Editors' Picks, Week 2Poetry by Skylar Brown and Kathleen Hellen
by Kathleen Hellen
In yardland, not the back-side, not the hedge-side, 12 flamingos front their gaudy colors (pink-green-yellow—you get the picture) in plastic acrobatics (necks leaning in, long necks entangled—you get the picture) as if to flaunt the PDA. Twelve bawdy lawn adornments, not unusual per se, but here, where woodsmoke rings the crisp March air, where whiff of evergreen perfumes, flamingos are (just say it!)—anomaly. What if in some lush patch in Lihue, a palmy stand, there was a garden gnome as guardian? A wagon wheel? Or in the dirt in Butte a stone-cold, long-eared buddha? How will unsuspecting others know to slant the slang? Is it tote or poke or paper bag? Pop or soda? Gum or rubber band? How to know the when and wear of masks? Who to vote for? Who to hate? How to take out fare? Is it grits and open carry? Just when I think it can’t get any more absurd than flamingos placed afoul, two streets down, one across, two clowning black-beaked cousins cult that one-leg thing. The breed of some belief? I want to march up to the door and bang on it with fists, yelling, Hey! Where do you think you are? Tampa?
Kathleen Hellen’s collection meet me at the bottom is forthcoming in Fall 2022 from Main Street Rag. Her credits include The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin, her prize-winning collection Umberto’s Night, and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, her work has appeared in Barrow Street, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Brilliant Corners, The Carolina Quarterly, Cave Wall, Colorado Review, Gris-Gris, Harpur Palate, jubilat, Massachusetts Review, Mead, Muzzle, New American Writing, New Letters, North American Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, PANK, Poetry Northwest, Prairie Schooner, The Rumpus, The Sewanee Review, Spillway, Subtropics, The Sycamore Review, Waxwing, and West Branch, among others. For more on Kathleen, visit https://www.kathleenhellen.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.hellen/
BMP Celebrates National Poetry Month
As the pandemic has continued into its second year, we at Brain Mill are thinking about spaces & places: how we exist in space, the importance of access, and the particulars of navigating places. We have gathered together in ways that may have been new to us over the last few years, greeting each other in small squares of connectivity, developing relationship and care with virtual check-ins, follows, and voices translated via technology. In our best moments we have learned to listen; in our worst, we have been caught up by all the ways we need to do better and think more deeply about community systems and for whom entry is barred.