Issue #4

Maureen Daniels

Limelight

  • We are at it again,
  • strumming
  • the leaf bitten streets
  • with wild
  • and wind blown footsteps.
  • Thunder-colored,
  • the sky breaks into a reel
  • of burning film
  • until the jagged storm-light
  • booms gray darkness.
  • I look for you, in the downpour,
  • hair fisted together,
  • eyes sinister as pencils.
  • And your lips,
  • where are they now, those
  • loft-light petals?
  • Daylight will be back soon
  • and I must capture
  • the streets with this
  • heady camera,
  • remembering why
  • I chose you
  • on an afternoon
  • such as this
  • without exits.

Her Winged Battalion

The daughter of my fourth
planet is crossing the sea

for the first time tonight.
The blizzard of her leaving

shreds me. Instead of adieus,
I wrap her in my mother’s

best necklace, delicate
as the limb of a dragonfly

resting over her galloping
heart. California,

it was you who made us
out of the muscle

of every fifth wave, but
I took her faith and I

broke it over the threshold
of our home. I did

what any mother
would have done.

This is what I tell myself.
Yet, in dreams, I am pilot

of our universe, and
steer us out of the fray.

Leaving New York City

Even before I wake up
my whole body

tingles with Nebraska.
And in this 12th floor

tucked away flat
it feels like falling,

shot straight out
of a blue and soaring

sky, down into all that
delicate landscape.

Maybe I haven’t used
wings, but in dreams

I fly with more grace
than pinwheels pirouetting

on this carnival’s hillside.
Tethered, my heart

in these dark rooms,
wrestles me

from what I’ve owned.
One by one, I recycle

your books, tear down
the photographs of our

sojourns, sweep up your
shedded blonds. But

what will be left of me
once I leave these rooms

and head for what is
west of emptiness?

Remembering Santa Cruz

1.

She’s like dreaming
a surfboard that doesn’t float.
How it sinks
when the wave cascades,
all tumble and salt
up the nose. Heels
skyward.

2.

Reentering
the surf, I watch
for ashes.

3.

I swim
west of the tide
pools and lips
of broken shells,
the rising sun,
an unreachable
buoy.

Evening Ritual

The overhead light welcomes you.
It is unnoticeable. Too hot

water skips against the lip of the tub.
Wherever your father is now,

your mother is staring
into the splash of mirror

swiped free from steam.
She is perfecting the color

of her lips as you slide
your chest into the luminous,

liquid heat. It envelopes you
and you believe this

temporary constant
is a version of pain.

The temperature is that personal.
Where she dips

her fingers, she is
touching a truth. She

fishes for the bar of soap
and finds it

near the drain.
She drops it

into your hands
without touching you.

Where are her eyes?
Where do her thoughts land

in this small, perfumed room?
Maybe you think

you’ve gotten too close,
opened the forever closed door.

But there is no lock here, no one
waiting in the outer rooms.

There is no threat of seduction.
Look closer:

See this naked boy’s face
is a version of your own.

Maureen Daniels teaches English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where she is also a doctoral fellow in creative writing. She is an editorial assistant for Prairie Schooner and Western American Literature. Her work has recently been published in Sinister Wisdom, Wilde Magazine, Gertrude Press, South Florida Poetry Review.

Ayşe Tekşen

Does Nothing

Stalks,
kills,
eats,
spits,
fights,
tears,
takes,
smiles,
does nothing.
Sits,
stands,
looks,
turns,
keeps,
tells,
shuts,
opens,
leaves,
jerks,
smokes,
reads,
writes,
lies,
sucks,
comes,
goes,
stays,
does nothing.
Sings,
creates,
tweets,
barks,
purrs,
leaps onto my lap and does nothing. He.

Ayşe Tekşen lives in Ankara, Turkey where she works as a research assistant at the Department of Foreign Language Education, Middle East Technical University. Her work has appeared in Gravel, After the Pause, The Write Launch, Uut Poetry, and The Fiction Pool. Her forthcoming work will be included in Scarlet Leaf Review and Constellations.

Jonathan Calloway

Midnight

Two wet leaves flattened on a stone hemmed
not by water but coursing fog and it is not leaves
upon the boulder but two people overlapped in darkness
A moonlit voltage ripples from one to the other
Her shiver is his shiver fogs whorl and he awakes and anon hangs
his nerveless hand to stir the obscure eddy and speak softly

What force ordains us nadir
of this strange valley of granite and pines
and tusked rivers shaggy with fog
From what deep to what deep have we been washed

In standing
the blood is forced through the mountainous night of my body
like dry leaves tingling down windy lanes
like the pilgrim who fears he may have passed this way before
but in the dark cannot be sure

Midnight’s cupped hands house my shimmer
shrunken as if a reflection in a handful of water
and share it with her whose back is turned
I suppose she can talk but I would not know which are her words
and which are mine

Is there any difference anymore     so hear this then
The most beautiful things I have found
are the things people say to each other
and so I pan the creeks of human breath for gems
that match your eyes

Jonathan Calloway earned a B.A. in English literature from the University of Vermont. His work has appeared in Vermont’s annually published Poem City anthology, and is forthcoming in Yale’s The Perch Magazine. Having lived in Finland and China, he currently resides in New York City teaching, writing fiction and poetry, and composing music.

Gregory E. Lucas

Snow-dusted Leaves

snow-dusted leaves
fall through a boreal dusk
like angel’s feather’s
falling from wings as eyes close
and see everlasting light

Gregory E. Lucas writes fiction and poetry. His short stories have appeared in Pif, Blueline, The Horror Zine, The New Press, Yellow Mama, and in other magazines. His poems have appeared in Ekphrastic Review, Blueline, The Lyric, Yellow Mama, Scarlet Leaf Review, and in other magazines.

Sarah Kersey

Mittelschmerz

Something in her womb leaps
in expectation of a suitor;
a dismembered limb being
fitted for a prosthesis;
smoldering for synergy.

Patient pucker
blowing bubble gum, not exactly
pretty, but playful.
Her lips drip preparing
for his kiss.

Hips bolden burden and
risk. Geometric
proof—triangulating eyes
for a could-be lover.
Beckoning in earnest in hazy heat
to lie like Nile reeds concealing their infant
precious and forbidden, to lie

like sweat coordinating pleasure points on
intersecting axes framed as
infinity sharing one sheet,
crisply creased
into kissing coronals.

His hypotenuse opposite her right angle
un-redacting her most private parts:
misspelling her words in intimate whispers.
Her temperature will not abate
until his seed swims upstream. But,

the nape of her neck remains un-kissed
this period. The guest did not arrive this time.
She is vengeful when love
doesn’t
take.

Patent pucker spitting
in contempt, stripping garments off
a fleeing man, shedding linens,
laying bare the fault, but no one is to blame.
Some things just happen this way:
impotently and intolerably.

Sarah Kersey is a poet, musician, and x-ray tech from New Jersey. Her work has appeared in Fourth & Sycamore, The Scarlet Leaf Review, Fire Poetry, Window, Columbia Journal (online), The Harpoon Review, and other publications. In addition to art and writing, she loves Star Wars.

Peycho Kanev

At Dawn

First light after dark night,
the crickets start to sing.

Clouds in the gloomy sky
like fists, before the blows, and silence.

The thin thread of time holding together
everything that is elusive.

Someone breathes in, but forgets to let it
out.

That moment and the next –
when everything continues: even light,

even life.

Peycho Kanev is the author of 4 poetry collections and two chapbooks, published in USA and Europe. He has won several European awards for his poetry and his poems have appeared in many literary magazines, such as: Poetry Quarterly, Evergreen Review, Front Porch Review, Hawaii Review, Barrow Street, Sheepshead Review, Off the Coast, The Adirondack Review, Sierra Nevada Review, The Cleveland Review and many others.

Mark Young

aerolongings

The direction of the wind determined the direction from which the planes arrived & departed. Always into it, never with the wind at their backs. He would watch them come or go. Only ever one side of the transaction. When the wind blew from the south, it was a kind of double whammy. The wind brought with it memories of his past, tangible, teasing. He was aware of it even without the planes. A point of origin. Not the original one, but important enough to provide Cartesian coordinates for all subsequent geography. & memorable enough so that, when the planes departed, moving right to left across the windows of his loungeroom, heading south, he longed to be on them.

Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry for almost sixty years. He is the author of over forty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. Recent poems have appeared or are to appear in BlazeVOX, Word for/Word, Marsh Hawk Review, Offcourse, Hamilton Stone Review. He is the editor of Otoliths.

Ori Fienberg

V.

Fruit has no secrets under my shell,
said a turtle to a camel.
And the camel replied,
Love is a fruit.
Leaves of Grass has as much memory
as a pear tree in the fall.
Leaves do not commit suicide,
but some are confused by the rake.
Editor’s note – This poem is part of an as-yet unpublished series of poems by this author called The Book of Answers in response to The Book of Questions by Pablo Neruda

Star Seekers

When the darkness refused to
abate, they sent out a search party
for the sun and built a lighthouse
in the middle of the town, so it
would find its way home.

A Bundle of Warmth

A woman clutches a load of bread
to her chest and speaks as though
it were a baby; hush now sweet
thing: that’s only the sound of
winter losing its claws.

Ori’s short prose has appeared or is forthcoming in venues such as Essay Daily, PANK, Diagram, Mid-American Review, Subtropics, BOAAT, and decomP. He is a graduate of the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa and works for Northeastern University.