Last Friday, we published two poems by Philadelphia-based writer Jonathan Aprea. The two pieces—“All in Heaven” and “Fluid Astrology”—are a diptych of gentle reflections regarding life and afterlife. In “All in Heaven,” Aprea considers the life of a goldfish, keeping his readers’ feet mostly on the ground up until the last two lines: “Until it is in me, and I am the goldfish. / They are me, they are in heaven now.” We’re then launched into “Fluid Astrology,” an intensely cosmic piece that blasts us into space and into ourselves; it begins, “I am affected by the bodies I have heard of / floating in heaven.” It’s much more introspective than “All in Heaven,” with lines like, “I unravel from my beliefs / and find new ones,” though the impact of the two pieces is maximized when featured together. Aprea’s special move lies in his devastating ability to softly expose a hard truth; he writes, “I must weep / for the tide in my veins’ blood—/ it is blinded by its search for more blood.
Local journal steel bellow: A Purely Buffalo Literary and Arts Magazine celebrated the release of Issue 5.1 last week with readings by Sandy Geary, Tim McPeek, and Ed Taylor at the Second Reader Bookshop in North Buffalo. The journal has been run by local poets Paige Melin and Vincent Cervone for six years, and has remained free with a suggested donation of only a couple bucks since its very first issue. After the reading, Melin revealed that Issue 5.1 would be the penultimate issue of steel bellow, with the final issue—featuring Rick LaClair, J.B. Stone, and Scott Williams—to come this summer. “steel bellow was founded in 2012 at a time when there was a lull in independent zines being produced in Buffalo,” Melin told Peach Mag. “Buffalo now boasts a number of independent zines that, while not laser-focusing on local writers the way steel bellow always has, are all doing phenomenal work to represent, energize, disseminate, and celebrate Buffalo’s poetry zine.”
It’s hard to imagine that steel bellow will come to an end, and Buffalo’s poetry community will be forever indebted to the efforts of Melin and Cervone. For now, I suggest getting your hands on a copy of Issue 5.1. A piece from the collection that I’ve had stuck in my head since hearing him read it is “Repousse for Chorus, Audience” by Ed Taylor: It ends, “two people, then three, / a song, then unrehearsed hunger, / instructions in case of fire, / & the last act / a door slowly closing on a form, / a bright pulsing; / & that heart now ours / as we breathe again, / weave into night now / shaped into shining things, wings.”
“Peach Picks” is a column of literary news and recommendations written by the editors of Peach Mag, an online literary magazine based in Buffalo. For inquiries, contact the editors at email@example.com.