Supreme Decisions

Supreme Decisions
 –Jim Piatt

Promises,
discarded, broken,
lie beside
other dusty laws of the past,
trampled
under the grime of ideology:
Hopes, shattered lives
thrown into the pit of Indifference
born of greed…ignorance,
untried principles:
Compassion wilting in the darkness
of shattered dreams,
kindness melted
into the fiscal indifference
of our time,
all under the weight of
Supreme Decisions.

 

 

Jim Piatt’s poetry collections include “The Silent Pond,” “Ancient Rhythms,” and “Light.” He has had over 1,135 poems published, and several of his poems were nominated for both Pushcart, and Best of Web awards. He earned his BS and MA from California State Polytechnic University, and his doctorate from BYU.

THE TRUMPETER

July Web Feature

THE TRUMPETER
John Grey

No one noticed his brown eyes,
receding hairline, or the goatee
poking out of his chin.
He was only ever the trumpet he played.
On stage, that was understandable.
His mouth was wide open and brass.
His fingers, valve slides and buttons.
But, even on the street,
he was only recognized
as a conveyance for his instrument,
a wind machine
for some of the sweetest notes ever blown.
That’s how he saw himself as well.
Slumped in a chair after a show,
that trumpet on his lap,
he shrunk to the size
and function of a spit key.
He well understood the two kinds of “solo.”

One corralled an audience
in its audacity, melody and flair.
The other trudged home alone.

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.

poems by Bridget Richardson

Cupide and his lyste of arwes or The path to my degree

My first love forgot to love me back so I buried him and found another.

My second love imagined he were a Russian spy – he faked his death. In good fashion, I pretended to mourn and moved on before he could resurface.

I lost myself in a book or two – not even a good read and espionage would find me there.

Hawthorne – the fraud – chose death over longevity and forgot to haunt me. How perfectly unromantic.

William was an obsession and threatened to bind my next 40 years at least. Conscience bid me move forward – I left him in 1386 plagued by sorwe of losing another – and frolicked by the river with my swete fo on Seynt Valentynes day in the dede of October.

But my white hart has not been killed and I dream anoon –

If Degaré’s legs can make the body speke like Jenkins, this game will take flite ageyn.

 

***

Unignited

Desire courted Inspiration &
together they faded into irises,
gold, brown, &
green like the rows
of forsaken oak
in her vision of trees;
bowed deep against
wind currents,
their trunks shallow
wounds in gravel.
He suggested she stop
& she did.
A cool gaze left wrapped
in icy ashes, her eyes fall
on another chess match
with Passion she lacks
the strategy to win.

 

***

 Jellyfish and Paper
               for Josie

Watch insanity
develop silently, twisting in
on itself – a jellyfish
sputtering outwards
in hiccups
of halted breath.

why?

Can a jellyfish rein in the undertoe brought on by its own thoughts?
She could not reach out and harness it because
how could she catch the current?
How could she stop the wind, the rain, the waves, the ice cold
bitterness of eternal frost caught
in a world that wished it were
warm?

Search a forbidden voice –
paper and ink. Watch darkness flow –
distress in knowing no
matter how much is written, lungs fill
with life’s poison
at every exhale
the page has nothing
better to do than sit idly by while ink stings across it.

Each moon-rise – dreams become terrors
and darkness is not solitude.
Doomed characters cast reflections in a midnight pool of burnt salt
and it resembles her,
who forgot to write the hero.
She couldn’t scream for help
when her words were gone.
Surrounded in an embrace of twisting tentacles,
she was left to drift.

Watch the bubble escape
a book torn from her grasp.

 

 

Bridget Richardson is an extremely stressed ENMU graduate student working too many jobs.  Her hobbies include picking up strays and hosting scheduled crying sessions with herself on the weekend.

Amazonians Have a Hundred Words for Green

February Web Feature

INFINITE KARMIC LORE
from Amazonians Have a Hundred Words for Green
by Gerard Sarnat

Here we are living in bliss on the “D” type exact epicenter of the San Andreas Fault’s apocalyptic Richter earthquake risk. Redwoods almost as ancient as the ancientest dinosaur from the Triassic era nearly a quarter of a billion years ago.

Grandest tallest oldest trees ever, they are just beginning to be threatened by Silicon Valley shiny objects’ air pollution.

When Ronald Reagan was President, my boy transplanted a few dull toy sprigs by the shady west side of our small cabin.

For now their majesty dwarfs this A-frame, though on the east there’s wide-open space past wild oak and Japanese maples.

The next entrepreneurial probable gazillionaire owner of the lawless unfenced no-lawn rustic structure will start upgrading it.

My short squat family lives an easy life in hardscrabble gorge gardens at the bottom of a forest saucer, but gazes up at stars.

Peering toward the not quite yet set sun in parallel blazing orange chez lounges, we babble ourselves into a twilight muddle.

She has been with me forever, is the mother of above son plus both daughters — then became Bubbe to one and still counting.

The two of us, smoked-flirted more than enough, stare over a nook of flowering angelicas before a crook lying on the skyline.

I fall in love with a gloveful of some turquoise fronds looking halfway like such very delicate needles bobbing in the wind.

A pair of red robins, three fluorescent squirrels, quivering Peter cottontail, a five-pointed buck shield the sliver of new moon.

Shimmering flora and fauna trigger timeframes that don’t seem to notice my pale chloroformed glop which nests here a lot.

If ecojustice isn’t much better supported, none of these glories will be around for Spring generations of offspring offshoots

 

 

Gerard Sarnat, MD, has authored Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes, 17s, Melting The Ice King (2016). Gerry’s recently published by Gargoyle, Oberlin, Brown, Harvard, Stanford, Margie, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, LA Review, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, New York Times. Mount Analogue selected Kaddish for distribution nationwide Inauguration Day. His work appeared in his Harvard reunion Dylan symposium.

Your Pet Turtle

January Web Feature

Your Pet Turtle
William Doreski

We agree that nothing is absolute, not the dark of closets, not clock-faces, not the stink of cooking fat. But we disagree on the exceptions. You place your plastic crucifix on the wall and claim that it represents the ultimate. I prop Wallace Stevens’ Collected Poems against the bassinette to make the baby cry. You prod my undercarriage with the skewer you used for lamb until I objected to cooking the young of innocent animals. I scratch you very slightly with a genuine Thoreau pencil I bought in a rare book shop forty years ago. You respond with the word “Animula.” I reply with “Condensed.” We agree that if we laugh it has to be aloud.

The room sweetens with the breath of your tiny pet turtle. It walked all the way from the Caribbean to live in your terrarium. Soon the immigration police will arrive to arrest us for importing disease from the furthest reach of the galaxy. We will explain that nothing is absolute, not even the furthest reach of the galaxy, and that law enforce peters out beyond the limits of the atmosphere. They will arrest your plastic crucifix for violating the religious clause of the Bill of Rights but allow your turtle to remain with you until a judge hears its case.

 

 

 

William Doreski recently retired after years of teaching at Keene State College in New Hampshire (USA). His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall (2018)

Fall 2019 Prize Winners

Congratulations to our
ENMU Student Prize Winners
for Fall 2019

FICTION
1st place: Natalie Franco Torres for “A Second Chance”
2nd place:
Timothy Gettle for “The Light of a Lavender Sky”

POETRY
1st place:  “Bicycle” by Cody Wilhelm 
2nd place:
“Another Myth” by Bridget Richardson 
3rd place:
“Laid to Rest” by Falyn Benavidez 

PHOTOGRAPHY
1st place: Michael Gardner‘s “Enchanting”
2nd place:
Katherine Perelas‘s “Serene and Quiet”

Poems by Simon Perchik

December Web Feature

by Simon Perchik

*

You feed these birds at night
the way every feather they use
comes from a quarry where the air

darkens with each landing –it’s Tuesday
and you still have not forgotten
their return for seeds, endlessly

weeping for a missing child
a brother, mother though their eyes
are unsure how to close

when listening for a name, a flower
a river –you fill your hand from a bag
as if at the bottom they could hear

an emptiness that is not a night
falling behind step by step on the ground
–how open it was, already grass.

*

And stubborn yet these wicks
warm the light they need
to blossom as stone

then cling, smell from hair
burning inside, clawing for roots
heated by butterflies

and the afternoons coming together
to the light the fire, be a noon
where there was none before.

 

 

Simon Perchik is an attorney, born in 1923, whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Poetry, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Gibson Poems published in 2019. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

Poetry Throw Back: Steve Bellin-Oka

A former guest poet/mentor turned Artist-in-Residence, Steve Bellin-Oka, shared the following piece with El Portal on November 11, 2016. We always knew he was bound for great things and are deeply honored to say, with a full heart, “we knew him when.”

Still Life with the Plague of Darkness
            — for my daughter

I woke this morning before dawn
to find the nation’s hearts had hardened.
Something stretched out its hand—a darkness
so thick it felt like gauze.
It seemed it would last for days.
Even the pavement cracks were wider:
more thick weeds forcing up
through the ridged concrete.
Overnight, someone stepped on them
and now we think our backs are broken.

But they’re not—I think of you
in another time zone, just turned thirteen,
the same sun rising from the far end
of the city. We’d wanted a land
less dangerous for you. To find
our questions answered. To wipe layers
away from the cocoon you struggle
to break free of. Forgive us.

But the November branches define
themselves against the slow sunrise.
Brown and red leaves still cling to them.
Inside the house now, I’ve pulled
the curtains back. Already so much
light pours in—nothing can keep it out.


A previous assistant professor at ENMU, Steve Bellin-Oka  is the 2019 Poets in Parks artist-in-residence for The National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), the Poetry Foundation, the National Parks Service, and the Gettysburg Foundation. He is the author of two chapbooks, The Frankenstein Poems (2014) and Dead Letter Office at North Atlantic Station (forthcoming in 2017). His work has appeared in Cream City Review, Mississippi Review, William and Mary Review and Yalobusha Review, among other journals, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He is the recipient of an Academy of American Poets prize and fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Hambidge Center for the Arts, and was shortlisted for the Key West Literary Seminar’s Scotti Merrill Memorial Award.

Last Day for El Portal Submissions!

Today is the last day for submissions to El Portal‘s fall issue. Write West and send it our way! We will accept submissions until 11:59:59 p.m. If you have something you want to submit, send it to the editor at el.portal@enmu.edu. Please visit our official Guidelines  and Terms of Submission pages for official rules. Questions concerning El Portal submissions should be sent to the editor at el.portal@enmu.edu.

Write West. Send it our way.

We want stories and poems about West. West is a bullet-riddled ’85 Grand Marquis, a gleaming spaceship hovering over Roswell, a cowboy paying for latte with his Amex-card, an alien wondering where in the world to get the golden iPhone. West is where it hurts, West is the rattlesnake you didn’t hear, the dust storm sanding your car, the champagne underneath the Hollywood sign, the checkout line of a grocery store that doesn’t carry mandarin-orange segments in fruit juice, green-chile and cheese burritos from the 24-hour gas station. West is when there’s no West left. West is where you always wanted to be.

Guidelines*:

  • Flash Fiction (500-1,500 words)
  • Short Stories (up to 4,000 words)
  • Creative Nonfiction (up to 4,000 words)
  • Poetry (3-5 poems)
  • Art & Photography (Black & White only; 300 dpi JPEG)

Send submissions to El.Portal@enmu.edu

Deadline: March 31, 2015

View El Portal‘s Terms of Submission page for official rules concerning submissions.

*Please submit all written work in .doc, .docx, or .rtf formats. With the exception of poetry and art/photography, please limit entries to one story or essay. Prizes will be awarded to ENMU students only. Prizes awarded only in Short Story, Poetry, and Art/Photography categories. When entering a submission, please include a 20-50 word biography to be printed alongside your piece in the event that it is accepted for publication.

Cowpokes, aliens, writers, send us your submissions….

We want stories and poems about West. West is a bullet-riddled ’85 Grand Marquis, a gleaming spaceship hovering over Roswell, a cowboy paying for latte with his Amex-card, an alien wondering where in the world to get the golden iPhone. West is where it hurts, West is the rattlesnake you didn’t hear, the dust storm sanding your car, the champagne underneath the Hollywood sign, the checkout line of a grocery store that doesn’t carry mandarin-orange segments in fruit juice, green-chile and cheese burritos from the 24-hour gas station. West is when there’s no West left. West is where you always wanted to be.

Write West. Send it our way.

 

Guidelines*:

Flash Fiction (500-1,500 words)

Short Stories (up to 4,000 words)

Creative Nonfiction (up to 4,000 words)

Poetry (3-5 poems)

Art & Photography (Black & White only; 300 dpi JPEG)

 

Send submissions to El.Portal@enmu.edu

Deadline: March 31, 2015

View El Portal‘s Terms of Submission page for official rules concerning submissions.

 

*Please submit all written work in .doc, .docx, or .rtf formats. With the exception of poetry and art/photography, please limit entries to one story or essay. Prizes will be awarded to ENMU students only. Prizes awarded only in Short Story, Poetry, and Art/Photography categories. When entering a submission, please include a 20-50 word biography to be printed alongside your piece in the event that it is accepted for publication.

Marlboro Marlboro (Poem by Alexandra Itzi)

Marlboro Marlboro

Where are you hiding tonight my curled fingers

Search out feeling like briny brackish seaweed

The nightstand with its crumpled dollar bill the

Offering

Pay the tithe

Urging urging the tickle in the back of my throat like too much

Too much candy maybe how it was growing up the corner store

Those nickel and dime candies make your mouth dry like

Sawdust around the edges of your feet dad those big feet poking beneath

The lip of the bed where I hid from you I’m

Sorry it came out of me possessed was I those words not my own

I Didn’t Mean It.

Marlboro

Marlboro

where are you hiding it’s time

It’s

Time.