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Cheryl Dumesnil. When There’s No Money Left.

3 Dec


Pushcart nominee: Sean Thomas Dougherty. Willing to Exchange:

2 Dec

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

Our last nominee is Sean Thomas Dougherty. Sean is the author or editor of 13 books including the forthcoming New and Selected All I Ask for is Longing Poems 1994-2014 (2014 BOA Editions) Scything Grace (2013 Etruscan Press), Sasha Sings the Laundry on the Line (2010 BOA Editions), the novella The Blue City (2008 Marick Press) and Broken Halllelujahs (2007 BOA Editions). His awards include two PA Council for the Arts Fellowships in Poetry, and a Fulbright Lectureship to the Balkans where he appeared on National television in Macedonia and Albania. He works in a pool hall, gives readings around the country, and teaches creative writing part-time.

Willing to Exchange:

Jeans for a dress, slacks for a shirt,
a torpedo for turmeric: your voice
for all the things you never said. Shoes
the wrong size. Old boyfriends for old bosses.
An anthology of sighs for a calendar
of false rumors. Heels for flats. Ravishing
for plain. Plain for vanilla. Vanilla f
or blue Italian ices we shared. The unchartered
for a map, lighting for a lightning bug (firefly
for a last match). A light bulb
for a shadow—one to keep you company.
The ATM for Ms Kolokowski the bank teller
you always wanted to kiss. Jasmine
for myrrh. Night for blur. Blur for clear
as a day of childhood sunlight
at the playground and your mother
is still alive, smoking a cigarette
by the chain-link fence. Your mother
for your drowned brother. Your drowned brother
for your overdosed friend. The dead
for the living. Please forgive me. Forgiveness
for sacrifice. Sacrifice for a trip to France.
The weight of magnesium for a thimbleful of salt.
The salt inside tears for a fifth of Scotch.
At the funeral of your drowned brother.
The day you told me you were leaving. To be left
at the train station. For taxi fare to Coney Island.
For a Coney with all the works. For a walk on the boardwalk
alone. For the argument that lasted into the AM,
the one where you threw the clock at my head
and yelled I was taking too long,
and how you didn’t understand why
I was laughing because it was metaphor. Any metaphor
for the weight of your hand. The rain, for near
any light. Three days of being seven, for five years
of being a teenager. The year seventeen
for the year thirty six (but would thirty six
have sucked if not for seventeen?) Any precise
and honest answer for the most obtuse question.
A knife to cut the rope. Duck tape to fix it.
Bound for freedom. Freedom for sanctuary. Body
for Ethereal. Ethereal for the black earth, a hemp robe,
and paraplegic braces. A wood stove in winter
for a garden of sunflowers in summer. Lilacs
for lilies. Lilies for orchids. A dozen orchids
for a Chinese dragon kite. Eating Duck Chow Fon
slowly with my father (for the silence, any wrong word).
Three nights in jail for disorderly conduct for a bladder infection
on the crowded Amtrak. (That one’s a steal—remember
where we were going, we couldn’t find a urinal
but the city was full of sparklers), just before they burnt out
the children would throw them
like shooting stars. How they disappeared
into the dark. A broken thing
for the black itself. A rechargeable battery for a free pass
to the Museum of Laments. Your absence
for anything, anything—

Pushcart nominee: Robert Daniels. County Employee.

30 Nov

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

Today’s nominee is Rob Daniels, a creative writing major at Cleveland State University. His major focus for writing is in both poetry and playwrighting. He is a long term vegetarian, avid bike rider, and out and proud comic book nerd. 


 County Employee

Enough with paper trail chains. Enough…five years
treading through shit without much luck. Five years-

early mornings- this is life?- quick coffee driving
end to end of this crooked county for a buck. Five years

spent, elbow deep, latex connections, other peoples’ time.
Ceil blue waders, fade with the murk and the muck. Five years,

mourning in afternoons, and in the night- permanently
raw- hearing Mr. Daniels!!! In tuts and clucks. Five years

in windowless pink and green basements, casting now shadows,
drifting- smile face façade- left to dodge and duck. If I’ve years

robbed from me- you do not think of me- mornings,
maybe mourning shouldn’t be why I wake up. Five years?

Pushcart nominee: Jose Padua. Gin and the River.

29 Nov

Six of our beautiful writers have been nominated for the 2013 Pushcart prize. Over the next week, we will feature each of them, along with the nominated work.

Today’s nominee is Jose Padua. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in Bomb, Salon, The Weeklings, and many other places. He was a featured reader at the 2012 Split This Rock poetry festival. He and his wife, the poet Heather Davis, write the blog Shenandoah Breakdown.


Gin and the River

If the river could speak like gin,
the greater the flow the more
the woods that surround us
would sound like stray dogs,
the more the water flooding
the banks would warm us rather
than chill us like a scene in a scary
movie. If the river could speak like
gin, the closer we’d be to Asia, the
continent, not the Italian actress, but
maybe her, too. We’d be close
enough to walk to the Great Wall
and then we’d walk the Great Wall,
gazing out at the hills of northern China
and southern Inner Mongolia, walking
and gazing until our feet get sore or
until someone calls us and tells us
it’s time to come home. If the river
could speak like gin we’d come
to the river more often with juice
and tonic and lemons. We’d bring
the knife and we’d cut the lemons
into wedges right there, savoring
the sting of lemon juice on our fingers,
then licking our fingers and making
funny faces that last as long as the wait
between the lightning flash and the thunder.
And then we’d drink the river, even though
it isn’t really gin, because the river spoke
to us, because it acted like gin. Because
when the river speaks to us like gin we
believe it more. We pull our glass tumblers
down from the top shelf and we walk—
through a darkness so thick we have to
push it aside with our hands and kick
it away with our feet—to the river,
ready to go crazy like static on the
radio, ready to drink until everything
in space is dark again, until our
fingers feel numb with the power.




The Fall Pea River Journal is now available.

27 Nov

And we are so excited to share it with you.

176 pages of beautiful work: 73 new poems, five stories, a creative nonfiction essay, photographs and a folio, and an intertext from the letters of John Keats.

Just ten dollars. Go get yours.


our top 11 posts: poems and interviews you chose

3 Nov

We’ve been here for a year now, and we’ve shared work we believe in, artists and writers who matter, work we love and know you’ll love, too, if you just know it exists. We’re happy you’re walking this path with us.

And as we complete work on the Remaking Moby-Dick special issue and start preparing our late-fall regular issue of the Pea River Journal, we’re reminded of what you’ve loved the most at PRJ in 2013.

Everybody else has a top ten. We have a top 11:

Robert Gray, “Humidity”

Robert Gray, “The Day I Was Born

Grant Clauser, “Objects in Motion

Robert Daniels, “County Employee

Weam Namou, “A Mentor

Joseph Sentrock Perez, Stay Fly

Cheryl Dumesnil, “It’s not the Holy Spirit

Rita Patel, interview

Remaking Moby-Dick call

Jeff St James, “Bush Soul

Molly Gaudry, interview

If you missed any of them, please go read or view them now. And let us (and the artists) know what you think.

And, of course, more is on the way. We are seeing the light at the end of the Melville tunnel and starting to hear the hum and churn of the river again.

sean readingweam

Ingenstans. A short film by Talan Memmott.

24 Aug
Badger, Party of 7


james (w) moore

poems, and the poet who poems them

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

(Somewhat) Daily News from the World of Literary Nonfiction

Vinita Words

It's always about writing...

David J. Bauman

Author of Angels & Adultery

MarLa Sink Druzgal

Freelance Creative Professional

Beth Gilstrap

Writer * Reader * Editor

Anthony Wilson

The Year of Living Deeply


Just another site


(The poetry blog of Grant Clauser)

Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics

Just another site

Largehearted Boy

a roominghouse for the servants of the duende