Wednesday, October 17, 2018

(Sun)flowers by M.J. Iuppa

Along our split rail fence, sunflowers grow
into a free-standing crowd: their heads, large

and small, turn to follow the sun’s waning
light. Swaying in the constant shift of

air, in this perfect weather, their beauty
becomes my held breath.

                                   Watching them, I
can’t help myself; I sway too. My arms

float over my head; my upturned face
eclipsed by shadows unfolding

like bolts of cloth, ready
to wrap around me, once

and forever.



M.J. Iuppa's fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past 29 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog:
mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability and life’s stew.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

that summer by John Sweet

the story that tracy tells, how she
was molested by her mother’s boyfriend,
or the story that cheryl tells, how she
was raped by her stepfather, and the days just
coming at us straight between the eyes,
one after the other

the nights splitting open like
overripe corpses

all of us waking up from half-remembered
nightmares, never quite sure
whose bed we’re in



John Sweet, b 1968, still numbered among the living. A believer in writing as catharsis. Opposed to all organized religion and political parties. His latest collections include APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press) and the limited edition chapbooks HEATHEN TONGUE (2018 Kendra Steiner Editions) and A BASTARD CHILD IN THE KINGDOM OF NIL (2018 Analog Submission Press). All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Haiku by George Held

Leaves yellowing
on the Siberian elm –
soon a Hudson view


A ten-time Pushcart nominee, George Held publishes regularly in zines like Red Eft Review, Home Planet News Online, and Transference. He writes from NYC.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

October Somewhere Else by Robert Demaree

The trees are turning here—
Yellow, orange, gold,
But it's not New Hampshire.
I picture the secret red
Of the maple at the water’s
Edge, where the dock should be.
A couple passes slowly in a kayak.
I’m guessing they have been in love,
This trip her gesture
Toward reconciliation.
They pause to consider the dock,
Winched up onto the shore
For the winter, the empty cottage,
The wisp of clothes line
Left knotted to a slender birch,
By which we mean them
To understand
We will be coming back.



Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders, published in June 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club, and have appeared in over 150 periodicals. A retired educator, he resides in Wolfeboro, N.H. and Burlington, N.C. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Not Our Wagtail by Richard Martin

          Little trotty wagtail, you nimble all about,
          And in the dimpling water-pudge you waddle in and out.

          John Clare

In white shirt-front and black waistcoat, he certainly is nimble ,
strutting business-like over the rocks by the pool –
but he's far too correct and trim to waddle anywhere,
the elegant avian version of the city gent.

I think of him as our wagtail, in that possessive way
we talk about our oak, our weeds, our flowers --
so we go on imposing ourselves upon nature,
rather than seeing ourselves as just part of the scene.

Maybe we should think of our garden as a delightful
and varied community of living beings, where we share
air and light, sun and moon, with ants and mice,
dandelions and dragonflies, and indeed with wagtails.



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.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Night Sweats by Ben Rasnic

Can’t recall
what was playing in my head
just before waking
only that when I did,
I was drenched in a feverish surge
of cold sweat
& the thermostat
read 68 degrees,

kind of like
when I was in school,

would always miss the days
everybody kept talking about.



Ben Rasnic currently resides in Bowie, Maryland. Author of four published collections (three available from
amazon.com), Ben's poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

On the occasion of buying a used copy of my own damn book by Janette Schafer

Reasons why you should not Google yourself:
My book was on Amazon marked,
“Used. Good Condition.” I decided to buy it.
Arriving media mail, it pleased me
that it was read; pages were dog-eared,
a poem "Sanctuary" highlighted in orange,
and the name of the most recent owner
in pristine cursive on the first page.

The first owner was Susan—
I had signed that it was lovely
to meet her and her husband.
To Louis, the second owner with
the beautiful signature, I am glad
my words were with you for this long while,
and pained that you decided to let them go.



Janette Schafer is a freelance writer, nature photographer, part-time rocker, and full-time banker living in Pittsburgh, PA. Her play "Mad Virginia" was the winner of the 2018 Pittsburgh Original Short Play Series. Recent and upcoming publications of her writing and photographs include: Watershed Journal; Yes Ma'am Zine; Eunoia Review; Nasty Women & Bad Hombres Anthology; and Unlikely Stories V. She is pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Chatham University.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Domestic Violence by Lorri Ventura

Daddy shot the family dog
Because it looked at him the wrong way

Mommy’s ribs
Like two rows of broken wishbones
In the x-ray

Shut up, little girl, and swallow the Benadryl
So you can sleep through the yelling
Fifty-five years later
Oral meds still taste like terror and rage

Those are just baby teeth
It’s okay that Daddy knocked them out
You’ll grow new ones
And he had a hard day at work
Poor Daddy

Daddy’s handgun lived on the hutch
Always oiled
Always loaded
Often brandished in our faces
To keep us in our places

Pray, sweet child of mine, Mommy said
You are my little angel
Daddies can’t kill angels
They just like to try
The little girl refuses to pray
To a God who sees
Without helping



Lorri Ventura is a retired special education administrator. She lives in Massachusetts. "Domestic Violence" represents her first foray into creative/non-technical writing.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Weird and Bound for Hell by Steve Klepetar

She tells me that my poems are weird
and that I’m probably bound for Hell.
I ask her why. “Ghosts,” she says.
“Your poems are full of ghosts,
and sometimes you write about Hell
as if you were already at home there.
Even when you’re trying to write pretty,
there are ghosts in the trees
or by the pond or flitting up the hills.
That’s kind of like witchcraft, you know?
Not something you should write about.
I’m going to stop talking to you now.
I try not to have conversations
with people who are Hell bound.
Just, you know, mend your ways, ok?
And try not to be so weird.”
She walks away toward a knot of people
in pastel party clothes who are talking
about owls and fireflies and horses sleeping in the rain.



Steve Klepetar lives in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Recent collections include A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press) and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence Chaps).

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Deer in the Forest by Ikiah Mosely

          After a painting of the same name by Franz Marc

There are five of them huddled close
amidst a turbulent storm of red and yellow thread.
There is silent contemplation broken
only by the cracking of trees and snapping of branches,
the shriek of fleeing birds desperately seeking shelter.
The white yarn of the wind reaches down and tugs at them
trying to separate them.
But, they stay bound together,
wrapped in gold and brown silk.



Ikiah Mosely is a creative writing major at New England College. Her fiction and poetry have been published in The Henniker Review and in publications associated with A26 Boston, a program that publishes work of Boston area students. She plans to return to the Boston area after graduation.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

To See a Winter by Ikiah Mosely

1.
Cold breath gasping from between chapped lips,
Hurried steps on cracked sidewalk
To return to a halo of warmth.

2.
Sipping on Peppermint Mocha,
Waiting and watching.
Steam slowly rises like a daydream.

3.
A hushed silence over busy buildings
As snow falls relentlessly and yields to no forecast.
The whole city waits.

4.
Peaceful contemplation in front of a frosted window.
It’s quiet here, in between moments.

5.
Ice floes of white and ivory
Float down the usually rushing river.
It bends around the town to seek warmer waters.

6.
The room is silent and empty at this time.
There is no sound, save for the hiss of the radiator and typing.

7.
The apartment rings with the sound of doors opening and closing,
Mini worlds revealed then locked again.

8.
The days go by slowly in this ecosystem.
Soft lamplight illuminates tired faces
Coffee is slowly brewed and cups are readied.

9.
Packed bags serve as silent reminders.
Guardians of home that state:
Soon.



Ikiah Mosely is a creative writing major at New England College. Her fiction and poetry have been published in The Henniker Review and in publications associated with A26 Boston, a program that publishes work of Boston area students. She plans to return to the Boston area after graduation.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Postcard from Edson Cemetery by Jason Baldinger

crickets chirp
at Kerouac's grave
the road is life



Jason Baldinger is a poet hailing from Pittsburgh. He is the author of several books, the most recent are This Useless Beauty (Alien Buddha Press), The Ugly Side of the Lake (Night Ballet Press) written with John Dorsey and the chaplet Fumbles Revelations (Grackle and Crow) which are available now. The collection Fragments of a Rainy Season (Six Gallery Press) and the split book with James Benger Little Fires Hiding (Spartan Press) are forthcoming. You can hear Jason read poems on recent and forthcoming releases by Theremonster and Sub Pop Recording artist The Gotobeds as well as at
jasonbaldinger.bandcamp.com

Friday, September 21, 2018

The Benefit of the Doubt by Sharon Waller Knutson

That’s what the deputy on our doorstep
says he’s giving the three shooters
who park their 2018 Lexus in our driveway
and fire fifteen bullets into the darkness
while we hide under a desk on the phone
with a 911 dispatcher who tells us to stay safe.
 
The deputy says he’s not going to arrest them.
They’re just dumb kids who know nothing
about the law. They drove sixty miles
from the city to shoot guns in the desert.
They said they didn’t see the No Shooting signs.
They have a clean record and show remorse.
 
He sounds like a permissive parent or grandparent
unlike my strict husband who lays down the law:
No shooting after dark. No shooting near a residence.
No shooting on private property. Disturbing the Peace.
The deputy’s face reddens and his voice raises:
You are not a victim. They were not shooting at you.
 
We insist on pressing charges. I’ll need identification
to fill out the paperwork. He goes to his patrol car,
returns with a younger deputy and no papers.
You don’t have any priors or warrants, he says
handing back our driver’s licenses, letting us know
who he thinks are the real lawbreakers.
 
The younger deputy speaks in a level tone,
his eyes begging us to listen to reason.
They are only seventeen, they can’t pay the fine,
you’d have to go to court, and there’s paperwork.
We’re going to let their parents handle it
and if they come back they’ll go straight to juvenile hall.
 
In the end, we reluctantly relent if the shooters apologize.
The younger deputy herds them across our lawn
and under the dim porch light I see my grandsons
in the young man with the wheat colored curls
and the tall teen in glasses, but the ringleader,
who makes excuses, looks just like a politician’s son.
 
You tortured and terrified us for an hour, I lecture them.
Would you want your grandparents to go through that?
They shake their heads. But I see no trembling lips, shaky legs
or hangdog looks and know this is a familiar routine to them.
They look us in the eye, say sorry and shake our hands and promise
never to do it again after a stern warning from the older deputy.
 
We never see them out here again. But we do see them on TV.
Hauled off in handcuffs, they look right into the cameras and say
they are sorry for shooting up the school and promise to never do it again.
 
 
 
Sharon Waller Knutson, a retired journalist, writes poetry from her Arizona desert home. Her work has appeared in The Orange Room Review, Literary Mama, Verse-Virtual, Wild Goose Poetry Review and Your Daily Poem. She is the author of five chapbooks: Dancing with a Scorpion, My Grandmother Smokes Chesterfields, Desert Directions, They Affectionately Call Her a Dinosaur and I Did It Anyway.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Weight of Shadows by Corey D. Cook


The Weight of Shadows is now available for preorder online at finishinglinepress.com

The presale runs from September 18, 2018 through November 16, 2018 and the book will be mailed out on or after January 11, 2019.

I also wanted to share that this presale period will determine the pressrun for the book. So if you are interested in buying a copy, now is an opportune time to do so!

Thanks for considering.

Corey D. Cook, Editor

Friday, September 14, 2018

All You Need (First Love) by Ben Rasnic

Every day after school,
some fifteen year-old kid
would lie sprawled across
his twin bed mesmerized
by the dried paint drip
on the ice blue ceiling,
with “All You Need is Love”
refraining over and over
on the automatic turntable
as if somehow
that would overwrite
the hideous messages
in his head
telling him
over and over
he was too ugly
to ask out
the prettiest girl
in Mrs. Watson’s
algebra class.



Ben Rasnic currently resides in Bowie, Maryland. Author of four published collections (three available from
amazon.com), Ben's poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Friday After Labor Day by Robert Demaree

Monet convinced himself
That each glint of light on haystacks,
Each angle of the sun,
Changed by one degree,
Could be a new canvas.
But I have decided this morning:
No more kayaking poems,
Have said most of what I want to say,
More than once.
On my ritual end-of-season loop
Around the pond this quiet morning
Of the Friday after Labor Day
The only voices are the guys
Working on the huge new place
Where Gaston’s cottage used to be.
I watch to see whose boat
Is still in the water,
Whose dock, pulled up on land,
Exposed, lonely,
Waits for the winter,
Hopes for June.



Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other Ladders, published in June 2017 by Beech River Books. His poems received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club, and have appeared in over 150 periodicals. A retired educator, he resides in Wolfeboro, N.H. and Burlington, N.C. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

bad mother by Sarah Elizabeth Colona

books are my children
spines warped in hot cars
birthdays uncelebrated



Sarah Elizabeth Colona is the author of three poetry collections: Hibernaculum (Gold Wake Press, 2013), Thimbles (dancing girl press, 2012) and That Sister (dancing girl press, 2016).

Friday, September 7, 2018

Mother by caro

when you were me
you left home
with a student visa
and no intention
to go to school
navigated a country
with no language
survived lonely nights
without your mother
asleep in the next room

but the hardest thing
you have done
was live without your name
when that visa expired
trade your identity
for a chance
the only choice
you had

to think
you don't even
look like a Barbara



caro is a musician, writer, and freelance audio tech living in New York. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Chronogram and right hand pointing. She can be found around the internet @caroblahblah and
thisiscaro.com.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Compadre by caro

he is sitting in the glass house of the gas station
as he has done for my entire life
and will do until the end
I am surprised to see him
surprised that after all this time
he still knows my car
still smiles when I say hola
the way a white girl says hola
and looks me in the eye
asking: silver? full?
still gives me the receipt
wrapped around the credit card
and takes my hand with both of his
speaking slow: cuídate, cuídate
an offering for me to take
I, smiling: sí, sí
never thinking twice about
giving my hand
to a stranger in a gas station
never once wondering
his name



caro is a musician, writer, and freelance audio tech living in New York. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Chronogram and right hand pointing. She can be found around the internet @caroblahblah and
thisiscaro.com.