Los Angeles energy and diversity
sometimes combined with a sort of
malevolence and I needed an escape
At first I had closed the blinds to the
sea, visitors asked me why, I said it
just served to emphasize I’d gone as
far West as I could go and Alger’s
advice was meant for younger men
and it saddened me. Then I came to
find The Tube. In moments before
sleep, I would enter a pneumatic
tube of copper and glass and it sent
me deep into the earth with a quiet
whooshing sound, and I’d descend
smoothly with a growing sense of
calm, down, down, down until the
elevator came to a slow, non-jolting
stop, and the doors slid open to
reveal a scene: walkways, panorama
of depths and finished walls chipped
out of cavelike structures, softly lit
but well-lit, the light was green but
greenish gold in areas, industrial
machines whirred and performed
generative tasks and men in hard
hats walked about checking things
and took no notice of me. The big
machines, made of one foot pipes
bolted together with flanges were
all industrial green on concrete
pads, with gauges and louvered
sides, and I knew they supplied the
power and light for the complex, a
seemingly endless cave of tranquil
energy, there for me whenever I
needed it for restoration and deep
green sleep to face the L.A. day.
Guinotte Wise writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. Five more books since. A 5-time Pushcart nominee, his fiction and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Southern Humanities Review, Rattle and The American Journal of Poetry. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it. Some work is at http://www.wisesculpture.com
I am a stranger
I am not your bird
I am not your sea
I am not your inspiration
I am not your tree
I am not your ear ear
I am not your flirt
I am not your overseer
I am not your dirt
I am not your Ledbetter
I am not your Freud
I am not your fairy tale
I am not your every wish for
I am not your Prophet
I am not your favor and favor and favor
I am a
Wendy Gist was raised in the forest of the Southwest on the outskirts of Flagstaff, Arizona. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in For Women Who Roar, Fourth River, New Plains Review, Oyez Review, Rio Grande Review, Soundings Review, St. Austin Review, Sundog Lit, The Chaffey Review, Tulane Review and other fine journals. Gist has worked as a professional contributing writer for many leading publications including Better Nutrition, Caribbean Travel and Life, eDiets, New Mexico Magazine, Pilates Style, Today’s Diet and Nutrition, and numerous others (national and international). She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of the chapbook Moods of the Dream Fog (Finishing Line Press, 2016). She was named semifinalist for The Best Small Fictions, 2017.
the biggest ball
No discontented lovers
struggling with rope
anxious to be free.
waiting in ambush
for that special
twosomes and threesomes
like old sneakers.
Just a ball of
than the town
Steve Deutsch lives in State College, PA. His recent publications have or will appear in Evening Street, Better Than Starbucks, Flashes of Brilliance, SanAntonio Review, Softblow, Mojave River Review, The Broadkill Review, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Panoply, Algebra of Owls, The Blue Nib, Thimble Magazine, The Muddy River Poetry Review, Ghost City Review, Borfski Press, Streetlight Press, Gravel, Literary Heist, Nixes Mate Review, Third Wednesday, Misfit Magazine, Word Fountain, Eclectica Magazine, The Drabble, New Verse News and The Ekphrastic Review. He was nominated for Pushcart Prizes in 2017 and 2018. His Chapbook, “Perhaps You Can,” was published in 2019 by Kelsay Press.
The blank page is inspiration—
a silent beckoning
in the mind’s ears.
It is just like the ocean’s coy whisper
in a conch shell,
A toddler scampers across it,
leaving word-like footprints.
Lacking social concerns,
he builds sandcastles of
the wave grows toward
washes away innocence,
replaces it with complex
and walks away.
Planning My Road Trip
This will be epic!
I am planning my road trip.
(Who am I kidding? I am daydreaming.)
Really, I will have to be frugal
and pack light,
but for an extended adventure—
bring only essentials. Roll my bedroll
tightly, strap it
tightly to the luggage rack.
The saddlebags are filled
with necessities: road flares, inner tube,
a selective assortment of tools.
A duffel of clothes fit for all seasons
sits on the passenger pillion (rides bitch,
if you will),
which would otherwise be empty.
My route has been mapped out,
with various alternatives tossed about,
like a maverick or nomad.
I will visit forty-eight states
(and at least one foreign country) alone.
Of course, many things,
like consumables, I can gather
on the road;
beg, borrow, steal the rest. I will need
a pup tent and a Coleman stove
for the road-side campsites
I will sleep at to save money
on occasion, weather permitting.
It will be bare-bones and dirt-cheap.
(Yes, even in my dreams.) Now,
if only I still had my hog. . . . It won’t
be the same in an RV.
Growing up in Texas, Eric dreamed of dropping out of high school, but when the haze of adolescence cleared, he found himself in law school instead. After being a trial lawyer for a decade and a half, he ran away to Ohio, where he taught school and lived life for about a minute. Eventually, he returned home to help care for his parents. Eric’s poetry has been included in numerous collections, both online and in hard copy. In 2013, his prose poem “The Meeting Ran Long” was nominated for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net anthology. His chapbook, The Good Parts, will be published in January 2020 by Finishing Line Press.
In those days of “The Ugly American”
and Gary Powers, his U-2 Incident,
we lived and traveled in Scotland and Europe.
It was mostly the intense teenage boys
who yelled, “Yankee, go home!”
or maybe the coal man, if you could
parse out a few understandable words,
who insulted our Canadian friends
by mistaking them for one of us.
Sure, speaking would give us away,
but how did they know us on the streets?
Walking with hands in pockets, some said,
or overcoats, a wimp’s shame
according to the hardy Scot
with his damp-to-the-bone chill and Gulf Stream,
not guessing Arctic winds and ices.
Years later, the writer was unmasked
in Austria without a word, without a pocket,
without a coat. “Because you smiled at me,”
the face of officialdom admitted.
“We don’t mind. It’s nice.”*
We carry our terrarium worlds with us,
never guessing how we seem, yet ever fretting
over imagined opinions. (My female generation
always tucking bra straps, hitching slips …
.”what’s a slip?” …while the young
shape their selfies and let it all show,
have different hang-ups.)
Is it American to always
go “spot checking” ourselves?
The Brit’s American joke back then
was the Yank, hand to mouth,
nose to armpit, checking for suspect odors….
checking….checking … is it only human?
only American?….. or only me?
*from Lynda Lynn Haupt, MOZART’S STARLING
Carol Hamilton has recent and upcoming publications in San Pedro River Review, Dryland, Pinyon, Commonweal, Southwestern American Literature, Pour Vida, Adirondack Review, The Maynard, Sanskrit Literary Magazine, U.S.1 Worksheet, Broad River Review, Fire Poetry Review, Homestead Review, Shot Glass Journal, Poem, Haight Ashbury Poetry Journal, Sandy River Review, Blue Unicorn, former people Journal, Main Street Rag, Pigeonholes Review, Poetica Review, Zingara Review, Broad River Review and others. She has published 17 books: children’s novels, legends and poetry, most recently, SUCH DEATHS from Virtual Arts Cooperative Press Purple Flag Series. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma.
He drives a truck. Eats at laybys
swigs down the daylight. Sometimes
he tilts his head lets out a snore
to fill the cab. He pulls things he will
never buy. His phone stays on mute
so he can watch migrating birds
as he drives down bones of tarmac.
Sometimes he goes to Burger King
or Costa. Burps on leaving.
He said he hates driving told his wife
over the phone. She told him to work
until he dropped. They argued for years.
He got home early one shift and found
a car on his drive. Then he realised
his wife was his neighbour.
He handed in his notice, got a divorce
and a new job in a bakery. Moulded
dough until his fingers ached.
Today he lives next door to his neighbour
passes her croissants over the fence.
But they never speak as she preferred
him being a truck driver.
Gareth lives in Wales. He had his first collection published, The Miner, by FutureCycle in 2018. He is currently doing an MFA in Creative Writing at Manchester Met. He has been nominated for Best of the Net. Gcwculshaw AT moonfruit DOT com