Simon Perchik: Five Poems

*
From far off though this wall
still grieves, stone over stone
closing from inside as mist

–still sags into each corner
the way mourners come by in twos
binding their dead to the dim light

that covers the Earth with your forehead
–you’re lost, sinking in
till you stop as you did before

and again your back breaks open
for air and wings and in your knees
the bones that will go no further

are filled with an immense arch
pressing down on the thin shadow
waiting at home and loosening.

*
A losing toss though the dirt
hears you stretching out
for nourishment –the thud

grows wild now, every rug
smells from bare wood
and the unforgiving heaviness

pressed against a door
that wants more room
–you have to splash each floor

the way the Earth is pieced together
expects something underneath
to lean forward as the sound

its shadow makes from your arm
heavier and heavier, almost through
can’t be seen from the air.

*
And though there are no planes
it’s still a room, is standing by
has winds side by side

the way this fleece-lined jacket
never dries, hangs from the ceiling
around and around, loosening

in the ice, struggling with moons
and the drop by drop from your chest
left open for more sky

points to rain, to engines, wings, oil
no longer spreading through these walls
as the dim light near the window.

*
At last and the bare wood
half maple, half before morning
though this rag is already wet

caught up in a seedy summer rain
heated on a table not yet mountainside
wobbling, battered by waiting streams

trying to hold on, drink from a surface
sweetened by water –you lower the cup
face down, help it look for dirt

for its fragrance all night closing in
warmer and warmer alongside a dress
shrunk to fit the soft rim

running naked between your teeth
and dead mornings, around and around
squeezing the sleeves till they go black

the way this washcloth stares in the dark
for a sea to break open, by itself
find mud, the small puddle, her arms.

*
You are mourned the way a child
is taught, stacks wooden blocks
letter by letter letting them topple

spread-eagle into the distance
without a place for corners
or grieve stones –first day in class

and already an uncontrollable glee
growing wild, higher and higher
reeling into sunlight and far off hills

–a five year old Earth, forgetful
hidden from falling skies and shadows
end over end looking for a home

in bedrock, hardened by you dead
still standing by as the dirt handful
everywhere just by moving your hands.
 

 

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Gibson Poems, published by Cholla Needles, 2019. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at http://www.simonperchik.com.

To view one of his interviews please follow this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSK774rtfx8

Sonnet Mondal: “Journeying”

Journeying

by and by___________life would pass like this
flying_______________like a vagrant kite at night

earlier______________i used to tour inside my mind
sometimes__________with my mind into others

then i thought________my body should also tour
hence i tour_________with both of them now

when______________my bones would start forsaking me
i would still tour______inside my mind

and count__________my days of travel
looking at__________the curve of my shadow

 

Sonnet Mondal writes from Kolkata, India, and his latest poetry collections include Karmic Chanting (Copper Coin 2018) and Ink and Line (Dhauli Books 2018). He has read at literary festivals in Macedonia, Ireland, Turkey, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, Germany, Hungary, and Slovakia. His writings have appeared in publications across Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. Mondal was one of the authors of the “Silk Routes” project of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa from 2014 to 2016. Director of Chair Poetry Evenings International Festival, Mondal edits the Indian section of Lyrikline (Haus für Poesie, Berlin) and serves as editor in chief of Enchanting Verses Literary Review. He has been a guest editor for Poetry at Sangam, India, and Words Without Borders, New York.

John L. Stanizzi: Two Acrostics from “Pond”

1.19.19
9.02 a.m.
29 degrees

Panoply of birdsongs–titmouse, chickadee, cardinal, jay, nuthatch, and
outward from the feeders, somewhere in the woods, a red-shouldered hawk is
naming the world with two syllables–keee-aaah; the morning is
deep-rooted shadows, and the bump-bump of a red-belly in the cedar.

 

1.26.19
8.10 a.m.
17 degrees

Pulled from the road and poured into the pond, mud run-
off is frozen into what was, a few days ago, clean pure ice.
Narrowest shadow of me, long and thin, stretches way out in front of me,
dances on the muddy ice when I dance on the muddy ground.

 

 

John L. Stanizzi is author of the full-length collections–Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide–Ebb Tide, Four Bits–Fifty 50-Word Pieces, and Chants. His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Blue Mountain Review, Paterson Literary Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Rust & Moth, Connecticut River Review, Hawk & Handsaw, and many others. Stanizzi has been translated into Italian and appeared in El Ghibli, in the Journal of Italian Translations Bonafinni, and Poetarium Silva. His translator is Angela D’Ambra. He has read at venues all over New England, including the Mystic Arts Café, the Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, Hartford Stage, and many others. John’s newest collection, Sundowning, will be out later this year with Main Street Mag. A former New England Poet of the Year, named by the New England Association of Teachers of English, Stanizzi teaches literature at Manchester Community College in Manchester, CT, and he lives with his wife, Carol, in Coventry.

 

 

Brady Harrison: “Buffalo Jump Brother”

Buffalo Jump Brother

_____Sometimes, when a buddy asks a favor, you agree whether you want to or not.
_____One day, your buddy—call him Mackey—says to you and another buddy: If it ever looks like it’s going to happen again, I want you to kill me. You look at Arlo—he’s wiry, ropey, his bullshit-detector running hot, the leader—and he nods: you know why Mackey asks what he asks, and after all that spite and ugliness, you know he means it.
_____Mackey had said it: “I had to marry her so I could divorce her.”
_____A few years later, Arlo brings Mackey to Montana to see you. The old buddies getting together, the Buffalo Jump Collective, catching up, sipping whiskey, telling lies, cutting up, talking music, guitars, cigarettes. But Arlo knows, and you know—and Mackey’s gotta know—that the trip West isn’t just for fun, for old times, because, yes, he’s done it again, and you and Arlo owe him, you made your promise, and Arlo’s at the fridge at 6:00 a.m., sipping a Moose Drool, cracks one for you, and a half-hour later the three of you leave for Glacier, Going to the Sun, and you pull over, and everybody knows how it has to be.
_____Arlo says: “Call it a hike,” and Mackey looking at the clouds says he always liked Montana, says it’s not like Gasoline Lake, that’s for sure, his hometown in the Illinois bottoms along the Mississippi. Oil refineries, superfund sites, depopulating towns, Church of Christ and biker bars, streams with names everybody knows but that don’t appear on maps.
_____Later, the Rangers will say, Where did he come from, from a plane? Christ, how far did this guy fall? Or maybe he’s falling still, your brother, your Buffalo Jump brother.

 

Brady Harrison’s fiction, poetry, and essays have appeared in Cardinal Sins, Cerise Press, J Journal, The Long Story, Mattoid, and Serving House Journal, among other literary journals. His fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and a novella, “The Dying Athabaskan,” won the inaugural Publisher’s Long Story Prize from Twelve Winters Press. Recent poetry appears in the anthology Poems Across the Big Sky II. His most recent book is the co-edited collection Punk Rock Warlord: The Life and Music of Joe Strummer. He lives in Missoula, Montana.

Ian C Smith: “Troubled in the Roaring Forties”

Troubled in the Roaring Forties

Rain on a caravan roof in the Furneaux Group.
Awake late, his mind roils like the encircling sea
these dwindling fugitive nights, roils in chaos
he knows no escape from, but wants to,
toil over, children adults, problems reflecting
their parents’, grandparents’, as it is in fiction,
usual flaws, deceit, greed, a touch of the crazies.

He hears no vehicles at this witching time.
The rain’s runoff affects these lonely rutted roads.
When he came down the dark mountain earlier
he bounced and jerked like an accident test dummy.
Here in the winter dark he feels rising dread,
reads, slowing, a novelist’s memoir of his parents,
an inventory of muted regret steered toward death.

Earlier still, cloud mantling jagged mountaintops,
he waded in brine until staggering out bone-cold,
unnoticed, skin, sun spots multiplying, mottled.
He has medicine, mourns people he once cared for,
mourns Donald Trump’s effect on the not guilty,
seeks solace in his football team’s fraught season,
down but fighting, a trace of the past’s conjured magic.

 

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in Amsterdam Quarterly, Australian Poetry Journal,
Critical Survey, Live Encounters, Poetry New Zealand, Southerly, and Two-Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.

Paul Kindlon: “The Ideal Woman”

The Ideal Woman

I was in Paris on assignment, but I was given a day to adjust and re-orient after having spent a year in Syria. My options were limited: stand in line with five-hundred Chinese tourists at the Eiffel Tower or visit the Louvre.

Before I went to the museum I chose to enhance my aesthetic experience by taking a hit of pure acid. I then stopped at an up-scale café for some quiche and a nice bottle of Bordeaux. The name of my server was Pierre. How’s that for a nom de guerre? I spoke in impeccable French making sure to over-emphasize my American accent. Oh Pretty Pierre. I’m sure after work he exchanged his black vest for a yellow one. The French have to be the biggest complainers in the world, am I right?

By the time I got to the Louvre the acid was starting to kick in. This could get interesting.

Everyone has their favorites, right? I happen to like the Impressionists. Yes I know that “mind blown” is a tired old cliché, but on acid the term was “le mot juste”.

My next stop was Giaconda herself – LV’s little masterpiece. I swear… the painting seemed to beckon to me with some mystical magnetic force. As I drew nearer I suddenly realized why so many artists and critics believe the painting to be so extraordinary.

“My God she’s beautiful!” I uttered a bit too loudly.

Her enigmatic smile instantly changed into a frown. Those gentle eyes became fierce and defiant. She was clearly angry.

“How dare you objectify me!” she said.

“But Lisa…I’m just being honest”

“You are focusing on my physical features as if they alone define who I am. Moreover, I know what men are doing when they call you beautiful. It is an attempt at leverage over a woman. To make her self-conscious of how she looks”

I happen to love feisty women. And her sassy attitude really turned me on.

“I want to kiss you Mona Lisa!”

At that point two security guards grabbed me by my melting arms and took me to a room with no paintings. I was still seeing colors though. They started playing fifty questions with me which was ridiculously ironic, but it was messing with my high as well. To save my ass I had to blow my cover and confess that I worked for CNN and the CIA.

Their supervisor called the embassy and within minutes I was released with polite apologies and two free tickets to the Moulin Rouge.

 

 

Paul Kindlon is a Professor of Humanities. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and Russian Literature and taught in Moscow, Russia, from 1994-2017. His publications include 11 short stories, 9 poems, 30 polemics, and a brief memoir.

 

Christine Stephens-Krieger: “Myth of the Perfect Girl”

Myth of the Perfect Girl

I reached perfection by age twelve,
but no one noticed. Perfection

happens everywhere, all
the time not knowing itself,

perfect like dirt, like a squid,
perfection under wraps, enspelled,

swapped with changelings,
forced to live a goblin life,

hidden under veils, sometimes buried,
too precious, thrown in a pond to keep,

treasure only worth its legend,
perfect glimmer in the dark.

Once, I was every saint,
had a map for every step,

bought the magic, bookworm amateur
armed with a pen and a timid knock.

Perfect, I watched others transform,
fall into ruin when they ate the magic beans.

I watched for the color change, texture
shift, the red marks and wild looks,

the smirking and escaping, the finding
a hundred ways to break their shells.

When I was perfect, adulthood
was the land of broken dreams.

A witness, I swore to never get fat,
never have kids, never marry.

Perfect, I signed my name on every page
through my School Days book. Perfect,

I saw no reason I might change.
Perfect black and white shapes

cast perfect shadows, make perfect sense.
I tell myself, I’ll never make that face, never

eat the whole cake, won’t wear that, will not–
but then make the face, eat the cake, wear the dress,

those shoes, get in the car, go for the ride. Fall.
Perfect falling. Blossoms descend just so.

 

 

Christine Stephens-Krieger finished her MFA at WMU and published a bunch of poems in the 90s. Her awards include first place in the Macguffin Michigan Poet Hunt and the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. She also appeared in the anthology The Prepress Awards Volume II: Emerging Michigan Writers. She submerged after that, raised a child and taught herself to paint. Now she’s written a new book of poetry called What a World, What a World: A Life in Poems. So far in 2019, YES Poetry and Dime Show Review will publish poems from this collection.