Tuesday, January 15, 2019

"The central Texas..." by Bob Carlton

The central Texas

hills disappear

under develop-
ment to become nothing more

than roof
pitch and elevation



Bob Carlton (www.bobcarlton3.weebly.com) lives and works in Leander, TX.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

"What Do You Want, You Naughty Boy?" by Ace Boggess

          —subject line of spam e-mail

as body bends a next line forms
tongued into existence

one I must interpret
landing songbirds on our lips

let them sing the happy consonance of ‘p’
the whiplash accident of ‘k’

shush us with ellipses
drag those jagged exclamations down our backs

I want a literary afterglow
to burn our fingers on a block of ice

to misinfer: I want us to announce ourselves
with hard breaks enjambing quiet

we will leave it to readers to determine
how our feet were tangled in our clothes



Ace Boggess is author of three books of poetry, most recently Ultra Deep Field (Brick Road, 2017), and the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea, 2016). His poems have appeared in River Styx, Harvard Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Sitting by Matthew Borczon

in
the
waiting
room
I
don't
ask
my
dad
about
his
cancer
and
he
doesn't
ask
me
about
the
war. 



Matthew Borczon just published his 9th book of poetry, This Many Years After the War, which is available through Cajun Mutt Press. He has published widely in the small press and continues to serve in the US Navy reserve. He is the father of 4 children and works as a nurse to adults with developmental disabilities. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

September 2010 by Matthew Borczon

On
the
plane
into
Afghanistan
we
all
pretend
we
are
only
afraid
of
flying.



Matthew Borczon just published his 9th book of poetry, This Many Years After the War, which is available through Cajun Mutt Press. He has published widely in the small press and continues to serve in the US Navy reserve. He is the father of 4 children and works as a nurse to adults with developmental disabilities.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Summer in Starkville, MS by Matthew Johnson

During Mississippi summers,
The state swelters in the haze of an eternal sun.

No one sits out on the levee to moan;
The residents wax nostalgic of the Great Floods.
The shadows of the clouds are hot, and waterless;
The sun rises, and the animals flee to the river.

The catfish bubble and boil
In shriveling swamp water;
The fading magnolias slump to the ground,
Begging for the refuge of rain 𑁋

Despite July chasing away the folk until sundown,
You’d still see teenage boys
On the practice fields and vacant lawns,
Trying to catch the ghost of Jerry Rice.



Matthew Johnson's poetry has appeared in The Roanoke Review, Maudlin House and elsewhere. He is a Best of the Net Nominee (2017) and his debut collection is scheduled to be released in June by Kelsay Books. You can find him on Twitter at:
https://twitter.com/Matt_Johnson_D.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

12.29.18 / 8.19 a.m. / 50 degrees (Yes. 50. That is "not" a typo) by John L. Stanizzi

Plodding, low-slung clouds dull the pond’s reflection,
onerous and dense, they lay their shadows over the canopy of the hills;
nameless chickadees (which I’d name if could) outnumber the sparrows,
dawdling and silent this spring morn…winter morning.



John L. Stanizzi is author of the full-length collections – Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, and Four Bits. His poems have appeared in American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Rust & Moth, Connecticut River Review, Hawk & Handsaw, and many others. His latest collection, Chants, will be out in 2019 with Cervena Barva.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

12.28.18 / 9.25 a.m. / 43 degrees by John L. Stanizzi

Pinpricks of easy rain like a negative of the stars,
orbiting what fragments of ice remain, and on a
naked branch nearby a crow rattles its castanets, flashing the
drear morning with gypsy sparks of sound.



John L. Stanizzi is author of the full-length collections – Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, and Four Bits. His poems have appeared in American Life in Poetry, The New York Quarterly, Paterson Literary Review, The Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River Poetry, Rust & Moth, Connecticut River Review, Hawk & Handsaw, and many others. His latest collection, Chants, will be out in 2019 with Cervena Barva. 

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Over coffee she asked me by Rose Mary Boehm

          for Jean Charity, March 2012

She’d just had the verdict:
a huge shadow on both lungs.
They’re not sure whether it’s
the old one or a new one or
whether it’s one at all.

She said they have difficulties
taking out enough with their needles
to make that damned analysis.

They probably have to cut her
breastbone. Or was it breaking
her ribs. So we had coffee.
Sinful, black and strong. The sort
that makes your heart quake.

It may just be a shadow
strategically placed.
It took me by surprise,
her question:
What would I want
to be remembered for.



A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru. Author of two novels and three poetry collections, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print). 

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Ending by Steve Klepetar

Cold sunlight blazes down onto snow.
Already night approaches.
The old sun is busy dying in the sky,
leaning toward the west.
Crows skim above their shadows
on the frozen lawn,
and now they leap into the air
above the pines like black puffs of smoke.
I stand at the door in my blue coat,
watching as they disappear into the woods
behind the pond, grateful for their visit,
for the mystery of black wings in the bright cold.



Steve Klepetar lives in the Berkshires in Massachusetts. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize. Klepetar is the author of fourteen poetry collections, the most recent of which are A Landscape in Hell (Woodhaven Press) and Why Glass Shatters (One Sentence Chaps).

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Weight of Dried Beans by M.J. Iuppa

Pintos, cranberry, black
bean pods hang straight
& long— their sundried

rattle startles me when I
snip them off vines, three
at a time, and let them

drop into my shirt-turned-
apron that fills to overfull,
forcing me to teeter back

to the start of the row where
I left my mesh bag hanging
on a pole, ready to contain

these quick fingers, pointing
every which way out.



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 & life's stew.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Free to Go by M.J. Iuppa

          Let us forget with generosity those who cannot love us.
          - Pablo Neruda

Evening shadows pool
beneath apple trees, settling

above ruts full of snow-
melt & fallen leaves

that float like sparrow
wings, slicing the sky's

echo in two. A bald
moon stares deeply at us,

watching us slip in
and out of the kitchen

with dinner plates and bits
of conversation that sputter

like a candle flickering on
the sill, like the whistle of

the kettle, like shadows making
their way no further than this

sudden squall of snow.



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 & life's stew.

Friday, December 21, 2018

uncomfortable smile by J.J. Campbell

the raven-haired beauty
caught me looking at
her

her uncomfortable smile
gives me all i need to
know



J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) is old enough to know where the bodies are buried. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Chiron Review, Horror Sleaze Trash and Rusty Truck. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Southern Childhood by John Grey

This is the delta.
So much water oozes through
and yet it seems to never move.
That's an egret
pecking in its shallows.
And a couple of kids picking pecans.
And a coral snake
slithering across the surface.
Those are mosquitoes, of course,
whirling black clouds
of the miserable biters.

That's the wrought-iron railing
of a verandah.
Those are windows leading to a bedroom,
a fan spinning shadows across the ceiling,
netting draped over the bed.
Someone is screaming below,
"Do not bring that thing into the house."
A boy follows his father
to a favorite fishing hole.
A wild girl trails at a distance.

One child is living in the north now,
another far out in the western mountains.
The others are somewhere beneath
that greenish-white gathering of tombstones.

The air is as hot and steamy as bathwater.
A body wilts just by breathing.
But not all is lost for those born in the bayou.
Memories, at least, can take the heat.



John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Roanoke Review, Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly. 

Friday, December 14, 2018

A Hole in the Hull by Todd Mercer

Movies show resourceful characters
thriving after fate strands them.
Boat sinks, heroes work it out—
a common TV Guide slug-line.
By contrast, those actually marooned
on obscure Pacific islands
typically didn’t graduate
from wilderness survival school.
That’s where you climb rocks
and the instructors ask you:
Which three items
would you take?

When a ship wrecks
on an unmarked reef,
passengers don’t know
what’s indispensable.
Nine times in ten
they let it sink with the craft.
Those swept overboard
make for awful television leads.
Castaways on the average
are (frankly) fairly out of shape
when they wash up
on the sparkling sands
of nowhere atolls.
They’re un-handy, accident-prone,
they are soon hungry. And then…
It’s easy to become unbalanced,
lacking other human reference.
Stuck without calories,
bad at fishing. Missing all their shows.
Real castaways fail at survival,
they suffer and expire
before rescuers get there.
It’s not exotic, what comes of regular people
when ships crack open out there.
If ever stranded, be strong,
strive to be cinematic.
Beat those long odds
sell the film rights,
play yourself if the money is fair.



Todd Mercer was nominated for Best of the Net in 2018. Mercer won 1st, 2nd & 3rd place of the Kent County Dyer-Ives Poetry Prizes and the won Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Prize. Recent work appears in: The Magnolia Review, Plum Tree Tavern and Praxis. 

Thursday, December 13, 2018

The Day After by Martha Christina

“I’ll be right there,” she said
to the finches at the feeder.

“I’ll be right back,” she told the cats,
waiting for fresh food and water.

So began the first of many days.

Sympathy cards came in the mail;
more condolences over the phone.

The cats ate and drank.
The birds emptied the feeder.


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, December 12, 2018

New Widow by Martha Christina

She shuffles
her late husband’s
marked deck,
lays out another
game of solitaire
on the kitchen table.

She knows which
face-down card is
the 5 of Diamonds,
the Ace of Spades,
the King of Hearts,
but she doesn’t
cheat, even alone.

She loses again,
so she shuffles again,
lays out another round.

She thinks of Edward
Hopper, his skill
at turning loneliness
into something more.

How much
time and work
that took. Takes.



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, 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.