June 2018 Vol. III No. VI
Not your ordinary poetry magazine!
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Free Verse Poetry Page with Suzanne Robinson
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write about cats is
like punching a hole in
a giant bag tied around the world
by those who do not know
but still must classify
categorize and kill
things of beauty
write about writing is
like walking outside our
square box-like homes, with
First People laughing
knowing, the circle is
the key to the universe
and true peace of mind
write about love, is to
see beyond labels like
bum, beat poet, and
dirty old man, feeling
both sides of despair
without false sentiment
Doug Hoekstra's poems and stories have appeared in numerous journals. With two book-length collections of stories to his name, he is also a musician, with nine CDs out on U.S. and European labels. https://doughoekstra.wordpress.com/
Idle Worship (Somatic Delusions)
I lay in the facility’s
White sterile bathroom
With the white sterile walls
And white sterile tub
The only color is
My brown sprawled body
Surrounded by my black, wild, swimming hair
I have submerged my head
Only enough to rinse out the shampoo
I can hear water running
Mimicking the thoughts in my mind
Rushing through channels
I think of Sylvia Plath
She once said:
“I want to be Woolf, but better . . .”
I want to be her
I want to matter
I want to be a martyr
Patron saint of
Every young writer
With a message
I will sacrifice myself for the glory
Of my work
I can feel my body sinking lower
As my thoughts grow
“I want to be Plath, but younger”
Allison Bohn is a Writing Instructor at Oakland University where she received a Master’s in English. Her poetry is laced with feminist coos. She lives north of Detroit with her husband and dogs.
got off the bus early.
is scheduled at my aunt's house
but I forgot about the clocks changing
here I am
bumming along the water,
looking out at the beach
and the diseased palm trees
in a Dublin spring. it’s
low tide time. the sea
is just a visible line
like a glint
on the edge
of a foreign coin.
all along the wet sand
dogs track each other’s arseholes
and roll in sunken smells.
spark white spots on the horizon
like birdshit on a car
as if a boat were in port
bears up against the sky.
DS Maolalai currently lives in Ireland after 4 years abroad in the UK and Canada. He published Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden in 2016 with the Encircle Press. He has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
At the Dock Bar
We went from a case of beer on the rowboat
to a marina bar on the bank of the Hudson.
Mad whenever my father got sloppy,
I refused to go in with him and his friend,
Ronny. In Ronny’s truck I found a pouch
of chewing tobacco, a red-faced Indian
on the front in full feather headdress.
Having chewed the sweet black twists
on the shore by myself in preteen defiance,
by sunset I was dizzy and seeing things.
Ronny and my dad urinated by the truck
before getting in. Ronny hung back a sec,
he announced, to tug life into his penis
for an evening date after dropping us off.
Lying on my back in bed I was spiraling
in a vertiginous panic, the day of waves
amplified by the sweet fluid that I forgot
to spit out the first few wads. The image
came of Ronny’s right side atwitch, his back
to us in the new dark. I figured his date to be
a hooker since he was as old as my grandpa.
A Cold Hunt
Sun graying the overcast sky,
my dad in red wool carved out
a path for me along stones above
the surface of a little stream.
“Watch your step there,” he said
turning around. Just then thinking
that I did not need to be babied,
I slipped on one of the three
moss stones marked out for me.
Shotgun submerged, I was quick
to show that I saved the coffee.
On my back I held the cup high
and insisted, “It didn’t get wet.”
A few minutes at our watch tree,
I was freezing but too ashamed
to reveal that I wanted to leave—
the gun drying out upside down,
my dad sipping the smoking cup.
M. A. ISTVAN JR., PhD, still into extreme shoulder pads, spends most of his time lobbying for the rerelease of BoKu, an adult juice box from the 90s.
End of March
Melting. All night
a steady drip
from the eaves.
Morning, snow withdrawn
from the foundation,
pulled back into ditches.
Water seeps into
and out of the cellar.
The sun tries
to be warm.
A single blade
of green grass.
A single robin.
The silver of pussy willows.
The birth of streams
Our bones ache,
rise up anyway.
Anne Britting Oleson has published two novels, The Book of the Mandolin Player (B Ink Publishing, 2016) and Dovecote (B Ink Publishing, 2017), and three poetry chapbooks, The Church of St. Materiana (2007), The Beauty of It (2010), and Alley of Dreams(2018.)
The Perfect Color to Greet Snow
The streets are full,
fog cuts a silhouette around each walker
at the Christmas Market.
Bells chime, the massive,
Gothic cathedral at the far end
of one pedestrian street
calls out the time, and time of year.
It holds sentry over the entire town.
The graveyard, history of beauty
and sorrow, headstones chilled,
cracked, broken, and ancient stand guard
in silence, the way stoic grandparents guard
little ones as they play in the light snow
that gilds this scene, muffles their laughter.
Everyone is wrapped in gray,
frosted with white.
Hats, scarves, thick jackets,
heavy boots. Something in each pocket
to warm the hands wrapped in mittens,
grasping hot chestnuts that once home
will be thrown into soup.
A joyful time. A frozen time.
A last-minute, small purchase,
Christmas stocking time. Vendors.
Buyers. Snow dusting all.
The languid signature of icy breath.
Le Livre en Français
He used to read to her in English,
poems of winter, skies that hung
heavy through daylight hours
down to deep shadow, down
to ghosts kept at bay
by shuttered windows
and fireplace heat.
She believed his words,
carried the notebook with her
from city to city,
a vague remembrance of cold,
the quietness of snow, anger
of wind twisting out of forests
barren of green, and the shelter
of his arms around her, even though
it was years ago.
What caused her to trundle through
boxes to look for this memory,
a wish to share the passion of the old,
only to find the notebook in a language
she had never mastered, could not recite.
Dictionaries don’t feel pages stained with wine
and cigarette ash, they don’t smell orange peels
dropped amidst crumpled papers—
failed attempts at emotion . . .
Ghosting with notes of remembered music,
the dictionary teases her with words
better left unspoken.
Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee. Her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” is recently out from Kelsay Books. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).
The Last time you heard Ann Sothern sing
“The Last Time I saw Paris,” flowers glinting
on her earlobes and her veil, made of and for
the silver screen, saddened you. The closest
you’ll come to the City of Lights is the single
postcard from a college kid wafting like
summer wind through your factory thirty years
ago. It was the morning you woke and thought
Everyone longs to be the gypsy bride or the
rogue who carries her off. It was sitting on
the patio, snapping beans. A jet moved silently
across the sky and you absolutely could not
say why that silence woke your dormant
widowhood. The clever boy at your feet, so
clever you couldn’t help worrying, suggested
it was because, in spite of the quiet, you knew
the jet was roaring. It was reading Huck Finn and
laughing helplessly. Reading Aristotle and
laughing, but that was probably mostly the
grass. There in the stacks more ruled by hush
than sanctuaries, laughing, not haughtily
but as a governess laughs at her willful charge.
It was standing with your wife of fifty years,
looking into the canyon, thinking time is
doing the same to us only we are more easily
sculpted. It was the last time you saw Back Creek.
The sons of the same old men chawed outside
the general store and your son-in-law tried, in
vain you knew, to capture them on his video-cam.
It was the first night we slept here. Our things
hadn’t arrived yet. The bare floors held a thrill
of welcome we were bound to efface. It was
your garrulous but not usually eloquent parent
announcing it’s a privilege to be your mother.
It was the first voice you heard as you recovered
from anesthesia: the mourning dove’s query, the
embarrassed cough, campground dulcimers,
an irrepressible bottom smack, air struggling to
escape crêpe paper threaded through spokes.
Previously published in American Chordata.
The City Hall Angel
likes the way I move in
an orange jumper with
a sash that’s a tad
loose and a dull trash
spear. Every foam
and wax paper cup,
every aluminum can
that ever made me
throw up — I drop
at his naked feet. He
takes the spear from
my trembling fingers.
The point, now sharp,
lingers for a moment
then plunges over
and over, poking
portraits of the guy
I was in love with
at the time of drinking
or, if I was alone,
Timothy Robbins has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His collection Denny’s Arbor Vitae was published in 2017. A new collection, Carrying Bodies, is coming out in 2018. He lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin with his husband of twenty years.
In The Cutlery Drawer
She tells me that she loves my poems
which brings the hated question
“why don’t you write some too?”
her face is calm but I feel the change
“I can’t, I don’t know how”
and so, our dance begins
sometimes a gentle sway
more often, a blazing tango
“I can’t! I don’t know how!”
she leaves me notes to find
on scraps of cereal boxes
under the kettle
“I can’t wait to be home”
in the cutlery drawer
“I miss you”
poetry, the purest kind
diamonds to my glass
Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He has been published in Better Than Starbucks, The Opiate, Sky Island Journal, Poetry Quarterly and many others.