April 6-12, 2020: Poetry from Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi and Eric Evans

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi and Eric Evans

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Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi
jorgeakiro@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi has lived in Chivilcoy, Buenos Aires province, Argentina since the end of 2016. He is a photographer, architect, poet, Haijin.
and teabag collector. He is also a student of the language and culture of Japan. His books inclued “Haiku Platelets” (with Julia Guzman), “Aniko and Akiro Haiku” (Also with Julia Guzman), and “Ferns in the Cornice Haikus Chivilcoyanos.”

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


haiku

social isolation-
the yellow leaves
in a new book

 

 


Eric Evans
inkpublications1@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Eric Evans is a writer and theatre artist from Buffalo, New York with stops in Portland, Oregon and Rochester, New York where he currently resides with his wife, Kathy. His work has appeared in 1947, Parody, Steel Bellow, Decades Review, Dead Snakes, decomP magazinE, Red River Review, Posey, Xenith Magazine, Anobium Literary Magazine, Pemmican Press, Remark and many other publications and anthologies. He has published eight full collections and three broadsides through his own small press, Ink Publications, in addition to a broadside through Lucid Moon Press. He is also the co-editor of The Bond Street Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Eric Evans and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Fashionistas in the Time of Covid

“Never a breath you can afford to waste
when you’re lovers in a dangerous time.”
– “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”, Bruce Cockburn

Let’s go out on the town, my love,
during these virus-laden days and
make the most of the quarantine.
we’ll use the necessary masks,
of course, and don the hazmat suits
as policy demands, but what’s to
keep us from making the outfits
our own? I can wear my favorite
hat and tie – perhaps a vintage
scarf or pocket square – and you
can fill out a form-fitting dress
with your strand of pearls and
sparkly boots to match. We’ll
color coordinate and accessorize
as if to the glossy magazines we
were born, fashionistas in the
time of Covid.

Let’s lay claim to the abandoned
street-corners, my dear, and plant
our sanitized flags. We’ll play
our music at rib-shaking volume
and dance straight down the avenue’s
yellow lines, mocking the germs
and their stealth ways, sipping
top-shelf bourbon and enjoying
the spread of warmth across the
concentric circles of our chests.
We’ll sway and lurch drunkenly from
block to block, stopping to admire
our style in shuttered shop windows
as we laugh far-too-loudly at as
many inappropriate jokes as we
can fit into the night, because
who’ll be there to stop us? And
why would they want to anyway?

And when we’ve drunk our fill,
my wife, and Ilaughed ourselves
nearly hoarse, we’ll find our way
back home where the tie and hat
and pearls and boots will all be
tossed to the side as we call out
the contaminated cells once more,
slowly peeling off the protective
layers of fabric, rubber and plastic
to reveal the warm and sweaty skin
beneath. “No,” you might say, “leave
the mask on – I’ve always wanted
to make love to a doctor.” And
I’ll oblige because that’s what
a good lover does. Let’s keep one
another hot through the morning,
my love, and then write it all down
for posterity, so that when the
post-panic story gets gathered
and told, we’ll have an ear-marked
chapter with our names in the
margins, invisible but incredibly bold.

March 30 – April 5, 2020: Poetry from Puma Perl and Taylor Graham

Puma Perl and Taylor Graham

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Puma Perl
pumaperl@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Puma Perl is a poet, writer performer, and producer. She’s the author of two chapbooks, Ruby True and Belinda and Her Friends, and three full-length poetry collections, knuckle tattoos, Retrograde (great weather for MEDIA), and Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books.) She is the creator, curator, and host of Puma’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll. As Puma Perl and Friends, she performs regularly with a group of excellent musicians. She’s received three awards from the New York Press Association in recognition of her journalism and was the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing. Visit Puma on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Puma Perl and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


The Taste of Fresh Bread

It’s been 3 years and 99 days since I ate an apple. I used to eat one every morning. Big juicy green Granny Smiths. Sometimes I’d dice them up with bacon. Other times I’d cut perfect slices and spread thin layers of almond butter; peanut butter was too chunky. I still have peanut butter but it’s the oily kind the Food Patrol gives out. The last time they came it was a 14-hour wait and all they had left was the oily peanut butter and some beans.

Before the Night Years, I tattooed tulips and dancing girls on my arms. One of the girls was holding an apple, but it was a red one. Macintosh. Now the ink is peeling from the dryness of my aging skin. Everything has accelerated but the sun. I don’t know what I miss more, sex or fresh bread. Or maybe just the smell of bread. I remember sex, but the taste of bread has faded.

 

 


Taylor Graham
poetspiper@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler and served as El Dorado County Poet Laureate (2016-18). Her poems are included in Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Heyday Books), and forthcoming in California Fire & Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology. Her latest collection is Windows of Time and Place: poems of El Dorado County (Cold River Press, 2019). Visit Taylor on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


ER Fantasie

We’re sitting under Smoke Barrier 21
waiting for your CT-scan.
It’s cold. I tell you, that’s to keep germs
from exploding their populations.
I suspect the heat’s been sucked away
by the southern hemisphere,
wildfire becoming its own weather.
When all of Australia is ash,
the balance will shift, our planet slip
again on its axis, it will be summer here
more so than ever. Already
we’ve cut down the trees lest they ignite
power-lines, trees that convert
our personal exhaust to clean-scrubbed
air. This hospital ER
where staff and patients walk masked
at nose and mouth
as they pass Smoke Barrier 21.


Avalanche Tale

Trying to remember the story from years ago – it was cold and dark by headlamp, lodge in ruins. Jumbled rubble like giant teeth broken, sticking out of masticated snow. Dead arm with raised fist couldn’t stop the snow. Someone still missing. A handler followed her dog, who stuck its nose in a crevice, barking, digging. Excited! Another storm. Everyone had to leave, too risky. Days later, same dog dashed to the very spot; frenzied digging. An air-pocket, a survivor! What I remember of the story, word-for-word:

How my dog acted –
I should have known, somebody
was alive down there.

March 23-29, 2020: Poetry from Richard-Yves Sitoski and Michael Minassian

Richard-Yves Sitoski and Michael Minassian

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
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Richard-Yves Sitoski
r_sitoski@yahoo.ca

Bio (auto)

Richard-Yves Sitoski is a spoken word artist and songwriter, and the Poet Laureate of Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. He has released two collections of poetry, brownfields (Ginger Press, 2014) and Downmarket Oldies FM Station Blues (Ginger Press, 2018), and a CD of spoken word verse, Word Salad (2017). He was a finalist in the 2018 ISC songwriting competition, and performs with the Metissage Collective and in the spoken word duo O P E N Sound. Visit John on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Richard-Yves Sitoski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


If I Could Sing Like Roy Orbison
You’d Always Feel Alone

which is my way of saying I love you still
if you haven’t figured that out, because

I have trouble writing of love except
when the word refers to cheese or to sleep.

You’d think the French had it figured out
but they got it backwards. If I say je t’aime

I’m saying ‘I love you’. But if I say je t’aime bien
I’m not saying ‘I love you lots’ but only

‘I like you’, the intensifier softening the blow
instead of being the brass knuckle.

That’s not the only thing I know of love
or of French. In French you don’t say ‘I miss you’

but tu me manques, which means ‘You’re missing
from me’. As in, there’s a gash in me where

a vital organ was ripped out. As in, seeing you
in the living room, engrossed in your book

while I reminisce, I feel a pain in my side
that daisies feel when you pull their petals off.

 

 


Michael Minassian
mikialminassian@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael Minassian is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online magazine. His books include poetry: Time is not a River, The Arboriculturist (2010); Chuncheon Journal (2019); and photography: Around the Bend (2017). For more information: michaelminassian.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Michael Minassian and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Craters on the Moon

The poet sits at his desk,
his glass eye floating
in a tea cup—
the empty socket
on the right side of his face
resembles photos
of craters on the moon.

No matter where you move,
the glass eye follows
like the mise en scene
in a Hitchcock film.

The poet keeps his good eye
fixed on the paper,
his pen moving
like a hidden gesture
in the odor of time.

His empty socket
playing images
from a movie
only he can see—
lonely as an empty drum.


Staying Put

I’ve stored the memory
of you in a jar

sealed the lid with wax
and kept it on a shelf
in the basement
for twenty years.

You once told me
that you left because
I wouldn’t stay in one place.

What else were you wrong about?

March 16-22, 2020: Poetry from John Califano and Jane Ellen Glasser

John Califano and Jane Ellen Glasser

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


John Califano
verveforest@protonmail.com

Bio (auto)

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,” a coming-of-age novel. His work is featured in The Broadkill ReviewThe Willesden Herald’s New Short Stories Series (UK), Adelaide ReviewThe Writing Disorder, and Embark, an international literary journal for novelists. Visit John on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Califano and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


I Click Remote

flipping
channels
all
aggressive
pig
male
dogs
deadbeat
domestic
abusers
dominant
chauvinists
slackers
slack offs
jerks
jerk offs
dicks
dick heads
scoundrels
sneaks
super bowl
chest-bumping scum
no good cheaters
liars
molesters
non-committal
ass-groping
gash-sniffing
biologically
proven
toxic
predators

. . . and when the talk shows are over
and all the battles are lost and won
I’ll still be standing
all alone
just like every mother’s son

 

 

 


Jane Ellen Glasser
jegpoet@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Jane Ellen Glasser’s poetry has appeared in numerous national journals, such as Hudson Review, Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Georgia Review. In the past she reviewed poetry books for the Virginian-Pilot, edited poetry for the Ghent Quarterly and Lady Jane’s Miscellany, and co-founded the nonprofit arts organization and journal New Virginia Review. She won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry 2005 for her collection Light Persists, and the Long Life won the Poetica Publishing Company Chapbook Contest in 2011. Her most recent collections, In the Shadow of Paradise (2017) and Jane Ellen Glasser: Selected Poems (2019) are available from FutureCycle Press and Amazon. To preview her work and access her books, visit the website: www.janeellenglasser.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jane Ellen Glasser and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Deerfield Arboretum

In the meadow
a rainbow tree peels
to a painter’s palette.

The sun glazes
a million shades of green.

I remove my sweater
and follow the familiar
path to a pond
girded by giant ferns.

Release! says a
trickling waterfall.

I drop my name
like a wishing coin
into the pool
as a bird strings notes,
limb to limb, high up
in a yellow poinciana.

Spread wide as a city block,
the banyan’s aerial roots
curl like constrictors
around thick trunks.

Last year I watched
my grandchildren climb
these crooked ladders
to patches of sky
and I did not stop them.

After I Die

Don’t open your doors
…………for wet hankies
Don’t sit shiva
…………barefoot on boxes
Don’t gather a minion
…………to say Kaddish
Don’t search for me
…………in covered mirrors
Don’t listen for me
…………in the mouth of gossip
Don’t sniff for me
…………on bedsheets and pillows
Don’t reach for me
…………inside my clothes
Don’t preserve me
…………in frames and albums
Don’t hunt for me
…………in your memories
Don’t make a shrine
…………of half truths
Don’t visit my grave
…………on the yahrtzeit
Don’t plant stones
…………on my tombstone
If you would find me
…………look inside my poems

March 9-15, 2020: Poetry from Eliza Fixler and Thomas Osatchoff

Eliza Fixler and Thomas Osatchoff

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Eliza Fixler
eliza.fixler@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Eliza is a social service worker, animal caretaker, and at-home poet from St. Petersburg, Florida. Eliza has a B.A. in Social Sciences and Spanish Language and Culture from New College of Florida. Her poems are simultaneously introspective and relational, tending to center emotional and interpersonal concerns.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Eliza Fixler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Today and Every Day

Libra rising is my liability in love: three hours
into knowing you, and already I catch myself
smiling in the direction of your heart, a
compulsion I have. I feel it reach you, my
heart-smile, across the picnic-table’d lasagna
slice you bought–we’re just outside the
Italian market I’ve brought you to for our date.
It’s an effort to teach you love for a city that
may no longer be my home, and it’s working.

With that same noticing, I inhale and am sure
that the nerves, always clock-ticking at my core,
looking for something solid to hook into, will,
someday soon, wind themselves strangely around
your form, knotting up a spirit I’ve shaken loose
for now, through espresso, unchecked reverence,
and chilled sunshine. You tease me in this absurd,
deadpan way that no one ever has, and my fits of
laughter reach you, because you love me–in that
special way reserved for two people who’ve only
just met.I fill you up with air and eventually learn
that You have always been a hurricane in love
(though you wait to tell me this until our third
date, two days later).

You’re musing openly about moving back
down here, now I’ve lifted this place from the
dead for you, and you think I can keep it up.
Something I’ve noticed: you make a friend
wherever we go, and I’m starting to wonder
why you picked me, or whether I chose you,
or something in between. What we have is
a classic Marsha Linehan “both/and” situation,
but I’m scared to say it aloud and spoil the
magic of Florida’s best weather to date. It’s
clear you’re under the impression I’ve set myself
free; I used to think so, too, in moments like
ours, before learning the limits of a rising sign.

 

 

 


Thomas Osatchoff
thomas.osatchoff@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Thomas Osatchoff, together with family, is building a self-sustaining home near a waterfall. Recent poems have appeared in Abstract: Contemporary Expressions, Cold Mountain Review, CutBank Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Thomas Osatchoff and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Atavist Protest

Death.
Who knew the sound of an ancient mummy would sound like our new technology?


Do Voices Require Bodies?

Following our own logic when holiday means time for more

homework. Walking back to school
we overheard pieces of talk like Chopin or a sudden rain-shower.

Sky and ground exchanging FIRE IN THE EYES.
Coming down this hard, it chops up the field.

______ you______ learn to play piano? Music______ as there’s no lyrics.

It’s our job_________special talents.
Tongues (wrenches or wrens) aiming for a positive impact.

Thinking to ourselves while we still can. Can we? Bury the expensive
textbooks after writing it down but writing it down

because after it happens…no one will know.

People dropped like punctuation. You? A comma—just a blip.
“If the overheard quote ends with ! or ?, no comma is required….

E.g. ‘I like the game!’ said sister, brother.”
Pretty good chess? Pretty good players______ purpose of school.

Ministry of Education is set to issue new policy: all teachers must teach

without words due to the wellspring of weaponized words.
Pay will be withheld from teachers who disobey.

I’m going back to school to get the books
before the Ministry does.

March 2-8, 2020: Poetry from Mark Tulin and Diana Rosen

Mark Tulin and Diana Rosen

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Mark Tulin
mftulin@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Mark Tulin is a former family therapist from Philadelphia who lives in Santa Barbara, California. A poetry publisher once likened his work to artist, Edward Hopper, on how he grasps unusual aspects of people and their lives. Mark has two poetry collections, Magical Yogis (2017, by Prolific Press) and Awkward Grace (Kelsay Books), and an upcoming book, The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories (Madville Publishing). Mark has been featured in Vita Brevis, Amethyst Review, Poppy Road Review, Family Therapy Magazine, smokebox, as well as anthologies, magazines, and podcasts. You can follow Mark at Crow On The Wire.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Mark Tulin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

The Fate of a Ringed Finger

I sat in a dark movie theatre,
and watched with horror
as I proposed to my girlfriend,
blinded by a false reality
while my emotions spoke in tongues.

My mind set on marriage.
Only twenty-two at the time,
I thought I knew what I wanted
and didn’t realize how much we’d change.

I stood up and yelled at the screen,
Please think twice, or you’ll be sorry!
The moving picture didn’t answer;
the spirit of a senseless marriage took over
by the fate of a ringed finger.

All our romantic expectations,
our hopes, and dreams,
our bright future together,
ending up in misery.

I pleaded to myself to come to my senses.
Wake up, Snap out of it, Man!
I had lost control after I took the marriage vow.
The usher grabbed my arm, and reasoned—
It’s just a movie, sir.

The movie ended tragically, of course,
with a long, contested divorce.
Our possessions split up.
Our dream house sold,
and our children divided into thirds.

 

 

 


Diana Rosen
dianalrosen@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Diana Rosen has an essay forthcoming in the anthology, “Far Villages” and two poems in “Book of Sighs.” The journals, The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Existere Journal of Art & Literature, and WildforWords(UK) will publish her work in 2020. Her hybrid of flash and poetry, “Love & Irony” will be published by RedBird Chapbooks.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Diana Rosen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Rules of the Game

Hours we play on a square table small enough that none need to stretch arms too far to make the clickclackclick of tiles. We shout Crak! Bam! Dot! as we form plays while nibbling on appetizers served by rotating hostesses. We share our griefs (death, divorce, disease,) triumphs (of our children,) the graduations, their careers, marrying suitable partners who produce perfect grandchildren who delight, disarm our stoic façade. At first, we invite other players then death captures everyone. The funeral director carefully places the ancient wooden box of tiles in my coffin following the final rule of the game: the last remaining player brings the mah jongg set to enter The World to Come.

 

 

February 24 – March 1, 2020: Poetry from Maggie Westland and Corey Mesler

Maggie Westland and Corey Mesler

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Maggie Westland
nanamaggie14@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Maggie began writing early, and had her first publication in grade school. Although most of her work has been in verse, her poems often have plots and story lines beyond simple rhyme or image. Maggie plans to pass her life story on to her children and grandchildren via a memory diary from which her memoirs continue to evolve.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Maggie Westland and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Cosmology

The world is spinning round itself,
And also chasing round the sun;
The sun and earth together spin
At the edge of the galaxy’s arm.

Galaxies spin around themselves
Like Fourth-of -July pinwheels,
And move as the universe expands,
And I think that I’m standing still!

 

 

 


Corey Mesler
meslercorey@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published over 20 books of fiction and poetry. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On, which won The Memphis Film Prize in 2017. With his wife he runs Burke’s Book Store (est. 1875) in Memphis. Visit Corey on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Corey Mesler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Marriage License

Inside the stone
I heard a voice.
It was not, as
at first I believed,
the voice of
the stone. Later,
when you
came around, you
asked me if I
believed in
Heaven. I thought
about the
stone. I took
your slim, de-
licate hands
and kissed away
the rings left by rings.


More About the Stone

The teachers gathered us
in the library. They
wanted to stop something
before it started.
They would not tell us
the story of the stone,
how they came to know it,
but they warned us
against its dominion.
This intrigued us, of course,
and some of us met at
Jimmy Trippet’s house
to talk about what we would
do once the stone came,
how we would move
slowly, with determination,
toward the circle the
stone created by its stillness.
How we would make
it ours and how afterward we
would know better than
our teachers about pre-
paring anyone for the stone.

February 17-23, 2020: Poetry from Mike Casetta and Leonard Kress

Mike Casetta and Leonard Kress

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Mike Casetta
fierceforce@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Mike Casetta has one book of poetry entitled The Certainty of Looking Elsewhere. He has been published in many small presses.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Mike Casetta and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

You Are Here

Soon there will
be more tattoos
on the planet
than people,
more ink on skin
than on paper.

We are already
reading each other
more than books
or newspapers.

I am thinking
of having
………X
you are here
in blood red ink
inscribed
directly
over my heart.

I am thinking
if I indelibly
mark the spot
& leave
this permanent
note
to myself
I will not look
for you
somewhere else.

 

 

 


Leonard Kress
leonard_kress@owens.edu

Bio (auto)

Leonard Kress has published poetry and fiction in Missouri Review, Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, etc. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex and Walk Like Bo Diddley. Living in the Candy Store and Other Poems and his new verse translation of the Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz were both published in 2018. Craniotomy appeared this summer. He teaches philosophy and religion at Owens College in Ohio. www.leonardkress.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Leonard Kress and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Kill the Buddha

sin like a madman
until you can’t do anything else

………..Ikkyu, 15th century Japanese poet

We are looking at a 12th century
Chinese painting, The Six Persimmons,
floating, it seems, in a stupendous calm.
Our teacher is Italian, Brooklyn-bred,
World War II sailor, connoisseur of cannoli,
who could croon like Sinatra in the dying
moments of class, and foxtrot out the door
in wingtips. We sit in the back, my friend
and I, devising trip-ups and traps.
Others in the front and middle, heads twirling
like turrets, discharge hushes at us.

He was a disciple, the only American
at the time, of the great Zen
aesthetician Hisamatsu. “Nothing
by Michelangelo comes close
to these persimmons,” he submits, “not
the tortured soul– but asymmetry, simplicity,
naturalness, wizened austerity, the work
of a tranquil, untrammeled mind.”
We know he’s describing a self-portrait
and at the same time deriding us.
We despise our classmates for wallowing
in their veneration.

Later he quotes from Ikkyu—That stone Buddha
deserves all the birdshit it gets
, as he eyes
a girl in the front row, continuing,
I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind.
But Ikkyu, we point out, frequented brothels;
my friend shouting, quoting—Ten years
of whorehouse joy and now alone in the mountains…

(We are both zealots of virtue.)
And here he is, our professor, passing
himself off as the true man without a title,
the awakened Self—in the classroom
off Broad Street, and we, mere shadow
selves, dense, plodding, fatuous, always
on the verge of harming self and others.

We haven’t heard yet from my friend’s girlfriend,
how he’d gently ease her into his office,
shut the door, peal her backpack from both
shoulders and press her down to the floor
atop stacked newspapers, cracked open
library books, and fragile–yellowed
with a rash of foxing–Japanese scrolls.

 

 

February 10-16, 2020: Poetry from Peggy Turnbull and Paul Koniecki

Peggy Turnbull and Paul Koniecki

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Peggy Turnbull
peggy.turnbull@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Peggy Turnbull returned to her birthplace in the upper Midwest after living in West Virginia for over 25 years. She began writing poetry after retiring from her work as a college librarian. Recent poems have appeared in Mad SwirlVerse-VirtualAncient Paths Online and are forthcoming in Your Daily Poem. Visit Peggy on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Peggy Turnbull and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Midwest Different

Their mother sews cotton dresses for the two girls,
stitches hems deep enough to carry apples in, lets
them out for decency’s sake when their legs elongate.

Their plain-faced factory town smells of rotting fish
in summer, acrid smoke in winter. Their house rests
on top of the old town dump: four rooms and an attic.

A Christmas tree commands the living room. Generous
as the sunshine in southern Cal, their diplomat uncle never
forgets the holiday. Each year he sends a box to their frigid

stoop. Inside are packages purchased abroad: a Swiss
music box, French dolls in aprons and bonnets, a wooden
figurine from Japan without arms or legs, slim dress boxes

with their names attached. The oldest unfolds tissue paper,
finds ivory organza flocked with red poppies, a velvet sash.
Can she wear it to school, please? She longs to be beautiful

there, show Miss Joyce her hidden wealth. Mother says no.
It’s for Sunday only. One day the zipper resists her waist.
Mother whisks the dress away to give to another family.

The girl wails because her sister will never know the joy
of touching its textured flowers. Sister says she doesn’t care.
They thank Uncle in letters written to the myth of him,

a newscast version of their Daddy. In a dark suit and spectacles
Uncle flies First Class across oceans to where dignified strangers
await, shake his hand on the tarmac, smile while flash bulbs pop.

They scramble over snowbanks on their way to school.
White wisps undulate over each chimney. Thunderheads spew
from the plant. Beyond these smokestacks lie cornfields. Beyond

the cornfields: cities. Beyond cities: countries where even the toys
are different, where children live who could be friends. The girls
look into a bin of potatoes, expect to find tropical fruit.

What will become of them?

 

 

 


Paul Koniecki
paulkoniecki@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

Paul Koniecki lives and writes in Dallas, Texas. He was once chosen for the John Ashbery Home School Residency. He is the Associate Editor of Thimble Literary Journal. His books of poetry are available from Kleft Jaw Press, NightBallet Press, Dark Particle Press, and Spartan Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Paul Koniecki and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Chess960

Bologna knows it is bologna
and it knows
it must be fried. The heat
of the frying pan holds it’s eyes,
slow lidded but quickening, heavenward
to the celestial crucibles where all atoms
originally burn. Soon the pink circle
curls at the circumference like an offering
plate or open palm slightly closing to make
a fleshly cup.

When I watch a chess match I fixate
on the forearms of the players.
Forearms and the smell of fried bologna
bring me running
to July 1974.
Those years I loved the grill and the pool.
Listening to Iggy Pop’s The Passenger
and writing a poem for Bobby Fischer
I wish I never knew my real dad.

Bobby’s dad was probably
a Hungarian physicist named Paul.
A superior
mind watches half the world
from a atop a glacier while sliding over
everyone, mankind, the Statue of
Liberty, Wrigley Field, Madagascar,
or a camera stretching out it’s longest telephoto lens.
Chess is warfare. Mankind and warfare are oxymoronic.

That summer I was almost
eight. Our backyard Weber Grill
was an intense red and wobbling
sun. Passing
by the family room t.v. I notice
Charles Bronson hand-gag Capucine
in the movie Red Sun.
Toshirō Mifune appears noble and out of place although I could be wrong.

Back in the backyard
he notices he forgot to wear a belt.
As proper
punishment for the basement light-
switch I forgot to flick
they hold
my leeward humerus to the Weber’s
metal dome.
What remained
of that year was a cast autographed
No Swimming Allowed.

Time has erased
my beautiful oval of puckered skin
Twisted helix of yellow

proofs come back to me. Checkmate goes
to forgetting and erasure
forgiveness and still everything feels

like castling
a hot red sun.

 

 

February 4-10, 2020: Poetry from Richard Widerkehr and Carrie Radna

Richard Widerkehr and Carrie Radna

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Richard Widerkehr
fordwid@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Richard Widerkehr’s work has appeared in Poetry Super Highway, Rattle, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, Atlanta Review, Arts & Letters, and many others. He earned his M.A. from Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan. His latest book is In The Presence Of Absence (MoonPath Press). He also has three chapbooks and a novel, Sedimental Journey (Tarragon Books). He reads poems for Shark Reef Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Richard Widerkehr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


In A Living Room Near Squalicum Mountain

When the pale sky lets in a chink of light over the rim
of the foothills, we can’t help glancing at the sun.
Last night’s news tasted like salt. Still half-asleep,
we wait, as if for a brand-new diaspora,

a city with bread and honey. As the coffee maker
brews our coffee, and the sun gets round,
more golden, we touch each other, almost afraid.
Sun like a wind, scattered from the edge

of a nebula. After two cups of coffee, I read
how police traced our latest murderer
to the Red Roof Inn near Round Rock, Texas.

How strange, to stand as witnesses this morning.
Our phone rings, numbers flash on the panel. Not in use,
says the machine. The sun, this blinding gift—

 

 

 


Carrie Radna
ambikamag@msn.com

Bio (auto)

Carrie Magness Radna is an archival audiovisual cataloger at the New York Public Library, a singer, a lyricist-songwriter, and a poet who loves to travel. Her poems have previously appeared in The Oracular Tree, Muddy River Poetry Review, Mediterranean Poetry, Shot Glass Journal, First Literary Review-East, Nomad’s Choir, and The spirit, it travels: an anthology of transcendent poetry, edited by Nina Alverez (Cosmographia Books), The Poetic Bond VIII and The Poetic Bond IX (Willowdown Books), Poetry Super Highway, Polarity E-magazine and Tuck Magazine and will be published in Walt’s Corner and the upcoming anthology This OTHER time The Alien Buddha got so high (Alien Buddha Press). Her first chapbook, Conversations with dead composers at Carnegie Hall (Flutter Press), was published in January 2019, and her second chapbook, Remembering you as I go walking (Boxwood Star Press) was published on August 23, 2019. Her first poetry collection, Hurricanes Never Apologize, as published by Luchador Press in December 2019. She won the 12th prize of 2018 Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards for her poem “Lily (no. 48 of Women’s names sensual series)”.  Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she is a member of the Greater New York Music Library Association (GNYMLA), and is a member/have read/workshopped for the New York Poetry Forum, Parkside Poets, Riverside Poets, Brownstone Poets and Nomad’s Choir. When she’s not performing classical choral works with Riverside Choral Society or New Year’s Eve performances with the New York Festival Singers, or writing art song lyrics with her choir buddies, or penning her own folk songs for her chorus’ cabarets, or traveling, she lives with her husband Rudolf in Manhattan.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Carrie Radna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


all trains are haunted

good-natured buttered-up angels who tripped out from Heaven’s Bar
caught their glittery shoes & minds between whirlwinds & dead turnstiles
they ride the empty trains constantly, getting out of the cold rain
but all trains are haunted—
the lazy A that took us home after last Saturday
night’s gig at Washington Heights, perhaps a shade of its grandfather
took Sir Duke & Billy Strayhorn aboard towards Harlem in 1940
it’s still midnight, almost the end of the line for randy trains—
it’s now time to cruise over to Queens Plaza Yards, to sleep with warmed-up cars,
to romance that special one it met on the tracks at Hoyt-Schermerhorn
when they were hitched up for only a week—it never forgets
how it shined and smelled (no hobos slept in it)   
its chrome face made the other trains shiver on the tracks as they raced upon the third rail,
sparks flew—we rode the 1930s Vintage Special Train to West 4th Street—it was haunted
sputtering diesel as it rolled on slowly from Herald Square, the lights went out three times
& a man stood in the center aisle, wearing a fedora & a caramel-colored long coat
as the passengers held carved, cream-colored handles in the mint-colored interior—
all subway riders are haunted by events:
broken hearts, tough working-days, able-drunkenness, despair, boredom,
longing for home or excitement, in every time or age