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Showing posts from 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…

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.

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 b…

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 Par…

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 Qua…

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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,…

Scott Wozniak

Sweat to Live

Today I was at work shoveling dirt, moving wheelbarrows and carrying cinder blocks from here to there. During all this I realized I will most-likely never receive easy money for my poems. Then I thought of the one word, Yamrus poem, “Endure,” and how he’d summed up my whole life.

Scott Wozniak is a poet and chaos enthusiast who's work has been widely published both online and in-print. Most recently, he was featured in the Lummox #5 Anthology. Also, look for his work in the Svensk Apache Press anthology, due out this fall. You can follow him on twitter @sewozniak.

JB Mulligan

mulching
The crunch of rotted wood and mold as the pitchfork bites in, then pulls.
The wobble of unruly wheelbarrows down the cobblestone path of the park.
Raking the mounds over patches of dirt in the grass, around trees and bushes,
next to the stone wall.  The body groans underneath the screaming yellow T-shirt
slashed with the sponsor's name. A day off from work to work harder.
Those who did and do this every day, who scratch life from indifferent soil,
don't joke about beer and back rubs, or watch a perfect ass in taut gray pants
clench, release, clench, release, behind that skittering rat of a dog.
Life somewhere might be limited to a woman who has sagged with work and children,
whose face is a soft puddled smile that used to light like a lover's moon.
But here, I get this T-shirt, and we stop at noon for free pizza.
JBMulligan has had poems and stories in several hundred magazines over the past 40 years. He has had two chapbooks published: The Stations of the Cross an…

Frank Reardon

A Letter to My Daughter
I'm not going to glorify it. There's nothing of note to bring it all in as something only the strong and courageous consume. Truth is, I've never been able to handle it properly. Too many times I woke up without memory, the earth's heart once pumping, now shattered upon the ground; by my own hand, by my own fatal wallet and need to be seen as more than I actually am. There are years of stories, some humor's ax, others: the soaking of marrow underneath the broken land. If I could tell you what it's like to wake up in jail, break bones, hearts, and say things that are not in your head, I'd tell you to stay away. I'd tell you to stay strange, soul-rich, and daylight galaxy. What I fear more than death's knock is that you will discover your gene and marry too young. And not to a man, woman, or a dream, but to a bottle of whiskey. The same bottle I married when I was twelve. The same bottle I've regretted the last t…

Jay Sizemore

Methamphetamine                      ~after Bob Hicok
Imagine a horizon stained with blood, clothes still warm from the dryer unfolded and heaped in piles, a holocaust of time traveling selves
happening every minute without smoke. Your husband’s pale face a knuckle on the fist of a ghost, working at words like a wad of chewing gum.
You remember the ferris wheel at the Barren County fair, those yellow lights rimming conjoined ladders that spun a galaxy of wants in your ribcage, his stubble
rubbing your chin raw. His smile a haunted piano that played you songs, now a crumbling chimney of teeth set to grinding aspirin into dust.
Once he plucked a lily from the hillside and threaded it behind your ear, months before he turned you into a smurf, palming packs of Sudafed from the pharmacy.
You’d find the bathroom door closed, the acrid odor of flame against foil, cooking something akin to torment, a fish hook on each eyelid, pulling.
Before he pawned your mother’s rings, before his skin seeped with ammonia, he …

Tom Darin Liskey

Stormbringers 
Those rough tongued river folk South of the Missouri Would confound me With their open vowels And sloppy consonants— Pronouncing the word “hail” like “hell.” I still blame them  For my childhood fear of summer storms When clouds blotted out the horizon, And daylight turned black. I would run and hide in the cellar As storms rolled into the valley— The farm reporter on the radio announcing:   “Hell” was falling to earth. But instead of brimstone,  Destruction came   In cold, hard clumps of ice— Sometimes the size of my hand. Hail that pinged off the rooftop  Breaking windows and banging up cars.  When I was a child  I believed summer was the devil’s season.

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.

Dennis Mahagin

How To Make It w/ a ‘62 Reissue Japanese Fretless Jazz Bass
Plug her in easy, easy, yet with deliberate reverence, there’s a click halfway between shove and pluck, just above a patch of hum, and the stick… to love   her you must play some natural now lick the tip of your paisley diamond hard McCartney plectrum, then whip it away.
Keep the EQ flat, but push volume between nine or ten; don’t think about the Mongoloid prodigy banjo boy from Deliverance, his ghoulish sockets, hootenanny whites under iris, shameful dungarees cum doom, and neither go near the line from Don Henley’s Sunset Grille, your talent isn’t there, and maybe never, yet still possessed