Home Poetry

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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).

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

 

 

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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”.

 

 

 

 

 

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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).

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

 

0

The unheated apartment

By J.A. Staisey

 

 

Crazed with love and loss,
and broke, so broke that winter,
we sold off our belongings.

First the kitchen went:
the knives, spoons, forks.
We even swapped the fridge

for windows lined with milk
and pots of jam. Kept two mugs;
we couldn’t give up coffee.

Next went the stereo and CDs.
Sold the furniture as well,
replacing it with what we found

discarded in the street.
Then things got worse
and the unthinkable occurred:

we had to sell the books.
Starting with the light novels
and cheap beach-reading,

we moved reluctantly on
keeping a careful list,
saying we would renew

in spring. But winter
dove straight back
into winter that year.

 

 

 

Travel

 

Arriving at your house
two hours too late because
I missed the 2:30 train.

Arriving just in time
for the dinner you promised
but hadn’t cooked yet.

Arriving in damp sweat
full of words and desperate
for a drink.


 

 

The fine line between stupidity and genius

 

It’s cracking down the center
you see. Here where the boards
join. A single karate-chop
would split it into two.

But if I had known
it would be that easy
I would have used my head.

 

 

 

BIO

J.A. Staisey lives in Los Angeles. This is their first publication.

 

 

 

 

 

0

Dim Light

by Alex Schmidt

 

not at all blinding
and yet, very much so
the mechanics of our pat-a-cake desire
from drippings of an orange hue
to the bacon cooked for the kitchen’s so many marks
you’ll have painted

touching it in one light
allows you to see it better than in touching it in others
I don’t know what that is, said the painter
he was not the romantic-type

imagine the hand
becoming a bug, becoming the dirt
yielding forth an eye for the sky
you, in the basement
calling for help

our furnace
speaking in plods like Milton
to you, and warmed into an erotic emergency
vehicle, sounding just below the belt
Thanksgiving in April

not a finger for one dimple on your body
not what Grandma liked
no children
could you blame the rain the china
the light bulb you called Freddie

there is no sureness
those were just types of sets of days
superfluous essential lard-like
yes the workers will not leave they are in love
they don’t see it this way
at heart they are just kids

 

 

 

The Paintings

 

are having a time of it.
Their laugh, a veritable infinity.
Oh but they are so cruel. Silent
but deadly: influential beyond volition.
So much life here, yaps a passerby, what a mess!
Oh how they are so cruel. Open
like lit courts at night for tennis, like the dark
plays no part in their awareness, so volleying
in soft spotlights like hypocrites…
Like
Like
Like—
How they have issues with intimacy.
Oh but they mustn’t be blamed.
Happiness Beats A Dead Horse is the name of one.
A triptych in the corner titled: See Ya
whistles with hasty lines, splices of yellow,
red powdery spaces, random slips of pencil shading.
How they’re conceited as the birds. March
March March March March March the Willows
is the new exhibits’ title no one is to understand only—
under a ceiling as quiet as Saint Anthony’s Torment—
intended to be a kind of jeer.
Their laugh, a veritable infinity.
Oh how they are having a time of it. How art
at first is an adventure then shrivels up
to a volatile pin-prick. So so small as to become
like consciousness, yet nearly extra.
How they mustn’t be blamed. OK.
I’m pooped. Don’t want to be here any longer.
Why’s all this stuff have to be so difficult? What?
Hell! Find the postcards. This
Bullshit. No. Get Grandma…
Oh they mustn’t be blamed.
They are as infinite as the birds.

 

 

 

Memory Nodes

 

A burnt steak.
Roscoe Mitchell caged. Sun
under a flat tar roof with lots of books.
How flat? How many? Forever,
those joyous days like shots fired
repeatedly from our pent-up youth
made dreamily of the multi-colored stuffing
we saw in that one exhibit those days
when you and I would ache
second by second of every Dylan Thomas
prophecy, incendiarily,
on the L train! Dont forget
Joseph Jarman by the lake. The Art Ensemble
of those days flit everywhere toward the park.
Grant. And that’s just it,
for in this realm, size and sum don’t weigh.
After all, Philip, it is a rattle like a ricktor
marks the presence of your energy’s whizz
even when those days were now. And so,
what of a daze that floats I wish to down?
What of the feeling, like nodes of memory
glued in the manner of clouds’ lineage quietly
pfsssting away, constantly returning,
then pfssst. Organical is mechanical,
I said. Ideas to and from infinity. Thought
cannot think what is higher than thinking,
someone said. Certainly,
thought cannot be anything heavier
than what it is. Flowery masculinity
of Henry Miller remarked your professor,
feigning a tonnage. Maybe to remember
isn’t memory at all, maybe air. A vision
of your face like a daze before a lit window
becoming the question: what window?
The Great Rembrandt’s rat-peddler,
that fine, gentle mist of pencil! Or jazz!
I wonder, was it the weight of time that killed
our walks down Adams Street with Art Pepper?
Wait, that is taking it too far.
Nothing about Art Pepper can die.

 

 

 

 

BIO

Alex Schmidt is an avid reader and movie-watcher… He rarely “goes” to the movies. But on occasion, about once a day, you will find him thinking about, editing, maybe even writing, a poem. None of his poems have anything to do with his life directly (his wife, his two kids, his cat), but he finds this to be a natural trait in his instinct to make music. If one day his life leaks in, so be it. But for now, let music reign supreme. And let’s hope meaning rings familiar for centuries before its paraphrased. The cards have fallen and their residue is colorful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Night Terror

by Garrison Alecsaunder

 

And so I buried it to forget
In a place both dark and deep
Left there to putrefy, decay
Fluffed my pillow, went to sleep

But in the darkest of night
The hour of silence, all is still
Comes a movement in the depths
Twitch and shiver, iron will

Slow, determined, worming upward
Clawing, climbing, surface bound
At last the breakthrough, softly though
So not to make the slightest sound

Moving stealthily and slow
So its travel stays unknown
Silent, creeping, find the pathway
To my locked and shuttered home

Doors and wall? They will not stop it
Bolt and latch won’t slow its course
No wish or prayer stops It advancing
No show of might, no strength of force

Paused at the stoop, It gathers power
Starts then forward ‘cross the floor
Down the hallways, past the windows
Climbs the stair, then through my door

Now at the bedside, me there sleeping
So unwitting, quiet, at peace
Unaware of the Thing lurking
My tranquility Its goal to cease

Then slowly lowering down beside me
Without a jostle to perceive
Still frays my slumber with Its presence
My dreams each tatter,  lose their weave

Pressing, pushing deep within me
Enters my soul, once more Its keep
And I remember
Oh, I remember
Dear God, I remember
And I weep

 

 

 

Falling Part 2

 

Red rose petals fall
The last remains of our love
Drift down among them

 

 

 

BIO

Garrison Alecsaunder is a 35 year survivor of HIV. Artist, writer, general all around nice guy.

 

 

 

0

hippie from the ghetto run…

by Amber Wilkinson

 

 

AMBER IS LOVE?
AMBER FEELS LOVE?

AMBER KNOWS LOVE
WHO THE FUK IS AMBER?
WHO IS LOVE?

WHERE DO WE MEET ON THIS JOURNEY, ARE EITHER ONE OF US REAL?
WHAT IS REAL?
PRISON LIFE…
KILLING…LIVING…KILLING…LIVING
RUNNUNG…HIDING…RUNNUNG…HIDING
LIVING?
WHO ARE YOU IS NOT ME…
WHO IAM IS NOT ME…
WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS?
YOUR DUMB AS FUCK IF YOU THINK YOU GONNA GET PEACE HERE!!!!
HE CALLED A HIPPIE.
SAID YOU ARE FREE SPIRITED.
SAID HE IS FREE SPIRITED TOO.
SAID LETS SET OUR SPIRITS FREE THROUGH SEX…
AS LONG AS I WAS CONVENIENT LONG AS I WAS PLEASURABLE FOR HIM…
CAN WE LIVE LIKE THIS???
A WOMAN BE DOWN TRODDEN LIKE THIS…
DID HE REALLY THINK YOU WERE A FUCK…
A FUN…
A PAST TIME…
HIDE BEHIND THE SODA MACHINE DICK SUCKER?????

 

 

 

INSIDE/OUT

 

dwelling or dwellers,slimy,creepy,untouched,unseen,numb,unfeeling,is called unloved…
WHY?
THEY SAY…
its in your DNA
but is it a curse or maybe a cure…
not just for me but for a whole generation…
      THE LOST ORPHANS
the RE jected or RE directed
      the alone and abandoned

 

 

 

LIVE OR DIE

 

If you don’t move you will die…
and the last thing I am doing…
because we must understand that this is just a body carrying a splendid spirit
and this spirit dying with the karma of a cowardliness…
i will desist!!!!
IAM ONLY PASSING WITH MY HIGH VIBE ENERGY CAUSE IAM PASSING WITH
…HIEGHTZZZ…
HIGHER THEN THIS BOX YOU THINK YOU LOCKED ME IN??!!
      I AM THE BEGINNING WITH NO ENDING
UM PLEASE LISTEN REAL CLOSELY…
      BB YOU GOT ME TWISTED…

 

 

 

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW

 

PHYSCHOLOGY, PHILOSOPHY
      spinning in my head…
making me believe…
that i was never dead…
in a spy of an eye denied…

(it was all in that twilight zone)

where we born to be different
why do we have to be weird
where do i belong…
how can i heal and escape…
how can i prosper
where can i find salvation
please with in my soul
love upon my lips
pain ridden in my heart…
where i should start…
you can hit me
beat me
even lit me…
i act like it wasn’t meant for me…
cause i know this life is a temporary life
equally it hits me
deeply
or cuts me deeply
because your understanding of me is “deplete”
i just wish people would get me
instead of hit me………..

 

 

 

MIRROR IMAGE

 

      WHAT WOULD YOU SEE IF YOU LOOKED AT YOURSELF IN THE DARK?
      WARRIOR/FAILURE
LOVER/HATER
      JUDGEMENT/FREE THINKER
ILLEGIT/LEGIT
      FREE SPIRTED/CHAINED BLACK CROW
with a hope for tomorrow a light at the end of the tunnel
if we were one we could conquer…
conquer what?
THE WORLD…….

 

 

SKIDROW BLUEZ

i was wondering will we ever think positive again?
or be who we need to be
feel the cool breeze of freedom from this hell
the dark deep secret of the world hidden from humanity
i guess ill take a reality slip and go back to sleep with an aching heart
of weariness and aching
who am i … who are you…
as i slip a mother fucking pill down my throat…
gulp…

 

 

 

BIO

Amber is a self-taught, self-motivated, inspired and aspiring artist. Her work is primarily multi-media, 5-D abstract canvases. Amber found the Studio 526 more than three years ago through their yoga and meditation classes.  The studio has moved her to open up her inner core and creatively throw it up on the canvas. She also takes advantage of the Studio 526 music room, playing multiple instruments, singing and dancing.  She uses the audio equipment to compile clips for her DJ sessions. She also has creates one-of-a-kind jewelry. Her art has shown at Friends House Foundation, Skid Row History Museum, Bolt Barbershop. She’s an active participant with Zine Magazine festivals. She was honored to recite her own poetry at The Last Bookstore for Ivy Pochoda’s reception for  her latest best-selling book “Wonder Valley”. Her dream for the future is to own her own gallery to display her own work and the works of any other creative individual no matter their creed, race or gender.

 

______________________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Feeding Frenzy

By Mary Bone

 

 

Jaws drip saliva

Thirsting for the blood,

The bones, to chew.

Stomachs grumble,

The hunt is on.

Crouching low,

A jungle cat

Leaps forward.

The prey unaware,

Continues to graze

Until teeth snare and falls.

The jungle floor is covered

With carcasses from different hunts

Making way for ants to feed

On leftovers.

Nothing is wasted in the

Feeding frenzy,

And appetites are satisfied.

 

 

 

Alphabet Soup

 

I spelled words with letters

In my bowl.

I ate the verbs, adverbs and adjectives.

Nouns floated around and I crossed the i’s and

The t’s,

Stirring up trouble

With my spoon.

I realized my spoon was finally empty.

The soup was good.

It was the best words

I’ve ever eaten.

 

 

 

 

 

BIO

Mary Bone has been writing since the age of twelve. Some of Mary’s poems can be found in the Fall issue of The Homestead Review Online, Literary Yard, Oklahoma today, Poetry Pacific, Magazine Record Blogspot, The New Ink Review, Our Poetry Archive and The Writing Disorder.

 

 

 

 

 

0

Breathing Summer

by Judy Shepps Battle

 

 

Autumn cool mingles with humid
promise of change implicit

indifferent mosquitoes insist
on piercing repellant guard

living for the momentary
blood suck that itches, raises

welts, and claims my peace.

Eager to partake in painting
word pictures, Rusty trots over

licks purple Uni-ball Roller pen
wags his golden tail and

and sits content on my
bare feet.

Lone Blue Jay swoops, stares,
steals shelled peanut and

flies off, prize locked in beak
faster than my Canon can record.

My sneeze is signal for all
to scatter except for one

mosquito who finds the only spot
on my neck without protection

and bites.

 

 

 

From My Window

 

Leafless branches crisscross
creating intricate lattice

timber Xs
wooden Os

hungry starlings play
tic-tac-toe before

dining at swaying
cedar feeder

and vanishing into
cloudless sky.

 

 

 

Synchronicity

 

nothing by accident
all affects all

smallest thoughts ripple
zig and zag

receive and transmit
connect and separate

magic and mystery mingle
taut muscles relax

breath swaddles
vulnerable heart

all in this nanosecond
all in this precious nanosecond.

 

 

 

 

BIO

Judy Shepps Battle has been writing poems since long before she became a psychotherapist and sociology professor at Rutgers University. Widely published both in the USA and abroad during the Sixties and Seventies, she deferred publishing to concentrate on career and family. Fortunately, her muse was tenacious and she continued to write during the next three decades filling a file cabinet with scrawled and typewritten poems that are now being organized into chapbooks and individual submissions. The material submitted for publication represents her return to active participation in the writing community. She can’t think of a better way to spend her retirement. Her poems have been accepted in a variety of publications including Ascent Aspirations; Barnwood Press; Battered Suitcase; Caper Literary Journal; Epiphany Magazine; Joyful; Message in a Bottle Poetry Magazine; Raleigh Review; Rusty Truck; Short, Fast and Deadly; and The Tishman Review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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