October 18, 2017

Before You Knew What it Meant by Alexi Milano

I swirled my feet in the bare, uncut
Florida grass at thirteen years old.
A sturdy turf with a thick blade, beckoning
a barefoot walk, so unlike the flesh, the real things.
The things that were almost never pretty. The things
that made you accustomed as you grew, to avoid
the eyes of strangers, that made you tear out
old diary pages, ashamed of who you thought
you once were, that wrote the definition of family
as a perplexity, of unclear mixed messages,
that caused age to come with victory
and forced you to learn
what’s made you grow.
The things that taught you
to let words go
and how to say
goodbye, before
you know
what it

Alexi Milano is a writer and artist born in New York, raised in Florida. She teaches her students how to push boundaries and entertain with their own pieces of writing.  She is co-editor at Varnish Journal.  Her poetry has appeared in Red Fez and In Between Hangovers.

October 17, 2017

Stupefried by Ken Allan Dronsfield

Sitting by the old juniper bush
nursing an iced tall whiskey sour.
Waiting for the seasonal changes;
the hourglass ready to be turned.
The North star burns so very bright
while the summer candle smolders.
Here in my slice of tranquil heaven;
a cool autumn night by the junipers.
Laugh as a kitten plays with leaves
Forgetting today's dragooned folly
licking wounds with a hollow tear
degenerates breathe the same air.
Driving to the left, wrong or right,
the seasons grasp on the soulless
whilst I dream of another eclipse;
stupefried and high by the juniper.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a disabled veteran and poet from New Hampshire, now residing on the southern plains of Oklahoma. He has one poetry collection, "The Cellaring" and is Co-Editor for 2 anthologies, "Dreamers of Yellow Haze" and "Dandelion in a Vase of Roses". His work has appeared in The Burningword Journal, Scarlet Leaf Review,  Black Poppy Review, The Blue Heron, The song is..., EMBOSS Magazine and more. Ken has three Pushcart Prize nominations and two for Best of the Net 2016-2017.

October 12, 2017

York Beach, 2006 by Marianne Szlyk

On a summer night without even
a ceiling fan to stir sludgy air,
I open the window to ocean,
the susurrus of waves and cars.
People almost my age weave home.
They’ve been drinking at Long Sands,
watching the moonlight shatter high tide.

Lying on the couch to escape
the stifling guest room, I dream
I’m back in my grandmother’s house
where, at 107, Gram’s still alive,
a tall woman shrunken
to an abandoned rag doll
on a beige mohair armchair.

Clutching the railing, fearing the stairs
will not bear weight, I climb
to where now only spiders live. 
I open windows to flashing sirens,
fire trucks racing down Lunenburg Street
over the bluster of men walking
home with cans of malt liquor
from Minit Mart where Gram bought
hamburger and pink tomatoes.

I spring awake to the quiet
of an oceanfront house.
My elderly parents sleep below.
I lie back down, wondering what
my grandmother would have told me,
what I would have done next
in this other world.


Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is... Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press.   Recently her poem was selected by Red Bird Chapbooks for its Weekly Read.  She encourages you to send work to her magazine. For more information about it, see this link: http://thesongis.blogspot.com/ 

October 9, 2017

Two Poems by Sarah Russell

Indian Summer

I hike the ridge on the last warm, tousled day, 

speckled as a partridge egg, 
sun already stilting 
shadows in early afternoon.  
The leaves 
are October butterflies, crimson, gold.  

I want to stop earth's tilt-a-whirl right here, 

hold this moment that feels so much like love 
before the winter’s swordsmith hones his blade.

On Kebler Pass 

dust the ferns with my ashes --

there, among the aspen

trembling gold against the sky.  

Let them settle, sighing, 

on the still warm earth of autumn 

where the next peak calls your name.  

Snow will come. The wind will show me 

paths only does and vixens know.
The moon will call me with her crescent mouth 

and share stories of the embered stars.

Sarah Russell has returned to poetry after a career teaching, writing and editing academic prose.  Her poems have appeared in Kentucky Review, Misfit Magazine, Red River Review, Ekphrastic Magazine, and Black Poppy Review, among others.  She blogs at SarahRussellPoetry.net

October 6, 2017

Cut You Out by Linda M. Crate

the pale blue whisper
of day
sings to me 
of clarity and vision
so i cut away the lie of your eyes
they were far too distracting

forget-me-nots have no place here
because you said we ought to be strangers
nothing would give me more pleasure
than dropping your bones
in the river
watching them wash away

so i cut out my old heart and grew a new one
remembered i am a warrior of love and light
magical and strong i will never be
shattered by lust and nightmares
i am the dream giver
full of dreams, light, and intensity no one will take from me.

Linda M. Crate's works have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of the Magic Series and four published chapbooks. She is a Pennsylvanian native who loves nature, art, literature, anime, and spending time with loved ones.

October 5, 2017

Two Poems by Dane Karnick

El Pintor
After the watercolor by Amado Peña, 1983
The painter is secluded
Yet accompanied
By los fantasmas
Phantoms who inhabit
Pueblo sun-dried bricks
From a thousand years
Assist the artist with 
Canvass mutterings
To guide brush hairs through
Turquoise and ochre
Lucid as sky above land
In contemplación
Between living and dead
This plain shared together
In adobe corridors
By Red Willow People
Still painting in flesh
Around bones of yesterday
Their sombreros above time
Unhurried as specters 

Woman With Oranges
After the painting by RC Gorman, 1983
A Navojo woman is
Confounded by fruit
That leaves when she exits
And appears when she arrives
Usually half-dozen
At home or anywhere else
Their shadows in ripe sun
Ready to be eaten 
But gone upon puncture
Their petite goodbye
On the heals of another
For her quizzical look
At silent companions
Consuming her time
As if expecting her
To make spherical sense
Of friendly still life

Dane Karnick grew up by the Colorado “Rockies” and lives near Seattle.  His poetry recently appeared in Treehouse Arts, Scarlet Leafriverrun and Gravel.  Visit him at www.danekarnick.com.

October 4, 2017

In the Hours of Love by Grant Guy

She found love in a sad hotel north of Ponoka

But she did not trust unguarded instincts
She listened to the scars of others
To her bandaged wounds

She tossed the fragment hopes of time
Out with the alarm clock that failed to warn her
Still she lingers in the sad hotel north of Ponoka
Because just maybe just maybe . . .

Time has little interest in the hours of love
It never offers promises beyond the moment
Yet offers the grace and optimism of the future

But she had no time for time
She was not listening 

Bandages don’t stick forever

Grant Guy is a Winnipeg, Canada, poet, writer and playwright. Former artistic director of Adhere + Deny. His writings have been published in Canada, the United States, Wales, India and England. He has three books published. He was the 2004 recipient of the MAC’s 2004 Award of Distinction and the 2017 recipient of the WAC’s Making A Difference Award.