David Appelbaum

David Appelbaum

David Appelbaum has worked in the university and in publishing, and is an author who specializes in the work of writing.  His most recent books include notes on water: an aqueous phenomenology [Monkfish, 2018].

hummingbird to the window

 

I’m all used up

 

hearing me say I’m done

 

meaning dry  finished  history

 

flown in from South America

distance and time

vibrate with true feeling

 

my own thoughts

and fingerprints

their glorious stuff

 

we look

(if bird eyes are frontal)

and nod words across

the thin glass pane

 

—can we come down

from the clouds now?

 

—yes, but only for a short

visit

 

 

 

lesson

 

one small crow

to  larger one

listening

 

isn’t it time

(that doesn’t exist)

 

to learn

once and for all

 

the difference

it makes

 

to pass over

the seed bed

for the corn silk

and kernels

 

to survey it all?

 

whereas the other

heard

 

to crow

is to count

 

the future present

among one’s possessions

 

and eat here now

Joseph Arechavala

Joseph Arechavala

Joseph Arechavala is born and bred in New Jersey, leading a boring, humdrum life and commenting as best his feeble skills allow. A high functioning autistic, he is the father of two grown sons and has been married for 35 years to a quite patient, loving woman. He has had poems and stories published online and in print, and published a novel, Darkness Persists.

Somewhere

 

There’s a dictatorship

a brutal, murderous dictatorship

 

Somewhere

 

(Does it matter where?)

 

Where orphaned children cry

in rubble-filled streets

 

Where the screams can be heard

almost every night –

hot nights, cold nights –

followed by shots – it doesn’t

sound like the movies, you know –

no echoes of bullets, only echoes

of screams

 

What to do when they come?

Scrape and bow and chuckle nervously?

Fight only to be dragged away?

 

Fear, historically, has always been an

effective device for control, the smooth sultry

voice of control

 

The room, dark, bare, the only

reflection from the lone bulb the

sweat on his brow

 

somewhere

 

people walk down a city street

verdant trees and crowded cafes smelling of mocha

Oblivious

 

Somewhere

In August

In August

families picnicked on Bavarian hillsides
French girls teased French boys
butterflies laid their eggs before dying
rifles were cleaned by nervous soldiers
dogs barked in deserted evening streets
blackout shades were purchased with
grim faces

In August

cows and pigs were bled after slaughter
English children went swimming in
the Channel, English mothers eyeing
warships’ smoke in the distance
birds sang a late summer song before
flying south, ants labored to store food
Poles looked over their shoulders as
Germans languished in
the camps

In August

dolphins raced before destroyers
chickens hatched and mothers gave birth
with agonized cries, shells were piled
high by sweaty men in undershirts
harvest wheat was separated from the chaff
engines were greased, bolts tightened and
boots polished

In August

innocence took
a struggling,
gasping
breath,
and hope
withered

 

Rick Campbell

Rick Campbell

 

Rick Campbell is a poet and essayist living on Alligator Point, Florida. His latest collection of poems is Gunshot, Peacock, Dog. (Madville Publishing) He’s published five other poetry books as well as poems and essays in numerous journals including The Georgia Review, Fourth River, Kestrel, and New Madrid. He’s won a Pushcart Prize and a NEA Fellowship in Poetry. He teaches in the Sierra Nevada College MFA Program.

Morning in the Eastern Sky

 

It’s hard to remain ignorant these days.

The full moon drew my eye when we turned

for home, two stars hung above the State Park fence.

 

All I know is the morning moon is bright still.

That last night it was eclipsed. But

last night was cold and I did not walk

 

my dog.  This still dark morning

my phone app draws lines in a virtual sky

I read that it’s Venus with Jupiter below. 

 

My tea kettle whistles me into the kitchen.

Super Blood Moon. Wolf Moon, Indians

said, because winter wolves howled

 

from dark hills to stars above.  We have

only the rumor of a wolf here, rumor

of a panther too. These pine hummocks

 

are home to coyote and bears; home

to whatever moon returns

year by year, season by season.

Anthony DiMatteo

Anthony DiMatteo

Anthony DiMatteo’s recent poems and reviews have sprouted in Cimarron Review,

CladeSong, Cortland Review, Hunger Mountain, Los Angeles Review, and

UCity Review. His current book of poems In Defense of Puppets has been hailed as,

“a rare collection, establishing a stunningly new poetic and challenging the traditions that

DiMatteo (as Renaissance scholar) claims give the poet ‘the last word'”(Cider Press

Review).

Gaze

For three days these mountains
have watched me. I have asked
the two of them nothing, afraid
of the ashes in my mouth.

Sometimes I wander near.
They disappear, their iron glare
looming above hemlocks,
that one with the broken face

or the neighbor who rolls away
from the ugliness of his mate,
rising up like whipped cream
to a fabulous point. Now

it seems to sleep curled into
its crown in total ease,
its million year domain.
The riven one is never restless

nor does it rest, but there it is,
not nothing, its cleft so deep
once dealt – was it a meteor? –
it’s become silent as death.

And what of the canyon between them,
formed out of nothing, chorus
of absence binding all three
in a friendship as old as stars?

From inside the dark hollow
of a mouth, we make a world
from water, breath, and words,
but no route to escape or hide

from a mountain’s penetrant gaze.
My call fades out like gravel
in the canyon’s ripping stream.
It will outlast all we know.

*********************

Living for Two

You’re inside my pocket now.
Lovely tree or sweet birdsong?
I take you out to hear it.
Through me you still have
being, self, soul.

Look how silent the bay
beneath wintry clouds.
You shudder in the cold.
Your eyes light up. I hear
waters lap, and you’re gone.

You told me to live for two.
I do, then walk back alone.
Fated to be without you,
I will never let you go.

You’re inside me now,
a last respite of home.

*********************

Lost Friend (To J. V.)

You are not in the room with my dead mother
who sees the seeking in my eyes. She says,
“You have lost a friend but not friendship.”
And then she disappears. The waters of memory
flood through the windows, and we walk
high up in the Rockies on the way to Crystal Lake.
The snowed-under pass proves impassable.
We find beneath towering sugar pine
a dry spot and pitch camp. You make a fire
as I wander about plateaus of rock
for a last view. I look back to where
far off you sit like Buddha, the fire
crackling as the night comes down.
I wave back but you do not see or do not
wave back. The mountain still holds
the answer. I use your fire to return,
a point of light reaching out of gloom.
You smile: “There is no place I’d rather be.”
And I say: “Part of us will never leave.”
We laugh. We drink in the silence
that still floods my dreams. A perfect
moment we shared, earned together
after a hard trail. The silence told us
why we came there. I did not know then
how the dead speak to the living inside it.
Nor did I foresee your silence would grow
so different from mine. My calling out
faded away before a mountain’s wall,
whose stone you mimicked by the fire then,
only to become one to me, my lost friend.
This is what she meant: friendship burns within.

*********************

Not Better Late

On the morning of my resurrection,
I wander streets never seen before,
with little cottages against the sea
immense and lovely to look at alone.

I walk among pansies, chase a newt,
press up against a window to see if
anyone is home where the water runs
in a yellow sink. But no one is there

who knows my name or can be seen
at this early hour when birds mull about
on lawns for the cool dew. I despair
of eating but recall I have no hunger

except for lingering where white linen
left out all night hangs heavy on the line.
A thought stops me in my airy tracks –
how you held me and folded over me

so that I never wanted to die.
Now I have no way to promise you this.

Sejal Ghia

Sejal Ghia

Poets biography

Marin Headlands

 

 

Back from the guided meditation,

my friend dumps her still

matcha tea

after a long moment

of agony: “does the cup go

into compost, recycle or trash?”

 

I look out the window,

at the waves

crashing

on the rocks,

crushing

the Sisyphean surfers

in their thoroughly wet suits.

My heart swells as one rides

 

 

 

a beast of a wave.

 

 

I draw

my eye

back to my

 

 

 

beast of a mind,

 

 

ride it

with my breath.

 

 

After dinner, we roast

our first s’mores,

scout for a smokeless spot

to warm our Birkenstocked feet

and watch the

bonfire

break

into

fireflies.

Sandy Green

Sandy Green

Poets biography

Anyone Home?

 

 

Stardust-covered telescope

stands beside the door and waits to

unfold its legs

point its face toward the sprinkled sky

squeeze the stars and chip-faced moon into its optical tube

draw the children to stoop and squeal

discover other exothermic bundles of gases in the sky

ignore a creature peering down its eyepiece at us.

 

 

Sue

Sue

Poets biography

[besides, near by] / [reach, attain]

 

At the edge of things: after words and before, it is enough. Enough to be out of the place where words failed me. Enough, to enter the possibility of words. The fire still a warming kind. The light dim.

At the edge of things, the company, oh, the company. How they walked on water. How they owned their words and how I could listen, how I could roll a few of theirs on my own tongue. How they welcomed me. Enough, these ramparts of their words and murmurings. How they have built what I have longed for. How I could stay forever, head bowed. Like sanctuary. Like sanctuary inside of sanctuary. Enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He

 

I know this place; it is not a place of fear. [Does she think me afraid?] A place of sighs, perhaps. Here, the one I know best, here we discuss. Here, we consider. [Only one thing that plucks at me here.] I know this place. Does she think it is not a good place? It is good. I will usher her in, show her the goodness. My name known here. I am known and will make her known. We move through the hordes, to the lightened space, to the fortification. My name lightening.

 

She

 

Let me follow in the wake of his naming. How it parts the sighs that push against me. It is dark here, dimmed. I follow in his wake and his name creates space. Ushered, I feel, and named. He names me the same as his name. Isn’t this what I always wanted? To stand with a name, any name. Next to? Isn’t this what I always wanted – to be named?

 

[cause to be, make into] / [a runner]

 

Be careful who you trust! one said. Be careful what you say! said another in retort. The air in my lungs thick with sound and squabble. Trust me, one said; No, trust me, the other responded. No air to breathe between them. I turned, reached, scampering [outside of my body] for another voice [desperate] and brought it close. [You must understand, utterly.]

 

Love, she said, seized me. Devotion, she said, compelled me. Love,
she said, choose for me. Fault, she said, love, devotion. Fault, she said, my story. Fault, she said, all the stories.

 

I loved, she said, the first one to touch me. I loved, she said, the touch. Who would not have followed love then, who would not have bowed in devotion? It is the way of love. It has always been the way of love. Are there not stories and tales beyond memory to prove my story. Are there not tales of one following her beloved, even though he be torn apart. Always gathering his pieces. Always gathering him. To the ends of the earth, to this end. Love, she said, took me and gave me a story. Love, devotion, she said, became the only way. I finally had a story I could fit into, I did not need read more to find another. Who was I not to follow the one given me?

 

I wept at her story, how it swirled. How it was a place to fall into.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He

 

She longs for story; I will tell and show her the stories I know best – the spin of love and duty, passion and over-passion. How these stories urge us to pity. I have made [will make] them mine so I can be the one to give them to her.

 

She

 

I would hear a story. So many stories swirl around [inside] me, dizzying, so many stories thundering, thundering, never stopping. Stop, let me hear one story, just one story. Will I find new life through story – through her story [who is she], through his [what is his story], through the ones he tells? So many stories, crowding, knocking the breath out of me.

[to swallow]

 

Ask for another, ask for more, ask for a different story of future, another story of past, ask about logic, about science, retort then ask again, ask for another name, another’s name, ask and ask and ask and take it all into the throat, take it all in, gorged throat, gorged belly, gorged words, gored.

 

Like dirt, like muck, like sleet, like rain so dirty it burns, like wanting to tear something apart, like tearing, like wanting to howl, to loud, to hurl; like dirt, like muck, like words thrown in my gullet, my mouth, like chewing, like chewing, like a dog on a bone, like a dog chewing death, like a dog whimpering as she chews.

 

 

Once there was a girl who filled her breath with salt water
and remembered song.

 

Sarah A. Letinger

Sarah A. Letinger

Sarah A. Etlinger is an English professor who resides in Milwaukee, WI, with her family. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, she is author of two chapbooks (Never One for Promises, Kelsay Books 2018) and the forthcoming Little Human Things (Clare Songbirds). In addition to poetry, interests include cooking, baking, traveling, and learning to play the piano. Find her poetry at www.sarahetlinger.com and on Twitter at @drsaephd. 

Rehearsal

The sky is smoky milk: it will rain later.
I’m thinking about the moon
and its tradition of memory
while we rehearse for evening,

for summer’s long dusks
when the grass hums in a green fermata
that stays as long as we want
and the air is filled with marbles
of birdsong,

rehearse for silence only summer
invites. Now we’re on the porch,
a piece of prairie grass in your teeth
draped lazily as your body over the steps.

Tonight the stars are heavy.
The sky bends under their weight.
We wait for rain, for tongues of wind
at the windows, stemming our wakefulness.

Phoebe Marrall

Phoebe Marrall

 Phoebe Marrall, orphaned at the age of nine, was a survivor of The Depression and of a grueling childhood. When she died in 2017 at the age of eighty-four, her daughters Jane Hendrickson and Camille Komine inherited hundreds of poems she had written. They remained unpublished during her lifetime, but it is the intention of her daughters that a collection be compiled for readers to appreciate. “Relief, Have You a Name?” is currently a work in progress, being edited by Gayle Jansen Beede. 

I’D NEVER TITLE A POEM “HOPE”

 

Find a thought, little heart.

Beat, beat, find a way out.

Search and seek, look

straight into the light.

Look into dark, too, look more.

 

My heart, my eyes, still search.

Recesses contain ore.

My finger feels along, pokes.

My heart supposes relief

where there is only night.

 

 

GO, AND FEAST YOUR EYES

 

You must go down and visit those dream sites:

black places in hot parking lots, corners in

asphalt nearly melted, shimmering with white lines

and absolutely still in lethargic midday sun.

 

You must go to those forests Made in China:

lamps in boxes and fake flowers spilling from racks

mounted high above your reach with perfumed candles

and plastic Halloween pumpkins on rods.

 

You should go to the stark yardage rolls:

scrim cloth and light linen evened out above damask

and upholstery covering woven maroon and white,

and common broadcloth in starry prints.

 

The dream-fields, empty as they are fixed:

they await habitation, as dried mud awaits water,

for new fingering of red and blue plastic tote bags

and catchment of your eye in the solitude of pleasure.

 

Michael McCormic

Michael McCormic

Michael McCormick’s award-winning fiction, poetry, and articles have appeared in many journals and anthologies. He is currently writing an urban fantasy novel. Mike belongs to the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA), Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA), Codex Writers Group, League of Minnesota Poets (LOMP), and The Loft Literary Center. Mike & his wife Laura split their time between Saint Paul, Minnesota and Lake Superior. They enjoy travel, hiking, Tai Chi, and perplexing cats. They have two grown daughters and a growing collection of books, vinyl records, ceramic owls, peculiar rocks, and other anachronisms.

REVOLUTION 9

 

Drop the needle

Kill the lights

 

number nine

number nine

 

“This must be what acid’s like?”

 

Her blue Marantz eyes

hot breath on my cheek

 

I listen for clues

and prepare for revelations

 

 

 

 

FARM GIRL

 

black ribbon red bow

 

in another’s garden

flower seeds we planted years ago

 

too hard the season

too soon the frost

 

blossoms freeze and dance

away on thieving winds

 

 

 

 

DEPRESSION

 

Lantern sputters

in a hollow hole

 

Eggless shells

groan and crack

 

A hungry fox

climbs the stair

 

eyes shining

in the failing light

Bob Meszaros

Bob Meszaros

Poets biography

The Scenic Overlook

 

 

No bucket seats; no seat restraints;

it is nineteen fifty-nine, and we are parked

on West Rock Ridge, on Baldwin Drive.

 

Our overlook is empty; the Hudson’s grill

is pressed against the wood and wire guardrail;

it is pointing, upward, at the sky.

 

Red-faced and out of breath, my right arm

curled around your sun-browned shoulders,

we are waiting for the night.

 

   *

 

Closed to traffic and young lovers, 

weeds now fill the cracks around 

the shattered wooden guard rail;

 

frayed and rusted cables, the sloughed 

off skins of wire snakes, lie limp

and coiled around each concrete base

 

where thick white wooden 

posts and wire cables, as taut and trued 

as long-stemmed daffodils and roses, 

once held us poised for flight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

             Cairn Builder

 

 

Years of weekend day trips, harvested 

in old coat pockets and draw string bags

 

the rocks gleaned from state parks,

from beachfronts, from a terminal moraine.

 

Now, my back and shoulders cracked

and bowed from forty years of lifting thick lead 

blocks and stage four cancer patients, 

 

on summer afternoons, I watch my gnarled 

hands stacking stone on polished stone, building 

cairns on wooden benches, on tree stumps, 

on slate rock garden paths.

 

Alone,

each cairn becomes a calling, 

becomes a shattered body healing, 

a single column rising slowly—balanced, 

upright, bone on polished bone.

 

 

Frank C. Modica

Frank C. Modica

Frank C Modica is a retired teacher who taught children with special needs for over 34 years.  His writing is animated by interests in history, geography, and sociology. Frank’s short story “Homemade” was selected as an Honorable Mention in the Midway Journal 2017 -1000 Below Flash Prose and Poetry contest. His poem “Rainbow Bus” was the 2017 Champaign-Urbana Metropolitan Transit District  Poem Contest winner and was featured on all the local buses for a month. His work has appeared in Slab, Black Heart Magazine, The Tishman Review, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, and FewerThan500.

 

History Repeats Itself

 

after Martin Niemoller

 

I clapped when they came

for the whistleblower because 

he was selling out America, 

poisoning patriotic American minds.

 

I cheered when they came

for the Democrats in Congress

because they hate America

and they want to take away my guns.

 

I raised a Budweiser toast when they came 

for the RINOs in the heartland of the country

because they all were secret Democrats

and going to hell anyway.

 

I waved my MAGA hat after I mildly 

questioned the China trade tariffs

but they came for me anyway. 

There was no one left to speak for me.

Richard L. Ratliff

Richard Ratliff

Richard L Ratliff is a baby boomer, born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana. His midwest ties have built the foundation and setting for his poetry. He is a Purdue University graduate with two years of engineering turned into a degree in English Literature. All of these eclectic combinations have given him a career as a boiler and combustion expert and poet. He has over two dozen published poems and thee books on Amazon 

Mountain 

 

Can a memory that lasts and lasts

Become a pebble on life’s shore?

And as time goes on – a rock, a bolder

After years a hill, a mountain, a range

Something solid — beyond memory 

Something to touch and feel

A permanence 

 

Shana Ross

Shana Ross

Shana Ross is a poet and playwright with a BA and MBA from Yale University.  She bought her first computer working the graveyard shift in a windchime factory, and now pays her bills as a consultant and leadership expert. Since resuming her writing career in 2018, she has accumulated over 40 publication credits, including Anapest Journal, Chautauqua Journal, Ghost City Review, Mad Scientist Journal, The Sunlight Press, and Writers Resist.   She is the recipient of a 2019 Parent-Writer Fellowship to Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, and serves as an editor for Luna Station Quarterly.

Irony

 

To bury something 

effectively

you must 

dig deep –

which means a friend, 

looking in

on this very scene 

looking at

you

cannot be sure

this is a different act 

from unburying

secrets long 

locked safely 

in the dirt

beneath us.

Jennifer Jordán Schaller

Jennifer Jordán Schaller

My poetry and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from Tiny Seed Literary Magazine, Literary Mama, Cutbank, Creative Nonfiction, Ascent (this essay was nominated for a Pushcart), Sonora Review, among other places. And I had a radio story on This American Life.

I teach English and college writing in Albuquerque.

Vagina as Top Hat

 

I choose you first, 

my favorite game 

piece in Monopoly. 

With your full crown, 

you match my frock 

coat made of black 

silk; that’s a lie, I 

don’t own a frock 

coat. But I wear you 

even though use of 

you fell into decline. 

I wear you: wide-

brimmed, ornate, and 

opalescent. Comfy in 

my morning dress, 

I wear you, like JFK 

wore you back in 

  1. I once saw a 

man pull a rabbit out 

of you, but you perform

better during weddings, 

funerals, and horse 

races: any destination 

that screams class. 

Sometimes you are collapsible, a canal that can be breached. 

J.P. Morgan rode in a limo with a roof so high, he never had to take you off. 

 

Letter from the Editor

 

You should be more reverent

when you write about your vagina,

for it is the birthplace of us all,

origin of the cosmos.

 

When you write about your vagina,

never mind that one time,

remember, origin of the cosmos.

Forget your cervix made a stew.

 

Forget that one time

what looked like hamburger meat,

spewed from your cervix.

The nurse said it was fetus,  

 

what looked like hamburger meat.

Pieces of creation made you toxic,

stagnant fetus sat in your birth canal.

Why tell me this now?

 

Cosmic soup of creation could’ve killed you,

that imagery is offensive.

What is a canal anyway?

Don’t remind me of blood.

 

That imagery is terrible.

I don’t want to know about clots;

don’t remind me of blood.

You might offend someone.

 

I don’t want to know about clots

when you write about your vagina.

You might offend someone.

Can you be sympathetic

 

when you write about your vagina?

Can you alter your truth?

Be more sympathetic when you write.

Behold, vaginas.

Richard Stuecker

Richard Stuecker

Richard Stuecker is a poet and writer who graduated from Duke University in 1970. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is a student at the Bluegrass Writer’s Studio MFA program at Eastern Kentucky University. His poems have appeared in or been accepted by Tilde, Former People, Pegasus, Main Street Rag and District Lit; creative nonfiction in Hippocampus, Connotation Press, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Crambo, Louisville Magazine and Delmarva Review; book reviews in the Louisville Courier-Journal. A collection of essays on conscious aging, Vibrant Emeritus, was published in 2014 by John Hunt Publishing (London).

Evening Walk

 

An urgent wind thrusts us,

relents an occasional pause

to our daily walk. Not knowing

what might blow in,

our faulty pace quickens us

to remember much we lost

that meant everything once,

now flutter, swirl, vanish

into the moonless sky.

Turning back, the way

we always turn toward

where we come from,

against chill reminiscence

rising less and less, more and more

we lock the door to still the night.

Abisiama Udorn

Abisiama Udorn

Abasiama Udom is a poet and writer. She currently is studying Education and has interests in matters of the afterlife, human nature, politics and creativity. When not writing Abasiama is sleeping, dancing or causing trouble. She can be found on Twitter @AneuPoet

WE DO NOT BELONG.

 

 

With eyes to see beyond the day,

hands with the speed of the tiger

I know for certain,

we do not belong here

where mortals dance and play

living for pleasure daily.

We do not belong in the drudgery of rest

of fantasies, dreams with eyes closed

for we dream with our eyes wide open

creators of worlds the world over.

We take you by the hand

lead you to anguish – pain

in the pages of a book

No! We do not belong here

in this playground for mortals

we go where men dread and angels dare

between earth and heaven we dwell

bodies out of a mortal body

beings finding space in one abode

all trying to survive.

 

We do not belong here

feet firmly planted on earth

We do not belong in time

for time is stopped, nature on recess.

We do not belong in the watery dispensation

in the ache, the thirst for water

for our soul is a spring ever dripping

you and I together, for our abode is within

the pages of a book, the contours of a story

the linings of a poem, the colours of a song

the tales of a painting, the silence of a play

the inner horrors of a comedy,

the spell of a romance,

the tunes of a mystery

the whispers in our heads,

we go where men dread and angels dare.

Our anguished bodies plod on in this time

awaiting divinity in outpouring,

You and I, We do not belong here.

 

Never have we belonged.

Alla Vilnyansky

Alla Vilnyansky

Alla Vilnyanskaya was born in the Ukraine and raised in the U.S. She came to Philadelphia in 1989 with her parents. She holds an MA from Miami University and an MFA from Columbia University. Her work has been published in several online and print journals. She is currently working on her first full length book of poetry  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mise-en-scène

 

As with Andy Warhol
something broke, was lost, given away.
Squandered: abandoned
left unexplained, unanswered.

 

Things were being confiscated, denied, offered up
there was a disagreement, fabrication
the inability to protect—to restrain.