She made a present of her body
to the loaf, moisture in the skin and spit
and tip of tongue, pressure in the palm,
heat from the bands of muscles in the arm
and vessels that open in the hands like leaves.
Her feet braced the ocean of the knead,
knees absorbed the tide, fatigue,
and locked the torso to its commitment:
heave the chest and shoulders where the blood
was doing its unthinking, impermanent
work—striking time steady as a leaking sink,
softer than a red-wing babbles its affairs.
That the body can crush from either end
towards its center without collapse is what
bread means, and is not considered a miracle.
Neither that yeast lives invisible in the air
or under fingernails. A quotidian affair,
like raking leaves or checking into a hospital.
It was enough without the thrill or fuss of a guarantee
of grace, even with the inevitable sacrifice
to sandwiches and mold.
Jasmine V. Bailey
Jasmine V. Bailey's first collection of poems, Alexandria, was published by Carnegie Mellon University press in February, 2014, and her chapbook, Sleep and What Precedes It, won the 2009 Longleaf Press Chapbook Prize.
A Joyful Lamentation
Embossed on the bronze of Achilles' shield,
boys and girls on a harvest path
carry on poles baskets of grapes,
a gift from Dionysus, a joyful event.
They move in accord to an ancient tune
that a boy plays on a lyre and sings
in a sweet, clear voice. But listen! Listen!
It is a linos, a song of lamentation,
the same they will soon sing in the wine-press
where their feet will dance, then crush
the life blood from the god himself,
dismembering him in a kind of thanksgiving,
thus bringing brittle death to his vineyard,
and leaving for the cold season long
but one reminder of the certainty of spring,
the evergreen ivy that entangles the vines.
Warren Meredith Harris
Warren Meredith Harris' poems have appeared in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, The Main Street Rag, The Howl, Poem, The Anglican Theological Review, Pembroke Magazine, The Penwood Review, freefall, and a number of other publications. A recipient of three fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he has been a college professor, a stage director, and the editor of a literary journal, and he has written several verse dramas and adaptations, one of which was performed on New York City public radio. He is the author of The Night Ballerina: A Poem Sequence in Seven Parts (BrickHouse Books, 2012).
My Parents’ New House, One Year After Hurricane Sandy
In the new house, my mother test-paints the walls
in the living room, dining room, and kitchen.
Paintbrush-width strips of six shades of beige
checker everywhere there is flat, white space.
In the living room, dining room, and kitchen,
my mother appraises the way sunlight plays on
the paintbrush-width strips of six shades of beige,
and she moves the new couch from place, to place, to place.
My mother appraises the way sunlight plays on
the many curtains, rugs, and pillows she’s bought.
She moves the new couch from place, to place, to place.
She returns the curtains she’s bought the very next day.
She buys more curtains, rugs, and pillows today.
If she likes these new ones better, she really couldn’t say,
so she returns all she’s bought the very next day,
but decides the couch is probably in the place it will stay.
If she likes one beige better, she really couldn’t say.
It’s been almost a year and still the checkers remain.
The couch is likely in the place it will stay.
But across the Toms River, her old home stands straight.
It’s been more than a year and still the checkers remain.
She labors and labors to make this a new place a home,
but across the Toms River, her real home stands straight.
If she likes the new house better, she really won’t say.
In the new house, my mother test-paints the walls--
paintbrush-width strips of six shades of beige.
She will return the curtains she’s bought the very next day.
But the couch is, at last, in the place it will stay.
Lauren Schmidt is the author of three collections of poetry: Two Black Eyes and a Patch of Hair Missing; The Voodoo Doll Parade, selected for the Main Street Rag Author’s Choice Chapbook Series; and Psalms of The Dining Room, a sequence of poems about her volunteer experience at a soup kitchen in Eugene, Oregon. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in journals such as North American Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Rattle, Nimrod, Fifth Wednesday Journal, New York Quarterly, Bellevue Literary Review, and The Progressive. Her awards include the So to Speak Poetry Prize, the Neil Postman Prize for Metaphor, The Janet B. McCabe Prize for Poetry, and the Bellevue Literary Review’s Vilcek Prize for Poetry. Schmidt is an Instructor of Developmental English at Passaic County Community College. She also volunteer teaches creative writing at a transitional house for homeless mothers and is a Poet-in-the-Schools for Paterson Public Schools.
A Life in Dreams
¿Dónde está, … dónde está tu niña amarga?
Federico Garcia Lorca- Romance Somnámbulo Somewhere the soft wind slows, somewhere the soft wind stops
Where an old man sits under the light of the stars
And remembers the frogs singing of the apple births,
Or the virgins sequinning their backs with nettles
The copper bells are dreaming up her footsteps, still
Though the railings she caressed are not the green
Of flakes peeling away with the wane of the moon
If the sun tumbles from the tangles of his hair
To an open book of poetry, who will answer?
Who else has polished the trunk of the dying oak?
Who else has straightened the bodies of the seabed?
And kept a flame lit in the wax of her candle?
He is crying, the flesh of the watermelon
Tastes no sweeter than the blood of an extinct rose
That pours through the love in her mother’s name
Now he sleeps on a couch of cold steel, where her arms
Are torn linen streaming from an opal staircase
And a black butterfly floats from the bannister
Offering its residue of petrol and flames
Under gravestones she is calling, she is dancing
The oleanders sprout wild through her eyes
When a thief taps the window of the old man’s dreams
And slits the throat of the dawnCharlie BaylisCharlie Baylis covers the lessons of absent teachers in Nottingham, England. His poetry and short stories have most recently appeared in SAW magazine and The Delinquent. He spends most of his spare time slightly adrift of reality He blogs, sporadically, here: theimportanceofbeingaloof.tumblr.com.
Espíritu SantoBorn of the first stone, I am witch:
Spellbound by small elements,
snails in the throat, birds on the lip.
There is a hiding behind
the trunk of a dead tree,
a memory of morning, a reckoning.
There are no men, no children.
No women with soft worries.
No confidences or shared will.
But when I blow the lonesome wind,
the wooded land breathes in.
Together we become the ancient word,
a god released. Ana Maria CaballeroAna Maria Caballero worked in finance, journalism, wine importation, and even on an international drug awareness campaign for the Colombian government before recently becoming a mom. Now she focuses her attention on writing poetry and book thoughts. Her writing has appeared in Ghost House Review, Dagda Publishing,Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Boston Poetry Magazine, Actuary Lit, and The Fat City Review. It is forthcoming on Really Systems. More of her work is available at www.thedrugstorenotebook.co.
Never can too much be sung
about this world that, as we age,
lets us be young.
Never can too much be praised
as by birds' music, the baying of wolves,
the elements of our days.
Never, as humans, can we cease to reach
for the one thing given – not to bears, nor sparrows –
to us, to deepen our lives: speech.
Llyn Claque's poems have been published widely, including in Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Wisconsin Review, Main Street Rag, New York Quarterly, Ibbetson Street, and other magazines. His sixth book, The I in India and US, was published by Main Street Rag in 2012. Visit www.llynclague.com
I am the only one
devoted to war’s quieter moments:
Misheard whisperings of spies.
Sideways glances before the siege.
I replaced that plank in the Trojan horse’s ass
while Agamemnon’s army slept.
No one knows me.
While blue and grey faced off
amid choreographed cannon smoke,
While the bugle blared.
While the drum and fife serenaded
While history applauded
its own imperfect reflection,
I was there.
I am the conscientious objector
sweeping the V. A. asylum’s floor
clean enough for poetry; I see
the caged clock,
the night nurse,
Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters, and his recent work has appeared in Conduit, Digital Americana, and Cloudbank.
A child’s stool enhances any garden.
Cooks waffle with certain recipes.
A bomb discourages a movie audience.
Kids should be bussed before school.
A shot off my opponent's head scores.
Even a dog can become someone’s wife.
Children unruly in cars should be belted
Beating a dead horse doesn’t require strength
In this story of his life, more lies ahead.Richard Kosetelanetz
Individual entries on Richard Kostelanetz’s work appear in various editions of Readers Guide to Twentieth-Century Writers, Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature, Contemporary Poets, Contemporary Novelists, Postmodern Fiction, Webster's Dictionary of American Writers, Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians, Directory of American Scholars, Who's Who in America, NNDB.com,Wikipedia.com, and Britannica.com, among other distinguished directories.
days of rain glide
under the bridges
an older me whose
and followers of riversAyaz Daryl NielsenAyaz Daryl Nielsen is a husband, father, veteran, ex-roughneck and hospice nurse, and editor of bear creek haiku. His poems' homes include Lilliput Review, Yellow Mama, Verse Wisconsin, Shamrock, Kind of a Hurricane, and Shemom, and he has earned cherished awards and participated in worthy anthologies, including poetry ensembles Concentric Penumbras of the Heart and Tumbleweeds Still Tumbling. In 2013, Daryl released an anthology, The Poets of Bear Creek, along with beloved wife/poet Judith Partin-Nielsen, assistant Frosty, and bearcreekhaiku.blogspot.com.
It began to cover us the moment our water broke too soon,
drowning us in that bed. Coming home without
caused us to rub salt in our womb.
We should have fought the crippling coating
as we felt it wrapping its russet layers, corroding
our sleep-filled days and loveless nights,
its scratchy bits scraping skin,
staining flannel sheets as we turned away
from each other.
We should have napkined the rough bits from our tongues,
thrown those cloths on the table and forced ourselves not to endure
the evasive conversations--
We should have spit it out
as we tasted its flakes floating in those thawed casseroles
brought by the many mourners,
each bitter bite of what we didn’t want to go to waste
to remain silent.
Deborah R. Majors
Residing on 30 country acres in the Florida Panhandle, Deborah R. Majors is a wife and mother of two grown sons, an Associate Pastor, and a member of Panhandle Poets Society. In 2013 she won the AASA Open Mic for three original poems and the Raiders Writers’ Poetry Slam (both sponsored by Northwest Florida State College). She has had poems and short stories published or forthcoming in Blackwater Review, Barefoot Review, Time of Singing, Haggard and Halloo Publications, Broken Publications' anthology Soul Vomit: Beating Domestic Violence, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Deep South Magazine, and ellipsis.