Experimental & Form Poetry 

Tanka

 

On a first of dates

Hot spaghetti on my plate

Noodle out my nose

Many noodles on my toes

A horrific conclusion

 

 

Aubree Zukowski is a 17-year-old high school senior in South Florida. This is her first publication. 

Against Poetry

 

This morning,

all is artifice.

The wasp that dances on the sill.

The peach that ripens in the bowl.

 

 

His Despair Unending

 

. . . and then the moon,

on the bright thin legs of a shorebird,

wading the depths of the sea.

 

Rick Rohdenburg attended the Writers’ Workshop at Brown University, then spent thirty-five years working as a systems analyst. He began submitting work after age sixty and his work has appeared in the Chestnut Review, Laurel Review, Raleigh Review, and others.

Codex Seraphinianus

 

At times when the machine weakens

it will be necessary to drag the ice box

to the center of the room in the darkness for some hours. A feast from all the perishables, usually a squash meat pasta and a balsamic jam reduction — you’d gather all the kids from class anoint each with a crescent of margarine

and join hands around the sick. A preselected congregant takes a seat and begins reading from the book of Maytag, and the circle revolves counter-clockwise. After a time, the ice box hums and glows in appreciation. The pinwheel unwinds. On your way out, you each replace a bowl of casserole and kiss the freezer’s feet and in the morning the stove will start coughing — for attention, we presume.

 

 

Dylan Emmons is an author and educator who writes and speaks about his experiences living with Asperger Syndrome. His work has appeared in WordGathering, Embodied Effigies, and Autism Parenting Magazine. His memoir, Living in Two Worlds, was published in 2016.

Losing Enough

 

We dwelled in the sufficiencies of our days, the times when enough was ample

and abundant—times when the weather worked tolerable degrees and fullness

fell as easy as autumn-gilded leaves. It was enough, really, middling and

surely adequate—enough to satisfy. At least in retrospect. But something

began eating the edges; some hunger gnawed with dingy rodent teeth as

deficiency bloomed and ample bled from the bites into dearth and

paucity—when enough just wasn’t any more. When enough could not be found,

ennui broke bread and ate it all, then skittered away on sneaky centipede

feet. Thin waists were bound to knobby backbones and the muffled child cried

from the cupboard as the rodent chewed and the house was eaten away—when

enough just couldn’t suffice and enough was made of enough.

 

Adapted from a piece originally published in Wild Strawberries.

 

 

Pamelyn Casto has articles on flash fiction in Writer’s Digest, Fiction Southeast, Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, Critical Insights: Flash Fiction, and more. She is associate editor for flash discourse for OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters.

12.9.18

8.13 a.m.

14 degrees

 

Pacification of stillness.  One cardinal calls what cheer, cheer, cheer!

Obbligato section of the seasons.  But I say, always, that I

neither love it nor look forward to it.  Of course, it arrives nonetheless,

deepening the pond’s silver to a burnished gray sculpture of itself.

 

 

12.11.18

12.27 p.m.

22 degrees

 

Pitiless, windless, these days before the solstice,

occurring this year in concert with the full cold moon,

never to happen again until 2094.

I don’t see a single reason to plan for it.

 

 

12.13.18

1.28 p.m.

32 degrees

 

Princely flurries that can barely be dubbed squall

obfuscate little in the dead calm.

Nurturant fruits of their labor have woven a

damask shawl as gray as the curl of my breath is gray.

 

 

12.14.18

3.33 p.m.

43 degrees

 

Passerby — that’s what I am here, walking sacredly,

obsolete, knowing less and less, passing a host of sparrows,

numinous abbots watching over that bit of open water that

draws reflections into itself, quiet inside quiet, Matryoshka dolls of silence.

 

 

John L. Stanizzi is the author of eight books. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Blue Mountain Review, Paterson Literary Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, and many others.

                                                                   A—PLAY

 

                                   A                  hare                   pets

                                    his

                                    

                                        Loyalty

 

 

               imps

                                       play

                                                                                          DIG—FISH

 

                   the

              farmers    rough

                  light       the         dance

                                                                       stone

                                        fresh produce

 

 

                                                                  arm        a          fish

 

 

                                                                                                                    O—ADORE

 

                                          O ICY                TACT

 

 

 To ex    cise and                   free             and     hold you  

 

sensitive

 

          commit            with the            pin

 

 

 

the typical                ex

                 measures

                           elation                                                                               contain

                                                                                          the purpose

 

 

           adore

 

 

                                                                                                     SHARE—GRAM

 

                                          share             temporary          tension

 

 

                          a century

                                    only to                           rend the said field,

                                                 flourish     its own

 

 

                                                        gram

 

 

 

*A—GRAM are e-rasures of some announcements sent before the Manila lockdown March 15. 2020.

 

 

Dennis Andrew S. Aguinaldo works at the Department of Humanities of the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

Better than Starbucks began wholly as a creation in my mind. Now the wonderful collaboration of dedicated editors is creating a magazine that I could have only dreamed about when I was starting out as a one person organization.

 

Having said that, there are no direct connections between U Penn, Al Filreis, KWH (Kelly Writers House,) ModPo (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry,) or any of the actual affiliated programs to ModPo and this magazine, other than I have been a part of ModPo for several years now. There is, however, a strong spiritual and intellectual connection between BTS and ModPo.

 

If I had not gotten involved in the larger community of ModPo, I don’t think I would have restarted a literary publication. I am certain I would not have added a Formal & Rhyming Page, and probably not a Translations page. I have a pretty narrow preference for poetry, but the course and the people at ModPo have expanded my view of poetry to the point that I decided if I could find good people to help me do it, we would make BTS as broad of a source of styles and genres as possible.

Thus, it seems fitting that we dedicate a page to my fellow students at ModPo, and/or anyone who wants to share experimental poems. The thing about experiments is, they often fail, but as the point is to learn, not to create perfection, even failed experiments in the lab or on this page, will offer something for us, if we will find it. and when the experiment doesn't fail . . . well, you will see! — Anthony Watkins

Please join me in welcoming, Joseph E. Petta, who assisted with this issue and is our newest section editor, of Experimental & Form Poetry, beginning in July 2020. — Vera Ignatowitsch

Copyright  Better Than Starbucks 2020, a poetry magazine    

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