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.

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.