Monthly Archives: April 2018

“Internal Exile” by Diane G. Martin,

          “…we have no hope and yet
          we live in longing.”

                     Inferno, Dante

I’ve been pressed between the pages
of a heavy book, a keepsake
to be rediscovered one fine
day, yellow, brittle, print-stained—
a sentimental talisman.

I’m so close to every line;
indeed, they are on me engraved.
Exquisite shapes keep me awake,
though once lofty, once plain thoughts have
blurred, have rubbed their meanings away.

The lack of air is thick with them—
clouds of locusts on a rampage—
these words elbowing each other
These worlds of words, all alien.
I distrust them–black, banal worn.

Yet it’s not for nothing I’m named
Diana.  For now, I bide my
hours quietly, lie warily
between famed leaves and string my bow.
Somehow, I’ll fly to the dark wood.

Diane G. Martin, Russian literature specialist, Willamette University graduate, has published work in numerous literary journals including New London Writers, Vine Leaves Literary Review, Poetry Circle, Open: JAL, Pentimento, Twisted Vine Leaves, The Examined Life, Wordgathering, Dodging the Rain, Antiphon, Dark Ink, Gyroscope, Poor Yorick, Rhino, Conclave, Slipstream, and Stonecoast Review.

 

 

“Notes in the Night” by Judith Bader Jones

A summer breeze, sheer
as bedroom curtains, floats
through a screened window
and joins us in our double bed.

Evening slows the rhythm
of your beating heart when I rest
against your chest and nighttime music
becomes a cover for body pain and sorrow.

Livin’ in this murky world – the blues
dilutes our hurts while brush-stroke lyrics,
sung by survivors, saves souls as we fall
asleep holding onto each other.

Judith Bader Jones, a poet in Fairway, Kansas, has recent publications in  CHEST- The American College of Chest Physicians, Nostalgia and i-70 Review. She is an avid organic gardener and bird photographer.

 

“Sleeping in Bed Together” by John Grey

You’re from a world where seasons never varied their routine
and construction workers waved from beams on high
and a revelation could be as simple
as a bucking trout pulled from a stream.

And now you’re with a woman, in a bed
her body barely a shiver away from yours,
suddenly aware of how little touch is needed to identify the other
while always imagining the worst that lies in store for you.

You got from hatching to imago
with the usual helpings of slime and ooze,
to where you’re heel to heel with the desired one,
and yet still can be startled by such close companionship.

You’re from a place where so little flesh went into the making of you.
And here being fully grown is not something you find comforting,
Yet from lack of light, a strange cadence emerges.
low-breathing, low-flying beings navigating their way through sleep.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.  

 

 

 

 

“as dandelions popped” by Nanette Rayman

Tonight, from a distance, I saw my real life
smiling and walking across the avenue with bells
on, a sound sweet—for her—like the birds chirping
at the last moment of Layla. And without a sound
the blue-green brush strokes of sad altostratus
clouds crosshatched the whole sky. A cassowary
lost its quillish feathers in New Guinea, feet left
to kick anyone in its path and a fortune-teller
heavy with turquoise in a long flowing skirt looked
at me for a long moment. On the other side
of the Atlantic,  the Isle of Hebrides took
on sun and people cried, weathered houses
tilting in the wind, and eyes hooded by hands
ready to caress wives and husbands as I sat
down floppily on an old bench as dandelions
popped, as pink pansies blossomed fuchsia,
resigned and overwhelmed as the human soul.

Nanette Rayman, author of Shana Linda, Pretty Pretty and Project: Butterflies—Foothills Publishing. Winner of the Glass Woman Prize, included in Best of the Net 2007, DZANC Best of the Web 2010 is published in Stirring’s Steamiest Six, featured in Up the Staircase Quarterly. Other publications include: Sugar House Review, Worcester Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Little Rose Magazine, Rain, Poetry & Disaster Society, Pedestal, DMQ, carte blanche, Oranges & Sardines, Sundog, and Melusine. 

“Post-” by Joshua Allen

Swamp grass and muck rot
shelter a vibrant community.

Brown-speckled wren eggs crack
in six-pack nests beneath

black bag tarpaulins.
Aluminum can abodes dwell

 on shaded confetti lawns.
Insects scurry on tire tread highways;

 reptiles retire to Coke bottle brothels.
Father says, the lost architecture is the most tragic part.

Glossy magazines woven into webs
bridge trees as a canopy

of dates and events. The focused sun
illuminates the particular histories

we have tried to leave behind
during our marsh walk.

Instead, we think of the cooking fire,
the roasting meat, the hum of voices,

 which quiet as we approach, guns drawn.

Joshua Allen is a somewhat wayward soul who is soon to be mercilessly ejected from Indiana University Bloomington into the larger world. He has been published in Gravel, Origami Journal, Lime Hawk, Tributaries (forthcoming), and The Long Island Literary Journal (forthcoming). 

“In the Quiet of Drought the Monarchs Perish” by Jeff Burt

The grass keeps on dying
but never finishes, and what to bury
dead ground in never comes up.
A shovel turns, as if it’s restless.

The soil warms and earthworms
defect for a more conservative soil,
the communizing surface effect lost
when one has no soothing slide.

Beetles that burrow for the loss
of their virginity keep pushing dirt
out of the holes and when sex strikes
it is more of a match on a sandpaper strip

than a moist bed of coupling.
What does it matter—the male dies,
the female swells and spawns,
exits weary to become prey for jays.

All dries, dies, withers.
All the warbling birds
and accompanying zithers
of crickets and bees have throats

and wings too thin to sing.
My mouth tastes the dust
the scraping rake brings up.
I no longer water.

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife and marauding bands of wild turkeys that scare trucks and cobble and gobble everything at their feet. He won the Cold Mountain Review Poetry Prize in 2017.

 

“Porch” by Martina Reisz Newberry

We cast curses at the moon,
watch its face travel over     then behind     clouds,
then come to the fore
as if beckoned
when it most certainly was not.
Booze and blackberries on the front porch
and the cries of dead beasts and warriors out there.

Imagine it                     Hold it in your head
as you do song lyrics and prayers.
The strange scents of late nights
call us to remember our weaknesses
and the ill will we’ve encountered in others.
We talk of these things     bring them closer.

And oh the madness of this porch        how it dares to receive
our complaints and our compliances             how it
rests under our flip-flops and naked toes     how it
shifts under spilled sweet tea     and dripped foam
off cans of Bud Light

Does it make you grin that I’ve said this?

So, the moon hovers and we here below
pull it over us, imagine it soft when            in truth
it’s dense as a mango dum dum.

Inside, we look for rest knowing our mendacity
could pull down the stars                  knowing our joys
are simple masks for grudges
the way they jibe

My God                     The way we consume bitterness
fill our plates, pour on gravies
and sauces of fear and then
dare to sleep on that repletion.

Martina Reisz Newberry’s recent books: NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE (Deerbrook Editions), and TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (Unsolicited Press).Widely published, she was awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts.

Martina lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian.