Poets of the Week

July 13-19, 2020: Poetry from John Tustin and Shelly Blankman

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John Tustin

John Tustin began writing poetry a dozen years ago after a hiatus nearly as long and his poems have appeared in many literary journals online and in print. His poetry is forthcoming in Goat’s Milk Magazine, Good Works Review, Spank the Carp and dozens of others. He’d love if you visited his website and checked out his published poems.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Tustin​ and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Poet

Caruso sings at the end of this night
Where I shiver drunk
Remembering Jagger’s best performance
And not comparing him to Caruso
Because that is like comparing the playwright
To the actor
Or something.

Anyway, E Lucevan Le Stelle ends
And Let it Loose Begins
And I shiver drunk
As I think of you.

Jagger or Caruso
And now Bob Dylan
Because that is life.

I drink and drink
And it never ends
As I think of you
O how I do.

You know.

Shelly Blankman

Shelly Blankman and her husband live in Columbia, Maryland, where they fill their now-empty nest with three rescue cats and dog. They have two sons, one of whom lives in New York, the other in San Antonio. Shelly’s career has generally followed the path of public relations/journalism. However, her first love has always been poetry. She designs cards, makes memory books and, of course, referees animals. Recently, her sons surprised her with the publication of her poetry, entitled Pumpkinhead!

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Shelly Blankman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Breadcrumbs in the Butter
Memories relived in the aftermath
of the murder of George Floyd

A starless night lit by cars in flames
and torched buildings, where streets
paved with shards from broken panes,
the plaintive screams of Blacks with broken dreams,
their dreamer, Dr. Martin Luther King, murdered.

My house was in the path of despair; I was
at a friend’s, a place out of time, where
dinner plates were edged in gold and flatware
shimmered. Steam spiraled from a fat, juicy roast,
fresh warm bread in a woven basket, butter by its side.

Words blurred together in a cloud of conversation,
Carmen played softly in the background that couldn’t
blot out the cries of loss that echoed in my head. Had these
people not heard the news? Did they not hear the world
crumbling outside their castle as they ate in peace?

Spits of fire and pop pop pop of guns, mournful cries echoed in
my head, drowning out Carmen and idle talk. I lived in a world
of ungilded plates in the heart of hurt, where white skin was
my armor in an unforgiving world. Here, I was in the safety
of ignorance.

“WHO PUT BREADCRUMBS IN THE BUTTER?”
Her dad’s voice chilled my blood, His gray brows
furrowed, his blue eyes glazed with fury, aimed at me.
I wondered what Dr. King’s last words were.

July 6-12, 2020: Poetry from Angélique Jamail, Ellaraine Lockie, and Suzanne O’Connell

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Angélique Jamail

Angélique Jamail’s poetry, short fiction, and essays have appeared in over two dozen anthologies and journals, including New Reader Magazine, Waxwing, Time-Slice, Improbable Worlds, Pluck Magazine, The Milk of Female Kindness––An Anthology of Honest Motherhood, Untameable City: Poems on the Nature of Houston, Femmeliterate, Bayou City Magazine, and The Enchantment of the Ordinary. Her short story “Mother” was published in 2019 by Spider Road Press and nominated for Best Small Fictions. Her work was selected as a Finalist for the New Letters Prize in Poetry (2011). Her magic realism novelette Finis. (Odeon Press), first published in 2014, has been praised by fiction writer Ari Marmell as having “some of the most real people I’ve encountered via text in a long time,” and by poet Marie Marshall as “a witty tale of conformity, prejudice, and transformation, in a world that is disturbing as much for its familiarity as for its strangeness.” Her poetry collection The Sharp Edges of Water (Odeon Press) came out in 2018. She teaches Creative Writing and English in Houston and began serving on the Board of Directors for Mutabilis Press in December 2019. Find her online at her blog Sappho’s Torque (www.SapphosTorque.com) and on social media.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Angélique Jamail and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Upon Taking My Kids to the
Last Roller Rink Left in Houston

I was a roller skating queen
when I was twelve. I knew all
the rinks of this town like a master
harper knows the pluck
and tang of every singing string.

Now, at a mortal forty-four, one
busted tailbone in my past, my wheels
feel every scratch and patch
of this decades-old floor, every
whoosh of every godlike adolescent
zooming by.
……………………My hair blown back
by the breeze of my own perched
recklessness, I wish I had the brass ball
bearings for roller derby.

 

Weeknights at the Ballpark
the Spring I Turned Thirteen

The air breathed like melted butter
painted across dough, like syrup in a slow
ribbon around the rim of a plate. I followed
every game my brother played from the next
field over, where my classmate, unattainable
despite my bones-deep crush, rounded the bases
with blue eyes and the kind of hair that couldn’t
decide if it was blond or brown and settled
somewhere on silver in the blinding lights over
the baseball field at night.

Ellaraine Lockie

Ellaraine Lockie is widely published and awarded as a poet, nonfiction book author and essayist. Her fourteenth chapbook, Sex & Other Slapsticks, was recently released from Presa Press. Earlier collections have won Poetry Forum’s Chapbook Contest Prize, San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Competition, Encircle Publications Chapbook Contest, Best Individual Poetry Collection Award from Purple Patch magazine in England, and Aurorean’s Chapbook Choice Award. Ellaraine also teaches writing workshops and serves as Poetry Editor for the lifestyles magazine, LILIPOH.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Ellaraine Lockie and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Nominative Determinism

–A found poem*

1. trump as verb: beat, break, checkmate, concoct, cook up, conceive, create, crush, contrive, defeat, devise, distort, dominate, drub, excel, edge, fabricate, frame, fake, get the better of, get the upper hand, hatch, invent, make up, nose out, outfox, outdo, outmaneuver, overtake, outperform, outstrip, outwit, overcome, overpower, prevail, profit, scheme, surpass, top, trounce, vanquish, wallop, win

2. trumpery as noun: babble, balderdash, bits and pieces, blah, blather, bullshit, bunk, bunkum, castaways, castoffs, chaff, claptrap, cultch, debris, detritus, discards, dominance, dreck, drivel, drool, falderal, foam, foolishness, froth, fudge, funk, garbage, gobbledegook, gibberish, hogwash, horsefeathers, humbug, idiocy, Jabberwocky, jargon, jive, litter, leverage, malarkey, nonsense, odds and ends, poppycock, raff, refuse, rejects, remnants, riffraff, rubbish, rubble, swill, tatters, trash, trickery, tommyrot, twaddle, waste material, wealth, wreckage

3. trumpery as adjective: base, beggarly, brummagem, cheap, commonplace, flashy, foolish, gaudy, garish, inferior, insignificant, immaterial, little, mean, mediocre, meretricious, nasty, obscene, ostentatious, puny, pretentious, poor, rubbishy, schlock, scrubby, second-rate, shabby, shoddy, showy, slight, small, tawdry, trashy, trifling, trivial, two-bit, twopenny, unimportant, valueless, vulgar, worrisome, worthless, worst, wretched

4. trump up: color, conceal, disguise, falsity, garble, gloss over, hide, mislead, misstate, misrepresent, pervert, twist, warp

5. trump card: ace in the hole, card up one’s sleeve, leg up, secret advantage, secret weapon, upper hand, whip hand

*Collected from selected thesauri

Nominative determinism: the hypothesis that people tend to gravitate towards areas of work that fit their name

_________________________
This poem was first picked for publication by Lummox Anthology #9 due out in the Fall of 2020.

 

Other Americas in a Haibun

……….The two hours early that would have been stolen by airport security sway noose-like in the draft over the train depot. Part of the $39 fare. I take on the job with x-ray vision aimed at passengers who wait on wooden benches.  
……….A man with potato skin sprouting whiskers pulls up his stained pant leg. Scratches a scab. No baggage big enough to hold a bomb. The woman sitting beside me with missing teeth spreads like warm honey over the bench. Says I ain’t givin’ up nothin. Unzips her over-stuffed bag as though she senses suspicion.  Points at each item to prove its necessity to her Eddie-Murphy-talking teenagers. 
……….A kid with enough bottled water to blow up San Jose avoids eye contact through squint eyes. When he gives his seat to an old man in a walker, I ease out of national red alert and into local colors.  Grab a cup of coffee percolated the old way. Drift along in the current of community.
……….A whistle crooks its sound waves toward the tracks to seats that could hold 300 pounds of honey. To a glass-domed observation car where I step into the middle of America. A silent film surrounding a low buzz of reverence from the audience. Seats that face both sides of the panorama.
 
Patchwork of grassland
vineyards, barns, horses, dirt roads
An eagle circles
 
……….Hands champ at the glass bit that bars them from running fingers through fertile soil. America the Beautiful plays in the private rhythm of heartbeats. When a loudspeaker spills Meals served in the dining car over the air, no one wants to leave the nourishment of this car.  
……….The umbilical pulse of metal pounding metal. Embryos in a rocking chair of stop and go, switch of tracks. Of passengers unaware of a south slant until the birth of sunset over the Pacific. 
 
A round of orange pours
into blue through the glass frame
Froth splashes the sand
 
……….Whistle, clang and squeal interrupt the reverie to announce Santa Barbara. I walk off and into a postcard picture. 
 
Palms, flowers, sunshine
and harbor where mountains meet sea
Shadows of mission
 
……….Boutiques flaunt and exotic eateries flavor State Street. In Starbucks a woman wearing a multi-carat diamond orders a Venti Cinnamon Dolce Latte with sugar free syrup no whip. Says to her Clark Gable-like companion, We’ll take a bottle of ’63 Rothschild to dinner. A pre-schooler at the next table plays on her iPod while the mother reads Architectural Digest. Out front, a bronzed and buff teenager with a surfboard bleeps an alarm on a new Porsche with a U of Santa Barbara sticker.  People who could pay the $365 airfare to San Jose. 
 
Armor of x-ray
seat belts, clouds, distance, silence
A chill in the air

Suzanne O’Connell

Suzanne O’Connell’s recently published work can be found in North American Review, Poet Lore, Paterson Literary Review, The Summerset Review, Good Works Review and Pudding Magazine.  O’Connell was awarded second place in the Poetry Super Highway poetry contest, 2019. She was nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize. She received Honorable Mention in the Steve Kowit Poetry Prize, 2019.  Her two poetry collections, A Prayer For Torn Stockings and What Luck, were published by Garden Oak Press. Visit Suzanne on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Suzanne O’Connell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Our New Neighbor

We heard groans.
We traced the sound across the alley.
The weeds stood tall at the edges
like grownups watching a parade.
It’s still not clear to me
how we didn’t know she lived there.
We thought we knew every kid for blocks.
The gate had a latch that swung up.
We opened it.
She sat in a swing.
“Hi,” we all said at once.
We were so happy to meet a new kid.
She sat still.
She wore a football helmet.
She didn’t seem interested in sports.
Her head seemed very big.
Her face looked melted.
She didn’t say “Hi” back.
The back door banged open.
“You kids go home.
There’s nothing to see here.”
“But we…”
“Get on out of here and don’t come back.”
We ran home across the alley,
our dusty knees pumping.
We were ashamed of something we did.
But we didn’t know what it was.

 

The Black Sleeve

Moon. Like a communion wafer.
White moon, white snow.
I squint. Close one eye, then the other.
I can’t see the prayer.
I can see the red corona,
like a priest’s sacred vestment.
His blue eye.
His yellow hair.
His brown freckles.
His black heart,
as his hands reach for me.

Moon. My lamp of protection.
Where were you tonight
before the priest?
Before I could see
the little hairs on his wrists
standing up like naked trees
in the snow?
Before the black sleeve opened–
the whiteness underneath
like a tunnel leading off a cliff.

Moon! Where were you tonight
before the dogs in the distance started,
before their howls
stitched into the wind?

June 29-July 5, 2020: Poetry from Shirley Hakim and Andrew Darlington

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Shirley Hakim

Shirley Hakim came from Tehran to Los Angeles at age fourteen. She’s a CPA by trade, with a degree in Business-Economics from UCLA. A student of poet/teacher Jack Grapes, Shirley’s poetry in English has been published in ON THE BUS, and in several publications in her native Farsi. Shirley is the mother of three children. She and her husband live in Los Angeles.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Shirley Hakim and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Robot

I am a robot like the rest of them.
I sit in a chair at the carwash
Waiting for my car.
I look dazed like everyone else,
Don’t have a book to read
Or a notebook to write in.
The right thing is to look straight ahead.
Like everyone else,
My gaze is fixed like the dead
Nobody dares to turn.
I dare. And I turn.
An older woman sits on my right.
She wears yellow, flat shoes
And a yellow shirt.
Her white hair is nicely done.
Her blue eyes are locked forward.
A tall, handsome man sits in front of me.
He wears a stripped blue suit.
He stares straight at his car.
He looks very important.
A girl in her twenties
Pretends that she’s busy with her phone.
No one notices me.
I should have worn a funny hat,
Or a brighter shirt.
I did not notice
what shirt my daughter wore today.
I don’t know
If the trees in front of my house
Have blossomed.
I don’t know
Who lives in the second house
Down the road.

Andrew Darlington

Andrew Darlington has walked the magma crust of the Nisyros volcano. James Lowe of the Electric Prunes is his Facebook friend. And Kink Dave Davies answered his Tweet. He writes about music for ‘R’N’R’ (Rock ‘n’ Reel), and counter-culture for ‘IT: International Times’. His latest poetry collection is ‘Tweak Vision: The Word-Play Solution To Modern-Angst Confusion’ and his Scientifiction Novel ‘In The Time Of The Breaking’ are both from Alien Buddha Press, USA. His writing can be found at ‘Eight Miles Higher’: http://andrewdarlington.blogspot.co.uk/

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Andrew Darlington and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

All the Space Between /
A Part, And Yet Apart

on Mars the trees grow red
and cast a rose glow,
through Martian twilights
I feel you squirm inside my mind,
and know you are close,
on Mars the grass grows red
and whispers secrets
in the thin breeze,
it tells me you are close,
on Mars the moons are red
and cast scarlet shadows that
hint the contours of your face,
in silence there is music
in separation there is touch
where there is you
is where I choose to reside
on Mars the constellations
flit like fireflies
to tell me you are here,
I taste the storms roar in your mouth
I taste your breath in my nostrils
the map of your blood is in my veins
your heartbeat is the pulse
that moves the stars…

June 22-28, 2020: Poetry from Michelle Disler and James Croal Jackson

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Michelle Disler

Michelle Disler is a Sparta, Michigan poet and the author of a book of poetry on James Bond titled “Bond, James: alphabet, anatomy, autobiography” published by Counterpath Press. She has been published in North Dakota Quarterly, The Massachusetts Review, Gulf Coast, Hotel Amerika, and The Laurel Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Michelle Disler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Bond Insurance Inventory Bond (U)

Bond’s bourbon and smokes budget
Bond’s bank book
Bond’s tropical diseases
Bond’s carrier wave (broken)
Bond’s prudence (hard won)
Bond’s photography
Bond’s antique Duncan Phyfe table
Bond’s book shelves (built-ins)
Bond’s wedding band
Bond’s wedding ring
Bond’s magazine subscriptions
Bond’s self-portrait
Bond’s vitamin supply
Bond’s Guide to Birds of the West Indies
Bond’s work-from-home days
Bond’s workout schedule
Bond’s black book
Bond’s black light
Bond’s crime scene protocol
Bond’s chemistry set
Bond’s medications
Bond’s AA meetings
Bond’s NA meetings
Bond’s nightmares
Bond’s passwords (Vesper, Tracy, Tatiana, Honey, Pussy)
Bond’s favorite color (violet)
Bond’s housekeeper and what she has to clean up

James Croal Jackson

James Croal Jackson (he/him/his) is a Filipino-American poet. He has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and recent poems in DASH, Sampsonia Way, and Jam & Sand. He edits The Mantle (themantlepoetry.com). He works in film production in Pittsburgh, PA. (jamescroaljackson.com)

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by James Croal Jackson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

New Year’s Party – Dining Room

Nothing to start conversation with
but the glow of television, hors d’oeuvres

the crowd devoured and I could only stand
and gape at the electric wiring strung along

the ceiling that led to the hanging light
fixture, a metallic apple dimmed. I wanted

to talk about architecture but felt wildly
inadequate due to the bricks missing

in my brain, hammers clanking where
words should, my mouth full of nails.

June 15-21, 2020: Poetry from Douglas Richardson and Bruce McCandless

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Douglas Richardson

Douglas Richardson is a poet and novelist who lives in Santa Ana, California, with his wife, Jen, and cat, Wes. He is the founder of Weak Creature Press. He wrote and published a fiction series, American Strays, which includes the novellas The Corruption of Zachary R., Trust Fund Baby, and Kay Sutter Through the Ages. He has been published in several literary journals over the years, including Hobo Camp Review, Misfits’ Miscellany, Straight Forward Poetry, The Nervous Breakdown, and Poetry Super Highway. In 2013, he won the Poetry Super Highway contest with his entry, “Notes from the Graveyard Shift.” Douglas is also an avid tennis player and is finally taking music lessons after all these years.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Douglas Richardson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Poet

Poet is out on the streets
wandering the miracle mile
Poet is two rivers
the Blue and the White Nile

Poet is the sickness
vivacious, death-aware
Poet is the fever breaking
goes too far but gets you there

Poet is the dragon in the cloud
the vampire in the rose
Poet is the two extremes
laissez-faire or communist clothes

Poet is the worm drying on the sidewalk
flung back into the grass by Money
Poet is at odds with Money
Money bets Poet neglects the laundry

Poet is the whole way of being
more than hearing, more than seeing
Poet is on the verge of quitting
Poet can never turn back

 

All the Sliding Glass Doors

Twenty-five years ago
I got up from my desk
by a ninth-floor window
and watched the OJ Simpson motorcade
head west down Wilshire Boulevard
on the verge of Pacific Palisades
all the sliding glass doors left wide open
to let the ocean breezes cool through
the kitchens and living rooms and
over the rims of highballs
and not a soul anywhere
and the wind everywhere

Bruce McCandless

Bruce McCandless III is a writer and attorney who lives in Austin, Texas with his wife and two daughters. He’s a graduate of the University of Texas and is interested in space exploration, environmental matters, and science fiction and fantasy books and movies. Bruce has published poems, articles, and features in a number of journals and magazines, including The Asian Wall Street Journal, Avenue, HK Magazine, Pleiades, The Seattle Review, Cold Mountain Review, Natural Bridge, Louisiana Literature, New Delta Review, The Naugatuck River Review, The Texas Observer, The Austin Chronicle, the Houston Chronicle, and the Austin American-Statesman. When he’s not writing or reading, he’s probably out riding his bike or hiking along Austin’s Barton Creek. You can see some of his work on his website, www.ninthplanetpress.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Bruce McCandless and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Cormorants

At dawn the cormorants
stand as sleek as needles,
still as hour hands, watching
water from the reservoir
tumble storm cloud green over the rocks.
By 8 o’clock the sun is staring and the birds
crane their necks to catch the wind,
their arched-eyebrow wings
moving east to where the lake bed deepens.
They’re spelunkers in cold caverns
they create with every dive.
They spear the streaks of silver,
bring up perch, pierce a sunfish.
They burrow down in blurred dark chase,
only surfacing to check
we haven’t gone and screwed things up again, that
the world is where they left it.

 

Greetings from Your Ministry of Poetry and Indecision

People wonder what I’ve been up to since my last publication
in that online junior college newspaper three years ago and
I don’t mind saying in 2019
I named myself to an important governmental post
that didn’t actually exist and had trouble getting into my office
possibly due to hopelessly outmoded private property notions
still in effect in parts of our nation’s capital
(note to self: Eliminate Outmoded Private Property Notions) but
still I issued edicts, largely ignored, for example
ordering airdrops of haiku over central Oklahoma
in hopes of encouraging increased tanka yields, or inwardness maybe
I admit it might have been hard to tell if it worked
next up: taking positive steps to make American industry less efficient
fact is, we’ve lost fourteen percent of our gross national pipedreams—
fewer accountants are disrobing at their desks during lunchtime
while the boss is locked in the server room with wild hogs
the incidence of dentists reviving long-lost baseball careers is down precipitously
grown men don’t dream about what their kids can have that they never had;
don’t plan space vacations, wish to be pirates,
envision themselves wearing purple tights and utility belts
we’re in danger of losing our ability to slack off,
one of the principal factors that made us world leaders in-dragging ass,
gathering wool, catching some zees, hanging around
look at us now: hyper-caffeinated, action-itemed arrugula munchers
what ever happened to the National Slouch?
why don’t we peer anymore through curtains of nicotine haze
or stare into cooling cups of midnight
as the elevated rumbles through the night outside?
if Latvia continue to prosper, who’ll be left to lie around?
we’ll be a world full of Germans, without the vacations
well not if this public servant has anything to do with it
and probably he doesn’t but nevertheless
I have laid out a forty-six step plan to revive the trial by fire and
certain medieval disciplinary rituals, possibly including branding (the new tattoo!)
and sabotage of all machinery powered by anything other than oxen
my handpicked team of petty thieves and organists
is testing ways to further decrease preparedness for weather-related disasters,
to add long and completely unnecessary detours to the nation’s highways
and to bring back a variety of bodily odors almost completely lost to modernity
we seek tax cuts for the proprietors of drive-in movies
and any business called “Empire of Muffins”
we have increased the transmission of Fox news into outer space
in hopes of scaring hostile invasion forces straight back to Arcturus and
propose institution of a wigwag-based national security alert
with seventeen signals and some capable of meaning only one thing,
like Caution: Kardashians Planning Release of Joni Mitchell Cover Album
we are attempting to consult with the Pentagon on the use of fricatives
and the phase-in of slightly more descriptive military campaign names like
Operation Try Not to Kill Any Kids With That Bomb You Just Dropped
oh yes we in the Ministry of Poetry and Indecision are out here working for you
zigging where we’re supposed to zag
spreading truth where falsehood rules,
telling outright lies when the truth starts trusting itself
and if you want to do some one small thing to help, it’s
don’t tell them that you saw us here or for God’s sake
where we’ll turn up next

June 8-14, 2020: Poetry from Patricia Kett and Jeffrey Spahr Summers

Patricia Kett and Jeffrey Spahr Summers

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Patricia Kett pkett010@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Patricia Kett has published poems and articles in newspapers, journals, magazines and five anthologies. She was a member of the Upper Delaware Writers Collective and has published a collection of poems, No Need to Repeat Old Lies or Old Lives and a self-help book, Happy is Not a Goal.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Patricia Kett and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

After the Dark, the Light

The day after I receive the telegram notifying me my son had been killed, I wake up to sunrise and say, “How can that be?” The day after a man buries his wife he says, “I don’t recognize the world.” The day after the man who would be king encourages the ingestion of disinfectant, outside my window there are light green leaves on the trees the river is still flowing the birds are still singing the river ducks tend their nests Myrtle still blooms purple Daffodils crowd the hills Someone is mowing the returning grass life continues, will continue no matter, empires may go up in flames as others watch still others go up in flame with it completely unaware they are burning. the sun will set, the sun will rise and some will be there to see it

Jeffrey Spahr Summers zzbaggins@msn.com

Bio (auto)

Jeffrey Spahr-Summers is a poet, photographer, and sometimes publisher. He also writes flash fiction. Visit Jeffrey on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jeffrey Spahr Summers and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

reasons for raisins

(1) digging for seeds we kneel on the ground little weasels scratching in the dirt we dig and dig we dig until we hurt until we are tired and thirsty and require rest we drink wine and our son eats raisins a fist full at a time and we dig and dig so long and it goes on and on and on until nothing escapes us (2) we are at odds with how to do this we so nearly beg for a storm to come crashing through our lives we are calling for rain to save us the need to pace and stomp or throw our hands up to the sky so we think on how a dance might do it or maybe a riddle or a poem or a song or maybe just a little of them all (3) you don’t actually see the vines growing they grow very slow (4) we know to let them do this they know to make us wait (5) she likes the sweet ones just the very green ones without seeds the ones that pop in your teeth like cherry tomatoes spraying across the inside of your mouth these are the ones she wants and so do i and our son also likes them sweet but small so we give him all the small ones and secretly we are amazed or maybe more disturbed really how quickly they disappear one after another some for her some for me but mostly for him we divide them so well (6) tell me you know something of the love lost on grapes of skin peeled away very carefully and while eating the grapes skinned and exposed for what they really are think of those of us who crave them who want only to eat them again and again and again who want only to hold them to save them for another day to do the very human thing and change them into raisins or wine (7) call it age if you like or experience or maturity just as wine matures with age or call it a step in the cycle through which all living things must pass in order to survive as humans we believe in the pleasures of life this is why we eat grapes or drink wine or plant such seeds and as humans we ultimately mature so as to provide for ourselves and the ones we love this is why we must grow old so it is also with grapes (8) collecting them was the hard part they came down on us like hail it went on and on for days we wondered where would it end and we collected them in whatever we could find instantly out of bowls pots and pans we knew we could not keep them all (9) here is the first raisin the sweet one to some the one most likely to dissolve in your mouth or your hand or afford such devotion the one with thick skin that is frustrating and hard to penetrate the one that cracks and is brittle like glass this is the one that becomes bitter (10) this is the raisin that while bathing becomes plump as a young grape again the one most certain to satisfy a thirst or hunger or something you can’t quite place like desire the one so pumped full of life and a need for more than is here this is the one that must go (11) and here is the smallest of all the child grape unripe and undone the sweet one the i don’t want to go and please don’t leave me grape i will be as you are (12) better than thirteen are twelve each a story little secrets of a child each a dream better things to come (13) here are the ones that got away the ones so cocksure and cool the ones who ran so electric as they slipped under the stove the refrigerator and the sink how sad they all seem now cloistered in the corner dust (14) we place it on the table the last one we gather around to stare we are dogs licking our lips but we don’t dare eat it or split it three ways afraid each of us in our own way to be through with the thing (15) empty boxes what happens now is they become one another (16) protect these seeds keep them healthy watered and warm allow them space to run let them multiply spread their species far and wide    

June 1-7, 2020: Poetry from Clyde Always and Mike Zone

Clyde Always and Mike Zone

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Clyde Always clydealwaysthebard@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Clyde Always, (also known as the Bard of the Lower Haight) tells energetic tall tales, recites ear-pleasing verse, paints romanticized scenes of beauty, renders captivating cartoon characters, has published two novels and he still manages to wait tables in his free time. The Clyde Always Show has been featured at The Marsh, The Lost Church, Bird and Beckett, the North Beach Library and at the 16th Street BART station. Clyde Always also acts as ringleader at Cafe International every Friday night. His writings and illustrations have been printed in Hatchbeat, Poetalk, GNU Journal, the Haight-Ashbury Literary Review, Gyroscope, the Street Sheet, The Broke Bohemian and etc. etc. His book Les' Place: A Hipster Manifesto can be found here. One of his paintings can be viewed, at any given time, in the window of Native Twins Coffee on Divisadero. He lives in San Francisco, CA with his wife Haylee the Ukulele. Visit Clyde on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Clyde Always and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

The Tinder Date from Hell

Now I’ll never be sure what possessed me to swipe to the right when I should’ve known better, as I’m not really ‘into’ the arrogant type and his smile looked cheesy as cheddar.
Like a fool, I agreed to a time and a place for a date with this obvious winner, and I reasoned aloud as I put on my face, “well, at least it’ll be a free dinner…”
So, I UBERed across to the far end of town to a dingy and dark taqueria; standin’ close by the door was a gal in a gown and she curtsied and said, “call me Tia.”
She escorted me back and she pulled out my seat while my date was just sittin’ there smokin’. But he offered apologies then for the heat: “lo siento, the AC is broken.”
As I sat at the table I started to sweat so I made a fan outta my menu, and I noticed a sinister marionette keepin’ watch from the wall of this venue.
“Have a drink,” said my date, as he reached for the jug with his eyes nearly red as the vino. “Oh terrific, sangria.” I said with a shrug (I would usually stick with a pinot).
Then there came to the table a man in a vest, our mesero who called himself Pablo, whom my date disregarded as one would a pest as he ordered the “shrimp al diablo…”
While we waited, I sneered at his ratty goatee, It looked harsh as a blackberry thicket, and I scoffed when he pulled out a skeleton key which he scratched on a lottery ticket.
“Oh for Christ’s sake, I’m leavin’!” I spat in a huff as I reached for my purse and my jacket, but he lunged and he snatched me and handled me rough so, I screamed up a deafenin’ racket.
But Miss Tia and Pablo did not run to help, they just stood by the door at the ready, and the marionette came alive with a ‘yelp,’ it was dancin’ and flingin’ confetti…
“Please don’t go…” begged my date with a hideous hiss, as his skin went from scaly to thorny; he was flickin’ his tongue as he went for a kiss… see, my date, he was ACTUALLY horny.

Mike Zone realzoneclone@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Mike Zone resides beyond the pines…the author of Void Beneath the Skin and A Farewell to Big Ideas, a frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl, his work has been featured in: Horror Sleaze Trash, Cajun Mutt Press,Outlaw Poetry, Piker Press, Synchronized Chaos, The Whiskey Rye Review and Cult Culture magazine.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Mike Zone and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Everything is fucked

Writing poetry honey-comb moon Allan in purple dream haze in search of toilet he just didn’t have the heart to tell her he wasn’t the man she was searching for the night before everything fucked nationalized pizza delivery hobo’s hosting baby knife fights      

May 25-31, 2020: Poetry from LindaAnn LoSchiavo and David LaBounty

LindaAnn LoSchiavo and David LaBounty

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LindaAnn LoSchiavo nonstopny@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Native New Yorker LindaAnn LoSchiavo is a dramatist, writer, and poet. Her poetry chapbooks "Conflicted Excitement" [Red Wolf Editions, 2018], "Concupiscent Consumption" [Red Ferret Press, 2020], and "A Route Obscure and Lonely"' [Wapshott Press, 2020] along with her collaborative book on prejudice [Macmillan in the USA, Aracne Editions in Italy] are her latest titles. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild and SFPA. Read an interview with Linda here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by LindaAnn LoSchiavo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

How My Father Went Blind

My father slowly lost his vision though He didn’t see it coming. His teenage Face, tilting upwards, studied Brooklyn’s sky On Independence Day. Bright flashes flung Towards heaven — — Roman candles, comets — — spoke In German: mortars, aerial shells, mines. His family watched as Hitler hogged headlines: Annihilation, concentration camps. When Uncle Sam knocked, he surrendered thick Italian hair, mock manhood’s pompadour. Unlike shorn Samson, he felt stronger, believed That if G.I.s hoped, fought for victory, The universe would pay attention, might Mold wanting into bold reality. His twenty-twenty was not good enough For flight school — — only adequate to gain Eligibility to jump from planes. The bomb squad stayed intact, forever friends, Fired off missives, air-mailed, unafraid, Creating camaraderie tighter Than elbow room inside their Air Force plane. Survival, sex, salvation strengthened them. The baby boom rewarded bravery, Peace spinning into gold reality. Their pilot went blind first, his vision peeled Away like sunburnt skin. But Uncle Sam Disavowed all responsibility As, one by one, they lost the gift of sight. The universe stopped paying attention here. My father’s retinas released their grasp Of greens and grays. He couldn’t drive at night. Newspapers’ small fonts became unreadable. Small drusen — — stoney granules — — multiplied. He dreamt of black-outs, Europe occupied. He couldn’t sketch the faces of fallen friends, Lost his ability to tell claret Apart from a Chianti Classico, Detect a weed from grapevines, watch sunset. Now blindness held him in captivity. When death escorted him to quieter Corridors, his eyes up-turned, all prepared To face the fusillade of so much light.

David LaBounty davelabounty@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

David LaBounty is the author of the novel Affluenza and the poetry collection Moon Chalk. His work has appeared in several journals including, Rattle, The New Plains Review, Booth and many others. He has held jobs a a miner, a reporter, a mechanic and a salesman. He lives in Clarkston, Michigan.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by David LaBounty and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

ode to an addict(ion)

it’s not the lack of will power no it’s the haunting of stones and apples ........and eve you know eve she ate that first apple and every bite of apple ............has been fair game ever since i’ve eaten the apple again and again i’ve eaten the apple .................................since i first tasted it at the aching age of twelve and now years later at the past due age of fifty one i still keep the apple with me it’s always there there in my pocket or in my kitchen tucked away between the music and the milk and stones there is no one to throw stones at me when i eat the apple as if no one cares if i am dying just a bit with each bite of this breathing and roaming apple and this i do this i always do unseen in the brightest light .........of this and every other day      

May 18-24, 2020: Poetry from Dan Hendrickson and Tim Gavin

Dan Hendrickson and Tim Gavin

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Click here for submission guidelines.


Dan Hendrickson
dan1812@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Dan Hendrickson is a poet, screenwriter and comic. His friends call him Bodhi...but he doesn't have any friends. He's been described, and more than once, as a block of cheese with eyes. All in all, he can't complain. Visit Dan on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Dan Hendrickson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Rock Paper Scissors

So many clouds
up above. 
One shaped like
a button.
One looks a lot
like a scar.
Another one, a bit,
like a lost javelin.
But most of them seem
like small pieces
of busted
fluorescent glass or
scattered sheep who can’t
get their act together.
Dear God,
my life is a mess.
Maybe tomorrow
it will rain.


Tim Gavin
tgavin@episcopalacademy.org

Bio (auto)

Tim Gavin is an Episcopal priest, serving as head chaplain at The Episcopal Academy. Prolific Press Released his chapbook, Lyrics from the Central Plateau, in November 2018. He is currently developing a manuscript: Divine Property. His poems have appeared in The Anglican Theological Review, Blue Heron Review, Blue Mountain Review, Cape Rock, Cardinal Sins, Chiron Review, The Cresset, Digital Papercut, Evening Street Review, Magma, Poetry Quarterly, Poetry South, Poetry Super Highway and Spectrum. He lives with his wife in Newtown Square.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Tim Gavin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Divine Property C: Thermos

I remember my father most because of this old thermos
Green and white, dented and aged, rust on the bottom
rim. Wedged beneath his forearm, the one with the tattooed heart
And my mother’s name scripted across a ribbon
Attached by an arrow, it revealed his power and the work
He did on the docks along the Delaware River,
Loading barges and tankers bound for another world.
The instant coffee it carried made it through lunch
And then the brandy and cigarettes would take him
Into another domain of terror where inner turmoil
Would turn wolf and he condemned the union
For selling out and management for eating too much
Fat and for the workers who were stupid sheep
Willing to get fucked over for a 19-cent hourly increase
After losing three months-worth of wages
And the stupid sheep were convinced they won.


Divine Property CII: Ordinary Time

After ascending the steps from the basement
With a bloody rag soaking blood from my
Nose and my brother following me up the steps
With the furnace blasting and his ears still ringing
From when I banged his head into the corner
Of the antique storage bin, holding decorations
For the different seasons when we would
Grow with excitement of good times
Only to be blinded by the visit of a drunk
Neighbor who wanted to fight my father,
Thinking he could take him this time
To prove the last beating at the bar was a fluke
Only for my father to knock him off
The porch with a knee to the crotch,
Telling him, “Go home and sleep it off
Before I really get pissed.” Then he
Turned toward my brother and me
During this ordinary time between
The excitement of one holiday
And another, leaving the raging
Heat roar in the depths
Of the basement, shook his head
And descended into the darkness.

 



May 11-17, 2020: Poetry from Eric Nicholson and Scott Waters

Eric Nicholson and Scott Waters

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Eric Nicholson ericleo@blueyonder.co.uk

Bio (auto)

Eric Nicholson is a retired art teacher who lives in the NE of England. He blogs about art, spirituality and the history of ideas. Visit Eric on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Eric Nicholson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

prayer

today a skylark sang my prayer and passed it on to the first green leaf of hawthorn to the chattering swallows to the wavy weeds in a rippling stream to the fluttering red admirals to a flash of sunlight on a glassy lake my work is uncongenial and useless but even here the buzz of a bee at the open window carries my prayer onto a sundrenched sunflower bending across a path the same long lived prayer is now less tied to birds trees sunflowers or sea it is always within it requires no waking no renewal i am it i am the universe and it is the prayer     Part-found poem. Source: Richard Jefferies, Autobiography, The Story of My Heart.

Scott Waters scottishwaters@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Scott Waters lives in Oakland, California with his wife and son. He graduated with a Master's Degree in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Scott has published previously in A New Ulster, Selcouth Station, Adelaide, The Pangolin Review, Poetica Review, Amethyst, Ink in Thirds, Praxis, Shot Glass Journal, The Santa Clara Review, and many other journals.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Scott Waters and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Giants

We drive my son and I through wind and rain and arrive at a warehouse door peeling grey paint cracked window no sign no doorbell no cars outside as we turn to leave the door opens and a woman with cloudy grey hair greets us with a candle of a smile ~ inside we find a vast shadowy room lined with high shelves a colossal Ultraman with a red and silver helmet grazing the rafters Godzillas in a row of descending sizes low tables covered with thousands of miniature glass and plastic characters from manga books and anime Totoro backpacks and key chains Monkey D Luffy and his pirate crew Naruto and his ninja friends my son’s eyes as large as Taiko drums ~ I make small talk with the owner while my son roams around and the rain hammers on the tall windows she’s been in business for 38 years and used to have a store packed with paying customers before the Internet killed almost all her foot traffic she goes on to talk about the white oak that fell in a storm a month earlier and crushed a corner of her house while she slept in another room ~ the storm outside grows claws rattling the Douglas fir skeleton of the old building I wonder how long till the lights go out and we are left to fumble our way in pitch blackness through the legs of giants ~ later snug at home hot chocolate in our hands we hear on the news that a man was killed two miles from the warehouse when a 120 foot eucalyptus fell on his car at approximately the same time we were leaving the warehouse without buying anything.    

May 4-10, 2020: Poetry from Carol Hamilton and Tova Siegel

Carol Hamilton and Tova Siegel

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Carol Hamilton hamiltoncj9608@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Carol Hamilton has recent publications Louisiana Literature, Southwest American Literature, San Pedro River Review, Dryland, Pinyon, Pour Vida, Lunch Ticket, Adirondack Review, Commonweal,, U.S.1 Worksheet, Broad River Review, Fire Poetry Review, Gingerbread House, Shot Glass Journal, Poem, Haight Ashbury Poetry Journal, Sandy River Review, I-70 Review, Blue Unicorn, former people Journal, The Sea Letter, Poetica Review, Zingara Review, Broad River Review, Burningwood Literary Review, Abbey, Main Street Rag, Poetry Leaves and others. She has published 17 books: children's novels, legends and poetry. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Carol Hamilton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Shopping Malls Are Almost Gone

The teenagers clumped and roiled like clouds there, and managers kept a sharp eye out for shoplifters. We did gather there, the places being glitzy and glam and reverberating mysteriously with an echoing rumble. Sometimes there were makeshift stages which launched our voices into the cavernous space. Richard cast forth Shakespeare, a blessing of sound amidst the scurry of commerce, and Robin pulled tickertape scrolls of his poetry out of his hat. My son and I tinkled the ivories outside the music store with Rogers and Hammerstein, Ferranti and Teicher. Last week I walked the mall in Muskogee, a place lonely with empty space and lined with papered-over display windows between the half-dead anchor stores, places of many mark-downs. History says an Americanized Fin dreamed of the mall to provide Americans indoor, comfort-laden village squares. As a child I sat in our old 1934 Chevrolet on Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons watching the people window shop around our town square, centered with the courthouse and post office set regally on grassy expanses. America rages through fads, going Gang Busters, and now, we have moved on to the latest technical version of community. Some ponder that we may be moving too fast, may be too fickle … may be too … something or other.    

Tova Siegel tova.siegel@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Tova Hinda Siegel’s work has appeared in Salon.com, I’ll Take Wednesdays, On The Bus, and several anthologies. She holds a BA from Antioch University and an MS from USC. A midwife, cellist, mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Tova has studied with Jack Grapes, Tresha Faye Haefner and Taffy Brodesser-Akner. A mother, grandmother and great grandmother, Tova and her husband live in Los Angeles.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Tova Siegel and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

The Fly in My Kitchen

complains about his plight I am alone, doing my thing and you want to kill me.  You know there are no cities of refuge that will take you once you have done the deed. He hums and buzzes thinking of his lady love who gads about on peels and crumbs inside the dancing disposal. The zucchini dodges my knife and punts the pomegranate seeds. I am lost in the fray. Demands call me through the moon and nail me to the sun.  Where is that fly? I peer into its multi-lensed eye looking for relief. Prickle to stars, zoom into the sky, race the rain to the beginning of dewy life, self-destruction poses no threat in the solar eclipse of time. Shimmery nightgowns, nesting birds, screaming mushrooms fill my space with noisy meringue while my helmeted brain spins into a dreamy sequence of light. The Getty pleads through its garden. Photographs blink and burst the starlight next to zinnias and cosmos. Time to go, time to stay, time to dissolve into the hazy layer of smog a plague of fly-filled darkness hovering on the edge, covering the L.A. view.    

April 27 –  May 3, 2020: Poetry from Mickey J. Corrigan and Diane Puterbaugh

Mickey J. Corrigan and Diane Puterbaugh

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Mickey J. Corrigan mickeyj.corrigan@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan writes Florida noir with a dark humor. Chapbooks include The Art of Bars (Finishing Line Press, 2016), Days' End (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2017), Final Arrangements (Prolific Press, 2019), and the disappearing self (Kelsay Books, 2020). Newest novels: Project XX, satire about a school shooting (Salt Publishing UK, 2017) and What I Did for Love, a spoof of Lolita (Bloodhound Books UK, 2019). Visit Mickey on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Mickey J. Corrigan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

A Reconstruction of the Evidence Against Me

1. my driveway was dark until it wasn't and the moon a vanilla wafer thin, iced quivered above a gleaming white Escalade engine running rumble. 2. a black-clad passenger alighted small crumpled bag in hand crossing the yellow line while the driver sat smoking old man like a pocked cow until I stood by his window and she spoke kindly at first until she didn't. 3. insults pierced the starless sky shrill and accented a foreign tongue familiar violence in any language impounded without reason and the wind blew hot palms rustling like a priest's gowns at a night funeral. 4. delivery done the dealers departed tires screeched a warning the threat of return trash brushing my bare feet cigarette butts, newspaper, Styrofoam empty of life, of purpose I went back inside to TV blare while the man in the apartment across the street sighed, found God.    

Diane Puterbaugh ardputerbaugh@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Diane Puterbaugh lives in Jackson, Tennessee where she often enjoys black coffee, bird watching and a certain brown dog. Diane has completed 2 chapbooks, 31 and Contrails and is working on a novel, Sketching Birds. In 2019 she had 3 poems featured in the online journal Visitant Lit. Visit Diane on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Diane Puterbaugh and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Gurgle on a hotel notepad

1 On top of the glass dome the wind is from the west but inside escalator aprons and sneakers waterfalls and blue shirts a dad with a bad mood on the Delta 2 A couple sits on a bench their backs to the waterfall gurgle gurgle The man raises his arm maybe thinking the woman will lean back against him but they are not sitting close enough the man lowers his arm to fill the space 3 Fat girls in cowboy boots like a country western song riding the escalator Ding Ding Ding Ding 4 150 lumens The little copper lantern on our balcony has 2 energy saving bulbs, but only 1 is lit 5 Conventioneers with black backpacks sagging with laptops Everyone is in jeans including the woman I remember from this morning who was trying to run to the convention in high heeled boots 6 2 bald guys with black backpacks wear white shirts and black vests, but just when I thought I understood the dresscode here comes a bald guy with a red shirt 7 A fake riverboat on a fake river surrounded by fake rocks Ding Ding Ding Ding Lots of presidents have gurgled and slept here Here in the presidential suite with a view of the escalator 8 Conventioneers on their phones: “I’ll bring these ideas to the home office. I’ll bring a spark to the team.” 9 A man in a black suit walks behind a woman in a black dress and black pumps gurgle gurgle He never takes his eyes off her Honestly, neither do I (Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center)    

22nd Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Poetry Issue

Our twenty-second annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) issue.

Alan Walowitz Alex Chornyj Alex Andy Phuong Alyssa Ahle Betsy Mars Carol Dorf Carrie Magness Radna Dan Fitzgerald Daniel S. Irwin Daphne Milne Dave Ludford David Supper Dennis Bernstein Diana Rosen Donald N. Krieger Doris Fiszer Fred McIlmoyle Hanoch Guy Howard Gerald Comen Howie Good
I.B. Rad Ivan Klein Iris Levin J de Salvo Jan Chronister Janice Alper John Anthony Fingleton John Guzlowski Judith R. Robinson Karren LaLonde Alenier Katherine L. Gordon Kathy Lundy Derengowski Katrenia M. Busch Leonard Kress Linda M. Crate Lucio Muñoz Luna Maluna Gri Maria DePaul Marianne Szlyk Marsha MarkmanMichael H. Brownstein Michael Salcman Morris Dean Pamela McMinn Partha Sarkar Richard Kalfus Rifkah Goldberg Robert Knox Rosemarie Krausz Sarah Prindle Stacey Zisook Robinson Stanley H. Barkan Stefanie Bennett Sujoy Bhattacharya Susan Olsburgh Susan Beth Furst Susana H. Case Sy Roth Tina Hacker

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Alan Walowitz ajwal328@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Alan Walowitz, from Great Neck NY, is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook, Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press, and his full-length, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Alan Walowitz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Meditation on Survivors, 2020 Here, the place I call home, adds four-thousand deaths to a too-long list-- on it a few I personally know, some teachers, some old as me, some Jews, maybe poets, mostly good folks and the others, surely, meant the world no harm. But here we are New York, New York leading the league already, and may we get to another spring, with baseball and magnolias weeping. So, what’s another one or two to swell the total beyond any accounting?  Someone on TV-- maybe the president--called this a war, someone else a holocaust--maybe a plot to do us in? OK Boomer, some more out-of-kilter comeuppance to make us surer there is no God. Still, the virus has its work to do if it wants to rival Rwanda, or Cambodia, not to mention the Shoah, six million or more, even the Germans, good bureaucrats though they were, couldn’t really keep count. Here in the age of computers and distance-learning we don’t know who’s been tested, much less dead, or suffering. Makes my blood boil and run cold, all the same, when I learn what I should’ve figured: some of the newly dead--Survivors-- left alone on Pesach or, if lucky, resigned to Zoom, heating the meal left for them at their anonymous door, in a microwave they sometimes remember how to use.


Alex Chornyj Alex.Chornyj@ontario.ca

Bio (auto)

Alex Chornyj is a poet from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, Canada. He has been writing for the better part of forty years. He has been published in online publications such as Poetry Super Highway, in many books, magazines and journals. His writing has a celestial and transcendent influence being connected to his inner spirit and earth’s elements. In 2020 he has published two poetry books with Cyberwit called Vincelles and Little Angels. He has published a third book with Cyberwit which is a childrens’ adventure book called The Chosen One. The unique aspect about the childrens’ book is that every illustration comes from pictures he has taken in which spirits display their esoteric images. These three creations represent the culmination of his lifelong dreams and persistence. His books are available at amazon.com and amazon.ca.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Alex Chornyj and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Shadow In A Line The stains in the streets The cries and the screams From young to the old Victims of anti-semitism. To be caught in this vice A sweeping net Meant certain finality An end to what we cherished. That being family The love between The air that we breathed The lives that we shared. Snuffed out like a candle’s wick A flicker burning brightly Then came this siren Warning of impending disaster. As all the lights went out One after another From those who went into hiding Or ones found unawares. With no second chances As once you were there Behind the iron fences You fell into despair. Stripped of your dignity Right to the bone Losing face with humanity With the name you were born. Branded with a number To be catalogued Only seen as A shadow in a line. An image of your former self An identity stolen Bereft of all hope From walls of blackened soot. A time in history When even war Was devoid of honour Salvation came by passing to the next existence.


Alex Andy Phuong alexandyphuong@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University—Los Angeles in 2015.  He was a former Statement Magazine editor who currently resides in Alhambra, California, and writes passionately.  He has written film reviews for MovieBoozer, and has contributed to Mindfray.  His writing has appeared in The Bookends Review and The Society of Classical Poets.  He writes with the sincerest hope to inspire readers, and fully supports those who dare to pursue their dreams.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Alex Andy Phuong and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Friend Frank A young life Taken away As a teen I had struggled Yet continue to endure For my heart is pure I express gratitude Despite my ineptitude And I write To add beauty to the world Before my own end No need to fear death Fear not being remembered after death Thank you, Anne Frank


Alyssa Ahle ahle101@mail.chapman.edu

Bio (auto)

Alyssa Ahle is an author and playwright from San Clemente, CA. Her work has been published in the anthology book series America’s Emerging Literary Fiction Writers: California; America’s Emerging Science Fiction Writers: Pacific Region; California’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction by Z Publishing House. Her work has also appeared in Germ Magazine and The Calliope Art & Literary Magazine. She co-produced her full-length stage play, Lost and Found, at the Chance Theater in November of 2017. As a writer, she aspires to draw attention to the beauty and humor of life. Visit her on the web here: https://alyssaahle.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Alyssa Ahle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

1942 I feel the wind Through my skin It rattles the bones They let me keep My arms are fragile Breakable Toothpicks If you saw me From far away You might think Me a skeleton Escaped From the grave I did not I am a Jew


Betsy Mars marsfish@aol.com

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Betsy Mars lives in Torrance, California where, before the current pandemic, she worked as a substitute teacher, exam proctor, and essay scorer while focusing on poetry. She is also a photographer and an occasional publisher. Her works have recently appeared in The New Verse News, Sheila-Na-Gig, The Ekphrastic Review, and The Blue Nib, among others.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Betsy Mars and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Yom HaShoah While Touring Colleges With My Son A litany of names fills the air like smoke, the fire place lit after a last springtime storm, taking the remnants of the heat, a last gasp, the end of the line – each name chimes like a dirge, the ghost of a purge. Two students with megaphones huddle over lists outside the Student Union: call and response, the pause between, each breath, a passing, making history living. A type of schooling, this marking: remembrance of the dead, of atrocity – no room for denial, undertaking not to bury but to raise the spirits, solemnly, in long-awaited praise.


Carol Dorf carol.dorf@gmail.com

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Carol Dorf has three chapbooks in print, "Given," (Origami Poems,) "Some Years Ask," (Moria Press) and "Theory Headed Dragon," (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry also appears in "Unlikely Stories," "Shofar," "The Reform Jewish Quarterly," "About Place," "Great Weather For Media," "Slipstream," "The Mom Egg," "Sin Fronteras," "Scientific American," and "Maintenant." She is poetry editor of Talking Writing and lives in Berkeley, CA.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Carol Dorf and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Our Dictator When the young ask “Why did you let it go on so long?” they have forgotten an essential fact — he was our dictator— small fingers, and disconnected speech rhythms of our crazy uncles raging on.


Carrie Magness Radna ambikamag@msn.com

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Carrie Magness Radna is an audiovisual cataloger at New York Public Library, a choral singer and a poet who loves traveling. Her poems have previously appeared in The Oracular Tree, Mediterranean Poetry, Muddy River Poetry Review, Poetry Super Highway,  Shot Glass Journal, Walt’s CornerPolarity eMagazine, The Poetic Bond (VIII & IX) and First Literary Review-East. Her first chapbook, Conversations with dead composers at Carnegie Hall (Flutter Press) was published in January 2020, and her second chapbook, Remembering you as I go walking (Boxwood Star Press) was published in August 2019. Her first poetry collection, Hurricanes never apologize (Luchador Press) was published in December 2019. Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she lives with her husband in Manhattan.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Carrie Magness Radna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author..

The sick ones A month into international seclusion: we may be still too soft— compared to the Frank family in Amsterdam and others hiding in cellars, attics & trees during the Second World War for months & years, in hiding from tricksters & charlatans, who wished to be pure, without any sickness. These Ayrans, they tricked a whole “race” of people, their train stops became death camps, with “showers” poisoned with carbon monoxide they tried to convince others Jews were the sick ones— They were the sick ones! Those who believe they are better & purer, & more worthy to live, to breathe, to rule, to conquer others who are not them, no matter the time or place, the nationality of victims, their religion, their sex, their gender, who they choose to love, their looks, or disabilities— Those who choose to hate are sick— only by changing their mindset, they will be cured while cursed, even while in hiding.


Dan Fitzgerald dfitz467@yahoo.com

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Dan lives quietly in Pontiac, Illinois, tending to home and garden. His poems have been published in The Writer’s Journal, Poetry Super Highway, Nomad’s Choir and many others.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Dan Fitzgerald and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Photograph I found an old photograph in a suitcase at a thrift store. A happy family picture, it seems, with some writing on the back. Someone told me the writing was German, someone else thought it was Polish. The date is marked clearly, the year before the second war. I wish I could read it, then maybe I could find out who they were. I like the smiling faces. I like the old clothes. I am going to get it framed, and hang it on this wall. So many people come this way, maybe somebody will recognize them. I know it was taken long ago, but it is such a nice picture. Surely someone will remember.


Daniel S. Irwin niwrid@hotmail.com

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Daniel S. Irwin, artist, actor, writer, soldier, scholar, priest, lives in Sparta, Illinois, just east of St Louis, Missouri. He has been published in over one hundred magazines, journals, and anthologies worldwide. He has traveled extensively thru Europe and the Mid East. A graduate of Southern Illinois University (Carbondale), he has taught poetry/publishing at Soutwestern Illinois College.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Daniel S. Irwin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Hero In The Great War He was a hero in the Great War. He proudly wore his medals. His scars proclaimed his courage In his fight for Kaizer und Vaterland. He was a soldier among the best. So much for that, now a new regime. The warrior mocked by brown shirted bullies. To be a good German was now not enough. Once the whole city was proud of him, Now he was shunned as vermin for his blood. Good neighbors laughed as the family left For a train ride on to Hell. Why them?  Why anyone? God knows but doesn't tell.


Daphne Milne dvoncornwall@gmail.com

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Daphne Milne now lives in Fremantle, Australia. Her pamphlet The Blue Boob Club is published by Indigo Dreams Press. Her uncle served with the RAMC in WW1, was too old for service in WW2 but was with the first civilian medical team that entered Bergen/Belsen

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Daphne Milne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Repairman White coat + stethescope = PAIN Needles and knives — tools of the torturers’ trade Just a little prick and your blood will boil nothing but lab rats — non human flesh and when we’ve done with you you will burn He gentled them with his voice until their terror subsided enough for him to start to repair   perhaps to heal them For him the nightmares start


Dave Ludford dvoncornwall@gmail.com

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Dave Ludford is a poet and short story writer from Nuneaton, England. His work has appeared at a variety of locations in the US, UK and India.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Dave Ludford and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hatred "Hatred. So many people clasp that vile serpent to their breast As willingly as a dancer might a floral accolade. Its poison seeps through the strata of their souls To lodge within a cold, dispassionate heart, too Deep for the light of love to penetrate. But Why are their voices always louder than ours?" The old man spoke before he passed gently Into the welcoming darkness, and I, Struggling, grasping for an answer, failed.


David Supper davidmsupper@aol.com

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David is a retired teacher living in Nottingham, UK. He has been writing poetry since 1999 and has been lucky to have many of his poems published in various anthologies. He was also poet of the week on Poetry Super Highway in 2018 and recently had his first book of poems published by Cyberwit entitled Lady Bay Bridge and other poems. This is available through Amazon.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by David Supper and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hell Hell isn't brimstone and fire in the dark nor is it devils with tails and horns, hell isn't an inferno in some deep abyss. Hell is right here wherever you look, in a Polish field, grass covered in blood, the ash on the ground from Trebinka's fires. Hell is the Jews' bright star of hope rendered right down to turn into soap, the screams of the children breathing their last. Hell are the tears such a long time to shed, enough to douse fires in the hearts of Mankind, if we should forget them, then they die twice.


Dennis Bernstein dennisjbernstein@gmail.com

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Dennis J Bernstein's latest book of poems is Five Oceans in a Teaspoon, with visualizations and musical animations by Warren Lehrer. Bernstein, who grew up on Long Island, now lives in San Francisco. He is the award-winning host/producer of Flashpoints, syndicated on public and community radio stations across the United States. Bernstein is the recipient of many awards for his work, including the 2015 Pillar Award in Broadcast Journalism. In 2009, Pulse Media named him one of the “20 Top Global Media Figures.” Bernstein’s articles and essays have appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, Newsday, The Nation, Kyoto Journal, Der Spiegel, and many more. Bernstein  produced the first complete live, 35 hour broadcast of James Joyce’s Ulysses in the U.S. He is also the author of the poetry collection Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom, which won the 2012 Artists Embassy International Literary Cultural Award. His poetry has appeared in The New York Quarterly, Bat City Review, Texas Observer, ZYZZYVA, and numerous other journals. Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Color Purple, writes that Special Ed “is art turned to us through the eyes of love.” Carol Smaldino says in The Huffington Post that the poems remind us how “we are all connected to the sorrows as well as to the grandness of being human.” Five Oceans in a Teaspoon was Published last Fall by Paper Crown. fiveoceansinateaspoon.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Dennis Bernstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Mother and Her Sister Shari 1. The Rabbi’s Daughter The wind lifts her house-dress to reveal a badly bruised ankle and thigh. It’s the fifth fall she’s taken since she refused my help: Mama is a modest woman. Her father was the Rabbi; he blessed matzoth and wrote prayer. He married and buried his congregation--all of them refugees from the Third Reich:He Held the Torah closer than he ever held his kids or wife. 2. Aunts with Numbers Aunt Shari had seven blue numbers tattooed under her left forearm. When I was eight, I tried to add them up to see what their sum total was. She stopped me in the middle and paused: “these are the numbers that taught me to count on nothing."


Diana Rosen dianalrosen@gmail.com

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Diana Rosen’s essays, poems, and short fiction appear or are forthcoming in The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Jewish Literary Journal, Potato Soup Journal, and Pif Magazine. Her hybrid work, “Love & Irony,” is forthcoming from Red Bird Chapbooks. She lives in Los Angeles where she provides content for food and beverage web sites. Please visiwww.authory.com/dianarosen to view more of her work.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Diana Rosen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Paris Story On our way to somewhere else, noon time Gregorian chants draw us into Notre Dame another mystical moment possible only when you leave the guidebook in your hotel room. We light candles, “just in case,” then visit Mémorial des Martyrs de la Déportation the cryptically-named homage to 200,000 martyrs deported from Vichy France to the Camps of Cruelty to The Other. It’s silent, somber, as stark and simple as a shroud. Stepping down the narrow hallways, we find irony everywhere: in the chilling floor plaque: “They descended into the mouth of the earth and they did not return” in the land under the monument: that once supported a morgue in the exit sign: “Forgive But Never Forget” in the names of those camp, but no mention of who was sent there: not the Roma, Jehovah’s Witnesses, political dissidents, the disabled, homosexuals, Resistance fighters, nor Jews.


Donald N. Krieger kriegerd@upmc.edu

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Don Krieger is a biomedical researcher whose focus is the electric activity within the brain. His full-length collection, "Discovery," is forthcoming from Cyberwit. He is a 2020 Creative Nonfiction Science-as-Story Fellow. His work has appeared in Hanging Loose, Neurology, Live Mag!, The Raw Art Review, Seneca Review, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Asahi Shimbun, and others, and has appeared in several anthologies in both English and Farsi.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Donald N. Krieger and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Breendonk Generations 1. Anna and Isaac met in an orphanage where they were hidden as Catholics. They married in Antwerp. The house door was six inches thick. Two great bolts shot into the frame. The floor safe held half a million. Their son, Len, drove me to see Breendonk, Belgium's first camp, a feeder for Dachau, dorms filled with wood bunks, a museum, gallows outside. I felt only faintly what it was to live there; I will not visit another. Len waited for those hours in the car. 2. An hour after Leah gave birth her room was filled as they do in Belgium, eating and laughing. She lay in exhausted sleep. Bobby was in an anteroom absent fingernails and eyebrows, asleep like his mother, too small to be held, they felt. Knowing no better, I was the first, held him with these hands. I bought a crib, clothes, everything the next day, as they do in Belgium. That evening we sat together, new family, full with each other. Anna, Bobby's grandmother, showed an old picture, her father and his 5 brothers murdered when she was a girl. Bobby is 18 now,  his sister, Amy, 10. Leah and Len are divorced. We're all on Facebook.


Doris Fiszer dorisfiszer@rogers.com

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Doris Fiszer is a Canadian poet living in Ottawa, Ontario. Her poetry has appeared in a variety of publications including: PoetrySuperHighway.com, bywords.ca, Juniper: A Poetry Journal, Motherhood in Precarious Times, Demeter Press 2018, Tamaracks Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century, Lummox Press 2018 and is forthcoming in ottawater. She is the author of two chapbooks: The Binders which won Tree Press’s 2016 Chapbook contest and was also shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Award.  Sasanka (Wild Flower) was published by Bywords in 2018. Her poem, “Zen Garden” won the 2017 John Newlove Poetry Award.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Doris Fiszer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

I Knew The events of childhood do not pass but repeat themselves like seasons of the year. —Eleanor Farjeon Even in this fresh landscape shadows veiled the sun, wild flowers burned to ashes overloaded plates of perogies, pickled herring and sauerkraut covered our table rows of Maxwell House jars, tins of Habitant pea soup crammed our basement shelves dresses, price tags still attached, hung like war-starved ghosts in Mother’s closet.


Fred McIlmoyle freddiemac@tiscali.co.uk

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Fred McIlmoyle is a retired sociologist and Technical Author who lives on the East coast of Northern Ireland. He has been writing poetry for over sixty years and now spends winters charging his battery on Spain`s south coast where the days are longer and brighter.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Fred McIlmoyle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Meeting A small brown bag - that's all she had. In it the remnants of yesterday’s dreams Along with a few of today's necessities. I thought it sad and watched a while. She turned and caught my eye; Seized with guilt I tried to smile - To empathize with her grief and pain. A tyrants malice and lust for power Had brought the girl to her fateful hour. Where were those who should be near To comfort and stem her anguished tears? They prodded her down that wretched line Where yellow stars marked a lethal shrine. Suddenly she broke away Dashed back to me and hunkered down. Grasped my hand in both of hers. Instinctively I stiffened - Then unwound and listened, Captured by her words, “Don't grieve for what you seem to see, This is just a shadow of that girl who once stood free. Look into my eyes and see, reflected there, Past cherished dreams that keeps me sane Through incessant days of care” Then a rifle butt blacked out my brain …….. When I came round the girl had gone. I heard the whistle of a leaving train And saw it steaming far down the track. Her small brown bag lay at my feet. But I knew she wouldn’t be coming back.


Hanoch Guy hanochkguypoet@yahoo.com

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Hanoch Guy Ph.D,Ed.D spent his childhood and youth in Israel. He is a bilingual poet in Hebrew and English. Hanoch taught Jewish and Hebrew literature at Temple University, and mentored at the Muse house center. Hanoch is the author of eight poetry collections in English, and one in Hebrew.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Hanoch Guy and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Terra Treblinka Terra Treblinka crushes puny inmates on its tracks, terrifies skeletons on its platforms tears mothers’ bellies, throws torn toddlers into burial pits. Terra Treblinka traps frozen Katzetnicks in its claws. Mammoth fiery pagan mouths open. Burn rotting bodies in its fiery Terra Treblinka thriving on musslemen’s flesh, trickling blood for a hundred years into Europe’s rivers. Terra Treblinka promotes Germany’s trash to swastika monsters and master meat processors. Terra Treblinka: Wagner’s crescendo to Hitler, rewards its excelling S.S. officers, treats them to thick beer, knoblach and sausage.


Howard Gerald Comen comendetec@aol.com

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Howard Gerald Comen is named after an Uncle and Cousin killed fighting for Freedom in World War 2. He has a Political Science Degree from the University of South Carolina. He resides in Charleston South Carolina. He holds South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Private Detective License #30.  He conducts investigations worldwide and has on the ground in South Africa, Nigeria, England, France, Canada, Mexico. Comen has investigated public officials from small-town Mayors to the President of the United States. He has spent all of his life since his college days trying to bring about Interfaith, Racial, Tribal, Ethnic and Gender Equity. He has been published in the NY Times, Washington Post, and many other publications. He even was published by both Hasidim's Concord and The Muslim Journal.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Howard Gerald Comen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Size of the Human Heart Death brings with it a New Beginning A departure from what we know In Heaven there is no evil, just being And from Heaven, we can defeat and foe Preparing for a remembrance On a national radio show I went to beyond ground zeroes fences And the cops drove me around real slow Looking for a sign of 9/11 As I was driven around the Towers sacred ground I saw painted on a building straight from Heaven That I am sending Holocaust bound “Don’t Measure the Human Spirit by the size of the Act But by the size of the human heart”, I immediately react. by seeing the  spirits as they entered Heaven and look back Shaking their fists yelling back “Evil, You better pack. Evil men will always descend straight into the fires of hell While their victims reach heaven and ring freedom bell So from the Holocaust and 9/11 spirits and me Hell has no fury like God and  humanity


Howie Good goodh51@gmail.com

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Howie Good is the author most recently of Stick Figure Opera: 99 100-word Prose Poems from Cajun Mutt Press. He lives most of the year on Cape Cod.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Howie Good and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust Train We were put into open train cars and huddled together to keep warm. When it snowed, we collected it to drink, because they didn't give us water. We were in such complete solidarity that when one of us fell asleep standing (there was no room to sit or lie down) none of the others would steal the snow that accumulated on her. That snow belonged to her. source


I.B. Rad IBRadeck@aol.com

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I.B. Rad is a New  York City  Poet whose  work  is widely available on the internet. He believes  that there is no one correct way to write, but that "form follows function" (which still leaves "more than one way to skin a cat" -a rather disgusting thought!)

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by I.B. Rad and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Dark Adaptation Blinded by their "otherness", we couldn't see any conceivable humanity until, gradually, after a frenzy of tribalistic fury, our marred vision's aftermath came into view. Confronting our sight lay a Boschian nightmare of gutted hellscapes featuring hemorrhaging rivers gushing red, disgorging disjoined heads, limbs, torsos, with torrents of refugees streaming toward the borders; while raised, on a pedestal of ruin, above those Hadean heights, Madonna and child huddle, transfixed by shooting stars bursting bright - though none to steer us by... First published in the Canadian journal "Fleas on the Dog"


Ivan Klein starfirepress@yahoo.com

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Ivan Klein has published Toward Melville, a book of poems, from New Feral Press in July 2018. Previously published Alternatives to Silence from Starfire Press and the chapbook Some Paintings by Koho & A Flower Of My Own from Sisyphus Press. His work has been published in the Forward, Urban Graffiti, Otoliths, and numerous other periodicals. Published in three recent annual Yom HaShoah compilations. A regular contributor to the online arts magazine Arteidolia, most recently in the March 2020 issue. He lives in New York City.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Ivan Klein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

To Shenkin Street & Back A broken down old Jew played a slow blues in the midday sun on Shenkin Street in Tel Aviv, filling the air, pervading all & everything – El & Elohim & Adonai – the whole universe & all that which is within it. And I wondered how he got there, The path that he took to that particular spot known in the guidebooks for its restaurants & smart shopping as I dropped a handful of shekels into his guitar case. We nodded to each other, no longer quite strangers after 2000 years, now that there was a blues beyond annihilation between us. Beyond humiliation, the denial of our existence & the crouching enemy at the gate; Beyond the good hearts all around that needs must deny themselves. With the real & true blues, you know, it’s a matter of feeling everything’s going to be all right. _______________________ Aspects of these very same blues float over the Judean hills to the Mount of Temptation overlooking the River Jordan as it flows into the Dead Sea; Float to the Wailing Wall where I remembered the suffering of my father & grandfathers & what it means to be a Jew before & then after we stop kidding ourselves. With the weight of history on my shoulders, It was cool to the touch of my forehead & fingertips. Not just a pile of Roman fortress stones to me & even if they are, it still exists, I still exist, Our blues are our blues & exist. _______________________ Fresh from the memory of Jerusalem & the narrow lane through the Damascus Gate with feral cats everywhere, a testament to the feelings of the people for the helpless living things among them. these blues are dangerously close to unlocking my closed old heart in this very moment; dangerously close to taking me into the empty unclaimed space in which resides the truth. On Shenkin Street, the blues wafting over me, I was wandering no more. God Almighty, by whatever name or silence you choose to be known, how is it that there is not a place on this earth for everyone? By what law of being must we give up our humanity? How dare they? __________________________ Think of the hot little mommas on the streets & beaches of Tel Aviv, cute as can be, with the reckless courage of their lives. There is the truth of being beyond words, the stars up above & the freshly rained on streets down below. Get ready to meet your maker If you can find Him I tell myself, The low dark clouds moving slowly north over New York City after the shrouded sun has mysteriously arisen


Iris Levin idlevin@aol.com

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Iris Levin from Rockville Centre ,New York   is a retired teacher currently  working at archiving old Long Island photographs. As those old photos tell stories, her poetry, snapshots of life, tell stories. Her work has appeared in Long Island anthologies

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Iris Levin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

They Came For Us I sit in bed Alone in winter's darkness Wrapped in the words and memories Of the boy with love in his eyes Of me his willing partner Of unforgettable truth Of our life before they came for us And when they came no knocks on the door No time to pack Just the shove from the bed To the snowy bleak street Two lines Me to the left You to the right A final glance And like a white bird in the blizzards You disappeared


J de Salvo thebicyclereview@gmail.com

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J de Salvo was born and raised in Los Angeles. His fiction, poems, articles, and essays have been published extensively in print and online. She is the author of "The End of Ambition: Selected Poems 2000-2013" (Leaf Garden Press) and "Maria's Notebook," (the Gorilla Press.) He is an editor and curator at the Pedestrian Press, an independent publisher of literature and art. She lives in Oakland, CA.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by J de Salvo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Confessions of the Son of a Holocaust Baby 1 Sometimes I just say “Yes, I am Italian,” when someone whom I am not likely to see again asks It’s simpler that way for both of us, they don’t have to feel awkward and I don’t have to hear yet another person tell me, insistently, how much they “love the Jewish people,” in a tone that seems to imply that it’s quite normal not to love the Jewish people and that they deserve a lot of credit for being such a beacon of liberalism and humanity 2 We don’t know if my Father was born in 1942 or 1943 or who my real Grandparents are, hell, we don’t even know if my father is “really” Jewish, could be an Ishmael got mixed in with the Isaacs, “by mistake” “White” is such a funny concept, we don’t even know if he was that—if he was Italian, he has been granted retroactive whiteness, if ethnically Sephardic or Arab, then a “non-white Caucasian” I do know that I am white, because, People treat me a lot better than they used to Treat him 3 I’ll just come out and say it, it is weird to know that if not for one of the most efficient and brutal genocides in history, you wouldn’t be alive 4 My Grandma... yes, I consider her my Grandma, ...without her adopting my Father, I wouldn’t be here, so you could say it was no accident if you prefer a loose truth, she, lost most of her family and friends and if she hadn’t been in Sicily, where people are a little darker skinned and married to an abusive Italian that I never met, she might have lost herself and my Father and I as well, on the one proverbial hand I sometimes wish I had asked her more about what happened, but on the euphemistic other, like most who narrowly escaped or survived, she didn’t like to talk about it “Read, learn,” she would say “but please...don’t ask me.”


Jan Chronister janchronister@yahoo.com

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Jan Chronister’s poems have appeared in over seventy online and print journals and anthologies. She lives in Maple, Wisconsin and is serving as president of Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets 2015-2021. Her author website is www.janchronisterpoetry.wordpress.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jan Chronister and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Captains of Industry Watching old Westerns I wonder about the company that made the jail cells. Those metal bars that show prominently when girlfriends or lawmen visit prisoners. They must have done pretty well for themselves since every town had to have a place to keep the criminals. I wonder about the company that made ovens for Auschwitz— clerks processing orders warehouse bosses shipping them out. Did the workers carry lunch pails home at night empty, or full of gorge they could not contain?


Janice Alper janicealper@gmail.com

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Janice Alper, has had her poems published in the San Diego Poetry Annual, Bards Against Hunger and Active Voices and a personal essay published in Shaking the Tree, Volume 2. A retired Jewish educator and communal worker, Janice is active in her synagogue, the Birch Aquarium and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at UCSD. She resides in La Jolla, California.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Janice Alper and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Remembering Kristallnacht The Psalmist said, “By the rivers of Babylon we wept for Zion.”* We were not defeated We returned to Zion and became a light unto the nations. The Romans destroyed our temple. We dispersed all over the known world. The Inquisition sent us under cover made us swear by the cross. We were Gentiles on the outside Jews on the inside. We were not defeated. We fled to Amsterdam and Italy and Poland and Russia. Hitler called us swine. Sent us to camps Annihilated millions. We rose from the ashes, built a new Zion. Remember Kristallnacht, the Night of Broken Glass, Mourn for Jews killed in a synagogue for young people line dancing to country music Muslims gunned down in a mosque. What is happening in our country, Our world? Shootings, shootings, more shootings. Where does it end, how does it stop, Who is next? Sadness, anger, fright overwhelm me. I survey the shards of glass, I want to laugh, dance, sing, Pray with you, hug you, But I can’t. Cut with splinters of glass I bleed heartbroken, and remember Kristallnacht.
Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
Remember. Please remember. *Psalm 137


John Anthony Fingleton johnanthonyfingleton@gmail.com

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John Anthony Fingleton: Was born in Cork City, in the Republic of Ireland. Now living in Paraguay South America. Poems published in journals and anthologies in Ireland, UK, USA, India and France as well as three plays produced. Poet of the Year (2016) Destiny Poets International Community. Poems read on Irish and American radio as well in Spanish on South American broadcasts. Contributed to four books of poetry for children. Has poems published in numerous national and international journals, reviews, and anthologies. Poet of the Month (March 2019) Our Poetry Archive. Poet of the Month (April 2019) The League of Poets. First solo collection ´Poems from the Shadowlands´ was published in November 2017, 'Words That Found Me' December 2019 'Poems From The Banks' January 2020 and 'Poems from a Restricted Place' April 2020 which are all available on Amazon.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Anthony Fingleton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Virgil’s Spark The birds don’t come here anymore, Now silence fills their space, A sharp reminder to us all, That God can be replaced. The signs where Hell had visited, Are scattered all around, Although the Devil took the last train out; When the fires were dampened down. A sign inscribed above the gate - Gave false hope - of freedom soon, Ironic in its disillusionment – Instead of Dante’s words of doom. In Dante's Divine Comedy, Virgil is the guide who takes the reader through the author's examination of the afterlife, which travels through the Inferno (Hell), (Purgatory), and the (Heaven). The words inscribed over the Gates of Hell : 'Abandon hope all ye who enter here.’  The inscription above the main gate of Auschwitz concentration camp and others camps read: “ARBEIT MACHT FREI” (work makes you free).


John Guzlowski jzguzlowski@gmail.com

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John Guzlowski’s writing appears on Garrison Keillor’s Writers Almanac and in Rattle, Atticus Review, Joyce Carol Oates’ Ontario Review, North American Review, and many other journals. His poems and personal essays about his Polish parents’ experiences as slave laborers in Nazi Germany and refugees making a life for themselves in America appear in his memoir Echoes of Tattered Tongues. It received the 2017 Ben Franklin Poetry Award and the Eric Hoffer Foundation’s Montaigne Award. Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz – in a review of one of Guzlowski’s poetry books – wrote that Guzlowski’s writing astonished him. Guzlowski lives in Lynchburg, VA.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Guzlowski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

What My Father Ate in the Camps He ate what he couldn’t eat, what his mother taught him not to: brown grass, small chips of wood, the dirt beneath his gray dark fingernails. He ate the leaves off trees. He ate bark. He ate the flies that tormented the mules working in the fields. He ate what would kill a man in the normal course of his life: leather buttons, cloth caps, anything small enough to get into his mouth. He ate roots. He ate newspaper. In his slow clumsy hunger he did what the birds did, picked for oats or corn or any kind of seed in the dry dung left by the cows. And when there was nothing to eat he’d search the ground for pebbles and they would loosen his saliva and he would swallow that. And the other men did the same.


Judith R. Robinson alongtheserivers@gmail.com

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Judith R. Robinson* is an editor, teacher, fiction writer, poet and visual artist. A 1980 summa cum laude graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, she is listed in the Directory of American Poets and Writers.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Judith R. Robinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

After The Shoah A young woman found a Nazi’s knife. She sliced through bags of grain piled at a forgotten bunker strange burlaped mounds of wheat she opened and scattered, flinging handfuls of the mealy stuff into the warm, rushing wind. Each hardy piece pierced a small spot of ground; chaff at edges melted away in every generation; but the sturdy core was undestroyed. The hardest nubs ground into the dregs climbed and fastened climbed up buoyant vines her daughter’s daughters lived to harvest.


Karren LaLonde Alenier karren@alenier.com

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Karren LaLonde Alenier of Chevy Chase, Maryland, is author of seven poetry collections, including Looking for Divine Transportationwinner of the 2002 Towson University Prize for Literature and her latest The Anima of Paul Bowles, 2016 top staff pick by Grolier Bookshop (Boston). Her poetry and fiction have been published in: Mississippi ReviewJewish Currents, and Poet Lore. Her opera Gertrude Stein Invents a Jump Early On with composer William Banfield premiered by Encompass New Opera Theatre in New York June 2005. Visit her blog at Alenier.blogspot.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Karren LaLonde Alenier and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

what was hidden after “My House” by Claude McKay in 1959 when I   was nearing twelve what did I know            about living free justice the               American way except dark         tales from Europe a girl’s delight   The Diary of Anne Frank full of             hope and petulance she being                    prisoner in a secret strange        living arrangement behind the                     office bookshelf a penalty exacting death should workers of         her dad’s warehouse hear difference       from expected clatter noise in             a suspect place alerting the          Gestapo spies so I would crowd         in with ironing board and the             maid to discuss Anne’s loneliness                Viola learned woman of                color college degreed wisdom  my folks high school dropouts among       her white employers surely fools


Katherine L. Gordon kanddgordon@porchlight.ca

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Katherine L. Gordon (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) is a poet, publisher, judge and reviewer, most recently a judge for the Reuben Rose international Poetry Competition. She believes that poetry unites the planet.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Katherine L. Gordon and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Why We Survive ------“What is to give light must endure the burning.” Victor Frankl Survivors know the “why “ of life, lived to write of it, instruct us all in our value, our personhood. Enduring the holocaust made us strong in pride of being, bequeathed us a generation of enlightened builders, pride of place in medicine, literature, joy of the moment in a country so hard won. Their sacrifice gave us our triumph. we endure and overcome, a light to the world, our past precious , never forgotten, as we take our place in a planet enlightened, where all the stars are yellow reflecting the sun, a dignity of rebirth, regeneration, galaxy firebrands of glowing creation.


Kathy Lundy Derengowski kthderengowski@gmail.com

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Kathy Lundy Derengowski is a native of San Diego county. She is an active member of the LSM Writer’s Workshop. Her work has appeared in Summation, San Diego Poetry Annual and the Journal of Modern Poetry. She has been a finalist in the San Diego book Awards poetry chapbook category, and has won awards from the California State Poetry Society.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Kathy Lundy Derengowski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Travesty
…on the sales of Mein Kampf in Germany for the first time since the second world war
how many graves did you dig with your mouth with your silvered tongue your hate filled words flavored with bigotry and racism? Who digs graves with his open mouth who bites at the living, chews at the innocent? Who is happy among tombstones, makes a living from the dying? Who swallows virtue, must gag on the blood of the dying must choke on the bones of the blameless If books should be burned burn this one first.


Katrenia M. Busch mkrim06@live.com

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Katrenia Busch from Bay City, MI is a published poet and mother of two. You can see some of her poems in the screech owl, literature today or Riverrun associated with Quincy University. She has published essays on psychoanalysis and spends time as a “peer reviewer” for journals associated with the APA on psychological studies and research. She has an established background in healthcare and law enforcement and has published articles on leadership and the healthcare system.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Katrenia M. Busch and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

All I hold dear Screaming, noise all I hear As sounds destroy All I hold dear Lost, confused Young I am Being accused Not giving a damn! Hatred surrounding All I hold dear As it’s causing Elevated fear I’m only at the age of ten Barely a kid Nor yet a man Clinging, holding To my mother Her arms folding To one another Searching, wondering Where everyone’s gone Searching, pondering Feeling withdrawn Cries and tears I see and hear Fear adheres To all I hold dear


Leonard Kress leonard_kress@owens.edu

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Leonard Kress published poetry and fiction in Missouri Review, Iowa Review, Harvard Review, etc. Most recent books—Walk Like Bo Diddley, Living in the Candy Store and Other Poems, Craniotomy, and translation of Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz.  He lives in Perrysburg, OH.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Leonard Kress and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Listening to Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” at the Toledo Museum of Art The audience across from me comprised of Franz Hals burghers and their wives, ruffled collars and coarse snoods, who tip their stern heads in rapt appreciation, as they recognize bird songs from picnics and country outings within the music. They all seem ready to flash open their black gowns to reveal gleaming trumpets cinched to their black undergarments and blow furiously in this vast hall, so all four players might cast aside their sheet music and instruments and dance—with the rest of us, of course. Though afterwards they’d have to renounce this song and replace it with silent motionless rapture. And thus, Messiaen, burghers, all of us, wrapped and enfolded into eternal blackness beyond the reach of any song. For now, though, in this peopled hall, where measured time proceeds on course, we let it maneuver through us, this music composed in a Nazi prison camp, music that today keeps the museum guards in rapt forgetfulness of their duty, to kick out coarse sound and movement, to keep the black clad musicians undisturbed, to usher from the hall those mothers whose infants’ songs won’t be bottled-up. Messiaen’s song only partially pleases the burghers, for whom music is only good when it draws huge crowds into the halls of commerce, and goods can be sold and wrapped. They emerged after the catastrophe of the Black Plague and thrived, unmolested in their lucrative course until the early 20th century. Of course collapsing when fascist marching songs and swastikas and black armbands cuffed and plundered music. For now, there’s only this rapturous Requiem, unconstrained in this or any hall.


Linda M. Crate veritaserumvial@hotmail.com

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Linda M. Crate is a writer from Meadville, Pennsylvania. Her works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of six poetry chapbooks, the latest of which is: More Than Bone Music (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, March 2019). Recently she has published two full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020) and The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020).

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Linda M. Crate and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

people aren't cats or mice i remember being assigned to read maus in college, but i disconnected and disassociated with it; seemed a mockery to me to those who actually had gone through these horrors— i connected more to the diary of anne frank and to night my professor seemed to think it far cleverer than i ever appreciated, i couldn't find my way in and break the glass of disassociation; it was just a piece i couldn't like no matter how hard i tried— people aren't cats or mice, they're people; and maybe that's why i just found it hard to appreciate.


Lucio Muñoz caringlucio@hotmail.com

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Lucio Muñoz is an independent QLC researcher living in Vancouver, BC, Canada who enjoys writing short poems, short stories, and haiku during his breaks.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Lucio Muñoz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The evolution of hope The seeds buried in the ground one day will become a forest The forest one day will become the home of happy souls The happy souls will conquer the world The world will blossom. From the seeds came the forest From the forest came the home From the souls came a happy world That is the evolution of hope.


Luna Maluna Gri maluna.gri@gmail.com

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Luna Maluna Gri is an Austrian poet and artist, who was born and lives in Vienna. Through her artwork she expresses her emotions and herself. Her goal is it to make people feel, make them think and scrutinize the believes they were taught. To broaden their minds and stretch their way of thinking. 2019 her poem “Wir” was published in the Anthology “Ausgewählte Werke XXII” by the Bibliothek deutsprachiger Gedichte in Germany. Several poetry performances (among others VorstellBar - Burgtheater Vienna, Global Earth Strike in September 2019, Kunstkomplott Art Festival, Hear me roar festival).

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Luna Maluna Gri and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Grave in the air You were choked to death and burned alive by a toxic cloud who threatened to eat you all alive They burned your whole body, your hands, who held so many people and wrote so many words, your feet, who have walked already so many miles on this earth, your hair, which the wind loved to play with, your loving heart, which touched so many others, and your powerful eyes, who have seen so much and which will be telling the truth forever They made sure nothing of you will be left They wanted to extinguish you all So they refused to give back your bodies to the earth and made you a grave in the air instead But I received something from you The wind brought your voice to me and it told your story and those of so many others Who were murdered innocent For this to be never forgotten They may have taken you everything but they can never take you your voice


Maria DePaul marial.depaul@gmail.com

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Maria DePaul is a Washington, DC-based writer whose work has been featured and is forthcoming in a variety of publications, including Haikuniverse.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Maria DePaul and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Yizkor Every candle A remembrance Of a light Extinguished A Brother or Sister An Aunt or Uncle A Grandparent A beloved Or a dear friend Sometimes never met But never forgotten We miss you


Marianne Szlyk marianne.szlyk@gmail.com

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Marianne Szlyk lives in Rockville, MD and teaches at Montgomery College. There she has helped to facilitate poetry workshops inspired by Portraits of Life, an exhibit of photographs of Holocaust survivors living in Montgomery County.  These poems are from the workshops.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Marianne Szlyk and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Of Blessed Memory
After photographs of Holocaust survivor Flora Singer
The sun bleaches the slats of a black and white fence. Small statues bask in sunlight, not too warm on this October day just before leaves turn. You stand in the space cleared from matchstick woods, a place far from home, the woods you looked out to from the Catholic orphanage, the woods you wandered while in hiding.  Surrounded by the frog musicians of Grimm’s fairy tales, your back to the ash leaves about to turn the color of old bruises, you have no more stories to tell. You look out to the camera. Now you are home. Previously published in riting in a Woman's Voice


Marsha Markman marshamarkman@gmail.com

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Marsha Markman, Professor Emerita of English at California Lutheran University, is co-editor of, The American Journey (Vols. 1 and 2); Writing Women's Livesas well as, "Teaching the Holocaust through Literature" in New Perspectives of the Holocaust. She Contributed to, If We Dance . . . A Collection of Poems and edited and wrote the "Introduction" to Piri Piroska Bodnar's, Out of the ShadowsMarkman lives in Woodland Hills, California.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Marsha Markman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Never Again Never again will I travel by train listen to the shrieks of its wheels grinding to a halt at hell's gate rifles drawn, bullets fly, tormentors gleeful nor will I forget the death camps their crematoria spewing ashes of human remains noxious snowflakes dusting hardened soil hardening human hearts Never will I scoop soil from my garden without thinking of Malkah, Schlomo, Dovid and nameless numbers scooped onto backhoes forever entwined in countless quarries Nor will I forget the beatings freezing winters   humid summers paper-thin dresses no shoes   no undergarments no dignity Never will I commit the sin of forgetting by removing the numbers tattooed on my arm nor forgive them  their transgressions "Some things are unforgivable," I tell my grandchildren as we light a candle on this Day of Remembrance


Michael H. Brownstein mhbrownstein@ymail.com

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Michael H. Brownstein's latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love? (2019), were recently released (Cholla Needles Press).

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Michael H. Brownstein and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tattoo The tattoo on my wrist no longer a curse but a memory I pass on so you, my beloved great grandchild, will never forget, will never allow forgetting, will always remember to never forget and you will always be the tree blossoming into perfection, strength, wisdom, my child of everything possible-- this tattoo from a time impossible makes everything for you a brilliant light of possibility.


Michael Salcman msalcman@gmail.com

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Michael Salcman isthe son of Holocaust survivors, five of his immediate relatives survived the concentration camps and he was born (1946) in Pilsen, Czechoslovakia right after the war and came to the US in 1949. The poem below is from his poetry collection A Prague Spring, Before & AfterEvening Street Press, 2016, the 2015 winner of the Sinclair Poetry Prize.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Michael Salcman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Cousin Magda  —for M.M. (1931-2013) My older cousin Magda who knew Mengele who made me home-fried potatoes just like my mother’s and my mother’s mother. My first cousin Magda who had a dark helmet of hair and a great bosom the shape of Europe filled with the milk of Europe and lactic acid. My cousin Magda who tasted of tears, always with the soul of a Hungarian gypsy grieving for a twisted son she never bore. And cousin Magda who married Tibor who cut garments for chairs and couches in the Fifties upholstering America with his simple hopes. And especially because my cousin Magda loved my father more than anyone else the esteemed uncle who’d rescued her brother from the cauldron. That cousin Magda was the queen of woe and her easy anger saved her for a while. I never caught up with any of her worries but one— I removed a tumor from her brain and she died twenty years later and was twenty years older than I am. So we never wed; and this was Magda’s only luck. First published in the journal Fledgling Rag.


Morris Dean moristotle@gmail.com

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Morris Dean (also known as Moristotle) is the editor-in-chief of Moristotle & Co., a blog for art, poetry, story, and essay. He lived the first half of his life in California, and is living the second half in North Carolina, where he resides in Mebane, near Chapel Hill.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Morris Dean and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Yom HaShoah Remembrance of the holocaust stops my tongue, hushes my thought, drives my senses into silence, to try to think, to say, to know how men could do what all they did and think it was right to do it. But though I cannot think or say, I won’t forget to remember the innocents all was done to.


Pamela McMinn pmcminnmcgready@gmail.com

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Pamela McMinn is an unknown poet from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Pamela McMinn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Remembering Winter Trains these winter trains crowded while snow lay in silence, click clack...click clack.. their wheels on rail joints roaring silently into the frozen dark of night, chugging, gathering speed as they raced away from discovery. whistles blew - deep shrill foghorns at each crossing a sound - that went unheard, but unforgotten. silence was everywhere, across the straits, the borders and oceans- some say, snow kept the birds from singing and blamed the ice broke boughs and limbs of mighty trees, yet along the tracks, truth was known - feigning winter chills... while they wrapped themselves in disbelief. silence rendered them deaf and a blizzard of horror blinded them this cold heartedness of winter souls trapped millions in boxcars ten meters long as they click clacked...click clacked... into the junction of earth and sky under a cold receding moonlight met across European soils ... and no one to stop the trains from becoming ashes. snow melts    -     birds return to sing that a prayer of hope reminds our children not to forget the winter trains... click clack click clack.


Partha Sarkar parthasarkar091267@gmail.com

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Partha Sakar lives in Kolkata, a city of province of West Bengal in India. He writes in Bangla and English to protest against social injustice and crime Against nature.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Partha Sarkar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The level-crossing still remains upward Remains the distance same Even after the death of red blood cell. Where is the cruel bloodshed Despite an indifferent crowd Throngs in the shade of the butcher's shop? Throughout the morning there being a want of oxygen, Pants every cell, Dies every root of the man-tree. Yet, where is much indifference? And I have got upset Finding No more deaths of the red blood cells, No disappearance of the man-tree No further bloodshed And despite finding  a free access of goods, The level-crossing remains upward.


Richard Kalfus rkalfus@charter.net

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Dr. Richard Kalfus is a retired Professor of Holocaust Studies from Sunset Hills, MO.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Richard Kalfus and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

We The Second Generation….. We second generation survivors of the Holocaust meet once a year remembering November 9, 1938, when synagogues were torched. When Jews were forced to leap from their windows. When neighbors looked on in silence. Today we can never forget, the loss and grief of our Holocaust pas.t Each of us has a story to tell: .............A mother beaten to death. .............A smiling guard overseeing .............emaciated Jews as many fall .............to their death .............in a day and night roll call. .............We were seen as mere numbers .............in their relentless, murderous task. .............a starving Jew, my uncle, .............steals food from a dying Jew, .............and other frightening Jews look on in despair. .............We had a bond, thinking “Oh’ how unfair .............that we were able to go on living everyday lives, .............in the grip of our Holocaust past.


Rifkah Goldberg rifkahg@netvision.net.il

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Rifkah (Rita) Goldberg writes poetry and aphorisms, and is a long-time oil painter.  She has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cambridge University, and worked as a freelance writer and editor. Born in London in 1950, she has been living in Jerusalem since 1975, has two sons and eleven grandchildren, and is married to the writer Shalom Freedman.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Rifkah Goldberg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Holocaust Survivor? (In memory of and with great thanks to my very special uncle, Prof. Kopul (Ernest) — August 13, 1931 to December 10, 2018) Told how half of your parental home In Alba Iulia was taken over by Nazis When you were a young boy How your father was beaten twice By the Iron Guard on the soles of his feet But refused to sign a paper admitting treason How you were once attacked by older local children At the castle where you often went to play But rescued by Jewish Russian soldiers passing by How the family fled twice for months at a time Living in hiding with friends in uncertainty Until probably safe to go back How your bar-mitzvah was not held in your own Synagogue with war damage left unrepaired But in the smaller one opposite How soon after the war as a teenager you accompanied your father To one of the finest synagogues in Budapest to find it gutted by fire With all traces of its illustrious history removed How when you went back after many years to your birthplace Satu Mare found Family graves of four generations and the rabbi who ordained your father But no trace of the Royal Hotel owned by your family How you went back to the ancestral home of the other side of your family in Acs Located and restored the grave of your great grandfather Whose name you carried later passing away on the same Hebrew date as he did Told about how close family members Were dragged away to Auschwitz some never to return Your Acs grandparents at over ninety taken on a wagon Eyewitnesses also saw a mother of a cousin Murdered by Mengele because she tried to help Another woman with four small children One of the many “unofficial Holocaust survivors” You struggled always with all these memories While making a good life for yourself and those around you


Robert Knox rc.knox2@gmail.com

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Robert Knox is a poet, fiction writer, and Boston Globe correspondent." As a contributing editor for the online poetry journal, Verse-Virtual, his poems appear regularly on that site. They have also appeared in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, New Verse News, Unlikely Stories, and others. His poetry chapbook "Gardeners Do It With Their Hands Dirty," was nominated for a Massachusetts Best Book award. He was recently named the winner of the 2019 Anita McAndrews Poetry Award.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Robert Knox and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

They Came First they came for the immigrant children And we looked away Because the Leader's toady told us, "Those are not our children" And we looked at our own children, and were reassured Then they came for the people who cover their heads or pray too much And again we looked away Because we were not Iranians, or Iraqis, or Gazans, or children of the West Bank detained indefinitely without charges And, as the man said, those are not our children Then they came for the abused, and those who accused their abusers, and for the accusers' advocates, and for those who fought against their abusers, breaking into their hidden armories to take away their guns ............But we looked away, and jested at the comedie humaine, because we were not ourselves the victims of abuse or the advocates for the abused, and, after all, we are "not his type" Then they came for the ones who would never play ball with Der Leader The ones who would always be trouble because they were cheated out of their land or, perchance, had been enslaved or who had once owned a country that the slave-owners wished ............to possess for themselves or who, we feared, were willing to work ............for too little money or who loved the wrong people or who were unwilling to remain in their positions ............and to perform the tasks for which they had been created by the distant Creator -- those varied and disobedient creations of that stable genius ............somewhere in the sky And then because no one else remained standing ............in our diminished patria, neither advocates, nor scribblers with their pencil over the ear, nor Enemies of the People with their hand-held devices, nor party of the workers nor defenders of the beaten, humiliated and disappeared able to kick the ball from his feet, nothing was left for us to do but to lay our own bodies before His feet ............As the painted, spiked, and horny-headed demons of extinction cheered, and drank, and laughed, and danced upon the bodies of their victims and ran up history's score   "They Came" previously appeared in TheNewVerse.New on July 6, 2019


Rosemarie Krausz rosemariekrausz@icloud.com

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Rosemarie Krausz lives in Ottawa. She is a retired psychoanalyst with a Ph.D. in psychology, who has published in professional journals.  She is finishing up a low-residency MFA in poetry at Drew University, so that she can spend her retirement with her first love—writing poems.  A child of two Holocaust survivors, she has completed a chapbook titled i, child of survivors and a larger collection, Black Milk, that serves as her MFA thesis, both of which she hopes to publish.  She has published one poem, Post Shoah Glosa, online at the Poetry Super Highway, in their 20th Annual Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Poetry Issue.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Rosemarie Krausz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Black Milk I was only the war, always the war, nothing but the war—when they raised me. Night was a theatre of cruelty the air I breathed—my blanket at night. My mother fed me milk that coursed through melancholy ducts—curdled as poison percolating through shower nozzles in the gas chambers at Auschwitz. My father fed me death stories from a camp called Theresienstadt. I grew and I grew within the blackness of their losses trusting their version of the dangerous world— a world they were terrified to inhabit. I was to touch the world for them. Everyone except survivors might cheat them. They wanted me to negotiate the rent increase, keep the landlord from being angry with them so they wouldn’t be transported to another camp. She told me the searchlights at the top of the SunLife building in Montreal were always looking for German planes— to protect us. He told me that all his bosses had tried to cheat him, keep him a slave. He told me to keep going to university until I could be the boss. She told me, if I married a goy he would call me dirty Jew the first day dinner was late. Black milk force-fed by the Nazis who fed them nothing else.


Sarah Prindle saprin@ptd.net

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Sarah Prindle received an Associate’s Degree in English from Northampton Community College in Pennsylvania. She loves reading everything from historical fiction and memoirs, to poetry and mysteries. She hopes to someday publish her own novels and poetry collections on these different topics.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Sarah Prindle and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Forest of Ponar At first glance, the forest of Ponar is wild beautiful magnificent a palace of towering trees under a blue sky. But it has a history dark evil inhuman invisible to the naked eye. The Nazis took their victims into these woods men women children lifted their guns and shot them to death. The shootings lasted for hours dozens hundreds thousands of innocents were killed day after day. One hundred thousand victims in total, families friends neighbors all murdered in the forest of Ponar. By the war’s end, the loss of these 100,000 lives souls voices left us with one message: never again.


Stacey Zisook Robinson stacey.z.robinson@gmail.com

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Stacey Zisook Robinson is a poet and essayist who uses her writing to search for meaning, relevance, and God in the modern world. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her son and her cat. She blogs at staceyzrobinson.blogspot.com and is currently working on her third book tentatively titled In the Beginning: a Poet's vision of Genesis.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Stacey Zisook Robinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

7000 Pairs of Shoes I remember once standing in a museum at the edge of pain - that deep well of dark that hides so well, and has tattered edges that threaten to crumble - all metaphorically, of course - a mountain of suitcases, all that was left of some ghosts of Auschwitz or Dachau; Treblinka, perhaps, or some other abyss of unallegorical non-metaphorical pain. A reminder, a quiet chant: Never Again. So you'll excuse me, I pray, my reaction today from all of those shoes laid out so neatly, in all those very straight lines: empty, lifeless, as lifeless as luggage, an abyss of pain. A reminder silent accusation: The journey continues. The march must go on. Not one more shoe Not ever again. Never again is Now.


Stanley H. Barkan cccpoetry@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Stanley H. Barkan is the editor/publisher of Cross-Cultural Communications that has, to date, produced some 500 book titles in 59 different languages. His own work has been translated into 28 different languages and published in 20 collections, several of them bilingual (Armenian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Dutch, Italian, Persian, Polish, Romanian, Russian, Sicilian, Spanish). His latest books include: As Yet Unborn (2019), translated into Dutch by Germain Droogenbroodt; Pumpernickel (2019), translated into Persian by Sepideh Zamani; From Rhythm to Form (2019), complementary poetry with the paintings of Marsha Solomon. Barkan was the 1991 New York City’s Poetry Teacher of the Year (awarded by Poets House and the Board of Education) and the 1996 winner of the Poor Richard’s Award, “The Best of the Small Presses” (awarded by the Small Press Center), for “25 years of high quality publishing.” In 2016, he was named “best poet” in China. In 2017, he was awarded the Homer European Medal of Poetry & Art. He lives with his artist-wife, Bebe, In Merrick, Long Island, near his son & daughter and their children, his five grandchildren.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Stanley H. Barkan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Scapegoat Why me? Why is it my fate to be in place of his son? Am I not flesh as he is? If I’m cut, do I not bleed? If hurt, do I not cry out: Baaaaaaa! I am father of my own kids— who will provide? Already I hear the stacking of the wood placed near the altar. Already, I smell the strike of blade on firestone. Here on this high place above the valleys, almost touching the stars, I am caught in the brambles, by the horns that were meant to protect me. Oh where oh where is my angel, guardian of goats? Oh when oh when will I and my progeny cease to be his sacrifice? From the book "The Sacrifice"


Stefanie Bennett suneagle@bigpond.com

Bio (auto)

Stefanie Bennett has published 16 volumes of poetry, 2 chap books, a libretto & a novel. She has tutored in the Institute Of Modern Languages – James Cook University – & worked with Arts Action For Peace. Of mixed heritage...... [Irish/Italian/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Queensland, Australia. Her latest poetry title ‘The Volatile Principle’ is published by Cyberwit Net* to be launched later this year. Stefanie is currently residing in Sydney, Australia.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Stefanie Bennett and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Historic Vernacular: Eastern Europe I folded the colours in your multilayered backpack (as if you hadn’t noticed...) still here, tirelessly refiguring the immediate butterfly’s wing amid the pots’ and pans’ desolation... calling the kettle black.


Sujoy Bhattacharya sujoy06021959@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Sujoy Bhattacharya is a poet of India. He loves to write on the strangeness of human psychology. He worships humanity and adores poetry as a living deity.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Sujoy Bhattacharya and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Morbid Sun I came out of the den. Who is there? No sound reflected on the frozen body of the mountain. Pale and palsied meadows welcomed me with insipid hospitality. Three sparrows engaged in garrison games chirped a note of pungent repugnance! I bowed down my head swallowing insolent attitude of decaying dignity. I looked up and the copper sky made a queen gesture. My heavy eye lids hurled a salubrious. sigh! A boulder came rolling down with feline alacrity to exile the only perishable being to the debris of human race!


Susan Olsburgh olsburgh.susan@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Susan Olsburgh has lived in Netanya, Israel for the last nine years. She taught literature and British culture in schools and universities in the north east of England. Susan has served five years as president of Voices Israel and coordinates the Sharon/Netanya group. She also voluntarily facilitates a poetry appreciation group, Poetry Please, at AACI Netanya. The group is now in its ninth year. Susan has served on the editorial team for the Voices Israel Anthology. She has had poetry published on Poetry Super Highway, in Cyclamens and Swords, and Voices Anthologies and newsletters. Her recent publication is “Susan@70 - Memories and Musings” a collection of poems.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Susan Olsburgh and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Contrast As I lay uncomfortably on the MRI table trying to comply as best as able, contrast fluid injected in my arm, vivid thoughts caused this number alarm. My ‘teudat zehut’* was politely requested and gladly given - a number to appreciate in this 71 years young State. Contrast now and then - tattoos with a number, a token betokening no worth, a dreadful fate. MRI machines use applied science, medical physics, to diagnose and identify. Contrast with the science of Zyklon B pursuing the Nazi’s final solution, the eradication of Jewish identity. I am reflecting again on these contrasts this International Holocaust Commemoration Day. How heartwarming to welcome dear cousins making Aliyah this very eve each their own ‘teudat zehut’ to receive. Contrast these positive numbers with those on victims’ arms tattooed, a few survived, most condemned to die in those horrific not to be forgotten times of eighty years or so ago. Now these “teudat” numbers  keep in place an individual’s valued database which no enemy of our people shall ever erase. *Teudat zehut Israel’s National Identity Number 27 January 2020 International Holocaust Commemoration Day


Susan Beth Furst sfurst14@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Susan Beth Furst is a Touchstone Award-nominated poet and author. She writes haiku, haibun, and children’s picture books. She is passionate about remembering the Holocaust, and her hometown of Pittsburgh. Susan’s picture book, The Hole In My Haiku, based on her mother-in-law’s experiences during the Holocaust, will be available in the Fall of 2020. You can find Susan on Instagram @susanbethfurst. She lives with her husband Herb in a third-floor apartment overlooking the Potomac River in Woodbridge, Virginia.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Susan Beth Furst and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

When the time comes... hospital bed you remember the straw mattresses in barrack 22 we discuss heaven but you don’t believe at a loss for words the Scrabble game left unplayed Doris Day on the radio Que Sera Sera how purple the African violets are on the window ledge blowing kisses— I leave a bag of Hershey’s in your drawer long distance... on the phone the sound of your breathing sunrise at Stutthof falling leaves drift like snow Mother 10/1/1921~11/30/2019


Susana H. Case susana.h.case@me.com

Bio (auto)

Susana H. Case is the author of seven books of poetry. Dead Shark on the N Train is due out in 2020 from Broadstone Books. Drugstore Blue (Five Oaks Press) won an IPPY Award in 2019. She is also the author of five chapbooks, two of which won poetry prizes, and most recently, Body Falling, Sunday Morning, from Milk and Cake Press. Her first collection, The Scottish Café, from Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press. Her work has appeared in CalyxThe Cortland ReviewPortland ReviewPotomac ReviewRattleRHINO and many other journals. Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology in New York City, where she lives.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Susana H. Case and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Stop on the Rail Line There are the bones of jumpers all along the rail track north from Lvov on the way to Belzec because Lvov is the processing stop on the line it is a fundamental part of why Steinhaus continues to hide why Kac is relieved to have escaped to America why mathematics in Poland has become clandestine activity Lomnicki–Saks–others–dead why deportees continue to jump relentlessly off the train Lvov has a camp of its own on the outskirts but Janowska remains a labor camp a technicality that vanishes once Soviet bombs drop the smell of burning bodies in Lvov the destruction of the evidence of liquidation in Janowska a reminder that Germans are still furious at the ambush and death of a few of their own Belzec where only two of over six hundred thousand will survive where carbon monoxide from an ordinary diesel engine will render resistance moot where the door to the gas chamber is draped with synagogue curtains in an attempt to soften any hesitation to enter where bodies are packed so tightly that the dead –five thousand a day most gassed upon arrival – have no place to fall and where reception is crowded with grief and resignation with room for only twenty rail cars at a time Belzec is straining– the first place in history to use permanent gas chambers is running out of room for corpses in the ditches where graves will later have to be reopened to burn the bodies–to hide the traces where soon there is nothing but weeds birch trees some crumble of concrete a statue of the Virgin the cold granite of memory


Sy Roth sydad@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Sy Roth is the child of Holocaust survivors and his life has been circumscribed by their scars. Much of his poetry deals with the personal visions of that time and his inability to erase the visions that they engender.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Sy Roth and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Director The directors-- For want of a nail They were not wanting So many nails, A cache of nails To drive into their coffins Paid in jiggers of vodka They would slog the miles To the pits. Surround them, The innocents, Choreograph their end A Twyla Tharp ending Accordion accompaniment Played to a defunct Mahler To keep them mollified. The nails see only vermin In their intoxicated vision Smell their fear Before a lightning crackle Marks crescendic endings. Poor naked souls stack themselves like cordwood On top of yet, still-warm bodies. Melodic line met-- Last look before the darkness enfolds Those who will entomb them Lamblike creatures align at the flag They queue from right to left A Hebraic arrangement To a two-shot tango-- One reserved for the child held aloft By a resigned dame who sees no exit— Child held aloft Limp in naïve trust To be followed by the second crack Then hustled into the pit to join the others. Swim in their own river of blood The stagehand obeys the director’s cue. He rolls them into the abyss New cast assembles Take their place at the flag Unclaimed trash While the director trods on their backs To dispatch those who dared to live, Souls forgotten Sinners in the hands of an angry god.


Tina Hacker thacker1@kc.rr.com

Bio (auto)

Tina Hacker lives in Leawood, KS, with her husband Lynn Norton who is a sculptor, editor and poet. Tina’s full-length poetry book, Listening to Night Whistles, was published by Aldrich Press, and her chapbook, Cutting It, was released by The Lives You Touch Publications. A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she was Poet of the Week for the Poetry Super Highway in 2015. Since 1976, Tina has been poetry editor for Veterans’ Voices, a national magazine of writing by military veterans.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Tina Hacker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Watching Jojo Rabbit Small theater packed full. Women and men. Boomers, Gen X, Y, Z taking a chance on a quirky little movie. The story reveals a lonely child and his imaginary, mostly bumbling friend, Hitler. Occasional chortles, moderate laughter could be heard, mostly at the Führer’s expense. When the child’s beliefs about Jews were exposed through drawings of scales, tails, horns and Jews hanging from ceilings to sleep, the audience grew quiet. Some people gasped, others hunched down. No laughter except from two guys sitting in the back who hooted loudly, raucously hailing image after image on screen as a triumph.


April 18, 2020: Poetry Writing Prompt – Judy Barrat

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Judy Barrat: Stand in front of a mirror; look deep into your own eyes and travel - perhaps back in time or into the future - note the people and places you see, the places  - who you were, are, will be.  Write a poem about your journey. If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group. #napowrimo #poetry

April 17, 2020: Poetry Writing Prompt – Francis Bede

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Francis Bede: Find a passage in a sacred book which you think fails to resonate today, whether it be by tone or by language. For example a passage of misogyny, or where beauty is expressed in redundant words. Rewrite it in verse in any form. If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group. #napowrimo #poetry

April 13-19, 2020: Poetry from Shannon Cuthbert and Sarah Herrin

Shannon Cuthbert and Sarah Herrin

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Shannon Cuthbert shannonkcuthbert@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Shannon Cuthbert is a Brooklyn based writer and visual artist. Her poems have appeared in Gingerbread House, Enchanted Conversation, Voices, The Mystic Blue Review, and Three Drops from a Cauldron, among others.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Shannon Cuthbert and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Star-Crossed

A poem for the quiet ones, Head in a star, Feet in a pool that mirrors the sky, That holds a small slice Of infinity there. Forever buried In a black sand beach Or a book With a tale that never ends. Here where the edge Of earth with its roots Splay free, Hair and sprawled-out limbs Entwine. Here I’ll meet you, Wrap you up warm With my body That has held The whole earth in its cells, With my voice that has Splintered This vast, moving universe.    

Sarah Herrin sarah.herrin.sh@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Sarah Herrin is a bisexual poet based in Seattle, Washington.  Raised in the Deep South, she escaped to the Pacific Northwest in 2012.  She achieved a BFA at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where she studied Sequential Art and Creative Writing.  She is a runner, gemologist, and Bowie-lover Sarah is the author of The Oceanography of Her (Papeachu Press, 2019) and One Thousand Questions (And No Good Answers) (Self Published, 2018).  Her work has been published in anthologies by Augie’s Bookshelf, A. B. Baird Publishing, Papeachu Press, Sunday Mornings At The River, and East French Press. Visit Sarah on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Sarah Herrin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Possession

I say your name Like a summoning You come to me Like a calling Is this a haunting Or a wanting Possession : ‘The state of Having, owning or Controlling something’ Is neither you Nor me If we make it to October I’ll send pieces Of my mouth to you What will you Bring me?    

April 6-12, 2020: Poetry from Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi and Eric Evans

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi and Eric Evans

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Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi jorgeakiro@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi has lived in Chivilcoy, Buenos Aires province, Argentina since the end of 2016. He is a photographer, architect, poet, Haijin. and teabag collector. He is also a student of the language and culture of Japan. His books inclued “Haiku Platelets" (with Julia Guzman), “Aniko and Akiro Haiku” (Also with Julia Guzman), and “Ferns in the Cornice Haikus Chivilcoyanos."

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jorge Alberto Giallorenzi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

haiku

social isolation- the yellow leaves in a new book    

Eric Evans inkpublications1@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Eric Evans is a writer and theatre artist from Buffalo, New York with stops in Portland, Oregon and Rochester, New York where he currently resides with his wife, Kathy. His work has appeared in 1947, Parody, Steel Bellow, Decades Review, Dead Snakes, decomP magazinE, Red River Review, Posey, Xenith Magazine, Anobium Literary Magazine, Pemmican Press, Remark and many other publications and anthologies. He has published eight full collections and three broadsides through his own small press, Ink Publications, in addition to a broadside through Lucid Moon Press. He is also the co-editor of The Bond Street Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Eric Evans and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Fashionistas in the Time of Covid

“Never a breath you can afford to waste when you’re lovers in a dangerous time.” - “Lovers in a Dangerous Time”, Bruce Cockburn Let’s go out on the town, my love, during these virus-laden days and make the most of the quarantine. we’ll use the necessary masks, of course, and don the hazmat suits as policy demands, but what’s to keep us from making the outfits our own? I can wear my favorite hat and tie – perhaps a vintage scarf or pocket square – and you can fill out a form-fitting dress with your strand of pearls and sparkly boots to match. We’ll color coordinate and accessorize as if to the glossy magazines we were born, fashionistas in the time of Covid. Let’s lay claim to the abandoned street-corners, my dear, and plant our sanitized flags. We’ll play our music at rib-shaking volume and dance straight down the avenue’s yellow lines, mocking the germs and their stealth ways, sipping top-shelf bourbon and enjoying the spread of warmth across the concentric circles of our chests. We’ll sway and lurch drunkenly from block to block, stopping to admire our style in shuttered shop windows as we laugh far-too-loudly at as many inappropriate jokes as we can fit into the night, because who’ll be there to stop us? And why would they want to anyway? And when we’ve drunk our fill, my wife, and Ilaughed ourselves nearly hoarse, we’ll find our way back home where the tie and hat and pearls and boots will all be tossed to the side as we call out the contaminated cells once more, slowly peeling off the protective layers of fabric, rubber and plastic to reveal the warm and sweaty skin beneath. “No,” you might say, “leave the mask on – I’ve always wanted to make love to a doctor.” And I’ll oblige because that’s what a good lover does. Let’s keep one another hot through the morning, my love, and then write it all down for posterity, so that when the post-panic story gets gathered and told, we’ll have an ear-marked chapter with our names in the margins, invisible but incredibly bold.    

March 30 – April 5, 2020: Poetry from Puma Perl and Taylor Graham

Puma Perl and Taylor Graham

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Puma Perl pumaperl@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Puma Perl is a poet, writer performer, and producer. She’s the author of two chapbooks, Ruby True and Belinda and Her Friends, and three full-length poetry collections, knuckle tattoos, Retrograde (great weather for MEDIA), and Birthdays Before and After (Beyond Baroque Books.) She is the creator, curator, and host of Puma’s Pandemonium, which brings spoken word together with rock and roll. As Puma Perl and Friends, she performs regularly with a group of excellent musicians. She’s received three awards from the New York Press Association in recognition of her journalism and was the recipient of the 2016 Acker Award in the category of writing. Visit Puma on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Puma Perl and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

The Taste of Fresh Bread

It’s been 3 years and 99 days since I ate an apple. I used to eat one every morning. Big juicy green Granny Smiths. Sometimes I’d dice them up with bacon. Other times I’d cut perfect slices and spread thin layers of almond butter; peanut butter was too chunky. I still have peanut butter but it’s the oily kind the Food Patrol gives out. The last time they came it was a 14-hour wait and all they had left was the oily peanut butter and some beans. Before the Night Years, I tattooed tulips and dancing girls on my arms. One of the girls was holding an apple, but it was a red one. Macintosh. Now the ink is peeling from the dryness of my aging skin. Everything has accelerated but the sun. I don’t know what I miss more, sex or fresh bread. Or maybe just the smell of bread. I remember sex, but the taste of bread has faded.    

Taylor Graham poetspiper@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler and served as El Dorado County Poet Laureate (2016-18). Her poems are included in Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Heyday Books), and forthcoming in California Fire & Water: A Climate Crisis Anthology. Her latest collection is Windows of Time and Place: poems of El Dorado County (Cold River Press, 2019). Visit Taylor on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

ER Fantasie

We’re sitting under Smoke Barrier 21 waiting for your CT-scan. It’s cold. I tell you, that’s to keep germs from exploding their populations. I suspect the heat’s been sucked away by the southern hemisphere, wildfire becoming its own weather. When all of Australia is ash, the balance will shift, our planet slip again on its axis, it will be summer here more so than ever. Already we’ve cut down the trees lest they ignite power-lines, trees that convert our personal exhaust to clean-scrubbed air. This hospital ER where staff and patients walk masked at nose and mouth as they pass Smoke Barrier 21.  

Avalanche Tale

Trying to remember the story from years ago – it was cold and dark by headlamp, lodge in ruins. Jumbled rubble like giant teeth broken, sticking out of masticated snow. Dead arm with raised fist couldn’t stop the snow. Someone still missing. A handler followed her dog, who stuck its nose in a crevice, barking, digging. Excited! Another storm. Everyone had to leave, too risky. Days later, same dog dashed to the very spot; frenzied digging. An air-pocket, a survivor! What I remember of the story, word-for-word: How my dog acted – I should have known, somebody was alive down there.    

March 23-29, 2020: Poetry from Richard-Yves Sitoski and Michael Minassian

Richard-Yves Sitoski and Michael Minassian

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Richard-Yves Sitoski r_sitoski@yahoo.ca

Bio (auto)

Richard-Yves Sitoski is a spoken word artist and songwriter, and the Poet Laureate of Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada. He has released two collections of poetry, brownfields (Ginger Press, 2014) and Downmarket Oldies FM Station Blues (Ginger Press, 2018), and a CD of spoken word verse, Word Salad (2017). He was a finalist in the 2018 ISC songwriting competition, and performs with the Metissage Collective and in the spoken word duo O P E N Sound. Visit John on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Richard-Yves Sitoski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

If I Could Sing Like Roy Orbison You'd Always Feel Alone

which is my way of saying I love you still if you haven't figured that out, because I have trouble writing of love except when the word refers to cheese or to sleep. You'd think the French had it figured out but they got it backwards. If I say je t'aime I'm saying 'I love you'. But if I say je t'aime bien I'm not saying 'I love you lots' but only 'I like you', the intensifier softening the blow instead of being the brass knuckle. That's not the only thing I know of love or of French. In French you don't say 'I miss you' but tu me manques, which means 'You're missing from me'. As in, there's a gash in me where a vital organ was ripped out. As in, seeing you in the living room, engrossed in your book while I reminisce, I feel a pain in my side that daisies feel when you pull their petals off.    

Michael Minassian mikialminassian@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Michael Minassian is a Contributing Editor for Verse-Virtual, an online magazine. His books include poetry: Time is not a River, The Arboriculturist (2010); Chuncheon Journal (2019); and photography: Around the Bend (2017). For more information: michaelminassian.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Michael Minassian and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Craters on the Moon

The poet sits at his desk, his glass eye floating in a tea cup— the empty socket on the right side of his face resembles photos of craters on the moon. No matter where you move, the glass eye follows like the mise en scene in a Hitchcock film. The poet keeps his good eye fixed on the paper, his pen moving like a hidden gesture in the odor of time. His empty socket playing images from a movie only he can see— lonely as an empty drum.  

Staying Put

I’ve stored the memory of you in a jar sealed the lid with wax and kept it on a shelf in the basement for twenty years. You once told me that you left because I wouldn’t stay in one place. What else were you wrong about?    

March 16-22, 2020: Poetry from John Califano and Jane Ellen Glasser

John Califano and Jane Ellen Glasser

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John Califano verveforest@protonmail.com

Bio (auto)

John Califano grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and lives in Manhattan where he works helping at-risk parolees transition back into the workforce. He’s worked as a writer, actor, visual artist, and musician, and has performed in clubs, art galleries, feature films and Off-Broadway productions. He recently completed “Notes from Down Under,” a collection of poems, and “Johnny Boy,” a coming-of-age novel. His work is featured in The Broadkill ReviewThe Willesden Herald’s New Short Stories Series (UK), Adelaide ReviewThe Writing Disorder, and Embark, an international literary journal for novelists. Visit John on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Califano and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

I Click Remote

flipping channels all aggressive pig male dogs deadbeat domestic abusers dominant chauvinists slackers slack offs jerks jerk offs dicks dick heads scoundrels sneaks super bowl chest-bumping scum no good cheaters liars molesters non-committal ass-groping gash-sniffing biologically proven toxic predators . . . and when the talk shows are over and all the battles are lost and won I’ll still be standing all alone just like every mother’s son      

Jane Ellen Glasser jegpoet@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Jane Ellen Glasser’s poetry has appeared in numerous national journals, such as Hudson Review, Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Georgia Review. In the past she reviewed poetry books for the Virginian-Pilot, edited poetry for the Ghent Quarterly and Lady Jane’s Miscellany, and co-founded the nonprofit arts organization and journal New Virginia Review. She won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry 2005 for her collection Light Persists, and the Long Life won the Poetica Publishing Company Chapbook Contest in 2011. Her most recent collections, In the Shadow of Paradise (2017) and Jane Ellen Glasser: Selected Poems (2019) are available from FutureCycle Press and Amazon. To preview her work and access her books, visit the website: www.janeellenglasser.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jane Ellen Glasser and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Deerfield Arboretum

In the meadow a rainbow tree peels to a painter’s palette. The sun glazes a million shades of green. I remove my sweater and follow the familiar path to a pond girded by giant ferns. Release! says a trickling waterfall. I drop my name like a wishing coin into the pool as a bird strings notes, limb to limb, high up in a yellow poinciana. Spread wide as a city block, the banyan’s aerial roots curl like constrictors around thick trunks. Last year I watched my grandchildren climb these crooked ladders to patches of sky and I did not stop them.

After I Die

Don’t open your doors ............for wet hankies Don’t sit shiva ............barefoot on boxes Don’t gather a minion ............to say Kaddish Don’t search for me ............in covered mirrors Don’t listen for me ............in the mouth of gossip Don’t sniff for me ............on bedsheets and pillows Don’t reach for me ............inside my clothes Don’t preserve me ............in frames and albums Don’t hunt for me ............in your memories Don’t make a shrine ............of half truths Don’t visit my grave ............on the yahrtzeit Don’t plant stones ............on my tombstone If you would find me ............look inside my poems    

March 9-15, 2020: Poetry from Eliza Fixler and Thomas Osatchoff

Eliza Fixler and Thomas Osatchoff

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Click here for submission guidelines.


Eliza Fixler
eliza.fixler@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Eliza is a social service worker, animal caretaker, and at-home poet from St. Petersburg, Florida. Eliza has a B.A. in Social Sciences and Spanish Language and Culture from New College of Florida. Her poems are simultaneously introspective and relational, tending to center emotional and interpersonal concerns.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Eliza Fixler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Today and Every Day

Libra rising is my liability in love: three hours
into knowing you, and already I catch myself
smiling in the direction of your heart, a
compulsion I have. I feel it reach you, my
heart-smile, across the picnic-table’d lasagna
slice you bought--we’re just outside the
Italian market I’ve brought you to for our date.
It’s an effort to teach you love for a city that
may no longer be my home, and it’s working.

With that same noticing, I inhale and am sure
that the nerves, always clock-ticking at my core,
looking for something solid to hook into, will,
someday soon, wind themselves strangely around
your form, knotting up a spirit I’ve shaken loose
for now, through espresso, unchecked reverence,
and chilled sunshine. You tease me in this absurd,
deadpan way that no one ever has, and my fits of
laughter reach you, because you love me--in that
special way reserved for two people who’ve only
just met.I fill you up with air and eventually learn
that You have always been a hurricane in love
(though you wait to tell me this until our third
date, two days later).

You’re musing openly about moving back
down here, now I’ve lifted this place from the
dead for you, and you think I can keep it up.
Something I’ve noticed: you make a friend
wherever we go, and I’m starting to wonder
why you picked me, or whether I chose you,
or something in between. What we have is
a classic Marsha Linehan “both/and” situation,
but I’m scared to say it aloud and spoil the
magic of Florida’s best weather to date. It's
clear you're under the impression I've set myself
free; I used to think so, too, in moments like
ours, before learning the limits of a rising sign.

 

 

 


Thomas Osatchoff
thomas.osatchoff@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Thomas Osatchoff, together with family, is building a self-sustaining home near a waterfall. Recent poems have appeared in Abstract: Contemporary Expressions, Cold Mountain Review, CutBank Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Thomas Osatchoff and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Atavist Protest

Death.
Who knew the sound of an ancient mummy would sound like our new technology?


Do Voices Require Bodies?

Following our own logic when holiday means time for more

homework. Walking back to school
we overheard pieces of talk like Chopin or a sudden rain-shower.

Sky and ground exchanging FIRE IN THE EYES.
Coming down this hard, it chops up the field.

______ you______ learn to play piano? Music______ as there’s no lyrics.

It’s our job_________special talents.
Tongues (wrenches or wrens) aiming for a positive impact.

Thinking to ourselves while we still can. Can we? Bury the expensive
textbooks after writing it down but writing it down

because after it happens…no one will know.

People dropped like punctuation. You? A comma—just a blip.
“If the overheard quote ends with ! or ?, no comma is required….

E.g. ‘I like the game!’ said sister, brother.”
Pretty good chess? Pretty good players______ purpose of school.

Ministry of Education is set to issue new policy: all teachers must teach

without words due to the wellspring of weaponized words.
Pay will be withheld from teachers who disobey.

I’m going back to school to get the books
before the Ministry does.



March 2-8, 2020: Poetry from Mark Tulin and Diana Rosen

Mark Tulin and Diana Rosen

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Mark Tulin mftulin@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Mark Tulin is a former family therapist from Philadelphia who lives in Santa Barbara, California. A poetry publisher once likened his work to artist, Edward Hopper, on how he grasps unusual aspects of people and their lives. Mark has two poetry collections, Magical Yogis (2017, by Prolific Press) and Awkward Grace (Kelsay Books), and an upcoming book, The Asthmatic Kid and Other Stories (Madville Publishing). Mark has been featured in Vita Brevis, Amethyst Review, Poppy Road Review, Family Therapy Magazine, smokebox, as well as anthologies, magazines, and podcasts. You can follow Mark at Crow On The Wire.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Mark Tulin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

The Fate of a Ringed Finger

I sat in a dark movie theatre, and watched with horror as I proposed to my girlfriend, blinded by a false reality while my emotions spoke in tongues. My mind set on marriage. Only twenty-two at the time, I thought I knew what I wanted and didn’t realize how much we’d change. I stood up and yelled at the screen, Please think twice, or you’ll be sorry! The moving picture didn’t answer; the spirit of a senseless marriage took over by the fate of a ringed finger. All our romantic expectations, our hopes, and dreams, our bright future together, ending up in misery. I pleaded to myself to come to my senses. Wake up, Snap out of it, Man! I had lost control after I took the marriage vow. The usher grabbed my arm, and reasoned— It’s just a movie, sir. The movie ended tragically, of course, with a long, contested divorce. Our possessions split up. Our dream house sold, and our children divided into thirds.      

Diana Rosen dianalrosen@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Diana Rosen has an essay forthcoming in the anthology, "Far Villages" and two poems in "Book of Sighs." The journals, The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Existere Journal of Art & Literature, and WildforWords(UK) will publish her work in 2020. Her hybrid of flash and poetry, "Love & Irony" will be published by RedBird Chapbooks.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Diana Rosen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Rules of the Game

Hours we play on a square table small enough that none need to stretch arms too far to make the clickclackclick of tiles. We shout Crak! Bam! Dot! as we form plays while nibbling on appetizers served by rotating hostesses. We share our griefs (death, divorce, disease,) triumphs (of our children,) the graduations, their careers, marrying suitable partners who produce perfect grandchildren who delight, disarm our stoic façade. At first, we invite other players then death captures everyone. The funeral director carefully places the ancient wooden box of tiles in my coffin following the final rule of the game: the last remaining player brings the mah jongg set to enter The World to Come.    

February 24 – March 1, 2020: Poetry from Maggie Westland and Corey Mesler

Maggie Westland and Corey Mesler

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Maggie Westland
nanamaggie14@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Maggie began writing early, and had her first publication in grade school. Although most of her work has been in verse, her poems often have plots and story lines beyond simple rhyme or image. Maggie plans to pass her life story on to her children and grandchildren via a memory diary from which her memoirs continue to evolve.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Maggie Westland and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Cosmology

The world is spinning round itself,
And also chasing round the sun;
The sun and earth together spin
At the edge of the galaxy’s arm.

Galaxies spin around themselves
Like Fourth-of -July pinwheels,
And move as the universe expands,
And I think that I’m standing still!

 

 

 


Corey Mesler
meslercorey@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Corey Mesler has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published over 20 books of fiction and poetry. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On, which won The Memphis Film Prize in 2017. With his wife he runs Burke’s Book Store (est. 1875) in Memphis. Visit Corey on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Corey Mesler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Marriage License

Inside the stone
I heard a voice.
It was not, as
at first I believed,
the voice of
the stone. Later,
when you
came around, you
asked me if I
believed in
Heaven. I thought
about the
stone. I took
your slim, de-
licate hands
and kissed away
the rings left by rings.


More About the Stone

The teachers gathered us
in the library. They
wanted to stop something
before it started.
They would not tell us
the story of the stone,
how they came to know it,
but they warned us
against its dominion.
This intrigued us, of course,
and some of us met at
Jimmy Trippet’s house
to talk about what we would
do once the stone came,
how we would move
slowly, with determination,
toward the circle the
stone created by its stillness.
How we would make
it ours and how afterward we
would know better than
our teachers about pre-
paring anyone for the stone.



February 17-23, 2020: Poetry from Mike Casetta and Leonard Kress

Mike Casetta and Leonard Kress

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Mike Casetta fierceforce@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Mike Casetta has one book of poetry entitled The Certainty of Looking Elsewhere. He has been published in many small presses.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Mike Casetta and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

You Are Here

Soon there will be more tattoos on the planet than people, more ink on skin than on paper. We are already reading each other more than books or newspapers. I am thinking of having .........X you are here in blood red ink inscribed directly over my heart. I am thinking if I indelibly mark the spot & leave this permanent note to myself I will not look for you somewhere else.      

Leonard Kress leonard_kress@owens.edu

Bio (auto)

Leonard Kress has published poetry and fiction in Missouri Review, Massachusetts Review, Iowa Review, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, etc. His recent collections are The Orpheus Complex and Walk Like Bo Diddley. Living in the Candy Store and Other Poems and his new verse translation of the Polish Romantic epic, Pan Tadeusz by Adam Mickiewicz were both published in 2018. Craniotomy appeared this summer. He teaches philosophy and religion at Owens College in Ohio. www.leonardkress.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Leonard Kress and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Kill the Buddha

sin like a madman until you can't do anything else ...........Ikkyu, 15th century Japanese poet
We are looking at a 12th century Chinese painting, The Six Persimmons, floating, it seems, in a stupendous calm. Our teacher is Italian, Brooklyn-bred, World War II sailor, connoisseur of cannoli, who could croon like Sinatra in the dying moments of class, and foxtrot out the door in wingtips. We sit in the back, my friend and I, devising trip-ups and traps. Others in the front and middle, heads twirling like turrets, discharge hushes at us. He was a disciple, the only American at the time, of the great Zen aesthetician Hisamatsu. “Nothing by Michelangelo comes close to these persimmons,” he submits, “not the tortured soul-- but asymmetry, simplicity, naturalness, wizened austerity, the work of a tranquil, untrammeled mind.” We know he’s describing a self-portrait and at the same time deriding us. We despise our classmates for wallowing in their veneration. Later he quotes from Ikkyu—That stone Buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets, as he eyes a girl in the front row, continuing, I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind. But Ikkyu, we point out, frequented brothels; my friend shouting, quoting—Ten years of whorehouse joy and now alone in the mountains… (We are both zealots of virtue.) And here he is, our professor, passing himself off as the true man without a title, the awakened Self—in the classroom off Broad Street, and we, mere shadow selves, dense, plodding, fatuous, always on the verge of harming self and others. We haven’t heard yet from my friend’s girlfriend, how he’d gently ease her into his office, shut the door, peal her backpack from both shoulders and press her down to the floor atop stacked newspapers, cracked open library books, and fragile--yellowed with a rash of foxing--Japanese scrolls.    

February 10-16, 2020: Poetry from Peggy Turnbull and Paul Koniecki

Peggy Turnbull and Paul Koniecki

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Peggy Turnbull peggy.turnbull@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Peggy Turnbull returned to her birthplace in the upper Midwest after living in West Virginia for over 25 years. She began writing poetry after retiring from her work as a college librarian. Recent poems have appeared in Mad SwirlVerse-VirtualAncient Paths Online and are forthcoming in Your Daily Poem. Visit Peggy on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Peggy Turnbull and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Midwest Different

Their mother sews cotton dresses for the two girls, stitches hems deep enough to carry apples in, lets them out for decency’s sake when their legs elongate. Their plain-faced factory town smells of rotting fish in summer, acrid smoke in winter. Their house rests on top of the old town dump: four rooms and an attic. A Christmas tree commands the living room. Generous as the sunshine in southern Cal, their diplomat uncle never forgets the holiday. Each year he sends a box to their frigid stoop. Inside are packages purchased abroad: a Swiss music box, French dolls in aprons and bonnets, a wooden figurine from Japan without arms or legs, slim dress boxes with their names attached. The oldest unfolds tissue paper, finds ivory organza flocked with red poppies, a velvet sash. Can she wear it to school, please? She longs to be beautiful there, show Miss Joyce her hidden wealth. Mother says no. It’s for Sunday only. One day the zipper resists her waist. Mother whisks the dress away to give to another family. The girl wails because her sister will never know the joy of touching its textured flowers. Sister says she doesn’t care. They thank Uncle in letters written to the myth of him, a newscast version of their Daddy. In a dark suit and spectacles Uncle flies First Class across oceans to where dignified strangers await, shake his hand on the tarmac, smile while flash bulbs pop. They scramble over snowbanks on their way to school. White wisps undulate over each chimney. Thunderheads spew from the plant. Beyond these smokestacks lie cornfields. Beyond the cornfields: cities. Beyond cities: countries where even the toys are different, where children live who could be friends. The girls look into a bin of potatoes, expect to find tropical fruit. What will become of them?      

Paul Koniecki paulkoniecki@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

Paul Koniecki lives and writes in Dallas, Texas. He was once chosen for the John Ashbery Home School Residency. He is the Associate Editor of Thimble Literary Journal. His books of poetry are available from Kleft Jaw Press, NightBallet Press, Dark Particle Press, and Spartan Press.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Paul Koniecki and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Chess960

Bologna knows it is bologna and it knows it must be fried. The heat of the frying pan holds it’s eyes, slow lidded but quickening, heavenward to the celestial crucibles where all atoms originally burn. Soon the pink circle curls at the circumference like an offering plate or open palm slightly closing to make a fleshly cup. When I watch a chess match I fixate on the forearms of the players. Forearms and the smell of fried bologna bring me running to July 1974. Those years I loved the grill and the pool. Listening to Iggy Pop’s The Passenger and writing a poem for Bobby Fischer I wish I never knew my real dad. Bobby’s dad was probably a Hungarian physicist named Paul. A superior mind watches half the world from a atop a glacier while sliding over everyone, mankind, the Statue of Liberty, Wrigley Field, Madagascar, or a camera stretching out it’s longest telephoto lens. Chess is warfare. Mankind and warfare are oxymoronic. That summer I was almost eight. Our backyard Weber Grill was an intense red and wobbling sun. Passing by the family room t.v. I notice Charles Bronson hand-gag Capucine in the movie Red Sun. Toshirō Mifune appears noble and out of place although I could be wrong. Back in the backyard he notices he forgot to wear a belt. As proper punishment for the basement light- switch I forgot to flick they hold my leeward humerus to the Weber’s metal dome. What remained of that year was a cast autographed No Swimming Allowed. Time has erased my beautiful oval of puckered skin Twisted helix of yellow proofs come back to me. Checkmate goes to forgetting and erasure forgiveness and still everything feels like castling a hot red sun.    

February 4-10, 2020: Poetry from Richard Widerkehr and Carrie Radna

Richard Widerkehr and Carrie Radna

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Richard Widerkehr
fordwid@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Richard Widerkehr’s work has appeared in Poetry Super Highway, Rattle, Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, Atlanta Review, Arts & Letters, and many others. He earned his M.A. from Columbia University and won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan. His latest book is In The Presence Of Absence (MoonPath Press). He also has three chapbooks and a novel, Sedimental Journey (Tarragon Books). He reads poems for Shark Reef Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Richard Widerkehr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


In A Living Room Near Squalicum Mountain

When the pale sky lets in a chink of light over the rim
of the foothills, we can’t help glancing at the sun.
Last night’s news tasted like salt. Still half-asleep,
we wait, as if for a brand-new diaspora,

a city with bread and honey. As the coffee maker
brews our coffee, and the sun gets round,
more golden, we touch each other, almost afraid.
Sun like a wind, scattered from the edge

of a nebula. After two cups of coffee, I read
how police traced our latest murderer
to the Red Roof Inn near Round Rock, Texas.

How strange, to stand as witnesses this morning.
Our phone rings, numbers flash on the panel. Not in use,
says the machine. The sun, this blinding gift—

 

 

 


Carrie Radna
ambikamag@msn.com

Bio (auto)

Carrie Magness Radna is an archival audiovisual cataloger at the New York Public Library, a singer, a lyricist-songwriter, and a poet who loves to travel. Her poems have previously appeared in The Oracular Tree, Muddy River Poetry Review, Mediterranean Poetry, Shot Glass Journal, First Literary Review-East, Nomad’s Choir, and The spirit, it travels: an anthology of transcendent poetry, edited by Nina Alverez (Cosmographia Books), The Poetic Bond VIII and The Poetic Bond IX (Willowdown Books), Poetry Super Highway, Polarity E-magazine and Tuck Magazine and will be published in Walt’s Corner and the upcoming anthology This OTHER time The Alien Buddha got so high (Alien Buddha Press). Her first chapbook, Conversations with dead composers at Carnegie Hall (Flutter Press), was published in January 2019, and her second chapbook, Remembering you as I go walking (Boxwood Star Press) was published on August 23, 2019. Her first poetry collection, Hurricanes Never Apologize, as published by Luchador Press in December 2019. She won the 12th prize of 2018 Writer’s Digest Poetry Awards for her poem “Lily (no. 48 of Women’s names sensual series)”.  Born in Norman, Oklahoma, she is a member of the Greater New York Music Library Association (GNYMLA), and is a member/have read/workshopped for the New York Poetry Forum, Parkside Poets, Riverside Poets, Brownstone Poets and Nomad’s Choir. When she’s not performing classical choral works with Riverside Choral Society or New Year’s Eve performances with the New York Festival Singers, or writing art song lyrics with her choir buddies, or penning her own folk songs for her chorus’ cabarets, or traveling, she lives with her husband Rudolf in Manhattan.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Carrie Radna and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


all trains are haunted

good-natured buttered-up angels who tripped out from Heaven’s Bar
caught their glittery shoes & minds between whirlwinds & dead turnstiles
they ride the empty trains constantly, getting out of the cold rain
but all trains are haunted—
the lazy A that took us home after last Saturday
night’s gig at Washington Heights, perhaps a shade of its grandfather
took Sir Duke & Billy Strayhorn aboard towards Harlem in 1940
it’s still midnight, almost the end of the line for randy trains—
it’s now time to cruise over to Queens Plaza Yards, to sleep with warmed-up cars,
to romance that special one it met on the tracks at Hoyt-Schermerhorn
when they were hitched up for only a week—it never forgets
how it shined and smelled (no hobos slept in it)   
its chrome face made the other trains shiver on the tracks as they raced upon the third rail,
sparks flew—we rode the 1930s Vintage Special Train to West 4th Street—it was haunted
sputtering diesel as it rolled on slowly from Herald Square, the lights went out three times
& a man stood in the center aisle, wearing a fedora & a caramel-colored long coat
as the passengers held carved, cream-colored handles in the mint-colored interior—
all subway riders are haunted by events:
broken hearts, tough working-days, able-drunkenness, despair, boredom,
longing for home or excitement, in every time or age  



January 27 – February 2, 2020: Poetry from LB Sedlacek and David Holper

LB Sedlacek and David Holper

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


LB Sedlacek
lbsedlacek@charter.net

Bio (auto)

LB Sedlacek has had poetry, fiction and non-fiction appear in many different journals, zines and newspapers. She is a former Poetry Editor for “ESC! Magazine” and also co-hosted the podcast for the small press, “Coffee House to Go.” She teaches poetry workshops at local elementary and middle schools. She founded and publishes the free resource for poets, “The Poetry Market Ezine.” Recent poetry books include “Words and Bones” (Finishing Line Press) and “The Architect of French Fries” (Presa Press). In her free time, LB enjoys swimming, reading, and playing guitar and ukulele. Visit LB on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by LB Sedlacek and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Word Power

Writing by candlelight
with paper and pen
no ink no feathers
no rolltop wooden desk
I write like Benjamin
Franklin or Thomas Jefferson
in the glowing shadows
candles casting off the
perfect snow it glares
and reflects through the
windows a story waiting
to be heard to
be told how we
trekked through the woods
to forage to make
snow cream to toss
icy snowballs or to
sled how we built
a snowman eight feet
high how we built
an igloo or something
like it our hands
wet and cold from
the ice the powder
a snowstorm without power
is something to write
about using pen and
paper and a few
spare words.


The Flyblown Waggish Whipsaw Charlatan
Itinerant Neophyte Gadfly

You new convert you
novice, tyro, beginner
traveling from place to
place especially covering
a circuit performing acrobats
dancers, trainers, dogs
desperately touring the country
or pretending to
have some medical skills
you fake fraud
or bites like flies
annoying persistent criticism
beset with two
or more or more
adverse unpleasant unthinkable
conditions doubly cut
double double the hurt
tainted not bright
not new but seedy
infested with eggs
you exploit for humor
a gallows bird
or maybe sorta human
prank, joke, mischief
practical prankster or not
still all of
this simply suggests the
actual presence of
flies.

 

 

 


David Holper
5holpers@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

David Holper has done a little bit of everything: taxi driver, fisherman, dishwasher, bus driver, soldier, house painter, bike mechanic, bike courier, and teacher. He has published a number of stories and poemsincluding two collections of poetry, The Bridge (Sequoia Song Publications) and 64 Questions (March Street Press). His poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, and he has recently won several poetry competitions, in spite of his contention that he never wins anything.  He teaches English at College of the Redwoods and lives in Eureka, California, far enough the madness of civilization that he can still see the stars at night and hear the Canada geese calling.  He was recently chosen as the City of Eureka’s first poet laureate and will be serving from August 2019-August 2020. Visit David on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by David Holper and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Seven Rides to Remember

I

The first ride that every hitchhiker needs to consider
is the one that doesn’t come. For this one, simply pretend you’re not
waiting. The desert is patient,
a dry place to rest your bones. The vultures
will likely consider that too. Try something unusual:
make a funny sign, lay down and stick out your thumb,
read a book. Later when it’s dark,
use the pages you’ve finished as kindling.
If the sun should ever arise, you might count the number
of times you can walk across the median before
the next car passes you.

II

One ride to remember is the one you should refuse.
Desperation inhibits judgment. You’ll learn that the hard way, won’t you?
Say, for instance, Tennessee in winter, 12 hours waiting in a light snowfall.
Finally, a panel van pulls over, promising warmth,
a ride all the way to Mardi Gras. Only,
there are no seats, no rug. Hours later you’ll ache
from banging your butt on the corrugated metal floor.

By dark, when the driver pulls over, just outside Jackson, Mississippi,
to pick up two hitchhikers, no one will notice
that they’re Black, one blind, his cousin’s gently guiding him.
But what you will see is the driver’s dawning horror. You’ll see, too,
how he takes them one exit before dropping them off
in the middle of nowhere. Blinded
by rage, you’ll let loose on the driver with a piece of your mind,
get out, too, regretting that you hadn’t seen
that both kindness and hatred often reside
in the same tangled corners of our hearts.

III

Remember that a hitchhiker is like a bartender.
drivers who go the distance get bored, sleepy. When they ask you
what your story is, remember to be prepared.
When you open your mouth, don’t forget to bring the fire
of imagination, adventure, wisdom, and laughter; otherwise,
you’d better start counting road crossings again.

IV

Sometimes they want you to drive while they sleep. If they do,
don’t pick up hitchhikers.

V

If the driver has been drinking or smoking something,
has the habit of pulling into rest stops and doing donuts in his panel van
trying to run down coyotes,
keep in mind that sometimes even gamblers let their winnings ride.
When he does 100 mph across the desert,
sucking down Jack Daniels, keep your cool.
Just remember that when the cop pulls him over, runs his ID,
then slaps the cuffs on him,
it’s a long walk from the middle of nowhere
to anywhere else.

VI

If the driver picks you up in a snowstorm,
tells you his name is Kissing Cousin Clem Kiddlehopper,
you have every reason to be skeptical. But when he explains
that he used to drive truck for years, and you start to see vehicles
spinning out on the ice, flipping over in the median, you might muster up
some helping of gratitude. And if the car should begin to spin out,
the passenger’s side window where you sit becoming
the front windshield, momentarily,
take a deep breath and be glad
he knows the simple truth
that steering into trouble is the best way
to ease back into balance.

VII

Last of all, should you find yourself
just outside Phoenix, Arizona one raw winter evening
and some fellow pulls over into a white sedan, says
he’s headed to St. Louis, for God’s sake, don’t question your luck.
Get in, sit down, and start talking
as the miles of white lines burn up the night.
Bless the midnight flier and the miles he will deliver to you
free of charge, even if the heater doesn’t work
even if he asks you to do all the driving,
and you spend the night chewing on your lips
in order to get the car safely through the turnstiles
For this, my friend, is the best gift that God has to offer those
who have nothing but the grace of others
speeding them through the long night.



January 20-26, 2020: Poetry from Michael Estabrook and Yash Seyedbagheri

Michael Estabrook and Yash Seyedbagheri

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Michael Estabrook
mestabrook@comcast.net

Bio (auto)

Michael Estabrook has been publishing his poetry in the small press since the 1980s. Hopefully with each passing decade the poems have become more clear and concise, succinct and precise, more appealing and “universal.” He has published over 20 collections, a recent one being The Poet’s Curse, A Miscellany (The Poetry Box, 2019).

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Michael Estabrook and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


From Nothing

Physicists, astrophysicists, geophysicists, astrobiologists,
astronomers, cosmologists . . . all of them
state it like it’s clear, obvious,
irrefutable – in the beginning
of the universe there was nothing, nothing at all,
no space, no time, no matter, no energy, only emptiness.
Then suddenly out of the darkness
out of nowhere for no reason
like someone flipping a switch
an infinitesimally small speck of something-or-other
appeared then immediately exploded
into the Big Bang BOOM!!!
And the universe – everything there is
or was or ever shall be –
spiral galaxies, dwarf stars, planets, comets, asteroids,
black holes, quasars, quarks, dark matter, neutrinos,
gravitons, photons, mesons, and the Higgs Boson –
was formed just like that, from nothing,
absolutely nothing.
Seriously?


Kidney

His kidney transplant is six months old
doing great but he stays home afraid
to move fearing it’ll be rejected
and he’ll die. Understandable.
But Rick are you exercising?
Doing some walking.
No, I mean exercising. Can you lift weights?
You need progressive resistance training
to strengthen your core, your back, chest, legs
and arms. It’ll make a new man
out of you. Start with light bench presses,
curls, deadlifts . . . and he’s staring wide-eyed
at me like I’m trying to claw
the new kidney out of his body.

 

 

 


Yash Seyedbagheri
kaiseryash@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. His work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as 50 Word Stories, Silent Auctions, City. River. Tree. and Ariel Chart.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Yash Seyedbagheri and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


The Night The Internet Died

the night the Internet goes out,
people wear anguish, czarist Russian peasants
in electronic famine, with no crop. What will we do
they whisper, hands pressed to exposed bosoms without Facebook
and likes. and random YouTube clips
of getting drunk and puking
lungs and shitting the 1812 Overture pissing on old ladies
they refresh, refresh
yellow triangles assaulting eyes
no connection. no connection. no connection.

tempers rise
mothers and fathers, grandpa, grandma, brothers and sisters beside them
likewise. no surrender to intimacy
no surrender to hugs or simple greetings
no messing hair tender sisterly investigation
of little brother’s nascent adulthood sorrow
or jokes about his backwards baseball caps, which she finds
so secretly adorable. a brother’s quips about sister’s boyfriend’s ears
a mother, a father asking children, how are you?
what do you want from life, old sport?

they just want to vanquish the electronic famine,
why God? why? they beg God for mercy
brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers inches apart
staring at screen altars
promise to reform, even the atheists
why have you forsaken our Internet?
how can we live without the latest news of
actor X fucking actor Y
which is the most relevant thing in the world

while people starve, hatred contracts
while seasons change
and trees turn to skeletons, macabre but beautiful
we care about that. we just need
to know how actor X is fucking actor Y first
after all everyone likes X and therefore
I like X, even if I hate his accent, his movies
give me back my Internet
refresh, refresh, fuck, fuck, fuck on a corndog
they cry, refresh

night deepens, deep purple turning to velvet bloom
and they keep watch screens, refresh, refresh
with the look of Russian peasants, anguish
unfurled across bourgeois
refreshing screens, while their minds
drown in electronic famine
above, a moon takes flight
and the stars are brighter than before
but they keep staring into the electronic famine
collapsing, the triangle eating them like maggots

they die for the heavenly cause. the impossible dream,
trying to vanquish the yellow triangle,
refresh, refresh, their requiem
the unreachable electronic crops
consuming corpses, no videos of
pooping and drunkenness come to save them
night unable to save them from electronic hypnosis
moon whispering her luminous tears

refresh, refresh, the yellow triangle whispers
at their burial.



January 13-19, 2020: Poetry from John Burroughs and Jefferson Carter

John Burroughs and Jefferson Carter

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


John Burroughs
jc@crisischronicles.com

Bio (auto)

John Burroughs of Cleveland was recently named the 2019-2021 Beat Poet Laureate for the state of Ohio. His latest book - Rattle and Numb: Selected Poems, 1992-2019 - was published this year by Venetian Spider Press. A dynamic performer who has wowed audiences from Oakland to New York City, John currently hosts the monthly Poetry+ reading series at Art on Madison and has served since 2008 as the founding editor for Crisis Chronicles Press. Find him at www.crisischronicles.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by John Burroughs and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Faith Without Works Is Dead

Saw “In God We Trust”
all the way across the back
bumper of an Ashe
County Sheriff’s car.

Made me wonder
why they need a sheriff.

 

 


Jefferson Carter
Carter7878@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Jefferson Carter has lived in Tucson since 1953. His poems have appeared in such journals as Carolina Quarterly, Barrow Street, Cream City Review, Rattle, and New Poets of the American West. Birkenstock Blues, his eleventh collection, has gone into a second, revised edition. He’s a passionate supporter of Sky Island Alliance, a regionally-based environmental organization. Visit Jefferson on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Jefferson Carter and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Life Partner

For convenience, I & my life partner
(the woman formerly known as my wife)
have numbered our arguments.  Number 3, 
you’re so negative.  Number 5, you left 
hair in the sink again.  Number 8, you’re 
naive.  Number 11, another beer already?  
Number 13, you don’t listen to me.
But I do.  I just don’t agree.  Now
my life partner’s on the couch, watching
Live P.D.  She’s pleased with the police,
so kind to the miscreants & trailer trash
they apprehend.  Of course, they’re
kind!  They’re on camera!  Without 
looking at me, she holds up three fingers.

My life partner wants to make a deal:
she’ll stop storing our broken pepper mill
upright in the spice rack, pepper everywhere
like coarse soot, she’ll store the mill
on its side if I stop switching off the light 
over the dining-room table whenever
she’s in another room.  Why?  Why
does she need that light on all day?
She raises both fists & opens each one
twice. Number 20, you don’t love me.



January 6-12, 2020: Poetry from Pam Davenport and Ozzie Nogg

Pam Davenport and Ozzie Nogg

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
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Pam Davenport
pam.davenport4@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Pam Davenport, who writes in the deserts and mountains of Arizona, earned an MFA at Pacific University in Oregon after teaching for over thirty years. Her chapbook, A Midwest Girl Thanks Patti Smith (2019), was chosen as the winner of the Slipstream Chapbook Competition. Pam has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and was recipient of the Arizona Authors’ Association Annual Award for Poetry. Her poems have been published in various journals and anthologies, including Nimrod, Tinderbox, Slippery Elm, Poetry of the American Southwest, Chiron, New Verse News, and Pittsburgh Poetry Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Pam Davenport and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Some Women’s Bodies

When my daughter gave birth I rubbed her downy arm
and willed her pain to crush my bones.
She had come from me fast, covered in vernix,
nurses slathered it on their arms,
she was moist, slick, I didn’t want to lose her.
Waiting for my babies I watched skin
stretch, scarlet tears I thought would split open
and a person emerge.
My grandmothers, one smelled of meat and perfume
the other of sickness, my own mother of sugar.
I lie here, raise my head, peer down at a body.
From here my lumpy soft belly looks flat,
I am again a vain girl who only sees her tan lines.
My thighs still feel smooth and strong
like apple skin, something forbidden.


I Am a Desert

There is a perception that the desert is emptiness, desert is nothing.
No, it is the poet’s playground.
.........
~ Kwame Dawes

I yip at the night until coyotes yowl back,
run slipshod over anger, speak gibberish to myself

and poems to my neighbors.

Utter effortless unadorned words under a gold-tinted
evening sky and dress in turquoise robes.

Connect magnetic momentary clarity
to children kicking a ball in the dust.

Collect olives and peace, warm breath in my face, hot spittle,
perpendicular points of conversation with strangers.

I stop wearing makeup, love my face again
in fragrant silver twilight or moonlit pale.

I wash my feet beneath a low hanging sun,
eat heat washed down with mint tea.

Mornings nothing makes sense and I at last give up on sense.

Crepuscular shadows pull me toward an unknown building
and I wake speaking a language I’ve never heard.

I crack open my brain within blazing noon sun,
rouse shopkeepers with music from an instrument that hasn’t been invented.

I walk over seething sands,
let the only tree I see teach me its poem.

I embroider wet words with delicate strands
into the garments of everyone I meet.

 

 

 

 


Ozzie Nogg
ozzienogg@cox.net

Bio (auto)

Ozzie Nogg's work has appeared in Diddledog, Apollo’s Lyre, Flashshot, Apocrypha and Abstractions, 50 Word Stories and Donut Factory. Her book of personal stories, Joseph’s Bones, won First Place in the 2005 Writer’s Digest Press International Self-Published Book Awards. You can visit her at: www.ozzienogg.com

The following work is Copyright © 2020, and owned by Ozzie Nogg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


An erasure poem found in Donald John Trump’s
Inauguration Address delivered on January 20, 2017
in Washington D.C.

President President President President
me me will determine the course of America
me.will get the power
we are Magnificent.
Very Special
Me power
me flourished prospered
but not the citizens of our country
o o celebrate me me me me
not the people.

January 20th 2017, will be remembered
as the day the people of our country will be forgotten by me
never to serve its citizens
me Great
a different reality
flush with cash but deprived of knowledge
robbed our country of so much
me tops
me Glorious

The oath I take today is to me
at the expense of America
we own trillions of dollars overseas
me con our country
O the millions upon millions
we are looking only to assemble capital and power.
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land.
From this moment on, it’s going to be me First.
ax immigration
me me
stealing and destroying
I will let you down America like never before
o wonderful simple me
will first.impose our way of life on anyone
and eradicate the Earth.

The bedrock of our politics is prejudice
disagreement
unstoppable fear
the Great me
Most Important
Big Bigger me
all talk and complaining
empty talk will thrive and unlock my miseries and divisions
to black brown white red

Salute me
look up at me the Almighty

Americans hear these words:
You will be ignored
Your voice hopes dreams
your courage and goodness
forever me me me me
Yes me
Great
A God
ME



December 30, 2019 – January 5, 2020: Poetry from Ellen Kaywin and Kashiana Singh

Ellen Kaywin and Kashiana Singh

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Ellen Kaywin
ekaywin@bellsouth.net

Bio (auto)

Ellen Kaywin is a former reading specialist turned emerging poet. She has a B.A. in education and an M.ED in reading from Boston University. After retiring from her tutoring practice, she decided to get back to her love of writing poetry. She attends an ongoing writing workshop at the University of Miami and has enrolled in online writing classes through Gotham Writing Workshops, New York. Her poems touch upon many topics: family, childhood, the passing of time, nature, loss, memories and more. Some of her favorite poets are: Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, Walt Whitman, Wendy Cope, Mary Oliver and Linda Gregg. Ms. Kaywin lives in Miami, Fl with her husband. They have two adult children.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Ellen Kaywin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


A Bench in the Shade

Our first date a stroll in the park
a quiet path to a bench in the shade ––
sun low on the horizon –– air still and
humid –– warm thighs touch ––
we talk about nothing, we giggle
as we inhale sweet cannabis ––
a welcome distraction from Spring 1970
campus riots –– graduation cancelled ––
a wooden recorder brushes his lips
he blows softly –– Greensleeves echoes ––
it begins to rain ––
our hands join in a dewy clasp
as we run to the car ––

 

 

 


Kashiana Singh
kashiana.singh@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Kashiana Singh is a management professional by job classification and a work practitioner by personal preference. Kashiana’s TEDx talk was dedicated to Work as Worship. Her poetry collection, Shelling Peanuts and Stringing Words presents her voice as a participant and an observer. She dips into very vulnerable and personal contexts but also explores the shifting tectonic plates of the world around her. She is from India, now lives in Chicago. She is a regular contributor to different poetry platforms like OnMogul, Literary Yard, Best Poems, Narrow Mag, Modern Literature, SikhNet, Women’s Web, Tuck Magazine, Spillwords, Visual Verse, Oddball Magazine. She is in the process of gathering her second collection of poems. Visit Kashiana on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Kashiana Singh and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Absent neighbors

Last night, I became a taboo woman, tantric veins breaking into unencumbered branches of witched trees that fell, nearly fell. They hung in limp moaning slumber, fulfilled after the thunder had hit them like an orgasm last night. The bird feeder, still quivered beneath, on a rusted hook. Inside its trellis walls, I floated, fragile, flailing, urgently fabricating myself for another ordinary day.
Across the fence, absent neighbors show up at their patio hand in hand.
Their hearts seem full. Like a well-edited photograph.



December 23-29, 2019: Poetry from Howie Good and Alex M. Frankel

Howie Good and Alex M. Frankel

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Howie Good
goodh51@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Howie Good is the author most recently of Stick Figure Opera: 99 100-word Prose Poems from Cajun Mutt Press. He co-edits the online journals Unbroken and UnLost. Visit Howie on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Howie Good and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


A Simple Prayer

My mom went
into the hospital
13 years ago today
and never came out.

Lord, protect me,
so every morning
I can sit by the window
and start a poem.

There’s a beauty
in inventing things
that serve no purpose.

 

 

 


Alex M. Frankel
alexmfrankel@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Alex M. Frankel’s first full-length poetry collection, Birth Mother Mercy, appeared in 2013 with Lummox Press. He is currently working on a memoir, entitled Fallen David, about being given up for adoption. His play Revocable Trust, was recently produced in Hollywood. He writes short stories, blogs, reviews books, and helps edit poems for the Antioch Review. Visit Alex on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Alex M. Frankel and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Around the Necropolis

After they were killed, they were killed
a second time.
I stayed through the night to make sure.

All rats remained rats
until they died the second time.
The necropolis belonged half to the sea
which brought all its deep-sea toxicities.

In the back room of the Lovers’ Museum and Gift Shop
we drank what we could find.

Would the rats reawaken?
Was it sinful to kill them?
Inside my heart was a heart
and inside that little heart
a rat baby woke up
to its own grandeur of will.

Polluted myths fell from the air.
Calmly, I put my extra kidney on the floor.
From his bunk, my partner laughed
and stroked himself.
Dust fell on my kidney
turned it into a dark rambunctious embryo
that didn’t have a chance.

Rat bones piled up so high
outside the Lovers’ Museum and Gift Shop
we called emergency to dig us out.
Emergency responded Give us seven years.
Beyond the last window
I made out a sun within the moon
and within that sun two hyenas
in a tug-of-war over my partner’s cadaver
and inside the cadaver
where the heart should have been: a rat
healthy, alert running on its wheel.

I knelt and kissed my embryo
so it humped my knee with a grin.

After I was killed, I remained almost myself
until I was killed a second time.



December 16-22, 2019: Poetry from Betsy Mars and Paul Lojeski

Betsy Mars and Paul Lojeski

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Betsy Mars
marsfish@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Betsy Mars is an early transplant to the LA area after spending her first 6 years in Connecticut, Wisconsin, and Rio de Janeiro. She wrote her first poem - an elegy to her cat - in Portuguese at age 5 or so. She is a poet, photographer, educator, and recently started Kingly Street Press, releasing Unsheathed:24 Contemporary Poets Take Up the Knife in October, 2019. Her work has been widely published, and her first chapbook, Alinea (Picture Show Press), came out in January, 2019. 2019 was a big year, obviously.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Betsy Mars and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


To the car sales rep & service manager
who didn't return my calls

May your tire pressure warning light
come on after a long day at work.
May you search for a gas station
with an air pump.
May you feed your last coins
into that pump
& find that it's defective,
releasing air rather than filling

May you limp on your further deflated
tire to another station,
dig out your debit card,
fill your tire, try to align
the threads on the tiny cap
with your tired hands,
fumble it into the black hole
of the wheel well.

May you be on your way
to a doctor's appointment
a mere week later
when that u-shaped light
pops up on the dashboard
like your nagging urethra,
so you repeat the above steps,
trying each tire
since your car is smart
but not smart enough
to indicate which is the problem.

You call for advice
and are told to come in.
You'll get a call back
and maybe a loaner.
Neither occurs.

May you head out of town
to visit a friend,
put the tire behind you.
The little symbol lights up
to remind you.

Repeat steps above.

Call the dealer,
leave message,
no call back,
call again,
no reply.

Another week passes.
The little horseshoe light
comes on and goes off
with the changes in temperature
or in inverse sync with convenience.

May you take it in for inspection,
find the "customer care" manager,
complain. Disingenuous words,
condescension, disdain.
A nail is the culprit
in your two month old tire.
They can sell you a new one,
can't fix it, location,

yet down the road
they can patch it
while you wait,
and wait,
and din-
ner gro
ws co
ld
and you're grateful.

 

 

 


Paul Lojeski
paullojeski@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Paul Lojesk's poetry has appeared online and in print. He lives in Port Jefferson, NY.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Paul Lojeski and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


inheritance

mother was a prodigious reader
and accomplished drinker, who, 
after hours of cleaning toilets,
vacuuming, making beds 
and food shopping at Kroger’s
would sink into the living room 
couch in late afternoon light, 
with a glass of scotch on the 
side table and a cigarette burning 
in the ashtray next to it. she'd
stare at the pages of her 
latest book, transfixed, moving
far, far away from the cruel 
ironies of a life poorly chosen.
and all those delusional beliefs
about the 2 of them that'd led 
her into this nameless nightmare
and the perfection of a viscous
bitterness as pure as the driven
snow. Her latest project completed; 
the affixing of a dead bolt lock on 
the inside of her bedroom door 
upon which the intoxicated father
would pound and pound and curse 
her and the universe in slurred 
invective, while the 3 children 
curled up under the covers on 
their beds, begging sleep to rescue 
them, to make it all disappear.



December 9-15, 2019: Poetry from Richard Leach and Richard Shavei-Tzion

Richard Leach and Richard Shavei-Tzion

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration.
Click here for submission guidelines.


Richard Leach
richarddoleleach@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Richard Leach is a poet and visual artist in Stamford, CT. The sacred poetry he began writing while serving as a United Church of Christ pastor has been set to music by many composers, and is widely published and sung. His secular poetry has appeared in print in Rattle and online in various publications. Find his self-published collections at lulu.com/rleach, as well as his book The Song Itself here.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Richard Leach and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Purple Toe

Can I admit to anyone
that I sprained my left big toe
by catching it in my pant leg
pulling on my pants?
Of course not.
Forget you read this.


Noted

We began buying
organic bananas
instead of whatever bananas
and now sometimes
we have organic
fruit flies.


What the Wealthy Man Bought

A billion dollar house

A billion dollar car

A billion dollar yacht

A billion dollar art collection

A billion dollar trip to the moon and back

A billion dollar artificial heart

A billion dollar funeral

A billion dollar coffin

 

 

 


Richard Shavei-Tzion
rs-wcm@zahav.net.il

Bio (auto)

Richard Shavei-Tzion is an autodidact in all his avocations. He is the author of "Poetry in the Parasha" and his occasional articles on human interest have been published in news publications around the Jewish world. His "Prayer for the Preservation of the Environment" has been read in synagogues and venues from the Western Wall to New Zealand.  He is the director of the Ramatayim Men’s Choir, which over the past 25 years has performed extensively in Israel and across Europe and he has led High Holidays services for the past thirty-five years in South Africa, Israel, the U.S.A. and Canada. Richard’s photographic work has been displayed in solo and group exhibitions. An accountant by profession, he manages a property and medical management company.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Richard Shavei-Tzion and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


The last thing my father did for me

After I got the call
A summons to go far away
To serve the ancestral community
I went to my father’s modest bed,
He was young and withered and eaten inside
I placed my dilemma squarely in his skeletal hands,
Gave him the yoke of my responsibility
And he said yes,
I will wait
He said yes knowing that one last time
He must defy the angels
Even when most would welcome them.

Before my journey
I placed my arms around his bony back
For fear that his body would defeat his will
I held his head in my shoulder
Then left.

From far
I asked who will live, who will die
Knowing the answer

It was the last thing my father did for me
He waited.
No, not like we wait for a casual rendezvous
Or an anticipated milestone,
Not for Abraham’s moment poised for sacrifice,
But through days of pain and nights of contemplation,
When there was no life left to live for
He tarried at the door of peace
Until after my return.



December 2-8, 2019: Poetry from Robert Wynne and Yvonne Morris

Robert Wynne and Yvonne Morris

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Robert Wynne robert.wynne@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

Robert Wynne earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. A former co-editor of Cider Press Review, he has published 6 chapbooks, and 3 full-length books of poetry, the most recent being “Self-Portrait as Odysseus,” published in 2011 by Tebot Bach Press. He’s won numerous prizes, and his poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies throughout North America. He lives in Burleson, TX with his wife and 3 rambunctious dogs. Visit Robert on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Robert Wynne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Salvador Dali Prepares a Late Snack

- For Jaimes Palacio
The forgetful horizon peels like old wallpaper, draping the buttery moon with blinking stars until it’s winking even more coyly than usual. A copy of the Beatles unreleased Beige album melts into caramel over a bowl of white popcorn as olive oil rains down like drunken applause near the end of another wedding reception. On the back of a burro with mile long legs a thick piece of sharp cheddar is arguing with a hunk of gouda, while what’s left of a mini turkey sandwich folds itself awkwardly over the edge of a jukebox like an apology. Baby Carrots birth themselves bright orange from open hands with teeth in each palm. The artist’s face is reflected crimson in a still pool of water with a dash of blood – or perhaps cranberry juice, more bitter – because this world’s not going to eat itself despite the yawning pink tongue just waking from dreams of clocks made entirely of ants, faces hidden in plain sight, the hungry sun, and words, always such useless words.  

Belief

I have always questioned the existence of dogs, so perfect at providing comfort yet maddeningly impulsive, they seem like a dream God might have had, if there were a God. And maybe there is reason to believe in mozzarella sticks as they stretch so far from our lips it’s like time travel in reverse. The future welcomes us to wonder what became of Brad Matson, attic full of his father’s Playboys, or Lester Sutton, wearing his anger like a new Boy Scout badge. Childhood fails to provide the context necessary for us to understand the way planes fall out of the sky every so often no matter how much we wish we could believe in anything other than that which we can see: bowling pins twirling their final dance, the crescent moon obscured by clouds, the cover of a Pink Floyd album with no words, just black lines on white, another theology waiting for us to finally invent it.      

Yvonne Morris a.yvonne.morris@kctcs.edu

Bio (auto)

Yvonne Morris is the author of the chapbook Mother was a Sweater Girl (The Heartland Review Press, 2016). Her work has appeared in a variety of journals, most recently The Lake, and one of her poems is upcoming in Friday Poems. She has taught communication courses and tutored writing skills at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College for twenty-four years.

The following work is Copyright © 2019, and owned by Yvonne Morris and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Mother was a Sweater Girl

Mother was a sweater girl who swore she’d seen Dillinger standing on the running board of a coupe speeding down the dirt road she lived next to outside Montpelier, Indiana— a place she dreamed so hard of leaving that she ordered herself a suitcase, and her mom and dad laughed, but she colored her lips barn-red and found a man she couldn’t get rid of, so she married him and made coffee and babies and planted begonias, singing back to the birds and to me, “Sweet, sweet, sweet.” By the time I was sixteen, mother was ahead of her time at glamorizing men’s wear, making all the wolves howl as she gardened in my father’s T-shirts and growled to me, “Whoever gets you, girl, will have a tiger by the tail” and warned me that I better learn to “nail my pork chops down,” which I guess meant for me to be sensible, but how could I be, being too much my mother’s kitten, and one of the last times I saw her, she showed me a new pair of boots, and I realized I’d bought a pair just like them. They were the kind, we both could see, that would make the men wail Ahhhhooooh. Previously published in the chapbook, Mother was a Sweater Girl (Heartland Review Press, 2016)    
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