Friday, May 17, 2019

Heidi Blakeslee


Woman of the Stars

bits of astrofluff
lightly
fall down from her
strings of star hair

mother galaxy
absorbs the bad energy
and replenishes
us with virtue

so that every human on the planet
can look up at her
every once in a while

and feel like a speck
of meteor

or
as big as the
sun


Heidi Blakeslee lives near Pittsburgh, Pa with James and her cats.  She has written the novels, “Strange Man,” and “The House,” two poetry books, “The Empress of Hours,” and “Should the Need Arise.”  She also wrote “The White Cat: A Paranormal Memoir.” 

Friday, May 10, 2019

Timothy Gager


This Poem is Like a Bruise

This poem is like a bruise
A deep black Lake Superior knocking
over the white caps rolling into last breaths

An angry purple from the rage of red
until the flattening of color blends
into a subdued yellow of surrender

If you’re weak of heart
this poem is not a holiday,
It does not twinkle, nor

Are its words, lights from a city
observed upon the descent
each, a pushpin of hope

If you wait, there is just a tiny ripple
when a coin is flipped into a well
hallow, the eye-socket, black, and empty

Timothy Gager is the author of fourteen books of short fiction and poetry. Every Day There Is Something About Elephants, a book of 108 flash fictions, selected by over fifty-five editors, was released by Big Table Publishing in 2018. He's the former host of the successful Dire Literary Series in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He has had over 500 works of fiction and poetry published and of which thirteen have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His work has been read on National Public Radio. 


Friday, May 3, 2019

Rebecca Schumejda

onefiftythreeam

When your house is framed with bones
and the walls sheet rocked with flesh

there is no room for full-length mirrors
or empty apologizes, what I am trying

to say is our oldest child can’t sleep
she wakes up hourly to tell me

she’s afraid and there is nothing
I can do to make her fears go away

except stay up until she falls back
to sleep. This structure is crumbing

what I am trying to say is that I am
tired of the way the past creaks in the

night like a floor when you are trying
to sneak back into your own space

the way a shadow becomes a river
the hum of the heater and then

the silence after it shuts off. Remember
nothing lasts forever except the memory

of who you were until you weren’t any longer.




The Cost of Common Household Items

While my first home is being raized
I watch The Price Is Right
in the hospital waiting room
and consider the elusiveness of time
how organs can be squeezed out
through small incisions made with robotic arms
how my own daughters’ first home
is close to uninhabitable
how this daytime game show
is still thriving after decades
how my mother used to say,
Boy that Bob Barker, he’s a looker.

Right after the surgeon calls me
into a small side room
to update me, Drew Carey yells,
Come on Down!
When the door closes
behind us, I can still hear the music,
the audience applause and my mother
saying he just doesn’t age.
Before I can sit down, the surgeon says,
I don’t think the cancer spread
outside of the uterus
and I start tearing up
close my eyes
picture that giant wheel slowing down—

maybe just maybe
I can be the daughter I want
rather than the daughter I’ve been.


Rebecca Schumejda is the author of several full-length collections including Falling Forward (sunnyoutside press), Cadillac Men (NYQ Books), Waiting at the Dead End Diner (Bottom Dog Press) and most recently Our One-Way Street (NYQ Books). She is currently working on a book forthcoming from Spartan Press. She is the co-editor at Trailer Park Quarterly. She received her MA in Poetics from San Francisco State University and her BA from SUNY New Paltz. She lives in New York’s Hudson Valley with her family. 



Friday, April 26, 2019

Steven Breyak

One-Fingered Man Fails in Everest Bid
(from an RSS feed) 

Who wakes up knowing what news they’ll become by afternoon? 
Some, I’m sure, strive for the odd combination 
to capture the world’s fascination if only for the time 
to click to link and blink a moment in wonder. But imagine 

the plain, turning days rolling this man forward without knowledge 
of the music drafted in his tracks. One day buying airfare 
on a touchscreen. Another folding clothes. Then one afternoon 
he’s approaching the stratosphere, feeling drunk and alone, 

remembering clearly each finger’s small but tremendous 
death as if they happened in someone else’s hands 
but had been transposed to his by the same cruel magic 
that led him to love this mountain, to come apart in its cold mouth. 

This love ascends his bid to its surreal crescendo, raising 
his one digit again and again. Always there on the mountain, 
yet, in light blotches behind his eyes and in his air-starved 
mind, for fractions of moments passed, the idea of “bid” 

places him in an auction house. All around him a market— 
fine art, cultured desires—exists in a flash of luxury. 
Wounded and in his gear and filth he outbids the few 
who still care to purchase this dead craft, this climbing of Everest. 

Bidding with nothing but breath in a life where this climb is nothing 
until a man who seemed so like us loses everything for his art. 

It is only a blip between all this pressing through screens, 
during which we wonder at what he remembered.

Steven Breyak is an American poet living in Japan. His work can be found on some other great websites like this (he is very Google friendly) and in the pages of Gargoyle, and other literary journals. He's currently attempting to revitalize his blog, so have a look there as well: stevenbreyak.blogspot.com. And as of February 19, 2019 he is very happily a father. 

Friday, April 19, 2019

Nathan Graziano

Sunday Morning in Middle Age

Before stepping into the shower I remember
a segment from the Nightly News where researchers

in some prestigious university discovered the number
of push-ups a man can do has a direct correlation

to the likelihood of developing heart disease  
so as the shower ran and the mirrors misted up

I hit the deck to determine when I would die,
my palms pressed to the tiles, my arms shaking.

If I could hit twenty, I’d reduce my chance of a stroke
by sixty-four percent, according to the researchers.

There’s no suspense here, folks. After ten push-ups,
I dropped flat to my belly on the bathroom rug, done.

A forty-three year old man, found dead in a bathroom
in his boxer shorts beside a toilet—an ugly obituary.


Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire, with his wife and kids. His books include Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press), After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press) Hangover Breakfasts (Bottle of Smoke Press in 2012), Sort Some Sort of Ugly (Marginalia Publishing in 2013), and My Next Bad Decision (Artistically Declined Press, 2014). Almost Christmas, a collection of short prose pieces, was published by Redneck Press in 2017. Graziano writes a baseball column for Dirty Water Media in Boston. For more information, visit his website: www.nathangraziano.com.  

Friday, April 12, 2019

David Bulley

Business lessons
At times, in my travels through the wild snowy places
I’ve stepped on the nothing about half an inch above the snow
So that I left no track, disturbed nothing,
ghosting past exhausted deer and moose huffing through chest deep drifts
Searching out that last spruce bud within reach.
By sheer coincidence, I happen to always be alone
On these sorties so that, having left no track,
I’ve also left no proof of my passing.
One time I stomped through deep snow from
One copse to another, sweating and heaving
Behind me, single file, a herd of deer picked and snickered in my wake.
When we arrived, they frolicked at
an ecstatic pace until all the snow was tamped down and walkable
Cleverly lifting their reach to the tiny buds, they could not touch before.
I tasted a tiny maple bud
masticating, zen-like and found it good.
We all chewed for awhile and contemplated Thoreau

David Bulley writes poems and songs and stories and shares them with people he thinks might enjoy it. He is an administrator in a high school. Also he can stand flat footed and piss over a dump truck.

Friday, April 5, 2019

James Croal Jackson


Condensation

We used to be the same, used to
dance in living rooms in Grandview
houses, drunk on homemade Moscow
Mules in copper mugs, and then
you said you would no longer
drink, but you’d watch with
a glass of empty icewater,
drip out the fronts of bars
without a noise.


James Croal Jackson (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Columbia Journal, Rattle, and Reservoir. He edits The Mantle (themantlepoetry.com). Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. (jimjakk.com)