She Says Stalker/He Says Fan by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Juan_Gris_-_Still_Life_with_Guitar

“If you can’t be free, be a mystery.” – Rita Dove, ‘Canary.’

She’s a singed torch song, a broken chord, the slip-shadow between superstar and the door. She’s that long stretch of longing riding shotgun from nowhere to L.A., a bottle of Jack Daniels snug between her thighs, always some fresh loser at the wheel. She’s the Zippo in your darkness, a glimmer of goddess in your god-forsaken life, her voice a rasp, a whisky-tinged caress. She gets you, and you know the words to all her songs, follow her from dive bar to third-rate club clapping too loudly, making sure she makes it home. She’s as luckless in love as you are, star-crossed, the pair of you, (in your dreams). If only we could choose who we love! Tonight the bartender pours your obsession one on the house, dims the lights in the half-empty room as she walks on stage, defenseless, but for that 0018 rosewood Martin she cradles in her lap like a child. If you ask nicely, she’ll end with the song you request night after night, about the perils of unrequited love. You’ll blurt out your worship into her deaf ear, while her fingers strum your forearm and her nails break your skin. Give the lady whatever she wants, you’ll tell the barkeep. Like that’s even possible.

 

First published in The San Pedro River Review.

 

 

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Rust & Moth, Nashville Review, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. She is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems,(2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (2017). A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.
http://www.alexisrhonefancher.com

 

Painting, Still Life with Guitar, by Juan Gris.

#Mountains: Mimosas and Mine Ponies (A Sense of Place) by Wren Tuatha

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1. The Fenceline

The mimosa of my childhood
grew through the fenceline,
a swelling possession,
as if it were Columbus, claiming
us and our neighbors.
I would ignore the teetering swing set
and pluck middle sections out of the leaves
to make lanky birds, phoenixes
that could clear the fence but chose to stay
in my mind garden,
flapping and bobbing
at the end of my arms
like carnival airplane rides.

Matchbox cars pulled up to mimosa root houses,
Borrowers and Hobbits.
I made fences out of kindling.
The matchbox cars would arrive home and drive away,
mapping a sense of place.

2. Mine Pony Farm

Her dad left her an Appalachian
slope, Mine Pony Farm, she called it,
after the sturdy servants who made it profitable once.
Now she rolled downhill with
the water, dogs and copperheads,
keeping ahead of mining company
snipers who shot to scare
her off, even as crews dug the mountain out
from under her.

“You and I,” she said, “we carry a sense of place.”

3. Seven River Crossings, Three Ways In

Seven trips, seven friends carried each others’ loads,
plywood and board feed, pillows and rice,
down into the deep Ozark valley.

They had park permission.
They would stake their claim
miles off any pavement, in a fold within
a fold of the state land.

There were three ways in:
A two hour road, seven river crossings, drivable
a couple of months of the year;
A two hour climb down one mountain;
A five hour hike down the other.

Each built a house. Hippie blends of old
and new, found logs, barn windows, satellite dishes.
Some stayed year round, some would come and go,
keeping jobs and family ties.

As years circled like buzzards, as kids, once dirty-kneed, turned
away to college, the friends faded off or left in some huff.
Listening, circling decisions, had always been tough.

A woman and a man she’d recently met had Brigadoon
to themselves. They were bent and knotted from planting,
dragging and climbing.

They would stop and allow my visit, for the magazine article.

 

These poems, first published in Belle Reve Journal, are part of an upcoming book length cycle, Mimosas and Mine Ponies (A Sense of Place).

 

 

Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Pirene’s Fountain, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Poetry Pacific, and Bangalore Review. Her chapbook, Thistle and Brilliant, is upcoming from Finishing Line Press. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

Even on the Sunniest Days by Kenneth Pobo

even on the sunniest days kenneth pobo photo by alejandro mallea

Riding on his underwater tractor,
Poseidon wonders why
Zeus snarls so much. Sometimes,
just for laughs, he creeps up
behind Zeus, runs him down
with a tidal wave. Zeus screams
some rather unholy curses.

It takes centuries to dry out—
something Poseidon can’t do,
wearing watery overalls
even on the sunniest days.

 

 

Kenneth Pobo has a new book of prose poems forthcoming from Clare Songbirds Publishing House called The Antlantis Hit Parade. His forthcoming chapbook of haiku and tanka will appear from Yavanika Press. It’s called Threads.

 

Photo by Alejandro Mallea.

That Mother by Roberta Beary

John_Collier_-_Reclining_Woman that mother roberta beary

My daughter is watching Frozen with friend.
I am cleaning out the linen closet.
Here is my stash of perfume samples from Bloomingdales.
I put them in a little basket.

I want to be another kind of mother.
Who comes home and climbs into bed.
Wearing nothing but sample perfume from Bloomingdales.
I want to be that mother in the Long Bar at Raffles.
Sipping the perfect Singapore Sling.

Frozen is almost over.
I take my Singapore Sling and sit near my daughter and her friend.
They open all the packets of perfume.
My daughter gets to keep the little basket.

 

 

Roberta Beary identifies as gender-expansive, and writes to connect with the disenfranchised, to let them know they are not alone. She is the author of three books of poems: Deflection (Accents, 2015) nothing left to say (King’s Road Press, 2009) and The Unworn Necklace (Snapshot Press, 2007, 5th ed. 2017) which was a finalist in the Poetry Society of America annual book awards). Beary is the editor/co-editor of the haiku anthologies Wishbone Moon (Jacar Press, 2018) fresh paint (Red Moon Press, 2014), 7 (Jacar Press, 2013), dandelion clocks (Haiku Society of America, 2008) and fish in love(Haiku Society of America, 2006). Her work appears in Rattle, KYSO Flash, Beltway Quarterly Review and Haiku In English The First Hundred Years(Norton, 2013). Beary’s work has been nominated for Best of the Net and multiple Pushcart Prizes. She lives in County Mayo, Ireland.

 

Painting Reclining Woman by John Collier. 

#Immigration: Ever-Shifting by Barbara Henning

wikimedia commons Barbara Henning Ever-Shifting

—on the F—a woman scrolls, swipes—and eats—bits of pastry—out of a brown bag—her round face—surrounded—by shoulder-length—greasy hair—behind me—a little boy to his friend—I’m scared of the president—that’s so sad—I say outloud—I’m not afraid—the woman beside me says—I voted for him—do you regret it now?—Nope—some Mexicans held up my friend—now because of him—just because of him—352 Mexicans—have been removed—from Staten Island—and I’m happy—gone—swiped—away—mothers, fathers, children—some get off—some get on—a young man—in a tee-shirt and running shorts—stares into his cell—a man with a black beard—gold colored shawl—switches the screen—hundreds of Muslim men bowing—over his shoulder—I try to catch the name—of the Imam—over his shoulder—the ever-shifting—wall between us—one after another—we take the escalator—up and out—at Broadway Lafayette—scrolling through—our options— (24 July 2017)

 

First published in Journal of Poetics Research.

 

 

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

Demographics by Monique Gagnon German

Demographics Monique Gagnon German Guatemala_city_aerial_night_b

All of the roads in Love
are spirals, switchbacks
climbing mountains
that overlook dwarfed
spruce trees, tiny rooftops
and threads of chimney smoke.

On crisp days,
far on the horizon
the golden lakes of Philosophy
can be seen shimmering
like hammered pewter
reflecting the sun gleaming autumn
like a mirage until each
lake seems to merge
into one endless offering.

From the highest roads
of Love, you might see
a swimmer or two
the size of fleas or mites
diving, splashing,
rippling the surface of
Philosophy’s heart,
unless of course the clouds
roll in from the western shore
of the island of Doubt,
where a metropolis stands
and everyone except a few
unconditioned folks
live on buses and subways
darting to and from the theater
of work and happy hour
where the servings are heaped
onto paper plates shaped
like the state of Hope, making
the inhabitants more
complacent and full
so that fewer and fewer each year
can even think of escape
anymore without immediately
forgetting why and what for.

But over in Trust,
while none of the roads
are completely paved,
everyone knows
it won’t be long
before they are done.
Brilliant, inspired civil engineers
will connect them into one
long street named Patience,
which will have no rules,
no stop signs, no lights.
Everyone will yield
to others as they come
arriving at all hours
from the fringes
of Love, Philosophy,
Hope and Doubt,
arriving by minivan, SUV,
motorcycle, and car,
headlights on
no matter morning,
noon or night.

In Trust
the population is still small,
there is unlimited room
for growth.

 

 

If you were looking for it, you’d find Monique Gagnon German’s poetry and fiction in over 30 journals/anthologies including: Rosebud, California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Off the Coast, Califragile, and The Wayfarer. Her flash-fiction and short stories have been featured in: Kalliope, A Journal of Women’s Literature & Art, The MacGuffin, and Adelaide Literary Review. Monique is a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry. Website for Monique: http://moniquegagnongerman.webs.com/

#Immigration: Mother Tongue by Tricia Knoll

mother tongue tricia knoll photo byJoeLeMerou

He told me he speaks Eritrean,
my cab driver, as he gives advice
by cell to his new roommate,
arrived, in despair of finding work.

I hear a thick, slick muscle wad
clicking of a glick sound,
the phantom of a Spanish vowel roll,
some impatience and much caution.

Raindrops on my side window fork
like sycamore branches at the quarry,
my through-vision to a rundown
neighborhood of convenience stores and bars.

My father wanted me to learn
French, maybe Latin. Not German.
His parents fled the Prussian draft.
Learn, he said, a language without his shame

of run-together hooligans of a history,
thugs and ash. My memory twists
on words I overheard living with him
like wringing out sopping towels,

pinning them up to dry, the return
to utility a matter of dry time.
The driver listens to his cousin. We merge
onto a clogged freeway. He taps the wheel.

Some family words I’ve lost, a database
named forgotten. The tires
plash a puddle. My tongue pushes
my top front teeth.

My open mouth accepts tears
that branch like drizzle on this window.
There is a funeral
at the end of this.

 

 

Tricia Knoll is a poet just learning how to live in Vermont after moving from Oregon in June. Her poetry appears widely in journals and anthologies and has received 7 Pushcart nominations. Her most recent collection is How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House, 2018) Website: triciaknoll.com

 

Photograph by Joe LeMerou.