LAND OF ABBA'S WORDS
to be even
to stay with
out on street
turns to Mama
to ask, Are we
Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for a handful of recent Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is widely published in academic-related journals (e.g., Universities of Chicago/ Maine/ San Francisco/Toronto, Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Harvard, Pomona, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan, Penn, Dartmouth, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Baltimore) plus national (e.g., Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, American Journal Of Poetry, Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library Literary Journal, South Broadway Press, Parhelion, Clementine, pamplemousse, Red Wheelbarrow, Deluge, Poetry Quarterly, poetica, Tipton Journal, Hypnopomp, Free State Review, Poetry Circle, Buddhist Poetry Review, Poets And War, Thank You For Your Service Anthology, Wordpeace, Cliterature, Qommunicate, Indolent Books, Snapdragon, Pandemonium Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Montana Mouthful, Arkansas Review, Texas Review, San Antonio Review, Brooklyn Review, pacificREVIEW, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review, Fiction Southeast and The New York Times) and international publications (e.g., Review Berlin, Voices Israel, Foreign Lit, New Ulster, Transnational, Southbank, Wellington Street Review). He’s authored the collections Homeless Chronicles: From Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry is a physician who’s built and staffed clinics for the marginalized as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. Currently he is devoting energy/ resources to deal with climate change justice. Gerry’s been married since 1969 with three kids plus six grandsons, and is looking forward to future granddaughters.
DEEP ROOTED & TRAIL’S END
“Storms make trees take deeper roots.” – Dolly Parton
Landmark oak trees
spread hundred-year-old canopies,
stretch roots beneath neighborhood fences, streets,
buckle concrete sidewalks, harbor blackbirds,
host frizzy-tailed squirrels.
Wounded, weathered bark
sprouts tender suckers.
Gnarled limbs spill acorns, golden duff
into beds of azaleas, hydrangeas,
offer leafy fodder for monarch butterfly larva.
I contemplate aged leviathans
through kitchen window,
shade puddled beneath thick trunks.
Hefty branches menace shingled roofs,
dwarf post-war seaside cottages.
Deep-rooted monoliths survive invasive suburbia,
spread subversive seedlings,
stoically bide their time.
"Sound of inner stone with heart on fire" ~ W.S. Merwin, "The Rock"
To my right, frothy breakers
fracture crumbling boulders
along Moonstone Beach.
Sullen clouds hug ragged shore.
On the left, cautious jackrabbits
forage among petrified thistles.
A cacophony of competing fragrances
from sage and pine overwhelm.
Ancient cypress and dusty oaks
groan in fog-instigated breeze,
shift Spanish moss shrouds,
spill gray squirrels, squawking jays.
Is trail’s end my choice of destination
or pre-ordained by some wry acrobatic of fate?
As golden sunrise ignites willow thicket,
I discover all paths take me to the same place.
Jennifer Lagier has published seventeen books and in a variety of anthologies and literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, edits the Monterey Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Recent publications: Harbinger Asylum, The Rockford Review, Syndic Literary Journal, From Everywhere A Little: A Migration Anthology, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, Missing Persons: Reflections on Dementia, Silent Screams: Poetic Journeys Through Addiction and Recovery. Newest books: Camille Mobilizes (FutureCycle Press), Trumped Up Election (Xi Draconis Books), and Dystopia Playlist (CyberWit). Forthcoming titles: Camille Comes Unglued (CyberWit) and Meditations on Seascapes and Cypress (Blue Light Press).
Dorian J. Sinnott
We are a star set;
two particles of light colliding—
a meteor shower,
parallel in time.
I want to write confessions of love
in braille constellations,
orbiting this black hole
that swallowed my sound inside—
a muted solar system.
We are undefined;
you and I—
sinking stars plummeting,
hushed by the atmosphere,
light years away.
So set forth the death of stars,
a ruptured nebula,
exploding cosmic embers—
drowned out by space.
I long for your voice—
a ripple in the galaxy,
trailing with cosmic dust.
Dorian J. Sinnott is a graduate of Emerson College's Writing, Literature, and Publishing program, currently living in Kingston, NY with his two cats. When he's not writing, he enjoys English horseback riding, playing violin, and traveling to comic cons up and down the east coast. He is the social media editor for Coffin Bell Journal. Dorian's work has appeared in numerous magazines and journals, including: Crab Fat Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, and Riggwelter.
HER SELF PORTRAIT AT SAKS & SPRING FASHION MODELED BY RISING YOUNG POETS
Her Self Portrait at Saks
Coat those designer jeans
in the languages of vogue
& obscenity of price tag
paint splats & whiskered thighs counterfeit
::Bavarian immigrant with coal mine cure all
NOW dust-brown stains can’t bear sneakers
that blind with their whiteness
the metrics when skeevy
calculates the warp & the weft
plumb tuckered out before she charges them
“Spring Fashion Modeled by Rising Young Poets”
0 (The Oprah Magazine)
Stock the shelves with shrink
wrapped metaphors. The Poetnistas
are here. Each pronounced a connoisseur,
cherry-picked from the stacks. Each packaged,
full-paged and ankle deep
in her very own reflecting pool.
What eight goddesses who write poems
She Verbs now She Nouns.
Their verses pervert into accessory, sink
into sand, stretch across a megaphoned
hard-on, are knifed and forked
on a porcelain plate. Her zen minimal is
channeled through the clean lines of
a French-cuffed shirt. The teal,
peach and chartreuse of a pencil
skirt and sequined cardigan make
her feel va-va-va voom.
Frame us, too, salacious
window lickers fit for a fitting
room where beatnik turtlenecks
and black toreador pants hang
whimpering on another clever hook
Rikki Santer’s poetry has appeared in numerous publications both nationally and abroad including Ms. Magazine, Poetry East, The Journal of American Poetry, Hotel Amerika, Crab Orchard Review, Grimm, Slipstream and The Main Street Rag. Her work has received many honors including five Pushcart and three Ohioana book award nominations as well as a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Her eighth collection, Drop Jaw, inspired by the art of ventriloquism, was published by NightBallet Press in the spring. Please contact her through her website: www.rikkisanter.com
THE MONSTER OF MYSELF &
The Monster of Myself
Being the monster of myself
both comforts and frightens me.
I tried to shock the crowds back
to low-lying places littered
with the bones of hurricanes,
the rags of historic moments.
Last night I raged into a room
where you had veiled in memory
of the massive husband who flew
to Crete with his final beloved
and crashed into the succulence,
going silent enough to forget.
But you refused to forget,
and draped yourself in a mist.
I pleased myself by rending it.
The monster of me was charmed
by your pale and pink facades while
the human of me wilted in shame.
Paris droops, Siena kneels and weeps,
salt pillars prop up Jerusalem.
The monster has shed a skin,
and claims that a fresh contagion
pours from mountainous districts
to scald the plains ochre and buff.
Anyone could name this monster,
but I must point out that rooms
above shuttered cafes in nations
on the brink of bankruptcy hold
carcasses he’s saving for later,
when the cats have muffled their cries.
Being the monster of myself
requires me to do as I please,
rendering simple things naked
but enshrouding people like you
in freshly laundered textiles
where your secrets merge with mine.
The angle at which this puddle
reflects the neighboring houses
suggests how dizzily we all stand
in relation to each other.
The sidewalk looks old and tired.
The narrow grass border tries
to instill a vegetable order
on an otherwise urban moment.
The puddle looks glassy enough
to accept a human outlook,
but no one has placed one’s self
in that shallow reflective pose.
Do you dare? I don’t. My fear
of my own face prevents me
from assuming Narcissus’s role.
I prefer to think of the flower,
of the amaryllis family, common
every spring with yellow and white
blossoms flaunting their sex.
While like Narcissus the Hunter
I admire beautiful objects
I know that I’m not one of them,
and shouldn’t be looking in pools
or puddles in dirty urban streets.
Not that I’d fall deeply in love
with an imaginary other while
poor Echo fades in the glen,
leaving only her voice behind.
William Doreski's work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston.
and the sun comes at an angle
in the risen steam
not quite boiling over
if you look. I look
from my typing at the table
and get up, reminded
to suddenly stir. I love it,
the quiet of this time
like a forest, six
with soft bubbling rivers
and a quality
of sunlight - how it slants
of shining steam
and dust floating,
the rest of the room
sweet birds sing softly
and crow-music crackles,
their dumb, unlettered cawing
which tears the air to pieces,
like pages from old notebooks
and my vaguely
versing words. on the far
of the malahide road
near darndale, the airport
and the M50
motorway, a bus
like a dog
in a flowerpatch, and on dirty
across from hotels
and busy crossroads
horses stomp restless
with their noses in nettlepatches.
their tails scrape
on their xylophonic ribs.
DS Maolalai is a graduate of English Literature from Trinity College in Dublin and recently returned there after four years abroad in the UK and Canada. His writing has appeared in such publications as 4'33', Strange Bounce and Bong is Bard, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Out of Ours, The Eunoia Review, Kerouac's Dog, More Said Than Done, Star Tips, Myths Magazine, Ariadne's Thread, The Belleville Park Pages, Killing the Angel and Unrorean Broadsheet, by whom he was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He has also had my work published in two collections; 'Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden' and 'Sad Havoc Among the Birds'.
THE QUIET DAYS
L. Ward Abel
The black-line edge along
canopies of various green
interrupts, blends, but
is other than the sky.
Availability of light
determines truth, which explains
why dread of twilight and dark
drapes everything above ground.
The mind-sized universe
strains at the now
whose borders blur
like late day film.
The highest part of the afternoon
dome flickers a spotted view
a waterfall of blue belies
magma below parceled into farms
with shoes to match our
burning: tightened, distancing
more huddled than before.
All this must be a song
I dreamed, one played
by a brass band at sundown
long after the gig has ended.
There under velvet stars
I see for miles the rows
of radio towers just starting
their broadcast night.
L. Ward Abel is the author of two full collections and eleven chapbooks of poetry, including Jonesing For Byzantium (UK Authors Press, 2006), American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012), Cousins Over Colder Fields (Finishing Line Press, 2013), Little Town gods (Folded Word Press, 2016), A Jerusalem of Ponds (erbacce-Press, 2016), Digby Roundabout (Kelsay Books, 2017), The Rainflock Sings Again (Unsolicited Press, 2019), and his latest full collection, Floodlit (Beakful, 2019).
This otherwise blank page with its lines like
a fence invites me to climb through, if I
dare. No Trespassing, it might as well say,
Beware of dog. Enter at your own risk.
I often try but am more often snagged
--I can barely go forward or back out,
and then I'm always wounded, a little
bloody, blue-bloody, the ink my bloodstains,
the pen a pole vault which couldn't fly me
over, or like half a wire cutters--use
less. I know what's on the other side, too,
which makes matters worse--temptation, not just
curiosity. It's where I've come from
that I can't see--what's behind me,
even though I've been there, urging me on.
So I bite and bark words to navigate
the fence and sometimes push through and sometimes
not. When I can advance, I settle for
a while, but then move on, and what I knew
for which I fought so hard abandons me
when I leave. There's no present but future,
no living there permanently--it's all
in the past. So where does it end? The fence
claims Keep out--this means you, but it's only
an invitation. I'll be writing one
day and come upon a wall, a writer's
block I can't step through and which is too tall
to scale. Lacking the words to describe it
I'll call it Death. What am I up against
but the final page? I won't have the voice
to shout it down. Perhaps then I'll be free
from freedom of expression--I won't be
human any longer. What will I be
but the meaning of it all, the nothing
that is forever never meant to be?
I'll be some other writer's writer's block.
He or she will climb through the dead like me.
Gale Acuff has had hundreds of poems published in several countries and is the author of three books of poetry. He has taught university English in the US, China, and Palestine.