we spoiled in another sun – you, me, ganesha perched
in teak, sawn-tusk held like a halved banana,
withering in the summer, transformed – we said –
by tonic spliced, ice cubes kept from last year’s
heat wave, when we tended the plants like shivas
with watering cans, watched them die in rebellion: oh,
we gods of mediocrity, barely able to feed
the parking meter or pass a week without burning
in the burnished temples we build
Russell Jones is a writer and editor based in Edinburgh, Scotland. He has published 5 poetry collections and edited 3 anthologies. He is deputy editor of Scotland’s only sci-fi magazine and is the UK Pet Poet Laureate. Russell has a PhD in Creative Writing from The University of Edinburgh. Find him here.
*Komorebi – a Japanese word to describe a phenomenon, like
the light that filters – when sunlight shines through trees.
Attracta Fahy earned her MA in Writing NUIG in 2017. Her poems have been published in many magazines at home and abroad. She was the October winner in Irish Times’ New Irish Writing 2019, was nominated for Pushcart 2018, Best of the Web 2019, shortlisted for 2018 Over The Edge New Writer of The Year, and long listed in 2019, shortlisted for Allingham Poetry Prize 2019. Her chapbook collection will be published in March 2020.
Born in Russia, A. Molotkov moved to the US in 1990 and switched to writing in English in 1993. His poetry collections are The Catalog of Broken Things, Application of Shadows and Synonyms for Silence. Published by Kenyon, Iowa, Antioch, Massachusetts, Atlanta, Bennington and Tampa Reviews, Hotel Amerika, Volt, Arts & Letters and many more, Molotkov has received various fiction and poetry awards and an Oregon Literary Fellowship. His translation of a Chekhov story was included by Knopf in their Everyman Series; his prose is represented by Laura Strachan at Strachan Lit. He co-edits The Inflectionist Review. You can visit him here.
Child, the backyard lawn is cluttered with leaves now, the rain glued them to the green ground. And the tractor is out of gas, and the ferns have started to turn brown
bending their heads towards the earth. That’s what happens when they ask me. The years passed by: my honey hair is laced with long, silver strands, and the same question
finds its way to scratch another notch deep in my belly even when I thought its reach dead. Standing in the field, or running by the lake, legs strong, heart pumping,
I hear the whispers: Thisiswhatthewaitingdo. And yesterday, as I watered the crimson mums near the birdbath, slashing a cut on my ankle with the hose,
the wrenching returns, and then harder, when building a cairn. Days grow short. Sobbing. Drowning in the hottest bath. What you dared to become.
What you never knew. We want the bark to peel and the crocus to bloom. We long to see your face, your eyes, your smile — we long for every inch of you in our arms.
But in my heart, breaking, when I feel a glimpse of you lurking beneath my bones, sense you climbing a tree or picking a flower, and I’m numbed by a hope too profound
to name, I crawl into that dream of your crib, wipe my tears with your soft knit blanket. I am childless. I hold you.
Stephanie L. Wilcox was born in upstate New York and holds a B.A. in English with a minor in Communications from Westfield State College. She is a professional fundraising consultant and copywriter and has traveled the globe to explore and work with non-profit organizations in the United States, Canada, Europe, India, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, the Philippines and China. She is a member of the Berkshire Women’s Writers Festival and Voices of Poetry. With her husband and three cats she resides in Western Massachusetts where she tends to gardens, enjoys hiking in the woods, practices yoga and gets lost in moon-gazing and writing poetry.
Take exit 56, past the first of many celery fields, past the looming mega church, the best burgers, Red Wings shoes, and Scooter’s topless bar. Stop at the boat launch and rest your feet in the mud.
The last summer I was there, crystal skulls were in vogue, and I found myself dwelling on their impossible construction and supposed healing properties. Debunked now, but as real to me then as the body, which collapsed across the darkness against my own, silently
building inertia like a comet through space.
I sought in the
supernatural an escape from the mundane—though looking back, my mind paints each detail in beautiful disarray, so that nothing could be called commonplace,
not the alleyway of ever-changing lilies, or the shallow sulfurous marsh, whose avenues were as limitless as its depths.
Yes, even then, under those stars, alone or nearly alone, I understood that our memories began before our birth, and that there were already ways to travel faster than the speed of light.
Duke Trott’s writing has appeared in journals such as American Athenaeum, The Hawai’i Review, Occulum, Bad Pony, and 101 Fiction. He is a writing instructor at Henry Ford College. When he’s not writing or working, he’s usually cooking something with beans, or walking his chocolate lab, Hudson.
they say we are born, a finite fistful of eggs, and what about the shells?
i am all shell, tender and crooked, cracks tracing the lifelines lived in the palm
of your hand, and fingers splayed, branching
little dirt roads going neither here, nor there.
green-skinned, i grow both wishing i were pink,
you take, but i am seedless.
perhaps if planted underwater the pit would take root, to bloom, and we could kiss, again,
like seventeen, like endless.
THE MOST GOLDEN TICKET:
(OR WHEN WONKA FINALLY GAVE IT TO VERUCA, AT LAST, AND SO, NOW TO MY OWN)
lick an orange, it tastes like an orange. the strawberries taste like strawberries! the snozzberries taste like snozzberries! whoever heard of a snozzberry? we. the poem should end there because for one, you should, by now, know a damn snozzberry, tastes like a snozzberry an orange, duh, but still, you wanted still, two everlasting gobstoppers? there is the death of love. your already full and gorgeous gut yet gorging, even if hearts had pits you’d not spew a single one out.
Monica Lewis lives in Brooklyn, New York and holds an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts. Both her fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in The Kenyon Review, SmokeLong Quarterly, The JFR, and AAWW’s The Margins, and her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Cosmonauts Avenue, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, FIVE:ONE, The Boiler Journal, PUBLIC POOL, Yes, Poetry, and Flapperhouse, among others. She is a VONAoVoices alumna, and a 2017 and 2018 ‘Best of the Net’ poetry nominee. Her full collection of poetry will be published in 2019 by Unknown Press.
pumps the universe made of strings plucked like an Irish harp
not certain of a voice: om he splices two streets together for a high C
dark matter fills his lungs
errancy is in his delivery pouch
light contracts red torus to green
his is this event the next epoch twitters
the same note
David Appelbaum has worked in the university and in publishing, and is an author who specializes in the work of writing. His most recent books include notes on water: an aqueous phenomenology (Monkfish, 2018).
You could tell her she didn’t really want to be there From the first day she started to read the news Just by the tone of her voice as well as the way She looked straight at the camera
And then there was the way she never put any emotion in her voice right from the start of the broadcast right up to any kind of advertisement break and when the lights faded down at the end.
And when the uprising invaded London hanging hundreds before moving onto Watford the lack of emotion or anger in her voice had people running underground in panic.
Drakelow, which hadn’t been in use since the 1940’s was overfilled in hours as was Victoria Arches in Manchester and the one in Kenton in Newcastle Upon Tyne.
Her voice however carried on across the TV emotionless saying the army had it under control until after a while nobody believed her.
(NB. Erica is a robot news anchor in Japan)
Andy N is the author of three full length poetry publications, the most recent being The Birth of Autumn.
He is also the creator of Spoken Label, an ongoing podcast series which interviews writers / artists and also with his partner Amanda Steel coruns Reading in Bed, a book review podcast series as well as doing ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle.
And well if you contract an insoluble solution Reverberating chords come nagging And all again is well.
In the dialect of proposition there lies another word, In the tumult of tradition another voice, Another sound misheard and apprehended Like a screeching fiddle through a misshapen bag of Chamomile tea.
Well and we pick apart the liquor, Purple wrappers strewn across the old apartment; In another room the needle on the phonograph sings Another E. The chaos is written through sublation, Which he has smoked on another terrace, In another time, where time erased is not unbalanced, All unwell.
With a separate briefcase he announces a departure, Through the cracking of the silhouettes, Cackling sovereignty, and another pin on his lapel. We have counted up the hours that he cannot spend Without a slumber, without reminder of another outlet (That it could be different); in a pinch of spectralist viola You set the scene in two or three summations; Carry on the compositions. Telling you or me (Through drizzles shielded over by a mackintosh pullover) That it cannot rain another decade, That is, another decade through the golden years of mirth.
Well in an antiquated peacoat we have strutted down an ersatz Oxford street, reminding you and me of all the convolutions That a modern Helen has to offer. A symphony has been reduced To just a string quartet and rogue soprano. The train to Prague sets off at dusk and you remember the Vltava. He had never crossed the river, and I know how much you’d like to see Another ship carry off its passengers to the Semite and his hound.
A cup of tea is all that it has taken to rend the notes asunder. The printer beckons to another time within the future, And he cannot know how well I have been planted in the past. His sophomoric giggle on a bicycle in Heldenplatz. You take my hand, awaiting; the two spoons of yoghurt Would have been too milky for your taste. He sits before a Raphael, bequeathing sighs of you and me Sipping our mimosas and mint teas. In the Albertina subway graphics dull out a century’s collection, And the marble horseman bites his lip.
In a farther bedroom you have outlined my demise; Over beds of tortellini by the old cathedral he has commented On the use of rocketships out in the sky. The universe is an oblong smear of milk and you have claimed it Bigger. As we traipse through cabarets and shopping malls in trousers That are much too short, you see another possibility, A horizon that is much too rouge in shape and distance. In a plane the children are still screaming. I have screamed another bluff in tandem with all of his proceedings. He carries home another loaf of cash to eat, and we sit through a Ponderous rendition of Pierrot Lunaire. You have seen it always. News rings out from Boston, And it is all the same.
We have known more days together than comprise a meagre Sixteen months. He smokes another waft of dollar bills. In a new concerto there is all to find that has been present in tonality. London Bridge has never quite existed; so we cross the Tower, To our dusky reverential future. I wonder if I shall ever say a word Of you and me and all of our adventures that have landed us Through old attacks. The three-headed beast must now await our stay. Well how can we remain if earth is always movement, and forgetting, Change, and then tomorrow. The umbrella would be better, But I cannot convince you of the happenstance that would shut out all the rain. We say that rain shall always come another day, but what if this—
This is the sunshine that cannot penetrate the winds. His eyes were always waiting for a sibilant conclusion, Looking towards the end. And you have rested but a child, Twenty years without it all, and smiling to a mirror. We have seen a world through a shard of glass—and he Must be an intrusion. He downs another shot of vodka, Counts to four in five numeric units, Wipes his forehead on a puce Canali tie. The marimba is still singing upon our return. In a room in Boston rings the tune of the Arabian queen. In Russia the procession has been always different.
Tonight we gaze at corneas glazed over with the beams of seas, And the waves drift off so peacefully. In a novel she has always found her way. He has wrested all the words and abstract sieges from her grasp; I have arrested all the moments where it was just talk of you and me. One day I met you with a banker’s parapluie. Where has it gone, and why has it all vanished? I do not dare presume to ask such questions, Yet he has always harboured the audacity to speak. Sleep well, darling. He has never called me darling, But to you I shall always be chérie.
Liza Libes is a poet and a novelist studying English Literature at Columbia University. A native of Chicago, she loves everything that New York City has to offer, especially its bookstores and quirky coffeeshops. In her spare time you will find her reading T.S. Eliot or John Keats for inspiration.
John is from the Hebrew form of Yehohanan meaning God is gracious
You died, but came back in my dreams where you walked the pebbly shore of the Potomac with me, my hand in the gentle strength of yours. I was five, and my name is John, son of Giovanni—you, Father.
Spring has passed over into summer.
When Jesus spoke to Simon Peter, the son of John, he asked the same question that you ask me now after we fought when I was becoming a man. Years later, you behind a ventilation tube and I.V. in a hospital room, your frail hand in mine, your congested heart keeping you silent, we too, still as stones, and your eyes begging, Do you love me?
My irises, each a ring of flowers—full of wet kindness flooding my own heart, uprooting thistle and thorn that grew between us—now cradle the words that I can no longer coffin, Yes, Father, I love you.
You died, but keep coming back in my dreams, the gravestone rolled away and replaced by a water-worn boulder that we stand on by the Potomac when I call you by your name, John, my rock, my father.
John C. Mannone has poetry in Annals of Internal Medicine, Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Peacock Journal, Baltimore Review, Plough and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature. He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex and other journals. He’s a retired physics professor in east TN.