person William Doreski, five poems

William Doreski is a poet whose work has been published in various electronic and print journals, most recently in A Black River, A Dark Fall.

~*~

Kyoto

Another long bridge arching
over a timid little river,
trestles spiked into the mud
and women twirling parasols.

The great Sanjo Bridge straddles
the clean, clear River Kamo.
Kyoto, city of temples
and shrines, embraces us despite

the road filth plastered in layers
of sweat and dust all over us.
The emperor lurks somewhere,
but he won’t receive pallid

strangers like us, our long walk
clinging like a haunting. Only
after a trip to the public baths
will the cool dark of a temple

restore the many dimensions
we lost in contemplating landscapes
simplified by an aesthetic
too gray and blue to resist.

Otsu

Lake Biwa, the largest in Japan,
lurks unnoticed in the background.

I watch men drop buckets down a well
to water oxen harnessed to bales

bundled onto pairs of wheels as tall
as the draymen waving little sticks.

Then I enter the shop that sells Otsu-e,
folk pictures sketched locally.

They depict draymen leading oxen
to the well, and some include me

in the background, my western clothes
a humorous distraction from

the workday world too busy
to enjoy a dip in the lake.

Kusatsu

A green, house-shaped palanquin.
Another one, open to reveal
its occupant crouched like a toad.

In the background, the rice-cake shop
serves a dozen customers,
their faces anonymous with hunger,

traveling clothes rumpled and dusty.
Here the road to the mountains forks off,
confusing those lacking maps.

The porters toting their loads
are almost naked, allowing their sweat
to grease the roadway and smooth

the way for those who follow.
Not all the rice cakes in Japan
could make their labor worthwhile.

Mizuguchi

We watch a woman and two
children hang out strips of gourd
to dry in the friendly sun.
This is an elegant foodstuff
in nineteenth century Japan.
We’re not of that century,

not Japanese, but appreciate
her enterprise, which continues
in rural places even today.
But why is her face a cartoon?
Do we also look simplified
by the woodblock process, victims

of time-warp and aesthetics?
Look at those strips of gourd-meat
dangling on the green fencing.
Have you ever seen anything
more authentic? Surely
you and I are at least that real.

Tsuchiyama

Famous for its rain, a rich
gray shroud, this place seems
determined to embalm me.

The weather sluices down in lines
so finely drawn they knit like
spider webs, snagging everything

in the scene. Tall cedars conceal
the Tamura Myojin shrine,
a plain and boxy structure

dedicated to the memory
of an eighth century warrior
whose name I can’t remember.

Travelers crouch under their hats
but I lost mine days ago
and have never owned a red or green

raincoat like theirs. However,
in the thrill of this stark depiction
I feel waterproof and buoyant:

the indigo river flooding
with brilliant conversation
in a language I understand.

~*~

person Mandy Brown, five poems

Mandy Brown (she/her) is a queer Central Texas poet, a 2019 Poetry Half-Marathon winner, and the 2013 ARHOF’s Tillie Olsen Fellow. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Writers Resist, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Eunoia Review, and more. Mandy currently teaches at an alternative school and loves it! Read more at mandyalyssbrown.weebly.com.

~~

Thirst

His world
bristled at the rim
of a cup
he refused
to drink.

originally published in Right Hand Pointing, April 2015

~~

Seventy-five Bobby Pins

You stood by the table and
removed them
from my hair before
walking with me to our
wedding bed.

They sit by my bedside now,
And I count them,
again and again.

originally published in
Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Issue 6, April 2013
Circa Review, July 2013
The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal 2013, December 2013
Eunoia Review, April 2015

~~

Upon Reentry

Upon reentry I will be kind. I will not compare myself to
moving targets, but I will watch their light wrap around me.

I will allow myself rest, to move slowly, or quickly, or not at all.
When I come home, which is not always when I arrive there,

I will speak or sing or dance. I will reflect the spark of her smile,
remember the wrinkles in his hands.I will promise our stories faith

that it was never the place that held the magic.

~~

Birthright

We asked her how to find home,
and she lifted her hands,
exploring her palms—sure
among the calluses,
the dirt, and
the blisters,
a map had always been there.

originally published in Right Hand Pointing, April 2015

~~

Release

We drove all evening to be in the shadows of the pier in folding chairs with poles thrown back into the ocean. It’s really a gulf, but you said it counts because it’s all connected anyway. We hang raw shrimp from our hooks and catch fish smaller than the bait, their bellies bulging from the free meal. You unhook yours and smile as you throw him back in. I watch the small body fall into the water and hope he doesn’t bruise. I feel like him having to swallow Mom’s gravity. She doesn’t know we left, but we’ll be back before she wakes, holding pills out to her in offerings. How I wish she’d unhook us and throw us back. Together we would find the ocean.

originally published in Circa Review, July 2013

~~

person Robert Beveridge, one poem

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in The Virginia Normal, Credo Espoir, and Chiron Review, among others.

~

WABI-SABI

In Sunday school we were taught
that the bodies of some saints
were incorruptible. After death,
their bodies lay for days,
weeks, months, with no change;
they only slept, so the story
went, until God called them home.

At eleven, I dreamed of tombs
around the world, sleeping bodies
in repose, waiting for a chance
to rise again. I woke each time
drenched, screaming. I knew,
inside, that saints were hungry.

Now, I cut through graveyards,
tombstones weathered to smooth.
On one grave, a ring of pebbles.
I nudge one back into place, moved
by wind, or curious bird; wonder
who is under this stone, who left
a memory. Then turn and walk away.

~

person Chariklia Martalas, one poem

Chariklia Martalas is a young writer studying Philosophy, Politics, English and History and the University of the Witswaterstrand in Johannesburg South Africa. She has been published in Odd Magazine, The Raw Art Review and the undergraduate literary journal The Foundationalist, among others.

)  (

She Wore A Lost Horizon

She wore another face
Like cloth on the body
Hand on hip
As if wiping
Pieces of dirt
From the eye

Adam and Eve were an image

(It’s necessary,
Convenient,
Understandable)

Before the great drop
From the edge
Of the horizon
Or God

(Or both)

Humans were two pictures
Matched in symmetry

(A madhouse ecstasy)

A wish for
An emulation
A Prayer
For a Golden Hour

)  (

person Shruthi Shivkumar, one poem

Shruthi Shivkumar, 18, is a lover of poetry, teaching herself to step outside of her comfort zone. She is an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh where she is a double-major studying English Writing and Biology. Her work is forthcoming in Nine Muses Poetry and Impossible Archetype.

/\

superstitious

good things
come in
threes:

wise men,
bones in the human ear,
little pigs,
musketeers,

books in a trilogy,
feet in a yard,
strikes to be out,
your face and your heart-

sorry, did i say

face?

my apologies-
i meant the plural.

\/

person Frances Holland, one poem

Frances Holland is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Her work has been previously featured in Mslexia and Horla Horror.

~*~

Lavender

I knew them by their scent,
those proud specimens
ring-fenced by terracotta,
buried in the earth.

French demanded blood and glory,
its lovely alien heads eager to be paired
with flesh, spit-roasted,
usurping rosemary.

Hidcote took and took;
it drained the life of the other,
stood tall and purple,
regal, sickly-sweet and brazen.

Rosea wilted, stems broken and grey,
And yet her pale flowers bloomed.
Her scent the sharpest,
Lemon-sweet,
It clung to fingertips,
drew insects in.

The honey that year would taste of it.
It would seep into us through bread
and out of us into the night-air,
To mix with pollen and starlight.

We would find our dreams perfumed by it,
Cleanse our bodies in its water,
and watch and wait for next year
When its blooms would claw back,
Claw back through the deep dark earth.

~*~

{ Blue Bucolic – poems – Rebecca Kokitus }

Blue Bucolic
poems, Rebecca Kokitus
photos, Abigail Kokitus
Thirty West Publishing House, 2019

~

In reading the poems of Rebecca Kokitus, I can often see the jigsaw puzzle no one saved from the fire. Can feel the pulse of a mother as taken by a rubber band. Can hear the blip of a sporadically working radar and can match it to the click that sounds itself out in the knee. Knee over which a walking cane was long ago broken within earshot of those familiar with brevity’s limp. If Blue Bucolic is here a return to tiny and frostbitten things, then it is there a reheated examination of anti-smallness. It leaves. It belongs.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:
https://www.thirtywestph.com/shop/bluebucolic