Issue #3

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.