New Ohio Review Issue 11 (Originally printed Spring 2012)

Newohioreview.org is archiving previous editions as they originally appeared. We are pairing the pieces with curated art work, as well as select audio recordings. In collaboration with our past contributors, we are happy to (re)-present this outstanding work.

Issue 11 compiled by Peter Russ.

Unicom

By Tony Hoagland

Featured Image: Deer from Momoyogusa-Flowers of a Hundred Generations (1909) by Kamisaka Sekka

Set in the large public hallway and various spaces of a courtroom building. Drinking fountain, a pay phone on the wall, various benches where people eat their lunch or sit, and a few nooks and crannies where they stand and speak. The play is a sequence of monologues from alternate sides of the stage. All the speakers are connected to the trial, but nothing of the trial itself is ever shown.

PROLOGUE

(professional woman wearing glasses, reading from a clipboard, her voice bu- reaucratic and oracular)

Unicom officials denied knowledge of the events of June ’95. Somehow an entire forest had disappeared.

2nd PROLOGUE

Those erasures were committed, they said, by an irresponsible subsidiary

who didn’t know the right way to make a jungle disappear.

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Old Love Poems

By Denise Duhamel

Featured Image: “Rozen” by Margaretha Roosenboom

I can burn the pictures, but not the poems
since I published them in books, which are on shelves
in libraries and in people’s homes. Once my cousin told me
not to write anything down because the words would be there forever
to remind me of the fool I once was. My cousin
was the little dog on the Tarot card, barking at the Fool’s heels
as I headed right toward the cliff.

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Clear and Cold

By Lisa Ampleman

Featured Image: “The Red Kerchief” by Claude Monet

Though already setting,
the sun in late afternoon

in late December revels
in its power—how it,

though meager, can set
red-brick façades ablaze,

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The Muse of Work

By Ellen Bass

Featured Image: “Portrait of Mrs Marie Jeanette de Lange” (1900) by Jan Toorop

If I could choose my muse,
she’d have red hair, short, spikey,
and green cateye glasses with rhinestones at the tips.
She’d wear a sleeveless white blouse, ruffled
over shallow scallop-shell breasts.
Can you see how young she is?
I think she’s the girl Sappho loved,
the one with violets in her lap.

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What You Find, If You Find It

By Jeff P. Jones

Featured Image: “Paris Map in Dutch” by Guillaume Delisle

As a letter carrier, she delivered non-urgent messages to people’s houses. Her work brought her past gates, across yards, onto porches, into foyers. She never looked in windows or rang doorbells but on request would hand mail to a resident encountered outside as she exchanged small talk. She would then move on, readying the next house’s letters and advertisements, imagining fingertips releasing sealed flaps, creases tearing, messages sliding into waiting hands.

Each week her teenaged son caused some new havoc. One night he stole her car and was stopped by police forty miles away, coursing a college town’s streets with three friends and a bottle of vodka. The four boys cleaned her gutters the next weekend as she grilled hamburgers and made jokes about her prematurely gray hair.

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Dispatches From the Interior

By Geoffrey Brock

Featured Image: “A Lone Child Walking Down the Street at Night“, Unknown Artist

Like the one where you stumble along happily drunk
after closing a bar and reach your car only to find it
surrounded by militia who take you in to question you
about why you left your son alone in the car so long
and you say I lost track of time though that’s not true
and Can I see him and they refuse and Is he okay and

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Strapless

By Z.Z. Boone

Featured Image: “Breton Girls Dancing, Pont-Aven” (1888) by Paul Gauguin

I don’t know what happened, but last night I just lost it. Just fucking lost it.

It’s eleven o’clock at night, I’ve been doing inventory in my store all week, I’ve barely made a dime, and this is when my fourteen-year-old daughter decides it’s a good time for defiance.

“You have no idea what it’s like!” she screams.

I’m lying on my still-made bed, full dressed except for my shoes, and she’s standing with a hand on each side of the doorway as if to prevent my escape. I’m not going anywhere. I’m just trying to hear the TV, trying to get the news about how screwed up the rest of the world is, but I can’t make out a word.

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Zigzag. Yeah.

By Scott Kreeger

Featured Image: “Flowers on a Footpath from Bijutsu Sekai” by Watanabe Seitei

Zigzag down the stairs. Yeah. Zigzag to the trash can and toss the bag in. Yeah.

Zigzag through the gate and into the pool area. Yeah. Zigzag between the chaise lounges. Yeah. Zigzag down the steps and into the pool. Yeah.

Zigzag too cold, too cold. Yeah. Zigzag out of the pool. Yeah.

Read More

Throw It Up

By Suzanne Richardson

Featured Image: “The Fallen Angel Spreads His Black Wings” by Odilon Redon

Heroin made Tristan’s breath sweet like mangoes. When we kissed it felt like licking the inside of a kiwi: fragrant, indulgent, the tangy saccharine rolling around my tongue. I didn’t know why he tasted like that, but I liked it. At the time I didn’t know I was sleeping with a heroin addict. He would sit up in bed and scratch his arms and face for hours. I would call his name, shake him even, but he wouldn’t answer. In all four years I’d slept with him, he had never acted that way before. I would put on a robe and pace the apartment, or sit on the couch, and think about my family. My brother. My parents. I had never felt this scared with them despite our differences. Sometimes I would grab fruits or vegetables from the fridge and nervously practice peeling, or dicing until dawn. I think I did this out of some compulsion to better myself even in the darkest of hours. My mother could always chop and dice things perfectly. I taught myself to peel mangoes in one motion so the peel piled into one long strand in the sink drain. I couldn’t think of anything that would make him act that way. One night, lying on the couch, staring at the ceiling, I recalled a conversation I’d had at a party with an EMT.

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Dhaka Nocturne

By Tarfia Faizullah

Featured Image: “Tête-á-Tête” by Edvard Munch

I admit that when the falling hour
begins to husk the sky free of its
saffroning light, I reach for anyone

willing to wrap his good arm tight
around me for as long as the ribboned
darkness allows. Who wants, after all

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Overflow

By David Gullette

Featured Image: “Proposed Broadway Underground Railway” by Unknown Artist

The first of February 1855
Thoreau skates up the river:
it swells beneath its crust
making a musical cracking,
running like chain lightning of sound
athwart my course.

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Birds In Cemeteries

By George Kalogeris

Featured Image: “Two Cockatoo and Plum Blossom” by Ohara Koson

It must be the shade that draws them. Or else the grass.
And it seems they always alight away from their flocks,

Alone. It’s so quiet here you can’t help but hear
Their talons clink as they hop from headstone to headstone.

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Pelicans

By Robert Cording

Featured Image: “Australian Pelican” by Elizabeth Gould

Last evening, another sunset party:
drinks, laughs, ironies, hidden desires.
All of us tanned and glowing, we exchanged
jokes and gossip, fresh and stale, self-conscious
that something larger was missing
when we turned to best watches, shoes, cigars.

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Crow

By William Kelley Woolfitt

I’ve been told Crow’s story so many times I remember it better than my own memories. It was my bedtime, naptime, and story-time story. I think my parents told it to each other too, in whispers, in each other’s arms, striped with moonlight coming in through the blinds, too tired to say anything new.

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Yet

By Eric Torgersen

Featured Image: “Study for “Le Bain”: Two Women and a Child in a Boat” by Mary Cassatt

You’ve got to act, and soon, but you don’t dare yet.
There’s one big load you don’t think you can bear yet.

You chose to dive this deep; it’s not for me
to tell you why you can’t come up for air yet.

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Awake

By Richard Schiffman

Featured Image: “Rendezvous in the Forest” By Henri Rousseau

Already morning ignites
the high wicks of the pine.
A few birds trilling,
don’t ask me their names,

or my own as I stumble
out of bed on sea legs,
rub my eyes until stars appear
like ships still foundering

on the reef of night.
But when I open them again, day
is fully rigged and sailing off
with me on it.


Richard Schiffman is an environmental reporter, poet, and author of two biographies. In addition to the New Ohio Review his poems have appeared on the BBC, in the Alaska Quarterly, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, Writer’s Almanac, This American Life in Poetry, Verse Daily and other publications. His first poetry collection “What the Dust Doesn’t Know” was published in 2017 by Salmon Poetry.

Originally appeared in NOR 11.

Unfinished

By Richard Schiffman

Featured Image: “Houses of Parliament, London” by Claude Monet

“It is not known why they were not finished,”
the curator noted of two hundred later canvases.
Turner’s work becoming increasingly unhinged—
cyclonic sunbursts, hills skipping like rams, crepuscular
curtains, reeling cliffs and brimstoned cities.

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Take Your Trash and Make it Fly

By Devin Murphy

Featured Image: “Shoes” by Vincent Van Gogh

One night a month, people in my hometown outside of Buffalo, New York, put their large trash items on the curb for the sanitation department to pick up the next morning. Our neighbors would drag out old Whirlpool appliances, ironing boards, and whatever else the weekly garbage route couldn’t take. On those evenings, my Dutch immigrant mother loaded me into her rusted-over white 1970 Chevy Caprice station wagon with its vinyl side panel, and we’d slowly cruise the streets picking through the refuse.

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Tauromaquia

By Deborah Casillas

Featured Image: “Standing Bull” by Jean Bernard

The days dragged on, steady ticking of the clock.
My mother’s cancer; surgery, injections, drugs.
Long afternoons I sat in my grandfather’s library
looking at books. Shelves of books about bullfighting—
la lidia, combat; la corrida, the running of the bulls.

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