As if each wave was being pardoned
sent off the way the moon
was covered with these flowers
and harvests that even today
are just hours apart
allowed to leave
--the first turbulence on Earth
remembered vaguely as moonlight
that still needs to be held down
soothed, at first with dirt
then evenings, then stones
and the gentle splash
on its way to the bottom
--an ancient rage! what was spared
is this thirst for her eyelids
between your lips --the same undertow
inside every flower
closer and closer and in your arms
the sea who has forgotten everything
to get away with it.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities,” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.
Humbert’s ComplaintRough as a dog’s embarrassed cough,
the catch in his throat is his name.
His love, at eighteen already botched by time,
flimsy talk, street-smart posture,
her name is song, arpeggio
declined. We peep around the pages
for an entry point, with eyebrows raised
in prurient curiosity, compromised
just in looking, no longer free to judge.
Beauty and sorrow joined – they’re not what you think.
He can’t fake monstrous
salacity well enough to convince even himself.
Pedestrian lover, salvaging the moment
he lost to narrative inevitability, to art,
despite unworthy objects, in the end
admits he is only, and lately,
VayeilechWe stand at the river, honeyed land before us,
half listening to promises
and threats from our ventriloquist hatchet-god.
Those who remember shoulder to stone,
tumble of horses under the flood –
these ones are dead.
Manna grows from their bones.
We, first to hear, must rout
golden cities of the plain,
empty the land of them, claim
home we yearn for above all things,
home we have never known,
say to those cringing under our swords
your hectares are mine because they are mine,
given to me
lest desire become contagion.
But we prove stiff-necked
and argumentative, trade in feeling,
know pity – how one loss ravages community –
crave human faces, human
hearts, human company, cups raised together,
touch of hands,
and in this choice, we are ruined.
Miriam C. Jacobs, an alumnus of the University of Chicago, teaches college writing, literature and humanities. She is the editor of Eyedrum Periodically, the art/literature journal of Eyedrum Art & Music Gallery, Atlanta, and her publications include JJewish Literary Journal, The East Coast Literary Review, Record Magazine, The Camel Saloon, The King’s English, and Oklahoma Today. Her chapbook, The Naked Prince, was published by Fort!/Da? Books in September 2013.
Geology Lesson for Ed Knopplateau
with an icing of hard lava,
surfaces of the past,*
eons that give
a new slant to ambition.
Here time stands still
not even a second.
There is work to do:
water, ice, and wind
proclaim their sovereignty
over geology’s fleeting majesty.
Still, I marvel,
knowing full well
that erosion is just
another word for time.
*phrase from Alyssa Tomalino, 7/11/15, e-mail, used with permission
What Is a Door?passageway
setting for stories
and great drama –
like the time a hapless manager
fled the executive’s office sobbing,
when he had taken his boss’s
“open door policy” at his word,
and came by to voice a concern –
or like the time my intimidated mother
pounded on the door of our apartment’s
single bathroom where her ten year-old son
was sitting on the toilet. “You better come out.
Your father is waiting to go in. You know
you’ll be in big trouble if you don’t finish
and flush now!” –
or like the time apartment doors
were called upon to serve as exclamation points
to my parents’ frequent and escalating arguments.
If my memory is correct, mom and dad always
slammed two solid wood doors, one each,
and the whole apartment shook in fear.
A door is
no simple thing.
CathedralsLeaves on arching branches
of scrub oak
glow translucent gold
toward sunset in mid-autumn.
For a moment, the gleaming
vault seems to hover.
I could have missed this
had I not leaned backwards
as far as I could,
and looked straight up
in front of my porch
to discover this miracle
of transience and light.
Howard F. Stein, professor emeritus in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, has published over 200 articles and 27 books, of which 7 are books or chapbooks of poetry. His two most recent poetry books are In the Shadow of Asclepius: Poems from American Medicine (2011) and Raisins and Almonds (2014). The Oklahoma prairie inspires many of his poems.
NumerologyHe’s counting his fingers now,
another threshold passed without a look back.
He puts some energy into it,
doesn’t remember to count every one every time,
but he’s counting, he’s doing it.
Old Grandfather starts it off,
tapping fingertips, “One, two, three…”
and he picks up the rhythm,
splaying the fingers of one hand,
fearlessly extending the count, “…four, five, seven, eight.…”
A couple of those eager fingers get counted twice,
sticking up like chicks in the nest stretching for the worm,
and that’s alright, those fingers are stretching
for the joy of discovery and the cool of flashing in the air
in the ritual of counting fingers with Old Grandfather,
and counting twice is confirmation, not a sin.
We do it again.
Same noisy delight. Different count.
Someday he’ll understand that doing it together is what counts.
Rick Subber is a freelance editor, a writing coach and a historian. He lives with his family in Natick, MA, USA. A former newspaper reporter/editor who now uses his love of the right words in more satisfying ways, he is a proud grandpa who is teaching his granddaughter how to read and write, in case there is poetry in her future. His poems have been published in the Australia Times Poetry Magazine and elsewhere.
STREAMERUnder the bald dome and accompanying
semi-circle of gray hair streaming toward his
recent past like a cold comet sits
his body upon a bicycle whose cost is certainly
not the level of serious competition, for to strive
is not his aim,
but glide over the asphalt a shade darker than his
residual locks and under leaves and branches shielding
that deserted summit of skin-on-bone
and pedal into the breeze that gives his hair
its lift to trail, insouciant, signaling
his status as a rider out of the race
intent on only the cool that such
self-designation can bring
RUSH TO DRYShe has shriveled since I saw her last,
but shrunk might be less harsh, as it only
connotes a diminution rather than the added
desiccation that leads to thoughts of desertification,
mummification, sand and natron leaving only a husk
to flake away and into eternity, borne by the howling
wind that is the only remainder—
where once ages ago the waters flowed in
paradise, nurturing fruit in thick flesh, gloss, and health.
Time and experience are as inevitable as sin,
so I must recall that it is only metaphor traversing this length.
The water still runs before me.
The poet taught English and Latin in a private all-girls school and in 2010 completed his Ph.D. Currently an adjunct instructor at Chatham University in Pittsburgh, he has had many jobs including archaeological field assistant, obituary writer, and television-screen-factory worker. Publications include such journals as Abbey, Aries, The Chaffin Journal, Eye on Life Magazine, The Journal (UK), Poet’s Espresso Review, Pulsar Poetry Review (UK), Shemom, Straylight Online, and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Evergreens in MoonlightEver I saw awesome trees
spewing about me a midnight dance
under that cheese
bright spotlight in the sky,
the atmosphere a blanket blue
not a camera one thousand miles near.
Here I met the evergreens
the immortal flesh of cone and spiral.
You might have once thought
they were always still and waiting
but no doubt they breathe so heavily
and moan the gorgeous sighs
of pollen; they scream
dirt and worms
when the moonlight has showered them
goodly with love.
To Cross a Serious Threshold
What it would be like
to cross a serious threshold
and by doing so, break the barrier
of east and west,
right and left.
Who taught us symmetry
as an impertinent
necessity of life?
Melissa Parietti is a writer from Melville, NY. She attended undergraduate school at SUNY Geneseo where she participated in writing workshops and obtained a degree in Business Administration. Find Melissa on Twitter @MelissaParie or LinkedIn.
The young widows of Jerusalem,
and their seven eye rings of Canaan,
petals of the black rose,
rouse the serpent sweetness of poets
running their tongues
along miles of lips.
You, hauling a shih tzu and white curls
through the streets of Talbieh,
widow from Toronto,
husband fell away from his body one day.
You moved to Jerusalem,
a refugee from the bland hours
installed in no one’s poetry.
Your hand finds me before dawn,
before anyone finds me,
with all that you have lost.
A bed-borne Phoenix,
eyes tumbling through David’s gate,
you clamp your thighs to mine.
The darkness rises from us like bread.
from the poet: I am a New York-based poet whose work appears in Salamander, Descant, Tablet, European Judaism
and other publications. I also write feature pieces on poets for The Writer.
November, 2014November with its penitential air
It’s faded shutters of sun
carrying a candle
flickering through the fog
A Fierce Winter NightThe wind roars with polar bear breath
And cuts with silver rapiers
Hoof beats thunder
Across the mountain of night
Shuddering atop the pole
A flag wildly furls
Winds swoop down the chimney
And shouts imprecations to the fire
In the stove___
to greedily gobble up logs, cringing
In the basement the sub pump
Gurgles and swallows
While scratching at the windows,
Steel nails of sleets’ white-bone fingers
Ah, we shiver inside for we know
we are held hostage
by the blinding white wrath
of a winter’s night snow
Susandale’s poems and fiction are on WestWard Quarterly, Ken *Again, Penman Review, Inner Art Journal, Garbanzo, and Linden Avenue. In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan. She has two published chapbooks on the internet: Spaces Among Spaces by languageandculture.org and Bending the Spaces of Time by Barometric Pressure.
RELEASING WORDSThe stage is ablaze
with cigarette smoke.
Brass finger keys howl
from the sax man
tapping gold from Gabriel’s horn.
Alley cats sing the nine lives
to back room shadows where
Tom Waits breaks the words
from jumbled unwashed dreams
and Ginsberg works the beast
from his pen while Kerouac
reaches for starry nights over Lowell.
The stage fills the void. Everyone
is fed by the appetite of thought.