Monday, February 13, 2017

Matthew Borczon

Souls

(1)

hard
to dispute
the logic
of a
5 year old
Eliza wakes
up shaking
crying she
calls my
name

she is
afraid of
dying again
this feeling
swallows her
like a
hand inside
a pocket.

(2)

As I
hug her I
stroke her
hair and
give her
the Catholic
answers my
parents gave
me at
her age

don’t worry
it’s a
long long
way off
and when
it does
happen I
will be
waiting with
grandpa and
all your
family

Eliza’s voice
breaks
“Daddy
I’m the
youngest
so I
will have
to be
alone for
so long”

I think
she cries
her weight
in tears.

(3)

I can
only hold her
feel scared
I know
alone
it has
ridden
my shoulder
daily since
the war

I know
fear
of death
I have
held a
dead child’s
body and
handed it
back to
its father

I know
fear of life
after war
fear for
men without
legs or arms
fear of
my own life
without faith
with almost
no soul left

fear of
crowds and
the feeling
that no
matter how
many people
are around
I am still
dying alone
by minutes
and inches.

(4)

I say
nothing
just pull
her close
cry with her
in silence
as I
promise
to her
to me
to the universe
and every
religions God
that I
will get
some of
my soul
back

buy it
steal it
reclaim it
rebuild it
out of
something
or out
of nothing
some how
some way
I will
have it
so I
can leave
it with
her when
I go.


Matthew Borczon is a nurse and Navy sailor. He is the author of a Clock of Human Bones from Yellow Chair Review Press, and Battle Lines from Epic Rites Press. His next book, Ghost Train, will be out in June 2017 from Weasel Press.  Sleepless Nights and Ghost Soldiers is set for a release in 2017 from Grey Boarders Press as well. He publishes widely in the small press. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sheldon Lee Compton

Bakadewin (Hunger)


The Wendigo stood to be seen in its full form, the emaciated body, skin so flecked and brittle it could peel open in a breeze, the ribs a resting canopy across its middle, its legs little more than a jutting tangle of pulsing veins. In its hand was the swirling ball of the earth. Its eyes were sad, a vivid green against the stygian backdrop of the universe. And though its eyes shined sadness, the mouth was a horrible circle of tongue and teeth, the insides slickened wet. Yawning, it stretched its boney jawline to breaking and revealed the depths of its throat throbbing with life, anticipation. It was as if the mouth cried separately to be nourished, like an infant trapped inside the face of a monster. In one blurring gesture, the Wendigo cupped its meal with shredded fingers and gave a long, sepulchral wheeze.

The earth did spray like
stardust resplendent light from
its mouth and was gone.

Sheldon Lee Compton is the author of three books, most recently the novel Brown Bottle (Bottom Dog Press, 2016). His stories can be found in Unbroken Journal, Gravel, New World Writing, PANK, Monkeybicycle, DOGZPLOT, Spelk, WhiskeyPaper, and elsewhere. He was cited in Best Small Fictions 2015 and Best Small Fictions 2016.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Paul Brookes

She is Forgetting Him

Steve says his wife often
comes into their bedroom
and says "Where's Steve?"

And he says to her.
"I'm here love. We've
been married forty years."
And she says,
"Of course you are. We have."
And she laughs.
"How did we first
get together?"

At the end of the next day,
when they've been out
to the shops and visiting
old friends she'll say,
"What have we done today,
Steve?" And she remembers
none of it.

At mealtimes she picks
up her knife and fork
and holds them very close
to her glazed eyes.

Holds them
like javelins to eat
her meal.

(II)

You've stolen them.
Haven't you?"
"Stolen what, love?"
"You know what.
Look?"

She shows him her
fingers, and he sees
they are no longer fat
but thin to the bone.

"Come on,love.
They must have dropped off.
I'll help you look for them."
He offers.
"In the place you've hid
them. I bet. I know
your game, Steve.
I'm wise to you."

Paul Brookes was poetry performer with "Rats for Love" and his work included in "Rats for Love: The Book", Bristol Broadsides, 1990. His first chapbook was "The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley", Dearne Community Arts, 1993. He has read his work on BBC Radio Bristol and had a creative writing workshop for sixth formers broadcast on BBC Radio Five Live.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Gordon Taulbee

Sulfur Water

The sulfur water stains
the children’s clothes when their
parents try to wash them.
The water man said it’s
actually iron --
elemental problem --
but people think sulfur
because that is what they
have been told for ages.
That doesn’t cause the smell.
He says the filter will
fix the problem and make
the water softer too.
It will be better for
cooking and cleaning soon
and that smell will work its
way out of the homestead.
The well will need venting
The hydrogen sulfide
Is the cause of the smell
But does not cause the stains.
This will fix the problems.
It sounds like a great plan
for now, or at least till
they run city water.
Then water man’s widow
can soon be forgotten.

Ernest Gordon Taulbee grew up in Salyersville, KY – a rural town in Eastern Kentucky. He holds a BA and an MA in English from Eastern Kentucky University. He lives in Louisville, KY with his wife and daughters. His novel A Sibling in Always can be purchased on Amazon. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Bree

No Mote

black swans i almost didnt see
but for their glowy beaks
red as sumac- they didnt match
the dark tones of lake, stuck out
like your lust for me while i read to
the children all cloistered- who could
hear me even from the colonnade,
all hickory and hops-vine, where
i saw you watch me from inside
a white willow tree.

mergansers with their heads trailing
swam among dead stakes of lotus.
that belted kingfisher bode us a
good day, and returned the
children to their cages below bald
cypress knees so naked i had
to look away.

you willowed no longer, i took leaf
to mean wing, and feather to mean
ivy. i took a shaded path back
to the armory. it got hot and thick
and i could breathe more heavily,
rapt on high, no mote of hope.




Bree is a poet and visual artist living in Pleasureville, KY. Her Green Panda Press has put out hand-made chapbooks, anthologies and sundry of the very small art and poetry press since 2001. In 2015 she began Least Bittern Books out of Henry County, KY with a focus on poetry paperbacks by strong, singular voices. In 2016 she received an Artist Enrichment Grant from the Kentucky Foundation of Women for visual art. Her new book 'and i am also invasive' will be available from Birds and Bones Press December 2016. A calendar featuring some of her collages for 2017 is available at greenpandapress@gmail.com, and her art can be viewed at theartistbree.com

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Mary Carroll-Hackett


Ghost Says It's Loud At The Border

all manner of caterwauling and hollering and carrying on, eyes rollercoaster closed and lips drawn back in fear, in ecstasy. The rare ones smile, smile like they're saying See?, the ones who knew it was coming all along and that it didn't mean an end, just a layover, a connection, a staying a bit, then a going. They smile out the windows of the gravity bus, equally at peace on this side or the other, ready to begin again. Maybe if y'all could think about it as an exodus, Ghost says, like coming out of Egypt, or starting an extended vacation, or really winning what's behind door number four, or being filled rather than emptied, being opened and filled and filled and filled to the point that you simply cannot, will not, do not want to, stay there anymore. 


Mary Carroll-Hackett is the author of six collections of poetry, The Real Politics of Lipstick, Animal Soul, If We Could Know Our Bones, The Night I Heard Everything, Trailer Park Oracle, and most recently, A Little Blood, A Little Rain,from FutureCycle Press. Mary founded and teaches in the Creative Writing programs at Longwood University and with the low-residency MFA faculty at West Virginia Wesleyan. Mary is currently at work on a memoir.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Ian Randall Wilson

Unsleeping

A cloud passes overhead
bringing 30 seconds
of exceptional rain.
Not enough to raise
the failing reservoirs
more than an eighth of an inch.

The cat prowls
the hallway's outer borders
looking for some
kind of prey.

The floorboards are creaking.
The room shrinks.
Sconce light begins to show its bias,
its unnatural nature
and inability to do more
than make less dim
its tiny corner of the globe.

A river could not meander
less directly.
Enter spirit of the night.
At last the world turns
imperative.  Now a dog howls
the way a dog
has howled for these
many million years.
Lights come up.
Words are shouted,
but the tone is very French.

Another cloud burst explodes
with the beat
of at least twenty drummers on the roof.
I'm awake anyway
watching the dark.
I have no exceptional worries
unless the dark begins watching me.

Ian Randall Wilson has published two chapbooks, Theme of the Parabola and The Wilson Poems, both from Hollyridge Press.  His fiction and poetry have appeared The Gettysburg Review and Alaska Quarterly Review.  He has an MFA in Fiction and in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. By day, he is an executive at Sony Pictures Entertainment.