Thursday, March 23, 2017

Richard Merrill

Living without gps


Travel up the common
femoral artery
to the junction of walk
and don't walk. Leave latitude
for the heart, its sextant lost
in the remains of route 66, or plot
a solution;
I've got my spine I've got my Orange crush.

Broken mirrors vivisect the man, all roads lead
to Polaris, scattered bearings.  
Find some other track side
noodling in the dark, people
losing time, lost being
lost between the Crux and nebulas.

Steer into the long way home, find
where found is hidden in the magnetic
resonance, images of small intestine
and appendix, the parallax of travel where
no one can run to, or from.


Richard Merrill is an unrealized poet. As well as an unrealized farmer, architect, Lego artist, and ultracyclist. It took him a while to accept the term; trucker. Lately he has realized he is very much that. He hopes the reader finds some merit in his work.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Hillary Leftwich


I’m calling you out.
You’re a dream
but never a reality.
You’re everywhere
on the streets and in my sheets.

I work all day and catch
the Colfax bus home at night.
You’re everywhere on the bus;
your smells, your faces, your rage.

There is a woman
twitching in her seat
from withdrawals.
I’m too scared
to sit next to her.

I see the face
of the man who tried
to kill me every day
in my son’s face.

How can I love this boy
with all my heart when
he looks like the one person
I hate the most?

I can’t wake up.
I can’t move.
The psychiatrist tells me
it’s sleep paralysis but
I think it’s you.

I can solve Algebra equations
in my dreams
but I can’t figure out
how to live
off $2300 bucks a month
with three jobs
and a son to raise.

Soon he will lose
his Medicaid because
of a man who cares more
about the size of his hands
than the size of his heart.

There’s no equation that solves
how I can save my son
from the seizures
that are going to kill him.

My eyes aren’t brown
they’re hazel
but who gives a fuck
when no one looks you
in the eye anymore?

Men tell me it’s so cute
when I try to write poetry
and read in front of people.

This is how the world is, honey.

Put your big girl panties on.

You’re prettier when you smile.

Swallow next time, will ya?

I can’t get the smell
of bleach
out of my nostrils
that I use to scrub
the black mold
off my son’s bedroom walls.

It’s killing us.

My credit sucks
and I can’t afford to move.
You have me in a choke hold.

What happened to the bed
I slept in when I was five?
What happened to my baby blanket
that protected me
from the hands
of strange men and women
trying to touch me?

My dad threw it away
like you’re throwing us away.

I can’t scrub everything clean.

The bleach makes it look
like the mold is gone
and the walls are clean
when they’re really not.

Some of us can see it
but too many of us can’t.

It was never gone.

It’s still here,
Growing.
Killing us
with every single breath that we take.

Hillary Leftwich is co-host for At the Inkwell, a NYC based reading series and organizes/hosts other reading events around Denver. Her writing can be found in print and online. 

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.