Thursday, March 31, 2016

First Haircut by CL Bledsoe

Mom loved my long, blond locks. Dad
thought I looked like a girl. He waited

as long as he could stand, until the tresses
reached my shoulders, snatched

me up and took me to the barber shop
downtown. A man I didn’t know helped 

me up onto the booster on his chair
with a smile. When I cried because Mom

had cried, he tried to convince Dad
it was okay to wait. But Dad

insisted, and I left looking like a boy.
It wasn’t long after that my hair darkened 

from Mom’s blond to Dad’s raven
black stain.

CL Bledsoe is the author of a dozen books, most recently the poetry collection Riceland and the novel Man of Clay. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

You were ready to go on the road by Kelley White

sold it all, house, furniture, tools,
took your clothes and the lamps and dishes
to the Goodwill, bought yourself a little travel
trailer to take on tour; first trip you lost
control, it sheared, knocked
the little house right off its wheels
now you come back dragging
an empty chassis
to my door

Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA. Her most recent books are TOXIC ENVIRONMENT (Boston Poet Press) and TWO BIRDS IN FLAME (Beech River Books.) She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Only the Poor Have Dirty Hands by Howie Good

I worked after school and over Christmas
and during the summer, all sorts of shitty jobs,

washing dishes, unloading semi-trailers,
alphabetizing files in an office, driving a taxi,

once even clearing a field for an old farmer
who stared skeptically at my shoulder-length hair,

the sun a torturer’s cigarette being ground out
on my back as I hacked at weeds with a sickle

and no bugs or birds sang but all around me
and seemingly forever the very air itself blazed.

Howie Good is author of Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Tumbang Preso by Billy Antonio

There’s something about
The empty milk can
Squatting in the middle
Of the circle.
This morning.
How it commands
The attention
Of half-a-dozen
Street children
Armed with slippers
Either too small
Or too big
For their calloused feet.

Billy Antonio is a teacher. He writes poems to remind himself of the things he thinks are worth remembering. He lives in the Philippines with his wife, Rowena, and daughters, Felicity and Asiel Sophie.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Jawbone by Howie Good

I should have kept it, brought it inside,
put it where I’d see it every day,
on the desk or on top of the dresser,

a chunk of jawbone with teeth
like nuggets of hard fact that I found
along the abandoned logging trail

and, for a long moment, weighed in my hand,
wondering at it, the message of it,
before turning back as night neared.

Howie Good recipient of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry for his collection Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

My Girl by Michael Estabrook

She likes her cereal soggy
can’t swallow pills
makes the bed as she’s crawling out of it
takes baths not showers
doesn’t drink or swear
can’t go to bed without emptying the dishwasher
is always on a diet but refuses to call it a diet
moves her lips while she’s reading
always changes our table in restaurants
never sweats
loves puzzles, giraffes, and mangoes
doesn’t keep any houseplants
doesn’t like eating fish or swimming in the ocean
amazing what you learn about a woman
after being with her 45 years.

Michael Estabrook is writing more poems and working more outside now that he has retired. In fact, he recently noticed two Cooper's Hawks staked out above his yard which explains the disappearing chipmunks.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Ways of Knowing by Michael L. Newell

A cello tells a story
of a life's journey; the woman
with the bow is young, but
the music is as old as man;

across the room an old man
puffs, at slow intervals, on a cigar,
and sips old bourbon. His eyes
have slipped to other times and places.

The melody flows with the sinuous grace
of a river spanning a continent; the woman
knows only the music; and the old man
remembers life, his and oh so many others.

Michael L. Newell was a long time expatriate teacher who retired to coastal Oregon twenty-one months ago, after living in thirteen countries on five continents. He has also lived in thirteen of the United States. He has had around 850 poems published in over seventy magazines.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Disappearances by Ronald Moran

Why is there a missed call
when my phone never rang?
Why do things disappear
before me, such as strips

of garnish at a restaurant,
or an after-dream vision
of my father in color,
or a mattress cover just

removed from wrapping?
Once, after I woke, I saw
Jane asleep, fetal position,
at the end of our ancient bed,

and I wanted to cover her
with a blanket but was afraid
I would awaken her pain.
Before I could, she left again.

Ronald Moran lives in Simpsonville, South Carolina. His poems have been published in Commonweal, Connecticut Poetry Review, Louisiana Review, Maryland Poetry Review, Negative Capability, North American Review, Northwest Review, South Carolina Review, Southern Review, Tar River Poetry, The Wallace Stevens Journal, and in twelve books/chapbooks of poetry. Clemson University Press will publish his Eye of the World shortly. He has won a number of awards and his work is archived in Special Collections at Furman University.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

June Bug by Martha Christina

My mother's rage
fills the kitchen.
Her lovely voice,
throws threats
against the screen door,
again and again, like
a June bug, desperate
to get to the light,
as my father
into the dark.

Martha Christina is a frequent contributor to Brevities and Three Line Poetry. Longer work appears or is forthcoming in the Aurorean, Bryant Literary Review, Blast Furnace, Main Street Rag, and The Orange Room Review. She lives in Bristol, RI.