Come the Day by Nolan Meditz

louisiana_zombie_afternoon_1_by_frogstar_23-dbmhdbi

Someday the sun, ceasing its fire
and spiral toward dust or increase
in density—a reaching toward
a haul of iterant rocks
tumbling—will as it always has,
only this time more starkly,
fail to recognize you.

 

 

Nolan Meditz was born and raised on Long Island, where he received his MFA at Hofstra University in 2014. He received a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2018 and will begin teaching writing at Southwestern Oklahoma State University this fall. His poetry has appeared in Roanoke Review, AMP: Journal of Digital Literature, Mockingheart Review and The Wild Word among other publications.

 

Art by Jenn Zed.

#Immigration: Me, Too by Barbara Henning

pelezhomeless

—rheumatic fever—turns the skin—yellow—a heart, scarred——soon—my mother says—you will—take my place—I wear her old stockings—dye my hair henna—like hers—smoke cigarettes—wear red lipstick—her fringed leather jacket—at 18—at the sewing machine—my foot is hers—pressing the pedal—there’s a murmur—in your heart—the doctor says—but soon it will heal—in the afternoon—I birth a child—walk down the hallway—in her turquoise bathrobe—at the zoo—an old female orangutan—locks eyes—with a young woman—breastfeeding a baby—yes, she nods, me, too—at 37—my two children sound asleep—and all of a sudden—I wake up—surprised to be alive—what about—the others—I think—the motherless migrants—the refugees—the cumulative wound—rooms—that murmur—and whisper—remember me—take care of them—take care of you— (20 May 2017)

First published in The 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

 

Painting Homeless by Fernand Pelez. 

Daddy’s Friend, Stan by Alexis Rhone Fancher

daddy's friend stan alexis rhone fancher photo by muffinn

1.
Stan likes me in those cut off jeans that fringe
my upper thighs, fringe I unravel when I watch
TV, after my homework’s done.

I do it for Stan.

2.
He says I’m rocking this silver
bikini. It makes my nipples hard.

3.
He says in this suit I look like “moonlight
flickering in a jar.”

4.
Swimming laps.
Going nowhere. Disastrous
pair: Daddy’s flirty little girl, and his
good friend, Stan. Beer in hand. Watching
when he thinks no one’s watching.

I swim for Stan.

5.
Smolder-eyed, half-lidded, snake.

6.
He almost touched me.
He never touched me.
He almost never touched me:

Choose one.

7.
Driving me home from
Northridge, Stan’s daughter, Ruthie
asleep in back; me, strapped in
front, the seatbelt dissecting my
budding breasts.

Stan’s speeding,
his eyes on the road,
left hand on the wheel,
right hand lost in the no-man’s land
between my knees and thighs.
“Shhh!” he soothes when I whimper,
afraid he’s gone too far.

He thumbs the fabric instead of me,
whistles the theme from
Mission Impossible.

That fringe! That fringe! Oh, that fringe!

 

First published in Quaint Magazine. Nominated for Best of The Net 2015.

 

 

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

 

Photograph by Muffinn.

Where the Oldest Gods Lived by Patricia Nelson

 

Liliyam Parva Iranian artist

Dark rock and cold, bright water.
Edges of great height, large lines
where sky and shadow move without rest.

Nothing that implies the things
alert and toothed and tilted at the eye,
the little warm cries with large, absurd intentions.

There’s no way to foretell the change
that will dull the rocks
with a callus of creatures.

No animal to eat things smaller
and more beautiful than itself.
Nothing that flees or tricks or dies

among the thoughtlessly strong.
Nothing yet that moves the gods to leave,
to lift like angry waters over black rock.

The old gods see the sky come down
to those alive and temporary, dragging its particles,
making its gradual case for blue or gray or cold.

The sky holds too the gods’ migration,
the odd wish to watch the mortal and the accidental,
to want the foolish awe, the alteration.

 

 

Patricia Nelson is a retired attorney who has worked with the Activist group of poets in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her most recent book is Spokes of Dream or Bird, Poetic Matrix Press.

 

Painting, On Coming News, by Liliyam Parva. Used by permission.

 

Caged Skylark By Gerard Manley Hopkins

Dorothea Lange migrant farm workers

As a dare-gale skylark scanted in a dull cage
Man’s mounting spirit in his bone-house, mean house, dwells –
That bird beyond the remembering his free fells;
This in drudgery, day-labouring-out life’s age.

Though aloft on turf or perch or poor low stage,
Both sing sometimes the sweetest, sweetest spells,
Yet both droop deadly sometimes in their cells
Or wring their barriers in bursts of fear or rage.

Not that the sweet-fowl, song-fowl, needs no rest –
Why, hear him, hear him babble and drop down to his nest,
But his own nest, wild nest, no prison.

Man’s spirit will be flesh-bound when found at best,
But uncumbered: meadow-down is not distressed
For a rainbow footing it nor he for his bones risen.

 

Gerard Manly Hopkins, 1944-1889.

 

Photograph by Dorothea Lange, 1895-1965. 

#Mountains: The Mountain by Tamara Madison

Kuznetsov_008-1

My child sleeps on her stomach;
one arm crawls over her head
like a swimmer’s,
mouth with lush lips
open, a constellation
of moles on her shoulder
stray stars flung
about the rest of her.
Her breath is a breeze
moving curtains, one lock
of hair curls up from her earlobe
to lick the new, rose-lit
earring. With many rings,
bracelets of plastic lace,
I watch her gaily skirt the foothills
of adolescence, just poised
to make the climb; still
the mountain looms
and she sleeps
in its deep green shadow.

 

First published in Wild Domestic, by Pearl Editions.

 

 

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.

 

Painting by Nikolai Dmitriyevich Kuznetsov.

# Mountains: High on Her Mountain, the Witch Witch Warms Herself by Michael H. Brownstein

karin_dreijer_anderson_by_frogstar_23-dcd3vjs.png

The witch witch wakes hungry
ice on her breath,
clouds in her hair,
underwear gray and red,
warts sprawled across her arms.
There are always people who are meant to harm you.
The witch witch is not one of them.
She can dig a shallow grave,
pray over a cat at play with a mouse,
squash a scorpion between thumb and forefinger.
The witch witch sees the dormant volcano
through an opening in her wall,
the sudden rise of steam, the push
of ash like wet sand,
the beautiful collapse of the dome.
She walks onto her veranda,
folds her small hands into a smile,
and watches the mountain catch fire.

 

 

Michael H. Brownstein is on the roof of his old house, the roof in serious disrepair, and he walks on it as if he’s on a boardwalk – a squirrel falls through where he just stood – what is left to do but go to all fours, tread carefully until he’s on safe ground, call the roofers (he can’t fix this), and write a poem.

He’s walking across a great field, firecrackers exploding. He swats away at dozens of mosquitoes. Near where he teaches, the security guard tackles him and points out a sniper who has been shooting at him as he crossed. There is nothing else to do but conduct a poetry workshop in his algebra class.

He goes camping, and a rattlesnake crawls into his sleeping bag. Prayer and poetry – they really do go together.

On and on. Take a break. Write a poem.

 

Watercolor by Jenn Zed