If This Is Paradise Why Are We Still Driving
— Brendan Lorber, June 2018
on the occasion of my seventy-third birthday celebration,
having finally begun to learn some rules of paved roads
‘stead of taking usual straightshot hellbent damn 405
freeway from spitfire West L.A. down to pacific
Redondo Beach, fam elects to use an iPhone
Waze app to navigate lazy side streets —
where wobbly young lowlifes in pajamas
vape nicotine or maybe marijuana —
that then meet up with ocean views
as soon as possible which fluid
continuity more than makes
up for few extra minutes
sort of like coming up
slowly gently coolly
when you’re doing
SCUBA diving —
oy to thus avoid
by Gerard Sarnat
Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, has been nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards, and authored four collections: HOMELESS CHRONICLES (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014) and Melting The Ice King (2016) which included work published by Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Johns Hopkins and in Gargoyle, American Journal of Poetry (Margie), Main Street Rag, MiPOesias, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Voices Israel, Blue Mountain Review,Tishman Review, Suisun Valley Review, Fiction Southeast, Junto, Heartwood, Tiferet, Foliate Oak, Parhelion, Bonsai plus featured in New Verse News, Eretz, Avocet, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords, Floor Plan, Good-Man-Project, Anti-Heroin-Chic, Poetry Circle, Fiction Southeast, Walt Whitman Tribute Anthology and Tipton Review. “Amber of Memory” was the single poem chosen for my 50th college reunion symposium on Bob Dylan. Mount Analogue selected Sarnat’s sequence, KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY, for pamphlet distribution on Inauguration Day 2017 as part of the Washington DC and nationwide Women’s Marches. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, interviews; visit GerardSarnat.com. Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO and Stanford Med professor. Married for a half century, Gerry has three kids/ four grandkids so far.
You take a memory and a healthy dollop of salted butter take a swig of cheap flat beer and plop a slab of date expired ham or chicken like your great grandmother did after showing you the pin cushion and how to darn a sock or make a doily soft light through porthole windows on either side of the unused fireplace jars of preserves in the mud room a little sunshine on an unpainted porch and you let it fry until corners start to curl like her wispy gray hair not yet bloodied by the car accident that took her keys away and bruised her forehead then brown one side of two slices of doughy white bread in grease until steam rises and wheat browns the smell of meat and sugar falling across her wool carpets darkened chairs and ottomans her touch through food of the Great Depression all dumplings and noodles her oak knot knuckles covered by silk skin laying out thin-sliced American cheese across side-browned meat with layers of family stories and cinnamon crackers dipped in whole milk a cheese sandwich on the pine wood counter crisp on the outside and tender inside like the grateful hands that formed food and child before scooping up the bubbling leavings in the pan to mix into a gravy that was poured over a small boy’s life.
by Brad G. Garber
Brad has degrees in biology, chemistry and law. He writes, paints, draws, photographs, hunts for mushrooms and snakes, and runs around naked in the Great Northwest. Since 1991, he has published poetry, essays and weird stuff in such publications as Edge Literary Journal, Pure Slush, DASH, Sugar Mule, Third Wednesday, Barrow Street, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Barzakh Magazine, Ginosko Journal, Junto Magazine, Vine Leaves Press, Split Rock Review, Smoky Blue Literary Magazine, Aji Magazine and other quality publications. 2013 & 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee.
i am drowning under a raft of history.
i have nothing but
tanager trills in the dark,
a handful of wildflowers,
an ineffective rage.
i’m tired of growing vegetables
that die every year and must be
endlessly restarted by hand —
i want a yard burgeoning with blossoms,
overgrown, tangled, useless and thriving
by itself. i want
love like a field of wildflowers,
love like a mountainside spring,
cascading untamed, fragrant. i want
to grow a world where food
doesn’t have to be political, love
doesn’t have to be political,
the fucking wildflowers
can just grow where they grow without
being required to mean anything.
i cannot save this world.
instead i am growing vegetables,
tired annuals, non-natives, needy
and exhausting as colonialism,
to survive the world as it is
and try to help build a raft
that could hold us up
instead of holding us under
while the world around us
by Kat Heatherington
Kat Heatherington is a queer ecofeminist poet, sometime artist, pagan, and organic gardener. She lives south of Albuquerque, NM in Sunflower River intentional community, sunflowerriver.org. Kat’s work primarily addresses the interstices of human relationships and the natural world. She has one book, The Bones of This Land, printed by Swimming with Elephants Publications in fall 2017, available on amazon.com and through SwEP, as well as several self-published chapbooks, available from the author at yarrow [at] sunflowerriver [dot] org. Her work can be read at sometimesaparticle.org.
At your intervention which was nothing more
than a pageantry of post it notes
stained by a ballpoint’s opium ink
dangling on an inch of yellow adhesive
stuck to your armored chest,
you told us what you wanted to be-
a cold steel coffin of pink champagne
where a jewelry box gleaming with
dirty needles floated in the hands of ladies
in waiting who no longer spread their
legs like wings, sheltering veins of regal blood, as
your shimmering crown of aluminum foil
sparkled above a bath towel cape
hailing you King Erasure.
The need to remember
not to remember
swallowing yesterday’s glassy swords
sharpened by trembling hands,
by fingertips calloused from
dancing on lighters
to the beat of blood beneath these nails
that kept me alive through the night,
is why ten little soldiers in
pink fishnet stockings
salute the light in my eyes,
twirling at dawn on the shores
of my face, like commando ballerinas disarmed.
by Daniel Edward Moore
Daniel lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His poems have been in Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle, Columbia Journal, Western Humanities Review, and others. His poems are forthcoming in West Trade Review, Duende Literary Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Magnolia Review, Isthmus Review, Glass Mountain Magazine, Columbia College Literary Review, January Review, Under a Warm Green Linden, Yemassee and Cumberland River Review. His books, “This New Breed: Gents, Bad Boys and Barbarians” an Anthology, and “Confessions of a Pentecostal Buddhist,” can be found on Amazon. Visit Daniel at DanielEdwardMoore.com.
on the bus, after we heard the news,
I saw a woman softly sobbing into her hands;
beside her was a Whole Earth shopping bag
containing what must be heirloom or designer apples
that were almost orange in color –
perhaps a miniature pumpkin,
if such a thing exists –
and what resembled a purple pomegranate.
another woman was picking at her nails
like a monkey searching for nits.
the crying woman patted the pockets
of her all-weather jacket;
maybe she was searching for a handkerchief
to wipe her face?
but then I noticed that her face
was darkening, like the tears
were soot, and by mingling with her skin,
they were turning her entire person
into black-and-white, like an old-fashioned movie;
soon, everyone on the bus
was fading into black,
or vanishing altogether
as they bleached out of my vision.
I looked down at my hands
and I, too, no longer
had any color except shadows
and pale, ghostly flesh –
it seemed like early Halloween,
or an Edgar Allen Poe tale come to life.
someone on the bus said,
I think we’re heading back into the 1950s,
before color TV, and someone else said, no,
the 1930s, before Technicolor hit Hollywood:
it’s like in The Wizard of Oz, in Kansas,
before Dorothy meets the Munchkins,
or follows the yellow brick road.
the woman stopped her sobbing, sniffled, then said,
yes, we’re going backwards, to when white men
didn’t have to share the country with anyone else.
by Alison Jennings
Alison Jennings is retired from teaching and accounting; throughout her life, she has composed over 400 poems, and recently published several of them, in print journals and online. She lives in Seattle, where she writes poetry whenever she has time.
The emotion that lies at the heart,
not shown in gestures and words,
cannot be measured or felt,
but for myself.
Disillusion, sadness and despair,
even rejoicing and pleasure,
have created tears, salty and hot ones,
that have leavened the soil where I live,
bringing forth flowers, fruits, children.
Have also nourished and ennobled my spirit,
paying the toll I owe to the lord of the fief.
I am sure they are leading me to Canaan,
the promised land where evil finds no shelter
and milk and honey flow abundantly.
Where the woman I desire is waiting for me,
at the door of my house, longing and needy,
wife and lover.
by Edilson Afonso Ferreira
A Brazilian poet, Mr. Ferreira, 75, writes in English rather than in Portuguese. Largely published in international journals in print and online, he began writing at age 67. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2016. His first Poetry Collection – Lonely Sailor – is coming soon, scheduled to be launched in London, November 29th 2018, with one hundred poems. He blogs at www.edilsonmeloferreira.com.