Tuesday, 13 April 2021

BURDEN

by Kathy Duby


If you recall
the incest,
the act,
in brutal detail
you carry that weight
ever after,
lose your potential,
always a job
never a career
always a para
never a pro
underachiever.
could you carry it?
you would not last
a minute but
I've done it
seventy-six years now.
if ya think
I'm crazy
be grateful
it ain't worse.


* * * * *

Kathy Duby lives in northern California and has been writing poetry for over 60 years. Her poems spring from the heart, or from voices in the head, or from the gut. Those from her heart are lyrical, those from her head arrive fully formed, narrated by the inner voice, those from her gut address the harsh topics of incest and child abuse. Poetry is her favored form of expression. Others include collage art, altered books, humor, and fiction.


Monday, 12 April 2021

Ground Level

by Ellen Roberts Young


Charts tell me it’s 2,183 miles
from London to Cairo. Can even crows
fly straight that far? It’s where I’ve been,
what I’ve seen, a corridor of Europe
from England’s monarchy to the Pope’s
small independent state, and then beyond.

I ventured east to Vienna, west to Spain,
spent a month in Paris as if it were
a middle ground, bought stamps in small
nations: Liechtenstein, Monaco. All
those crowded countries: no wonder
their people envision splitting into more.

I’ve travelled much farther on
the sprawling network of U.S. highways,
this country’s enormous space. The American
child begins on one block, steps to a store,
grows into notions of space and time
the inverse of Europe’s, works back
only to 1492. And then the dinosaurs?


* * * * *

"Ground Level" is from Ellen Roberts Young's chapbook Transported (Finishing Line Press, 2021).

Ellen Roberts Young’s chapbook, Transported, describes her travels in Europe and Egypt when she was twelve and their after-effects. Her poems have been published in numerous print and online journals; she also has a new full-length collection, Lost in the Greenwood, about unicorn tapestries of five hundred years ago. She is an editor of Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders Journal and blogs at 
www.freethoughtandmetaphor.com. Her website is www.ellenrobertsyoung.com.


Sunday, 11 April 2021

Centripetal Forces

by Ellen Roberts Young


Five lean on each other,
two parents, three children,
no child’s star, pointing outward.

Linked like Olympic rings
they learn piastres, lire, share
a rich diet of museums, churches,

operas. Together they enter
the English book store,
stop for mail at American Express.

Mama and Papa study the language,
put children in English-speaking schools.
No classmates come to visit.

The five avoid quarrels, having
only each other, their neighbors strangers.
The children can wander

only on Venice’s carless streets,
divide on preferences for
Velazquez or Brueghel.

Returned to a home, a yard, a town
they know, each goes out to friends.
Pressure released, rings unlock,
can’t hold the family together.


* * * * *

"Centripetal Forces" is from Ellen Roberts Young's chapbook Transported (Finishing Line Press, 2021).

Ellen
 Roberts Young’s chapbook, Transported, describes her travels in Europe and Egypt when she was twelve and their after-effects. Her poems have been published in numerous print and online journals; she also has a new full-length collection, Lost in the Greenwood, about unicorn tapestries of five hundred years ago. She is an editor of Sin Fronteras/Writers Without Borders Journal and blogs at www.freethoughtandmetaphor.com. Her website is www.ellenrobertsyoung.com.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Your party invitation just arrived

by Carolyn Martin


Calligraphed, no less. A work of art. 
Free-flowing ink. Handmade ecru.
Well-designed. Stylized. Personal.

If I replied with Sorry, out of town
or My partner needs surgery,
I’d demean myself, dishonor you.

So here’s God-honest truth: I love
close friends, but hate my dress-up clothes
and noisy social scenes where gossip

masks as pleasantry. I despise
playing up to quasi-intellects
and playing down to ignorance.

I’d rather move a word around a page
than raise a glass or pass a plate
or work a room immune to poetry.

I might be tempted to announce
Patience is a vice. A quiet mind
hears its soul. Beauty‘s felt before it’s seen.

But furrowed brows would walk away
without remark or backward glance.
I’d redeem myself by exiting.

Let me remind you I’ve become
a connoisseur of silent nights, quiet books,
and confidantes around a fire’s heat.

I’ve discovered Time’s in love with me
and she demands quick retreats
from restless chattering, abhors

one obligation more. So count me
among the shy who shun society.
My birthday gift arrives next week.


* * * * *

"Your party invitation just arrived" was previously published in Antiphon and is part of Carolyn Martin's poetry collection The Way a Woman Knows.

From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin is a lover of gardening and snorkeling, feral cats and backyard birds, writing and photography. Her poems have appeared in more than 125 journals and anthologies throughout North America, Australia, and the UK. Her fifth collection, The Catalog of Small Contentments will be released in 2021. Currently, she is the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation.


Friday, 9 April 2021

just so you know

by Carolyn Martin


this morning in the rain I chased your car
halfway down the street intent on ranting
about pots and baking pans greasing up
the sink and sheets of Fed-Ex bubble wrap
obscuring piles of mail and your grey coat
invading my green chair but I wasn’t
fast enough to catch your rearview glance
so I punched your cell to sear your day                                       
with guilt for how I felt put-upon/
crowded-out/ and all those pent-up things
I never say until they burn and how
I could forgive if you were off to work
to shop to pray not out to lunch with friends
but I struck delete when I recalled
your kiss good-bye and words we vowed to say
(Let us be kind) when love’s reduced to sniping/
blaming/hurt and smallest things conspire
to ruin sunsets on a Maui beach
or walks around our autumned neighborhood
so this is just to let you know I’ve scrubbed
the pans/re-hung your coat/cleared out debris
from my morning’s discontent practicing
Let me be kind again and then again       


* * * * *

"just so you know" was previously published in Star 82 Review and is part of Carolyn Martin's poetry collection The Way a Woman Knows.

From associate professor of English to management trainer to retiree, Carolyn Martin is a lover of gardening and snorkeling, feral cats and backyard birds, writing and photography. Her poems have appeared in more than 125 journals and anthologies throughout North America, Australia, and the UK. Her fifth collection, The Catalog of Small Contentments will be released in 2021. Currently, she is the poetry editor of Kosmos Quarterly: journal for global transformation.



Thursday, 8 April 2021

Reflection Queries

by Jen Schneider

 
Q1. What describes a world where no personal mirrors are permitted, yet one is constantly being watched?
 
Q2. Define watch.
 
Q3. Define mirror.
 
Q4. How are mirrors and watches similar? Different?
 
Q5. Which of the following describe a mirror’s purpose?
 
Control
Restraint
Acknowledgement
Recognition
Other
 
Q6. Which word does not belong?
 
Mirror
Reflection
Image
Surveillance
 
Q7. What word would you add to this collection? Why?
 
Control
Watch
Track
Age
 
Q8. Define age.
 
Q9. Does the aging process impact identity if one can no longer see their image?
 
Q10. Is dust on mirrors dangerous? Why?
 
Q11. If I hold my hand to a mirror and do not recognize, what/who has changed? 
 
The mirror
My hand
Myself
None of the above
All of the above


* * * * *

"Reflection Queries" was first published in
The Closed Eye https://theclosedeyeopen.com/.

Jen Schneider is an educator, attorney, and writer. She lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Philadelphia. Recent work appears in The Popular Culture Studies Journal, Toho Journal, The New Verse News, Zingara Poetry Review, Streetlight Magazine, Chaleur Magazine, LSE Review of Books, and other literary and scholarly journals. 



Wednesday, 7 April 2021

 

No need to say what is already known

by Jen Schneider

 
Her list is as mundane as any other, perhaps more so if I dare so say. No need to alert her. Please, don’t. She already knows.
 
The chair and the computer call, yet she does not answer. Auto-set to voicemail, along with everyone else. We all have our reasons. Her, too. Some reasons are more mundane than others. Hers, too. I hear not her fingers tap, but her voice totter then trail. They reached the end of the ABC book and the beginning of naptime. I hope she dreams. 
 
Her list is as mundane as any other.
 
Air conditioner duct is full
Baby’s diaper, too
Cat needs to go out
Dog needs to come in
Everyone needs something
Fix-ins for a square dinner
Gather bills, garner comrades for coin scavenger hunt, gabble incessantly
Hide chocolate, hide hunger
Ice boy’s scraped knee
Justify curfew to oldest girl
Kiss girl’s bruised elbow
Lecture roommate, settle laundry disputes
Make beds first, bail second, biscuits third 
Nurture - oldest boy, youngest girl, middle children, dog, cat, roommate, beau, neighbor, more
Oops, stop rambling
Poop, pee. Clean it, too. Sorry, she needs to mind her Ps and Qs 
Quiet tiny voices in and outside her head
Remind oldest boy to return teacher’s call
Stir rice, squeeze everything
Turn burgers
Unveil chore chart
Validate something
Whisk butter, withstand everything
X out thoughts bubbling in mind
Yell, loud. Cars approach
Zipper all. Turn and go


* * * * *

Jen Schneider is an educator, attorney, and writer. She lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Philadelphia. Recent work appears in The Popular Culture Studies Journal, Toho Journal, The New Verse News, Zingara Poetry Review, Streetlight Magazine, Chaleur Magazine, LSE Review of Books, and other literary and scholarly journals.