Stuff

To minimize        sorrow’s splash & sizzle

baby lava drops        slow motion fall

leaving their tear ducts      empty of ways

to transport    the stuff of grief

some lean       toward heavenly things

the blue & white fluff    of paper Mache

obese clouds      of thunderous joy

the pretty and perfect        pulseless distractions

made famous         by the stuff of faith

consumption     is rarely subpoenaed

for questioning             too much stuff

in the gut’s garage           too much mail

in the mind’s cold box         to sort out    the real

from      the almost real    the who the hell sent

this wickedness to me     who has time

for such       stuff

 

by Daniel Edward Moore

Daniel Edward Moore’s poems have been published in the Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle, Columbia Journal, New South, American Journal Of Poetry and others. His poems are currently at Lullwater Review, Natural Bridge Literary Journal, Scalawag Magazine, Tule Review, Fire Poetry Journal, West Texas Literary Review, The Chaffin Journal, Bluestem Magazine, The Paragon Journal and Sheila-Na-Gig. Poems forthcoming are in Weber Review, Stillwater Review, Hawaii Review, Blue Fifth Review, Plainsongs, Twisted Vine Literary Arts Journal, Broad Street Magazine, The Museum Of Americana and West Trade Review. His books of poems are the anthology “This New Breed: Gents, Bad Boys and Barbarians,” and “Confessions Of A Pentecostal Buddhist” can be found on Amazon. He lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. (danieledwardmoore.com)

Impressions

shadow

 

The shadow

of a cragged tree stands

 

sharp and complete

across an old apartment building,

 

though my angle

of vision

 

blinds me

to the shadow’s tree.

 

*

 

pigeon

 

A pigeon flies toward the cornice

of an old tenement building then

 

draws up short, startled by something

it finds where it was about to land

 

and it flaps in the air, in place, in

a flurry of disbelief; then it either

 

attacks or shoots away

but I don’t notice

 

because it sticks in my mind

as stuck in midair, in shock,

 

unable to square

with a truth

 

I can’t

see.

 

*

 

deli

 

The royal blue

deli awning, dripping

 

with rain, says:

Cold Sodas, Newspapers,

 

Sandwiches, Hot Coffee, Beer,

Play Lotto Here.

 

The cramped, over-lit, under-cleaned

deli itself

 

crunching these commonplaces

together in

 

the dark

reflection of

 

my deli-stocked

face.

 

*

 

mirror

 

The acoustic guitar

hanging on the café wall

 

behind me

hangs halved in a mirror

 

on the far wall

before me, a mirror

 

in whose frame is tucked

a curled, faded photograph

 

of a smiling young woman, a mirror

crossed by cropped reflections

 

of staff and customers

coming and going

 

until it empties

in the night.

 

by Mark Belair

Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His latest collection is Watching Ourselves (Unsolicited Press, 2017). Previous collections include Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015); Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize multiple times. Please visit www.markbelair.com

Jeri Theriault

how the body heals

 

slow-crawl through thick air

mind furrows its weighty rut

& a boy flits past on his board

threads the sluggish cars

so fully his 13-year-old self

left foot lifted

headphoned rap

metal    thrash

slings him wide

onto Deering

& I want to warn him

 don’t ride here   it’s too

dangerous

but he pulls me

into the perfect stitch

of his turn

holds all of us car-bound cynics

in thrall

weaves his net

exquisite

rule of body-need

the way

I danced once

between a mirrored wall

& plate-glass street

bare feet & red skirt

music & muscle in synch

whisper-stomp

my middle-aged body

loose-hinged

claiming this column of air

                                                you make me feel

                                                                        you make me feel

                                                each step a truth

                                                            I danced

though I was not

had never been

a dancer

lifted all of Congress Street

                                                                  my bones singing

a hymn

unlearned

& necessary

 

 

inukshuk

after Rising Cairn by Celeste Roberge

 

the stones piled variously on the thin beach

near my favorite walking path  fall

when the tide turns & collect

 

in the crook of that place   prepared

for stillness. the water beats them smooth

& makes a kind of music    grief’s

 

innumerable chuffs & sighs. the woman kneeling

does not put the stones into her pockets

but swallows them   each stone

 

remembered by the tongue.  swallows clay & silt

taste of cavern   cliff edge & crag    until her body holds

the balance between weight

 

& right. earth-pinned   I  too  remember  each fist-sized

bruise   each rain-wise stone tuned to the illumined lullaby

of loss.     like the low-tide man   hefting

 

stone in his well-muscled arms   smile-less   stone-

worthy.  another swallower     he cairns & stoops.

does not look at me even when I speak.

 

we swallow what gathers   clamoring.

we sink a bit more each day   stone-anchored.

she says she’s rising. not

 

sinking. in another telling   she carries stones

one by one uphill.     some say

the carrying goes on forever.

 

Inuksuk (inukshuk in English) is an Inuit word for a figure made of piled stones constructed to communicate with humans throughout the arctic. Inukshuk  means “to act in the capacity of a human.” http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/en/article/inuksuk-inukshuk/

 

by Jeri Theriault

Jeri Theriault’s Radost, My Red was published by Moon Pie Press in 2016. She also has three chapbooks, most recently: In the Museum of Surrender (Encircle Publications contest winner, 2013). Her poems have appeared in journals (Paterson Literary Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Rattle, The Atlanta Review, etc.) and anthologies such as French Connections: An Anthology of Poetry by Franco-Americans. A Fulbright recipient (1998-99) and Pushcart Prize nominee (2006, 2013 and 2016), Jeri holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in Maine.

 

The Body Knows

How does the body recite its way out

From under the grammar of flagellation?

Perhaps the verb ‘strike’ will change

And kiss its fearsome subject with permission.

Perhaps there’s a sentence that can be avoided,

Or a sharp noun that the mouth refuses to utter!

Obedience, a child of the sun is forced

To remember it like the taste of sugar.

A mother’s milk is long forgotten,

But the throbbing under the skin

Becomes its own tense marker—

A song that sings through time

And out of time—an infinity of remembrance.

The body knows. It has its own encyclopedia.

Welts from cowhides,

Aching ribs from steel toe boots,

And a purple crescent moon below one’s right eye

That refuses to wane. The body recites and

Remembers the A B Cs of thunderclap

And the crackle of lightning from a teacher

Dressed in a black cassock with skin from

A land of snow. The body remembers

The warm gush of yellow fluid

When a child in khaki shorts

And black boots was left standing

Like a wet dog in his own puddle,

As he was unable to master

The master’s grammar.

 

by Patrick Sylvain

Sylvain is a poet, social critic, and photographer. Twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Published in several creative anthologies and reviews, including: African American Review, Agni, American Poetry Review, Aperture, Callaloo, Caribbean Writers, Transition, Ploughshares, SX Salon, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse. Sylvain’s academic essays are anthologized. Sylvain received his B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, an Ed.M. from Harvard; and received his MFA from Boston University as a Robert Pinsky Global Fellow. Sylvain is on faculty at Brown University’s Africana Studies. Sylvain is also the Shirle Dorothy Robbins Creative Writing Prize Fellow at Brandeis University and has forthcoming publications with Beacon Press (Essay, 2019), and Central Square Press (Poetry, July 2018).

Why Not to Pick Scabs

because the boy with the bike whose handlebars held you

from South High to home would see the bruises you got

when you jumped off too early.

picking scabs might leave scars,

your mother said as she removed gravel

from cuts with your legs extended on the bathtub’s edge.

bulky bandages exposed the truth

faster than you could disagree.

 

but that was long ago and you’re grown now,

or you want to be, legs extended

in a skirt far above your knees, so that the boy with the bike

might look a little too long.

you wait to pick the scab until it’s just right,

when it’s ready to jump off anyway,

the skin nude colored enough to keep this secret.

 

if you pick too early,

the boy might not let you ride again,

might say it’s too dangerous,

look at your scar, he might say,

as if it’s proof that his handlebars

shouldn’t hold this blame.

 

 

by Chavonn Williams Shen

Chavonn Williams Shen is a Minneapolis native and an educator. She was the first place winner for the 2017 Still I Rise grant for African American women hosted by Alternating Current Press and a 2017 Pushcart Prize nominee. She was also a 2017 Best of the Net Award finalist, a winner of the 2016-2017 Mentor Series in Poetry and Creative Prose through the Loft Literary Center, and a 2016 fellow through the Givens Foundation for African American Literature. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in: Beecher’s Magazine, The A3 Review, and The Coil, as well as other journals. A graduate of Carleton College, Chavonn is currently pursuing her MFA in creative writing at Hamline University.

Wendy Miles

Self-Portrait Formed with Unrelated Contents

 

Don’t look at the girl pirouetting over the cattle guard even if

she’s wearing a pink gingham bikini in the evening. This isn’t

about nightshade plants or sinewy cats floating the fence line.

We have other fish to fry after the migraine aura leaves her limbs

and lips numb as a stroke. Okay, the cattle guard is true. And there was

an orange elephant bank, petunias in pots, and a little row to hoe.

But listen. There was mercy. She came to god and her days

cracked apart like jackhammered cement and the stairs wobbled

and the mother said she was brand new and the girl in gingham—it’s true—

went on about her business. Her business was watching out

for the sky to be right. Listening for a car door in the dark. Twisting

banana ice pops in her mouth and not dangling her clean bare legs

in places where she knew good and well snakes could be.

 

 

 

Self-Portrait with Magic and Swallowing

 

At times it was like this, wasn’t it. Barn after rickety barn

and a series of cloudy directions. Sometimes night

curled in your fleshy young mouth. There’s no cure

for the dark birds you’ve eaten. Through the tall grass

a beautiful couple comes swaggering into view.

They’ve been ambling with the water dogs again.

Yes, there’s a house here hidden from view.

Yes, the deer bed in that thicket.

Two leisurely bodies ease one into another

like rope coiling over itself. The smell of water,

bailing twine, honeysuckle, dusk. Yes,

someone is dying. Blood slogs through the body

and flesh tugs at flesh. Copper-penny taste on the tongue.

There’s the tuneful splash of water bird or dog.

Delicate bones collect—each churned out clean from your lips.

 

by Wendy Miles

Wendy Miles’s work has been published or is forthcoming in places such as Prairie Schooner, Tupelo Quarterly, Arts & Letters, Memoir Journal, Southern Poetry Review, Hunger Mountain, storySouth, The MacGuffin, Alabama Literary Review and R.kv.r.y. Quarterly. Winner of the 2014 Patricia Dobler Poetry Award, a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a semi-finalist for the 2017, 2016 and 2013 Perugia Press Prize, Wendy lives and writes in Virginia.