hover, gown, place, hidden, blatant, stone, howling, force, beneath, area, cringe, famous

I hover.

I gown my hovering in the usual soft platitudes we learn from who knows where, no

special place, from which I drag across my lips “Well, what I would do,” thinking my dark

inhibiting motives remain hidden. Nevertheless, I know this. I hover. When

my daughter jumps across a yowling breach, blatant liberation in her posture, I

like a stone stand smiling beside her, but my insides writhe in silent

howling screams, an echo of the earthworm she plucked with delicate fingers and

adopted with a child’s gracious force for her own. I stand above, she

plays beneath. The earthworm contemplates life in her soft palm. Such a small

area, perhaps, yet a furnace of joy in the afternoon. I could tell her. That I would wrap myself in

her curled fingers just to see her cringe at such ridiculous notions. But

daughters are famous for waving away mothers, and I’m not sure I’d survive the fall

                                                                                —Sara Fall

I, platitudes, drag, motives, yowling, silent, plucked, stand, palm, furnace, curled, survive

A Room Full of Naked People

I forego

platitudes, banalities, and clichés

lest these awful things drag my energy down.

Keep your motives veiled. Look through their eyes,

into their souls, projecting confidently. Abscond from yowling

your silent, inner pain, as they are here

to be plucked like harp strings.

Stand relaxed,

each palm at your sides, warm from

the furnace of your adrenaline.

Still mentally curled up in a ball, not sure if you

will survive this public shaming? No one does.

                                                                                —John Rickmon

forego, banalities, energy, your, projecting, inner, harp, relaxed, warm, adrenaline, sure, public

It’s difficult to forego in Fargo.

Banalities like soap

sap your energy.                          


But admit your opulence.


Even projecting yourself as a future stranger


plucks your inner

harp golden.


Relaxed as a cat on a counter top

as each warm image beyond the cold window

is coated in adrenaline.


Sure, it’s not

public rage; its more sinister.



                                                                                —Frank Montesonti

Fargo, soap, sap, opulence, stranger, plucks, golden, cat, as, coated, not, sinister

I spot Jesus in a field outside Fargo,

the clean scent of soap and the brown face

of a sunflower, sap from the broken stalk

running down my arm, opulence dripping

from my elbow. A wind turbine, no stranger

to the Trinity, turns overhead. My sister plucks

golden petals from His crown while the sun

winks like the eye of a cat hidden in the cool

darkness under the porch, as quiet as the clouds

floating by. We’re coated in the buzz of summer

the way bees are in pollen. There’s not anything

sinister in the linking of Son, sun, and sister.

                                                                                —Gwendolyn Hart


spot, face, stalk, running, wind, turns, crown, eye, darkness, floating, bees, linking

Rondeau to Make you go Crazy

Spot the crown that makes the linking, you must be mad!

The fierce, the farce, the jinking orange face

Stalk the halls with a sense of fear and lack of grace.

Running schemes, running numbers, running from history

Makes kooky statements about the wind, a constant mystery.

Then it’s Miss Teen USA’s turn to get to first base!

Spot the crown that makes the linking.

But in that eye that’s marking Russians unclad,

In the darkness of his soul’s dark place

Leaves a nation floating face-down at a fibber’s yacht race

Or stung to death by blighted bees from Leningrad

Spot the crown that makes the linking.

                                                                                Marc Janssen

mad, fierce, grace, schemes, kooky, base, spot, marking, place, race, stung, makes

Now I’ve started using them, I’m mad for shampoo bars

sold by fierce urban farmers in Ohio, New York, Florida.

Each small buff brick in my hand, handcut, feels like grace,

a kind of manna. Oh, I purl my schemes! Kombucha, sourdough,

quilts, bees. These can’t be just kooky white-lady things,

but the base of the coming day. Eggs, scraps, seeds, castings.

Can you spot the red-tailed hawk circling the cloverleaf, circling

supercommuters––her marking the sky, their marking time?

Let’s sift the old languages for alternate pronouns: there’s no place

now for the singular. Hot currents race beneath our barred wings.

A bee fails, and we are stung, feeling the system error in our antennae.

We rub the scent of lavender into our roots, and this makes our knitted need.

                                                                                —Erin Redfern

bars, Florida, hand, manna, white, scraps, hawk, time, sift, now, antennae, need

42 scorpions in glass jars from Bangkok bars  

Five five-gallon buckets of sunshine from Florida 

The small hand on the faceless clock 

A mouthful of manna mixed with mulberry 

Two white doves with one black spot 

Six scraps of silver from the sunken titanic 

Three toenails from a hawk (human or bird alike) 

Father time and his rocking chair 

Sift through ashes in Salem for a sprinkle of burnt dirt 

Now, the second to the last ingredient is; 

a weevil’s stomach containing a snakefly antennae. Last thing to kill Cthulhu the Collector will

Need is; 42… 

                                                                                —Gwen Lack

glass, sunshine, clock, mulberry, spot, sunken, bird, rocking, sprinkle, ingredient, to, is 

Glass-ity gloss-ity glow (she hummed)

There’s sunshine on the go,

The clock strikes one and away we—

“Make me a mulberry pie, woman!” the husband shouted,

“And spickety-spot! No dilly-dallying!”

Oh, my spirits are quite sunken,

Each bird is free, while trapped is me, on account of this durndest—

“Can’t you see I’m hungry!” he said, rocking her rolling pin with ire,

“Now sprinkle out that flour like I’ve seen you do!” he rumbled at her.

She tumbled ingredient after ingredient onto the floor.

“You do it!” she called to him over her shoulder as she headed for­­ her coat and hat.

Glorious are the disobedient, my exit is expedient.

                                                                                —Noelle Catharine Allen

glow, go, away, husband, dallying, spirits, trapped, hungry, rumble, tumble, hat, expedient

Nostalgia. Much later, a faint glow on the air, you returned to yourself.         

         You'd go

And come for months, never going away

Husband to your own absence

Dallying in the place you once existed

A spirit, although you still lived 

Trapped, and free

Absent, but hungry. disembodied,

But your stomach rumbled. And it went on like this, impossibly,

       a tumble

With nothingness, half life in an imaginary hat

Without a plan, as if it could not be

Otherwise, expedient to a mission that never began.

                                                                                —Richard Cronshey

nostalgia, returned, going, absence, existed, lived, free, disembodied, impossibly, nothingness, half, otherwise

Nostalgia for the singular way,

once dreamed and twice returned for a moment.

We find ourselves simply going, moving into the province of something unforeseen, a presence,

or an absence.

As if we existed only for that interlude of expression, that potential discovery, we struggled to advance.

Like drifters, we lived in a wandering state of mind,

free either to glance back at the previous life, or to move forward,

disembodied, perhaps,

impossibly delighted by chance,

beyond nothingness,

half the wisdom of our finest elders, following us with care.

We continue by looking forward, happily, as if otherwise engaged.

                                                                                —Allison Palmer

singular, dreamed, presence, or, interlude, mind, previous, perhaps, chance, beyond, wisdom, continue


The following Otises were written by some of the contributors to this issue. Otis Nebula started out as a writing prompt among a group of writers from the Intermountain West. Main propagator, Richard Cronshey, when asked to define the Otis prompt to the general public, recently wrote:

“The idea for the Otis prompt appeared suddenly. It came from where ideas come from. I don't understand that to be in me anymore, or somewhere else. My sense is the nature of where ideas come from can't be understood in dualistic terms. Nothing happened. I'm glad. It's very relaxing. One thing I like about the prompt is it pries me away from words I may have fetishized. The lines grow out of the words and it's not so personal or moody. There's always the person haunting the process, standing at the crossroads, but that person is a stranger, and letting the words lead decenters the person so I can recognize them. The language goes on talking to itself through the words without me making many or any self conscious choices. I think working with this prompt has changed how I understand writing a lot, made it more about process, and less personal. It's like half automatic writing. And that's a really interesting zone, half acting and half acted upon, without a compulsion to distinguish. And I like the social possibilities of the prompt. To me, that's how emergence works, limitless mutuality. It helps destroy the poem as an alienated and alienating fetishized commodity, and restores some of its open social potential.”

Here are the rules:

1) One person gives twelve seed words to another person.

2) This person writes twelve lines, each line incorporating one seed word. Normally this takes the form of poetry, but it could also be prose. 

3) The words are used in the order in which they are given.

4) Only one word is used per line.

5) The word may appear anywhere in the line but the form of the word cannot be altered. 

6) When the otis is complete, twelve new seed words are selected from the new Otis and given to the next Otis.

Shoshana Kerteszhttps://www.shoshanakertesz.com/shapeimage_10_link_0

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