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Showing posts from May, 2020

Robert Pope

Hitting I do not know how many times my father hit me with his hand or kicked my backside. Oh, there is more than this to say about my father, but this is the time to say he swung at me in the backseat, a boy no more than eight, struck glancing blows. I had laughed, it bothered him. At thirteen, he sent an engraved, silver lighter whizzing past my ear as I fled a growling anger, imbedding in the solid wooden door, sticking there instead of in my head. Fifteen, he struck me with the back of his hand because I flinched as he reached in his jacket, kicked the back of my legs for infractions I could not comprehend. He broke yardsticks on my back, swung his belt at me after whipping it around his waist. Each time he struck the impact reverberated through the years. If the air is right, I feel the stinging on my face or head, not all I have of Dad, but part. Robert Pope has published a novel,  Jack’s Universe,  and a collection of stories,  Pr

Gary Glauber

Little Cherub The boy seems to know far too much. He’s young but seems less than innocent, an old soul I wouldn’t have trusted even in some earlier incarnation. When I see him at the public pool, doing things no youngster should do, it makes me crave a strong drink. Beware both baby and bathwater; beware everything you can possibly think. Whiskey hits gullet with fire, reminding me of all that I love and desire to protect, now and always, to never forget. In church, he looks heavenly in white robes, little angel incapable of evil, dreaming only good. Altar boy altered, knowing open hearts make easy targets. His secrets are troubling, what occurs behind the giggling. His private hell is burning beside lessons he’s not learning. When fire catches into flame your children will be safe again, when all I loved before today catches wind and melts away. Gary Glauber is a widely published poet, fiction writer, teacher, an

Chuka Susan Chesney

Post Mastectomy Shoppe On Brand Boulevard in a suburb of Angels is a corset shop a lingerie store Inside you’ll find along with sexy bras a full array of breast prostheses I visit the shop with my friend Alexis after her mastectomy as she recovers The breast forms have nipples made of plastic Alexis tries one on behind a curtain The form fits neatly into the pocket of a wire-free bra beneath her blouse The owner steps inside to assist Alexis who’s sobbing as she fastens the hooks into eyes The owner says Don’t cry or I’ll start crying While Alexis swipes her card for bras and plastic we noticed nipple labels in the case below peony and rosewood-tinged areolae similar to wreaths and other stickers Alexis pastes on backs of Christmas envelopes After a while Alexis decides her new breast forms protrude like ping pong balls She drives to Nordstrom and purchases some more says the new ones are homey like squis

Michael Brockley

Bruce Springsteen Joins Aloha Shirt Man in the First Turn for a Cornfed Derby Dame Bout Scooter van Zandt , he says while shaking my hand. He’s wearing a Jersey Devil sweatshirt, Maui Jim sunglasses, and a Cornfed Derby Dame baseball cap he bought at Kim Karsmashian’s souvenir stand. But the jazz dab from the Soul Crusaders tour gives him away. Springsteen doffs his shades and winks. He’s looking for Maria Roberts. Says she ditched her husband after his outlaw brother disappeared into the Canadian wilderness. Springsteen heard Maria took up skating on the flat rinks, jumping from one midwestern team to another. We watch Bona Petite slip through a Debbie Darko shoulder block to lead a jam against the Quad City Rollers. And five points. Springsteen studies the skaters jostling each other in the scrum. She’d be in the middle,  he says, Throwing a hip block or a can opener. Bona Petite tiptoes through a cougar trap to lead another jam. Springsteen picked Muncie, figuring Maria woul

William Soldan

Missoula 1. Rolled in late and slept beside a Taco Bell, woke up dried out and soaked, gasping with the windows closed. First coffee, then our sense of direction, looking for labor, meet a trio hoofing off a main drag, tell them to tag along, soon headed west to that city of rain. But then a cold case and respite on the brambled bank, a patchwork gaggle passing-through from every point: kid from New York going to or coming from, can’t hold still to tell the tale, and some woman calling herself Iron Butterfly, maternal with sandwiches and soup, passing around papers and a pouch of moist shag. A Scorpio named Cula singing Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida Baby like some primitive mating call. Later, a guy named Doc with knotted locks knocks out a dude named Buddha, makes him bleed beneath a sliver of summer moon, while a girl with a drum hangs upside down by her knees in a tree, laughing. His farewell bid alliterates in the distant hills: Best ‘memb