person JBMulligan, two poems

JBMulligan has had more than 1000 poems and stories in various magazines over the past 40 years, and has had two chapbooks published: The Stations of the Cross and THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS, as well as 2 e-books, The City of Now and Then, and A Book of Psalms (a loose translation). He has appeared in several anthologies, among them: Inside/Out: A Gathering Of Poets; The Irreal Reader; and multiple volumes of Reflections on a Blue Planet.

~*~

“Night is the better half of time!”
(Wolfgang Hildesheimer, “Sleep”)

A shape of shapes shapeless in shadow –
and cloudborn wind
shaking treesticks
at the windborne clouds’
aimless dark stampede.

Calm, at the center of the spin,
holding in, exhaling smoke,
this minimal vision:
all light evaporate
(crystallized in stars
behind the herd),
light as a dried, puffed sponge.

The internal racket of color
muted, the prodding fingers of thingness
curled in sleep’s loose fist,
the world can be given
shapes of a beauty
similar to ours,
if we had what we wanted.
Ever.

into daybreak

Snow in predawn shadow
over field and hill.

All the trees erupted.

Morning slowly fills
the bowl of the sky
with what has been lost.

Being is knowledge.

~*~

person Dmitry Blizniuk, one poem

Dmitry Blizniuk is an author from Ukraine. His most recent poems have appeared in The Pinch, Press53, Dream Catcher, Magma, Sheila Na Gig, Adelaide, The Nassau Review, Havik, Saint Katherine Review, Star 82, Pif Magazine, Naugatuck River, Lighthouse, The Gutter, Palm Beach Poetry Festival and many others. A Pushcart Prize nominee, he is also the author of “The Red Fоrest” (Fowlpox Press, 2018). He lives in Kharkov, Ukraine.

From another world

A branch gently taps against my window.
The steady clinking of knitting needles.
The sounds merge into the deafening magic of silence.
The silence emerges from the background of small noises
Like a girl emerges from the sea.

She deftly like a mermaid shakes the water from her hair,
Squeezes it, and puts it on her shoulder.
I take her hand. She’s trustful and tender.
We walk through the park strewn with sounds.

A crown strewn with jewels.
A coin falls on the asphalt,
A strike of a match scratches the air,
A streetcar clicks its castanets far away,
A blind man on the bench smacks his lips.

The snails of his eyes are drawn deep into their shells.
Beside him, patiently, sits a woman, upright and flat
Like the Virgin on an icon, and holds his hand.
The pines are as motionless in the sky as rocks.

It’s so quiet that one can hear
The crunch of the tiny jaws of squirrels in the pines.

Silence is a way from another world,
A path of gods paved through the musical bedlam of humanity.
In silence, one can see the eternal mess
And the pageant of elephantine ideas, images, ghosts.
Draw aside the fringed curtain of November
And listen to the silence… It’s all
That will be left of you.

(translated by Sergey Gerasimov from Russian)

person Raymond Luczak, one poem

Raymond Luczak is the author and editor of 22 books, including Flannelwood (Red Hen Press) and Lovejets: Queer Male Poets on 200 Years of Walt Whitman (Squares & Rebels). He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

//

MY PUNCTURED EARDRUM

1.

The eardrum, ten millimeters in size,
bottles the fizz of sound.
Our brains keep the champagne of music,
laughter and hints of swoon
bubbling happily under the cork.

2.

Even though I was deaf, music still entered me:
cigarette smoke swirled past the neon
arms wrapped around the jukebox blaring
bass, drums, guitar, and a falsetto voice.
I was stretched tight, my heart beating back.

3.

Centuries ago it was believed
that drilling into the skull of a possessed one
would allow the demon to escape
through the tiny bloodied hole.
Please, God, please free my demons.

\\

{ The Wishbone Dress – poems – Cassandra J. Bruner }

The Wishbone Dress
poems, Cassandra J. Bruner
Bull City Press, 2019

~

I worry sometimes that I have been invisibly abandoned. That a context left unsaid has given its art to a museum obsessed with displaying beginnings. Beginnings only. And then, but then, there is work devoid of panic, work unlike, work with words not so much chosen but words more revealed, work that enters the dead and encodes the universal to amplify the specific, work that with its subtle harmony of discovery sings as to horn a ghost a backbone and then lures that ghost into the modified regions of beauty and transitional creation, work that asks existence for the emergency past imposed on another’s sudden body, that asks of our being here what violence we interrupted, work that is only named The Wishbone Dress, and is called into sound by Cassandra J. Bruner. Work I wish you to read, and in the reading, be unleft.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:

The Wishbone Dress by Cassandra J. Bruner

person Yuan Changming, one poem

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving his native country. Currently, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among others.

**

Heartfelt Hieroglyphics: Lesson One in Chinese Characters

怒: anger influxes when slavery
                                                                                      Rises from above the heart
愁: worry thickens as autumn
                                                                                      Sits high on your heart
闷: depressed whenever your heart is
                                                                                      Shut behind a door
意: meaning is defined as
                                                                                      A sound over the heart
思: thought takes place
                                                                                      In the field of heart
忘: forgetting happens
                                                                                      When there’s death on heart
忍: to tolerate is to bear a knife
                                                                                      Right above your heart

**

person Barbara Daniels, three poems

Barbara Daniels’ Talk to the Lioness is forthcoming from Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press.  Her other full-length book of poetry, Rose Fever, was published by WordTech Press. Daniels’ poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and many other journals. She received three fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

~*~

Invisible Fences

The neighbor dogs
hurl themselves
into invisible fences,

absorb the shocks,
open their mouths
in wet rictuses.

How can you keep on
walking and eating
those cookies

and not see the raisins
as shriveled eyes?
I’m alert as a heron

when traffic spasms
a half block away.
All you see near us

is empty sky, but
I think a hurricane
heads straight

towards us. I’ll fall
without warning—
water glass tipped

to the floor, devices
blinking, talking,
wind down

the chimney sooty
and raw. Look
at those eddies

of gum wrappers,
those dogs with teeth
that almost glow.

~*~

How to Earn Your Way

People will pay you to cry
for them—let gravity pull mucous

and tears into vertical strands.
The stump of an arm mourns

a lost hand and the delicate whorls
of its fingertips. Even a dog

remembers his childhood. He
learned to be last, turn his belly

and throat to the teeth of the pack.
A blurred landscape opens

for a sluggish river. White smoke
gathers among the chimneys,

blooming in last light. Nothing is
nothing. Watch for tenons projecting

from beams. Erratic motion.
Planed, polished, toothed wheels.

People will pay for what you know—
where trees are burning, how many

burn, how to put colors onto wheels
and spin them till they disappear.

~*~

My Year Without You

In January, finches flapped
their wings like frantic infants
and offered seeds to each other,

rituals of courtship. I turned my back
on a moon wide as two fingers.
In July, delicate Queen Anne’s lace

with its umbels and pedicels
bloomed in yellow light, the left
side of my body sadder, the right

side numb. A gray jay roosted
on gravestones in November. I read
that it’s friendly, but it wouldn’t come

to my hand. Maples waited in dirty
snowbanks. Then spring on probation
stepped through the bars. A sputtering

drainpipe dropped water to soil.
Rain touched my hands and arms.
My face tipped toward the sky.

~*~

person D.R. James, one poem

D. R. James has taught college writing, literature, and peace-making for 35 years and lives in the woods near Saugatuck, Michigan. His latest of eight poetry collections are If god were gentle (Dos Madres Press) and Surreal Expulsion (The Poetry Box), the micro-chapbook All Her Jazz is free and printable-for-folding at the Origami Poems Project, and a new chapbook, Flip Requiem, will appear in early 2020 (Dos Madres Press). https://www.amazon.com/author/drjamesauthorpage

)(

Ash Wednesday

This life of separateness may be compared to a
dream, a phantasm, a bubble, a shadow, a drop
of dew, a flash of lightning. —The Buddha

The heat kicking in at precisely five a.m.
stirs the shirred glass chimes dangling over
the open vent, their fragile song reminding me
I am alone. Outside, where I know too-early

browns loom in the dark where constant white
should lighten this time of year—here, far
north of the end of Mardi Gras—one car
purrs by per hour. A semi ascending the hill,

up-shifting its dissonance across the cushion
of the dumb neighborhood, will turn left
at the next intersection, head east to open road,
and merge with the world. This separateness

is indeed a dream, though priests today will call
the many to mourn whatever separates them
from God and from each other, then swipe soaked
ash across their foreheads in remembrance that

we’re all just dust. Which is true, but in this
blue mood I prefer the Buddha’s drop of dew
and picture its sole self temporarily resting
upon a palm leaf before a breeze shivers it

earthward or the desert sun draws it skyward—
in either case to mingle it by absorption
or by evaporation into the eternal system
of one. Which is really only a better way

of getting it wrong. Poor sentient drop, alive
in the thought it has ever left its sisters and brothers,
who in their own dreams manufacture fantastic
bubbles but imagine wry shadow, or lightning.

—first published in Talking River

)(