The opposite of anything is the thing itself— Say, a face or a body.
Say, lilacs blooming from within the barrel of a gun.
As it pertains to the living, say then: each day is a crash course in survival.
Say, under extreme conditions,
a mother may kill and / or abandon her young.
As such, say it possible at every baptism, we arrive as low-hanging fruit.
That we are as strange & as meek as thy neighbor. Say, especially, this means
what we can’t say otherwise: say— of guilt & love, only the smallest
child can explain the difference …
Say, then, you believe the sun burns as extremely as it hungers. That violence figures
as a mercy which yields great returns on a body.
Say then: I am worthy.
Say, this time, I will be more than the slow infinity of my name in God’s mouth.
That should night come, I will be given
proper burial. At the very least— say: one day,
a perfect animal will make a house from my bones.
Susan L. Leary
Susan L. Leary’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in such places as Posit Journal, The Christian Century, Heavy Feather Review, Arcturus (Chicago Review of Books), and Into the Void. She is both a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, and her chapbook, This Girl, Your Disciple, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in August 2019. She teaches English Composition at the University of Miami (FL). Find her at www.susanlleary.com.
Oh, bigot cry morning,
but it is too late to change, poor children,
for their words only echo what you have taught.
Reluctant one, coarse and grate,
go mend your ditches and drink your harvest,
it is your prejudice that disturb the heart’s contentment.
Together with two dark boys on foot under a sharp Chicago sky,
they wander in and out of consciousness (but warrant no response),
only to be ridiculed from behind the closed window.
Struck down by conversations teeming with acronyms.
Our weak ears forced to listen to the difficulties,
by which you happily donate to the schoolyard, beat by beat.
A childhood robbed of its pleasures, deprived of running and playing,
merely arguable by the fate of our daily bread.
I heard the sound of your voice, casually suggesting accusations.
Befriending a crime is your chosen approach,
for you must take in order to banish the rocks from your path,
while upholding the nothingness, which you consider to be life.
Your hoary head rears, spewing unattractive complaints,
the luckless and weary ones begrudgingly listen.
Deluged and left divided by the reasoning that you project.
You cast your fears outward like a claw, only to intrude upon us.
Laying open your tasks corrects the despair of rejection and dismissal,
but you announce with sincere intention the inferior ones.
We are haunted by your performance, casting its spell,
Presumptuous and volatile and ever the inescapable liar,
attired in the necessary costume to scale a bloody Kansas wall.
Little ones sent to say: You just don’t know how hard it is to have two.
Why you ask of the given aggressiveness—just like a peevish child.
Ah, sing your song, you fool, I will love you tomorrow, I will love you tomorrow.
Kim Kolarich is a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her fiction was long-listed for The Fish International Short Story Prize, and a finalist for the William Faulkner-William Wisdom Creative Writing Competition. Her stories have appeared in the Bridport Prize Anthology, FreeFall, Julien’s Journal, 3711 Atlantic, 34th Parallel, Karamu, Rollick Magazine, After Hours, The Gap Tooth Madness, Streetwrite, Intrinsick Magazine, Paragraph Planet, The Furious Gazelle, Two Hawks Quarterly, and Third Coast Magazine
Like a flotilla revenging World War Two
an army of Japanese KonMari acolytes
are assaulting the cluttered disorder
rampant in our consumer laden homes
Mari Kondo, their high Netflix priestess,
advocates testing possessions for sparks of joy
and if there are no sparks
they’re off to Goodwill
For many, Mari Kondo is the antidote
to an out of control modern life
and by following the KonMari method
your home becomes a sanctuary of order
Yet like a time-consuming sponge
order nurtures conventional thinking
and studies show randomness
can spark creative ideas
This repackaged Shintoism
would have castrated the creativity
of Mark Twain, Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein,
and Steve Jobs who loved their messy desks
Somewhere on my desk are studies
linking messiness to creativity
but with so many paper piles
I am not sure where they are
Barbie Turns 60
Barbie you razor thin blonde
who mutilated so many body images
who worshipped consumption
of sports cars, fashions and dream houses
who dallied on and off
with Ken but never married
Of course, it’s easy to understand
the lack of long-term attraction
between the model “it” couple
Very photogenic, but missing
some major private parts
Now Barbie you have to realize
your frozen good looks
can’t last forever and
it’s time to face the reality
of hitting the big six o
and let some wrinkles show
and consider a plastic butt tuck
Soon Mattel will have to replace
your suburban dream house
with Barbie’s Assisted Living
No dream kitchen
just communal dining
No spacious rooms
just one room and
God Forbid a roommate
So, Barbie your lack of eros
may not have stimulated Ken
but capitalism will honor you
as the queen of consumption
who stimulated the economy
Barbie is a registered trademark of Mattel Inc.
Sam Love lives in New Bern, N.C. which is as good a place as any to observe the drama that currently passes for Western Civilization. He has published and produced enough material in mass circulation media including Washingtonian and Smithsonian magazines that he has earned the right to be a footnote. After years of work with visual images and linear print he turned to poetry so people can make the movie in their head. His poems have been published in Kakalak, Slippery Elm, Voices on the Wind, The Lyricist, Flying South, Sleet and other publications. Eno published by Duke University has published six of his environmental poems and four of his poems have been featured on Poetry in Plain Sight posters throughout North Carolina. His latest poetry book, Cogitation, is available from Unsolicited Press. His illustrated children’s book My Little Plastic Bag is available in Spanish and English and has won numerous awards including a Nautilus Award. He is currently president of the New Bern local Poetry Group that organizes a monthly open mike.