Painted Bride Quarterly’s Slush Pile

Episode 55: Prison Whiskey and Big Brother

August 30, 2018

This week on the Slush Pile we welcome our great friend John Wall Barger into the Korman Studio for another fantastic iteration of our podcast! The gang gets rolling by discussing their various summer activities and Kathleen suggests hypnotism to anyone who is attempting to rid themselves of a nasty habit. Marion informs the group that she is currently residing in North Carolina near a prison that has been turned into a whiskey distillery. This of course segues into conversation about the poet whom has taken the spotlight, Susan Grimm and her two pieces “Made Manifest/Glassy” as well as “A Fest of Wishes: Birthday Ghazal"

Susan Grimm is the author of Almost Home (Cleveland State University Poetry Center 1997), Lake Erie Blue (BkMk Press 2004), and Roughed Up by the Sun’s Mothering Tongue (Finishing Line Press 2011). Her work has appeared in Blackbird, The Journal, The Cortland Review, Seneca Review, and Tar River Poetry. She earned an MFA in poetry through the Northeast Ohio MFA consortium (NEOMFA) and teaches creative writing part-time at the Cleveland Institute of Art. She also occasionally teaches classes for Literary Cleveland. She lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and can be found online at The White Space Inside the Poem.

The first poem got the group pondering on the effects "big brother" has had on our society in addition to the younger generation's indifference to being watched. After a bit of in depth discussion as well as a vote the topic shifts to the second poem of the day which is applauded for its excellent use of language. What was the fate of these pieces? Does the gang ever get their hands on legitimate prison whiskey? Find out all of that and more inside of this Slush Pile.

Made Manifest/Glassy

Nanny cam. Traffic cam. Bank machine eye. Facial
recognition software. I imagine being watched

which I don’t have to imagine. Facebook’s old
photos. Look at that hair! Avatars which used to

mean gods, maybe sitting on lily pads. By the supreme
power of my two-legged presence. Or two thumbs.

Maps in the front of books or the glove compartment
where there are no gloves. Every time the left hand

turn off of Clifton like a disappointed hummingbird.
Peacock’s eye. I have my eye on you. Dream

scraps invigilate the movie of my intention. Daisies.
Nipples. There’s you and the you you say you are.

Potato eye (gouged out). Eyedropper. I-land.
My stories are not about you. The small window high up

like a letterbox to peer through. Somewhere a crumpet of light.


Fest of Wishes: A Birthday Ghazal

Obdurate leaning pine, rough-barked, this witch’s
wooden prism, the organs damp, high-colored like sequestered caves—my best wishes.

Wet, red fist. The heart grown larger like a pearl, a bird
that strains at the top of the ribs, breaks from my chest like a zest of wishes.

Each day like a caught breath, a love blow. There can never be
enough—gasping, swollen, luminous—arrested by wishes.

Trolling for the unobserved—road smoke, a gravel pit
of years, the caution tape (that clean bird not yet bested by wishes).

That it should go on—the moon riding above me like a promise
in the sky, a milky penny fitted to its slot—the rest of my wishes.

Present at the Editorial Table:

Kathleen Volk Miller

Tim Fitts

Marion Wrenn

John Wall Barger

Ali Ziabakhsh-Tabari


Engineering Producer:

Joe Zang


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