A Tuna Sandwich for Plato - Ron Buck
A Note to Consuela - Ron Buck
Anvil, 1978 - David LaBounty
The Lid Doesn't Always Slam Shut - David LaBounty
At the Berkeley Free Speech Cafe - Tom Moore
To A Student in Tabriz - Tom Moore
Break Down - Alex Franco
By Proxy - Steele Campbell
Chronicle of a Funeral Dress - Alice-Ann Harwood
Coda - Laura Rodley
Cuckold's Plea - Donal Mahoney
Don't Marry a Drunkard to Reform Him - Lauren Eriks
Fall - Serena M. Tome
Foreseeability - Liz Ciampa-Leuzzi
The Man Who Became My Husband - Liz Ciampa-Leuzzi
GI Joe Found, Abandoned in Park - Liz Clift
I Did Not - Amy Corbin
Jesus R. - Natasha Narayanan
Juggler - Andrew Burke Borne
Mid-Life Crisis - Jonathan Pinnock
My Little Jack Russell - Casey Quinn
Nana - Leo Racicot
A Fat One - Oleh Lysiak
Throaty Moans - Oleh Lysiak
Ray Arrived Strapped - Oleh Lysiak
Riding a Hog - June Blumenson
Stardust and Solace - Katherine Parker Richmond
The Eternally Recurring Court of Memory - Peter Crowley
The Trouble with Turquoise - Oonah V. Joslin
The Voices in His Head - Barry Harris
The Walk Away Catherine Zickgraf
To Anxiety - Grant Loveys
Walker - Chuck Levenstein
Where, Oh Death - Adam Hughes
Wish - Peter Kahn
A Silent Life
The small red swing
hangs frozen, lifeless.
"Just leave it in",
we had told the previous owners,
and a world of hope ago.
spools of unused wool
and unanswered questions.
It's as though there's less of me now.
The parts that can do this and that,
jobs and chores,
and nothing more.
To give up this self-pitying and
accept with a smile or to
keep fighting or to
to choose is to lose,
one way or another.
Yana Rial writes about people and places and things in between. Her most recent poems have been published in the Mastodon Dentist www.mastedondentist.com/files/issue15.pdf and Camroc Press Review camrocpressreview.com/search/label/Yana.
A Tuna Sandwich for Plato
I've thrown a tuna sandwich at you, if you can reach it,
take it. Give me your platitudes in exchange.
If you ponder the inevitable, which you will,
grab it and have a bite.
Then consider how slipstream and hook commingle.
A Note to Consuela
Should I forget to rise, albeit,
sing again with morning light;
do not think about me, as the short shank
has released its knot.
Remember to water the aloe,
ignore the cactus for another week,
and toss the last, marginally fresh,
rib-eye steak on the barbie
Light the citronella wicks.
Mosquitoes gave me the willies—
Change out the music in the CD player.
Have some fun.
Feed the fat cat, and he'll take care of
the three-toed mouse.
Sorry, I forgot to pay the bills.
Ron Buck is the author of The Visual Plough, Gallowglasses, and Life On The Halfshell. He was also the host of the first online poetry conference established in 1981 on the WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link). In 2005 he was the recipient of Emerging Poets' Wordmaster Book Award. He has appeared in Leonardo, Scorched Earth, and La Fenetre Magazine. Ron currently resides in Wellfleet, MA.
and it's the
across the courtyard
and one floor down
in tank or halter
tops. there are
big hair as
they dance to
a cassette or
vinyl and then
on the corner,
beyond the elms
and the oaks and
the robins singing
from the power lines
and well past the
pigeons cooing from
it's the family
of hare krishnas
little bald kids
I thank god for all of that.
the lid doesn't always slam shut
had to abandon her
house and move
into an assisted
a few pieces of furniture,
her hyperactive poodle,
five salt and pepper,
shakers & a
not-so-small cache of jewelry
into a one room suite
of relatives helped
move her handful
& there were
so many busy
and filling shelves
and my grandmother
stood around and
watched while holding
her quivering poodle
an hour later it was done,
she was moved in.
and the children
left her with her
salt and pepper
shakers and her
jewelry and her
full of cola and
we all said
she closed the door,
went back in her suite,
David LaBounty's recent prose and poetry has appeared or will soon appear in the New Plains Review, Night Train, the Apple Valley Review, Underground Voices and other journals. His third novel, Affluenza, has just been released. David lives in Lake Orion, Michigan.
At the Berkeley Free Speech Cafe
The students are seated,
one to a table,
at tables for two,
cell phones buzzing,
reading for an exam
in Issues in Contemporary Culture 102.
To a Student in Tabriz
I sat tentatively opposite
on your scarlet carpet
uncertain of your Persian thoughts
and of where to put my shoes
Thomas R. Moore has taught in Iran, Turkey, Mali and the US. His poems have appeared in Worcester Review, College English, Gob, Ribbons, Bangor Metro, and Wife of Bath. He has poems forthcoming in Wolf Moon Journal and Flint Hills Review. He lives in Brooksville, Maine.
I will change you
into a story
passed across a tabletop
like a beer
traded with my friends.
I will break you apart
down to your base components
until you are nothing more
than words, hard syllables,
It will be easier this way.
When there are others
whole novels wrapped up
it will be easier to convert you
from what you are,
to what you will be.
It will be easier this way.
Alex Franco is a student at Bard College, studying the Written Arts. He hails from Georgia, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Aunt Dee went to England
To meet a Beatle,
Holed up in New York,
Where Dee wouldn't be found dead
Or Paul, who, everyone agreed, had become
Quite an ass,
Ringo wasn't a real Beatle
Just Stu's replacement.
But to George,
Whose locks she longed to hold
And who was dapper even with a moustache,
She would visit for a spot of tea;
And George would bow
Before our Dee
(Whose looks were suited
Better for radio,
Dad would whisper and laugh)
And she would say
I live for you!
And George's strings would bend down from E.
But the walk was a trifle long
And Dee had spent her pence on
But she made the most
Of her trip quoting
Every recalled quip of Wilde's
Which she thought apt
Though Wilde was Irish
And buried in France.
And she waited at Harrison's gate,
Even when it began to rain.
A black limousine pulled over the cobbles
Not resembling any rock star's prize
Dripped face to face
He had been with Apple Scruffs
And Dee smiled
As if she discovered a secret she could keep
Had she the chance to exchange
To have two men fight over you
Famous British men, no less.
Didn't like the Yardbirds
And thought Cream was a joke,
Just shook his hand and stepped
Back into the pouring
She accented her story
When she could;
And we swooned
And replayed Layla
All night over and again
Though the record
Might wear thin;
We could have touched Dee's hand
Which she had so selfishly
Steele Campbell is a graduate student at Auburn University completing his thesis on the fiction of Marilynne Robinson. His work has previously appeared in Rope and Wire, Touchstones, and he was recently awarded the Robert Hughes Mount Jr. Prize in Poetry from The Academy of American Poets.
Chronicle of a Funeral Dress
The first was midnight blue,
a Poly Flinder with white eyelet
and ruffled bloomers.
I tried to hide scuffed Mary Janes in black
and prayed Uncle Frank
wouldn't notice they clashed.
I spent the night by his side,
studying wrinkles across folded knuckles,
wondering why the grownups were laughing.
Next was a pleated navy tea length,
pilgrim neckline with angel-wing sleeves.
A perfect selection for my great
something-or-other's special day.
For Russell, we picked a simple
crew neck and knee length A-line,
almost black tights, rounded toe flats
and gold, double heart anklet.
His girls traded smurf stickers
over ziti afterwards.
I still have them in an album,
no pictures of this
but one hundred and one
smurfs to keep his memory intact.
There was a black mini with v-neck
blouse, penny loafers and opaque
tights for Uncle Bob.
For Ernie, I wore hunter green,
a drop-waist knit and
sailor's knot scarf to match.
Then came double caskets and
my orphaned friend Scott.
I chose a burgundy mini with
a subtle black, gold paisley
woven in, a black boat-neck
blouse and off-black stockings.
Heels of course,
which I regretted,
standing room only.
I watched his fingers work
over the gloss of polished stone
and I sang for him that day.
Perhaps each note still holds
a moment of silence
in his honor.
For Grandma, it was
a carefully chosen ankle-length
with short sleeves and strips
of fabric that criss-crossed
into a tear drop against
The dress that made my
childhood crush notice
I was a girl.
The dress in which all
four hundred and sixty two
members of my immediate family
noticed his noticing
I was a girl.
Death complicates things.
An unexpected afternoon service
for the cousin who once
lived in my house, the cousin
I barely remember. I wore
a period piece, straight out
of the thirties, a delicate black
and white plaid with velvet trim
falling at the knee,
accompanied by a tiny hat,
netting over half the face
with a feather accent across the crown.
The slow blur of Grandpa's blue
and I remembered not a few
months before I had pulled it
from the wardrobe we cleaned out
after his second wife's funeral.
There was a mandarin collar
pant suit in black silk.
A simple knit floor length
with cowl-neck, three-quarter sleeve top.
The embroidered cotton/linen blend
that attended three
in one afternoon.
The full length, April Cornell
in black linen that still
hangs in my summer closet.
It's always too soon to wear it.
Now I search the sale racks
at Filenes and Jjill's clearance,
frantic for something
that speaks to me
of this imminent death
and I wonder if I shouldn't
have saved scraps from the others,
made a quilt
to wrap myself in mourning
as it is so often required.
I take another stack of black
into a dressing room
and ask my husband
bury me in red.
As a poet, singer/songwriter, and playwright, Alice-Anne spends much of her writing life capturing fragments of life that most would overlook. Trained in performance and dramaturgy, her work walks side-by-side with the reader, seemingly discovering nuances and revelations simultaneously with whoever embarks on the journey with her. She fronts the New Haven-based folk-rock group Document 183, and her work has appeared in numerous journals and collections including: Bent Pin Quarterly, Caduceus, The Underwood Review, Pen Works, and various collections by Shijin, the all-female poetry troupe of which she is a member. Alice-Anne is a member of the Marathon poetry group active throughout the state of Connecticut, she is co-host of the Word of Mouth poetry series at New Haven's historic Institute Library, and former co-host of the longest running weekly poetry series in Connecticut, the Wednesday Night Poetry Series. By day she is the Director of CT Folk, the organization that produces the Connecticut Folk Festival and Green Expo; and she serves as the director of institutional giving at the Tony Award-winning Long Wharf Theatre.
The tardiness of autumn where leaves
hang in suspended animation,
then like a feather or lover's sigh
float down unsure of where they'll land
and the light pulsates through prisms
left in the remaining leaves who
haven't decided yet if they're
ready to learn how to fly.
Laura Rodley is author of the chapbook Rappelling Blue Light, nominated for a Mass Book Award, Her work has been nominated for Pushcart Prize, included in the book Kiss Me Goodnight, anthologies New England Writers, Crossing Paths by Mad River Press. She has taught Creative Writing in High Schools sponsored by Mass Cultural Grants, and has work upcoming in Penwood Review. Her work has been read on WHMP KVMR, 89.5 FM radio in Nevada City, California, and NPR affiliated station, WAMC, Albany NY. She works as reporter and photographer for Daily Hampshire Gazette.
You'll never see him again, you say,
but what if he brings to your room
a midnight poem he says
he's written for you.
Will you read it together
a couple of times, out loud,
as you have in the past?
And what if he then
shoots like a rocket
into the forest, igniting the fire,
as he has in the past.
Will you see him again?
We have the children
to think about.
That's why I'm here.
We all need to know.
Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, MO. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in or accepted by The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Gloom Cupboard (U.K.), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Poetry Super Highway, Callused Hands, The Lesser Flamingo (France), Pirene's Fountain (Australia), Danse Macabre, Public Republic (Bulgaria), and other publications.
Don't Marry a Drunkard to Reform Him
But, honey, if you come
with me tonight, we
could split the moon
scoops of melon blues
and lie as long
in that silver croon
as their hard light will light
the shiver of your skin.
Lauren Eriks is a recent graduate of Hope College and is now indulging a serious case of wanderlust as she teaches, farms, and cooks to earn her tickets around the world. Her critical and creative work has appeared in Opus and Etc., and she has four poems forthcoming in Naomi Shihab Nye's Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25.
Serena M. Tome
colors turn like a kaleidoscope
invigorating as a hot shower
after a long nap
winds wrap around me
teasing with whistling sounds,
begging for attention like gossip
leaves in the trees shake,
Serena Tome is a poet ,writer, and humanitarian who enjoys writing about social justice, and personal heritage. In 2009, she launched an international reading series for African children to connect, learn, and participate in literary activity with students from around the world via video conferencing. She is married to a Maasai man from Kenya and they have one child. She has literary work published and or forthcoming in The Litchfield Review, Foundling Review, The Legendary, and Compass Magazine. You can find out more about Serena at www.serenatome.blogspot.com.
Long ago, law school, imagination,
And a rejecting mother combined to
Produce an appreciation of impending calamity
In her. On the highway, driving behind one of those
Trucks that carry several cars loosely hooked onto its flatbed,
She pictures one or two rolling off and the aftermath.
Or when she rides in the car with her husband—
Who speeds, which is ironic because he has worked as
A car accident claims adjuster for twenty years—
She cannot help but grasp the handle above her
Like an extended limb. Sometimes too much knowledge
Is not a good thing, she thinks. She does not realize
That now she has said it out loud, even though
She is driving alone to the doctor's office today.
The Man Who Became My Husband
The day I fell in love
With the man who became my husband
Was the day that I first saw a grown cat
Female, stray, the shade of dust
But with a white vest and white paws
Hurrying across the yard to his sliding glass door.
Full dishes of cat food and fresh water awaited her outside.
He had clicked the sliding door's lock
Up and down, locked and unlocked:
His sign that her food was ready.
As I watched, I noticed that
She kept a consistent and proportional distance from him.
She never allowed him to touch her.
She was too skittish and wild for human contact,
But as she ate, she looked up at him between bites.
She had never lived in an ordinary home.
Even so, after she finished
She did not leave right away
But instead, sat nearby,
Stately in the sun.
And I realized that all this man wanted
Was the chance to feed her.
He seemed to expect nothing in return
Except the end to her hunger
And, possibly, to both of their aloneness,
Even if for just those moments.
Liz Ciampa-Leuzzi received a bachelors degree from Wellesley College and worked as an attorney before becoming a high school English and (sometimes) law teacher. Liz lives with her husband, Domenic, in her hometown on the North Shore of Massachusetts. She is the author of a chapbook entitled What is Left and published by Big Table Publishing Company. You can find Liz online at www.lizciampaleuzzi.com.
GI Joe Found, Abandoned in Park
It could almost be a practical joke,
gun glued into your hands by buddies
when you fell asleep on watch and risked
the company for a visit from the sandman
but it's no joke—you're surrounded
by crushed stone that glints under the restless
sun and the thermometer reads triple digits. Your
piece, always with you, as you play war
games orchestrated by boys who never think
that war may not be a game, remains clasped
in death grip by plastic hands. Perhaps your
peace comes now, on that forgotten playground
battlefield, left behind by little gods, who picked
you to die before being called in for lemonade
and peanut butter and jelly, no crusts.
Liz Clift is a writer and student living in "flyover country." This is her second poem to be published with Boston Literary Magazine. She likes to explore the darker side of the human conscious and things that go bump in the night.
I Did Not
Today, I did not think about you.
I did not envision those long fingers
twisting in my hair or the way
your mouth moves when you tell
a story that goes nowhere.
When I woke up, I did not
wonder what you were doing
or why you said that thing. I did not
imagine your head tilted back
laughing at my witty banter.
All day, I did not picture your silly smirk
or the way you smell when you
crawl into bed. I did not hear your voice
seesawing like a young boy's. For today,
I blacked out your face with a magic marker.
Amy has been published in filling Station, The Cynic, Ascent Aspirations, Shine, Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction, Haruah: A Breath of Heaven, Ignavia Press, Flask and Pen,The Battered Suitcase, Flashes in the Dark, Short Story Library, Smokebox, Writers' Stories, Wanderings, and Boston Literary Magazine. She likes to drink strong coffee and sing in her car.
his name is Jesus Ramirez
the teacher writes it across the board in bold letters
I hear whispers behind me
"who would name their kid Jesus?"
I almost tell them they're saying it wrong
it's pronounced hay-zeus in Spanish
but that's his problem
he comes to class on Tuesday
can't speak a word of English
"does anyone here speak Spanish?" the teacher asks
I keep my mouth shut
but still, heads turn to look at me
I curse my accent, my black hair, my creamy brown skin
the teacher notices the glances
I shrug, a gesture of surrender
I am outnumbered.
he loves to talk
he asks me about my parents
where I'm from, what I like to do
when I don't answer, he continues talking
he tells me about his parents
about his life in México before he came to the United States
how he loves to skateboard
he tells me about his dog, Pablo
who can fit five tennis balls in his mouth at once
I am not your friend! I want to scream.
sometimes I see boys from my class
shoving him into the lockers in the hallway
"Jesus," they chant, "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!"
it's hay-zeus, I whisper to myself
but I make sure I say it softly
so no one can hear me.
Natasha Narayanan is fourteen years old and lives in Auburn, Alabama. In her spare time, she enjoys writing poems and riding horses. Her poetry has previously appeared in The Louisville Review.
Andrew Burke Borne
Here's a star
Here's a star
Here's a star
Here's a circle
And then you giggle
Is too funny you say
and you giggle
And take a deep breathe
So I juggle the stars
And shapes again
Although I don't know how to
You don't mind
and laugh with me
While we play on the
Floor for hours
Well there are two types of people
In this world
Those who can juggle
And those who can not
I don't mind being the latter
I know you'll be a
and a laugher too
Andrew Burke Borne has been writing poetry for the past 15 years. He is currently employed as a chef in Newton and resides in Wakefield with his 15-month old daughter.
Y'know, if you were a woman
instead of a man,
I'd say you were going through
Consider the facts:
you feel ugly;
you feel lowly;
you feel worthless,
and what you really want to do
is scuttle away and hide
in a dark corner.
But because you're a man,
you've tried to mask this
by developing a thick skin:
I could give you pills.
I could try to hypnotise you.
I could book you in for CBT—
or I could simply tell you
to pull yourself together.
Face it, Franz:
it's the same for all of us.
Sometimes, life can be
a bit of a trial.
Jonathan Pinnock is married with two children, several cats and a 1961 Ami Continental jukebox. He doesn't know a lot about poetry, but he seems to have had a few pieces published recently at places like Ink, Sweat and Tears and Every Day Poets, and he's even made it onto a few competition shortlists. His unimaginatively-titled yet moderately interesting website can be found at www.jonathanpinnock.com.
My Little Jack Russell
my little Jack Russell
always seems to know
when it's going to rain
before a storm
runs under the bed
scared for what
is about to come
i could join her.
Casey Quinn writes prose and poetry. His first poetry chapbook Snapshots of Life was released by Salvatore Publishing in 2009. He also edits the online magazine Short Story Library.
At the heart of her waiting
lay the worry I'd be all day
in getting there,
or forget altogether
my promise to come see her.
Boys, after all, have other trips to take,
bicycle rides to be made
the Far, Far East.
When I did finally reach my grandmother's,
she wasn't there,
the billows and breezes in the kitchen
were her for me
more than she was her for me,
and at some point, it must be,
she locked herself out of her own mind.
I would like to have told her how dear it was
sleeping in the field of her time-drenched sweater
those few afternoons.
But, oh, sometimes poets can't stop being poets
long enough to say what is there on the page,
and boys, after all, have other trips to take
the Far, Far, Far East...
Leo Racicot's work has appeared in Co-Evolution Quarterly, Utne Reader, Spiritual Life, First Hand, The Poet, Faith and Inspiration, Ibbetson Street Press, Shakespeare's Monkey, Poetry and Yankee. Two of his award-winning essay-memoirs are featured in "Best of..." anthologies, and his holiday story, "The Little Man" is being published this year by Snug Harbor Books and in animated and audio form by Fablevision. His public appearances reading his work include Out of the Blue Gallery, The Lily Pad, Cantab Lounge, Parker House, Forsyth Chapel, 119 Gallery, CityLights in San Francisco and Buzz in Washington D.C.
A Fat One
Death spikes sexagenarian meanderings
over pizza, salad, vino russo and diet Pepsi.
My old friend salvages lunch with a hard to
top tale. Her ex-husband issued an ultimatum
things had to change or it's divorce. OK, she
said and initiated proceedings. He died shortly
after. Had she known he was going to die, she
said, she wouldn't have divorced him and got
it all. Her ex was a stoner. She rolled a fat one,
played the grieving widow over his corpse and
slipped it into the breast pocket of his suit coat
to ease his crematory transition to the next world
good and stoned.
First, medically Latin explicatory
doubletalk citing biopsy results,
then, Lily's vet blurts "malignant".
Make her comfortable as possible,
he adds. Not easy to tell a guy the
dog love of his life is going to die
soon. I don't tell her in case she
fools the vet and beats the odds.
Today it's extra important to take
our daybreak walk the around the
pond. At the far end I give her an
enthusiastic ear scratch. She responds
with throaty moans and more soul
than most women I have known over
50 years. I should have scratched
their ears instead and saved us all
a lot of trouble.
Ray Arrived Strapped
to his red 50 Indian Chief's
handlebars in a tan plastic
box. The Baron's MC honcho,
Caesar, parked the Chief
and stepped into the circle.
A bottle of Jack went
around. One after another
black leather clad, studded,
tattooed and pierced bikers,
teachers in summer dresses,
realtors in slacks and loafers,
drillers in denim and steed-toed
boots, river runners in shorts
and t-shirts, shop owners in casual
wear stepped up to the Chief, took
a hit on the Jack Daniels and shared
Ray stories. He died on his blue 62 FLH,
trying to help somebody in trouble.
Steppenwolf's Born To Be Wild, Ray's
anthem, the only song allowed in
his trailer, played in the background.
When the last to testify was almost done,
clouds darkened, the wind picked up,
a maelstrom cut loose swirling rain, dust
and grit. The party scattered. Just like Ray
to tell us enough is enough. A few minutes
later a rainbow appeared above the red rock,
the Colorado River and the Lion's Park
at the edge of Moab, Ray'sashes still strapped
to his Indian. Absolute best goddamned funeral
I've been to. Amen.
Oleh Lysiak writes poetry and prose, works in his shop and self-administers adrenaline on a Moto Guzzi V11 Jackal. He has written four books and is working on more.
Riding a Hog
I don't know what got into me that day
when I decided to hop on the back of a harley
without a helmet,
at the same time I got my annual urge
to have a cold beer—
knowing when I got home there would be hell
to pay from someone who loves
me, who wants the best for me, who has so many rules
sometimes I just have to break
out, although I never think of myself as living under his thumb,
not like my mother who lived her whole life under my dad.
I suppose I could blame it on the fact that I had walked
to the store that day, string bag dangling
on my arm, wasn't carrying too much stuff to refuse
the offer, had no real excuse, still, I could have said no—
to this man, the next door neighbor for god's sake,
who I knew could not hold his cards worth a damn,
always folded, had the worst luck
ever, and, besides that, he was so unlikely,
almost in his eighties, santa claus cheeks,
but still hard as a rock, and a twinkle in his eyes
like he knew something I didn't.
Before I got to know him, I'd seen him taking off
for weekend rides, in his black leathers, leaving his wife
behind, who shook her head, (they'd made their deal)—
saw him as a kind of jekyll, a sort of mr. hyde.
Later when I told a friend about him, she asked,
Did that really happen? I smiled seeing the predicament
in her eyes, trying to work it out, caught
somewhere between belief and doubt.
When I didn't answer, she narrowed her eyes
at me, said, You're such a - mona lisa. But it all made me flash
back to the first time—when I was just a kid;
it couldn't have been much more than a scooter,
and we weren't going very fast, so when I fell off,
I only scraped my elbow.
June Blumenson writes poetry, short stories and has completed her first screenplay The MidNight Sun. She is a former psychodramatist living in Minneapolis, performs with the tap dance group The Rhinestone Rockettes and teaches English as a Second Language. Her poem "Fugu" will be published in the Blueroad Reader Spring 2010 by Blueroad Press.
Stardust and Solace
Katherine Parker Richmond
She played so many songs
on those burnished afternoons
the tall south windows
casting shafts of sun
that lit her as if from within
the tissue-thin translucent skin
barely veiling a landscape
of veins and tendons
rising and falling
across the backs of her hands
as her brittle fingers
flowed across the gilded keys
two songs I most remember
one with words
of loss and longing
she never said she missed him
but each note spoke
what she would not
amid the shafts and shadows
that soulful sorrow of
Stardust and Solace
echoed in my untried heart
and I tasted love's loss
before I ever fell.
Katherine Parker Richmond aspires to be the poet laureate of cheapskate moms. She lives in a big red ramshackle house in Ellensburg, Washington, with her husband, son, daughter and two long-suffering cats.
The Eternally Recurring Court of Memory
Midnight's hands swelled
The cook lay her forehead down
Arcane eyelids drooped
Lavender time would again
Sit on forlorn pigeon stoops
Dancing on the froth atop a beer
But now midnight drank a
Summation to the eternally recurring
Court of fastidious memory…..
Each pimple popped with zealous sadism
Each gossamer movie watched with horizontal lens
Each dinner cooked with brusque, McDonald's frying pan hands
Each morning with a sleeping body whispering good-bye
Each walk in the woods, with cameras seeking to elevate memory
Each argument resolved through dissipated hourglasses
Each embrace, recalling the wonders of flesh that negated existentialism
Each marriage beg lingering over drunken cauldrons,
Foretelling of alternate worlds in which time went backwards and the spoon wooed
A fork to sip from a betrothal soup
Each car ride to an event with anxious eyes and knowing smiles
Each caress with its cosmic plate of esteemed sunflowers
Each mirror nullifying the reflection of the person standing next to you
Each menstrual glare of biological disillusionment seeking chocolate
Each Valentine arrow that missed its collaborator, flying over the shoulder
Each laugh untested by time
Each vessel lost at sea
Each note I ever played on the guitar for you spoke only for today
But you always sought tomorrow's song
Two dreams called self perception could not remain juxtaposed
Each day they tried, but all in vain
Born into a family with a pitching machine in the backyard and a significantly older brother who went to Harvard, Peter Crowley's future was practically prewritten for him. He did well throughout most of school and was groomed to be an Ivy League pitcher that would be followed by a very lucrative career in something. But at age fifteen when driving to see his brother in Kentucky, his mother fell asleep at the wheel on an interstate highway. Though no one was seriously injured, the car was totaled. The following day he was shocked at the proximity he came to death and a week later, returning home and stuck in a traffic jam, he realized he wanted to be a writer. He subsequently quit baseball and stopped trying in school. He tried to follow in the steps of Rimbaud's "reasoned delusion of the senses" to divest himself of everything that had come to feel as a shackle. Through travel, an ever-expanding bookshelf and numerous blue collar jobs, he tried to find the actual beneath the façade of the world. Only a couple years ago, at the age of twenty-six and tired of dead end jobs, he started going for a BA in History….writing all the while. His work has been published in Green Fuse and Wilderness House Literary Review. He also is a musician/songwriter in a band that plays around the metro Boston area called the Mirror Neurons.
The Trouble with Turquoise
Oonah V. Joslin
The trouble with turquoise is
it's neither green nor blue.
Not hard like granite. Not soft like chalk.
Nor dark, Nor light, Nor pure.
It fractures splinters
Veins, ages, dries
The trouble with turquoise is
Opposite orange on the colour wheel—
tell me—how does orange taste
Oonah V Joslin writes short fiction and poetry and is Managing Editor of Every Day Poets. She is twice winner of Micro Horror Contest and honouree in the 2009 Binnacle Competition with her poem First Love. You can follow her work at www.oonahs.blogspot.com, www.everydayfiction.com in her forum or on Facebook.
The Voices in His Head
He didn't mind the voices
in his head
barking at him incessantly
insisting that he pay some attention.
He had become used to that.
It was only when they started talking
cutting him out of the conversation
as if he were no longer relevant
as if he didn't matter
that things then came to a head.
His therapist had asked him
who made these voices?
Who was the whole cloth
they were cut from?
As if he could be molded and formed
from the doctor's crude catechism.
He had no answer
because the question he really feared
was if they no longer beseeched him
what did that now mean?
Had he let himself become too lonely.
too afraid, cut adrift,
too much England to your Europe?
Only your continent could gauge
the true madness of his metaphors
and circling always circling
in an ever-narrowing gyre
were a taunting choir
who knew him too well
who knew him in his core
and now fell silent.
He knew now the newspapers and tv
would point out the obvious,
that this was a classic case
of senseless violence,
but how could they, anyone,
know what makes sense
when they don't hear all the voices?
Barry Harris is editor of the Tipton Poetry Journal and has published one poetry collection, Something At The Center, and one chapbook, The Soul At Work: Poems From The Office. Barry lives in Zionsville, Indiana, works as a scientific communications associate for Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis. His poetry has recently appeared in Saint Ann's Review, Night Train, Hiss Quarterly, Cherry Blossom Review, Flying Island, Lily, The Centrifugal Eye, Flutter Poetry Journal, Wheelhouse Magazine, Houston Literary Review, Subtle Tea and Snow Monkey.
The Walk Away
I was wise: I walked away.
The basket of zinnia still sways
where you hooked it. Last
Summer my husband and I huddled
in the beach sunrise holding
the camera up to capture us
achieving a decade of marriage.
We were happy, though we'd aged.
Did I know then I would
find you the next year? We'd satiate,
interlock, then fight to extricate
ourselves from each other.
Was walking away more
than the right thing to do?
Yes. I love him more than you.
Catherine is indebted to MySpace for helping her find her long-lost son whom she placed for adoption two decades ago. Thus you can find her blog there: myspace.com/czickgraf. Her poetry has appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association and in BirdsEye Review. She also has work forthcoming in GUD Magazine and decomP.
Thanks for that
or, should I say,
You've got me so
I don't know which to choose.
So I'll say both, then,
give love and no love
a hedge-my-bets sort of guy
(that's your work, too.)
What I'm trying to say
what I've realized
Sometimes moths float into webs,
blinded as they are
in searching for
the next bright light,
and burn themselves up
struggling to escape before
the owner discovers them
never knowing the sentry has
long abandoned his post
for darker places
in which to spin.
Grant Loveys lives in St. John's, Newfoundland—a little city perched on Canada's eastern edge. His work has appeared in nearly a dozen publications, and is forthcoming in Oak Bend Review, Breadcrumb Scabs and mudluscious.
Starts his day in a usual way.
Barred from salt, measures calories,
surreptitiously jiggles his belly
to check the progress of a new
diet regime, no discernible effect
although an already sour
disposition is getting worse.
He throws out the heavy cream;
in the refrigerator so long,
won't pour down the drain.
No bagels left, so toasts German
pumpernickel. Maybe he'll have
a pickle for the strength he'll need
to circumnavigate the reservoir
on a cold shiny morning.
Suppose I live forever, he thinks,
without the taste of chocolate,
the delight of opening a pie,
melting vanilla ice cream on a cobbler,
suppose I never look a potato
in the face again.
Pulls on ragged sweat pants,
itchy socks and sneakers,
dons polar fleece over an old peace t-shirt,
decides to wear the woolen watch cap
that makes him look like a thug,
or a fat old slug with delusions.
Walks along the muddy path,
he's passed by sturdy youth of the rugby team,
golden girls of track zip by,
only the ancient Vietnamese pushing
the stolen supermarket cart moves more slowly
than he who pursues immortality.
Charles (Chuck) Levenstein is a retired professor and author of three collections of poems—Lost Baggage, published by Loom Press, Poems of World War III, Lulu press; and Animal Vegetable, also published by Lulu. He was a contributing editor at Niederngassie, a Zurich-based e-zine and his work has been published widely in electronic poetry journals. Some of his most recent poetry can be found in Loch Raven Review.
Where, Oh Death
Today I watched a man die.
It was my first time.
I showed what a rookie
pastor I am—I didn't even know
when he had gone. I stood there
with thirty family members, praying.
We cried and hugged and left
and all along I wasn't sure if the man
in front of me was dead or alive.
He died before amen.
Thank God for context clues. So
I gave comfort and prayers, then
where I read Keillor and
Berry and watched Villanova
Adam Hughes is a writer and pastor from Lancaster, Ohio. He enjoys being outside, reading, and spending time with his wife and infant daughter. He probably owns more baseball cards than you.
for Uncle Ernie (1913-2007)
"I wish I just wouldn't wake up,"
my Grandpa's brother Ernie lobs
like a grenade in to our conversation
every couple of weeks for the past
few years. I tell him I don't blame him,
but I hope he keeps on
waking up because I'll miss him
when he's gone. Sometimes,
I tell him he'll get his wish eventually.
He's pushing up on 94. Had prostate cancer
30 years ago. The radiation therapy saved
his life, but carpet-bombed his belly zapping
dessert from his menu. He survived Hitler
twice—as a German Jew and a U.S. soldier.
"You're a survivor," my Dad keeps reminding him.
Uncle Ernie lost sight in his left eye
after he turned 93. He's fallen and broken
wrists and ribs and feet. No longer can read
the NY Times or walk downstairs
to get fresh air. He can barely watch
Brazilians kick soccer balls on tv.
He's really got nothing left to see.
Have you ever wished for something
that feels wrong, but maybe isn't?
Just got off the phone with Dad.
Uncle Ernie's blood got infected, turned on him,
turned septic. The doctors were able to save him,
but determined, like with Grandpa
before him, cancer has invaded.
Made Ernie's lungs and liver its territory.
Dad said he spoke with Ernie
about the cancer and he sounded happier
than he has in years.
Peter Kahn is a founding member of the London poetry collective—Malika's Kitchen—and the founder of the Chicago branch. His poems have been published in various journals including Lumina, Make and The Fourth River.