Episode 141 – Toni Truesdale / Vijay Ses

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Episode 141 – Toni Truesdale / Vijay Seshardi – Toni Truesdale reflects on the meaning of home, particularly as is it experienced by those suffering from Alzheimer’s. She pairs her thoughts with a poem by Vijay Seshadri, winner of the 2014 Pulitzer prize for poetry. http://ow.ly/xEak500J7vl

“When the Sweet Talkin’s Done” by Sara Bickley 

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Sara Bickley’s work of non-fiction, “When the Sweet Talkin’s Done,” earned an honorable mention for the 2016 Oval Staff. Bickley comes from West Carrollton, Ohio. She is a senior majoring in Creative Writing. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Pseudopod, Milkfist, and The Raintown Review. Her work begins:

            The first thing he said to me was, “What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?”

Well, not the first thing. I think he bummed a cigarette beforehand. Maybe two. He carried an old Marlboro box with the top ripped off, a jumble of OP’s—all different brands—rattling around inside.

Anyway, we were standing outside the cafeteria of my community college, smoking, and he handed me the world’s cheesiest pickup line, and I laughed in his face.

Now, I don’t know exactly why—maybe the fat, or the glasses, or my refusal to wear makeup—but no one had ever made a pass at me before. Ever. It seemed impossible for him not to be joking.

To continue reading, please click Sara_Bickley-When_the_Sweet_Talkin’s_Done.

Episode 140 – Brendan Fitzgerald / Charl

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Episode 140 – Brendan Fitzgerald / Charles Wright – Brendan Fitzgerald reflects on the weight of possessions that we carry with us throughout our lives. He pairs his thoughts with a poem by Pulitzer Prize winning poet Charles Wright. http://ow.ly/iOTB500ttch

“She Reads Aloud Ode To The Naked Body” by Jeron Jennings

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Jeron Jennings earned an honorable mention for his poem, “She Reads Aloud Ode To The Naked Body.” Jennings is a Junior who studies English Teaching. He hails from Saint Regis, Montana.

She Reads Aloud Ode To The Naked Body

Chaste eyes are the only eyes with which
you see me. You read aloud to the open room,
to the symposium, your filthiest translations
of Neruda but it is only I
who hears you. Our benevolent cronies
chuckle at the indication of bodies,
breasts, and flesh. Spill and stain
the knotted carpet with red wine.
May I be the you of this recital? Omit
the anatomical disagreements. These boundaries
are as passing as the words we speak,
the vernaculars we pull them in
and out of. Terms that signify nothing, like my name
which you can never remember. In time,
when they extract our signs
like vestiges from a dead language
they won’t know anything but the way
your voice shillyshallied
on the penultimate line. They’ll know
that we toasted but not what we toasted to.
It was forgetting, after all. And I don’t recollect
what your friend’s father said at his deathbed
or how your hair began thinning out.
They’ll know not that we sang:
You forget what you meant
when you read what you said,
but they’ll know that we sang.
And this flesh, this object
of our youthful lust will wither,
rot, and repulse. Sentience dwindles
into the lithosphere and all that is left
are our bones, skulls
hardly distinguishable, filled
with soil. We were made from Earth
and dirt, ashes to ashes and other accidents.
They only have to mean if we let them.
Like how all the fires lit beneath my feet
beneath my flesh, have burned white hot
and been named Gabrielle. I beg,
as I have always begged, for the last lines,
for the end to be mine. I am the regolith
buried in the scars of celestial bodies,
echoing light to tell you
You are on fire from within.
The moon is smoldering inside your veins
and tonight we are drunk on lunacy
from lunar rays.

Episode 139 – Rachel Mindell / Greg Pard

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Episode 139 – Rachel Mindell / Greg Pardlo – Rachel Mindell reflects on a little known connection between driving long expanses and the process of writing. She pairs her thoughts with a poem by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Greg Pardlo. http://ow.ly/iQCA500dCiY

“Bullseye” by Zoe Contreras

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Congratulations to Zoe Contreras for receiving an honorable mention for “Bullseye.” She writes:

“This piece exhibits the way I feel as a woman in today’s society. With the constant influence of religion, sexuality, and culture, there is a constant pressure to act a certain way, despite wants and needs, overall creating a constant push and pull between what we consider good and evil.”

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Zoe Conreras, “Bullseye”

Episode 138 – Caroline Keys / William Ca

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Episode 138 – Caroline Keys / William Carlos Williams – Caroline Keys reflects on the need for safe spaces in which to express a wide range of cultural experiences. She pairs her thoughts with a poem by William Carlos Williams. http://ow.ly/8K9ppN