May 2018 Vol. III No. V
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!
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General Poetry Page with Suzanne Robinson
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STARING INTO SPACE
The small moon rises slowly like a dilemma
I was too stupid to recognize at first.
The horizon of darkening trees
undulates like the waves of a body in desire.
The night sky, here, outside the city’s noisy halo
needs a new metaphor for light
or one borrowed from ancient times:
playground, guide, god’s inverse sieve,
or changing map that only the Chinese spotted.
I’ve come to an old friend’s rural spread
to try to figure a few things out
among cow paths and cricketed grass
and true light of real darkness
but staring into brilliant space
I get even more confused and
I can only stay here ‘til Tuesday.
AFTER THE JOB INTERVIEW
The elevator doors parted like vaginal lips.
Inside I made animal sounds and laughed,
pressed prone against the floor
as if making a photocopy of myself,
leapt up and kicked the walls
like going crazy in a padded cubicle.
O the dreams we had of opening a restaurant!
All those fertile dreams,
maybe a bookstore
with sofas and a Siamese cat,
creating it all with hands held across a bistro’s table
as if we would one day own a home,
steep sun tea on the porch
and continue to be happy.
The ding of the shaft
like a timer set for a hard boiled egg.
Then the lobby, the forest-themed lobby,
fountain and ferns and green walls,
and then the street, hitting the streets all day
jiggling the change in my pocket
like fumbling for the snooze button.
Dan O’Connell is a four-time award winning poet, recently America Magazine’s Foley Poetry Prize and an Ina Coolbrith Poetry Prize winner.
Latin: Carnem levare.
Like clockwork the command:
abandon the sensual. Along the
Antillean arc, our vertebral isles
heave a joint, subcrustal sigh.
Arising, as one supple-spined,
multihued trickster, we turn
these decrees on their heads,
respond instead with abandon
of a pointedly sensuous kind.
Respond with the beautifully soiled,
the fallible earth and dust we all are.
Respond, at the dawn, with J’ouvert.
Emit, in malodorous, loamy, sonorous
whiffs, both the joy of messy existence
and the agape even Tyndale insisted, in
impenitent vernacular, merely meant love.
Meant — despite the dependably variable
inner weathers of our species, our striving
and our ever falling short — each of us is
an odd sort of sacred, odd sort of loved.
So, hello to flesh and feeling, not penance,
welcome its thrust and jiggle, shuck off
the carapace self in which we have served
and sidled too long. Come today to the well
where governing and governed unmaster
themselves. Take and drink. Don’t bother,
before or after, wiping the bucket rim clean.
Joe O'Neill’s poetry has appeared in The Galway Review, Caribbean Writer, Moko, Litbreak, The Journal of Caribbean Literatures, and Where I See the Sun: Contemporary Poetry of the Virgin Islands.
Featured Poem - Editor's Choice:
by Laura Hampton
My Mother’s Back
The last indignity, she says
Her own children, washing her, changing her underwear.
A long hospital stay: night nurses waking her
Only interested in her vital signs.
We sit for hours, I let her talk.
She tells me of her Pan-American flying days.
When she wasn’t flying, she was modeling.
Living in a two-bedroom apartment with 8 women, nurses and stewardesses.
They were never all at home, working crazy hours. They’d just sleep where there was an
Empty bed. Someone would occasionally empty the ash trays, buy coffee.
I use warm water, hospital soap
Lean her forward to wash her back.
Everywhere else, her skin shows her 83 years.
But her back is smooth as a girl’s.
I find the shape of another woman. Tiny, feminine.
She was ever only my mother.
I see shoulders a man would want to stroke, a backless black dress.
Like an old movie, he’d put his hand on the small of her back.
A young woman in love with life.
She still laughs in that movie star way,
Head thrown back.
She puts on lipstick:
Charms the doctor, on his feet since 6 am.
Asks the names of the hospital aide’s children.
I see just how beautiful she is.
The Silence Between Letters
Daughter, it is not something you will ever know:
The silence between letters.
You carefully pick stationary, but make a draft on three-ring binder paper
Cursive, no one does that anymore.
Fold it in thirds, put it in an envelope, lick it shut. Done.
Dropping it in the mailbox is the final commitment.
You write to a boyfriend gone for the summer.
You must wait until a return letter. Sometimes it doesn’t come right away.
Then you worry, what did I write? Did he misread?
Did the pink stationary come off as too needy?
Every day, you check the mailbox. In between the circulars and bills,
Looking for a reply. Silence.
Now, you text, or Skype. Immediately, you know
Can gauge where you stand, minute by minute.
But then, the absence of an envelope could lead to despair.
Laura Hampton has published poetry, short stories and non-fiction in a variety of online and print publications. When she is not writing she is a Master Pilates instructor.
on blades of ice
cross a solid
Richard Leach is a widely published sacred poet, writing words set to music as hymns and anthems. For some time now he has focused on visual art and secular poetry.
The Silver Surf Motel
wired from driving
and feeling lost
pass a “VACANCY” sign
it’s an untrendy residence
for the weather worn
and a lucky find for us
so sign the register
pay the deposit
and park the car
from the balcony
of an unfamiliar room
an ocean in twilight
loud, cold and the context
wear a coat, no shoes
patiently stroll the beach
searching the horizon
soaking up the big empty
yet standing on the riffling sand
this solitary meditation
on the ineffable self
there’s a couple with their dogs
one large and one small
the dogs’ happy with that
Donald Gasperson has been published in or accepted for publication by Poetry Pacific, Three Line Poetry, Quail Bell Magazine, Big Windows Review, and the Tipton Poetry Journal.
What’s It Taste Like
The crust of a shag rug
teething at my legs,
its pockets between hairs
filled with dirt and Barbies.
A stove, I’ve never seen used,
looks at me with a rusty smile
on the only unclothed
tile on this floor.
A place hung with wood panel walls
and a box TV. Large fur heads
hang on the walls
in place of light fixtures.
Does (Dolls?) with eyes made of glass,
and never a soal, (soul?)
stuck in scooped sockets.
Her mates head hung like hers, neck stiff
as if it was never made of muscle. Their crowns spread
out white as teeth
holding brown wires
and dust. A fox
the spot of red
in brown. Stuck in a calm
on top of this wooden perch,
looking at me
in two different stoned directions. A stitch
holding down its stomach.
The horns of the moon
In evening prayers,
a streak of fire —
and we all crossed ourselves,
because this the right thing,
the best thing,
the only thing.
It was a thousand years ago
but I would do it now.
And then, as now,
write down what I saw,
what we all saw.
The crescent might break
but it did not.
The world might creak to
a stop, but it did not.
We might have stopped,
but we did not.
Meg Smith’s poems have been published in or accepted by The Blue Hour, Pudding, The Cafe Review and other publications.
Dressed as one of the shepherds
You looked more like Valentino
Gazing across a desert
Of smiling upturned faces
At your first Nativity show.
The rustic head dress
Hanging Sheikh like
To your three years
Dignity to immaturity
And when you yawned
In childish indifference
During yet another
Jolly Christmas ditty
A hundred mothers sighed.
I have the close up photo
That I took from the audience
Balanced on a tiny chair
To remind me of your glory
And my own long since faded.
David Subacchi has published 4 collections of his English Language poetry, as well as a collection in Welsh. David’s work has appeared in many literary magazines and anthologies.
It is common our disputes about this and that.
Really, almost daily, we are at opposite sides.
Friends say we are not well-settled a couple,
and so misjudgment, I know, hurts us equally.
In the deep of night, standing awake in bed,
I look at you asleep and feel all friends’ errors.
Who would bear testimony to us, I ask myself.
Walls and roofs surely know our inmost life
but they do not speak, are invalid witnesses.
I ask them if just to me would they speak of us.
They speak our confrontations, furies, rough words
and revilements but also remember hugs and
hot kisses. Likewise, I remember I have listened
to some words like it is cold out, dear, wear your
coat or don’t be late, darling; some little things
only beloved ones are capable of.
They say we are in hard and arduous battle,
in pursuing, although scarce, a bit of true love.
They also say to keep the route and fear nothing.
Tiles and bricks, indeed they know, but perceive,
unlike our best friends, the very plot of the play.
First published in TWJ Magazine, October 2014
A Brazilian poet, Edilson A. Ferreira, 74, writes in English rather than Portuguese. His first poetry book, Lonely Sailor (one hundred poems), is scheduled for publication in 2018.