December 25-31, 2017: Poetry from Alex Papanicolopoulos

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Alex Papanicolopoulos
indefinitebrightcalm@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Alex Papanicolopoulos lives in Tallahassee, Florida. He earned an M.A. in English from Cornell University, and received a Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching while at Bound Brook High School. Born and raised in California, he is currently an independent scholar and educator. He was the very first poet featured on Poetry Super Highway in January of 1997.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Alex Papanicolopoulos. and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Midnight

Accursed poets of the dispossessed there are not enough of you
…………….staggering through the streets of Veracruz like Alekseĭ
Kruchenyk…………….…………….……..speak it
…………….Emerald indecency to the idiots and unlettered intelligentsia!
…………….…………….They will not read their own lies to themselves

II
Do you have a voice if no one can find it
…………….knowing in singing not to…………….while you were watching
Netflix they ended net
…………….…………….neutrality this is now
…………….…………….…………….all the help you deserve.

III
Caress ritornello continuo, long awaited faded colors
…………….can you just blurt your mind
sector spider weak-eyed bat
…………….lunch over alto nonmercuric solo
carroting nul set infidel set twerk biography
…………….rear end mandible flossing
at said address

840 serious immobilities…………….at lost last
rock fabric opacity rendering
…………….for mass health care
…………….…………….…………….…………….as we were
…………….temporarily able-bodied
surprised by what we bought

IV
Write to Jove about his problems
…………….along the rotating gantry………disaggregating grains
36D6 tin CT scan international modeling
open grain silo today
writing a hall pass to the historical never-was
the day no hour left
ironing shirt buttons…………food falling there
…………….…………….unhelped by any wind

V
By these waters I heard such beautiful singing
…………….like a spell I stopped
checking my phone
…………….…………….your madness your rage is the reenchantment of my world
I am now legible in every line break to the system

VI
Walls carve into rage the boltered
multitudes.
On your lips no other beauties……………the dark climb
of hills.
Intangible powers, the prebiotic moon
descending the Sephirotic ladder;
…………….……………...the one floating
heaped up with treasure burial ship
of the ring-giving lord–

Hate with triumph the deserting years–
…………….Forces into the water pull,
…………….………………at daybreak,
the woods that sway, then start, then can’t
break free.

 


December 18-24, 2017: Poetry from Pamela Miller and Mike Meraz

Pamela Miller and Mike Meraz

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Pamela Miller
pam.chwedyk@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Pamela Miller lives in Chicago. She is the author of Fast Little Shoes (Erie Street Press), Mysterious Coleslaw (Ridgeway Press), Recipe for Disaster and Miss Unthinkable (both from Mayapple Press). Her work has been published in many print and online journals and has recently appeared, or is forthcoming, in RHINO, Peacock Journal, New Poetry from the Midwest 2017, Pirene’s Fountain, Star 82 Review, MAYDAY and elsewhere. She recently retired from a 30-year career in editing/writing/publishing and now does nothin’ but that poetry stuff.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Pamela Miller. and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Prayer to Four Gods, Because One Is No Longer Enough

Father of red skies and buttermilk,
Lady of skeletons and zeppelins,
Master of damage and drainage,
Holy Lord of whispers from shipwrecks,

Guide our ascent into corridors of stars.
Test our faith with evaporating miracles.
Make us kneel on needles in a hailstorm.
Smash our sins with implacable hammers.

Weave us wings to beat against the rafters.
Sharpen our teeth to gnaw away the darkness.
Tempt us not into cavernous havoc.
Scour our hearts with Brillo pads of fire.

Hallowed be your hands that swaddle us in moonlight.
Blessed is your balm that numbs our sullen hungers.
Dreaded be your name, your shriek, 
your poison on our pillows.
For yours is that glimmer of a kingdom
too pure for our uproarious souls.



Mike Meraz
michaelmeraz4@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Mike Meraz lives and writes in Whittier Ca. His latest book “She Poems” is available at Epic Rites Press. 

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Mike Meraz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


untitled

She opens my
Closet and
Says
You’re like a
40 year 
Old
Goth

Her
20 something
Katy
Perry
Ass
Looks through
My
Clothes like
A
Secret
I was 
Keeping

She finds
Nothing

Puts
On one
Of my
Jackets and
Says

I’m Mike
Meraz

She 
Found
Me.

 



 

December 11-17, 2017: Poetry from Glenn Ingersoll and Judy Shepps Battle

Glenn Ingersoll and Judy Shepps Battle

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Glenn Ingersoll
lovesettlement@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Glenn Ingersoll lives in Berkeley, California where he works for the public library. He hosts Clearly Meant, a reading & interview series, at the Berkeley library’s Claremont Branch. He has two chapbooks, City Walks (broken boulder) and Fact (Avantacular). He keeps two blogs, LoveSettlement and Dare I Read. Recent work has appeared in Poetry East, Askew, and Hearty Greetings.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Glenn Ingersoll. and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


I was blue.

That is enough being blue!
I said in a loud voice
which carried over the heather.
A man came to me bearing a paint can.
I have here enough yellow
to change your hue
entirely,
he said in a practical manner,
popping the lid with a thumbnail
and dipping into the smooth yellow
a broad brush
that frightened me but which I wanted
all over my body.
I took off my clothes.
I took off all of my clothes.
You don’t look so blue, he said.
You don’t look so very blue.
But he was already yellowing
my knees when he said this
and was slipping his color
onto my blue thighs.



Judy Shepps Battle
writeaction@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Judy Shepps Battle has been writing essays and poems long before retiring from being a psychotherapist and sociology professor. She is a South Brunswick, New Jersey resident, addictions specialist, consultant and freelance writer. 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; the Tishman Review, and Wilderness House Literary Press.ity.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Judy Shepps Battle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Sleepless in South Brunswick

12:45 AM
two hours sleep

thought crowds out peaceful haze
until Simon’s loud purr

reminds me it took more than 3 years
for him to purr at all

and that Creator is always in the process
of healing broken bodies and spirits

even when it doesn’t seem like it
especially when it doesn’t seem like it.

I ask myself if I will remember
this awareness next incarnation

Or that I was Judy?

Simon smiles as Bodhi wags tail
perhaps I will be Judy and you will be Bodhi

or maybe all three of us will ride the thermals
disguised as a refreshing spring breeze.

Awe and respect for mystery saturate my
in and out breaths as I relax

growing fatigue morphs into sleep
sometime before dawn.

 



 

December 4-10, 2017: Poetry from Sheikha A. and Cal Freeman

Sheikha A. and Cal Freeman

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Sheikha A.
ummeaimanali@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Sheikha A. is from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates. Over 300 of her poems have been published in a variety of literary venues, both print and online, including several anthologies by different presses. She has work upcoming in/with Poetry Repairs, Poetry Bay, Dreams and Nightmares, Illumen with most recent publications in/with Praxis, New Mystics, Peacock Journal, Futures Trading, Atlantean Publishing, Allegro, Cruel Garters and elsewhere. Her book Spaced [Hammer and Anvil Books, 2013] is available on kindle. With having had her poems recited at two separate events in Greece, she looks for wider venues to connect with people through her poetry. More about her can be found at sheikha82.wordpress.com

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Sheikha A. and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Nth

Linguistics, and the need for expression
brought us together – for a while.
We argued about the chattering
of sparrows, their tales of distraction,
never quite wanting to let the other
have the last word. We were a series
on a code that was deliberately left
undefined – silence too noisy in the quiet –
too awkward, too pure, too raw, too honest.
There is a term for couples like us: never,
for holistic, bohemian, curious, detachable
became too familiar. The act of not being
made for one another yet losing nothing
is the part about wings we never argued,
spoke of logic like truth pulled from a hat,
believed in fairy tales, yet spoke none
of the never we could have been.



Cal Freeman
jfreema@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Cal Freeman was born and raised in Detroit, MI. He is the author of the books Brother Of Leaving (Marick Press) and Fight Songs (Eyewear Publishing). His writing has appeared in many journals including New Orleans Review, Passages North, The Journal, Commonweal, Drunken Boat, and The Poetry Review. He is a recipient of The Devine Poetry Fellowship (judged by Terrance Hayes); he has also been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes in both poetry and creative nonfiction. He regularly reviews collections of poetry for the radio program Stateside on Michigan Public Radio. He currently lives in Dearborn, MI and teaches at Oakland University.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Cal Freeman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Dearborn

a hymn for Kevin Matthews,
killed by an off-duty policeman
December 23rd, 2015

Our town is a sclerotic beast
whose sewer throats disgorge
the epithets of Orville Hubbard
and Henry Ford, where police
give chase beyond duty
or jurisdiction and kill
the unarmed suspects
of misdemeanor larceny.
It squeezes the slow
river guts to rapids.
Its nerves are shot;
it shakes the haws
and sugar maples
then drinks them under.
I love this place
as the tholepins creak
and we take turns rowing
down Shenandoah Street,
erstwhile floodplain. 
Its makeshift cinderblock
levee spined through Spinks loam,
its concrete brow ringed
by a high-water mark
nobody thought this run-
off could surpass.
To love any city is violence.
The once-ambling body
snakes and hemorrhages;
thousands of muscles flicker
as it runs.  Did I ever tell you
the story about the night
Henry Ford died?
The Rouge overran its banks;
his powerhouse flooded;
his brain bled into itself
like the outmoded machine
that it was, eagle-shaped
blood flecks congealed
in his hippocampus grooves
like posterity’s dark prizes
as his corpse blued
and stiffened, no light
in his bedroom except
a candle and a wood fire.
I feel like I am always
telling you this story.
Do you also imagine
these blocks in leagues
of water, our bungalows
hurtling like failed arks
toward a new, unmapped sea,
until our brief existence
is a pseudo-history, a lesser
Atlantis nobody will search for? 
We live and die in the riverain
which is the property
of everyone and no one. 
It periodically lifts its haunches
from alluvium to chase us
off.  But it makes sense
that we call our favorite places
haunts, given what we know
of geology and murder. 
You were killed
behind Cardoni’s Bar
the night that by virtue
of my skin I stood unbothered
on the banks and watched
the water rise,
trying to remind myself
that it was winter.

 



 

November 27 – December 3, 2017: Poetry from Howard Brown and Alyssa Trivett

Howard Brown and Alyssa Trivett

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Howard Brown
brownwh1943@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Howard Brown is a writer and poet who lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee on Lookout Mountain.  His poetry has appeared in Burningword Literary Journal, Poetry Super Highway, Old Hickory Review and Blue Collar Review.  In 2012, he published a collection of poems entitled “The Gossamer Nature of Random Things.”  His poem “Pariah” placed first in the poetry division of the 2015 William Faulkner Literary competition sponsored by Mississippi’s Tallahatchie Riverfest.  He has published short fiction in Louisiana Literature, F**k Fiction, Crack the Spine, Pulpwood Fiction, Extract(s), Gloom Cupboard and Full Of Crow.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Howard Brown and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


A Rare Bit of Sunshine

Sitting on the back porch,
John Prine on the radio

    telling me
    in his rusted, 

barb-wire twang
to blow up my TV….

    But I pay him
    no heed
    
as I bask in the warmth
of a December sun,

    realizing that,
    despite its vicissitudes,

including both politics
and diarrhea

    (which at times are   
    indistinguishable),

life is still
a wondrous thing.



Alyssa Trivett
AlyssaT316@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Alyssa Trivett is a wandering soul from the Midwest. When not working two jobs, she listens to music and scrawls lines on the back of gas station receipts. Her work has recently appeared at In Between Hangovers, The Literary Yard and Poetry Breakfast.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Alyssa Trivett and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


In Transit

I reach into my bag,
as a game claw overextending
to the corners,
clasping a stuffed animal
against its own will,
to pull out the tissue 
to stop my nose from oozing blood.
Immune system weakens,
thinking the smoker coughs
loitering around are something
I’m able to catch,
not that I’d want that.
A patron to the 
left plays Candy Crush.
My eyes want to roll back
into my head,
but my video game life bar
remains full.
I trot into the day, in transit,
to overcrowded city sidewalks
and coffee cups bobbing
up and down.
Floating in a sea of backpacks
and cigarette smoke I would 
prefer not to toilet-dunk myself in.
Taxis crowd my view,
becoming my sunrise.
Jumping over sewers
as my athletic shoes 
record-scratch the surface.
The ungodly morning hour rolls on.

 



 

November 20-26, 2017: Poetry from Jonathan Hayes and Matt Gillick

Jonathan Hayes and Grant Guy

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Jonathan Hayes
jsh619@earthlink.net

Bio (auto)

Jonathan Hayes lives in Santa Cruz, California and is the editor / publisher of the long-running literary journal “Over the Transom.”

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Jonathan Hayes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


On My Birthday

I awoke alone in the Santa Cruz early morning
Put swim trunks on and hopped on the cruiser bicycle
Rode to Seabright Beach, which was almost a sand-to-glass desert
The tourists had not yet arrived on their double-decker buses
Some locals did yoga in a small group on dry sand
And an old lady walked across the beach holding her Scottish Terrier
While a transient man talked to himself looking down at the driftwood

I faced the Pacific from shore and etched my age in the damp sand with my toe

Then the sea came at me:

A wave crashed and flowed toward shore –
Cool, confident, calm, hissing white foam bubbles it subsumed my etching
Ebbed back out to sea leaving an erasure of the moment and eventually, me



Matt Gillick
bukoku@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Matt Gillick lives in Stamford, Connecticut.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Matt Gillick and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Transient Flatmate

Chain lock broken again—where’s the refrigerator? Can’t come to the phone. There’s a counter-balance in the room you’ve blacked out with masking tape and newspaper on the windows and door cracks. The roommate is looking for another place since you’re two weeks late. Here comes a truth: that dark dreams, like waking up to an unlocked door, reside here. The flash of snakes and daylight reverie are highlights from the perpetually lit hallway. Pupils dilated, ecstasy eyes, a broken ceiling fan from a hockey stick. The splinters still spin when the door opens and closes. 

 



 

November 13-19, 2017: Poetry from David Flynn and Seth Howard

David Flynn and Grant Guy

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David Flynn
david.flynn.writer@hushmail.com

Bio (auto)

David Flynn was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, TN. His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor and university teacher. He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist with a recent grant in Indonesia. His literary publications total more than two hundred. David Flynn’s web site is www.davidflynnbooks.com. He currently lives in Nashville, TN, where he is president of the Musicians Aid Society. 

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by David Flynn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


The Woman I Love

The woman I will marry is boring.  
She sits in her chair, and I sit,
on the far side of the room,
in mine.
She makes me a salad
instead of the barbecue I crave.
We talk about
her job.

The woman I will marry is aging.
Once with long red hair
flowing from a red Corvette,
she lets her mother do her perm.
Below her eyes,
blue becoming white,
droop semi-circles of skin.
She wants no sun.

Together we are two people on the edge of great age,
yet when she runs away from me,
as she does twice a year,
I go insane.

This is a good end.
After death we will live in two coffins,
separated by a wall of dirt.
Why not start now?



Seth Howard
bukoku@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Seth Howard is the author of two chapbooks: Out of the East,Waters from a Well. His work has appeared in Otoliths, BlazeVOX [books], unarmed journal, Big Hammer, Chronogram, & elsewhere. He also hosted the Poetry Open Mic at the Washington Street Coffee House for a year, where he shared much of his own work in a public setting. He is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, & studied abroad at Sophia University in Tokyo for about three years. In his spare time, he enjoys the practice of Zazen, watches K-drama, & co-edits CAPSULE Magazine. He currently lives in New London, Connecticut. Visit Seth on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Seth Howard and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Memories of a Gangnam Café

Here in the afternoon fringed with lilac, we wait
amongst ourselves, the sweetness of peach
Soju, & subtle-flashbacks of a Bibimbop you had in that  
Korean restaurant, transported into the
intimacy of Seoul.  The bathroom stalls dip
down all the way
to the floor.  Yet no ice, (the way it was at that
Tom & Tom’s in Gangnam).  Nights staying
up late, the healthy-buzz of the city, & to glance
up from your book at times, a wish to be
a part of it all.  Gorgeous girls come, & go
in the evening, somewhere in late October, or perhaps
November.  Fragments of the Hangul language
you hear as something
else. 
The Schizophrenic husk that lies fallen
on the floor, & amidst all this a breath
you take, remembering a friend, or a mentor.
The night full of so much possibility, &
the light in her eye as she glanced at
you from across the room.  Luminous-insect that hatches
in the moonlight, lunar moth that drifts
on the fringe of cognizance. 
& so, you are tortured by your own
mind.  The double-speak of sounds,
when one blends into another, the echo
of her lovely eyes, as the image trails
somewhere behind.  You begin with
this metallic-object in your hand, & sip
your coffee as if everything was fine.
(The bitter aftertaste, & the intimation of some
faint music, in the background, in
a language of sounds, which  
somewhat resembles Japanese.)  &
yet you taste
the
primordial in-between, as words
race on the page, insects.
& a dream you see returns,
a slow acceptance
of what your world had offered,
in the evening, when those dark-featured
nymphs entered in an arc 
of motion, & you embark on
this late journey, in which
you are born into another realm.

 



 

November 6-12, 2017: Poetry from Reevian Saied and TS Hidalgo

Reevian Saied and Grant Guy

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Reevian Saied
reevian@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

I am Jordanian currently living in the United Arab Emirates. On my spiritual journey, I have experienced many challenges and found poetry to be a beautiful way to preserve profound moments. Ironically, I was inspired to write my first poem after continuously listening to a track on an instrumental CD entitled Rumi. Recently I have launched an online guide focused on enhancing our spiritual journey, www.tunetotravel.com.  

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Reevian Saied and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Cloud Seeding

Odd dark clouds
Flash of light slashes the desert
Rain blessing overpowered by wind anger.

Doors locked and shaking
Uprooted tree flies passed window

The fallen branch 
The fallen bird
Now injured unable to fly
Rescued and taken inside

Cats looking for shelter
Crying newborn kitten
Saved and given back to its mother

The storm leaves with no shame.

 

 



TS Hidalgo
tsanchez3@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

TS Hidalgo (44) holds a BBA (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), a MBA (IE Business School), a MA in Creative Writing (Hotel Kafka) and a Certificate in Management and the Arts (New York University). His works have been published in magazines in the USA, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Germany, UK, Spain, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa, Nigeria, Botswana, India and Australia, and he has been the winner of prizes like the Criaturas feroces (Editorial Destino) in short story and a finalist at Festival Eñe in the novel category. He has currently developed his career in finance and stock-market

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by TS Hidalgo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

ǝlddɐ

It’s June
horse races,
annual hat festival,
and a certain Tyson,
Mike,
got off the Metro at Ascot,
the Garden Terror,
(exhibited by Don King),
penguin suit
unforeign fashion,
strange firefly
on night white background
(and today ghost wandering
tattooed through my house),
and the truth, ma’am,
is that,
now inside the racetrack,
Tyson touched your arm,
and that,
at the same time as your iPod was going off,
and that before
the shouts under the tent,
and the consequent roar of the mass
and the Garden Terror
against 1,
against 100,
against 1,000,
against the rest,
against life,
and all of it before
my sheriff’s badge
-unproductive pedal-propelled Dodge-
and my last executioner’s fear
after firing into a black’s temple,
that is,
at the same time as his bubble world
and our crescendoing madness,
Skull Island,
I repeat, I saw it:
your son was also going off,
your iPhone was also going off:
Tyson just wanted to warn you.

 



 

October 30 – November 5, 2017: Poetry from B. Diehl and Grant Guy

B. Diehl and Grant Guy

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


B. Diehl
b.diehlmgmt@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

B. Diehl is the author of the poetry collection Zeller’s Alley (White Gorilla Press, 2016). His work has been published by Hobart, BOAAT Press, FLAPPERHOUSE, Words Dance, and other venues. On the first and third Sunday of every month, he hosts a reading series in Catasauqua, PA, called I Hate Poetry. When he is not writing, reading, hosting, or breathing in dust at his warehouse job, he is usually hanging out with his cats. He lives in Phillipsburg, NJ.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by B. Diehl and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Bunny Hole

I don’t know why, but “Bunny” 
was the nickname G. gave me.

G. was kind of obnoxious,
but we both smoked pot,
so I guess that was 
why we got together.

I was 18 and still didn’t have a job
or any kind of diploma. The little
amount of cash I had all went
right into me and G.’s lungs.

“I’m so baked, Bunny,” she’d say –– 

as my parents’ cellar
filled up with smoke
and partially-genuine
(but desperate) laughter.

Most of my old friends were graduating
and getting ready to leave for college.

Some of them 
were already gone,
exploring the world, 
forgetting their pasts,
forgetting I existed.

I was forgetting everything ––
especially myself,
especially the sunlight.

“Do you think we’ll ever get married?”
G. would sometimes ask me.

But I couldn’t possibly answer
something like that. 

No ambition meant no future.

The cellar door was worlds away. 

 

 



Grant Guy
geoffreylit@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Grant Guy is a Winnipeg, Canada a poet, writer and playwright. Former artistic director of Adhere + Deny. His writings have been published in Canada, the United States, Wales, India and England. He has three books published (On the Bright Side of Down and Bus Stop Bus Stop are both available at Amazon.) He was the 2004 recipient of the MAC’s 2004 Award of Distinction and the 2017 recipient of the WAC’s Making A Difference Award. From the front jacket of the collection of short stories The Naked City by Sterling Silliphant – where a crime of violence and an act of infinite tenderness can occur seconds apart . . . in many respects that is what I am attempting to do with my poems and stories. I am interested in our individual humanity in a harsh and sometimes comical environ. I believe, if there is a god, god is a prankster. How else do we explain genitalia and Donald Trump.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Grant Guy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hanging Sam

Hanging Sam had no joke for his 1000th execution
 
He thought he might the morning before
But when he got home from Abilene after his 999th execution
He found a Dear John letter tacked to his favorite rocking chair
 
Jackie Wallas   his lover of 13 years   left him for The Yukon
She heard there was good money to made in Dawson City
If a woman properly applied herself
 
He cursed Jackie his gangrene Banshee
 
Hanging Sam conducted his 1000th execution
Like a man who had nothing in his bones
 
He was no longer numb
Like the other 999
For the 1000th
He was no longer numb
 
And it pissed him off

 



 

October 23-29, 2017: Poetry from R.J. Zeman and Geoffrey Heptonstall

R.J. Zeman, and Geoffrey Heptonstall

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


R.J. Zeman
nuggetsvolume1@gmx.com

Bio (auto)

My name is R.J. Zeman. I am a poet from Dunedin, Florida. I am a 2007 graduate of the Creative Writing program at F.S.U. More of my work can be found at www.robertzeman.blogspot.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by R.J. Zeman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Dust

We made love
in her
tiny bedroom
at 2 a.m.
while drunk
on whiskey.
The floor
was covered
in women’s magazines;
the bed
smelled like
cheap perfume.
The lights were out
and a radio
blared
in the background.
It felt
so primal
and alive.
Our bodies
pressed against each other,
covered
in sweat.
We were both
in college then;
we didn’t know
how cruel
life could get.
But even then,
in the darkness,
with a street light
illuminating
her flesh,
I thought:
yes, this is life,
this is how things work,
and soon
this will come to pass,
like everything else,
into
the dust.


Gulf of Mexico

I walk down
to a pier
at midnight
and watch
The Gulf of Mexico
lap
against the shore.
We used to
sit here
some nights:
we’d laugh
and hold hands.
I still remember
the way
your face looked
under the pale light
of the moon.
Things seemed
so alive then,
like a never ending stream
of good fortune.
I stand up,
scratch my belly,
and put my
cigarette out
under my shoe.
I go home,
through the front door,
then out
the back.
I sit in the solitude
of my backyard
with nothing
but the trees,
nothing but the wind;
nothing but the slow
rise and fall
of my breath.

 

 



Geoffrey Heptonstall
geoffreylit@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

I live in Cambridge, England. I write regularly for The London Magazine. My poetry has appeared in anthologies and many magazines including The American Aesthetic, Envoi, International Literary Quarterly, Pacific Review and The Write Place at the Write Time. A novel, Heaven’s Invention, is published by Black Wolf. Short stories have appeared in Cerise Press, Litro [London and New York], Scarlet Leaf Review etc. 

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Geoffrey Heptonstall and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Shostakovich

And another time a hesitation
when someone powerful is watching
the conductor’s wrinkled hands.
The viola’s strain is a proud man’s anguish.
Outside his apartment an artist is taken.
Images vanish from the poet’s mind.
Crowds gather for news of their leader,
a train passing slowly through his sleep.
 
Later there will be certainties.
Something may return
in the changing rooms of memory.
The composer discovers harmonies
he knows shall be forbidden.
The flesh and bone of him feel lighter
with the absence of want before
all the meanings of a single movement
 
To listen
until his music is a river
flowing between many cities,
and into the wastes
where truth must counsel caution
at noon and midnight

 



 

October 16-22, 2017: Poetry from Robert Wynne and Margarita Serafimova

Robert Wynne, and Margarita Serafimova

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


Robert Wynne
robert.wynne@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

Robert Wynne earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University.  A former co-editor of Cider Press Review, he has published 6 chapbooks, and 3 full-length books of poetry, the most recent being “Self-Portrait as Odysseus,” published in 2011 by Tebot Bach Press.  He’s won numerous prizes, and his poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies throughout North America.  He lives in Burleson, TX with his wife, daughter and 3 rambunctious dogs.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Robert Wynne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Lucy Van Pelt Trapped in a Tom Waits Song

Loose Lips pays her bill, and slinks smoothly
toward the door. Outside, the pink neon flashes
“Velveteen Piano Lounge” across asphalt littered

with the yellow dreams of small, voiceless birds.
Joe Cool blows a blue hole in the buttery moon
melting slowly over her shoulder like a cue ball

burying itself in the glove of god’s first baseman.
Amsterdam air sings a watery dirge
as Lucy steals onto a northbound train

with Shroeder’s black and white notes
echoing bright like the scales of zebrafish.
She thumbs the bright harmonica 

she stole from Moe’s Pawn Shop
until it clicks quietly open to reveal
a small deck of cards missing only 

the Queen of Spades and one Joker.
Peacock-tail brushes smatter the snare
and Joe growls a shooting star

across Lucy’s cocked brow, as she sashays
off at the next stop, and back into
the 8-ball pocketing itself solidly

in the corner of another redundant night.


Palinode for Dental Hygiene

No longer can I claim I don’t floss, even though
I still skirt the issue while my hygienist glosses

each dull tooth, my mouth a grey-scale cave
scoured by the acrylic anteater she wields

against every coffee-tinged beer I’ve ever enjoyed.
I do floss, just not enough to dissuade her

from scraping what feels like a rusty screw
across pitted enamel, until my smile beams

like a plantation-era mansion, quietly denying
its own dark reality.  The x-rays are processing

as she shoves a spoonful of blue antiseptic
onto my tongue, singing that skin alive

like a fax modem searing a sleeping ear at 4 a.m.
She gives me an adapter for my toothbrush

so I can reach my forgotten molars.
She sends me on my way, warning me

to be diligent, spreading her sensible fear.
This is what my life has become, an argument

against time and circumstance, a denial
that I am anything but a tapestry threaded

with every decision I’ve cherished
and every compromise I’ve allowed

until there are more holes in this patchwork
than patches, the worn image barely visible

of lips wide open in a song or a scream.

 

 



Margarita Serafimova
margarita.ilieva@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Margarita Serafimova has been shortlisted for the Montreal International Poetry Prize 2017. She has two collections in the Bulgarian: “Animals and Other Gods” (2016), “Demons and World” (2017). Her work is forthcoming in Agenda, Trafika Europe, The Journal, Waxwing, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Writing Disorder, Poetic Diversity, TAYO, Punch, Transnational, Sea Foam Mag, SurVision, the Global Poetry Anthology of the Montreal Poetry Prize, and appears in London Grip New Poetry, A-Minor, Minor Literatures, Noble/ Gas, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Obra/ Artifact, Futures Trading, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Aaduna, Ginosko, Dark Matter, Window Quarterly/ Patient Sounds, Peacock Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, Wild Word, Plum Tree Tavern,MOON, Outlaw Poetry, In Between Hangovers, MockingHeart Review, Renegade Rant and Rave, Tales From The Forest, Misty Mountain Review, Outsider Poetry, Heavy Athletics, The Voices Project, Cent. Margarita lives in Sofia, Bulgaria. Some more of her work can be found here.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Margarita Serafimova and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Τρισμέγιστος (Trismegistus)

I was not going to say, or do anything
fewer than three times.

*


My power was flowing.
The blood was a flag.
 
*


At eight o’clock precisely,
my tears never appeared.
A glorious sunset engulfed my heart.
 
*


You were in the light, the light
was in the eye of a fish.
An emerald.

*


I was holding my helmet in my hand,
hanging by my side,
as heroes do after triumph.

 


October 9-15, 2017: Poetry from Lisette Alonso, Matilda Berke, and Eric Steineger

This week presenting the winners of the 2017 (20th annual)
Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest:

Lisette Alonso, Matilda Berke and Eric Steineger

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


Lisette Alonso
l.alonso0309@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Lisette Alonso won first place in the 2017 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest.

Lisette Alonso is an award-winning poet, Florida native, mother of three, procrastinator, reluctant teacher, heavy sleeper, joyful eater, and uncommon dreamer. Her work has appeared in The Nashville Review, The Tishman Review, and a variety of online journals. She holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Miami.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Lisette Alonso and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Rio Grande

Onscreen the horses gallop John Wayne
across a valley. The soldiers use the wagon
train as cover against the hooting Apaches
who are shooting rifles instead of arrows.
You and I are stretched on opposite ends
of the bed, the old west in monochrome
on our tube TV that I’m only half watching,
though I don’t mind the Duke’s twang or
O’Hara’s grit and penetrating gaze. I’m trying
to think of metaphors for the space between us.
Two doors down we worry someone has died.
We know because of where the flashing lights stop
that it’s the elderly couple in the shuttered house
pasted with signs meant to scare off religious
canvassers, though every Halloween they welcome
the trick-or-treaters, hand out starlight mints
and circus peanuts, and we understand all they have
is each other. And thinking one of them may be gone
makes me feel a bone sorrow I can’t articulate.
You’re thinking instead how we haven’t had sex
in weeks and how lonely you’ve felt, but your ache
is a geography I can’t navigate, and maybe the problem
is that we stand on different sides of a river bed,
one of us trying to find a way to cross the current,
the other daunted by the vastness of the sky.

 



Matilda Berke
mberke88@icloud.com

Bio (auto)

Matilda Berke won second place in the 2017 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest.

Matilda Berke started writing poetry in her junior year at Polytechnic School in Los Angeles and has since been recognized by YoungArts, the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, the L.A. Tomorrow Prize, & the L.A. Youth Poet Laureate competition. She is double majoring in English and Economics at Wellesley College; in her free time, she hopes to take up sailing, start a punk band, and see more of the world.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Matilda Berke and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Échappé

During the Cultural Revolution, Madame Mao took control of the National Ballet of China.
Government officials scoured the nation for children who showed physical promise, plucking
them from their homes and placing them in state-sanctioned training camps.

The dream where the moon
filters through onto the dust

& I find myself in my mother’s
old studio. No longer bomb shelter, more flesh
than cocked gun. The snow comes in veils.

It is winter but the wood is warm.
Imagine Mao Tse-tung sinking in every floorboard,
stripped of his title years before Nixon.

The tears unsprung, undried
bloodspots smutted from rosy silk. Nylon
gone transparent over tenements

of skin. Clear & pale, with a phantom waltz
to glass each windowpane. There is a body on the roof
that doesn’t catch light anymore.

A line of dancers spiral back & back: the path
I trace with crumpled toes & hope, if I am allowed
that given long enough, these blistered walls

will echo themselves into inlay. The banners
dropped in mud. All mirrors robbed of likeness.

 



Eric Steineger
esteineger@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Eric Steineger won third place in the 2017 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest.

Eric Steineger is the Senior Poetry Editor for The Citron Review. He teaches full time at Mars Hill University and periodically in UNC Asheville’s Great Smokies Writing Program. His work has been featured in The Los Angeles Review, Tinderbox, Asheville Poetry Review, and elsewhere. As a poetry organizer for Black Mountain College Museum, he enjoys coming up with themed events, which have included the South, Surrealism, and Carl Sandburg. Part of his mission as an educator is to promote North Carolina’s literary heritage, hence his involvement with BMCM and The Friends of Carl Sandburg at Connemara.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Eric Steineger and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Hypnagogic Wanderings of Fernando Pessoa

 ~a response to themes from The Book of Disquiet


I. Population Density

O Pessoa. Still roaming the grand squares of Lisbon expression-
less in your tatty tan overcoat; even the paper cup of cherry brandy 
does not warm the insides for your “halo of ice” is rebarbative 
to others, a projection of you like placards along the Rua 
dos Douradores & other avenidas listing your service:
Fernando Pessoa worked here as a typist between the years 
1912–1914. A heteronym starts with mispronunciation, then 
morphs into another person—as distinct from its source as 
strangers on separate continents. Soon the streetcar cannot
climb the hill. Best to view it from a cobblestone side street 
where the angle of humanity rising cleaves the mind’s desire 
to remain grounded: here imagining a seamstress from that vantage 
imagining you imagining someone else, another gorgeous mutation 
dimly created with hands shaking & impeccable penmanship. 

 

II. Some Ports        

To consider port and port. One: a capacious dock for ships and their cargo—
Sometimes sleepy, always hulking in arrival/departure, like the weight 
of an idea deferred. Most of us take for granite the presence of a city 
block like it was erected for the stage, a cut-out pushed upright that 
one can swap for another scene, but raw materials take handling. 
For we can telephone internationally but we cannot mail a statue 
to anchor the square. And the dated side of the coin, port as wine 
because decadence is necessary with little daylight left to enjoy 
the weather outside. Antidote or anecdote, we conveniently forget 
dessert and focus on the eyes before us. Because pairings are a luxury; 
it’s the interchangeability of the jacket, the word as an adult, which 
forms the o in port and the star. Who’s to know what is coming 
silently as the architecture moves? The Atlantic is a schedule 
of hard lines with interstices of violets. 

 

III. Bosses

The bosses of Lisbon eat sardines and smoke cigars. Like you they ride 
trolleys but are not you; they are descendants of bosses responsible for 
Sintra and the Seven Wonders. Their DNA is a horrid, beautiful hybrid 
of flaws & benevolence. And beneath the sweep of red tiled roofs, you 
who dream monuments can never be bosses. To be the boss. Stentorian 
in action while the gaze considers a request.

Ruthless men build ornate castles that serve tourists ice cream. 

 

IV. A Tedium 

If desire, there are places to go. Nothing is stopping you from 
seeing the beaches and losing a day. But to go is to return, and 
who handles requests in a foreign environment but strangers? 
Strangers live here, so why travel to meet them? Best to stay near 
the city esplanade, where flowers remain a curious spectacle. 
Their brightness contrasts with the cold, overcast sky. In their 
well-maintained plot. Surely someone oversees the flowers 
besides weather? If desire, decisions assume a resonance.
You marvel the citizens’ preparedness, umbrellas by their sides.
Ready for Thursday’s ice, when those same flowers will perish.
Next year they return, yet you do not replace the overcoat
you’re wearing due to a nostalgia that ran away. Wherever you go,
flowers appear lifelike.

 


October 2-8, 2017: Poetry from Kelli Simpson and Sam Silva

Kelli Simpson and Sam Silva

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


Kelli Simpson
kelli@pfrog.net

Bio (auto)

Kelli Simpson is a mother and poet living in Norman, Oklahoma.  She still believes in newspapers, books with pages, and poetry that rhymes.  Her work has most recently appeared in Bop Dead City, The Cape Rock, Five: 2: One #sideshow, and The Five-Two. 

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Kelli Simpson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Show and Tell

I tell because I cannot show the
crisscross cracks in this stained glass soul; the
flower felled by hobnail boots; the
depth and thrust
of moons.
 
I show because I cannot tell the
truth of us half so well as the
bloom of us scents my hands
and stands as all the
 
proof
I need
of God.


One

There is night and there is day.
There is here and there is there.
There is I and there is Other.
                                         
These are truths so self-evident
that we left them undeclared,
but what if
 
we finally let the world be round?
I sleep; you sow.
You dream; I dare
 
another day in my little corner
of everywhere.  Our everywhere.
Here and there is meaningless
 
when I inhale the dust of both
our ancestors with every breath.
And, breathing you, what can be left
 
of I, but a lie that profits
the tellers and sellers
of difference?
 
We all cradle a child like a miracle.
We all eat, fuck, die,
and "why" leaves its taste on every tongue.
 
Night and day.
Here and there.
I and Other.
 
One.

 



Sam Silva
samsilva1954@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Sam Silva is a well known poet from Fayetteville, North Carolina. See his books on Amazon here

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Sam Silva and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Art and its Honeyed Poetry

In the lower level of the house
next to the flat earth or underneath
this flowering of plant and language
…paint and words…idyllic birds

…this is where illusion is shattered,
near the ground
and under the snow
with uttered sound
and such profoundly visionary spell

…the art and its honeyed poetry

magic and dust!
Heaven and Hell!

 


September 25 – October 1, 2017: Poetry from Laura McCarty and Adam Valentine

Laura McCarty and Adam Valentine

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


Laura McCarty
lpm108@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Laura P. McCarty is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at American University. Her work has appeared in the GW Review, Lunch Ticket, Jelly Bucket, and is forthcoming in descant and the St. Petersburg Review. In 2016, she was a semi-finalist for the Disquiet International Literary Prize in non-fiction and a finalist for the Diana Woods Memorial Award. In 2014, she co-authored and published her first book of poetry, My Mother, My Daughter, My Sister, My Self. Laura works in international development in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. She lives in Arlington, VA.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Laura McCarty and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Buffalo Bayou

The bayou overflowed,

spread like a spilled glass of wine

that kept staining my sister’s home.
The flood line rose on her walls
until it was time to go. The bayou overflowed.
Birthday photos, high school diplomas,
three medals her daughter won
washed away. On a double kayak, she floated

in her home with beds gliding, her paintings
swaying on the walls. My sister paddled out the door
with her husband and two dogs through water worth nothing.
Baby fish, she called them, and water moccasins took over.
Have it, she said. There’s nothing on this planet
we own.
For five days the bayou overflowed
until roofs disappeared and live oak
trees were drowning. When the water left
she returned to warped tables, crumbling drywall,

mattresses that took five men to move.
So little to save. Two Pyrex dishes, three plastic plates, a gravy boat,
and a Christmas cactus. Someday, it will bloom. No grief
breaks,
she said. We start over. 

 

 

 


Adam Valentine
gvalentine@murraystate.edu

Bio (auto)

Adam Valentine writes poems and roams the woods near Murray, Kentucky.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Adam Valentine and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

To Everybody with Balcony Tickets

When the music picks up,
let’s gather on the flat

space behind the rows
and fall in like divers,

until we’re all signals
under water, making

new and breathless
syllables, saying

something we could never
speak of, dancing

this way until our names
quit working, until

the currents bring us
closer

to each other, our bodies
together in waves.

 

What Do You Want to Talk About Later?

We used to get our baseball
cards out and wonder how
many hits a guy would get
before he got too old and after
that we’d open the newspaper
and see how many hits he had
that year and then we’d turn on
the TV and see how many
hits he had that night. Now
we watch our fantasy scores
update every few seconds,
so I asked him how long
had it been since he looked
at the moon through binoculars,
and I said how he won’t believe
it’s been right there the whole
time, near as a song playing
at the grocery, but distant
as what he might do. I said
remember when I worked
at that one place from 2000
to 2008 and then kept working
there some more? And I said
you know how cops don’t mind
about auctions but sometimes
they can’t stand a drum set?
Then I asked him: what year
did Bob Gibson quit pitching?
He said Google is your friend,
and I said yeah but you
were my friend first.

 


September 18-24, 2017: Poetry from Robin Crane and Kira Pfost

Robin Crane and Kira Pfost

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


Robin Crane
hobonightclub@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Robin Crane writes poetry, fiction and personal essays, some of which have been published in Olympia Literary Yarn, Hourglass Magazine, Poetry Motel, Poetry Super Highway, All Things Girl, Ghoti Magazine, Newtopia, 63 Channels, Evergreen Review, The Hairpin, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and The Scrambler.  She is a native of Los Angeles, where she currently lives. Visit Robin’s blog, Sweetheart Redux here.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Robin Crane and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


South Pasadena

It’s always the same.
Well, more or less.
I always –
Almost always –
Envy the healthy older men –
Clear retirees –
So secure
And the smooth-haired younger
Women exiting their
Well-washed
Volvos etc
Whenever I make my brief sojourn from
The parking lot to the ATM
In the nearby rich neighborhood
That Mom and I always –
Almost always –
Admired through the bus window when I
Was a kid.
I will almost always
Think of her
When I hear Prince on the radio
Because she texted me last year
“Did you know Prince died?  Only 57, how sad.”
And then she died the next month.
On the radio I’ll hear the song about his wary
Admiration of a loose woman or the one where
He just wants to party his sadness away
And I’ll think of how surprising and sweet it was that
Mom cared about his death – she of the Beatles
And Vivaldi.
I’ll always eat candy when it’s around during children’s holidays
And then see my
Chipped yellow teeth in the mirror and
Decide that I’m sort of disgusting
But also sort of appealing
In a furtive burrowing animal sort of way.
But still,
I’ll practically always envy those strangers
With nice white teeth,
Other people who look less lonely and
Richer than me,
By far,
Women with unscathed and milkily lovely
Chests and capable-looking men
Who walk around with
Their easy hands stuffed easily
In the pockets of their shorts
So smug, like “Who, me? 
I’m just enjoying the day.”

 

 



Kira Pfost
kiraap@vt.edu

Bio (auto)

Kira Pfost is a student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. She studies English and Russian, and in her free time she loves to write stories and poems, paint, hike, and jam out in her PJ’s. Visit Kira on Instagram here.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Kira Pfost and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

untitled

You teach me to relax
And ill teach you to let life rattle you
to the core til your wide eyes glisten and bones
expand so fast the walls of your skin have
no choice but to shatter
Launching slivers of the smallest pieces of
you in every direction,
A collection of fragmented rainbow
exploding upon itself.
This change will prove catastrophic when I
fail to collapse into myself at the tilt of lips
Catastrophic when ghosts dance along the
road and lunge at you as you plunder
through the fog,
Faces so clear and twisted you wake up six hours later
Suffocating in the cloth meant to keep you
Safe,
Gasping for relief from lack of oxygen and
Oversupply of life.
Someday when I no longer hear your voice
While I sleep
I’ll wipe away handprints staining windows
From the outside and think only of
Purification
Rather than yearning.
When this day comes,
You’ll walk down the beach with your toes
Submerged so you can’t imagine the water
Replacing your footprints and
The imprint of your impending fatality that drips
Desperation into even the grayest corners of
Your life.

 


September 11-17, 2017: Poetry from Patricia Godwin Dunleavy and Miriam Sagan

​Patricia Godwin Dunleavy and Miriam Sagan

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


​Patricia Godwin Dunleavy
terratype@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Patricia Godwin Dunleavy resides in Ila, Georgia, spends a great deal of time in the western North Carolina mountains, and travels throughout the western U.S. states regularly. Understanding and enjoying Nature is a passion. She is the author of the book Landscape lessons: A Practical and Inspirational Primer for the Southern Soil and Soul.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Patricia Godwin Dunleavy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


My Peace

I listened to the cardinals,
smelled gardenias through open window,
tasted Earth in asparagus and pecans.
Touched grey lichen on trees,
green moss on trailside boulders.
Watched muddy red creeks
carry detritus downstream.
Gazed deep into ponds & lakes,
beyond the reflection.

I walked hundreds of trails,
climbed mountains and volcanoes,
entered canyons and caves,
scouted marshes and beaches,
explored waterfalls above,
below & behind.

I witnessed
intense lightning splitting the sky
deluges carving gullies in minutes
hail storms stripping leaves from trees
droughts making earth cracked leather
floods oozing choking mud
wildfires lapping flames, smoking air
—all with respect and awe—
more wonder than fright.

I saved a newborn cottontail rabbit in the field,
helped newborn loggerhead turtles find the waves,
saved a hardwood forest from clearcutting,
saved another from subdivision.

I let wind tousle my long hair
sun warm my vitiligo skin
rain wet my wide feet
snow chill my chapped hands.

I flowed with the water,
wind, sunbeams, sand, soil,
ants, dragonflies, trees, bears, snakes,
and all else, breathing or not,
when spirit free.
When not, mere observer,
content, nevertheless.

Now I drift to body’s death
without fear—
recycle and repurpose.
Please forgive me,
those who must deal with
my baggage left.

 

 



Miriam Sagan
msagan1035@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Miriam Sagan is the author of 30 published books, including the novel Black Rainbow (Sherman Asher, 2015) and Geographic: A Memoir of Time and Space (Casa de Snapdragon). which just won the 2016 Arizona/New Mexico Book Award in Poetry. She founded and headed the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College until her retirement this year. Her blog Miriam’s Well has a thousand daily readers. She has been a writer in residence in two national parks, at Yaddo, MacDowell, Colorado Art Ranch, Andrew’s Experimental Forest, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Iceland’s Gullkistan Residency for creative people, and another dozen or so remote and unique places. Her awards include the Santa Fe Mayor’s award for Excellence in the Arts, the Poetry Gratitude Award from New Mexico Literary Arts, and A Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa. She lives in Santa Fe, NM

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Miriam Sagan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

untitled

the block of marble
will become a girl—
as girls
we swooned over The Kiss
and how the figures seemed
to emerge from stone
you, however, child
of another generation
child of mine
just said
“I don’t like
Rodin”
as if this were
allowable

maybe it’s revenge
on the master
who neglected his wife
drove his mistress
mad
who, the poet says,
didn’t even really
look at the naked model
instead
his own hands
growing larger
growing older

Venus may be
armless
Winged Victory headless
without a face,
it’s raining
in the capital city
at the end of empire
umbrellas in the street
our boots on pavement
tell us
we’re not just flesh
no longer captured
by the sculptor’s thought
remain unkissed.


untitled

the inner life
of strangers, or apples
or the color blue—
or a mop
left out to dry
now dusted in snow
of a distant
planet that shines
so brilliantly
as this week’s
evening str
or the border, or boundary lines
of the pyrocantha bush
to the south
of my driveway
the back neighbor’s
coyote fence
to the east

you come home late—
even asleep
my heart
hears
your key in the lock
and what
you are dreaming about
but even though
I know you
the best
even I don’t know
exactly where
beneath your
fluttering eyelids
you wander


untitled

I felt life flow by all slow afternoon
just
outside the window, Kathryn Street
once, I’d turned that corner
from Hickox, I’d been
to a matinee
of Carmen
and felt—again
like a human being
Jewish New Yorker
that I am
despite
thirty years
in the desert,
I’d gone to Tune-Up
for a take out
cafe au lait
in a paper cup
foam
touched my lip
and I fell
recklessly in love
with my own
old shabby block
because in that mid-winter
later afternoon
instant
it remembered me

 


September 4-10, 2017: Poetry from Holly Day and Dan Hendrickson

​Holly Day and Dan Hendrickson

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


​Holly Day
lalena@bitstream.net

Bio (auto)

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her newest nonfiction book, Tattoos FAQ, is coming out from Backbeat Books in early 2018.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Holly Day and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


When Freedom Becomes Unbearable

We invite the government to read
our minds, the aliens to beam
new instructions with jagged
fingernails and broken glass
 
Give us a purpose! we shout
into the night sky, praying that
at least one cruise vessel bent
on world domination is heading
 
for Earth. We want to make wallets!
we plead, eyes on the stars in
supplication, heads matted
with drying blood, fingernails
 
ripping at our tin-foil hats and flinging
them into the air. One of the tiny moving
pinpricks of white above us must be
an alien spacecraft, aiming subliminal
 
messages into our prefrontal cortexes–we dig
into our scalps with the hope of making
mind control that much easier for our oppressors
the communications satellites circling overhead,
our hands outstretched, cracked and broken.


Summer Love

The places he’d been, with convoluted names
were as exotic as the places he’d lived
men bent spades into birdhouses
 
I wanted so badly to be with him in Colorado
to stand in the exact spot where four state lines met
and survive it all. He kept saying, Next time, next time, I promise.
 
I waited by the lake for him to come and get me
visions of Indianapolis burning holes in my brain
but he never came back to get me, never took me away.

 

 



Dan Hendrickson
dan1812@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Dan Hendrickson lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is a middle-aged poet, with a blizzard gray beard. He’s a sedate but reflective fellow. About life, he will only say, “Over time, out borders are erased.” Dark Glasses, his new book of poetry, is available for sale online.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Dan Hendrickson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tesla in Colorado Springs

The weather at this altitude 
suits you. 
Fresh, clear mountain air already
crackling with static
electricity.
Up here, in the evening, bolts of lightning discharge in all directions,
leaving you unbowed.
Filled with wonder, sure,
but this is a jig you’ve called yourself 
many times before.
You’ve felt, up close, it’s raw energy coursing through you,
sparks arcing sprightly off your pressed satin vest.
Blasts of powerful ozone
emanating off sheets of charged metal mesh.
Still, you watch nature’s performances in blissful silence.
Never feeling the need
to steal the thunder of another.
You recognize artistry when you see it.
The bolts that surround you naturally
hold you in thrall,
while your thoughts zoom
through clear vacuum tubes.
Your mind a Mercury receiver 
for previously
indecipherable signals.
It’s this secondary resonance that allows you to brush away static casually
with a wave of your graceful hand.
A natural conductor
calling the world around you 
into tune.

 


August 28-September 3, 2017: Poetry from Michael Paul and Scott Ferry

​Michael Paul and Scott Ferry

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


​Michael Paul
yesroh@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael Paul is a retired Air Force veteran who lives in Evansville, Indiana. He is an investor, triathlete, Ironman and occasional writer. He lived alone with my beautiful Yorkie ’till three months ago when he lost him. 

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Michael Paul and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Call Center Blues

Beep is the worst sound on the earth.
Beep is a cotton-less Q-tip drilled into my ear,
a starter pistol popping my hangover REM sleep.
“Thank you for calling Vetran — how can I help you?” my ear zings.
She needs gas, I got gas, I got gas up the
vast, safe, wondrous pipeline infrastructure that is,
Vetran Energy Delivery.

I type, I talk, I window surf, she pulls my strings, I answer.
My fingers run a hundred hundred meter dashes a day,
my lips, like a million inch-worm push-ups on a horizontal mirror,
my mind smokes from ear to ear to ear.
My courtesy is endless, my patience has no precedence,
and I love, love, love my customer in a pleasant, pithy way.
I make her laugh,”I have a photographic memory,
but I keep leaving the lens cap on”
I make her smile,”I can offer you a rebate on that water heater”,
I make her cry, “No, we can’t turn on your gas today
(and yes, your baby will die because of it)”.
I’m her sunshine super slave while I tap my foot like a puppy-dream paw,
bang my head on my desk,
spill my soda on my mouse,
wave my hands like I’m landing a plane,
crawl under my desk for my glass lens,
my exploding pen, that penny,
my precious Dorito, my —
my headset’s unplugged!

“No, no Ma’am, take your time” I drip sweetly into my honeycomb mike,
while mouthing “Blah, blah, blah, blah”,
and placing a stuffed octopus on my head.
Across the desk, Marilyn is having a cardiac event, and I smile,
I smile at my phone, my friends, the paramedics,
the goofy-bright rainbow walls.
We are all so very, very happy here in customer service land,
except for Marilyn.
My customers think I am their god, and I think they are my children,
and they want what they want, and they want it now!
“Thank you for calling Vetran, you have a nice day,”
and I deflate, pith off.
I hate being so nice.
Marilyn was nice.
200,000 times more and I retire (Beep).

 



Scott Ferry
ferry.scott@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Scott Ferry (Renton, Washington) helps repair what war has done to veterans as a registered nurse. He pretends to live in the physical world. Mostly, he cleans things and loves his wife and daughter with an unnatural fervor.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Scott Ferry and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

How to tell jokes to a patient with cancer

I tell him the most obscene one I can think of,
but maybe that is to make me feel more normal.
But penguins eating vanilla or
naked nuns painting the walls 
 
won’t stop Jupiter from veering
into his bathroom with stereophonic clarity,
and he still won’t be able to eat
with sweat colliding into usual
 
sentences like good morning.
At least when the punch line comes out
in the hospital the patient chortles, even just to be polite.
I wonder if he has made balance with God
 
to be able to respond with laughter?
There are percentages to be weighed.
Does the forced levity bloody the equation?
Does the trick allow any forgetting or remembering?
 
How can people converse freely when blame
complicates all the healthy bastards’ complacent lips?
Or are the minute pleasures enough: blueberries,
watermelons, 1969 letters from lovers,
 
comfortable swings of afternoon in sunned leather, 
felines humming on the thighs, texts from
grandchildren purring in the pocket?
Can these lights carry through?
 
When solving for a or b:
a being the string of twine uncoiled in the dark
twisting through the vena cava and the amygdala,
b being black sails or blank screens,
 
are there equal signs
on both sides? 

 


August 21-28, 2017: Poetry from Eric Evans and Michael Chin

​Eric Evans and Michael Chin

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


​Eric Evans
inkpublications@macadia.net

Bio (auto)

Eric Evans is a writer from Buffalo, New York with stops in Portland, Oregon and Rochester, New York where he currently resides. His work has appeared in 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 © 2017, and owned by ​Eric Evans and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Your Own Better Demise

Death, I’ve been told, does not
make and angel of an asshole,
does not confer wings and a halo,
does not with certitude lead to
flowing white robes and keys to
the kingdom.
 
Death does not unclench
a fist or retract such barbed words,
does not refund weekly therapists’
rates or refill sleepless nights
with blissful slumber, does not
offer absolution, absolute or
otherwise.
 
Death, I’ve been told does not
make an angel of an asshole,
does not qualify what’s come before,
does not provide convenient context.
The secretly and guiltily wished-for
death does, however, offer relief and
release, fuel and fire, motivation
for your own better demise and
the words that will inevitably
follow, tales told of off-color
jokes and unfinished rants, rather
than a skeletal poker game played
with stacks of unused prayer cards
and penny-ante pots hardly worth
anyone’s time or attention.

 



Michael Chin
miketchin@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael Chin was born and raised in Utica, New York and is an alum of Oregon State’s MFA Program. He won Bayou Magazine’s Jim Knudsen Editor’s Prize for fiction and has work published or forthcoming in journals including The Normal School, Passages North, and Hobart. He is the author of Three-Way Dance, and works as a contributing editor for Moss. Find him online at miketchin.com or follow him on Twitter @miketchin

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Michael Chin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Movie

I was part of a team once, charged with picking a film to spark discussion about diversity. Folks floated Crash and Zootopia and Malcolm X. I suggested White Men Can’t Jump.
 
They laughed like I was joking.
 
Terrence, who had been a high school basketball player, who had dunked, who had dominated a handful of department pickup games after hours raised an eyebrow. “My people don’t have much. You don’t want to let us have dunking?”
 
I tried to explain. That Woody Harrelson’s character in the movie represented the best and worst of white people—ignorant, sure, but striving to learn and you’d be hard pressed to find a more level-headed film with people talking candidly about race in real ways. Little evangelizing. The kind of movie people could watch and not feel like they’d been lectured to. And there’s that scene—that eponymous, climactic scene in which Woody has the world in his hands but his idiot white male pride (not to mention his gambling addiction) make him bet his life savings on whether he can dunk. Wesley Snipes tells him in no uncertain terms, “White men can’t jump.”
 
Woody gets a running start to try one last time.
 
The dunk is a metaphor, I tried to articulate, for everything we can’t do or understand or communicate.
 
Terrence spun his ballpoint over the knuckle of his index finger. I’d seen him extend that index fingers straight and spin a ball on top of it. Knew that if he sided with me, my half-baked idea would get some traction.
 
We watched Crash.

 


August 14-20, 2017: Poetry from R. Gerry Fabian and Mark G. Pennington

​R. Gerry Fabian and Mark G. Pennington

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


​R. Gerry Fabian
gerryfabian@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

R. Gerry Fabian is a retired English instructor from Doylestown, Pennsylvania He has been publishing poetry since 1972 in various poetry magazines. His web page is https://rgerryfabian.wordpress.com He is the editor of Raw Dog Press https://rawdogpress.wordpress.com His novels, Memphis Masquerade , Getting Lucky (The Story) and published poetry book, Parallels are available at Smashwords and all other ebook stores.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​R. Gerry Fabian and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Vital Vaccine

You were
injected into me
to inoculate 
against
my evil ways.

My system proved
resistant
to any
medical tampering.

You can keep the key.
The locks
have been changed.

 



Mark G. Pennington
rockon_mark@yahoo.co.uk

Bio (auto)

Mark G. Pennington was born in 1985 and lives and writes in Kendal, UK.  He has four poems in TL;DR, two poems accepted in Poetry Pacific, one in The Oddville Press and five in Scarlet Leaf Review. Previous to this, publications are under the name J. Rose in magazines such as Dear Sir, The Journal UK, Broken Wine, Clockwise Cat and others.  Rose has also published a first book in 2012, titled Lithium Clockwork.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Mark G. Pennington and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The beast and the web

I’m thinking about it again,
Obsession or a naked violence,
Chains the body;
Esurient Imagination, the pedal pushers;
Full on lust and coffee,
Crushed with Kona Hawaii.
 
Waiting in the rain,
I am the pulp to her dead bombazine,
A postcard from sin.
 
Dark angel under veil,
A lifer with the heavy scent,
A moth is drawn and
Married ones say look at me,
Look at me over and over.
 
Ran with prostitutes and soft drugs,
The damselfly can lay up to 300
Eggs at a time.
When she opens her legs
I know what love is.
 
I could be your dog
And suck in my gut;
For a girl with unspoken breath,
Or a woman who lays her ghost.
 
The darkened one, festering,
Hearts pump, undone.
Butterflies on black tar,
Eyeballs like pelting stamens,
Appetites for budding violets.
 
She doesn’t like my body
But offers me her charity,
And I allow her my forgiveness.
 
The train weeps,
She leaves before the moths,
The place full of broken tears.

 


August 7-13, 2017: Poetry from Carol Oberg and Richard Kalfus

​Carol Oberg and Richard Kalfus

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


​Carol Oberg
coberg2@jamadots.com

Bio (auto)

I began my writing career with Blue Mountain Arts, Inc., publishing my poetry on greeting cards worldwide, for many years. I was one of three featured poets in Ancient Paths, issue 16 (ten works, one of which was nominated for a Pushcart award). I have also published with The Avocet, Burningword, Harbinger Asylum, Garbanzo, Artifact Nouveau, New Plains Review, Bacopa Literary Journal, and others. My husband and I are semi- retired on a small inland lake in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Carol Oberg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Sunshine Makes Rain Impossible

The first green grass
Is that linguini piece
Growing behind the wood stove
That exhales wide tubes of smoke
Without inhaling ever and
The thermostats set at 67
But its 75 inside again with
Most of the windows open.
Its time we let the
Fire burn out and in bed
Before dawn decide
To make that long trip
To town because
There are not enough
Blankets in this house.

-First time rights to Carcinogenic Poetry
Spring of 2013

 



Richard Kalfus
rkalfus@charter.net

Bio (auto)

Richard Kalfus, from St. Louis, Missouri, is a retired professor of German. French and Holocaust Genocide Studies. He has published poetry, Foreign Language and Holocaust Education in professional journals.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Richard Kalfus and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Son-In-Laws (phone conversation)

Hi Lois.
So your son-in-law called you again?
Not my son-in-law: MY ex-son-in-law
How nice that he calls you.
I have another ex-son-in-law
And?
He also calls me often.
Speaks for your non-judgmental nature.
 
Wish my only son-in-law were so nice.
 
Two daughters, two marriages
Two son-in-laws; two ex-son-in-laws
Interesting family you have.
Yes and my husband and I—married 40 years now.
 
Yes, it is a different world.
 
And that’s not all.
I have two biological grandchildren,
And five step-grandchildren.
 
Expensive isn’t it?
Birthdays, Christmas, graduation gifts for all.
 
Sorry, I hear the doorbell.
Who was that?
Two flower bouquets
Two mother’s day wishes
two ex-son-in-laws.

 


July 31 – August 6, 2017: Poetry from Kathrynn Axton and John Grey

​Kathrynn Axton and John Grey

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


​Kathrynn Axton
kathrynnmiigwaans@hotmail.ca

Bio (auto)

Kathrynn Axton is a poet, spoken word artist, Indigenous advocate and nationally certified Canadian addictions counsellor. She is the author of Uncultured Girl (That Writer Kwe Publications, 2017). Her poetry has been featured on AllPoetry Spotlight, Bywords and elsewhere. Her editorials have been featured in Native Hoop Magazine, and elsewhere. When she is not writing she spends her time dedicated to supporting strengthening Indigenous communities and fostering healing journeys of those living with mental health and substance dependence. Ms. Axton is currently located in La Ronge, SK and can be contacted through her website: https://kathrynnmiigwaans.wixsite.com/thatwriterkwe.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Kathrynn Axton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Forethought

encrusted lagoon
elephant nose burial ground
indifferent to touch

Knuckle-less apologies
dragged reluctantly
slick tar
black snake sheds skin
languidly finds land

a dirt moon staggers
throwing empty bottled dreams.

 

Abolishing Spring

We are born with dart gun tongues
unsteady though comparable to cupid
until we shoot out our own vocal chords
and are left standing
pointing at the rotten door.

There is always more fear than reason
asking to walk away
then nailing our hands to the table.

I can’t remember where we came from
and I burned the map in self-defense.

I watched us grow old together
through the edges of an hourglass
before the sun betrayed me
melting each grain of sand.

 

 


John Grey
jgrey10233@aol.com

Bio (auto)

John Grey is an Australian poet, currently living in Providence, Rhode Island in the United States. He was recently published in Sheepshead Review, Studio One and Columbia Review and has work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Spoon River Poetry Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by John Grey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Steel Town

Clouds with a backwash of gray,
assault by chimney,

carbon residue clinging to the white,
factory churning out steel and landscape,

smog for hills, ash for trees,
air so pewter, lungs clang;

and then the slag heaps,
a perverse architect’s model

of what a town should be;
look around, eyes burn,

breathe and
throat hacks like jays talk –

if you can’t be bothered    live there

 


July 24-30, 2017: Poetry from Stephen Kopel and E. Martin Pedersen

​Stephen Kopel and E. Martin Pedersen

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


​Stephen Kopel
stephen.kopel@live.com

Bio (auto)

Stephen Kopel (San Francisco, California is a teacher, madcappian word warrior with 6-pack abs; in manner, modest; this verseman, however, generates crafted work of a nature zesty with unexpected twists of meaning; author of Spritz, Tender Absurdities & Picnic Poetry; he invests in the "I Take Stock" market assets in kindness, tenacity and straight-talk.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Stephen Kopel and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


olives are where?

search the spinach!
popeyes shut
shielding a
man of good humor
from a sorbet devotee

bulls bellow
to a key fellow
who unlocks doors only
to ice cream flavors
real or imagined

matadors,
allergic to capes red
and red bedded roses,
sneeze

forcing jets to circle
cabbage patches sewn
on a fatigue of jackets,
zippers, stuck in traffic


Spade

prodded by friend Seed
Ling, most happy when
potted, Ms. Egge plants
two lips next to a
statute repeatedly
violated by gardeners,
high-spirited, who stay
always on the grass
usually squatting and plotting
with nails emeryboarded,
digging up the dirt on
kissers and never
shoveling it back

 

 



E. Martin Pedersen
martinpedersen1255@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

E. Martin Pedersen, a San Franciscan, has lived in Messin, eastern Sicily, for over 35 years. He teaches English at the local university. His poetry has appeared in Alexandria Quarterly, Scarlet Leaf Review, Literary Yard, Ink Sweat & Tears, and others. Martin is a 2011 alum of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Visit him on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by E. Martin Pedersen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

It’s Not Late

It’s not late but it seems like
in the dark room with
only the blue glare of
the silent screen and outside the cars
quiet downstairs they’re not
walking around the house so
much there’s a hum somewhere
with the window open it would be
a fishing boat motor on the glass
mirror that tells me that the lights
are still on over in Italy.


Living 40 Years in Nuclear Fear

The way it could easily go
that I’ve/we’ve always known,
used to be granny’s gone
to a far-off happy place
then our/my time-life said
see this?
this line could be the finish line
whether or not, you would never know
the great white flame
blow torch of hope
resting place of faith
dead end of love.

 


July 17-23, 2017: Poetry from John L. Stanizzi and Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

​John L. Stanizzi and Mitchell Krockmalnik Graboiss

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


​John L. Stanizzi
jnc4251@aol.com

Bio (auto)

John L. Stanizzi is the author of the collections Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallalujah Time!, and High Tide – Ebb Tide. John’s poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Tar River Poetry, Rattle, Passages North, The Spoon River Quarterly, Poet Lore, Hawk & Handsaw, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Rust+Moth, and many others. John’s work has also been translated into Italian and appeared in Italy’s El Ghibli, in the Journal of Italian Translations Bonafinni, and in Poetarium Silva. His translator is the poet, Angela D’Ambra. His next full-length collection, Chants, will appear in 2018, published by Cervena Barva Press. A former New England Poet of the Year, John has read at many venues throughout the northeast, including the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival. He teaches literature in an adjunct capacity at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT and he lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry. Visit John on the web here: www.johnlstanizzi.com

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​John L. Stanizzi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


‘Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy

Misheard lyric from Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.

Do it with your badself, I wanna do it with my badself.
Bob Marley
Am-A-Do

Not long after the doctor gave me a
drug to make elevators less scary
and to allow me onto the school bus
with the kids instead driving behind
them, sucking fumes and the toxicity
of embarrassment, afraid to be locked
inside that death-trap-yellow-cigar-tube…
…not long after my introduction to
that seductive little pill that made me
calm, and which quieted down the three-chord
punk outfit banging around in my head –
around that time was when I misheard Bob’s
Do it with your badself!  I thought he sang
Do it with your Pax-il!!  Roots just for me!


Johnny

Hartford, Connecticut
1949

Johnny was my father; I am Johnnie.
That was one of the distinctions he made
to be sure that no one would mix us up,
which never really made much sense to me.
He was very tall and his hair was brown –
my hair is black and I am much shorter.
You’d think that he’d be satisfied with that,
but just to be absolutely sure, he
assigned me the middle initial “L”
which he told me I’d always have to use,
while he took the more sturdy “W.”
Just wanna be sure they don’t mix us up.
Giovanirro was his actual name —
he should have just used that in the first place.

 

 



Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois
grabmitch@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over twelve-hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. He has been nominated for numerous prizes.  His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. To see more of his work, google Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois. He lives in Denver.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Dad’s Funeral

We had the funeral in St. Luke’s Church
as my mother wanted
 
Out of consideration
I stopped making cracks about the Pope and
his wives and children
and stopped using the word Popemobile
which she hates more than anything
 
Afterward we buried him
in Luke’s bone yard
 
It was an unusually hot day for
the Upper Peninsula of Michigan
and the pallbearers sweated heavily
The ripe smell of metabolized alcohol wafted
in my direction
 
I pinched my nostrils shut
and watched a woodpecker
work a nearby Horse Chestnut
 
It was a bloodless burial
My mother had acquiesced to my one demand
that we have my father’s blood drained
and cremated
before he was put in the coffin
 
In that way, I told her, God’s Will
would be done
 
She muttered something about “cults”
and I threatened her—
if she was going to use that word
I was going to use “popemobile”
and I was going to rant about
how pedophilia was woven into the
very body
of the Church
 
She muttered some more
but without using that word


Dragonfly

She made love to me gently
.as if we were in mourning
.as if we were a couple who had lost a child
 
I held her
Blue flame flickered in my arms
a pilot light
keeping hope alive
but for what?
 
Like the Buddha
.she had converted suffering into enlightenment
The napalm heat of her soft skin was the best thing
in the world
 
I was about to leave my body and
soar around the room
 like a dragonfly pulling figure eights


Affair Gone Wrong

Sometimes Mouth vows
it will forget a person
but
Knife’s three attempts
to end my life
makes Mouth a liar
 
Dr. Right
took scalpels and retractors
and went to Argentina
He’s on the Pampas or in some city
celebrating Carnivale
with another woman

 


July 10-16, 2017: Poetry from Ben Britton, J.P. Grasser and Jo Angela Edwins

​Ben Britton, J.P. Grasser and Jo Angela Edwins

(the judges of the 2017 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest)

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


​Ben Britton
benhbritton@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Ben Britton is a poet and short fiction writer currently living in Exeter, in the UK. He was brought up in London, and would like to think that as a youth he roamed through the disquiet of the city at ease. But instead he was brought up in suburbia (and not the gothic kind either). He alternates his time between writing, sleeping, and attempting to study literature and film at uni.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Ben Britton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Robin Hood Estate

i took a girl to look at it
right before the man knocked it down
to put up
whatever needed putting up.

the windows were boarded and
signs warned of asbestos
and conspiracy.
we went round under
Docklands Light trains so much
like Harlem Ls i see miraged – often –
in the empty garage’s broken glassed turds and pissed mattresses

and around the hungry evening nowhere to go light –
everything looked less black and white
and the little depression that pin-drops
from dirty concrete
kicked in.
and we don’t talk.

a graffito informs me
Mick’s mum is a whore.
Mick i’m sorry it must be the truth
just a few pot plants would change that
if you’re not boarded up inside
i hope you’re doing real good.

out.

somewhere your own architecture
is more appreciated.


poor Henry

Henry died when he was just a year old –
my father held him in one hand

he was flopped theredrippingjust
out of the tank

i looked at him there
in that hand

three inches long i thought
perfect

his gray whiskers did not twitch
as dad carried him
carried him where?

the bin? the pissoir? the garden?
i remember
it was the garden

dad got all sentimentalperhaps more so
than i’d ever seen him getmore
than when his dad diedtho i
was young

of coursehis dad was no loach
and was far worse at digesting algae than Henry and
Henry had two working eyes

so grandad got cremated and Henry got a burial

Henryand his stretched out dull and cold and damp
bodymight not have burned so well

 

 



J.P. Grasser
jpgrasser@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

A 2017-2019 Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, J.P. Grasser attended Sewanee: The University of the South and received his M.F.A. in poetry from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins University. He is currently a doctoral student in Literature & Creative Writing at the University of Utah, where he teaches undergraduate writing and serves as Managing Editor for Quarterly West. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in AGNI, Best New Poets 2015 (selected by Tracy K. Smith), The Cincinnati Review, Meridian, The New Criterion, Ninth Letter Online, and West Branch Wired, among others. 

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by J.P. Grasser and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Well

You took spent shotgun shells down
from the shelf, filled them to the lip
with blent black powder, hot-glued
fuses into their mouths to shut them up.
Even as a boy I knew their power.
Like clockwork, each time the well
clogged, you’d take one, spark it
with your cigarette, toss the screaming
charge into its closed throat. I imagined
the ribbed plastic casing bursting
at the middle in white-hot strobe.
What surprised me was the absence
of sound when one blew—just a plink
and a gentle plume—like a wished-on
penny. I think of you dying, your lungs
filled with fluid, a cruel inversion to life
on the fish farm. After the bypass,
they put you on nitrates. Your worn-out
jeans traded for gym shorts, boots
for Velcro no-slips. I didn’t know you.
We fished together anyway, and once
I dragged up a largemouth, bigger than any
before. Your hand on mine, we eased
the blade into the metallic mesh of her ribcage.
Out burst more blackness than I believed.
I could only see fire lapping up the diesel-slick
iridescence—like the look of certain
change—as it spilled into my palms.
I know now it was shells, eggs ready
to explode with life. When you saw me shaking,
you said roe, though I could not imagine
to what far shore, or with what boat.

(originally published in Ecotone,
reprinted in Best New Poets 2015)


Grayscale

Between the slagheaps, the waste and the slack,
three grackles hunker down for anthracite
season to explode into full-blown swing:

veins nicked open at the seams (fault and lack
in solid stone), not quite black gold. I cite
metamorphic rock in defense of wing,

caw, and claw. They call it crow coal up north,
where the silken cloth of a man’s bronchi
is dappled like snow beneath a feeder:

Sunflower seed reduced to powder-gray ort,
mined of potential energy; busted bronc
robbed of his wild for a nominal fee,

yet still robed in stipple, like the grackles
and their song, measured above the racket.

(originally published in West Branch Wired)


Cri de Coeuer

At first, we thought the air compressor
had sprung its last gasket or a fan belt
was chewed to tatters. The pump was the iron lung
for the business, we joked, how it infused
the water with oxygen, kept our trout

belly-down and our algae python-green,
enviable, even. A fix, no doubt, that’d require
gobs of elbow grease, some keen mechanic
from North Platte, and way more cash
than was on hand. Imagine our relief

when we finally placed the madcap crash
and fluster, pinpointed the chilling shriek.
It wasn’t a hart, exactly, but a yearling
fawn who’d fallen into the empty tank
behind the hatchery building. Bleating

for dear life, stock-still in place
where he’d sank into six inches of mud
and bluegill carcasses, sharpening
his newfound voice on the whetstone
of June air. A cry shrill and unanswered,

if not unheard. No choice in the matter,
we concluded—we’d have to climb down
to lift him up, wade the muck and mire
knock-kneed and unbalanced to save
him before he starved. Between the snap

and buck of his gently coiled neck, I held him close
to my chest and felt his blood coursing wild.
When he leapt free of me and cleared the vile pit,
my stomach lifted with him. Who knows
where life’s logic comes from—the once-broke

machine, fixed without repair, the fawn, spotted
like light below a stand of pines, who spoke
only the wordless tongue of loss, the knotted
muscle in the chest that undoes itself.
The chest that must fall in order to rise.

(originally published in The Adroit Journal,
tied for 4th place in last year’s PSH contest)

 



Jo Angela Edwins
JEdwins@FMARION.EDU

Bio (auto)

Jo Angela Edwins teaches creative writing, American literature, and composition at Francis Marion University in Florence, SC. She has published poems in a variety of venues including Calyx, Sojourn, New South, and Adanna. She is the 2014 recipient of the Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship Poetry Prize from the South Carolina Academy of Authors. Her chapbook, Play, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016. 

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Jo Angela Edwins and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Old Wives’ Tale

With a kitchen knife I nicked my thumb
the night you left. But I want you to know
I washed it, wrapped it, kept going.

I peeled potatoes, freshly dug and smelling of rain,
chopped carrots, onions, tomatoes,
scraped Silver Queen from the cob
into the wide pot warming on the stove.
Like my mothers before me,
I gathered the ingredients, spiced and stirred,
and when the time came to let the stew simmer
uninterrupted, I sat and sipped tea,
falcon-eyed, watching the pot build its heat,
proving one old story, at least, untrue.

When at last my supper was ready,
I ladled thick liquid the color of blood
into a bowl deep as fists,
and when the tall shaker I never used fell,
salt spilled in tiny tracks, whitening the tablecloth.
With a folded napkin I wiped the fine grains
into my cupped hand and tossed them
first over the left shoulder, then over the right,
not, as they say, for good luck, but to keep
such stuff away from fresh wounds.

I finished my supper, down to the last spoonful,
and that night I slept like deep roots in winter
imagining the tremors of spring.

(Originally published in Calyx, Winter 2011)


Photograph of the Author at One Year Old

I look at it not
to puzzle out
what happened to dimples
and red hair, not
to reclaim innocence
or guess at the face
of the child I know now
I won’t have,
but to get back to
the parents who made
this moment, chose
this blue-ribboned dress,
these black Mary Janes,
who no doubt stood
behind the photographer,
waving a doll
or singing a song
to elicit that smile
like my mother’s,
that flash in the blue
eyes like my father’s,
that clench of my fist
a bit out of place and
neither hers nor his
but theirs together,
nothing here quite
entirely my own.


A Failure of Seeing

Ugliness is just a failure of seeing.
……………………………..–Matt Haig

My mother loved babies,
held them with ease in her wide hands,
laughed, sang to them,
spoke in silly voices,
did all the foolish things people do
around genuine innocence.
Sometimes, when the visitors were gone,
the house mostly quiet again,
she would smile and say with no cruelty,
“That baby is so ugly he’s cute!”
We knew just what she meant, the way
the off-center can be beautiful,
the way the scar proves the bearer
has a worthwhile story to tell,
the way the bruise-black funnel cloud swirls,
its irregular cone sleek and terrible
as a thousand tigers. Call it paradox,
call it sublime, call it the allure
of the alien, knowing nothing is alien.
The pulse of every particle,
however fair or plain, beats
in our own veins, where even blood—
a kingly crimson when spilling before us—
paints the walls of its airless tunnel
a shivery, sickly blue.

 

 

 


July 3-9, 2017: Poetry from James Croal Jackson and Clay Carpenter

​James Croal Jackson and Clay Carpenter

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


​James Croal Jackson
jamescroaljackson@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Rust + Moth, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. He has won the William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest and has been a finalist for the Princemere Poetry Prize. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at jimjakk.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​James Croal Jackson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Tiger Balm

Nice to pretend
there’s a thing all-healing.
It’s early spring and we both
ache– my mouth, your stomach.
Searching for remedy we lay
leglocked in bed to distract
ourselves with affection
but smell of Tiger Balm.
You like its touch, I like
the texture– the initial
dipping into hope that
maybe we’ll find relief
in the burn it leaves
in the air, or in my hand
on your stomach,
then in your hand.

 

Shifting Junes

I have convinced myself
all birds fly as soon as they see sky

I know each wing on each one
is different

Grounded I tend to speak aluminum
from the grand piano of my throat

It is a sunny thirty

The sun beams over a painting
of a palm supporting an oak

Believe me I want my tongue
to bloom good petals

I cannot get enough of being
alone

Imagine a single light
at the far end of a cave

so faint you must remember
you’re awake

Blow the dust
from the ivories

Play flat notes detuned
through my lips

 

 

 


Clay Carpenter
carp5665@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

I’m a newspaper editor in Corpus Christi, Texas. I like to write poetry in my free time.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Clay Carpenter and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

These Neighbors

These neighbors you never
talk to are out working in the
yard. You remember a conversation
three, four years ago. He
said they might move one day,
pack it up, back to Houston,
when their daughter graduates
high school. It seems

strange, imagining the
neighborhood without them,
the white minivan in the
driveway across the street.
They lived there when you
moved in, 16, 17 years ago.
Your kids played together
when they were small, until

they decided they didn’t like
each other. But the adults
always got along. Still, you’ve
never talked with them
as much as you should, never

made good on the occasional
overtures of friendship. A
flimsy attempt every
few years, a dinner that was
perfectly fine, then months of
hardly a word. But when they

move out — you feel it now like a
a hip that suddenly has gone
arthritic — a chasm will open
and something will die, a
piece of your life gone with these
neighbors you never talk to.

 


June 26 – July 2, 2017: Poetry from Joshua Holton and Mario Vitale

​Joshua Holton and Mario Vitale

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


​Joshua Holton
Joshholton@hotmail.co.uk

Bio (auto)

Joshua Holton is a vegan activist and kickboxer from Carlisle, England. He has an MA degree in Psychology from The University of Edinburgh, lots of tattoos and a broken nose. He writes poetry, short stories and sustainability and social responsibility newsletters.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Joshua Holton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Holding A Baby

Arms that have swung heavy fists,
like mallets cracking bone,
cushion a little, lolling head,
as fragile as a thrown
pint glass.

Lusting hands that crawled in cracks,
their tentacles sought out moist repose,
touch a softly, snoozing girl,
who’s not yet been exposed
to filth.

Lips that spat molten excess,
diseases and abuse,
kiss a tiny, tender face,
as pristine as unused
canvas.

I hope my sin is not contagious,
I wish your innocence was.

 

 


Mario Vitale
mariovitale227@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Mario Vitale (Welcott, Connecticut) is an established writer with over 1,000 poems. Featured on writercafe.com

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Mario Vitale and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Epiphany

It clings to the cliffed shore,
to the wintered face of the thistle path,
to the fingers of the old man’s glove
as he waves his memory homeward

In that breath between come and go
she moves up from the bay;
gold turns her stride,
the line of her dress,
the soft sea pulling at her feet

When he reaches out
and the frail birds fly
and the sun and the sky
have married deep into the sea, it clings

Even as his shadow threads retreat,
it clings, even now as it dissolves to mist.

 


June 19-25, 2017: Poetry from Anwer Ghani and Diane Elayne Dees

​Anwer Ghani and Diane Elayne Dees

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


​Anwer Ghani
tajalliatj@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Anwer Ghani is an Iraqi poet. He was born in 1973 in Hilla. He is the author of "Narratopoet"; (I. Inventives Cloud 2017), "Antipoetic Poems"; (Creat Spacee 2017), "TRUMP"; a poetry collection, (Inner Child Press 2017) and "The Narratolyric Writing"; essays (Smashwords 2017). His name had appeared in Adelaide, Zarf, Peacock, Eunioa, Rabbit, Otoliths and others. Visit Anwer on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Anwer Ghani and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Arab’s River

I heard that the rivers’ waters, which breathe their laughs in the springs, will end in The Arab’s River. The birds which leave their eggs in the high trees will build their nest in the garden of my grandfather and the clouds which turn the sky dusty, will give their rain in our dessert. The bombs which had been made in the remote land will sleep in my river’s dreams. So I am a famous man and my river is a kind heart.

 



Diane Elayne Dees
dianeedees@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Diane Elayne Dees’s poetry has been published in many journals and anthologies. Diane, who lives in Covington, Louisiana, also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog that covers women’s professional tennis worldwide.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by Diane Elayne Dees and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Conway Speaks Her Truth
(found poetry)

We feel disappointed.
That’s why we feel compelled
to go out and clear the air
and put alternative facts
through their phones,
certainly through their television sets,
any number of ways.
Go buy Ivanka’s stuff–
microwaves that turn into cameras.
I’m going to give a free commercial here:
He has intelligence and information
that the rest of us do not.
The masterminds behind
the Bowling Green Massacre
mainly care about what happens
from the waist down. 
There’s nothing we can do about that, 
except not leak ourselves.
Hold us accountable.

 


June 12-18, 2017: Poetry from Scott Laudati and David Subacchi

​Scott Laudati and David Subacchi

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


​Scott Laudati
scottlaudati@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Scott Laudati lives in New York City with his turtle, Tango. He is the author of books Play The Devil (novel) and Hawaiian Shirts In The Electric Chair (poems). Visit him on instagram @scottlaudati

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Scott Laudati and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


my first night back

we were far apart once
but you can hear my heart now
in this chest,
and your hair used to itch
my skin if you didn’t tuck it back
but you’ll never hear about it again
because i left you once
and i learned
to miss everything,
coffee at sunset
and all night sirens up and down
amsterdam
while the pitbulls howled at
newspapers blowing by like
white rabbits taunting them
in the night.
and the coffee fades while the rum kicks
in and all those sounds fade to the periphery
like a television on in someone
else’s apartment.
and your hair crawls across my chest
like the tiny arms of a friendly spider.
you always knew what you had
but it took me a little longer.
there’s no escape in my forever now
our bones can grow soft in peace.
and that future we always talked about
can’t come soon enough

 



David Subacchi
david.subacchi@tiscali.co.uk

Bio (auto)

David Subacchi lives in Wrexham, Wales (UK) where he was born of Italian roots. He studied at the University of Liverpool and he has 4 published collections of his English Language poetry First Cut (2012), Hiding in Shadows (2014), Not Really a Stranger (2016) and A Terrible Beauty (2016). His work has also appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies. You can find out more about David and his work at http://www.writeoutloud.net/profiles/davidsubacchi

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by David Subacchi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Engineering

If you wear these goggles
With headphones
And take a control
In each hand
You can walk
Across a battlefield,
Or stand in front
Of a roller coaster;
Say immediately
If you feel uncomfortable.

This is a university
Where we specialize
In engineering
Virtual reality;
Soon you will be able
To pick up swords
Or avoid collisions;
The technology
Is of course, still
Work in progress.

If you prefer
Less interactive
Learning experiences
We still have a library
With some books
And a half empty workshop
With old fashioned tools;
If you find anything
That could be useful
Just help yourself.

 


June 5-11, 2017: Poetry from Richard Lynch and J. K. Durick

​Richard Lynch and J. K. Durick

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


​Richard Lynch
photoshop.layers@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Richard is immersed in biology. He just realizes it, unlike everyone else. Politics become annoying, especially when a dollar store closes because they can’t get goods from China anymore. The biology of politics becomes getting beaten with bricks that — in a midget’s hands — look like legos on the deathbed of a young terminal cancer patient. Sympathy becomes blinded by empathy and people make commercials. Someone has a cause that interrupts a football game. It was supposed to be fun. You end up getting rabies shots because the wild dogs are of unknown origin (that’s a true story), and all because you ran out of eggs. Jesux the jeans had teeth marks and fashion could tolerate holes, but not those that came with experience. Richard eats eggs. Sometimes every day. Sometimes they are eggs beaten with bricks, which is clumsy compared to using a whisk. He doesn’t whisk, but regretfully his tongue is bigger than his mouth, and the lisp never really goes away.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by ​Richard Lynch and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Traffic Accident Addict

I’ve noticed
that bleeding can be a relief, like
a sleeping limb brought to life
by reestablishing the blood flow
in changing position
or flexing muscles.

Tingling neglect gets replaced
by a cool vibrant sensation.

Maybe death, as well,
is a relief. Passing from
the constipation of
this form to the next.

I died in my dreams —
more than once. When
you get past the fear of it, the
strange peace of calm
that comes on after the loss
of body is immaculate.

I slept through it several times
now just to be there. The
ache you have harbored in corpus
dissipates. The form that engaged you
is not even a memory. A
tingling evaporation like
watching the breath come off a mirror
with nothing to replace it.

Another breath didn’t matter.

In my dreams I lost
that fear of death, not
that it wasn’t coming, but that it
might just as well be a welcome release.

Workers laid traffic cones
along the side of the
discussion where
no one should pass.

I

was alone on my highway
bleeding down it.

Bleeding out.
Welcoming the coming.

 



J. K. Durick
jdurick2001@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Social Justice Poetry, 1947, Stanzaic Stylings, Synchronized Chaos, and Algebra of Owls.

The following work is Copyright © 2017, and owned by J. K. Durick and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Going to Bulgaria

I’ve never been to Bulgaria, yet I know that this time of year,
springtime in Bulgaria must be beautiful, with all the streets
of Sophia – is that the capitol of Bulgaria? – all the streets
bustling with Bulgarians going about their business, sidewalks
full, and cars and trucks and buses, the notorious traffic of
city life bumper to bumper, people talking, even shouting
all in Bulgarian, a language I’ve never heard; as I said
I’ve never been to Bulgaria, but if I did go I’d be a tourist
strolling through Sophia, viewing the sights, whatever
they are, I’d find a café, a sidewalk one if they have them,
I’d sit sipping Bulgarian tea or coffee, people watching,
listening to conversations I can’t follow, to street performers,
I hope they’d have them, playing stringed instruments and
singing what must be traditional Bulgarian folk songs, I’d be
there absorbing Bulgaria, and happy I’m sure; yet I’ve never
been to Bulgaria, but online TripAdvisor has decided I must
go there, they fill the margins of everything I view with ads
for places to stay in Sophia, Bulgaria, hostels to hotels deep,
the cheapest for sixteen dollars a night, who could resist
such an array, the places to stay in Bulgaria haunt my every
search, my every game, my every online minute, yet as I’ve
said I’ve never been to Bulgaria and plan never to go there,
though I’d like to see Bucharest, but that’s not in Bulgaria.