North of Oxford – The Pandemic Issue #6 — North of Oxford

Thanks to the poets for contributing to The Pandemic Issue #6 from North of Oxford and Mary M. Michaels for graciously providing her art. In order of appearance we present: Henry Crawford, Megha Sood, Sheila Allen with Emily Jensen, Kerry Trautman, M. J. Arcangelini, Stephen Bochinski, Christine Riddle, Maria Keane, Marko Otten, Patricia Carragon, Jonel Abellanosa, Stephen Page, […]

North of Oxford – The Pandemic Issue #6 — North of Oxford

Grocery Shopping

Text Box:

I am sitting in our dull-gray                                                                                 

Pathetically petite rental car

With the cracked windshield and tiny

Unhubcapped tires,

(Last Friday Teresa smashed our sleek

White SUV that drives like a yacht 

Gliding over calm waters)

Alone, my mask around my neck,

Waiting for my her

To finish grocery shopping

(Only one family member

Is allowed entrance at any time).

When will I ever learn?

I have been here before,

I have been here before,

I have been here before,

Thousands of times

(Though mostly before the mask),

Hungry, thirsty, hours

                                    Passing by,

Worrying if maybe she had fallen,

And medics are attending to her,

(I don’t have my phone, and she left hers

With me to hold onto)

But knowing that most likely

She was wandering inside the clothing stores

Inside the shopping mall

That just reopened,

Only to know, that as I don my mask and enter

A hunting/fishing gear store that opens

From the parking lot, that she will

Reappear outside as soon as I enter,

Looking for me,

Searching the parking lot

For me and our ugly rental car.

Text Box:  I purchase a camouflage backpack,                                        

A 9 mm pistol, a hunting knife, 

and a hand-size stun device.

I stuff the three defense/attack components into 

The outside pocket of the pack,

And as I exit the store,

There she is, wandering the lot,

Text Box:  Her arms stretched, her shoulders hunched, holding             

Bags filled with things

Only she thinks we need,

Having no idea that she is late 

For an appointment with our lawyer

Concerning the accident, or that I

Had been waiting for hours.

I am past starvation and dehydration,

But I smile behind my mask

As I walk toward her.

I gently lift the packages from her surgical-gloved

Hands.

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri’s ‘Handheld Mirror’: Well-chosen words as emotional abstract art

This Philly-area poet uses words almost as abstract art, to tease out powerful emotions or make vivid very meaningful times and places. Someone should make a painting or a movie of some of her lines.
— Read on www.philly.com/arts/books/diane-sahms-guarnieri-handheld-mirror-mind-poetry-philadelphia-20190108.html

Read news of the author here:

What Narcissism Means to Me by Tony Hoagland

North of Oxford

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By Stephen Page
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After I read What Narcissism Means to Me, I wished I had chosen The Donkey Gospels.  Glancing through the other, after I read the first, I sense more immediacy.  Nonetheless, I arbitrarily chose to study Narcissism, will accept my choice, and thus I shall report.  It’s a great book.  A good read.  The structure is interesting, with America, Social Life, Blues, and Luck as titles of the four sections, as if that were the hierarchy from top to bottom for self identity.  The poems are narrated sarcasticly, ironically, self-loathingly.  The point of the collection is to show that when the self is the center of the universe and the ego presides over community and society, problems arise—racism, dictatorships, presidents taking self-motivated actions without concern for the people.  Hoagland portrays the narrator, the “I” of the poems, as narcissistic, but this is aptly a tool for…

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Seven Floors Up by Cati Porter

Look over Cati Porter’s website: http://catiporter.com

North of Oxford

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By Stephen Page

Cati Porter’s Seven Floors Up is about wifehood, womanhood, and most expressively, adulthood.  Porter reveals in varied forms of verse the roles of a contemporary married mother.

            The narrator of the poems has a husband, two children, a cancer-ridden dog, a mother, a stepmother, a mother in law, and a couple of people in her extended family who are terminally ill.  She often reflects on how she got to where she is, and in her everyday occurrences she inadvertently divulges to the reader that being an adult means accepting responsibility and not showing that you are falling apart inside.  Protecting her children from every day scrapes and falls is big on her list of things to do.  To keep her life from getting heavy, she often looks for and finds the humorous things in her life.

This is a well-written book containing a good combination…

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Fauna by Stephen Page 

Fauna by Stephen Page

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Fauna is absent from the wood of late,

I cannot see her from my treestump—

She has lit to trees and burrowed underground

Escaping the face of four-legged Helios.
Cynthia came to me in my tower—

She wore a diadem and sheer short robe

And while I lay naked on my carpet

She straddled me with her sandaled calves.

 

 

Rosemary outside my matera window

Scents the sough of Delphi’s cloud

Buzzed northerly by the bumblebee

Brandishing his long red clover tongue.

 

 

Diana was once a lover of mine

That flew with me to California

And shotgunned in my rusty Volkswagen

But did not vacate my New York studio.

 

 

After four long years of living with Helen

And never touching barefoot Delos

Artemis leaned over fresh cut grass

With sunburnt face and parchment lips.

 

 

Published on #NorthOfOxford #helios #fauna #delphi #rosemary #diana #helen #helena #delos #artemis

A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver

North of Oxford

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Reviewed by Stephen Page

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As I am browsing around a bookstore, I pick up Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook, because another writer recommended the book to me.  It is simplistically written. It is geared for high-school or freshmen-college students (but, I am sure that is Oliver’s intent). The first couple of chapters are short and low-attention spanning, but by chapter 7 they expand and deepen.  There are some important points made in the book, even in the first six chapters:

Everyone knows that poets are born and not made in school.  This is also true of painters, sculptors, musicians.,  something that is essential can’t be taught; it can only be given, or earned, or formulated in a manner too mysterious . . . still, painters, sculptors (poets) and musicians require a lively acquaintance with the history of their particular field and with past as well as current theories and…

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