person Juheon (Julie) Rhee, one poem

Juheon (Julie) Rhee is a 15-year-old student and is currently attending International School Manila. During her free time, she enjoys reading Agatha Christie’s mysteries and hanging out with her friends. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in K’in Literary Journal, Indolent Books, 580 Split, Lunch Ticket, Cleaver Magazine among others, and has been recognized by Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs.

///

Frostbite in November

It snows
for the first time
in November.
Today
is the twenty-ninth
and snow
is only brittle,
like white cold
breadcrumbs watering
in the heat
of mother’s hand.
I do not leave the house
on the twenty-ninth,
cattle in hand,
to sprinkle boiling water
on our driveway,
because today,
is only the second
last day of November,
and snow only
offers deathbed kisses,
and has not learned
to bite.

\\\

please join the witnessing of Donna Vorreyer’s ‘To Everything There Is’

To Everything There Is
by Donna Vorreyer
Sundress Publications 2020

Faisal Mohyuddin, author of The Displaced Children of Displaced Children, has said of this collection:

“As Donna Vorreyer’s masterfully crafted, music-rich poems traverse the often disquieting and anguish-heavy terrain of aging, illness, and death—particularly that of her late parents— they remind us of our own mortality, of the ‘winless war’ of survival. ‘Somewhere in my fu-ture, my death hums / toward me in a ghostly fog,’ Vorreyer writes, speaking on behalf of all living things. But instead of allowing herself, or the rest of us, to descend into despair, To Everything There Is grants our hearts the chance to be pried open with sorrow, generously filled with vast stores of compassion and courage, then sewn shut with such tenderness that we find ourselves feeling not only more alive, more able to brave the tolls of time, but also more forgiving of our imperfect selves, our countless frailties.”

pre-order the book, here

check out Donna Vorreyer’s website here

 

 

 

person Aimée Keeble, one poem

Aimée Keeble has her Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow and is represented by Ayla Zuraw-Friedland at the David Black Agency. Aimée lives in North Carolina with her dog Cowboy and is working on her first novel. She is the grand-niece of Beat writer and poet Alexander Trocchi.

~*~

This right

“If you are against abortions, don’t have one.”
– Scott Andrews

Unbidden – compelled as a cart-horse
in the month when most deciduous
I am unspooling
fraught because my stuffing is being snapped over
by white teeth
and so jaunty in the hips
grail bearing mutineer stripped shrill
slopping body-water singing:
the performance of our gift/curse not for you not for you not for you
when in the early dawn was it decided?
a boundary set leg to leg- a law on what comes in and out
these- my featherless wings, hunched deep abdominis
and I feral colored in the den, one raw eye on Venus
digging a little, half-sovereign blood shine and free

~*~

person Doeun Kim, two poems

Doeun (Jessica) Kim is a 14 year old, born in South Korea and currently studying at the International School of Manila. Her work has been recognised by The Heritage Review and Austin Poets International. She enjoys writing flash fiction in her spare time, inspired by her culture and identity. She loves modern ballet and making pancakes.

*

How to Nurse a Wound

Courage is not made of bullets .
It could be the spring
but instead, it’s the sweltering summer.
I could say that the wound
on my knee came from falling
at my grandmother’s backyard,
along the array of flowers placed in pots
which are painted in a royal blue.
The overgrown shrubs stand
on the field of grass
as I crouch down, because I am scared
of the dragonflies.
I say this, while I think about the boys
in Korean school,
telling the girls to lose weight.
The unspoken consensus
that make the women cry,
not because they are weak.
It is like the mother cradling a baby
on a wooden swing,
waiting for her drunk husband
to come home.

**

Tangerines

The girl peels tangerines on the countertop
in the kitchen.
Her mother and grandmother
sit in front of the TV,
eyes closed and hands held together,
following the prayers from the priests.
The girl doesn’t listen to the television
but looks out the window.
The Seocho neighborhood is empty,
only wafts of mist hover above it.
The grey streets are quiet,
an unfamiliar lull.
Shadows linger around the mannequins
in shops and empty chairs in cafes.
She recalls going outside,
the warm restaurants brimming with people,
lights from tall office buildings
and lamps from street food vendors that sold fishcakes
brighten the city.
Tourists held shopping bags
and wove through cars,
people left bars drunk.

The prayer ends and the girl
eats the wedges of the tangerine,
savouring the relief and the absence
of fear.

***

 

Koss, two poems

Koss is a writer and artist with an MFA from SAIC. She has work in or Diode Poetry, Cincinnati Review, Hobart, Spillway, Isacoustic, Spoon River Review (forthcoming), and others. She also has a hybrid book due out in 2020 by Negative Capability Press and work in Best Small Fictions 2020 anthology. Keep up with Koss on Twitter @Koss51209969 and Instagram @koss_singular. Her website is http://koss-works.com.

~~~

Why I Live on the Floor

Some people wonder why I live on the floor. Why I crawl out of my green and red plaid womb each morning and back in at night. Why I crawl on the wooden floor and over two small throw rugs to the refrigerator to get a glass of juice. Why I crawl over to a milk crate, pull out a book, and curl up on the floor to read. Why I write on the floors and sometimes on the walls above the painted baseboards. It is not an eastern thing, living on the floor, it is simply that I cannot live on the ceiling.

first published in SAIC’s Lament Journal

~~~

Chinese Master Number > No Mistakes in Numerology

one

how I arrived

shedding mess of mother

lived often as echo

when Grams left

just me

then

and

now

and when

I leave

again

 

two

shoes not misplaced

Birkenstocks with peels and scents

all the mistaken duplicate orders

always gave one to Max

each brush

paint tube

gratuitous error

a we way of . . .

sum of us

no longer alone

in numerology, luck

when doubled

on itself

two humps

two bumps

twin flames

girl faggotry

lavender menace

too-too

tou-tou

-you

 

two

other half of lucky

the aborted twins

the evil ones arriving later

eating mafé with Max

on a small rubber tree table

two children left

two eyes no longer see

unlucky twos

anomalies

separated

too early [22 = master builder > masturbator > dream-heavy-darlings]

no glue for magic

 

one

off-key a capella

from an androgynous

hazel-eyed boy

echoed in a tiny white

church

chamber

decades ago

the important boy

younger

the gifted one

not me

yet like me

faulty, we

sing

brother

chosen

 

nine

carried me in anxiety

sack, not quite

what we count on

in utero

arrived early

miraculous escapes

pregnancy is

causal

casual

a casualty

karmic

cats have

nine also

live

not Max

 

six

divided by three

is how to get lucky

 

five

kids fathered

father time

had a good time

x 5

also lucky, him

odd

numbers

don’t

make

even

children

~~~

person Benjamin Harnett, one poem

Benjamin Harnett is a poet, fiction writer, historian, and digital engineer. His poetry has appeared recently in Poet Lore, Saranac Review, Juked, and ENTROPY; and is forthcoming in Hobart Pulp and the Evansville Review. His short-story “Delivery” was Longform’s Story of the Week; he was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in Poetry; and he has been nominated for a Pushcart. He lives in Beacon, NY with his wife Toni and a collection of eccentric pets. He works for The New York Times.

//\\

THE COINS IN THE GRAVE OF KING CHILDERIC

There are some new birds in the yard.
Among them a pair of goldfinches.
Yellow as flowers or as precious gems.

They land on the catnip: It nods as they do.
Are they eating the seed? We have
attributed it, jokingly—this new avian opulence—

to “the plague.” I work from home now. Instead
of going out, I study. In the pile
a monograph, “The Coins in the Grave

of King Childeric,” what was it, friend,
just an oval in the ground, cocooned by stone:
richness, alone—bones, arched ribs,

grinning skull, some diadem,
a crown. He looks dopey
in the image from his signet ring,

big eyes up, yeah, that’s right, to God!
Isn’t history odd? But no, it was stunning,
what was found: all gold coins, garnet,

and the bones wrapped in a cloak,
three hundred winged insects
fashioned in gold; King Childeric’s

bees. They buzz through the catnip flowers,
on our Russian sage. Insects of memory,

birds, and age.

\\//

person Austin Davis, one poem

Austin Davis is a poet and student activist currently studying creative writing at ASU. Austin is the author of “The World Isn’t the Size of Our Neighborhood Anymore” (Weasel Press, 2020) and “Celestial Night Light” (Ghost City Press, 2020). You can find Austin on Twitter @Austin_Davis17 and on Instagram @austinwdavis1.

/*/

I’ll be the Ocean if You be the Wind That Makes me Curl

I’m so close to sleep,
my feet are leaving my legs for another body.

You’re underwater,
twisting on the faucet in the bathroom

as the gargle of traffic sews a sweater of exhaust
down 9th Avenue.

It’s that time of night again where young people
play the piano and take off their clothes

and you’re making me want to compose a song
about the slow way you brush your teeth in the dark.

I’m so close to sleep,
the car alarm outside our window

is nothing but a mouthful of bubbles
floating to the surface, popping at the skyline.

\*\

person Nathan Anderson, two poems

Nathan Anderson is a writer from Canberra Australia, his work has previously appeared in Otoliths and Gone Lawn. You can find him at nathanandersonwriting.home.blog.

/////

To a Smokestack

Mother we must hide away our spurs
as we have done
since your asking/telling
since your apocalyptic respiration
since your groping for sound
and feeling
in the heaped corners of the room
known as waking
and sleep walking

***

Forged
        and reformed

Without the glass, without the guiding hand, without ‘mother, mother, mother, mother!’

Without scavenging carnivores
          careening down carnival streets
sounding like carnivals
          sounding like enterprise

***

awake again past 4am
awake again in sweat and liberation
awake again in ‘mother, mother, mother, mother!’

\\\\\

Self-portrait as Dialogue

God you tell me I am estranged
from a skull on a weeping hand
a desperate malnutrition
a closing neck
God you speak to me in foreign tongues
to tell me not to waltz my crucifixion
to swallow sand
to be apart and part

God where is your loveliness
where is your starry music
where is your father/mother touch
your fragrant wild tones

God I told you I was sanctified
and cannot play your harp and sing
and cannot wheel around the western road
and cannot climb this stump

God, tell me, have you seen these apparitions
are you jealous of their hair
and indolence
do they make you dream of manumission

God when did you leave me prone as organs
when did you learn to torment spines
and lips
and clasping hands

God have you been told to be a good son
and made to count your fingers
and silver spoons
and ceased to have a name

God when will you give me back my paunch
and deign to greet me
when will you raise up slack upon the stone
heralding nudity

/////

person Rochelle Jewel Shapiro, two poems

Rochelle Jewel Shapiro’s novel, Miriam the Medium (Simon & Schuster, 2004) was nominated for the Ribelow Prize. The sequel, Kaylee’s Ghost (2012) was an Indie Finalist. Her poems and short stories have appeared in The Iowa Review, Peregrine, Atlanta Review, Amoskaag, The Delmara Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, and more. She’s published essays in The New York Times (Lives) and Newsweek, plus many anthologies. Her poetry has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize, and she’s won the Branden Memorial Literary Award from Negative Capability. Spry Magazine nominated her poem for the Best of the Net. Currently she teaches writing at UCLA Extension.

*****

MERCURY RETROGRADE

With the sun’s drumbeat
        on the roof of her black Mercury,
Mother drives the nine-hour pre-
        Thruway winding route from Rockaway Beach
to her parents in Syracuse. We three
        sisters sit in the backseat until
one of us gets caught pinching or kicking.
        The guilty one gets to sit
in front where the dashboard fan
        whirrs the thick, humid air.
As if on cue, middle sister pukes
        into a paper bag from my father’s grocery
where he’ll continue to overwork,
        his belly full of bowls of shav,
borscht, gribenes slathered on black bread,
        and other shtetl foods.

A man who only wanted a son
        will not miss his three daughters
nor his Amerikanisher wife, who buys
        dresses from department stores
instead of street carts. Money is bubkes
        to someone who never had to escape a country.

But Mother has to escape
        his fist smashing the table,
making the dishes jump, or crashing
        a chair against the kitchen wall,
escape the bristles of his night-beard
        against her face, his heft
on top of her small frame without even one
        ich habe dir lib,
I love you, which he used to whisper
        into her neck. No matter
if you are born here,
        you can, at any moment,
become a refugee.

*****

NOT LIKE AN EGRET

I don’t begin, bent-kneed,
my long neck stretched.
I don’t push off the marsh
with yellow feet, nor flap
white wings, nor hear
them beating.

My flight is a whoosh
that lifts me off my bed,
a rushing
like when you take in a wave
and your ears are filled
with the ocean’s roar.

Morning, I land
in the arms of my dead mother
who holds me, raft-like.
Through my closed lids, I see
the globe of her white bathing cap
like a moon in the sky of day.
Why waken?

*****

person Barbara Parchim, one poem

Barbara Parchim lives on a small farm in southwest Oregon. Retired from social work she volunteered for many years at a wildlife rehabilitation and education facility caring for raptors and wolves. She enjoys gardening and wilderness hiking. Her poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in Cobra Lily, the Jefferson Journal, Windfall, Turtle Island Quarterly and Trouvaille Review.

~*~

GARDEN TRIPTYCH

I

Hilling the corn
in the heat of afternoon
we suddenly notice the fox 50 feet away
sitting on haunches near the barn.
He muses in the dappled shade
as we work the ground –
mounding the corn with hoe and spade
and digging up the relentless bindweed.

Later, under cover of night,
he barks his challenge
outside the bedroom window
to bait our yellow dog
sleeping on our bed.
The dog lurches up, baying.
Nothing new here,
they’ve had this conversation before.

Brazen – this one –
as sure of his place on this homestead
as tonight’s ceiling of constellations
and dawn’s half-light in the meadow.

For now, the garden beckons,
redolent with scent.
Sun-drenched soil
still warm underfoot,
he turns to make his rounds
through vegetables and mulch –
as he does every night –
to reclaim what is his.

II

The doe arrives every day now,
sometimes more than once,
slipping around the corner
of the blackberry thicket
to the soft “thwok”
of apple and pear
as we toss them over the fence.

No fawn this year – or none survives.
She arrives on her own
separate from the other does
with young who shadow and dart.
Less skittish,
she comes closer to the garden fence
where we weed the peonies.
Her left rear leg
canted at a slight angle
from some half-healed injury,
she delicately samples
first the yellow, then the red –
these gifts from the orchard.

Soon enough – the urgency of autumn,
but for now, she eats her fill,
then folds her legs beneath her.
She settles under alder and willow
near the seep from the spring.
With the garden to her back,
her ears twitch away the annoying flies.
She faces downhill –
a valley and mountain panorama –
content in this late summer drowse.

III

Low slanting light of autumn
illuminates what might
otherwise go unseen –
swarms of insects, tiny and frenetic.
They circle in orbital traceries
invisible to my eye.
Each insect a tiny planet,
each swarm a galaxy
amongst so many galaxies.
This late season hatch
hovers over this universe of garden.

The dragonflies have arrived –
green and blue darners
iridescent and resplendent.
So thick in numbers
that word of this feeding frenzy
must have circulated for miles.

There is surely a cacophony
inaudible to my ears
but for the dry whisper
of the darner’s wings as they dart and feed.
The porch rocker my front row seat
for this visual symphony –
these ephemeral changelings of summer know
winter’s adagio is on the wind.

~*~