Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Urban Flashback by Mark J. Mitchell

Like a penguin on the fire escape,
a sax man practices all
his open scales and secret riffs
the whole afternoon. His face
is dark and calm and his lungs
are steady. The tone’s firm.
By his third pass through
“Straight, No Chaser” there’s not one
happy soul left on the block.

Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble. He lives with his wife Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.

Friday, May 19, 2017

"So, When Do You Want to Die?" by Ace Boggess

          —question asked by David Ishaya Osu          

It will be a Saturday,
yesno one must
miss work for grieving.

Sometime in the evening
so my last day
wasn’t wasted resting.

An old song—one
that’s not yet written—plays
on the radio (satellite,
Bluetooth, YouTube)
already calling up nostalgia

for the long-ago
I’m waiting to experience
as I contemplate
this doom prophecy of self

like watching some giddy,
glowing orange kite
sky-dancing, bobbing,

right before it’s
shot down by a drone.

Ace Boggess is author of the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016) and two books of poetry, most recently, The Prisoners (Brick Road Poetry Press, 2014). Forthcoming is a third poetry collection: Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road). His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Race by Ronald Moran

How many more IV's, pictures, or how much
blood drawn from my thin-skinned arms before
                         they decide

the time I have left according to their rock-
results, printed out as if I were a stock car

and they're counting the runs I have left
                         on the track
before I'm dropped by sponsors, big guys
                         with money.

Ronald Moran has poems in current or forthcoming issues of Asheville Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Tar River Poetry. In March he was inducted into Clemson University’s CAAH Hall of Fame.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Samsara by Janette Schafer

I knelt with my spade
atop the hard gray paving stone,
mixing a spadesful of ashes
with muddy earth and Mexican sunflowers.

I carried dust in my pocket
as I crossed the Smithfield Street Bridge
and opened the plastic bottle watching
as thin streams of gray
joined the Monongahela.

I stirred the charcoal powder
into the gravel of the chiminea,
covering you with cedar logs
before warming us both with fire.

I stood on the Mt. Washington overlook
as the wind swept you
from my outstretched hands,
then I kissed the last of you
from my blackened fingertips.

Janette Schafer is a playwright, poet, and opera singer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is a 2017 awardee of the Maenad Fellowship in writing through Chatham University and a 2015 awardee of the Arts MODE Fellowship through New Sun Rising LLC for playwriting and experimental theater. Recent and upcoming publications appear in Zany Zygote Review; Eyedrum Periodically; Nasty Women & Bad Hombres; The Woman, Inc.; B. E. Literary Journal; Big Lit International Writing Festival; and Chatham University broadsides.