August A Place | Lori Brack

Image: Nick Kaufman

August A Place

The front was sand and yellow wheat and brown horseflesh and night whistle of a train. The back was a gate unlatched onto summer – flower patches and sprinklers, blue television windows floating in the dark. Before builders poured foundations down the block, I ran there between rows of corn. Sunsets blazed or whispered and disappeared past railroad tracks at the horizon, the distance I could figure going under my own steam, the faraway I imagined growing up to find.

Lori Brack is the author of A Case for the Dead Letter Detective (Kelsay, 2021), Museum Made of Breath (Spartan Kansas City, 2018) and A Fine Place to See the Sky (The Field School, 2010). She lives on the prairie two blocks from the Garden of Eden and 14 miles from the geodetic center of North America.

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

House of Blues | Susan Carman

Image: Drew Beamer

House of Blues

She eyes the tired roadhouse
tucked between junk yards filled
with car doors and still-good hubcaps,

hickory smoke heavy on night air,
rubbing against her like a cat.
Inside, past shadowy booths

grimy with time, guitars draw her in
with a walkin’ blues line,
shuffle through 12 bars like they mean it.

Ya feelin’ blue? the drummer growls,
and the crowd spills onto the dance floor
where she joins women with tight jeans

and tight smiles, moving alone, faces painted
hopeful. When the tune slows,
she takes the hand of a sad-eyed guy—

they slide and sway, his breath
on her neck a sweet refrain
in a song of love gone wrong.

Susan Carman is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and served as poetry editor for Kansas City Voices. Her poetry appeared most recently in I-70 Review, Heartland! Poetry of Love, Resistance &  Solidarity, and the anthologies Curating Home and The Shining Years. Retired from non-profit management, she lives in Overland Park, Kansas, where she is an ESL volunteer.

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

Home | Caleb Ferganchick

Home

Growing up, my home was a closet. Not the metaphorical closet where I tucked my sexuality. More precisely, my home was an 8x11in guide to Colorado fish my grandfather gave me to mold my sexuality. Which I tucked inside my closet. In which were tucked letters to my adolescent loves like Jamie, Ally, Shelly, and Jack (especially to Jack). In which, I dreamed of our skeletal home without closets. Where my mother did not tuck her guilt, and the father did not tuck his abusive addictions. Where Jack drove the Hot Wheels car he gave me after our play date. Just like Ken in Aqua’s Barbie Doll. 

There is no instruction manual with the postscript delivered by the owl to your closet proclaiming, “You’re a homosexual, Harry.” By trial and error, you come to understand the fragility of home. And the fragility of queer. And how both must often be constructed like lean-tos on the pull-out couches of allies. 

Like tornados, like earthquakes, like tsunamis, like men in I.C.E. uniforms, my nature was a disaster a home could not weather. So, home became a lonely rainbow. A refraction of tears staining pictures of cutthroat trout. 

Whether by cosmic dramatic irony or systematic oppression, when your home is queer, so often your home becomes a bar. Where fags bundle like fags. And smoke fags. And drink like, well, like fish. Most of whom are obsessed with being fish. So, I learned a new language that gave transformative space to my transient home. Sashay! Shontay! Cinched! Boots the house down! Beat for the gods!

I learned that language, too, was a home. Ours was one that could not be deciphered. Because no one cares to decipher why our family struggles with substance abuse at nearly twice the average rate. How our expansive forest of intersectional trees denoting our lineage drinks from a stigmatized watering hole. Yet, the branches stay sturdy enough for us to take our lives at five times the average rate. 

I have read enough obituaries to know how mine may sound. Taken unexpectedly. After a long struggle. As if the struggle was never an indication of the homophobe. Or the revolver. Or how unsurprisingly often they’re the same. I mean, the gay homophobe with a revolver. Taking a family with him that would have died to show him how to live. In a home called queer. 

I will be survived by a long list of family that never embraced me. With no mention of the love that allowed me to survive.

But I have found home. 

My home is not a structure I ride shotgun to in Jack’s hot wheel car. Home is not a bed on which I lay my head when the world insists I don’t belong. My home cannot be taken by a natural or xenophobic disaster. Home is not a mortality statistic. My home is not an early grave. 

My home is queer.

And I vow my home will always be open to anyone who thinks theirs is just a closet filled with unread love letters. 

Caleb Ferganchick is a rural, queer, slam poet activist and author of Poetry Heels (2018). His work has been featured and published by the South Broadway Ghost Society (2020, 2021), “Slam Ur Ex ((the podcast))” (2020), and the Colorado Mesa University Literary Review. He organizes the annual “Slamming Bricks” poetry slam competition in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and serves as a board member to Western Colorado Writer’s Form. A SUP river guide, Caleb also dreams of establishing a queer commune with a river otter rescue and falconry. He lives in Grand Junction, Colorado.

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

A CONDITION WITHOUT GHOSTS | Abigail Chabitnoy

Image: The Dark Queen

A CONDITION WITHOUT GHOSTS

I hadn’t seen the woman from Chicago in months
though the guy still walked their hulking labrador.

But this was the city in sickness
and in health, it wasn’t polite to impose.

Under what conditions might a sheet by the road
not assume a body? The shroud

stained funereal so near to the point
of some levied labor.

Is there a condition in which a ghost
is not suspected?

Plastic bags trawl the landscape. Stone
beds wait for us to seed.

The clementines congeal into the grapes
shrink past sweetness and affix themselves

in the rot of last month’s spinach. Already dust
settles in the bedroom and piss from a recalculating cat

shadows the tile in the study
if you know where to look.

Last week I found a sand dollar with only a small hole
left of center, I reminded myself

even the winged rats had to eat, had to
play some part, so we’re told.

Even birds, requiring something solid to alight
have been known to thread the nest with our disposal.

This morning I saw the black spot
my left ovary a cavity

from which my ark had wrested in motion.
But what about the body

that might or might not have been
underneath the sheet?

The condition always the same:

Let me be some manner of ship
or yes, again, a fish

suited to these streets

Abigail Chabitnoy, member of the Tangirnaq Native Village in Kodiak, is the author of How to Dress a Fish (Wesleyan 2019), shortlisted for the 2020 International Griffin Prize for Poetry and winner of the 2020 Colorado Book Award, and the linocut illustrated chapbook Converging Lines of Light (Flower Press 2021). Her poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Boston Review, Tin House, Gulf Coast, LitHub, and Red Ink, among others. She currently teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts and Eastern Oregon University low-residency MFA programs as well as Lighthouse in Denver. Find her at salmonfisherpoet.com.

Your Current GPS Location | Jason Ryberg

Image: Jeremy Bishop

Your Current GPS Location

She tried to tell me that the past
could be simply abandoned like
unclaimed baggage at the airport
or bus station,

or even, one day, with the closing
of a door and the turning of a key—

left behind forever in the rear-view mirror
like a house full of someone else’s belongings
(not yours, not anymore) in a town full of strangers
who never did you any favors.

But, I say the past can slip
a microchip on you
when you’re not looking;

I say the past always knows
your current GPS location.

Jason Ryberg is the author of fourteen books of poetry,
six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders,
notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be
(loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry
letters to various magazine and newspaper editors.
He is currently an artist-in-residence at both
The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s
and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor
and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection
of poems is Are You Sure Kerouac Done It This Way!?
(co-authored with John Dorsey, and Victor Clevenger,
OAC Books, 2021). He lives part-time in Kansas City, MO
with a rooster named Little Red and a billygoat named
Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks,
near the Gasconade River, where there are also
many strange and wonderful woodland critters.

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, 
Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

The Dance Floor | Caleb Ferganchick

Image: Portuguese Gravity

The Dance Floor

if I die on the dance floor tonight
know that I did not go willingly

that tomorrow I had dreams
of morning breath kisses
from a boy I pray is left behind

if I die on the dance floor tonight
console yourself that it is how we wish

for I died doing what I loved
surrounded by friends and family
peacefully in muted gunfire

if I die on the dance floor tonight
please don’t stop the music

I cannot bare to hear the silence anymore


Caleb Ferganchick is a rural, queer, slam poet activist and author of Poetry Heels (2018). His work has been featured and published by the South Broadway Ghost Society (2020, 2021), “Slam Ur Ex ((the podcast))” (2020), and the Colorado Mesa University Literary Review. He organizes the annual “Slamming Bricks” poetry slam competition in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots and serves as a board member to Western Colorado Writer’s Form. A SUP river guide, Caleb also dreams of establishing a queer commune with a river otter rescue and falconry. He lives in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Walking | Jozer G

Image: Leonides Ruvalcabar

I got that special type of walk

The type of walk your

Daddy used when he first talked to your 

Mama type of walk

Yea!

I got that special type of lean

So smooth you’d think I’m cruising a low-rider

On Cinco de Mayo 

See, I’ve been waiting on my walk for a while now

Ever since I was a little chavalito

I can recall my father walking me through the process

At an early age, he would say

Walking is one of the simplest ways you could show someone

Your freedom

“See, the first step to being enslaved is to actually get caught!

Why do you think Martin Luther King Jr and Cesar Chavez

Spent all that time marching!?”

“You have to stay on your toes, Mijo

This system has interesting ways of turning a man into a slave”

If you asked my father for a ride

He would tell you to

Walk

After crossing the desert for a better life

My father sees my walk to any Open Mic

As an easy stroll through the park walking

In my father’s footsteps has taught me that

If you love something you will do anything you

Can to get to it

Your feet will get you there if you allow them to

My father walks with the determination of an immigrant

Like his children will starve if he doesn’t walk fast enough

Like there are immigration agents chasing after him

He is America’s worst nightmare

A bad ass in a foreign country and I

Always wanted to walk just like him but

I always seem to take the wrong steps

Walking in and out of Jail

Pacing in my cell like a caged Ocelot

These must have been the ways you get

Enslaved my father talked about and

It all started in the seventh grade when doctors

Explained to my parents why I walked with a slight limp

My right leg was shorter than the left

Forcing me to apply most of my body weight on the right side

I developed a walk that would quickly label me a thug 

I guess the inequalities I was exposed to finally

Drenched through my clothes and into my bones

So now I walk like I got a wounded knee

Like the structure holds me down by my back pockets

Saggy jeans are one of the side effects left over

From my oppression and

When you walk with this much weight at an

Early age your steps

Begin to sound like ticking bombs

The type of walk that’d make a motherfucker

Move out the way the type of walk

That’d make a cop want to follow you

In 2012 Trayvon Martin

and all the years after

Mike Brown

Eric Gardner

Jessie Hernandez

Sandra Bland

George Floyd was murdered for

Having the same walk as me

Trayvon was only 17

They asked me why I cried

Because he walked just like me

Because he was just like me!

Still perfecting his own walk still getting use to the

Feeling of walking in a black man’s shoes

This is the reason why boys like us

Never achieved social mobility

How can we climb the ladders of class if we can’t even

Walk through our neighborhoods without feeling like

Someone is chasing after us

But I’ll risk it all to show my son and the rest of the

Chavalitos in the world that we can walk to a

Better future instead of having to walk away from everything

That we can walk across the stage and graduate

Instead of having to walking in front of a judge

That if we all walk at the same time

The weight of our steps would force the world to flip its rotation

So stand up and walk with me

We have the world at our feet I think it’s time

That we exercise our freedom

Jozer G is a poet, musician and actor based out of Denver, Colorado! Jozer’s work has been featured on American Theater Magazine, HBO, PBS and Univision. Jozer released his debut EP on June 24th, and a new book at the end of the year! 

This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

Book Review | Glass Bikini by Kristin Bock

Reviewed by South Broadway Press Editor, Brice Maiurro

In Glass Bikini, I want to say that Kristin Bock throws us smack dab in the center of an endless-seeming funhouse. Funhouse feels incomplete though. Riddled with everything from angels to monsters, robots to ghosts, Bock has strewn together many worlds, funhouses, haunted houses, universes, and open fields alike.

Bock has a knack for quick, weirdo storytelling the likes of James Tate, but Bock separates from Tate when her words turn down darker roads, often leaving the reader with a profound feeling that something substantial has just occurred. I found myself reflecting on the absurdity of my own experience. In the lawless land of a universe where snowmen cry tears of fire, I was given permission as the reader to reside in whatever strange corner of the ether that called to me.

Monsters are probably the most common image of the collection, stomping around at the intersection of childlike whimsy and our collective trauma. This is aided by a selection of quotes throughout by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, author of Frankenstein. In her second poem, “Creation Myth”, the poet herself creates a monster. “The ideal monster is 8 hands tall,” says Bock establishing her authority on the creation of these terrible creatures. The poem continues on to place together the ornate details of this monster before ending with “Then, find the ribbon within the figure, the gesture at its center and pull.” She seems to advise us how to make a monster, just to show us then how to dismantle one. “Sometimes monsters are so big you can’t see them,” Bock reminds us in “The President’s Dream.”

This theme continues throughout the collection. A matter-of-fact building of a surreal world, if only to figure out how to escape it. A looking-in-the-eye of the ugly and scary, then blown away as soon as Bock decides to send in the hurricane.

At times the world-building is devastatingly quick. In “How Rabbits Finally Took Over the World”, Bock says, “Sometime after the extinction of whales,” as if it were just a throwaway line. I want to stop, and grieve this loss, but in what feels like a mirroring of our own modern world, I’m left with the deep feeling that there is simply no time. There is too much to do and say, and my longing to process all this change will have to be placed on the backburner, possibly to never be revisited. 

Where so many poems in existence might feel like a warm hug, or floating down a river, with Bock’s poems, I often felt I had found myself in a bear trap, or perhaps a wormhole between universes. She wonderfully works with dark matter, as if she is acting as the great organizer of the animalistic floats and mannequin musicians in a parade of the shadow self.

One of the turns I found astounding in Glass Bikini was the occasional page turn to something romantic and incredibly present. In “Barn Burning” the poet comes home to a barn on fire, and in an undoubtedly spiritual moment shares with us,

“Out of the smoke / a mare walked up to me / slowly, as if she knew me— / as if we weren’t on fire.”

Moments like this were the highlight of the collection for me. In the middle of so much frenetic chaos, an undoubtable and slow encounter with beauty held so much weight to me as the reader.

Bock is well-aware of that reader, and the relationship that she is engaging them in. Her poems in the second person had a strong “you” to them, as if Bock were reaching her hand out directly to us to belong here, come hell or high water. With the same insistence as John Lennon’s famous “picture yourself on a boat on a river,” Bock presents the reader with less of a request to come along, and more of a sudden and total immersion.

I’d have to say my favorite poem in the collection was “Pluto”, where Bock casts a spell on a laundry list of all of the bigots, abusers, racists, and misogynists of the world, sending them to the cold recesses of space. “[T]here’s a place for you here,” says Bock, “ inside my vacuous core of ice and ash.” Bock firmly draws a hard line in the sand against these all-too-real monsters and monstrous ideologies that persist on the main stage of society.

Bock’s poetry is a magic I want to see more of. In Glass Bikini, she is resolute to fall as deep as she can into the rabbit hole, prepared to make and unmake the cruelest of monsters and reform herself in the shade of whatever strange color she can. This is what I want of poetry, the humility and power of a collection like Glass Bikini. One section of the book is introduced with an Emily Dickinson quote “’Tis so appalling—it exhilarates—“. This appalling exhilaration finds home in the words of Bock to remind us that these fever dreams are a masterful mimicry of our sober reality.

Glass Bikini was published by Tupelo Press and is available for purchase here.

Transplanting | Lillian Fuglei

Image: Matt Artz

Transplanting

Prune the leaves- pluck
the crisp ones that no longer
serve her, watch them
hit the floor with a bone crunch.
Gently untangle
her vines from their previous
cage. Dislocate her
from one pot,
descending to the next.

We place her
into the soil. Pearlite
and peat moss, spilling past
the edges of her new shelter, dusting
your Pine-Sol purified floor.

Pat her down, our hands meet
under the dirt, a brush
of unearned domesticity.
Specks of soil, line
the ridges of your fingertips,
granting anonymity
to your palms.

Sitting
knee to knee, surrounding
her dwelling. I gaze
into your eyes
and wonder, will this be her final
resting place? Or will we uproot,
disrupt her growth, push her
past the point of no return?

Lillian Fuglei is a Colorado based poet. She began writing poetry in High School, after a lifetime of attending open mics thanks to her mother. She currently bounces between two of the highest paying jobs possible, substitute teaching and freelance journalism. You can find her on Instagram at literary.lillian.


This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.

HOMESICK | M. Palowski Moore

HOMESICK

I am dreaming of
An Alabama night-
Crickets chirping; echoing
Of sentiment, breaking
The song of the loon
Diving, strutting
Through phrases, phases
Of a honeysuckle
Milk glass moon
Whose distant sway
Ripples, pools, pulls
Pebbled ponds, precious pearls
Where locals gather
To swim, fish, skip stones
Across reflections of sky and stars.

I am. falling, failing-
Form fleeing a cold city
An asp escaping
This fruitless orchard
A moth chained by the
Candlelight of a distant beacon.

I close my eyes
See the pines, skies
White wings, fluttering
Glittering patchwork
Transforming. I am again
A small-town boy
Taking the back road,
Wooded path winding
To the Jackson-Slaughter bridge;
Racing in the pecan grove,
Chasing shadows, fireflies;
Laughing, dreaming, laying
Staring, believing- feeling
The force; the iron vein
Of a vanishing home-
Remembering more from
Windows that never close
A place I no longer belong.

M. Palowski Moore is a poet, writer and storyteller.  He has five volumes of poetry, including the Lambda Award nominee BURNING BLUE. His compositions reflect diverse themes and interpretations of prejudice, racism, socioeconomic inequality, homophobia and systemic oppression.  He is a contributing poet to the Civil Rights Memorial Center (SPLC) community poem A CIVIL COMMUNITY, a new exhibit that will be featured inside the final gallery of The Civil Rights Memorial Center. 


This poem is from South Broadway Press’ new anthology, Dwell: Poems About Home. Purchase here.