THREE HAIKUS BEFORE HURRICANE MATTHEW by Ariel Francisco

Hurricane warning:

bought the biggest bottle of

black rum I could find.

 

Hurricane warning,

but Dunkin Donuts is still

open— be right back.

 

Hurricane warning:

water sold out everywhere—

the rain will bring more.


Ariel Francisco is the author of All My Heroes Are Broke (C&R Press, 2017) and Before Snowfall, After Rain (Glass Poetry Press, 2016). Born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents, he was raised in Miami and completed his MFA at Florida International University. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2016, Gulf Coast, Poets.org, Prelude, Washington Square, and elsewhere. He lives in South Florida (for now).

DIAL TWISTING by Guinotte Wise

…two lefties in the bull pen…800 561…below

sticker or MSRP…first five callers…feeling

tired? out of…holding congress accountable

…skyrocketing credit card rates…Canadian

border…if you think that’s…huge savings

…at Berkeley pro…monster trucks…forward

to the challenge…hormonal therapy…could

be transmission…E.R.A of two forty…but

if you call now…Tyreek Hill ran it back…

foster care for…time only…dot com, again

that was twenty fift…treaming live at two

…only nineteen ninety fi…unseasonable…

…one for the books…and keep it off after

Let me speak! Let…released the names of

…never slept like…last chance, buy one…

and if you don’t…personally guarantee…

umbrella and light…Ladies! Do…owerball

jack…unlimited data…llama ahora y…bet

you don’t…(marimba music)…that’s BS just

substantially reduces or elim…that’s 1-800

if you’re not…ruled a homicide by…herbal


Guinotte Wise lives on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and not much acclaim. Three more books since. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it.

EASY COME EASY GO by Guinotte Wise

He had pale green eyes and skin like

a lizard, cowboyed all his life except

when he wore a driller’s hat, worked

for a wildcatter in Louisiana he said

Come a gusher he’d pay you big you

put some by for dry holes to come

as they did much more often than not

like life thataway, let that sink in and

save for dry holes truer than sin, we

brought in a gusher, biggest I seen

at Plaquemines Parish, producing

now, fifty years later, Hunt bought

us out, we ate steak for a year, got

tired of it, spent too much and the

dry holes come, and the money run

the other way, so I went west and

north ended up at the five-oh-one

that’s a brand, and we run beef for

the war but we ate beans no meat

for us, so we’d lose one out on the

range, eat good for awhile but that

was the exception, like gushers you

know, sure missed the wildcatter

he used to say, it’s a hard dollar

boys but a glorious one when the

earth rumbles and the gold comes

up, it’s in my blood here to stay

nothing like it no other way to

get that feeling, the crude erupts

and covers the sky, you lick your

lips and taste payday, plug the

well, tell ’em all to go to hell it’s

freedom and glory and Cadillacs

first class fare to Vegas and back.

Pale green eyes look far away

gone, cut a wide hog in the ass

them days, in crude we trust the

bankroll wore a hole in my jeans

had my face on magazines then

back to cowboyin,’ eatin’ beans.


Guinotte Wise lives on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and not much acclaim. Three more books since. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it.

LAS CHÁCHARAS THEY CARRIED by Antonio Lopez

Discount shaving cream. Tortillas wrapped in black plastic bags. “¡Alto!” Memorize the telephone number of USCIS. Hojas de barquilla pa’ los hongos de tío Armando. “¿Señora, qué declaras?” Un bolsanón de Chetos pufs. Dusty knees from praying. Hands chalked with car grease. Water-resistant shoes. Fake social. A child stirring awake since the Nyquil’s starting to wear off. Vaporub in Spanish translates to “comprehensive health care.” His father’s sombrero that he promised to never take off the wall. “What’s the intention of your visit?” Abuela’s porcelain muñecas atrás que juras a Dios were extras from The Shining. The backyard pila to duck your newborn’s head in, next to the soap camouflaged as sea salt. Before LUSH, there was VO5 champú. “If I search your vehicle, will I find anything?” The first and only good pair of chones without holes that your marido will see si se porta bien. Dreamworks presents: How to Train your Sancho. “Ma’m, please step outside to gaze at the madrugada whose bordertown haze stains your mother’s favorite dress.” Your child’s sudden nosebleed in the camioneta’s backseat to match your red overalls for the primaria’s portrait day. Stale bread to feed los patos, leftovers when my father stops asking for sandwiches and cooks for his own damn self. An analog TV set to plop your chubby brown hijo in front of Sesame Street so in workshop he can (mis)pronounce brillo pad as brillo, since primera comunión pamphlets were the first Spanish que has leído y consecuentamente, tu mamá te instruyó, la doble ‘l’ se pronuncia como ‘y.’ The customs agent switched his nightstick for a number two pencil and asked, “I’m not sure what this word means here. Does anyone know?” A cutting board to butcher my tongue and hope bleeding is a universal language. A bilingual dictionary—kept abreast like the Khan family’s pocket constitution—to search the English word for the Aztec adage: “It takes 3 seconds to google my shit.” A book of poems to hand my father, the edges smeared in molcajete and refried beans. Webster traces the origins of footnotes as: “When Zapata’s messenger used to carry ejército orders in his huaraches, the thousands of kilometers mummified his feet.” My tears as apá strains his chords to read my hymns for him; so the ink of my manuscript and his cook orders can smudge together. Next year, I will wear his baby blue dress shirt and tattered slacks to tell my MFA thesis committee: “It’ll be bilingual. To ask me to write in English is to amputate my arms and still expect me to touch the keyboard.” A voice recorder so I can replay his voice in the hollow walls of my Newark apartment until I finish singing the Barrio Beatitudes. His question: “¿Hijo, cuándo vas a regresar?”


Antonio Lopez is a poet.

THINGS HAVE CHANGED by Lorie Matejowsky

Never forget that you are making the

news now. With superb optimism

 

unfollow everyone on Facebook.

Only check Twitter twice a week.

 

Say you’re sorry but not with sarcasm.

At first it will feel like your head

 

can’t hold it all. There is no harm

in drawing inspiration from the fowl

 

that come in cold weather. They fall

from the sky and build nests in the

 

pond’s muddy middle. Keep your head

underwater all hours. Inhale as many

 

insects and invertebrates as necessary.

This method is certainly one of the best

 

ways to broadcast your thoughts. Let

the longleaf pine send them to a satellite.

 

Maybe a crane can pull the words from

her plumage. Enter all your anger on

 

your arms in blacks like ravens’ bills.

Which ink would look best on Instagram?

 

A great many books have been published

that will never see the light of day.

 

They are resting unread on silent shelves

in Archer City, Texas. No one needs a

 

narrator like you anymore.


Lorie Matejowsky is a resident of Central Florida but spent her first thirty years in Texas. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rattle, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Rust + Moth, Rise Up Review, Poydras Review, Mothers Always Write and Texas Poetry Calendar. She is currently a student in the MFA in Creative Writing program at University of Central Florida. Her poetic work is deeply informed by the South, especially its Gulf Coast, and narratives of feminine identity and faith. You can find her on twitter at @LorieMatejowsky.