ISSUE 17 — February 8, 2021

Sleeping With an Apocalypse

Slumbering bundled in a comforter on a trundle bed

to counter the contagious chills

incubated in the hot zones

of the Cold War, yet

distraught by The Day After

and names from the news on the kitchen radio like

Reagan and Brezhnev,

I brought those bogeymen into a preteen nightmare of nukes

and neighbours nestled aboard a cushy cruise to escape the imminent impact

while Papa, preferring frugality and self-reliance,

directed my family to fashion bowlish boats from cardboard -

including one for the cat -

to bob in the waves away from

the blast of the Bomb.

On the other side of the wall

(papered with a pedestrian pattern of ships and globes),

my younger brother was embroiled

in his own dream of destruction at

a predetermined moment on a Sunday in springtime.

Instead of wailing and waiting for warheads,

the four of us force-fed our bodies

into the big burgundy Buick

an hour in advance in hopes of

high-tailing it to some haven

before figuring out our fatal flaw:

we hadn't sprung ahead for Daylight Saving Time.

 

Enjoying owls, oat milk lattes and the secrets of half-hidden alleyways, language professional Adrian Slonaker lives in downtown Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada. Adrian’s work has appeared in WINK: Writers in the Know, The Be Zine, Literary Yard, Dead End Poetry and others.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Surprise Within a Surprise

 

I found it tucked away,

so neatly that it almost screamed for attention,

for I am not in the habit of folding such precise corners.

 

It was not of my doing,

Yet there it sat in my drawer staring back.

What was I to make of this strange discovery?

 

Had I stowed it there in some past life?

Had poltergeists invaded?

My mind was filled with baffling questions.

 

And yet, time is not of its own making.

It sat there pristine and exact,

wanting to be freed from its imprisonment.

 

I carefully removed it, examined it,

then returned it to its former home,

carefully folding it just as it had been.

 

Maybe it was an aspiration of some unknown instinct.

Maybe it would not be there

the next time that I looked inside my dream.

 

Walking away from my past,

I wondered what surprise would catch me next time,

while searching within my own dark dungeon.

 

Ann Christine Tabaka was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize in Poetry. She is the winner of Spillwords Press 2020 Publication of the Year, her bio is featured in the “Who’s Who of Emerging Writers 2020” published by Sweetycat Press. Christine lives in Delaware, USA. She loves gardening and cooking. Chris lives with her husband and four cats.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Falaise Rouge

 

Up a steep slope, we climbed

Where rocks prevail in all its glory

Carved by the waves

Weathered by the wind and sun

Unscathed, rough

Held by the soft orangy reddish hues of lavatic soil

They stand erect and majestic

On the borders of that vast expanse of sea water

Tainted reddish brown

Barely brushing the shore

Like a lover's lips skimming

Over the plump cheeks of her beloved

Thy water, Falaise Rouge

A beauty to behold

Thy rocks, a place to venerate

Thy crevices, adventures to explore.

 

Bhama Lallmun, an educator with more than 25 years of experience lives in Port Louis, Mauritius. Passionate about reading and writing, her poems very often depict the beauty of nature and everyday life. Her other passion which is hiking all around her island, inspires her a lot.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

 

Keppra

 

Imprint me

Mother with your figure

 

Slats of light

from the slammed Venetian blind

 

Side effects of decreased appetite

generalized weakness

 

Curling into fetal

on the kitchen floor

 

among the tight cabinets

 

*

 

Gifts unwrapped

an aftermath of wrapping paper

 

Day after Christmas

we dismantle the artificial tree

 

the label says Virginia pine

 

*

 

A heavy lull in the traffic

of neurotransmitters

 

I grip Theo’s wrist

hurry across

 

a hush of hissing leaves

 

*

 

He detrains from the 100%

polyester plush throw

 

proceeds to skip his nap

 

*

 

Pressed into pressure

weighed into

weight

 

an octopus cradling

its leg stump

 

*

 

Side effects of irritability

agitation, indifferent

behavior

The speed at which energy is unleashed

is exactly what power is

 

Cameron Morse lives with his wife Lili and two children in Independence, Missouri. His poems have been published in numerous magazines, including New Letters and Bridge Eight. His first collection, Fall Risk, won Glass Lyre Press’s 2018 Best Book Award. His latest is Far Other (Woodley Press, 2020). He holds and MFA from the University of Kansas City—Missouri and serves as Senior Reviews editor at Harbor Review and Poetry editor at Harbor.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Covid-Secure Visit

 

Our eyes met through a smeared window

my cold fingers waved to her trickled smile.

Her carer pointed, urged my mother

to see. Drizzle soaked my shoulders,

 

penetrated her worn mac.

A garment permeated with scent

of parma violets, gifted each Christmas

by all who knew/who’d known, her well.

Veiled in her, I staged an overstated grin

lobbed it out to smash glass barriers.

No response. Nothing.

 

Almost defeated, I turned away

to hide my grief

 

until a gentle tapping

halted me: her face pressed up

against the pane, broke

into recognition –

 

rescued from grey skies,

our red, orange, yellow –

blue and indigo

zithered through air.

 

Mum pointed to a rainbow,

only she and I could see,

and then, at last,

it’s violet waves shone clear.

 

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon lives near Newcastle upon Tyne, UK and writes short stories and poetry. She is widely published in online magazines and in print anthologies. Her first pamphlet is due to be published in 2021. She is a Pushcart Prize (2019 & 2020) and Forward Prize (2019) nominee and holds an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University, UK (2017). She believes everyone’s voice counts.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Placebo

 

“CBD seems to me like decaf coffee.

I mean, what’s the point?”

 

“I met this girl at the Farmer’s Market,

said she rubbed it on her wrists,

said she had early-onset arthritis,

said it helped a lot.”

 

“You think maybe

she convinced herself it was so?

Like taking vitamins

and then telling yourself

you have so much more energy.

Nobody wants to be a fool, a sucker.”

 

“She said her Great Dane

sleeps all night now,

thanks to the dog treats.

No more tearing up shoes,

no more destroying furniture.”

 

“Well, I guess a dog

can’t really fool himself, can he?

You have to be human to do that.”

 

Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore. Two full-length collections have been published in 2020, Catastroika, from Apprentice House, and Ugler Lee from Kelsay Books. A poetry chapbook, Mortal Coil, is forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Girl With Dog

 

hurried little bitch I was

 

eye-rolling the latest inconvenience

dropped across my 10,000 steps to glory

by roommate randomness

 

two points of need

shining from a crate

that spelled vet bills

squeezed out of ten-percent tips

 

walking and whining

shitting and snoring

 

that nine-o’clock head tilt

that left me crying in front of customers at noon

 

three jobs, two loves, and eleven years later

when not even prime steak

could coax an appetite

 

before the syringe and sobs

and the curl into that last best sleep

 

just us

in the bright room

hemmed into the tiniest conspiracy of gratitude

 

and I felt the unnumbered consolation

of contingency:

 

everything needs love

I was one of those things too

 

Clay Waters has had poems published in The Santa Clara Review, River Oak Review, Literal Latte, Poet Lore, as well as The Pangolin Review.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Sudden Creative Storms

Initial inky rain drops of words

Gently fall, and form neat patterns

On weathered paper. So far, so good.
Soon pregnant black clouds will begin
To swell deep within the birthing - room.
Sure, there will be chaotic storms.

Sudden downpours will drench

The brain’s dry tissues. Consciousness will be

Blasted by the driving winds of chance.

Perhaps, if the gods are kind, there will be

Intermittent lightning flashes

Of pure poetic gold. O I can dream and live in hope!

 

Dominic Windram is a performance poet from Hartlepool in the North East of England with a strong interest in literature, art history, philosophy, comparative religions, politics and psychology. Recently, he has had a number of poems published in the Northern Cross (a monthly Catholic newspaper serving the diocese of North East England) & New Poetry 2018 (edited by Aria Ligi). He is now a resident poet on P.N.N (Progressive News Network) hosted by the ebullient Rick Spisak.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Andre Gide on Prometheus at the Café 


So what happened first?

Prometheus drank a little water,
           drank a drop of water,
                       drank some water,
                                   drank his health.

What did he bring?

Some indecent photographs and some fireworks;
           he kept the fireworks for later on,
                       certain kinds of fire:
                                   a fire to enlighten…
                                               fire, flame and all
                                                           (a few fireworks).

Did you like the fireworks?

                                   The fireworks were more or less effective

How was the meal?

                                   The bird ate.

You mean you ate a bird?

                                   We are going to eat him.

The bird?

                                   Eat him without bearing him a grudge.

Prometheus?

                                   If it amuses you.
                                               I loved what fed on them.
                                                           He fed on me long enough.

 

Drew Pisarra is the author of Infinity Standing Up, a collection of seriocomic, homoerotic sonnets published by Capturing Fire Press, and Publick Spanking, a collection of queer short stories published by Future Tense Books. A 2019 literary grantee of the Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation, he is currently at work on the radio play The Strange Case of Nick M., commissioned by Imago Theatre.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

The marrow

 

the lady in the restaurant

with its shopfront

beneath our apartment

used to live here.

we return her mail

sometimes – now

she says we’re friends,

and we rarely pay

for coffee. I’m lucky –

my girlfriend is quite good

at this. forgot our cash

last week at the greengrocer

and he told us to come back

on the weekend. he gave us

a marrow. the butcher recognises us;

tells us we can have a bone

even if we haven’t brought

the dog. there was

some marrow in there

too. I admire this – the way

she has fit us in

so quickly. I owe her a lot

already; perhaps some women

deserve someone like me,

I tell her, but she

does not. I’ll let her

eat the marrow, if she doesn’t

want to share it. won’t charge

for cups of coffee, let her pay me

in a week.

 

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

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

This Unity in African Pregnancies

In some African countries
Sierra Leone for example
It is said that
introducing a child to your womb
turns out to be occasion for good-byes
Adieu to friends
Godspeed to family even
farewell to this newcomer
who within you takes its place
unaware just how slim its chance
to survive and your own coincide
with such hopes that all African mothers
realize hold even less sway here than does
the Christian missionary promise of salvation.

 

Ed Coletti is a poet, widely published internationally. Also is a painter and middling chess player, he previously served for three years as an Army Officer, then as a Counsellor and later as a Small Business Consultant. Ed also curates the popular ten-year-old blog No Money In Poetry.


 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

Looking Over Wetlands, Summer, Maryvale Park

 

Flowers flash, yellows and purples,

angels praying.

 

Beneath thick vegetation,

turtles swim gracefully,

scurry with clumsy little limbs

amid the litter and pure, mucky

swamp water,

 

holding up Earth

on their strong backs.

 

Ethan Goffman’s first volume of poetry, Words for Things Left Unsaid, was published by Kelsay Books in March of 2020. His poems have appeared in Alien Buddha, Ariel Chart, BlazeVox, Bradlaugh’s Finger, Burgeon, EarthTalk, The Loch Raven Review, Mad Swirl, Madness Muse, Ramingo’s Blog, Setu, and elsewhere. Ethan is co-founder of It Takes a Community, a Montgomery College initiative bringing poetry to students and local residents. He is also founder and producer of the Poetry & Planet podcast on EarthTalk.org.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

(Once Bradley) “Manning Up” In-Case-Of-Danger-Break-The-Glass Moment/s

Honoring Chelsea, who turned thirty-three last week

— thanks to Larissa MacFarquhar, Solomon’s Dilemma, New Yorker, 7 Dec 2020

Our humongous excess of

restlessness -- neighbors

ram shopping carts into

me working 100-hour

weeks as grocery clerk

 

…Hair now grown out

into slickest Mohawk

with many rainbow

stripes deeply dyed

right into it...

 

we/ they no longer

hid truly authentic

selves from kids

as if yous were

just their nanny

 

rather than parent.

Gerard Sarnat won San Francisco Poetry’s 2020 Contest, the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for handfuls of 2021 and previous Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published including in Buddhist Poetry Review, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag and New Delta Review. Gerry has been married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons, and is looking forward to future granddaughters.

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

Grandma

She sits,

Staring at the T.V,

Her mind wandering

In a place only she knows about.

 

Her eyes are confused and blank.

Endeavouring to find her way.

She always gets lost in that maze.

She asks questions--then she asks questions.

She never finds the door.

 

She wants out,

But she can’t.

It is not for her to choose

Whether she wants to sleep or not.

 

A time will come,

Then she will be gone.

Her questions will be answered

And she will be gone.

The T.V will be turned off

And she will be gone.

I am sad

As she is gone.

 

Javisth Bhugobaun is a young poet from Mauritius.

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Saturday

 

It was bread better not toasted,

thick, weighty wheat, with butter

that sank into the yeasty holes

and blackberry jam spread thin.

The rain that had soaked us

continued to pelt the pavement

outside the shop and our coffee cups

in rhythm plunked the table wood.

Married in recession,

half-work, scarce money,

our sheets still twisted,

we ordered more.

Jeff Burt lives in California and works in mental health. He has contributed to Sheila-Na-Gig, Williwaw Journal, Tar River Poetry, and Heartwood.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Suncakes

 

Do you know how to make them?

They’re supposed to be light

bright and full of vitamin C.

Everyone says you just glow

after eating one. My friend

had a shinning recipe I kept

asking for. Suncakes stop you

from being cold, lost in frost.

 

I remember something about filling

golden pans with flowers, seeds…

sunflower seeds. Bake at

high noon, of course. If only

there were a suncake now to

have with hot cocoa. My friend

is so lucky wintering in Honolulu.

Who gave her that recipe anyway?

I'm the one who's freezing!

 

Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in many literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days. Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Journals, and numerous Poets’ Espresso Reviews have accepted her work. She has four Best of the Net nominations. Her latest title is The Muse in Miniature available on Amazon.com and Cyberwit.net.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

The Lateness of the Hour

 

Had I known then what lore to seek as a child,

I would have learned this so much earlier,

Let all comprehension be reconciled,

And apply all of it throughout my life.

I’d spend less time being a worrier,

Make my base of knowledge sturdier.

And not limit my thoughts as I went along.

We search to find those who understand us,

When we should seek insight into other things.

Never think of data as superfluous,

Enjoy those sensations that deep thought brings,

If my legacy’s told at a later time,

I hope to have taken my own advice.

 

Linda Imbler, a Wichita, Kansas based author  has seven published poetry collections and one hybrid ebook of short fiction and poetry. Learn more about her works at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

The Brook I Used to Know

 

When there is no more to see at Maryvale Park,

I think of the brook I used to know.

I wished the waters were deep enough to swim in,

 

not realizing they would be enough to drown in

for a little girl who had wandered through the park

to the brook and the rocks she wanted to know,

 

who did not want to hear the word no,

not from the cool, penny-colored waters she waded in,

the green, mossy rocks that grew in the park,

or the stone walls that led her home.

Marianne Szlyk’s poems have appeared in The Pangolin Review, of/with, bird's thumb, Cactifur, Mad Swirl, Setu, Verse-Virtual, Solidago, Ramingo’s Porch, Bourgeon, Tales from the Trail, the Loch Raven Review, Epiphanies and Late Realizations of Love, and Resurrection of a Sunflower, an anthology of work responding to Vincent Van Gogh’s art. Her books On the Other Side of the Window and Poetry en Plein Air are now available from Amazon. She has revived her blog-zine The Song Is... as a summer-only publication: http://thesongis.blogspot.com.

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

Chimera

(For the hours spent with Tannistha

in the premises of Makkah Masjid, Hyderabad, Telangana)

 

Between Maghrib and Isha that day,

we may have sailed through

the ambiguity of linguistic living.

My consciousness-- no, not my rooh,

but my khudi-- may have taken flight

at the Muezzin’s call. It may

 

or may not have flitted out

of my brown pupils, past

the borders of our bodies,

past the granite solidity around,

past chai-sellers, dream-vendors,

and high minarets in ochre and gold.

 

It may or may not have overseen

our covered-heads leaning

into each other, the pink of my dupatta

 

touching the blue of yours, before

swooping back to the ground

to where we were. Between

 

Maghrib and Isha that evening,

we may or may not have

lived an illusion.

 

The recipient of Nissim International Poetry Prize II 2020, Nikita Parik holds a Master’s in Linguistics, a three year diploma in French, and another Master’s in English. Diacritics of Desire (2019) is her debut book of poems, followed by Amour and Apocalypse (2020), a novel in translation. She was the former Assistant Editor of Ethos Literary Journal, and currently edits EKL Review. Her works have appeared in Rattle, U City Review, The Alipore Post, Vayavya, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Bengaluru Review, and others.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Hands full of sand

 

Tell me if the rocks still listen to the wind

if the sand keeps sweltering in our memory

 

you shout to the cliffs this land my entrails

your echoes brave the storm between lair and sea

 

let the wild skies rage in the horizon and scatter

walk to the damp strand at the water’s edge

 

build another castle to gather those

that cling to grains strewn across the waves

Patrick Williamson is an English poet and translator. The editor and translator of The Parley Tree, Poets from French-speaking Africa and the Arab World (Arc Publications) and translator of Tahar Bekri, Guido Cupani and Erri de Luca, his most recent poetry collection is Traversi (English-Italian, Samuele Editore). He is the founding member of transnational literary agency Linguafranca.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

I’m Not the Man

 

“I’m not the man I was,”

Scrooge pleads with the grave

Ghost of Christmas Future,

and after being terrified with death

and damnation, he’s earnest

in his repentance, and his promise

to keep Christmas always in his heart.

 

“I’m not he man I was,” the retired

cop protagonist of a PBS mystery

set in creepy Amsterdam keeps saying:

a limping survivor of cancer:

not as fast on his feet or in his head

as he once was, but he solves the crime

and ensures all the innocents are safe,

by mini-series end.

 

He’s the one I feel closer to,

now that spinal stenosis has me

walking in pretzeled slow motion,

but I’d throw myself in front of

a car, bullet, or any implacably

speeding object, to save Beth, though,

doubtful I could move fast enough.

 

Still, I’m giddy and grateful for

her not seeing, or maybe overlooking,

or just not caring how much

I’m not the man I was.

 

Robert Cooperman has appeared in The Sewanee Review, and elsewhere.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Covering Tracks

 

There was water on Mars

all along,

despite what the experts told us

about the supposedly desolate rock

while we were still young and impressionable,

but we learned over time the truth

about that slight irregularity

in the vast expanses of human insightfulness;

 

just like maybe

Jesus didn’t spring from the womb

of a virgin

who might’ve been

a bit apprehensive

about how else to break the news

to her fawning betrothed.

 

Scott Thomas Outlar lives and writes in the suburbs outside of Atlanta, Georgia. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. He guest-edited the 2019 and 2020 Western Voices editions of Setu Mag. Selections of his poetry have been translated into Afrikaans, Albanian, Bengali, Dutch, French, Italian, Kurdish, Malayalam, Persian, Serbian, and Spanish. His sixth book, Of Sand and Sugar, was released in 2019. His podcast, Songs of Selah, airs weekly on 17Numa Radio and features interviews with contemporary poets, artists, musicians, and health advocates. More about Scott’s work can be found at 17Numa.com.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Each Year

 

The sky is an incredible diamond

for the first rain of spring—

Sky, amethyst facets in warm shades

of grey & turquoise...

 

All day my windows blue with this,

the curtains, those beads, shell lustres

of dawn & the lawns turn purple

with star clusters, little flowers,

those anemone hellos’...

 

Here I forget the atrocious & am parasol

only of a geisha in marketplace gardens

empty of all other beings—

Imagine it, the street a ribbon of wet black

through jungle parrot blossoms &

all-the-way green lights...

 

No, there is no stopping this exciting

stillness, seed-hinting.

Even these wintry dry bushes

rustle with sparrows,

whispers, intimations, the promise of time

waiting tender & bright as the spikes

of my lover’s silver hair—

 

He was such a surprise, as are these days

of jeweled nights bringing summer steep

in their steed’s promise...

 

Listen. Hear the faith of horses galloping

in the heart of this descent.

So may your pulse bloom:

 

Instinct, wonder, wildness, knowing.

 

Stephen Mead is an Outsider multi-media artist and writer. Since the 1990s he has been grateful to many editors for publishing his work in print zines and eventually online. He is also grateful to have managed to keep various day jobs for the Health Insurance. Currently, he is resident artist/curator for The Chroma Museum, artistic renderings of LGBTQI historical figures, organizations and allies predominantly before Stonewall, The Chroma Museum.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Adrift

 

We lie upon a woolen blanket

spread on the chilled ground

and gaze at the autumn night sky.

An imaginary harpist

strums hypnotic melodies

on Lyra’s strings.

 

Our minds, ships laden with worldly cargo,

sail through the cobalt sea illuminated by stars.

The sky is alive with splashes from

Pisces, the fish, and Delphinus, the dolphin.

 

We cast our nets with hopes

of capturing the illusory beauty,

drift in the night sky, our destination unknown.

Stargazers, we seek welcomed ports.

 

Suzanne Cottrell, an outdoor enthusiast and retired teacher, lives with her husband and two rescued dogs in rural Piedmont North Carolina. She enjoys reading, writing, knitting, hiking, Pilates, Tai Chi, and yoga. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including The Avocet, The Pangolin Review, Poetry Quarterly, and Burningword Literary Journal. She is the author of two poetry chapbooks, Gifts of the Seasons, Autumn and Winter and Spring and Summer, published by Kelsay Books. https://suzanneswords.com.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

A Whisper in a Wind Storm in the Wilderness

 

I have questions and concerns. I’ve been talking

but there’s no sign messages are transmitting.

Am I alone here? Is this thing even turned on?

If I preached to the choir, would the choir respond?

Are we spinning away from the common center?

Do we operate in regular reality? Yeah, that issue.

The problem’s nature hinges on communication.

Solutions may spread slowly, hampered by errors.

The Collective Whole worked better in other eras,

but I suggest tweaks we should try. I voice them

in indirect language. There’s a roundabout method

of sketching facts with nuance. Hints. Is this working?

Do I come across? Are improvements on the radar?

I have no idea, frankly. I could shout into a tin-can

string-phone with similar confidence as I have

in the good word being delivered. I’ll stay on the job.

There are always folks like me who strive

in hope of passing that hope forward. Is this on?

 

Todd Mercer (who writes because it’s cheaper than drugs) was nominated for Fiction and Poetry Pushcarts last year. His collection Ingenue was published in 2020 by Celery City Press. Recent work appears in Praxis, The Lake and Star 82 Review.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

The Woman in an Imaginary Painting

 

If only she could remember.
She could not bear to think

 

it was the wall behind her
and the window and the light

 

he wished to paint. She wanted
to believe he loved her. To believe

 

all this was about her, for her.
That blush running up to her

 

throat, was it anticipation?
She wanted him to hold her:

 

we think we see it in her eyes.
We cannot know what happened

 

next, that disappointment,
without stepping beyond shape

 

and color, beyond surface,
without encountering sadness

 

after the paint had dried.

 

Tom Montag’s books of poetry include: Making Hay & Other Poems; Middle Ground; The Big Book of Ben Zen; In This Place: Selected Poems 1982-2013; This Wrecked World; The Miles No One Wants; Imagination’s Place; Love Poems; and Seventy at Seventy. His poem “Lecturing My Daughter in Her First Fall Rain” has been permanently incorporated into the design of the Milwaukee Convention Center. He blogs at The Middlewesterner. With David Graham he recently co-edited Local News: Poetry About Small Towns.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Travel

 

I am going to travel chasing my dream

Crossing every ocean, sea and stream

 

I am determined to achieve every goal

I am going to stand up every time I fall

 

My heart refuses to settle down on earth

With every travel I make I get a new birth

 

My wings are born to flutter so high

My feathers promise to visit every sky

 

I never get tired, I never get old

I pursue every dream I once called

 

On every land I leave a deep mark

In the vast space I am a singing lark

 

My sun always sets to rise fully again

Spreading warmth, eliminating every pain

 

Life is too short to waste in one land

I travel to touch each grain of sand

 

Travel never stops teaching

Life never stops preaching

 

Every new land has its own magic

Charming beauty sweeps every logic

 

I was born a pharaoh to master the whole earth

Everlasting traveler since my ancestors’ birth

 

Walid Abdallah is an Egyptian poet and author. He is a visiting professor of English language and literature in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Germany and the USA. His poetry includes Go Ye Moon, Dream and My heart still beats. He has several translated poems which won prestigious prizes in the USA like Cause, Egypt’s Grief and Strangers’ Cross, his books include Shout of Silence, Escape to the Realm of Imagination, and Man Domination and Woman Emancipation.

 

~ ✽✦✽✿✽✦✽ ~

 

Good Night

 

butter-colored lights flicker

over a hillside

a torchlight parade of

goodnights, I-love-yous,

Netflix and Merlots

day’s obligations tucked away

into their spaces

distant buildings silhouetted in black

slink into sweet slumber

the air is still

a crescent moon smiles

dancing on silver-gray shrouds

 

Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. His stories, Soon, How To Be A Good Episcopalian, and Tales From A Communion Line were nominated for Pushcarts. Yash’s work has been published in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Write City Magazine, and Ariel Chart, among others.

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