November 30, 2016

Meghan Tutolo


I wonder if it matters
to the truck driver on the shoulder
opening a map like wings spread
under a Mets hat, a cigarette
all Turnpike in this shutterspeed
of drive-by, this town and how
everyone in it will always be
drowned out.

When I’m asked where I’m from
I imagine my dad’s hands
thick and greased, shifting under
a now-dead city brilliant
with only the beacon of barges
silent and tracing the river,
how we’re all asleep there
in that boxy run-off of industry
rotting along the Allegheny—
aluminum and steel
bullets and body armor,
dreaming in all that heavy metal
and burnt oranges.

I don’t say any of that.
Because we’re somehow
living that sadness, still cracked
as concrete, tall as mortar cliffs
and mountains we cut into
for dollar stores, drive-thrus
thinking we escaped unscathed
in Subarus and next-door
suburbs burning Yankee candles
burning leaves in lawn bags and
old tax returns, newspapers
burning up.

Solemn as smoke stacks,
the kids from New Kensington
are stuck to each other, licked
between hamburger wrappers
and a community college defiance
telling people we matter
having to prove it
elbows on counters and all that
downhill running, arms open
unafraid, but afraid
to go home.

from Rattle #53, Fall 2016
Tribute to Adjuncts


Meghan Tutolo: “How does being an adjunct affect my work? Hmm … there’s a wild sort of uncertainty I had to lean to in the adjunct trade. I have a day job, you know, but my night comp classes have taught me to be more confident in myself and what I do, no matter what I do. And that passion works. No, this isn’t sap. I actually have to fake confidence on a weekly basis, so my writing has gotten a little bolder too. Believing in oneself is the key to unlocking potential. Cliché blah, blah, blah. True story, though. Oh and I bring them candy. Kit Kats are a hit.” (website)

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December 26, 2015

Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2015: Editor’s Choice


Photograph by Meghan Tutolo
Painting by Meghan Tutolo. “Divining” was written by Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2015, and selected by Timothy Green as the Editor’s Choice winner.

[download broadside]


Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer


Not just on the wall—
the writing’s on the sky,
the river, the bridge, your hands.
Wouldn’t you love to believe
all those blue and red lines
make a map, and if only
you could read those lines,
you might know where to go
from here? Yes, we’re lost
and wrinkled and surely doomed,
but god, in this moment
between concerns, isn’t it beautiful,
this place where we wander,
this hour when gold gathers
just before the plum of night?

Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2015
Editor’s Choice Winner

[download audio]


Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “Quite simply, this is one of the most beautiful poems I’ve read in a while. Those last two lines demand to be re-read aloud. The poem is also clearly a genuine meditation on the painting, evoking both the overall emotion of the image, and being attentive to the finer details. The one expands upon the other, making them a perfect pair.”

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December 19, 2015

Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2015: Artist’s Choice


Photograph by Meghan Tutolo
Painting by Meghan Tutolo. “Map to the Moon” was written by Matthew Murrey for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2015, and selected by Tutolo as the Artist’s Choice winner.

[download broadside]


Matthew Murrey


That is the dream I had
when I was stuck in that little town,
wishfully watching planes in the sky,
thumbing the atlas all the time.

I dreamed I’d go to the purple
city and find you. I believed
that lights would turn on
in the tall buildings to welcome me.

And I did go,
though I took an overnight train
that rolled in after sunrise and took me
past the stadium and brick warehouses
and apartments with shades drawn.

And there was a river
and a bridge, and at night a yellow
brilliance at the center which I wanted
as a moth wants the light
it flings itself at over and over.
And you were there,
which is why memory paints it
so lovely, so purple, so speckled—
even prettier than it really was—

and tells a little lie about how young
the moon was, when everybody
knows it’s older than dirt
and that love is the youngster.
That was decades ago,
but I remember falling
like it was yesterday. So yes,
the night and moon were young,
and my heart waxed full.

Ekphrastic Challenge, November 2015
Artist’s Choice Winner

[download audio]


Comment from the artist, Meghan Tutolo: “It’s simple, but so honest. I like that. I like that it doesn’t have to try to reach me, true romance.” (website)

For more information on Matthew Murrey, visit his website.

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