Listen to the poem below:
We’re almost to the territory when the river takes our wagon.
Also swept downstream: two fine horses harnessed to it, the team
I’d planned to break the ground with on our homestead claim.
Susannah stands dripping on the bank, reaching for a fallback notion
that fits with the loss of provisions. She’s the brains in this operation.
The bad call to ford it here, that choice is on me. I know without it being said.
But the hands that plucked the children from the top of the rapids—
those were …
It’s ten o’clock
And I’m at my desk.
But I don’t know what to write.
Though I know tonight I don’t want to work
on the novel that’s working me.
And I don’t have anything to write about.
But for once, I want to write short. Concise.
Something with punch and flair. Something
Cool. That’s the winning writing recipe –
Like a poem that I wrote when I was 26,
And in love, and very, very drunk.
That’s how all my poetry started
that was accepted by presses years ago.
When the editors wrote back,
Telling me …Read article
Snap of the scissors
Around the frayed twine.
Yellowed card stock tag reading
Flits to the ground.
The brown sack’s mouth yawns
And sighs out bundles,
Hitting the carpet with the sounds
Of an August storm.
Ribbons holding the folds together
Every crayola color.
Dusted letters creak as they unfold,
The creases well worn
Out pours decades
Of heart’s blood and tears,
Bravado and tenderness,
To a name unrecognizable
Though the handwriting is clearly hers.
Hundreds of bows
Thousands of pages
Signed with her everlasting love
And never addressed.
Listen to the poem below:
an aluminium can rolls
lacking purpose caught on an
intermittent wind, it moves
forward five paces, then dawdles
then rolls back slowly
the gradient of the road
unexpected without the wind;
misplaced, a flag flaps, torn to
immaterial pieces, but still hanging on
high, its purpose a series
of nods back and forward
across the steel pole,
clanging, asking the unwritable
graffiti in block orange letters
spelling out death to immigrants
screams across the brick
walls, crumbling from the weight
of the concerns of the before,
but fluorescent, bright in …
Listen to the poem below:
It’s where the border breaks
Into a mirage of daffodils.
Where the water shines
Like stretched metal.
Where a blue finch’s whims
Leads you on a summer’s day.
It emerges from the fog-addled eye
Of the deep circumference,
A jolt in the brain’s machinery,
A passing through.
From the dark, collective waters,
The memory-voiding sea,
It gradually appears:
Green motes, neural tinge of light,
The beautiful vehicle of the body’s motion.
We move through the familiar space
Piecing together the painted fragments:
Trees, cities, your brother’s rusted car.
The entire wavering …Read article
Two Cities Review has a call for submissions fora special themed issue appearing in March. In light of the election, we wanted to tackle the divide between the rural and urban experience in this country. We are looking for stories, poems, and essays that capture rural or small-town life in some way, or engage with the divide between the urban and the rural. You can submit here: twocitiesreview.com/submit.
On a muggy August night
soundtracked by cicada choruses
we speak in nods and murmurs
as the children cling,
sleep-warmed weights against our shoulders.
The sprinkler system stutters its hello.
Later with drinks on the patio
we say little, if only because so
little needs saying after such
a long journey. It’s as though
these shapes in their familiarity
crowd out the need for words:
the porch lights, the gas grill, the patio stones.
Here where we left them
are the trappings of our lives,
and if whatever’s buried
under still-gleaming covers and screens
is trying to proclaim
We’re going home for the holidays in our December issue. But what is home? And how do we get there anyway? Our crop of writers is conflicted about the nostalgia of homecoming and the sometimes dark places the journey can take us.
Winter in the city can be cruel. The writers in this issue expose us to the small and large sadnesses of people we pass in the street, whether it’s a woman wandering, lost in the throes of dementia, or a brutal subway accident that we wish we’d never seen. A bystander exhorts us in one poem, …Read article
At five o’clock on a Tuesday I met my friend Mark at Piccadilly. He’d been in the Scottish Highlands; I’d been in Paris. He still talks about how strange it was to be in another country and to see my young face appearing like an apparition out of the crowds. Under Cupid’s aimed bow and arrow, we stood with our arms around the girls we loved back then, as a polite English punk with spiked blue hair took our snapshot. In the evening a light rain was falling as the four of us walked through SoHo, looking …Read article
At fifteen my mother curled inwards,
dredging up pearl and brine
from the sewer she kept in her stomach.
She painted worlds like liquid skyscrapers
and suckered poems onto her wrists like barnacles.
I was fourteen when I tried to die,
folding school tie into an escape ladder.
Later, I told lies about the hole in my ceiling
I still don’t think she believed.
When my father cried for the first time in years,
his own mother smooth and small in her coffin
the aunts sang their tears
into a hundred paper lanterns
their faces puckered by …