Featured

Waiting for the Noun by Paul García

Emergency Beacon by Alison Jennings

Ovid's Memory by Sekhar Banerjee

You’d Have Me Be White by Brittany Hause translating Alfonsina Storni

a short essay on the miseducation of love as a round peg in a round hole by Taofeek Ayeyemi

Five Featured Poems

dance with light

the matchstick light that punches up the side of a building

the graceful arc of rainbow where violet is in love with yellow

transcription pause of dawn when sun is coaxed to get out

for a new fight

 

dance with light as you step and turn

don't worry about choreography or blocking

music will be provided

cool beats of birds, horn of impatient driver

 

make sure you jump and whirl

your hips

if only just a little

this light is like no other

pulls you close to tango

 

whispers his million year twist and shout

Mary E. Croy lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where she works as an administrative assistant. She spent nine years teaching English Language Learners in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. During her free time, Mary likes reading poetry and hanging out with her cats, Buster and Gabby.

Naples, Florida

There’s safety in this sameness

and strength, too, to help tame this

uncertain life that we lead. The histories

we tell our children, we carve in stone,

an epic poem of our pasts, our victories

and losses; words, deeds in monochrome.

 

Easier to remember that way and repeat

again and again, like the news

we watch every night, and the views

we hold dear, and the lies, and the waves on the beach . . .

 

the same gardens to tend, the same lessons to teach,

the work to be done, days to be framed,

the things we buy and consume, and the friends

we make; the rules, the predictable ends

for every attempt, venture, and gain,

one day to the next, always the same;

as if preserved in amber by the years,

archaic insects — until time

grabs us by the throat to remind

us we’ve grown old and weak and need to fear

the seasons, our new neighbors, the streets;

 

and so we convert winter retreats

into homes and equity into bonds,

to bask in the Florida sun,

in the flow of interest that compounds

each day as the waves, one-by-one

from the gray gulf up the shell-encrusted shore

fold and unfold, like the insistent kiss

of the tides, wave after wave, they slither toward

us and recede with a slow, rolling hiss.

First published in Troubadour: Best of Rhyme at the Year 2000.

J. Weintraub has published fiction, essays, translations, and poetry in all sorts of literary places and has had dramatic work produced throughout the world. His annotated translation, Paris à table: 1846, was recently published by Oxford University Press. https://jweintraub.weebly.com/.

The Lucky Boy

“You’re lucky” said the doctor,

“There might just be a cure.

I think we found it early,

More tests should make us sure.”

 

He told the boy and family,

Just what the treatment does.

The mother sobbed, forgetting

How lucky her son was.

Russel Winick recently began writing poetry at nearly age 65, after ending a long career as an attorney. Langston Hughes’ work is his primary inspiration. Several dozen of Mr. Winick’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in over a dozen journals.

Deep Ecology

Cadmium

is thought to cause

anxiety in rats

which alcohol

relieves.

 

It is hypothesized that rats

will develop alcohol addiction

if fed the two substances

sequentially.

 

In the basement of the

behavioral sciences building

is a tiny guillotine for sacri-

ficing alcoholic rats.

Julian O. Long’s poems and essays have appeared in The Sewanee Review, Pembroke Magazine, New Mexico Magazine, and Horizon, among others. His chapbook, High Wire Man, is number twenty-two in the Trilobite Poetry series published by the UNT Libraries.

The Interview — Rob Plath by Tom Merrill

Rob Plath has saturated the underground lit scene with his writing for the past 25 years. He is the author of A Bellyful of Anarchy, There’s A Fist Dunked In Blood Beating In My Chest, Death Is Dead, Hearts For Brains, An Ax For The Frozen Sea, The Skeleton Sutras, In Rot We Trust, Swallowtude, Deathbed Colored Glasses, Feed These Words To The Buddha Who Is Slowly Waking Up Inside Of You, and many more. His latest books are another monster poetry collection My Soul Is A Broken Down Valise (epic rites press) and The Morgue Sutras (Rusty Truck Press' Brown Bag Poetry Series). There is more stuff in the works . . ..

TM: First, Rob, thanks for agreeing to do this interview. Thanks also for sending me background material to help me get to know your mind better, what you think. The list of writing tips, the sample chapbook, Deathbed Colored Glasses, all of it gave me a clearer view of you. I can say by heart the final lines of “48” in the chapbook: “I am not yet ready / for my beard of death / for my heart is a morgue drawer / full of flowers jumping out.” Hope those pop-up posies keep intervening between you and The Brooklyn Bridge.

 

As you know from my emails, I don’t follow the poetry scene. My first exposure to your poetry occurred only last year, and it probably wouldn’t’ve happened if a friend hadn’t sent me a link to a few of your poems. Other readers’ acquaintance with your work / name / viewpoints may be much older than mine. For me you are a recent discovery. And an unexpected one.

 

As well as looking over the material you sent, I did some detective work of my own. One thing I found is an interview with Wolfgang Carstens, who I think is an editor, and who quotes you approvingly in the interview. He likes how you define poetry, i.e.: “Poetry is like talking a jumper off a ledge. The only way to do this is with simple straight talk.”

 

I understood the quote as meaning that poetry should help mitigate suffering by offering understanding. But it occurred to me that some might read it as meaning that poetry should help reduce the suicide rate. I tend to envy suicides. Never quite got why others didn’t seem to. But who knows, maybe they do and don’t admit it only because we’re not supposed to envy people who pull their own plug.

 

The quote also advocates frankness in poetry, a subject you might want to visit in the course of our confab.

 

I was also informed by that interview of movements in the world of poetry I had never heard of. I mean brutalism and blood poetry. I got the impression you might be an active player in those — is movements the right word? If you are, would you care to offer a rundown of the kind of thinking/purposes those movements represent? (Some readers may know as little about them as I did.)

 

I also found your name associated with “underground lit” — which leads me to assume that the movements I mentioned are part of an underground writing scene.

No Stars

I remember standing in the driveway,

crying because I was aware

of time, the way it was slipping,

like the fish my brother jumped after,

before leaving sopping, with hands full

of nothing. Today, that’s a story that gets told.

 

When I go out on a boat, lightning gives

me dread. My intestines start bubbling. I

jump at the flash, even when it comes twelve

seconds before the boom. A melancholy

 

dinner, when grandparents begin sentences

with “I remember.” When I think of the dead

unburdened of flesh, a grandfather,

a great aunt, I hardly feel their distance.

They could be playing hearts in the next

room. After my grandpa broke his neck,

my mom, grandmother, he and I

played hearts for a last time. His nonexistence

begins to get through. Grandma makes do.

 

For me, the void arrives when I stand up

and see stars, or when I’m staring sideways

into space. I went down a trail, into

a dark hole. Dark fish swim among the murky

shadows. Occasionally they show themselves.

Awake, I would not be able to see.

 

Looking at my friend’s aquiline nose

from the side for the thirty-fifth time, I see

the Why-bother in him. The circles under

the eyes darker. The slouch like a folding chair

under pressure, contemplating surrender.

I want to assemble him, to straighten

him with a tent pole. Maybe he thinks that he could

 

hide from the lightning. There’s no lightning

here, but when he kisses me, I spiral

into him. Don’t resent that you remain,

I would say. When you long to lie still,

remember: there are no stars where you are going.

Olivia Soule has an M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Nevada, Reno, and a B.A. in English and Italian from UCLA. She has published work in the Haight Ashbury Literary Journal and Pudding Magazine and has also participated in poetry readings.

yair-mejia-318376-unsplash.jpg

Yair Mejía on Unsplash.