The author of this poem is a traveling prose poet who goes by J.I.B.
The author of this poem is a traveling prose poet who goes by J.I.B.
Under the Streetlight
The boys are ahead of us as we linger a little
and talk about life and philosophy. Joel has
an interesting mind and I enjoy his perspective.
He has studied with a Native American shaman
and has been to ashrams in India. Suddenly, for no
reason we can see, his boy smacks my son in the face.
My son turns to him and asks, Do you know how that
makes me feel? Joel looks at me and says, Wow, what
unusual poise he has in his response to being slapped.
We wait to see what will happen next. His son,
a boy about 5 years old, stops and replies, No,
how does that make you feel?
Under a streetlight on this warm October evening,
our boys sit down on a curb and talk about their feelings.
I think about my son and his gentle ways.
I count my blessings.
Emily Black, a civil engineer, always dabbled in writing. Now she has taken up poetry writing with serious intent. She’s fortunate to have found an amazing teacher who’s given her the wings to soar like an eagle! “A humble eagle,” she says, “who appreciates being taught how to write with the eyes of an eagle, the heart of a lion, the perseverance of a mountain goat and the memory of an elephant, at least about things that matter.” Her work has been published in numerous journals.
it fills like a box
I thought I wanted
a box like nobody
else had – an apartment
on my own – a place
to live comfortably,
to drink wine and read books
and to write out my poems
while dishes filled sinks
and made stacks on the table.
now, getting married
and I’m somewhat
looking forward to it. and we
live together. and we
share a dog. a life
then, I suppose,
as much dull
as another – dinner,
a glass of wine.
a movie and going
to bed. I imagined that this life
would lead to less
it hasn’t; a box
stays its size
whatever’s in it.
you get under next to me;
the mattress goes down
like a boat. bobs about
sideways and bangs
on the pier. I turn
to your hand, which is cold
as wet seaweed; a barnacle, living
to cling. on the sail
of our curtains, the moon
fights off streetlights
for the pleasure of pushing
us forward. your body some flotsam,
moving and seeking.
my body a tideline,
given shape by what lands
on its beach.
DS Maolalai has been nominated eight times for Best of the Net and five times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019)
You are gone
On the horse latitude deck
I taste the absent hours
Swollen tongue searches
The empty tin cup
Tied to the drained barrel
Stuck between teeth
You are lime
To my scurvy
Say it is for the best
Sailors lost at sea
Rationalize and ration
The first to die
The dead sea town
Hop deserted island bars
Robinson minus Caruso
My coconut head fills with rum
Across the undertow
In sweeping tides
Of attraction and repulsion
Every port of entry
Seems like an oasis
Cool grottos of self-delusion
Punctured by fangs of sunrays
No matter the currents, the ebb and flow
Tie me down
Bilge rat jumping ship
The wind in sails
Speak the truth
A new charted course
You are a shadow of a sun not risen,
The deceitful promise of horizon
You are not coming back
You found a safe harbor
Rod Drought, an ex-New Yorker, now calls Arizona his home. He has four books of poetry found on his website, droughtsthirst.com. He has been published in many literary journals, and is co-administrator to Port of Call Poetry, an online page that supports poets worldwide.
You squat in the shadows, watching the movement of shadowy truncated legs. Where are they going? Glue seeping out between planks of hardboard lends the room a ribbed, skeletal quality suggestive of a giant body. The structure breathes. You can hear it breathing. And it sweats — behold the ghostly salt stains. Ambiguous in the smooth, creamy light pouring in from a small side window, only your jeweled hairnet gives any sign of your presence, the little glints and flashes when you move your head. When you move your head my eyes follow. Where are the legs going? They seem arbitrary, even nonsensical at first glance, but then again they carry a measure of menace. Shoes and boots clopping across the uneven floor, the conspiratorial whispers, the smell of spent candles — such effects cause you to recoil, to make yourself smaller, and more remote. And yet I want so much to talk to you, to look you in the eyes — what colour are they? — and speak my truth. I believe we share a vibration, a sensibility. I see us together on a davenport in a parlor filled with sunlight, sipping gold-flecked liqueur and chitchatting. We hear a train whistle in the distance and glance at each other, smiling. Then I offer you De Chirico bananas that you say create disquiet. I agree. Nevertheless they transport the eater. Peel one and see. Peel one and see how the darkly painted walls create at once a sense of enclosure and infinitude. When you move your head I think of fireflies. Can you be persuaded to come out from the shadows? I imagine you effortless, of spiraling grace, wearing a hairnet and delicate gold bracelets. Don’t be alarmed. I am only here to watch. That is to say, in a sense I’m only here to watch. I could say more, but I won’t now. The legs stomp on, unsentimentally. They are headed for the other dream where the other you watches the other me.
Salvatore Difalco‘s work has appeared in a number of print and online formats. He lives in Toronto.
Images Divine and Secular (Ghazal)
Many names for life abandoned behind
myths ignite the darkest clouds from behind.
We’re designed to come apart in pieces,
leaving trails of separate songs behind.
Sometimes, there is a miracle that births
a moth and leaves a broken hope behind.
This valley teaches us by steps and falls
and memories of all we’ve left behind.
As shadows, we are moths to distant stars−
our mercy to each other far behind.
A Luna moth at night on window screen−
a living dream by which I’m left behind.
David Anthony Sam lives in Virginia with his wife and life partner, Linda. His poetry has appeared in over 90 journals and his poem, “First and Last,” won the 2018 Rebecca Lard Award. Six of his collections are in print including Final Inventory (Prolific Press 2018), Finite to Fail: Poems after Dickinson (2016 Grand Prize winner of the GFT Press Chapbook Contest), and Dark Fathers (Kelsay Books 2019). He teaches creative writing at Germanna Community College, from where he retired as President in 2017 and serves as the Regional VP on the Board of the Virginia Poetry Society.
In the meantime, don’t get too close to the guard dogs,
Especially the phosphorescent ones from the peat bog.
The inmates are wandering around my floor,
Standing there gossiping in front of my door.
The stake holding them looks a little stressed.
If they escape it can only be for the best.
I’m an ignoramus, it’s true.
Would gladly pay you later for a few.
“What did you say?” he asked, grinning like an idiot.
These pants are a 38, they shouldn’t fit.
Do you want an honest answer to that question?
You can multiply it by an obscure radical fraction.
It lasted all day, whatever it was.
That was one way to get a buzz.
Time is both progressive and cyclical—
I was going places on my bicycle.
My shoelaces don’t always cooperate.
And my pupils don’t always dilate.
At least I don’t have to report back to the talent agency
Regarding my level of plangency.
It takes more than a costume to become an actor,
You have to be up on the beauty factor.
His architecture aspires to invisibility.
His can openers are arranged in order of utility.
Ian Ganassi‘s has appeared recently or will appear soon, in numerous literary magazines, such as New American Writing; BlazeVox; Otoliths, Beyond Words, Home Planet News, The Yale Review, and The American Journal of Poetry, among many others. His full length collection, Mean Numbers, was published in 2016 by China Grove Press. A second book is forthcoming from MadHat Press. Selections from an ongoing collaboration with a painter can be found at http://www.thecorpses.com.
to leave a state of confusion
or to become confused? To full on
thrash befuddlement. To move
a ripstick (a skateboard made
by razor) and by extension to move
any movement at all. To un-
fuddle. To disconfuse? Fuddle
wine. Muddled mine. To muddle
through. With con—to befuddle.
With discon—we are back with
unbefuddle. Oh mother, I miss
you. Be with me, be cuddle me near.
Pediatrician Kelley White has worked in inner-city Philadelphia and rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in Exquisite Corpse, Rattle,and JAMA. Her recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books). She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.
At This Late Date
It’s noon. Sun rages through the skylight.
I’m hiding from so many things:
in air-conditioning from heat
which, long before one heard of global warming,
I regarded unhealthily as dirt
(and vegetables as mud). From the political future,
the not-so-secret police who must soon come.
From covid and its bearers.
From life, as seniors do unless
they manically embrace it. Perhaps from the memory
of some idiot ideology
of the prosperous years that advocated
living in the moment – Try that now …
Then randomly, in this light, I recall
someone – but I’m sorry, it isn’t
a person, only parts:
the curve of neck and shoulder on a pillow,
the subtle place below where breasts began,
the view obstructed by a younger hand …
Why her now?
Last night a fresh depressing image, sent,
I realized, from the afternoon she left.
So that by day I seem to tabulate
the victories of night, and by night
the defeats of day,
when neither are especially relevant.
They laughed when I sat down to play.
But my opening arpeggio broke
a string and several octaves and they stopped.
The development unleashed
my Scriabinesque color-and-scent-organ
effect, plus touch:
ectoplasmic frotteurs and lap-dancers
assaulted gown and tux. A certain fortissimo
progression confronted them with
the Irreducible; other capitalized nouns
transcended taste itself. Then I hammered them
with subtlety, till by the end
they were lost somewhere wider
and better aerated
than the usual opium den.
Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure (Story Line Press, 1986; to be reissued by Red Hen Press) and Happiness (Story Line Press, 1998), and two collections, A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015) and Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). In print, Pollack’s work has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Manhattan Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Main Street Rag, Miramar, Chicago Quarterly Review, The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Poetry Quarterly Review, Magma (UK), Neon (UK), Orbis (UK), Armarolla, December, and elsewhere. Online, his poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Diagram, BlazeVox, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, Big Pond Rumours (Canada), Misfit, OffCourse, Big Windows Review (2020) and elsewhere.