Question & Answer 4 – Kate Gale

Question 4

Don’t tell the truth?
Where’s the fun in that?
I am married,
and I told the truth last month
when I held her hand and kissed her bump
and told her they were my world.
Without her I’d be broken,
lost in the red ford,
and burning down my house.
I told the truth
and smeared the blood from my ring finger
on my CV
because what do they really need to know
save for the fact that I am married
to my saviour.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 4

Salvation from crispy lettuce. From radishes.
I asked for grilled cheese. I too am married.
It’s not always fun. Someone threatened to burn
down the house. It’s dry in California.
We ran to the woods. We held hands by a stream.
We collected our unconscious, found ourselves
tied to the inside of the rising tide, a melon,
a moon, moon cheese, muddy paws.
We went on vacation and had no cheese
No wine. We drank a lot of water. We slept.
Neither of us have perfect knees. Neither of our parents
wanted us. We wandered through thickets of beer.
Found the chorus of joy at the center of the house.

– Kate Gale

Question & Answer 2 – Jon Stone

Question 2

Silence, that’s the way we scream when tied
heels up, neck down blood seeping through
a pinprick. Your sleepy prince is my insomniac
knight, wading through the carpeted calm and
the lunar decided misery.

What purpose do these calculated guesses have?
We believe it is three days a month, because
we don’t count the other twenty eight. Those
silver-flints, they are yours to take, not mine,
I want the photo of apostasy.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

I didn’t catch the last few words there, owing to
the detonation carrying us off our feet
and tumbling us like jacks for maybe half a mile.
So just give me a moment to adjust my set.
Is this an amphitheatre or a carousel
I’m stumbling through the middle of? Don’t answer that –
in fact, if you could keep it to a whisper, ta.
The way to find one’s bearings in an aftermath
is through the things the hardly-noticed things reveal;
you have to play detective, spy and saboteur
in tandem, test the tensile strength of every breath –
which is the answer, I would just point out, to what
you asked back there, since after all, we bagatelle
from aftermath to aftermath, from mouth to mouth.

– Jon Stone

Question & Answer 2 – S. J. Fowler

Question 2

but that place does exist / and it lives like a canary in the heart / of every coal miner who left my rotten town / and returned home to find it under lock / and key / and sweat / and tear / with the hearts of every indescribable youth / strewn across the flowerpot / car park / the church above the train tracks / where we met and should never have burnt the rope / either end / when I refer to you I refer to you / and you alone / is this how we watch it disappear / in the reluctance to hold onto anything / or let bygones be the future / and our presence exist under novels I wrote and you never read / / /

– Aaron Kent

Answer 2

let
us
be
methodical
like
the
purpose
of
science
which
underpins
fun
ding
through
pub
lic
trust
how
can
one
reason
from
first
principles
in
poetry?
or
bus
i
ness?
there
are
no
miners
in
the
earth
they
are
bird
free
and
rope
less
with
the
time
to
read
your
novels
the
mid
after
noon
that
every
one
pretends
they
want
but
would
not
want
for
free
time
kills
the
heart
and
mind
as
equals
pur
pose
less
partners

– S. J. Fowler

Question & Answer 4 – Kirsten Irving

Question 4

If she had seen the same moon as I do
would she have watched the rabbit
shape sweetness for the night’s journey?

I’m three moons short of a baker’s dozen,
the thunder moon obscuring the leftovers
to bring in the full collection.

Watching the lunar phases in early evening
reminds me that the day’s work is done
when the rabbit says so, not when I choose.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 4

I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags. Even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us.
Sara Crewe, A Little Princess

Who’s the princess now? Many people
see the moon. Some because their turret
window opens onto it, the white light
drenching their courtyard; others
because they have no window
roof, walls. The moon
may visit when it will,
drench what it will.

Once a king or queen of Narnia,
Always alone
Always the boy who killed a wolf cold.
Always the girl who was not allowed to fight.

Here are the things the moon brings:
Blood
Werewolves
Minds unmoored
A silver necklace (limited edition)
A backdrop for spiky tree silhouettes.
The tide, unsure, knocking timidly

– Kirsten Irving

Question & Answer 1 – Cooper Wilhelm

Question 1

The night time but with the moon
as an anchor
plummeting to Earth.
Two sailors and a pack of cigarettes
swigging rum
on the pack of an apostrophe
[read: catastrophe].

A children’s birthday party but the balloons
are made of skulls
and all the candy is buried
sixty
seventy
eighty feet below ground.
Blood-covered hands digging for sugar.

A cinema chain but all the chairs are toenails
and the screen
is made of broken dishes.
The projectionist
tries to screen a film –
The Truman Show –
but it’s not in the script.

What does your world
look like, Cooper?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

A lady bug alights at the top of a femor like a first bud of spring.
No one notices one small bird reassuring another small bird
as they perch above a ship’s plump sail.
I feel like I should be human sometimes when all I want
to be is the air passing through my lungs
the way I’ll travel through a train station without getting off the train
watching the doors open and close for nothing.
Boys growing up want to be whatever lightless rock
smashed into the earth and made the moon.
They want to be buckets of protein and chum.
They want to sweat like John Cena.
It’s easiest crying in the park
because the trees shushing you with their leaves
would be doing that anyway
so you can feel less guilty for having feelings.
I’m back in town if you want to get a drink
or just wave back at me at this gas station
not sure who I could be.

– Cooper Wilhelm

Question & Answer 1 – Logan February

Question 1

How do you
……..find yourself
…………….confronting
……………………your weaknesses?

I arrived with the dolphins,
……..floating
…………….unaided,
……………………held together by relief.

I embodied all those weaknesses,
……..locked my fears away
…………….with the paramedics
……………………burning all my bridges

-Hollis, F-

on the wrong side of the road.

– Aaron Kent

Answer 1

Let me be precise & say some burning
bridges are certain of their brilliance.

I’ve seen a spine shake its shadow
as though it were a blanket being tackled

with legs. Lighter fluid crawling over
each swell & dip, with a burn stalking the trail.

& so what, if the water under the bridge
starts to boil. Twist spine / contort.

A flurry of birds, evacuated. The immolation
keeping me bright, marvelous, then gone.

My weakness grows upon the engulfed spine,
so I cannot look it in the eyes. Which is to say

it has eyes / has ears / & a mouth, frothing
with boiled river. I become vapor / become

victim / never hearing anything / about fear.
So I arch neck / contort / go deaf for weeks.

The song stays banished & the smoke
keeps close & familiar.

– Logan February

Question & Answer 4 – Carrie Adams

Question 4

The web you built has found itself
in coils around the back of my hand
as I try to construct meaning from
the little spiders crunching through
their mother out of the corner of
my eye in the spaces where the
window meets daylight and don’t
you think it’s nice to be told you’re
special by somebody even if that
person wears your clothes and your
smile and brushes your teeth
in your mirror at night?

– Aaron Kent

Answer 4

I gave up the idea of special
I woke up tired
and wanting to believe takes so much work
I can just live the loneliness
I send postcards across town
to my old address
Look at that afternoon sky of self-induced grief
Look at the knot letting go
slowly slipping with each step
These webs, these coils, each
have a name
The giver giving up

– Carrie Adams