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.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Matt Borczon

In Afghanistan

when the
fighting got
really heavy
I would
be pulled
out of
the ward
and put
right up
front to
receive the
wounded from
the helicopter
there was
little I
could do
there except
clear away
blood hold
severed limbs
hand equipment
to nurses
and try
not to
get rattled
as soldiers
screamed
on those
days even
the sky
had teeth.



5 am
I am
heading
for the
gym I
have weights
to lift
a day
to start
words
to write
when our
youngest
daughter
who still
sleeps
with us
wraps her
arms around
me in
bed and
I realize
this morning
now belongs
to her.

Matt Borczon is a writer and nurse from Erie, Pa. He publishes widely in the small press. His book A Clock of Human Bones won the Yellow Chair Review chap book contest in 2015. His second book Battle Lines is available through Epic Rites Press and his third book Ghost Train will come out in 2017 from Weasel Press. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Rob Plath

my father prided himself on being
a thug, a leg breaker, a thief
whose every third word was cunt or motherfucker
& usually aimed at his own family
but he wouldn't allow his 12-year-old son
to have a miniature swiss army knife
i remember he grabbed it from my hands 
& kept it himself in the drawer
w/ other larger knives & a pistol
i loved the knife back then 
the way it snapped in & out of its thin bed 
but when i grew older & disinterested
in knives & bb guns 
i found i possessed another kind of edge 
passed down to me thru the centuries 
a beautiful blade sheathed in the skull
which grows sharper & sharper 
& never is in need of the grindstone

Rob Plath is a 46-year-old poet from New York. He has over a dozen books out. He is most known for his collection A BELLYFUL OF ANARCHY (epic rites press). He lives alone with his cat and stays out of trouble. See more of his work at http://www.robplath.com.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Carlos A. DeJuana

Day of the Dead

They walk among us,
snickering at our costumes
but secretly wishing
they could dress in our flesh.
While we lay marigolds
at their graves,
they sneak into our homes
through drafty windows
to catch up on Games of Thrones,
fast forwarding through commercials
so they can get back
before St. Peter locks the door.
Before they leave,
they rummage
through family albums
and flip through the photos on our phones
while we sleep,
desperately trying to remember
who they once were.

Carlos A. DeJuana spent nine years working as a journalist across Latin America before settling in Washington, DC, where he now works for the federal government.  His poetry has appeared in riverSedge, a literary journal published by the University of Texas-Pan American, and most recently in the online journal Synesthesia. He is married and has two daughters.  When he is not working, taking care of his girls, or writing, he greatly enjoys naps.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Tom Darin Liskey

Oral History

Her husband found work
Teaching in a backcountry schoolhouse
After the war.
It wasn’t her first choice, she said,
But in lean times like those,
You took what opportunity presented.
They headed west
In a beat up Ford truck
Given to the couple in dowry.
The birth of their first child followed—
A boy with sandy hair and blue eyes.
She named the child after her husband,
But everyone called him Little Bit.
It was a happy time, she said.
Living in an old farm house
On the edge of an alfalfa field 
Paid for by the school board.
The teacher’s salary was paltry,
But the children’s parents would bring them: 
Potatoes. Onions. Ham. Apples. Butter.
Whatever bounty the season had to offer. 
The weather turned sour early that year
And the baby caught a fever.
People remembered it as the worst winter ever.
Despite the prayers and doctoring,
Sickness took the child one moonless night.
But the man and woman had to wait 
To lay their firstborn to rest
Until some men from church
Built a fire to thaw out
The iron hard ground for burial.
Even in her 80s, when she talked about 
Dressing her son for the funeral—
Her hands moved hesitantly
In their grim remembrance of that day.
And in that instance,
I saw, not an old woman,
But memory’s ghost: A young mother
Standing at the edge of a bed 
Where a child lay bathed in lemon water
And slanted winter light,
Brushing the boy’s hair for the last time.


Tom Darin Liskey spent nearly a decade working as a journalist in Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil. His fiction and non fiction have appeared in the Crime Factory, and Driftwood Press. His photographs have been published in Hobo Camp Review, Roadside Fiction, Blue Hour Magazine, Synesthesia Literary Journal and Midwestern Gothic. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Michael McInnis

From Up on the Row of Garage Roofs We Threw Broken Shingles Down at the Cops

my mother
heard my description
over the scanner
I told her I had
never seen
Orion brighter,
but Kahoutek looked
like a dirty
smudge in the
rake of blue
light.

Michael McInnis lives in Boston and served in the Navy chasing white whales and Soviet submarines. His poetry and short fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Chiron Review, The Commonline Journal, Cream City Review, Naugatuck Review, Oxford Magazine and Yellow Chair Review to name a few.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Heidi Blakeslee

My Roots of Loneliness

my mother's favorite
thing to do with us when we
were little kids was to
dump us off at someone else's house
or leave us
with a babysitter


in the summers, when
we had off
she would take us to a park
in Conneautville
in sweltering heat
and leave us there all day
with some sort of poorly-run
situation for low-income families


we would eat a bag lunch
consisting of a sandwich, a piece of fruit
and a carton of chocolate milk


it wasn't all bad
i learned to play chess there,
and sometimes I would make
a friend for a day


we would walk the block or so away
to go to the library


but i remember spending
the majority of the days
waiting for my mother
to pick us up
in the minivan


for her to love us
and be with us

however
briefly


Heidi Blakeslee lives and writes in Ambridge, Pa.  She has been published in many chapbooks, zines, and newsletters over the years.  She also has two poetry books, "The Empress of Hours," and "Should the Need Arise," a memoir, "The White Cat: A Paranormal Memoir," and a novel, "Strange Man: The Edgar Allan Foe," available on amazon.com.