Thursday, August 17, 2017

Let's Blame It on Mother by M.J. Iuppa

There was never any drawing paper. We
stole the cardboard that kept our father’s

pressed shirts stiff— careful not to separate
straight pins that fastened the sleeves to

shoulders. We were stealth, trying
to ply the pine drawers open with-

out a squeak, knowing Mother was fast
asleep in the next room.

We gave each other that look as we tip-
toed down the staircase to a room where

we hid with bald-faced lies that became
drawings of the orphanage, of running

away with a red leather suitcase filled with
vinyl 45s & a week’s worth of underwear.

We’d get as far as Petrossi’s barn &
settled in their stable on a mound of hay.

We’d lie there, listening to horses’ slow
breath & considered what would happen

if we answered the black phone
ringing off its hook.

M.J. Iuppa, Director of the Visual & Performing Arts Minor Program and Lecturer in Creative Writing at St. John Fisher College, and a part-time lecturer in Creative Writing at The College at Brockport, was awarded the New York State Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Adjunct Teaching, 2017.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

In the Park by Richard Martin

A small blonde-haired boy came skipping past,
waving to me furtively behind his mother's back –
just two of the afternoon wanderers in the park,
where, with some thirty others, I sat patiently
on a flimsy chair to listen to a poetry reading.

Around us stood vast beech and lime trees,
prolific bushes and verdant lawns; the poets
told us they'd read about landscape, gardens,
fields, nature, and, yes, parks. The heavy burls
on the tree trunks became faces, grinning
at the thought of versifying their glory.

On the grass beyond a row of Roman columns,
enthusiasts practised therapeutic exercises –
the sun shone briefly through the clouds;
the reading over, we walked our memories home.

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.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Way of the World by Ben Rasnic

Pacing the concrete median strip
adjacent the intersection
of Central Avenue
and Ritchie Road,

his scruffy beard
daubs a face rutted
by hard times;
vacant eyes
expose the emptiness inside.

The cardboard sign
pressed against a soiled, slept on
Army Surplus shirt
reads “Desert Storm Vet
down on his luck
needs help to pay the rent”

and I’m thinking
‘There but for the grace
of God go I’

but the light turns green
& I punch the accelerator

so as not to piss off
those who continue
along this road I travel.

Ben Rasnic currently resides in Bowie, Maryland. Author of four published collections (three available from, Ben's poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize.