Thursday, March 22, 2012



his mother has died
alone on the kitchen floor
choked to death
on her own vomit

she laid there
for six days
nobody missed her

and it’s his problem
because the police
find his name
in her address book

he wants
to give her a funeral
then he’ll bury her


he is divorced with
two children
a boy and a girl
I don’t
know their names

maybe he’s an English
likes to forget
the gritty details of life
once in a while

or maybe he’s an actor
but his
true passion is writing
he spends all his
free time at
community theater

he was already divorced
when you knew him
or maybe he was a Russian colonel
who fell in
love with a Cuban girl

she defected and moved
to Chicago
and he followed her there
but she was mad as hell
pretended she
didn’tknow him

so he teaches Spanish at
DePaul University
and he hates
every minute of it

he wants to give her a funeral
and a wake
a big fucking celebration
throw a fucking party

he’ll grieve for that woman
then he’ll bury her


he needs to tell this story
in the first person
want to cast
the narrator as a hero

that will draw the audience in
then he will
show her
unclaimed body on a
slab in the morgue

he will throw
a party
a big fucking celebration
throw open the doors

and bury her


I tried to forget that
was home once

it became a look out
the window

a rest stop on
the way to anywhere


because it isn’t the place
that matters
it is her lifeless face
laying on a slab that matters

the autopsy has already
been done
the medical examiner doesn’t
want him to see the body

he doesn’t know that he is an
unreliable narrator
misleading and
confusing his readers

it’s up to the readers
to fill in details
and it’s his problem
because the police find his
name in
her address book


maybe his father
comes from a solid reputable family
she is
from the country

but they still have to
meet somewhere
St. Louis University

in the College of Pharmacology

or maybe they are
high school sweethearts
he saves some
money and buys a store
joins the Elks

or maybe he runs for
political office
and loses
in a landslide

buries her underneath
the rubble


he knows a good haircut
brushes his shoes
wears an
undershirt and a belt

knows that pants always
have pleats
lapels are always notched
dress shirts don’t have button
down collars

but they always have

he keeps a rubbing stone
in his pocket
that smells like after shave

a mother of pearl button
reminds him
of his first haircut
his first pair of dress shoes
pancake breakfasts

a green felt baseball cap with
an embroidered logo
completely worn away

someone bought him a
chocolate malt
he sucked on the wooden
chewed it to splinters

wore a pair of white canvas
tennis shoes and
grey dungarees
blue jeans are uncouth

never pulled the flaps down
on his hunting cap
even when his ears were
bright red

always be ready with new
shoe laces
and saddle soap
don’t let other people
shine your shoes

don’t iron your own shirts
sew your own buttons
wear your club pins

fly the flag on holidays
and never
let it stay out in the rain
or after dark

take your hat off indoors
when you say the Lord’s Prayer
ask the Lord
to forgive our trespasses
not our debts

don’t bite your fingernails
never look messy
don’t wear
shoes with holes in them

keep your baseball mitt well oiled
don’t leave it
outside in the rain

they built a tree house
and a fort
in the
loft above the garage

learned to ride a shaky
old bicycle
before he got a real three speed
with a fat rear tire

he didn’t like the color
so they
sanded it down
painted it shiny blue

bought fruit flavored
tootsie rolls

wanted very much
to hold
a fifty cent piece
with President John F. Kennedy’s
face on it but he
never asked

he doesn’t know he is an
unreliable narrator
misleading and confusing
the readers
will have
to fill in the details


he stopped tucking in
his shirt tails
started wearing blue jeans
and worn out t-shirts

breaks into a run
a desperate
frantic dash to nowhere
in particular

and it’s his problem
because the police find his
name in
her address book

or maybe he packed up
a van and drove
to Brazil
opened a Mercedes dealership

and buried her under
the floorboards

© 2012 Matthew S. Barton

Monday, January 23, 2012


Title: Come out, Virginia

Author: Donna Vorreyer

Publisher: Naked Mannekin

Format: 7.5 x 5" Chapbook

ISBN: 978-1-61584-283-4

List Price: $10.00



Title: Rocketman, The Nash Ramble of Love

Author: Bruce Matteson

Publisher: Naked Mannekin

Format: 7.5 x 5" Chapbook


List Price: $37.50


R O C K E T M A N S E Z :

If you get raised stupid
It can take years to undo
That kind of intense training
And if you do finally manage
To pop your head out of your ass
You’ll be lucky to have time
For a little fresh air
But you never really get the stink off
And may well be known to your peers
As a shit head
Your entire life


Title: Fourteen

Author: Bill Yarrow

Publisher: Naked Mannekin

Format: 7.5 x 5" Chapbook

ISBN: 978-1-60584-282-7

List Price: $10.00



One by one I lost my desires.
Dirty ambition left first.
Knowledge raged but then it cooled.
Riches never had the hook very deep.
Achievement uncoupled from success seemed pointless.
Friendship became recursive.
Appetite lost its urgency.
Form declined into artifice.
Love stopped feeding me so I stopped feeding it.
Insight evaporated when memory left.
Lust lingered longest.

My desires, gaily arrayed, bolted to a
lapis slab, await me in Heaven.
With any luck I’ll go to Hell.

I'm proud to say I am the owner of one of these beautiful little books. I love everything about it. The look, the layout and especially Bill's poems. It's everything a book of poems should be. Get one today!

Darryl Price

Friday, January 20, 2012


Title: Final Notes

Author: JP Reese

Publisher: Naked Mannekin

Format: 7.5 x 5" Chapbook

ISBN: 1-933126-09-4

List Price: $10.00


Praise for JP Reese's Final Notes from poet Sam Pereira, whose books include The Marriage of the Portuguese (L'Epervier Press, 1978), Brittle Water (Abattoir Editions/Penumbra Press, University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1987), and A Cafe in Boca (Tebot Bach, 2007):

Too many times, the idea of a “chapbook” substantiates the claim that poetry has little, if anything, left to say. In JP Reese’s Final Notes, nothing could be farther from the truth. We get snuck up on with lines like “Danger rests in believing the honest blue of the sky.” Remarkably understated, it becomes a sort of poetic fortune cookie, not to be tossed aside, but held on to as our journeys progress.

Another example is the stunning poem “Evanescence,” where we come away feeling the addictive nature of commingling in darkness. There is joy in this knowledge that warmth, however it is made aware to us, is momentary in its dynamic, but worth taking. The poem “2008, What I Wanted” offers wisdom beyond anything that might be stated here about it. This is a manifesto to the world on how not to treat those left breathing.

JP Reese has the skill of an artist and the soul of a survivor. The proof is compiled in a perfectly lean volume that needs to be read with admiration for years to come. Those looking to find that most rarified of beings, a genuine poet, need look no further.

© 2012 Sam Pereira

Susan Tepper, author of From the Umberplatzen: A Love Story, Deer and Other Stories, and What Might Have Been: Letters of Jackson Pollock & Dori G:

It isn't often one reads a book of poetry that is both immediate and visionary. Such is the case with "Final Notes," a searing new collection by JP Reese. These poems float, they gut-punch, they bleed, they cry out for more space in a shrinking world.

Marc Vincenz, author of Upholding Half the Sky, The Propaganda Factory and the forthcoming Pull of the Gravitons:

The poems in JP Reese's Final Notes are deeply personal: letters, sketches, faded photographs, white noise emerging from dreams. Late at night, a cold calm permeates the house, a great sigh emanates from the bones. In precisely that moment clarity arrives. But clarity is not always revelation; it may be realization rather than resolution. Perhaps it is that instant you stop searching for meaning that change occurs and renewal begins. In these wrought iron imagistic poems, Reese invites us inside her four fissured walls. Here man and woman lose their desire yet somehow fall together in grace, a father repairs a chair in the company of bees, a parent’s aspirations for her son remain unfulfilled, even the self becomes invisible in its own reflection. Thirst may never be quenched, for as our children dance, gravity waits patiently in “the clay beneath our feet.” And in the night-silence of corridors, still the unspeakable speaks.

Poet Shara McCallum’s books of poetry include This Strange Land (Alice James Books, 2011), Song of Thieves (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003) and The Water Between Us (1999), winner of the 1998 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Her poems have won a college prize from The Academy of American Poets. McCallum’s poems have been anthologized in The New American Poets: A Bread Loaf Anthology (ed. Michael Collier, 2000). McCallum teaches and directs the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University. Shara McCallum says:

These poems are resoundingly of our time. JP Reese’s collection, Final Notes, offers personal lyric-narratives about various subjects: love and desire, a marriage strained by alcohol abuse, a mother’s love for her child, a daughter’s devotion to her aging and declining father. They also speak to public narratives that inscribe our contemporary American lives: 9-11, the war in Iraq, the collapse of the economy and Wall Street’s complicity and corruption. Often, as in “2008, What I Wanted,” the personal and public intersects, naturally and to moving effect. Whatever this poet addresses, her poems reveal the poet-speaker’s desire to speak with complexity and honesty to the totality of what it is to be human. They succeed in doing this largely through the persona she constructs (one that the striking poem addressing Sexton and Plath suggests is the inheritance of Confessionalism). The poems also move us through the sheer force of their images; and Reese’s deft capturing of an unexpected detail frequently reveals the underbelly of what, at first glance, seems ordinary. The title of one of her poems, “It is What It is,” is a catch-phrase in American idiom that highlights one of the primary tensions in this collection. Like that phrase, Final Notes is resigned to looking at ‘what is’—though not to embrace a cynical view of the world but, rather, to find a balance between denial and hopelessness. The “bright razors” with which Reese speaks, then, dissect difficult experience but, also, become a healing.


This issue of ECO contains some of the finest work we have ever published. Our editorial staff spent days sequestered away in a Motel 6. Hours and hours of arguing raged like the Poetry Battle of Gettysburg. In the end only 12 poems were left standing.

Esteban Colón took a short leave of absence after Thanksgiving to de-stress from this ordeal.

The task then fell to Matt and me to produce an issue that looked as artistically cool as its content. We thought about being all fancy and shiny and bright and new. We thought about making the book sing when you opened the cover. We spent hours talking about fonts and layouts. At one point, Matt tried to kill me with a printer.

Some of this may be true. Honestly speaking, we felt a need to get back to our roots on this issue. To remind ourselves that among the goofy and weird that we project, we really try to be artists. I hesitate to use that word. What I will say is that we like this thing we’ve made, and we hope you do too.

David Buddha 309 Hargarten
Managing Editor, ECO