Indiana Dunes State Park

Grievance is impatient;

Grief is patient.

 

On the sidewalk outside the Millgate Inn,

in a baseball cap, with a catcher’s mit,

it waits at 4:15 P.M. Father had promised

the dunes sculpted by wind and water

last summer and all autumn then

Persona of the displaced roots,

the tiding stem that broke ground

in winter before one last freeze,

Only a slip of a feral bud speaks

but the scent of its voice drowns

in the evening bustle of bawdymen

roughhousing toward homekept ladies.

On the pavement so many once like itself

spread from the factory gate like Jews

rushing from Cossacks; the furnace

of the mill is the eye and the heart

of the Czar. The feral bud

waits for the thick hand

of its planter to pluck it up

into the swirl of homerush,

the scent of its voice on the ear

of the old man whose grace

levels the pavement. Today,

it will say, will we go Dunes–

to the dunes and write in the sand.

 

A strange rough cloth stands behind

the bud; it is the messenger

who carries the charred boot.

Dew on the first petal of the flower;

winter comes again. The street

empties while the petals unfold.

The tiding stem woodens;

it is a line pointing, a ray outward

toward the center, pistil and stamen.

Like a lump of slag, the seed planter

in a steel vase is lowered, is planted.

The sapling headstone erect without word.

He had wanted no words on him.

Give me a tree on my chest; it is best,

for I have made roots where there were

once none.

So I shall stand forever in the tree,

in one place.

Sea-oats imported, planted on dunes

that had long squirmed like a worm’s

belly on hot pavement, going nowhere.

The sea-oats’ dying blackened dunes

with their dust; they have reddened

sunsets with pollen, done the work of ages.

The dunes are a place or remnant of place

before the sea-oats worked it, drained

the tidal pools, and flattened the world

as it was. The sea-oats shaded the grass,

nurtured the feral buds,

became food for trees.

 

Be no flower on another man’s lapel,

he had said; be a wild rose

thorny and elegant and wild

like the grass at the dunes

The trees became houses then homes.

History began in these homes,

repeated the world as it was,

and that world as it was then

became the world as it is now

The Dunes. Sculpted by wind.

The furnace fires.

My father’s tree,

my tree, its roots in place.

 

 

by John Horvath Jr

Mississippian John Horváth Jr publishes internationally since the 1960s (recently in Munyori Review (Zimbabwe); Broad River Review (print). Pink Litter, and Olentangy Review). After Vanderbilt and Florida State universities, “Doc” Horváth taught at historically Black colleges. Since 1997, to promote contemporary international poetry, Horváth edits www.poetryrepairs.com.

Homesite

it’s near winter solstice;

I’m checking out

so I ask

what happens to them

 

they open the bags of seed

 

are there nests?

 

everywhere

in the metal rafters

 

and water?

 

they find their own…

 

these birds of Lowes

 

*

 

panoramic views,

surveillance

 

keep your hat on,

brim low

 

by Tom Lavazzi

Tom Lavazzi’s poetry and criticism appears in such journals as American Poetry Review, Postmodern Culture, Women in Performance, Performance Practice, Post-Identity, Reconstructions: Studies in Contemporary Culture, Symploke, Talisman, Midwest Quarterly, South Atlantic Review, The Little Magazine, Mantis: Journal of Poetry, Criticism, Translation; Rhizome: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge, and Sagetrieb, among others. His work has been anthologized in Finding the Ox: Buddhism and American Culture, Volume I: Breaking Out: The Emergence of Buddhist American Literature (SUNY Press), Dialogism and Lyric Self-Fashioning: Bakhtin and the Voices of a Genre(Pennsylvania: Susquehanna University Press), Modernism and Photography (Praeger), Synergism: An Anthology of Collaborative Poetry and Poetic Prose (Boshi Press), Carl Rakosi, Man and Poet (National Poetry Foundation), Contemporary Literary Criticism (Gale), Poetry Criticisms 42 (Gale), and Jumping Pond: An Anthology of Ozark Poetry (Sand Hills Press), among others. He has published three volumes of poetry: Stirr’d Up Everywhere (collage poem/artist’s book, A Musty Bone), in collections at MOMA/Franklin Furnace, the Brooklyn Museum of Art (featured in recent group show, “Working in Brooklyn,” 2/3-4/16, 2000), Cleveland Art Institute, Banff Centre Library–Canada, Yale University library, Archive for New Poetry-UCSD, Rare Books–Columbia University, Poetry/Rare Books–SUNY-Buffalo; Crossing Borders (Mellen, 1996), and LightsOut (Bright Hill Press, ’05; BHP chapbook contest winner). A book of experimental critical performances, Off the Page: Scripts, Texts and Multimedia Projects from TEZ (a performance group he founded in 1995) is forthcoming from Parlor Press’s Aesthetic Critical Inquiry series. He is Professor of English at CUNY-Kingsborough.

The Absurdist Son of an Immigrant Grapples with Comprehending His Google News Feed

Google News tells me academics in India are robbing literature of any personal touch. Poor literature breeds poor syllabus breeds poor literature, a vicious cycle while banner ads of Clarks walking shoes keep stomping across my laptop. Page down leads to Baltimore cops reading Plato and James Baldwin. Then: No bombs, no guns, just 90 minutes of football. As Google knocks, I learn that cinnamon may help attack fat and obesity. Scrolling up to schizophrenia, the subhed says angry avatars help people stop hearing voices by shouting at them. Meanwhile, Ohio State rallies past Michigan, Pakistani authorities order a media blackout and Easter eggs lay hidden in the new Senate tax bill. Are millennials narcissistic? The evidence is not so simple, says Google News. Silicon Valley, Black Friday, Donald Trump and the FCC. Badgers football, tobacco companies and the Pope in South Asia. I can still hear Google knocking. What to click? I choose the one that says Buddhism includes everything, even comic books.

by Gary Singh

Gary Singh was recently a Steinbeck Fellow in Creative Writing at San Jose State University. As a scribe, he’s published over 1000 works including newspaper columns, travel essays, art and music criticism, profiles, business journalism, lifestyle articles, poetry and short fiction. His poems have been published in The Pedestal Magazine, Maudlin House and more. For 650 straight weeks, his newspaper columns have appeared in Metro, the alternative weekly paper of San Jose and Silicon Valley. He is the author of The San Jose Earthquakes: A Seismic Soccer Legacy (2015, The History Press). http://www.garysingh.info

Losing Dad

Plum light unfolded

between the dense brush

of my backyard

the morning

of the day

dad died.

The night before,

he refused

even one mouthful

of lemon meringue pie.

Words were stones

and old stories

were one-sided

casting an umbra

of gray-green.

That’s how I knew.

 

The outline of morning

broke the uneasy sleep

that formed between the memory

of years of tart pie

and seasons of losing

dad in the thickets

of dementia.

The sunrise’s glamour

that day glittered

off the world

in all its weightiness.

Shallow puddles

from a thundershower spread

across the thirsty dirt.

And the only hunger

that day

inched forward

between the ticks

of the clock.

 

by Teresa Sutton

Teresa Sutton is a poet and a teacher. She has taught at Marist College for ten years and high school English for 28 years. She lives in Poughkeepsie, NY and has two grown children. Her poems appear in a number of literary journals including Stone Canoe, Fourteen Hills, and Solstice. Her second chapbook, “Ossory Wolves,” was a finalist in the 2014 Bright Hill Press’ Poetry Chapbook Competition. Sutton’s third chapbook, “Breaking Newton’s Laws,” won first place in the Encircle Publication 2017 Chapbook Competition; it was a top-12 finalist in the 2015 Indian Paintbrush Chapbook Competition, a finalist in the 2016 Minerva Rising Chapbook Competition, and earned an honorable mention in the 2015 Concrete Wolf Poetry Chapbook Competition. One of the poems in the collection, “Dementia,” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. The final poem of the book, “Confiteor 2,” was honored with second prize in the 2018 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry by Alternating Current. The Poet’s Billow recognized her work as a finalist in the 2015 Pangaea Prize and a semi-finalist in the 2014 Atlantis Award. The Cultural Center of Cape Cod recognized her work as a finalist in their 2014 National Poetry Competition. Two of her poems won honorable mention in other poetry competitions: Whispering Prairie Press and California State Poetry Society. Sutton earned her MFA from Solstice Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College. She has a MA in literature from Western Connecticut State University and a MS in education from SUNY New Paltz. She earned her BA in English from SUNY Albany.

Luminous universe

Growing and rising slowly

to the height above disbelief,

we may be touched by the sky.

 

Perceiving that words don’t tell

where angels dwell, it will be still.

What we heard, is a presence in itself.

 

Seven, Ten, Twelve –

let’s count our best blessings

and accept some ordeals or misfortunes.

 

Can we feel blessed indeed then

with plenty of things not happening to us?

But that’s no relief to lots of creatures far or near!

 

The swift and skittish starlings are heedless,

free? Well, at least we don’t need to eat worms.

A grasshopper drops by; they’re not in the past only!

 

And a tiny flower survives the mower.

So, many thanks for today, that may bring more.

No gloom, please; it seems to become wonderfully serene.

 

In the gleam of a durable sun

and ever-full moon, the swans fly this way.

They can lift their own weights, with those who participate.

 

by Arno Bohlmeijer

Arno Bohlmeijer holds an MA in English Lit, BA French, and is a bilingual author in English & Dutch. He is winner of the National Charlotte Köhler Prize, finalist for the 2018 Gabo Prize, and finalist for the 2018 Poetry Matters Project. Arno has been published in five countries.

 

A Bipolar Spring

It must be Spring.

The begonias are vomiting diesel

Again,

Leaf blowers are whining like scapegoats

Condemned to die

Again

In a swirl

Of garbage and leaves,

And I don’t feel like being alive today.

 

Why must I

Again

Salute the pilfered flag

That just yesterday I glibly waved?

 

Somewhere a monstrous, moody moon

Lingers like a flashlight in an empty street,

Ready to plunge her sequined syringe

Into my unwitting, smoggy veins.

 

Somewhere bird watchers

And gardeners

And beekeepers

Swoon like submissive violins.

 

It must be Spring

Again.

I am choking on the dew.

I am lost in a maze of barbed-wire-wool,

Still cold, lacerated, hemmed in

Again

Like a fiery torment of acid tears

Spilling into a perverse pool

Of my own making,

And I don’t feel like being alive today.

 

Who are you

To assure me

That life is regenerative?

 

Somewhere I know that you are right,

But I don’t care. Not now.

I am an oil derrick

Wheezing night and day;

My demise is bound up in my riches,

And I don’t feel like being alive today.

 

Somewhere it is Fall

And somewhere it is Summer

And somewhere it is Winter

And maybe here it isn’t even Spring:

How quickly, how often the seasons change!

 

I am sober. I’ve never done a drug.

But the begonias are vomiting diesel

Again

And I don’t feel like being alive today.

 

by Andy Posner

Andy Posner is a resident of Dedham, Massachusetts. He grew up in Los Angeles and received his Bachelor’s degree in Spanish Language and Culture from California State University, Northridge. He moved to New England in 2007 to pursue an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown University. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides small personal loans and financial coaching to low-income residents of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Delaware, and Florida.

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