field of flowers with their faces

pointed at the sun

eating free sun beams.

 

We, all, matching in little bits:

You with your low brow

second hand ol’ diamond in the rough.

The common interest is forming

a tribe.

 

But

Your 10%

a filigree form that shutters inside constant

and pulsates a hum electric

Your ten percent speaks German

and thinks that the screwdriver

is to a screw a molester.

 

Ten % is kept in that letter

you have. I have.

Hidden and preserved with the careful, clammy drawer

that keeps so few things

so commonly used.

 

No, a mass of bodies here.

Not identities but types.

 

And the 10% hovers above the room.

 

 

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An Explanation of Mag-Big, Second Attempt:

by Cassie Ridgway

 

Luster so      yellow sweet

dripping peachy.

Soil down, and up

white silhouettes—bugs dart beams.

2.   Whispering, “please, oh please” to air

oh thing that fear cannot unbind

if it hears a desperate plea, it is at least listening.

3.    Intoxication because in the moments before

hitting the water

Icarus smiles at the sun.

4.    Animal love.

5.    Song that understands; how it seduces

over and over;

it is a lover we cannot be with

any longer.

6.    A lighthouse casting a shivering slice

through undulating fog;

the mariner catching it in a glass sphere.

7.    Pages and pages of crumbling yellowed words

my grandmother at eighteen

believes in crackling radio broadcasts.

8.    The lover, how he stretches, and in his slumber

rests his hand upon the breast.

Now is slipping into the chill of morning

Still, his dreams, a Grecian urn preserving her.

9.     When dying words are unselfish,

such as,

“try to be happy,” or “smile, my love.”

10.   When trees creak

like whale songs,

without ears

the forest philharmonic.

11.    Awaking to snow

it covers churning streets with impenetrable silence

and we play, in the stillness, and its been years.

12.    The painter, how he cannot stop

with birds and feathers

plumage plucked from the wing of an osprey.

He considers himself from birds eye view.

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