This is what you yearned for
All those years as you stacked
And piled and waited and waited
Patience you knew could save you
You treated it like a commodity
Welcome to the city of dust
Flat skylines and metal blinds
When you stopped to refresh
They kept coming
Gnashing jaws and flashes of ivory
Turned this flesh into a river
Mashing fresh meat into pulp
Exploding into a million fragments
Each one a god
Each one a story
Paving the way for the city herself
To walk off into fluorescent light
Archives For Poetry
This is what you yearned for
Like an old movie,
sepia tone soaking through light
falling frame by frame,
slow death rattling across
Or even flashing birth—forecasting shadow
as well as brightness,
clicking and anxious,
and gangly June,
spreading beyond your marks,
I get it,
still spellbound by bold
displays and clapping
hands of cottonwoods,
Yet sense a difference—the bloating at seams
and pause, tinted
by Russian olive,
And the movie—much bluer and beautiful,
resonates with irony,
now that I must leave it.
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, performance poet Jean Howard resided in Chicago from 1979 to 1999. She has since returned to Salt Lake City. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Off The Coast, Clackamas Literary Review, Harper’s Magazine, Eclectica Magazine, Eclipse, Atlanta Review, Clare, Folio, Forge, Fugue, Fulcrum, Crucible, Gargoyle and others.
A participant in the original development of the nationally acclaimed “Poetry Slam” at the Green Mill, she has been awarded two grants for the publication of her book, Dancing In Your Mother’s Skin (Tia Chucha Press), a collaborative work with photographer, Alice Hargrave. She has been organizing the annual National Poetry Video Festival since 1992, with her own award-winning video poems, airing on PBS, cable TV, and festivals around the nation.
Garden Before the Move previously appeared in Vending Machine Press.
It’s my fault
due a ticket for once
fey sigh or protest,
dumb birds align the wire
streets slick, improper
lane change, no mean avenue
here, past midnight the bejeezus waiting
like a leg breaking, giving—
pinball spins into
standing in shame in rainfall
sitting on the curb done in
alligator tears, a good sign
people after midnight sleeping
through this storm.
Gladys Carr is a former Nicholson Trustee Fellow at Smith College, University Fellow at Cornell, and publishing executive with McGraw-Hill and HarperCollins book publishers.
Her work is widely published in literary magazines and journals throughout the United States and Canada. Publications include: The New York Times, Manhattan Magazine, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Ninth Letter, North Atlantic Review, Denver Quarterly, International Poetry Review, Potomac Review, Bayou, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, California Quarterly (CQ), Connecticut Review, Fourteen Hills Review, Fulcrum: An Annual Of Poetry And Aesthetics, Existere Journal of Arts and Literature, Gargoyle, George Washington Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review, Inscape, Fictionist (Beach Magazine), Whetstone, KNOCK Magazine (Antioch Seattle), Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Nimrod International, Pebble Lake Review, Queen’s Quarterly, Westview, Qwerty, Red Rock Review, Rhino, Rosebud, The Saint Ann’s Review, Salamander, Sanskrit, The South Carolina Review, Southern Humanities Review, Spillway, Tampa Review, Word Riot, Bartlett’s Unfamiliar Quotations, and Quiddity International Journal and Public Radio, among many others.
Oh, they are all laid out!
The tools and housewares,
Trinkets from the cruise ship honeymoon,
Along with flotsam from the nuptial wreck.
A timing light for engines out of time,
The tune-up manual for dad’s Rocket 88,
And grandma’s Bible with the question marks.
The globe with all the countries wrong,
The baby pictures from 100 years ago
Of antique children who grew to nothing
More than frames to gather dust;
The serving spoon that scooped
Young peas from chipped tureens,
Furniture still creaking,
With cushions unraveled at the seams,
And the almost working typewriter.
All the evidence of life now marked “As is”,
As redoubtable as the retainer case
Belonging to the teenage son
Who hanged himself one Christmas Eve
And swallowed his retainer whole.
Marked down on this last day,
Yours for the taking.
A real bargain.
And now only 25 cents.
D.G. Geis lives in Houston, Texas. He has an undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Houston and a graduate degree in philosophy from California State University. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in 491 Magazine, Lost Coast, Blue Bonnet Review, The Broadkill Review, A Quiet Courage, SoftBlow International Poetry Journal, Blinders, Burningword Literary Journal, Poetry Scotland (Open Mouse), Crosswinds, Scarlet Leaf, Sweet Tree, Atrocity Exhibition, Driftwood Press, Tamsen, Rat’s Ass, Bad Acid, Crack the Spine, Collapsar, Grub Street, Slippery Elm, Ricochet, The Write Place at the Write Time, and Steam Ticket.. He will be featured in a forthcoming Tupelo Press chapbook anthologizing 9 New Poets and is winner of Blue Bonnet Review’s Fall 2015 Poetry Contest. He is editor-at-large of Tamsen.
Long Time Coming
nothing to do this day
bury our father
in the dense shade
of the linden tree
its heart-shaped leaves
here’s the sticky under-story
we, the children left behind
too loud, too bold, too much
like him, refuse to wilt
this hothouse afternoon
speak of small consolations
for his garden
an increase in worm castings
certain we smell rain
Window open to electromagnetic forces,
my uncle sends telepathic messages out there,
while I sit at his card table and wait for him
to receive a sign. A fly settles on a jam lid,
another buzzes inside the jar. I’m here to help
fill in the case questionnaire, commend him
for remembering his dentures. His answers
detour, come slowly, or not at all. He places
his hand on his t-shirt logo, a faded celestial map,
pressing the tight shirt even closer to his skin.
“Looks good on you.” He smiles, offers tea
in a blue enamel mug, takes nothing for himself.
“Soon everything will be all right,” he says.
I suspect he knows what I don’t.
Louisa Howerow’s latest poems appeared in The Fiddlehead, Carousel and Red Earth Review. Her poetry has also been included in anthologies, most recently, Imaginarium 4: The Best Canadian Speculative Writing (ChiZine Publications),Cider Press Review, Best of, volume 16 and River of Earth and Sky: Poems for the Twenty-First Century (Blue Light Press).
Agnes, protector of nursery rhymes. Feast day: January 21
Don’t think of the boy in the green hoodie. The one with the sleepy eyes. Though, if you do, wrap all of the titles of the songs he hums during science class around your index finger. Take those words you found in the petri dish, hypothesis, hypotenuse, hippopotamus, and draw around the consonants leaves from the Wood Between the Worlds. Swirl over and under their vines like a butterfly with its eyes shut. Your tongue is pink and swelling: Use it. Wink back at the January stars.
Brigid, protector of redheads and cows’ eyes. Feast day: February 1.
Those watercolors you see streaming from your sister’s mouth, you need them. Place pails on each side of her bed for collecting when she talks in her dreams. Your whole neighborhood has the flu so you must paint everything dawn. Reach into those pails, throw up handfuls of blue through the canopy of oak leaves on Dover Avenue. Take the yellows, the ones that are secretly sad, toss them over your shoulder onto the train tracks. The pinks, fling them against the brick houses. Let the sun sort out the pinks that are really reds and the pinks that are really golds. Put on your knee socks, comb your hair, don’t tell anyone. Hurry to school.
Joan of Arc, protector of purple. Feast day: May 30.
Step back. You have dropped your sentences by the stove so many times that some have become mere glints, the pronouns too jagged for tea. Put on your boots. Somewhere on Bancroft Parkway is a church tissued with blushing flowers. Find it. Wade out into the black pond surrounding its entrance. Lily pads will open their lips. See if you can find in them pearls, uvulas, lost keys. Feel the sky’s million azures drape your shoulders. This night will know your name. Pour it a glass of water.
Margaret of Antioch, protector of babies’ breath. Feast day: July 20.
Pluck all of the hushes out of your body. Bookmark the encyclopedia at Euclid, get on a bus, talk to everyone. Find the one boy who dresses in rags but inscribes his capitals like a French king. Steal his sorrow from right out of his pocket, stand in the Atlantic. Toss it over the almost-green waves. Feel it get tangled in your hair.
Christina the Astonishing, protector of Baba Yagas. Feast day: July 24.
Unlatch your ribs. Pull out the orange rind, fish head, peonies dripping with ants, newspapers, violin case full of nickels, chipped vase and glass eye therein. Convince the priest with the cigar breath that these are your heart. Fly away.
Ursula, protector of third place. Feast day: October 21.
Count all the stars that have come to Mass. This little piggy went to Jerusalem, this little piggy stayed in Ursa Major, this little piggy drink the Blood of Christ, this little piggy had none, and this little piggy went weeeeeeeeeeeeeee all the home to help carry in groceries. After the service, challenge them to a race. Lose. See, through their blended burnings, how they return your smile in kind.
Cecilia, protector of devils in the deep blue sea. Feast day: November 22.
Regard the gardenia on the kitchen table. Do not try to save the love notes burning in the pockets of its white gown. Just say to it, Come on, give us some small white breath, from beneath your sweater. Attempt to remember the orphan, or the cyclist, or the horse that once used the tongue you have now to voice its hurts. Observe the dead as they bump into each other and fumble through their effervescences for words they cannot form. Be careful of the ones trapped as bruised feet in someone else’s dream. Do not step on them. Gather the smoke, dust motes and scraps of prism from the floor. Place them on the sill next to the coffee cup. It is missing someone.
Catherine of Alexandria, protector of thought bubbles. Feast day: November 25.
Go to your colored pencils. Put the ones touched by orange and yellow in the collection basket. The church will use them to fill in the candle holders on the altar and the autumns in the rectory yard. In summer, pick up the caramels fallen between the organ notes. Give them to the poor. In winter, pick up the peppermints fallen between the organ notes. Give them to your mother.
Lucy, protector of the dust in the sunbeam. Feast day: December 13.
Admit that there is something beautiful about the way the hair of the girl who sits in front of you ripples through the 8 am light. Her name is not that of a saint. Neither is yours. Write her a note that smells like first snow, invite her over for dinner. Invite all the lamps on your street, too. Identify each one by its gait and the tones struck by its footsteps. Find chairs for all of their upright basses. Open to the scripture passage that reads In my father’s house there are many moons; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare one to shine on your face? Let it rest by the butter. Remember that everyone makes some kind of sense, sit next to the girl from class. Tell her the morning likes her hair. Eat.
Lindsey Warren lives in Newark, Delaware and works as an asbestos claims reviewer. Her poems have been published in The Fox Chase Review, The Broadkill Review, Dreamstreets and Secret Lovers Press. She is the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Delaware Division of the Arts and has recently accepted enrollment into Cornell University’s MFA program.
It hasn’t rained for weeks.
The color arcs have faded
and the factories have gone quiet.
black rag shadows drag the ground
The green blades of day have dulled
into yellow needles and frostweed.
The void of eastern Texas.
No sound carries off the misplaced cobblestone.
A young woman stares out the window
of a mint-green home.
I’m walking across a yard
of fallen sheaves and inflorescence.
An agitation of silence is all she’ll ever know.
Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Writing for six years, his work has appeared in more than a thousand publications including The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Roanoke Review, The Red Cedar Review and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in Hawai’i Review, Sugar House Review, Plainsongs, Free State Review and Texas Review.
It would have been, I think, Sunday—it would have been
dazzle, I think, a song of Solomon,
the far-out in back, gauche, empty, jaunty in their handcuffs.
Imagine yourself delirious: she is lovely
as she appears and disappears among trellises.
This never happened. But remember the body-heat,
there on the eastern shore, a white boiling,
alive in green with only newts and wallops.
You gather your beautiful frustrations
(I hear them falling into handcarts)
names big as pit bulls, burning steeple-bright.
How can you know? You are but moon-watching.
Your knowledge is a European delicacy; it burns like foxfire,
signature of godless cytoplasm, intricate world-being
hitchhiking in the life-saving Christ.
If all tomorrows were borrowed, would you want?
The corolla, its black-iron skin, plays harrier in pokeweed
so pale you think it looks like a half share of rainfall.
They’ve dressed you in ling; you burn, snow-white.
I remember your fabric, prophesy a moonwatch
you can’t imagine. Listen, just listen, to its mythic quickness
as you sit dreaming fever dregs.
I’m coming to kiss you. And you thought I was bending your ear
telling you moonwatches are beautiful, like yesterday.
Ann Howells’s poetry has recently appeared in Crannog (Ire), Free State Review, RiverSedge, San Pedro River Review, and Spillway as well as other small press and university journals. She serves on the board of Dallas Poets Community, a 501-c-3 non-profit, and has edited the poetry journal, Illya’s Honey, since 1999, recently taking it digital and taking on a co-editor. Her publications: Black Crow in Flight (Main Street Rag Publishing ,2007), Under a Lone Star (Village Books Press, 2016), Letters for My Daughter (Flutter Press, upcoming 2016), and Cattlemen & Cadillacs (Ann Howells, Editor–Dallas Poets Community Press, upcoming 2016).
1) that chemical je ne sais quoi which
distinguishes humans from divans; 2)
any carbon-based organism–blue
cornflowers, honey bees, yeast, Friedrich
Engels, llamas, bacteria, ostrich
ferns, algae & fish, to name but a few;
3) what the sum of experience adds up to;
4) nature; 5) a biography, such
as Boswell’s Johnson; 6) a measurement
of size or length, such as Boswell’s johnson;
7) pep; 8) what’s real; 9) the path
taken, rather than the one that isn’t;
10) cogito ergo sum; 11)
how things go; 12) a sentence unto death.
Matt Morris has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, for which he’s received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His first book, Nearing Narcoma, won the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. Knut House Press recently released his latest collection, Walking in Chicago with a Suitcase in My Hand.