Clubbed into Submission
Clubbed into submission with the buzzing
Of the alarm.
Clubbed into submission applying soap
In the shower,
Applying toothpaste to the toothbrush,
Looking in the mirror,
Trying to comb my hair.
Clubbed into submission gliding along I 70,
All of us on our way to another soon forgotten day.
Clubbed into submission with the taxes taken out,
The child support, medical, dental.
Eating the shit and climbing those steps
Ever upward to nowhere,
Forced to grin and bow.
Clubbed into submission eating a sandwich.
Not even tasting it.
Clubbed into submission
Sitting in the same chair,
Hearing the same music near the same shuttered window,
Drinking the same beer with the same books stacked
High, reaching up and up
To the same ceiling
That seems to lower a little
I am nearly bent in half.
Clubbed into submission at the keyboard
Remembering the few good times.
The phone call unreturned.
The doorbell unrung.
Remembering the few good times,
Sitting alone with this bloody face,
Clubbed into submission,
Lying in bed, thinking,
Turning out the lights.
Clubbed into submission in the total darkness,
No one to see the bruises
Much less soothe them.
John Tustin is currently suffering in exile on Elba but hopes to return to you soon. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.
behind glass doors
and packed between
clean linen sheets,
she frees me
to wander her weed
grown yard. I discover
in cleared patches.
stick figures from dead
plants, her children
that watched her pass
short shadows in late
afternoon. She created
wonder from their
fragility, not meant
to last, her hands
a bridge from her
ever more brittle mind
to these brief reminders
of what it is to bring
life into this world.
Richard Dinges has an MA in literary studies from University of Iowa and manages information systems risk at an insurance company. River Poets Journal, Stickman Review, Hurricane Review, WINK, and The Cape Rock have most recently accepted his poems for their publications.
From Behind the Postmaster’s Window
(an internal monologue, bored to death these last 32 years)
I can hear those fishes
calling out my name.
Oh, to be out on that lake
right now on this pretty day,
this pretty pretty day,
out there on that lake—
me, my rod and reel,
and those fishes,
insteada stuck here
behind this counter
asking would you like
a book of stamps with that like
the kid does at the McDonald’s
asks would I like fries with that.
René Saldaña, Jr., is an associate professor of Language, Diversity, and Literacy Studies at Texas Tech University. He is the author of several books, among them The Jumping Tree, A Good Long Way, and Heartbeat of the Soul of the World. René writes that “From Behind the Postmaster’s Window” is a found poem, a conversation he eavesdropped in on.
At the Great Library
Amid the guards and neoprene
I studied a holograph copy
of Waiting for Godot
transcribed in unreadable
scrawl. But instead of placing
my hand on each page and briefly
closing my eyes, I should have
grabbed the book and run—
for I was hungry, and no one
was waiting for me.
After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s
work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon
River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made short
films with Michael Dickes, Swoon, Marie Craven and Jutta Pryor.
The Singular Plural
Life in smithereens, the studio rental
crooning the acoustics of loneliness.
Blame genetics: no way could I master
the mechanics of dating, the politics
of romance, the logistics of sexual
physics. But I yearned to be in cahoots
with someone. First date, full of jitters,
trying to decide what clothes
to wear, putting my pants on one scissors-
kick at a time, glasses new and cool . . .
it was all shenanigans, this suffering
the semantics of desire. Until now,
the good news. Thanks, my love,
for enduring my poetics, for making
the singular plural.
Barry Peters lives in Durham and teaches in Raleigh, NC. Publications (some forthcoming) include The American Journal of Poetry, Best New Poets 2018, New Ohio Review, Poetry East, and Rattle.
with the poetry
of my long walk
slips off the
down the round hole…
when I tell her,
she states, laughing,
“now, they’re holey poems!”
standing silently watching
a passenger train rolling by…
passenger train rolling…
should I be on it?
come, sacred footsteps,
and gather up this world’s
original voice, reaffirming
the sanctity of origins
within the song of
and necessary decency
of our decision
to be human
ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran and former hospice nurse, lives in Longmont,
Colorado, USA. Editor of bear creek haiku (30+ years/155+ issues) with poetry
published worldwide, he is online at: bear creek haiku: poetry, poems and info.
Among other deeply appreciated honors, he is especially delighted by the depth and heart of poets worldwide whose poems have a home in bear creek haiku’s print and online presence.
Back Seat Talk
Now it is the great-grandsons,
years after sons and then granddaughters,
always excited talk and song,
now video game updates
and online consultations,
and always such youth
is cheering, each moment offering
a promise of adventure. We did not,
in our day, spend much time
being transported, except for
rare trips to visit relatives.
No one ever listened to us.
There were two worlds . . .
ours of us outside
and theirs of them inside
or in the garden
or on the front porch.
Houses were two-storied
you might say. But still,
I was a listener in their world, too,
choosing to sit at the edge
of the grownup gossip, ignored.
Nor did they pay much attention
to our doings. Ours was
the little world, full
of our own “sound and fury.”
My 11-year-old great-grandson’s voice,
the other night, came from behind me.
“You never cry.” And when I disagreed,
he wanted to know when and why.
The four-storied universe of our ancestors
–heaven, earth, Hobbit Land and hell–
has been breached, but to understand,
________________we still need a translator.
Carol Hamilton has recent and upcoming publications in San Pedro River Review, Pinyon, Sandy River Review, Commonweal, Bluestem, Southwestern American Literature, Pour Vida, Adirondack Review, Broad River Review, Shot Glass Journal, Poem, The Sea Letter, Abbey, and others. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma.
Reflections of the 1967 Detroit Uprising: White Upriser on Griswold
Cops? The common enemy.
A cop who cuffed my brother
beat him back to ’63
for the nickel bag he stuffed in his pocket.
Race riot? It was
to the untouched liquor stores and pharmacies.
No one messed with me.
I was just one of one hundred
All my long hair,
blowing through stoplights.
All my give-a-fuck stuffed in a Rambler
with three Zeniths, five shotguns,
eight cases of who-knows-what
clinking with each bump.
Every cop I passed just stood,
slack-jawed, watching me
give him the finger,
the peace sign,
clenched fist and jaw.
Paul David Adkins lives in Northern NY. In 2018, Lit Riot published his collection Dispatches from the FOB. Journal publications include Pleiades, River Styx, Rattle, Diode, Baltimore Review, Crab Creek, and Whiskey Island. He has received five Pushcart nominations and three finalist nominations from Central NY Book Awards.