Poetry Unplugged

A Bag Lady’s Body In The Financial District

 

That night when you were hungry, the smoke

of a passing cigarette smelled food

into your nostrils, warm ovens of good

golden bread above a fire stoked

 

red glowing with coal, where you stood

on the street shivering, a token

to the night, and a passing voice spoke

quickly to a friend sounding love

 

into your heart, warm golden cheeks above

arms that held you, then was gone

around a corner, and the canyon

of the street echoed the clicking heels

 

of retreating feet while distant wheels

hummed memories of life, and silence yawned

down toward St. Anthony’s where Christ’s

eyes pierced emptiness as the iced

 

wind bounced against him like a joke.

And snow started falling like a sheet.

 

 

Arthur Powers is author of two collections of poetry published by Finishing Line Press, The Book of Jotham, winner of the 2012 Tuscany Novella Prize, and two volumes of short stories set in Brazil: A Hero for the People and Padre Raimundo’s Army.

Broken Dolls

 

He must have been a sailor long ago,

a thin gray ponytail behind his head.

His porcelain dolls were all laid in a row

for those who paid the price to take to bed.

The stench of rotting teeth and sour breath

brought shining tears to vacant, lifeless eyes.

The broken dolls dream of an ice-cold death

but have no will to rise from where they lie.

Perhaps it’s not as bad as it may seem,

each crack caressed with sweet and gentle care.

A fingertip slides deep within the dream

to mend the seams and start a fresh repair.

And as the dolls succumb to night’s delight,

they learn to fade in distant candlelight.

 

 

Sonia Beauchamp is a poet and healer on the North Shore of Oahu. Read her most recent work in Screen Door Review and ANMLY. Find out more at www.soniakb.com.

Ode to a Land Mine

 

Back in this town after twenty-some years

Same heat, same smell

Still easy to find a whore

You took my leg in those northern hills 

Then at home, no feeling in my groin

You left me to die

But I live, disabled

In this motorized chair

 

 

David Gershan works as a psychologist in Chicago, Illinois. When not at his day job, David can be found indulging in creative writing. He has published works in various literary magazines.

Psychology Sale

 

It’s two for one on closures Sir.

Staple, plug or bung for things best kept in;

Button, zip, Velcro, Klipit, vacuum seal,

will allow you to open up sometime.

Cork, stopper, crown cap or screw top

in case you might bubble over.

Child resistant, tamper-proof

for some control of openness.

 

You need permanent closure sir?

Sorry, it’s next door for coffin lids.

 

 

Ian Harley took early retirement from his job as a business systems manager and took a creative writing degree. He discovered technical jargon was not confined to IT and office memos. Ian has two daughters and lives in a dormitory village south of Winchester in England.

My Boys Who Will Never Grow Old

 

          Baby Paul

 

It took years to muster the courage

To assemble the detritus of his loss

So small his mangled body could scarcely

Fill a teacup

Yet so large, dark and consuming, it

Swallowed me up whole

Towed me to the cold depths of darkness

Like a sunken ship once resplendent

Buried in silt and eaten by barnacles

 

          The Gathering

 

Years passed since that day I saw him

Unviable, without a heartbeat

In a swirl of blood and tissue, to be

Discarded as medical waste.

Not yet human but loved

I gathered the things I bought for him

Now part of the litter of our lives

Boxed them and set them out in the

Neighborhood yard sale

 

Baby shoes. Never worn.

Onesies. Still in original packaging.

Fit Moms. Spine Uncracked.

Receiving Blankets (Package of 4). Unopened.

Kate Spade Diaper Bag, New With Tags.

 

A woman whose belly was stretched tight like a drum

Handed me thirty dollars as her wife picked up the box

Avoiding the painful intimacy of neighbors

Our eyes met briefly before they

Walked away with what remained of him

 

          Boudreaux’s Last Summer

 

In the summer’s weary end is when

I most miss my boy who will never grow old

After the sunflowers’ faces, upturned

And reaching towards the sky

Parched, shriveled and resigned to die

When he’d uproot and seize

Their crusty stalks like a lance

And charge across the yard like

A triumphant conqueror

Vanquishing the last glint of a retreating sun

 

 

C. Christine Fair is an associate professor within the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Her research covers the political and military events of South Asia, and she has published nonfiction extensively. Her personal website is christinefair.net.

Live from the Sidewalk, It’s Me!

 

I’m walking along the sidewalks where I live

in a hurry but too fast for my age

and weight and mission and I think

if I keep this up I’m going to drop dead

right here in River City but forget the

seventy-six trombones what I don’t want

is fanfare.

 

But what do I want I ask myself

besides not dropping dead.  Well I want

to get where I’m going and don’t ask where

that is because I forgot which is easy to do

at my age (and weight.)  Probably I want

to know the meaning of life although that

can wait until I get where I’m going which

may take a while because—as you may

have noticed—I’m slowing down a little

not to smell the roses mind you, it’s just

that at my age and—well you know the rest.

 

Hey, here we are at the mailbox and damn!

There goes the mail truck.

 

 

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.)

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