Martina Reisz Newberry: Two Poems

The Favorite Meals of Spirits

The dark is hungry for our sins,
our solutions, our abandoned
hopes and our inappropriate
projects. It is, I believe, why
the spirits love it so. The dark
craves fears and arguments and those
culminate in the favorite
meals of spirits. So, they arrive
at night, opening doors, moving
furniture, bending silverware,
sliding in and out of shadows
darker than the great black holes of
their birth. Brides without grooms,
grooms without heads, children who
float over the floors of the dark. The air is
rife with hunger. The dim tables
bear the food of spirits: thorns and
anthems, blood oranges and dumplings
made of nettles. For afters, there
will be the fruit of the bat-thorn
plant basted with the sauce of sweet
regret. Come with me, then. Enter
the grotto, genuflect, devour.

The Importance of a Sexual History

Long ago, a man asked me
what it would take
to get me to go to bed with him.

I arched an eyebrow,
said (archly)
“Talk pretty to me and
my legs will fly open
like a car door.”

Later, much later
in the relationship,
I told him, “Look.
I can play Love or
I can play War;
just tell me which game
we’re playing.”

There you are.
In the entire history
of my sexual relationships,
those are the only two
glib things I know to say
about Love, War, or Sex
except for “Hello,”
and “That is all.”


Martina Reisz Newberry is the author of several books of poetry. Her  newest collection, GLYPHS, is now available from Deerbrook Editions. Her other books are also currently available from Deerbrook Editions. Her work has been widely published in magazines and journals in the U.S. and abroad. She lives in Los Angeles, the city of her dreams.

Kurt Luchs: “Today I am occupied. . .”

“Today I am occupied…”

Today I am occupied by the corpses
of the newly dead,
they pour in from the screens
of my laptop and television,
they leap through my eyes
and into my head from newspapers lying
on shelves at the convenience store,
they settle straight to my feet
and it seems there’s always room
for more, I am not overflowing
and they weigh nothing.
As for their effect on spacetime
they take up no space at all
and only a few moments
at the top of the hour
on the local classical station.
My heart can take it.
My heart which can take marriage
and divorce and an American
hamburger with a fried egg on it.
My soul, on the other hand…
my soul, my soul is lost
among so many others
falling like snow,
the silence an ink blot
spreading on a tablecloth
claiming the white for its own.


Kurt Luchs (kurtluchs.com) won a 2022 Pushcart Prize, a 2021 James Tate Poetry Prize and the 2021 Eyelands Book Award for Short Fiction. He is a Senior Editor of Exacting Clam. His latest poetry chapbook is The Sound of One Hand Slapping (2022) from SurVision Books (Dublin, Ireland).

Jeff Burt: “Wheel”

Wheel

I have gripped
the steering wheel
of my old F-150 truck
so many times
it has worn away
at the top and bottom.
Ah, but the sides,
the sides, sleek
as if new.
I have gone forward
too long, driven
to the appointed task,
needed to turn left
and right more often.


Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California, with his wife. He has contributed to Willows Wept Review, Heartwood, Bluebird Word, and Gold Man Review.

Ken Meisel: “Wound Healing”

Wound Healing 

“for it was their injured love that made them do it”
– Milan Kundera

When I cried, I was crying for all of my lifetimes,
& something inside of her knew it. Like maybe
she was remembering me when I was a potato farmer,
in Ireland, & she was holding me after I’d cut my
finger off with an axe, or a wood saw or hoe, & so
she held me tightly as I heaved out my sorrow,
my ache & all my woes. & you know, the stream
of our livingness is a white beam with poppies,
like florid memories, on it. & so she knew I’d been
quite violent, at one point in my journey & even
not quite civil, in this lifetime with her. & she could
seemingly see just how the sin of something floats,
then embeds in the tactile nature of our skin so
we can feel it flaring in us as we reenact it alive
with another. & so she held me then, harder, &
leaned into my face & told me I wasn’t him, not
anymore. & that the old Irish hospital I was in,
all those slipstreams ago, was stone rubble now,
like a collapsed bone skeleton in some green field.
& that the stream of light moving through me,
just now, with her, was inseparable from how we
reconfigure in a body, in a chateau, or in a hotel,
just to awaken again as a new resident, healed alive.
& with somebody we’ve known all along, down
the slipstream of time. & something in me, then,
saw in her face that she was a Scottish field nurse,
at bedside with me. & she was holding out this
hidden washcloth of opposites – of the wounded
& the healed one together – in one form. & so
she pulled one of the poppies off of it, for it was
part narcotic so that it could heal me – so I’d be
more patient & pastoral within it, here in my body,
& she spread the wound all over me, like medicine,
like she was cleansing me with just my own pain.
& washing my body with what comes, just after.
& she pointed, softly, through the window where
together we could see a soft bed of white flower
petals, almond petals. & it felt like the old hospital
bed I’d laid in but, at the same time, it was now.
& I was with the woman who was now my wife.
& the wound of all my lifetimes, that violence,
that resistance to a light most glad of all that
heals & transforms what was pain into deep love,
gave over to an overcoming of that world. & into
a healing into this world, right here & now.   


Ken Meisel is a poet and psychotherapist from the Detroit area. He is a 2012 Kresge Arts Literary Fellow, Pushcart Prize nominee, winner of the Liakoura Prize, and the author of eight poetry collections. Recent collections include: Our Common Souls: New & Selected Poems of Detroit (Blue Horse Press: 2020), Mortal Lullabies (FutureCycle Press: 2018), The Drunken Sweetheart at My Door (FutureCycle Press: 2015). He has work in Rattle, Crab Creek Review, Concho River Review, San Pedro River Review, Panapoly, The McGuffin. His new book, Studies Inside the Consent of a Distance, was published by Kelsay Press in February 2022.

Steve Deutsch: “In the Distance”

In the Distance

We speak so
seldom now—
phone shy
since childhood 

and the miles
between us
seem to multiply
with the years.

Remember
when
each new
day

greeted us
like
a garden gate
opening?

When did
the highway
become a gravel
path?

Last night,
I thought
of that day
we had to hide

your father’s
car keys.
His daily descent
into dementia.

I take the top
down
on the old
Triumph Spitfire,

kick the
tires for luck,
and head your way
on the open road.


Steve Deutsch has been widely published both on line and in print. Steve is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. He is poetry editor for Centered Magazine. His poetry books–Perhaps You Can (2019), Persistence of Memory (2020), and Going, Going, Gone (2021)– were all published by Kelsay Press.

Lucia Morello: “good morning texts”

good morning texts

good morning, my beautiful girl
my butterfly girl
my every-star-in-the-sky girl
my girl, the “my” something
i swirl around in my mouth for a moment,
allow myself to choke on it
allow myself to be comfortable with this idea
of possession, of possessing
you
of being something that haunts and follows
the shadow in the background
that ruins the photograph


Lucia Morello is currently a student at Miami University, where they study zoology and creative writing. They have previously been published in Inklings magazine. To read more of their work, email them at lucia.m.morello@gmail.com.

Liza Achilles: Two Sonnets from TWO NOVEMBERS: A Memoir of Love ’n’ Sex in Sonnets

Sonnet 121 

The gullible female between eighteen
And sixty-five has instant recourse to
The plentitudes of web and magazine
Sagacities:—He’s Really Into You . . . 
Or Is He? screams a headline;—but, alas,
As I’m not in that demographic group,
I’ll add my own bullshit to my own sass
And me advise if I should bawl or whoop:
If “Did you, L, on dates, think just of me?”
“Are you composing poems for me still?”
“Don’t worry!” and “One-woman man!” cries he,
Then—(rosy findings, heart, I shall distill!)—
He’s into you,—just doesn’t know it yet.
Next up:—Is Your Intelligence a Threat?

Sonnet 124

I once, naive, let others choose for me;—
Now I’m directing my own classic flick:—
I climbed your steps, picked my philosophy—
And hoped that sovereignty would do the trick.
Since this one—costar—ain’t no horror film,
I checked my head was screwed on super tight:—
I’m yours, I’d hint, but only if you will
Be mine;—if not, let’s just get laid tonight.
This was a documentary, I thought,
In which a tough gal tries to catch a fish
But, boringly, is never wholly caught,—
Till softened you the light—all dramaish!—
And sang, “I’m taking down my profiles, k?”
I—spotlit, doelike—had no lines to say!


Liza Achilles is a writer/editor in the Washington, DC, area. She is published in the Washington Independent Review of Books, the Silent Book Club blog, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Headlight Review, and Tofu Ink Arts Press. The focus of her blog (lizaachilles.com) is seeking wisdom through books and elsewhere.

Marc Janssen: Two Poems

Always Returning III

The Cynic and the Poem



Marc Janssen started writing many novels but didn’t finish any of them. He’s a sprinter. Janssen did complete a poetry collection, November Reconsidered, published by Cirque Press. His verse can be found scattered around the world in places like Pinyon, Slant, Cirque Journal, Off the Coast, and Poetry Salzburg. Janssen also coordinates the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly reading, and was a 2020 nominee for Oregon Poet Laureate. 

Kim Farleigh: “Make Believe”

Make Believe

We were driving down the city’s main road, my father’s cheeks twitching, a stress rash reddening his face. Short-lived supernovae, flashing upon approaching windscreens, gleamed like “brilliant” ideas.

“They’re jealous,” my father said, “about me having Western Australia.”

Silence normally reigned when he drove. 

A hovering magpie forced a kid up against a tree trunk, how to escape current circumstances a common dilemma. 

“Jealousy towards a big fish in a small pond,” my father said.

I didn’t know what he meant. His green eyes’ intensity highlighted their smallness. Green parrots, a local species, dotted the street’s powerlines. They faced sudden death. We faced slow deterioration.  

A bus flashed past a bus stop. Ignorant it was an express, a man waved an angry arm. Deeper inaccuracies affected my father.

“Yesterday,” he said, “I made some guys walk back to the Highway Hotel, where we’d been drinking, from that street there.”

The Highway Hotel was a mile away. The area’s houses, behind high walls, exuded emboldening intimacy. Outside that intimacy, anonymity disappeared, enhancing failure’s embarrassments. 

“They didn’t believe it when I said I’d bought a property here,” he said. “We got into my car at the pub and drove to the property. I had the title deeds in my glovebox.”

Where else are title deeds kept? 

I battled our mutual inadequacy. Someone I had known years before, whom I had recently run into, had asked: “Are you still full of bullshit?”

“They said,” my father continued, eyes like green fires of dismay, “that I couldn’t have bought it. Showing them the title deeds shut them up. I said I didn’t buy it, I snared it. The previous owner had inherited it. She needed cash fast, so she made a quick sale. When they tried getting into the car to go back to the pub, I told them to walk back.”

His satisfaction’s brittleness opposed success’s solidity. Power creates reality, influence and cunning needed for that.       

An ambulance, desperate for arrival, shot by, its red lights flashing like my father’s green eyes. 

Years later, I realised he had been sacked for dispensing with potential clients. He had once said: “I dispense with small-order time wasters.”

But small expands. 

His first date with the property owner’s simple, but sympathetic, daughter, just before the Title Deed Incident, had flung his imagination over the precipice of exaggeration, stimulating another of his creations of success. 

Only my brothers and the property owner’s family went to his funeral. 


Kim Farleigh has worked for NGOs in Greece, Kosovo, Iraq, Palestine and Macedonia. He likes painting, art, bullfighting, photography and architecture, which might explain why this Australian lives in Madrid. 188 of his stories have been accepted by 109 different magazines.