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Vol. 11, Issue 1
Bryon D. Howell
WAX ON, WAX STAYS ON
The woods are littered
with the tents of
from under the bridge by the
to deeper in where they can intricately
to be cavemen.
They hang their damp clothes
near the limbs of the
and light their joints like
beginning every evening around 7
when the sun starts to
emitting the musky scent
of a well-worn
a day as worn as their sandalwood
sandals and the scent of
Their freshly washed socks and
ever-being dried by the intervention of a faint,
in the humid overnight tumbles.
Bryon D. Howell is a poet currently residing in New Haven, Connecticut. He has been writing poetry for a great number of years. Recently, his poetry has appeared in poeticdiversity, Red River Review, The Quirk, The Cerebral Catalyst, The Greasy Spoon Saloon, and The Lost Beat. Bryon is also the Editor-in-Chief of three online poetry 'zines: The Persistent Mirage, Bringing Sonnets Back, and The Brave Little Poem Daily.
the hazel eyes stare
into nothing. The naked
body flops on the cold
shakes on the spilled
juice and broken glass.
(I made the mistake
of giving you the juice
in a glass). The body curls,
then uncurls, like a fish
pulled from water,
nose to tail, the bend,
the shudder, the stillness.
I search the refrigerator
for syrup, jam, juice,
anything to counter
the insulin, anything
sweet to lure you
back to the body.
Suzanne Roberts is the author of two collections of poetry Nothing to You (forthcoming from Pecan Grove Press) and Shameless (Cherry Grove Collections, 2007). Her work has been published in The Adirondack Review, ZYZZYVA, Smartish Pace, Spillway, Gulf Stream, Eclipse, and elsewhere. She is a Ph.D candidate in Literature and the Environment at the University of Nevada-Reno, and she teaches English at Lake Tahoe Community College in California. More of her work can be found at http://www.suzanneroberts.org
here’s my pinkie finger
weakest of any
I use it
for entering small places
nose holes eye nooks ear mazes
immaculate pal o’mine
always at the end of things
like an aisle seat
always coy always
the lilting one
junior partner of the firm
the one who attends to the details
itself a detail
daughter I must leave out
of the boy scout salute
who flirts with my thumb
when I’m nervous
definitive unit of etiquette
I’ve tried to teach it guitar
make it type
it wants to be insignificant or nothing
to know at the end no one
have no one
unfamous as a thread
ninny of my care
stick without width
To you, my bludgeon, comes the width
of years, the wiles, the bully’s glance.
Blunt as you are, my first friend
and nourishment, you are
no bulwark of simplicity, no mug
merely, or underling, as you lumber
through night’s sad mitten, fronting time,
plumped in your loneliness as in a psalm.
Dear squat padlock, I would not wrest from you
the fist, or stave off your brawn
to bluster with gentleness
the high-stacked anvils of grief.
I would not forge you into a kiss.
Old grappler, butt. How you must hate
the pinky, that cringing sissy,
all those mealy fingers
banding together against you.
Oppose them! My kickstand, my pug-
In the brunt of dawn shall you rise
from your basement, weeping
Is I. Is You. The One. The Only. First born. Numero uno.
That of course is They. The Many. The Rest. Cast
and chorus to this triumphant, starring
it sweeps its wand of names over the world
and its lists.
Like any hero, it knows
no ambiguity, no shy yearning, no subterranean shame.
Not like that disgruntled schlub grumbling
off to the side. Not like
that crybaby at the other end,
sniffing back the tears of a scraped
knuckle. Nor that Dad lording it over.
Nor that clinging
Mom balancing the tableau. Rather, we have
this rugged digit of choice. The one you hold
forth with. The one that commands
attention. The one you count on
when you finally decide to
push the button, flip the switch, squeeze the trigger.
Starting quarterback. Squadron leader.
Peninsula of sanity
above the dribbling, wriggling mob.
Mast that holds together the rigging of your life.
Sturdy, certain axis. Protagonist you.
Integrity's own J'Accuse.
Everyone knows the gun in the trench coat pocket
trick. But think: What other would you trust to
gauge the wind
or wag a warning,
or trace a heart in the sand,
beckon a lover
or touch your nose
to show you're sober,
traverse a list
or pull out your cheek
to make a pop?
Who else would you have keep your place
in a book
or point the way
out of the jungle of things in which you are forever
A LONG MONTH UNTIL HURRICANE THANKSGIVING
Even a sneeze creates
dangerously low pressure.
Blood rises and wine
will not be contained.
It drips on the page
unaided, straight from the glass
like a nose bleed, hopeless to staunch.
What kind of world
has my body become
that the pleasure I gain
I can’t keep?
What I ingest comes out
as blood and stains.
BLUE TAIL FLY
I’m thinking blood,
but it’s not what I want.
Wine is more like it—
dark, deep, red enough
to satisfy a vampire fetish.
I drink from a blue tinted glass
to feed my imagination—
blue beard, blue ridge, blue balls—
Blues. I own the recipe.
Each swallow satisfies.
After a while, I forget about revenge,
those distasteful demands of lust upon age—
you’ve heard it before: the blushful Hippocrene,
a beakerfull of the warm south,
promises of a perfect day.
I spontaneously combust.
And hope it’s heard as song.
BLACK AN' BLUE WINTER
This early winter got me down.
Ice is everywhere.
No matter where I step
I slip, sometimes fall.
I bruise a hip, break
a wrist, scrape a knee.
My brain freezes
an' my heart goes numb.
From 1986 to 1996, Joseph Lisowski was Professor of English at the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Thomas, which serves as the setting for Looking for Lisa, his recently published novel available from Fiction Works (http://www.fictionworks.com). Dr. Lisowski is now teaching at Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina. Recent chapbooks include Letters to Wang Wei, along with two essays, (Words on a Wire); After Death’s Silence (2River View); and Grief Work (Kota Press), JB, a dialogue in poem form between John the Baptist and King Herod (PoetryRepairShop), Stashu Kapinski Strikes Out (Rank Stranger Press), Fatherhood at Fifty (Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry), Sketches of an Island Life (dpi press), and Art Lessons (Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry). The chapbook, Stashu Kapinski Gets Lucky, was just published by Pudding House Press
put away those crutches
restore that picture
of me walking to the shore
like love spurned
into thickets of unseasonable mangoes
of virgins mated with fellows
and thin children
walking in the morning
through thick mistakes
even as the wolf wakes
with a sun historically setting
that swims into ocean
televises its roars
and migration helps
me to weep into my river
and to hope
before I cease
I must unify
that are like marigold
in a wintered land
I must bring back the moon
to its predictable place
the sun to my metaphor
the stars and others
all so pretty
too pretty for an epitaph
to hoary hills
dill pickle in cuisine
I must pick up
with cabbage in the vegetable stall
and salmon from where
the river stops
and stares at a death
that has already birthed a million
children who will learn
to use the sun
and the crescent moon
before poems crop up
at the cottage barn
when will I learn
that it is time for me
to lie inert in virgin white
light those incense sticks
now carry on
and remind me
that the lord is somber
silent and inevitably bored
in this mindless dawn
Ashok Niyogi is an Economics graduate from Presidency College, Calcutta. He made a career as an International Trader and has lived and worked in the Soviet Union, Europe and South East Asia in the ‘80s and ‘90s. At 52, he has been retired for some years and has been cashew farming, writing and traveling. He divides time between California, where his daughters live, Delhi and the Indian Himalayas. He is increasingly involved in his personal spiritual quest and has undertaken serious study of scripture. He has published a book of poems, TENTATIVELY, [iUniverse, Lincoln, NE – 1995] and has been extensively published in print and on-line magazines in the USA, UK, Australia and Canada. Numerous chap books of his poems have been brought out by SCARS Publications, UC-Davis, Slow Trains and others. Ashok writes about life.
Sitting in the barber’s chair, I’m sandwiched between facing mirrors
with an array of back-of-my-balding heads taunting me,
each scalp a savannah of skin and gray hair.
The ping-ponging light between mirrors multiplies my aging.
But my next head veers slightly to the left,
and one after that even more.
Before me is a curved line of heads,
one twelfth of a gross in number,
that veers off from infinity and into the edge of the mirror.
The penultimate head is flush against the mirror’s edge,
and the last one is half in and half out.
The curling line of a dozen heads
creates a minor arc of a greater circle.
And now the barbers’ dozen wet towels
are thrown over my balding hydra heads,
then many scissors, snip, snip what little filament is left.
It all reflects on me while I do what I always do,
sit here motionless.
PLAYING DIFFERENT GAMES
Each day I’d choose a new weapon,
a fallen-tree-branch whittled to a stick,
and with that armament I’d become fierce.
Cattle rustlers met my six-shooter justice, British redcoats fell before my musket,
my M1 rifle made Nazi snipers yell their last seig heil, Apache warriors bit the dust,
my Tommy gun leveled Chicago mobsters,
and even Caesar’s legions were decimated by my rotten-wood sword and garbage lid shield.
In the vacant lot between 2nd and 3rd street my courage was beyond imagination.
But then one day bulldozers ripped up the great battlefield
reducing it to a diamond in a grassy plain.
And I was no longer Wyatt Earp, Custer, General Patton, Elliot Ness,
or the first marine to hit Iwo-Jima beach.
I no longer battled America’s enemies hand to hand.
The Star Spangled Banner called me to stand in line.
Instead of dodging bullets and ducking arrows
I ran straight and narrow ninety feet, base to base, trying to get back home
while measuring time in innings.
But most of all I obeyed.
My battlefield fell under the rule of umpires.
I had grown older by half an inning. Not much, but enough.
For to wield a bat as if still a mighty warrior would be to strike out.
Because of the Heat
hair is long
and frizzy and
and black and
the sundress is
loose and almost long
enough to cover
the legs varicose
scratched and pale.
she sits on the dead grass
on the edge of
the parking lot waiting
for her car to be fixed
as her sandaled feet
rest on the cement
cracked and gray
and I can't help but
stare at the tattoo of
of a rose on her chest
just above where
the cleavage used to be
and the rose is
bright, bright red,
the stem so
very, very green.
David LaBounty lives in Royal Oak, Michigan with his wife and two young sons. His poetry has appeared in several print and online journals and his novel, The Trinity, has just been released. It is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble.
TO OUR SON-IN-LAW RETURNING FROM IRAQ: APRIL 2003
That you were a writer and not a soldier
Made you no less brave,
Your war short, hard to defend,
But no less noble.
You went to report on things Homer had seen,
In a land older than Hector.
We found you on a map of unknown places,
Read your dispatches and heard you on TV:
We tasted sand and young men’s fear.
We did not attend rallies of protest or support
But went instead with your sons
To soccer games and preschool plays.
I do not pray much but prayed for you.
We read your coming-home piece
And thought of Odysseus.
We tracked your journey— Kuwait , London .
That night I went back downstairs after midnight
And turned on the computer again,
To be sure that your plane had touched down.
* This poem has appeared in Mobius and Pegasus.
AT THE FROST PLACE
Spiky stalks of lupine, deep blue,
In the high meadow.
Plumes of mist lifting off the mountains
Across Franconia Valley from the Frost Place .
Inside the barn, awaiting the event,
Bearded professors, ladies in small print dresses,
Clutching rare editions of West Running Brook,
New Hampshire poets, one or two famous,
Most known mainly to each other,
A few only to themselves,
Pilgrims at a farmhouse shrine.
Oboes are played, poems read:
The road less traveled and the one not taken
At length wind up in the same place.
AT THE FUNERAL HOME
We stand in long lines
To pass a moment, clutch a hand:
It is what we do, what we can do.
The survivors we know,
The departed less so, or not at all,
Young men suddenly gone.
A blue suit points us unctuously to the right line:
He has seen us before,
He will see us again.
In another room
Another family watches quietly,
A smaller crowd, considering perhaps
A lesser grief.
Down corridors two hours long,
Floral print wallpaper,
Gilded sconces of papier mache,
Fragmented voices overheard:
An aneurysm, they thought;
Church politics, golf courses, new cars;
And them with a young baby.
(It is March in North Carolina ,
But we will not talk of basketball):
From the night’s unspeakable occasion,
Teachers mourning their students,
Fathers burying their sons.
Robert Demaree is the author of three collections of poems, a chapbook titled New Hampshire Pond, an online collection, Things He Thought He Already Knew, and Fathers and Teachers, a book-length collection published April 2007 by Beech River Books. He has had over 275 poems published or accepted by 75 periodicals. A retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina , Pennsylvania , and New Hampshire , he has also written a history of Greensboro Day School .
Somewhere someone is crying.
Somewhere someone is lying.
Somewhere a heart has stopped beating
to the rhythm of time.
While we are here wrapped up in our selfish now,
somewhere someone has stopped playing.
Somewhere someone has stopped praying.
Somewhere childhood is but a breath in the inhaling and exhaling of life.
And while we are tucked safely in our now,convincing
ourselves that the emotions of the rest
of the world are myths and don`t exist,
somewhere some one is giving up.
Somewhere some one is silent and stuck.
Somewhere outside our insignificant
now, like fragments of broken glass we have
fallen apart from the together.
Somewhere a child is again calling.
Somewhere a tear is again falling.
And as we rest easy in our images of now,
forgetting that the seven continents were once one
mighty land, telling ourselves thank God it's them and
somewhere their now is dark and cold.
Somewhere their truths aren`t allowed
to be told.
Somewhere there are faces you don`t know.
Somewhere there are places they can`t go.
Somewhere the sky is just empty space.
Somewhere there is no mercy and grace.
Somewhere between the rock and the hard place.
Somewhere in the world the cure is not faith.
Somewhere in a land things aren`t what they seem
and pinching yourself won`t help, we are all
somewhere in someone else`s dream.
Where are we?
We are now.
We are there.
So somewhere in your today`s now and your
tomorrow`s now,let your eyes greet those of another.
Simply for the grand restoration
of the shattered whole.
For the deepening of the somewheres inside your
And so that somewhere in time,
everywhere will be yours and mine.
Vickie McGee lives in Beloit, WI. A 33 year old the mother of four, all she has ever wanted to do was get words out of her head. "How they seem to drain me, but on paper they become my nourishment," she says. "Second to being a mother, writing is my only something to contribute to the world."