person Stephen C Middleton, one poem

Stephen C. Middleton is a writer working in London, England. He has had five books published, including A Brave Light (Stride) and Worlds of Pain / Shades of Grace (Poetry Salzburg). He has been in several anthologies, including Paging Doctor Jazz (Shoestring), From Hepworth’s Garden Out (Shearsman, 2010), & Yesterday’s Music Today (Knives Forks And Spoons, 2015). For several years he was editor of Ostinato, a magazine of jazz and jazz related poetry, and The Tenormen Press.  He is currently working on projects (prose and poetry) relating to jazz, blues, politics, outsider (folk) art, mountain environments, and long-term illness.

~//~

Mourning Swans

In Blind Boy Fuller’s blues lyric
It’s a “weeping willow / and a mourning dove”

My churning mind
Must have been confused

In my dream
In sad but strict formation
It was swans that mourned
Wept too, but kept the pattern
To say farewell
To their lost love.

~\\~

person Madison Zehmer, one poem

Madison Zehmer is a wannabe historian and emerging poet from North Carolina. She has published and forthcoming work in the Santa Ana River Review, the Origami Poems Project, La Piccioletta Barca, Ethel Zine, and Wards Lit Mag. She is on instagram @mirywrites and twitter @madisonzehmer, and her website is madisonzehmer.weebly.com.

/

Cocoon

Wingspans of impulse without epithet
bite and ooze and churn; they found me seeking

and named me so, left me stuck in the unroot,

left me mistaking eagles for vultures waiting
to make me their dinner. Subterrain resounding,

engulfed by barbed-wire brambles, my heart

beats prematurely, one by one by one by three.
This place smells like Shenandoah, hurts like

Carolinas. Soaks me up dry, can’t spit me out,

can’t bear to. Its honey crystallizes on my
tongue. It tastes more squall than nectar.

If I knew where to look I would: down where

the dead things go, or above where they
hold vigil? Don’t tell me Earth is malnourished;

don’t tell me things I already know.

\

person Coleman Bomar, two poems

Coleman Bomar is a writer who currently resides in the mountains of East Tennessee. His works have been featured by and/or are forthcoming in 365 Tomorrows, The World of Myth Magazine, Bewildering Stories, Altered Reality, Impressions Literary Magazine, The Scarlet Leaf Review, The Heartland Review, Danse Macabre, Anti-Heroin Chic, Showbear Family Circus Liberal Arts Magazine, Rats Ass Review, Nine Muses Poetry, Plum Tree Tavern, Prometheus Dreaming, SOFTBLOW, Poets’ Choice Zine, Coughsyrup Magazine, Ethel Zine, and Terror House Magazine.

/*\

Snake’s Truth

A rare yet prevalent
Rural southern ritual

The snake shaking
In the Pastor’s hand
Is too smart for said
Pentecostal practice
And at this point
Severely apathetic
During Sunday services
Wherein God is thanked
For such spiritlessness
From some underestimated animal

One day this Pastor
Will glance into vertical eyes
By absolute unfortunate accident
Or out of curiosity
And his heart will bear fangs
Sinking into soul
Shook by the black pupils
He has fallen through
To enter a snake’s slow truth

*

Crow

She said:
You are like a crow
Slyly under every
Omen
Yet too distracted by
The shiny absences
To make any difference

\*/

person J.D. Nelson, seven poems

J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. Visit http://www.MadVerse.com for more information and links to his published poems. Nelson lives in Colorado.

~

insect pie

with those cobra eyes

              a clone is found foraging in the forest

the spotted hand is the winner today

the continuation of the world in the next panel

grow a leg like a cricket right out of your back

~

this blueberry scone is the pardon of the night horse

tyson handfish was a ghoul
the library crossed him and he went into a hole

finger sauce the alpha green
darkness is the sun not bleeding tonight

like a planet for now
would you like to bring back saturn

we eat the sun burgers
alphabetize that glass

~

eating a steak with larry the muppet

a frightened fool in the gardening section
a deeming scarecrow

the gallant cloud
but what is a rainbow of earthworms

the caroling hand to do the business
this could be the hamming schultz

to steal a wrench is a missing murphy
that boring hand is not mine

~

morning is a clown

a world of lips
              jungle rug

the rice bomb of beautiful you
to eat a hair of the world

a chirp in the sawdust
the video of a bugg

what about the younger yes nebula

              visionary toast

the wild boar needs a seat
the growl of the tree

~

cleo minestrone and the dollar clouds

a green cloud about bread was a burger of the mind
chainsaw earth has a number of flowery ticks

cooking a batch of the sleepers
changing a head with the lemon scent

becoming a panther to make it soda pop
the cloaking hand is a variant of x

light was a paper brain to use the words that way
why is the paper a wasp’s necessity

~

the collapse of the fingerless glove restaurant

                                          (using the lantern)
crunching the merit of folk storms

starting with the droid capo the dental yes
to link the red sea to the planet of mars

to tape the oreo blankets with maude
              this method of tree teaching

pair up with the hulk and make a lard ornament
the leopard meat was a cool machine

~

to win a reptile at the circus

I was working on the earth that day
it was a world of work to do the large something

for knowing a cloud
              happening pants

a free lemon drop was a corner of the madge
              in the rooster forest
                              an icicle tree

smeet was past normal
that cop of the nine eyes

~

{ Spectra – poems – Ashley Toliver }

Spectra
poems, Ashley Toliver
Coffee House Press 2018

~

As division so sweetly misses more than one number, the poems in Ashley Toliver’s Spectra interrogate the outward math of belonging with a verse of internalized indicia that grants its punctuated yearning an unsafe passage beneath the eternal rent of its borrowed glow. By skull, by lantern, by unlit moth, these are poems of pre-loss that language themselves into the sound of those who move to gather those first, those widowed, question marks might silence be given the distance it needs to identify in peace those spaces where no map sings. This is not quiet work. Whether grieving the grace notes of a conjoined and solo life or reviving lullabies for a reversible child, Toliver corrects within hail the acoustics as petitioned for by any soft disappearance that, though made absent by an existing then, is here revealed by a now when every word was new.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:
Spectra

{ Metamortuary – poetry – Dylan Krieger }

Metamortuary
Dylan Krieger
Nine Mile, 2020

~

Oh what smoky anatomies abound in Dylan Krieger’s Metamortuary. This is music, a fatigue learned by osmosis, and Krieger is a metamorphosister, a conductor whose verse shepherds the black from every unborn sheep into the brightness of the spiritual body’s pop ruin. Full of deconstructed wordplay and subliminal gestations, Metamortuary indicts deeply and paroles the self to a transfixed mirror where one can be seen as the two it takes to weigh a bullhorn with the incubation period of a peephole. I have not known such a humane loneliness to exist, let alone to have been created from the orphaned nothingness and plural threesome of biology, weather, and locale. Each of the book’s four sections, Dangerous Meat / Raw War / Quiet Catastrophes / Eternal End-Times, is a detached possession belonging to the same church of an absent and holy endeavor where Krieger stages population myths for an imagined audience of resuscitated reanimations with a language so alive and so secretly killed that it renders irrelevant the spelling that revelation too often uses to sound out the shape of its more basic priests. In other words, there are no other words. Creation is the vacuum. And may all of our current surgeons go, by design, to a dust once breathed by Krieger’s needed and presently corrected demons.

~

metamortuary

book releases January 30th, 2020
pre-order, here: ninemile.org

person Meg Malachi, two poems

Meg Malachi is a data analyst by day and a poet also by day. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

//

To My Half Sister

He is a summary.
A brother in synopsis.
The icky reality
of a nuclear brochure.
You and I, though left
to each other,
gawked at solipsism,
trying to evade
a space where affection
comes either whole
or not at all.

A glass never full,
We drown ourselves for years in his shortcomings
only to find that they are our own.
They are inescapable.
We drown. We are drowning.
We flocculate like backwash
and rise only to find
the ullage of love.

You and I,
Plantigrade.
But you know
the acuteness of the pain
I was not allowed
to feel into existence.
You know because it is your own.
And though I hate it—
those bleak, unaffectionate
moments we shared
those horrible slumps of
sisterhood that we carry
on our backs like corpses
of ancestors we never came to know
—he and me and you is not unknowable.

Even if
only half real,
the corners of our lips
carry his cheekbones
to our eyes
and your sweat smells just
like
mine.

/

Crossing

I occur in the middle of bills,
a subway, in the middle of day jobs
and burnt greens,
in the middle of clotheslines and
undergarments, industrial odors and natural musk.
I overlap with blue. I want to go home.
The arm of a tiny stranger swings, as if
convinced of the madness within something
nonverbal. I sift through earth
and flying hair and communal breath and wonder how long
it will be until I am still
and there is no more air left to foil.
What is it like to have flesh?
Were they always this way? Where is their symmetry?
I want to go home. Air ducks below me.
I glide in orchestra with yellowing flowers
devouring budtime.
I am bold over green; the thin blades tickle my
stomach and I never find equilibrium.
I tornado through mouths agape and buckling words, hands and fingers extended
towards me. Proposing something—normalcy, perhaps. But only for so long.
So long as they are still in this park.
So long as it is summer and their bodies are not
too cold. And their shells are rainless.
So long as I ditch my cloak.
I unfold, and amaranthine prospers.
I wear down on alabaster; my feet are light but
my shadow is heavy.
I leap towards the burnt fall of sun, converging. I want to go home.

//