Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Here and Now by Richard Martin

A brief flash of blue and brown,
as wings fold their fluttering feather --

a jay has settled itself
in a fork of the chestnut's leafless branches --

from this vantage point,
it seems to survey its surroundings intently --

I contemplate the bird,
savouring the essence of the here and now.

Richard Martin was born in London and studied at Cambridge. For many years he taught English and American literature at the University of Aachen in Germany. He and his wife live just across the border on the slopes of the highest hill in Holland. His poetry has appeared in magazines in England, USA, Ireland, and Austria. He has published three collections.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thirty-Five by Emily R. Frankenberg

I am the age of youthful presidents,
decrepit models and fading athletes,
as well as others, nondescript throughout the day:
the tired waitress with the memory
and the uniform she hates,
the polished lawyer with the torment in his head,
the distracted sales clerk and the teacher
with a notebook of failed plans.
I’m two years older than the carpenter
who died upon the cross,
and one year younger than Anne Bancroft in The Graduate.
Also, adjusting for the species,
I’m the same age as my cat,
who knows his tail and his routines,
but with persuasion can be made to chase a string.

Emily R. Frankenberg was born in New Jersey, but has lived in Seville, Spain since 2006. She writes in both English and Spanish and has been published in Amaryllis Poetry, Revista Literaria Baquiana, La bolsa de pipas, Typehouse Literary Review, Strong Verse, and the Apeiron Review, as well as in an anthology of poetry released by Editorial ZenĂș (Colombia).

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Something for Nothing by CL Bledsoe

There were plates and bowls, crockery
with little yellow and blue daisies
on them. Every week, IGA had a different
piece. They gave out stamps when
you bought enough. Fill up a book,
and you got something. When
the vacuum broke, Mom saved stamps
in her little book. She had to take
them all the way to the mall in Jonesboro.
Dad said, “You can’t get something
for nothing.” Mom said, “It’s not
nothing.” He wouldn’t take her
until she threatened to go by herself.
On the hour drive up, he repeated,
“You can’t get something for nothing.”
On the drive back, the vacuum sat
in the back seat, quiet as Dad up front. 
CL Bledsoe is the assistant editor for The Dead Mule and author of fourteen books, most recently the poetry collection Trashcans in Love and the flash fiction collection Ray's Sea World. Originally from rural Arkansas, he lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Because Everything Matters by Ben Rasnic

The miniature rose bush
shed its paper thin pink
petals & delicate lime green leaves
with the first kiss
of November frost.

Against all odds, we brought the barren
rigid stems inside, carefully
tamping their fibrous roots
into a soothing caress
of organic potting soil;          

gave them a nourishing cocktail
of cool water & Miracle-Gro,
then patiently awaited
the re-animation of fresh green leaves
& vibrant new buds.

It would have been an easier choice
to abandon this life form
to its own primitive resources;
to die a natural death
& simply be replaced

the following spring
than to sacrifice five minutes                                                     
& three cubic feet
of den space,
the difference being       

what separates the dead of winter
from the magic of the season
where each new day begins
with the glow of transparent pink petals
in the pale morning light.

Author of four collections of poetry, Ben Rasnic currently resides in Bowie, Maryland crunching numbers for a living in Northern Virginia. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart prize and for Best of the Net.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Sleeping by Neil Ellman

          (after the painting by Phillip Guston)

In the morning
when the birds begin
their dawn chatter
and conversations
with the light and rising sun
a shadow puppet
hiding behind a cloud
my smoke-ring dreams
will fade and dissipate       
after still another night
spent, not on sleep,
but squandered
on half-lit cigarettes
empty coffee cups
lined up like sheep
and visions of a life
more imagined than real.

If only I could
cover my head
with blankets
of forget-me-nots
and in the darkness
know the sleep
that others know
and make me feel
as I once did.

Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has published numerous poems, more than 1,000 of which are ekphrastic, in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world. He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and twice for Best of the Net.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

dad by Justin Hyde

there are no
warm childhood moments
to savor
when the clouds wax

it was all barbed wire
and mutual intransigence.

but he mellowed

i mellowed

the world humbled me
over and over.

at first
i shook his hand.

i give him a hug.

like you know
the sun rises
in the east

i know
if i call him up
in any season

he'll come
and save my ass.

Justin Hyde's books and other poems can be found here: http://poets.nyq.org/poet/justinhyde.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

blairstown pears by Justin Hyde

uncle denny
worked at a factory
in bell plaine.
he watched nascar on tv
and golfed when he could.
i never saw him angry
or heard him talk sideways about anyone.
he always had a smile
always did what aunt holly said.
every summer
he and aunt holly took me and my six cousins
on an overnight trip
to the amusement park in des moines.
i think he actually enjoyed it.
i judged him simple steady and banal
in my twenties
and never sought his advice.
my son met him a few times
before a back-ache turned cancer.
all he remembers
is uncle denny handing him a pear
from the tree in their back-yard.
blairstown pears he calls them
dad let's go get some blairstown pears.
aunt holly sold the house
and moved to a condo in cedar rapids.
the pear tree is gone. replaced
by an extension
of the driveway.
uncle denny is still there.
thirty-seven steps from grandpa fiester
on the south hill
of the blairstown cemetery.

Justin Hyde's books and other poems can be found here:

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Fall at the Playground by Martha Christina

Backs to the wind
we watch our young
granddaughters swing

the same swings
we bailed out of
as little girls,
skinning our knees,
but not crying.

Our families are
home for Thanksgiving,
and so we exchange a few
sentences about pies
and brining turkeys,
then: her husband's stents,
my husband's chemo.

"It will be better in the spring,"
she says, and we wipe
our runny noses on our sleeves,
although we know better.

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 by Pecan Grove Press.