STEVEN WITTENBERG GORDON, EDITOR & PRELIMINARY CONTEST JUDGE. Featuring the poetry of: Ross Balcom, Terri Lynn Cummings, Sierra July, Mary Soon Lee, John C. Mannone, Lauren McBride, John Reinhart, James Frederick William Rowe, & other fine poets.
Poetry Review Double Feature: "Three Times She Loved" & "Functions of the Tongue" by Anne Carly Abad
Songs of Eretz Poetry Review is pleased to present "Three Times She Loved" & "Functions of the Tongue" by Anne Carly Abad. Ms. Abad is a Muay Thai fighter sometimes and is often a writer. She has won a few writing awards and honorable mentions but is currently learning the southpaw stance, because she's so much of a righty that her left hand can't even write her name on paper. She wishes she were born with a silver spoon so she could buy a large house for her hedgehog, Porky. More about her and hedgehogs at http://the-sword-that-speaks.blogspot.com/. Three Times She Loved Anne Carly Abad
The first was a mirror.
At the start of their affair
she paid him kisses
and he answered in kind
in time, she gave him more
and more of herself
so he might break his crystal limits
but the problem with loving
a looking-glass man
he could only return the favor.
Second time she fell,
she kindled her fire,
tendered him the torch of her heart.
Though she wishes she'd known
he was a rerun, chewing
on his past, ex-lovers and all, till her fire hardened while still in his mouth,
as stale as tasteless gum.
And though there was a third
he may not really count.
He was summer and rain;
never gave tired roses,
but bouquets of carnations,
surprise visits and conversations.
She would have told him
he was the love she had always desired
but when she reached into the pocket
of her once-glowing affections
she could but blush at finding
her fingers wiggling through a hole.
Poet’s Notes: I was inspired by the saying, "Good things come in threes." Actually, when I read around, it isn't just good things--bad luck, too. Apply that to relationships--how many tries will the average person need to get it right? I think an average person would need three. The question is, will one have enough of him/herself left to give openly and receive love when the right time, the right one comes along? Will it still be "right" when that happens?
Editor’s Note: Ms. Abad has really captured the personality of certain people who lament that they can't find true love but who don't know when it is right in front of them. Her closing metaphor is perfect. "Three Times She Loved" was first published in the May 2014 issue of Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine. ******************************************************************************
Functions of the Tongue
Anne Carly Abad
Taste. Test. Test. Taste receptors are strewn all over the body. Note, in testes. No one yet knows why they're there, but the little non-blooming buds on the tongue permitted our species to shun possible poisons. Bitter. Remember we are adapted to favoring saccharine flavors. "Sweet," I said. "No, it's rust." You. Sugar, aspartame—I never could tell them apart.
Salivation. The tongue begins the process of digestion, wetting, moving food between the teeth, for crushing. I don't remember when it happened. You invited me for a smoke, and I went even if I didn't. You sent me ripped music on file transfer. "U gon' like dat," you typed. It was rock, and I listen to silence.
Swallowing. My tongue pushes the bolus of you into my throat. I think, post nasal drip. It burns. I gag. Did someone mention motor oil? "Try again," you press.
Touch. The tip of the tongue is most sensitive to touch. I pick out stones and fish bones from my half-chewed lunch; explore the smooth, the sharp, the hard. Which one are you?
Speech. The tongue produces over 90 words per minute. "Thanks," you mutter, rolling to the other side of the bed.
Is the tongue involved in that, too?
Movement. The tongue flies like a dancer. It bends, advances, retracts, rises, flattens... I turn. I tell you to leave. You click your tongue. The next time I look, no trace of you but the door you left open. Shades from the hall lick my welcome mat dark red. Doorways have much to say, yet I leave them there, dangling on the tip of shadows.
Poet’s Notes:Four years old. I receive a Washington apple, so strange to a child who has never had anything other than bananas. Why my neighbor has given me the shiny red thing, I do not know. But she smiles. I don’t eat it in front of her. In the secrecy of my room, I take a bite and discover sweetness that is nothing like the candies I hide under my pillow.
Mother knows how much I love apples, so to win my love she buys me the pale ones from China. I tell her they are hard, sour…Sticks to the roof of my mouth. But I shut up before she forces me to eat bananas instead.
Years later, I have almost forgotten the taste of that dear mythical fruit until a man I like places one in my hand. “I hate apples,” he says. His mother always packs some for him. Without the shyness of my youth, I sink my teeth into its ripeness, only to find that my tongue is a liar. Things are not always as we remember. How can a fruit so beautiful hide such bitterness? I forbid my thoughts from escaping my mouth.
“Thanks, it’s my fave.” I smile at him. But he soon moves to different school. We lose touch.
tongues of fire
in the breeze
Editor’s Note:I enjoy the way this poem is clinical yet poetic, explicit yet not pornographic, and detached yet deeply personal. "Functions of the Tongue" was first published in the February 2015 issue of Songs of Eretz Poetry E-zine. [Note: The accompanying graphic is NOT a picture of the poet].