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Event Calendar
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exhibitions
December 15 - Jan 28

Text, Textile, Exile: Works by Maria Damon

performances
December 21

Formation Series: Trench & Tontine Ensemble

special events
January 27 -28

24th Annual Poetry Marathon & Benefit

Archived readings & workshops
May 15 Sunday, May 15
10:00am, $10 | FREE for those who pledge a reader for $35 or more

Join us to celebrate the publication of Barbara Wuest's Shadowy Third (Aldrich Press, 2016) and Suzanne Scanlon's Her 37th Year, An Index (Noemi Press, 2015)!

 

 

Barbara Wuest has published poems in several journals, including The Paris Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, The Cincinnati Review, CrossCurrents, Oberon, The Laurel Review, The Wisconsin Academy Review, Wind, Dogwood, and others. She has a chapbook published by Finishing Line Press 2015 entitled Among Others. She taught English and Creative Writing at Cardinal Stritch University. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from the University of California, Irvine.

 

 

 

 

 

Suzanne Scanlon is the author of Promising Young Women (Dorothy, 2012) and Her 37th Year, An Index (Noemi, 2015). She lives in Chicago and teaches in the creative writing programs of Columbia College and Roosevelt University.

 

 

 

 

 

BARBARA WUEST


Ginkgo Leaf

 

Not a fan you can cool yourself with

or one your mother can use to chase

away flies that disturb the peace she

longs for, evenings on the porch swing.

You can only enjoy the shimmer of lines

lines running so near one another they’re

about to meet, only marvel at the stem’s

upper edge that guards the invisible source

where all the lines begin, only twirl the small

wonder the Chinese think sacred, uttering

the string-played name of ginkgo, ginkgo.


 

Autumn Loneliness

 

It’s always about the glory of loss, prettiness,

about color warmer than anything you can say.

Yet, in the middle of the day, by myself and

knowing it so completely I end up shivering in

this warmest of falls, questions being alive asks

pounding from the core of my heart, not my

real heart, slowed now from quiet, but that

second heart all children expose in tantrums,

the one visiting constantly, saying under each

breath you take you are you the only you...

                                                                          

 

Credo

 

I believe in sons and daughters going

through the cities’ turnstiles, through

the ivy archways of small, quiet towns,

some staying like stray pollen, others

leaving with their luggage full of failure

and maps to places it might not be.

I believe the striations in the sky after rain

call the least of us to flights

we don’t have wings enough to make.

And that we all end up in our own

closets of guilty self-respect whether

forced to land on cement or open field.

When the subway roars under my feet

I know my own blood bullets through me

with that same rage to get somewhere.

And I believe the heat from this speed

means at least you’re alive, for now,

and at least I’m disturbed beyond

my perfect cycle, my song, at least.

 

from “Mass”

 

 

 

SUZANNE SCANLON


Like a good student, Roxana books the sitter, makes dinner reservations, and buys theater tickets. Beckett's Krapp’s Last Tape, at the big theater downtown. It’s old and gaudy, all chandeliers and red velvet. They sit in the soft seats, the first ones in their row. Looking around as the audience filters in, Robert remarks on how youthful he feels among this particular crowd.

“We may be the only two under 40!” he declares.

Roxana listens to two women behind her, pre-theater chat. One wears a perfume that brings to mind a long lost aunt who used to kiss Roxana and her sisters goodbye, whispering, I’ll see you in my dreams!

“He’s trying to set me up with his brother. But his brother is older than he is!”

“What is he, 104?”

“I guess. I don’t need that. I don’t need to take care of someone.”

“No, you don’t. You need someone younger than you.”

“Yes. I need a companion.”

“Yes.

“It’s the loneliness. The loneliness is awful.”

“Yes.”

“And it doesn’t get better."

"No."

“It doesn’t get better. Listen, I’ll tell you—the loneliness is the shits. It’s the shits!”

“And there’s nothing to be done about it.”

“No. As my friend Ronnie says, It is what it is.”

“It is what it is.”

 

At the office, Debbie, a tall redhead who seems permanently stoned, wants to include Roxana in an informal poll:

“Okay. So your husband comes to you and says, ‘Honey, I slept with someone.” Would you rather he say, like Mark Sanford, “And she’s my soulmate” --

“Oh dear God.”

“--Or, like Eliot Spitzer, he says, and she’s a prostitute.”

“Neither?”

“Nope. Pick one.”

The table in the lunchroom is full of treats: chocolates, Oreos, banana bread and ginger snaps. Roxana takes a bite of a cookie, crumbs fall onto her sweater. She smiles when Debbie says again, “Well?” shakes her head and shrugs.

 

from To Speak of the Woe That Is In Marriage By Robert Lowell