Featured

Insomnia’s Non Sequitur by Pamelyn Casto

Sonnet by Rhina P. Espaillat 

                     translating Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz

A Requiem in a Time of War by Ribhav Thakur

What the poem did not say by Ewa Gerald Onyebuchi

 

haiku by Veronika Zora Novak

br0ken by wmdavid

Seven Featured Poems

Mushrooms

Let us go now and forage for mushrooms,

My one true friend, let’s go! Let’s go

Where the earth feeds mouselike on these vacuums

And everything dances along in the flow —

Let’s search, let’s search, and find them, then love them,

Then speak with them, these dear dwellers on earth,

Our life in the vacuum with them, the stars, and

Waltzes of death, and mystical birth.

 

Dry out the ’shrooms, filter the tea,

And swim to the reach of the lightening road,

Consider the grooms, the lie after lie,

And wail against the communist ode,

And wail against the fascistic cry,

And lucidly dream of November with glee,

Agonise softly like each shooting star

In the crystalline night, and spill from the brain

Those words, for the world is clearly insane,

Utterly insane, marching like Kraftwerk — Oh, that they are!

While we are reborn again and again,

Let us forage for mushrooms.

Arthur L Wood is a poet from the UK. He has published two collections, Poems for Susan (2020) and Scarlet Land (2021). He has been widely published in poetry journals and runs his own YouTube channel ‘Poetry from the Shires’.

Freedom

Let me go about my day which doesn’t

belong to me like the forest next to my house

owned by another man who also doesn’t

 

own the trees oblivious to his taxes

or the dead grasshopper I found and placed

on the ledge of the courtyard outside my door,

 

oblivious in a different way. The winter

doesn’t mean to be so hard on us but still

is, making us wait in silence, in the steel

 

of its hard grip. After our little squabble,

I decided to give you a kiss and told you

my love for you is what holds me in place

 

though I know my love is not mine

or not only mine because it belongs to you

and that little kiss might lift you from worry

 

and you’d go about your day, free of me.

Anthony DiMatteo’s latest book of poems, In Defense of Puppets, has been hailed as, “a rare collection, challenging traditions that DiMatteo (as Renaissance scholar) claims give the poet the last word”' (Cider Press Review).

Childless

I will not sacrifice to death.

No son of mine is stripped and bound.

Among the victims whose harsh breath

Is cut, my daughters are not found.

 

And no decisions will be made

For me, when I grow old and ill.

No angry voices will be raised

About “our mother’s wish” — or will.

 

I move among familiar things,

Hide like a cat in what’s my own,

Heeding an inner voice that sings

It’s no disgrace to die alone.

 

And as to what may happen next,

Myself alone is pleased or vexed.

Gail White is a Formalist poet whose work appears regularly in such journals as Measure, Raintown Review, and Rotary Dial. She is a contributing editor of Light Poetry Magazine. Her most recent collections are Asperity Street and Catechism.

his confession

the strangled seagull was left in front of the seminary building,

not the only thing that summer born of hate.

he apologizes. “i can’t say it, won’t say it out loud.”

he cries with tearstained syllables.

 

not the only thing that summer born of hate,

they played “smear the queer” in the fields,

he cries with tearstained syllables.

asked their girlfriends to dances with careful penmanship.

 

they played “smear the queer” in the fields,

slurs on the ears of the theater students.

asked their girlfriends to dances with careful penmanship,

wondered where they’d go for two years.

 

slurs on the ears of the theater students,

voice too light, too much blood on the sleeve.

wondered where they’d go for two years,

Christ’s name on the chest.

 

voice too light, too much blood on the sleeve,

my father not forgiven, at least by himself.

Christ’s name on the chest,

“it’s okay,” i say. “everyone changes.”

 

my father not forgiven, at least by himself,

thirty four years since.

“it’s okay,” i say. “everyone changes.”

to wash away his guilt, to offer absolution.

 

thirty four years since

the strangled seagull was left in front of the seminary building.

to wash away his guilt, to offer absolution,

he apologizes. “i can’t say it, won’t say it out loud.”

Corey J. Boren is a senior at Utah Valley University whose work has appeared in journals such as The Allegheny Review, peculiar, Essais, and Last Leaves Magazine, among others. Corey was longlisted for the Button Poetry 2020 chapbook prize.

The Interview — Joanna Fuhrman

by Anthony Watkins

Joanna Fuhrman IMG-0544.JPG

AW: In your latest book, To a New Era, you seem to be reflecting on the realities of the past 4 or 5 years, especially in America. In what way do you think the poet’s world is different now? Or in what ways do you see the world has changed for any of us, poets or not?

 

JF: I don’t think the world is that different, but I think the election of Donald Trump made white people like myself aware of how much racism is still driving history. I should have been less naïve, but, well . . . In some of the poems in To a New Era, I’m reckoning with that. But in others I am also dealing with life in America more generally. The poems touch on precarity, sexism, consumerism, the pandemic, the role of art and poetry, etc.

This

What is this twinge,

this ache, this known routine

of how we scratch and cough

and clip our nails. The way

you fold your socks

and borrow back my shaving cream.

This truce of fixed points

and necessary distance.

 

This flash of eyes

that breaks and soars

like songbirds scattered by falcons.

This pause, this warm stopped bass.

This pulse in the night. 

This love.

Michael H. Levin is a lawyer, solar energy developer and writer based in Washington DC. His work has appeared on stage and in three collections plus anthologies and numerous periodicals and has received poetry and feature journalism awards. See www.michaellevinpoetry.com.

Santa

What if Santa came to visit the day you were born?

And what if, right then and there,

he went ahead and gave you

every gift he would ever give you?

 

So many gifts!

Big gifts! Little gifts!

All kinds of gifts!

Enough for a lifetime.

 

But what if every year he climbed down

the chimney and took a few of them back?

You’d have no right to complain

since they were, after all, gifts.

 

You didn’t even ask for them

and you wouldn’t have

had them in the first place

except for his generosity.

 

But still, it feels kind of cruel —

your very favorite, the one you’d

played with endlessly and grown so attached to,

no telling when the fiend might snatch it.

 

And that one hidden in the corner — poof!

gone before you even got a chance to open it.

Rob Cook was a founding employee at Pixar and received the first Oscar for software. His writing likes to hang out at the intersection of art, science, inner exploration, and worldly practicality.

Is there a blessing big enough

He’s got you and me, sister, in his hands.

He’s got the whole world in his hands.

                                   Folk spiritual

 

Let me set this up for you. It’s early morning,

dark, and the storm they predicted three days

ago has arrived in earnest. I’m watching this kid

across the street brush the snow off his car

with bare hands in the bare cold glare of if he

doesn’t show up for work today he’ll be fired. And

it makes me cold, even sitting here in the heat of

my warm front porch, watching him smack his

headlight trying to bring it back to life.

 

And I’m reminded of how religions are the work

of old men in warm houses, how no young person

would ever say be only in the present, don’t worry

about the temporal, focus only on compassion,

and how, as in war, the ones who manufacture

dogma are not the ones who die defending it.

 

Sometimes I don’t know what bothers me more,

that this young man has to constantly hope for a

better moment, or that all of my good moments

are buried under years of brushing snow off of cars

in the dark. Someone else will have to sort that out.

 

Good luck, neighbor kid.

Be in the moment,

be in a moment,

be in a moment better than this one.

Casey Killingsworth has work in The American Journal of Poetry, Two Thirds North, and other journals. His first book, A Handbook for Water, was published by Cranberry Press in 1995 and he has a new book out, A nest blew down.

yair-mejia-318376-unsplash.jpg

Yair Mejía on Unsplash.