Poets Read: Paul Edward Costa and Mary Ellen Talley

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poems are Magic Lamp Semantics by Paul Edward Costa, which appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review, and Light of Newgrange at Winter Solstice by Mary Ellen Talley, which appeared in the Winter 2019 Issue of Gyroscope Review.

Magic Lamp Semantics
by Paul Edward Costa


You’ll never hear sentences
                             so elaborately
                             and carefully constructed
as the wishes now made to genies,
so airtight
                 (filled with dashes and semi-colons)
that they’re immune to any cruel,
                                             ironic,
                                            “Twilight Zone” interpretations,
leaving the occupants of magic lamps
                   brooding behind folded arms,
nostalgic for an era
                          when well-wishers spoke carelessly,
                          so genies could openly engage
                          in the malevolent manipulations
                                    reserved for the gods.

Light / of Newgrange at Winter Solstice
by Mary Ellen Talley

I.
my good works determine entrance 
to the passage tomb / I traipse upon green sedge /
so much wild tuft growing above kerbstones / my heart
shimmies past carved crosshatches / my mother
lets me trace and follow semi-circles / triple spirals 
on smooth rock until I sleep / until shadows startle me / 
I am not as awake as if I were a modern clock face / 
human face / what is it about face that draws attention /
I follow seasons / where gleanings / from my pagan history 
know no sound reason for a virgin birth / for any 
spinning dreidel / floating lantern / my future / but today

I make toy rainbows / I make shadow play / 
I make prisms on a dewy leaf / come out / come out /
whatever is cast / recast / this is my megalith
I work the sheer joy shaft of shine /
no matter how doubtful / they will count my days /
add me to a calendar / I watched stout folk pull 
heavy stones / along the River Boyne / 
my mother said my red hair was born of sun
and moon / I was born on the longest night / 
I make the year into a circle / light to light / 
dust to dust / crust of the earth turns pale 
under my toes / my mother’s trust / entrusted to me / 
I go barefoot upon cairns / without dislodging any stones / 
I know / I am / unknown / I follow the procession 
into the sanctuary / and wait for my birth

II.
no matter  
that some settling 
has occurred
these five thousand years
I shine / I shine /
and here I am /
I pierce the light box /
I am the certainty of a cupped circle /
whatever it holds inside hands /
I make the earth’s round lips 
say / Oh

About the Poets:

Paul Edward Costa

Paul Edward Costa is a Canadian writer, teacher, and spoken word artist who has published over fifty stories, articles, and poems in publications such as Brick Books, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Inside the Bell Jar, Alt-Minds Literary Magazine, Entropy Magazine, and REAL: Regarding Arts and Letters; his novella Dark Magic on the Edge of Town was put out by Paperback-Press. As a spoken word poet, he performs regularly at many poetry reading series in the Greater Toronto Area. 

Mary Ellen Talley’s poems have recently been published in Raven Chronicles, U City Review and Ekphrastic Review as well as in anthologies, All We Can Hold and Ice Cream Poems. Her poetry has received two Pushcart Nominations.

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Poets Read: Elya Braden

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poem is Measuring the Volume of My Absence by Elya Braden and it appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

Measuring the Volume of My Absence
by Elya Braden

It’s cool here under the earth,
              darkness blessing the stars.
                           I am coal crushed into diamonds. 

Dusk now the doorway 
             to my satisfaction. Between lake
and garden, stage lights beckon.

Earthworms unravel after a storm; 
death, in heels, sudden and concrete. 

                           I am changing faster 
than a sequence of locks, 
                          stairs and sand.

The compass spins, True North spreading 
             in Puget Sound, each wave: 
                          Surrender, love, surrender.

                          I empty the stones
                                       from my pockets,
                          swallow the moon.
Elya Braden

About the Poet: Elya Braden took a long detour from her creative endeavours to pursue an eighteen-year career as a corporate lawyer and entrepreneur. She is now a writer and collage artist living in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in Algebra of Owls, Forge, Gyroscope Review, The Main Street Rag, The Chiron Review, Willow Review and elsewhere. You can find her online at www.elyabraden.com

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Poets Read: Suzanne S. Rancourt

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poem is Cleaning Drawers by Suzanne S. Rancourt and it appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

Cleaning Drawers
by Suzanne S. Rancourt


How many pair of underpants does a woman need?
Is more than a hundred too many? 

Filigree of fancy or fantasy 
of spidery vine delicate touch
a role-playing moment of pleasure
to be wanted for the right reasons

Blueberry print thongs of spandex and microfiber 
the blue of childhood
a first job in the endless fields across ledge outcrops
blueberries
our bodies browned - sun rise to sun set
August heat 
wind streaked our flesh with adolescences 
like thunder’s voluptuous raindrops sliding across the windshield
smearing bug guts 
knees banging stick shifts
deft fingers on zippers

White cotton crotch dainty dance in Cuba 
and Saint John and the fabric breathes
lightning rhythms 
stains of blood on blood browned copper
from excessive bleach and hot dryers
iron made solid and stern

Did I wear these 
the day molten blood erupted from my creviced thighs
and flood its burning gush through 
layers of crisp whites to my knees
making women gasp in the wooden bathroom stalls
between cool white porcelain and cracked mirrors?

Tangerine, purple, turquoise thongs 
worn through miles of rowing, literally
tons of leg presses, dips, and flies 
hours of hard full body sparring, thousands 
of leg lifts, sit ups, pull ups
marching   marching   marching
designated grannie panties 
pragmatic in their ability to hold up panty hose 
when worn on the outside
under Dress Greens 
or when suits are required for job interviews 
and other various career failures -
there are the favorites worn 
to entice the few 
I loved

There was no cleaning my uterus enough
so I had it removed

A drawer full of stains I no longer wear
because I’ve given up trying to be clean
trying to be that young and innocent again
I’m tainted with this concept of revelry 
in the notion 
that no underwear is best 
when a sea breeze flutters about the hem 
of the blue dress with turquoise salamanders and Kokopellis 
brush with god
a twist of sweet grass

Semen soaked cotton crotch panties burn brightest 
in the backyard fire pit at equinoctial midnight
brighter 
than Venus as Morning Star

About the Poet: Suzanne S. Rancourt is Abenaki/Huron descent from West Central Maine, residing in the Adirondack Mountains, New York. Her work appears in Grey Borders Magazine, Exposition Review, Big Pond Rumours, Women Speak-Women of Appalachia Project, Tiny Flames Press, Quiddity, River Heron Review, Shaking the Sheets, The Gyroscope Review, theSame, Young Ravens Literary Review # 8, Tupelo Press Native Voices Anthology, Bright Hill Press 25th Anniversary Anthology, Dawnland Voices 2.0 #4, Northern New England Review, Bear Review, Three Drops Press, Snapdragon Journal, mgversion2>datura, Sirsee, Slipstream, Collections of Poetry and Prose, Muddy River Poetry Review, Ginosko, Journal of Military Experience, Cimarron Review, Callaloo. Billboard in the Clouds received the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas First Book Award. murmurs at the gate, forthcoming Unsolicited Press, May 2019. She is a USMC and Army veteran and continues to serve as a Mentor for the Saratoga County Veterans’ Peer to Peer program.

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Poets Read: Mary Ellen Shaughan

We are pleased to offer our Poets Read series in honor of National Poetry Month 2019 and will run it throughout the month of April. 

Every day in April, our website and our YouTube channel will feature the voice of a poet whose work has appeared in our pages over the past year. On Sundays, we will offer two poets for your enjoyment. 

Today’s poem is How It All Started by Mary Ellen Shaughan and it appeared in the Spring 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

How It All Started
by Mary Ellen Shaughan


No one is sure how it started. 
Someone, no one can remember who,
tossed a burning vowel into 
the conversation knowing 

that it would probably 
spark a fire, but was either too 
slow or maybe unwilling
to retrieve it before 

the entire dialogue went up in flames. 
It caught the rest of them off-guard 
and for what seemed like hours
but was actually minutes 

they tossed their own smoking 
syllables into the fray and yet 
they seemed surprised when 
stored resentments snapped and popped, 

shooting burning invectives 
searing and sizzling deep 
into vulnerable hearts, eradicating 
the site where trust once lived.

Mary Ellen Shaughan

About the Poet: Mary Ellen Shaughan is a native Iowan who now lives in a hotbed of poetry in Western Massachusetts. Her poetry has appeared in Foliate Oak, Gyroscope Review, Califragile, A Quiet Courage, Page & Spine, Blue Moon, 2River View and others. Her first collection of poetry, Home Grown, is available on Amazon. 

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