Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Where Are You Now Sarastro?

by Helen Bar-Lev

You who speaks in the baritone of God
who rules with gentleness and justice
slays menacing serpents,
you who cast the lawless Moor from your temple
who fights the dark forces of the night

As you shuffle softly in your priestly robes
do you know that evil has beheaded the moon
and the stars have been made slaves?

Come Sarastro, you and your disciples,
come with your magical music,
your lanterns and candles of love
search for the light
bring it back

* * * * *

© 8.2014 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, 19 February 2018

. / !

by Heather DeAtley

Periods should be called Exclamations!
They flow.
They stretch.
There is nothing about endings. Nothing definitive.
Only that dynamic tribute to life’s continuum.
They can arrive with excitement.
Or relief.
Or the biting edge of disappointment.
Either way, they are life’s greatest proposal.
A crimson contradiction of life and death
Riding on that descending vertical flow.
These quivering wombs we share
Are all connected
Like the roots of trees
We are mightier
When we bleed.

* * * * *

Heather DeAtley, a Virginia native, currently lives in Tel Aviv, where she is actively developing her Body Poetry practice--rooted in her training as an Ilan Lev Method Practitioner, Body Poetry seeks to bridge the realms of somatics, body work, and poetry through anchoring, playing, and discovering language through the body and movement. 

Sunday, 18 February 2018

She thinks of many things in her preparation to write about infinity
 for Natalie Angier

by Grace Grafton

Small and white, hairs from her baby’s head,
she wants to keep them all but
they insist on escape. Clouds
eventually tatter and dissipate. To maintain
memory as though it were a finitude.
The snow keeps falling, it impedes
progress as it tidies up the landscape,
quashes color. Fabric of weather,
lessons of the implacable. She thinks
about bathwater, divisible drops subsumed
in the rushing sound, baby’s soap-slippery
foot, how gradually the baby will grasp
(drop by drop) the relationship of her bath
to falling snow, the rigorous and unknown
calculus her mom – thinking about infinity and
this precious finite entity – must live in.

* * * *

Grace Marie Grafton’s most recent book, Jester, was published by Hip Pocket Press. Six collections of her poetry have been published.  Her poems won first prize in the Soul Making contest (PEN women, San Francisco), in the annual Bellingham Review contest, and The National Women's Book Association, Honorable Mention from Anderbo and Sycamore Review, and have twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  Ms. Grafton has taught for decades with CA Poets in the Schools, and has been awarded twelve CA Arts Council grants for her teaching programs. Recent poems appear in Sin Fronteras, The Cortland Review, Canary, CA Quarterly, Askew, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Basalt and Mezzo Cammin.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

The Last Girl  

by Donna Hébert

I wait for the next
Whoever he is, it is never the same
Sometimes I try to remember
But it’s better not to

The older women hid me
As long as they could
Rubbed dirt on my skin,
padded my middle
to make me
fat, unattractive
But I must be pretty
so by the time I was seven,
my childhood was over

One of the older women
could read and write
I was ten the year she was caught
with pen and paper
We had to watch
until she begged to die
and was, at last, granted her wish

I bore a child to one man only in my teens
He paid millions for the privilege,
then spayed me so
no other would
inhabit my womb
I nursed my son for three months
before they took him

Male children survive
But only the girls
they judge pretty and stupid
survived to mate
And those who own them
name their price
Now mine is above rubies
but it buys you nothing

Each waking moment I wait
for whatever comes
I no longer think of them as ‘who’
I tell myself I don’t care

Suicide? How many cameras
can you see in the room?

The last girl
The loneliest woman on earth
but never as lonely
as they will be
when I am gone

* * * * *

© 2013 Donna Hébert, all rights reserved

Donna Hébert, a fiddler since 1972, writes, performs, records, and teaches fiddle at Amherst and Smith Colleges. Her latest CD is a poetry and music collaboration, "The Infinite Dark," with Jane Yolen, Lui Collins and Max Cohen. fiddlingdemystified.comthe3ravens.com.

Friday, 16 February 2018

Tooth Karma  

by Donna Hébert

She saw them enter the restaurant together
in slow motion, her arm tucked through his
where her own had fit so easily

Stuck in the La Brea tar pits of awkwardness,
she bit down hard on a piece of shell,
shattering tooth along with peace of mind

Wrenching her gaze from those elbows,
spitting tooth and shell into her napkin,
she feared she’d pay thrice -
for the meal, the dentist and
of course, the heartache

But fortune smiled
She escaped the sting of fate
The restaurant comped the meal,
covered the dentist fearing a clamshell lawsuit

Then, eventually desensitized
by random sightings
of the happy couple around town for a year,
she barely noticed
when they moved away

But it was much longer
before her tongue stopped
playing with the rebuilt tooth

And she had lost
her taste for clams

* * * * *

"Tooth Karma" © 2013 Donna Hébert, all rights reserved

Donna Hébert, a fiddler since 1972, writes, performs, records, and teaches fiddle at Amherst and Smith Colleges. Her latest CD is a poetry and music collaboration, "The Infinite Dark," with Jane Yolen, Lui Collins and Max Cohen. fiddlingdemystified.comthe3ravens.com.

Thursday, 15 February 2018


by Lee Nash

Her “legs,” I’d fetch a packet of Cameo Light, then settle in the wheelchair in the bedroom nearest the bathroom, she being not far from bedridden. Flanked by the large-font books that threatened to tip like bombs from a devil’s egg, bifocals greasy, false teeth soaking in a glass of vinegar, she nursed her cold tea under a miasma of stale urine and smoke, and pined for the Dachshund. Her hair refused to go gray and lay as flat as his unopened letters in a drawer. I imagined one brother hurling the butterfly from the roof and another one dying. I breathed in the jasmine on Cairo streets, rejoiced in her wartime whimsy, her simmering beauty. Thank God the fire did not take her, that we heard that old stick tapping. We doused the flaming bed, soaking her swollen joints, her legs

flailing like wet wings
under the sodden covers –
raised as if in prayer

* * * * *

"Kitty" was first published in Pankhearst's Slim Volume: This Body I Live In (2015) and is included in Lee Nash's collection Ash Keys.

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 just been released from Flutter Press. You can find a selection of Lee’s poems on her website: leenashpoetry.com.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

82 Miles From The Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café

by Alexis Rhone Fancher

The neon flashes “Lobster” and “Fresh!”
The parking lot is crowded. We’ve been driving since dawn.

The lobster must be good here, you say.

The harried, Korean waitress seats us near the kitchen.
She's somewhere between forty and dead.

I show you the strand of her coarse, black hair
stuck between the pages of my menu.

Undeterred, you order the lobster for two.

I investigate the salad bar.

Yellow grease pools in the dregs of blue cheese dressing;
a small roach skims the edge.

Before the waitress can bring the clam chowder, I kick you under the table.

I’m sorry, I say brightly. We’ve changed our minds.
I’m responsible for the look of defeat on her face.

As I head out, you stop and leave a twenty on the table.

I have never loved you more.

* * * * *

"82 Miles From The Beach, We Order The Lobster At Clear Lake Café" was first published in Slipstream (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), Enter Here (2017), and
Junkie Wife, (2018). She is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Rattle, Hobart, Pirene’s 
Fountain, The American Journal of Poetry, Plume, Nashville Review, Diode, Glass, Tinderbox, 
Verse Daily, and elsewhere. Her photos are published worldwide, including River Styx, and the 
covers of Witness, Heyday, The Chiron Review, and Nerve Cowboy. A multiple Pushcart Prize 
and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. She lives in Los