Two Poems by Mark J. Mitchell

Pacific Heights

The man saw fog
swallowing the top
of every building
that made up downtown.

He walked up
the long hill
and looked back—
A city in eiderdown.

Feeling a lack
of city, missing buildings,
he closed a tiny door
on the gift-wrapped town.

Somewhere he knows fog
will melt and soft-topped
monuments will show up.
The sky goes from gray to black.

fog two

A Secret Craft

The only time to tune foghorns
is when you can’t see them, when mist
will lick fingers and lashes form
prisms, breaking light. You exist—
a shadow cast by foreign storms—
your ears cold but soft as the fist
that taps this bell up. That one lists
to starboard—twist it hard a-port—
the only way. The tunes foghorns
sing can’t be seen, just felt through mist.

 

 

Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.. He lives with his wife Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.

How to Become an Artist by Anthony DiPietro

a river in chaos. brave existence. sudden
roads. kidneys in chaos. sleep, sleep. a mother—
she is everyone’s mother. when you wake, you remember.

a bridge crumbles of its own will. then
it is no bridge. ask the tumbling river, what
shall I say? sleep. place at the ocean floor

the name you give yourself but never
speak. reserve the right to grasp for it
tomorrow. a child dies at noon. you must sit

with faith. you must sit with a genuine loss
of faith. this is not something you can fake.
become a child with no understanding. death

comes to your door in triumph & soon.
rivers continue to carve. if you let
your enemies freeze then you too must be consumed

with uncertainty. fill your goblet again & drink.
you will sit in a hollow valley. feel your strong
lungs open up. you will feel mud

fill those lungs. if so, tell only lies.
give me something to make me sleep. give me
something to burn the barn, destroy pink flesh.

 

 

Anthony DiPietro is a Rhode Island native who worked for 12 years in community-based organizations that addressed issues such as violence, abuse, and income inequality. In 2016, he moved to New York to join Stony Brook University as a candidate for a creative writing MFA and now teaches undergraduate courses. A graduate of Brown University with honors in creative writing, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Anomaly, Assaracus, The Good Men Project, Helen, Rogue Agent, The Southampton Review, Talking River, and The Woman Inc. His website is AnthonyWriter.com.

Image: Junction of the Yukon and Koyukuk Rivers, Alaska, August, 1941. USGS. 

Attack of the Fanatics by Mary Meriam

Detail of Sappho Leaping into the Sea, by Theodore Chasseriau, 1840.

Breathe, darling, breathe. I cannot
for the life of me patch the ocean.
Ghetto on the fraught sea, blinding.
Did they question the men also?
Or did they only question the women?
The lesbians are policing the lesbians.
Who are you? How do you define yourself?
I list weakly as the interrogators
peer through my telescope backwards.
I am all adrift in the spring fog, trembling.
Port to starboard, keel to mast, mainstay,
my sails a-shiver in the salt-stained waves,
I am unknown to myself, with only a word
my sisters found on Lésvos and gave me.

 

 

First published in The Gay & Lesbian Review.

 

 

Mary Meriam is the founder of Lavender Review, cofounder of Headmistress Press, editor of Irresistible Sonnets, and author of The Lillian Trilogy. Her poems have been published by The New York Times, the Poetry Foundation, Oxford University Press, National Public Radio, Penguin Random House, University Press of New England, Seal Press, and many literary journals.

Everyday Disciples by Monique Gagnon German

Sometimes you see one in traffic,

a Samaritan in a Mazda parting

the sea of angry commuters

so you can finally get in.

Sometimes it’s a guy in the street

who gets a hundred bucks

and immediately spends it on a feast

for other homeless people around him.

Sometimes it’s a dog who sobs

and leaps with joy

when his owner returns

from hospital or war.

Sometimes they pop up, bobbers

on the murky stream of your day:

a smile in a hallway, a genuine question,

“How are you, really?”

Some disciples hide in words,

in gratitude, in every thank you said

but also in the middle finger

of the pissed off driver behind you now,

the one behind the guy that waved you in.

We can hear them in all the voices

that criticize and approve

every failure and win. The rub: we

are their witnesses. Our job: to recognize them.

How we react is just a stone cast into a pond,

an addend in an ongoing equation in signs.

Maybe our responses are disciples too;

watch them ripple and roll over time, trying

to gain momentum, trying to sculpt our shoreline.

 

 

Monique Gagnon German is a graduate of Northeastern and Northern Arizona Universities. She is a wife, mother, a former Copy Editor of Ragazine(www.ragazine.cc), and former Technical Writer for a laser manufacturer in San Diego, CA. Currently, Monique works as a Content Developer and document QA Specialist for a small veteran owned company in TX while continuing to write poetry and stories in CO. Her poems have appeared in over 30 journals/anthologies including Rosebud, California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Off the Coast, and The Wayfarer. Her micro-flash, flash, and short stories have been featured in Kalliope, A Journal of Women’s Literature & Art, The MacGuffin, and Adelaide Literary Review. In October 2017, she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for poetry so she is actively crossing her fingers as you read this. Website for Monique: http://www.moniquegagnongerman-com.webs.com/

 

Photograph by Ikiwaner,  Lausen, Gombe Stream National Park

Looking Away at Lambert Airport by Beth Gordon

Female twins, black-haired, arm in arm, like blind newborn
werewolves, identically addicted to meth,
disembark the plane
in St. Louis, walk into our square of terminal, so craven in eye
and mouth that we collectively believe
that when the moon
blocked our planet’s star for 160 seconds, fur began to sprout
between their talons, behind their knees,
spreading like poisonous
mushrooms, only to recede when cicadas stopped singing, when
sparrows fell from trees like petrified
bones, more arachnid
than mammal, they twist their cracked lips into utterings that only
the other twin can decipher,
and then only with
the aid of potions brewed from fresh anteater blood. Unmoved
by visible magic, we return one-by one
to our screens, like sedated
vultures waiting for someone to die in front of us, bubonic plague,
rabies, salmonella, something
riddled with bullets
and primary colors that we can photograph and share with our high
school classmates whose skin we
haven’t touched
in years or our online food-addiction support group as we browse
through 81 recipes for heavenly hash,
while eclipse stragglers
with souvenir tattoos and mildly damaged retinas scream obscenities
at their precocious children
who are using a gift
shop magnifying glass to aim the sun’s holy rays onto unattended
babies to see if they will
burst into ash.

 

 

Beth Gordon is a writer who has been landlocked in St. Louis, Missouri for 16 years but dreams of oceans, daily. Her work has recently appeared in Into the Void, Quail Bell,Calamus Journal, By&By, Five:2:One, Barzakh, and others. She can be found on Twitter @bethgordonpoet.

Five Poems by Barbara Henning

Mar 27, 2016

—rows of rear windows—pricey tenements—raindrops on shrubs—drips gliding off the fire escape—“Look!” says a boy on tv—“Real water!”—a dictator waves his hand—never would I—tarnish my own name—a silver necklace over Ganesh’s nose—I rub it shiny—a volcano in Alaska—a cloud of ash—more than seven miles upward—in Kansas—their house now a pile of bricks and ash—this locket—between my mother’s face—and my own toddler smile—his ashes won’t stay put—some on the table—my fingers grainy with a body—like fingernails—on the ground a clutter of acorn shells—the dream—like an albatross—pulling me into the pillow—

Aug 4, 2016

—the sun’s hot—a cool breeze off Lake superior—a path along the shore—peddling behind a woman—on a turquoise upright bike—a polluted sky—does not have—the advantage—of producing these atmospheric colors—a cuticle brittle and dull—every drop of water—hangs from a twig—sunflowers follow—the rising sun—up, over and westward—as I pass the turquoise bike—“I’m going slightly faster than you, dear”—by law—many mothers—are unable to pass on—their citizenship to their children—but for fathers—a different story—when a pass is made—four defenders charge—from the net—trying to block—the oncoming shot—a year later—a committee of American men—will meet to decide—the rights of women—the woman on the turquoise bike laughs—“Thanks,” she says, for letting me know—”

Jan 12, 2017

—damp and unseasonably warm—fast walking—an unscheduled bus—run back and hold my hands in prayer—he reopens!—zoom no traffic—Union Square Station—escalator broken—a woman with baby buggy—standing at the stairs—young man on cell phone—drooping pants—could you help her?—he looks at me—with scorn—then at her—she’s black—ok he takes her stroller down—over shoulder—he snarls at me—the way—throughout time—we have slaughtered each other—each death a negative charge of unbearable loss—through the human community—anger and retaliation—why then–do we believe—in so much possibility?—man begging on Dekalb—I give a dollar—as if—I’m doing something—stop and talk with Lewis—story about 1974—this and that anthology—a student said the NY School was sexist—I say all men are sexist—to some degree—subway to the village—a midrange buzz, distant whistle, relentless throb—

Mar 20, 2017

—even with banks of icy snow—alternate side parking—inside my radio ear— Russian hacking—with tiny hands—and a tiny brain—like the tyrannosaurs—ha ha—the bully had to develop something—an ability to lie and deny—even when myths are dispelled—their effects linger—it’s possible to hack into a phone—or a car—with only sound waves—tiny accelerometers—under the scholar’s trees—open an envelope—rent increase $200.00—google mania—first floor, no fee, rent stabilized—Brooklyn studio—quiet, tree-lined—a commuter—but I like living here—come on, Barbara—says the landlord—when you get older, you should move—we will never give you—a rent stabilized apartment—a commodity—a troublemaker brainiac—Tony Conrad—crooks his finger—come here—I’m gonna wreck your brain—a crack—in the cave—with ulnar nerve repaired—DeGrom’s back on the mound—a 97 miles per hour fastball—

Apr 28, 2017

— on Houston—a garden—with young people—smoking and snapping—an ex-coal worker—can’t breathe—wants his job back—coal ash arsenic mercury lead—in landfills and bodies of water—between Saturn and its innermost ring—the patter of a summer squall—then a drifting tone—in the branches—of a giant elm—the baby and me—fading—into flickering leaves—a Himalyan crevasse—the rock climber falls—he keeps climbing—into the subway station—a young woman—with two little ones in tow—talking on her cell—to hold a fossil—to clutch a fragment—thirty-five years—in this same spot—with Né and Mook—it’s raining today—and the baby is a man now—he drills a hole—in the ceiling—of my new apartment—for a plant—the leaves spilling over the pot—

 

 

Editor’s Note: These poems are part of Barbara Henning‘s in-progress series entitled DIGIGRAMS. Her digigrams have been published recently in Recluse, Chill and Rascal; others are forthcoming in the Brooklyn Rail, Downtown Brooklyn, Live Mag! and Local Knowledge. Another five of Henning’s digigrams, curated by Wren, will appear soon in PoetryCircle.

 

 

Barbara Henning is the author of several collections of poetry, her most recent A Day Like Today (Negative Capability Press 2015). Other recents include A Swift Passage (Quale Press), Cities and Memory (Chax Press) and a collection of object-sonnets, My Autobiography (United Artists). She has published three novels, Thirty Miles to Rosebud, You Me and the Insects andBlack Lace, and she is the editor of Looking Up Harryette Mullen and The Collected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins. Born in Detroit, Barbara lives in Brooklyn and teaches for Long Island University, as well as writers.com. http://barbarahenning.com

 

Original photograph by Michah Saperstein.

Zelda by Sneha Subramanian Kanta

“She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.”

― Zelda Fitzgerald

Zelda, unbeknownst sister of Ozymandias
accompany me to where the sun rises
east of Bhagdad, west of Byzantium

let us make our spot for pilgrimage there.
Rub fertile mud on our skin whilst
the approving sun shines –

I, your brown sister, will bring you tales
from the other side of the Mississippi
you tell me about the Americas

you have seen in one country.
To speak of roots and corkscrews,
bottles and potions, we will read

Rumi to find out how much the heart
can hold. Beyond the yellowing
sand dunes, let us recall the last bird

who sang in the middle of a desert.
What shall we plant here, in the middle
of a heatstroke land – cacti, seeds of

wild blueflowers, or do we bury
carols for Christmas?

 

 

Sneha Subramanian Kanta is often seen tracing manufacturing of sensibility from the eighteenth century to present day notions of psychology, She pays close attention to concentrated molecules in a jar. Her poetry is forthcoming in Eunoia Review and Across the Margin, and fiction in Indiana Voice Reviewand elsewhere. She is general advisor and poetry editor for her university journal, INK. An awardee of the prestigious GREAT scholarship, she has a second postgraduate degree in literature from England. She is the cofounder of Parentheses Journal, a literary initiative that straddles hybrid identities across coasts and climes.