Esme DeVault: “Four trees”

Four trees

frozen tree
traumatized trunk,
unmoving
my stationary sticks
iced over hard
but shining.

camouflaged tree
so many layers of green
whispering life,
distracting eyes from
my scarred stems,
broken branches,
that would not bend.

floating tree
rootless,
ever hovering
over the crystalline water,
laughing
as she laps my layers.

flaming tree
blazing oranges,
fiery yellows and reds
burning heart, soaring mind
scorching
all that I caress.

 

 

Esme DeVault writes, “I am a newish poet at 54 years old. I have been writing poetry for six or seven years. I live in Rhode Island with my husband and son. I have been an English teacher and an academic reference librarian. I am currently a staff attorney at the Rhode Island Supreme Court.”

Hibah Shabkhez: “Quaint Mournings”

Quaint Mournings

In shivers of pain we paint our nails bright
To conceal the arching, skin-fused beauty
Of translucence that mirrors and pools light
To crunch and strew in shards

As we drift through the deserted doorways
Falling in love with sweet melancholy
That grants us the right to languish and gaze
Inwards, backwards, homewards.

 

Hibah Shabkhez is a writer of the half-yo literary tradition, an erratic language-learning enthusiast, a teacher of French as a foreign language and a happily eccentric blogger from Lahore, Pakistan. Her work has previously appeared in Petrichor, Remembered Arts, Rigorous, Lunate, With Painted Words, The Dawntreader, and a number of other literary magazines. Studying life, languages, and literature from a comparative perspective across linguistic and cultural boundaries holds a particular fascination for her.

Blog: https://hibahshabkhezxicc.wordpress.com/
Twitter: @hibahshabkhez
Instagram: @shabkhez_hibah

Diane Webster: Two Poems

Does Dad Dream?

Mom comes to him at night
like the picture hung on his wall.
Her image massages his brain,
tosses ice cubes down his shirt,
spills coffee in his lap,
flips mashed potatoes on his glasses,
flies a paper airplane into his cheek,
spits a watermelon seed at his ear.
He wakes up anonymous
and looks at the picture on his wall.

 

I Remember

I still remember Dad’s old sayings:
“Drinking coffee
will put hair on your chest.”
“If you can keep your tongue out of the lost
tooth’s hole, it’ll grow back gold.”
“Swallow a watermelon seed,
and you’ll end up pregnant.”
“If you scratch your arm,
spit on it.  It’ll heal faster.”
I still remember, Dad,
even if you can’t.

 

Diane Webster grew up in Eastern Oregon before she moved to Colorado. She enjoys drives in the mountains to view all the wildlife and scenery and takes amateur photographs.  Her work has appeared in The Evansville Review, Philadelphia Poets, Better Than Starbucks, and other literary magazines.

Timothy Robbins: “Accident (for Jibanananda Das)”

Accident (for Jibanananda Das)

A new poet. By accident.
He was in a shadow
dragged across
continents, eating up a
tiny part of them,
hugged in a stiff
envelope that bore
my name
and whereabouts. Still,
an accident. As
with any new poet,
whether it’s wisdom
or sin, I begin
with his face. Broad —
a wooden bridge
gently curving over
a gully. Picante and soft —
an overripe sock. I
read three pages. Come
away with the sense
that growth and decay
are not different
stages. That this poet
and I grew up
in identical villages at
the dying ends of
sundered ages. That
he too wanted to know
everyone —
yet knew the
real tally would
be zero plus none.

 

Timothy Robbins teaches ESL. He has a B.A. in French and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. He has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His poems have appeared in Three New PoetsSlantMain Street Rag, Adelaide Literary MagazineOff The Coast, and others. His collection Denny’s Arbor Vitae was published in 2017. He lives with his husband of twenty years in Kenosha, Wisconsin, birthplace of Orson Welles. Check out Timothy on YouTube.

Aleathia Drehmer: Two Poems

Kai

Your voice quivering
and full of unfounded doubt
splits the air too quietly
for the force of human
that lives inside your skin

Inferno
Tsunami
Tornado
Earthquake

They have
nothing
on you.

 

Frank Stella

Moultonboro II, 1974

We are fitted together
irregular in our natural
being, yet we find
those spaces allowed,
those crevices of wonder
that make us whole
despite the unevenness
of our edges. We blend
lives, our seams bleeding.

 

Aleathia Drehmer was the one-time editor of Durable Goods and In Between Altered States, co-editor of Full of Crow and Zygote in My Coffee, and art editor of Regardless of Authority. Her work has been published in print and online for poetry, fiction, and photography. https://theforkedroad-ajourney.blogspot.com/.

 

Anna Antongiorgi: “everybody’s autobiography”

everybody’s autobiography

keep reading this poem because
it’s about you – choose this life carefully,

be bold, and breathe in only the air that
suits you. do not let any man convince

you that emotions are not the most
beautiful thing to inhale and witness.

that’s gendered. I will hold your hand,
squeeze it as the monsters jump out of

screen. it is ok if you’d like to close your
eyes. I’ll be waiting for you to lift lids

and begin to take in the world again.

 
Anna Antongiorgi is a writer, choreographer, and dancer originally from Redondo Beach, California. A member of the Harvard Class of 2019, she graduated cum laude in English and Theatre, Dance, and Media. She is currently working toward her MFA in Creative Writing at the New School.

Ian C Smith: “Uniforms Interview”

Uniforms Interview

(With thanks to SM Chianti)

The old-timer said, the Salvation Army band played here on Friday evenings opposite the Palace Hotel, known in earlier days as The Bloodhouse for its brawling patrons after the six o’clock swill when they lined up full glasses before last drinks were served at six p.m. by law.  Those Salvos, a small group in uniform, the lasses wearing bonnets with chinstraps, brass, tambourines, sweet voices brave in belief, sang hymns of redemption in the face of drunken obscenity while I sought pleasure with the publican’s daughter in an upstairs room overlooking this same Burke Road tramline.  Our lustful antics, and believing we are happy, are things that haven’t changed.  Other familiar uniforms suggesting stories were seen in public then: nuns, nurses wearing capes, scouts, policemen on foot, soldiers in slouch hats, sailors, including merchant seamen, the blue-grey of air force personnel.  Now, everybody’s dress, though gaudy, seems anonymous, the mysterious niqab, which resembles nuns’ garb, one of few exceptions although xenophobes’ reactions to these back then would have been more widespread, even uglier than today’s.

At night we sometimes climbed a narrow stair like a priest hole to the roof where we heard the paperboy cry, Late Extra, looked down on all the glittering lights, green trams whirring and rattling to Camberwell Junction, Silver Top taxis whisking people into their futures, that great pulse of what was to happen.  We saw a satellite.  People talked about these then.  Up on the Roof became our song.  Keenly argued sport filled the following afternoon, football, horse racing – yet more uniforms – after some of us worked overtime Saturday mornings.  All sport on the same afternoon, except boxing at the House of Stoush on Friday nights which was also card night for older people.  Can you imagine that?  Everything is so much more diversified now but here is where the magical whispering of my heart returns to, these echoes of memory spread out like those dealt cards, a ruin of nostalgia.  Have you written this down?  It’ll soon be history.

 

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in, Amsterdam Quarterly, Antipodes, cordite, Poetry New Zealand, Poetry Salzburg Review, Southerly, & Two-Thirds North. His seventh book is wonder sadness madness joy, Ginninderra (Port Adelaide). He writes in the Gippsland Lakes area of Victoria, and on Flinders Island, Tasmania.