Thanks for spreading the word, Bob! Slippery Elm LJ is truly top-notch!
Slippery Elm Literary Journal’s 2019 issue is now live in the Slippery Elm online archives. My poem “This Oak” appeared in the print issue. If you have a chance, take a look at SELJ‘s offerings and/or consider submitting a few poems or entering the 2021 Slippery Elm Prize competition, now open for submissions. Many thanks to the journal’s editorial team, and especially EIC Dave Essinger, whose professionalism and personal kindness place SELJ at the top of the ladder in the world of literary journals.
Robert Okaji, brilliant poet and devastatingly gorgeous human, has exactly what this world needs!
In Response to Nadia’s Misdirected Email, I State Exactly What I Am Looking For
Balance. The ability to stand on one foot, on a tightrope, and juggle AR-15s,
ethics and dollar bills, while chanting the U.S. Constitution, in tongues.
Or good health.
A mechanism for disagreeing without needing to annihilate the opposition.
Doorways without doors, truth without fear.
A simple tulip.
One word to describe that instant between thought and pulled trigger,
intent and wish, the elevated pulse and sense of diminished space and time.
Sanctuary. Regret. Apology. Respect.
A tonic to the bitterness, a foil to the sweet.
Fitted sheets that fold. Uncommon sense.
Love in the abstract. More bacon. Smiles.
A closet that embraces everything you place in it. Everything.
The means of unfiring guns, of reversing wounds to undamaged flesh,
and rounds to their magazines, full and never used.
Self-organizing drawers. Due process.
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Check out this beautiful new anthology! Thank you to editor extraordinaire d ellis phelps for inviting me to participate in the renga!
a Texas Hill Country Anthology of Place
It’s out & it’s wonderful! We had our launch reading this morning in Boerne, Texas on Main Plaza. Eleven contributors, family and friends where in attendance. It was cool and inviting under the tent by the gazebo. I hope you enjoy this little video (on FB) I put together of the performances. Be sure to turn the sound on the FB video on to hear the cool music that goes with the video…
I’m very pleased to have served as managing editor for this fine piece of history. If you’re a Facebook user, please do follow my artist/author page there for info about all that’s happening in my literary/artistic world & follow me here, for sure!
The book is a tribute to the pioneers who settled the Texas Hill Country, many of whom endured arduous journeys by ship across the ocean to Texas…
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An Elegy for Birds & Bees
“When a woman pretends to press her life down into a nice, tidy little package, all she accomplishes is spring-loading all her vital energy down into shadow. ‘Fine. I’m fine,’ such a woman says… Then one day, we hear she has taken up with a piccolo player and has run off to Tippicanoe (sic) to be a pool hall queen…” Clarissa Pinkola Estés
over & over in habitual drone
i repeat a phrase in my mind that no one knows i say
because i have not told
i am saying i’m done
but this being done
is how i know i will never be done
though my climbing son
a speck eighty feet high in a skyline of swaying cedars
can heft the storm clouds away
from his own silvery horizon
& my seeking daughter
has tenacity enough without me
to prize out four leaf clovers
from speciously green reaches
_____but i will never release
this breath of finality that i keep
choked in my throat behind earnest songs for my children
no & i will swallow the rising bile
when the Northern Flicker perches
on our aluminum chimney top puffed-up
so proud in those marrow-less bones
of his impervious skull’s clever territorial ricocheting
being done happened
within my own sinew-lined pelvis
the cracked bowl
filled drained & refilled
with meticulously rich essences
long after anything living had been fed
the relentlessly heavy gnawing
red slough of losing myself
to nothing for nothing
_____& so i had the offending flesh cut out
the fossilized rind that was left is now locked
with its un-told stories
beneath eons of hardened sediments
this being done happens in spring
while i am driving alone
it happens quickly
in instants of lapsed attention
in overzealous moments of stony apathy
when windshield wipers stick unexpectedly
or when sudden pink shafts of evening sun
transmute newborn lambs bucking
for tender grass & mother’s milk
into silhouettes haunting the roadside
_____the being done
is all these countless fleeting deaths
i tear into strips soak in chewed glue
& fashion together to house myself
in a prodigal crinkled purgatorial prune
these tiny stinging imprudent suicides
should all be spirited away from their haughty blooms
& borne into the ancient hive
to the undersides of fuzzy exoskeletons
_____there my secret greedy orchestrations
would become coded in sacred routines
my life programmed in dance
& propagated by ecstatic waggles & fastidious figure eights
to a crescendo of communal comprehension
of the one seminal purpose
of the being done that shall be
done at all costs
the Queen’s Royal Jelly must be
sealed with wax in her hexagonal vaults
STEPHANIE L. HARPER
“An Elegy for Birds & Bees” first appeared in the 2015 edition of Slippery Elm Literary Journal — thank you editor Dave Essinger for your gracious and validating support of my work! — and is the title poem of my new chapbook, This Being Done, available NOW for order at Finishing Line Press, and scheduled for release in June 2018. For more insight into this piece’s inception and the role it played in informing the collection as a whole, check out my recent Q&A with Robert Okaji.
My heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone for your investment in (as well as your abiding engagement with and enthusiasm for) my work. It truly means the world to me.
Congratulations to Robert Okaji on this fabulous poem’s Best of the Net 2017 nomination!
Hey Folks! Sir Robert Okaji of the Vorpal Pen has now added Trend-Setter and Guru of Repurposing to his C.V.! Let’s just say, Kerouac’s got nothing on Okaji in terms of name-dropping-acquired “street-cred” — not to mention the latter’s impeccable taste in *cover art* 😜!
Bottom line: No home should be left un-accessorized — much less unprotected — by these scorpion-swatting (equally effective on spiders for domiciles of more northerly latitudes) symbols of social aplomb!
More than just poetry!
So you don’t read poetry? No worries. This book is a multi-tasker’s dream. Buy it and let your practical nature take over. No reading necessary!
1) Scorpion swatter – let the aggressive, pain-inducing arachnid know the full weight of poetry! SLAM! No more second moments for you, scorpion!
2) Coaster – a half-dozen copies of the book will keep you out of the doghouse, if you, like certain unnamed poets, occasionally, and without malice, set sweating pint glasses of frothy ale directly on antique cherry end-tables. Just place a copy of From Every Moment a Secondon all tabletops and flat surfaces around the home, and never worry about marring the furniture. Put your beverage glass directly upon the colorful cover, and let the poetry perform its magic. Who knew that paper was so absorbent!
3) Body armor – well, maybe not. The pen is mightier…
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Have a listen to Sir Robert Okaji’s impeccable voice — to accompany his masterful, must-own collection, FROM EVERY MOMENT A SECOND, now available for prepublication order (see link below!) at Finishing Line Press!
This sublime, new collection by our favorite poet in this world, Robert Okaji, is not to be missed!
Bob enlisted me to be his cover artist for FROM EVERY MOMENT A SECOND, and the ensuing creative endeavor proved to be nothing short of the honor and privilege of a lifetime, the result of which I’ll be unveiling on this blog soon!
From Every Moment a Second
The prepublication sales period for my new chapbook,From Every Moment a Second, begins today, June 13, and runs through August 11. The book’s tentative release date is October 6. Please note: prepublication sales determine the print run, which means this stage is crucial in terms of how many copies will be printed and the number of copies I’ll receive as payment. So if you feel inclined to help, and are able, please purchase your copy during this period.Order here.
Many thanks to the members of this blog community for supporting my writing. I sit alone in my shack to write, but you are there with me, just a keyboard away. I am truly grateful for your wisdom and humor and willingness to help me traverse the strange and wonderful worlds of poetry and publication.
Check out this inspired rendition of my poem, ‘Trumplewocky,’ by the inimitable Kat Robertson!
Trumplewocky first appeared on this blog in February 2017.