—when surfing in 28 degree water—or stuck in traffic—for 63 hours a year—your brain freezes—your chin gets stiff—no angry mobs in Tehran—shouting “Death to America”— No McDonald’s in Tehran—instead, a homegrown Mash Donald——dreaming—of a woman with blonde hair—chin length—at a restaurant table—with a younger dejected bully—hey, don’t worry—she says looking down at him—I’ll let you see em later—he drops his head—a sad puppy—so sad—so horrible—when the phone rings—we all wake up—to headlines with his name—oh no—and they’re just not true—he says—everyone must love me—digital twitter talk—can’t be recaptured—and you can’t bury it—it’s out there—scattered in air, on land, at sea—North Africa to Europe—Seawatch reports—2400 migrants rescued—four children dead—
(26 Oct 2016)
First published in Posit: A Journal of Literature and Art.
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 and Black 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
Painting Double Flat G by Jenn Zed. Used by Permission.
from the dark
of my tiny pond
in the heart
in the heat
of eyes the world
is the color
of blood lost
windows in flight.
is it sufficient
simply to sit
at your existence
in these dark
and frenzied times?
First published in What Light I Have by Debbie Hall (Main Street Rag Books).
Debbie Hall is a psychologist and writer whose poetry has appeared in the San Diego Poetry Annual, A Year in Ink, Serving House Journal, Sixfold, Tuck Magazine, Poetry24,Bird’s Thumb, Poetry Super Highway and other journals. She has work upcoming in an AROHO anthology. Her essays have appeared on NPR (This I Believe series), in USD Magazine, and the San Diego Union Tribune. She received an honorable mention in the 2016 Steve Kowit Poetry Prize and completed her MFA at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. Debbie is the author of the poetry collection, What Light I Have (2018, Main Street Rag Books).
Painting, Glitch, by Jenn Zed. Used by permission. Red Dragonfly photograph by Jeevan Jose, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
by my shadows—
for the silence with
evening birds laugh.
on an autumn night—
a cicada tosses back and forth
our tree’s old arms.
understand the tenderness
with which to touch
flowers that can no longer
In her mouth—
a nightingale holds
flowers as tender
as times long gone
by children not more
than three years old—
an autumn’s maple
withers at our window-
Trivarna Hariharan is a student of English Literature from India. She has authored There Was Once A River Here (Les Editions du Zaporogue), The Necessity of Geography (Flutter Press) and Letters I Never Sent (Writers Workshop, Kolkata). Her poems appear or are forthcoming from Right Hand Pointing, Noble/Gas Quarterly, Third Wednesday, Otoliths, Peacock Journal, Across the Margin, Front Porch Review, and others. In October 2017, Calamus Journal nominated her poem for a Pushcart Prize. She has served as an editor-in-chief at Inklette, and a poetry editor for Corner Club Press. Besides writing, she learns the Electronic Keyboard, and has completed her 4th Grade in the instrument from Trinity College of Music, London.
Painting by John Atkinson Grimshaw.
Cute, blond, plucky, oh so lucky,
an early employee of Facebook,
Cori hires me to build a house of glass
with a grand deck for sunsets, fine wine
on this hilltop first settled by the gold miner,
hardscrabble, hairy (see this old photo?)
not so lucky. Long gone.
We scrape the squalid cabin but
Cori asks me to restore the barn,
boards bleached as sunshine does,
silver-gray with fuzz. “Like you,”
she says with charming dimple.
At this barn beside a sapling redwood
the San Gregorio stagecoach would stop
twice each day while horses, sweaty,
took water from this spring
(like me, I might say).
Timbers hewn by hand, by broadax
(see the strokes?) now sag.
Square nails rust. Moss covers the roof
except where goats ate shingles.
Walls lean downhill until stopped,
braced for the next millennia
by the Sequoia sempervirens
feeding on sourdough bone
(see the tumbled tombstone?).
Old miner, too early
Joe Cottonwood has built or repaired hundreds of houses in his day job as carpenter/contractor. Nights, he writes. His latest book is Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast.
Painting by Albert Bierstadt.
A New Time, Translation from Asturian by the author:
Now, we think
that the mountains
are only a good place
Earlier mountains were
of the ancient gods
the life of the men.
for some time now
from the summits
towards the valley.
que les montañes
namái son un llugar
pa facer turismu
de los vieyos dioses
la vida de los homes.
El poder modernu
dende les cumes
Xe M. Sánchez was born in 1970 in Grau (Asturies, Spain). He received his Ph.D degree in History from the University of Oviedo in 2016, he is an anthropologist, and he also studied Tourism and three masters (History / Protocol / Philately and Numismatic). He has published Escorzobeyos (2002), Les fueyes tresmanaes d’Enol Xivares (2003), Toponimia de la parroquia de Sobrefoz. Ponga (2006), Llue, esi mundu paralelu (2007), Les Erbíes del Diañu (E-book: 2013, Paperback: 2015), Cróniques de la Gandaya (E-book, 2013), El Cuadernu Prietu (2015) in the Asturian language, and several publications in journals and reviews in Asturies, USA, Portugal, France, Sweden, Scotland, Australia, South Africa, India, Italy, England and Canada.
Painting, The Place Promised in Our Early Days, by Jenn Zed. Used by permission.
They took the guns.
In one night the children cleaned out
Our closets, our drawers, our lock boxes.
Scoured the police stations and the virtual stores,
Fled like animals, absconding with the action.
None too young or too small
To carry the guns
On their backs, over their heads
Across their forearms, stuffed into waistbands,
Zipped into backpacks, some with dangling charms.
They had badgered us until exhausted,
They turned into animals.
As one, the herd dropped the guns,
Clattering, crisscrossed into a sandy altar.
Littering our shore with dead-shiny obsidian.
Shot hot from a rifle this herd joins
The dragonflies, the turtles, the wildebeests,
The zooplankton swarms.
Heedless of the thousands and thousands of miles ahead
Theirs a desperate gamble.
The children forfeited their human form to start over.
They wait for us, these cagey animals
To surrender, to sacrifice our breath,
To sink forgotten into this riddled hill,
This ash-heap of cruel and casual penalty.
Buffy Shutt lives and works in Los Angeles. She spent most of her adult life marketing movies. She writes poetry and short stories. She has published one novel and co-authored a book of non-fiction with her college roommate and still best friend. A two time 2017 Pushcart nominee, her recent work has appeared in Red Fez, SplitLip, Bird’s Thumb and the Magnolia Review which gave her their Ink Award.
Original photograph by Fibonacci Blue.
When cossacks torched the town,
one pulled Malka from her carriage,
moved to rip her apart until he recognized
the face of his neighbor in Malka’s mother;
he apologized, placed her in her mother’s
arms and scurried into the smoky night.
Her father had seen what was coming,
packed up his seven languages and sailed
to America. Soon the family joined him,
leaving behind the country that rejected them,
their culture, their faith. They left their land
of cypress and palm with its glittering
Black Sea, and landed in a larger world
of cypress and palm where sea was ocean,
the language an edifice to climb upon
and conquer; their religion expendable
at last, they were free in their new lives.
Now my grandfather could spread garlic
on his bread in peace, no one seemed to care
what their last name was and his sister Malka
was able to grow old and tell me, “Remember,
dear, the Bible was written by a bunch of men”
and no god came to strike her dead.
Tamara Madison is the author of the chapbook The Belly Remembers, and two full-length volumes of poetry, Wild Domestic and Moraine, all published by Pearl Editions. Her work has appeared in Chiron Review, Your Daily Poem, A Year of Being Here, Nerve Cowboy, the Writer’s Almanac and other publications. She is thrilled to have just retired from teaching English and French in a Los Angeles high school.