#MeToo: The Farm by Mary McCarthy

No one had worked it
since before the war
when they still plowed
with a horse
owning no tractor
or any machine
powered by more
than their own
arms and backs.
I knew it every summer
before I was nine,
a neglected eden
fields rough with weeds
and white with Queen Anne’s Lace,
a long hill of sweet grass
we rolled down laughing
again and again,
stopped at the bottom
as we came up against
flowering hedges-
the apple tree that,
split by lightning,
still bloomed and set fruit,
the old tangled orchard
where the small pears
my father loved
still grew untended-
and at the center
in the white house
the snake
who did not work
who lived on the first floor
and always managed
somehow
like a dog cutting out
one sheep from the herd,
to get you alone
in a corner,
where whispering lies and threats
he forces his rough hand
between your naked legs.

 

 

Mary McCarthy has always been a writer, but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has had work published in many on line and print journals, including Third Wednesday, Gnarled Oak, The Ekhprastic Review, and Earth’s Daughters. She has been a Pushcart nominee, and has an e-chapbook available as a free download from Praxis magazine.

 

Photograph by Jerrye and Roy Klotz.

#GunViolence: Maracay by Janette Schafer

The Venezuela of my youth
had a cement washtub,
Abuela’s hands washing away
the heat of equatorial afternoon,

flashed a decadent Carnival
and I, a shy child with
thin hair, waved at the parade
in my clown costume,

joyed at the donkey piñata
at my sister’s first birthday,
children spun and spun
until they missed their mark and fell.

Today in Venezuela, raspy voiced
men walk the streets of Maracay,
rest their hands idly on assault weapons,
load poems into my quaking heart.

 

 

Janette Schafer is a freelance writer, nature photographer, former opera singer, and full-time banker living in Pittsburgh PA. She was a 2017 awardee of the Maenad Fellowship through Chatham University. Her poems and photographs have recently been included in the following: Unlikely Stories V, Event Horizons, Dear America, Reflections on Race, Nasty Women & Bad Hombres Anthology, and Anti Heroin Chic.

 

Photograph by Diosean.

I Long to Join the Conga Line by Trish Saunders

Anvar_saifutdinov_In_a_fur_coat

Even Jehovah’s Witnesses turn away from me now,
since I started wearing my fur coat
year-round

pervs in the park leave me be
’til some pop tune
reminds them I’m alone
in a world

where a woman can’t be alone
unless she’s lost a kid to a grave
somewhere

then she will be allowed a little madness
in peace.

Just warmth around my neck,
and kicking my heels in the
chorus–that’s all I ever wanted.

It’s simple–our fathers taught us to dance;
mothers warned us thin dresses
catch fire.

Don’t be afraid.
When a stranger steps forward
with an outstretched arm,
it only means you are not alone.

Even if you are.

 

 

Trish Saunders divides her time between Seattle and Honolulu. Her poems are published or forthcoming in Snapping Twig, Gnarled Oak, Busted Dharma, Blast Furnace Press, Off the Coast, Poets and Poetry, and Here/There Poetry.

 

Painting In a Fur by Anvar Saifutdinov. 

#GunViolence: Reverse Bachata by Matt Hohner

Latin Night, Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, Florida, June 12, 2016

The blood sucks back from the dance floor into his
mouth, into his nose, his body uncrumples and he stands,
the round stops bouncing around inside his cranium,
stops turning his brain to jelly, gray matter pulls and folds
back neatly into his skull through his cheek, skin closing
behind the bullet it as it leaves him, backs through a woman’s
shoulder blade and out of her chest, so fast now, spinning back
into the barrel of the man’s AR-15, explosion of gunpowder
re-condensing as the firing mechanism eases away from the
round, trigger moves forward, finger relaxes, and he walks
backward out of the club into the darkness, opens his trunk,
slides his gun back into its case, un-parks his car and returns
home, walks backward from his car to his apartment door,
slips quietly back into bed, time reverses faster, the sun
unsets for a do-over, he grabs his Quran instead of his gun,
reads Mohammad’s verses on tolerance and grace, his pain
lifting like an azan, calls his father to tell him something he won’t
want to hear, but must, because the sound of a father weeping
for a son who has accepted himself is preferable to the sound
of forty-nine others’ loved ones weeping because their sons
and daughters are now dead, and won’t be coming home
late after dancing the night away at the club ever again.

 

 

Matt Hohner, a Baltimore native, holds an M.F.A. in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado. His work has been a finalist for the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, taken both third and first prizes in the Maryland Writers Association Poetry Prize, and won the 2016 Oberon Poetry Prize. Hohner’s work has been published individually in numerous journals, including Rattle: Poets Respond, Free State Review, and Crab Orchard Review. His book-length manuscript Thresholds will be published by Apprentice House Press in Fall 2018.

 

Photograph by Orlando Police Department.

Earthquaking in Song by Jamie O’Connell

kite slices
paper air

teeth sink in sand, city
sinks in recycled
tidal waves

broken melody
falls from branches

we totaled our meadows, our
leash-less forests

ladder me
into a
collapsing star

make the sails current mourning,
the trash island
you can’t dream away

 

 

Jamie O’Connell currently lives in the Bay Area, where she received her MFA in Writing from California College of the Arts. Her poetry can be found in Menacing Hedge, Troop Zine, Newfound, and Forth Magazine, and her multimedia work has been exhibited in College Avenue Galleries in Oakland. She spends most of her time with her majestic zebra-striped dog/direwolf, Daisy. Visit her site here: http://www.jamieoco.com