Issue 9.2

9.2

(moss)(gnarly)

The Fall 2015 issue of Forge is now available. This issue’s Forge Interview subject is poet and author Lyn Lifshin.

As a special treat for this issue, we present a choice of covers for our paper edition which we have dubbed “moss” and “gnarly.” Same goodness inside two different crunchy candy shells.

Enjoy!

~Leif Milliken

Uber-editor, Forge 9.2

CONTENTS of ISSUE 9.2

—PROSE—

Nancy Bourne: Not a Word

Patricia Livermore: Lady Wolfsbane

Mark Ali: Let the Trumpets Blow

Ron Riekki: I Asked My Son What He Wanted to Be When He Grew Up and He Said, “The Eiffel Tower”

Doris Ferleger: Washing You

FORGE INTERVIEW—

Forge Interview with Lyn Lifshin

—POETRY—

Lyn Lifshin: Bad Dreams | I Think of Her As Amelia | Out of the City and Down to the Seaside | California | For the Roses | Reading Song to a Sea Gull | Night in the City | Coyote | Michael from the Mountains | Let the Wind Carry Me | Tin Angel | All I Want

Diane DeCillis: In the Garden of the Universe

Eric Greinke: In Our Eyes | In Tree Light | Overnight | Recurrent Dreams | Wings

Eileen Hennessy: Festival, Pompeii

Glenna Luschei and Eric Greinke: Lone Bones

William Miller: Thoreau’s Laundry

Simon Perchik: 12 Poems—Fall 2015

Alison Stone: Rope | The Story | Eurydice to Orpheus

—VISUAL—

Carolyn Adams: Cobble Beach | Stairs—Yaquini Head Lighthouse, Oregon | Yaquina Bay Bridge, Oregon

Forge Interview with Lyn Lifshin

By Tim McLafferty

TM: How long do you think about a poem before you begin to write it?

LL: I might hear a phrase, see an image, go thru a museum, see a photograph, catch a song. I could jot it down in a notebook but if I am home and can work on it it might be immediate. Often I write poems based on dreams and the faster I can get to them, bits scribbled in the dark, the better. Other times maybe I might have an old notebook of things from the past and the poem, or the trigger for the poem, could be there for ages. I don’t think any two poems happen in the same way.

TM: Do you carry and use notebooks?

LL: Absolutely. I write a lot when I am taking the metro from Virginia to Maryland; and when I was taking more classes, most of my writing was done in my hour and a half commute. I carried notebooks and books. I got more writing and reading done. I hope to get back to that. Most of my notebooks I date: when I wrote them and when I typed them up and then pack them off for my archives. The earlier notebooks are in the Harry Ransom collection at University of Texas at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin and later ones, to the present, are in the Samuel Paley collection at Temple University. These are usually seventy-page spiral-bound notebooks. I tend to keep the notebooks I carried around Europe—to Turkey and Spain—assorted sizes—I have them going back to a little plaid notebook I bought in Italy, to some I used in Turkey to last year’s notebooks in Spain—in Barcelona and Paris—but I always have a notebook on the nightstand for dream images and poems and in the car on any trip. I can remember writing a poem for an erotic anthology—taking my pen out in the dark of a movie theater and writing most of it on spearmint gum wrappers. It is frustrating: it takes me more time to type and revise and print most poems than to write them.

TM: Do you work with pen and paper, or the computer?

LL: Usually I write with ball point pen on a spiral notebook. I revise a lot when I type them up. Hopefully I can read my writing. Right now I have around sixty handwritten seventy-page notebooks going back to the 90s on the shelf above my desk. I worry I won’t be able to read my handwriting when a lot of time has elapsed.

TM: When revising, what are elements that you look to remove or build upon?

LL: Usually it is a matter of paring down, cutting out. One of my strong poems was “revised” by an editor who suggested I cut out the last two lines—it’s that kind of thing.

TM: When writing, do you read your poems out loud? If so, what are you looking for?

LL: I wish I did read my poems out loud more than I do. I should. For my last reading, I pretty much memorized and often revised my poems as I walked about the pond each morning. It helped immensely. At times I change the poem as I read it. I had planned to read all new poems. It helped so much to become comfortable with the new poems but it also helped in revising poems—cutting, changing—eliminating and of course it helped listening to and hearing the musicality, what just sounds startling, exciting, right.

TM: Looking at your manuscripts, it seems like you write a similar poem several times, I think this is a great idea since you keep getting at your thought without revising the same poem over and over. Is this a typical method for you? How did you develop it?

LL: In the past I often wrote up to ten versions of a poem—mostly experimenting with line length and even cutting the endings off. I ended up with boxes and boxes of versions of poems and the inability to type up and submit a manuscript with so many versions. I no longer do that.

TM: How would you describe your poetry?

LL: I hope to evoke an emotional response—to have the reader feel it’s something they had felt but didn’t realize they had until reading my poem. I hope my poems startle and surprise.

TM: Who are some of the poets that have influenced you from early on, through the years, and currently?

LL: That is impossible to answer. I know I’d leave many out. In Poet’s Book Shelf edited by Peter Davis and published by Barnwood Press I was asked, along with many others, to list writers I feel are essential. It is an interesting book, interesting to see who different writers come up with. Also you can tell some writers I like from the three or four anthologies I have edited and published: Tangled Vines, first edition Beacon Press and HBJ second edition, Ariadne’s Thread, Harper and Row and Lips Unsealed, Capra Press.

TM: Do you read novels? If so, can you name some of your favorites, or one you are currently reading?

LL: I love reading novels—recently, between not being on the metro as much as usual and also reading a lot for researching the various recent books (Malala—the young woman from Pakistan. All the horse books—each one required a lot of research), I’ve read a lot fewer novels and nonfiction than normally I do, and truly miss it. For Femme Eterna, I had to research Enheduanna, Scherezade and Nefertiti. Before that I wrote a book on tango and read a lot of novels about Argentine Tango before I took a tango class. Now I am taking Argentine tango classes and but not until way after the book, Knife Edge & Absinthe: The Tango Poems, was published. I have been reading memoirs and fiction by Jon Katz—I want to get back to more of that too.

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

I Think of Her As Amelia

By Lyn Lifshin

driving into blackness alone,

daring and driven,

leaving vapor trails.

On the run–

you can’t tell if it is

toward or away from

what could hold her.

Alone with her

own thoughts, a comfort,

an ice pick. Hexagons

of what she’s

flung from trailing

like hieroglyphs. No one

can read her. Wild

flying engines sing a song

so wild and blue it

blurs the night. No one

can really tell her

where to go

and she’ll never know

until she gets there.

Her hand on the wheel

wishing who knows who was

there beside her. Is she

daydreaming Icarus?

half wishing the sky or

sea would gulp her?

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Out of the City and Down to the Seaside

By Lyn Lifshin

with her dulcimers, her

songs. Writing at night.

Once she could write

anywhere. Once she

was invisible as blown

seeds. Once she could

write on sand, under

cypress. Once no one

cared “who’s that

about.” Sometimes

she’d write something

down and think “Oh

I like how the words

sound but it doesn’t

say anything.” Some

times friends come and

listen to her sing. If

they love her songs, it’s

better than drugs

or gin. Sometimes she

felt like a hippie goddess

rocking rhythms while

they’re waiting

with candles in the

window. Sometimes

what she’s feeling

is not anything a poet

can sing

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

California

By Lyn Lifshin

It was definitely California,

bougainvillea breaking

out like purple stars.

Not Paris, not Africa.

Jet lagged, coming  from

the snow, heat and

light like a drug and my

own words in the trunk.

Not there from Los Vegas

or a Grecian Isle but

escaping lovers I could

not stay with too. I didn’t

think anyone did the

goat dance but I wish

someone had a camera.

I suppose we had a little

wine because some

one planned what they were

sure would give a sad

eyed man a treat, put

back his smile. Another

said he had two ladies,

two women he swore he’d

always love, two

women whose faces filled

the rooms in his tiny house:

posters, albums, books.

It was wild. One was

Joni, the other me. Warned

of the surprise, the man’s

face went snow standing at

the  window. I was high

on his being as happy

it was me. I think they told

him it would be one

of us. Probably I wore

madras or tie-dyed. My long

hair sleek as Joni’s. I

was wearing my spider

medallion. I wasn’t used to

such a shy fan, too shy

to come to the door. I too

was strung out on another man.

I had a week or two to

hang around. He wasn’t

the first to be afraid to talk

to me at a reading, to run

out before the end. All that

time I thought of Joni,
her songs in my hair, my

own pretty strangers

and the bad news of war

and now I wonder if

he often thinks of

both of us

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

For the Roses

By Lyn Lifshin

I think of her watching the

last rose petals on a

day like today, say deep

August, browning like

an old rubber doll

she might have left

in an attic in Canada.

I think of her pressing

skin against glass, a sense

of summertime falling,

that sense of fall

that Sylvia Plath

wrote of. Or maybe some

freeze frame of what

is going, moving on.

I see her pale arms,

sea mist velvet jeans

hugging hips that

never will not be boyish.

In the wind, gone

voices move close

to her cheek bones. In

this frame she could be in

a fancy 30’s gown. Some

thing is raw, some thing

is broken. It has to be

a full moon

etching black water.

She has to know that

from what is torn

and scarred, some

thing almost too

exquisitely beautiful

is already stirring,

some thing dark

as coal becoming

diamond, insistent,

dying to be born

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Reading Song to a Sea Gull

By Lyn Lifshin

When I read about the

photo retouch expert in

Japan, taking what’s

blurred and faded, torn,

assumed lost and how

removed from debris,

as I’ve pulled some of

Joni’s songs from a

dark room in the house

I’m rarely in and what

was, blooms again, brings

back the most vivid

memories. I listen again

to her words, the

lyrics raw and direct,

chunks of what I

thought I’d lost and I’m

astonished, as those

locals in Japan who come

to look thru photos that

were found, cleaned

so they can hold

what they no longer

have, touch, bury

themselves in

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Night in the City

By Lyn Lifshin

I think of her deciding to retire,

wild for stillness, an

escape from the crowds,

needing to go inside

herself. She couldn’t just

sing the same songs,

the thrill of fame

tarnishing, being a

traveling lady

losing its glow. She

must have been tired of so

many places to come

from, places to

go and wanted to get

out and meet people, not

be like a bird in a

cage with a

spotlight on her.

She wanted to take off, run

laughing with no one

to meet, wanted

music spilling into the

street, in Europe,

in France, Spain and

Greece, dulcimers

in the night breeze instead

of strangers clapping

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Coyote

By Lyn Lifshin

I think of her up

all night in the studio,

think of the one she

held now brushing out

a brood mare’s tail.

If you don’t feel her

aloneness, don’t feel

how close to the

bone and skin and eyes

you can get and still

feel so alone,

you don’t feel.

Some nights scorch

memory like her

farmhouse burning

down. I’m in my old

house where a dead

love’s hand print

on the gray wall under

layers of paint

still sucks on me.

No matter those ghosts

had a woman at

home, another down

the highway. Too

many go for these men

no one can tame

with their pills and

powder, holding on to

your scent while

beckoning another

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Michael from the Mountains

By Lyn Lifshin

I think of her

wanting to retreat,

stop touring. I

imagine her exhaustion,

think of Edna St

Vincent Millay feeling

like a hooker

going to read. Who

doesn’t get sick of

tour? “Which is the real”

they howl? What’s

true? Who’s the

man in the lyrics and

did he do what

you wrote he did?  I

think of 30 men sure they

were the one in a

certain poem about none

of them. Who would

not want to escape, have

someone wake you

up with sweets

and roses, take you

out in the rain

in a yellow slicker? Who

doesn’t want cats

running when you turn

the key? A sun in

the painting

that smiles?

___

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including three from Black Sparrow Press: Cold Comfort, Before It’s Light, and Another Woman Who Looks Like Me. Before Secretariat: The Red Freak, the Miracle, Lifshin published her prize winning book about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter: My Year With Ruffian and Barbaro: Beyond Brokenness. Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At the End: The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persphone, Lost In The Fog,  Knife Edge Absinthe: The Tango Poems.  NYQ Books published A Girl Goes into The Woods. Also  just out: For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre. The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet—The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press. Just released as well: Malala. The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press. An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out: Lips, Blues, Blue Lace: On The Outside. Also just out is a dvd of the documentary film about her: Lyn Lifshin: Not Made Of Glass. Just out: Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass: the Maple Poems. Forthcoming: Degas Little Dancer and Winter Poems from Kind of a Hurricane Press.