Mikela Tealbrome by Clyde Kessler

Silence is a fine sermon
owned by this ridge cliff
where our campfire fails.

I’d ask the winter to preach
icicles. I’d ask the last coal
to sermonize a wild land.

Down where we once lived,
there’s a straight road hauling
nowhere. It’s turned us poor.

 

 

Clyde lives in Radford, Virginia with his wife Kendall and their son Alan. His new book of poems (illustrated by Kendall), Fiddling At Midnight’s Farmhouse has just been published by Cedar Creek Publishing. You can find out more about him at http://clydekesslerpoet.com/ and https://www.facebook.com/ClydeKesslerPoet/

Speed Changes Everything by Marie-Andree Auclair

Committed to twin railroad tracks
the sleek steel dragon
— dark eyes over a long snout —
slices through myriads
of sunflower heads
who ignore its passage
and bow only to the sun’s call.

It snakes its way
between hills speckled
with slow cattle and farmers
growing a living out of arable land.

Trees close enough to touch
lose name and shape, smudged
into green horizontal blurs.
When my eyes scan backward
the trees regain
their familiar vertical shapes.

In the station, I firmly plant
my feet on the platform
determined to dispel the resonance
of speed trapped in my cells
and placate my hammered ears.

But when the train departs
I feel as though I am the one departing.

 

 

Marie-Andree Auclair’s poems have appeared in a variety of print and online publications in such as Structo UK, First Literary Review-East, The Northern Cardinal Review, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review,, The Magnolia Review, filling Station, Contemporary Verse 2, The Tule Review, Gravel, The Maynard, Apeiron, and others. She lives in Canada and is working on another chapbook.

Notes on Gentrification by Alan Chazaro

I.

Mornings are a rough handgrab
of sulfur and the unboxing of cold.

II.

Every self we have ever been
is still inside us. I was told this
in winter.

III.

The sidewalks are scarred, the air
halved back.

IV.

When you’ve lost the buildings you hold
onto the trains, the TDKs, the DREAMs.

V.

Last night the city danced
with fire in her spine. Afterwards,
smoke.

VI.

We were invited inside. We didn’t leave
until the moon did.

 

 

Alan Jauregui Chazaro is a high school teacher at the Oakland School for the Arts. Currently, he is pursuing an MFA in Writing as a Lawrence Ferlinghetti Fellow at the University of San Francisco, and is a June Jordan Poetry for the People alum at UC Berkeley. Most recently, he received an AWP Intro Journals Award, which was selected by 2017 Pulitzer Prize winner, Tyehimba Jess. His poems have appeared in various journals including Huizache, The Cortland Review, Borderlands, Juked, Hotel Amerika, and Public Pool. You can usually find him wearing Bay Area sports apparel and listening to West Coast throwbacks. You can find him at http://agchazaro.wixsite.com/poetry

Off Camera by Karla Linn Merrifield

I’m certain there were times when she
wanted to lose herself in a solar system
more than double ours in age.
That’s how far back she aches
(badly as her weakened lumbar)
for her soul to travel to a period
when the universe was just starting out,
long before non-stop self-sacrifices,
and to a place too close to the sun
for habitation, all the better to immolate
wifehood, motherhood, sainthood— make it
extra-terrestrially impossible for her spirit
to take three babies’ shit, her disabled husband’s shitty
diapers. Wash. Feed. Wipe, Dress. Undress. Wipe.
No more! No more! No more! Astropoetics dictates
calculated Hallucinations in Deep Time.

I forward Mrs. Hawking’s dreams to Kepler-444
where she reposes in the House of Muses.

+++++++++++++après Theory of Everything

 

A nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had over 600 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has twelve books to her credit, the newest of which is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to. Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye, a member of Just Poets (Rochester, NY),  the New Mexico State Poetry Society, and the Florida State Poetry Society.  Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at http://karlalinn.blogspot.com.

The Girl in the Glade by Emily Fields

You are not tamed.

You are not a sitting duck waiting for the fox
to loose his jaw
upon your soft body.

The trees are watching. The trees are
your sisters: Amazon-limbed,
fast, rooted, silent.

You do not have to ask them a question.
They are the fierce witnesses
of your dreams. Conspire

with them. You are one of their tribe,
vital and impertinent.
You are the girl in the glade, a green flood.

You are not tamed.

 

 

Emily Fields writes both poetry and prose fiction and lives in Sussex, England.

Driving Academy: notes from my first day on the highway by Joe Andrews

A month before I turn 32
and I’m paying a lot to die today.
My instructor might be a priest or a
fool; I adjust the seat, the mirrors,

he sips his coffee and exhales his faith
that I’m a good driver, and not to overthink it.
He knows me well or can read my knuckles
on the wheel, marble white. I turn the key.

When wading the car through street traffic,
when on the freeway, the ankle is king.
Fast is a matter of more flexion.
Sitting still at seventy for an hour on

the freeway, and my right shin feels
like a hot coal. Outside Windsor, we’re not
stuck in this mid-morning traffic,
we’re participants. And when traffic

is seventy, sixty-five is a new slow.
It hits me people live here, in this steel
dance of sustained near misses,
that we’re in some terrible hurry

to be somewhere else. I envy my
expensive passenger, who can look around.
I can only see where we’re going. And as we do
he tells me of the nearby fields,

dotted with barns and strip malls.
In pairs, long skid marks attest others have
lost the highway. But the field grass and poppies,
thistles and garbage, all a blur along the shoulder,

look as if nothing wrong ever happened.

 

 

 

Joe Andrews is a recent graduate from San Francisco State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in English. After breakfast he writes before he heads off to his job as a shift lead at a small natural foods store in Northern California. He’s proud to say this is his first publication.

Revolution by Sara Eddy

The temperature drops off
suddenly one day in the fall and it’s clear
winter is shouldering in.
The worker bees feel antsy and irritated
they’ve got work to do with urgency
and the drones–
The drones.
The drones are not helping.
The drones stand around
telling the workers how to do their jobs.
They chug nectar and munch pollen,
they tell the ladies that they’d better
get to work if they’re to have stores
enough for the winter;
they get in the way with their big
clumsy fat-cat bodies,
they have no delicacy
they have no stingers
no pollen buckets
they don’t know the dances
the hexagon is beyond them
they have no nursing skills and
they ignore the queen
who is the neediest baby.
The toughest workers stationed outside
defend the hive when skunks
put their paws in the door
and the drones sit back and criticize.
They brag about sexual conquests
with neighboring queens.
But the workers know that if the stories
Were true, the braggarts would be dead.
They also know that the drones
are finicky: everything must be
just right, they have to be in the mood
it has to be 70 degrees and fair
and not too breezy and the queens
have to tell them how strong they are
how useful and competent.
They are liars and mooches and winter
is getting angry at the hive door and so–
and so, the workers turn
on the drones and they revolt.
They swarm on them, they sting them
they drag their dead weight
to the door and they throw them out,
out into the cold to fend
as best they can, knowing
that they can’t–they can’t fend
and they will die. It all happens
in one day, on that one day
when the drones run out of luck
and the workers have had enough.

 

 

Sara Eddy is a writing instructor at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts. Her work has recently appeared in Postcard Poems and Prose, Surreal Poetics, and Panoply, and is forthcoming in Damfino and in Terrapin Press’ Donut Anthology. She can be found on Instagram at beequeen66 and on Twitter at @seddy66

This Vanity of Distance by Natasha Burge

“All great and precious things are lonely.”
— John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Bright banks of cloud in the bend and billow of bodies at prayer.
I’ve learned the anatomy of this life and I know its octaves of
needled grace; the edges are always dark and the center
forever wearing thin. I’ve watched the children coming home,
their mouths spangled like starfish. I’ve seen the women,
thick like dunes between their shoulders, wearing faces stained with
the runnels of time. I’ve known the men who carry their hands
like caves, like weighted stones, like slabs of bleached coral.
Together we kneel to the wind of memory, to the flowers made
of twine. Together we abide by laws of blood and fated salt.

Deep sky hangs like revelation, like a soft word taking
the darkness. My life is the crossing of arms, the raising of hands,
the bending of waist, and the folding of knees. My life is the touch
of ground, like ashes, like octaves, like slabs of bleached coral.
My life is the utter loneliness of precious things, this vanity of
distance, this blue calligraphy of ceaseless grace.

 

 

Natasha Burge is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer and psychogeographer living in the Arabian Gulf region. She is the writer-in-residence at the Qal’at al-Bahrain Museum and her writing has appeared in Pithead Chapel, The Smart Set, Pidgeonholes, and The Establishment, among others. More can be found at http://www.natashaburge.com

Checking for CorningWare by Robert Krantz

This evening I saw your shadowed face
reflected on the underside of a dinner plate
your venus flytrap lashes
drawing me in
deeper cups
it wasn’t the pressure that drove me mad
it was the talk about your dying—
your will for a plot away from them
and all that coffin soil
piled high
with bitter red roses
at least here there is something clean
something bright—like your eyes—
or the way you softly speak
to a bearded dragon
caressing his scaled back …
can you feel
the spiked surface
under your thumb
perpetually rubbing away what’s been
like Adam
I want to say something in the past—
+++++speak now or forever hold my peace
+++++play a note whose measure has been played
but that’s my style—always thinking
+++++thinking
++++++++++thinking
maybe now something simple—
You wash, I’ll dry.

 

 

Robert T. Krantz graduated from the University of Akron, OH with a BA in English. His individual works have appeared in Gargoyle, Birch Gang Review, Pittsburgh Poetry Review and others. Bitterzoet Press recently published two chapbooks of Robert’s work (Plus 4 and Hansel) and he recently dropped out of the MFA in Poetry program at University of Arkansas-Monticello. He makes his living as an industrial sales engineer in the Midwest.

Prodigal by F.E. Walls

That moment you knew you were lost,
each rolling ridge of yucca, a duplicate,
the bandit sun stole your water, salt.
The desert locked shut against you,

set thorns, cat claws, spines —
needle-sharp. You are lost
in the foothills amid the stiff wind.
You grab cacti, hear the ravens

as you stumble, fall on a rosette of bayonets.
The boulders beside you once billowed
plumes of liquid rock. Cooled, eroded.
Wind and rain carried their dust to the sea.

Do not be afraid. This fire cooks our changes.

At dusk, the gnarled pinyon pine
blackened in death is a silhouette
against the loosening sun.
Ankle swollen, your slab of body

draining among the cholla
feels a halo encircle the full moon,
double rings of rainbows,
faint indigo repeated twice.

Bright eye of the moon ignores your gaze
though even now you are sought, the prodigal.
The flares alight; the helicopter
churns up each arroyo seeking a sign.
Sing like the owl in the junipers. Don’t hide.

F.E.Walls’ poems appear in Pontoon, Ekphrasis, damselfly press, Avocet, & Strange Poetry among others, the writing text, Writing Across Cultures, & the anthology, Peace Poems V. 2. She blogs at http://wordandimageworker.com