Skip to main content

Brian Jerrold Koester

Baby Pink Roses

the aroma of remote times
tiny pink roses climb deformed
I'm acquainted enough with death
not to fall apart when roses die

tiny pink roses climb deformed
into Mom and Dad's bedroom window
Mom and Dad fall apart when they see roses
and the dog is wicked because Mom said so

shouted in her bedroom window
I can't play make believe right or sleep right
and the dog is wicked too because Mom said so
and they say I'm the crazy one

I can't walk right or smile right
not the corrosive blood of Jesus, not desperate prayers
can save me from the crazy ones
no escape unless you live long enough to grow up

from sudden blood and empty prayers
I am too acquainted with death
and growing up has not helped me escape
from the aroma of remote times



A Penny

When you're broken like me
you can't hear the meadowlarks sparkle
or feel the poppies glow

I can't stop the dogs
that drink blood from my wrists

I dreamed I had a penny
to exchange for life or death
and I didn't know which to buy

I dreamed I wore a golden veil

When I came to the temple
my head was already there
outside on a stake

Brian Jerrold Koester is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a Best of the Net Anthology nominee. His collection is titled What Keeps Me Awake (Silver Bow Publishing) and his chapbook is called Bossa Nova (River Glass Books). His work has appeared in Agni, Streetlight Magazine, Delmarva Review, Right Hand Pointing, Louisiana Literature, and elsewhere. He lives in Lexington, Massachusetts and has been a freelance cellist.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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,

David Oliver Cranmer

Not Just Another Playlist Often, I sit in my swivel chair looking out the window, while jazz, country, or rock music plays. This pleasure goes on for many hours a mystic trance of sorts streaming—the glue maintaining my soul. I turn the best songs into playlists (once we called them mix tapes) puzzling over the perfect order. Does Satchmo’s “What a Wonderful World” kick off my latest list or make it the big soulful closer? And does “Mack the Knife” go higher in the set than “Summertime?” That’s an Ella Fitzgerald duet! “Foolishness? No, it’s not” whether you are climbing a tree to count all the leaves or tapping to beats. These are the joys that bring inner peace and balance (to a cold universe) lifting spirits skyward. David Oliver Cranmer ’s poems, short stories, articles, and essays have appeared in publications such as Punk Noir Magazine , The Five-Two: Crime Poetry Weekly , Needle: A Magazine of Noir , LitReactor , Macmillan’s Criminal Element , and

Maureen O'Leary

Grief (for J’uan) Maybe we turn into clouds of reefer Particulates coating the lungs of the people thinking about us First and secondhand smoke Clinging to the frizzing gray locs of the women mourning us Or maybe we are in the splashes of Hennessey Swirling in the bottoms of Styrofoam cups A bad burn in the throats of our brothers Something to remember us by On the way back up. Maybe we are still here. In the way the candles keep going out In the way they call out to God. If they only looked up they could see our eyes Shining through the branches and glittering through the haze Below the stars. Maureen O'Leary lives in Sacramento, California. Her work appears in Coffin Bell Journal, Bandit Fiction, The Horror Zine, Ariadne Magazine, and Sycamore Review. She is a graduate of Ashland MFA.