Jakima Davis: “Bob Dylan’s Blues”

Bob Dylan’s Blues 

The blues isn’t but a sandwich
With a cup of sorrow 
Sweet home New York 
Under the blue skies 
Cover in a piece of cloth 

Let’s forgive the boy 
Charley Patton will understand
Water’s everywhere 
The eye of the storm 
Battle rap of the century 

A thousand words in time
Somewhere out there 
Television’s a savior 
Let’s change the world 
Instead of complaining 

Urban cowboy rides again
Cream cheese and lox 
Cornbread and black eyed peas
Drinking tea on the beach
Stain on the notebook page

Calls to the president 
Or maybe Martin and Malcolm
Both can change the world
One Man can make it happen
Mistakes from the past 

Roasting and toasting 
Having very few peers 
Stuck on this country grammar
More game than basketball
Bagels and Need a drink of water 

Ribbons should be released
Freedom should be free
Television’s an addiction
Take off the weave


Jakima Davis writes, “I’ve been writing poetry for 21 years. I’ve been published in underground publications, including Conceit and Amulet magazines, The PEN, misfits, among others. I published three chapbooks in 2016 and 2020. I’m expecting my first full- length book of poems to be published in the following year. As of now, I’m posting my poems of Facebook to gain a fanbase.”

Brian Rihlmann: “Question in a Stray Cat’s Eyes”

Question in a Stray Cat’s Eyes

I like living in a place
where stray cats roam
there’s a white fluffy one around
I’ve seen several times

today I step out
as he’s padding down the sidewalk
I sit in my doorway
and say Psst!
he stops, turns,
and looks at me
then continues on his way

Psst! Psst! I say
holding out my hand
as he pauses
and looks again
his narrowed eyes clearly asking—
What do you want
you idiot?

I know because
I’ve been seeing
that same question
in the mirror
for years 

it’s a good one
all right


Brian Rihlmann lives in Reno, Nevada. His work has appeared in many magazines, including Chiron Review, The Main Street Rag, The American Journal Of Poetry, and New York Quarterly. He has authored three collections of poetry, most recently “A Screaming Place,” (2021) by Cajun Mutt Press.

John Tustin: “Being Alone So Often”

Being Alone So Often

Being alone so often
I read Aristophanes for laughs
While I drink 15 beers
And continuously look out the window
To see if that big white truck is still out there.
Eventually Hank Williams stops by
And gives me a slip of paper
That contains the most amazing couplets
Before getting into the backseat of his Cadillac
And verily dying.
The slip of paper gives me the slip
Between beer 14 and 15
So I go back to Aristophanes
And read until I nearly piss my pants,
Having temporarily forgotten that the toilet
Is only fifteen steps away.

Anyway,
Why is that big white truck still out there
While Williams’ caddie is long gone
Without even the memory of a taillight
In the road?


John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.

Nolo Segundo: “When I Brush Eternity”

When I Brush Eternity

Rare, rare it is,
yet sometimes
I can feel
God’s warm breath
stirring awake my
somnolent soul…
and for a moment
or two
I think I will know
the meaning of All,
but soon it recedes,
that sense of Infinity,
and I’m left hollow,
that taste of Eternity
gone….


Nolo Segundo, pen name of L.J. Carber, 74, has in his 8th decade become a published poet in 46 online/in-print literary journals in the U.S., U.K. Canada, Romania, and India; in 2020 a trade publisher released a book-length collection titled The Enormity Of Existence and in 2021 a 2nd book, Of Ether And Earth.

Mitchell Untch: “Beautiful”

Beautiful 

Nothing stops him from opening 
my mouth, entering the quiet rooms 
of my body. The scent of his skin, 

lips red as camellias.
If I were to speak his name, 
it would make no difference.

He is always whispering in my ear.
I take him in, this grief. He runs his fingers 
through the thick shadows of my hair. 

Sometimes I taste him in my food 
or when a word enters my mouth.
He salts my tongue, kisses me in the dark. 

I only see him when I’ve stopped 
looking. Like innumerable lanterns 
through my ribs, up the long 

ladder of my spine, he moves
toward the interior of my heart.
Brilliant, this grief never leaves.

I cannot look him directly 
in the face, no more than I 
can look directly at the sun.

Knees, hips, shoulders, arms,
I am back to him on all fours,
a moon on the water. 

I lift his body. He lifts mine. 
My wrists swell. You can tell 
a body that has not been touched, 

when something reminds it 
of what it once was, how it once 
murmured. Sometimes I just 

want to be recognized.
Mostly he comes to help me remember 
everything about you that was alive.

 


Mitchell Untch writes, “I am an emerging writer. Partial publications include Beloit Poetry Journal; Poet Lore; North American Review; Confrontation; Nimrod Intl; Natural Bridge; Owen Wister; Solo Novo; Knockout: Baltimore Review; Lake Effect; The Catamaran Reader; Grey Sparrow; Illuminations; Tusculum Review; The Tampa Review ; Mudfish;  Chiron Review; Massachusetts Review, srpr; Paris American; Moth, Fjords, among others.”

 

Robert Wexelblatt: “Fame Is the Spur”

Fame Is the Spur

_____Three spies had made it back to camp, all dirty, wet, and breathless.

_____“Two lines. Light artillery in the first, heavier guns behind.”  

_____“They’ve dug ditches and flooded them, but they’re shallow and they left three gaps at least eight horses wide.”

_____“Dragoons dismounted. Infantry armed with muskets, some with just pikes.  Gunpowder and morale low. Their uniforms look tidy, though.”

_____So, he knew everything he needed.

_____His army, once small, green, ill-fed, and on the run, was now large and hardened.  The men had climbed cliffs, forded rivers, harassed in squads from cover and attacked in battalions on open ground. The cavalrymen, his special pride, recruited from the plains, were fearless and invincible. He had rangers too, tough men from the mountains who could walk soundlessly through forests, who terrified the enemy with night attacks on their camps, slitting throats with hunting knives. He’d drilled peasants into artillerymen more skilled with the captured field pieces than the men who had abandoned them. Three recent victories, the last a rout, had made his men confident, and so was he. 

_____He summoned his last Council of War, laid out the order of battle, made sure his officers knew precisely what to do, when and where. He promised them the capital would be theirs before noon on the next day. They cheered and saluted but insisted on extracting another promise, that for once he would not lead from the front. Old Dominguez, who’d been with him from the first, spoke for all in his usual half-sentences. “Needed after,” he said. “Indispensable. No one else.” They believed they could see his future, saw him seated at a big desk and delivering speeches in epaulettes and a sash.

_____At first light, he took his spyglass and climbed the small observation tower to look over the enemy’s double lines of defense behind which the capital lay like a raped woman longing to be freed from the violator she despised. He thought of his lessons with Father Sebastián. The enemy was Cetus and he was Perseus. The enemy was the dragon and he was Saint George. But he didn’t believe in sainthood nor did he want to found a dynasty.  He was a free-thinking republican. His job was to liberate, not to govern. He loved his country but did not want to marry her, to cope with appointments, taxes, ambassadors, the tangle of bureaucracy. He wished to be remembered as the Liberator, commemorated with an equestrian monument capturing what he would do that morning, not as an old man undermined by faction and defiled by compromise. And that is why he broke his promise, mounted his horse, raised his sabre, and led the charge through the gap in the ditches, making straight for the enemy’s cannon and the hail of grapeshot that would liberate him.


Robert Wexelblatt is a professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. He has published seven fiction collections; two books of essays; two short novels; two books of poems; stories, essays, and poems in a variety of journals, and a novel  awarded the Indie Book Awards first prize for fiction. 

Jan Seagrave: “Clay”

Clay

My mother’s lap was bony and thin
I wanted one wide and welcoming

With small muddy fingers
I made a Venus figurine
squatting on a clay kitchen chair
and glazed her with pewter slip
down to her unformed feet

For her bosom
two lumps big as her head
rolled to perfect spheres
stuck on her dress
Her braided hair coiled
face featureless save a nose

Now my mother lies
as white as clay on the ocean floor
A kelp forest sprouts from her breast
Her lap has flattened
and gained geography

At night her calcified head
rolls in to fill my room
I enter quiet through her mouth
Strings of pale lanterns reveal
the red tapestries of a temple

Her lips close to keep me in darkness
then release me as a royal tern


Jan Seagrave lives beside an oak and a redwood north of Golden Gate Bridge. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Panoplyzine; San Pedro River Review; Gyroscope Review; Eunoia Review; Amethyst Review; Reverberations II (ed. Pendergast); Marin Poetry Center Anthology 2016, 2017, 2021; Redwood Writers Poetry Anthology 2018-2021; Amore: Love Poems (ed. Tucker). 

Korinne Ellert: “The Kind of Love That a Butterfly Has for the Sun”

KORINNE ELLERT

The Kind of Love That a Butterfly Has for the Sun

You’re killing me, you know that right?
Because I don’t know how to make a home,
Make a poem,
Outside of my head and you’re stuck in my mind like a song.

You told me that we all had flaws but sugar,
Bent words make the sweetest poems.
And I’ve been writing poems about you for weeks,
Like I could tell the future–

Two weeks ago I told you that I wanted to draw rainbows on your body with my lips.
But I never called you by name
I called you Butterfly.
I called you daydream.
Soft skin.
I called you future.
I called you Sunday.
So bright that you make my freckles darken
And I think that you gave me a sunburn;
Either that or you’re making me blush.

I think I have a sensitive tongue, 
Because I do not like mint or pop or bitter words,
But I want to tell you that I want to taste your palms, 
And to kiss your tattoos and wonder,
If they are what make you more delicious,
Or if it is just you that I’m hungry for.
Or if everything tastes better when I’m starving.

I picture covering my hands in art and touching your face,
Because it feels almost disrespectful to touch you with anything less than beautiful,
Sacred hands.
I told you I had butterflies in my stomach and you told me to digest them,
Because you are nothing for me to be afraid of.
My knight in a shining beanie.

So recently I’ve been making lullabies out of the sirens
But there’s this thing I never told you–
You see,
The butterflies gave me indigestion and now they are coming up, 
Flying up and out my mouth–
A poem.
You are a poem.
Butterfly.
Butterfly.
Fly.  


Korinne Ellert is currently a college Junior. She is a poet from Indiana and embarks to write about the grief she has experienced through the loss of her father to suicide in late 2020 and the loss of her mother to a drunk driving accident in mid-2021. On top of her grief poetry, she often writes about mental illness, feminism, significant cultural events, sexuality, and the romantic aspects of being alive.