Memorial Day During Covid We Watch a Music Group Perform on TV

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.

 

Babo Kamel

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

Where Elevation Beyond One’s Station Leads

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

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 Pale Horse

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

and chlorophyll,

 

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

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.

Ice Melting

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

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.

Shoshana Tehila Surek

Green.

 

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.

 

 

Dizzy.

 

stumbles to wall

catches with skin

slides to floor

 

He can feel Her.

He can feel Her.

He can feel Her.

There.

 

closes window

draws curtains

turns gold

into patina

into green

into oozing

scabs upon canvas

 

No surprises

He says

 

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.

Skin of the Days

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