Friday, March 24, 2017

Less One Tree by Richard Martin

The harsh scream of a power saw –
in a towering fir, a man climbing
awkwardly upward, intent on baring
the trunk, until –
with a muted crash the top few metres
fall to the ground.
The felling of any tree arouses sadness,
but when I look again,
I can only sense gratitude –
a whole new view has opened up
between the distant hillside woods
and the nearer houses –
an open meadow, an ascending line
of bare trees, marking what seems
a footpath, leading –
in a brief moment my view has widened,
drawing my gaze towards it –
a new scene to re-invent,
to invest with meaning.



Richard Martin is an English writer who lives in the Netherlands close to the point where Belgium, Germany and Holland meet. After retiring as a university teacher in Germany, he turned his attention to writing, and has published three collections of poetry and numerous poems in magazines in England, the US, and Austria.

Friday, March 17, 2017

My Father's Face by Paul Ilechko

I caught a glimpse of myself in
the mirror, and I saw my father;
not the one who raised me, but my real
parent, my biological father.

My mother vanished when I was small.
She ran away from the family,
joined the Army, signal corps,
disappeared into Australia.

My father was unable to cope,
so a quiet transfer took place,
a private adoption. I was too
young to remember any of this.

My father kept trying, two more
failed marriages. He must have reached
his limit, as he turned on the gas
one day and laid himself down to die.

And now I look at myself, and
I see him looking back at me.
I never knew him, I only have a
photograph. And this reflection.



Paul Ilechko was born in England but has lived much of his life in the USA. He currently lives in Lambertville, NJ with his girlfriend and a cat. Paul has had poetry published and/or accepted recently by Third Wednesday, Sick Lit Magazine, Muddy River Poetry Review, MockingHeart Review and The Peacock Journal, among others.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Concussive Conclusion by Richard Weaver

is inevitable given the level of impact, windshield with cranium, one on one.
Evidence indisputable. And yet, you stammer otherwise, saying, you were
in control, total control. You allowed your forehead to smack the impudent glass,
to crack its shatterproof smugness, to put its pieces in their places. The steel plate
in your head - think Viet Nam, protects you from everything except airport security,
who always want to marvel at your metal next to your mind, your open wound,
the finest modern medicine has to offer its vertiginous veterans.



Richard Weaver resides in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. He volunteers with the Maryland Book Bank, and is a seasonal snowflake counter (unofficially). His publications include Crazyhorse, Loch Raven Review, North American Review, Poetry, Black Warrior Review, New England Review, Southern Quarterly, and the ubiquitous Elsewhere.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Eurasian Coot by Ion Corcos

Black-feathered body
disappears into clear water,
dark under midday sun.

Only a white striped-face
reappears, far from its dive
to the shallow lake floor.

A piece of weed in its beak,
its body bounces
to the surface of the lake,
like a buoy.

Squeaks, kow, kow kow,

rises halfway from the water,
flaps its sooty wings,
inflates itself;

body bigger than it is,
it runs on water, fast,
to scare, force,
another coot away.



Ion Corcos has been published in Every Writer, Grey Sparrow Journal, Plum Tree Tavern, Rose Red Review and other journals. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee. The themes of his work centre on life, nature and spirit. He is currently travelling indefinitely with his partner, Lisa. Ion’s website is
www.ioncorcos.wordpress.com.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Haiku by Stephen Toft

year after year
that stack of wood
for a treehouse



Stephen Toft is a poet and homelessness worker who lives in Lancaster, UK with his girlfriend and their children. His first collection "the kissing bridge" was published by Red Moon Press in 2008 and in December 2016 Scars Publications released his chapbook "naming a storm: haiku and tanka."

Friday, March 10, 2017

Tanka by Stephen Toft

looking for
answers in the alps -
where the high
mountains
never lose their snow



Stephen Toft is a poet and homelessness worker who lives in Lancaster, UK with his girlfriend and their children. His first collection "the kissing bridge" was published by Red Moon Press in 2008 and in December 2016 Scars Publications released his chapbook "naming a storm: haiku and tanka."

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Haiku by Stephen Toft

clear night -
wild ponies drinking
from a pool of stars



Stephen Toft is a poet and homelessness worker who lives in Lancaster, UK with his girlfriend and their children. His first collection "the kissing bridge" was published by Red Moon Press in 2008 and in December 2016 Scars Publications released his chapbook "naming a storm: haiku and tanka."

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The Long Drive by Ann Kestner

Monday puts the coffee on
                dark kitchen
                                cold tiles
 
hot water hisses and cries
                smells like hope
 
millions sip lies
                burn their lips
                                get dressed
and drive
                the long road
                                to Friday night



Ann Kestner is the founder and editor of Poetry Breakfast. For over 25 years, her work has periodically appeared in various publications. She spent most of her life living in Virginia at the edge of D.C. She currently resides in rural New Jersey where she is the Poet in Residence at the Poetry and Arts Barn of New Egypt, NJ.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Saturday Somewhere by Ronald Moran

Now my palladium window is blocked by
                        a ferocious oak,
and my lawn is compromised to its roots
                        by its
unwitting partner, a resident mole, as if
                        they schemed
 
to discredit any hope for Yard of the Month
                        in my
cardboard neighborhood, which, of course,
                        I love––
my Jane having lived here for eight years––
                        and
 
on this Saturday, my weekend plans look like
                        a tabula rasa.
After so many years alone, you'd think,
                        Hey Ron,
get over it, accept it, get on with your life,
                        to which
 
my response is, What, after my 80 years?
                        I still
dream of my Jane, not in my usual dark
                        mode,
but, ordinarily, my wanting to get there
                        with her,
 
but the elevators don't work, the commuter
                        trains
have closed their doors, yet we are ready
                        to embark
on an adventure to a land we do not know
                        but hope to.



Ronald Moran lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina. His poems have been published in Asheville Poetry Review, Commonweal, Connecticut Poetry Review, Louisiana Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Negative Capability, North American Review, Northwest Review, South Carolina Review, Southern Review, Tar River Poetry, The Wallace Stevens Journal, and in thirteen books/chapbooks of poetry. Clemson University Press published his Eye of the World in the spring of 2016. He has won a number of awards for his writing. He will be inaugurated into Clemson University's AAH Hall of Fame this spring. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Queen of Hearts by Ben Rasnic

She never speaks
but when I visit my Mom
at the nursing home
I can always count on her
being there
close by
with large engaging eyes
and an effortless smile.

I offer a “hello”,
& then, on cue, she fumbles through
her oversized handbag
and flashes a playing card,
the Joker. 

Flushed, I attempt
a disingenuous dialogue
to break through
the awkward silence.
Smiling back at me, she winks
& playfully holds up another card,   
a one-eyed Jack.

Now somewhat out of my element
I remark, “That’s nice,”                         
as she, feigning sleight of hand,
gradually draws another card
on the sly from her handbag,
before coyly revealing
the Queen of Hearts.

Having never perfected
my go-to poker face,
I saw the bright light in her eyes fade
as she shied away & stared hypnotically
at the linoleum floor.

I asked my mother
if she knows her.

“No”, she responded.
“She’s just here.”



Ben Rasnic finds sanctuary in a quiet Bowie, Maryland subdivision where the only sounds at night are crickets and the lonesome wail of a passing Norfolk Southern freight train.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Refrigerator Magnets by Ben Rasnic

I knew                                                       
I had become a man
when my accomplishments
no longer merited
attachment to the refrigerator door




Ben Rasnic finds sanctuary in a quiet Bowie, Maryland subdivision where the only sounds at night are crickets and the lonesome wail of a passing Norfolk Southern freight train.

Friday, February 24, 2017

For Fear of Being Alone by Ben Rasnic

I

For fear of being alone,
you go
to great lengths
to do anything
& everything
other than that
which makes you happy.

II

For fear of being alone,
you respond in ways
that are not yourself,
begging the question
“Who is this man
sleeping with my wife?”

III

For fear of being alone,
you pretend at the person
you think she wants you
to be;
arrive home to find
your belongings
neatly bundled on the front lawn
with a note that reads,
“I don’t know who you are anymore.”



Ben Rasnic finds sanctuary in a quiet Bowie, Maryland subdivision where the only sounds at night are crickets and the lonesome wail of a passing Norfolk Southern freight train.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Visiting the Dead by Howie Good

The gates are locked at night.
This is holy ground. A statute
of risen Christ has a deep, black vein
cutting through the left cheek.
I used to see seagulls everywhere.
But today there are none. Of course,
I miss them. They were entertainment,
watching them fly. All I feel now
is heartbreak. I’m going row by row,
headstone by headstone, talking
to people who have been dead for years,
once a sure sign that I was dreaming.



Howie Good's recent books include A Ghost Sings, a Door Opens from Another New Calligraphy and Robots vs. Kung Fu from AngelHouse Press. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

Monday, February 6, 2017

O Happy Day by Matt Dennison

Angie is eighty years-old
and has flaming red hair
piled hard above dry
cement eyes. Once
a day she takes
a break from spying upon
our treacherous lives
to stand on her back
step and smoke
while her lapdog,
fed to the point of
house-bound slavery,
stops his constant yapping
long enough to flop
down one step, two steps,
three and release as
Angie pours bleach
over the bricks
of another happy day



After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans, Matt Dennison’s work has appeared in Rattle, Bayou Magazine, Redivider, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review and Cider Press Review, among others. He has also made videos with poetry videographers
Michael Dickes, Swoon, and Marie Craven.

Friday, February 3, 2017

As a Child by Martha Christina

I stumbled
up the stairs,
fumbled with
the closet doorknob,
tried, only by touching,
to find Mother's favorite
cotton dress; knowing
anytime I chose to,
I could open my eyes
and find her there,
wearing it, and laughing.



Martha Christina is a frequent contributor to Brevities. Longer work appears recently or is forthcoming in Bryant Literary Review, Muse Literary Journal, Naugatuck River Review, and in earlier postings of Red Eft Review. Her second collection, Against Detachment, was published in April of 2016 by Pecan Grove Press.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

The New Year by Martha Christina

the first this, the first that

a new digit to remember

leftovers, and laundry



Martha Christina is a frequent contributor to Brevities. Longer work appears recently or is forthcoming in Bryant Literary Review, Muse Literary Journal, Naugatuck River Review, and in earlier postings of Red Eft Review. Her second collection, Against Detachment, was published in April of 2016 by Pecan Grove Press.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Blonde by Joe Cottonwood

She went out easy.
With previous dogs, there came
a moment of spiritual shudder,
sometimes a visible struggle.
Not here. Under my touch
I feel the chest rise, fall, rise.
Fall.
And rise no more.
Without a sound the heart rests.
A border crossed,
as if she welcomed the end
of cancer’s grip.

I tuck dog legs against dog body.
They are immediately
different, dead weight
utterly unlike a living limb.
Her eyes remain half open
as she so often slept.
She seems half-alert in death.
Still she is warm and has
that marvelous maple fur,
the only blonde
I’ve ever loved.



Joe Cottonwood has worked as a carpenter, plumber, and electrician day by day for most of his life. Some jobs were pretty; some, shitwork. Nights, he writes. Same split.
joecottonwood.com

Monday, January 30, 2017

With a single stroke by Kenneth Salzmann

The poem this was
going to be
would have been
built noun
by verb by
unexpected noun,
all stacked
one upon the other
like a daring house
of cards. The poem
this was going to be
could have defied
gravity
and menace
and the soft
breezes that begin
now to lift
nouns
and verbs
and nouns
and verbs
gently out
of reach.



Kenneth Salzmann’s poetry has appeared in such anthologies as Child of My Child, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude, Riverine, Earth Blessings, and Stories of Music: Volume 1. He lives in Woodstock, New York, and Ajijic, Mexico, with his wife, editor Sandi Gelles-Cole.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hospitals by Michael Estabrook

1
Whenever he finds himself in a hospital
he vows to take better care of himself
especially this time after noticing the sign
on the men’s room door: “This restroom
accommodates persons over 500 lbs.”

2
Right after Dad died in that stark lonely hospital room
the skinny young Asian doctor looked through
his dark glasses at Mom and said, enunciating
his words like he was trying to make them stick
to the wall “I am sorry, but he has expired.”

3
Sleeping on short stiff benches
beside dusty plastic plants
and torn magazines strewn about on ugly
brown end tables in the ICU waiting room waiting
for her mother to emerge from her coma or not.



Michael Estabrook is retired. No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms, able instead to focus on making better poems when he’s not, of course, endeavoring to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Fertility by Nicholas Froumis

Trying one last time
requires
numerous
tests
and
requires
incredible
patience.
Success
requires
timing one last try.



Nicholas Froumis practices optometry in the Bay Area. His writing has appeared in Gravel, Right Hand Pointing, Dime Show Review, Haiku Journal, and Three Line Poetry. He lives in San Jose, CA with his wife, novelist Stacy Froumis, and their daughter.