based on text set down in 1998
I walked him slowly to the car
and sat him in the seat,
I put his legs in, one by one
and checked his hands and feet.
With empty glazed Alzheimer eyes
In that once gifted head,
He stared out as I closed the door,
His words all left unsaid.
We drove up to the dentist
and I helped him up the stair,
I walked him in and guided him
to sit down on a chair.
His placid vacant look was aimed
at all that he could see:
the chairs and floor in front of him
but never once at me.
I took a glossy magazine
and sat there leafing through.
It held no interest for me:
the fashion world – who's who,
until – a large advertisement
for perfume caught my eye:
the sexy label "LONGING" made me
feel about to cry…
A young girl on a flight of steps
with autumn leaves, September…
the caption at the top invited:
MAKE A MAN REMEMBER.
I turned and sadly looked at him
and thought, as in a dream -
of how much perfume I would need
to bring forth just a gleam…
How much of it I'd need to wear
to bring him back to life –
Oh, how much, to remember that
I'm Miriam – your wife!
Rumi Morkin is the pen-name of Miriam Webber, born in 1934 in London, living in Israel since 1953. Miriam has written poetry on and off for many years while working at various handcrafts, which she has also taught, and since learning how to spin and weave, she has accumulated a large collection of sheep of many kinds and sizes. She regularly translates the tri-annual journal of the Alzheimer's Association of Israel from Hebrew into English. Her first chapbook The Ogdan Nasherei of Rumi Morkin was privately published in 2017 (Cyclamen & Swords Publishing). A second chapbook is planned. Miriam's poems have been published in the Deronda Review, and another poem received honorable mention in a national competition. Two short stories have been published: in Prosopisia and in Narrow roads.
The Veiled Nun
Innate beauty, ever pale,
Shielded by a gauze like veil.
What secret dost thou hide?
Matters not, least to me.
Noble lady? Or she
who made a solemn vow?
I see a beauty,
carved from stone,
Giuseppe, your secret
remains a mystery.
Ted Duke is retired, but enjoys doing volunteer work in the community, watching Washington Nationals baseball games with his wife, spending time with his grandchildren, restoring old automobiles and tending to his small herd of Angus. His stories have appeared in Pilcrow and Dagger, Hippocampus Magazine, Mused-the BellaOnline Literary Review, 404words.com, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and THEMA Literary magazine. He is querying agents to represent his Young Adult novel, Sallying Forth.
Breton's Song of the Lark
Hair defers to scarf.
Some shirts are drab, though washed.
Heading off to work
at dawn can be harsh.
At least early light’s easy
on the eyes, and a bird on the wing
sometimes will weave and whistle
a high, thin tune worth a pause.
Oh, go back home and eat warm bread,
crawl back to sleep in your rumpled bed.
I’ve heard it, too,
but work is work
and birdsong is good
for nothing but a song.
The next step is always away
from home and bed--
toward fields of this and that
to pay the bills, to buy the bread.
Matthew Murrey: "My poems have appeared in various journals such as Tar River Poetry, Poetry East, and Rattle. I received an NEA Fellowship in Poetry a number of years ago, and my first book manuscript is seeking a publisher. I am a high school librarian in Urbana, Illinois where I live with my partner. We have two sons who live in the Pacific Northwest. My website is https://matthewmurrey.weebly. com/"
The Persistence of Memory II
Our son was abandoned by the one
he loved the most, my dream
of his life with his wife warped now
as memory herself. I have nightmares:
In one he dangles from a thin thread
then is suspended in midair. I’m sure
he will fall to his death, but he opens
his parka and glides to a safe landing.
In another dream I’m collecting brains
in my mother-in-law’s apartment
on 85th and 3rd. I remove the skulls
of my victims. I pound nail after nail
to form a baseball sized cluster
in one skull, create a knob to pull
off the top of his head. I want
to eat the brains I’ve collected
but know it’s wrong. I awake with terror
coursing through my body like death row current.
It takes days to understand that I’m looking
for a way to comprehend what’s happened.
The problem with memory is that
she persists. Within her embrace
I am a hollow tree covered with ants,
a body alone in the desert life.
Charlie Brice: "I am a retired psychoanalyst living in Pittsburgh. My full length poetry collection, Flashcuts Out of Chaos, is published by WordTech Editions (2016) and my second collection, Mnemosyne's Hand (WordTech Editions), will appear in 2018. My poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, Hawaii Review, The Main Street Rag, Chiron Review, The Dunes Review, SLAB, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Plainsong, and elsewhere."
Here is the human touch
without which no thing could be
said to exist.
In the old caves--Chauvet, or say
Cueva de las Manos--hands follow
contours of rock to describe themselves
in stencil and print, with chalk
and charcoal, with polychromatic
ochres, and always with some touch of pink.
The ancients used slick swells of stone
walls and ceilings to give the impression
of moving upward in the flickering light,
often found in recesses absent
of any forms of human life
as if yearning had no body.
The images of open hands, hands held high,
a universal sign we might otherwise find
in the elementary school, or say
out on an open highway,
a conscious act of attention,
a reaching out, trying to touch
something, as if their owners wished
to offer some impression of themselves,
their yearning, or to invite others,
future hands, to join them,
a community, as if they did not wish
to enter the unknown alone.
Michael Gessner has authored 11 books of poetry and prose. His work may be found in American Literary Review, The French Literary Review, The Kenyon Review, North American Review, Oxford Magazine, rue des Beaux-Arts (Paris,) Verse Daily, The Yale Review of Humanities in Medicine, and others. For additional information, please see https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/michael-gessner or https://www.michaelgessner.com/
There is a woman in a browning field of summer
wheat and somewhere a radio is playing
her favourite song to a window shutting for the evening.
She is in a pink shirtdress with black dirt
beneath her fingernails. Her hands
are rough, the kind from time spent running
them against every shade of wood grain. The kind of rough
of humming in your sleep with nobody in bed
beside you to hear.
Maybe she is hypnotized by the high noon light
or maybe she is suffocating in the whitecaps of gold.
Or maybe she just wants to be left alone,
and I’m not sure it makes any difference.
The stickers in her hose turn her pale
ankle skin into plowed acreage. Her body
a scarecrow. An exhibit.
Her dark hairs rattlesnake through the wind until
the farm is a dollhouse under a magnifying glass
sky. She accordioned to the ground
at some point, idyllically,
with a haystack at her back,
as if this were a painting, as if this were
something any of us have a name for.
Kat Lewis is a candidate in poetry at the University of Idaho where she has served as managing editor and reader for Fugue Literary Journal. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Meadow, High Desert Journal, The Superstition Review, Santa Clara Review, and elsewhere. She lives and teaches in Moscow, Idaho.
Burn This Beauty
On a warm March night, I take my kids to the playground. Emily doesn’t want to go at first, complaining that she’d rather stay inside and play on her Kindle, but it’s all I can do to make Jonathan and Nathan put on their boots and jackets before they run out the door. Once we get outside, the moist air pulls at us. We leave our small yard, hemmed in by a rusty chain link fence. The streetlights are coming on.
As Emily and Nathan ride their bikes up the street towards the schoolyard, I feel my neck tense up. There’s a lot of traffic a block away on Detroit Avenue, and ambulances scream by late at night. I remember coming here a few years ago and finding junkies shooting up in the plastic playground tunnel. I made my kids leave immediately, ignoring their pleading cries. Recently, the school fenced the lot, fixed up the playground and added a toddler area, and it’s gotten safer.
Tonight, a full moon hangs in the sky. The patches of ice on the spongy playground surface spider web and snap as we walk. I play “monster” with the kids, running after them as they squeal. As it gets darker, Nathan does a strip tease, first unzipping his jacket, then taking his arms out, and finally throwing it on top of the slide, where it stays. This winter, we’ve had many 50-degree days like this, and even when I tell them not to take their coats off, it’s hard to stop them.
It’s completely dark now, but the kids don’t want to leave. They jump on the snow piles left by the plow. Jonathan falls in a crater and I rescue him. Later, seeing Thomas Cole’s “View of Shroon Mountain, Essex County, New York, After a Storm,” I notice the two Native American men hunting in the foreground, their red headdresses blending in with the autumn New World landscape. The one standing in front holds a musket, the snout poking up through the understory of the forest, and I feel my neck tense up again, at the dangers of a warming planet.
Lee Chilcote: "My poetry has been published in Great Lakes Review, Oyez Review, Steam Ticket, PacificREVIEW, Kaws Mouth and other publications. My essays have been published in Out of Line, Muse, Riverwind, Whiskey Island, Belt and the books Rust Belt Chic: The Cleveland Anthology, The Cleveland Neighborhood Guidebook, A 2016 Race Anthology and Cleveland in Prose and Poetry. I have also written for Vanity Fair, Next City, Planning, Agence France Press, Belt and other publications. My chapbook, The Shape of Home, was a finalist for two poetry competitions and was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. I completed an M.A. in English and Creative Nonfiction Writing from Cleveland State University in 2002, where I was awarded the Leonard Trawick Creative Writing Prize for nonfiction writing. I'm cofounder and director of the nonprofit organization Literary Cleveland, whose mission is to create and nurture a vibrant literary arts community in Northeast Ohio."
What We Need
Why shouldn’t flowers look like clam balloons
on strings, like coral fireworks surrounding
blue eyeballs? Why not golden strawberries,
a yellow sickle on a bed of maroon?
They don’t exist, Madame Hohnloser said,
but who died and made her god of all things
growing? They may not yet be discovered,
or evolved. Perhaps we may simply need
them to exist in the face of so much
sorry predictability, so many
machines, so little room to walk freely.
Maybe this is why the Samurai
on the vase is smiling. Surrounded
by colour, he refuses not to dream.
J. Stephen Rhodes
Poems by J. Stephen Rhodes have appeared in over fifty literary journals, including Shenandoah, Tar River Poetry, and Texas Review, as well as several international reviews. Wind Publications has published his two poetry collections, The Time I Didn’t Know What to Do Next (2008) and What Might Not Be (2014). He has won a number of literary awards including two fellowships from the Hambidge Center for the Arts and Sciences, selection as a reader for the Kentucky Great Writers Series. Most recently, he won First Prize in Still: The Journal’s annual poetry contest. He holds an MFA from the University of Southern Maine-Stonecoast and a Ph.D. from Emory University.
Zdenek Tmej, Czech Man Called Up for Work, 1943
Because of you, we won the war.
Communiqués sent to save Kursk Offensive
Go un-dispatched and lie
On the desk whose top covers your lap
Like an afghan. The phone that rings
Breathes with the voice of Goering
Crying with the news of new warplanes. Still
In your 19th-century mustache and cap
Slouched with eagle of the Reich, your head rests
Caught in the stag’s antlers of your hands.
What are you dreaming about?
Girls with wine and baskets, no doubt.
A mother’s voice like a shout of birdsong.
She is calling you, and you are a boy again
Wanting to follow the girls with their wine
Into an apple orchard. Anyway,
You never liked work, or Hitler,
And you are too old to start.
Andrew Miller: "I am a poet, critic and translator with over eighty publications to my name. My poems have appeared in such journals as The Massachussett’s Review, Ekphrasis, Iron Horse,Shenandoah, Spoon River Review, Laurel Review, Hunger Mountain, Rattle and New Orleans Review. In addition, I have had poems appear in such anthologies as How Much Earth, Anthology of Fresno Poets (2001) and The Way We Work: Contemporary Literature from the Workplace (2008). Finally, I am one of the co-editors of The Gazer Within, The Selected Prose of Larry Levis (2001) and the author of Poetry, Photography Ekphrasis: Lyrical Representations of Photography from the 19th Century to the Present (2015). These many publications have come with a number of awards for my poetry. Four of my poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, three by Ekphrasis Magazine and one by Yemassee, and in 2002, David St John chose my poem “Hello My Lovely” as the best poem for Runes’ Magazine’s Mystery Prize. Additionally, in 2004, 2005 and 2006, my manuscript The Flesh of the Parables was short listed by the National Poetry Series and by Tupelo Press. I hold a PhD from Copenhagen University on the subject of ekphrastic poetry and photography."
1 Kings 1:1-4
And then there is Abishag
who cherishes the king --
he won’t touch her when she bathes
him with bay leaves, singing
his psalms or teasing
with tent refrains
on the queen and that old affair;
he won’t touch her full breasts
full under the wet blouse
and her hips clinging
to the soaked skirt and one mischievous
bay leaf on the tremulous curve of the world --
he won’t look when he stands in the tub,
shaking with cold in his bones
desiring in his blood
as she towels him with wool from Lebanon --
later, he won’t interfere with her
when they sleep on each other
and she warms him with her hot body
under the quilted Shunammite coverlet —
Abishag, the tender.
John Robert Lee
John Robert Lee is a Saint Lucian writer. His Collected Poems 1975-2015 was published by Peepal Tree Press (2017).
Shallon Fadlien is a Saint Lucian artist who lives in Oshawa, Ontario,Canada.
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Robert L. Dean, Jr.
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John Scott Dewey
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Ariel Rainer Fintushel
Edward H. Garcia
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Brandon D. Johnson
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Loretta Collins Klobah
Kim Peter Kovac
Jean L. Kreiling
Stuart A. Kurtz
Tanmoy Das Lala
John R. Lee
David Ross Linklater
Gregory E. Lucas
Lorette C. Luzajic
M. L. Lyons
Ariel S. Maloney
John C. Mannone
Mary C. McCarthy
Megan Denese Mealor
Patrick G. Metoyer
David P. Miller
Stacy Boe Miller
Mark J. Mitchell
Mark A. Murphy
S. Jagathsimhan Nair
Heather M. Nelson
James B. Nicola
Bruce W. Niedt
Kim Patrice Nunez
M. N. O'Brien
Pravat Kumar Padhy
Daniel J. Pizappi
Melissa Reeser Poulin
Rhonda C. Poynter
Marcia J. Pradzinski
Anita S. Pulier
Amie E. Reilly
J. Stephen Rhodes
Ralph La Rosa
Mary Kay Rummell
Mary Harris Russell
Janet St. John
Lisa St. John
Kelly R. Samuels
Christy Sheffield Sanford
Courtney O'Banion Smith
Janice D. Soderling
David Allen Sullivan
Kim Cope Tait
Mary Ellen Talley
Liza Nash Taylor
Janine Pommy Vega
Sue Brannan Walker
Martin Willitts Jr
William Carlos Williams
Morgan Grayce Willow
Shannon Connor Winward
William Butler Yeats
Abigail Ardelle Zammit
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