Category: 2018

End of Summer, Lima, March 2018 by Rose Mary Boehm

Apparently invisible to everyone but me and swinging a plastic shopping bag from Wong The Grocers, a large, dark-skinned, curly-haired man walked past me on a busy Lima avenue. He was naked. He was in no hurry. No one turned, the pedestrian traffic ignored…

Snake-Faced Mornings Driving the Dump Truck in the Blue Zone by Michael Catherwood

garbage can juice smoky plastic blinds piled up on the sidewalk blood under an old trestle bridge graffiti the only positive color parking lots filled with mattresses broken baby cribs used condoms and baby shoes someone raked into a pile scattered bricks and plywood…

Final Fifteen Minutes by Martin Christmas

Cabin in deep forest home alone in upstairs flat. Final fifteen minutes midday movies creepy music. Young woman older guy or younger shonky lover the ending won’t be pretty. He arrives by car by lift by open window music heavy light but always ominous….

Mount Everest Cockroach by Martin Christmas

Standing at base camp in the dark of early night watching this huge cockroach not even donning an oxygen tank about to climb to the summit of Mount Everest and off it goes. Easily scaling the rough trunk terrain the breaks in the track…

Outback ruin by Martin Christmas

Hot sun, cloudless sky. As far the eye sees, flat empty plain. The track threads its lonely way to the shimmering horizon. The merciless sun drums the mulga bush. On one side of the endless track, a homestead slowly crumbling into dust. Roof long…

Seven Thousand Tigers by Martin Christmas

I was dapping through the archives 21st century, olden days, when I came across this cryptic note, ‘Seven thousand tigers left’. But before my birth they’d all been killed. Dad says, ‘Stick to generic brands, son’, so when the food tube came I read…

Sunset Adieu by Martin Christmas

Sun sets. Cloud tips gold. Silver exhaust jets upward through the blue. Sun’s rays fade. Nodding yachts silently dip their masts. Water surface scuds a fond farewell. Sea gulls almost now departed. Mum’s framed image propped up in the front seat, takes a gentle…

The Woman in My House by Joan Colby

Five children died one summer under this roof. Some epidemic—we don’t know. Cholera, Typhoid, scarlet fever, the ordinary Hard measles. Their small tombstones Up the road enclosed by wrought iron, Names eroding from granite. When the old rafters creak in winter storms Or the…

Catch by Judy Dally

He caught a snook on a line trailed behind our boat. It flailed in the cockpit bottom Airless, vacant-eyed but still alive. He bashed it with a winch handle. Its blood splashed his socks, the cockpit lockers. There is salt water in my eyes….

Good Housekeeping by Robert L. Dean, Jr.

home is where the psychologist asks I tap my chest the textbook answer a hollow sound an echo of furniture stolen when I wasn’t looking a problem of the heart the cardiologist says as I collapse upon the treadmill the echocardiogram detects rotting wood…

The Masters by Robert L. Dean, Jr.

It’s a beautiful late fall Sunday here in Augusta and he’s driving balls off a tee in his back yard, hits the water every time. But then, his yard faces the city lake and there’s no fence and it’s a small town but a…

Blizzard by Richard Dinges, Jr.

Time ticks in pipes that grow and dim with hot water rush, a slow dissolve absorbed by blizzard’s roar, windows white whirls against cold hard panes, world blurred into tiny fragments, perfect crystals when water stops its flow, falls from frigid sky and plants…

Estate Auction by Richard Dinges, Jr.

In worn cardboard boxes lie old calendars, pages torn, corners bent, years and months littered in neat stacks on estate auction tables, a stranger’s life up for bid, squares on grids filled in and passed and worth a dollar.

There’s This Place by Robert L. Ferrier

Down in Little Dixie, near a creek that feeds into the Red River. Heard from an old black man buying snuff and worms in a store off 70 east of Hugo. He’d bought a used Chevy from my dad. “You bring a pole, some…

Performance Poetry by Ray Greenblatt

The poet comes onstage in the dark, then the spotlight rings his pale face in perfect order few hairs slicked beady eyes taking dual aim pursed lips like slot machine for fine effect pince nez perched; English accent devastates terse intros elucidate phrasing meticulous,…

Jesus Could Not Have Walked Out On This Water by David Groulx

Jesus could not have walked out on this water this water belongs to Mishipishu. Jesus could not have flown up in to this sky this sky belongs to Thunderbird. You see settler, you see occupier, you see colonizer This land was created in the…

Forward Observer by Mark Harden

  the tall tornado siren stands mute over an unkempt stretch of green belt deer graze beneath canopies of twisted cedar elm, preferring the thinning stand of trees to the exposed pasture wary too, of clearings I watch them from within a screened porch…

The Widower by Ann Howells

The television speaks in tongues. He sits alone, black suit, tie slightly loosened: through the archway, carnival atmosphere vibrates the dining room: bits of conversation float You remember Robey, she’s the one … table bows under stuffed ham, squash casserole, fried oysters, spoonbread, inevitable…

Fourth base by Sean Lause

  Our diamond was gold and soft as rosin, good for sliding, yet for every run we made we nearly died. For our diamond had a single flaw, a fourth base no one ever touched, but each had to pass on the way to…

In Passing by Dan Murphy

Who are we when we walk Amongst the bitterns? Our rubber boots sloshing like horse hooves In the reedy mud. Twirling perfumes, organic’s Seductive concoctions Of Bulrush root and reed grass. A bittern’s calling haunting The shadows that we are To them. In a…

Codicil by Laurence Musgrove

No fear as you Push me out Onto the dark ocean Of my death. My old boat May be small, But the dish of moon Will be my lighthouse. Before I drift Out of sight Past your forgiveness And forgetting, Take this hammer And…

Escape Sonnet by Nathanael O’Reilly

Follow the HURRICANE EVACUATION ROUTE north away from the Gulf Coast to Fort Worth past new subdivisions metastasizing beyond Houston on freshly-bulldozed earth carved out of the woodlands with beautiful new floorplans from the low 100s past the giant statue of Sam Houston forever…

Earth Keeps Spinning by Robert Okaji

What book do I pull from the shelf in this hour marking my friend’s return to that light-drenched inkling before everything collapses ? Which title, which weight shall I covet? What do we hold if not each other? Being no one, I cannot say….

Awaiting Thunder, He Dreams by Robert Okaji

If all our voices were to meet in the atmosphere what could the rain achieve? When we give nothing we have nothing. Is it enough to listen? Wisps and heaps, ripples and sheets. Accumulated, dispersed, fingers unknotting death’s grip, steps taken around the flames,…

Jazz by Ray Spitzenberger

jazz uptown jazz in the lou jazz in the Big Easy jazz in Bayou City Monk and Mingus and Basie Roach and Tatum and Goodman Ellington and Armstrong and Blakey jazz beyond the sax jazz beyond the keyboard jazz words and rhymes and syntax…

It Matters Not by Ron Wallace

I come unarmored, my eyes making love to Oklahoma stars that somehow have slipped into the Texas sky. Crossing the Red beneath an early morning moon I chase a gypsy shadow. It matters not to that moon nor the ornamental stars around it why…

Ablaut Reduplication by Alan L. Birkelbach

Things must be in this order then: Opinion, size, age, shape, color, noun. And so on. It is an easy enough thing to remember. Sweet small young round brown bear. The mnemonics of our lives. Don’t say it another way. You will be made…

Finally Setting Questions Aside by Alan L. Birkelbach

To be distrustful of questions is the best way to translate three ravens clustered in front of a house I was considering buying. Even just a few months ago I would have steeped the moment with symbolism. The sheen of wing. Their beaded eyes…

Ten Months After The Divorce by Alan L. Birkelbach

It is a cave we can only see at low-tide, the moss drifting like the hair of drowned mermaids, the sea-stars clinging futilely to the rocks.

What is Significant by Alan L. Birkelbach

Sitting on a bench at the dog park a younger woman, someone who I assumed was intelligent because she was attractive, said to me, “You have a dangerous dog breed.” A single man has to double-consider statements like that. When God leaned over to…

When they would tear books up so they wouldn’t be resold by Alan L. Birkelbach

It was always New Year’s of a sort I guess. That book was last year’s gospel. You can’t read it anymore. Here’s a new and different one. It was like getting dumped in junior high by a girl. Everything had changed! You leaned blind…

Sheep in Space by Kevin Acers

I lose myself in daydreams of a sheep- throwing contest on the moon. Distance wins points. Bonus points are earned for every sheep that lands upright and magically prances away, launching itself with strange floating grace. Is there, somewhere, an animal whose mind drifts…

The Emperor of America by Kevin Acers

Wistfully I long for the day when the Emperor of America forgoes the affairs of state and instead sits all night at his lamp-lit desk absorbed in composing sonnets in tribute to a girl he’d admired as a schoolboy. Sipping peppermint tea, lips silently…

Eternal Ocean by Gavin Austin

I sit on the bench and borrow the view; a small brass plaque spells out your name as I hope you have all your answers now. I watch the waves roll onto the shore: the sea’s eternal gnashing at the land. Your ashes long…

Something I Could Count On by Dennis J Bernstein

There were two thousand red bricks that made up the front facade of the high school I would eventually drop out of. I counted them on a daily basis, as I waited for my step-dad to come pick me up after class. Some days…

From Scottish Dialect by Lew Caccia

Whenever I think, some notion in the cloud or other confluence that floats the mooring will seize upon the wonderful convenience, joukery-pawkery. That bluster, “To duck, to dodge,” has danced into its corner so few adherents. Like a hollow barrel the empty drum thinly…

Eternity Turn by Winston Derden

Consider the cleverness of the Cooper’s hawk who glides disguised the upslope of the roof, crests the ridge, and dives on pigeons perched at the feeder hanging from the eave next door: the crash and sway, the spilling of seeds, the prey pinned against…

Writer’s Bloc by Ray Greenblatt

____Body clenched for months ____with mittens we try to clutch ____the transparent word. ____Humidity wraps round us ____hot towels obscuring the eye ____our achievement a few drips. My inspiration lies as flat as that new rolled field, not a sprig, a twig sneaking up….

What Part of No by Patricia L. Hamilton

Don’t you understand? You could be her grandfather. Falcon stooping prey. Fresh-picked berry, crushed. Fragrant blossom cast aside. Hummingbird wing, cut. Cloak yourself in shame. No excuses. Douse the fire, stir the embers cold. Lust exposed to light: your name a scrap of paper,…

Bat by John A Hicks

At first, I thought a brown dress glove on the floor of the parking garage, its seams raised like tendon lines stiffening the back of my hand. A life exhaled was folded flat, composed like rain-dried leather. The BMW was in my space again….

Blue Ghost by Michael Keshigian

Her eyes and the lake are his memories, cobalt images of clarity and purity, running deep. It was in this cove where the black spotted loon dove head first into the heart of blue, attracting the tender pulse of her affection inciting her to…

What To Do With Intangibleles by Michael Keshigian

Early morning, snow teases the outstretched branches of birch with help from the wind. It is cold, but inside the stove’s warmth cradles the recliner in the lamplight where he reads poems. His fingers, thick and calloused, flip pages enthusiastically. He notices the shape…

Never Date an Egyptologist by John David Muth

This is grand prize for third date. Slowly, I enter relishing the warmth as it permeates. My weight settles: a sinking ship completing its watery descent. Face to face she is deep in thought tells me ancient Egyptian women inserted crocodile dung into their…

Old Acquaintance by Robert Nisbet

The village social, New Year’s Eve, and he’s back from Cardiff, back in the new routine, the old routine he’s hankered for. At ten to twelve, the Okey-Cokey. You put your left leg in, your left leg out, and there she is (hey, they’re…

Untitled Poem by Simon Perchik

This spoon all night on tiptoe listening for the careless splash that will never make it back –the cup half hazelnut, black, half filled so its prey can be tracked in the dark the way one mouth finds another feeds on the voice that…

After Four Years There, I Decide to Get a Phone by Samuel Prestridge

Where people get, no owls stay, a quibbling I picked with night, when further down the road the new guy hauled in lights, a trailer, bull-dozed his land, bought pit bulls, started raising rabbits. No one’s here but me. Still, he posted signs. What…

The Moors by Martin A. Ramos

1 Victrola records scratched and scarred, the letters of van Gogh unread, and poems to be painted, corrected and filed after the words form, gently bidden. 2 I write a calculus for the intellect and find a dust bin for desire. The writing is…

Twisters in Sequence by Martin A. Ramos

In April two lovers sit on a park bench. Pigeons pivot overhead. Kernels of corn at the lovers’ feet. Not just pigeons does their love feed. During the summer months, their love is like the red of roses: vibrant, brilliant. If only roses didn’t…

Object by Bill Richard

like any other object, she said. Don’t worry. They’ll observe you as they would a vase or a tree. A series of angles, planes, light, and shadow. I’m okay offering myself for scrutiny, step warily onto the platform, letting inhibitions slip to the floor…

Juliet Balcony #2 by Kevin Ridgeway

I’m making eyes at the brown haired beauty on the opposing balcony both of us in his and her matching bathrobes, mine at a conservative length, hers mid thigh as she teases me with her cigarette and I with mine and I really think…

The Library by Gillian Telford

You grew into yourself knowing little about life except through books. Each leaf-vein, snake-skin, thumbprint wrought second hand- experience shaped forever, tacked together, then tucked into the bodice of your heart. So many words helped you to grieve or offered balm when all seemed…

A Suspicion of Omens by Michele Waering

Ten magpies—one leucistic—perch on barbed wire above the railway line five either side of a crow a suspicion of omens from my window an honor-guard a statement of strength in numbers a warning a school for omens a lecture theatre awaiting the crow’s wisdom…

Rain Elegy by Maryfrances Wagner

All night the dog whined through strikes and flashes while rain pelted the skylight and sang through our gutters. Morning hung over with lost limbs, petals stuck to the patio, I steered the dog across soggy yard, past runoff. I remembered the summer the…

Tonight by Loretta Diane Walker

 ”I keep having this dream that there is a garden   growing inside my chest, under the bones.”   ~ Melissa Studdard  Tonight is an eye feast: the honeysuckle climbing over pickets in a long chain-link fence, the soft swirl of wind teasing the topmost…

curtains by Rob Walker

curtains of her long-lost love in household chores where dust is found a crossword puzzle of her loss scattered wide on kitchen tiles, withered, seemed like toilet bowls which needed harpic now to shine. groceries to put away. so much to do. so little…

Venus and the Moon by Rob Walker

Marino Rocks Midwinter night we share a glass of wine Atop these seaside cliffs Gazing out beyond the sea’s black hole. Dark cloud clears. The new moon’s shine A sharpened pair of horns. Perhaps a bowl. Beside it Venus in orbit shifts, Rising as…

Boom Car by Diane Webster

The boom car stomps its music up and down the street while inside houses dishes clatter a rattlesnake warning, and cranked-up bass bounces sound waves off T-shirts and blouses of residents watching the car pass a parade full of mad, marching bands.

I Find it Strangely Comforting by Ken Wheatcroft-Pardue

That some patch of dust on that hard-to-get-to shelf yonder could be dead skin cells sloughed off her bent, pain-racked body more than 2 years ago now. Or that some microbial creature still spirals through my twisted, maze-like intestines, a parting gift from her,…

In the botanicum by Jesse Wolfe

Moonlight pools, as if delayed, in the folds of the duvet, her second husband sleeping, lips pursed, as if rehearsing. He spoke in his sleep their first night together. She marvels at how he remembers dreams. Over coffee he’ll describe his sister appearing at…