#Immigration: Broken English by Daniel B. Summerhill

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Ahmed’s English breaks
after each word,
a slight pause
of interrogation
as if discovering
each term mechanically.
Perhaps
it’s his tongue rebelling
against colonialism,
the way it spills
its discourse
and expects you to pretend
there isn’t mud trudged
through your home or
front door left open.
What happens to the mouth
as it sculpts
a new language?
As the tongue finds
new ways of expressing
its distaste
for subjugation.
How each vowel becomes
malignant. How it breaks
English un
evenly.
How Ahmed pronounces
his name
wrong now.

Daniel B. Summerhill is a poet and performance artist from Oakland, CA. Currently an MFA candidate at Boston’s Pine Manor College, Daniel has performed and taught guest workshops and lectures throughout the U.S, Europe, and South Africa. He has published two collections of poems, Crafted and Brown Boys on Stoops, and has been asked to perform at Ted Talk and Def Jam Poetry with Danny Simmons. His work has been published or is forthcoming in Pine Hills Review, Cosmonauts Avenue and The Voice among others.

 

Painting by Jenn Zed. Used by permission.

My Dad’s Lunch Box by Donna Hilbert

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My dad climbs down
the telephone pole,
stretches out under a pepper tree,
opens his lunch box:
black metal,
substantial like a vault,
or a government building
in a Balkan country.
Under its dome
wire arms hold
a Thermos of coffee.
On the bottom floor,
Vienna sausage on a bed
of mayonnaise, white bread.
For dessert, butterscotch
cream-center cookies.
Dad unwraps a sandwich, eats.
He pours coffee into the cup
his Thermos lid makes,
dips a cookie, watches it bloat,
then holds his lips to the rim,
slips the sweet bits
into his mouth.

I like to think
he savors pleasure
before he stands
the box on one end
touches a forefinger to his tongue,
his damp finger tip
gleaning crumbs
to feed the sparrows who wait
in slender leaves.
Then, one foot
over the other,
he climbs the pole again.

 

First published in Transforming Matter, PEARL Editions.

 

 

Donna Hilbert’s latest book is Gravity: New & Selected Poems, from Tebot Bach, 2018. She is a monthly contributor to the online journal, Verse-Virtual. Her work is widely anthologized, including Boomer Girls, A New Geography of Poets, Solace in So Many Words, The Widows’ Handbook, and most recently in The Poetry of Presence. She lives in Long Beach, California. More at http://www.donnahilbert.com

 

Photograph by Akinkevinphy.

#GunViolence: At the Movies (Habemus Papam) by Anne Harding Woodworth

The_Century_16_theater_in_Aurora_CO_-_Shooting_location

It’s a quiet one, We Have a Pope,
the one about the pope
who doesn’t want to be pope.

Quiet, yes—up to the clap of thunder.
The pope’s in for a downpour,
and yet sun radiates over Rome.

*
Turns out the thunder is my own, our own,
in the night sky outside the theatre.
Reality has infiltrated fiction,

the way real and unreal blurred
over the Aurora, Colorado audience,
into a chaos of bodies on the screen

and bodies in the rows and aisles.
Screams, gun blasts, swat teams,
sirens, smoke surged

from behind the scrim and in front of it.
Real blood shone as rose-bright
as any artful wound in a studio.

More thunder. There’s no telling
the difference between what’s out there
and in here. Mindless celluloid holds up.

*
Behold the antihero, as Zeus bombards,
wounds, kills, and shakes walls, sides,
front and rear, seats of velvet,

until no one on earth knows
what projection is, who the holy father is,
and whether we have one or not.

Memorial_outside_Aurora_Century_movie_theater_where_shooting_occurred

 

Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of six books of poetry and four chapbooks. Her most recent chapbook is The Last Gun, an excerpt of which won the COG Poetry Award, judged by A. Van Jordan. It has subsequently been animated and can be seen at http://www.cogzine.com/watch. Harding Woodworth’s poetry, essays, and reviews appear in the U.S. and abroad in print and on line, such as in Poet Lore, TriQuarterly, Crannog, and Innisfree Poetry Journal. She lives in Washington, D.C. where she is a member of the Poetry Board at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Photographs of scenes following Aurora theater shooting by Algr.

While I’m not familiar by T.m. Lawson

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My skin, its color, the textured Spanish of eyes
My skin, pitted and poxed
My king of snapping teeth and blood gum
My king of whips and chains and cliche gaped asshole
My king of breathlessness and choking
(oh those kings I smothered in red rooms,
not mine, the light hiding my dimensions)
I’m not familiar. A familiar.
And the daughter dog curled in bed with bone
And the red collar with orgasm in heart
And the bird cage shadow
And the spiked heel song
And the homeless native, night crawler in old day
And the animistic tattoos prescribed with hunger
And Hossein’s hill of a belly, the daughter-dog slept on
And the father-boyfriend who held the hair
And the mother-boyfriend who stomped on chests
And the line of fathers, railroading
And the jaws
The parrot silence
The matricide
The cock-craving
The orphan-kin
The rope
The pillow
The blinding candle
The mind fuck

 

 

T.m. Lawson is a writer and poet living in Southern California. They have been published in Los Angeles Review, Entropy Magazine, Poets.org, White Stag, The Other Journal, NILVX, and Women’s Studies Quarterly. They are a 2015 Academy of American Poets prize winner, and a 2016 Thompson Prize winner. Formerly the Poetry Editor for Angel City Review, they are now an M.F.A. student at UCSD’s Creative Writing program.

 

Painting, Pagan October, by Jenn Zed. Used by permission.

 

#Mountains: A Sunset Falls by Pablo Cuzco

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A mountain in Yosemite lets water fall,
majestically crash on rocks. Bird whistle cones,
Sequoia | tall, send message to the sky:
We are the emperors of the wild.

 

 

Pablo Cuzco is an American writer of poetry and short stories. He spent his early years in France and Germany with his family. In his teens, he traveled across America with guitar in hand, writing songs and jotting memories along the way. Now, living in the Southwest with his wife, he has time to reflect and share those stories. His works can be found at Underfoot Poetry, The Big Windows Review and on his blog, Pablo Cuzco – in My Mind’s Eye.

 

Photograph by Walter Siegmund.

Caretaker by Roberta Beary

Caretaker Roberta Beary Dove

I

florida sunshine
mother soaks up
the shade

cherry blossoms
the incessant sound
of mother’s cough

mother’s day
only the tulips
come calling

in the wheels
of mother’s chair
wet leaves

cheshire moon
mother no better
no worse

autumn moon
her brain a tangle
of white string

winter solstice
no spark of recognition
in mother’s brown eyes

blue crocus
mother will never
get better

II

rain all day
a place I cannot reach
in mother’s eyes

hospice day
a flutter of movement
in mother’s hand

resurrection sky
mother somewhere between
here and there

bone dry
mother’s hand
in mine

brief sunset
a world beyond this one
in mother’s eyes

day of blossoms
a nurse erases
mother’s name

forsythia
the funeral
unfolds

on the church steps
a mourning dove
with mother’s eyes

 

First published in Deflection.

 

 

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.

 

Photograph by Moataz1997.

#Mountains: The Appalachian by Karen Silverstrim

The Appalachian by Karen Silverstrim

The hikers are tied, tight enough for stability, lose enough not to cut.

They have only ever known asphalt and city parks, breaking them in, breaking herself in. “I’ve always wanted to . . . “ is now reality. The practice with the weighted pack, the flint, the filters, the course on primitive survival and first aid. Trying to get ready, knowing preparation can only take you just so far.

This is not a journey of proof, there is no one to prove anything to anymore. It’s not a self-affirmation journey, she is already self-affirmed. This is truly just the desire to go, to climb, to be alone, people were never her forte. Nature is her salve, organized, manicured nature. Will the wild be too much, too real?

This is a journey of solitude, an attempt to get lost inside herself, inside the world, much like she would do at dinner parties, only this time for real. “You could die out there!” She is warned. She is dying in here, she thinks to herself. “If I die,” she says, “let it be on my own terms, in the arms of the trees. Grandma Gatewood did it, why can’t I?”

 

 

Karen Silverstrim lives in western New York, spending her time hiking around the Niagara Gorge and teaching history. Karen has been writing for 47 years, with publications in newspapers and literary journals in New York, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Canada.