Martina Reisz Newberry: “Initialed”

Initialed

A well-known someone
once wrote a poem for me.
To my delight, it showed up
in a literary journal of some repute
and then in an actual book.

My initials were there,
right under the title and following
the word for. I was delighted
that this fine poet had discovered
words meant especially for me

and I hadn’t even slept with him
or chatted him up flirtatiously.
My friends, I ask you to imagine it:
a poem for me who ground away
at her own poems—hustling

the hell out of every line,
always afraid that my lack
of credentials would become
oh-so-apparent in my ignorance
of literary intricacies. I must tell you:

that poem didn’t care one bit
about my lack of formal education.
It mentioned beauty and had an
understanding inside it that claimed
the right to know what beauty is

and what it is worth. “It doesn’t matter
that you aren’t beautiful,” my father said.
“It matters whether or not you are smart.”
He, too, had discovered words just for me.

This all happened years ago. The poem
with my initials happened 35 years ago.
When I remember or dream, I forget which,
it is those initials I see: for _______.
Those initials are what I believe.

 

Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is BLUES FOR FRENCH ROAST WITH CHICORY, (2019 from Deerbrook Editions). She is included in The Sixty Four Best Poets of 2018 (Black Mountain Press). Newberry is widely published in literary journals in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Los Angeles.

Edward Lee: “Too Late”

Too Late

I plunge my hands
into the soil
in an attempt
to feel the heartbeat
of the earth,
only recovering my hands
when I realise failure
is all I can feel;

looking around
I see dozens of strangers
on their knees,
clasped hands dirty
from digging,
their own found failures
bringing tears to their eyes,

the realisation of stillness
loud enough
for even those with clean hands
to hear.

 

Edward Lee‘s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England, and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen, and Smiths Knoll. His debut poetry collection, Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge, was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.
He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Lewis Milne, Orson Carroll, Blinded Architect, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.
His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com

John Grey: “My War and Peace”

My War and Peace

Nothing better than the gentle grade
of a river bank,
book in hand,
tree-sheltered,
breaking with plot and characters
now and then
to take in a scenery
that is anything but
what the author’s been describing.

No smoky, loud, ferocious,
battle scene here.
Just a stream
a little less idle than myself.
A fenced field
where a herd of cows
nibble noiselessly.

The squirrels aren’t concerned
about a further division
approaching from the rear.
The chipmunks are wary of hawks
not advancing cavalry.
Napoleon is a name unknown
to the wildflowers hereabouts.
And the elms don’t care a hoot
for Natasha and her suitors.

My eyes begin to close.
It’s not you, Tolstoy.
It’s my surrounds.
Yes, your war had me
thrillingly engaged.
But, as always,
I settle for peace.

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Midwest Quarterly, Poetry East, and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in South Florida Poetry Journal, Hawaii Review, and Roanoke Review.

 

Joey Nicoletti: “Higher Unlearning”

Higher Unlearning

Do I have to shower every day
to keep my Mediterranean
hair and skin
in tip-top shape
as I was taught
when I was a child?

I admire the angel
on top of my Christmas tree,
who looks the way I feel
this afternoon, as if I can close my eyes
and smile at anything,
even when the cat climbs
a strand of silver garland
and kicks a ball and bell

to the rug. I am unlearning.
A requiem of sleet
falls hard on the hood
of the SUV in the drive,
its windshield wiper blades
raised like arms without hands.

I discover some paint, on the wall
beside the base of my bathtub,
rolled like scrolls
written by prophets of steam
from shared showers
and post-workday soaks. Then
I watch the dogs and cat
run back and forth with delight;

when they burn off their nervous
energy. Friends, if you want to see
something beautiful, look around you
and in the mirror. If you want to hear
something peaceful, take this moment
and breathe it out. I am unlearning.

 

Joey Nicoletti‘s most recent books are Thundersnow (2017) and Capicola Slang, which is due out in April 2019. He teaches creative writing at SUNY-Buffalo State. 

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.