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. 

October 13, 2019

Only Our Love by GJ Hart

We are all stupid 
In our shirts and ties, in our 
Orange rooms
With cups of thick coffee, through
The clouds, a wire from crown 
To Proxima Centauri, our hands 
Too drawn to dig 
To lift us. 

The blood in our bodies - 
a strange fuel, fits no other 
Engine, we are stuck here
Together with just our love
My love, Which still, 
on darkest nights
makes even the unimaginable 

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 7, 2019

The Wind Cracks the Windows by John Tustin

The wind cracks the windows
Hisses through the crevices
Pounds on the doors

I surround myself with pillows
Cover myself with sheets
With billowing blankets

Feel my leg cool
On my other leg
My feet unable to thaw

This wind is just too pervasive
This room is just too cold
To be alone tonight

John Tustin's poetry is forthcoming in Datura, The Alembic, Poetry Salzburg and others. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.

October 6, 2019

The Chance to Soar by Edward Lee

Seemingly out of the blue
I grew wings.
One minute they weren't there,
the next I felt 
a heavy weight
drag my shoulders down;
with inquiring fingers 
I felt feathers,
and a secondhand shop window reflection
confirmed two wings rising above 
and behind me,
white as blank paper.

All I could do was stare,
open mouthed,
unable to decide if I should try to fly,
spread those wings wide
and taste the high air,
or admit
the possibility
I had finally lost
the last shred 
of my mind.

My delaying debate betrayed me,
and as fast as they came
my wings were gone,
the weight on my shoulders no more.

I sighed, shook my head,
uncomfortably aware that such changes
and chances 
rarely come round again.

Edward Lee's poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  His debut poetry collection "Playing Poohsticks On Ha'Penny Bridge" was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.  He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Lewis Milne, Orson Carroll, Blinded Architect, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.
His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com

October 2, 2019

Like Names by Jayanta Bhaumik

reality, is a mammoth talk. 
Let’s choose the bluish soft, the quicksilver of love, 
the surreal. It smells like the old bark, the wooden 
unknown. On a table made up of such wood, you 
have kept your memory, memories. They have now 
Thursdays, Fridays. They are the surreal, for they
are the parts of a week’s fantasy. As a week bumps 
open to a breeding, brooding time, you have its freak 
linking, again, to it, – the surreal. 
Then time spends a day. Time sleeps a night. They live 
like names.  
Everything when spends and sleeps, actually spends and 
sleeps with a name. Every living and unliving being, you 
love them like a name, playing on them the music. Isn’t music
too the surreal? A dull consistency thus plays a hide-and-seek. 
And you play with your water, water magic, 
which never flows. 
For there is a deep utility that magic survives with. 
For it is fixed, it is weighty.
Hard metallic point. 
It is dot. 
But there are 
matters like despair, illusion and losses 
fear of infinity and abundance
coherence of long letters lying in the silent seams of notepad
We do not know where they wobble and going 
where they end 
But you treat them like circles. You think they are
bound to be real. 

Jayanta Bhaumik is a Research Member of American Federation of Astrologers Inc. His works can be found in the recent or upcoming issues of Poetry Super Highway, Zombie Logic Review, Merak Magazine, Pif Magazine, PPP Ezine, Better Than Starbucks, Vita Brevis Journal, Pangolin Review, Cajun Mutt Press, and Scarlet Leaf Review.