Monthly Archives: February 2018

“Having Her Say” by K.L. Frank

This girl,
burns past me in the Student Union.
Her passing flash awakens memories
of days dragging around more heat
beneath my jeans than my years
should have stoked. I longed
to inflame the sky with shibboleths,
and watch them flash like fireworks.
This girl,
who can’t be hauling around
more than twenty years, wears
black sweat pants low slung.
The waistband straddles
the curve of her hipbone –
a circus rider performing tricks
for her audience. ‘PINK’ appliqued in pink
outlined in pink sequins glitters
across her butt (the space between ‘I’ and ‘N’
floats over her coccyx) twitching
as she walks away.
This girl’s
hips affirm louder as they sway
than the slogans burning my lips.
No matter the cause, her bumper sticker
assumes mythic proportions
against a load-bearing bumper.
Be she touting a balm against violence,
a signature hue, a favored singer, or
support for breast cancer research,
whatever her say,
this girl
has my vote.

Karin L. Frank is an award-winning author who lives on a farm in the Kansas City area. Her poems and stories have been published in a wide variety of venues both in the U.S.A. and abroad. Her first book of poems, A Meeting of Minds, was released in April, 2012.

“Praising the Familiar” by Brian Fanelli

We hardly write about each other now,
comfortable in daily routines. You lean in,
press your back to me each morning
as we linger in bed.

I scroll through my phone,
share news over coffee.
I used to karate chop the air
over headlines I disliked.

You taught me to uncurl my fists,
put down the phone, find beauty
in the familiar, such as the taste of blueberries
at breakfast, their sweetness like thickened wine,

or the way the cat dashes
from window to window,
trying to paw at birds, or how you leave
lipstick prints on mugs once done.

So here is a poem in praise of those routines,
the warmth of your back pressed to mine,
the groan of floorboards after you shower,
the way you pull a chair out and always sit across from me.

You showed me there is holiness in the everyday,
the first morning light, the quiet of those hours.

Brian Fanelli’s poetry collections include Waiting for the Dead to Speak (NYQ Books), winner of the Devil’s Kitchen Poetry Prize, and All That Remains (Unbound Content). His work has been published by The Los Angeles Times, Verse Daily[PANK], World Literature Today, The Writers Almanac, and other publications. He teaches at Lackawanna College.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s Not Simple, the Heart—” by Lois Marie Harrod

artery-fisted, three-pronged aorta
with its middle finger twisted up

yours and better be. Brachiocephaliac
to the right, left common carotid in the middle,

and left, the left subclavian: the blood-draggled glove
of a penniless troll, the knot

of a neglected vegetable, fennel, celeriac,
but the heart always left, left behind,

left below, and common, that too,
the neck, the head, and left again,

and yet it keeps on beating, who could guess?
Drum and drum skin, thick stick, complicit.

The complicated heart because complexity’s simpler
than simplicity? Think Bach:

his great heart with mitral and aortic valves all throbbing,
oh who loves him more than I, this year

when no one is performing Brandenburgs in public,
nothing now but the sound of the recorded heart,

played to calm an infant, sound’s knotted beauty,
septum, septum, do you not love the septum,

the separation, the beat between the beats,
dirt clot and fairy tubules, clenched face of an infant

dismissing what fed him, the ventricles, the valves
the Greeks thought we think with the heart?

The heart’s a hollow muscle.
Some days I want to think with mine too.

Lois Marie Harrod’s 16th collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appeared in June 2016. Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis and How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth, in 2013.  Widely published in journals and online, she teaches Creative Writing at TCNJ. Visit her website: www.loismarieharrod.org

“Mystic Jukebox” by Andrés Rodríguez

I can’t not hear your music
that’s always blowing rifts,
choruses, looping rhymes—
all the self-encoded songs
which tighten like bands
around the soul’s small dance.

You weren’t hatched, you wiggler,
you demon, you shadow-god
deaf to all but your own
machinery of unbroken song.
You were annealed in the torrent
of fear’s forgetting everything.

I used to stare at frozen creeks,
absorbed by clarities of sleeping
silt and the dreamless life beneath
curled into icy crypts. Oh,
I could kill you, grind you
under heel, salt you like a slug,
but I’d melt in the earth as well.

Then she came and poured
a new song into my blood,
and the music listened back,
bringing clear-headedness,
a sleeping potion night,
the crystal personality
of a new bell ringing my fate.

This thread of sound leads
deep into a perfect clearing,
where a cool pool cures,
where ear and music kiss.
No more raging or helpless
weeping. I dive into myself,
tunnel and spiral down
to a place that echoes
what I most want to hear.

Andrés Rodríguez is the author of Night Song (Tia Chucha Press) and Book of the Heart(Lindisfarne Press). In 2007 he won Poets & Writers’ Maureen Egan Award for Poetry. His MA in Creative Writing is from Stanford and his PhD in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz.