Thursday, November 29, 2018

Frequency by Ben Rasnic

When I was five,
I grabbed onto a live
electric wire fence
that wouldn’t let go.

My grandfather, deftly rolling Prince
Albert into OCB papers from his creaking
porch swing yells “Let go of the wire!”
but the current is too strong

so I am shaking like a dog
that just came in from the rain
& my grandfather is privately chuckling
as he calmly pulls the power box lever down.

58 years later,
I am hurled to the floor
by my ICD firing electric shocks
and as I lie there trembling,

I see my grandfather in 1959
awkwardly rising from his creaking
porch swing, cancer pulsing
through his cholesterol encrusted veins

and as he reaches
for the power box lever,
turns to me and says,

“To be forgotten
is when we truly die.      

Sometimes the memory
just needs
a good jolt.”         

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.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Andres by Jeffrey Zable

Made it to age 56. Survived mostly off Medicaid.
Obviously had a difficult life, early polio leaving him
permanently disabled: prosthetic leg; crutches or a wheelchair
to get around. Yet he was upbeat in spite of it.
I originally met him through a friend who said that Andres
was also a poet who loved Afro-Cuban music.
And so whenever I ran into him at Café La Boheme,
we usually talked a bit about the Latin music scene,
our own poetry, and some of the poets we both knew.
And I remember that the last time I saw him
he asked me for 5 dollars, which I immediately gave him.
Surely if I had known he had cancer and only a couple
more months to live I would have given him a lot more.
For some time thereafter, whenever I was at the cafe
I thought of him and wished I’d gotten to know him better,
which, of course, is often the case after all is said and done. . .

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher, conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas, and a writer of poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction. More recent writing in The Bitchin’ Kitch, Corvus, After the Pause, Third Wednesday, Remington Review and many others. In 2017 he was nominated for both The Best of the Net and The Pushcart Prize.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Montag by Kara Goughnour

          There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine,

          to make a woman stay in a burning house;

          there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.

          ― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

It was a pleasure to burn

with you, eyes a black,

eaten thing, both scarce

and scared.

A pleasure to see deeper,

charred wafer-thin pieces

gone, slate clean. To think black

eyes iridescent; catch

a peek of beetle-green.

To know bright June light,

refracting off the window pane,

giving sight to my page,

is fire enough for me.

Kara Goughnour is a queer writer and documentarian living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the 2018 winner of the Gerald Stern Poetry Award and has work published or forthcoming in Third Point Press, Riggwelter Journal, The Southampton Review, and others. Follow her on Twitter @kara_goughnour or read her collected and exclusive works at

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Arc Spelled Ark by Howie Good

Animals are
slowly creeping
into my life.

An orange cat.
A yellow Lab.  
A motherless
baby rabbit.

And that’s just
fine with me.

As a kid, I spent
a lot of my time
watching TV alone

in the basement,
in the dark.

Howie Good's latest poetry collections are I'm Not a Robot from Tolsun Books and A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submissions Press.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wolf, Wildlife Refuge by Joe Cottonwood

Gandy the tawny wolf picks me
from a crowd of gawkers at the fence,
leans in sniffing, studying. Gus the keeper says
Gandy’s keying on your aftershave.
Nope. I’m gray-bearded, unshaven.

I ask if Gandy is an old wolf.
You’re very perceptive, Gus says.
Nope. Saw it in his stiff movements. Like mine.

I seem the only one engaging Gus or Gandy
while spectators aim phones, capturing us
in digital cages.

Gus says wolves can smell cancer or arthritis,
helps them select which moose
to cull from the herd.

Gus says Gandy still acts like
the alpha wolf, hates competition.
They keep him penned separately
so no one gets mauled.

Gandy steps to the fence.
From his throat, a low growl.
Like an anvil, the snout.
My joints ache.
And Gandy stares at me. Hard.

Joe Cottonwood is a carpenter by day, writer by night. Self-taught in each. His most recent book is Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Way I Knew Him (1944) by Antoni Ooto

You could say I knew him by
his way of leaning into the path.

He saw the ruts
and chose to step into them.

Never complained about mud,
a fallen tree, or war left in his path.

And I watched, following his courage,
never really knowing him at all.

Antoni Ooto is a poet and flash fiction writer and has been a frequent contributor to Palettes and Quills, An Upstate of Mind, Amethyst Review, Front Porch Review, Young Ravens Literary Review, and Ink Sweat & Tears. He lives and works in upstate New York with his wife writer/storyteller Judy DeCroce.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

December 7, 1941 by Judy DeCroce

After that, safety fell off,
there was no before.
It was just now.
And the now filled all the spaces.

What we were doing gained importance
as a memory of a moment.
The change shivered through us,
and them,
and all that was.

Far away…
but not far away, an impossibility

Sounds blackened clocks,
war closed the minutes, the hours.

Fear found us
watching the radio.

Judy DeCroce, a former teacher, is a poet/flash fiction writer who has been a frequent contributor to Palettes and Quills. Also published in An Upstate of Mind, Amethyst Review, Front Porch Review as well as Writers & Books. She is a professional storyteller and teacher of that genre. Judy lives and works in upstate New York with her husband, writer Antoni Ooto.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Listening by B. S. Dixon

your words
broke somewhere
in the space
between us.

I have
done my best
to make sense
of the pieces.

B. S. Dixon is working on his first poetry collection, "Outreach," about his work with the homeless population in Boston, MA. His work has most recently been printed in Poem Wars and Boston Literary Magazine.

Friday, November 2, 2018

sunday drive by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

I had seen and heard
it all
with three older sisters
every seven days
a mini Armageddon

mom, dressed in her best
riding shotgun

those sunday morning drives
the half dozen blocks from
home to church

the shrieks and wails
the gnashing of teeth
the thanking God we were
finally in the parking lot

Wanda Morrow Clevenger lives in Hettick, IL. Over 500 pieces of her work appear in 163 print and electronic journals and anthologies. The first of a 5-volume chapbook series young and unadorned – where the hogs ate the cabbage (Volume 1) is available through Writing Knights Press. If you would like to check it out, click here.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Common and Proper Nouns by Martha Christina

My neighbors return from
their walk around the block.
He’s 92, she’s 87.

In spite of his sciatica
he walks with her. Last
week she wasn’t sure
which way to turn, but
made the right guess.

Tonight he’ll fix the pasta
dish they both like, though
he can’t remember what
it’s called. And as they eat,
they’ll ask each other
names they used to know
of people, places, and things.

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).