October 28, 2019

Going, You Do It Well by GJ Hart

Beyond the heading
stone the sky 
is working storms,
but going, you do it 

in slippers 
quick to the heading
stone, till your 
name turns to a battered 
tin, or grasp

every hand flowering 
the way, arrange
your bouquets 
in rooms bistered
with silence.

You - sincere 
as single things, a cup, 
a plate and soon 
what breaks
will not be swept away. 

So three times round 
the drinking elm, once 
around the pit, you sit
slicing tears 
into your throat. 

GJ Hart currently lives in London and has had pieces published in The Molotov Cocktail, The Jersey Devil Press, the Harpoon Review and others. He can be found arguing with himself over @gj_hart.

October 27, 2019

POND by John L. Stanizzi

"These little four-lines poems are from a one-year-long project called POND -- The poems are acrostics.  Everyday, at different times during the day, I visit our pond with notebook and camera in hand.  I jot down some notes, take a picture or two, if a good photo op. presents itself.  Then I head home and write a four line acrostic using the letters P, O, N, and D.  I will do this for one year; I've not missed a day yet.  The other caveat, which makes the project so interesting to me, is that I cannot use any of my first words more than once.  I need a different P, O, N, or D word every day; I began the book on November 9, 2018 and will complete it on November 9, 2019."

11.31 a.m.
76 degrees

Pragmatic and industrious, the bunnies have eaten the tops off everything.
Opportunism at its height – I plant green beans, they sprout, they
needle up through the soil, emerge with lustrous, tender green leaves, and overnight
dire spindles cover the garden beds, pathetic shafts of pale green lopped stalks.

11.44 a.m.
78 degrees

Permeating the clear air with its luminous yellow, the hawkweed has blossomed again,
obsolescent soon enough, today the yellow hawkweed is so yellow it seems painted on the air,
noonish binge this yellow that looks like a lemon tastes.
debonair with its squared off petals, it leans toward the water which adds degrees to its brilliance.

John L. Stanizzi is author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall, After the Bell, Hallelujah Time!, High Tide – Ebb Tide, Four Bits, Chants, and Sundowning.    Besides Poppy Road, his poems have appeared in American Life in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, New York Quarterly, Cortland Review, Rattle, Tar River, and many others.

October 23, 2019

The Beckoning by Michael Keshigian

Upon a summer’s eve when the lawn 
was not yet drenched with dew
and still radiant from the day’s warmth,
when the tips of white pines
rose skyward like long fingers
to tickle the underside of stars
as the evening air vibrated to a cricket ostinato,
he laid atop the grass,
arms and legs extended,
and marveled at the infinite distance
above him with its clustered collection
of variously illuminated rocks and stones,
wondering what will become of him
once his time in this dimension ended,
where he might find himself,
what form he might take, and in fact, 
would he be aware to bear witness.
His thoughts transcended
and for an instant he became one
with the mass about him and believed he heard 
his name whispered in the harmony about,
a single concordant breath, faint and distant, 
like a dried autumn leaf
brushed by a wandering snowflake
as though it belonged, 
not to him or his parents 
who bestowed it upon him, 
nor to this place on earth,
but to the vast emptiness and unanswered question
from which we all appeared.

Michael Keshigian’s thirteenth poetry collection, The Garden Of Summer was released April, 2019 by Flutter Press. He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals, recently including Red River Review, Sierra Nevada Review, Oyez Review, Bluepepper, Muddy River Review, Smoky Quartz and has appeared as feature writer in over twenty publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (michaelkeshigian.com) 

October 20, 2019

Collected Works by James Walton

One morning he discovered time. Hairs had started to grow through ‘The Sound and the Fury’ on his shoulder. He had reached that point where available space had expired. His business shirt was buttoned at the collar and the wrists. He always wore socks and trousers. Only he and the tattooists, Charlie and Veronica, knew the extent of his skin calligraphy. The ink guns had been re designed for the work, as the years passed.

When his mother died, they planted a Grevillia Longistyla on her ashes. Its lineate leaves danced like pencils projected across the bedroom wall. The magenta flowers christened, the cream over the reaching curls opened like hearts. Her voice waved with them, and he could still hear her reading, laughing, crying, spelling, as the honeyeaters wobbled upside down, beaks in. The titles bookmarked the years of his life.

His boss at the Shire office wore pearls, but long ago he noticed the small bearded iris in bloom on the outside of her neck, just before the nape of her hair. He still slept on the back veranda his father had closed in for him, as the books increased to cocoon the house, spilling language, drafting lives out of the wings of pages. His father died in a room full of old Russians, French, existentialists, and abridged histories.

At his favourite coffee shop, an Edwardian house, where a large room contained second hand books for sale, chairs and tables for reading, they looked, but never asked, when a loosened letter occasionally became visible. In front of the room, to the right as you entered the building, was a large upturned door on boxes, for sharing and swapping organic vegetables. In distraction, Porter’s ‘Akhenaten’ had been left there.

He became redacted, shaving small patches. [Monkey][Expectations][Crumples], [Mockingbird][Moby][Road], [Heart][Under][Farm], new titles spread across his chest, legs, torso. He was thinking more and more in purple, a mauve disturbance, not matte or gloss, but a tip toe. He undid the top button, revealing to very close inspection, a vertical F over A of Fahrenheit.  Next week he would roll up his sleeves.

James Walton is published in many anthologies, journals, and newspapers. His fourth collection of poetry,  'Abandoned Soliloquies' is about to be published.

October 17, 2019

After the End of the World of Fire by Marianne Szlyk

In this dream, I walk north
without subways to save
me.  Cobblestones stretch out
to island’s blasted end.
Fifth Avenue swallows 
up all sidewalks, all grass,
all trees.  Ash falls like snow.
Stones crack and crumble.  Zinc
white buildings hug the edge.
Chalk men in doorways wait
to cross the streets on this
burnt-out star where we live.
I step on jagged cracks 
and ground glass, dodging cars 
until I wake, reach Inwood, 
or die.  I no longer
believe in anyplace
to rest: churches, cafes,
parks that resisted this
once-pitiless fire now 
flickered out.

Marianne Szlyk is a professor at Montgomery College. Her poems have also appeared in of/with, bird's thumb, Bourgeon, and OneSentence Poems. Her books include I Dream of Empathy and On the Other Side of the Window.  Recently, she and her husband were part of Pony One Dog Press' reading at the New York City Poetry Festival.

October 16, 2019

Mia and The Peach Tree by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad

when Mia died, a part of me 
crumbled with her mortal bits
after all I’d watched her grow
from a dollop of cream and chocolate 

into a canine cascade
of rippling cocker-spaniel hair
a beacon of permanence 

thumbtacked to all my milestones.

the moon was limpid white
when the gardener dug the loam 

at the eastern corner of the lawns 
and we lowered her into the earth 
planting a peach sapling above, 
that flowered in four summers.

then in the fifth year of her passing,
the first fruits strung like Christmas lights 

thrust through their leafy covers,
I watched with a ripening heart
the peaches plump like garnets
weigh down the boughs
the velvet sheen of their skins
the texture of spaniel’s ears.

Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is a Sydney based artist, poet, and pianist. She holds a Masters in English and is a member of Sydney’s North Shore Poetry Project and Authora Australis. Her recent works have been published in Red Eft Review, Glass Poetry Journal’s Poets Resist, Eunoia Review and other magazines. 

October 14, 2019

Carnival by Sandy Benitez

Miscreants and midgets amble 
ahead of me.  I fall behind, 
soles of my converse sneakers
sticky with bubble gum and taffy 

droppings.  A red velvet curtain
parts like a rose in bloom
and I pick up the pace so as not
to miss the bearded lady's show.

She appears in a long, black gown.
An hourglass figure reminiscent of
Marilyn Monroe. My eyes become magnets,
attracted to the surreal image

standing before me.  I imagine Dali
courting her, asking her to smile
as he paints her face among landscapes
of melting clocks and cracked eggs.

Behind me, a lizard man snaps his tongue
like a whip.  Flies swarm away.
In the distance, a werewolf howls
at the tapioca moon.  The crowd 

dissipates into fog, leaving remnants 
of footprints--some human, some animal.  
Things better left unknown.

Sandy Benitez writes poetry & fiction, sometimes dark, magical, or mysterious.  Her fondest memories of childhood are from her years in Germany, playing in the vast woods behind her home which contributed to her lifelong love of fairy tales, magical realism, and the paranormal. Sandy currently resides in Southern California with her husband and two children.