Feature Poet: Marisa Silva-Dunbar

Marisa Silva-Dunbar has been published in Anti-Heroin Chic, Better than Starbucks, Gargoyle Magazine, Poetry WTF?!, Redheaded Stepchild, and Words Dance Magazine. She graduated from the University of East Anglia with her MA in poetry, and has been shortlisted twice for the Eyewear Publishing Fortnight Poetry Prize. The E.I.C. of Neon Mariposa Magazine, you can follow Marisa on Twitter @theSweetMaris.


Je ne sais quoi                                                                                                                                                  —Found poem from Allison Mack’s Website

I’m attracted to the struggle of women—
I lived my life conflicted,
never satisfied, raging.

I felt threatened by them—
with painted lips and cat eyes in cashmere sweaters,
the CEOs in crisp, tailored business suits and pumps,
tough chicks in leather pants and white tank tops,
“Good Girls,” in white sundresses and heart-shaped glasses,
hikers in a ponytail with a backpack, and toned arms,
the club beauties in tight, bright body clinging dresses and bling,
Gamer Girls in concert tees and torn jeans.

This was a secret I kept
I wanted to be able to sink
into the women I surrounded myself with.


Love-bombed: November 23rd, 2017                                                                                                        —Found poem from Frank Report

Allison was ripe for the picking:
wealthy, at the start of a quarter
life crisis, searching for a cause
where she could take root and bloom—
there was no one to tether her,
not the paramour she kissed in moonlight,
not even her sweet-sponging mom & dad.

I was there her first weekend,
the ladies love-bombed her
with candied words for wooing.
She indulged it—soaked in their adoration.

The ladies knew how to get their talons
into her bones—how to make her feel
like she was chosen—the high priestess
they’d scoured the globe for.

Before the weekend was over,
they wanted to know, was she willing to be sacrificed
to their god? For the ritual she’d have to swallow
his words, lie on their altar and let him carve her
into his ideal, and he would crown her with Venus
trap, bilberry, oleander, and pomegranate blossoms.

She flew out the next day, to meet the god she’d been waiting for.


March 14th, 2014: My Global Museum Tour, Museum #2: The Neue Galerie                               —Found poem from Allison Mack’s Blog

A typical Vancouver evening: it’s raining—
the street lights reflect off the puddles on the concrete.
I’m living in an impressionist’s masterpiece.
We’ve become a staple here at the Shanghai Bistro.
A glass of white wine sitting in front of me,
finishing the last of the Chinese green beans.

His head is freshly shaven—
his beard bleeds right into his sideburns.
I have never seen him so tidy.
I’ve learned about Shakespeare, good wine, sexual innuendos, art.
Thanks to him, I have a list of “divine places not to be missed.”
Before him, I want. He teaches me how to be decadent, curious.
A true gentleman, he always opens my door, puts his napkin in his lap
—but then he launches into that raw, gritty world,
I’ve been so afraid of exploring.

I call him Big Daddy. He subtly puts me in my place—
shows me the beauty in all things dirty and unkempt.
The secret is all characters are looking to get laid.
The natural reddening of my cheeks in his presence
has become a reflex. He likes the smell of sweat.

I picture John living in his TriBeCa loft—
just after the height of the civil rights movement,
long before the AIDS crisis.
Manhattan was filled with bohemians.
I imagine brawls and free love; Woodstock 24/7.

I see my Big Daddy hosting dinner parties—
wish I was there with him, flowers in my hair,
peasant skirts caressing the floor,
bare feet and sun-kissed shoulders.
There, I embrace the bitter, dirty, sexy and sloppy parts of me.
I finally understand why John has been pushing me
to admit when I am horny or hairy. He loves the rawness of human beings;
the more he sees me—the more I let go.


All Hail! Want to learn more about Marisa Silva-Dunbar, including more about her found poetry regarding NXIVM? Then, click on the GIF of Allison Mack and Keith Raniere below, and visit Marisa’s personal site . . .

Previous Feature: DF Paul

DF Paul is a writer living in the midwestern United States. He hates writing about himself without the guise of creative deniability. A list of his published work can be seen at dfpaul.wordpress.com


The Ridge

You tell lies on The Ridge;
when a man with maggots in his hair
asks you a question
and stares hard to the right of you
the truth is unimportant.
You say whatever ends the conversation
or keeps it at skin level.
You’re under the trees in Kansas City,
a hundred feet up a hill
from the interstate.
Doesn’t matter which one.
They’re all the same.
You’re about to sleep on a fucking door.
You don’t feel compelled to open your heart.
So when a piece of glass
with an impenetrable cloud inside
comes your way, you say, “Hey,
what about a cigarette instead?”
You don’t even smoke.


The Fingers Lie

Four walls on a hill.
Ghost light barely breathes
A thing in the dark
with no use for eyes
or rest.
The record that plays,
its name lost in time,
stutters then slows.

The fire burns down low.
The last note lingers
then fades.
The music is gone
or he cannot hear
what sings.
Silence is distance
no voice can measure
without practice.

The night settles in
and he becomes cold
then numb,
lost in memories
where he does not touch,
but feels.
He claws at the ground;
his bones must tell him
his fingers lie.


A Voice That Barely Speaks

This is our voice,
this is our soul,
this is the last of our control.
This is our lie,
this is our face,
this is the depth of our disgrace.

This is the image we have chosen to portray,
our hope that an imagined light will never fade.
This is the wordless song we only wish we’d sung,
the frail notes and the fallen leaves we’d danced among.

This is another night alone.
This is the truth we needed most.
This is the lie we tell ourselves.
This is our love of getting well.
This is the strength we never had.
This is our silent reprimand.
This is the timid voice within.
This is the way we’ve always been.

This is the way we’ve always been.


All Hail! Care to learn more about DF Paul? Read more of his published writings? Or, view some of his photography? Then, click on the image below, titled “When We Want,” and give his personal site a visit . . .

Previous Feature: Tom Snarsky

Tom Snarsky teaches mathematics at Malden High School in Malden, Massachusetts, USA. For links to all of his previously published work, please visit https://quarrellary.wordpress.com/.


House of Fluids

Committing miracles
To memory. Proudly

Failing to improve.
Letting the gardens

Hang. Doing leather
One better. Keep him

In the swim of my
Dream. These pool

Noodle maidens
All whitened with

Snow. Our house
Arrest on purpose.

I can see your body
From way over here.


Vacuously True

If I’m in love, then the wind will blow
Violently through the forest tonight. If my
Heart is still aflame, then there are baby turtles
That won’t make it all the way to sea.

If my gestures tell you everything, then
There will be no need for any music. If you need
A ride, then I think I know where we could maybe stay.
If you tell me every secret you have

Written down on a tiny slip of paper and put
Away in your Secret Jar, then I will run
My nails across the toy chalkboard
That’s been in your basement for ages. If

I can erase its ancient, caked-on sketch of
Terabithia, then I swear that this entire kingdom will be yours.


Concord Grape Jelly

There were men there. There were
other winds. Light music playing in
the background. Warp, weft, and
whisper in the pines. I have no way
to understand your dream. Keep
the barriers legible and real. With
no contact. With no memory at all.


All Hail! To read Tom Snarsky’s first chapbook, Number Among (2017), simply click on the cover image below and visit Epigraph Magazine. It’s free!

Previous Feature: Joan Colby

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Atlanta Review, Gargoyle, Little Patuxent Review, Midwestern Gothic Poetry, Pinyon, South Dakota Review, Spillway, and others. The author of over twenty books, her recent collections include Carnival (FutureCycle Press, 2016), and The Seven Heavenly Virtues (Kelsay Books, 2017). Visit Joan on Facebook, or on Twitter @poetjm.


Ignorance and Vanity

In books, you’re told that truth is beauty.
That Becky Sharp was vain
And ambitious. Qualities that make up
Misfortune. To sturdily face
The dilemmas of every morning
Builds character. You must turn the other cheek

When a game ends in a check-
Mate. So many lessons mention beauty
Is a trap that leads to mourning
As it fades. The old queen, so vain,
The mirror inspires murder. A perfect face
Of a young girl void of makeup.

All these stories are, of course, made up
To convince the stubborn and the cheeky
Of their mistakes. Face
It. Anna Sewell in Black Beauty
Said innocence is no excuse. It is just vanity
Talking like birds flaying the morning

With their mating songs. The Masai moran
Confronts the lion to make up
His song of bravery. Vain
Of his accomplishments, he chucks
The spear into the heart. This is beauty,
This death. Look upon the face

When the skull gives up its face
To the elements unmooring
All that remained of beauty.
This woman carefully applying makeup
To lips and eyes and cheeks
Never dreams that vanity

Cannot preserve her. The weather vane
Whirls like time. A Janus face
With hard eyes and puffed cheeks.
The son of the morning
Will save you. Who makes up
These stories; dubious, but beautiful.

Beauty and truth. Morning and evening.
The dual face that turns its cheeks
To make up for the ignorant and the vain.


By Design                                                                                                                                           “Less is more only when more is too much.”                                                                                                     —Frank Lloyd Wright

The doorways, low, dark, off-center
To favor the small man.
That was personal.

Stepping forward to where the ceiling lifts
Like a cumulonimbus cloud. An apparition and light
Coalesces in a beam you can almost reach.
That was universal.
So design matters, its language subtle,
Then direct as a bullet
Aimed for the heart.

And seeing is also speaking
In the click tongue of savages
Or the spreading rays of the Romance
Languages where words have gender.

Using the simplest materials
Means you can do more
With what has been saved.
Uncomplicated words tell stories
Even a child can comprehend

But we are not children
Anymore. The argument for embellishment
Ricochets in the stone walls
Of the prison where you articulate
The passage of time with Roman
Numerals, crossing out memories
One by one.

When the explicit becomes a ruin
You can paw through it searching
For shards. Examine how the double arches
Have held for a thousand years.
You pocket rubble for souvenirs

As if the construction
Of the obvious can help you
Understand what’s not.

All Hail! Joan Colby’s most recent full-length collection of verse is Her Heartsongs (Presa Press, 2018). To learn more, please visit her personal site by clicking on the cover image below . . .

Or, feel free to order the book directly via Presa Press.

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