Poets Read: Babo Kamel and Leslie Smith Townsend

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 She writes his name by Babo Kamel, which appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review, and Till the Fat Lady Sings by Leslie Smith Townsend, which appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

She writes his name 
by Babo Kamel


the handsome, entitled teenage boy
mean as a blister, right smack
in the middle of a poem.
Both first and last, ensures no
confusion. Poetic justice?
Nothing slant about it. Just there
naked on the page.

I knew a boy like him
wild in high school, all sex and smirk
whom I half wanted, because although
he seemed hard, his mouth was beautiful
and though he seemed totally into
himself, he was smart. Did I say his mouth
was beautiful? 

Trilingual, his lips would flirt words
Think blueberry, bluet, or myrtilós
such sounds of seduction, right there
in the classroom. Oh, what secrets
the tongue held in the cave of a mouth
what longings resided between the teeth.
How deeply we hid our crushes
blushing through our teens. 

Now imagine you’re 15 again. You don’t want to
but you do. You should worry about a pimple
on your chin or plan your monologue
for drama auditions. Instead you wonder how 
to explain for the rest of your life, the scars
on your arm, that no matter how many times
you cut the name of a shot boy into your skin
he’s not coming back.

Till the Fat Lady Sings
by Leslie Smith Townsend


You might learn something yet,
you, my almighty daughter
and you, my omniscient son.

I haven’t emptied myself 
to fashion a future not my own—
a dried out yellow husk,

a dead or dying cicada.
I live, breathe, create, 
climb—Watch me!

Won’t you be surprised 
when you look to the summit 
of mountain, sky, and stars to see

this woman you call, Mother.
Cock your head up, not down;
She’s not in the ground, life over;

She’s flying—
blowing you kisses from mid-air.

About the Poets:

Babo Kamel

Originally from Montreal, Canada, Babo Kamel’s poems have appeared in literary reviews in the US, Australia, and Canada. Some of these include Painted Bride Quarterly, Abyss & Apex, The Greensboro Review, Cleaver, The Grolier Poetry Prize, Contemporary Verse 2, Rust +Moth, Mobius, a Journal of Social Change, and 2River Review. She was a winner of The Charlotte Newberger Poetry Prize and is a five-time Pushcart nominee, and a Best of the Net nominee. Her chapbook, After, is published with Finishing Line Press. Find her at: babokamel.com 

Leslie Smith Townsend

Leslie Smith Townsend is a poet, essayist, and memoirist whose work has been published inLEO, Journeys, The Louisville Review, Courier-Journal, Arable, Literary Mama, Christian Science Monitor,Friends Journal, Gyroscope Review, Metafore,and in the anthologies,Voices of AlcoholismandShow Me All Your Scars. She is a graduate of Spalding University’s MFA in writing program. In addition, she has a Ph.D. in the psychology of religion. She is the recipient of the Betty Gabehart prize in creative nonfiction, a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women, a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, and a post-graduate fellowship from Spalding University’s MFA in Writing.

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Poets Read: Deborah L. Davitt

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 Hitogata by Deborah L. Davitt and it appeared in the Summer 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

Hitogata
by Deborah L. Davitt


The world needs scapegoats and sin-eaters;
through which we might cast
our culpability into a doll,
a piece of bread, a slice of godly flesh,

washing them away in running water, 
through which no evil spirit can pass,
or watch our sins slide,
sleekly buttered like a crumpet
past someone’s kindly lips,

erased and absolved,
taken on someone else’s shoulders—
oh, if only if guilt could be absolved
instead of perpetuated endlessly
in an endless cacophony online.

I swallowed my opinions,
buried them deep in my own gullet
where no one could hear my
confession and condemn me—
made my own flesh
my hitogata,

until I opened my eyes one night
to find myself surrounded
by a swarm of paper dolls
all wearing my face, 
shuffling shiff-shiff, each to each,
as each flattened body slithered
under the door 
to seek new homes.

I should have drowned them first.

Deborah L. Davitt

About the Poet: Deborah L. Davitt was raised in Reno, Nevada, but received her MA in English from Penn State. She currently lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and son. Her poetry has received Rhysling and Pushcart nominations and appeared in over twenty journals; her short fiction has appeared in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Compelling Science Fiction, Grievous Angel, and The Fantasist. For more about her work, please see www.edda-earth.com

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Poets Read: Gail Goepfert

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 Tête-á-Tête at Trader Joe’s by Gail Goepfert and it appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of Gyroscope Review.

Tête-á-tête at Trader Joe’s
by Gail Goepfert


Tightly tucked petals of peony buds bobbed 
in the plastic tub. I nearly missed them.  

An older woman with a bright face stood in front
of her walker holding a fistful of stems, and I backtrack

sensing I’ve found someone else who crushes on them. 
Do you know the secret to getting peonies to bloom? I ask.

I’ve tried everything to resurrect the costly five stems 
I purchased elsewhere. Try these, she says, and cut 

the stems at the deepest angle possible, then put them 
in room temperature water, not warm, not cold.
  
As she describes the bounty of peonies in her yard, 
her eyes light, but she’s lost her husband, needs to move, 

she knows she does, because she can’t afford to stay, 
and she’s 84, and it’s hard to be transplanted, 

and her son’s here somewhere, in from Philadelphia. 
And finally I say I can’t really buy any today 

because I’m going out of town. I’ll mind them for you. 
Call me and tell me you’re the lady in Trader Joe’s, 

and I’ll remember, I will, and we stand in our own vortex 
of bloom-love deciding which color to rescue, 

the pale pink or the raspberry-sorbet. And I open 
my phone and enter her name, Jane Horowitch

she says, witch like the one on the broomstick
Her son wheels up with his cart, and I move on 

as I know he’s likely to be troubled that his mother’s 
given her number to a stranger so I say goodbye. 

And as I reach for pretzel bread and bananas 
not far away I hear him say, No, and I hear 

her reply, But I’ll pay for them. I will. I’ll pay.
Gail Goepfert

About the Poet: Gail Goepfert is an ardent poet, photographer, and teacher. Currently, she’s an associate editor of RHINO Poetry and teaches classes online at National Louis University. Her story spans the Midwest in locations between the Mississippi River and northern Ohio, but her passion for travel is endless. She authored a chapbook, A Mind on Pain, released by Finishing Line Press early in 2015. A book, Tapping Roots, from Aldrich Press was published in early 2018, and a second book will make its way into the world in 2019, published by Cervena Barva Press. Publications include Blue Lyra, Crab Orchard and Jet Fuel Reviews, Minerva Rising, Found Poetry Review, Kudzu House, Switchgrass Review, Red Hill Paint Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Concis, Room Magazine, Switchgrass, Red Hill Paint, Stoneboat, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kudzu Review, Open, Journal of Arts and Letters, and Rattle, and she’s had four nominations for a Pushcart Prize. Her photographs appear online at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Olentangy Review, Storm Cellar, and 3Elements Review and on the cover of February 2015 Rattle. She lives, writes, and snaps photos in the Chicagoland area. 

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Poets Read: Carol L. Deering

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 Weightlessness by Carol L. Deering and it appeared in the Winter 2019 issue of Gyroscope Review.

Weightlessness
by Carol L. Deering


Tonight the stars flake
and groan

            over alfalfa fields,
igniting the dark 

snaky road
behind the ambulance

on our way
to Emergency.  


I should have grabbed
my tripod, wide-angle lens 

patience, as they’ll
make us wait. 

You lie looking up,
bright lights

focus on ancient calm,
awe laced with  



smash-ups, distant
radioactive flares

varied exposure, 
drifting digits

cold and immense,
a radiance, a cure, a cry. 

Freefall, recovery.
The buoyancy of sky.   

About the Poet: Carol L. Deering has twice received the Wyoming Arts Council Poetry Fellowship (2016 and 1999). Her poems appear in online and traditional journals and anthologies, and in her first book, published in fall 2018: Havoc & Solace: Poems from the Inland West (Sastrugi Press). http://www.sastrugipress.com/

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