Ace Boggess – Two Poems

Ace Boggess – Two Poems   The West Virginia Symphony performs its free concert on the other side of the Kanawha River. Grace & I sit on sharp stone stairs along the bank. Beside us her pug, looking like newsprint smudges staining an oblong rock, snuffles & nibbles at blades of grass, wildflowers so bland no one not a specialist could name them. Grace tugs a leash tenderly & whispers, No (the dog obeys for minutes at a time). Meanwhile, performers have launched into the theme from Phantom of the Opera. Notes dance across glittery water as if what...

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Kelly Cherry – Murray the Short Order Cook

Kelly Cherry   Murray, the Short Order Cook Murray, the short-order cook, found himself at the Pearly Gates on a Tuesday evening. Tuesday was always a slow day at the restaurant, but not this slow. The gates were locked, no one was checking a list or tickets, and weeds were sprouting at the base of what he took to be heaven. Or was this hell? He’d committed some sins in his day, but surely he wasn’t a bad man. He showed up for work on time. He had loved his wife, who predeceased him. Fuck, he said, immediately clapping...

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Jean L. Kreiling – Three Poems

Jean L. Kreiling – Three Poems   “Desdemona Cursed by Her Father” after the painting by Eugène Delacroix Not for the last time, love has let her down. Her father’s dark face and his scarlet gown betray his black suspicions and the passion of his rage. She pleads with him, her face ashen, but his right hand is raised—to strike? to curse? What daughter could decide which would be worse? In modest dress, in all humility, she looks to him for something fatherly; her hands, stretched toward his heart, clutch only folds of fabric. Later, when Othello holds her...

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Norman Klein – Two Stories

Norman Klein – Two Stories   Mysteries For the first time in years, my father called and asked me to come and have a look at his last draft of a book titled the “The Disappeared.” When I arrived just before dinner I noticed every shade in his house was drawn. Then he ignored my usual four beeps of the horn and didn’t come out to greet his loving daughter. He served me meatloaf, and didn’t say a word as we ate, so I did. “Come on, Dad, what’s going on?” I asked. “Sorry, Bliss. Didn’t mean to scare...

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Paul Lewellan – Cheyenne Adds a Class

Paul Lewellan   Cheyenne Adds a Class It was Thursday of the first week of school. My Second Period Honors English class was struggling with third person omniscient narrators when Cheyenne Resnik arrived at the door. “Mr. B, get me out of American Lit before I hurt somebody.” Everyone turned to see who was interrupting our discussion of “Emma Zunz” by Borges. The freshman boys collectively inhaled. Cheyenne wore leopard skin stretch pants and a tight black knit shell. Her black boots had three-inch heels, and she wore too much makeup. I’d left my classroom door open, and Cheyenne...

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Robbie Nester – Two Poems

Robbie Nester – Two Poems   Fog and Moonlight by Robert Rhodes Fog and Moonlight: Margaret in her Nightgown, Alone in Bella’s Yard After a painting by Robert Rhodes Mist rose from the grass into a sky just beginning to grow light. You threw off the rumpled sheets, glided down the stairs and out the door, leaving it open behind you, seeing the yard transformed, the pedestrian birdbath, close-cropped grass masked by fog. Posing like a dancer, you turned your face up to the moon, as though it were a mirror and you an ingenue, as though you knew...

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Rachel Dacus – Four Poems

Rachel Dacus – Four Poems   Sacrament I brew the morning’s coffee, tasting in its tan crema a land of monsoons and a morning when I bounced in a creaky bus into the heart of Punjab, past turbaned boys bathing in village wells and rows of banyan trees with white-painted roots as thick as houses. On the way to sacred tombs, half-asleep, I longed for a golden coffee cup, despite the hotel’s excellent chai creamed with buffalo milk. I was journeying through a place I couldn’t safely taste except in the hotels. I could only smell its reality in...

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Jeff Hardin – Five Poems

Jeff Hardin – Five Poems   Coming Into An Inheritance Think of the poems about visiting recluses in search of new wisdom, yet most still don’t venture forth out of their own lost solitudes. Someone has her errands and the memory of a cottonwood beneath which someone whispered a prayer that fluttered up into the leaves. Moving slowly along the creek bank, I might just come into an inheritance unknown by those whose intimacies I treasure the most. For a while I tried out gratitude. I wandered in the back woods, remembering how often I lie awake long into...

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Simon Perchik – Five Untitled Poems

Simon Perchik – Five Untitled Poems   Finished –-no new graves though yesterday you counted boats –side by side, adrift breaking apart under the rocks –done! here you are adding rafts to the way each sea long ago learned how deep inside the storm there must be a very big number –a half-finished arithmetic where you can’t carry over by one the hand so close to the other pulling on weeds so you can include your fingers take hold as if these dead would never let go and their great weight, their place waiting in line.   Before she...

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Laurie Kolp – Two Poems

Laurie Kolp – Two Poems   Mid-life Desolation Outside my bay window wind chimes become a cacophonous clap. The sudden breeze squalls through them like a naked stranger. I attempt to make sense of my body’s spontaneous rearrangement try to change Barrenness filling me: you are a lizard slithering through sweaty flesh. Deep down I know I must adopt this frigid arrival. Whether I like it or not, I must chameleon my way through the coming season or else I’ll freeze like the arcane womb inside my bay window.   In another life you stroll back streets of my...

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Neil Ellman – Three Ekphrastic Poems

Neil Ellman – Three Ekphrastic Poems Paul Klee, Before the Blitz, 1923, gouache   Before the Blitz (after the watercolor by Paul Klee) There was a calm before the blitz no wind the leaves barely moved buzzards circled as they always had making a zig-zag calligraphy spelling peace as children played the way they had always had no tomorrow now their only day that ever was or mattered in their lives. That day like any other then the streets were crowded with pedestrians and prams and pigeons cooed under an indifferent sun while the speakers in the park debated...

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Christine Potter – Four Poems

Christine Potter – Four Poems   At The Abandoned Estate, 1972 Half a mile of thimbleberry bramble. A carpet of winter-bleached maple leaves rotten with snow melt, our steps soft on granite stairs caked with years of mud. All the way up the side of a brick basement missing its manor house. Our legs dangling over two stories of empty air and shadow to see the Hudson’s blinding flash, its silver slash behind a scraggle of March trees and the hiss of distant traffic. Me at nineteen. I could barely hear wherever it was we’d left the car, but...

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Editorial – The Alice’s Restaurant Rule

The “Alice’s Restaurant” Rule   So yesterday Kate came into my humble little writing studio carrying a cast iron frying pan. This is never good news. “Uh-oh,” I said to myself. “Duck!” But she didn’t immediately swing it at my head. Instead, she just said, “William, we are going to go through the slush pile. Today. Now.” “But…” “No buts! You told people you’d get back to them within 30 days, and it’s been 82. Fire up your browser!” She brandished her frying pan again, so I started clicking. “You have to decide what we’re taking, and what we’re declining....

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Siham Karami – Three Poems

Siham Karami – Three Poems   The Gift He came to us where no one knocked the door and no one entered. We would never touch because to him, I was still a child breaking open shyly in the forest, in my father’s cabin, in the river. I never let my thoughts profess his beauty, his slender darkness filling me with light directly through my pupils to the brain where I closed my eyes. But who can stop the heart, the drum of life? His very presence disintegrated me to elements, directionless, aglow, a fever spreading— oh my God,...

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Marie Fitzpatrick – Let It Be

Marie Fitzpatrick   Let It Be Look up! you see that cliff is hard to chase. It towers until I’m just a grain of sand Took up by wind and bashed against its face. I’ll never reach the top, and never in a gale. But what I see depends on where I stand. From atop a cliff the sea and sky join hands And what I am depends on what I’ve learned In humming tides that buck against each man. Look low, you see the height that we have climbed. Look out, just look, the sea and sky’s combined....

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Eileen Murphy – Poems and Photographs

Eileen Murphy – Poems and Photographs                                                 Bird of Paradise   Poem for a Bromeliad Your winter moon shivers. August comes. I watch your fuchsia tongue unroll. Your dimpled chin is filled with dust and leaves and what you stole in purdah that foils the men there. You are far from fair like rags tossed out so worn and ratty yet you’ve managed to marry yourself to palms and bananas commanding rain soaked sand and mating...

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Judy Kronenfeld – Three Poems

Judy Kronenfeld – Three Poems   Touch What if, in my papery skin, I am disappeared into one of so many duplicate, remote and solitary rooms— quiet as the cells of abandoned wasps’ nests, or beehives? What if I roll to the floor in my sleep, and there is only the squeeze of the blood-pressure cuff, the cold coin of the stethoscope on my chest? What if, when my busy children clear an hour to visit, they hug their brittle progenitor at a distance, like palms arcing over in a wind? What if I sit with their gift of...

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Syed Abid Hussain – Shepherd on the Plains of Damaan

Syed Abid Hussain   Shepherd on the Plains of Damaan Two sweltering hot days of June, close and oppressive. The glare of the noon sun discomforting and unbearable, temperatures in the extreme upper forties (~118 F). One could hardly look at the sky with squinted eyes. The hot wind buffeted one with some ferocity, and after a shave in the morning, one’s cheeks burned while cruising through it. During such days I wondered at the resilience, hardiness and tolerance of all the shepherds of Damaan, where the sun was relentless in the hot sky, and the vast dusty and...

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William Doreski – Five Poems

William Doreski – Five Poems   La Farge Blue So in Trinity Church we stalk to the altar, then turn to admire light shivering through the blue, bottomless blue, that La Farge embodied in the windows placed high above the vestibule to absorb the afternoon sun. Braced in gloomy stone the blaze of this implacable color frames Jesus with two marble pillars too formal to support the plain colloquial ministry he preached. But they hold and focus our gaze for long moments, infusing the blue deeply inside us. Slumped in a pew we avoid touching each other until the...

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Mark Patnode – Five Paintings

Mark Patnode – Five Paintings Dennis Gardens, Winter Autumn Sunrise  Early Morning, New London    Meridian to State Street   Shoreline Tributary Mill    Artist’s Statement Why not throw it, sling it, splash it? It’s the artist’s mark – it’s Mark-Making™. I strive for powerful visual simplicity in my artwork. The first marks establish a relationship with the subject and it becomes a dialog as I develop the work. Working quickly and with great intensity, I create the poetry of the transitory moment. Though I paint a variety of subjects, I find great satisfaction working with land and cityscapes....

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Cheryl Snell – Two Prose Poems

Cheryl Snell – Two Prose Poems   The Rumor of a Lighthouse We leave the smog of the city for the fog off the coast and enter a house that makes more sense to us. A lean-to of driftwood with seaweed stairs to climb—we climb them all, foam swallowing our swollen ankles. We think we can trick the mist that follows us; and so we rise on rubber toes to spy on the haze rolling against the windows. We see that it takes off water-drops the way we wipe away tears. Sea-smoke is seeping through walls already wet. You...

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Edward Byrne – Four Seasons in Northern Indiana

Edward Byrne – Four Seasons in Northern Indiana Summer Sunset Indiana Autumn Winter Woods   Spring Sky   Edward Byrne is an editor, literary critic, photographer, and author of eight collections of poetry. He has also edited two anthologies of poetry. His photographs have appeared in magazine articles and as book covers or journal covers. He is a professor in the English Department  at Valparaiso University. More at edwardbyrnephotography.wordpress.com. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

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Kris Faatz – Night Roses

Kris Faatz – Night Roses   Night Roses The night tastes of gin and wild blue air. Zelda keeps her eyes up on the sky as Scott drives too fast through the maze of city streets. The convertible top is down. Zelda’s hair, brushed sleek only minutes ago in front of her dressing table at the Biltmore, will be a rat’s nest by now. She tells herself she doesn’t care. The stars gleam up above. Zelda has to focus hard to see them. Down here on the street, tall lamps zip past in streaks of yellow light, and the...

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Jean-Yves Solinga – Four Poems

Jean-Yves Solinga – Four Poems   . Paris : Demi-sommeil The invisible alien army of street cleaners already at work The hesitant rebirth of crazed buzzing of vélomoteurs Crystalline clinking sound of expresso porcelain cups being lined up on zinc bar Habitués still arguing last night’s off-side The minutia of life starting to invade the routine of living… ……………… …When his left arm reconfirmed her absence in his bed Torture of organic and floral hints of her on wrinkled sheets Fleeting thoughts about Adam tearfully looking back at gates of Paradise Duality The definition of the untouchable ideal: From...

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CL Bledsoe – Two Poems

C.L. Bledsoe – Two Poems   Stop and Smell the Cake Forty is a number that’s forgotten how to lie, or maybe it’s just tired of keeping track of words that mean nothing but fear, that crumble when observed too closely. If it takes more muscles to frown than to laugh, why do you fault me my exercise regimen? I’ve grown thin and yet, somehow, fat, because what we take in may stay longer than it nourishes. There’s time, sludging down the slow hill, to shed the weight of loss, to taste spring in the air, the lily of...

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Kyle Hemmings – Five Photographs

Kyle Hemmings  – Five Photographs Almost Like Paris  Surreal Trees Trees in the City   Aperitif   Urban Reflections    Kyle Hemmings has art work in The Stray Branch, Euphenism, Uppagus, South 85 Journal, Black Market Lit, Sonic Boom, Snapping Twigs, Convergence and elsewhere. He loves pre-punk garage bands of the 60s, Manga comics, urban photography and French Impressionism. His latest collection of poems and prose is Future Wars from Another New Calligraphy. More at: upatberggasse19.blogspot.com. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new...

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Jack Campbell – Two Poems

Jack Campbell – Two Poems   The Wall Who put this here? I don’t remember; I don’t remember stone and brick and ice. Who put this here this distance between us? I don’t remember laying in the mortar or piling in the rock. Nor do I remember the stones nor the kiln where these bricks were fired. Their glow dimming twilight. Who put this here; this wall of ice where no feeling lives; just the creeping cold of death. Perhaps it built itself while we slept. Perhaps it rose because it had to. Escape; there is none. Race to...

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Corey Mesler – Five Poems

Corey Mesler – Five Poems   Night Voyage In the dark I lost my way. I could hear the boatman calling, his voice like an echo of an echo. How far away am I? Ahead I think I see my father dead now twelve years. Is he guiding me, again, or is he a dis- traction, like waves breaking? Now all is silent. My father is gone if my father it was. And the sea is dead calm as if chiseled from marble.   Just a Little …..“Dead love stories are what make us.” ……………………………………. – Kevin Barry There...

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Russell Streur – Three Photographs

Russell Streur – Three Photographs The Reach of Faith The Chandler’s Window Temple Bowl   A resident of Johns Creek, Georgia, Russell Streur’s poetry has been widely published in the United States and Europe. His recent work has won two awards for excellence by the Georgia Poetry Society and is notably included in Negative Capability Press’s 2015 anthology of Georgia poetry, Stone, River, Sky. Streur is the founding editor of the world’s original online poetry bar, The Camel Saloon, and is the current editor of Plum Tree Tavern (theplumtreetavern.blogspot.com). He is the author of The Muse of Many Names (Poets...

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Tom Montag – Five poems

Tom Montag – Five Poems   Morning Walk The long ago call of the sandhill crane. The mourning dove coos lost love. Here we are, flying towards nothing. I know it. They know it. And still we sing.   Night Plowing Roar of the tractor. Silence inside the noise. Up the field and back. Light inside the darkness. The smell of earth rising. When you go, you always go home.   Still There Still there: the fence, the tree-line, the far horizon. The world comes back at us with longing, silence, an unbearable sadness at sunset. A small wind...

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