“Joni Mitchell’s Left Hand” by Meg Lubey

Colorful geometric shapes, including a TV with jazz cup design onscreen, on a brown background

Joni Mitchell’s Left Hand

it feels so good to let things be small.
i can’t because
nostalgia feels like an illness today
and it rained before
the sun even came up.
on the sidewalk i listen to mister rogers
because his curated sincerity
is sickeningly earnest and cured
with spoonfuls of melancholia.
he reports that sometimes people are good
and i believe it because
the news feed is still bleak but i can’t die
until i finish these paintings. you know,
i hate the thought but i’m not sure
if i stopped believing in santa claus
too late or started shaving my legs too early but
i definitely got the order wrong.
sorry, i’m just self-indulging and stuffed
full of that cheese that my mom puts out
on my birthday that isn’t cheese
and is actually made from cashews. my birthday
is the day before christmas eve and
i need all of you to care and to
stop telling me my poems are good or i’ll never shut up
and i’ll never be one of those cats
on my street that kiss each other
in the driveway.
the other night the moon was in half and
it looked like a cookie
i used to eat but not anymore, i already told you this
remember? that’s why the cheese was made from cashews.
mom said fake meat is better than real meat but
no meat is better than fake meat and
my professor told me that
sincerity is an untapped market.
you know, men made abstraction about material
and shape and that’s it. you know, i’m painting this
because i want to. and i want to
be the lesbian beds that tammy rae carland photgraphed.
i could be those perfectly wrinkled sheets and flattened pillows and
that timed light, projected through window panes,
preserved in a new shape like peaches in a jar.
those photographs look like
the deep voice of hope sandoval, gravel
in the brushburns of your knees, and
that perfume that my mom wears sometimes.
i don’t really have the energy to
remember anymore, so i’m writing here that
joni mitchell’s left hand has polio forever and that
she did more for david crosby than he ever did for her. and that
i’d love to have seen all the things you’re talking about
but if i don’t know how the movie ends i’ll be
sick the whole time so please, sit down.
we can practice the lines.

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Meg Lubey is an artist from Buffalo, NY, currently studying painting and creative writing at the Cleveland Institute of Art. Through the incorporation of both traditional painting mediums and more unconventional materials such as spackle, embroidery floss, fabric, and other found objects, Lubey challenges conventions of painting and explores the nostalgic human tendency to preserve and record. Lubey’s work has been shown in group exhibitions such as Push and Pull at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY and Coveted at Kaiser Gallery in Cleveland, OH. During this past year they have been awarded 2nd in show in the Student Independent Exhibition 75 in the Reinberger gallery in Cleveland, OH. Most recently, Lubey has had two poems published in Stone Fruit Zine’s fourth issue, Ritual, and one poem published in Ordinary, a collaborative, queer zine that they themselves organized, curated, and published.

Charlie Saxton is a painter from Canton, Ohio.

This month’s special issue “NOSTALGIA IS?” was guest edited by Kevin Latimer and Brendan Joyce of GRIEVELAND. Brendan Joyce is the co-organizer of Grieveland, a student at Cleveland State University and the author of Character Limit (2019) and Love & Solidarity (2020). Kevin Latimer’s poems can be found in Ninth Letter, jubilat, Poetry Northwest, Passages North, & elsewhere. His plays have been produced by convergence-continuum. Along with Brendan Joyce, he co-organizes GRIEVELAND, a publishing project. He has won fellowships, scholarships, & awards from The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland State University, & Twelve Literary Arts. He is the author of ZOETROPE (2020). He lives in Cleveland, Ohio.