Read Author/Artist Bios

The Crone at the Austin Poetry Festival
by Janet McCann

patches of light and shade on the outside table
of the Austin café where this is happening

a train hooing in the middle of a line:
a caesura–a trembling voice picks up again

eyes closed, the crone still sees the flicker
of leaves blowing dark and light behind her lids

a sestina stops sharp at the end of every line
like a French chef is chopping it into segments

and she opens her eyes to a padlock and a screen
behind which other tables sit on an overgrown

lot, a café the mirror of this one, but abandoned
and silent, and she dreams herself gone over

beyond the screen, to the sunlit table
where now the 70s Austin poets she remembers

ghost the white chairs, David Yates, Jim Cody,
Joseph Colin Murphey; Susan Bright joins them

and they listen, smile and shake their heads
as if to say, that line is not quite right

but  the feel of it is right, about the war
and hunger, the strange American lack of love

shadow-arms raise glasses of blue wine
to toast each other, and the crone wonders

when, what day, she’ll find herself among them,
at those other tables, listening in full sun


by Georgia Kreiger

I prepare for Mother’s
yearly visit on my knees,
scrub away crumbs, stains,
a twelve months’ residue
of independence, knowing

that everything formless
seeks containment, as spirit
houses itself in flesh
and spilled water gathers
in low spots on the floor.

As always, she makes tea,
turning water to garnet
in the pot, hand-rinsing
and wiping cups while
I look for the honey
I’ve somehow misplaced.
And I am water,
formless as trust,
and her words, cups.
I feel their hard slippery
boundaries hug tight.

They are the sticks
and stones that break …or build

as God did when he spoke
to the deep and life welled up,
spilling into the perfect molds
of his words, creating that pull,

like gravity, toward those
who would define us.  We reach
to the depths and rims of their words
the way ocean rises and strains
to touch the moon.


by Davon Loeb

We shook mom’s workpants, wrestled in her pockets,
peeked through holes with ponderous fingers,
then freed copperheads and silver dollars.
We chased the sun, swallowed by the sky
like our eyes nesting in our sockets.
The tattered shoelaces dragged and followed,
like the loose Band-Aids that swung from our dirty knees.
Our names were abbreviated by single letters, then
howled through prattle and the sounds of cards
taped between tire spokes.
We peddled swiftly through the deep-wooded wilderness;
the fidelity of childhood dares,
we were hawks, cutting air with our arms.
And when the siren screamed from
the frozen custard truck, we ditched our bikes,
leaving them like bones in the dirt.
We shook our dingy dungaree shorts, and wrestled in our pockets,
peeked through holes with hungry fingers,
then freed copperheads and silver dollars.
We ordered the clay-colored cones and shared
zealous licks. We were the Notorious Misfits
notarized by, well, the Misfits themselves.
And when the reluctant nightfall came, it carried us home,
before cell phones were ringing.


Berkeley on Anomia
by Georgia Kreiger 

when we are old
words change places

yesterday now means forever
and being replaces being happy

the consonants
in people’s names get switched
so when we call
they don’t answer anymore

and the letters in the word
for that thing we came looking for

the notes we wrote ourselves years ago
are now inscrutable

and the stories we tell
to express our desire
stick like coal on the tongue

the names of our needs fail
and the mumblings of our feeble phonemes
are mistaken for contentment

and when our words finally fall like trees
in our own bewildered forest
we wonder if we really make a sound


Blue Collar Daddy
by Davon Loeb

Daddy, you had city-light eyes,
now they’re callused. And Mommy said
you used to kiss her face, but now you forget.
You used to talk of dreams, but now they’re rusted.
You used to talk of tomorrows like stars,
now they’re too dead to be seen.
And your friends are bottles, which only listen.
I smiled at you yesterday, while you untied your
bargain boot strings. I came to help,
but your hands barely noticed me.
This morning, I heard the motor whine,
and I thought of the sand hitting your face
and imagined you on a beach with no moon
and big rubber tires that would lead you home –
but when the pebbles wrestled and the owls hooted,
a stone-pressed man entered, already cemented.


Open Hearts/Open Doors
by Davon Loeb

A few of her toes stray in directions I am unfamiliar with,
and well, yeah, her hair looks like a broom that didn’t finish burning,
and she may drool because her lip forgets its there,
and, yes, her belly is an unresolved remainder
but her smile is a sentiment I’ve longed for like the proof of God.

While our hands interlock,
her clammy palms twist and disjoint with every shiny rock,
and she giggles, like the world is something funny.
I wish I could hold her tight and make her mine.

In three feet of water, she’s a flamingo picking at the sun;
confused why she can’t grab it,
she pounces; I embrace her.
We swing, laughter: guttural, ceaseless – an infection.
Gentle eyes, stare and judge,
abandoned by their normalness,

and in my heart, she makes me believe it.