The curtains sigh like weak lungs.
I’m reminded of the transience of structure,
be it stone or wood, walls crumble like skin
to reveal their skeletons. Love is not a raincoat,
a weather seal, or a vacuum. It exists in the elements.
The hands that hold the hammer and the nail
will shake before their end, spill coffee from their cup,
sugar from their spoon. The roof will leak. The floorboards
will start to sag. Doors shall refuse to fit into their frames.
The tongue will lose the nuance of remembered names.
After the end, a home is the grave of forgotten pasts,
a respite for light that shrinks and grows with the days
like smiles from faces seen then turning away,
bones a hollow for the whisper of wind,
a place for birds to gather and wait for wing.
Jay Sizemore writes poetry and short fiction that offends his family. He is way behind on reading the classics. His work has appeared in places like Ayris, Red River Review, DASH, and Spry. His poem "My Despair Trivialized" was nominated for Best of the Net 2013 by Cease, Cows. He currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the death of modern music.
Fear has dreamed its summer.
Now it’s teasing through the moon-rise,
the slow wheat fields of a drought
with some devils riding a shadow ditch
standing up and counting the dust,
acre by acre to the sun.
It was never the latest news
in a heartbeat, the weevils, the locusts,
the plagues all huddled up in a new Egypt,
this side of a mute, squelched people.
It became a hole in the head, a sprig of steel.
The soul’s now preaching its own collapse
like a paper on an ember. The body
is hanging on a bridge with its name lost
and farmed out, framed with every seclusion.
The mourners are the buyers and the sellers.
The children are laughed to another town.
Some rabbits hide in a thistly field,
some dogs yelp with the stars. The mourners
listen deep into the earth and past themselves.
Their evening is crammed into silence and weeds.
Clyde lives in Radford, Virginia, with his wife, Kendall, and their son Alan. He is a founding member of Blue Ridge Discovery Center, an environmental education organization in southwestern Virginia and western North Carolina. His poems have been published in Sugar Mule, Referential Magazine, Shampoo, Rose Red, and Blue Hour, with others to be published soon in Cortland Review, Flycatcher, Metazen, and Silver Blade.
To My Son
I leave you my place at the table, of course,
and some papers and pictures, the shapes
and shadows I was, one side of a bed,
a fold of blanket, an empty pillow, and
I leave you my work, half done, piled high
to stumble over or embrace, my favorite
words I said or shouldn’t have said,
my gestures, the way I entered a room,
the way I left and what I left behind,
the trinkets and trash of being for so long
at things, and I leave you a set of dreams,
our silverware, and some spare change.
I leave you many things undone, useless
plans and wishes, a favorite chair or two,
our music and books, the tune I hummed
when I walked home alone,
and I leave you quiet mornings and
hectic afternoons, my time and my space,
things I began and the ones I finished,
the urge to continue and the will to go on.
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Write Room, Bitterzoet, Third Wednesday, and Up the River.
Crossing the Tyrrhenian Sea
Ebony starfish glued to transoceanic
tugboats are dragged along with their plunder
toward triangles and squares;
the Captain quotes Diogenes and
Democritus as truth-seekers.
On shore, women wait months
for husbands past due,
soldiers that trudge back to front lines
crimson from battle.
A young wife attends her
child’s cry, cradling him back into
a temporary silence.
Staying true to the star, the oar,
the diesel motors –
the natural rhythm of the sea
mixes with uncanny incantations
of sirens, bar songs, and the marble
shores of one lone island.
Beneath ocean waves,
a crystal palace,
inaudible to lovers of knowledge,
and especially a Captain who
mixes a cheap scotch in with his ideas.
The history of saltwater
all the dark fish
lie at the bottom over
sediments of misguided fools.
The lone island is now silent;
its unspoken relationship to
Disembarking, we scuttle down
the ramp like rats. Vendors peddle
Italian flags, cheese and tomato
magnets, and decorative stuffed fish,
just the welcome one would expect
for such an odyssey.
Matthew Guzman holds a master's degree in literature and a certificate in creative writing from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His work, including poetry and fiction, has appeared in publications such as Poetry Quarterly and Wordriot.
When Burying Me To Allen Qing YuanFirst, remove all my clothes and masksThat I have been tired of wearing, skin offThe tattoos on my chest, my heart, my soul I have kept as my secrets. Then send meInto the resomator like an alchemist, with theWords I have used most often, the images I have created and collected in my mindBurn me as the Dao God did the Monkey KingWith the purest fire from hell, from heaven Tongues of blue gas, or red electricitySizzling, I will enjoy being kissed first andLast, by my own words, my own metaphorsChanming YuanChangming Yuan, 5-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China and currently works as an English tutor in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan (Poetry submissions welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org). Recently interviewed by PANK, Yuan has had his poetry published in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and more than 730 other literary magazines across 28 countries.
Curiosities of Nature
As befit his greatness, no doubt,
Peter’s tended toward the realm of rarities,
infants with a couplet of faces,
lamb with a trinity of eyes, the boiled bones
of a giant Frenchman, the baby limbed
like a milking stool—a general surfeit of self--
kunstkammer of nightmare and sorrow--
while my imagining kindles
with the novelty of nature in its own modest light.
Here, on the dresser, the lake-bronzed turbans
of snails; the discarded digs of a paper wasp;
fragments of shell, robin’s egg blue;
a possible fossil; the hearty wombs
of plant life in waiting:
acorn, pinecone, jimson weed pod.
Life’s varied houses. And in the garage,
a hummingbird nest and, once,
in the rusty wagon, the head of a cardinal.
Bone, trinkets, bits of alphabet on a page:
the hard fact of something that was,
but not the whole truth
of breath, and sap, and impulse.
Yvonne Zipter is the author of the chapbook Like Some Bookie God (nominated for a Dog Writer’s Association of America award) and the full-length collection The Patience of Metal (runner-up to John Frederick Nims's book for the Poetry Society of America’s Melville Cane Award and a Lambda Literary Award Finalist). Her poems have appeared in numerous periodicals over the years, including Poetry, Fogged Clarity, Rufous City Review, Calyx, Crab Orchard Review, Metronome of Aptekarsky Ostrov (Russia),
Bellingham Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, gender forum (Germany), and Isotope, as well as anthologies such as My Lover Is a Woman, The Poetry of Sex, and Where We Live. She is also the author of two nonfiction books, short stories, and a novel in progress. She works as a manuscript editor and massage therapist in Chicago where she lives with her partner of 25 years and their retired racing greyhound.
The Diamonds, Undying
Sprawled out, across the Great Republic,
Both day and night.
The cracking whip of wood,
The tawny leather,
Those shimmering boys, like farmhands,
The earthen spit and mud,
The fresh cut greens like milk
To the people--
The yoke that holds their eye,
This yeoman labor thriving
In the sun baked cornfields and
The beer songed twilight,
The stages and players change
As the leaves die and schooling turns to labor.
The night is still, as the noise fades over
The emptying country.
Their stories survive each winter,
Like whiskey and politics.
The fires in every house lie crackling,
As the wait seems infinitely cruel.
And then, just as we light out down the road
Into the cast iron horizon, just as we face the darkest hours--
The radio coughs into coherence
As the first pitch lights up the grandstand,
The world becomes familiar again.
This year might be something.
Things might be different.
Tom Miceli is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University, where he holds a bachelor's degree in English. He was born in West Hartford, CT and considers himself a true New Englander, despite his allegiance to the New York Yankees. He lives in New York City and enjoys spending time looking out windows, hoping for rain.
How I brood over the forgotten lunch box
while a mother somewhere suckles her wrinkled child
her parched breasts failing even a salty drop
Yet another pinches meat from discarded bones
to add flesh to a frail form.
How I curse the books on my child’s back
while a mother somewhere watches hers drag,
a sack filled with his folks’ woes.
How I coax the nonchalant ears
to read and write and win some prize
while a mother somewhere fails to sew
some tattered dreams and frayed smiles,
Her trophy is her child’s catch!
How I nurse a playful knee
with balmy words and modish bands
while a mother somewhere clings in pain
to a dismembered leg in her hands
Her shrieks:her words, her tears: his aid.
Zeenath Ibrahim is currently working as Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Farook College, Calicut, India. She loves to read and write poetry. Many of her poems have appeared in national and international anthologies.
To live here happily
we must let go
the body’s memory
of unhurried sunlight
and learn to love
the constancy of clouds.
To be understood
we must learn to speak
the many idioms of rain:
the guttural dialect
of downpour on cement
the lilt of a wind-driven dousing
on iron rooftops.
The wilder seasons
of our northern lives
are part of us
having seeped inside
taken up residence
in the deepest sulci
of our brains:
the sting of sunlight
the cacophony of colors,
the muffled sound of snow
like a lover’s clothes
falling to the floor.
Here in the south
autumn steps aside
politely, excuses herself
for any unintended consequences
while spring is merely a kind
of warm equivocation.
This is not so much a place
as a way of seeing;
we are not so much its citizens
as itinerants following
the harvests of loss and acquiescence
always carrying some form
of faded identification
to remind ourselves
of who we were
before we settled
for this temperate life.
Art Nahill is an American physician/writer currently living in New Zealand with his wife and two sons. His work has appeared in Poetry, Rattle, Harvard Review, and Portland Review, among others, both in the US and NZ.
She loves her car though a friend told her you should not love
things that don't love back. But the gray interior washes like
small waves. She slips it through vacuum tunnels of the night.
She grips its wheel. I no longer know who I am she says to the
inside. The car chimes when she ignites the engine. It reminds
her to maintain something.
Stella Brice is the author of two chapbooks--Green Lion and Outgrow. She is a Pushcart nominee & a winner of the John Z. Bennet Prize. Her work has been published in numerous journals & anthologies including Fine Madness, Southern Poetry Review, Clean Sheets, Right Hand Pointing, The Weight of Addition, and Improbable Worlds. Stella lives with her husband David in a 105-year old house in Houston.