Poetry Section: Phonetic Poems

February is a wonderful month. The Write from Wrong team sends our love for Valentine’s Day packed in these perfect, simple poems. Poets Jennifer Browne, Kristene Brown, and Keith Gaboury twirl the power of language with every word on the page.

T.S. Eliot once wrote, “Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood.” These poets give us the ability to understand their words and interact with their texts. We are proud to present this month’s poetry section.

Grab you a warm cup of coffee or a tasty cup of tea and enjoy.

Jennifer Browne

Fornication is term specific
to sexual relations between
a man and a woman
who are not married to each other.
Married people, therefore, do not fornicate.
This may not be a surprise.
The term is from the Latin fornix,
an arch or vault,
but became slang for brothel
from prostibulae beckoning out of doorways.
The vaginal fornices are the fleshy vault of
the deepest part of the vagina, but
a fornix is also either of a pair of bands of white fibers
beneath the corpus callosum of the brain.
The corpus callosum is the “tough body,”
and these bands are the fornices.
Perhaps it is the stimulation of these fornices
that really provides pleasure when one fornicates
and this is why it sometimes happens
outside of marriages,
as our habits keep us
from reaching deeply enough
into the toughened doorways of the brain.

For Your Father

In the dream, I was lecturing
to a class of disaffected students
about an E.E. Cummings poem.
At the time, I knew that it was
the Cummings poem of my mind,
an amalgam of all the poems
I have read.
It made sense, therefore,
when the words
changed into pictographs,
one of which was an eye,
which I thought was ironic,
given that your father is going blind,
and I knew that the dream was about him,
so I lectured on about the poem,
withholding from the students,
as we do, this personal detail
and continued to analyze the pictographs,
which further decomposed,
or were deconstructed,
reduced to something like runes.
All the while, the message was clear
that without memory
words are no longer words
and there are things I can neither
hear nor see
but know
as I turn the page,
facing the bright and blistering sun.

Teaching the Myth of Narcissus

Alteration of one’s own
Ratemyprofessor ratings
begins simply,
with mild self-praise:
“She is very clear.”
“Her class is rarely dull.”
“She is tough, but fair.”
From there, it is easy to develop:
“She is passionate about the subject
and very knowledgeable.”
One might even become grandiose:
“She is brilliant—
one of the smartest people I’ve met”
In the moment,
one could even be forgiven
for adding something else:
“She is the hottest
English teacher I have ever had.”
Look at me.
I deserve a chili pepper.

Kristene Brown
Kristene Brown is a writing student at the University of Missouri Kansas City. She has been previously published in The Unrorean and Amphibi.us. She is also a psychiatric social worker for Kansas City, KS.

Primo Chemo
Shifting metallic shadow
Bend, fold
Move faster than the caster

Depth perception, going, gone,
Racing, resting
Numbing lips, cancer burn

Chemical kiss breath
Ported poison
Bagged and wheeled

Crutch of lichen, propped up
My heavy skull
Weighted with ringing ears

Peppermints by the pound
For nausea
Stand me up, push me out

Radiation blotting blue sky
The ‘Get Well’ bouquet
On the window sill
Is starting to wilt
Is starting to die

A picture of two brothers

Sits serenely, tucked squarely
On mother’s dresser
No frame or structure
It curls, tottering sidelong
Cursive loop of time

Two brothers sit
Sun-scope, glint of gold
Enveloped, surrounded
Cemetery of sentiment
Foot-holes in sand and sorrow

The chore complete
Ashes spread, wisps of
Burned essence, my father
Settled in dirt dessert
Mingling mix of dust, gone

Picture of my father, roughly
The age of two brothers,
Child mind, time trapped
Lamp of shade, mimicked
Chin of one, eyes of another

Fingerprints on film
When held side by side
Two pictures, my father
Looks like the son
To one of my brothers

Keith Gaboury
Keith Gaboury is currently in his second semester at Emerson College’s MFA creative writing program. He previously earned his BA at Baker University and an MA at San Francisco State University.


War and Peace live together now.
They bought a house
overlooking the city skyline
with a white cat and a black refrigerator
where they share the same toothpaste
after eating on opposite ends
of their dining room table.
I am Envy, their neighbor.

They say it won’t last.
Spinning heavy words on wet tongues,
Greed & Generosity gossip in grocery stores
that War hasn’t told Peace
about his bloody past and War
doesn’t know Peace was molested
as a child.

War will invite Love and Hate
over for dinner;
they live a few blocks away
and always come over holding hands.
I can hear them talking long into the night
while drinking red wine
and sharing memories of vacations
along the Kansas shore.

When Angels Smoke
Bansky: Wall and Piece

Sitting in the doorway on black ground,
a smoke clings to your fingers,
a bottle by your feet.
The smoke rises past your halo
(no wire attached)
to strike and break away
from the frame of a scorched skeleton
after the licks of a fire’s tongue
climbed high and wide.
You exist in the remains
of a bombed-out heaven:
arms on knees, wings resting,
a bottle of X within reach.

Sitting in the doorway on black ground,
is this your last swig for the night,
last match you will strike:
a moonlight-only salvation pervades
through the heavy bubbles, sizzling ember
of what you know
should never pass your lips.

Paste, Jason Killingsworth, March / April 2009

The purple stretching across the cloudy horizon
brings her back to picking
Connecticut wildflowers as a girl—
holding it in her palm, the blue center
spread out into petal walls.

You have to come and see this,
but the words barely leave her mouth:
a lightening spear breaks
from a cloud’s grasp—
vaulting her into grass
still moist from the noon rain.

All he hears is a crack standing in the kitchen—
the same hard steady breath
of his older brother’s fist about to strike.
Staring through the mesh holes
of a screen door, he opens his mouth
but nothing spills out. He collapses
onto the concrete walkway, his sobs
trampling Cicadas—the late afternoon hue
broken down.

In the bark of a nearby pine tree,
a halo.
After the ambulance drives away,
the neighbors stand on the sidewalk—
gawking late into a new moon night

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