Emily as an Echo of Old Music

Rarely do we tear off a wing

from our past bodies to feel alive

with each other, but it happens

 

enough that we need

some real wolves in the music

we listen to when the children

 

are sleeping.  I sing to howl

without the substances

of our first life together.  Emily,

 

she likes to close her eyes

& stand alone in the water

of her love for me.  It’s a new

 

distance.  We are dancing bears

that cannot understand

how we found our hind legs.

 

We are so many animals

that I do not understand

how these songs keep finding us.

 

 

Darren C. Demaree

Darren C. Demaree is the author of eleven poetry collections, most recently “Emily As Sometimes the Forest Wants the Fire”, (June 2019, Harpoon Books). He is the recipient of a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louis Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

Andy Posner

A More Perfect Union

 

When children by gunfire die,

When the dreamer and the warden clash,

 

When statues betray the artist, we say

This is not who we are.

 

Who are we?

 

I take my chisel to Plymouth Rock

But the rock gives no blood;

 

Our history is like that stone,

Heavier than its weight…

 

Stood at a dank underpass, I rattle

A tin cup, wave a sign that reads

 

This is not who we are—

 

I can grow rich here, devote my life

To the pursuit of happiness…

 

It is said that upon his murder, Lincoln belonged

To the ages: Why do we wait for blood?

 

We’ve planted great forests of headstones.

I wander their lush paths, the sanguine streams,

 

And amidst this grandeur, this horror,

I glimpse both what is and what could be.

 

 

 

What of the Future?

 

I’ve been hearing Save the Rainforest

Since I was small enough to sleep

In the safety of my parent’s bed

Or snuggled with stuffed animals—

Pandas, giraffes, monkeys, frogs;

Since I lived for lullabies and storytime;

Since the world was as small as a crib

And as big as my imagination;

Since a nightlight could douse fears

And a drop of Tylenol could erase pain;

Since adults could assure me

That all was well and would always be well.

 

Now I hear that 20% of the Amazon is lost,

That the remainder is on fire,

That a tipping point may soon be passed—

All life in peril.1

 

Now I have a beloved wife, toddler, dog—

Great plans for our lives.

Now my parents are older, frailer.

Now, at thirty-four, I have traveled enough of life

To know that adults have always betrayed their children,

That absent drastic change I, too, will betray my child,

And that without a future for him

There can be no real joy or pleasure in the present.

 

1 Fisher, Max. Aug 30, 2019. NY Times. ‘It’s Really Close’: How the Amazon Rainforest Could Self-Destruct <https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/30/world/americas/amazon-rainforest-fires-climate.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.

Elegy

Those aren’t locusts

cascading from the sky

but paper confetti

cut from a hand-clasp

fanning of pretty patterns.

Up there, her silhouette

cast on the cardstock

moon, her wolf ear hood

accepted for gospel

glorying in the rituals

shedding like skin

with gusto, pasting

onto pages under plastic.

It felt like love just

to see it that one time.

 

Luanne Castle

Luanne Castle’s Kin Types (Finishing Line Press), a chapbook of poetry and flash nonfiction, was a finalist for the 2018 Eric Hoffer Award. Her first collection of poetry, Doll God, winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award, was published by Aldrich Press. Luanne has been a Fellow at the Center for Ideas and Society at the University of California, Riverside. She studied English and Creative Writing at the University of California, Riverside (PhD); Western Michigan University (MFA); and Stanford University. Her Pushcart-nominated poetry and prose have appeared in Copper Nickel, TAB, American Journal of Poetry, Verse Daily, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Lunch Ticket, River Teeth, The Review Review, Broad Street, and other journals. An avid blogger, she can be found at luannecastle.com. She divides her time between California and Arizona, where she shares land with a herd of javelina.

Self-Immolation: Fire at the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris

“The breaking of so great a thing should make a greater crack.” – Shakespeare

 

The power of fire is not that it burns

But that it distracts:

We save what burns because it burns.

 

What goes up in flames comes down in ash,

And ash is cremation:

We do not want to die.

 

There is no suffering in wood, stone, glass,

No Resurrection in their rebuilding:

Only flesh, blood, and bone feel pain.

 

Never has a candle saved a life,

And though the thirteen-ton bell rings clear

And the stained-glass awes,

 

Injustice has neither ears nor eyes:

The centuries grow heavy with war, revolution, poverty,

Buttressed only by a sanguine belief in tomorrow.

 

When the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris was ablaze

I did not cry. I was already sad, already felt the flames

Of great things breaking all around me.

 

I only wanted to ask the firefighters:

Could you have as quickly, desperately,

Brought clean water to the poor?

 

To ask the billionaires:

Did you sell your yachts, your cars?

How did you spare so much money so fast?

 

And to ask the leaders of the world,

The priests, the mourners, the press,

The Parisians, the tourists, the public:

 

In lighting myself on fire,

Might you be similarly moved?

And what if Notre Dame,

 

Old, venerable, and angry,

Had intended to burn to the ground

As you watched with awe-struck eyes?

 

Sunday, May 5, 2019

 

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.

Flagless

Separated from herbs and rice,

by knife and rifle, a fish in a fracture

of Caspian and Pacific. I remember

nothing of departure or arrival,

nothing of language lost or found,

nothing but this place of both

and neither, a wound of salt surrounding

as threats trill across desert and sea,

an orchestra of terror looming,

leaving me an orphan, flagless.

My name torn in half and sutured, yet

when someone asks how to pronounce it

the accents all scatter and hide,

because there is no right answer in a war

between the one that made me

and the one that raised me,

the one that shamed me

and the one that shames me,

between the chador

and the razor blade,

yasmin and jasmine,

tea and coffee.

There is only a dash,

a gash,

and I lay there,

Floundering.

 

Niku Rice

Niku Rice was born in Tehran, raised in California, and now lives in the suburbs of Detroit with her husband and three children. She is a doula and childbirth educator

Hans in Haifa

Who would have expected so many Germans?

Still they arrive,

Half a dozen a week,

With their excellent leather shoes

and superb command of English.

All beautiful,

their gold hair shining like a beacon

in the gloom of the dining room.

The old Kibbutzniks have long memories.

The young German volunteers sweep the stables,

scrub the toilets,

collect the garbage,

call the chickens,

and then wring their necks.

They never complain about the filthy work.

Perhaps they are here for such a purpose of penance.

The Israeli men love to fuck the girls.

Greta and Leni don’t mind the knowing winks

and guffaws that follow them,

like buzzing mosquitoes,

in and out of the social hall.

Some can understand Yiddish,

even try to speak it,

horrifying the old women here,

as if they heard something obscene.

I don’t know why these German boys and girls are so happy.

The kibbutz hot and dusty and dry.

The swimming pool empty and baking like a molten crater.

At night the dogs go mad,

kicking up hollering clouds

as they try to rip each other’s throats.

Yet Hans and Dieter sing folks songs by the campfire,

drinking flat Israeli beer,

smoking  cheap unfiltered cigarettes

as they cough up phlegm with relish.

They understand this land,

connect with the scorched fields of burnt grass.

While I,

The Jew,

The New Yorker,

am so lost here,

craving pavement and broken glass.

Sometimes a German never leaves,

and marries an Israeli,

bringing bright blonde children into the nursery hall.

But their jobs never change:

slaughtering the cows,

cleaning the toilets,

boiling fat for the soap factory.

These old Kibbutzniks have long long memories.

 

Penny Jackson

Penny Jackson is an award-winning writer who lives in New York City. Her books include BECOMING THE BUTLERS (Bantam Books) and a short story collection L.A. CHILD and other stories (Untried Reads.) She has won a Pushcart Prize for her short fiction and was a McDowell Colony Fellow. Penny is also a playwright with plays produced in New York, Los Angeles, Edinburgh and Dublin. www.pennybrandtjackson.com