Jeff Hardin: “Our current moment seems more and more shaped by and interpreted through rhetoric intended only to further a ‘narrative.’ The possibilities of language, it seems to me, are thus diminished so that we all must live in an impoverishment of meaning and of connection to others. In a world where talking points hurt my soul, I write and read poems to remind myself that I have one and that language can have other purposes beyond the political.” (web)
Elizabeth S. Wolf: “I got my MLS in the long-ago times, before the internet, back when electronic searches were expensive and cool and run by librarians. I wrote a hypertext glossary for the National Agricultural Library as a beta tester for this radical new tool. I worked the reference desk at a university, the circulation desk at a high school, and moved into database design, marketing, and technical support. At EBSCO I worked on the Literary Reference Center and the Poetry and Short Story Reference Center. One of my bucket-list goals is to get one of my poetry books included in their collections. ‘When the Phone Rings’ was written at Fall Writerfest at the Pyramid Life Center in response to a close reading of Ross Gay. It was great to get away and write and there was no Wi-Fi or cell service. A plus for concentration but frustrating when you’re used to being able to google definitions and synonyms and etymology to validate word choices. I left the retreat and went straight to a public library in the Adirondacks. True story. Shout out to the library on the second floor of town hall, across from the public beach at Schroon Lake.”
KHDM (Katie Dozier Moshman): “Like so many Americans, I am tired of the politicizing of everything—including the basic economic principle of supply and demand. I read this news story while seeking shelter in a rain storm after a breakfast where my homeschooled daughter exhibited an economic vocabulary well beyond her years. Inflation may not be the most naturally suited subject for poetry but I hope you find the diction to be cost-effective.” (web)
The Great Salt Lake was not as beautiful as I expected.
The drive through the desert,
the white-edged saline crust,
the scrubby in-way speckled
with wildlife warnings.
I had to know about the floating,
what my body would do. How
like outer space it could feel.
Whether I’d believe I had the water all to myself.
I’d been to a sensory deprivation tank, once, on a whim. I never stopped being aware of the edges, my toes and fingertips brushing the walls, the piped-in New Age music I hadn’t picked. I’d wanted to hear my own blood flowing. To feel solitary and inside-out. In it, I’d felt more physical than usual. Here is a body. You own this mess.
Yes, it has gravity and mass, but you can never truly know how it works. Inside, maybe some cells are up to no good, plotting their next cruel alliance.
I was sent for a CAT scan,
so the doctors could be sure
they were knifing the right thing.
They offered me Valium,
saying it holds off panic attacks,
but I wanted to feel all of it.
How to describe the pleasures of
stillness and gravity, yet somehow floating
while nestled in that tube
with thoughts of my insides:
rattling and clicking,
flowing and stretching.
The hum, the darkness, the muffled voices—
and me, the science experiment
only wanting to be left alone.
In Iceland, there were floating parties. “Fljota!” said the sign at the pool, with foam bonnets and knee pads, somehow enough to keep us aloft. All these pale bodies safely adrift and gorgeous in the midnight sun. Gentle background in a language I cannot speak. All those swallowed final syllables, lulling. My presence accepted, but not noticed.
Crazed with wakefulness, I’d swim my daily laps tranced by my exhales. I memorized the cracks on the bottom of the pool in Laugarvatn. Lane two’s gentle warp. The faint odor of sulphur bubbling throughout the town.
Linda Michel-Cassidy: “This poem began, of course, with a visit to the Great Salt Lake. This was around mile 5,000 of a West-to-East-Coast-and-back road trip. I thought I would have some epiphany about landscape, yet all I could think about was how much I liked floating. How I needed to float. It is perfect; to be at once held and not, to be both supported and untethered. Beyond simply gravity and water, floating includes sound, time, and vibration—a multi-sensory event not unlike writing poetry. The pleasure in both comes from the willingness to be set adrift.” (web)