X tries to unlove someone after the heart has opened.
A billion stars, I say. A billion
Have tried to unlove the loved, they have torn themselves into
holes trying and
into them now tired light seeps and into them tired light seeps
And therein, (there or in the cavity of your chest, X) tired light
its knuckles, breaks its thin bones seeking respite from godliness.
First published in the Dillydoun Review.
Philip Jason’s poetry can be found in Spillway, Lake Effect, and Summerset Review. His first poetry collection I Don’t Understand Why It’s Crazy to Hear the Beautiful Songs of Nonexistent Birds is forthcoming from Fernwood Press.
4/5th a Sonnet: At Burger Joint Drive-Through, I Remember a Rookie Calf, Running & Kicking & Being an Ass
Driving home from work, a pasture
on the right. Among the placid,
grazing herd, a stricken, manic
calf, not older than yesterday,
starts up from experimental
grazing and, at a run, kicks
at air, kicks at the principle
of standing still. He’s blessed with slick
ignorance of a future writ
in hamburger, of his fueling
this dull line at a fast-food window
where I’ve one car-length up to move
while offering resquiescat,
and saying No.
No fries with that.
Samuel Prestridge lives and works in Athens, Georgia. He has published articles, poems, essays, and interviews in a wide range of publications, including Literary Imagination, Style, Better Than Starbucks, Arkansas Review, As It Ought to Be, Appalachian Quarterly, and Southern Humanities Review.
The De-Nazification of Richard Strauss
An old man reads old notes. His father’s cold brass
horn mounted over the piano’s black
mirror. He could hear his imperfect past
on fresh mornings, see his music sheets stacked,
ordered, like soldiers marching. One last task
called him — songs he knew needed a hearing.
He straightens his tie himself. Shadows cast
by history escape him. These cruel hacks
who ruined beauty with blood. Yes, he stood
by. Made melodies to comfort killers.
He was pleased by praise, by his home in the woods.
So, he took what was given and wrote filler
for rallies. He said so at his hearing.
They scratched notes to teach him how to be good.
Mark J. Mitchell’s most recent is Roshi San Francisco from Norfolk Press. He’s fond of baseball, Miles Davis, and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist Joan Juster, where he makes his living pointing out pretty things.
Roadside Buffalo Grass
A stretch more verdant
and lush than my own yard
of dandelion and crabgrass,
it greens the highways,
a useless bicker with progress.
Inmates in their shock
of orange free it from trash.
No one else walks here, save
the broken down and homeless.
Seeded, tended, a blurred rest
from the miles for passengers’
eyes, a catch for topsoil.
How quickly, efficiently,
we cut it back from its hope
to cover what man has wrought.
Renee Emerson is the author of the poetry collections Keeping Me Still (Winter Goose Publishing 2014), Threshing Floor (Jacar Press 2016), and Church Ladies (Fernwood Press, forthcoming 2022). She lives in the midwest with her husband and children.
By all that is holy in society, Earth, and
Canada, we pray that the
Divine will deliver justice
Everlasting in Hades for the
Fallen, feeble, fatuous fiasco of a fool whose
Gall resulted in the glitchy gimmick
Hamstringing web sites whose owners
Insult the audience by pasting in
Kills your browser for forty-five seconds.
Loving god, who may or may not exist,
Magnanimous deity, you who abhor vigilante
Nonsense, when the creator of autoplay ads
Opens the door to your gilded celestial temple,
Prepare a fitting eternity:
Quickhatches eat a spleen that
Regrows each day at midnight.
Syphilitic saber-toothed tigers snack on
Tongue and toes and thumbs.
Unending epochs marching on a
Vinyl treadmill studded with Legos, then through
Wading pools filled with Carolina Reaper hot sauce while the
Xenomorph from Alien hosts an edition of This is
Your Life in which all of the guests are angry exes who unburden their souls over
Zydeco music blared at 150 decibels.
Kenneth Nichols holds a Creative Writing MFA from Ohio State and teaches writing at SUNY Oswego. His work has appeared in publications such as Prime Number and anthologies from Catapult Press and The Raving Press.
Devil In Me
I cough up black smoke.
I tell people it’s because of the Devil.
The Devil smokes a pack a day.
He’s been inside of me forever.
We chat a lot about life sometimes.
Sometimes we talk a lot about music.
He jokes around sometimes too.
I like this one joke he makes.
Old Scratch and a preacher walk into a jazz bar together.
They talk about soul.
Hosue Rodriguez was born in Texas and later raised in Louisiana. After graduating from high school, he became a student at Northwestern State University working towards his bachelor's. His poem “Fabric Tiger” was published in the magazine Argus.
It’s cold and he hates it.
He doesn’t know what else
there is. He has no racial
memory, no glacial memory,
of being warm. Warmth
is not in the snowman vocabulary.
In the snowman hagiography
Heaven and Hell are the same.
There he stands, freezing his balls off.
Or in this case, his carrot, trans-
planted from his head by the brat next door.
And thus he stands, waiting,
with a carrot for a banana.
Waiting to get warmer,
but he knows, somehow
he knows, that it’s not
going to happen and if it does,
it’s not going to happen
the way he wants.
First published in Just So You Know.
Edmund Conti has written more poems than you can shake a stick at. And many people have. Shake if you want. Conti will continue to Rattle and Roll. (Mostly former.)
David Clode on unsplash
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