coyote logic

Coyote Logic is the title of Lisa Dominguez Abraham’s first book of poetry.
I’m pleased to note my painting Coytl – Urban Coyote is on the cover.

Lisa sent a personally inscribed copy to me, which I received yesterday. I read through some of it late last night and early this morning. Here is one of her wonderful poems. I share it with her permission.

Home Remedy by Lisa Dominguez Abraham

The wrinkled print of my mother’s grip
branded my arm when she pulled me,
a toddler, from boiling water I spilled
as I tried to touch steam
rising from the stove.
Years later she said I was still trouble,
refusing dresses and barrettes. Normal girls whispered
about boys—I yodeled to neighborhood dogs,
leading my pack through vacant lots
until the day my throat swelled with strep
so sore I confessed and opened
my mouth to my mom.
She drove me to the railyard,
to a boxcar with wheels rusted fast
and a trellis of bougainvillea.
Inside she whispered Spanish
to an old woman who braced her palm
against my forehead, angled a stick
past my tongue to dab thick salt paste
onto tonsils. Saliva trickled
like broth through constriction, a treatment
to cure strep and perhaps rinse
my voice to a gentler tone.
They listened to me breathe,
eyes narrow, waiting.


Lisa Dominguez Abraham’s poems have appeared in journals such as Southern Review, North American Reviewand Poetry East. Her collection Mata Hari Blows a Kiss won the 2016 Swan Scythe Chapbook Contest, and she is the featured writer in the Spring 2018 Suisun Valley Review. She teaches at Cosumnes River College.

Coyote Logic is published by Blue Oak Press


© All Rights Reserved by Monica Aissa Martinez

hemming flames

I love what some writers can do with words.

Last January, Trish tells me about her soon-to-be-published book. The title is Hemming Flames, she says. My quickest thoughts… fire? forest fire? firemen? wild and out of control fires wanting to contain or control? The response is visceral…fire in the gut?

Months pass and now I hold the hardback book in my hands. I read the title and see the image and make different associations… a cover? clothing? that which we wear? fray? and again…control?

Whatever it is, it gets my attention and keeps it.

Hemming Flames is a beautiful hard back book of very personal poems written by Patricia Colleen Murphy.

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The weekend before I get Murphy’s work, a friend drops over to pick up a book she lent me last summerI recall how I respond to Adrienne Rich’s book, Driving into the Wreck. The title and the words hold my attention. I read through the book the first day and then I have to put it down. It takes time for me to come back to it and read again – slow and careful. I have feelings of determination (to continue reading) and curiosity (understand).

The day I get my copy of Hemming Flames I read late into the evening and then some more first thing the next morning. The days that follow I come to it with curiosity and I have to say…once again that odd feeling of determination…to read with care and let it sink in.

Art.

I email Trish. I ask how people have responded. 

The book has been very well received. I am so glad it’s out in the world. A lot of people have mentioned that they feel it is a brave book. I’m glad for that because it was hard to be that brave.

I agree, she does courageous work.

Today….

 Turkish Get-ups

I thought she meant costumes but she meant
what’s inevitable when you’re down. It is how

to stay exceptionally strong, she says. She says
this to me often out of one of her many mouths.

We’re born prone, she says. Then we roll onto 
our bellies. Up, she says. Get up, she says. Get up.

I am down and I hear her in the other room.
Without visual clues, I can’t tell the exact

meaning of her statements. She says, it is not 
hyperbole if it is true. She says, you began life

as a vowel. She says, people incapable
of guilt can have a really great time.

Years ago, fresh out of grad school, I take lines from Sylvia Plath’s writing.  I creat a series of small drawings (stream of consciousness narratives).  Pulled in by how Plath organizes her words and thoughts, I want to make sense of her writing. I do this with Doris Lessing’s work too. I don’t work in this way anymore but it’s easy to imagine Murphy’s words could hold the framework for such a series.

Here are lines (from different poems) that catch my attention. I separate each by indentation. What I could draw out – I wonder…

I drop a smile into the tub
near the edge. Irretrievable!

and then he carves
sailboats into the linoleum.

all studium and no punctum

I spend all day in a room
with every item I will ever own

Doctor put me on the stare-pills.
I can’t feel my distal parts.

Brava Trish!
To learn more about Patricia Colleen Murphy and her work go to → hemmingflames.com.


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Patricia Colleen Murphy teaches creative writing at Arizona State University where she is the founding editor of the literary magazine Superstition Review. Her poems have appeared in many journals including The Iowa Review, Quarterly West, American Poetry Review, North American Review, Poetry Northwest, Third Coast, Natural Bridge, Black Warrior Review and others. She has received awards from the Associated Writing Programs and the Academy of American Poets, Gulf Coast, Bellevue Literary Review, The Madison Review, Glimmer Train Press, and The Southern California Review. A chapter of her memoir-in-progress is published as a chapbook by New Orleans Review.

four chambers 03

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When Jake Friedman, Founder and Editor in Chief of Four Chambers Press, approached me about creating an artwork for a poem, I asked if we could stay within my general subject area. Yes. I also asked if he could send me something with plenty of time because I like to play with detail. He agreed to this too. He sent a number of writings and after reading through all of them I chose  My Mother’s Body, with Voice (A Microcosmographia) by Nat Fisher. I appreciated the work was about a mother’s body and I particularly enjoyed the word microcosmographia.  I read the poem a few times a day for many days. It was poignant.  I felt like it revealed itself to me one-sentence-at-a-time.

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I appreciate Jake and all the work he does in our community. He juggles much and manages to do it with a light-hearted manner.  I learn Jake takes time to handwrite notes to the people he works with – such a nice touch.

more news …
Four Chambers 03 is officially live at http://fourchamberspress.com/issue03

A hard copy is available for sale and includes 166 pages long and features 55 poems and 18 prose works from 55 authors (over 50% local) with 4 illustrations.
I do hope you can support Four Chambers and all the fine work they do.

Celebration will be at Changing Hands Bookstore, in Phoenix, on November 12th at 6:30.
You’re invited!  For more info → Facebook event.

The evening will include readings from Kelly Nelson, Christopher Danowski, Eric Wertheimer, Edward Kearns, Reese Conner, Melissa Tramuta, Gary Joshua Garrison, Kitt Keller and more.FC 03 Cover BlankFor more information and sample work visit  http://fourchamberspress.com/issue03.
Congratulations to everyone!

Thanks Jake for inviting me to take part.