I returned to Cleveland, OH the other day–after spending the summer crisscrossing the country–and found a stack of goodies waiting for me at my temporary address. One of these treats happened to be my contributor’s copies of the new issue of Whiskey Island, Cleveland State University’s literary journal.
Issue sixty-two contains a plethora of wonderful writers: fiction from by the likes of Alissa Nutting, James Tadd Adcox, and Roxane Gay; and poetry by such writers as Carrie Lorig, Joshua Young, Stephen Danos, Nick Courtright, Laura Carter, Nate Pritts, Nate Slawson, Vouched Books’ Tyler Gobble, and Joshua Kleinberg.
While there is a load of fine writing in the issue, one poem really stood out for me: Russ Woods’ “Harvest Moon Bracket Bracket.” Here is the poem in its entirety:
harvest moon  juice-colored like
a coughing spell  caster found in
the snow buried  harvest moon you
in the morning  time i try to jog daily
but i haven’t done  it once yet harvest
moon moon moon  moon moon moon
you are still asleep  in my bed good lord
harvest moon pimped  out and steady holding
you heard above  water in the time we’ve
got left in us for  anything at all harvest
moon moon grows  finds new shows on
net flicks ones  to spend weeks with
harvest moon porn  stashed in deep deep
folders not telling you  where not telling harvest
moon we all are singing  larger than life like
we’re eleven we are  eleven not like that but
like a harvest moon  driving overnight to
see you and fight  sleep as we screw too
late moon late moon  moon moon harvest (69)
Sure, the repetition of words and internal rhyme provide a pulsing, almost seductive rhythm; and the brackets offer a visual twist that prompts readers to consider form more throughly. But what I really enjoy about this poem is the manner in which Woods uses one of poetry’s stock images (i.e. the moon) and infuses it with vitality through the inclusion of contemporary slang (e.g. “pimped out”) and timely references (e.g. NetFlix and internet porn).
You can order a copy of Whiskey Island 62 here.