Friday, 19 January 2018

Trumpet Dirge for Fathers

by Julene Tripp Weaver


1.
There are so many of them—
like the sperm they produce
Yet, never enough
in our lives.

Where art thou, oh father of mine?

All fine fathers of sound 
trumpeting—multitudes sailed
off to sea, lost in the wild winds
of a mother ocean—that mighty
womb they could not control.

The dead fathers lost to us
worthy of high grief—
the under-songs we sing
longing for the half
we cannot know.

Sperm penetrates the egg. 
But, the aggressor might well be 
the womb, lying-in-wait like a
carnivorous plant
its sticky sweet cologne.

2.
The peacock with his
turquoise speckled plume
rising iridescent—

such beauty his legacy
of survival.

Male outsiders walk alone
adorn the grounds—
entice the eye.

Such novelty wears off
when his excrement
litters the pool.

And he disturbs your quiet time 
with piercing squawks 
calling for a mate.

3.
Fathers stand outsiders—
removed from the goddess clan
they steal women
from their family home, 
to make their own.

When our ally, mother ocean, 
steals:
a father,
a lover,
a son,
we mourn such loss 
as we long 
for them to mourn for us.


* * * * *


Julene Tripp Weaver is a psychotherapist in Seattle; she worked in AIDS services for over 21 years. She has three poetry books, Truth Be Bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS (Finishing Line Press, 2017), No Father Can Save Her (Plain View Press, 2011), and Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues (Finishing Line Press, 2007). She is widely published in journals and anthologies. Her poems can be found online at: Anti-Heroin ChicRiverbabbleRiver & South Review, The Seattle Review of Books, HIV Here & Now; a creative nonfiction piece is published by Yellow Chair Press, In The Words of Women International 2016 Anthology. Find more of her writing at www.julenetrippweaver.com.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Questions of Enough

by Julene Tripp Weaver

—after Nuala Archer, From a Mobile Home


How important may a woman become
begs the question, to whom? What values 
has male dominion denied? Lost vistas 
trapped in the dense woods of male 
saplings, the favored seeds they drop.

And, how powerful may a woman grow
demands the query, what authority has she 
available to wield? Each profile she rises 
to fill, her mirror reflects binding expectation,
that stifle and silence her genus creation.

What living wealth may a woman feel?
A growing seed seeks fullness, 
stop this trimming to Bonsai perfection—
stymied growth, shear cut, metal to soft
flesh, such discipline imposed.

What words travel where—from her lips,
out her arm, through her hand, to the page, and into
which book, what audience, before her Cassandra
is guillotined to silence while her newfound joy 
is exposed to a world willing to ignore.

Questions to ask of being born female—
what cracks we make, our dandelion 
attempting flower.


* * * * *


Julene Tripp Weaver is a psychotherapist in Seattle; she worked in AIDS services for over 21 years. She has three poetry books, Truth Be Bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS (Finishing Line Press, 2017), No Father Can Save Her (Plain View Press, 2011), and Case Walking: An AIDS Case Manager Wails Her Blues (Finishing Line Press, 2007). She is widely published in journals and anthologies. Her poems can be found online at: Anti-Heroin ChicRiverbabbleRiver & South Review, The Seattle Review of Books, HIV Here & Now; a creative nonfiction piece is published by Yellow Chair Press, In The Words of Women International 2016 Anthology. Find more of her writing at www.julenetrippweaver.com.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Cut Finger

by Barbara Walker


This morning, I cut my finger
and not just a little bit.
I slammed that butcher knife down
and cut my finger 'til it split!

It all happened so very fast,
I couldn't believe my eyes
and Tom was working out back,
so, he didn't hear my cries.

I didn't want to stare at it,
I didn't want to see the wound.
I didn't want to face the fact,
I just might need an emergency room.

I grabbed a towel, wrapped my finger
and pressed down very hard,
then, I said a few choice words;
after all, I am a bard.

I found the gauze in the junk drawer,
I found the medical tape, too.
My finger looked like a mummy,
by the time that I was through.

Later, Tom asked if it needed stitches.
Okay, I admit it, I told a few lies,
but, if I ever take this bandage off,
I'm hoping for a good surprise!

Later, I had a massive hot flash,
been getting them for years.
This one was so intense,
I cried big crocodile tears.

I began to recover from that,
when my stomach began to ache.
Now, what is this from, I thought.
Hope it's not dinner from last night's plate.

I ran to the bathroom.
I was in there quite a while,
but, that's just like me,
doing everything with style!

I think I'd better lay low now,
so, do you know what I'm going to do?
I'm going back to bed
and hide under the covers, too!


* * * * *


Barbara Walker has had several short stories published in anthologies and her poems published in various magazines. She loves to watch the beautiful sunsets from her comfy chair on her patio of her new hometown by a lake in Arizona.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

SomeOne is Watching

by Helen Bar-Lev


A world newly created
in a little garden called Eden
tomatoes, zucchini, parsley can be seen
trees of fruit, of life, of knowledge
all give shade even on the hottest of days
animals are cuddled up peacefully,
the lamb with the lion, the snake and the rat,
the dog and the cat,
a human appears, then another,
similar but different
then they have children, and look:
someOne who has invented
this innovative experiment
has been observing, taking notes,
making adjustments here and there,
drawing up plans for improvement
when one of the children murders the other –
Interesting, thinks the someOne who created them
as He eats a date, sips some wine made from local grapes,
decides not to get involved so does nothing
First mistake

It’s 68 A.D.
they’re selling popcorn at the Coliseum
marching Christians in,
all have been tortured before, of course
lions descend,
they’ve all been starved before, of course
no need to continue the scenario
but look at the spectators sitting in the stadium,
eating popcorn with dates and cheese, and look:
someOne is sitting there
popping grapes into His mouth –
and no, it’s not Bacchus –

It’s the year 1,410
the guys are at it again
gallant, galloping
burning with the lust of conquest
with the pleasure of slaughter
the rape of daughters
all over Europe the inquisition is in full swing
and on the highest hilltop in Jerusalem,
drinking goat’s milk, eating figs, and look:
someOne is watching them
with a telescope, a new invention –
but it’s not Galileo –
great spot He’s got, a view of the heavens
so He can see what His angels are up to
and also of the action on the blood-stained ground
we didn’t say He approves
but He’s not critical either
let’s say He’s nonchalant

It’s a thousand years later, give or take,
they’re selling popcorn
at the movie theatres
books at the schools
steaks in the restaurants
pizza in Rome, falafel in Jerusalem
olives in Baghdad, tickets to concerts in Paris
they’re gassing, bombing, beheading,
slaughtering, kidnapping, torturing
a cinerama of humanity
too enormous to view from just one vantage point,
so that someOne we’ve glimpsed before
is watching now from the clouds,
sipping pineapple juice,
maybe latte if it’s a cold day,
and no, it’s not an astronaut,
yawning, tsk tsk, boys will be boys,
kill, rape, conquer, destroy
this is the planet of free choice


* * * * *

© 7.2016 Helen Bar-Lev


Helen Bar-Lev was born in New York in 1942. www.helenbarlev.com  She holds a B.A. in Anthropology, has lived in Israel for 46 years and has had over 90 exhibitions of her landscape paintings, 34 of which were one-woman shows. Her poems and artwork have appeared in numerous online and print anthologies. Six poetry collections, all illustrated by Helen. She is the Amy Kitchener senior poet laureate. Helen was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2013 and is the recipient of the Homer European Medal for Poetry and Art. Helen is Assistant to the President of Voices Israel. She lives in Metulla, Israel.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Lord of the Flies on Mars

by Helen Bar-Lev


Everyone’s signing up
Everyone’s lining up
to travel to the stars
to colonize Mars

An adventure for the restless
a diversion for the bored

Pay twenty-thousand dollars
to reach your new home
to be enclosed in a dome
piped in oxygen
temperatures guaranteed pleasant
a pill for nourishment

Until some pervert
goes berserk
slits some throats
chops off a few heads
hijacks a space ship
escapes back to Earth

Which in the interim
has become too violent
too much pollution to breathe
and in addition, news of his deeds
have preceded him
he’s a wanted man

He tries to leave
to Venus, perhaps Saturn
but, oh what a fool,
his spaceship
has run out
of fuel


* * * * *

© 4.2016 Helen Bar-Lev

Helen Bar-Lev was born in New York in 1942. www.helenbarlev.com  She holds a B.A. in Anthropology, has lived in Israel for 46 years and has had over 90 exhibitions of her landscape paintings, 34 of which were one-woman shows. Her poems and artwork have appeared in numerous online and print anthologies. Six poetry collections, all illustrated by Helen. She is the Amy Kitchener senior poet laureate. Helen was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2013 and is the recipient of the Homer European Medal for Poetry and Art. Helen is Assistant to the President of Voices Israel. She lives in Metulla, Israel.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Beneath The Waters Deep

by Judith Michaels Safford


How do I close a door that has never opened,
one long ago rusted shut like a sunken ship
beneath the waters deep that never got to sail her treasure?
Beneath the waters deep that never had a chance to sail her treasure.

How do I open a door that never was
except on a romance screen
in a teenage dream?
Beneath the waters deep.

Give in or reject
the only power tool
for women of my generation.
And yet,
cruel consequences whittled even this tool
to a sliver.
Whittled to a sliver – worthless as
a rusted sunken ship.

A wide-eyed sitting duckling
for the Bible’s female submission tale,
swallowing the apple of the fall,
ingesting Eve’s recorded fail.
Never got to sail
her treasure.

I know how to flirt, seduce, disassociate,
exhaust the body’s tension and
how to pretend.
Beneath the waters deep.

Connecting intentionally and
authentic loving requires no
genitals, drugs or alcohol.

This fractured heart
saturated, tenderized, vulnerable
wills to opens its door
to intimacy
of a resurrected treasure
and the beauty of a deeper truth
the sheen of a sunken precious jewel
beneath the waters deep.


* * * * *

In 2006, Judith Michaels Safford discovered a radio program on writing poetry. She followed the prompts and mustered up the courage to press the send button. She was invited to read and a door was open that had not previously existed. She finds that her emotions express more easily through poetry. Judith self-published her memoir in 2009. Don’t Sell Your Soul, Memoir of a Guru Junkie. Encouraged by a published poet-friend, she embarked on self-publishing a book of prayer poems. Joyful Surrender, A pilgrimage. Judith continues to practice a 23-year career as a licensed massage therapist. Today her home is Glenwood, New Mexico, where artists of many kind reside. Touching others with hands and poems brings a tremendous satisfaction of purpose to her life.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

Girls’ Night Out

by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko


I tried to avoid the draft                                                                           
instead I stayed to serve
breakfast
lunch
radio dinners in their aluminum coffins
(all short orders)

sex--the main
love--the side
blues on tap

And how would you like
your brown-eyed baby girl?” I dished,
wiping the spit-shine from my tits
Sunny-side up  
or
over easy?”

Easy,” you groaned--
 consciousness slipping from its zip-lock bag--
 Nirvana, now only
 the name of a rock band

Easy, huh”
me, brushing flies from your lip--
the stench of the heart like rare steak gone bad--
your boyhood buddy cooling in the freezer

I tried to avoid leaving
but you left me left and right 
left  right  left

Your teeth and their chattering infantry are still marching 
When you make it as far as the living room
send me a telegram, won’t you?

Till then,
please consult your manual for further instructions

The baby’s in the oven
the napalm’s in the fridge


* * * * *

"Girls' Night Out" was first published in Big Bridge.


Widely published, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko's work has appeared in XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France) CounterPunch, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology,  The Rumpus, Levure Litteraire, Big Bridge, The Opiate, Strangers in Paris, Occupy Poets’ Anthology (in which she is distinguished as an American Poet), and Maintenant : Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washinton, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the Writer/Poet in Residence for SpokenWord Paris.

Friday, 12 January 2018

The Travel Channel 

by Antonia Alexandra Klimenko


It took me forever to learn how to love—
to love wide open with the throat singing arias
with the arms waving like banners
with the heart bleeding flesh
with the entrails leaking
with that profound wound of womanhood
that waits for you like a bruised ripening hunger                                          
that trembles for you like an unhinged moon
that weeps for you as you enter me without a sound. 

How to love openly is an art. I do it best in my head
without you. With the lights off and the television on—
stepping back into myself like your favorite rerun
Afraid that you will   see the silent movies in my eyes 
Afraid that you will   study my veins like roadmaps
that stretch across the sagging accordion of my ribs
into the rolling hills, the deep divide of my conscious being.
that you will mistake my matching carry-on luggage
for that cute set of accessories you will carry-off one day
to that land of used dreams without me.

In your mind, I am merely a reflection of you—
a mirror with a memory that unfolds now in slow motion
only after you’ve pulled out of the tunnel and already
left the station. The voice that—just before you switch the channel—
knows how to love you with its mouth wide-open
and screams faster than you can say fast forward:
I gave you my body…now I want it back!


* * * * *

"The Travel Channel" was first published in Iodine Poetry Journal.

Widely published, Antonia Alexandra Klimenko's work has appeared in XXI Century World Literature (in which she represents France), CounterPunch, The Original Van Gogh’s Ear Anthology,  The Rumpus, Levure Litteraire, Big Bridge, The Opiate, Strangers in Paris, Occupy Poets’ Anthology (in which she is distinguished as an American Poet), and Maintenant: Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art archived at the Smithsonian Institution in Washinton, D.C. and New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is the Writer/Poet in Residence for SpokenWord Paris.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Breakthrough Session: Bulimic to Her Therapist

by Cesca Janece Waterfield


Doc, it's not about thin. That’s just
what everyone gushes: Girl,
you don't have nothin to worry about.
They eye
my thighs, eschew the butter crust, and finger
a sensible grape. You know I don't come clean
with this stuff much, doc, but I been thinking:
This could be my claim to fame!
You ever heard of a gastro-renegade?
Picture it: Bonnie & Clyde squeal into dusty border towns
sitting high in a low rider caviar black Corvette
stopping once on highway 10 outside Alvarado
to slug mescal and make love like two wolves
tearing at the dark. Man, that worm don’t stand a chance.
They shock locals with lusty gropes
and the lambada. Bonnie is a real firecracker
with a taste for the strap, flair for flash,
and a bullet ride to rage -- WHAT did you say? The bar is closed?
and wham! Campfire roasted rabbit and bits of agave everywhere!
Clyde, of course, swoons for his furiously lanky lady,
aches to rub his licorice stubble over her stomach, smooth
as a Smith & Wesson. Bonnie plants a kiss on Clyde and they ride
off into a cinnamon desert, smothered in sun
orange as Thanksgiving pumpkin pie.

Yeah, that's as good as me, doc,
a bonafide Gen-X quick draw.
I can unload a muffin or purge Mom's chops
with the flick of an acrylic-tipped index,
outside the subtle narrowing of Maybelline's envying eyes,
return to the clink of Wedgwood,
and dive into the brandy sauce.

You think I'm a victim, doc?
that I been dished up a short serving?
left with leftovers, so to speak? I just know
when I'm hunkered down over Lysol swabbed porcelain and tile
in a dinner-hour bathroom ablaze on Colley Avenue,
exhuming the lunch hummus,
recoiling from caloric OD, I smell
the burn of tires and hear the horn of that black Corvette.
It brakes hard and spits gravel. Clyde slides
the tinted window down like a silk slip
and whispers smoky as a single-malt,
She'll be scoping hits all night tonight.
Bonnie winks from behind the wheel,
you-go-sister approval for eating my cake
and hating it too, for blasting shotgun shells into the luncheonette
of my heart, for winning the shootout
in every woman's skirmish
with cellulite.


* * * * *


"Breakthrough Session: Bulimic to Her Therapist" was previously published in 2010 in Cesca Janece Waterfield's first collection, Bartab, published by Two-Handed Engine Press. 

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Chinese lanterns

by Lee Nash


These Chinese lanterns in my head
need pruning back. I find the letter,

pressed flower inert –
geranium masks the scent of deceit.

The first time, I fill the bath;
steam mingles with my out-breath;

crackled orange paper
stains my damp body. I find you over

in the ornamental shadows;
the moon waits for our blows.

All the ripeness in me longs
for the breaking of the cage.


* * * * *

"Chinese lanterns" was first published in Muddy River Poetry Review, Issue 14, spring 2016; it is also included in Ash Keys, Lee Nash's first collection from Flutter Press.

Lee Nash lives in France and freelances as an editor and proofreader. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in print and online journals including Acorn, Ambit, Angle, Antiphon, Magma, Mezzo Cammin, Orbis, Poetry Salzburg Review, Presence, and The Heron's Nest. Her first poetry collection, Ash Keys, has been released from Flutter Press in 2017. You can find a selection of Lee’s poems on her website: leenashpoetry.com.