The obvious is difficult to prove
in a room with ceilings high enough
for giants to unstoop, where glass doors
introduce a garden plot of chickweed
and empty pots. Upstairs a piano
plays all day, plinking made-up melodies
like a drunk weaving patterns
in a Sunday parking lot. Sometimes
the songs are funereal, marching
the dead on bright white keys. I never
see the player, never slip past
in narrow veins of hallways. He works
nights, sleeps days on the hardwood floor
above my head. It’s the nights that take
their toll, the tireless jangle
of window fans, babies crying
as if they know their mothers moan
in the deep sleep some lover’s arms.
Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook — The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press) — and a full length poetry collection — What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC
Say me that only word
the one counts one and two
in the sweet book of love
that Ima write wit you
saying how this really could
be time to say it best
now that the moon be nerve
air chill and lay it rest
Whisper me like tires
reading the pale gray road
sufficient love for this next
word up kids ax you bogue
lets light one closer fire
between the stars say yes
Paul Grams earned degrees in Linguistics and English Literature; he taught in the Detroit Public Schools, mostly grades 6-9, for 30 years; he ran scholastic chess programs there. He’s retired to Baltimore with grandchildren. Two books of his poems have been published.
My books are sniping at one another Hurling accusations concerning inaccurate information On blood sugar and forceps. Later on in the week I will make a bonfire In the kitchen and scald their flapping tongues. A mobile over the crib jiggles uncertainly. The yellow bunny sneers at the spotted cow. It knows nothing of midwives. Quaint word From a simpler time when mothers died With rags stuffed in their mouths to muffle the screaming. I’ve discovered that I don’t need God. A gazelle sleeps beside me. I can feel its fur choking my breath, I can taste the grass on its hind legs, Alone in this angry house.
Beth Sherman received an MFA in creative writing from Queens College, where she teaches in the English department. Her fiction has been published in The Portland Review, Sandy River Review, Blue Lyra Review and Gloom Cupboard and is forthcoming in Delmarva Review and Rappahannock Review. Her poetry has been published in Hawaii Pacific Review, Hartskill Review, Lime Hawk, Synecdoche, Gyroscope and The Evansville Review, which nominated her poem, “Minor Planets” for a Pushcart Prize this year.
Her life seemed like two nights and one day
where the first night had been birth
and the last night would be her death
and that single long day stretched so far ahead
filled up with future and furniture
she could almost rock in the white wicker chair
and forgive the world for making her a child
who sometimes still needed to hide
behind the rocker where the porch screen
pressed tiny diamonds onto her young cheek
while the man on the tall Sunday Philco
preached grandly Do unto others but this girl didn’t want to be done unto
no she did not want to be so undone
Penelope Scambly Schott’s most recent book is HOW I BECAME AN HISTORIAN. She lives in Portland and Dufur, Oregon where she teaches an annual poetry workshop.
Raven lands on the tallest pine,
a sentry at his post,
so orderly and calm
at the end of the day,
enough to make you believe
chaos is illusion.
The great tsunami has returned
to its source, and the ocean
glows with a gentle pulse
in the sweet light of dusk.
Yet who can forget this morning
when the earth’s plates shifted
and believe once again
in the Garden of things?
the moon rises
the moon sets
this floating world
Marian Olson, the author of seven books of poetry) lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Desert Hours (2008) won top recognition in both the Haiku Society America and the New Mexico Books Awards. Consider This (2012) won first place in the e-book competition of Snapshot Press in the U.K.
If they were fully aware
the invested misery,
the scathing abuse
and the bludgeoning of perfection
Would they renounce their gilded ease,
their snappy playthings,
If we could show
the privileged marauders
who have never seen their own footprint
the toll and mortgage of
their artificial lifestyle,
all the stock they’ve bought in climate change,
Would they shriek and flee
or gaze unapologetically
like an audience that watches
a live bear
slowly lowered into the boiling water?
Jenny McBride’s writing has appeared in The California Quarterly, Tidal Echoes, Green Social Thought, Star 82 Review and other journals. She makes her home in the rainforest of southeast Alaska.