Tuesday, 23 May 2017

I am that girl

by Ellyn Maybe


I am that girl.
Not that girl of 60’s chandeliers and a swinging do.
Just that girl.
The one that guys would meet and come up with an emergency excuse.
I being gullible empathized with the sudden surgery got to run down the block like a gazelle.
When you stayed and listened like listen was a verb.
When you just simply stayed.
I set up shop like in Trader’s Joe, like a sampler tray.
Could be, mixed with cashews, left a very deep impression.
I dipped my memories into chocolate like I was a strawberry.
And remembered what spring tasted like on planets that didn’t thaw often.
Green, ice lilies, oxygen.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Today's poem by Ellaraine Lockie, "Monologue After the Moon," together with Alexis Rhone Fancher's photo "Los Angeles Hangnail Moon."




Monologue After the Moon

by Ellaraine Lockie

           
            There fell a silvery-silken veil of light,
            With quietude, and sultriness, and slumber,
            Upon the upturned faces of a thousand roses . . .
            --Edgar Allan Poe

Queen of the Night, where are you
Goddess Luna who used to slide
the silk of your arm through the window
across the bed to massage stress into rest
You who can beacon a safe path for sailors
and nocturnal animals
Your knights of shining armor
in the sky echoing every epical act

Five nights straight your ghost
steals the sleep from my eyes
It stares with its own anemic eyes
and mocking smile
It slithers through the stars
A voyeur who can't
but watches others make love

Great Bear in Swedish folklore says the dogs
up there are so afraid they bark
Even brilliant Sirius dims when your imposter
lifts its bald head out of the darkness
Creeps under trees, haunts houses
and roams cemeteries
And then sheds its rotted rays
over the earth like a shroud

I would welcome even the sinister dreams
it whispers in my ears
rather than this offspring creature
Cannibal who rattles the cage of my mind
Swallows the flesh of my sanity
The iron from my blood
Weariness which doesn't cease when the sun god
awakens the eastern sky

Come back Rishima/Mahina/Mizuki
and honor your eternal commitment to my gender
with your regal crown of light
You who govern the ocean's cycle along with ours
 It's time--the creature is drooling
The red petals on the roses are dropping


* * * * *

"Monologue After the Moon" was first published in All That Remains, a Las Positas College Anthology.

Ellaraine Lockie is a widely published and awarded poet, nonfiction book author and essayist.  Her thirteenth chapbook, Tripping with the Top Down, was just released from FootHills Publishing.  Poetry contest wins have included:  Encircle Publication’s Chapbook Contest Competition for Where the Meadowlark Sings, Women’s National Book Association’s Poetry Prize, Best Individual Collection from Purple Patch magazine in England for Stroking David's Leg and San Gabriel Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest Award for Red for the Funeral.  Ellaraine teaches poetry workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, Lilipoh.


Sunday, 21 May 2017

Goodnight

by Eileen Murphy


I said to my husband, I’m not that tired
& I have cycles & sometimes
my writing is blocked
& I have to take advantage
when I have the fire
& you can suggest I go to bed
but don’t get mad
& then I pointed out that
the Orpheus tale never
mentions Eurydice’s feelings
& maybe she paused on
the doorstep following him out of
the Hades cavern
on purpose because she knew
she would always be following him
& he would always
be making noise,
“sweet noise” being
still noise
& then I lost it
& said, okay, a Caravaggio-style
angel
appeared in the bedroom
one night about a month ago
& told me god wanted
me to write

& that shut him up.


* * * * *

“Goodnight” was first published in White Pelican Review (Fall 2003)

A former Chicagolander, Eileen Murphy now lives 30 miles from Tampa. She received her Masters degree from Columbia College, Chicago. She teaches literature and English at Polk State College in Lakeland and has recently published poetry in Thirteen Myna Birds, Tinderbox (nominated for Pushcart Prize), Yes Poetry, The American Journal of PoetryRogue AgentDeaf Poets Society, and other journals.




Saturday, 20 May 2017

Little Helper

The four boys got exciting toys.
Their messes were soldiers,
Play-Doh, or parts of a train set.

I got Barbie dolls,
a book, new clothes,
or new Barbie clothes.
I didn’t make a mess.
Au contraire, I had to clean up
the boys’ mess, Mama said.
I said, No.

As he swung his belt,
Dad’s face went white, and his freckles stood out.
Dammit!
Obey your mother!
The belt snapped as it bit my shoulders.

Dad went wild,
smacking me on the arms, head, neck.
I howled.
He wasn’t going to stop till he half killed me.

The shoulder of my pajama top had slipped down,
exposing my chest with its pips.
He barked, Shut up!
and flung down the belt.

Not making eye contact,
he pointed towards the door.
Go help your mother.

I cleaned my brothers’ mess.
Model airplanes. Careful.

* * * * *

“Little Helper” was first published in 13 Myna Birds (2016).

A former Chicagolander, Eileen Murphy now lives 30 miles from Tampa. She received her Masters degree from Columbia College, Chicago. She teaches literature and English at Polk State College in Lakeland and has recently published poetry in Thirteen Myna Birds, Tinderbox (nominated for Pushcart Prize), Yes Poetry, The American Journal of PoetryRogue AgentDeaf Poets Society, and other journals.


Friday, 19 May 2017

When I Turned Sixteen Mother Let Uncle Kenny From Chicago Take Me For A Ride”

by Alexis Rhone Fancher


1. Uncle Kenny let the top down on the Chrysler,
fedora protecting his tender scalp.

When I got into the car
he threw his arm over the bucket seat,
fingers grazing the back of my skimpy tube top.

2. PCH, left on Sunset, he took Deadman’s Curve
like a pro, then the slow cruise to
downtown. Like he’d been here before.

July baked my bare shoulders.
Like Uncle Kenny, I burned easily.

3. Sunset ended at Olivera Street.
My uncle chose La Golondrina Cafe.
I ordered the cheese enchiladas.
He ordered a double Margarita, extra salt.

Things I Learned At Lunch:
Dress Well.
Travel Light.
Marry Up.

My mom says you’re good for nothing, I said.

Uncle Kenny slid so close in the booth
his trousers tickled my thigh.

I once made love to Hedy Lamar,
he confessed.

He ran his tongue around the rim of the
margarita glass, licked the salt. His
blue eyes stared right past me.

When the mariachis reached
our table, Uncle Kenny pulled me from the booth,
spun me around the restaurant.

Like all big men, he was light on his feet.

4. The overpriced gold and ruby chandelier earrings
serenaded us from the store window.

5. How much damage, my mother reasoned,
can he do my girl in one afternoon?

6. When Uncle Kenny died soon after
in flagrante delicto, no one was surprised.

I heard it was his heart, my mother said,
but I know he didn’t have one.

She clipped his obituary out of the paper,
pinned it to the refrigerator with a magnet.

In my heart I knew differently.

I drove PCH north, left on Sunset,
an Uncle Kennyesque fedora
shading my eyes.

At Dead Man’s Curve
I threw my head back like I’d seen
Hedy Lamar do in the movies.

My chandelier earrings tinkled in the wind.

* * * * *


©-Alexis Rhone Fancher. First published in Alyss, 2016. Also featured Alexis Rhone Fancher's new collection in Enter Here (2017)

Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other 
heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). 
She is published in The Best American Poetry 2016, Rattle, Slipstream, Hobart, Cleaver, The 
MacGuffin, Poetry East, Plume, Glass, and elsewhere. Her photographs are published 
worldwide, including the cover of Witness, Heyday, and Nerve Cowboy, and a spread in River 
Styx. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural 
Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles. Find out more at: www.alexisrhonefancher.com 



Thursday, 18 May 2017

LUST AT THE CAFE FORMOSA

by Alexis Rhone Fancher


Once, at the Cafe Formosa in L.A., 
I saw the most beautiful girl. And
the  best part was, you could see she didn’t know it. Yet.
Didn’t know how anxiously her nipples strained
against her shirt, or that her endless legs   
and sloe-eyed gaze were worth a million
bucks... to someone.

She was a sway-in-the-wind willow, her skin
the pale of vanilla ice cream, her hair all shiny black 
straight like an Asian girl’s, thick as a mop.
She was maybe seventeen, on the brink, so ripe
sex exuded from her pores. She leaned against the juke box
fingering those quarters in her shorts’ pocket
so they jingled like Christmas, the fabric
between her thighs stretched to bursting.

When her food arrived, the girl unwrapped
the chopsticks, lifted Kung Pow chicken to her mouth, 
inhaled the spicy morsels. A long, sauce-slicked 
noodle played with her lips and I longed to lick it off. 
I’d been alone four years by then,
so used to it even the longing had long departed.  

Then she showed up, all fresh-spangled, clueless.
If I didn’t walk out then I never would. Elvis was crooning
Don’t Be Cruel, but I knew she would be.
Girls like her can’t help it. 

* * * * *

©Alexis Rhone Fancher First published in poeticdiversity, 2014

Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other 
heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and EnterHere (2017)
She is published in The Best American Poetry 2016, Rattle, Slipstream, Hobart, Cleaver, The 
MacGuffin, Poetry East, Plume, Glass, and elsewhere. Her photographs are published 
worldwide, including the cover of Witness, Heyday, and Nerve Cowboy, and a spread in River 
Styx. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural 
Weekly. She lives in Los Angeles. Find out more at: www.alexisrhonefancher.com 


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

I'm fresh out of stories and poems to post. As soon as you send me something wonderful, the posts of Writing In A Woman's Voice will resume. The address to send to is writinginawomansvoice@gmail.com.

In the meanwhile I'll leave you with one of my poems that's been on my mind a lot lately.


The Dragon's Tale


Yes, I took the princess away.
She's hidden up in the mountains.
She's hidden from your strange
world of corsets and obedience
among the yellow flowers.
She's hidden from your male
fantasies among my cousins,
the lithe lizards. She's hidden
from your benevolent contempt
in the moss of morning dew.
You thought I was going to eat her?


* * * * *

"The Dragon's Tale" was first published in The Write Place at the Write Time.


Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Walking my Dog in Logan Park after Mary Tyler Moore’s Death

by Jan Zlotnik Schmidt


The phone dings in my pocket
as I clutch the leash,
the dog pulling to reach another pup.
Ding again—Mary Tyler Moore dead at 80.

I stop for a moment to read my phone.
Watch a homeless man toss white
scraps of bread to black squirrels
darting this way and that.

The news of her death meshes with
other headlines --Breitbart, the refugee ban,
executive orders, the XL Pipeline—
Doublespeak, lies burning my throat, my gullet.

I protested after Kent State
Sat in against Dow Chemical
Marched against the war in Iraq.
It is that time again.

But Mary and I lived a different world.
Back then, I raced home to watch
 (no DVR dreams deferred for us)
to catch her cool intelligence, independent spirit.

Sometimes my friend and I would go
to Sibleys, try on wigs like alter egos—
I always picked a brown flip with bangs
to cover up my frizzy long hair.

And in the snow in Syracuse
we tossed hats in the air
sure our bodies were ours to control.
Sure we could light up the world with our smiles.

The dog yanks me out of my reverie.
We circle the square again.
Vermont, 13th Street, Rhode Island,
Logan’s statue, his horse, hovering above us.

In the drizzle and fog, I momentarily lose
my way despite knowing the familiar path.
I look for the red brick Victorian with turrets
my landmark, my way home.

Fearful of circling back
to an unclear future.

Monday, 15 May 2017

WHITE GIRL

by Noelle Sterne


I see you everywhere,
hear you, watch you,
riveted.

Walk? You own the street,
buttocks bumping, swaying, important rhythms,
laughing from the gut with your girlfriends.

Talk? You punch the air:
Come awwwn, girl! Mama gonna getchew!
String out words like song,
flaunt school English,
slur stretch drop letters spurn syllables,
always with that bend of knowing.

Songs? You know all the words—
singles, groups, rappers, crooners, hooters, shouters, praisers,
downloads crammed in devices and heads.
You mouth them everywhere,
dance steps swaying, bumping, careless, sure,
sidewalks, birthdays, gas lines and groceries.

Where you learn?
All my lessons never loosened my legs,
all the teaching never let me go,
all degrees just made me tighter.

But you—
size shape age clothes matty hair don’t matter.
You own the floor—
arms pumping, snaking, rippling, curling,
hands ruling, shaping air,
feet in untaught Jacksonesque synch,
whirls twirls taps twists turns, 
eyes rolling, mouth moving, little grunts,
unmatched bend of importance.

Trouble? Your proud trumpeted history isn’t the only one.
Hoo, you say. What troubles, poor little middle class white girl?
Okay, bloods. Poison of parents’ overexpectations,
best at everything, or no love.
Tyranny of never-let-up lessons
for aunts, neighbors, anyone who’ll listen:
piano-ballet-horseback-skating-cello-ballroom-baking-bowling.
No time for friends or games,
no time for dreams or doodles.
Too much flesh in a thin girls’ world,
too many books in a dumb boys’ world,
always nursing aloneness, watching your  guffawing joy.

Look at me—just a little?
White girl call you sistah?
White girl call you friend?


* * * * *

Author, editor, writing coach, writing workshop leader, and spiritual counselor, Noelle Sterne has published over 400 writing craft articles, spiritual pieces, essays, and short stories. Publications include Author Magazine, Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children’s Book Insider, Coffeehouse For Writers, Funds for Writers, InnerSelf, Inside Higher Ed, New Age Journal, Pen & Prosper, Sasee, Story Monsters Ink, The Write Place At the Write Time, Unity Magazine, Writer’s Journal, The Writer, and Writer’s Digest. Academic editor and coach, with a Ph.D. from Columbia University, she helps doctoral students wrestling with their dissertations and publishes articles in several blogs for dissertation writers. Her book Trust Your Life: Forgive Yourself and Go After Your Dreams (Unity Books) contains examples from her practice, writing, and other aspects of life to help readers release regrets, relabel their past, and reach lifelong yearnings. Her book Challenges in Writing Your Dissertation: Coping With the Emotional, Interpersonal, and Spiritual Struggles (Rowman & Littlefield Education, 2015) further aids doctoral candidates to award of their degrees. Website: http://www.trustyourlifenow.com/



Sunday, 14 May 2017


RISE AND SHINE

by Mary K O'Melveny


It’s time to Rise and Shine!
My Mother’s voice calls out.
Positive emphasis.
She greets our newest day.

I’m counting the minutes
left to me to wash up,
quickly dress, grab my books,
pens, papers and race out.

The aging yellow school bus
rumbles up the steep hill,
swaying slightly, rough road
a challenge to the best.

I am in a new world
and I am not amused.
Parents will do these things
and never tell you why.

In the wink of an eye
we had landed here, a farm,
Pacific Ocean left
back, blinking, beckoning.

We’re miles from anywhere,
I cried.  NOTHING is here!
Later, I understood
my Mother thought the same.

What WERE we doing here?
She used to sit often
at the little yard goods
store bus stop.  Longingly.

Sometimes it just makes no
difference where the bus
is headed as long as
you’re on it when it goes.
                                                                                                                                   
But of course she never
did get on.  She came back
home.  Made our little meals.
Took in our tales of woe.

Got us up each morning,
her game greeting the same.
I never even knew if 
she bought a bus ticket.


* * * * *

Mary K O'Melveny is a retired labor rights lawyer living in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  Her poems have been published in various print and on-line journals such as FLARE:  The Flagler Review, Into the Void, Allegro Poetry Magazine and The Offbeat.  Mary's poem "Cease Fire" won the 2017 Raynes Poetry Competition sponsored by Jewish Currents magazine and appears in the anthology "Borders and Boundaries" published by Blue Threads Press.