Week 71: Lisa Zaran

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Bio:

Lisa Zaran is the author of eight collections including Dear Bob Dylan, The Blondes Lay Content, and the sometimes girl. She is founder and editor of Contemporary American Voices, an online poetry journal in its twelfth year of publication. When not writing, Zaran works full time for a non profit agency that serves individuals with mental health and substance use disorders. She lives in Arizona.

Week 70: Christopher Prewitt

When You Are There

 

When you are there no one will deny you your snowfall

When you are there the face in the sky will end its haunt of the boy with flowers for eyes

When you are there even he will seem funny, the failed standup comedian

whose jokes Jesus of Nazareth colored and they were velvet

replicas of Himself but slightly off each one

and nobody laughed not even his mother

not once in his life but she came to his opening

scowling with homemade powder donuts and red in her mouth

Nevertheless his body was found in the supply room of the glorious meadow the subsequent morning

When you are there the unknown woman with dirty blonde hair

in a 17th Century Spanish coif and matching wedding gown smiles

you’ll see that it is a holy or maybe not

kiss that approaches in the mouth that is a collapsing chandelier

and you will know then that you haven’t got there

Something has gone horribly wrong

I am not there either

but trying

I’m climbing the green hillside, climbing, my god

this is walking.

 

Bio:

Christopher Prewitt is a writer from eastern Kentucky. Most recently his poetry has appeared in antinarrative journal, SurVision Magazine, and Gravel.

Week 69: Melanie Du Bose

Light

 

Her eyes unfocus
an early morning coffee
light stares against the wall

 

Bio:

Melanie Du Bose writes and teaches filmmaking to teenagers in East L.A. She is an advocate for equity in arts education and an Activate Arts Los Angeles Fellow. Recent poems have appeared or forthcoming in Right Hand Pointing/One Sentence Poems, Passager Journal, and the Ekphrastic Review.

Week 68: Kyle Wright

Under the Skin

Little buying
spurt the sun
held high
streets pulse
beat warm insides
brought in fruit
bins and green shades
of time
pneumonia rupture
dreams masked
repetitions measure
mutations defining
this blank space

Everything Will Be Alright

Young toddler singing
Everything’s Gonna be Alright
in grocery store parking lot
Pink light, warm still, sun sets fast
I hear on radio when I get back in car
supposed to snow tomorrow
Singing fading as I enter store

Lost Little Grey Cells

trees blow
communicating pain
sadness
need bread
corners
mark meetings
lost to bad
connections
honks of smoke
too much time
wearing at the cells

Bio:

Kyle Wright is an author and student currently residing in Ann Arbor, with work published in a few local zines and in so many stacks of old notebooks, and also forthcoming in Subterranean Blue Poetry and The New Grindhouse. He writes and creates across many disciplines, living with his partner, cat, and their ever-growing hoard of books.

Week 67: Debbie Collins

gonna kick tomorrow

 

my life is full of light and I am righteous
in my suit of mirrors, so happy when
everything is so wrong

the habit, the habit

the god of pills is crouched down
in the corner of my room and he’s
not leaving soon enough for you

the failing, the failure

you, on the edge of the bed with
my quick love in your hands
you can’t look at me now

I’ll try again tomorrow

 

Bio:

When not writing about unredeemable people in bad situations, Debbie Collins enjoys letting her dog drag her around her neighborhood in Richmond, Virginia. She also likes cooking and reading tiny novels on her tiny phone. She has been published in Third Wednesday, The Lake, and Flatbush Review, among others.

Week 66: Howie Good

Blood and Masks

Milk froze in a cow’s bulging udder. John had paint he said we might be able to use to fix things up a bit. I don’t work for free, but sometimes it just happens. I went off to collect drop clothes and brushes. No one had mentioned the new obstacles to traveling by day or the way everything was falling out of windows. By the time I got back, a van loaded with weapons was burning at the side of the road. To everyone’s amazement, the flames actually danced.

Bio:

Howie Good is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.

Week 65: Jennifer Ruth Jackson

Absentee Father

 

Pause, cut the applause off mid-cheer, and
Screams of fans mid-screech like a bird of prey
Strangled in flight, body never found,
Never touching down

Erase the players off the grass, scrub them
With the brush of age or sponge of amnesia
Light uniforms, dandelion puffs, sift breezes during drifts

Ignore the sore limbs body-promised
By unyielding, plank seats
Our shifting (no relief) frozen with the spectators now
Your head bowed as though you seek
Removal from this snapshot of time

 

Bio:

Jennifer Ruth Jackson is an award-winning poet and fiction writer whose work has appeared in Red Earth ReviewBanshee, and more. She runs a blog for disabled and/or neurodivergent writers called The Handy, Uncapped Pen from an apartment she shares with her husband. Follow her on Twitter @jenruthjackson

Week 64: John Grey

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OR BUST

 

He stays up all night writing his autobiography.
Secretive and anonymous, the shadow within the shadow,
he hopes that his words can do what his life has not.
He smokes. He plays chess with details from his past.
He tells tales on himself. He primes himself for execution.
Bloated from clutter, the attic room looks like the insides of a horse.

He’s not passionate enough about sleep to bother with it.
It’s like bandstand music. It’s loud but he doesn’t really hear it.
He prefers the drugs and the coffee that take him to
the archipelagos in his head, the isles passionate, godlike, visionary,
lands where dwell the imaginary friends of his fierce solitude.
Their histories may be as frail as sunlight on bottle cap
but, in the midst of all this traffic, they are the only ones that matter.

First chapter is one child crying.
Chapter two is a garden hose writhing like a snake.
Chapter three is from a time when men and women lived apart.
Chapter four is spit from deep down in the lungs.

He stays up all night, an unholy man feeding off blank responses.
Sometimes, he’s the outsider crashing his own life.
Then he’s the steady overflow from the times that cannot hold him.
Or he’s upside down, his feet cruising the skylight.
Or the mystery to himself that’s mopping up the carnage.

He knows that, ultimately, he’s wasting all this blood on nothing.
That’s the beauty of all this sacrifice.
He’s a searchlight with pale, excitable hands.
He barely skims the waves.
The vessel is in danger. He knows it’s in there somewhere.

 

Bio:

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Evening Street Review and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, Poetry East and Visions International.

Week 63: deb felio

Always One More

 

While men withdraw their deposits
trying to distance themselves from the cost
the women in the meantime need
to keep their legs and fingers crossed.

 

Bio:

deb y felio is a witness poet exploring and writing the under-represented sides of historic and current issues. deb lives and writes in the hills of Boulder Colorado and is active in the Denver Lighthouse for Writers and the Stain’d art community. Her work is published in multiple online sources and in the print anthology Hay(na)ku ( Eileen Tabios, editor).

Week 62: Colin James Sturdevant

The Narcissist’s Martyr

I remember your budding, strange            strange love while in high school   & the red hum of my face’s cheek   one night of your drinking & candid speech.            your mechanical hand slapped       my face cracking the porcelain calm.                        meat below me on a plate               grilled, yellow caramelized onions                butter coating the steak        your words filling the air.      stumbling. straggling. loosening to hug me that was really a noose.     lashes & whippings.                           christened       skin.

& then a night when I was in my 20s             you told me: you’re too ugly, and will be too poor for marriage.                       teachers don’t make enough.             no woman will want you. & the stars were drowning.       a few fish eggs tucked in the stomach             of a predator. breath prying for space.           & I didn’t talk back, but cried like a screen door opening & closing.      & hungered for a normal kind of love.          A righteous love. “Love” love.

later as morning pushed night, before blackness was bucked by light, I stretched my face over the pool & looked at my reflection & saw my wooly long hair & could’ve sworn my face had the chops not of a man but a ram, coated as black, and my horns were ground down,                  shorn, to the skin            dust to dust

mother, your love was fickle & cruel & Old Testament

but I still raised my voice & bleated to the sky, cheering thy name, crying for

more! more! more!

 

Bio:

Colin James Sturdevant is an ELA high school teacher and received his BA in English – Creative Writing, Fiction – at the University of Houston. His work has appeared in Rufous City Review, Banango Street., Glass Mountain, Zaum – Sonoma State University’s Litrerary Magazine. He hopes to start an indie lit mag to publish middle school and high school poetry from the nation and beyond someday.