Grandmother says If I were twenty I’d burn my fucking bra by Alicia Elkort

Grandmother says sizing copy

 

 

Alicia Elkort edited and contributed to the chapbook Creekside, published under the Berkeley Poetry Review where she also served as an editor. Her poetry has been published in AGNI, Arsenic Lobster, Georgia Review, Heron Tree, Menacing Hedge, Rogue Agent, Stirring: A Literary Collection, Tinderbox Poetry Journal and many others and is forthcoming in Black Lawrence Press. Alicia’s poems have been nominated for the Orisons Anthology (2016) and the Pushcart (2017). She lives in California and will go to great lengths for an honest cup of black tea and a cool breeze.

 

First published in The Hunger.

The Luxury of Having by Tim Kahl

Swiss_goats_with_bells_close-up

For three days the household has no
toilet paper. I remark we could use
a dark sock from the laundry,
then return it to the pile.
My son wants to use a wool one,
but I intercept and suggest synthetic.
“Think of the poor sheep and how it
would feel if it knew.” But he wants
the angora, the fine merino, then
the cashmere. “Outrageous,” I say,
“an insult to every petting zoo you’ve
ever been to.” But he cares little in
this case for my righteous indignation.
He wants the best and only the best,
like everyone else,
to keep the stink off of him.

 

 

Tim Kahl [http://www.timkahl.com] is the author of Possessing Yourself (CW Books, 2009), The Century of Travel (CW Books, 2012) and The String of Islands (Dink, 2015). His work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Drunken Boat, Mad Hatters’ Review, Indiana Review, Metazen, Ninth Letter, Sein und Werden, Notre Dame Review, The Really System, Konundrum Engine Literary Magazine, The Journal, The Volta, Parthenon West Review, Caliban and many other journals in the U.S. He is also editor of Clade Song [http://www.cladesong.com]. He is the vice president and events coordinator of The Sacramento Poetry Center. He also has a public installation in Sacramento {In Scarcity We Bare The Teeth}. He plays flutes, guitars, ukuleles, charangos and cavaquinhos. He currently teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where he sings lieder while walking on campus between classes.

#MeToo: Evening Prayer by Melissa Weiss

You want to know how I spend
my time? Remembering
pink panties around ankles, scent
of petroleum jelly, scent of
Vaseline on fingers on–
Toonie to cup breasts in prepubescent
palms. Taste of Don’t talk
about it, she doesn’t know
what she did crammed down
windpipe, twenty-five
years, slowly
starting
to slip

free.

Melissa Weiss studies Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Recently, her work has appeared in Prairie Fire, The Maynard, Sky Island Journal, and elsewhere, and placed second in Into the Void‘s 2017 Poetry Contest. Melissa co-edits One Button Press in Kelowna, British Columbia. Her most recent chapbook, Don’t Fall in Love with a Poet, was released by JK Publishing in 2018. Visit her at https://twitter.com/melsince93.

 

Original photograph by Jorge Royan. 

Demeter by H. D.

Elliott_Daingerfield_-_'Tanagra',_oil_on_canvas,_1901,_High_Museum_of_Art

I

Men, fires, feasts,
steps of temple, fore-stone, lintel,
step of white altar, fire and after-fire,
slaughter before,
fragment of burnt meat,
deep mystery, grapple of mind to reach
the tense thought,
power and wealth, purpose and prayer alike,
(men, fires, feasts, temple steps)—useless.
Useless to me who plant
wide feet on a mighty plinth,
useless to me who sit,
wide of shoulder, great of thigh,
heavy in gold, to press
gold back against solid back
of the marble seat:
useless the dragons wrought on the arms,
useless the poppy-buds and the gold inset
of the spray of wheat.
Ah they have wrought me heavy
and great of limb—
she is slender of waist,
slight of breast, made of many fashions;
they have set her small feet
on many a plinth;
she they have known,
she they have spoken with,
she they have smiled upon,
she they have caught
and flattered with praise and gifts.
But useless the flattery
of the mighty power
they have granted me:
for I will not stay in her breast
the great of limb,
though perfect the shell they have
fashioned me, these men!
Do I sit in the market place—
do I smile, does a noble brow
bend like the brow of Zeus—
am I a spouse, his or any,
am I a woman, or goddess or queen,
to be met by a god with a smile—and left?

II

Do you ask for a scroll,
parchment, oracle, prophecy, precedent;
do you ask for tablets marked with thought
or words cut deep on the marble surface,
do you seek measured utterance or the mystic trance?
Sleep on the stones of Delphi—
dare the ledges of Pallas
but keep me foremost,
keep me before you, after you, with you,
never forget when you start
for the Delphic precipice,
never forget when you seek Pallas
and meet in thought
yourself drawn out from yourself
like the holy serpent,
never forget
in thought or mysterious trance—
I am greatest and least.
Soft are the hands of Love,
soft, soft are his feet;
you who have twined myrtle,
have you brought crocuses,
white as the inner
stript bark of the osier,
have you set
black crocus against the black
locks of another?

III

Of whom do I speak?
Many the children of gods
but first I take
Bromios, fostering prince,
lift from the ivy brake, a king.
Enough of the lightning,
enough of the tales that speak
of the death of the mother:
strange tales of a shelter
brought to the unborn,
enough of tale, myth, mystery, precedent—
a child lay on the earth asleep.
Soft are the hands of Love,
but what soft hands
clutched at the thorny ground,
scratched like a small white ferret
or foraging whippet or hound,
sought nourishment and found
only the crackling of ivy,
dead ivy leaf and the white
berry, food for a bird,
no food for this who sought,
bending small head in a fever,
whining with little breath.
Ah, small black head,
ah, the purple ivy bush,
ah, berries that shook and spilt
on the form beneath,
who begot you and left?
Though I begot no man child
all my days,
the child of my heart and spirit,
is the child the gods desert
alike and the mother in death—
the unclaimed Dionysios.

IV

What of her—
mistress of Death?
Form of a golden wreath
were my hands that girt her head,
fingers that strove to meet,
and met where the whisps escaped
from the fillet, of tenderest gold,
small circlet and slim
were my fingers then.
Now they are wrought of iron
to wrest from earth
secrets; strong to protect,
strong to keep back the winter
when winter tracks too soon
blanch the forest:
strong to break dead things,
the young tree, drained of sap,
the old tree, ready to drop,
to lift from the rotting bed
of leaves, the old
crumbling pine tree stock,
to heap bole and knot of fir
and pine and resinous oak,
till fire shatter the dark
and hope of spring
rise in the hearts of men.
What of her—
mistress of Death—
what of his kiss?
Ah, strong were his arms to wrest
slight limbs from the beautiful earth,
young hands that plucked the first
buds of the chill narcissus,
soft fingers that broke
and fastened the thorny stalk
with the flower of wild acanthus.
Ah, strong were the arms that took
(ah evil, the heart and graceless,)
but the kiss was less passionate!

hdoolitt

H. D., 1886 – 1961.

Painting Tanagra by Elliot Dangerfield.

#GunViolence: Pinned by Linda Imbler

pinned Linda Imbler Scl chua

Such a game.
Line up the ball with the arrows.
It spins along the lane.
Knock them down.
a spare, a spare,
must try again.
Strike, strike, strike.
Boom, they all fall down.

Line up the ball with the sight.
It spins above the classroom floor.
Knock them down.
A spare, a spare,
spare no one.
Must try again.
Strike, strike, strike.
Boom,
They all
fall
down.

 

First published in Dead Snakes.

 

 

Linda Imbler is the author of the published poetry collections Big Questions, Little Sleep, Lost and Found, and The Sea’s Secret Song. A Kansas-based Pushcart Prize Nominee, her work has been published in numerous national and international journals.  Linda’s creative process and a listing of publications can be found at lindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.

 

Photograph by Scl chua.

Cherokee by Mela Blust

Bust_sculpture_of_a_woman_on_a_grave_in_Amsterdam by Natalie Maynor Cherokee by Mela

From moon to mountain
daring the lines

nobody’s sister
A tin box in the corner

where one would deposit
breaths held in bad company

A spade against the tree
dirt to cover the memory

of a laugh so much
like mine.

 

 

Mela Blust is a writer residing in rural Pennsylvania. She is an active member of many online publications. Her work is forthcoming in Abstract Magazine.

 

Photograph by Natalie Maynor.