Issue #1 – June 2017
The Poet of the Future
My brother’s eyes
are clear green,
the shade of a Perrier
bottle in candlelight.
He says, “Pierre water.”
It’s his own invention.
My brother is the poet
of the future.
My weak eyes
fade to hazel—
the color of muddy
water with algae
floating on the top.
“Trees and bushies and
shrubs” ring his yard.
That’s what he says.
It’s totally impossible
to fly a plane
or parallel park
without depth perception.
I’ll take a train and
park at the mall.
Complications of ophthalmology
are “out of tune-ish”
to the poet of the future.
Now he’s offering
drinks and “swillage,”
as in, “Swillage, anyone?
Cheese and crackers!”
I’ve got glasses and
he’s got a dictionary
he never uses.
Sarah Henry studied with two U.S. Poet Laureates at the University of Virginia. Today she lives near Pittsburgh. Sarah’s poems have appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pittsburgh Poetry Review and The Loyalhanna Review and many other publications, including Soundings East, The Hollins Critic, Circus, The Camel Saloon, Indiana Voice Journal and Whatever Our Souls. CheapPop and Donut Factory featured her humorous prose. Humor is very important to her.
James Croal Jackson
By the first scoop
you have cut
half your head open.
Jump to the cobweb
by the pumpkin pie.
Spoon the spiders
that hatch for everything
sit at the head
of the table.
Our Bodies Connected
caboose & freight
sigh & gasp &
I need new faces
I used to find
through the smells
of mom’s scrambled eggs
I want to be
a bullet train
I’ll tell my future grandkids
James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in The Bitter Oleander, Rust + Moth, Cosmonauts Avenue, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle and is a former winner of the William Redding Memorial Poetry Contest. Find him in Columbus, Ohio or at jimjakk.com.
Richard King Perkins II
Written in Skulls
You’re killing me with your near truths
as I ride a scavenger raft
beneath floral boughs and harvest drapery.
If you believe what you’re saying,
you’ll tell me a more complete story
written in skulls and splintered ruins.
For some reason,
when I see a movement out the window
I still expect to see you coming home
carrying creatures you found
along a sea-meets-jungle shore.
the same occurrence in reverse;
for me to abandon my driftwood journey
and find you twirling in a backyard garden
for no good reason—
hovering above thistle and thorns,
waiting for me to admit
that you don’t defy gravity
it’s just something you choose to ignore.
Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.
Suburban dusk obscures detail.
Joggers dimple the path around
the reservoir. They toughen
their faces to hide the empathy
that requires a friendly nod.
Being old and out-of-town,
I move too slowly to matter.
Unobserved, I catch the gloom
in my hands and knead it like clay,
knead and sculpt it into figures
that I sprinkle in the grass
to hex that local arrogance.
Earlier in a room of strangers
I rose and spoke and felt myself
detach in the shyest tones,
although I rendered myself
loud enough to hear in the back
where someone awoke with a start.
Later I accepted a cookie
and bottled water, rather
like a horse after losing a race.
Now as one famous distance
piles over another I slot
my hands in my pockets,
descend the steps by the pump house,
and slink away under the trees.
Too dark now for art to cling
to the soft part of the conscience.
The joggers swerve homeward,
having tired themselves enough
to avoid sex with their spouses.
The underground reservoir sighs
molten little sighs no sinner
can hear. The water supply’s safe
for now, but surely it’s plotting.
When cockroaches shouldered us
from our top-floor apartment
and herded us to the harbor
and invited us to jump in
and drown, you laughed and shook me
back to sanity. Your earrings,
dashes of gold and pearl,
dangled like forbidden fruit.
Your makeup smeared like abstract
expressionism, the workday
shining through the dusty window.
That was the year of the stolen
cookware, of fiery footsteps
in the Granary Burial Ground.
One day the buses stopped running
and gangs stabbed homeless men sleeping
on the Common. The roaches
weren’t wholly creatures of dream.
Sometimes as I developed prints
in my makeshift darkroom they stomped
into the chemical baths and swam
with cheerful strokes, bathing themselves
in toxins that would fell a horse.
You hated their ghostly spoor
and despised me for failing to pluck
with tweezers every last one
and flushing them into the sewers.
Meanwhile at my office job
the anger stuck to the ceiling
like a smear from a food fight.
No one else noticed, but sighs
precipitated little rainstorms,
and when I went home at dusk
the cockroaches would applaud.
Then grisly with the morning’s rouge
you greeted me with tiny sounds
metallic enough to bleed me
of everything that makes a man.
William Doreski is a Professor of English at Keene State College whose work has been published in various electronic and print journals and in several collections, most recently The Suburbs of Atlantis (AA Press, 2013).
I drink a strong, delicious beer called Doom.
It’s just my nature. Made small-talk today
with a pretty neighbor. A bird had pooped
on the siding under the eaves at the front
of her house. “Strange,” she said. And I: “Well, I
don’t think most birds have sphincters.” Brilliant. I’m
too numb to call on ancient Greece for help
as Mandelstam so sufferingly does,
or gauze eroticism in Impressionistic
mist like poor lust-torn Verlaine. God love
them both. No, I’m a walking hairy bag
of water. A magpie, I must pilfer from
the richer. “You’ve been warned,” an old man says
to me in a dream. We’re under a roof
in a thunderstorm. “Tell me a story, or turn back.”
Thomas Zimmerman teaches English and directs the Writing Center at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He also edits The Big Windows Review. Tom’s website: https://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com
a ragged gash into the cliff.
You can get there at low tide,
feel the sand sink
under your feet, climb rocks
slimed with weed.
Inside, gravel rasps under each step,
sunlight, ambered by the cracked sky,
dribbles down broken strata
to glimmer on the pool beneath.
They find bones here, sometimes – skulls
split like broken eggs
and chipped flints, light as leaves,
yet sharp enough to slice a vein
or scrape a fleece.
The half dark smells of wrack
and sulphur, seep and rot
the slow stink of creation
I like poetry which is challenging without being pretentious, popular without being trite – and that’s the kind of poetry I try to write. I live with my wife, two cats and one dog in a small burrow just outside the city walls of York.
Flycatcher in a Three-Bay Barn
The kindly reaper has rolled aside the door,
wheels rumbling along its rusted track.
He waits, wiping his brow with a kerchief,
the setting sun showing the way behind him.
But stubborn and afraid, the barn-trapped bird
flies from window to window along the barn’s
north wall, struggling and thrashing
in the cool darkness, whisking hay dust
from the panes in its panic, the blue sky beyond
more clear from this stirring, but no closer.
Kevin Casey is the author of And Waking… (Bottom Dog Press, 2016), and American Lotus (Glass Lyre Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Kithara Prize. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Connotation Press, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column ‘American Life in Poetry.’ For more, visit andwaking.com
Be Ye Therefore Perfect
I have had poetry published in Ascent, Ohio Journal, Descant, Poem, Adirondack Review, Coe Review, Worcester Review, Mary land Poetry Review, Arkansas Review, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, South Dakota Review, Sequential Art Narrative in Education, and many other journals. I have authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008).
I watched the girl
with the wooden peg in her back
and forge checks
in a pawnshop in Paris
she went home
and hooked herself
to the World exercise machine
within a week she was dead
sold the exercise machine
body and all
to reclaim their money
It is time to wake, to work.
To sit and watch the monitors,
no unauthorized vampires
prowl the halls of the chemical plant.
You outgrew the uniform
years ago, prefer now to wear
your holster under a polyester
plaid sport jacket. You were never sure why
you paid extra for silver hollow-points
but you did your first day
on the job, and have since.
Call it superstition. The vampires
have never gotten you.
Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Borrowed Solace, Dodging the Rain, and Twyckenham Notes, among others.
I never got around to gathering
the words up, those
oddball words funny-sounding
on my tongue – ‘muggins’
come to mimic its own simpleton;
‘froufrou’ the rustle
of a ballroom gown; ‘mouldy warp’
the old-named mole;
but one word at least, lifted
from a lost lexicon, makes it back:
‘slimmage’, born beloved
of the rain, first coinage I drew
out of living – though
the sensation he suffered: salt sting,
heat muddle, passed
beyond my telling as he shrank
in my palm until little more
than a gob of milk curdle;
nor could I sympathize with his
predicament, only set him
down to graze on a lettuce leaf
after he had slipped
through a crack in the kitchen door,
only guess his slow progress
by the dawn-lit glister he left
along a stone floor,
and the place where I housed him –
a matchbox – escaped from.
The Antiquary’s Catalogue
This an original black buckram with red and gilt lozenge
on upper board, this with chipped spine, this with spine
mellowed, the joints of this a little rubbed, this unnumbered
in a flipcase, this unbound, this in white pigskin, this
in half-speckled calf, this attacked by ‘worms, rats or fungus’,
this with sketches mounted at large, this with foxing
in the text, this a near fine scarce complete run of issues.
Patrick Deeley is from Galway, in the west of Ireland. He has published six collections of poems with Dedalus Press, the latest being ‘Groundswell: New and Selected’. His critically acclaimed memoir, ‘The Hurley Maker’s Son’, appeared from Transworld in 2016.
Susan L. Leary
Tomorrow you will be getting married,
and if you love this person, I imagine it will be something of the joy
I find in reading that one poem—
and forgetting it’s mine,
believing, rather, that someone, someone I
can never know, sent this poem to me
as a handwritten note,
because those words, I need
to receive them without that self-consciousness,
without comparison to the original,
and even though it’s a sad poem—as being young
was hard for you—
there is something in experiencing that poem
exactly as it is,
as I could only have wished to think it, without effort
or concentration, like an epiphany
except that no part feels, contrastingly, new,
because there is a kind of innocence
in having no recollection of what happens
afterwards, no faint notion
that perhaps, this time, the feeling might be sustained,
as there is only thrilling delight in knowing
this poem exists at all,
yes, I think that is love—before I realize it’s mine,
and then everything is ruined.
Susan L. Leary is a Lecturer in English Composition at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL. Her most recent creative work appears or is forthcoming in Clear Poetry, Steel Toe Review, The Copperfield Review, Antiphon, Gyroscope Review, Dying Dahlia Review, The Big Windows Review, After the Pause, and elsewhere.