Aug 14, 2022

Poems by Dan Raphael

PICTURES TO SHOW

I was excited to show melba
the pictures from my trip
then slowly realized
the only place I’d gone
was to sleep, but still the energy
of a few days of meeting new places & people
when I’m not sure what I’m remembering
was experienced awake or asleep

soon after waking yesterday
I found a rat writhing in a trap
and I had to kill it.
the day before that had been
unseasonably warm, spring color
in various stages of reveal
& that carried into yesterday

you can wake up any time during the day
you can wake up more than once in the same day
you can go weeks without being where you are


NAVIGATING THE MULTI-VERSE

I’ve said that once I’ve driven somewhere I could always
get there again but when you go somewhere that’s many wheres,
when past and future the same coin but of what realm,
no heads or tails just legs and wings, fins and mouth
flow adapting to e-gress and in-, a river sailing me,
cloud divided among dozens of alveoli, horizons floating
and fading in every direction, watercolor cartography,
deserts as deep as oceans, mountain barely big enough to trip over

technology from 3 million years ago that’s still functional
still changing, sometimes temperature polkas, sometimes sound
retreating to my left arriving at my right, scattered while seqeintial
as my talents are a mix of sewer, railroad and vending machine
liquid pouring without cup or drain, sealed objects
that won’t let us pass until we pick them up
and then become too fidgety to handle, try to
race ahead of us, scattering in several directions

rubik’s dice: changing numbers of sides & values
as spun, as resisting, more symbols than numbers
in an alphabet I’ve never learned, from a race with more
or fewer fingers, where counting is prayer
where gambling is conversation, as what moves to the center
gets broken apart & recombined, as the dice can change
what’s holding them, as a ball may awake mid-flight
may fall out of or change momentum

that’s the way the earth bounces, no sky in my pie,
a compass too polite to point, the first word in direction
is dire, when I see myself somewhere else
my only choices are escape or be invisible
walking into sleeves, rising onto wheels
no door to close and just one pedal

Aug 12, 2022

Poems by Jeffrey Side

DARK DREAM ENVELOPES

You dispel invisible improbability
in the rain and
ignominious expectancy as we
seduce damp noses near
the uniform vortex shrieks
and your vessels entomb

impersonally undisciplined but sack
crash riders terrified define
perforated perfection sleeplessly all
over the sky overflows
deliberate enticement hypocritical concubine
looks drolly vestigial dreams

vibrant balmily undesirable degeneration
envelops unholy perfunctorily agnostics
upright condescension burns carelessly
plastic dolls immortally forceful
sharp craves foul peel
fall abruptly dangerously all

beneath the virgin coma
sighs be luminous the
lust dies blankly narcissistic
streets mark complete vowels
yet ensnare sticky witches
at the stoops dimly
body nourishes thinly boastful
chivalry capitulates dazzlingly travelled
wile the evil rider
defers dark weird and
quaking about the seaweed
reduces night scared unsafe
lost in broad radiance
an unreliable map for
whose sake the guest
makes his way and
misses his turning so
glittering on the mist

we condone mammoth rubies
before the god of
life comes again so
sensuous above the slime
we prod transparent delusions
the spirits way cool

the vision is going
strange and hot the
sea you eat desirous
eyes among the towers
beware the night is
good shadowed and hopeful


LIVINGSTON DRIVE

Oh my dearest darling
I have done you no wrong.
Like that time in the morning
I fell in love with you.
Your father was a good man.
He loved me like a son.
And now you are absent evermore.

What have you done to me
with your words that are now gone?
I loved you like a saviour
in this world you can’t forsake.
My lover of the starry eyes,
I loved you long ago.
And now you are absent evermore.

I only came upon your arms
when I called that afternoon.
And I saw a woman in the forest
who was calling out to you.
Her picture was like the one
you showed me hidden in your room.
And now you are absent evermore.


SOMETHING THAT WAS NOT FRAGMENTED

I contemplate a part of
your beauty that is
like having a new key, or
like holding a snake that
has had its venom emasculated.

The battle with that serpent is
almost over, and the
joys of the fruit will soon
be settled.

You are the designer of
my limitations. You are the
root of my fervour, and
I am caught in your days.

I spent too much time on
the reckoning and not
enough on the shoreline—or
so it was mentioned to me.

You knew the sea would
cure me, though, but not
for how long.


HARMONY FROM DAMAGES

I have heard a good deal most
difficult I would not presume to
dispute the thinking eye or why we
do not recall past lives.

Now the chief god of the Olympians
the moon and witness to genesis in
1980 a group met putting aside a
need to revive the dead.

O my God forgive these angels
seeking some sport in the sun.
Do not remember my madness
and the pain you know I must bleed.

My daughter went within a man
once the viceroy of Egypt. A man of
empty hands I warned about talking to
himself beneath his visions.


IF I HIDE THE STARS AT NIGHT

O Joy, you’re really not this mad.
You’ve tasted everything I’ve ever had.
I would wander in your night
if you’d give me back my right
to make you see that you just play games
with yourself while you wait to claim the dust.
And you speak as though
you’ve got every detail sussed.
And reading all the books you sent to me,
I could never be this free.
If I’m gone were would your mind be?

O Joy, you know that you are wrong.
I don’t have to be the one that’s gone.
If I hide the stars at night
will you give up on your fight?
And we’ll pretend that we share this roof,
these walls, this table and that chair.
I could be someone else for you
if you really must compare.
And I’d see the old cathedral fly.
And the mountains passing by.
And your nose turned up towards the sky.




Aug 10, 2022

Poems by Mark Pirie

CITIZEN. SOLOMON ISLANDS

a citizen sits beside the sea
of his village, his haven …

to the left of him the plastic
moves in like an unwanted visitor

staying for good. the plastic
forms like debris from a lost war.

the citizen thinks he is invisible,
no identity, in his own homeland.

the sea is meant to be peaceful
as when he was a child.

his memories shrink as the sea
advances, his home now under threat.

Based on a photo by Daniel Kakadi


WINTERING

1

now I know it is winter
the trees are bare
and the temperature is colder

if I turn up the heater
the room will be summer
at the right temperature

there are “signs and signifiers”
and language read aright
reveals them to the reader

2

now I know this is a poem
because the weather is in a room
with a view leading somewhere

you know it’s becoming winter
somewhere some place in some heart
in some language in some country

follow the signs to summer also
know where know place know one’s heart
know one’s language know one’s land

Poems by Sheila Murphy

SIGHT READ

All the white weeds near the cornices
Amount to a blancmange
Of scenic infancy across from shapes
And sides and seeds
The thought of kindness withers
As we watch the icing tease
Contrast from severance
Until a melody comes true
We vocalize to school
The precipice of tactile peach print
Overtones along the straightedged
Path the eye takes in
Absorbing fact and tacit wide
Arrangements


HAPPEN STANCE

Why not white out warbling for the nonce
The jealous birds singing in thirds
The Greenwich Mean Time sentencing
Of music as defined why not
Barricade falsetto arks replete with
Thudding selfsame personalities disguised
Distraught and seeking a way out
Why not keep the cinders polished
Brand or bright or solace filled through night
The slack tones of approaching trucks
The blue of salt spray on the rocks
And cordial interference by well meaning
Neighborly constraints why not just
Bleat


JUST KEEP

Just keep lying still discover morning sleep
Recover patchwork of erosion
That keeps revolving the inner door
Spinning sacredness spawning light to center
The canary within fictitious mine
Who needs syllables when mind
Repeats its calling and contains
The utmost kiss of sleep again
Is there sufficient space between heartbeats
How do they glow how know
Least sum of some of squares
Are strained to match magnetic wit
And pulse to shepherd steep
Immersion

Aug 5, 2022

Poems by Steven Bruce

 THE NIGHT, FULL OF IMPOSSIBILITIES


That the cold lips of the night
would emit some insight.

That the coffee could stay hot
and poems would write themselves.

That our eyes could be awake forever.

That our burdens and regrets
would be as light as our shadows.

That our days could be full
of banquets and music.

That we would not speak before thought.

That the truth could wear
whatever fashion we desired.

That the world would not go
its own stubborn way.

That our lives could be our own.

That the cavities of modern living
would not swallow us whole.

That we could travel back in time
and right a few wrongs.

That we would let old sediment rest.

That all could have parents
to cherish and support us.

That we would grow wings
and flee from our fears.

That we could smile despite it all.

That the blossoms of our relationships
would not wilt and perish.

That each of us could understand
we are worthy of companionship.

That we would not lose all we love.

That our rage and violence
would be as voiceless as the moon.

That we could learn
to live within ourselves.

That the world would not forget our names.


MIDNIGHT VERSE XII
For Małgorzata Bruce

And night comes
with a gentle storm to permeate
the conduits of my blood.

And shy rain whispers
your name.

And lightning glints
in the empty planetarium
of my eye.

And a dark cloud carriage
bolts by the sickle moon.

And while you sleep,
the skittish night bird in my heart
sings songs of you.

Poems by Jeffrey Side

WHEN THE AIR WAS STILL

We were together and she fell.
Her name I could never spell.

When morning came the trees then shaded
a sunlit spot in forest gladed.

I came upon a table polished.
God is love but who is nourished?

A single anchor hanging down.
A ritual without a sound.

The rivers of youth and death
are now awake where they once crept.

I tamed a serpent in my hand
and buried a woman in the sand.

Prester John has come again,
although he never left us then.

Animals now cough at night.
And clarity seems recondite.

The clouds made shadows on her chest
as she prepared for final rest.

I was born to forget my death.
I was born to count my breath.

A paper bag lived in the breeze
while my love died of a new disease.

I mourned her when the air was still,
and lay on her grave in the morning chill.


WHAT DO THE FRENCH QUOTE?

She loved to sit and listen
to me sing as she held me
against her rings while
the worm destroyed her.

The caves to the east can
be followed by the sun.

And she travelled there
among the strangers
from the sea.

Like the bubble-islands in
my bath she never stayed the
same. And when she
woke she saw no one.

She kept me warm with company.
And we would
whisper for hours about the
books she’d bought.

Then I would watch her
automatic hand land and turn
the pages of some thin volume
asking what the
French would quote.

She asked about the river,
and whether ’twas true
that glass never smashed there.

I said it was so when I left.


FOOLISHNESS ON A WINDY NIGHT

I would find a room and sit
looking at the back of my eyelids
for many hours.
But no blindness could be found there.
No corners could be turned.
And no chairs heard.

We went fleeing in the forest
between the trees that were dead
and the counted skeletons
that had turned red.

There was no one about to tell
us to go so we stayed
and smelt the smoke of wood-fire shade
and pre-Raphaelite heat.

The shade then began to get light
and I acted like a foolish man.

We married on a windy night when the
cathedral sign was still on.


ON HOT SUMMER NIGHTS

I declared my love to her
and she turned herself away.
But I will surely offer it
again to her someday.

She lived on her own
near to where I was born.
And though I never told her
to her I was sworn.

On hot summer nights
when trapped in my flat
I’d wander out to see her
wherever it was that she sat.

But she was with another
who went there for to hide.
And many distances he had travelled
to lay his baggage at her side.

Aug 3, 2022

Poem by Alan Catlin

PORTRAIT TAKING

The studio photographer's
negatives cut in two

developed as spliced-in-
at random portraits

half-men
half- monsters

all those headless
bodies that have no
idea they must

one day wake

Poems by James Matthew McNabney

SLEEPING BEAR

I drive throughout your countryside and see
the deep dark forest with the trees that sing
their music through the streams and air to me
and all the other mammals, fish, and beings

who feel delight and share in all your beauty.
Who can deny such elegance and charm?
Demand I for each soul to give all fealty
and pledge to fight all enemies that harm

divine manifestation of the pure
which also shows through hills and dunes of sand!
I loved you so and felt an urge so sure
to offer you forever my poor hand.

But you could see my soul was weak and bare
and dreams are all I have of Sleeping Bear.


OCEANS AWAY

Woosh-woosh spray, woosh-woosh spray,
the waves sing their music to me.
In this moment that feels so wild and free,
I must leave this song for another day
when I return from my retreat. 

Kiss me quickly, she will say,
You cannot leave without your fee,
A message from the sea:
I’ll sing you this song every way
so you return for that kiss so sweet. 

Your sands I walked, cherished, loved
Til’ I no longer could. A sand castle, my heart,
if protected would solidly remain.
But strong waves have shoved
The sand crystals of my castle, falling apart
From you, an ocean I will not meet again.




Aug 2, 2022

Poems by William Allegrezza

WORLD MAP 1

Head in the direction of
water and search among
the shells that are unbroken.
When you find five, turn
north and head over the
beach until you reach the
large pine. There, speak
your spell with a loud
voice into blowing wind.
Watch for the glimmering.
When you see it, move towards
it and dig rooted at its spot
for your poem.


BEWILDER

i thought i understood the words we shuffle between us, the movement up the chain, the progress of history from place to place, the mind’s growth, but now i pull at threads in carpet and watch them peel away one by one while waiting for them to connect in a run. living, dead, expressed, not, what does it matter? lost in the complex wiring or the nothing, i empty the need to be and start to question the limbs reaching at night above me, the leaves’ pigments dying in ones, the doors on hinges closed. i heard the call to the wild and found only confusion. i thank you for lying to me so long.

Jul 31, 2022

Poems by Clara Burghelea

FALLING APART

I cannot sleep, flitting back and forth between the sheets,
together we hunt gravity with a rusty musket, except you
are in the upstairs bedroom, naming all the ways in which
wood can burn, rot, splinter, stain, and break, its flame,
a residue of coughing fits, on the couch, the air tingles
with lust for all the cravings that fit the tight space, pull
a bee from a rose with my bare lips, feel the sick sneeze
of the Akita on my cheek, save my favorite Skittles color
for last, let a tall man ink-stain my breath, engrave mosaics
in his rough skin, hold a sandtimer between my thighs,
and this house, striving to stay unharmed, the edgy silence,
a loitering moon inside its lids, honeysuckling the wait.


GIFTING

A mother has a glass tongue,
the spinal cord of the sun
exhausting all her cells, then
follows a succession of leavings,
little deaths or explosions, the son
tearing up flesh to grow flesh,
a daughter exhumed every year
to appease guilt and hang desire
by the throat, eat your fill, cradle
those hungers
, says the man who
tries to shatter every sliver of her
tongue with his metaphor-laden
teeth, a mother knows how to open
her mouth into a snow globe, every
soap flake into a boy, girl, lover.





Jul 29, 2022

Poems by Timothy Pilgrim

WINDING UP WINDING DOWN

Memories swirl by un-queued, like a top
spinning, wobble, mere beginning
of turning to un-spun. Dreams

askew — blur of gold, fuchsia,
white, blue, careen to blackness,
dizzy journey along sunset frozen red.

I carve a last whistle from willow,
cliff-paint mantis, stilted, still,
sculpt ravens in salt, outline them

with snow. I forget lies, slights,
crawl diapered in circles ever more wide.
Fear the final letting-go,

I don’t know you, call you evil,
wish you dead. Bitter end of the end,
I forgive myself, then forget.


AFTER THE TITLE

comes more memories, iced,
their color, blue. Similes signal

another interlude. Regret
guides the cursor, moves

my fingers down. Cruel slights,
to begin, go, sleep alone, no more

midnight swims, no forested hike
to meadow, camp, fish, count stars,

spoon all night. Stoke the echos
with reluctant strokes, let regret

spill over line edge, plunge deep
in pool below, struggle to surface,

float. Admit love tossed, the loss,
let pulsing guilt stream out.




Poems by Bob Beagrie

THE FOREST AT THE BACK OF THE THROAT

Curl    unfurl
a girl of ash paths
inhabits 
her
leaf-blown body

stalked by gen-
erations
nations       notions
of implanted    fear

reach strain
test the cliff behind 
the cliff-face

spider race inside 
the bone-house

balancing china
bowls like skulls

judder  stutter  putter
he plucks cobweb  
strings of a lyre

croaks for the thin wraiths
in the forest 
behind the eyes

jaw stretch lip   husk
retch    rust    and reek
how do we 
get used 
           to this?


THE MAKING OF A WALKING MORT


These walking morts be not married. These for their unhappy years doth go as a autem-mort, and will say their husbands died either at Newhaven, Ireland, or in some service of the Prince…


            Thomas Harman, ‘A Caveat for Common Cursitors’, (1566).


It begins at daybreak with a corn dolly dancing on the cloth of gold
embroidered with threads of birdsong, their bodies bursting from bushes

then settling like anxious flakes of ash further along the plough lines.
The Oak Fair in full swing, the May-Maid will be forever remembren

the day she was a queen, with the stook-deer racing boundary stones
like a frisk-mage, tail alight, carrying the morrow’s foredooms

of militiamen, under orders, erecting fences to tame the wilds,
to wall us out of our livings, erase the village, turf us into Bethlam.

Parcelling England for productivity, along lines of private progress,
how ale and blood will stain the grass when tempers spark

over eatwell boards, over grievances of forced evictions.
What kind of commonweal did our poor fella’s kill for?

So a bloke with a squint and wort on his snout can charge us at the gate
counting us in and clicking us out, keeping the tally straight.

Watch the lord’s herd drift into tree shade, the long languid stare
drinking the estate, the wobble of a wire under the weight of trespass

and I thought it possible to imagine another version, to recognise it
like a long-lost friend from a previous existence

or the burr of a childhood dream of an apple which, once bitten,
tasted so sweet it couldn’t be anything but the soul.



Poem by Jeff Harrison

CINNAMON CONSTELLATIONS

citizen fragrances cathedral amorphous
swan drink, sharp new stunning
& happy, I get scrupulously after narrative
so green painterly speaking failure
explosions like shore dissolving lava falcons
drifting all to harbor, this the sentence
acknowledges gingerly, whitecaps easily
purchased, along with malted fevers
what vanished -- voice rare, island-famous?
a splotch to end pier, struck bobbing buying
during decades when portholes speak little
determine thimble work in the ago lounge
the shop-green knows who admires parody-taking
to say nothing of cinnamon constellations

Jul 27, 2022

Poems by Jen Schneider

ON NEW BEGINNINGS & FLAVORS OF YESTERDAY :: STAY AWHILE

metal cutlery scrapes freshly washed ceramics. all souls hungry. all plates clean. fork tines clank spoon edges. egg whites glisten. yolks spread. grape jam greets whole wheat toast. sliced atop oven browned potatoes. neatly diced. delicately seasoned & seasonal layers blanket & warm. square pats of butter bubble. one. two. three. then melt. three. two. one. cream cheese on biscuits. dark & light liquids change hues. soft clouds smile. then morph. puff. poof.

casseroles cool. cameras click. ballpoint pens scratch. high gloss photos on laminated plastic menus crystallize. sugar cubes stack. coins drop. familiar lyrics linger in air heavy of unfamiliar costumes & customers. charlie brown chatter. lucy calls from the counter. linus reads an oversized text in an undersized corner booth. small circular bowls of salted peanuts. tall cylindrical glasses of icy colas. opposites attract.

comics curate laughter. even as charlie brown oscillates & linus reflects. beagles need to be fed. bagels need to be toasted. houses of all sizes need to be tended. lyrics warm even as they unravel. stories need to be told. grains & grinds absorb all evidence of physical being. inhale. air heavy of favorites. turkey bacon. oatmeal. black coffee. one cream. two sugars. always sweet.

him. either just on or off shift. blue and brown plaid wools. all buttons secure. brown corduroy caps. suspenders hidden from view. always looking up. until up took sides & gravity pulled on suspenders. even as worlds crash. closing time. can no longer stay. can’t go. no more home. he is home. scents of musk linger on fabrics. wools & cottons merge. overcoats find new roles as blankets. shield harsh winds. wind new paths. nighttime walks. ten blocks north. seeking home.

woodstock whistles. eggs sizzle. tunes take stock. all plates clean. all souls hungry. ready to put on a smile. & stay. for a while. for new beginnings.


ARCHIE MET VERONICA AT THE COUNTER & THE FONZ MOVED IN :: HOOKED AT THE 24-HOUR DINER

the soda fountain drew regulars while the booths were reserved for business. mostly convos on races, of horses, arms, and happenstance. i’d rotate from a single red vinyl spiral to a worn booth in the back. the dime-a-song jukebox a draw. the ninety-nine-cent cup of endless coffee also appealing. some days, i’d flip a coin. heads for the booth and an extra song. tails for the counter and a bottomless cup. one sunday, the counter won and riverdale and i took an empty seat. my fingers traced archie as his eyes tracked veronica through pep comics issue twenty six -- a classic, while the coffee, a deep roast, caffeinated -- two creams. extra milk. as i welcomed an extra slice of apple crumble and a scoop of vanilla custard. the spiral to my right spun and unfamiliar boots, black combat, settled. i turned and a gentleman, dressed in a leather bomber, winked. i blushed. florence, from behind the counter, fussed. “coffee or tea?” “a slice of blueberry and a pint of milk for me,” the man replied. he wore a white short-sleeve tee and slim-fit jeans. a fonz look-alike by all means. i worked my crumble while he nursed his pie. the black and white television spun tales of roadrunners and frontrunners. channel ten cartoons plus a plate of politics on the side. the man with style (& styling pomade) expressed an interest in archie. i offered a look. he sensed an opening and put out a hook. i was caught without knowledge, every fonz has his tricks. thirty years and four kids later, he still has the kicks. & he’s still my perfect ten.






Jul 26, 2022

Poems by Keith Nunes

APPASSIONATA

He wakes to clouds fastened to the sky,
Something inside his head is keening like a lovelorn narwhal,
He shaves, everywhere,

Kneeling, his hands in kid-gloves, touching her naked body as
she stands in high heels, back to the front door
‘He never touches my soul’ 

Morning bird-song collapses into a mourning dirge,
She’s quavering under the piano, drinking Finlandia from the bottle,
He runs Beethoven’s Für Elise over the keys,
“You wretch! Why that piece!” she shouts,
“Equivocator! You said I was forgiven.”

The renowned portrait artist waits wrathfully,
beside his easel, for
his silly-rich subjects to settle


GORKY 


Arshile Gorky
paints from
inside the Peculiar,
Triumphantly!
He paints the word
bravado without a say-so,
Trauma is spelt with
a flourish
registers as a B flat,
The titular character
in his oil-on-canvas novella
is pawned off,
You can see him mashed & draped
resembling a trampled
Chagall perpetrator
&
Maxim Gorky,
writing in the shadow
of the gulag,
‘To paint is to bear a child,
To write is to raise the child’
Once he bled Tolstoy blood
On Moscow snow,
Now there’s only blood in his eyes,
He looks up,
‘Is it a sign?’ says his muse,
‘I can’t see where it wants me to go’ says Alexei Maximovich,

The GORKYS,
Once were cousins,
But never again

Jul 25, 2022

Poems by Andrew K. Peterson

DECISION
after Sonny Rollins

a kiss
on your novocaine mouth
little abrupt blocks
wander on the changes

trees from branches –
these tender senses –
it’s apparent The Hawk
surprised the speaker:

a breakdown
with transparent tone
crackle of a naked flame’s
opaque swaggeroso

baby
I got rhythm
with a Honeysuckle
bridge

extras echo from before
could you feel a thing


ALLERGY

i fight last
night in the
dream fight
the writing
by writing
a poem i forget
this morning
i apologize to
the morning
i reach for
the writing
in the dream
i remember:
(eyes water
what they
inhale, sneeze
a hem-fresh batch
of rococo confetti:
sarcasm
pronounced
s o u r chasm)
mornings
in the mouth
of the beast
i sleep with
Dream Queen
spinning
on the platter
soft hugs
for a delicate
flower
still smells
like yesterday’s
sun

Poems by Eileen R. Tabios

BLUE CHAPTER #10

Stone on finger drops
dissembler sky with a lie—
the color “azure”

azure is defined as impossible

Perceptions of color depend on vision, light, and interpretation, such that an understanding of color involves physics, physiology, and psychology. To see the sky on a ring’s gemstone is to experience desire. To see the sky as pale is to feel longing. To feel longing is to have known the many scales of loss, from a genteel pain to almost-obliterating anguish. Truth would be better served if your ring’s gemstone was a small fragment of a mirror. Raise your hand before your face and you will see your eyes. But reflections require vision. Often, we cannot maintain a gaze with a mirror—it is impossible for regret to hide and, thus, avoid discernment. Azure is defined by Merriam-Webster as “the blue color of the clear sky.” Thus, azure means “impossible”—the sky is never clear. If our world exists because color is a narrative, it is almost impossible to avoid the existence of gods.


SHADOW CHAPTER #11

Survive shadow worlds
by letting tears reign and rain—
see how rainbows bring color

a shadow transcends reflection to create a threshold

He trained himself by the standards of an inheritance he did not want. If he wished, he could eradicate anybody who shared the planet with him. But if he did, he would be invisible because no one would see him. He knew the mistake of shadows rebelling against merely reflecting when their existence depended on others to reflect. Mourn with tears when no one is looking; tears improve vision. See. See enough to see the downside, like oligarchs who can’t exist without their ostentation witnessed by others. “Oligarchs need not just to be but be seen as filthy rich, a need that rises with economic wealth,” advised psychologists when the world warred against Russia’s elite after Russia invaded Ukraine. “No more shopping / in Hashtag Milano // No more partying / in Hashtag SaintTropez // No more diamonds / in Hashtag Antwerp.” In a world where reality functions on hashtags, shadows also become thresholds to alternatives.



Poems by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozabal

A LIGHT SO INTOXICATING

The street lamp hung on its
every word, foul-mouth moth,
playing around the light bulb.
The moth spat out stories from
its night before. It would not stop
and continued to make the street
lamp blush. The moth was drunk
with warm light. It asked the
street lamp to go steady. It told
the street lamp it never felt a
light so intoxicating. It moved
in back and forth, mouthing foul
words, until it was out of breath.
It pressed against the light bulb,
a burning hunk of moth.


FALL AT MY OWN RISK

I fall
at my own
risk, gave up
on wings

featherless
without
bitterness

blue always

but
still
there






Poems by John Bradley

DEAR ADA LIMÓN

When a hawk lands
in the backyard birdbath
and opens it wings
to claim: This too,
revolves around me

we know
this is poem-worthy
but not a poem
not until
a small squirrel
(pesky, perturbed,
and possessive)
leaps up
from groundcover
and plunges
into the hawk-occupied
birdbath
causing the hawk
to flee far
beyond the trees
this, this is a poem—
if it can be told
in one sleek breath.


MY OTHER HAND

I don’t want you to stall and stammer
in the asking because eventually you will. So

I’ll tell you now. My other hand,

the one you’re not looking at, has recently
grown a small mouth. It’s too shy

to say, Note the fruity, sweet breath.

The delicate, sharp teeth. Jaw that snaps
shut in one-tenth of a second
. I tell you this

because I know eventually you’ll try

to poke or stroke it. It can detect the slightest
scent of self-delusion, my other hand. Awake

even while asleep, it preys upon the unaware. Look

at it now, quiet as a dangling modifier, waiting
for your next move. What’s it saying?

Lean close, to better hear me. My friend,

I swear it’s the other hand—so smooth
and toothless—you should beware.

Jul 24, 2022

Poems by Jack Galmitz

HILLS

Sure you like to climb
but you hesitate
because you like
to maintain distance
to what's there
otherwise, if you step
on the trail that ascends
with labored breath
you'll realize it will end
and what then


UNTITLED

When she talks
I hear her
four guitars off
maybe it's a viola
I could be wrong.
It's drawn across
the heart I'm sure
and rises up
as I lean down
and there's four stars.
I saw her before,
but where I can't recall.
Maybe at the mall
with her girlfriends.
She was taller.
And all to me
missing from the décollage
of my investigation
of (if you'll excuse the word)
being was in her.


OPUS 4

We're introduced
and engage in small talk -
String Quartet, Op. 4.
All the score:
the notes in each bar,
the articulation, the tone;
we have so much
to learn from one
another.
We listen closely.
More than once.
We watch the night
paint surfaces and we
take notes.
What more can we do?
The music becomes richer,
more precise as we draw
closer than before.


DO YOUR PART

Bison were shot
dead until there
were few left.
Their hides were piled
up like mountains.
That was then.
Now that they've been
brought back they're made
into burgers.
What else
would you expect.
They say the meat
has a pleasant taste
when flame broiled.
I've never tasted them
and I think I'll pass on this.
Why? So the Plains Indians
can regain their stature
in an alternate
future.

Poems by Dan Raphael

PICTURES TO SHOW I was excited to show melba the pictures from my trip then slowly realized the only place I’d gone was to sleep, but still ...