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)  

Friday, March 29, 2019

Chuka Susan Chesney

Runaway Blues

Does Momma know I jump rope behind trees?
she hunts for me
she’s got the whip
she wants to kick me in the hip

but I slip ’n slide to neighbor’s gate
if I’m not too late
I’ll hide and seek

She is moaning her eyes rolling like dice
I switchback trail
Spirograph through deer uphill
under sycamores like G.I. Jill

I shimmy the chimney incinerator
see View Master slides of houses below
I hear her shrill, her Gumby legs splayed 
Barbie Doll wig unnaturally askew

The pool is powder 
a Kool-Aid blue 
lemon bush abuzz with creepy crawlers
I stay away until it’s cool as marbles

Then in obscurity I boomerang
stand on balcony see her wax lips  
she speaks & spells Ephesians under solitary spot
her mirthful mood afloat in magic 8-ball

I tinker toy through basement she doesn’t know I’m here
lock the doorknob to my bedroom 
now she’s jigsawing a puzzle

If I hear her bobby pin the keyhole
I’ll have time to slinky
out my open window

Chuka Susan Chesney has a BFA in Fashion Illustration from Art Center College of Design and an MAT from Occidental College. She is an artist, poet, curator, and editor. Her award-winning paintings and sculpture have been shown in galleries all over the country. Her poems have been published on three continents. "You Were a Pie So We Ate You", a book of Chesney's poems was the winner of the 2018 San Gabriel Valley Poetry Festival Chapbook Contest. In October 2018, Chesney curated the "I Pity da Poe" exhibition at the Hive Gallery in Downtown L.A. In November, Chesney hosted a poetry reading with Don Kingfisher Campbell at the YEAR ONE exhibition featuring Loren Philip and Tomoaki Shibata's collaborative art at Castelli Art Space in Mid City. Chesney's anthology of poetry and art "Lottery Blues", coedited by Ulrica Perkins will be published by Little Red Tree Publishing in 2019.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Mari Deweese

Freebleeder

I used to think that 
bleached and processed
tree pulp would 
be enough to catch and carry
emptied contents
of my womb.
But I am older now,
accessing and liberating 
the wiser pain. 
I let flow a funnel
into the world, knowing
what I did not know, 
that words, like blood,
don't belong in a can,
and only cling to inside walls 
for so long before
the source goes septic.

Mari Deweese lives outside of Memphis, and dreams of a place with an actual autumn. Her first book, Kinky Keeps the House Clean, was published by Nixes Mate Books in 2017, and her next collection of poetry will drop from the gibbet in fall 2019.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg 

We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard.
The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip 
and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer,

either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped 
the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first
to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to

let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction 
of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true. 
We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet 

in those moments of a cold November day, we watched 
a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat 
a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that.

Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline, concis, Gargoyle, The Westchester Review, and Like Light anthology of Bright Hill Press. She is a literary consultant and teaches poetry and publishing workshops. 

Friday, March 8, 2019

Tobi Alfier

Loving Emily

I went to her house.
You were lounged on her couch
in a jacket I didn’t know you owned,
feet up on her shabby table,
reading in silence.

I said let’s call Emily,
swing by her man’s house
and all meet for dinner.
You said something
I don’t recall, and I went
for the phone. On the floor,
four perfect stapled pages,
lined like your beloved
yellow pads. The heading said:
“The Week of Loving Emily”

Four pages of poems I didn’t know,
sent off to journals obscure to me,
the last two to the army. I knew
Emily’s man, a caber tossing
roughneck of a bloke, did not
write these. I knew they were yours.

Emily answered quite chirpy,
got less and less so as she explained
that no, it would not be a good
idea, her man was playing music
with friends, did not want company

I was sad, got more and more down
as she spoke. I knew you were
not coming home with me.
Emily had a Scottish accent,
you did as well. I just left,
I don’t know how I sounded,
just broken hearted.



Massage Chairs

Crumpled – dollars pulled out of your pocket,
thrown on the table with almost disdain.
The way you form your lips when trying to
whistle, crooked and crumpled.  How I
feel when I fold myself on the massage chair,
legs turned under like the wings
of a bird fallen from under the eaves before
learning to fly.  Palms up in quiet surrender
I let everything go, folded and breathing
while a man who I don’t know
lifts my hair once, twice, and
lays palms to places only lovers should explore.
You don’t go there.  Ever?  I can’t remember.
I share secrets I don’t even know.

Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” was published by Kelsay Books. “Slices of Alice & Other Character Studies” was published by Cholla Needles Press. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).

Friday, March 1, 2019

Dennis Mahagin

Asterisk
when the bongos 
go missing, some thief 
made of alter ego
and afterthought
brushes the yellow Cobain cowlick
out of his eyes, ducked down 
behind the side door of a Portland
pawn shop 
—this percussionist who sneaks around
wearing the torn 
to shit lumberjack 
shirt, holding on
to a fifty 
like a heart beat in the stiffest breeze,
and his guilty glance, simply a squeezed
frame, it says these beats 
basically the same, yet gone
now and forever 
gone, the beat like an add-on
that the dead can’t put their finger
on—go ahead, switch 
to castanets 
instead, I say, 
and bottle caps—tubular bells 
such as them that exist
in The Exorcist, a thousand little whispers 
like pop rocks from the backfire 
of a flame, and a hearse: they say
we missed you today
in church, we missed you we missed
you, astral 
projection that floats, 
couple inches behind a Venice boat
—dead reckoning in the star-charred 
emptiness of morning canal. 
Oh, sing, sing to be happy, what simply 
cannot be, the chorus to Love Her Madly, 
maybe, so awkwardly, banging 
there the anorexic air
in no known key
—take her in the arms 
of your mind
and dance.

Dennis Mahagin is the author of two poetry collections: “Longshot and Ghazal,” from Mojave River Press, and “Grand Mal,” from Rebel Satori Press. His poems have appeared in magazines such as Exquisite Corpse, The Nervous Breakdown, Thrush Poetry Journal, Juked, Absinthe Literary Review, Stirring, decomP, and 3 A.M. Dennis is the poetry editor for Frigg Magazine, and the owner of a music store in downtown Deer Lodge, Montana. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

Howie Good

Message from Unknown Sender

I’ve been trying not to die, but I got to be honest, it just adds to the amount of chaos. Every couple of weeks there’s the stink of decay everywhere, accompanied by mold-green shadows. The dog knows when it’s coming. He starts barking insanely and racing around the house. I don’t feel like I’m leaving this place. I feel like this place is leaving me. I was actually told, “It’s too late for old people to be out, anyway.” Oh, America, how can this be? You should have taken my advice a while ago and covered your webcam with tape.

Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. His latest poetry collections are I Am Not a Robot from Tolsun Books and A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submission Press, both published in 2018.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Looking For Submissions Still

livenudepoems@gmail.com is the address. Send 3-6 poems and we'll consider running them. We're not big, but we mean well.

Thanks--

Rusty and Heather