Ithaca – Rachel Lewis

 

My wife is behind me

And my life before.

The sky lit from inside itself

With golden dying day.

Turning itself,

Turning itself,

And turning again.

We are sailing east

Towards a dawn

That has not yet risen and will not

Til terrors past absolve us

Of having left at all.

Ithaca, sharpening blue

And deepening silver,

My house just one

In our city stretching out the coast.

My father buried there, his dust

Rising in flowers touching heads to dew.

My nurses there, their old hands threading

At baby clothes, sat in sun smiling wrinkled.

Ithaca I can feel you holding back.

Something in me will not come with me.

It will stay murmuring in the cypress,

It will croak with the cicadas at night,

It will live with the snakes in the sand and the gulls on the water.

Promises, winds,

They cannot move a weight of water.

Ithaca I promise

I have never and will never leave you

Even as winds blow me on

Into the rose red grasp

Of this first dawn alone.

 

 

Rachel headshot portraitRachel is a London-based poet. She was previously a poetry editor for the Mays Anthology and a Young Producer with Poet in the City. Her poetry can also be found on the Poetry Society website, in the Dawntreader and Kindling journals, and unpredictably at live events around London.

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Cologne – David Armand

 

It was a mirrored, wooden cabinet

hung at about eye-level so he could see

himself before he left for work

in the morning, when it was still dark out

and everyone else was asleep and warm.

 

And he kept nothing but cologne in there,

bottles and bottles of it: Brut, Old Spice,

Pierre Cardin, English Leather, Coty Musk,

Stetson, Aqua Velva, Afta, Skin Bracer,

Preferred Stock, Aspen. Cheap stuff

 

his kids gave him, or maybe he bought it

himself at the drugstore for under ten bucks

so he’d have some variety in the morning,

some choice in how he presented himself

to a world where he didn’t have many choices,

 

a world that was hard on him, and one he’d leave

far too soon: just after a meager Christmas one year

at only forty-two years old, all those cheap bottles

collecting dust now, their contents slowly evaporating

until the day comes when there’ll just be nothing left of him.

 

 

armand_lgDavid Armand is Writer-in-Residence at Southeastern Louisiana University, where he also serves as associate editor for Louisiana Literature. In 2010, he won the George Garrett Fiction Prize for his first novel, The Pugilist’s Wife, which was published by Texas Review Press. His second novel, Harlow, was published by Texas Review Press in 2013. In 2015, David’s third novel, The Gorge, was published by Southeast Missouri State University Press, and his poetry chapbook, The Deep Woods, was published by Blue Horse Press. David’s memoir, My Mother’s House, was published in March 2016 by Texas Review Press.

I want – Sarah Hulme

 

I want to run outside

And grab handfuls of dust

And pour them into your lap, pour them.

 

I want to explain that these

Are my doubts

And how I lose them when the wind blows.

 

But they always come back, muddled.

And I’m not blaming you except

It never happened before.

 

The raspberries are out and

I have pips in my teeth.

 

 

EPSON MFP imageSarah Hulme is a Durham University graduate who enjoys writing poetry as a way to understand thoughts, feelings and the world we live in.

Three Quatrains – Don Thompson

 

Frost Moon, November

 

Cold and desiccated, the full moon

Broods just above the hills,

Its light through autumn haze

Like dust rising from ice.

*

 

Bristlecone Pine

 

Rooted the hard way into stone

And exposed to inhuman weather,

Nothing ever disturbs it inside

Its exoskeleton of loneliness.

*

 

Drought

 

Doves on a stunned afternoon

Flutter from dust to branch and back again,

Gray and taupe, seeds of rain clouds

With nowhere to take root.

**

 

 

Don Thompson 3Don Thompson was born and raised in Bakersfield, California, and has lived in the southern San Joaquin Valley for most of his life. He has been publishing poetry since the early sixties, including a dozen books and chapbooks. For more information and links to his publications, visit his website San Joaquin Ink (don-e-thompson.com).

Side By Side – Gerry Sikazwe

 

Side by side, we’ve walked

Through dust sickening, mud

bleaching and the pleasant in between

 

Side by side, we’ve walked

Through stabbing thorns, cutting

stones and soft grass comforting

 

 

whatsapp-image-2017-05-22-at-07-04-26-e1495504308777Gerry Sikazwe is a Zambian poet. He is currently studying at the University of Zambia pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Adult Education. He manages a poetry page on Facebook: “Words and voices from a root” and a poetry blog, Scribbles of a Root. His poems have been featured on sites such as Dissident Voices, AfricanWriter.com, In Between Hangovers, Mshikamano.com and Tipton Poetry Journal.

Salamander Dream – Tyler Robert Sheldon

 

After a lithograph by Kat Lowe

 

Kat coats metal with thick black ink,

then takes paper and plates to press;

she rolls them under blankets meant

to swaddle, not smother. On paper,

she smiles atop a giant god-lizard,

perches high on its tight back

of feathery gills. The beast drives

hard through etched dry leaves,

trees and road-dust bending,

bowing, blowing away.

 

Sheldon_Tyler_Author_PhotoTyler Robert Sheldon is a Pushcart Prize nominee and the author of First Breaths of Arrival (Oil Hill Press, 2016), and the forthcoming Traumas (Yellow Flag Press, 2017). His poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in Quiddity International Literary Journal, The Midwest Quarterly, The Los Angeles Review, Coal City Review, The Prairie Journal of Canadian Literature, The Dos Passos Review, Entropy Magazine, The Big Nasty Press, and other venues. He holds a BA and an MA in English from Emporia State University, and is an MFA candidate at McNeese State University. View his work at tyrsheldon.wixsite.com/trspoetry.

Pumpkin Breath – John Michael Flynn

 

Across my palms, skin has swelled in lumps

crackled like these pumpkins around us.

I try to lift one and imagine the face I’ll carve.

A pebbled orange orb, it drops rotten from its hooked stem.

Its smell is foul, its seeded shards like wet pottery.

Not that one, but there are others to bring home.

 

We walk further down the row. Around us, blue hills rise.

I fall out of rank from the explosive legion

of voices that tends to invade quietude in such settings.

I squeeze my wife’s hand, hear again a word I cannot define.

It’s like an aunt dead and buried,

the one I’ve got a picture of but have never met.

 

What is it about such a word and its elusive associations?

I pause a moment. Neither of us speak.

We watch a small wind lift dust and fumes of fertilized soil.

I turn to her. She smiles shading her eyes from autumnal light.

Ambiguities remain. Doubts will come and go.

Ephemeral simplicities renew us.

 

headshotjohnmflynnIn 2015, John Michael Flynn was an English Language Fellow with the US State Department at the Far Eastern State University in Khabarovsk, Russia. He is now back home in Virginia, where he teaches English part-time at Piedmont Virginia Community College. His most recent poetry collection, Keepers Meet Questing Eyes, is available from Leaf Garden Press. You can learn more about John and his published work at www.basilrosa.com.

Warmest Tangerine – Richard King Perkins II

 

The sun’s

resurrection—

 

it’s always been

alive

 

somewhere

 

smashing into air

and interstellar

plasma

 

but we see it

as warmest tangerine

 

earliest dust

 

across rooftops

and far-reaching

leaves

 

held captive

in uppermost vibrissae

 

waiting for months

to descend

 

into crisp piles

where we stroll

and caracole

 

through shed

fragments;

 

dead—

 

but living in a way

which we

cannot imagine.

 

rkpiiRichard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.