Monday, April 24, 2017

Weathering by M.J. Iuppa

Seeing the empty swing, hanging from the black
willow’s thickest branch, I want to test its seat, I

want to steady myself on its warped wood & fly
out over the pond that rents the sky. I want

to lean all the way back, face up to sunlight
that seems to be caught in leafy-green

braids that sway, back, and forth, like curtain
call— this is it —I feel it in the pit of

my stomach, this memory of
feat, of encore, of swinging

into vast darkness.



M.J. Iuppa ‘s third full length poetry collection Small Worlds Floating was published by Cherry Grove Collections in July, 2016. For the past 28 years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Air Strikes by Mark Danowsky

I get up to the news
set down my phone
feed my dog
make coffee
check email
Twitter
a checklist I've developed
that takes hours
breaking for dog walks
opening the fridge
for no reason
worrying
about productivity
why I'm not
getting to the DO IT LATER
half of my steno pad
dreams I have
opportunity
to pursue if I choose



Mark Danowsky’s poetry has appeared in About Place, Cordite, Right Hand Pointing, Shot Glass Journal, Subprimal, Third Wednesday and elsewhere. Mark is originally from Philadelphia, but lives in West Virginia. He is Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal and Founder of the poetry coaching and editing service VRS CRFT.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

vagrant by Robert T. Krantz

these boxcar doors slide
open with great clamors
of fear and trembling
shake our cups
spilling brown coffee onto pine pallets—
we dream generous portions
of flaked biscuits and gravy
at the diner in the town up ahead
Baxter smiles when the first purple light
peaks over the northern plain
just in case



Robert T. Krantz is a poet working out of Michigan. He studied creative writing and English Literature at both Niagara County Community College, NY and the University of Akron, Ohio. Robert published a chapbook of poetry and prose entitled Leg Brace Legato (2013) which earned him admittance into the University of Arkansas-Monticello's MFA program for Poetry. His second chapbook, Gargoyle, was published in 2015. In 2016, Bitterzoet Press published two chapbooks of Robert's work (Hansel & Plus 4) and his poetry has appeared in Gargoyle, Hoot, Watershed Review, Wilderness House Literary Review and others.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Late and Dark by Martha Christina

The cat's in
his usual place,
stretched out
against my
outstretched legs.

The bedside clock
reads 3:00 a.m.;
what's that to him
in his reckoning
of time?

Dark? He can
easily see
me, sitting up,
face buried in my hands.



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

Monday, April 17, 2017

At the Arboretum by Martha Christina

Sun breaks through
heavy cloud cover,
shines like a spotlight
on her memorial tree.

Still a sapling;
my hand can
encircle its trunk,
slender as her wrist.

* * *
Our hands
interlocked,
paramedics busy.

* * *
White blossoms,
five-petaled,
touch my face.




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

Saturday, April 15, 2017

My Students' Wheelbarrows by Tyler Sheldon

          after B.C. and W.C.W.

One by one they trickle to their seats.
They expect another day of scribbling
in their notebooks what they’re only
pretending to think, but I tell them,
it is finally time to have our talk
about poetry.

I tell them, look here at how Williams breaks
his lines, so unlike Shakespeare, and one,
her hand above the sea of heads, says
they’re wheelbarrows. You can lift
these lines and even pivot, if you wish.
She drops her hand and just like that the silence
breaks.

Another stands to speak: white, he says,
means purity. For the rest, so much depends
upon these words. All they want to do
is tie chickens to that color
so they won’t escape.

When they finally trickle out, talk shifts
back to other things. A few leave
with pens in hand. I turn off the lights.
Beyond our classroom, the trees
are glazed with rain.



Tyler Sheldon is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and MFA candidate at McNeese State University. His work has appeared throughout the US and Canada, such as in Quiddity International Literary Journal, The Dos Passos Review, The Prairie Journal, and others. His chapbooks include First Breaths of Arrival (Oil Hill Press, 2016), and Traumas, forthcoming from Yellow Flag Press.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Another one by Matthew Borczon

He had
21,000
rounds of
ammunition
5 illegal
guns and
a list
of enemies
but in
the end
the soldier
only shot
himself.



Matthew Borczon is the author of two books of poetry: A Clock of Human Bones from Yellow Chair Review and Battle Lines from Epic Rites Press. His third book Ghost Train will be out in June from Weasel Press. He is a nurse and Navy sailor in Erie, Pa.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

I shouldn't watch the news by Matthew Borczon

After a
nightmare
full of
the dead
children
of Afghanistan
carrying the
dead children
of Syria
I wake up
to carry
my 8 yr
old up
the stairs
to bed
fighting back
the urge
to wake her
just because
I can.



Matthew Borczon is the author of two books of poetry: A Clock of Human Bones from Yellow Chair Review and Battle Lines from Epic Rites Press. His third book Ghost Train will be out in June from Weasel Press. He is a nurse and Navy sailor in Erie, Pa.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Senryu by Maureen Kingston

in the exurbs
cornfields exhale
walmart bags



Maureen Kingston’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Akitsu Quarterly, Blue Earth Review, B O D Y, Chrysanthemum, Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, Haibun Today, hedgerow, Hermeneutic Chaos Literary Journal, Modern Poetry Review, moongarlic E-zine, Prune Juice: Journal of Senryu & Kyoka, and Red Paint Hill.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Baiting the Hook by Ben Rasnic

Coming to terms
with that last offering
from a crushed pack
of Salems
now snuffed
down to the filter,
you sift frantically
through the overfilled ashtray
for something to light
because the lure
of vodka & tonic
still wavers enticingly
from the shallow bottom
of your crystal cocktail glass.



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.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Opposite of Love by Jessica Siobhan Frank

I’d prefer apathy to his blatant
hatred of the woman
he’s falling out of love with.

She hollers and he responds.
I have to watch.

I hold him up,
my body is his backboard
my affections keep him from falling,
but I ache for his attention
towards me, towards us,
the future he promised me,
the feverish words he used
when he was wooing me.
Let me take care of you.

I said he was wounded,
needed time to heal,
a year at least,
even if that meant we missed out
on each other. I loved him that much.
But his words were sure:
A year is arbitrary. I’ve found you now.
His convictions more solid than mine.

And now I’m here for him,
dressed in armor.
I know more about her
than he knows about me.
His anger for her his favorite
thing to talk about.
And I hate being right.



Jessica Siobhan Frank is an MFA candidate at McNeese State University. Her work has appeared in Ninth Letter (online), Cliterature, Portage Magazine, and other publications. She currently lives in Louisiana, but is originally from the Chicago area.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Backseat World by Peter Dabbene

I learned about the world in the rear
seat of my parents' car. Not
the way you're thinking, you
dirty bird—age six or seven, feigning
sleep, eyes shut tight, but the insides
of my eyelids bright as we passed orange
glow streetlights.

*Flashes*

"It's just not working out."

"The doctors say there's not much they can do."

"Can you believe what she said to me?"

They rarely listened
to music while driving and our world
was sealed, self-contained except
for the odd honk. If ears closed
as easily as eyes, would they?

The secret language
of adults made me glad
to be a kid and fearful
of the future; now,
in the car, there's always music.



Peter Dabbene’s poetry has been published in many literary journals, and collected in the photo book Optimism. He has published the graphic novels Ark and Robin Hood, the story collections Prime Movements and Glossolalia, and a novel, Mister Dreyfus' Demons. His latest books are Spamming the Spammers and More Spamming the Spammers. He writes a monthly column for the Hamilton Post newspaper. His website is
www.peterdabbene.com.

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.