Saturday, June 16, 2018

Tobi Alfier - The Pros and Pros of Chapbooks

photo: Washington State University
In the “old days”, a chapbook was an easy way for a poet to get some of their work “out there”, acquaint the book buying public with their name, and hopefully generate interest from a publisher. They were often a few mimeographed pages with a staple up top, easy to read and easy to recycle. Today most chapbooks are more professional, just shorter than a full-length collection.

Not every poet wants to publish, and that’s okay, they are still poets. But if you feel you are ready to begin publishing, you may wish to start with a chapbook.

A couple things to consider:

  1. If you have poets you admire, buy their chapbooks and see how they were formatted. You will see things you like. Consider those same things as you assemble yours.

  1. Color is expensive (I learned this the hard way!). If your front cover is color, your back cover can also be color (it’s the other side of a piece of paper folded in half). So if you want a picture of yourself on the book, and that picture is in color, put it on the back, on the outside. I’m shy, and I hated having my picture on the outside back cover. Do what works for you!

  1. Are you going to self-publish? There are many more options now than when I made my first chapbook. I went to a local press, made a hundred copies, and when those copies were gone, they were gone. I still have three copies. If you use one of the newer “print on demand” options, you will have the ability to be on all the Amazons – US, UK, CA, etc. and the book will always be available. Likewise if you are accepted by a publisher.

My first chapbook was called “Sanity Among the Wildflowers”. It was put together in 2005. My Aunt Debbie’s beautiful artwork was on the front cover and the back cover was blessedly blank.

I had two measly publication credits. There were twenty poems, and for some reason that was logical to me at the time, I did not put page numbers on it. No intended theme, although I subsequently heard that most of the poems were about “food, loss and failing bodies”. No bio, black and white picture of me on the INSIDE back cover.

I gave most of them away with heartfelt gratitude toward anyone who wanted one. When I heard the publisher made a copy for himself, and read it during his lunch breaks, I almost cried.  I still love every poem, ancient punctuation, bad line breaks and all.

Since then I have grown, and so has my poetry, but I will always remember “Sanity” as the start of it all.

JUST DO IT!!! You will learn something new every single time and you will never regret it.



Sanity Among the Wildflowers

My lover’s teeth are gray from lies,
spitting the poison out has darkened
them around the edges.
Her smile reminds me to be wary.
Remember the doctor smiling,
holding some vaccine behind his back,
that is how it feels today.

Our neighbors destroyed a
row of cypress trees
between our properties. I
am helpless in the blinding 
spotlight I cannot ignore she is
untruthful, her thoughts a mosaic
I cannot parse and so it goes.

I am an uncomplicated man I
am not a hero.
I spread a blanket in the field,
ease into her journals.
There is no epiphany I know
I will never make her happy.
Only temporarily, as an orphan waits
anxiously along the edge of
a darkened train station for
rescue she waits with me.

She squeezes an orange
her hand shakes, how long
will this farce be played out?
It is very quiet in our house, civil
to the casual eye, never joyful,
her teeth are gray from lies.

So many lies.

- - - -

Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn't Matter Where. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tobi Alfier - Classic Does Not Mean Boring

Tobi in Ireland, near the grave of Yeats

What is your wish for your writing? Do you want it to be a commentary on our current times, or do you wish for it to be able to stand on the page long after the drama of current events has moved on to become a paragraph in the back of a history book?  Being “generic” is a way to ensure your work will be timeless, but that does not mean it will be boring.

One of my favorite poems is “When You Are Old” by William Butler Yeats.

       When You Are Old 

       When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
       And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
       And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
       Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

       How many loved your moments of glad grace,
       And loved your beauty with love false or true,
       But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
       And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

       And bending down beside the glowing bars,
       Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
       And paced upon the mountains overhead
       And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.


This poem was written in 1892. It has stood the test of time and I think it will still be timeless and lovely in 2092.

Does anything date this poem? Not the fire. Electricity had been in homes for over fifteen years. We use fires today for warmth and comfort — the fire in this poem is doing the same.

The first word of each line being capitalized is still used by some poets today. The punctuation is correct. The rhyme is subtle and correct.

Poster courtesy of Writers & Authors
The poem says “take down this book”. It doesn’t name the book.

Did Yeats think about this while he was writing this beautifully unself-conscious, sincere love poem? I don’t know. It is classic. It certainly isn’t boring.

I want my poetry to stand the test of time, but I also like specificity, so this is something I struggle with. I don’t write “he lit a cigarette”, I write “he lit a Marlboro”. I don’t say “she flirted with the guy at the old car show”, I say “she coyly bent her head from side to side/ keeping time with her feet in their ballerina flats/ out in front of the black ’62 Chevy/ belonging to who she would later describe/ as “the hunk in the white t-shirt”.”

Photo by Brigitte Werner
In a hundred years, I doubt anyone will be describing anyone else as a “hunk”. A pack of Marlboros might be relegated to those “do you remember these?” quizzes along with pictures of VCR’s and Brownie cameras. Who knows? I think about this all the time.

Keep this in mind when you write, and be thoughtful. If you write about war, you may want to leave it generic and not specify which war. Likewise Presidents, musicians, television shows, some types of clothing, current political hot issues, and so on.

“Take down this book”…

Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn't Matter Where. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Our Non-Profit Status is Official!

Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library is officially a non-profit organization, and we have been certified by Guidestar with their highest level Platinum Seal Of Approval. Things are happening!



Saturday, June 2, 2018

Tobi Alfier - You are the Surgeon


Concision is the Scalpel, 
You are the Surgeon

Have you ever read a poem that really began at the third stanza?  Have you ever written one? Particularly if you write narrative poetry, maybe the first two stanzas HAD to be written to get you to where the poem lives. The trick is to know this, and delete those first couple stanzas before submitting, or publishing.

I have done this, we probably all have. I have missed it, we probably all have.

I do edit my work before submitting. I make sure the punctuation is how I want it, the line breaks are how I want them, there’s a great last line, a period at the very end, and I like it. I read it out loud. I sleep on it to make sure I still respect it in the morning. Sometimes I get up all night, read it, whisper it so I don’t wake up the whole house, and change things. Delete words and add others. Pretty quickly I am ready to submit.

What surprises me, and what I know, is that in about six months I will look at that poem again. I will “slash-and-burn”, I mean edit, the heck out of it. Things I couldn’t originally see. But I don’t have the patience to wait that long before submitting my work. Was it publishable when I wrote it? Yes. Could it have been better? Yes.

That is why on Acknowledgment pages of books you often see a caveat “some of these poems were published in the following journals in a different form …”

Know yourself and your writing, so when you submit, and when you put a book together, they contain the best poems possible.


Abstraction

Needles and sunflowers
one pierces the finger
one pierces the heart
a blinding light
reflects one off the other
until there is nothing—
a drop of blood burned
white on the table
a glass of water
too still to keep life.






Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn't Matter Where. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

Artwork this issue from Wolfgang Eckert & Piotr Zajda


Friday, June 1, 2018

Cholla Needles - June Issue Released!



Cover by Kendall Johnson

The fine writers in issue 18 are:

Ernest Alois
Heather Morgan
James Marvelle
Tamara Hattis
Mitchell K. Grabois
alyssa hanna
Mark Evans
Lauren Gombas
David Chorlton
Kendall Johnson & 
John Brantingham



We encourage our neighbors to buy Cholla Needles books at Rainbow Stew, Space Cowboy, and Raven's Books. Support our local distributors!

New Book! Seven Stars Anthology 1973-1998


Seven Stars was one of literally a thousand literary magazines published in the Nixon Era and beyond. The magazine formally ended in 1998 after 260 issues & this small anthology will highlight a few living moments of the history in the small press movement. The magazines are literally falling apart from age now and this new selective release will give audiences a chance to visualize the many poetic movements that were active in those years. 200 different poets were selected from the over 3000 who appeared between the covers of Seven Stars. A short history of the press and the movement is included.

Available locally at Rainbow Stew, Space Cowboy Books, and Raven's Book Shoppe. 

Click here to purchase on-line.

Cholla Needles Books On Amazon:


Friday, May 25, 2018

Tobi Alfier - You Need To Read


To Write A Lot You Need To Read A Lot

You know this! If you want to excel with your writing, read everything you can. 

To read poetry, you may need to buy directly from the publishers. You may want to buy a signed copy directly from the authors. And if you are unable to do that, support your local independent bookstore before you buy from a “Big Box Store” (it’s a way to be a good literary citizen. They will also be more amenable to hosting your book launch if they know you).

My husband is Jeff Alfier. He’s a beautiful poet and a wonderful photographer. We don’t write the same way. We don’t read the same way. But we both read. He loves poetry, and buys so much of it, I don’t have to. I fall in love with individual poems, with fiction, and the occasional memoir. I keep authors in my head forever (says the person who never finished the last volume of The Diary of Anaїs Nin because she couldn’t bear for it to be done).

I’m not telling you what to read. I telling you what we have read and liked very much.

Jeff:

·         Rail by Kai Carlson-Wee from BOA Editions in 2018

·         The Long Drive Home by Nick Bozanic from Anhinga Press, 1990

·         Begging for Vultures by Lawrence Welsh from University of New Mexico Press, 2011

·         A Romance by Bruce Weigl from University of Pittsburgh Press, 1979

Jeff has sent me passages from Cormac McCarthy novels that are so beautiful, they could be poetry. And he loves Richard Hugo, Yusef Komunyakaa, Joseph Millar and James Lee Burke.

Tobi:

·         Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber from W. W. Norton & Co., 2003

·         Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver from Harper, 1998

·         The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx from Scribner & Sons, 1993

·         A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley from Alfred A. Knopf, 1991

I also loved Garlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl, Bastard Out of Carolina by Dorothy Allison, The Bird Artist by Howard Norman and many many poems by contemporary poets who I go back to time and again. And I love Jeff’s poetry.

As Richard Hugo, Steve Almond and others have said, we write our obsessions, whatever the form. By reading we can learn: how chapter lengths help propel a story, the beauty of white space on a page, how the pacing of a poem with five-syllable lines is different than a poem with ten-syllable lines, the importance of word choice and punctuation, the calming look of couplets, the brilliance of rhyme …

Read poetry. Read fiction. Read short stories, magazines, your one or two favorite books on writing. Whatever is on your bedside table is there for a reason.

Whether you go to the library, read on a tablet, or have walls of bookshelves, your writing will be so much better if you read.

___

Tobi Alfier's  most recent collection of poetry is Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn't Matter Where.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Tobi Alfier - Ten Ways to Be a Good Featured Reader


Ten Ways to Be a Good Featured Reader (and be asked back again)

The time will come when you will be invited to feature at a reading. It may be a venue you’re familiar with, or one you’ve never attended.

This will be an opportunity to maybe sell some books, and introduce yourself and your poetry to a whole new audience. You want to make a good impression. If you don’t have a new book now, you want to be asked back when you do have one…so you can sell some books, introduce yourself and your poetry to a whole new audience, etc.

This list may be obvious to you. If so, great! It’s not all inclusive, so if you have other things that work, keep doing them.

10.  If you’re reading at a coffee house, be sure and thank the Baristas. Not on the mic, but afterwards, thank them for oh, not running the steamer during your reading. If a hat was passed for you, tip them. They may not get much business on a reading night, and it will be appreciated.

9.    Thank your hosts at the mic. Look at them when you thank them. Be sincere.

8.    Your hosts will usually provide water, but make sure you have a bottle with you even if you have to buy it. It’s awful when you get dry-mouth smack in the middle of reading. Try not to swig like a sailor unless that’s your persona and everyone expects that of you.

7.    If there’s also an open mic, your feature may be at the beginning or middle of the other readers. Be there early enough to see the readers before you. Stay until the end. Even if they are playing the bongos and singing their poems off-key, give them as much respect and attention as you expect from them. If you smoke? Go outside during a break, not during a reader.

6.    Don’t wear a “poet costume” and try not to wear black. You know there is no such thing as a costume, so if you try to wear one, your audience will spend more time whispering to each other about how dumb you look and less time listening. Black does not provide a blank canvas for your words, it’s just black. Wear some color. Show some personality. 

5.    If you have books to sell, bring change. People will have twenties and if you don’t have change, they won’t buy. Alternatively, if you have two books you’re selling, and let’s say they total $24, you will end up selling both for $20. This could be a blessing and a curse. You probably didn’t pay your publisher cover price so you won’t be losing money. Your buyer will think you’re a wonderful person because you gave them a deal. If they like your work, they will buy more of it in the future.

4.    DON’T EXPLAIN YOUR POEMS!!!
Every writer in your audience knows there’s a story behind most poems. The most you could say is “there’s a story behind this. If you want to know, ask me at the break”. I say that all the time, and no one has ever asked me. This allows your listeners to become part of the poems with you. You have also timed yourself…unless you factor in five minutes to read a 30-second poem, you’re stealing time from the open mic readers who come after you. At some point they will stop listening and start fidgeting.

3.    Scan the audience before you start reading. See if there are children present. If there are, censor your poems. Swap your alternate out for the extremely explicit, shocking poem you were dying to read. You know you shouldn’t read it. Another thing that works is to say “I’m going to say ‘_______’ for the dirty words”, and then do it. When you say ‘pumpkin’, and everyone in the audience knows that’s NOT the word you mean, you will get a chuckle. You’ll also have some appreciative parents and a curious audience who may buy your book just to see what the word really was.

2A. You might want to begin your reading with a poem you love by a poet you respect. This will introduce your listeners to someone they may not know. One poem less of yours is not going to change the world but such a small thing is such a big thing. It will show you are generous with your allotted time and make your listeners feel like you want to share with them. They made the right decision not to stay home and watch TV. And starting with a poem by someone else will let you get comfortable with the whole setup before you start impressing people with your own work.  

2.    Rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse! Continue to time yourself. This will give you comfort and allow you to look up as you are reading. Nothing is more boring than 20 minutes of someone looking down and reading into a mic. If you feel comfortable, you’ll be able to make eye contact. You’ll be able to smile. This does not mean you should memorize your poems, although if you can, you can use BOTH hands when you read. A comfort level is key to a good feature.

1.      Find out how much time you’re being expected to read. Pick out a number of poems and time yourself. Pick an alternate poem and time that. Make sure you come in about five minutes less than your allotted time. This is to allow time for applause (!). This is also to allow time for a bit of chatting between poems. A little chatting will make your listeners feel comfortable. You will be their friend, not a guest lecturer. The best thing you can hear is a chuckle. The second best? Applause.


Laugh at me on Youtube. I used to think I looked like I had a mustache and no teeth until someone explained that the lighting is often horrendous, and that’s the reason why. Yes, I’m wearing black but I also look up, smile, and chat before the poem. So no, I don’t always follow my own advice, but I try. And have a blast!



Tobi Alfier's  most recent collection of poetry is Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn't Matter Where.

Photo of Bored Statue by Hans Braxmeier

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Tobi Alfier - Scout’s Honor


Scout’s Honor – Always Write the Truth

We have to be fearless in our writing. We can make it beautiful. We can make it ugly. We can make it reach for the stars, and we can touch people with truth. One time after a reading where I read a particular poem, a young woman came up to me with a couple of her friends. She said “I’m sick”. I said “I am too”.  She said “I never talk about it”. I said “I don’t either”. I will never forget that.

Flash forward to a reading by Pete Fromm and Heather McHugh. I sat in the front row because Heather was my workshop leader; I wanted to support her.

Pete read first. He read part of a story that later became the book “If Not For This”. It won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award in 2015. I hope you have read this beautiful book. Within two minutes, I started crying. I knew it was true to the characters, and it killed me. At that moment I understood what a writing teacher had been trying to drum into my stubborn head -“You have to write the truth. Your readers will not know if it’s true, but they’ll know if you’re lying.” Unfortunately you can’t wipe your face with an “aha moment” but I got it.

Next it was Heather’s turn. She first told a wrenching, private, unbelievable story, then she read her poem. You would never know the event that caused her to write it—her truth was buried deep. But it was her truth. No reader would ever doubt her. I urge you to read it, and think about your words when you write…

What He Thought


We were supposed to do a job in Italy
and, full of our feeling for
ourselves (our sense of being
Poets from America) we went
from Rome to Fano, met
the mayor, mulled
a couple matters over (what’s
cheap date, they asked us; what’s
flat drink).  Among Italian literati

we could recognize our counterparts:
the academic, the apologist,
the arrogant, the amorous,
the brazen and the glib – and there was one

administrator (the conservative), in suit
of regulation gray, who like a good tour guide
with measured pace and uninflected tone narrated
sights and histories the hired van hauled us past.
Of all, he was most politic and least poetic,
so it seemed.  Our last few days in Rome
(when all but three of the New World Bards had flown)
I found a book of poems this
unprepossessing one had written: it was there
 in the pensione room (a room he’d recommended)
where it must have been abandoned by
the German visitor (was there a bus of them?)
to whom he had inscribed and dated it a month before.
I couldn’t read Italian, either, so I put the book
back into the wardrobe’s dark.  We last Americans

were due to leave tomorrow.  For our parting evening then
our host chose something in a family restaurant, and there
we sat and chatted, sat and chewed,
till, sensible it was our last
big chance to be poetic, make
our mark, one of us asked
                                                “What’s poetry?
Is it the fruits and vegetables and
marketplace of Campo dei Fiori, or
the statue there?”   Because I was

the glib one, I identified the answer
instantly, I didn’t have to think – “The truth
is both, it’s both,” I blurted out.  But that
was easy.  That was easiest to say.  What followed
taught me something about difficulty,
for our underestimated host spoke out,
all of a sudden, with a rising passion, and he said:

The statue represents Giordano Bruno,
brought to be burned in the public square
because of his offense against
authority, which is to say
the Church.  His crime was his belief
the universe does not revolve around
the human being: God is no
fixed point or central government, but rather is
poured in waves through all things.  All things
move.  “If God is not the soul itself, He is
the soul of the soul of the world.”  Such was
his heresy.  The day they brought him
forth to die, they feared he might
incite the crowd (the man was famous
for his eloquence).  And so his captors
placed upon his face
an iron mask, in which

he could not speak.  That’s
how they burned him.  That is how
he died: without a word, in front
of everyone.
                        And poetry –
                                                (we’d all
put down our forks by now, to listen to
the man in gray; he went on
softly)-
                 poetry is what

he thought, but did not say.


                                    ---HeatherMcHugh


Tobi Alfier's  most recent collection of poetry is Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn't Matter Where.

photo Tobi in Scout uniform courtesy of her mom, Judy Rifkin
other photos courtesy of Piazza Campo de' Fiori, 00186 Roma RM, Italy

Friday, May 4, 2018

Tobi Alfier - The Joy of Cooking – With Adjectives


The Joy of Cooking – With Adjectives

 If we’re at a restaurant and I see on the menu “butternut squash ravioli with browned butter and sage”, I look no further. I know the dish will be beautiful, delicious and perfect. If this were a poem, I would buy the whole book.

A few well-placed adjectives work the same way. They can elevate a poem to perfection. Too many, in my opinion, muddle what could be lovely into something average. I would probably keep looking…on the menu and in the bookstore.

As a poet, I want my work to be concise, but I don’t want it to be “just the facts, ma’am”.  I want it to have browned butter and sage. Whether it be the use of a compound word, a neologism, or a few well-placed, surprising adjectives, I want my poems to clearly say what they want to say, and I want the voice to be mine. That is part of the fun, and challenge—write poems that other people recognize and want to eat.

Try this exercise:

Take a poem you recently finished. Count the number of lines in it. Let’s say it has 26
lines. You want to submit it to your favorite journal but they have a line limit of 25.

Sleep on that conundrum overnight. Look at your poem with fresh eyes in the morning.

Can you take a line of beautiful, heart-stopping description out and submit it? Don’t throw that line away, put it in your notebook for another poem. Believe me when I tell you that your poem will still be great. You will be able to submit it. You will never miss that line.

I do it all the time. I have no choice. I know I am wordy, and too many words is like too much spice. They dilute the essence of a poem. They also don’t give your readers a place where they can jump in, fill the words in for you, and become emotionally invested. Once that happens, they are not just readers – they are sous chefs. You have gotten them thinking about your words and they will want to read more.

You have satisfied your readers, met the requirements of the journal, and have a line in your notebook for a future poem.

The poem below had to be reduced from 23 lines, to 20. Do you miss anything?

Nocturne

She has hands like a man,
fingers you’d expect to see
shooting pool, or throwing
the power switch at a backwater 
carnival.  But here she sits,
knees parted, eyes focused
with unblinking attention.
Light from the chandelier
blares stars through her hair
and onto her cello.  Her grip
could take you down in a snap
yet here she takes direction.
As the audience files in,
they in turn follow her urgent
bass notes to their seats.
The play is about to begin.
You teeter on the edge of melody.
She draws you in with those hands.


Now, what are you going to have for dessert?

Tobi Alfier's  most recent collection of poetry is Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn't Matter Where.


photos courtesy of Tania Van den Berghen, Aero, Meghan Kehoe, & Matheus Goncalves @ pixabay

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Cholla Needles - May Issue Released!!

Cover by Diego Luis
The fine writers in issue 16 are:
Anastasia Jill
Brian Beatty
Carol L. Deering
Michael Salcman
Lucy Griffith
Dave Maresh
Malathi Maithri 
Max Lemuz
Jonathan Ferrini
Doug Nichols


We encourage our neighbors to buy Cholla Needles books at Rainbow Stew, Space Cowboy, and Raven's Books. Support our local distributors!

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Tobi Alfier - Princess Bride or Blair Witch Project?


Writing “from the dark side”

What does “voice” mean to you? In my opinion, it’s what makes you recognizable. Not boring, comfortable. Just like the pink rose bush growing outside your neighbor’s window. It’s blooming now, it will be blooming through spring. You know you can count on it, just as you can count on a writer’s voice (or voices), regardless of the narrator, the point of view, or form of a poem.





Poste Restante  (original "Light" version)

I touch my lips to your lips,
brush away the odd entranced
hair from your brow. Visit
my hand from my heart to yours

I have perused the pictures on your desk,
commented on the red painted inside your cupboards.
I have ignored the calendar, ignored the phone,
ignored the poste restante.

My darling, pass the toast.
I’m not a fan of mornings, but
bread and chocolate in your kitchen
makes me remember to forget—
I’m one day closer to going home.
I’m not yet ready to go.


Now pretend you meet your friend for lunch one day. You’ve known her for years, your friendship is a fact. She shows up with her formerly long hair cropped short, or a comet of stars tattooed on both wrists. She’s still your friend, but she’s done something different, bold and exciting. That is writing from the dark side.

Enter Chuck. In a workshop led by the brilliant and generous Nick Flynn, he passed out a creepy postcard to each of us. Think Diane Arbus meets small-town circus. I got Chuck, a three-quarter headshot of an unsmiling dark-haired man, which looked taken through a shattered stained glass window. Nick said “take a poem you brought to workshop, and re-write it through the point of view of your postcard”.

See what you think. Then give yourself permission to surprise the heck out of everyone, most of all yourself. It’s still you. Still your voice. You now have a new weapon in your poetry arsenal. Welcome to the brave, exciting, dark side. (Note: “Poste Restante” means General Delivery. It was a way to pick up your mail in the old days if you were traveling).

Light or Dark, you decide.


Poste Restante (rewritten "Dark" version)

I touch your lips,
brush your brow. You,
wizard of the terrorizing night,
say breathe, focus on the pain.
It will lessen, be more manageable.

I note the red inside your cupboards,
close my eyes. Behind my lids
a thousand fireworks explode.
I want to run and shatter the window,
but the prism of your face
holds me still.

Make me remember to forget.
You are a lover of the dark.
I bend toward the light.
I do not know if I can be persuaded
to stay in the in-between.



Tobi Alfier's  most recent collection of poetry is Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn't Matter Where.