Beautiful. These rock band boys, giddy as pups given an open field. So pumped.
Drumbeats loud as amplified hearts. Muscled and optimistic, they can meet anything head on.
Years ago they’d have marched off to Vietnam, skinny and scared. Helmets and camouflage.
Shell shocked or blasted. Names etched on a wall.
Some of those boys, like Jesse, made it to Montreal. Guitars in hand, they held us close
in coffee houses and open mics. The war distant over the border.
They’re older now. Faces softened, almost female. Youth settled around their middles
like memories that won’t let go.
And of the ones drafted who came back, some sleep on sidewalks
while next door my neighbor just wants to shoot every damned poppy on the block.
Originally from Montreal, Babo Kamel now resides in Florida. Her work is published in literary reviews in the US, Australia, and Canada including the Greensboro Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Lines + Stars, and most recently in Poet Lore. She holds an MFA from Warren Wilson’s Program for Writers, is a Best of Net nominee, and a six-time Pushcart nominee. Her chapbook, After, is published with Finishing Line Press. Find her at babokamel.com She has a poem forthcoming in Best Canadian Poetry 2020
Once, when beasts could shed the expensive fur
of an evil spell, and pigs find the tools
to save themselves, the frog words to secure
his place beside all that beauty, the mule—
beyond his usefulness—who lugged those sacks
of music deep inside for Brementown
proved (like the mermaid’s chronic bellyaches
to know how suffering makes one heaven’s own),
led me to believe anything was possible.
Even disappointment—having first crossed
my path disguised as a newt, for whom high
ground’s shoebox palace was never fable
to one day finding water, getting lost—
disappointment on its own true wand relies.
Shelley Benaroya is founding director and teaching artist for the Writing Center for Creative Aging (www.writingcenterforcreativeaging.com), launched in 2008. Her poetry has appeared in all the sins, Diner, Ekphrasis, Letters Journal, The Lyric, The Road Not Taken, Thirteenth Moon, and elsewhere. In 2017, she received the Ekphrasis Prize and a Pushcart Prize nomination.
The night the trees in the orchard
dropped their peaches,
the ground shook,
and a nurse told us it was almost time.
His breath was little then less.
With drooping eyes, he tried
to speak that day and night
when our whole world was stacked
against a disappearing sky.
We prayed his color,
somewhere between chlorine
would pinken when dawn arrived,
turning blackness to rust and pink
and then, clear blue.
Taking turns warming his hand,
my daughter and I switched seats
and shared memories
we hoped he could understand.
But nothing could stop a breeze
from blowing from the four corners
of the room or a blare
from seven trumpets
calling to the sea to wash it crystal.
Teresa Sutton’s fourth chapbook, “Ruby Slippers for Gretel,” (under different titles) was a top 50 finalist in the Wingless Dreamer 2019 Chapbook Competition and a semi-finalist in both the 2018 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Award and the 2018 Quill’s Edge Press Chapbook Competition. Her third chapbook, “Breaking Newton’s Laws,” won 1st place in the Encircle Publication 2017 Chapbook Competition; One of the poems in the collection, “Dementia,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The final poem of the book, “Confiteor 2,” was honored with second prize in the 2018 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry. Sutton taught for 10 years at Marist College and 29 years as a high school English teacher. She has an MFA in poetry from Solstice at Pine Manor College, an MA in Literature from Western Connecticut State University, an MS in Education from SUNY New Paltz, and a BA from SUNY Albany.
can’t we see that,
escorted elected barbarians
in bed with morphine drips,
confused, hapless, wanderers
like brad pitt trying to explain
strike out to walk ratios,
mormon from utah ending
two year mission to watts
trying to explain the green
stain on her white denims
glass of catawba
at halftime then
too drunk to sing karaoke
in nantuckett harbor after
stepping out after midnight
with crazy mad childless women
six hours a night
in casino back bars
doing a glacial hip hop stomp
the heavy razor edges
a classic southern Sabbath softening
to melodic sounds of bluegrass
away the crush, the glory
forgotten, erased, and discarded by
blowhard blackheaded rascist twits
who will read nietzsche in prison
just metaphors of martyrdom well placed
on the tantric twitter or
the everyday falsetto of facebook
played like a banjo
at an ozark pig roast
Dan Jacoby is a graduate of Fenwick High School, St. Louis University, Chicago State University, and Governors State University. He has published poetry in the Arkansas Review, Bombay Gin, Burningword Literary Review, Canary, The Fourth River, Steel Toe Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and Red Fez to name a few. He is a former educator, steel worker, and counterintelligence agent.. He is a member of the Carlinville Writers Guild and American Academy of Poets . Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015. Nominated for Best on the Net for Poetry in 2019 by Red Fez. His book, Blue Jeaned Buddhists, Duck Lake Books, is available where fine books are sold.
Like the Mississippi River where the Rock River cuts the Rock Island Arsenal bridge in three. Like heavy clouds in that evening period when birds huddle in nests to await the next. When a single bat cuts sky too early for the mayfly too late for robin. Like threats of let loose. Like cover, like hands over mouths, like breath. Like heat. In eddies where remains of my best friend were bagged, after bound, after held, after down. Like heavy and shut. Like what I call God, what I call Heaven, what I call Green. Where sand holds ankle, promise, and anklet. Bones trace fern. Memory trace warning sign. I sit on the second truss, halfway suspended, awaiting the storm.
stumbles to wall
catches with skin
slides to floor
He can feel Her.
He can feel Her.
He can feel Her.
scabs upon canvas
Or he doesn’t. Not with hands.
falls into child’s pose
canary knees exhausted
postulates to her to her to her
She watches him
until he falls asleep
Shoshana Tehila Surek
Shoshana Surek received her MA and MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University. Her essays, short stories, flash fiction, and poetry, can be read or are forthcoming in Carve Magazine, december Magazine, SmokeLong Quarterly, Malahat Review, Vestal Review, Cease, Cows, 3Elements Review, and f(r)iction Magazine. In 2017, She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and she is a 2019 Curt Johnson Prose Award finalist. More of her work can be found at www.ShoshanaSurek.com.
I pulled the sheet over the hole again,
laid stones along the edge to stop
the wind from slapping it against the sky.
I didn’t want to see
how far down I’d have to leave him.
He’d showed me what I needed to know,
how to brine the meat in salt and garlic,
how to mix dill in the vinegar,
keep the cucumbers and carrots
crisp through months of snow
when I’d be alone
and no one would come up the mountain.
He taught me to talk to the mirror,
look in my own eyes, say I’m afraid,
the only way to pierce the cloud,
make it bleed your worry.
He’d always say there’s no one
who’ll get in the hole with you;
make your own mind.
For months I tried to shove the ache
back in the hole, wanted the days
to pile like shells into years,
cover it, settle the patched mound
‘til it was a flattened hill of my dead.
Every morning the steel on stone voice
cuts the air when I cook the oats,
raisins and molasses,
stare out the window at the snow,
roll his words in my mind.
Even now I whisper the rules:
throw salt over your shoulder to blind the devil,
be ready to say you’re sorry,
watch a man’s eyes when he talks
if I want to know
whether you can believe him.
Mark Anthony Burke
Mark Burke’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in the North American Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Sugar House Review, Nimrod International Journal and others. His work has recently been nominated for a Pushcart prize. See: markanthonyburkesongsandpoems.com