Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Late by Martha Christina

He wore
a leather jacket
custom-made
at my father’s
insistence
and expense
at the little shop
below our hotel
on the Gran Via.

He was multi-lingual
but we spoke only Spanish
in the brief dream where
he was alive and well again.

Gracias, he said
(his accent, native)
to my father
to the tailor
to the clerk.

Then he took off the jacket,
draped it over my shoulders.
Gracias, I said. Tengo frío.



Martha Christina is a frequent contributor to Brevities. Longer work appears in Innisfree Poetry Journal, Naugatuck River Review, earlier postings of Red Eft Review, and most recently in Star 82 Review, and Crab Orchard Review. She has published two collections: Staying Found (Fleur-de-lis Press) and Against Detachment (Pecan Grove Press).

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Waiting by Richard Martin

Only this morning while waiting for the plumber
(who is always late, but always comes),
the thought came to me that waiting
is what I've been doing all my life –
waiting for my wife to return from town,
waiting for the bus, the train, the plane,
waiting for Christmas, for the year to end.

It's not that I wait for some great event,
a climactic experience, a life-changing moment –
I'm content that I don't wait for the shots to stop,
for the earthquake tremors and floods to cease,
or for the end of hopeless journeys on foot –
no, my waiting has been of the everyday kind.

Yet can it be that from the moment of birth
I've been waiting for the end, waiting for the moment
when someone closes my eyes and crosses himself?
No, indeed, my waiting is sitting in my armchair
looking out of the window at the trees and fields,
waiting for one more leaf to fall from the beech.



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. 

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Watchers by Robert Demaree

By birth a Midwest Presbyterian
Not given to creeds,
He cheerfully went along
When he took a Methodist bride,
A daughter of the New South,
Still Protestant, more or less.
I grew up in the boarding school
Where he taught, one of his duties
Sunday worship in the ivied chapel,
Not Anglican but close,
Still Protestant, more or less.
Once, visiting my grandparents’ church,
The pastor invited us forward
To rededicate our lives.
Dad and I headed out the back door.
That church moved and changed with the times,
So that in retirement he was content
To spend the sermon counting
Blue shirts in the congregation
And smiling that sweet, distant smile.

I became a Presbyterian the same way,
The circle completed, unbroken, more or less.
I think of those blue shirts,
Of the creedal advice the young seminarian
Received: say just the parts you do believe.
And, as the offering is brought forward,
I sing different words to the tune of the doxology:
Vigiles et sancti, ye watchers and ye holy ones,
The words we sang at The Hill School,
In Pennsylvania,
In 1955.




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, December 5, 2018

Loneliness by Ben Rasnic

is not the state
          of being alone;
is most often felt
   swallowed up
           by smothering crowds
   of humanity
          or at a family reunion
where it becomes
           painfully obvious
you have nothing
       in common
with even your own kin
             or sometimes                                                                                     
it manifests
      while in bed
              with the wife drooling
on the pillow case                                                           
and making guttural noises
as you lie quietly,
                  patiently, painfully
still
     so as not to disturb
            the tenuous slumber
                  that usually follows
a ridiculously,
         frivolous
                  fight.



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.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Frequency by Ben Rasnic

When I was five,
I grabbed onto a live
electric wire fence
that wouldn’t let go.

My grandfather, deftly rolling Prince
Albert into OCB papers from his creaking
porch swing yells “Let go of the wire!”
but the current is too strong

so I am shaking like a dog
that just came in from the rain
& my grandfather is privately chuckling
as he calmly pulls the power box lever down.

58 years later,
I am hurled to the floor
by my ICD firing electric shocks
and as I lie there trembling,

I see my grandfather in 1959
awkwardly rising from his creaking
porch swing, cancer pulsing
through his cholesterol encrusted veins

and as he reaches
for the power box lever,
turns to me and says,

“To be forgotten
is when we truly die.      

Sometimes the memory
just needs
a good jolt.”         



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, November 26, 2018

Andres by Jeffrey Zable

Made it to age 56. Survived mostly off Medicaid.
Obviously had a difficult life, early polio leaving him
permanently disabled: prosthetic leg; crutches or a wheelchair
to get around. Yet he was upbeat in spite of it.
I originally met him through a friend who said that Andres
was also a poet who loved Afro-Cuban music.
And so whenever I ran into him at Café La Boheme,
we usually talked a bit about the Latin music scene,
our own poetry, and some of the poets we both knew.
And I remember that the last time I saw him
he asked me for 5 dollars, which I immediately gave him.
Surely if I had known he had cancer and only a couple
more months to live I would have given him a lot more.
For some time thereafter, whenever I was at the cafe
I thought of him and wished I’d gotten to know him better,
which, of course, is often the case after all is said and done. . .



Jeffrey Zable is a teacher, conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas, and a writer of poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction. More recent writing in The Bitchin’ Kitch, Corvus, After the Pause, Third Wednesday, Remington Review and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and The Pushcart Prize.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Montag by Kara Goughnour

          
          There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine,

          to make a woman stay in a burning house;

          there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.

          ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


It was a pleasure to burn

with you, eyes a black,

eaten thing, both scarce

and scared.


A pleasure to see deeper,

charred wafer-thin pieces

gone, slate clean. To think black

eyes iridescent; catch

a peek of beetle-green.


To know bright June light,

refracting off the window pane,

giving sight to my page,

is fire enough for me.



Kara Goughnour is a queer writer and documentarian living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the 2018 winner of the Gerald Stern Poetry Award and has work published or forthcoming in Third Point Press, Riggwelter Journal, The Southampton Review, and others. Follow her on Twitter @kara_goughnour or read her collected and exclusive works at karagoughnour.com

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Arc Spelled Ark by Howie Good

Animals are
slowly creeping
into my life.

An orange cat.
A yellow Lab.  
A motherless
baby rabbit.

And that’s just
fine with me.

As a kid, I spent
a lot of my time
watching TV alone

in the basement,
in the dark.



Howie Good's latest poetry collections are I'm Not a Robot from Tolsun Books and A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submissions Press.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wolf, Wildlife Refuge by Joe Cottonwood

Gandy the tawny wolf picks me
from a crowd of gawkers at the fence,
leans in sniffing, studying. Gus the keeper says
Gandy’s keying on your aftershave.
Nope. I’m gray-bearded, unshaven.

I ask if Gandy is an old wolf.
You’re very perceptive, Gus says.
Nope. Saw it in his stiff movements. Like mine.

I seem the only one engaging Gus or Gandy
while spectators aim phones, capturing us
in digital cages.

Gus says wolves can smell cancer or arthritis,
helps them select which moose
to cull from the herd.

Gus says Gandy still acts like
the alpha wolf, hates competition.
They keep him penned separately
so no one gets mauled.

Gandy steps to the fence.
From his throat, a low growl.
Like an anvil, the snout.
My joints ache.
And Gandy stares at me. Hard.



Joe Cottonwood is a carpenter by day, writer by night. Self-taught in each. His most recent book is Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Way I Knew Him (1944) by Antoni Ooto

You could say I knew him by
his way of leaning into the path.

He saw the ruts
and chose to step into them.

Never complained about mud,
a fallen tree, or war left in his path.

And I watched, following his courage,
never really knowing him at all.



Antoni Ooto is a poet and flash fiction writer and has been a frequent contributor to Palettes and Quills, An Upstate of Mind, Amethyst Review, Front Porch Review, Young Ravens Literary Review, and Ink Sweat & Tears. He lives and works in upstate New York with his wife writer/storyteller Judy DeCroce.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

December 7, 1941 by Judy DeCroce

After that, safety fell off,
there was no before.
It was just now.
And the now filled all the spaces.

What we were doing gained importance
as a memory of a moment.
The change shivered through us,
and them,
and all that was.

Far away…
but not far away, an impossibility
loomed.

Sounds blackened clocks,
war closed the minutes, the hours.

Fear found us
watching the radio.



Judy DeCroce, a former teacher, is a poet/flash fiction writer who has been a frequent contributor to Palettes and Quills. Also published in An Upstate of Mind, Amethyst Review, Front Porch Review as well as Writers & Books. She is a professional storyteller and teacher of that genre. Judy lives and works in upstate New York with her husband, writer Antoni Ooto.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Listening by B. S. Dixon

your words
broke somewhere
in the space
between us.

I have
done my best
to make sense
of the pieces.



B. S. Dixon is working on his first poetry collection, "Outreach," about his work with the homeless population in Boston, MA. His work has most recently been printed in Poem Wars and Boston Literary Magazine.

Friday, November 2, 2018

sunday drive by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

I had seen and heard
it all
with three older sisters
every seven days
a mini Armageddon

mom, dressed in her best
riding shotgun

those sunday morning drives
the half dozen blocks from
home to church

the shrieks and wails
the gnashing of teeth
the thanking God we were
finally in the parking lot



Wanda Morrow Clevenger lives in Hettick, IL. Over 500 pieces of her work appear in 163 print and electronic journals and anthologies. The first of a 5-volume chapbook series young and unadorned – where the hogs ate the cabbage (Volume 1) is available through Writing Knights Press. If you would like to check it out, click here.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Common and Proper Nouns by Martha Christina

My neighbors return from
their walk around the block.
He’s 92, she’s 87.

In spite of his sciatica
he walks with her. Last
week she wasn’t sure
which way to turn, but
made the right guess.

Tonight he’ll fix the pasta
dish they both like, though
he can’t remember what
it’s called. And as they eat,
they’ll ask each other
names they used to know
of people, places, and things.



Martha Christina is a frequent contributor to Brevities. Longer work appears in Innisfree Poetry Journal, Naugatuck River Review, earlier postings of Red Eft Review, and most recently in Star 82 Review, and Crab Orchard Review. She has published two collections: Staying Found (Fleur-de-lis Press) and Against Detachment (Pecan Grove Press).

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Gizmo by Martha Christina

It promised
to replicate
the language
of a house finch.

Envious of my friends
who couldn’t use their
front door until a brood
fledged from a wreath
of faux forsythia, I
wanted to call a pair
to nest in the wisteria.

Two twists and a half, clockwise,
countered by two turns in reverse.

Whatever I said,
the finches
settled elsewhere,
and there were

no returns.



Martha Christina is a frequent contributor to Brevities. Longer work appears in Innisfree Poetry Journal, Naugatuck River Review, earlier postings of Red Eft Review, and most recently in Star 82 Review, and Crab Orchard Review. She has published two collections: Staying Found (Fleur-de-lis Press) and Against Detachment (Pecan Grove Press).

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

At the Concert by Martha Christina

In the back row
the couple
who recently
lost a daughter
to suicide
leans away
from each other.

He thinks:
If this music
were a CD,
I would
turn it off,
go outside,
rake leaves.

He notices
his wife’s
quiet sobbing,
but doesn’t
move closer.

The Fauré,
like grief,
goes on
and on.



Martha Christina is a frequent contributor to Brevities. Longer work appears in Innisfree Poetry Journal, Naugatuck River Review, earlier postings of Red Eft Review, and most recently in Star 82 Review, and Crab Orchard Review. She has published two collections: Staying Found (Fleur-de-lis Press) and Against Detachment (Pecan Grove Press).

Monday, October 29, 2018

Letter to an Old Friend by C.C. Russell

When we were young
we were willing to try,

to do
          anything.

How did we end up living

such ordinary
lives?



C.C. Russell has worked many jobs in his life – everything from hotel air conditioner repair to retail management with stops along the way like dive bar 80s night DJ. His writing can be found online and in print. You can follow him on Twitter @c_c_Russell.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Memory Gardens by Ben Rasnic

In 1978 my father bought me
a ‘75 Chevy Nova
when my Pontiac Lemans
succumbed to poor craftsmanship
and consequently found exile
in the local junkyard.

Parked in my parents’ unpaved driveway,
that first night we scrutinized
each particular feature of this icon,
smoking Salems, drinking beer and listening
to Virginia Tech football
on the radio.

This moment resurfaced tonight
while alone, scanning
each accessory & function of this 2015
Nissan Frontier parked
in my freshly paved driveway;

not oblivious to the fact
that no one buys Chevy Novas
or listens to football games
on the radio
anymore.



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 21, 2018

Boat Lies by Diane Webster

The overturned boat lies
forgotten in the grass
expecting mist to rise,
to thicken, to conceal
like spring runoff filled lake
bulging at shores,
tickling boat planks,
rippling back and forth
in lullaby mesmerism
drifting
by currents of wind,
floating on dreams
that by sunrise
someone will desire
a sail above fishes.



Diane Webster grew up in Eastern Oregon before she moved to Colorado. She enjoys drives in the mountains to view all the wildlife and scenery and takes amateur photographs. Her work has appeared in Philadelphia Poets, Eunoia Review, Better Than Starbucks, and other literary magazines.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

looking for something better by J.J. Campbell

i am in love with a
woman that wishes
i wasn't

she constantly 
reminds me that
she's looking for
something better

i know she will
eventually find it

for now, i can
still dream that 
the impossible
has a chance

eventually,
loneliness will
reclaim her space

as my only constant
companion



J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) is currently trapped in the suburbs, wondering where all the lonely housewives have gone. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at The Dope Fiend Daily, Lucidity Poetry Journal, Horror Sleaze Trash, Academy of the Heart and Mind and The Rye Whiskey Review. His most recent chapbook, the taste of blood on christmas morning, was published by Analog Submission Press. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)