Copyright  Better than Starbucks 2017, a poetry magazine    

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General Poetry Page         with Suzanne Robinson 

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Welcome To The New Dance

 

You answer your cell and I begin

Whispering. We are going through

Climate change inside our bodies.

It can’t be any other way since we

Are weaved inside the natural system

We falsely see as outside. The bacteria

The mitochondria, are altering in

Ways we can’t as yet perceive, and

Changing your sacred flesh and organs,

Your skin and eyes. The micro plastic

Particles slide around your cells

As they slide around the oceans.

Tests exist that measure your levels.

This has been a message from the

Ever faithful muse. I trust that you

Will do your part to spread the news.

Chuck Taylor lives in the hill country of Texas and spends time canoeing spring fed rivers and hiking limestone trails. He’s

published two memoirs, two novels, and eight poetry books. 

False Alarm

 

Beyond the café window,

snowfall plots to make the campus a canvas.

 

Why is memory like that handful of breadcrumbs

            tossed to birds by a boy?

And what does that boy think? Only he knows,

sunlight hammering through cloud-cover

like penance handed down by a disgraced priest,

 

and flake by flake,

inch by inch,

the past deepens,

 

and for a split second I’m him,

 

before he turns into a sapling I saw once in a pastel painting,

leaning into the wind

because the artist knew we want what weathers us most.

 

There’s such resentment.

 

In the bare branches. In the starlings. In the boy,

laughing, trying to lick the air,

snowflakes dissolving on his tongue.

 

He knows how to handle the past.

 

For him, seconds don’t chisel like a pickaxe,

his heart is not an abandoned hornet nest,

he has no memory, yet—

 

Unlike us,

suddenly frightened by a fire alarm,

until someone yells it’s just a drill.

Domenic Scopa is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. His poetry and translations have been widely featured.

     *

You lean into this tree as if its roots

struck something made from wood

no longer moves, became an island

 

with mountains laid out in rows

and though they have no arms

they open them when someone

 

is left close by — under such a weight

their hands break apart the Earth

from feeling their way around it

 

grave after grave, blinded by moonlight

as the chunks you never saved

form this nearly empty night

 

with nothing but the bright green hole

this dying tree drains, keeps dry

between what you wanted and the shine.

   *

From inches away his finger can’t miss

— the other kid plays dead, falls arm over arm

the way all games come with a well

 

are filled with wishes hardened into stones

sure the Earth would go along

though there’s no splash — what you hear

 

is the thud that purifies each death

as one aimless night followed by another

overflowing and this park

 

becomes the sudden laughter

you no longer get to be

are waiting for this dry wooden bench

 

to open, let you in, hear the stream

stones hear when young, not yet

sent to the bottom even in the afternoon.

 

   *

You squint as if its cries could fit

and in the same pot this egg

lowered to the bottom — each wave

 

learns from the others just how much

end over end heats an inside

that has no shell, becomes a sea

 

overflows the way you dead are buried

embraced by a room filled with water

by walls built from wood and knots

 

and nails, has a door that opens up

whitewashed, sent out as daylight

all the time adding shoreline and salt.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems published by box of chalk, 2017.

The Harem

 

Your sister’s dolls seemed to wait,

teetering on the shelf

for your nimble fingers

and eager stare

with a grin puffing up your cheeks.

 

They were so prim

in calico dresses

and lace, smiling saucer eyes

and blushing cheeks;

ready to fulfill their roles.

 

They let you do it.

Your deft fingers slide up

their legs, a swift flick

and they are upside down,

one by one, legs splayed.

 

They never protested

(even though sometimes you wished they did).

They never cried out,

even when your sister shrieked,

finding them like that.

They kept your secret.

 

They kept right on smiling,

your harem of dolls.

 

 

Sarah A. Etlinger is an English professor who resides in Milwaukee, WI with her family.  She can be found discussing her work on "The Poetry Professors" podcast (episode 107).​

WINDOW MISSING

 

Black trash bag pretends to be

the car driver’s window breathing

out then in then out then in

as passing car winds attempt CPR

to revive the window’s up/down

mechanism stuck like a dead

open eye staring as blank

as the limp plastic bag.

Diane Webster enjoys the challenge of picturing images into words to fit her poems.  Her work has appeared in "The Hurricane Review," "Eunoia Review," "Illya's Honey," and other literary magazines.

She Rolls On

 

On her journey to absurdity

she discovered normalcy

was a lie, life a circle

not a box. She rolls

on now realizing

we all go round 

and round;

spinning into the future

not knowing what tomorrow will bring

rendering any sense of normalcy as absurd.

 

 

Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, husband, dad, and year round eater of blueberries. Google 'scott kaestner poetry' to peruse his musings and doings. 

 

Was It Love?
 

My mother used to send me down

To the store with a note to buy

For her, the Chesterfields,

And later it was the L&M's

 

I'd hand the lady behind the counter

The note and money and she'd

Read the note knowing I was

Too small to write in script

 

And always with a smile she'd

Hand me the cigarettes. Later in

The day my mother'd send me down

To the IGA for bread or eggs.

 

I'd take my time, cut through

The field across where the hobos

Made their camp in the thirties,

Then in front of the fire station

 

Whose bay doors were always open

To catch sight of the big red trucks

Washed and gleaming. I might

Tarry a while kicking weeds up close

 

To the retail buildings for bottles

To return to the grocery store

For spare change. Two cents

On a bottle and bring in three

 

Put you a penny ahead of the

Five it took to buy a candy bar.

I never thought of criminals

On these suburban streets

 

Except in my mind's own

Romantic fantasies, party

Based on what I saw at home

On our black and white TV,

 

The first of our neighborhood.

My mother first had tried to

Throw herself into the joys

Of domestic life, but as time

 

Went by she took on

The rocky shape of bitterness –

Never a thought of going

Back to do her doctor work.

 

She once had done with

My father at the hospital,

Not reading anymore,

Not doing her watercolors,

 

And as the years went by

She stayed more and more

In the bedroom, smoking

Cigarettes, till one night when

 

I was in my teenage years,

She set the mattress on fire

And my dad and I had to

Haul it smoking to the backyard

 

In the early morning dark

And soak and soak the mattress

With the water hose while she

Stretched out on the couch

 

In the living room so 

Embarrassed she needed

To pretend to be asleep,

And later on I helped to

Carry her to the car

Two times after two

Suicide attempts, and then

Went to see her in the

 

Hospital psyche ward.

She died in a hospital

Two miles from where

I lived. My father was

 

Gone. My sister had

Grown to be as nuts

As my mother had been.

I watched over her

 

As best as I could.

I was sixty-one and

My mother, she lived

To be eighty-four.

Chuck Taylor

#4

The truth
kneeling naked
asked the pen
to sentence it
to death
by burning
in a poem 

Soodabeh Saeidnia was born in Iran and has published a collection of her poems, “Harfhaee- Baraye- Khodam” (Words for myself) and “A Poem and Three Generations” in Farsi.

Kelly Writers House
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