March 2018 Vol. III No. III
Not your ordinary poetry magazine!
If good coffee (or just the concept of coffee), great books, sharp wit, and great authors excite you, we are for you!
General Poetry Page with Suzanne Robinson
Use links at the bottom of this page, or the drop down menu above, to connect to our other poetry pages.
All day, water trickles from the downspout, but
I cannot see the rain. A black locust on the hillside
unfurls in feathered green. The old wooden
fence climbs by, its shoulders deeply stained.
Drops dimple the birdbath like the notes
Carol gently strikes downstairs. A nocturne
falls across the keyboard like April rain,
like rain I know is there but do not see.
Outside, I retrieve a tray of soaked seedlings
as drizzle taps my neck. From my window,
a dogwood glows white on the emerald lawn.
Blossoms stir, but I do not see the breeze or the rain.
All this Time
Pale blue asters speckle the weedy ditch,
yellow birch leaves tumble across the yard.
The old raven barks from its tower in the pine.
Lumbering, white-capped waves thump on ancient rock,
rear back to pound out stones, draw back to grind out sand.
Far out, a loon wails beneath the glazed indigo sky.
From his weathered bench near the boathouse, Mr. Lind
gazes, silent as the sunlight, patient as the ground.
Raymond Byrnes. Before embarking on a long and stimulating career in Earth-science communications, R. A. Byrnes was a college English teacher in Minnesota. His early poems appeared in The Great River Review, Alembic, and several other journals. Recently retired, he enjoys gardening and writing at his home in Virginia.
dancers tipping wine glasses on a tray stray off stage
to the edge the corners of the room moist
from breath and laughter
they hoof-tap slowly back
stiffen to a pose
drape across tables lift legs
in slow motion to top hat
glasses raised against the screen ―
could be a wedding with pearls
a funeral with pietas
a lost space in a bar
sweet mouths split glasses of champagne
stake their fate like vampires
Roxy counts tears
holds a tin can for pennies
as it is the wind
discarding velasques‘ classical figures emerging
into full light their spaces folded in volumes of
flesh of dramatic gestures within each line of
the triangular composition the glowing reds
I view the open land of a stretched canvas
as large as his las meninas with the royals staring
into the room at the infanta margurieta
but I am not a king or a queen & the little princess
in front of me is but a photograph of you
with your hair tied back in much the same way
as it is the wind I want to capture blowing
through each strand the glint in your eyes
caught by the sun’s rays the intimated gesture
of your right hand not yet in motion & words
of intent I can but read on your quizzical eyebrows
I cannot use lines of composition of placement
of defining colors only the abstracted shattering
of features gestures light
girl with jug
sometimes I imagine you are Vermeer
as I fill the jug with milk to the lip
sunlight edging the table
I tuck my hair under my cap
note the Naples-yellow clouds reflected
stare wide eyed lips slightly parted
he ground powders of ochre lamp-ash jade
used grit of paste
painted brick & ledge light through windows panes
glint of porcelain a jug paused in the pouring
where is your glide of oil
sense of the moment
you utter words upon words
in the hands of magicians it is what’s hidden
what slips between lip & lip
a breath half uttered
a word lost in letterset
the rouge on flesh
the ears of a rabbit
it could be that the painter predicts
what the conjurer performs
turning wheat fields to turmeric
spring to shimmering saffron-green
orange blaring as marigold
color cut to shapes
quincunx in black
set against a red triangle shifting
changing surface to depth to perspective
the canvas cloth its warp and woof
to the random construct of the imagination
in a city of canals & boats
the tide flooding St Marco Square
I sit on an upholstered chair
in the world’s Most Famous Bookshop
the water filtering through the open door
lapping at table legs
books stacked as staircases
I peer at its gentle to & fro sway
cup my hands outward as if to rock
each passing gondola with its inverted image
the bow pushing onward along old waterways
gathering skirts I dunk my feet in cool water
my legs moor one by one in an unknown landing
grope for anchorage as the incoming tide
foretells of the sinking of shops
homes palace treasures books
the shop’s cat perched on a shelf purrs
at peace with the intruding water
juli Jana is an international poet and artist writing and exhibiting in different countries. She has 2 published pamphlets: ‘everybody needs a lunatic’ - published by Indigo Dreams, ‘ra-t’ published by Shearsman. She has co-presented a poetry event for 10 years and held various workshops.
Into the well of night
a soul falls.
From below, almost afoot
on the heartfelt bottom,
the moon ripening in the June breeze
echoing the exaltation
of migrating nightingales.
Sometimes a hammer, sometimes a bird,
sometimes a few working words
from black men building
what’s not theirs—
a chance quickening a poem,
only here a rut, there a rut,
tracks everywhere a trap.
Better sometimes to loiter beyond,
dune a cold tongue, dawn
illuminating a hope of shadows.
Stone? Cross? Graveyard's a park,
grass clean-cut as honor guard
marines. Elms better than blight
haunt far hills. For our standoffish toes,
a bronze plaque, one line
to answer who, another
to answer when.
Sky's a gap. Good grown-ups,
we talk basketball. Courtney's
the looker. Afraid of bugs,
hater of haircuts, she wooed
Dad back once, only last chance
he ever took. Isn't this hideout
another deep basement
to wait out time as he loved doing
in a salvaged chair
with tools like second thoughts,
watching light get ready for the dark?
Roads could be palms, so tricky to read.
Way out is way in if enough attention's been paid.
This cold lake port's got beer like gold
brewed below its bars
like Dad's hidden homebrew.
J. TARWOOD has been a dishwasher, a community organizer, a medical archivist, a documentary film producer, an oral historian, and a teacher. Much of his life has been spent in East Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East. He has published four books, The Cats in Zanzibar, Grand Detour, And For The Mouth A Flower, and What The Waking See, and his poems have appeared in magazines ranging from American Poetry Review to Visions. He has always been an unlikely man in unlikely places.
The woman can’t find her luggage
She did not want mirrors in the bedroom
The phrase book bulges
Through her coat,
Next to the passport with a recent picture
Sometimes she looks young and pretty
When does no mean no?
The flight from Charlotte
Stopped in London
When she last heard something
She understood without thinking
Distance is not a funny thing
Like how far is far enough
Or when is over over?
Finally her suitcase appears, bumps a strange one
With a big red name tag: John
She didn’t see that
She didn’t but
She feels the plane inside her again landing
Kennenzee mir helfen?
Her reflection in a window waves to her
For a moment it is he
And she yanks her suitcase off
The second one does not appear
For a moment it was he
Is far away enough far enough away?
Now she the only one is
In her shoes tightly curl her toes
Following the suitcase with the big red sticker
go round and round, she is watched
from behind by a German
with the English name
What did she read somewhere
In an inflected language
the object often comes before the verb?
A native of El Salvador, though raised in the US, MAURICIO ROSALES (Dumont, NJ) is a retired, public high school English teacher (Teaneck, NJ) of 30 years. His poems have appeared in The Bilingual Review/La Revista Bilingüe, The Irreal Reader: Fiction & Essays from The Cafe Irreal, Exit 13, and The Lyric. His translations have appeared in Mundus Artium and Borges and I(Univ. of Arkansas Press).
I’ve done this hundreds of times
and I know
I could be such
a bad sister sometimes.
When we fight,
it feels good to
be mean to you and
let out some stress.
I’m sorry, sis
it makes me feel terrible
but you do the same
thing to me.
Darynne Osorio has an interest in social and political activism, which is why she intends to be advocate for women’s rights. She loves to analyze people, as psychology is another passion for her. When she isn’t focused on societal issues, she’s using makeup as a form of artistic expression or watching conspiracy theory videos on Youtube.
The New York poet
Under the clock of this city
I beat with a new heart,
longing after new pairs
of hands to measure its blood.
It is necessary to cross bridges
and foreign waters, I tell myself,
to slay the ordinary shadow.
Let the marrow of the familiar bones
grow into this citadel’s crevices.
Here, the trail of blood and tears
is slowly turning into the very
ink of the intimate pen
that knows no other home
than the skin kneaded of wormwood love.
This ink and pen have moved house,
yet sing of the bird in the throat,
dreaming of a blue tongue of beach,
the Black Sea, mist over the foamy waters
and a pair of eyes sealed on the horizon.
My body trapped here,
my soul buried inside the sea I know,
I dream to get lost
into the heart of this new city
and twist the distance between my fingers.
Today I write at the waterfront,
Hudson river before my eyes,
a curious snake of naked light.
Its faint sound leaves my poem untroubled.
The rain will tamely soothe my longing.
The exasperated tenderness of home,
taking its time to claim my heartbeats,
slowly reminiscing my roots
to echo through flesh, bones and veins
breathes right from the flawed space
between my breasts,
where I choose to flaunt the rules
that make my world.
The way I lift my boy
into my arms and carry him
across the familiar space
resonates with the quiet pen
that awaits from a break.
This is your name,
my mother’s ghost says, then she spirals
back into the night.
Whose memory do you carry carved into the flesh?
Her ricochet undulates into my breath.
What did yearning teach you?
My truth lies here where I inherited my voice.
When I moved to this city
my lopsided sun came with me
and it’s been raining ever since.
Back home, a gray tongue
is hanging in grandma’s smokehouse.
She is going to eat it in a garlicky sauce.
“Be good”, she whispers behind the narrow screen.
My new tribe has no words for things I love,
and no remembrance of the wounds.
Inside my veins, there is a flow
of foreign blood,
pushing me into the cement dream
that coils around me like rubber.
Does an animal miss the tongue?
When I open the mouth,
a mute cry breathes out like a yellow balloon.
It has roots into a different body.
Clara Burghelea is Editor at Large of Village of Crickets and currently taking her MFA in Creative Writing at Adelphi University. Her poems and non-fiction have been published in Peacock Journal, Full of Crow Press, Quail Bell Magazine, Ambit Magazine, The Write Launch and elsewhere. She lives in New York.
That cancer was merely a parenthesis
(some grave aside) in a febrile play at life,
was the essence of our erstwhile denial.
The minutiae of our future lie ahead
deftly wrapped in impermeable glassine—
a promise to beguile immortality.
The surgeon clears his throat and practices
his rhetorical devices. Oxymoron—
aggressive controllable metastases.
Anacoluthon—We’ve scheduled a consult
with radiology for— Have you a will?
Death is neither rhetorical nor timid.
Wasn’t it just yesterday we held reprieve,
splitting open the garnet pomegranate
a sparkling geode, seeds staining sweet kisses . . .
I was mistaken. It was a blood omen,
a poisoned apple, insidious aril,
a mistrial at the turnstile of devotion.
Pamela Joyce Shapiro is a cognitive psychologist intrigued by memory and language. She teaches psychology in Philadelphia and writes poetry to capture moments otherwise forgotten. Her work has recently appeared in Poetry Breakfast and Better Than Starbucks.
Fingers, frost cold—even in early September.
Penny sitting at the bus-stop in a black pea coat, a red plaid scarf,
the white brick wall behind me.
I think of all the things I will miss:
strolls to the Garden House, coffee in an over-crowded shop,
standing outside the red door of her house waiting for the old key to click.
Walking by the expensive pastry shop on the corner—
I picked up almond tarts, and peach danishes to dine on.
At the tapas bar she liked the exoticness
of the fried jalapeño peppers filled with cream cheese,
chewy calamari rings coated in tomatoes,
water jugs filled with sliced limes, lemons, and oranges.
In May, the two Jennys took us to the Workshop
(a café that brought to mind a sooty-halfway house for girls,
if you mentioned it to those who weren’t regulars).
We nibbled on chorizo and spinach pizza,
posed for pictures, knowing we’d scatter from the city,
once summer started and the humidity slowly rolled in.
I found Penny in York around the Solstice.
We picnicked under the willow trees across from her home—
drank Pimms with strawberries and mint floating in our pint glasses.
She ate pork pies and quiche, and played the piano before bed.
Late August I met her in an almost empty station,
cups of hot rose tea (with milk) in her hands—
we caught an early train to London to see Arcadia (her favorite play).
Near Trafalgar square, we took our time at the trendy Italian bistro—
ate ravioli with sage and brown butter. Our zebra striped chairs angled
so we looked more like talk show hosts, than diners.
Here is my goodbye:
A chocolate bar nestled in the slit of a foiled banana,
warming in the bonfire.
The wine and blackcurrant squash on the table,
we hold umbrellas in the night rain.
In the morning I feel the icy wind press against the windows.
Letters to a prospective lover, written next to a carafe of wine,
after a stroll in the afternoon rain. It holds the promise
of wandering through the streets of Paris
during the first flush of spring.
Daydreams of the woman from the coffee shop,
the one whose fingertips (when they rest against your lips)
taste like a fresh pumpkin scone. Remember the warmth
of the yellow couch when you spent the night at her place.
Warnings from your new paramour’s former lover:
She is the ghost in your flesh. Salt and burning her bones
won’t banish her. She creeps into bed next to him,
while you worry into the night.
Words of advice from the old artist,
(her body strung together and gessoed for the hundredth time).
She knows the magic of forgetting, what houses to hide in,
the flowers that keep an old love at bay,
spells that bar anyone new from entering the mind,
and sinking to the heart like a stone.
Feasts of forgiveness
We were incompetent at 19 and 20—
the garlic burnt and became bitter,
a tomato sauce with no flavor.
We said nothing, grudgingly
shredding a block of white cheddar
over bean-patties that had been soaked
and heated in too much oil.
Meals made out of disillusionment.
Swallowing sorrow with tap water,
creating ghosts out of regret.
They haunt me as I go about my day:
Preparing a breakfast of bourbon-peach French toast,
with maple glazed sausages,
next to a shimmering pomegranate mimosa.
Enjoying a lunch with friends—
the sweetness of a poppy seed vinaigrette
mixed with purple cabbage, decorating
a crispy tuna slider on rye.
Dinner—bacon (baked to the perfect crunch)
and egg salad on top of pizza con la patate—
the yolk bursting and dripping into the greens
with the first cut.
I imagine these as offerings for the spirits,
try to find ways to nourish these ghost girls—
make them whole. But they are just wisps, a mist
slipping from my grasp as I try to fix
and feed and heal.
They tell me to invoke the women nearing 30.
Prepare a feast for them. A conjuring to make them
manifest as dinner guests on an early
I have dreams of feeding them sweet pea and prosciutto crostini,
purple potatoes and Spanish chorizo roasted in paprika infused olive oil,
lemon garlic aioli, tomato and goat cheese nestled together on puff pastry.
Let the sweetness of roasted garlic rest on their tongue.
Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in Gargoyle Magazine, Conceptions Southwest, Redheaded Stepchild, Words Dance Magazine, and the UEA 2009 Anthology: Eight Poets. She graduated from the University of East Anglia with her MA in poetry, and has been shortlisted twice for the Eyewear Publishing Fortnight Poetry Prize.
There is something unusual about this morning
The bed leans at alien angles without you
I rub the sleep off my cheeks, staring back at your side.
The covers are pulled out and cattywampus,
like you’d just crawled out of bed, but you didn’t.
You are in Hong Kong and haven’t called
I spoon sugar into my coffee and wait for that phone call
It is bitterly cold as I look out through the window
memory cues when the wind blew in our faces
love messages written by winter on our cheeks
Originally published at Inbetweenhangovers
Sofia Kioroglou is an award-winning poet, 2017 Best of the Net Award nominee by Sundress Publications, journalist, editor, translator, and the author of two poetry chapbooks. Her poems have played on the radio and are included in many anthologies, literary journals, and printed books that include Dumas de Demain, Page and Spine, Galleon Literary Journal, Pengician, Your One Phonecall, Lunaris Review, VerseWrights, Galway Review, Visual Verse, The Outlaw Poetry Network,The Festival For Poetry, Spillwords, and Glance to name but a few.