for hours, I am still waiting
so I can spit
into my bathroom sink
with a healthy squeeze
I breathe in again
and hold it again,
like noxious-fumes avoidance
or a morning bong hit.
I waste scant time
like pickle shots,
popping placebos like Xanax,
sucking fresh air,
changing my paradigm,
changing the font
on my nameplate,
changing my password
to something less accessible
changing reality itself.
I am frantic to exhale
Because, in the morning,
I gasp for breath.
Growing up in Houston, Texas, Eric Blanchard dreamed of dropping out of high school, but when the haze of adolescence cleared, he found himself in law school instead. After being a trial lawyer for a decade and a half, he ran away to Ohio, where he taught school and lived a mindful life for about a minute. Eventually, he returned home to help care for his parents. Eric’s poetry has been included in numerous collections, both online and in hard copy. In 2013, his prose poem “The Meeting Ran Long” was nominated for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net anthology. His chapbook, The Good Parts, was published in January 2020 by Finishing Line Press.
Her scent no longer on your face attests
the word apartment is no accident —
it’s parceling, like beans from squash
or like the homebound from the lost.
As gardens, so with rooms: and yet upon
this whisking of tea powder in a bowl
until the conjured swirl displays
the roily froth of all our days,
consider, when our children see the crush
of fragrant yarrow on our backs and shins,
how in telling plain and glad
we might profess the myriad
reckonings of love, that from a fall
when everything, impossibly, is spring,
this place, since from bereavement taken,
may canopy the paths of the forsaken.
Greg Sendi a Chicago writer and former fiction editor at Chicago Review. In the past year, his poetry and fiction have appeared or are forthcoming in a number of literary magazines and online outlets, including Apricity, The Briar Cliff Review, Clarion, CONSEQUENCE, The Masters Review, Plume, Pulp Literature, San Antonio Review and upstreet among others.
Grackles fly over the doll factory.
Dolls reach out their stiff arms,
they know you’re dead.
Someone sues Big Pharma—
too late for you.
At the back of the turquoise bodega
drug deals go down.
Even in jail you found things
to smile about
even if you smiled wistfully,
like someone who remembers red poppies
when they had eyes.
The peacocks of addiction
strut their luminous wares.
Wherever you go
their purple moons tremble with promise.
When you sleep
they catch your dreams in snares.
They peck your bright hopes,
Eighteen Months Recovery
You take your girlfriend to detox
as I once drove you along the potholes of Mass. Ave
to Boston Medical.
I have a video we took that night—
your hands shaking, skin
hanging on depleted bones.
You give your girlfriend a pink rose.
You give her kisses you’ve been saving for years.
I wish I could spare you the urgent truth:
She loves someone more than you.
Someone who stuffs promises in her suitcase,
someone with a voice like liquid caramel,
a nomad who goes by different names:
Juice, Tar, Mud, sometimes just H.
The trustee of hopelessness
holds her hand and whispers, Come,
come into the shadow of no memories,
the fortuity of my embrace.
Lee Varon is a poetry, fiction and non-fiction writer. She won the 19th Annual Briar Cliff Review Fiction contest. Her poetry and short stories have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in various journals including Painted Bride Quarterly and Atlanta Review. In 2017, Finishing Line Press published her chapbook, Affairs Run in the Family. In 2018 she won the Sunshot Poetry Prize for her book, Shot in the Head. She is the co-editor of the anthology Spare Change News Poems: An Anthology by Homeless People and those Touched by Homelessness, published by Ibbetson Street Press in 2018.