Poetry

May 2015                                             November 2014

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

                                                      

May 2015

Ashlie Allen | Danny P. BarbareJoshua R. Bligh | Sophia CaulfieldArt Heifetz | John KanieckiCate Maroney |

Ben Nardolilli | Bethany Rebecca | Adreyo Sen | Roy Anthony Shabla | Jennifer Singleton | Amelia Williams

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

November 2014

Brian Alexander | Michelle Scott

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Ashlie Allen

Tsunami Fog

The fog that morning drenched

your eyes in the memories of

tsunamis and ghosts

You still miss your brother

even though he chose to be a spirit

in order to preserve your skin

 

Dead Glitter

Dawn glitters

in my furious red eyes as

I rock your unconscious body

and weep with

clenched teeth

and think

about the years

I was happy

with your breath

in my hair

and your dress

in my lap

-Top-

Danny P. Barbare

A Summer Magnolia

The milk white petals of the

magnolia. The moon and sun

sweetness. The South forever

green. It seems just yesterday.

A sapling stood. A boy now a

man. A tree much taller. But the

spirit still young shades him

and the yard. A home. Always

lived in. A kitchen window

and summers, winters, springs,

and falls. Roots and memories.

A Southern magnolia talks.

-Top-

Joshua R. Bligh

Recipe for cavities

Sometimes I will slouch against
the headboard of my bed and start
gnawing on this dream or
that
like it is a fresh stick
of gum unwrapped from some aseptic
wax paper
Sure enough with enough chews
and enough spit
it starts to turn into an exercise
but it does not
stop until you rue
it
Hard to get started on working
toward
something that now just echoes
as stale
Not much reason
can be mustered by the average fellow
to work off a butt
just for a taste of
what lost
flavor a while
ago.

Un-Pity

If I listened to the dried leaves
beneath my steps, 
would their voices be welcomed in?

Cracked they shatter and in comes
wind to carry,
to depose into forgotten gutters.

Do not send pleas for their doom
to halt, to cease as the pieces drift,
hands off and let it be.

-Top-

Sophia Caulfield

Ghost Boy

the ghost boy sits at the end of my bed and cries

tears drip off the end of his freckled nose and splash on my comforter

they leave stains like stars

the ghost boy sits at the end of my bed and stares

i am not afraid, because

although his eyes are transparent i can see the cool blue that was there before

lingering around like a stain on your favorite white skirt

the ghost boy sits at the end of my bed and i wish i could remember him

i can tell he wants me to

but wherever we had been before has faded like his fingertips fade

almost clear to the bone

and i have washed my hands of that

the ghost boy sits at the end of my bed

and i am wondering

why he hasn’t spoken yet

 

Natural Born Killer

his hair is slicked back

into a stiff, molded state of perfection

the collar of his shirt

pressed so neatly

smelling of laundry

and tea

curt and polite

with spidery fingers that traced

and counted

and clutched the cold, harsh metal of a gun like they were made for it

molded against the hunk of steel

hard like iron

hard like diamond

but he stayed soft

the neatness he’d used

to keep his room clean

were just as good

at illuminating targets

cool leather gloves

never leaving behind a single smudge

-Top-

Art Heifetz

San Carlos

San Carlos is a dog

rousing itself from the paving stones

to comb the streets for food,

a kingfisher swooping down

on its glittering prey,

a woman singing to herself

as she sweeps the sidewalk clean.

 

Last night's throbbing disco,

the accordians and guitars,

the people rocking in the doorways

have given way to

vendors on their pedales

hawking the morning's catch,

girls parading with baskets of

warm sweet breads

balanced on their heads,

lanky fishermen

climbing out of  their pangas

with hoops of fish

slung over their shoulders

while their plump wives,

reclining in the stern,

hoist their babies into

the spotless azure sky.

 

On the malecon

a line of early risers

leans across the railings,

watching them unload

huge bunches of bananas

from the powder blue boats

onto the orange pier.

 

In the harbor  

the metal figure of a girl,

unable to shoo away

the herons perched on her arm,

gazes across the lake

to where the river begins,

and dreams of journeys never made,

of longings never fulfilled.

La Luna del rio

(for Manuel and Margarita)

 

At La Luna del Rio

the river rushes past

the wooden balconies

like a frothy sea,

swirling in eddies around

the bobbing canoes

as if it were going to engulf

the entire town,

to sweep away the pilings

and flood the cacao trees,

to carry off the young boys

dressed for las posadas

like the three wise men,

the small girls holding

the baby Jesus in their arms,

leaving only the herons

waiting patiently

in the tall grass,

the buzzards in the trees,

to inherit the earth.

At precisely five a.m.

exploding cherry bombs

announce la misa campesina

and a parade of red umbrellas

navigates the puddles,

heading toward the church.

To pray for what?

An end to the blight

that is spoiling the crops.

Orlando's recovery from snakebite.

That the new calf is healthy

and the children live to be wise.

 

Our faith , says the priest,

is like the waters of

el lago de Managua

that nourish the great sharks.

So let the rains continue,

let the rivers roll.

-Top-

John Kaniecki

The Gift

Soft perceiving eyes

A heart tenderly touched

Quick analytical mind

Adamant refusal to conform

Courage to ask why

Perseverance

Maintaining a constant gaze

Enduring the cross

Understanding the immense insanity

Individual integrity

Denying trite answers

Swiftly, savagely

Pen darting inspiration

Life in all it’s common glory

Denial after denial

Dreaming the dream

Refusing the relinquish the cry

I have something to say

I will be heard

Here for better or worse

My art

A poem

-Top-

Cate Maroney

Conditionally Loved and Unconditionally Forgotten

You were the sunshine that poured down my back,

And you were the moonlight that flooded my thoughts at 2 AM.

You’re the one I’d crush cities for and light wildfires in praise of.

But I was nothing to you; Seamless, non-existent, alone and confused.

Now, I am nothing to everyone.

I belong to the galaxy now,

Open, endless, ever-expanding, free.

Look for the dullest star when you’re lonely baby, you’ll find me.

Watching,

Waiting,

Praying,

Seething.

But hey, I was never the one you turned to, so why should it be any different in death?

-Top-

Ben Nardolilli

Anatomical Forms

These days I am emphasizing

Painterly gestures, muscular brushwork

And rich color whenever in public,

Only in private will you see me

Ever hunched over a laptop with fingers

Dancing like chorus girls over the keys.

 

Even in the library you will see me

Strut, pose, fling the ends of my cape

And scarf over everyone else,

I open my computer in a broad stroke,

Cracking open the screen like a fresh canvas,

Before my fists pound out poems.

 

Look, it all makes economic sense,

In coffeehouses they give me free drinks

Now that I howl, stand, and pace

Over what I call my latest compositions,

When I say I have finished a brand new work,

The crowds finally applaud my efforts.

-Top-

Bethany Rebecca

If I Were Hemingway

If I were Hemingway

Or maybepound

I would tell you how

The suncircles on the

Afternoon trees that smiled

 

Unfurled the poisonedpetals

Of my foreignforged fingertips

 

Twitching to the rhythm

Of a thousand dead men

Dancing in the street

When you held my hand. 

 

Dead Animals & The Tired Sun

She does not know what it's like

to smell the animals dying. 

 

My mother knows only calendars,

clocks,  

kitchen timers, 

common

sense. 

hating my sullen stillness

the silence of my hands,  

she forces me out of bed again today

ripping off covers

tearing open blinds

with clenched-dishwasher fists

letting in the lethargic light

ruining all hopes of swimming

in the dark waters of dreaming

 

I do not blame her,

though. 

She has never seen the tired Sun pack up at eight in the morning,

with a gaunt shuffle, saying

So longlet's try again tomorrow 

tipping his hat.

when everything is so slow

sluggish, thick

breathing is tiresome. 

inhaling humid Arkansas summersodden air

through a wet blindfold. 

my cicada sins crawl

up my legs

and all over my arms

gnawing at the skin in-between my fingers

nipping at my heels

shadows that follow in the dark. 


Now my sister

a Pinterest perfect house,

 law degree, 

sensible shoes

home cooked supper

beer, pretties they bought from the antique store,

the television blaring,

uproarious laughter,

who are these people,

I wonder. 

 

All I want to do is be alone

in my room

in my head

to try to make some sense out of myself.

 

For My Sister: Sarah

 

My sister cried in the hallway

while a kind black lady with soft skin

and a gentle voice prayed with her

holding her shoulders-slight

as the nurse bathed me

teeth clenching on pink sponges

my cracked lips begging for water,

for mercy. 

 

Limplanguish legs

spread open like

the Japanese fans

we played with as children

my heart beating to the rhythm of the vent

in and out, in and out

let's play the dying game

I'll take the lead.

 

Later, when I was in a space

somewhere between the end

of the beginning

I asked her, "Does my hair look like Natalie Portman's?"

You know, like in V for Vendetta

she knew I was still there

spread out stiff, 

swaddled in hospital gowns

my father's prayers. 

 

She came to me every day

bringing me pretties

little lotions,

bright tank tops

everything so colorful, garish

against the prison grey light. 

painting the space

in-between my body

and my head

with its right ear

dangling down

I hadn't yet seen myself

faces warned me

it was better

not to ask. 

 

When we got home,

we went shopping for wigs

my old hair in a plastic bag

somewhere in the closet

she covered the scars of my crucifixion

so Michael wouldn't notice

the first time he saw me

after the carnage

a Hungarian wasteland

dead birds on the windowsill

"I think he should see them so he'll know how bad it was,"

 

"Was?" 

I wanted to ask. 

 

Twice in the night,

she would come to turn

my frailbonesbitter

turning on music

to drown out the sound

of my nighttime nightingale tears

The prayers to a god I hated

stroking softly,

with lily-petaled fingertips

my face

my neck

 

I never saw her cry

it was just the story I heard

as hard to believe

as a rhinestone-dragon tale

I was told nobody, 

not even the rain

has such small hands. 

 

But e.enever met my sister.

-Top-

Adreyo Sen

Of Love and Roses

If you and I were roses in a flowerbed and the gardener was our sole visitor,

And he only came in the morning to interrupt sweet dreams with stinging water,

We would whisper close into each other’s petals or draw our stalks close,

And we would spend the day in the bliss of our mutual understanding.

 

But we are not roses in a flowerbed and if life were a bed of roses,

There must be plenty of nettles and thorns between the stalks,

And our gardeners are always near at hand eyeing us with suspicion

While our fellow roses have their petals stretched for chance gossip.

 

So we will sit a respectable distance apart with maybe a table between us,

And our talk will be stiff and gracious with a few cold smiles,

And I will ramble on about the finer virtues of paleontology

While you’ll acquaint me with the latest gambols of our volatile rupee

And we’ll let the restless drumming of our fingers and the nervous tapping of our feet,

And the brief meetings of our primly lowered eyes carry the message of our love.

-Top-

Roy Anthony Shabla

it is far too early

it is far too early
in the cycle of the year
for the sunny air to carry
the scent of basil

and yet it does

the garden beds and boxes need
a healthy dose of water
every other day
when rain should be performing
the routine of our work

i am not ready
for the fullness of the orchard

for the ripeness

the overcoats and sweaters
have just been stored
and the rugs still need to be rolled

 

yes there is much to do

before the greens are gathered

before the fruit is picked

and i am alone
 

but who can control the weather?


it is far too early in the cycle of the year
for the starry air to carry
the scent of jasmine
and yet it does

and i am unprepared
so unprepared

for the harvest

if the figs ripen early
they will finish early

and the winter will be long

We Were Friends on the Bus

we were friends on the bus

before bodies were a thought

 

just the cuddling smoke of two spirits

 

and we will be again

 

so if today

you in your painted shoes

and i in my tattered shirt

 

do not sit together on the bench

 

the bus will make another stop

and another

 

until we finish our homework

and pull the cord

 

exiting like lovers

hand in wispy hand

to the grand street park

to play

In the opinion of others

in the opinion of others

you were the bad boy

i was the good boy

 

but we knew better

 

unlikely friends

the scrappy athlete

the bookish outsider

bound by the fierceness

of truth

uncommon

in high school

or life

 

i did mental work for you

you did physical work for me

if i say more

we could both be

suspended

 

even now

 

i hold stories

of loyalties

the thirtyfifth year

cannot loose

 

yet still i fumble

with the memories

 

old school lockers

require

a secret combination

to gain entrance

from the public corridor

but a note

scrawled

on a torn corner of paper

without regard

for ruled lines

can be slipped

through a chink

in the locked door

 

and nobody

would be the wiser

 

especially me

 

brian

do you know

i wrote a book

i traveled

to New York and Paris

I grew up

-Top-

Jennifer Singleton

I say goodbye to you

 

slowly, an onion with

layers, rotten on the

inside – I sip, pour into

my mouth the acid

juice.  A desert

parched dry, seeking

wildlife. A stream -

rocks smooth from its

running water. A coffee

cup almost empty, of

other’s envy. Wearing

a raincoat, I am waist

deep, floating softly

breathing salt and brine.  

You wait

on the other side of

the moonlight. I

dance my poems to

the night sky on

crepe streamers, balloons

released to the night.  

-Top-

Amelia Williams

First Time in vinaros

The girls on the beach remind me

how one time my mom

spilled wine on herself

and she peeled her shirt like

a leaf from a tree

everyone laughed at her breasts.

The girls have breasts I could cover with seashells.

 

The girls are sun creatures and

I would melt in their eyes

The coals that leave marks on people’s back

They would call me lemon ice

Like a cool drink you sip in the sand

And throw into the ocean.

They would laugh because I speak like the south

Like land they don’t remember and a large fish tongue.

They throw their glasses against the boardwalk.

 

I look at the girls as arms and legs and hair

Every limb is out

Every limb they sway.

The lifeguard follows their shapes like the wind.

I am up to my lip in saltwater

He would not save me because I am pale.

 

We are all wet. We fumble at the border

Of sea and sand. The thick of their throats

Rumble like mine with spread lips.

The last things to go are their nipples

Which point towards the water

While the girls throw their brown heads

To the boys with towels on their hips.

-Top-

 

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

November 2014

Brian Alexander

Points

There's a place for a point

in everyday life

when your opportunity

is met with strife

and you think

your mind

is about to snap

is about the time

you need to rap

about the places you'll go

the things you'll see

and the reasons everybody

feels incomplete

a collective consciousness that says

“I'm missing out”

when in reality

missing is out there waiting to be found

...inadequacy is innately human

 

a race of individuals

a species of solos

careening across a galaxy of understanding

and gracing only its very edges

in orbit of an answer

before rocketing back toward homeostasis

by the cords of their coffee pots

into a dark, narrow hole

of severe stimulation

without adequate space

to explore oneself

nor adequate light

to discover

what water is

or why trees are good

or how the light we see

from distant stars

...is older than human existence

-Top-

Michelle Scott

Mistress

Here comes that salty, ugly, bitch,

      Arrogant, wonderful witch,

On her broom, to state claim,

      To her space in the room.

 

Amber colored skin,

      Bronzed by fires kiss,

To a deeper chocolate brown,

      Finer than the Swiss

She comes with spying eyes,

      Spewing tongues of gifted lies,

Spreading songs of joy,

      Knowing the sins that you employ.

 

Her deepest thought intent,

      Is not in anyway heaven sent,

She’s here to collect your soul,

      Cause she’s a mistress on the stroll.

 

Mellow Mood

Have you ever heard A song so mellow,

You just wanted to wrap yourself in the

Notes and let it coat your soul purple?

My flesh becomes porous to the cadence.

Jazz, rhythm & blues, country, hip-hop.

These jewels were given to me by the greats.

The beat strolls down silky like. The chords

Tickle me. My skin is moist and warm as

The harmony presses up against me. I crank

My volume higher attempting to let the mood

deepen.

-Top-