paul Bluestein: “Subway Benediction”

Subway Benediction

Running for the subway shuttle
from Grand Central to Broadway,
I heard music drifting through 
an open door. I swung into the car 
and there he was. Long-haired, bearded 
standing in the aisle 
with his mismatched socks on display,
singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow 
in a voice so open and sunlit
that I forgot I was underground. 
Even the wheels squealing 
as the train rocked along the tracks 
could not pull me out of the song 
spinning through the crowded car
like a spider’s web, holding us fast 
for the ride that was suddenly too short.
A hat on the floor in front of him 
held some silver and some paper
and I added my thanks. As I left 
the train and headed for the exit, 
I could still hear him singing 
to the empty car, words that poured 
out into the station and were  reflected 
by white-tile walls, spattering 
the passengers with red, violet and green.

_________________________________________________________________________

paul Bluestein is an obstetrician (done practicing) and blues guitar player (still practicing) who began writing poetry in 2018 after joining The Poet’s Salon in Fairfield, Connecticut.. His work has appeared in The Linden Avenue Literary Review, Third Wednesday, and Penumbra among other publications. His first full-length collection, Time Passages, was published in 2020 by Silver Bow Publishing. 

Jeff Burt: “Farmer’s Market Portola Ave, For My Daughter”

Farmer’s Market Portola Ave, For My Daughter

I walk amid the market’s masked crowd astonished
I could have spent such time in hibernation.
The yellow-jacketed girls swirl
until their jackets touch like a melding of two suns,
the blue-jeaned throngs sand their legs together
as if polishing their knees or like beetles
removing scents from where they’ve been.
Old and young men’s shaved heads shine
in the early sunlight, and a bag of corn,
tassels slightly blackened by summer’s scorch
stand like photographic negatives
to bleached blondes with darkened roots.

I have missed the sight of you,
but in the market am among your people,
the young woman selling dahlias and squash
with a green apron and blue headband,
the flickering eyes of a babe
bobbing in the backpack of her mother
not knowing whether to look or fall asleep,
in the strolling and lolling of women
looking to highlight a day
with a splash of radish
or the dull green of kale
and a small bouquet of blue asters.
And now, I miss your arm, your hand.

_________________________________________________________________________

Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, and works in mental health. He has contributed to Tar River Poetry Review, Williwaw Journal, Heartwood, and Sheila-na-Gig.

John Rodzvilla: “Port O’Connor”

Port O’Connor

A carpenter shaped the table 
A medium uses to contact the dead. 
Has she ever run her finger over a whorl 
To hear the tree sing its life?

I tried to read about the starfish that dot 
The sky down south, the ones left in tide shifts. 
The ones that crawl over lovers on beaches
In Texas, but small spots prevented
The words from forming,
Always forming,
Always foaming,
Like vinegar on an open cut.

I once tried bleach but it made our limbs too brittle.

It could have been the sun,
Or the sugar in the blood,
Or the sap in the xylem,
Or the toddler screaming in the pool,
Or the swimmers who formed a union 
To combat the entrenched disinterest.

You choose. 
I need to find my eye-patch before this 
Becomes a nightlong battle with a migraine.

Later Orion will skinny dip in the motel pool,
His sword over by the lounge chair. 
I got a little lost looking to find my way back, 
Reading the guide book under the winter sky.

When the clock strikes twelve
It has no arms to hold me.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

John Rodzvilla teaches in the Publishing and Writing programs at Emerson College in Boston. His work has recently appeared in Harvard Review, gorseDecomP, and the Alexandria Review.

Simon Perchik: Five Poems

*
You cover the mirror that’s facing the man
standing for hours inside a shop window
staring at your eyes  ̶ it’s a hand-to-hand place

sells jars, tubes and side by side, small tins
filled with the daily guarantee there would be
no more loneliness once the glass is shattered

by stomping the one heel kept wet for the sound
each bottle makes with its ship full sail inside
where business is business and you lay down

with sea gulls, close to shore for the cries
from stars on the lookout for someone
to shut off the light, find you in the dark.

*
When this pen is lifted to your lips it hears
the ink is just beginning to disguise itself as words
that will feed all night from the page pulled closer

and closer  ̶ there’s not enough room to turn back
once they dry the way a heart first learns
how much blood it lost only afterwards

as an endless sadness still pouring from one page
into the other till all that’s  left
has no word for it though it’s a fountain pen

knows all about emptiness, what will stay black
turn cold and from out your hand the wound
from a sheet stretching out for the snow.

*
And though you left the sheet blank
the police are still investigating it
as some make-shift wall left in place

when the day after tomorrow arrived
all at once  ̶ they’re waiting for the lab
to come up with how the ink

could have been swept away when the words
already had a place to stay and one by one
carried you off on a raft made from paper

with the pen no longer making estimates
how far the edge is, how deep the corners
the silence you finished working on.

*
And though it has no name this puddle
is full, was fattened on those afternoons
the rain stopped by to hear for itself

how much each splash sounds like the sleeves
as they emptied thread by thread
stripping her arms to the bone  ̶ you grieve

in water that’s kept warm :the dress
must have found room between her whispers
where water becomes water again

has her eyes, sees you’re older
are leaning over the Earth
the way the first rain was already filled

with loneliness, is still struggling to find
the sun  ̶ just one star and for that
you weep forever, constantly wetting your hands

the way this makeshift wishing well was filled
̶ rusted rings and coins to hear her shadow rising
as the arms that was your home for so long.

*
The rapids flowing through your hand
takes in tow this day-old bread
̶ from the start impatient for the end

is already sliced the way every waterfall
tries to bring its river with it
become the cry in that faint echo

it needs to find the shattered
̶ it’s not a rock you’re holding
though what’s inside the splash

was left out to dry on this round table
as a lone crumb for that ancient necklace
you still glue to a fingertip for later

 ̶ you need bread that’s a year old today
has mold whose shadow stays green
lets you sit where there is no grass

in a chair each night smaller, sure
it hears her when you close your eyes
to put out the light, use the other hand.

__________________________________________________________________________________________

Simon Perchik‘s poetry has appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.

Martina Reisz Newberry: Two Poems

Philosophy

When they talk about “living in the Now,”
they mean you, Love, with your highland pipes,
smiling a faint smile towards me
while your fingers dance on the surface
of your instrument. Your Now
is palpable; it’s that small gathering of
music dancing in your head, your fingers
finding the dance and joining it there on
the pipe’s clear spine, and the light and shadow
surrounding all of it—the entire Now.

_____

Attention

Traffic is backed up for a few blocks
and busses are being rerouted.
All very inconvenient.

It’s the woman
in the middle of the street;
she holds a knife to her
own white throat.
Two cops are reasoning
with her and the lookers
look from all sides of the street.

She wants to be where everything
stops including her life.
She tells the short Latino cop
that she’s out of money,
no place to live,
can’t get even a bit part in
a lousy B movie.

The knife flashes
and the other cop,
the one with the mustache,
puts his hand out—
Give me the knife;
give it here, he says.

Her boyfriend kicked her out,
took back his ex—
they have two kids;
she can’t even get a bit part
in a lousy movie,
can’t get her hair or nails done—
her life is over.

The short Latino cop offers her a smoke—no;
he puts out his arms for a hug—no;
he tilts his head to one side
the way his ex-wife said was cute—no.
The lookers are quiet,
waiting, looking.
The lights change and
change again.

The other cop fingers
his mustache,
shrugs hugely and
walks away.

The woman drops the knife
and follows him.
Don’t turn your fucking
back on me
she shouts. Fuck you!
Don’t walk away from me!

The short cop shakes his head
and begins taking down the barriers.
Lights change. Traffic resumes.

_________________________________________________________________________

Martina Reisz Newberry’s newest collection, BLUES FOR FRENCH ROAST WITH CHICORY is available from Deerbrook Editions. She is the author of six books. Her work has been widely published in magazines and journals in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.

Diane Webster: “Moment Revealed”

Moment Revealed

Moment revealed
by alert cat
slinking through tall grass
laid flat by journey
toward crabapple tree
poked by two woodpeckers
up, down trunk
while resident hummingbird
twitters territorial rights,
and dove flaps a grip
on chain link fence,
flies as old neighbor
bully cat enters gate
searching
for perfect place to poop.

_________________________________________________________________________

Diane Webster grew up in Eastern Oregon before she moved to Colorado. She enjoys drives in the mountains takes amateur photographs. Writing poetry provides a creative outlet exciting in images and phrases Diane thrives in. Her work has appeared in Old Red Kimono, Home Planet News Online, Salt Hill, and other literary magazines.

Joey Nicoletti: “To Paul Blair”

To Paul Blair

(1944-2013)

Dear Mr. Blair, 
when you asked me
if I wanted you to sign 
my baseball, bat, 
and your rookie card, 
my spirits were as high
as a moonshot smacked
by Reggie Jackson: Mr. October. 
We conversed as you signed 
everything. You said 
it was almost as great 
to be Mr. October’s teammate
as it was to talk with fans 
“like me,” who treated you
“like family.” I don’t know
how or why I didn’t faint,
but this memory is why 
I want my body to be viewed
with the baseball you signed 
in my cold, stiff hands, before 
I become smoldering ash.

_________________________________________________________________________

Joey Nicoletti was born in New York City. He works in Buffalo.

Ronald J. Pelias: “For Sale”

For Sale

One old man, used,
in acceptable condition.
Balding, but presentable.
Does light housekeeping
and yard work. Limited
cooking skills but willing
to learn. Clean, sufficient
bank account. Comes with
wardrobe, car, and some
scarring. Maintenance
minimal, requiring only
occasional kindness.
Will consider all bids.

_________________________________________________________________________

Ronald J. Pelias spent most of his career writing books (e.g., If the Truth Be ToldThe Creative Qualitative Researcher, and Lessons on Aging and Dying) that call upon the literary as a research strategy. Now he just lets poems lead him where they want to go.

Alan Cohen: “Revolution: A Youthful Rite of Passage”

Revolution: A Youthful Rite of Passage

Slowly the squall blew in across the water
We saw it gathering, knew it gathered for us
While youth sat crimson on our foreheads
The indigo turmoil milled in the distant sky
You, eyes screaming
Breasts prouder than sails’ bellies or eagles’ wings
Stroked your gleaming flank
Lips longing for the hush and violence
I was hopeless
Too lost in you to notice my own transfiguration
Hearts glowing lemon with birefringent passion
We longed upward like dust motes
Peaceably floating on sunlit air
For the sudden updraught towards madness

As the funnel neared
We narrowed
Drawn, swept
Losing toeholds
Lifting
Streaking skyward
Our tears of rage and gladness
Splitting wide our eyes to nourish the parched earth
Shaken whirling
Down the night sky
Like fragile, dwindling petals
We rode our certainty and abandon
To the edge of our sane desires
And left them
Weightless in the anarchy of our omnipotence

_________________________________________________________________________

Alan Cohen/Poet first/Then PCMD, teacher, manager/Living a full varied life/To optimize time and influence/Deferred publication, wrote/Average 3 poems a month/For 60 years/Beginning now to share some of his discoveries/105 poems accepted for publication so far this year/Married to Anita 41 years/in Eugene, OR these past 11

John Grey: “To One Hoping to Find Himself on Mount Washington”

To One Hoping to Find Himself on Mount Washington

The only certainty in these parts
is the untrustworthiness of Mount Washington.
Weather is an alchemist making storm from blue sky,
a breeze into hurricane wind,
a modest temperature drop into a bungee plunge.

If the summit’s where you’re headed
in some back-packer’s quest 
to find yourself,
then turn back.

But maybe you just wish 
for an insanely tangible representation 
of the maelstrom 
in which you’ve gone missing.
If so, then head on up.

________________________________________________________________________

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Soundings East, Dalhousie Review, and Connecticut River Review. Latest book, Leaves On Pages, is available through Amazon.