Sunday, 22 May 2022

ACE OF DIAMONDS

by Gail Ghai


Luck is where you find it,
my father used to say.
He arm-wrestled another pilot for our mother’s ornate
diamond engagement ring,

Hung a rabbit’s foot keychain on the rear-view
mirror of his ’51 Pontiac Chieftain
where it swung like a fuzzy white promise.

Thursdays, he played Poker. 
Friday nights, Bingo.
Saturday, the horses.

Once he tied for a jackpot:
a 1958 Chevy Impala!
His consolation prize,

a 32-piece set of Mel Mac
that he tried to hammer-smash
out of frustration.

Indestructible turquoise cups,
lemon plates, tangerine platter
that tinted our table each morning.

He looked for luck everywhere.
Between high silver wings of his Cessna.
Deep in his secretary’s cleavage.

But luck like the seasons can change colors. And when
cancer trumped him that early emerald spring,
he refused to believe that his luck had run out.

He kept booking flights. 
Kept gambling on his garden.
Ordered more rose bushes.

A double red bloom called Ace of Diamonds.
The brochure claimed: It’s good for
resisting diseases.


* * * * *

Gail Ghai is a poet, teacher, workshop leader, and author of three chapbooks of poetry as well as an art/writing poster entitled, “Painted Words.” She has served as Poet-in-Residence for the Pittsburgh Cancer Caring Center, North Allegheny School District and the International Poetry Forum. Awards include a Pushcart Prize nomination and a Henry C. Frick scholarship for creative teaching. Her work has appeared in Poet Lore, JAMA, Descant, Hektoen International Journal and Burning Wood Journal. She is moderator of the Ringling Poets in Sarasota, FL.


Saturday, 21 May 2022

OH GEE!

by Amy Ballard Rich


In my 20's,
me and other cyclists
relied on bungee cords
to tie up groceries, firewood,
university textbooks,
and whatever else
to our bikes,
as we headed out
into the cold Oregon rain.

Decades later in a big California city,
with new types of gadgets
to carry loads on bicycles,
I had a boyfriend
who asked me to get 5-6 bungee cords,
because he had exciting sex games
that needed them.
(The games were boring; he seemed to
be overcompensating for something.)

After that relationship ended,
I got rid of all the bungee cords but two,
and more decades passed.

Tonight I took out my trash to the curb,
in a windy Oregon coastal town surrounded by wild spaces.
I affixed a bungee cord
on my trash can to keep it shut tight from bears,
since my illness keeps me up for hours at night,
so I am not waking at 6 am to deal with trash.

Looking at how the bungee cord just barely fit over the trash can lid,
and hoping the trash collectors won't mind,
I smiled.

I wonder what happened to that bungee cord guy, anyway.


* * * * *

Amy Ballard Rich is a retired Montessori preschool teacher, currently living on the scenic Oregon coast. She has been published in numerous online and print publications, including everydayfeminism.com, Milvia Street Art and Literary Journal, and Penumbra Literary Journal. She has written two chapbooks and is contemplating a third. When not writing or editing, she can be found cheering on other poets, hugging trees, and trying to fight racism and bigotry.

Friday, 20 May 2022

 

Future Feminist Sister

by Abena Ntoso


I’ve been fully awake for decades,
insomniac really, and I am so relieved
to read this letter from you,
my feminist sister.
Let me get comfortable.
I’m going to sleep now as I read it.

You’ve written in cursive, a beautiful
style that reads like love and knowing,
though some of the words are blurred
by your tear drops or the tears
from a sweating glass of water.

You tell me what happened:
how everyone was assassinating one another
and the talented rain fell steadily against
palm trees and monuments,
how you escaped from a crowded aviary
thanks to your mastery of
jujutsu and dancing.

You admit the future is unprecedented
(as they used to say in 2020),
scripting in remembrance, in celebration,
in defiance, indefinitely wrapped
in woven wisdom and grace
gleaned from observations,
meditations, movements.

You explain that many wear critical masks
and dictate to you silently their devastating orders
which you inscribe as a tattoo
on the inside of their chests—
exhale—leaves a vacant memory
of how we could have been destroyed
had it not been for—inhale—our unique gifts.

I can finally rest now.
Reading your unsent message,
I’ve circled my favorite words,
those filled with freedom
and the perfume scent
from your handwoven scarves.


* * * * *

Abena Ntoso is a full-time high school English teacher and mother of two, originally from New York City, and currently based in Houston, Texas. She returned to writing after a 20-year hiatus, during which she worked as an educational technologist at Columbia University and later served as a dentist in the U.S. Army. Her writing has been published in The Wrath-Bearing Tree and Adelaide Literary Magazine.


Thursday, 19 May 2022

Wide Open Spaces

by Jocelyn Olum


We climb up the mountain outside town
In the late afternoon.

Just the two of us
Watching the sunset paint the town red for a few moments,
And then settle imperceptibly into darkness behind the opposite hill.

“Beautiful,” you say, laughing, your eyes on mine.
I smile and duck my head, like I’m supposed to.

It is beautiful. There’s no denying that, the hills spotted liberally with cattle
The fog rolling over the undulating green landscape
The gentle ache in my legs from climbing and my old tennis shoes covered in fine brown dust

And then there’s you.
Sweaty, triumphant, and utterly familiar;
You’re standing on the peak beside me 
The echoes of your presence cascading down into the valleys and resounding
Back into the sky above us
Thick and beautiful and so all-encompassing it claims even the dirt under my feet for its very own. 


* * * * *

Jocelyn Olum is a student and a writer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her poetry has been featured in Red Eft Review and is forthcoming in Eunoia Review and Blue Marble Review.


Wednesday, 18 May 2022

 

Street View

by Jocelyn Olum


city of origin
never changes. does it?
we’re young, still. fresh black tattoo memories
only just now fading into navy—
nothing real is ever more than semi-permanent.

and yet there are worn-out paper maps in the glovebox
—here and there are fixed locations—
nothing but outdated overlays of our childhood vision
history folded and folded and finally crinkled smooth.


* * * * *

Jocelyn Olum is a student and a writer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her poetry has been featured in Red Eft Review and is forthcoming in Eunoia Review and Blue Marble Review.

Tuesday, 17 May 2022

THE REFUGEE

by Leonore Hildebrandt


The refugee’s face is ashen,
turned one last time toward home.
The bed you slept in. The apricot tree.

My people once invaded your country––
World War II––your wheat fields
turned to mud––my father kept silent about it.

He bore his wounds. War is a disorder
caught between tremors and rigidity.
Shattered windows, blackened houses.

Your hands tremble when you hear
the invaders speak––intercepted messages,
spasms that emanate from your town as well.

At night the palpitations travel underground
like body waves. Emerging from smoke,
from hate and rubble––may we find one another.

May we rebuild our countries as one refuge.
May your hands be calm again.


* * * * *

Leonore Hildebrandt is the author of the poetry collections Where You Happen to Be, The Work at Hand, and The Next Unknown. Her poems and translations have appeared in the Cimarron Review, Harpur Palate, Poetry Daily, RHINO, and the Sugar House Review, among other journals. Wordrunner eChapbooks published two of her poems in its 2017 Pushing Boundaries anthology. She was nominated several times for a Pushcart Prize. A native of Germany, Leonore lives “off the grid” in Harrington, Maine, and spends the winter in Silver City, New Mexico. LeonoreHildebrandt.com

Monday, 16 May 2022

 

This month, an additional Moon Prize, the 95th, goes to Victoria Twomey's poem "White Dress on a Clothesline."  



White Dress on a Clothesline

by Victoria Twomey


who has left this delicate cotton cloth
handsewn with care
to fit a young girl’s shape
with its small white buttons
its white lace collar
pinned at the shoulders
on this worn clothesline
behind this empty farmhouse?

the cloth is thin
and made for dense summer days
when this tree above
would have been fertile green
when there would have been
birds singing
a song for rising
a song for resting
a song by which to wander
a song to call the children home

more empty than the broken chairs
on the collapsing porch
this abandoned house
will soon be embraced by wild
come to claim, consume, console -
one day, it will call this cotton dress
with its blue satin ribbon about the waist
to rejoin the brown earth

this empty white dress
uplifted and released
ascending and descending
in the chilly breeze


* * * * *

Victoria Twomey is a poet and an artist. Her work is written in a direct style, reflecting both a deep emotional well and an intellectual exploration of time, death, and their spiritual connections. She has appeared as a featured poet at various venues around Long Island, NY, including the Hecksher Museum of Art, The Poetry Barn, Barnes & Noble, The Pisces Cafe, Borders Books, and local radio. Her poems have been published in several anthologies and on the web, including Sanctuary Magazine, BigCityLit, PoetryBay and Autumn Sky Poetry Daily. Her poem "Pieta" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.