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.

 

 

Ian C Smith: “Troubled in the Roaring Forties”

Troubled in the Roaring Forties

Rain on a caravan roof in the Furneaux Group.
Awake late, his mind roils like the encircling sea
these dwindling fugitive nights, roils in chaos
he knows no escape from, but wants to,
toil over, children adults, problems reflecting
their parents’, grandparents’, as it is in fiction,
usual flaws, deceit, greed, a touch of the crazies.

He hears no vehicles at this witching time.
The rain’s runoff affects these lonely rutted roads.
When he came down the dark mountain earlier
he bounced and jerked like an accident test dummy.
Here in the winter dark he feels rising dread,
reads, slowing, a novelist’s memoir of his parents,
an inventory of muted regret steered toward death.

Earlier still, cloud mantling jagged mountaintops,
he waded in brine until staggering out bone-cold,
unnoticed, skin, sun spots multiplying, mottled.
He has medicine, mourns people he once cared for,
mourns Donald Trump’s effect on the not guilty,
seeks solace in his football team’s fraught season,
down but fighting, a trace of the past’s conjured magic.

 

Ian C Smith’s work has appeared in Amsterdam Quarterly, Australian Poetry Journal,
Critical Survey, Live Encounters, Poetry New Zealand, Southerly, and 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.

Christine Stephens-Krieger: “Myth of the Perfect Girl”

Myth of the Perfect Girl

I reached perfection by age twelve,
but no one noticed. Perfection

happens everywhere, all
the time not knowing itself,

perfect like dirt, like a squid,
perfection under wraps, enspelled,

swapped with changelings,
forced to live a goblin life,

hidden under veils, sometimes buried,
too precious, thrown in a pond to keep,

treasure only worth its legend,
perfect glimmer in the dark.

Once, I was every saint,
had a map for every step,

bought the magic, bookworm amateur
armed with a pen and a timid knock.

Perfect, I watched others transform,
fall into ruin when they ate the magic beans.

I watched for the color change, texture
shift, the red marks and wild looks,

the smirking and escaping, the finding
a hundred ways to break their shells.

When I was perfect, adulthood
was the land of broken dreams.

A witness, I swore to never get fat,
never have kids, never marry.

Perfect, I signed my name on every page
through my School Days book. Perfect,

I saw no reason I might change.
Perfect black and white shapes

cast perfect shadows, make perfect sense.
I tell myself, I’ll never make that face, never

eat the whole cake, won’t wear that, will not–
but then make the face, eat the cake, wear the dress,

those shoes, get in the car, go for the ride. Fall.
Perfect falling. Blossoms descend just so.

 

 

Christine Stephens-Krieger finished her MFA at WMU and published a bunch of poems in the 90s. Her awards include first place in the Macguffin Michigan Poet Hunt and the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. She also appeared in the anthology The Prepress Awards Volume II: Emerging Michigan Writers. She submerged after that, raised a child and taught herself to paint. Now she’s written a new book of poetry called What a World, What a World: A Life in Poems. So far in 2019, YES Poetry and Dime Show Review will publish poems from this collection.

Alan Britt: “Last Chance”

Last Chance

Last chance to dream a wireless cactus
guarding the border between hope & despair.

Razor wire cactus.

Last chance to believe one is impervious
to common decency—it’s the static that
gets me—but conglomerate algorithmic
crude not so much.

I’ve withstood floods, shifting states of mind,
& expectations pinned like butterflies
against the lapels of Nobel Laureates.

I ate dinner with an extinct diminutive short
pronged mammal for millennia, along
with my Neanderthal cousins.

I soiled the onionskin pages of early,
modern & contemporary Christianity
& lived to talk about it.

But, today, I’m too exhausted to commence
with existence like a wasp in my doughboy
helmet, wasp that stung me with a garden
shed & kitchen drawer full of green trading
stamps that amounted to pretty much what
no one expected them to amount to.

Still, that’s not what I meant earlier; what
I meant earlier is that I’ve just spotted a
category five, & if I know what’s good for
me, tonight, I’ll surf moonlight’s crushed
roach tablets sheltering our military
graveyards until someone flips me upside
down like an hourglass & dumps me
into William Blake’s heaven or Arthur
Rimbaud’s hell.

 

In August 2015 Alan Britt was invited to Ecuador as part of a cultural exchange of poets between Ecuador and the United States. In 2018 and in 2013, he served as judge for The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award. He has been interviewed at The Library of Congress for The Poet and the Poem and has published 17 books of poetry, his latest being Ode to Nothing (bilingual English/Hungarian: 2018); Crossing the Walt Whitman Bridge (bilingual English/Romanian: 2017); Violin Smoke (bilingual English/Hungarian: 2015). A graduate of the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars, he now teaches English/Creative Writing at Towson University.

Tom Laichas: “The Wait Won’t Be Long”

The Wait Won’t Be Long

Sometimes, in boisterous play, the two children scuff the Garden’s soil, exposing floorboards and joists. Sometimes, on a wander through woods, they happen on paths too straight to be creature-made.

All day, the great tree shadows their questions. It sprouts from the center of a vast circumference. Its branches hang low with heavy fruit. Its height rockets toward a noontime zenith. Light as papier-mâché, it lofts well beyond sight.

Timber and starlight, sugar and clay: how long can such a confection last?

Lock children away in a room with a cake. Before closing the door, tell them no, don’t eat a crumb.

Walk away.

The wait won’t be long.

 

Tom Laichas‘s recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ambit, 3.1 Venice, Masque and Spectacle, Panoply, Eclectica, and elsewhere. His first collection is due out from High Window Press (UK) in 2020. 

Kyle Kutz: “Route 283”

Route 283

There were eyes
in the skies of Cocalico

above Route 283

that loomed overhead,
in the middle of the night,
peering down at me.

I’d no clue what they wanted–

bloodshot yet serene–

or what tales they’d tell
if given a mouth
and good reason to speak.

I hit a ramp,
taken aback,
and lost ’em off the highway,

but my son
soon spoke of eyes
hovering above our driveway,

which didn’t look too happy
about my decision to leave

them behind,
high and dry,
on Route 283.

 

 

Kyle Kutz is a semi-recent graduate of Kutztown University, earning his B.A. in professional writing. His work has appeared in numerous publications, such as Expressions, Essence, Shoofly, Wood Coin, WORK, Visitant Lit, Aberration Labyrinth, and The Jet Press. He resides in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, writing freelance for LNP.