Monthly Archives: September 2018

“Let Me Explain” by F. J. Bergmann

Center stage in the Theater of the Observed, who am I to say
that my voice is pleasant or my manners abysmal? Or something
cataclysmal: a nexus of disaster, like knots that form spontaneously
in windblown hair, and you try to pass them off as incipient dreadlocks,
but no one believes you.

I’m reluctantly approaching the age when the light at the other end
of the carpal tunnel is a hot flash of … of loss of memory or …
or rage! that was it! when you find yourself in an existential backwater,
indistinct drifting forms slowly decaying in the sick conviction
of temperature gradients,

saturated with the metameric violet of an interminable hour
where the monitor screen radiates a sickly glare the ethereal hue
of Himalayan poppies, flecked with rows of suspect symbols
like maggots paralyzed in mid-writhe and just as capable of producing
an itching, irritated brain.

My soul is portable and an unpleasant shade of green that wants
embroidering, which I take to mean ostentatious lying. I don’t know what
to make for supper tonight—thinking of alcohol, but it’s too much trouble …
so I’ll just recycle leftover bad moods that won’t invalidate the warranty
on my liver and lights.

And when that fails to delight, I’ll come up with an enhancement device
to effortlessly trigger a slow roll into the next moment, temporary levitation
resulting in a mysterious accident: a loud splash from the room next door,
where you and your spotted dog run quickly to slip on that broken thing
melting on the floor.

F. J. Bergmann edits poetry for Mobius: The Journal of Social Change (mobiusmagazine.com) and imagines tragedies on or near exoplanets. Work appears in Abyss & Apex, Analog, Asimov’s SF, and elsewhere in the alphabet. A Catalogue of the Further Suns won the 2017 Gold Line Press poetry chapbook contest.

“Blue Sky Day” by Tom Evans

It sometimes amazes me
On a crisp sunny blue sky day
Like today,
That when a policeman passes me
On the sidewalk and says ‘hello,’
And makes me feel like a normal person,
That he hasn’t seen
Through me, and recognized
Me for the imposter I am.
But how could he know
When I dress myself in decent clothes,
My workplace just around the corner,
In this small town where everyone
Knows everyone,
That I don’t belong,
Terrified of being found out
At any moment?
And I am extremely grateful
He lets me go on my merry way
To make it through another workday
Though I’d rather be anywhere else than there
On a crisp sunny blue sky day
Like today.

Tom, a librarian living near NYC, has recently had poems and stories published in Litbreak and Tuck Magazine, poems accepted in the Ann Arbor Review and Wilderness House Literary Review, and a first novel due out in October from Black Rose Writing.

“A Flower Rests” by Jerry Wemple

Daisy rose later in the morning each
day until she barely rose at all. Ark
was left to get his own breakfast: peanut
butter smeared on doughy bread; a pale
apple in a paper bag to take for school
lunch. He would shuffle down the slate sidewalks
parallel to the river street doing his
best to slow time and the inevitable.
After school, the return trip home and sometimes
there deposited on the couch in front of
a blurred television his mother
like a monument to a forgotten
whatever. Sometimes she would cook supper and
sometimes not. And sometimes the old neighbor
woman would stop by and say mind if I
borrow you boy for a while and then sit
him at her kitchen table and stuff him full
on greasy hamburger and potatoes
and sometimes apple pie that was not too bad.

Jerry Wemple is the author of three poetry collections: You Can See It from Here (winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award), The Civil War in Baltimore, and The Artemas Poems. His poems and essays have been published in numerous journal and anthologies. He teaches in the creative writing program at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.