The Aftermath by Kushal Poddar

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In every twelve months
she applies Ruby Woo.

It feels moist, moony, a ruse,
and her man walks to the terrace

again, on the railings then, drops a cigarette
and leaps. Every time. In a loop.

The blood streams the darkness.
Darkness clots the blood.

This relationship spins pinning
give and take.

And she ekes the Ruby Woo,
a gift that never forgives the giver.

 

 

Kushal Poddar has authored The Circus Came To My Island, A Place For Your Ghost Animals, Understanding The Neighborhood, Scratches Within, Kleptomaniac’s Book of Unoriginal Poems, Eternity Restoration Project- Selected and New Poems, and now Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse-A Prequel (Alien Buddha Press).

 

Painting by Gustave Caillebotte.

When Gray Is Beautiful and When It’s Not by Trish Saunders

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I live in a city where ghosts of giant Douglas fir spear
themselves up through grimy sidewalks. These ghosts,
the real cause of winter storms, slip quietly through
cobblestones, looking for osprey that died eons ago.

Winters here never end; gray falls everywhere–
beards on old sailors, pin curls on my grandmother’s tiny
head. Gray is beautiful, I tell her. Trust me, it’s not, says she
In particular, gray pubic hair is ugly. That frontier I have yet
to discover, but I shall, I have no doubt that I shall.

 

First published in Right Hand Pointing.

 

Trish Saunders publishes poems from Seattle and Honolulu and, in her imagination, from the shores of Crater Lake, Oregon. Her poems have been in Califragile, Pacific Voices, Right Hand Pointing, Eunoia Review, among others.

 

Art by Jenn Zed.

Then by Linda Wimberly

Then for pasting

Linda Wimberly is a writer, artist and musician from Marietta, GA. A former Vermont Studio Center resident in writing, her poetry has appeared in The Raw Art Review, Lunch Ticket, Stone River Sky: An Anthology of Georgia Poems and others; and a short story appeared in Cricket. She is a self-taught, abstract artist who works in acrylic, oil and mixed media and her images have appeared in or been cover art for Critical Pass Review and Inscape Magazine. Her image “Woman on the Move” won the 2019 Art Contest for So to Speak: feminist journal of language and art. (lindawimberly.com)

Five Poems by Simon Perchik

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*
To listen you work this bowl
and each evening crouch
with your lips in all directions

wrapped around a warming spoon
near, nearer to the side she slept on
filled with sharp corners

and lower your forehead, let the soup
cool –you swallow a bed, are fed
on windswept fires, the sound

that has become the mouth
you’re drowning in –arm over arm
making room for her and lower.

*
Don’t move closer –with such talk
you back down, hands more on your chest
than hiding from the moon behind the moon

to cool as dirt left over for shadows
and the suffocating shovel after shovel
falling from a sky already back –you dead

have given up the whisper, its flames
called off with a single yell
ripping open the narrow space

between its memory and the surprise
when an embrace covers your head
the way this gravestone turns green each Spring

shines from the breath bent over your name
come back for you and flowers
warmed by this comb breaking in half.

*
This battered window box
has found an opening
–with a single flower

is taking on the sun
though you use well water
fitting it into its shadow

as if madness needs a corner
for its darkness reaching out
the way your heart was filled

with river noise
that has nothing left to give
–what you hear is the sun

swallowing ice as the antidote
to flower after flower and the mist
from someone breathing.

*
In the space between two chairs
then each night you crack open a shell
let it darken and begin from there

–it’s already home to the silence
making room the way this rug was torn
for one more shadow and the floor

that mourns forever –each board
still lowered with some mountain
breaking up from the bit by bit it needs

to begin again –all these shells
just for their emptiness and slowly
to stir as in fingertips and magic.

*
With the door gone now
you set out for the waterlogged
as if some makeshift plank

could face shore as a stone
already upright, filled
with branches and salt

though there’s no sail
and even more than the sea
you have no place to mourn

–you need driftwood :a mask
held in place by an emptiness
certain it arrived before you.

 

 

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His collection The Osiris Poems is published by boxofchalk, 2017. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com. To view one of his interviews please follow this linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSK774rtfx8

Morning Trail by Marilyn Westfall

th
Above the cliffs, cirrus drift,
an archipelago backlit
in tones of saffron, rose. He hikes
in shadow, on cobble, gait steadied
by a talisman agave stick
handmade for these steep
switchbacks blazed with cairns
where once friends led him, the climb
blending with deer paths, ending
where sunlight spilled on water.
Jewel-like, that cold lake
fed by snowmelt, numbing
the farther they waded in,
feeling for drop-offs, judgment
blurring. Anger at their hubris
and loss stokes his grief.
He hears the granite rhythm
of his heart, takes the trail
downhill to its start.

 

 

Marilyn Westfall lives in Lubbock and Alpine Texas, and has roots in Ohio and California. Most recently, her poems were published in San Pedro River Review; Weaving the Terrain (Dos Gatos Press); Enchantment of the Ordinary (Mutabilis Press); and are forthcoming in Evening Street Review.

 

Original photograph by Jaclyn and Brian Drum.

Mushrooms by Patricia Nelson

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Picking mushrooms at the edge of dread—Adrienne Rich

What leads you to the soundless mushrooms,
still, cool moons in the black earth:
the low and loaf-white forest
slowly altering a vast, strange shade?

Not the work you walk through,
your task that seems to disentangle
you from nothingness.
Not the thrumming bridge of reality.

Maybe there’s a small dark flower
in your forehead, made of quiet,
ancient, simple, creased
from leaning on your dreaming.

Or maybe there are unborn unicorns
near the mushrooms, waiting
for the hoof and the wild horn
to take them to those who see them.

Or anything that slides the wilderness
of small lights, moth-pale and crooked
through the fluttering transom
or under the dark door.

How patient that light is,
holding the silent, dreamt things:
the bent and wild silver, twisted in the rock,
the soft, slant snails shining forward.

 

 

Patricia Nelson works with the “Activist” poets and has a new book out, Out of the Underworld, Poetic Matrix Press.

 

Photograph by Nicole Gordine. 

Streaming by Victoria Crawford

 

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Streams sweat, viscous, vicious
like jet gems
of Victorian mourning jewelry
turned fluid
blood of war and wounds
circulate the Persian Gulf body
oil well trees blown to leak dark sap
clumps on shore, washed up
black jellyfish
the sand shivers under my feet

Back page photo in my thin newspaper
features half a manatee
his silly whiskered face
lost somewhere
could have been whirling swords
of tanker
or propellers of a rich man’s yacht
and he may have been the last
dugong on this Gulf edge
but the report claims a few hundred
still hide around Qatar

Bahraini BBC documentary
of inlets and outlets of Oman
streaming across my screen
tonight with a green turtle
swimming by a tube coral
whose feet wave farewell

Poet Victoria Crawford plunges into the waters of culture and nature from her Monterey home to points East in Asia and the Middle East. Poems of hers have appeared in Canary, Windfall, Ekphrastic Review, The Lyric, and Hawaii Pacific Review.

 

Artwork by Jenn Zed