Week 40: L. Ward Abel

Four Chairs

Out there the four chairs under a stand of oaken
walnut, the times hard like a tree but uncertain

on things like up and down. Holding patterns,
the lights from and to, skip like stones over

great blue film smooth and true north. If it moves
it proves time. Cold dew metal cold to touch

flakes thin beholden to wind, then to nothing
after it’s rained. Ghost wrought irons seated there,

they don’t believe anything they hear anymore.
Well maybe the quiet.

Virginia

Turn away, turn away
from all you are,
all you were. No one
knows but you.

They think they know.
They say they know
but simple eyes have
simple minds behind.

The shoes, the shoes
they hide your feet
they hide your heart.
It beats in a quiet room

the bone-cage draped,
a standard mistaken
for someone else. There
cracks a pump

it breaks like
hedgerow-creased green,
flows with redding scabs,
hard before your creek
and alone.

Where the Five Counties Meet

this countryside catches
blurred veils
moving curtains of rain
almost silent across
tops of trees and clearings
and up to the house.

My god at the time, the clouds
my god at the lake, the face
I only know at a distance.
The west gives birth.
A breeze begins. My old gilded
book quivers on the front porch.

I know the way out-past the fences
but here is a place. Sounds
like showers fill the woods
long after they’ve passed over.
I ignore the rustling approach.
Then I count to one.

 

Bio:

L. Ward Abel, poet, composer and performer of music, teacher, retired lawyer, lives in rural Georgia, has been published hundreds of times in print and online, and is the author of nine chapbooks and one full volume of poetry, including Jonesing For Byzantium (UK Authors Press, 2006), The Heat of Blooming (Pudding House Press, 2008),  American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012),  Little Town gods (Folded Word Press, 2016), A Jerusalem of Ponds (erbacce-Press, 2016), and Digby Roundabout (Kelsay Books, 2017).

Week 39: James Diaz

4/29/17

I dreamt you dreamt mountains and me cutting myself apart kind-knees hands in the soil tabitha railed iron fisted counted sleeping stones a while inside burning as bodies do left alone too long are you home and the outer road walking could I take you there letting go was easy when the pin split and the eye caught light laughter in the next room next life listen it’s not just rain other people can hear you and the talking in tongues first hit was the longest to shake I saw lived a while with the grate of the window pressed clean and my face belonged to you then I had no place it got this way in my body shook a little through the promises scribbled numbers call at midnight want to feel again but it’s never enough Tony’s mad eyes I couldn’t tell if he hated my help so I left him there to die aren’t we ravished enough socially I withered from within lit fires because the wood was good and sharp and my lungs could take it the company was all wrong then but it’s not the worst that shreds you it’s poking at morning details left unadorned me too crawled in the window this way strong hands lifted me off the ledge by my shirt I was all rag doll to him Sunny never came home I couldn’t breathe it got heavy my skin dancing I dreamt we were never poor asked to leave smelled a little sad that room called living on the soil no shoes no light on in the distance hills swallow houses I come clean I’ve been dangling all along 7-11 smirk how we ran with no legs claimed the deep parts addled been dreaming mountains and midnight promises scribbled on my door frame bruises if you had places for them but the scars drink water and I only pretend against the grate ivy lean in I linger it never stops hurting…

 

Bio:

James Diaz is the founding editor of the literary arts & music journal Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared most recently in Psaltery & Lyre, The Ekphrastic Review, Quail Bell Magazine and HIV Here & Now. He is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and currently resides in upstate New York.

Week 38: Robin Wyatt Dunn

 

what ruined surface of your moon
relates to me
my only child

whose urgent melody reposes dark inside your eye
give it me and I will heal it

give it me and I will damage it more
under the cover of stars

who waits to tell you
(or not tell)

the thing

the thing thing thing

thing thing thing thing thing thing

no one is telling

 

Bio:

Robin Wyatt Dunn lives in Los Angeles but is trying to escape. In 2017 he was a finalist for poet laureate of his city.

Week 37: Jim Zola

The Angels

where is the angel of adversity who knows
the angel of air I sleep with the angel
of insomnia how long is the angel
of longevity ask the angel
of calculations unknown to the angel
of confusion wet is the angel of rain
remember says the angel of forgetfulness
nothing says the angel of silence look up
the angel over small birds flies blind
into heaven

 

Bio:

Jim Zola is a poet and photographer living in North Carolina.

Week 36: Eric Dean Wilson

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Bio:

Eric Dean Wilson is a writer in Brooklyn. His essays and poems have appeared, most recently, in Heavy Feather ReviewDrDOCTORMusic & LiteratureSeneca Review, and Ninth Letter. He contributes regularly to SCOUT—a poetry review site—and teaches undergraduate writing.

Week 35: stephanie roberts

BOMBYCILLA

 
the soprano clears her throat
a manicured right fist
the colour & quickness
of waxwing rests against
her bottom lip’s full perch.
in her lowest register,
It is you …

 
who rush between cars
or waits for light to change.
you in place in places exactly.

 
at the crosswalk, you gain this past
by a lost future.

 
white iris glows at dusk blind-eyed;
inukshuks are lamp posts; balding men
with ponytails have no sense of humour.

 
in the mezzanine, a widower’s mute
anguish rolls down his face. perspiration
rivers the soprano’s silk-bound cleavage
as she comes to the point of all this.

 
his middle-aged lover whispers, cut
your hair, seeks to restore his smile;
jealous & unseen, a boy upends piled stone;
they flower once, in spring, then sleep.

 
we’re waiting for eyes to open.

 
the moon can’t care that he is beloved
although every month he opens; he tries.

 
what is it about that pre-climactic arch
that makes the fall more? what is—
becomes what kills this but cures that,

 
like the soft coos of the husband’s
desire against another wife’s cheek.

 

Bio:

stephanie roberts was published last year in twenty-nine periodicals, in North America and Europe. A 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee, she grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and now abides in a sleepy town outside of Montréal. Twitter shenanigans @ringtales.

Week 34: Joshua Edward Huskisson

“Often as I wander, I fall.

Slowly and to my knees, the fall, and the eventually fully sprawled and then habitually imbued in You.

I’ve wandered through, in and out of the lives of the shambolic comeliness of my disparate histories.

The same refrain sung to an ever changing earworm.

When I was left alone in the wheat, I bathed in juniper nightly. Perplexed and and unwilling to question to myself, I drove thousands of miles for comfort and often still remedy things similarly.

When I was left alone in the wheat, my brain was filled with star trails. I recorded the sky immobile in my decisions. Soon, I was lumbering up and down Massachusetts or Kentucky night after night after night exhaling hot, alcohol breath from my nose into the frigid air.

When I was left alone in the wheat, I swam in waters blue than me. Bluer than You. I laid under the warm Midwestern sun exacting selfish adventures and pretending to perfect solemnity to quell my unhappiness.

Having left stagnation time and time again, and at times being an egoist as a version of self care, ones’ ego can often feel the bluest waters, the hottest sun and the darkest nights at all once. The quadrillion connections that make up my brain in a momentary malaise but not really…I’d probably be dead or dumber. I’m not sure how to describe one’s limbic system being butt hurt, but I won’t stop trying.”

 

Bio:

I feel like everything I have done recently has been an attempt to be better at all – to be anything in this world – and to be thankful for realizing that I’ve never actually been lost and only sometimes I’ve been an asshole. Ah boy. Hi, I am Joshua Edward Huskisson.

Week 33: Howie Good

Dislocation Blues

I’m not afraid of dying, no. There’s always a price to pay no matter where you live. All the windows burst out. Give it a week, people are going to start looting. I often get asked, “What’s taking so long?” That’s the kind of place this is. When I close my eyes, I smell ground zero, a lot of gushing blood, gurgling almost. Don’t assume it’ll go away on its own. We’ve seen fish in parts of the kitchen. People want to know is it climate change. I can’t help them as the door is already on fire.

 

The Book of Life

Since we started working on our book, I’d say about a third of the book is gone. It was just bambam-bam, the sound when a dude keeps his finger on the trigger. We know we’re in the presence of history when things are blowing up. Funny, right? Most men just like killing stuff. So few seem to pay any attention to the moon. Try to notice the cold, wet sensation. If you can’t after fifteen minutes, just sit or stand there. Two slim, undersized men lurk in a doorway. They have no idea what they are about to experience. Bodies arrive in shreds. Some arrive in halves. And no cops for miles.

 

Bio:

Howie Good, a journalism professor at SUNY New Paltz, is the author of The Loser’s Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize for Poetry from Thoughtcrime Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

Week 32: Alyssa Trivett

Tuesday Morning Train Station

 

Bright hungover taxi driver-side mirror

key shocks my eyes. Passing by. No puddles included.

Souls and backpacks float.

I rotary-dialed my way into the morning,

stepped over footprints I couldn’t claim as mine,

so the sun did.

 

Bio:

Alyssa Trivett is a wandering soul. When not working two jobs, she listens to music and scrawls lines. Her work has appeared both online, and in print, in approximately twenty different publications. She recently had 15 poems published in Ambrosia: A Poetry Anthology.

Week 31: Christopher Prewitt

Milk Money

 

Like a pair of dead roses

let’s sing in the park.

When Gretta finds us,

she will put us in a white vase

no matter how dark

our singing.

I don’t know about you,

but I adore Gretta.

When she goes to the hospital,

I paint portraits of her in oil

on paper plates.

I tape them to green waves

in the lake on Falcone’s private

land. It’s his money and dread,

he can be an abomination

if he wants, for there’s money enough

to silence god

and his god, too.

As for you, my best friend,

with your open mouth

a dandelion

rendered in purple pastel,

not tonight.

 

Bio:

Christopher Prewitt is a writer from eastern Kentucky. His poems have appeared in Vinyl Poetry, Ghost Ocean Magazine, Four Way Review, Merida Review, and many others.