May 1, 2019

Alexis Rhone Fancher


his voice dark urgency, like when we were attached.

I let him grip my hips, slow dance me back to that lust, 

to the parking lot, his car,
my tube top a trophy in one hand, 

a bottle of Southern Comfort in his other. 
He pours that sweet Joplin down my throat,

guides my hand between his legs.

to the Malibu motel with ocean views, 
vibrating beds, and once more, our delicious thrashing,

complimentary KY where the Gideon should be,
the insomniac waves rocking us long before my marriage,

and now after.

When I ask him which part of me he loves best,
J. answers: What’s missing,

tonguing the place where my nipple had been.
He doesn’t mind the mastectomy scar,

the one my husband can’t bring himself to touch.

from Rattle #63, Spring 2019
Tribute to Persona Poems


Alexis Rhone Fancher: “Before I was a writer, I was a professionally trained actor, and when I write persona poems I use many of the same Stanislavski techniques I employed to ‘get into character.’ The Method helps me slip inside someone’s head and see life from their point of view. I attempted to write this poem about the Brown Liquor Girl and her lover many times, but only when I switched from my perspective to hers did the poem finally come together.” (web)

Rattle Logo

September 27, 2018

Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2018: Editor’s Choice


Waiting by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Image: “Waiting” by Alexis Rhone Fancher. “Sonnet for the Night Shift” was written by Kim Harvey for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2018, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]


Kim Harvey


For the barbacks and the line cooks, this one’s
for you, for the jostle and bustle of
busboys hustling tips, for the aprons
and grease, for the fluorescent light above,

for how her hair falls at the nape of her
neck, for the way memory works, something
I chase, something I can’t control, slow burn
of swoon-jazz on the jukebox, for the sting

of tequila, for the draft beer on tap,
for the ones who come back night after night,
for yesterday’s special wrapped up as scraps
and for those who pass through just for a bite

or some human contact, for busting ass
and for refilling every empty glass.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
August 2018, Editor’s Choice


Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “Many excellent poems saw something sad or sinister in Alexis Rhone Fancher’s photograph, but Kim Harvey managed to flip the script entirely. I can’t remember the last time I read a good old fashioned praise poem. And there’s so much in this world worthy of praise that slips by unnoticed. I appreciated being reminded of that—and of all the night shifts I’ve worked over the years, and the strange intermingling of duty and possibility that comes to life in those hours.”

Rattle Logo

September 20, 2018

Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2018: Artist’s Choice


Waiting by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Image: “Waiting” by Alexis Rhone Fancher. “That Bit Me” was written by Matthew Murrey for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, August 2018, and selected as the Artist’s Choice.

[download: PDF / JPG]


Matthew Murrey


The sex is only good if we’re totally fucked up.
It blurs how wrong we are for each other.
—Alexis Rhone Fancher

It’s all a blur
how we wound up
this morning two spoons,
hand in glove, glass
full half, full empty.
Who was smooth
porter, creamy
stout, and who sweet-
strong Barbados rum?

Come, don’t pretend you
don’t remember taking me
home saying God,
you look like you
could stand a little
something to eat (I did)

and drink (we did).
We tipped many
and found ourselves lips
on lips, unbuttoned and undone.
I don’t remember you
regretting a thing. So don’t

toss that look, Lenny,
as if I’m just any stranger
strolling this joint. You
aren’t fooling anybody,
this body. Now lean in
and let me know where

and when we’ll hook up
again, then fill me
a glass of something light
tonight: a pilsner
or lager—hair
of the dog that bit me.

from Ekphrastic Challenge
August 2018, Artist’s Choice


Comment from the artist, Alexis Rhone Fancher: “So many terrific poems, inspired by my shot of the waitress and busboy at The Artisan House restaurant in DTLA, a restaurant that, sadly, no longer exists. I had a hard time choosing the winner, but I kept going back to Matthew Murrey’s tongue-in-cheek poem that riffed on a line in a poem of mine. Oh, that’s clever! I thought as I began reading the poem, prepared to be underwhelmed. But the poem delivered. It caught the just-perceptible despair in the slump of the server’s shoulders, juxtaposed with the late night bravado that’s the stock in trade of the successful cocktail waitress. I should know. I was one.”

Rattle Logo

July 25, 2016

Alexis Rhone Fancher


when I see I’ve overwatered it again, I jab
the turkey baster into the rust-colored runoff
before the water spills over,
onto the hardwood floor.

in our mid-town apartment,
the harsh light sears the spiky leaves.

it reminds me of summer,
when you left me here on Beachwood Dr.
and I shot Demerol
my rust-colored blood backing up in the syringe,
the same pierce of yellow light,
the sharp spike breaking my skin.

I remember what you said about overkill,
how I could love a thing to death.

my jaundiced face mirrored
the ailing yellow of the dracaena’s tired leaves,
the green of it, peaked. off-color.
my sad visage the hue of drowning,
the flood of the Demerol too much like

the dracaena hides a stain
on the hardwood floor in the
shape of a man. A murky, splayed patch
between the closet and the bed.

since you disappeared, some nights
I lie down on that stain,
my body mimicking the way I’d lie
on top of you, arms and legs akimbo.
I imagine you, oozing out
onto the hardwood, a mess.

Under duress,
the landlord admitted that a dead man had lain there
till long past rigor, seeping fluids
like an overwatered plant
till he and the floor had organically
merged into one.

from Rattle #52, Summer 2016
Tribute to Angelenos


Alexis Rhone Fancher: “I’m a lifelong Angeleno, and L.A. figures prominently in my poems—the sprawl, the desert heat, the plethora of Beautiful People, the subtle tension between we natives and the transplants, who show up in my city with Big Dreams.” (web)

Rattle Logo

March 17, 2014

Alexis Rhone Fancher


Now the splinter-sized dagger that jabs at my heart has
lodged itself in my aorta, I can’t worry it
anymore. I liked the pain, the
dig of remembering, the way, if I
moved the dagger just so, I could
see his face, jiggle the hilt and hear his voice
clearly, a kind of music played on my bones
and memory, complete with the hip-hop beat
of his defunct heart. Now what am I
supposed to do? I am dis-
inclined toward rehab. Prefer the steady
jab jab jab that reminds me I’m still
living. Two weeks after he died,
a friend asked if I was “over it.”
As if my son’s death was something to get
through, like the flu. Now it’s past
the five-year slot. Maybe I’m okay that he isn’t anymore,
maybe not. These days,
I am an open wound. Cry easily.
Need an arm to lean on. You know what I want?
I want to ask my friend how her only daughter
is doing. And for one moment, I want her to tell me she’s
dead so I can ask my friend if she’s over it yet.
I really want to know.

from Rattle #41, Fall 2013
Tribute to Single Parent Poets


Alexis Rhone Fancher: “‘My mom and I divorced my dad,’ I overheard my four-year-old say. It knocked the wind right out of me. I got it, that it was the two of us against the world, a single mom and an only child. For a long time, we were thriving, invincible. And then, we weren’t. Joshua Dorian Rhone was diagnosed with epitheliod sarcoma, a rare type, in 2004, and died in 2007. He was 26 years old. ‘Over It’ is one of a series of poems written in his memory, attempting to make something positive from my grief.” (web)

Rattle Logo