Sunday, 25 July 2021

Mis Verdaderos Amores
(My True Loves)


(An Ekphrastic poem based on the painting
Me and My Parrots, by Frida Kahlo, Mexico 1941)*

by Lisa Molina


Ah, mi vida-


Do you see my true loves
stare into you?
They, like me, see you,
Ah sí.


They whisper truths
into my ears. 
What they see.
What they hear.


When I believe 
your fidelity,
they tell me truth:
You betrayed me.


See how they huddle
to my breasts;
hearing my heart
shatter in its chest?


They stay always
to protect and guard
this nest from its
exploding sharp heart-shards


that would slice your hands 
until they bleed;
body maimed forever,
just like me.


On my shoulder 
my two other loves
hold me tight with
their sharp talon gloves.


Remember when your
arms held me?
Our eyes of fire?
Intensity?


No mas, mí vida.


Now watch these loves
spread open their wings,
never, never letting 
go of me.


Oh, how they
lift me up


Off
Off 
Off


the ground.


My open
heart-wings
now
soaring


Passionately 
Painting 
Pain-


Para que tú
y el mundo


will forever see,


how I rise 


above you


for 


eternity.


* * * * *

*Here is a link to Me and My Parrots, by Frida Kahlo, Mexico 1941: https://www.fridakahlo.org/me-and-my-parrots.jsp

Lisa Molina is a writer and educator in Austin, Texas. She has taught high school English and theatre, served as Associate Publisher of Austin Family Magazine, and now works with students with special needs. She enjoys reading, playing piano, singing, and marveling at nature with her family.  Her writing can be found in numerous online and print journals, including Beyond Words Magazine, Trouvaille Review, Amethyst Review, Neologism Poetry, Ancient Paths, OVERTHINK zine, and The Ekphrastic Review.
lisalitgeek.wordpress.com

Saturday, 24 July 2021

This month, an additional Moon Prize, the 79th, goes to Emily Black's poem "Moon Over Ninomiya Beach."


MOON OVER NINOMIYA BEACH*

by Emily Black

I look deeply at a Japanese woodblock print,
and almost become the small figure standing
on shore surrounded by frothy sea foam.
A graceful evergreen perched on a craggy
cliff bends its boughs in prayer over a curving
coastline far below. Clouds in the night sky
appear to be tangible like spun sugar.
 
I don’t know where I must have seen this print
before, but every aspect of it rings in my soul
like a bell that tolls to call me into that world.
I must have been a painter or a photographer in a
past life. I see things as though a frame encompasses
my view and gives me a unique perspective, a place
to focus. I sink into the viscous texture of this print.
 
A full moon over low, striated clouds illuminates their
ghostly presence and turns the sea’s horizon silver. A
solitary figure, in silhouette, walks along a sage-green
shore, embraced by heaven and earth, kissed by moonlight.


* * * * *

*Here is a link to a print of MOON OVER NINOMIYA BEACH.

Emily Black, the second woman to graduate from the University of Florida in Civil Engineering, engaged in a long engineering career as the only woman in a sea of men. Lately she’s been busy writing vignettes of her life and has two poems in the March issue of Verse-Virtual and more to be printed in the June issue of Door is A Jar and the October issue of Sac Magazine. Emily was selected as Poet of the Week by Poetry Super Highway for the week of March 22-28, 2021.
 

Friday, 23 July 2021

This month's Moon Prize, the 78th, goes to Alexis Rhone Fancher's intriguing "Larceny: A Story In Eleven Parts."


LARCENY: A Story In Eleven Parts

In Which 18 Year Olds Victoria and Debi Flee Los Angeles In Debis Blue Toyota Camry, and Take the Pacific Coast Highway North With Only a Smattering of Stars to Light Their Way…

by Alexis Rhone Fancher


Into The Dark
The night highway crawls with creatures. Moths headfirst into the windshield, lizards, mice,
besotted by headlights, crush flat beneath their tires. Sheltered. Stupid, the girls pick up a stranger. Thinking this is his lucky day, longhaired Davy tumbles into the back seat.

Back Story
When Victoria moved in with Debis family, junior year, her mom never realized she was missing. Now Victoria surveys her flawless skin, full lips, and thick blond hair in the rearview mirror; sees instead her mothers eyes, her dead daddys smile.

Just Outside Of Pismo Beach: An Adventure!
Their route mirrors the shoreline. They speed to outdistance the past. Victoria tallies roadkill. It makes her think of her dad. When she tosses their purses in the back seat with Davy, he recalls
the first time he snapped a cats neck, but stops short of telling.

Luck Of The Draw
Debis fingers run through her kinky black curls. Shes ironed her hair into submission, endured the dryer, hair rolled large in rinsed, frozen orange juice cans. Jagger struts out of the radio. Debi hums off-key.

Choices
If he has a choice, Davyd go for the brunette. The blonde is hotter, but she looks like trouble. Somehow, trouble always finds him. Where you headed? Victoria asks. Davy looks from one girl to the other. Hell in a handbasket, he grins.

The Low Down

Debi wants Victorias beauty. Victoria wants Debis mom. Each dances in the others castoff, each glows in the dark. Davy susses their singular affection. Hes a good observer, an only child. Davy wants only their wallets.

Night Swim
The Lorelei moon lures the trio off-course. Tempted, they exit the highway, strip down to their skivvies, hurl themselves into the sea. Davy revels in the half-naked beauties, cavorting just for him in the moonlight. Out of their depth, Debis fingers accidentally brush Victoria’s left breast. As they come together, breathless, past the breakers, the peace is almost unbearable.

Truth or Dare
Midnight confessions. Davy never finished high school. Victorias afraid of men. Debi takes the dare. Climbs the retaining wall and howls like a lunatic. Better this than her secrets spilled. When the big wave washes over her, Debi stands her ground. When Davy grabs her, anyway, she licks his face.

On The Road Again
Debi tends to dwell. Night driving clears her head. She chews a strand of her hair, sips vodka out of an Evian bottle. She misses Freddys thick cock. Wonders why she ever left him. Approaching Morgan Hill, Debi finds a motel, reckons Davy owes her and Victoria for the ride.

Karma: The Condensed Version
Its the best day of Davys life. In slumber, he looks like baby Jesus, Victoria sighs. Debi rescues their wallets from Davys backpack. His, too. The North Star beckons. Theyll make San Francisco by morning. The motel air conditioners rattle masks their departure.

The Last Leg
Victoria drives while Debi counts Davys money. The Toyota eats up the highway, a rocket to their nascent future. Shell buy souvenirs in the city, maybe a gift for her mom. When Debi sticks her head out the window, even Victorias chatter cant drown out the sound the wind makes.


* * * * *

©Alexis Rhone Fancher. "Larceny: A Story in Eleven Parts was first published in Café Reader, New Zealand (2015), and is part of Alexis Rhone Fancher's 2021 poetry collection Erotic: New and Collected (New York Quarterly Books).

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry, Rattle, Hobart, Verse Daily, Plume, Cleaver, Diode, Duende, Pirene’s Fountain, Poetry East, Pedestal Magazine and elsewhere. She’s authored five poetry collections, most recently, Junkie Wife (Moon Tide Press, 2018), The Dead Kid Poems (KYSO Flash Press, 2019), and EROTIC: New & Selected (New York Quarterly Books, 2021). Another, full-length collection (in Italian) by Edizioni Ensemble, Italia, will be published in 2021. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Daily.
www.alexisrhonefancher.com

Thursday, 22 July 2021

This is Hard to Admit
1955-1981

by Carolyn Martin


I married and divorced,
not once but twice,
the same womanizing man.

It would take more
than a poet ­–
a novelist, playwright,
and psychologist, perhaps –
to explain twenty-six years
of taunts, abuse, and misery.

All he left behind:
three cherished children
who became my life.


* * * * *

Written in the voice of Therese Kolbert Dieringer. Reprinted with permission from Carolyn Martin, Nothing More to Lose (Beaverton, OR: The Poetry Box, 2020)

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.




Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Pecs, Hungary, 1939-1944*

by Carolyn Martin


I was raised to be afraid.
­– Therese Kolbert Dieringer
           
First came the drunken Serbians –
ugly, border-crossing hooligans –    
pillaging the little life we owned.

Next, peddlers of cloth, wooden spoons,
pots, and pans in child-stealing caravans              
doing what they’re bound to do.

Then air raids ripping through a town
not worth a bomb, scurrying us               
down cellar steps where mother slept

with her satchel full of documents,
father with his file-cutting tools.
I filled the darkness in between.      

Last: Nazi soldiers marching through
our streets with voices so beautiful
I fell in love with songs I didn’t understand.  

How could a child of seven know death
comes disguised as melodies playing
over cracked cobblestones?

                         *
I want one
! I cried in my mother’s arms:         
the yellow star I tried to rip off a playmate’s coat.
This: the morning playing outside ceased.

                         *
Trucks rolled through every night,
muting screams of yellow stars.

Why do stars disappear? I asked.     
My Catholic mother could not say.

Three officers – blond, blue-eyed,
armed –  quartered in our home.

No children of his own, the eldest
sat me on his lap and sang.

Hitler lost, he knew. Stalin on the way.
To Dresden: his plan for our escape.   

Warm clothes, poultry, flour sacks, butchered
pigs in a railroad car marked “Classified.”

Money gets you nowhere,
blue eyes said. Food is currency.    

A 10-hour trip took three weeks.
My father stayed behind.


* * * * *

Written in the voice of Therese Kolbert Dieringer. Reprinted with permission from Carolyn Martin, Nothing More to Lose (Beaverton, OR: The Poetry Box, 2020)

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.


Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Raven            
(Birds, Frogs, & Clouds Cento #2*)

by Mish (Eileen) Murphy


Raven would
fly in circles over land and sea
with the sound of wings

beating
and twirling.
She smelled of

perfume,
saffron,           
and smoke-filled flames

in a circular box.
She was a woman
who could

at the same time be
both old and
young.


* * * * *

*Translator: Ian Johnson

Mish (Eileen) Murphy is Associate Poetry Editor for Cultural Daily magazine and teaches English/Literature at Polk State College, Florida. She just published her third book of poetry (fourth book overall), the collection Sex & Ketchup (Concrete Mist Press Feb. 2021). Fortune Written on Wet Grass (Wapshott Press April 2020) was her first full length collection. Her second book Evil Me was published August 2020 (Blood Pudding Press). She’s had more than 100 individual poems published in journals such as Tinderbox, Writing in a Woman's Voice, and Thirteen Myna Birds, and many others




Monday, 19 July 2021

 

Smells Like Teen Spirit

by Mish (Eileen) Murphy


Mary Anne was prima in a pink tutu
and pink toe shoes with crisscross ribbons.
I wore a black leotard and pink tights,
black slippers with elastic bands.
Sliding glass doors let Florida
sunlight into her living room.
She was the swan
and I was the chorus,
but it was glorious, her mother,
father, and mother’s friend,
clapping.

When Mary Anne moved away
I barely ate. I lost weight.
Mother praised my slim figure.

I lay awake late at night,
wishing I could dance
away from my bedroom
with its high jalousie windows.
I eavesdropped on snippets
of my parents’ conversation
mixed with laughter
from The Tonight Show.
I said hello
to the death songs inside me.

I caressed the safety razor
I shaved my legs with.
I couldn’t force myself 
to carve the flesh of my wrists.

I asked my mother
to move so I could reach
the cabinet under the kitchen sink:
I’ll drink Drano.
I’ll kill myself.


No, you won’t, said my mother
and told me to set the table.


* * * * *

Mish (Eileen) Murphy is Associate Poetry Editor for Cultural Daily magazine and teaches English/Literature at Polk State College, Florida. She just published her third book of poetry (fourth book overall), the collection Sex & Ketchup (Concrete Mist Press Feb. 2021). Fortune Written on Wet Grass (Wapshott Press April 2020) was her first full length collection. Her second book Evil Me was published August 2020 (Blood Pudding Press). She’s had more than 100 individual poems published in journals such as Tinderbox, Writing in a Woman's Voice, and Thirteen Myna Birds, and many others



Sunday, 18 July 2021

Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait with Necklace of Thorns and Hummingbird, 1940*

by Karen George

 
Frida,
This may be my favorite of your self-portraits. You against a dense array of broad tropical leaves—your vast aura of veined green. A pair of pale blue butterflies land in the lacuna of your dark braids, echo two dragonflies that hover above you.
 
Behind one shoulder, a black spider monkey, behind the other a jaguar. I see them as protectors, not merely symbols of evil and bad luck. They have your back.
 
Yes, a few drops of blood dot your neck from your necklace of thorns, but it holds a hummingbird amulet I interpret as flight and hope. The necklace doubles as an embrace of stem and root from the foliage behind you—the clasp of growth.
 
Yes, you suffered incessant pain, thirty-five operations, some botched, years bedridden.
But I settle on your face, a heart at the center—calm, tenacious, unforgettable. Afloat in a hotbed of emerald.


* * * * *

*Here is a link to an image of Self Portrait with Necklace of Thorns and Hummingbird, 1940: https://www.fridakahlo.org/self-portrait-with-thorn-necklace-and-hummingbird.jsp

Karen George is author of the poetry collections from Dos Madres Press: Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and forthcoming Where Wind Tastes Like Pears. Her work appears or is forthcoming in in Adirondack Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Sheila-Na-Gig OnlineMom Egg Review, Gyroscope Review, and I-70 Review. She reviews poetry at Poetry Matters: http://readwritepoetry.blogspot.com/. Her website is: https://karenlgeorge.blogspot.com/
.

Saturday, 17 July 2021


Georgia O'Keeffe's It Was Red and Pink, 1959*

by Karen George


Yin and yang.
Pink—girly.
Red—Power,
color of fire, blood, the root chakra,
cherries, traffic lights, stop signs,
Little Red Riding’s hood,
matador’s cape,
cupid and devil,
love and hate,
a flushed face,
Scarlet Letter shame.
 
The red pantsuit Mom forbid me
to buy, Wearing red turns heads.
Amsterdam’s sex district,
luck in China, what brides wear,
mourning in Africa.
 
As if the artist poured paint
let it drift, imprint,
before she dipped brush
in water, wet the canvas,
strew suffused, unfurled pigments                                        
mud-brown, marbly-green.
 
Tall, red cannas lined the length
of my husband’s house.
Tender perennials, he unearthed them
each fall to replant in spring.
When we moved to a condo
we gave the knotted rhizomes
to my sister. Did they survive him?
 
I remember he said, Bury them
with their eyes face up.


* * * * *

*Here is a link to an image of It Was Red and Pink: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/335025659751068933/

Karen George is author of the poetry collections from Dos Madres Press: Swim Your Way Back (2014), A Map and One Year (2018), and forthcoming Where Wind Tastes Like Pears. Her work appears or is forthcoming in in Adirondack Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Sheila-Na-Gig OnlineMom Egg Review, Gyroscope Review, and I-70 Review. She reviews poetry at Poetry Matters: http://readwritepoetry.blogspot.com/. Her website is: https://karenlgeorge.blogspot.com/
.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Doomed by the Numbers

by Gloria Mindock


It was all a matter of time.
The decision was made.
For me, it was over.

How many days left in this saga?
Until the days spill into one another?
Blackout.

It is like the final curtain call
except I didn’t get a final bow,
a standing ovation, cheers saying, bravo!

Instead, just another human being, disintegrating
into nothingness, who everyone thought too morbid.
That is good.

The fact is people will still go on brutally
killing each other.
Who will take my place and write about it?

By now, you should have realized, we are numbers.
The pills you have been given won’t keep you alive.
They have destroyed me and as my organs fail,
I can see the CEO of the insurance company
going on a boat cruise laughing.


* * * * *

What If God is Strict is part of Gloria Mindock's poetry collection Ash (Glass Lyre Press, 2021).

Gloria Mindock is the author of Ash (Glass Lyre Press), I Wish Francisco Franco Would Love Me (Nixes Mate Books), Whiteness of Bone (Glass Lyre Press), La Portile Raiului, translated into Romanian by Flavia Cosma (Ars Longa Press, Romania), Nothing Divine Here (U Šoku Štampa, Montenegro)and Blood Soaked Dresses (Ibbetson St. Press)Widely published in the USA and abroad, her poetry has been translated and published into eleven languages. Gloria is editor of Červená Barva Press and was the Poet Laureate in Somerville, MA in 2017 & 2018.

Thursday, 15 July 2021

What If God Is Strict

by Gloria Mindock


I am looking for the right flesh with no bleeding.
My voice free, hanging from the crucifix
Passion from these lips igniting sins
to clot my mouth

Crucifixes break every day,
are shoved into a drawer,
collect dust in a thrift shop
Sometimes Jesus becomes so dusty that cleaning
him is a problem
The dust too thick to let him resurrect

When he does, he sneezes?
Maybe Jesus will develop an allergy,
a miracle of life


* * * * *

What If God is Strict was first published in Nixes Mate Review (Spring Issue, 2020) and is part of Gloria Mindock's poetry collection Ash (Glass Lyre Press, 2021).

Gloria Mindock is the author of Ash (Glass Lyre Press), I Wish Francisco Franco Would Love Me (Nixes Mate Books), Whiteness of Bone (Glass Lyre Press), La Portile Raiului, translated into Romanian by Flavia Cosma (Ars Longa Press, Romania), Nothing Divine Here (U Šoku Štampa, Montenegro)and Blood Soaked Dresses (Ibbetson St. Press)Widely published in the USA and abroad, her poetry has been translated and published into eleven languages. Gloria is editor of Červená Barva Press and was the Poet Laureate in Somerville, MA in 2017 & 2018.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Otherwise

by Miriam N. Kotzin

 
Anna returns from her long-postponed haircut and finds her husband sitting in the dusk, a newspaper folded in his lap. When she turns on the lamp, he squints. She bends to kiss his forehead, but he doesn’t look up or speak. She’d forgotten how vulnerable she feels when her shoulder-length hair has just been cut short. “Aren’t you glad to see me?”
 
“Wild. Can’t you tell?” he says, his voice flat.
 
Jake raises the newspaper, taps it as if to show her something, then lets it fall. It slips from his lap to the floor where it lies splayed out like a gull with a wounded wing. Last night, again, Jake’s screaming nightmares had made it impossible for Anna to sleep. “I used to like your hair,” he says, as though trying to piece together the lyrics of a tune. “How long would it take...do you think...?”
 
Her hand goes to her bare nape. “For my hair?”
 
“For that too, Annie,” he answers. “For that too.”
 
Annie? Jake used to know that being called Annie, by him, by anyone, sets her teeth on edge. “I don’t know,” she says. “Hair grows back.”
 
She makes a rough calculation. Her hair will grow about half an inch each month. For her hair, at least year and a half, and as for the rest? She says, “It’s only a matter of time.”
A matter of time. She wishes it were otherwise.
 

* * * * *

Miriam N. Kotzin teaches creative writing and literature at Drexel University.  Her collection of short fiction, Country Music (Spuyten Duyvil Press 2017), joins a novel, The Real Deal (Brick House Press 2012), and a collection of flash fiction, Just Desserts (Star Cloud Press 2010). She is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently, Debris Field (David Robert Books 2017). Her micros have been published in or are forthcoming in Blink Ink, 50-Word Stories, and Five Minutes.



Tuesday, 13 July 2021

it's time to let go, mother tree

by Sharon Lopez Mooney


mother tree, i am cutting the roots that bind us
the sun has toughened my skin
it sings against my stomach as i raise the axe
telling me i am no longer you, the tree
i have become other       needing different ground
the wind howls that i am not
flesh of your flesh       blood of your blood any longer
your roots are old and twisted in finding moisture
there will be relief as i separate us
i will no longer sap your life’s food
i will plant this womon in new earth
rich enough to grow my roots deep
becoming old and strong as you did
you are magnificent
and we are different wood


* * * * *

Sharon Lopez Mooney says: words are my heartland. Her intention is to put her shoulder to the wheel of change and hope with all she writes. A retired Interfaith Chaplain, she lives in Mexico, visits family in California.

She received an CAC Grant for rural poetry series; co-published an arts journal; produced poetry readings. Her poems are in various journals and anthologies including: The MacGuffin, The Muddy River Poetry Review, The Voices Project, The Avalon Literary Review, International Adelaide Magazine; Galway Review; The Ricochet Review; Calyx; Songs to the Sun; Cold Water; Words of Power; Smoke & Myrrors (UK), et al.


Monday, 12 July 2021

I speak a private English

by Sharon Lopez Mooney


Poetry is spoken words, mine are foreign,
born to English, I found my own
since kindergarten I have fought for it
            Sister Ryan wanted me to lip sync
            the kindergarten
            graduation song
adulterated it, amputated it
            Sister Grace said
            I sounded like a
            tough Chicago street kid
refined it, softened it,
            my philosophy prof, put me in my place
            when I argued with her, she retorted,
            me thinks the lady doth
            protest too much
raised its volume, expanded its reach
            when women said, enuf!
            we’re done being quiet and
            acting like ladies,
and lately age forcibly lowered its pitch.

I’ve sworn obscene words
sung off key, washed my voice
of any odor of origin,
and written in my own words,
but at this point, this now
I have gathered too many dialects,
styles, words that used to be foreign
and are now my familiars.
                       
Still I don’t know
how to understand nor speak gecko,
cat is a language that holds no interest,
but through the muscle building of poetry and prayer
I am beginning to learn the language of mountain,
can almost understand bird news alerts,
cockroach doesn’t have to make a sound
for me to know exactly what she wants.

Finally I learned the better part of speaking is
listening,
especially to the expanse of
silence
resonating with the many varieties
who spoke into the first exhale.



* * * * *

Sharon Lopez Mooney says: words are my heartland. Her intention is to put her shoulder to the wheel of change and hope with all she writes. A retired Interfaith Chaplain, she lives in Mexico, visits family in California.

 

She received an CAC Grant for rural poetry series; co-published an arts journal; produced poetry readings. Her poems are in various journals and anthologies including: The MacGuffin, The Muddy River Poetry Review, The Voices Project, The Avalon Literary Review, International Adelaide Magazine; Galway Review; The Ricochet Review; Calyx; Songs to the Sun; Cold Water; Words of Power; Smoke & Myrrors (UK), et al.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

POLLEN

by Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard


In late May what swirls around us
in unprecedented numbers is pollen 
flying through the air, the signs

of new life, and new beginnings
in a time when the Israelis
and Palestinians are killing each

other during a celebration at the end
of Ramadan in a mosque, or in a settlement,
and in neighborhoods where they once

lived together, and can no longer
do so, when they have lost their
way, and the meaning of the words

that guide us through our lives.
Pollen can fit in our hands yet contains
a universe of happenings; the male

microgametophytes produce sperm cells
to female reproductive pistils. When placed
on a stigma of a flowering plant

a pollen grain creates a tube which grows
down the tissue to the ovary, a familiar
pairing which is about families

that bond without borders. This is the time
of wildflowers when we should be
admiring their different colors,

and listening to each other, sharing our
stories and our grief, when we need to
learn that killing does not solve problems.


* * * * *

Marguerite Guzmán Bouvard is the author of 11 poetry books, two of which have won awards including the MassBook Award for Poetry. She has also written a number of non-fiction books on women's rights, human rights, social justice, grief, and has just finished one, Healthcare Workers on the Frontline of the Pandemic. Her latest poetry book, The Cosmos of the Heart, came out last fall.

Saturday, 10 July 2021

Speaking of Want

by Sarah Dickenson Snyder


I spend my time wishing,
stilled like the covered
kneaded dough I place
near the wood stove,
how want rises
when not expressed
into a burden or someone
to run from, a passenger
on a train I pass by
but there are no other
empty seats so I sit
with want, talk to her
calmly, explain about need,
help her see how crazy
she makes me
and then off she goes
eventually, forgetting
a few of her possessions—
an umbrella I don't need
and a pen I didn't know
how much I’d want.


* * * * *

Sarah Dickenson Snyder has written poetry since she knew there was a form with conscious line breaks. She has three poetry collections, The Human Contract (2017), Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera (2019). Recently, poems appeared in Rattle, Lily Poetry Review, and RHINO. She has been nominated for Best of Net, was the Poetry Prize Winner of Art on the Trails 2020, and a 2021 Finalist in the Iron Horse Literary Review’s National Poetry Month contest. She lives in the hills of Vermont. sarahdickensonsnyder.com


Friday, 9 July 2021

Software program for my twenty-year-old self

by Cyndie Zikmund


Start: Consider how you want your life to un- / fold

Who will you love | the father figure? the rebel?

Imagine you chose the father figure

Love out of season withers un- / fed

Search for / long for / lost calendar pages \\ return to start

Imagine the rebel

Late nights / under- \ currents / drift- \ wood

Wait for- / ever / for elusive smooth water  \\ return to start

Go to: / youhaveto / learnto / loveyour- / self / beforeyou / canlove /anyone / else


* * * * *

Cyndie Zikmund’s essays have appeared in Pink Panther Magazine, Magnolia Review, The Literary Traveler, and an upcoming issue of Under the Gum Tree. Her book reviews have been published by River Teeth, and Southern Review of Books. She is an editor for Magnolia Review, and served as Creative Nonfiction Editor for Qu Literary Magazine. She has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte, MBA from Santa Clara University, and BS EECS from UC Berkeley.

Thursday, 8 July 2021

On Bringing My Mother Socks

by Jamie Fleming


I’m forgetting to do something.
I dig through the piles of yarn
that lie under my mother’s clothes rack,
looking for socks the hospital can’t provide.

Two years ago – maybe three, maybe four,
my mother had the idea         
to bury my grandmother in socks,
so her feet don’t get cold.

I throw Stephen King’s latest
in mom’s medicine bag.
I know she won’t read it, despite trying.
The plots are all the same.
I can’t focus.

I drive to the hospital with the socks in my lap.
The doctors sent her to the ER, my dad explains,
chest pains, blood pressure, the regular, “no big.”

One year ago – maybe two, maybe three,
my grandmother landed in the bathtub
after her heart attack,
slipped because she wasn’t wearing socks,
found by a neighbor who talked to her thirty minutes prior.

“I’m forgetting to do something,”
I tell my mother,
eyes tracing the chairs, the television, the magazines.
“Don’t worry,”
she bends the corner of her crossword, 
looks at me, unusually small in her thin gown, 
“We won’t remember this next year.”


* * * * *

Jamie Fleming is a recently-graduated Tennessean poet and a former editor of Novus Literary Arts Journal. Through her poetry, Jamie strives to capture her childhood and family, revealing both the beauty and suffering within Southern, working-class culture.

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

 

Children at Descanso Gardens

                                                                       
by Pauli Dutton


explain to their moms and dads
what the sun means.

Why it shines and why it goes away.
So the flowers can grow,
and we will sleep better. 
Parents bend to listen. 
Yes, yes, they say again and again.


They race to the duck pond,
giggle when the mallards splash,
laugh when they somersault 
with webbed feet wobbling in the air,
then glide across the blue green water
like experienced boatmen showing off.


When I die, I wonder if will I return as a loved child?
Will I have a mother who listens patiently to me?
I listened to my daughter. Her every word,
her little voice, sounds of her clapping, skipping,

bouncing on our bed made my heart sing.
I sang to her and she sang to me.
We still sing like children unashamed.

If I sang my poems would they sing around the earth?
If I laughed my poems would they make bellies giggle
across the world? Can I live as a child now?
Laugh with the dishes, sing with the broom,
and dance with the laundry?

Sundays my daughter skypes from Scotland.
I watch her six-year-old and four-year-old boys
run about the house in their superhero capes,
fall, laughing into their Lego houses,
roar their Hot Wheels and Thomas trains,
wear tortillas on their faces. The baby yawns,
and I know there is nothing more remarkable,
phenomenal, more luscious than this.

Except maybe hugging,
Will I ever get to hug them again?


* * * * *

Pauli Dutton has been published in Verse Virtual, Altadena Poetry Review, Spectrum, Skylark, Mudpuppy, Imaginary Landscapes, and elsewhere. She was a librarian for forty years, where she founded, coordinated and led a public reading series from 2003 through 2014. She served on the Selection Committees for The Altadena Literary Review 2020 and the Altadena Poetry Review from 2015 - 2019. She co-edited the 2017 and 2018 editions. Pauli holds an MLS from University of Southern California.