Nolo Segundo: “When I Brush Eternity”

When I Brush Eternity

Rare, rare it is,
yet sometimes
I can feel
God’s warm breath
stirring awake my
somnolent soul…
and for a moment
or two
I think I will know
the meaning of All,
but soon it recedes,
that sense of Infinity,
and I’m left hollow,
that taste of Eternity
gone….


Nolo Segundo, pen name of L.J. Carber, 74, has in his 8th decade become a published poet in 46 online/in-print literary journals in the U.S., U.K. Canada, Romania, and India; in 2020 a trade publisher released a book-length collection titled The Enormity Of Existence and in 2021 a 2nd book, Of Ether And Earth.

Mitchell Untch: “Beautiful”

Beautiful 

Nothing stops him from opening 
my mouth, entering the quiet rooms 
of my body. The scent of his skin, 

lips red as camellias.
If I were to speak his name, 
it would make no difference.

He is always whispering in my ear.
I take him in, this grief. He runs his fingers 
through the thick shadows of my hair. 

Sometimes I taste him in my food 
or when a word enters my mouth.
He salts my tongue, kisses me in the dark. 

I only see him when I’ve stopped 
looking. Like innumerable lanterns 
through my ribs, up the long 

ladder of my spine, he moves
toward the interior of my heart.
Brilliant, this grief never leaves.

I cannot look him directly 
in the face, no more than I 
can look directly at the sun.

Knees, hips, shoulders, arms,
I am back to him on all fours,
a moon on the water. 

I lift his body. He lifts mine. 
My wrists swell. You can tell 
a body that has not been touched, 

when something reminds it 
of what it once was, how it once 
murmured. Sometimes I just 

want to be recognized.
Mostly he comes to help me remember 
everything about you that was alive.

 


Mitchell Untch writes, “I am an emerging writer. Partial publications include Beloit Poetry Journal; Poet Lore; North American Review; Confrontation; Nimrod Intl; Natural Bridge; Owen Wister; Solo Novo; Knockout: Baltimore Review; Lake Effect; The Catamaran Reader; Grey Sparrow; Illuminations; Tusculum Review; The Tampa Review ; Mudfish;  Chiron Review; Massachusetts Review, srpr; Paris American; Moth, Fjords, among others.”

 

Robert Wexelblatt: “Fame Is the Spur”

Fame Is the Spur

_____Three spies had made it back to camp, all dirty, wet, and breathless.

_____“Two lines. Light artillery in the first, heavier guns behind.”  

_____“They’ve dug ditches and flooded them, but they’re shallow and they left three gaps at least eight horses wide.”

_____“Dragoons dismounted. Infantry armed with muskets, some with just pikes.  Gunpowder and morale low. Their uniforms look tidy, though.”

_____So, he knew everything he needed.

_____His army, once small, green, ill-fed, and on the run, was now large and hardened.  The men had climbed cliffs, forded rivers, harassed in squads from cover and attacked in battalions on open ground. The cavalrymen, his special pride, recruited from the plains, were fearless and invincible. He had rangers too, tough men from the mountains who could walk soundlessly through forests, who terrified the enemy with night attacks on their camps, slitting throats with hunting knives. He’d drilled peasants into artillerymen more skilled with the captured field pieces than the men who had abandoned them. Three recent victories, the last a rout, had made his men confident, and so was he. 

_____He summoned his last Council of War, laid out the order of battle, made sure his officers knew precisely what to do, when and where. He promised them the capital would be theirs before noon on the next day. They cheered and saluted but insisted on extracting another promise, that for once he would not lead from the front. Old Dominguez, who’d been with him from the first, spoke for all in his usual half-sentences. “Needed after,” he said. “Indispensable. No one else.” They believed they could see his future, saw him seated at a big desk and delivering speeches in epaulettes and a sash.

_____At first light, he took his spyglass and climbed the small observation tower to look over the enemy’s double lines of defense behind which the capital lay like a raped woman longing to be freed from the violator she despised. He thought of his lessons with Father Sebastián. The enemy was Cetus and he was Perseus. The enemy was the dragon and he was Saint George. But he didn’t believe in sainthood nor did he want to found a dynasty.  He was a free-thinking republican. His job was to liberate, not to govern. He loved his country but did not want to marry her, to cope with appointments, taxes, ambassadors, the tangle of bureaucracy. He wished to be remembered as the Liberator, commemorated with an equestrian monument capturing what he would do that morning, not as an old man undermined by faction and defiled by compromise. And that is why he broke his promise, mounted his horse, raised his sabre, and led the charge through the gap in the ditches, making straight for the enemy’s cannon and the hail of grapeshot that would liberate him.


Robert Wexelblatt is a professor of humanities at Boston University’s College of General Studies. He has published seven fiction collections; two books of essays; two short novels; two books of poems; stories, essays, and poems in a variety of journals, and a novel  awarded the Indie Book Awards first prize for fiction. 

Jan Seagrave: “Clay”

Clay

My mother’s lap was bony and thin
I wanted one wide and welcoming

With small muddy fingers
I made a Venus figurine
squatting on a clay kitchen chair
and glazed her with pewter slip
down to her unformed feet

For her bosom
two lumps big as her head
rolled to perfect spheres
stuck on her dress
Her braided hair coiled
face featureless save a nose

Now my mother lies
as white as clay on the ocean floor
A kelp forest sprouts from her breast
Her lap has flattened
and gained geography

At night her calcified head
rolls in to fill my room
I enter quiet through her mouth
Strings of pale lanterns reveal
the red tapestries of a temple

Her lips close to keep me in darkness
then release me as a royal tern


Jan Seagrave lives beside an oak and a redwood north of Golden Gate Bridge. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Panoplyzine; San Pedro River Review; Gyroscope Review; Eunoia Review; Amethyst Review; Reverberations II (ed. Pendergast); Marin Poetry Center Anthology 2016, 2017, 2021; Redwood Writers Poetry Anthology 2018-2021; Amore: Love Poems (ed. Tucker). 

Korinne Ellert: “The Kind of Love That a Butterfly Has for the Sun”

KORINNE ELLERT

The Kind of Love That a Butterfly Has for the Sun

You’re killing me, you know that right?
Because I don’t know how to make a home,
Make a poem,
Outside of my head and you’re stuck in my mind like a song.

You told me that we all had flaws but sugar,
Bent words make the sweetest poems.
And I’ve been writing poems about you for weeks,
Like I could tell the future–

Two weeks ago I told you that I wanted to draw rainbows on your body with my lips.
But I never called you by name
I called you Butterfly.
I called you daydream.
Soft skin.
I called you future.
I called you Sunday.
So bright that you make my freckles darken
And I think that you gave me a sunburn;
Either that or you’re making me blush.

I think I have a sensitive tongue, 
Because I do not like mint or pop or bitter words,
But I want to tell you that I want to taste your palms, 
And to kiss your tattoos and wonder,
If they are what make you more delicious,
Or if it is just you that I’m hungry for.
Or if everything tastes better when I’m starving.

I picture covering my hands in art and touching your face,
Because it feels almost disrespectful to touch you with anything less than beautiful,
Sacred hands.
I told you I had butterflies in my stomach and you told me to digest them,
Because you are nothing for me to be afraid of.
My knight in a shining beanie.

So recently I’ve been making lullabies out of the sirens
But there’s this thing I never told you–
You see,
The butterflies gave me indigestion and now they are coming up, 
Flying up and out my mouth–
A poem.
You are a poem.
Butterfly.
Butterfly.
Fly.  


Korinne Ellert is currently a college Junior. She is a poet from Indiana and embarks to write about the grief she has experienced through the loss of her father to suicide in late 2020 and the loss of her mother to a drunk driving accident in mid-2021. On top of her grief poetry, she often writes about mental illness, feminism, significant cultural events, sexuality, and the romantic aspects of being alive.

Peter J. King: Two Poems

Anne Boleyn

Billie Holiday


Peter J. King (born and brought up in Boston, Lincolnshire) was active on the London poetry scene in the 1970s, returning to poetry in 2013, since when he has been widely published.  His available collections are Adding Colours to the Chameleon (Wisdom’s Bottom) and All What Larkin (Albion Beatnik).Web site: https://wisdomsbottompress.wordpress.com/

Emily Black: “Under the Streetlight”

 Under the Streetlight

The boys are ahead of us as we linger a little
and talk about life and philosophy. Joel has
an interesting mind and I enjoy his perspective. 

He has studied with a Native American shaman
and has been to ashrams in India. Suddenly, for no
reason we can see, his boy smacks my son in the face.

My son turns to him and asks, Do you know how that
makes me feel? Joel looks at me and says, Wow, what
unusual poise he has in his response to being slapped.

We wait to see what will happen next. His son,
a boy about 5 years old, stops and replies, No,
how does that make you feel?

Under a streetlight on this warm October evening,
our boys sit down on a curb and talk about their feelings.
I think about my son and his gentle ways. 

I count my blessings.


Emily Black, a civil engineer, always dabbled in writing. Now she has taken up poetry writing with serious intent. She’s fortunate to have found an amazing teacher who’s given her the wings to soar like an eagle! “A humble eagle,” she says, “who appreciates being taught how to write with the eyes of an eagle, the heart of a lion, the perseverance of a mountain goat and the memory of an elephant, at least about things that matter.” Her work has been published in numerous journals.

DS Maolalai: Two Poems

The box

it fills like a box
and once
I thought I wanted
a box like nobody
else had – an apartment
on my own – a place
to live comfortably,
to drink wine and read books
and to write out my poems
while dishes filled sinks
and made stacks on the table.
now, getting married
and I’m somewhat
looking forward to it. and we
live together. and we
share a dog. a life
then, I suppose,
as much dull
as another – dinner,
a glass of wine.
a movie and going
to bed. I imagined that this life
would lead to less
experience.
it hasn’t; a box
stays its size
whatever’s in it.

—–

A barnacle

you get under next to me;
the mattress goes down
like a boat. bobs about
sideways and bangs
on the pier. I turn
to your hand, which is cold
as wet seaweed; a barnacle, living
to cling. on the sail
of our curtains, the moon
fights off streetlights
for the pleasure of pushing
us forward. your body some flotsam,
moving and seeking.
my body a tideline,
given shape by what lands
on its beach.


DS Maolalai has been nominated eight times for Best of the Net and five times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden (Encircle Press, 2016) and Sad Havoc Among the Birds (Turas Press, 2019)

Rod Drought: “Gullible’s Travels”

Gullible’s Travels

You are gone
On the horse latitude deck
I taste the absent hours
Swollen tongue searches
The empty tin cup
Tied to the drained barrel
Salt pork
Stuck between teeth
Gone bad
You are lime
To my scurvy 

Crewmates
Say it is for the best
Sailors lost at sea
Rationalize and ration
The first to die
Satisfies hunger

I voyage
The dead sea town
Hop deserted island bars
Robinson minus Caruso
My coconut head fills with rum

Across the undertow
Auto-tuned sirens
Beckon
In sweeping tides
Of attraction and repulsion

Every port of entry
Seems like an oasis
Cool grottos of self-delusion
Punctured by fangs of sunrays
No matter the currents, the ebb and flow
Inebriated Lilliputians
Tie me down

I escape
Bilge rat jumping ship
The stars,
The wind in sails
Speak the truth
A new charted course

You are a shadow of a sun not risen,
The deceitful promise of horizon
You are not coming back
You found a safe harbor


Rod Drought, an ex-New Yorker, now calls Arizona his home. He has four books of poetry found on his website, droughtsthirst.com. He has been published in many literary journals, and is co-administrator to Port of Call Poetry, an online page that supports poets worldwide.

Salvatore Difalco: “Fireflies”

Fireflies

You squat in the shadows, watching the movement of shadowy truncated legs. Where are they going? Glue seeping out between planks of hardboard lends the room a ribbed, skeletal quality suggestive of a giant body. The structure breathes. You can hear it breathing. And it sweats — behold the ghostly salt stains. Ambiguous in the smooth, creamy light pouring in from a small side window, only your jeweled hairnet gives any sign of your presence, the little glints and flashes when you move your head. When you move your head my eyes follow. Where are the legs going? They seem arbitrary, even nonsensical at first glance, but then again they carry a measure of menace. Shoes and boots clopping across the uneven floor, the conspiratorial whispers, the smell of spent candles — such effects cause you to recoil, to make yourself smaller, and more remote. And yet I want so much to talk to you, to look you in the eyes — what colour are they? — and speak my truth. I believe we share a vibration, a sensibility. I see us together on a davenport in a parlor filled with sunlight, sipping gold-flecked liqueur and chitchatting. We hear a train whistle in the distance and glance at each other, smiling. Then I offer you De Chirico bananas that you say create disquiet. I agree. Nevertheless they transport the eater. Peel one and see. Peel one and see how the darkly painted walls create at once a sense of enclosure and infinitude. When you move your head I think of fireflies. Can you be persuaded to come out from the shadows? I imagine you effortless, of spiraling grace, wearing a hairnet and delicate gold bracelets. Don’t be alarmed. I am only here to watch. That is to say, in a sense I’m only here to watch. I could say more, but I won’t now. The legs stomp on, unsentimentally. They are headed for the other dream where the other you watches the other me.


Salvatore Difalco‘s work has appeared in a number of print and online formats. He lives in Toronto.