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Showing posts from August, 2023

Jeffrey N. Johnson

Tramposo de Sevilla Within white washed walls, weathered stone and blue sky the Gypsies arrived unseen. I was green and little traveled, planted on a bench with back turned, abiding my time with Hemingway. He approached with dirty bare feet on herringbone brick and an open linen blouse with little tears in place of lost buttons. His wedded his palms, held to heaven, reminding me of our mutual friend, and could I not share a little of my good fortune? He tightened and contorted his back which would not work, and gestured to his mate, to misfortune and fate. She sat nearby wailing, swaying on hot stone, her mosaic of rags flowing with the four limp legs of her children, starving, a boy and a girl, one arched over each arm, mouths open. With Jake paused and Brett in mid-sentence I shuttered and searched and dug into myself, putting pesetas into his palm, wanting to return to my Fiesta. He bowed in thanks and limped away to beg others of different tongues

Jim Daniels

Half Days My daughter, thirteen, pale shred of herself, fought an unidentified infection in her spine as it softened her discs into disappearance. I’d unread that story if she were young and still listened to lullabies. After she got discharged, I set an alarm for two a.m. each night to shoot antibiotics into her port while she slept, her limp arm resting in my hand. Her return to school: half days—follow my dotted line smearing across months of sleepless breadcrumbs— at noon I idled high, anxious in the school driveway rattling off the latest test results in the zero gravity of fear. She startled me with the brittle thunk of the car door slam, then snapped at me for staring at her friends as they strolled across the street to the cafeteria, creeping them out, she said, embarrassed by illness like hard acne or a blooming hickey, wrong music or flakey hair, or the tacky middle-school jumper she no longer had to wear. I was there to drive her to

Luke Johnson

The Swell, I Did Not Know When I hit the hog it ran a mile through the thicket and fell in a foot of water —drowned. You hit it in the head my daddy said, the zombie effect.  How the body moves in death                              a dance and after the dance a knife that grooves                                              the bloated gut,                                                                                      gropes like filthy men. Believe me, he continues: even the innocent eat, son, throw themselves                                              in acts                                              of rage and reach for what the world will offer them. Later,                                     the fire                                     leaps like magic from his fingers and a full bottle                                 passed                                 like prayer. I pretend to sip. Spit to ward the spirit, divination. A warmth the body turns          

Ted Jackins

After David Berman Your acerbic wit, Gift for tragic Wordplay, And lazy croon Belied a broken heart, One you shaped To fit the frame Of the country song, Until eventually It all became too much, Your words whittled down To razor sharp Turns of phrase, Your heart exposed Wounds and all, Suicide notes In miniature, And by the time People took notice You were gone Ted Jackins is a poet and musician from North Carolina. Their work has previously appeared in Red Fez, Outlaw poetry, Museum of Poetry and Big Hammer. They are also the author of both Psych Ward Blues and Mercury, In Retrospect, both available via Alien Buddha Press.