A week in the life of a teenager:
I ate aged lo mein for breakfast.
The gas pump was too far from my car.
I ripped a hole in my favorite turtleneck sweater.
I fell down the stairs in new heels.
I carried the bones of a mastodon to a secure location.
I pretended to mop up the water from the hurricane.
A pitbull chased me down the block.
Sophia Vesely, 19, is from St. Petersburg, Florida. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Girls Right the World, Bridge Ink, Route 7 Review, Oddville Press, Triggerfish Critical Review, and Delmarva Review, among others. She also has a published poetry collection on Amazon.com entitled “The Road to Amour de Soi” that explores the complexities of first loves and heartbreak in order to empower young women through the notion of self-love.
in the rain,
bolt angular lightning
slithers away west.
tautology fault of style
daggers in heart these words,
dicey dungeon sharp spike.
A labyrinth, ruined passages,
secret chambers, cellmates, now
Wind storms move away,
young willow trees natter—
smallest branches, still snap.
Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 1098 new publications, his poems have appeared in 40 countries, he edits, publishes 10 poetry sites.
…fortune-bitter. You sport
…palette knife. Turf
onto wire rack…
…”Cudgelling fossilized blockhead,”
…our gabber. Ultimately,
…in Crab St. Rule-book tickles
…not oatmeal. Fortify
rubbernecking a colossus…
…I slide back the gateleg,
a torrent of Motown…
Christopher Barnes is an award-winning writer and artist who also works in radio and film. 2005 saw the publication of his collection LOVEBITES, published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh. In May 2006, he had a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People’s Theatre. He has also written art criticism for Peel and Combustus.
Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah, who is an algebraist and artist, works in mixed media. His poetry, songs, prose, art and hybrid have appeared in numerous journals. He lives in the southern part of Ghana, in Spain, and the Turtle Mountains, North Dakota.
Kevin D. LeMaster lives in South Shore Kentucky. His poems have been found at The Lakes, Appalachian Heritage, Praxis magazine, Rockvale Review, Inkwell, Birmingham Arts Journal, Constellations, Plainsongs, Coe Review, and others. He has had recent work published in SheilaNaGig online and Heartwood Literary Review.
the pathway by our back door
yes, it’s beckoning!
sliver of a moon
it slowly diminishes
holding my wife tighter
a chilly morning…
pulling it over my head
our shabby old quilt
this evening alone
comfort with a long-time friend
path through the forest
beauty of the night
so many pathways exist
sunlight in the east
a new beginning
massive greenways opening
yes, sunrise again!
ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran and former hospice nurse, lives in Longmont, Colorado, USA. Editor of bear creek haiku (30+ years/160+ 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.
Jakima Davis writes, “I’ve been writing poetry for almost 21 years. I’ve been published in underground publications, including, Misfits, Street Value, Big Hammer, Barbaric Yawp, The PEN, among others. In 2016, I collaborated on a chapbook entitled, JMDS, published by Marymark Press. I also collaborated on a broadside, along with many GIve-Out sheets, also published by Marymark Press. As of now, I’m posting my poems on Facebook to gain a fanbase.”
hankering for a radio gestalt signifier in a world full of rhetorical questions
when some one dies
then each one dies a little
with no recovery
of unique deictic
tendencies or trials
not to mention
never never never never never
a blender be
to the last consonant
of relief or camel rings
wafting songs of slow choking death
over an ironic times square hub
of a crossroads in a fluid
current of commerce
unrelieved by levity
while behind the curtain
and you don't know if it's Hamlet
or The Wizard of Oz
because the screen is blackened
and the sound track is obscured by
an echo of gratitude
for what else is there
to overcome the silence of spring
pouring across the meadow
picking up lots of forget-me-nots
too young to be reborn aloft
where sky meets the black suck of deep space
even in low orbit broadcasting satellite beeps
and broadcasting satellite bops
humming Dick and Davey
at regular intervals
like heart swells vary waves
very vary waves
hankering for a radio gestalt signifier in a world full of rhetorical questions
whose crests and troughs never hinder demolition
so formulae founder on rocks
of self described triumph after birth
until even the abyss
fails to talk back
because it considers your discourse
an echo of things to come
dredged up up and away from sludge
moldering in sloughs
thought to be the birthplace of life
by incestuous patriarchs
if and only if meteorites
imbedded just below surface appearances
claim not to be guilty of infesting the planet
with plants and animals doomed to eat one another
casting blame on orgasms
but who the fuck cares
if it's worth it or improbable
because someone or something bets
you didn't see that coming did you
well did you
don't answer that
John Marvin is a teacher who retired and subsequently earned a Ph.D. in English at SUNY Buffalo. He has poems in scores of journals, including 6 Pushcart nominations, and literary criticism in Hypermedia Joyce Studies, James Joyce Quarterly, Pennsylvania English, and Worcester Review. He has a chapter in Hypermedia Joyce, and his book, Nietzsche and Transmodernism: Art and Science Beyond the Modern in Joyce, Stevens, Pynchon, and Kubrick, awaits a publisher. He seeks to marry the experimental, non-narrative with the lyric and traditional in the manner of Nietzsche’s marriage of Apollo and Dionysos. He generally avoids accessibility for its own sake, and the prosaic personal story with superimposed line breaks that is ubiquitous these days.
Sometimes I miss the mystery of the late night phone call from a random stranger
the ridiculous panting of a chronic masturbator, the lonely man or woman
randomly punching numbers into their telephone, trying to make some connection
reaching out into the dark over and over again until they find someone
with the time or curiosity to respond.
When I was a teenager, I used to jump to answer those late night calls
before they woke my parents up, would whisper into the phone to these strangers
patiently quiet as they said dirty things to me, try to guide them into proper conversations
because I was lonely, too. Eventually, I could steer a conversation away
from promises of butthole-licking and finger-fucking
to conversations about what I liked to do, what I thought of my parents
what I thought of school. I’d read poems over the phone to them
if they stayed on the line long enough, ask their opinion, tell them I was trying real hard
I didn’t have a lot of people in my life who liked poetry.
Sometimes, when the phone rings, and I don’t recognize the number
I pick it up anyway because I’m curious. But now, it’s never anyone making fuck-noises
into their end of the line, or someone wondering what I’m doing, what I’m wearing,
what I like to do, it’s always someone trying to sell me something
or alert me to hail damage in my neighborhood, or ask for a donation
it’s never anyone particularly fun.
Holly Day (hollylday.blogspot.com) has been a writing instructor at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review, and her newest poetry collections are Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press), and Book of Beasts (Weasel Press).
I’m such a slow reader
that I began The Iliad shortly after
the Trojan War, and today—
bloodshot and squinting
in the thin light of my desk lamp—
I finally turned its six hundred, sixtieth
dauntingly thin page, and read, with exhaustion,
that gorgeous last line, Thus they buried Hektor, tamer of horses. Christ, I can’t wait
to plow through the sequel!
As if the names weren’t hard enough—
Iphegenia, Clymenestra, Agamemnon,
Astyanax—all ideas of love and law
seemed to count for nothing.
Almost everyone died for the sake
of the gods’ desires and a foolish dispute
among men—two armies whaling on each other,
while Achilles played blanket burrito
in his tent, then carved a murder canyon
through the Trojans. Finishing Homer’s epic
was an odyssey in itself.
I’ll never get back the years
spent slogging through its plot,
a page or two at a time, tacking forward,
then circling back on a dactylic tide,
a ship lost in the fog. How good it felt
to finally glimpse the ending’s rocky cliffs,
a coastline vaguely familiar, family and friends
standing at the edge of the last page,
waving me home.
Michael Steffen‘s fourth poetry collection, Blood Narrative, has just been accepted for publication by Main Street Rag Press. His work has recently appeared in Chiron Review, The Chestnut Review, and The Comstock Review. Michael is a graduate of the MFA writing program at Vermont College and currently lives in Buffalo, NY.