Monday, March 27, 2017

Kimo Armitage


My mother and sisters
come to my house to take care of me
because none of us have children that survived.
My mother goes to the fortune teller
pays her to remove this curse
from our family and help us
return home to Bikini.
Fortune teller says
our ancestors cannot find us
on Ron̄dik, Kuwajleen, then Kōle.
She gives us charms to attract spirits
to come help us.
When my sixth boy comes,
he is like his brothers.
I cry. I want to die.
I go to the beach
to drown myself.
I walk into the warm sea,
six sharks swim
into the shallows and against my legs.
I grab hold of two top fins,
they pull me out,
past the shallows,
past the reef,
into the black part of the ocean.
I let go of their fins. I am not scared:
they love me and I love them. Out there,
surrounded by nothing,
I sink into the saltwater,
ready to give up.
Then one fin, pokes out of the water.
Then, two. Ten. Twenty.
I look under me into the water,
hundreds of sharks
swimming under me
like black darts.
I think about my ancestors,
my husband, parents, and my beautiful sisters.
I cannot let anything kill me or
destroy this shiver of sharks.
The ancestors show me
that I, too, am a shark.
All together, we swim in same direction.
I start to kick and paddle
for the shore. The six sharks
swim to me but I push them away.
Only I can save myself.
My breathing comes hard but
I am a fighter.
I am Keitlyn from Bikini.
And I became strongest in the
saddest time of my life.

Lisa Ann Katagiri Bright reads "Nuclear Gift...":

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Kimo confesses: "This poem comes from my new collection of poems, These Shackles Fit Perfectly. I explore the narratives of Pacific peoples and their unique voice."

KIMO ARMITAGE draws upon the rich stories of his youth spent in Haleiwa, Hawaii, where he was raised by his maternal grandparents. He is the winner of the 2016 Maureen Egan Writers Exchange in Poetry administered by Poets & Writers. Armitage published his first novel, The Healers, with the University of Hawaii Press in April 2016.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

30 Days of The Five-Two (2017)

In 1999, UNESCO declared March 21 World Poetry Day, a good day to remind you that April is National Poetry Month, as "inaugurated by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture."

The Five-Two joins the celebration with a month-long blog tour inviting you to post about poetry. If you don't have a blog, email me your entry and you'll be my guest here at The Five-Two.

Your entry can be as creative as you like:

  • Interview a Five-Two contributor
  • Write about a favorite poem from The Five-Two or elsewhere
  • Post your own poetry or fiction in response to a Five-Two poem
  • Contributors, discuss your poems in greater detail
  • Voices of The Five-Two, discuss the poems you've performed

I'm fine scheduling multiple tour stops on the same day or about the same poem. Everyone has a different perspective after all, and I'm glad to add entries even after April 1. To book a date, email me

The tour also links to poems to encourage you to join, many not from The Five-Two. Crime bleeds into more than you'd suspect.

Feel free to follow tweets about the tour with #30OfThe52.

Participants and promoters of the tour may download the badge image above and add it to their entries or follow these instructions to copy-and-paste the image HTML code.

All April revenue from Five-Two and Lineup books and merchandise is donated to the nonprofit Academy of American Poets, supporting poets at all stages of their careers and fostering the appreciation of contemporary poetry.

  • April 01 - Saturday - Mystery Playground features "Grandiflora" by Rosemarie Keenan
  • April 02 - Sunday - From Diode poetry journal, "Apocalypse with Rod Serling" by Jeannine Hall Gailey
  • April 03 - Monday - Poem of the Week: "Sins to Forgive" by J.H. Johns
  • April 04 - Tuesday from Red Fez, "Proper Burial" by Patrick Theron Erickson
  • April 05 - Wednesday from Midnight Lane Boutique, poems by Heather Lenz
  • April 06 - Thursday - Charles Rammelkamp on "The Porn-Phone Caper" by Paula Willis
  • April 07 - Friday from Miracle Fruit by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, "Swear Words"
  • April 08 - Saturday - Mystery Playground features "Testimony" by Lida Bushloper
  • April 09 - Sunday from Misfit, "Chain Saw" by Joan Colby
  • April 10 - Monday - Poem of the Week: "Vacants" by Joseph S. Pete
  • April 11 - Tuesday from Juked, "The Difference Between Falling and Flying" by Suzanne O'Connell
  • April 12 - Wednesday from Yellow Mama, "Harley Caress" by Joe Balaz
  • April 13 - Thursday from Quantum Lyrics by A. Van Jordan, "Que Sera Sera"
  • April 14 - Friday from Empty Mirror, "Hijacked" by Gloria Avner
  • April 15 - Saturday
  • April 16 - Sunday from A House Waiting for Music by David Hernandez, "Lisa"
  • April 17 - Monday - Poem of the Week: "Day of Judgment" by Nancy Scott
  • April 18 - Tuesday from Defenestration, "No Title (on purpose)" by Matt Kolbet
  • April 19 - Wednesday from Change of Address: Poems, New and Selected by David R. Slavitt, "The Intruder"
  • April 20 - Thursday from Scriptorium: Poems by Melissa Range, "Crooked as a Dog's Hind Leg"
  • April 21 - Friday from Our Portion: New and Selected Poems by Philip Terman, "What We Own"
  • April 22 - Saturday - Mystery Playground features "Is It So Hard?" by Craig Faustus Buck
  • April 23 - Sunday - Sonnet 138 by William Shakespeare
  • April 24 - Monday - Poem of the Week: "Her Beheading" by Anne Graue
  • April 25 - Tuesday from The Moment's Only Moment by Emilie Buchwald, "Paradise"
  • April 26 - Wednesday from American Sentencing by Jen Karetnick, "What My Autopsy Will Reveal"
  • April 27 - Thursday from Valium by J.R. Solonche, "The Devil's Villanelle"
  • April 28 - Friday from No Texting at the Dinner Table by Christopher Goodrich, "Confronting Plagiarism"
  • April 29 - Saturday - Mystery Playground features "Fair Housing" by Charles Rammelkamp
  • April 30 - Sunday from Interrogating Water by Philip Fried, "Interrogating Water"

Monday, March 20, 2017

Kelli Simpson


Give me the blindfold and the cigarette.
Bayonet my rib cage moon.
I'll open easy as a dark night
for you.

I was just another bastard on the highway
till I robbed that gypsy show,
and a bone in my throat turned brittle
and broke my silence.

Now I can't sleep for my own speaking
or keep any company for the truth
that comes spilling out—
in whispers or shouts—
oh, the violence words can do!

So give me the blindfold and the cigarette.
Bayonet my rib cage moon.
I'll open easy as a dark night
for you.

You can't help but hear my confession
unless you slice my tongue plumb through.
Just give me the blindfold and the cigarette
and shoot.

Gerald So reads "The Cursed and Captured Highwayman":

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Kelli confesses: "What could be a more terrible punishment for a criminal (or anyone, for that matter) than to be cursed with the inability to stop talking and telling the truth? The idea lent itself so naturally to narrative and rhyme (my two great loves) that I just couldn't let it go. 'The Cursed and Captured Highwayman' is the result."

KELLI SIMPSON makes her home in Norman, Oklahoma. Her work has appeared in MockingHeart Review, Ygdrasil: A Journal of the Poetic Arts, Firefly Magazine, and the anthology Oklahoma Poems and Their Poets.