This is where I do my best thinking: seven feet off the ground on the roof of a dented dodge; one story up from doorsteps on silver- coated tar; leaning out windows with wind blowing the smell of growth and damp and something else I don't have a name for. Continue reading
Men fear for the cook in the kitchen,
with her pint glasses of vodka.
“She’s really needy tonight,”
says the man to my left.
“You know, we all have our deal,”
says the bartendrix.
And, well, yes. And, yes, indeed.
We’ve each negotiated our deals
down to the minutest point.
And now the needle’s on the record,
the rubber’s on the road and we’re in a bar,
pitying the cook, enumerating
our own real and imagined afflictions
and slyly hinting at our plans
to rise from the dead
on the third day.
The New York Ouroboros
The day taints,
from the forced march of the morning
to the sun-wrecked afternoon.
The sun makes its low circle,
lights the office windows
in our hour of usefulness.
Our Lady of Windows
watches the streets fill
with her statue-blank eyes.
Even the men who sleep in doorways,
the leaky ghosts with shredded bowels
mad from the sound of it all,
are half healed by her, and thank her profusely
for the hand that hits them, for everything.
On the subway concourse,
businessmen and cleaning ladies
exchange rosary beads at rush hour,
hailing Mary over and over again
like an enormous wheel wobbling.
stronger than my own
runs through all of it.
The New York Ouroboros
is a subway, with a face on either end.
And they stare each other down
for longer than I can watch.
The skyline regulates heaven.
Night is dark and forty stories high.
Up too late, the city
translates me back to myself
with something missing
and something inscrutable inserted.
What goes on
is more than science and history.
What goes on
waits for poetry to grow up and become worthy.
Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City. He’s the author of several novels, including The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing “something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people.” Dodds’ screenplay, Refreshment – A Tragedy, was named a semi-finalist in 2010 American Zoetrope Contest. His poems have appeared in dozens of publications, and have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife Samantha.
Agla station… Jor Bagh… he.
The next station is…Jor Bagh.
I made paneer for the Marquis de Saag.
My jokes make India Pale Ales blush.
This is the third meditation where I’ve been hushed.
I just say, To each his om.
To each great thinker his garden gnome.
Beware of garden dogs gardening my gold—
these foo dogs will shackle you in manifolds.
Manacles can castigate elegance
or send 6,600 volts through an elephant.
We’re filming the execution. Thomas Edison insists.
Topsy thought, What is this if I persist?
Take me back to the circus next incarnation,
but electrocute me this time with justification.
I am the clown refusing to feign gay.
Darvaaze dai teraph ke kulenge.
Doors will open on the right.
The cyanide in the carrots was an oversight.
All India Radio wants to broadcast my spine snap.
When walking to the hanging, Please mind the gap.
An A Cappella Tribute Elvis Presley, God of the rowdy pelvis, was a Sun King in his own right. An elder of the Craft and a Most High Priestess of Elvis, says Elvis personally awoke white, middle-class America’s white-man-overbite chakra, and shapeshifted throughout his life from the splendid young Peacock God to the fat, laughing Dagda God. Ben & Jerry’s has created two new ice cream flavors named Rowdy Pelvis and PETA, PETA BO BEATA; both are blood orange based, and Rowdy Pelvis is swirled with uppers and downers hiding behind Black Eyed Pea sized fat, laughing Dagda gods fashioned out of super sweet chocolate, and the PETA flavor shelters chunks of flesh from Lady Gaga’s latest cloak. The smell of rotten meat masks the orange. Mad Black Early storm-wings whipped a smear of blue, Tumble-stacked into a tower late. Rain falls, spins, lifts, and twirls Nekid, but not alone, and Un-joined until merged where a tree once stood. A carrion crow caws a new song hatched on the mountain flew on the mountain no place to nest, or rest, On the mountain. A spinning drop tries to rinse the mad black stain away, but Man-machines rip and rend and kill without a thought. Man-machines feast on earths flesh without a thought.
Krystol Stinson is a student at Western Kentucky University studying Creative Writing. Her poems have been published in a variety of local journals, including Pegasus and Zephyrus.
Because the thunderstorm needed watching,
I rocked on the front porch to behold the night scolded by lightning.
Above me a buzzing bulb drew a twisting cloud of insects.
When they reached it, they ricocheted, scalded and blind.
M.J. De Angelis lives on the Lamprey River in Durham, New Hampshire and enjoys fly fishing. His pieces have appeared in: The Penwood Review, Third Wednesday, Sonnetwriters.com, Wild Goose Poetry Review, Scholars and Rogues and Chiron Review. Although his first passions are poetry and fly fishing, he pays the bills writing software.
Send a god symbol
through our daisy-chained heads—
fix the fireflies in our throats, drown
receivers for impending dreams, stammering
the dulcimer, name me kin, gentle
conquest of meat, torrents
of mania, polite chained cameos, unchained
epochs of light roused over and over,
come the shadows between the hours,
falling on the same backseats
that uncoiled make a trapeze of lust,
even the likes of Nashua and Nashville,
say anywhere, on some walls, the devil
is sketched in precarious balance
and isolation, avoiding bedsores,
taxes, deeds taken into account.
* * *
Pompeii narratives continue,
eddy around marble
gods in amphitheaters,
Like tulips unearthed
from private hells, we distance them,
how godlike we’ve become,
Prometheans who can’t call ourselves
what we are.
We meet along roads,
relay stories of brutal cultivars
planted by unrecorded peasants,
the relations you guess
by evidence of stature, cheekbones,
I was speaking about today
where garlands of logos
collude in temples,
wreathe dusty feet
before torching the sea.
Such a big place, Earth:
flowers, carbon arc,
circle our tiny heads
* * *
No Age Admitted
There is no age beyond pinochle
or comets beyond to make sky worth gazing.
Just cosmic echo,
a nebula we gulp,
before garbage flow.
Wet under eyes,
birthday knots tied red.
A token under juniper–
hair-thin legs folded in a bottle,
that much is worth killing
lugging two gallons
will do her dance
in a leotard
addled like a teenager.
Families of them,
to say a word then
stand clear of it.
It’s not you,
just, all of you.
* * *
Body of War
The mountains demand
you abide by their coterie,
pick sides among
trembling and molten factions.
You see movement in the valleys,
smoke billowing from the seams,
voices that claim a right
losing their language.
As day darkens,
fly down throats
and echo at dawn
from the hips of caves.
You should know
how stone is carved,
it is the first border
The body is limestone,
terrible at resisting
what rain and trickle
of blood would leach from it.
it feels a phantom hand.
In night sweats, speaks
spasmodically to ghosts.
Here is a gun
bending a voice.
Beyond haunting ricochet,
the timeline repeated
from a boy’s signature
to the first morning
of mud-slick boots and bruises
to parachuting from a warplane
like dandelion down
from a fissure breaking the sky.
Look at the sky at war:
just sisterly clouds,
swans floating across a lake
into the frowning peaks.
* * *
Persephone Takes a Lover
offspring of the constellations,
itching to beauty,
fountain to my pebbled feet
on cool powdery ground,
my body a reef
before your white stone,
I reach up to you
so tightly bound
I think I’m choking you,
who keeps us in a half-life
of caves and burning thickets.
Faint stars drift in currents,
grow brighter on instinct,
hell bent to ignite fire
that lives at the bottom of a lake.
Do you want potential futures
to spring from the lake?
or the reflection between them?
Be quick, that cherub
has a gun. Disarm him
so he can flit from our sight
or we can do this blind
by taste and touch,
don peacock masks,
feathered in our hair.
Samantha Milowsky is the founder and managing editor of Amethyst Arsenic. Her poems and essays have appeared in 2River View, Lyre Lyre, Revolution House, Sundress/Stirring, VIDA Women Literary Arts – Her Kind, and White Whale Review. She lives in Somerville, MA and works as a software technology consultant.
They were sorcerers, bringers of sunshine, gypsy queens shimmying down the hills of the pregnant earth, budding with life, crashing through the tunnels that once contained them. Minds like baby dragons trapped in acorn caps, unraveling and spilling over edges of a dark stage into an audience Nothing but empty chairs draped with dust and linens. Revelations hidden from the light like toes, barely peeking out from black burqas. Before, sounds crept from the corners of their mouths bumpy tongues were banging at the cages of her teeth. Now, sharp hips accompanied the racket, slicing the fragrant spring air. Like the orange and purple spiraling through the sky bodies spun out of control soles to earth jabbing hard at the spiky green blades. She said, “without the little bugs there wouldn’t be a lot of things.”
Margarita Prokofyeva is a Philosophy major at Virginia Tech with a newly discovered passion for poetry.
and they say that’s how Brooke Shields landed
the 1980 spring issue of Vogue, after all –
before those eglantine eyes made her
a tabloid queen,
it was her brows
that floored the likes of Thierry Mugler
and Azzedine Alaïa:
those martial, luscious supercilia,
cutting across her forehead like
two thick rows of Idaho barley
in a pas de deux of susurrations,
two bisecting tire tracks
of a Ford trundling down backcountry roads,
or the lost brushstrokes of
Da Vinci’s masterwork.
nowadays we box and pin them
into draconian arches
or the flat lines of an electrocardiogram.
we beat them away with hot wax.
we trim them each morning in a ritual
as sure and constant as cleaning teeth.
sometimes I dream of putting away my tweezers
and letting my eyebrows jut together like the ‘v’
of far-off birds
in a five year-old’s landscape.
I think that maybe Frida Kahlo,
with her palm leaves and hummingbirds
and pomegranate-red lips,
had the right idea after all.
let us take again the case of Miss Shields,
legs encased in Calvin Klein blue jeans like
the two forks of a river delta
and those eyes like lighthouse beacons
and those voluptuous oak-branch eyebrows
which, my god, could just drive a person
Vivan las cejas, Miss Kahlo might say.
Long live those brows.
Elizabeth Ballou is in her first year at the University of Virginia. Her work has appeared in the Claremont Review, Crashtest, the Adroit Journal, and Polyphony H.S., among others. In 2011, she was the recipient of the New York Life Award for her short fiction.
the pedantic romantic
his somatic compunction
his chaste waste
the static charge of arousal
is just that, static,
without the impetus of action
the semiotic semi-erotics of
formative fornicative experiences
mislead without falsehood
spurious vaginal angels
petrichor to mithridate
caress a rough flesh of lump and crease
Michael C. Rush is made very uneasy by the influence of biography on poetry and prefers that the reader consider his poems alone, on their own merits, as words, without indulging in whatever small, idle curiosity about the specifics of his background and life that they may feel.
I was at the bar,
worried my hair looked like Frankenstien’s bride,
admiring your tan arms.
My hands wiped air like napkins
I don’t know what I expected them to say—
didn’t know they were wilted sheets,
When we watched the Bollywood movie,
I wanted to be that girl who unfurled
in a thousand layers of red,
the chirpy hip and finger, who twirled like a metaphor.
I don’t know yet if she is who I was one time,
or who we all cannot ever reach—
Sometimes I wake up like a dazed drinker
an untucked drunk, flat off the stool
derelict and drooling. I turn 85 every ten years or so.
hair grows out my ears like clover, I’m embarrassed to admit.
This time when I wake, you and the dancing girl are gone.
I spread my wrinkled hands wide like slow lava
say How did I get here? Over and over to my husband,
asleep beside me. I shake him but he does not wake up.
I stumble on the floor, away from him and the bed.
Someone’s left armoirs out like landmines
so I must crawl and feel for table legs.
I suspect I need someone, Amien,
but my eyesight’s not too good
on account of cataracts, and my car won’t start,
and my shoes won’t walk, and the coffee tastes like soap.
Fruit flies overtook my kitchen, I let them have it.
These days, I spend hours with the girl in red,
a florid nightlight on my gray temple,
and I still don’t know what she means.
Sarah Jordan Stout is an undergraduate at the University of Tennessee. In addition to her poetry, she’s also an actress building an interdisciplinary degree in playwriting.
- Believe it or not, the ancient Chinese 5-Agent Principle accounts for us all. 1/ Water (born in a year ending in 2 or 3) -helps wood but hinders fire; helped by metal but hindered by earth with her transparent tenderness coded with colorless violence she is always ready to support or sink the powerful boat sailing south 2/ Wood (born in a year ending 4 or 5) -helps fire but hinders earth; helped by water but hindered by metal rings in rings have been opened or broken like echoes that roll from home to home each containing fragments of green trying to tell their tales from the forest’s depths 3/ Fire (born in a year ending 6 or 7) -helps earth but hinders metal; helped by wood but hindered by water your soft power bursting from your ribcage as enthusiastic as a phoenix is supposed to be when you fly your lipless kisses you reach out your hearts until they are all broken 4/ Earth (born in a year ending in 8 or 9) -helps metal but hinders water; helped by fire but hindered by wood i think not; therefore, I am not what I am, but I have a color the skin my heart wears inside out tattooed intricately with footprints of history 5/ Metal (born in a year ending in 0 or 1) -helps water but hinders wood; helped by earth but hindered by fire he used to be totally dull-colored because he came from the earth’s inside now he has become a super-conductor for cold words, hot pictures and light itself all being transmitted through his throat
Changming Yuan, four-time Pushcart nominee and author of Allen Qing Yuan, holds a PhD in English, teaches independently and edits Poetry Pacific in Vancouver. Yuan’s poetry appears in 629 literary publications across 24 countries, including Asia Literary Review, Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, LiNQ, London Magazine, Poetry Kanto, Paris/Atlantic, Poetry Salzburg, SAND and Taj Mahal Reivew. Poetry submissions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dewdrop bodies melt
together like tallow candles
in firebombed Dresden,
dogfight over nectar,
ruby and false,
here in this place,
where the butterflies come to die.
Blood and Calendars
There is deep terror in how the world
wants to curl around your hand. It is almost
too easy. Monuments collapse with a push.
Let’s place boundaries on the sea before us.
String up ropes. Too much time, too little
motivation. I want to play video games
for whole afternoons. I want to found
a banking empire. If I strap myself down
I can stop the flood.
Before there were weeks, men built ships.
It was done when it was. We could go to war
for decades, if it held our interest.
There is plenty of time to finish the story.
Now we have years by which to decide.
But not now. The days are full.
The Mining Town
Wherever people are going, it isn’t here.
A new ruin every year; today
a wall collapsed on Silver Street.
We never feel so foolish as when
a relic of our fathers needs replacement.
Restored interiors, historical replicas,
all so stupid. Originals persevere
forever, when they can. I never repaired
the basketball court on Grandpa’s land.
The weeds broken through.
John Minser teaches writing at Northern Michigan University and serves as Associate Poetry Editor at Passages North. His writing has appeared at Monarch Review and Eunoia Review, among others, and is forthcoming at DIAGRAM.
A thing of no ordinary pulse
A thing of adventure in mountains
A thing of love and when you speak of love
a million have spoken your thoughts
vibed your waves and dreamt those
archetype dreams of the urns and embers of
love already but keep going
This thing is your heart and your veins
it is the prick of your ears at her voice
the catch of your eye at the moonlit corner of her smile
It belongs to you laid out like a treasure map
found buried opened up, aired out, smoothed and clarified
with fresh purpose and the sun
of a new uncovered angle of approach
to her soul her curves
and it is you and no nay-sayer who wants
to hold her body her luminous moment
like the petal-fingers of a hundred blue flowers
opened with whispers and caressed with truth
sweetened by this close-by whispering bee
Michael Pacholski was born Jan 31 1968 and began writing the very next day. He has had poems published in Comstock Review, Agni, Every Day Poets, and a little poetry and elsewhere. In 2000 he received a masters degree in Creative Writing from Illinois State University.
In the twilight of the night, in the rain-fog
at summer’s edge, when the skunk comes
amble-burrowing in the compost heap
for scraps of marrow to deep to suck from bone,
when the rain comes on the cement porch steps,
a-pat-it a-pa-tit a-pat-it,
when the skunk runs rumba to its rhythm
and off into the night to burrow
and it is safe from the rain and the darkness,
and when the wind laments for the passing
of a pine, fifteen years young, a sapling!
with the readiness of apologies,
in the chroma obscura of dimness
in the haze of sweet evening,
Adam Al Sirgany attended Knox College and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. He currently lives in the greater St. Louis area where he is a teacher, tutor and street musician. His scholarly pursuits include intense staring at blades of grass; his roguish misdemeanors include picking them for whistles.
Zoology students are apt to quail
when asked what use are the bands on a snail
The evidence they learn in class
the banding helps it hide in grass
If this is so it seems absurd
the shell is so round and curved
For life in grass one would conjecture
a somewhat flatter architecture
The reason for this one supposes
lies with Darwin not with Moses
for any creator could have designed
a shell along more cryptic lines
Or perhaps six days were not enough
to fit a snail for life in the rough.
Peter Cobbold, a cell biologist, is today an Emeritus Professor of University of Liverpool, UK. As a young lecturer in the Department of Zoology he shared a tea room with an eminent geneticist Philip Sheppard FRS and evolutionary biologist Arthur Cain. Their work on the snail Cepaea remains a seminal work on the role of polymorphism in natural selection. The ditty was written in reposte to innumerable tea-room conversations about snails.
Is time a thought that we create, a crack
in space meant to alleviate the ache,
harness worn on the wrist like a shackled
prison bitch? I wonder what is at stake
if time is sent away, eternity
swept up in flame, forgotten like rampage.
Avoid the tick and tock purposefully,
and go on living like we’re in a dream.
Is time a scheme of our design? Should we
engage in its demise, refuse to teem
in quarantine, oh little clock of lies.
Steady against all odds till we careen
and fall into its vortex, terrified.
All our struggle to get from here to there
is lost in moments swirling to survive.
If time were our truest friend, she would care
about pulling us in and out with ease
and not laugh at our expense when affairs
of ours fail. Time assails like mescaline,
derails our dreams. She’s a black guillotine.
Laurin Wolf received her MFA from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program at Kent State University, where she was the poetry editor for Whiskey Island Magazine and an interviewer for The Wick Poetry Center. She holds a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh in Poetry Writing.
Her poems have appeared in PMS, Pittsburgh’s City Paper, Two Review, and Madwomen in the Attic: An Anthology. She has been a featured reader at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh’s local radio show Prosody as well as at the Sphinx Café Reading Series, and Mac’s Books in Cleveland, OH. She currently teaches writing Duquesne University in Pittsburgh.
Unpacking words, she spreads them out
Like cards that might reveal something
Hidden. There’s no room for your doubt.
Unpacking her words, they fan out
Into a hand, neat, clear of rings.
Unpacking those words, she spreads them out
Beyond speech. Until they can sing. Continue reading
– in the basement of the Rietberg Museum, Zürich
Sinuous bodies joining hands in Indian sandstone
ankle linked across a ledge—
Peruvian puma beside West Mexican fetishes
bone masks & rhinos of Mali
& La Côte d’Ivoire—
Oblong faces & dark mystery stare
longing to be touched through the glass. Continue reading
About The Typeface The words are set in ink on the pulped innards of trees. The idea for words comes first from Sumeria as wedges in wet clay: tales of what came before, lost to flood and forgetfulness. The shapes of the letters formed in Phoenicia, and sorted themselves into vowels and consonants - each breath a brush stroke Continue reading