Far away from Home

There are countries, states, laws, constitutions,

Bible, Koran, catechisms, versicles.

Multiple versions, different procedures,

corrections and penalties.

As if we, humans, because having spread ourselves

around our entire world, were diverse,

dissimilar, incompatible beings.

The truth, so little faced and assumed,

and indoctrinated with so little faith,

is that we came destined to keep alive

the flame of mutual and supportive love,

free from color, race, religion walls and borders.

We have had intelligence and culture to, unluckily,

only improve our mismatches and idiosyncrasies.

The longer we stay on this strange route,

we will be farther from the promised land,

that Canaan where milk and honey flow,

and evil has no place and hides,

defeated, confused and humiliated.

 

 

Edilson Afonso Ferreira

 

Mr. Ferreira, 76 years, is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than in Portuguese. Largely published in international journals in print and online, he began writing at age 67, after retirement as a bank employee. Nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2017, his first Poetry Collection, Lonely Sailor, One Hundred Poems, was launched in London, November 2018. He is always updating his works at www.edilsonmeloferreira.com.

Six White Feathers

Something happened here.

Beneath this tree, a pigeon’s worth

of feathers lies scattered among stones.

In the dazzling desert light, six white

 

strong-shafted quills designed for flight

catch my eye. I bend to pluck them,

take them home. Blocks away, near

her old apartment, hawks nest. Sometimes

 

I pass for a view of those high branches

that leaf and lose their leaves,

for a glimpse of hawks,

for a longer walk and the long run

 

of memories we made. But why save

these six feathers? A pigeon became

a raptor’s meal—that’s the story

I imagine—and why commemorate

 

a death I only guess has happened?

A souvenir is nothing but a wish

to preserve the evanescent,

a pretense of permanence.

 

Take, for instance, a seventh feather

I spotted as we stood sealed, embracing

beside a train. All the colors of ash,

it had come to rest between the rails.

 

I warned her not to reach

beneath the wheels to pick it up,

though she hadn’t moved to leave

my arms. Soon, the train would roll

 

away, but for now there was no

danger. So I let that feather go

and wisely made the most of one last

chance to hold her close. Now

 

six feathers lie scattered on my desk:

not the pure white I detected from afar,

not the white silence of a blank page

in the face of a myriad unasked questions

 

and too much left to say, but white

smudged pale gray at their tips and edges.

Still I keep them, to spite their lack

of meaning and the way they take me

 

back to a mid-October day, a train

on a westbound track, a woman I call

love, who promised nothing, and a lone

pigeon feather, gone. Lost forever.

 

Marisa P. Clark

 

Marisa P. Clark is a queer writer from the South whose work has appeared in Apalachee Review, Cream City Review, Foglifter, Potomac Review, Rust + Moth, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere, with work forthcoming in Shenandoah, Nimrod, Epiphany, and Evening Street Review, among others. She was twice the winner of the Agnes Scott College Writers’ Festival Prizes (in fiction, 1996; in nonfiction, 1997), and Best American Essays 2011 recognized her creative nonfiction among its Notable Essays. She reads fiction for New England Review and makes her home in New Mexico with three parrots and two dogs.

Damnatio Memoriae

To resist through nonviolence, yes—

I’ll do what the data says is wise.1

But to love is another matter:

I may wave the flag, but I am no patriot;

Is it not better to burn what they betray?

 

If the house is rotten, I leave it to the carpenter

To destroy or Reconstruct. I am fine with either.

Yes, nothing grows without rot—

No rich soil, no history to study and to learn—

But the illiterate draw their own lessons, wield

Their own weapons.

I have run out of words of outrage.

 

One day there will be monuments

To tell of this dangerous time:

What structures will the architects design?

What wild rantings will the walls inscribe?

 

I am no thief. All that is mine is mine.

Shall I first confiscate this epoch,

Make it mine to censure or delete? 2 3

What of the graffiti I may not find?

The encrypted hard drive I can’t erase?

The yard signs yet to decay…?

 

No, it would take millions to do the job.

We, redeemers of what—an idea?

Nearly half the population?

 

At Appomattox no treaty was signed,

For there was no truce to be had:

Democracy always teeters between deliverance

And decay…

 

My greatest pleasure in overcoming this trial

Would be to never have reason to relive it.

 

1 Robson, David. The ‘3,5% rule’: How a small minority can change the world. May 14, 2019. BBC. <http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190513-it-only-takes-35-of-people-to-change-the-world>

2 Robey, Tracy. The Long History of ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ and the Destruction of Monuments.  August 16, 2019. Jezebel. <https://pictorial.jezebel.com/the-long-history-of-damnatio-memoriae-and-the-destructi-1797860410>

3 [3] Bond, Sarah. Erasing the Face of History. May 14, 2011. The New York Times. <https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/opinion/15bond.html>

 

Andy Posner

 

Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and earned an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world. He has had his poetry published in several journals, including Burningword Literary Journal (which nominated his poem ‘The Machinery of the State’ for the Pushcart Poetry Prize), Noble/Gas Quarterly, and The Esthetic Apostle.

My Sister’s Secrets

—musty smell

a ball of bloody underpants

under her bed

cigarette butts in a jam jar

a half empty bottle of gin

wrapped in an old wool sweater

two tins of spearmint Tic Tacs

the pearl earrings my mother

lost last week

a DO NOT READ UNDER PENALTY

OF DEATH diary

rows of Leslie Richards

followed by rows of Leslie Fisher

& rows of Leslie Pearson

in slanted pink script

a dog-eared copy of Peyton Place

untie the top of your bathing suit

a condom curled in her wallet

I tiptoe away from tomorrow—

 

Claire Scott

 

Claire Scott is an award winning poet who has received multiple Pushcart Prize nominations. Her work has been accepted by the Atlanta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, New Ohio Review, Enizagam and Healing Muse among others. Claire is the author of Waiting to be Called and Until I Couldn’t. She is the co-author of Unfolding in Light: A Sisters’ Journey in Photography and Poetry.

No Waiting Room

The only way is through.

At the moment it seems impossible:

 

No thoroughfare.

I mean how do you trust yourself?

 

And your neurotransmitters?

 

And that’s just one of many

Things to worry about.

 

Why wake up in the morning?

 

There must be something that makes it worthwhile.

 

There must be something

To fix or shrink.

 

I’ve never seen one

That didn’t make me worse.

 

And there’s something to drink

On the top shelf.

 

“Not the cause, just the symptoms.”

 

You want to know about my mother?

I’ll tell you about my mother.

 

[Violence ensues,]

 

And watch out

For charged particles.

They can be very aggressive.

 

This page is intentionally left blank,

And the one behind it

Is unintelligible.

 

Ian Ganassi

 

Ian Ganassi’s work has appeared or will appear in numerous literary magazines, including, New American Writing; The American Journal of Poetry; First Literary Review-East; Clockwise Cat; and The Yale Review; among many others. His poetry collection Mean Numbers was published in 2016. His new collection, True for the Moment, is forthcoming from MadHat Press. Selections from an ongoing collaboration with a painter can be found at www.thecorpses.com.

 

 

 

 

Suzanne K Miller

January

 

Tumblers in the night,

cat’s teeth clicking, tongues lapping,

unlocking light’s safe.

 

Death arrives sans words.

Red blood falls as silently

through the night as snow.

 

Morning makes the bed,

lofts light sheets and comforters

over still soft night.

 

Six crows face sunrise;

no wind bends the cottonwood.

What will be revealed?

 

Adversity or

light aligns direction in

perch, view, quill, spine, down.

 

Rapids of starlings,

whirlpools of gulls, tides of crows,

shipwrecks of eagles.

 

Black fishbone branches

hold up cirrus sky flaked flesh

above dispersed light.

 

I think a possum

lives in the trunk of this tree—

tail trails mark the snow.

 

Black branch treetops shine

orange gold before blue clouds.

Ducks float in shadow.

 

 

February

 

Steeping draws out life

in tea leaves dry as mummies.

Tender nights wake frogs.

 

Four robins blush for

I walk beneath them staring

up into bare trees.

 

From rest the train rolls;

the railroad bridge, its drum; tracks,

grounded cymbals brushed.

 

February geese

slipper shuffle on dry grass.

The ruffled duck grooms.

 

Flies like an arrow—

Ardea herodias—

sure to strike its mark.

 

Twisting stream of crows

under a silver contrail

follows the river.

 

Dark-eyed Juncos flit.

The train stops and starts again

on the river span.

 

Squirrel leaps over

snaking mound pocket gopher

raised, soars with his thoughts.

 

Squirrels run like scarves

pulled through some windy crevice.

Then Child Man runs by.

 

Without my glasses,

and maybe with, the moon a

sore that will not heal.

 

 

March

 

Starlings weigh nothing,

touch the ground as ritual

ghost fingers obsessed.

 

Goose rises on legs

capable of carrying

its stillness away.

 

Across the river,

blushes of orange and green

suddenly famous.

 

Rhythm of the goose

eating, like waves. Feathers lift.

Back against the wind.

 

Given the same life,

could I steer more expertly,

having gone before?

 

Ornamental pear

blossoms weigh down city streets.

The egrets return.

 

A storm plows away

sexual moist, fermented, rank

fallen petal drifts.

 

The kingfisher dives

from the branch mainly submerged

midstream, then returns.

 

Found a cat whisker

in the vacuum yesterday.

Certain things stick out.

 

 

Suzanne K Miller

 

Suzanne K. Miller lives in a house built in 1900 and works online. She earned an MFA from Wichita State University. Her work has appeared in Festival Quarterly, First Things, The Mennonite, Mikrokosmos, Plainsongs, Porcupine, and Women of the Plains: Kansas Poetry. Storage Issues, her first book of poems, was published by Cascadia Publishing House in 2010.

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