Home Poetry

0

Time is a Whisper

by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

 

Time is a
whisper
that grows
to a
scream
in the pregnant
belly of
evening
under stars
not fully
formed.

Time always
squeaks by
twisting
its mouse
tail
in dark boarded
up houses
searching
for a hole
to crawl
in.

 

 

At Sea

 

The last agony
I left at sea,
the moon as witness
from its sky home.
The last time I wept
was at sea, the
first time was in the
hospital and
it was day one
of life in the world.
Sea was where I went,
always the sea,
where I spent my days
with my love and
my heart’s real terror.

 

 

Grain of Rice

 

In a grain of rice
I hid my verses,
a tiny island
of dark messages
trained to remain hushed.

Difficult to see,
verses disappear;
they become lost in
the thin grain of rice.
The words become lies.

The verses appear
as the grain of rice
becomes two, three, four,
hundreds of grains of
rice, boiled, with garlic

and salt added; soy
sauce, butter, slices of
bananas, onions,
and tomato sauce.
The verses appear.

 

 

Reading In

 

I have been reading in
I take a lot of
small breaks. I have
been gleaming over words
that I wish I had written.
In the backyard birds
sing like I wish I could
too. The whole day
I do not go out
because I am reading in
My eyes become
weary. The car sits
idle in the driveway.
The sun peeks in from
outside. The garbage
is in here. I have not
written a thing.
I have been reading in
I have made no effort
to go out. I feel free.
I do what I want to do.

 

 

 

 

BIO

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal, born in Mexico, lives in Southern California, and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His first book of poems, Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His other poetry books, broadsides, and chapbooks, have been published by Alternating Current Press, Deadbeat Press, Kendra Steiner Editions, New American Imagist, New Polish Beat, Poet’s Democracy, and Ten Pages Press (e-book).

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

The heart tats

by Nanette Rayman

 

 

If my body seems both supple and potential
now and again, getting nothing you’d dreamed of does this—
I smoke, bedroom-faced, my heart an air raid,
all battings and panic, the fatal flaw that keeps you all away,
sadly away on the 6 train and the bookshop,
while the sun’s lunge does nothing to skew the deck
of fate, the stroke of July, the sky spread limb-to-limb by gutting clouds
over city streets where I still search for a job. My busy body’s lithe
as a ballerina, half on the sidewalk, half in the crook of a mugger’s arm,
one bolt away from eating the scrim to the next world, as I did
once at nineteen. So much beauty, he’d leered, behind his Buick wheel, how
a starched nurse had to hold my hand for the pelvic, the stitches.
How many times I’ve told you it was a friend, a woman who told me
to get in his car—he’s cool. Inside old grief, memory grouses, it expands galaxies.
Inside my sweet white white sundress, my heart tats and now and again is free.
So, darlings who look and then look away—subconsciously aware—of my play,
do not press me or collar me, enter through the porch door
with itinerary in-hand, how you plan to scale the highest lights,
seduce me now with cowboy feet, purple roses spotted with dew
while I slip quietly out of my dress, ligature dog-gone.

 

 

Lost to Casper, Sleet, Snowballs, Tension, Top Gun

 

The vast orange fire blossoming in your flesh
proxy-sleets in my gut. Around you is the tension
wizard where the space between is intricate igneous swirls—
strobe lights, stage lights in the slough around a fort
adorned and adored by top gun carcasses—the color of
Collared Treepees. The chatter-alarm sounds unnoticed
in this borderless refurbished land, deriding
you at the bend of Southern Boulevard, hiding in the sealed
Laundromat as a front, wayfaring at the speed of snowballs
through Kibbles ‘n Bits rooms, your breath Hubba Bubba—
That is your soul now, Casper—your soul always
Arrière on my fingers, crumpled snowball and lost—you
were so blistered, broken, bellicose, honing your top gun bad
man vagabundo body into baggy. You walk so slow, so slow, down
Kelly Street, yet you disappear like Houdini in the scraps
of Hood. No headlights can find you and the plangent
sounds of death gurgling from your pus-erupting lips—and you
—a bullet I would love to talk to again one day.

 

 

Slowly, Slowly, Alive—South Bronx

 

This is not the neighborhood for you, my ex-friend said. Played with a French fry,
eyed through the coffee shop’s sun-collared window a murder of crowing guys
storm-trooping down the street as I lit a smoke forgetting I was in AmeriKa.
Ex has no idea she’s a dog. Turning me away did not become her. She had set out
flowered tea cups for coffee the day I wanted to leave my husband. She folded
rosy napkins and clicked her teeth. He’s a rat, better without him. The heart
of a rat—how she hovers over the menu as the living ghost of a beauty
queen, once, lost mother-never-had with forests of Buttonball trees
Port de Bras living and living and living in my heart.

Remember the rent spent on that drug? I remember locks
changed and my husband mud-caked and kaleidoscoped in his own
sky with tears, meadows of dandelions and violets dying in his ribs. Planted
urchin on the street begging to come home. I remember looking for work
being laughed at for saying I have what it takes, I remember relenting as a fool
and bringing my blistered man home and I remember hands around
my throat as Bazooka-blown gratitude. I remember her turning me down
when I asked to stay one night.

On our way out Ex caught my hand with her hand. Placed cash. Sneered
away from the crows coming in. Let’s get outta here! I flinched. Not Nephilim,
she uttered grabbing for her own smoke—Merit 100. Take care of yourself
she said through swirly rings, the chain-link fences, the oily land of tire
shops. Stinks of middle earth, she said. I’m going to live, like this.

 

 

BIO

Nanette Rayman, poetry books:  Shana Linda Pretty Pretty, Project: Butterflies, two-time Pushcart nominee, Best of Net, DZANC Best of Web, winner Glass Woman Prize. Publications:  The Worcester Review, Sugar House Review (newpages.com), Stirring’s Steamiest Six, gargoyle, Little Rose Magazine, isthmus, Scarlet Leaf Review, Red Wolf Journal, Seventh Wave, The Scarlet Leaf Review.

 

 

 

 

 

0

investment

by Laurinda Lind

 

while still young
and strong you

stumbled across
yourself and though

it burned, burned,
you had the sense

to let it have you
so that now you

explode without
effort, one great

flash to guide your
feet because once

you wanted to walk
over coals.

 

*Originally published in Lucid Moon

 

 

New Cycle

 

These are times
I lack you, rays
the same length,

the sun, the simple
warmth, each

time meteors
miss one other

in transit as I keep
sliding off from

every known space.
Out where we spin
in separate skies.

 

*Originally published in The Aguilar Expression

 

 

Backdive

 

You said, I dreamed
we met all over again.
You brought me a canoe
crammed with questions.
We stood at the edge
worried since the water
was filthy with scissors:
I braved a backdive. You

barely sank. Last,
you said, At least
we have ten years till
the end of the end. Now
we’re at nine and reason
says we’ve arrived,
survived whatever
submerged in secret.

Yet, with less than a year
left to go I wish I were sure
we got to the shore, or
whether we still have
to be heroes who walk all
the way through the underwater
hazards, for as long as it
takes till we climb clear.

 

*Originally published in Newsletter Inago


 

Hoopsteeled

 

Maybe heaven hurts
this way, regretting
its riot of free will. If

our two selves weren’t
sewn so horribly together,
both of them might bend

backward through ring
on ring in time to take it all
back, and either could

wheel away, hare off,
shed sparks like crazy.
Like the circular heart.

 

*Originally published in Ellipsis

 

 

  

BIO

Laurinda Lind lives in New York’s North Country. Some poems are in Blue Earth, Dryland, Indefinite Space, New American Writing, and NonBinary Review; also anthologies Visiting Bob [Dylan] (New Rivers) and AFTERMATH (Radix). In 2018, she won the Keats-Shelley adult-poetry prize and the New York State Fair poetry competition.

 

 

 

 

 

0

Sex with Her

by John Califano

 

 

sex with her was
caring
sex with her was
nurturing
sex with her was
magical
sex with her was
transforming
sex with her was
at times
            so
            fucking
            good
even the neighbors
needed
a cigarette


 

Untitled I

 

like Heathcliff roaming the moors
believe in you me, I know
not just your nicotine scent, but your DNA
no more to kiss
no more to hold
alone I am left
with still love in my heart
        c r u s h e d
by the vision of seismic possibilities
lost – yet not forgotten
I can now count them one by one
as I reside
painted and varnished
on the head of a pin


 

Untitled II

 

alone
in my mother’s womb
piglet with no siblings
I still
in the dark of my room
can toss
and turn
and hear
her moan

 

 

Homeopathic Food for Thought

 

on my corner
I watch, half naked
a homeless man
rummaging through garbage
my specialty of the day
clearly recognizable from the window
of the health food store
where
I
down
my daily dose
of popular antitoxins
and quietly pray

someone

somewhere

save me

 

 

 

BIO

John Califano grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and lives in Manhattan where he works helping at-risk parolees transition back into the workforce. He’s worked as a writer, actor, visual artist, and musician, and has performed in clubs, art galleries, feature films, and Off-Broadway productions. He recently completed NOTES FROM DOWN UNDER, a collection of poems, and JOHNNY BOY, an autobiographical coming-of-age novel. His work was recently featured in The Broadkill Review and The Willesden Herald’s New Short Stories Series (UK), as well as in Embark, an international literary journal for novelists.

For more information please visit: www.johncalifano.com

 

0

THIS TRACE OF SERENITY

by R.T. Castleberry

 

I’ve spent the hours
watching overflights of airliners,
choppers bank low, in line
with hospital spires.
Blue jay and robin dart
from oaks to feeding field.
A grey calico cat makes
his run across cracked tarmac,
tail flicking through a broken fence.
A spoiling cloud builds to the west.
The day seems a haiku
of mechanics and the wild.

 

 

AT THE INTERVAL, A DRINK

 

The Sunday wind rising,
a widow, weary at her stories,
drapes stone stairs with
garlands of ivy, white tulips,
a liturgy script.
Lizards crawl the layered length.
Service dogs seethe at their leashes,
pyres seize the air.
Neighborhoods overlap cratered sidewalks,
collapse into colonias raging color,
into gated beige or brown.
Rain in callous intervals
washes out the gardening earth.
Take this as best lesson:
winter on the cusp,
the widow will have her Manhattan very cold,
will endure the chasing flurry of
starling, sparrow, blue jay.

 

 

ROLES OF PROVOCATION

 

Winded,
I can barely raise my head.
Grieving strains like gravity.
I lean on my desk,
keys twirling on one finger,
slapping into my palm.
The outer window previews
carnival propulsion,
the integrity of the Ferris Wheel
distinct through a desert sky.
Samaritans at a safe distance
place 911 calls and side bets.
A sniper engaged in his mystery
fires the higher floors,
dictates release terms,
roles of provocation.
I’ll explain three times, he says.
The fourth is a last clue.
A sanctioned celebration rackets seamless—
fireworks and lasers,
Otis Redding and Roadhouse Blues.
Floodlights shill hotel flags.
Drinkers flood the inside bars,
dance patios left to triage.
I’ll take away
the ash of this evening
through checkout, through a taxi ride,
through an airline chat:
I missed it at dinner across town.
Yes, it was close. I was lucky.

 

 

THE NARRATIVE COMES APART

 

I take this story,
weave it as Elijah’s task, a magi’s trial,
Thursday through Sunday, weeks at a time.
Cryptic as a Hummingbird,
someone typed the comment:
shift the pitch from
red to silver, timbre to tremolo.
We’ll watch it take
a Southern wing, a Western swing.
The dream in reverse, inverts,
shimmies dishonest as a minor key.
The running sea a lyre tossed upon the rocks,
I’m awake in Mendocino.

 

 

 

BIO

R.T. Castleberry’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Pedestal Magazine, Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Silk Road and Argestes. Internationally, it has been published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Antarctica. He has poetry in the anthologies: Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, Kind Of A Hurricane: Without Words and Blue Milk’s anthology, Dawn. My chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

0

WITHIN REACH

by Roger Singer

 

A gift of words
is the magic
the key opening
clouds

healing holds the
temperature of the room
diamonds rise
as leaves fall

a newness provides
the power like rivers

broken stars mend

what was lost
resurfaces

the moon glazes
onto meadows with
smoothness

 

 

WAITING

 

Walking the dream
on legs without stars

a release drives within
like seasons changing
from equatorial spinning

pushing us against
celestial misgivings
of unanswered prayers

where
whispers and voices
strain through burlap
separating the living
from storytellers

as miracles wait
to be called out
from hiding.

 

 

 

BIO

Roger Singer has been in private practice for 38 years in upstate New York.  He has four children, Abigail, Caleb, Andrew and Philip and seven grandchildren.  Dr. Singer has served on multiple committees for the American Chiropractic Association, lecturing at colleges in the United States, Canada and Australia, and has authored over fifty articles for his profession and served as a medical technician during the Vietnam era.

Dr. Singer has over 1,000 poems published on the internet, magazines and in books and is a Pushcart Award Nominee.  Some of the magazines that have accepted his poems for publication are:  Westward Quarterly, Jerry Jazz, SP Quill, Avocet, Underground Voices, Outlaw Poetry, Literary Fever, Dance of my Hands, Language & Culture, The Stray Branch, Toasted Cheese, Tipton Poetry Journal and Indigo Rising, Down in the Dirt, Fullosia Press, Orbis, Penwood Review, Subtle Tea, Ambassador Poetry Award Massachusetts State Poetry Society, Louisiana State Poetry Society Award, Mad Swirl Anthology 2018.

 

 

 

 

0

April

by Holly Day

 

You wake me up to tell me
that the snow has come back
that the garden outside is completely
obscured in white. You say it much too loud
for this sort of news
for this early in the morning, almost joyful.

Half-asleep, the resentful part of me believes
perhaps you are responsible for the snow.

I drag myself out of bed and call the dog
who comes, joyful at the prospect of a morning walk.
I put on her leash and we step outside
into a world buried in white snow
the tips of new tulips, the green sprays of crocus
already shriveling and darkening in the cold.

 

 

If I Knew Braille

 

If I knew Braille, perhaps I could read
the graffiti of purple-mouthed limpets clinging
to old, sea-washed boulders
the secret Bibles of zebra mussels clinging to dry-docked boats
the last, profound gasps of snails and slugs dried out in clumps
on the sun-baked pavement in front of my house.
There may be language in the teetering piles of droppings

the rabbits have scattered throughout my yard
written in squirrel on the skin of half-nibbled tulip bulbs
lifted from the ground and carried into the trees
in the fresh pattern of teeth marks gnawed into the table leg
by the dog. I am missing too many important things
because I don’t know how to read.

 

 

Housewarming

 

We fill our home with mismatched groves of pine and oak and
molded plastic chairs, put monogrammed napkins
at every place setting. The scientists come right on time
to study our relationship, offer kind, unwelcome comments
as we pass plates laden with meat and cheese
refill their glasses with wine.
This one is my father, that one is your mother,
there are others, too.

They exchange notes, compare findings,
shake their heads and sigh
at something incurable, intangible, inconsolable.
We make excuses for the new furniture
for the condition of the house
for the awkward weather
for each other.

Later, in the dark, I feel the splatter-marks
of acne scars on your skin
try to read the dents of Braille graffiti on flesh
the broken ribs that spell out “joy”
the tiny scars that spell out the longings
that will never be met. This place
will never smell like home, just as you
will never be completely naked around me. In the end
you will leave me
howling, all alone, at the moon.

 

 

 

BIO

Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry collections are A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press); In This Place, She Is Her Own (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press); A Wall to Protect Your Eyes (Pski’s Porch Publishing); I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.); and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy (Alien Buddha Press).

 

 

 

 

 

0

Spirit Named Forest

by Marvin Rosel

 

A long time ago when father God created the spirits before He created man He saw the earth dusty and rocky. He liked what he saw but his heart wasn’t satisfied, so He created a spirit named Forest. He told Forest to cover the whole planet at the beginning of time, to turn it green and colorful and to make himself be present everywhere as a sacrifice of beauty to God who had created him. Forest did as God requested and other spirits were following Forest’s path—animals, flowers, and humans. But God told Forest there will be a time that those you give shelter, food, and resources will try to cut you down. They will put stone over you and you won’t be able to breathe anymore. They will set you on fire and water will cover you God told Forest. But yet from deep inside, Mother Earth won’t forget about you and I will tell her to turn on her fire and she will make volcanoes erupt until everything that has tried to destroy you repents. Then as a signal I will tell the  spirit of water to cover earth completely. Your beautiful spirit will rejoice that day because nothing will harm you again and it will be a new day, a new start for you Spirit named Forest because thanks to you I see life in this planet I created. Then I will be pleased said God.

 

 

 

Got You

 

It is another beautiful day in Southern California, sunny and warm, perfect weather for the people living in Los Angeles. In one of the neighborhoods of the City of Angels dreams are born like bread coming out of an oven. Raven opens her eyes and with the right purpose, she wanted the right pet so she went looking for a fish. She didn’t like the fish at the pet shops, then she went to the Los Angeles River but didn’t like how the river was. She moved on and went to the beach. She got in the water and came across a big surprise, a colorful, beautiful fish that had a sign attached to it that said “I Got You.”

 

 

 

Dancing Can

 

The sardine is trapped in the can. It moves. It shakes. It is in there. The sardine is alive. “Can you pass me the sardine can?” I asked my beautiful daughter. She screamed, “Papito, Papito, the can is alive.” I told her, “It’s okay. Just grab it and don’t be afraid.” She ran outside and told me, “No Dad, you grab the can.” I got up to look at the dancing sardine can. I grab it and open it, and the sardine jumped out. I hear the sardine singing “I’m free at last.”

 

 

 

The Language

 

There is a universal language. Can you feel it? Annie had a vision the other day and her heart felt the connection, good intentions, and a lot of love. She ought to make the vision become a reality. The Universe listens to her heart, dances with her love, adores her intention. Time passes and the Universe delivers Annie what she visualizes. She first received a lot of money, then she was put in the right places as Annie and the Universe spoke to each other. The day came when Annie finished her new musical. Annie visualized God through the Universe’s response to her. It’s good to be in LA.

 

 

 

 

 

BIO

Marvin Rosel was born in Sonsonate, El Salvador, where he lived until he was 14. His father brought him, along with his brother and sister, to South Gate, CA. He spent several years living in Miami, FL. Marvin arrived to the Skid Row community in November 2017, where he continues to write and live.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Black Velvet Elvis

by Guinotte Wise

 

The creek runs black, unfrozen, between white
snow banks, cutting a jagged tear of chiaroscuro
the dogs stop to drink and ripple the dark water
and my mind flashes back to Tulsa and falling
through thin ice in winter creek to my waist as
a boy, maybe ten, thinking I will never be this cold
again, but I was, in Aspen, skiing in a snowstorm.
I warmed in a tub in Tulsa, in a bar in Aspen near
a firepit where a black velvet painting of a Maori
tribesman caught my eye. I’d never seen that way
of painting before, then I saw Elvis everywhere.

 

 

Clouds Through Blue Plastic

 

A girl and a boy, she streaked with dirt,
he has managed to stay a bit cleaner,

and he holds the raft as if it would float
away as she pumps it up laboriously

it assumes its shape if not its calm pool
use, blue in color. She pulls the bicycle

pump needle, and caps the whooshing
airhole. It’s losing all its air he says and

frowns. She ignores him, her brother,
wonders why she thought it necessary

to include him in this project. She may
push him overboard when they reach

the pond, not on their property. They
carry the raft down the gravel road and

she can see blurred clouds through its
translucent skin. She will send him back

to get her bamboo pole and bait, shove
off without him, no doubt redfaced and

screaming, but first the pond. They lay
it over the barbed wire fence but snag

the thin balloonlike plastic and it makes
a raspberry sound at them. They walk

away, dismayed but only momentarily
defeated, leaving the limp blue flag to

catch the eyes of farmers driving by as
though it was a blue coyote skin. The

boy said, it farted. And they both laugh
so hard they hiccup and become dizzy.

 

 

Organization Man

 

Round bales lying touching side by side
wrapped in plastic look like rockets or
giant cigar tubes. The farmer who chose
this pool table flat area and made sure

they were so meticulously laid gives me
to wonder if he laughs or plays or throws
a ball for pet or son, and does he stack
the dishes neatly after eating, does he

have a pegboard with sharpy outlines in
his workshop, where tools must stay to
wait their use. Nothing wrong with being
ordered, things in their place and a place

for things, but when he’s gone and laid
to rest, will his spirit be contained or will
it bemoan the flaking barn paint and the
slightly canted shutter with a louvre out

of place? The Jimson weed that grows
undaunted, the leaning fence, the carved
arroyo deeper after every rain, gutters
full of seedlings growing vines and trees

that will reclaim the farmhouse, conceal
it from the passing view. His hands are
clasped already but are they wringing in
impatience to get things put right again?

 

 

BIO

Guinotte Wise writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. Four more books since. A 4-time Pushcart nominee, his fiction and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Santa Fe Writers Project, Rattle and The American Journal of Poetry. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it. Some work is at http://www.wisesculpture.com

 

 

 

 

0

Role Play

by Chris Fox

 

Tonight, I’m the world’s foremost lepidopterist.

You enter through the window and force me, at gunpoint,

to swallow the eggs of the dreaded Novalis Blue:

once warmed, you remind me, they’ll hatch,

larva devouring the host

from the inside-out,

replacing flesh with moonlight.

Already I feel caterpillars ripple along my bones,

diligent fingertips

translating me into Maeterlink stanzas.

Vertebrae, mushroom-pale, unbutton one by one,

my final breaths turn azure.

I am a poem in French now, metamorphosis complete.

You’ve changed into your Composer’s costume,

white wig luminous with moths.

You sit down and set my words to music,

set what’s left of me to you.

 

 

Fifty Shades of Text Me the Fuck Back

 

I’m John Cusack standing outside

the bedroom window of your cemetery,

holding up a Ouija board like it’s a boombox.

 

I haven’t heard from you in a while.

 

My bedroom is a desert island.

For companionship, I’ve drawn a face

on the coconut of my own skull.

I think you must be drinking the messages

out of all the bottles I set adrift.

 

The last four decisions I’ve made

spell out HELP when seen (and ignored)

by rescue plane buzzing overhead.

That faint rumbling beneath your feet

is the reverse-skywriter I hired,

tunneling out in cursive eight feet below the ground:

I miss you, if you’re into it.

 

 

The Furniture

 

The furniture remembers that day

Your friends hid behind it to surprise you.

That was a few years ago.

Hasn’t happened since, or at least

Not since that other person

Who often shared the couch

And the chairs

And the bed with you

Stopped coming over.

 

Another birthday.

Between the cushions of the couch you find

An impossible sixty-eight-cent coin.

A game token lost years before?

No—spare change from various places around the apartment

Congealed into a single gift.

All the furniture chipped in.

Surprise.

 

 

 

BIO

Chris Fox is a poet and librarian based out of Greensboro, NC. His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Rosebud, Treehouse Magazine, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Oddball Magazine and others. His poem “You” was a runner-up for the William Stafford award, and his poem “Scorpions” was nominated for the Rhysling Award. He is currently at work putting the finishing touches on his first chapbook, “Time Travel Love Poems”.

 

 

 

 

 

0

a dream i

by Mary Kasimor

 

wind whistles
ion strands
on an existential beach

meditating in a hole
a procession of little girls
red lips with little bodies
born in wooden houses

an exit of asylum
a bee’s escape

 

 

broken light

 

morning exploded with light
over and over again
it bored me

                       the dirt sighing
intrusion encircling
and then dead
without skylight

an erased comma
                       the broken sentence

a swarm of gnats

it is beautiful circulating
apples
there is still night in my eyes

 

 

a short history of water

 

in hollow water
light is the exception

and falls from the wall
holes in a bottle

the dark wood
door shut

in the white boned afternoon
oh to be so clean and calm

with no expectations
bleaching the air

 

 

in strip malls

 

there are no poets in hell
but poetry in strip malls exist
in solid matter
there is plenty to go around
and now you are folding into words
i am almost missing you
along with my assorted lost socks
i can’t lose myself by simply
taking off my clothes
lost in the curves
hips settle into greed
the world is stoned by shadows
and they fall like plums
metal tenderness fixes everything
but she said “give me another daughter”
the crows picked out her eyes
hanging out to dry heavier than voices
in straight lines there is no limit to madness
cover your ears as you drown
cover the storm with your tracks
exiting through your mouths
in broken fields

 

 

BIO

Mary Kasimor has been writing poetry for many years. Her recent poetry collections are The Landfill Dancers (BlazeVox Books 2014), Saint Pink (Moria Books 2015), The Prometheus Collage (Locofo Press 2017), and Nature Store (Dancing Girl Press 2017).

 

 

 

0

the parts v the hole

by Zach Trebino

 

i
rain
from
haunted
shelves,

wood
fingering
my
selves,

disciples
line up
to
gather
me
in
buckets,

my
damp
head
cradled
between
books
growing
out
their
fur
to
make
themselves
more appealing,

the disciples
make
sandwiches
and tea,
brush my teeth,
and train to see the
entirety
when all they’re looking at
are little bits of me.

 

 

stock market trends don’t necessarily predict
the rates of births and deaths

 

because of your disordered senses,
i’ve had to hide securities in luggage
for my own defenses, take your car
keys, and lock my knees for impact
all just so we can go play blackjack
at a dimly lit roadside motel against
marsupials wearing stethoscopes who
pick their teeth with the scraps of
snail shells while shooting up insulin
cause their mom used to call them
sugar babies but really it’s the same
old babies spewing absurdities from
their fontanels meanwhile the mother
says “hit me” and all hell’s bells are
wrung by arthritic alcoholic hands
begging for a euthanist, damned to
a trance, dancing through case
histories of infant incest like a stock
market analyst.

 

 

prophecy

 

i was thinking of
all the wombs i’ll never know
when i unfastened my
seatbelt, grabbed onto my
genitals, and drove right into
my future so hard i flew through
the windshield and found it on the pavement.

 

 

BIO

Zach Trebino populates the world with absurdly grotesque performances, videos, and texts. His performances have been seen in cities and truck stops throughout the US (and a few times in Bulgaria and Argentina). His friend Zack Bwaff (www.itsmezackbwaff.com) is a celebrity chef. His texts have appeared on stages in some places, on pages in some others, and a few times on both at the same time.

 

 

 

 

 

0

Setting Sail

by Jared Pearce

 

She said, Honey, let’s drop it all, take
The money from our home and put it
In this fifth wheel, tour the nation,
Live on the brushing powder I’ll sell,

On the leadership lectures I’ll hawk
To cruise-line passengers. What do we need,
Besides the roof, the road, the broad
Sea releasing us from dock to dock.

He agreed and spoke positively, giving up
His bus-driving, just as he’d sundered computer
Work, forsook the walls he’d refurbished,
The wood he’d planed and paneled for her.

It may be unfair to say his eye was like
A castaway’s, a man with only one anchor.

 

 

There’s no time to lose.

 

We’ve got to hurry, she
Said, the darkest space
Hurtling past us,
If we’re to find that wayward planet.

We sheared ourselves blind,
Our antennae going berserk
For some lush haven,
A tighter gravity, a syzygy of meaning.

When her capsule docked
There was a moment she feared to remove
Her gloves and helmet, having
Traveled so far so sightless

To where time began again, clicking
Its course and dragging us with it.

 

 

Not all plants need the sun to grow.

 

She said she wanted to love me,
And then the day ripped her like a tide,
Then the night blasted her like a diabetic
Dream, then sleep held her and she loved

Darkness. She broiled herself on
The bedclothes and folded her head
Like a door that trapped me in the closet
Of the morning. She rolled this way

And that way, away and always away.
Shooting forth a root, I didn’t catch her,
And so fed only on the night, nibbling
The hush hush of her breath, hoping her
Subconscious taxi would drop me at her place
With my bouquet she’d set in a wet-brimmed vase.

 

 

BIO

Jared Pearce’s collection, The Annotated Murder of One, was released from Aubade last year (www.aubadepublishing.com/annotated-murder-of-one).  Some of his poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Adelaide, Xavier Review, Aji, Wilderness House, and Switchback.

0

Still Sharp

by A.C. O’Dell

 

Even while I suckled, the spirits knew, and when the blueprints arrived, I chewed on them with the emerging razors of my tiny teeth. Truly, how can you be surprised?

 

 

Vanilla

 

When I was quite small, I remember you teaching me to bake in the kitchen. You wore a tired apron and I stood on a scarred chair, and when I scented the raw vanilla, my little eyes lit and I leaned greedily toward the be-battered bowl. I think I commented on it, and you smiled kindly and said, “try it.” Then you watched me, and laughed as I made a face and spat out the biting bitterness. You poured me a fresh glass of water. And then we went on, because I knew.

 

 

within the partition entitled ‘once’

 

[recollection, evocative]

I: #6, A-C
cavernous echoes
in an empty shower stall1,
and [the scent]
ephemeral, elusive
suggesting a thin, sleek ponytail
and a track jacket
with red trim
his skin felt

I: #6, A-D
the soft clicking [sounds]
of a manual desktop mouse
grey and smooth,
with the smell of
warm electronic equipment
and a sterile tiled floor2
his hands were

I: #6, A-E
nubile bass and electronic vamp,
bouncy
the security of nestled earbuds
and [the feel] of cool spring raindrops
against the tips of the ears3
his eyes looked

  1. Brown
  2. Stroup
  3. Fox

 

 

Forever from now (hold fast)

 

forever from now,
(you mustn’t cry then)
((and indeed i doubt you’ll be able to))
the sky will be hung low
with bruised purple smoke,
and washed in peach, maroon and tangerine.
shadowy silver clouds will move like glaciers—
whoever heard of clouds scuttling? (in this age!)
with industry at its feverpitch-iest,
great unknown shudders will split the air,
and my children will hold aloft sweet lights
(that others might find their way).
though your body be gone,
you will yet see the thing,
for i have your eyes.

 

 

 

BIO

A.C. O’Dell is a writer and flash poet living in Virginia. She received her B.F.A. from Mars Hill University and her M.F.A. from Regent University. She has two chapbooks, Woman These Are Yours and Slightly Bitter, and has published two zines with watercolor artist Marni Manning: Americana Culture and Inktober. Her piece “The ordinary-ness” was recently published in Blakelight Literary Magazine. One of A.C.’s favorite things to do is run her pop-up poetry booth, where she composes extemporaneous pieces for clients as performance art. It is one of the most beautiful and challenging projects she has ever worked on.

 

 

 

 

 

0

A Last One for Richie

by Lauren Sartor

 

While you drove your date home
safe and unused,

I waited for you
in a cream-colored slip
keeping time
with a scented flame.

When you finally came,
you placed down a bag
of carefully measured drugs
as if you were preparing
for a parking spot.

You’ve always be so meticulous,
never leaving a sock caught in my quilt
or a piece of jewelry forgotten
by the alarm clock.

You must think it’s funny –
turning the cunt awkward
and disappearing soon afterward

leaving behind only
a few specks of soreness
and the casual
interruption
of self-esteem.

 

 

 

Shit

 

Life is full of anuses,
and cigarette butts.
It’s full of dicks
with no names, vaginas
with anuses. Everything
constantly needs cleaning,
(especially anuses).
Sheets need to be washed
between lays, old beer cans
dumped out and recycled.
The floor is sticky
and the refrigerator
smells like anuses.
Bed is a place to dream,
masturbate and fart.
There are blood stains
on each pillowcase.

The first cigarette
calls the bowls into motion.
Ashes drop on my thighs,
my anus clenches
and lets go. The first
inventory comes
from inside. It drops
past a halo of piss,
stains the porcelain.
Every day I check
to see whether
the turds are small
and tight or loose
like a scrambled
mind. My anus is a
mouth, the excretions,
the tongue escaping.

 

 

 

Almost

 

“I’m never so happy
as I was in East
Seneca Street,” he said
to nobody.

He his fingers moved
disjointedly, he stuttered
and was there all day.

It was almost
enough. It almost
made me
leave.

The poorest bars
are always richest,
where nobody drink
shelf.

Where do women go
when they’ve drunk clean
the well of youth?
I can’t tell you

yet. The man kept
on talking
to nobody and
sitting next
to me.

It was disgusting
as if he were violating
a social contract.
It was

almost enough
to make me leave,
to make me
tell him

To shut up, to throw
my drink
in his jaundiced face,
to get up

and find
what happiness
could be housed
on East Seneca.
 

BIO

Lauren Sartor has an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has appeared in publications, such as Black Fox Literary Review, Broad! Magazine, Calyx Journal, Literary Juice, Easy Street, and The Former People’s Journal. Her work takes an earnest look at the conflicted, and often misrepresented, facets of ordinary livelihood. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at SUNY Binghamton.

 

 

 

 

0

Uniting with Beauty

by M.A. Istvan, Jr.

 

Ecstasizing us, placing us beside ourselves,
items of beauty drive us to reproduce them:
painting them, poeticizing them, and the like.

The most basic form of such reproduction
is simply keeping them present: following
the scent to stay in its plume; savoring
the taste to forestall the loss; moving
where the man’s whistling moves; tracing
the eagle to engrave it within your mind.

Is it a wonder that more beautiful women,
the best muses for begettings, are not eaten?
Is there not an urge to eat a dewy white rose?

 

 

Nostalgia’s Darkness

 

Nostalgia peeks in the face of crisis.
Items around us—our son’s first teddy,
the Christmas blouse, Main Street, the cotton gin—
revives a story, a home, now gone. “Things
were great then,” we think, mad perhaps at how
we took that time for granted. “If only
it was that way now.” We think this because
that was before our troubles now. Often,

though, there are other sides. It is not just
that there were likely forgotten struggles
then too. Some of these sides can be quite dark.
Take Gone with the Wind’s dark nostalgia
for a time—of unchallenged slavery.
Take as well my own dark nostalgia
for years—when my wife fought to swallow
what she most feared: full blown lesbianism.

 

 

 

 

BIO

M. A. Istvan Jr., PhD is a Texas citrus thief. He pinches not just a few grapefruits or oranges here and there. He has coordinated large crews to help him plunder entire acres in the secret of night. Most people stay out of Istvan’s vicinity. His hurried step, fierce expression, and wild hand gestures while speaking (speaking in what is best described as auditory cursive) set off the insanity-detectors ingrained in us by deep history.

 

 

 

 

0

The other mirror

by EG Ted Davis

 

Why must I sift
and search
through the
blackness of coal–
to find a red ember,
to smell caustic smoke.
And not see you
in the stairwell mirror.

 

 

 

Garlic coated salmon oil

 

I feel no pain now,
not in the physical realm,
only turmoil, deep inside,
acid boils up, burning my esophagus,
rancid in taste,
worse since consuming
gross milligrams of salmon oil,
slimy little capsules,
all to keep the fatty stuffs
moving through the arteries and
from sticking around too long–
leading to death threats,
as prescribed by the cardiologist.
Funny how deathly thoughts
invoke a healthy behavior,
and what is dying anyway–
if not followed by
garlic coated salmon oil.

 

 

 

This life fought for

 

We fight all of our lives,
for acceptance into society–
for respect of
age, character, experience.
No small undertaking:

From birth;
the fight to survive,
to the undertaker;
the fight surrendered.

 

 

 

BIO

EG Ted Davis is a semi-retired working stiff and poet who resides in Boise, ID with his wife and their two rescue cats. He has various works that have appeared, or will appear, in several online literary journals – both in the US and in the UK.

 

 

 

 

 

0

poem of a lazy night

by Adrian Cretu

 

lazy
and quiet

silence

at peace with myself
tonight
and with all the mistakes of my life
I laze about on a foreign balcony
smoking

I look around, curiously
wondering how these flowers are called
and laugh
pleased with my ignorance

lacking ambition
and any desire
or expectations
without hope
or dreams of becoming
the silence embraces me
more and more
at her generous bosom
in the long poem of the lazy night

 

 

 

ars poetica

 

the air was moving lazily
around me
bored
like a drunk barfly
flying in circle

without warning
half an hour ago
I had a brilliant idea
for a poem –
it was full of anger
and postmodern wisdom.
it moved me deeply –
by the time I got myself
to write it
the poem left me

now I’m quietly listening
to the crickets outside
and waiting patiently
for the night
to come to an end

the only fight I still carry on
is
to breathe –
to inhale
and exhale
thoroughly

any more than this
would be useless now

 

 

urban snapshot

 

lost in a whirl of lights
boundless steel and glass buildings
and an endless stream of cars
of the great city
the two were sitting motionless
on a bench
one next to the other
overwhelmed

 

she sat her head lightly
on his shoulder
and whispered, in pain
‘I wish I could sleep’

‘tell me
will I ever get out of this?’

‘no’ –
he said –
‘it will become easier to bear
that’s all’

 

 

 

BIO

ADRIAN CREŢU is the author of the poetry book Orice om este un cântec fără rimă (Every human is a song without a rhyme), Junimea Publishing House, Iaşi, Romania, 2012. He has appeared in anthologies of Romanian modern poetry and participated in artistic residencies in Europe and the USA. From 2000 – present, his poems and articles have been published in: România literară, Tribuna (Cluj), Ateneu (Bacău), Cronica (Iași), Argeș (Pitești), Boema (Galați), Porțile Nordului (Baia Mare), Timpul (Iași), 13Plus (Bacău), Opinia studenţească (Iași), Alchemia (Israel), Ficțiuni.ro, Spații culturale (Râmnicu-Sărat), Constelații diamantine  (Craiova), Astra băcăuană, POEZIA (Iași), Columnele vieţii (Bacău), Litera 13 (Brăila), Expres Cultural (Iași).

 

 

 

All previously published in the poetry volume: Orice om este un cântec fără rimă, Junimea Publishing House, Iasi, Romania, 2012.

 

 

 

 

STAY IN TOUCH