May & June 2019
Vol IV 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!
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Free Verse Poetry Page with Suzanne Robinson
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From far off though this wall
still grieves, stone over stone
closing from inside as mist
—still sags into each corner
the way mourners come by in twos
binding their dead to the dim light
that covers the Earth with your forehead
—you’re lost, sinking in
till you stop as you did before
and again your back breaks open
for air and wings and in your knees
the bones that will go no further
are filled with an immense arch
pressing down on the thin shadow
waiting at home and loosening.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Gibson Poems published by Cholla Needles, 2019.
Guts and Poison
I read a poem today
by a writer I greatly admire
this guy had it all
his words had guts
his ink had poison
colourful weeds in a manicured garden
but today I read one of his
that contained a line
almost identical to one of mine
and a crack ran through me
and I thought
he can’t be that great
Steve Denehan lives in Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. He has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and Best New Poet and his chapbook, Of Thunder, Pearls and Birdsong, is available from Fowlpox Press.
Curve The Palm Of Your Hand
If only you could
curve the palm of your hand
to hold the ghosts, the scars
my cut out spaces
If only you could
spread your fingertips
make a point to hold me
till I swallow again
If only you could curl
concave your hand
to pool my hurry past
and wash away my scars
If only you could
brush flower blossoms
onto my churn
to dress me calm
So I can breathe fragrance
while they remain
noble white chrysanthemums
For as I devein
there is only one way
from pain to pleasure
When grievous things come to wound
carry me in the palm of your hand
and clasp me to that place, your heart
Donna Best writes to ruffle and scratch at her need to share her words, to connect her feelings with others, to reach out to like-minded people who might also have like feelings, even if not like experiences, and for the validation that it gives.
Notes from the prison house
They said . . .
They said my sentence wasn’t that severe.
They lied to me again! Did they?
They lied . . . did they?
“Maybe you won’t be here that long.”
(Yeah, maybe. Fuck that!)
I can’t even remember how I got here.
Was I condemned? For what?!
Was I sentenced? For what?!
I know one thing for sure — perverted Cartesian that I am —
I don’t like it here.
“You can leave.” (They tell me.) “There are no guards.”
(Something holds me here. I try to find the entrance,
I fall . . . deeper. I don't care about my wounds.)
Did it matter when I thought I cared?
Does it matter when the darkness seems to recede?
There are times . . . when someone gives me joy . . . ignores my shame.
They said there is a key.
They said that they don't have it.
They said . . . do I believe them?
“You don't have it, but it can be found.”
They said . . .
There are no guards within this prison house.
When Daniel Squires is not reading, he’s writing. When he’s not writing, he’s working. When he’s not working, he is contemplating the perplexities of life in the 21st-century in Oregon. When he tires of that, he’s back reading again.
six ocean mornings
on rocks at first light
bottle capped ocean
slate on slate ~
clam shell sky
glazes the atlantic
mother of pearl
banks of snow
on the sea surface
six morning sisters
up mirrors down
sunrise on the ocean
Ingrid Bruck’s current work appears in Otata, Failed Haiku, Naturewriting, and Halcyon Days. Her debut chapbook, Finding Stella Maris, was just released by Flutter Press. Her poetry website is www.ingridbruck.com.
I cut the
down to the
ground, but I
didn't dig up
the roots. Like
all my other
the next year,
After my wife refilled the bird feeder on the maple tree in
she told our grandson, who had helped, to watch out
for those sneaky squirrels because they would steal the birds’
I said, maybe, the squirrels are hungry, too.
Later, as we watched the birds eating from our sunroom,
my wife pointed out a sneaky squirrel
who joined in on the feast. The tag sneaky
stuck to any squirrel caught climbing our maple tree,
and soon to any squirrel at all.
If squirrels understood human language,
I wonder what they would think of the label sneaky
applied to their species. For that matter,
what would spiders think of scary,
rats of repulsive, and snakes of deadly.
Labels are strange and powerful things,
even more so if applied to the human species.
Think loser, slut, racist, snitch, far right, or far left.
Like one’s weight, they are easy to gain but hard to lose.
Harold Whisman is a retired English and journalism teacher for Norfolk Public Schools in Virginia. He has been writing poetry for several decades but started writing it full time the last few years. These poems are from a book of poetry as yet unpublished.
Sitting on a blanket, looking up at the blue sky
my sister and I watched the whirly birds from
the neighbor’s maple trees swirl through
the air to the ground next to us.
We tossed them up into the sky to see who
could get them highest and then watched them
float back down to the grass. Then we picked
them up again and tried to be the highest again.
My sister gave me a box to stand on so that we
were the same height but it always made me a
couple of inches taller. She never complained
and I never said anything about it.
She taught me how to pick the good ones—ones
without rips or tears or holes. She showed me
how to spin my wrist just right to make them
soar into the late spring sky.
In the fall, when the whirly birds where gone
and she was off to school and I was left at home,
she ran home and taught me what she had learned,
making me feel a couple inches taller again.
Jennifer Davis earned a MA in Writing from DePaul. She is the SVP at Lever Interactive, a digital marketing agency. She and husband Chris are owned by two bulldogs, Hugo and Petunia.
when your name is announced coffee comes
in a paper cup beside a box crammed
with collars to buffer your fingers
from the heat which finds its way through
and the palm nestles into its ease while you check
the black lid is clipped all around
and the keyhole at the edge looks up and is ready
for the first tiny sip when the tongue makes its test
the way my hand pulled my mother’s coat
over my face and knew its buttonhole
that opened and shut was the safe way to dose
the world to myself
Judith Bowles is the author of two collections of poetry, The Gatherer (2014) and Unlocatable Source (forthcoming), both from Turning Leaf.
Barrio Song 25
you would see them emerge
when the sunlight disappeared
and the city lights took over
if you were lucky
usually one guy
one spray can
usually black paint
this wall this barrio
the rattling clacking
before the hisssssss
with precision and ownership
of that moment
no matter who was looking
in awe in disgust in violation
in disrespect in pure admiration
flaring barrio calligraphy cadence
all body movements
dancing in resilience rejection
begging and answering
where you from
whose barrio is this
a glance at all bystanders
you better recognize game
when you see it
the dna of ancient wall scriber
shrilling through their caged body
Israel Francisco Haros Lopez has been published online and in print poetry journals, including Rise Up, Across The Margin, La Bloga, and The Anthology Poetry of Resistance: Voices for Social Justice. He has two collections of poetry, Waterhummingbirdhouse: A Poetry Codex, and Mexican Jazz Vol. 1.
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