Late Night, Hotel, HBO

In Iran in the rich, delicious pear region,

there sits the centrifuge for the development

of atomic bombs.

 

I don’t want to end up like Bukowski,

a bitter career alcoholic, Writing classes?

Classes are for asses. (can’t even look

at people or talk to them), hating other poets

Writing is all about leaving behind

as much stink as possible.

 

Or George Carlin who went from hippie,

dippy weatherman, The forecast for tonight

is mostly dark, but getting light toward

morning, to a working rageaholic

out of rehab and in denial.

 

I’ve imagined how the two of them

would have gotten along during

an all-night “drinking fest,” insulting

each other to the point of fist cuffs.

 

I turn on Carlin’s 3a.m. HBO special,

an endless rant, dropping numerous F-bombs.

Lynn says and I agree, Turn it off.

Bukowski, a life-long pugilist of men

and women, Carlin, a pathetic skeleton

of his former self.

 

Both mummified

in a dangerous atom smashing,

If you have em, smoke em,

deathly moving, indifferent universe.

 

 

John Sierpinski

John Sierpinski has published poetry in many literary magazines such as California Quarterly, North Coast Review and Spectrum Literary Journal. His work is also in eight anthologies. He is a Pushcart nominee. His poetry collection, “Sucker Hole”, was published in 2018 by Cholla Needles Press.

Well Shod

They gentrify the old West with python & ostrich

or click the homesick heels of ruby, the lazy

slip-on slip-off of loafers, inventions of slogans pithy—

moon shoes: mini trampolines for your tootsies.  My father’s

army of polished Florsheim nines line up in his closet

in his closet like an obedient narrow-sized parade, my new

daisy Kmart sandals for flirty cheese fries on opening day

of the fair, splotches of chocolate milkshake assault

my saddled oxfords which in turn deliver a bruise

(the size of a coconut) on the mean bitch shin of schoolmate,

negative heels only make campus hills steeper but college

boyfriend’s blue suede shoes make me fall in love for a lifetime,

I ain’t no dominatrix but I know how to work thigh-high boots

intimate as skin, then tibial tendon surgery cause my stilettos

to mutiny.  Arrogance of jeweled soles that patronize others

to manipulate their bootstraps, how to shoe the world, dominance

of Air Jordans dangle from a power line, at the sit-in we throw

frenzied sneakers at the mayor, too many screenshots of her

Jimmy Choos but not worse than those evil stepsisters cutting

off their heel or toes.  Gibran believed that the earth is always

jazzed whenever it feels our soles bare but we also stand tall

in shoes that resemble buildings, armadillos, or handcrafted

in the wee hours by elves. Wear dreams on your feet my

mother cooed, dew-sprinkled sprigs of rosemary and thyme

tucked overnight under tongues.

 

Rikki Santer

Rikki Santer’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications both nationally and abroad including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, The Journal of American Poetry, Hotel Amerika, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Slipstream and The Main Street Rag. Her work has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eighth collection, Drop Jaw, inspired by the art of ventriloquism, was published by NightBallet Press in the spring. Please contact her through her website: www.rikkisanter.com

Brad G Garber

Viral

 

Floating around

like a molecular cloud

 

hidden in spring flowers

wings of birds

leaves of artichoke

faces    cloth

 

things eaten     touched           breathed

 

a Trojan army at the door

vortex unfelt   unseen untasted

 

a pair of shoes full of venom

razor blade pants

shirt of rose thorns

 

maybe

 

in your nose    mouth  heart    lungs

blood

 

until you are overrun by a million ants

carried into gaping

tunnels to feed the young

through winter

 

a thousand invisible punches

to the head

 

knocking you prone    atmosphere

forced into your body

 

like a reluctant invader           until

 

mystery subsides.

 

 

The Sink

 

When I first gazed upon the horizon

of an ocean

saw the endless

Endless freedom

Endless hope

Endless dreams

Endless art

Endless Earth

Endless life

All the places I in my mind

 

Until the bottles

filled with piss

Styrofoam

plastic grocery bags

six-pack rings

straws

bags

my unused medications

inorganic detritus

filling the guts

guts of fish

guts of whales

guts of humans

guts of minds

Every vista one

of disguised beauty

floating in planetary

trash.

 

Brad G Garber

Brad has degrees in biology, chemistry and law. He writes, paints, draws, photographs, and hunts for mushrooms and snakes in the Great Northwest. Since 1991, he has published poetry, essays and weird stuff in such publications as Edge Literary Journal, Pure Slush, Front Range Review, Tulip Tree Publishing, Sugar Mule, Third Wednesday, Barrow Street, Black Fox Literary Magazine, Barzakh Magazine, Ginosko Journal, Junto Magazine, Slab, Panoplyzine, Split Rock Review, Smoky Blue Literary Magazine, The Offbeat and other quality publications. 2011, 2013 & 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee.

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 Sri Lankan with a Scar Across His Cheek

Through the glass doors,

at the back of the house,

she saw you dancing in the air

by the maples, at the

slanting gentle evening hour,

the day after you died.

 

You had insisted upon making love to her

when she came home with scars

where her lovely breasts had been.

It’s important to say they were lovely

because you were

and so was she and

you thought her scarred chest was too.

 

You always laughed at being the dark,

exotic stranger, the foreigner.

Their theories embraced the Other,

but your brown skin they secretly despised.

Speaking their tongue better,

your colleagues envied a playwriting,

motorcycling Sri Lankan

who knew the French, hifalutin books

better than they. Humbug, heartache—

they said you were remote.

 

You did lay on an Oxford accent

you picked up

in a half hour at Heathrow,

and despite the socialist rap,

strutted a bearing so regal,

you could be cast in a Kipling tale,

but the lines of students

were outside your door,

since uncommon mornings of mist

sticking to hills were in your eyes,

and your voice intoned prayers

for their kind of happiness,

so it might dance with yours.

 

In a cloud of fire, you rode up to my house

on a new roaring motorcycle.

Hadn’t seen you in months,

but you swooped up my woman

and took her careening

through Amish farmlands,

faster than she could breathe,

yellow machine outracing the hues

of yellow wildflowers,

so she came at eighty miles per.

 

Your last words while leaving school

for the weekend were I know

my body and the pain in  my chest

is just too much life,

screeching yellow,

so I need to paint myself

across the tan, black,

and white skins of women,

finding my own line

to ride breezes of the night

in a Buddhist concentration,

while longing to dance in the air.

 

Glen A. Mazis

Glen A. Mazis teaches philosophy and humanities at Penn State Harrisburg. He has published many poems in literary journals, including Rosebud, The North American Review, Sou’wester, Spoon River Poetry Review, Willow Review, The Atlanta Review, Reed Magazine and Asheville Poetry Review (best of 1994-2004). His poetry collection, The River Bends in Time, was published by Anaphora Literary Press in March 2012 (nominated for a Pushcart Prize). His poem won the 2019 New Orchard Press National Poetry contest [The Malovrh-Fenlon Prize] and a chapbook, The Body Is a Dancing Star is in press with them. He also writes books of cultural critique and philosophy, including his newest book, Merleau-Ponty and the Face of the World: Silence, Ethics, Imagination and Poetic Ontology, which appeared in October 2016 (State Univ. of New York Press).