#95

Laura LeHew
On a Scale

arthritis, hot throbbing bunions
worn-out line-paint yellow
the thrum
stretching on for miles without
end

pop Pop POP of corn
the burnt butter
stale stench of a movie theatre
Fanta orange aura
migraine’s prequel

lavender bruise blue as a phlebotomist
tortures searching for a vein
three week cluster headaches
on the very verge of disappearance
stitches without numbing, rehabbing surgeries

paper cut red slamming
a baby toe into a wrought iron bed
not breaking and screaming
nonetheless, stepping on pottery
shards, the stupidity of a sunburn

gall stone green
a fall herniating a disk
picking up 50 pounds of cat litter—
the pop—the slow burn in the knee
denial

impact black shattering a windshield face first
nose embedded in a steering wheel, the slap of laptop
as it is lands unbroken crushing a middle toe
the pace, vomit, pace—as a miniscule kidney
stone races to escape, the thought of a colonoscopy

a storming migraine lightning striking again
and again and again in the left eye, the essence
of antiseptic before another surgery, slipping on ice
landing squarely on a kneecap—the breathless pure evil white before
the halo of stars before passing out

 

Lee Stern
YOUR MERRY-GO-ROUND

I don’t want you to take this the wrong way
but I think that your merry-go-round may be on the verge of falling apart.
Actually, maybe it already has and you’re just not aware of it.
Maybe things look normal to you at this point.
But for me I’d have to come up with a different explanation.
Because maybe the person who sells the tickets is still there,
but I don’t know if he’s concentrating on his job.
To me, it just looks like he’s busy making himself a sandwich.
Or counting the number of days that are left before he gets to read your letter.
And the people who should be watching you every time you go around in a circle,
I don’t want to have to alarm you, but to me
it looks like they’re busy watching themselves, the weather
and the three peppermint horses falsely slated for retirement,
for whom their mansions will never again be renamed.

 

 

Barry Basden
Trouble at Home

He knew he was in trouble
when he came home and
found his wife on the
bedroom floor using a
vibrator on herself. She

closed her eyes and said
give me a few more seconds
and he did and then she got
up and languidly walked into
the kitchen to fix dinner.

 

 

Angel Zapata
The Seven Pinpoints of Origin

1.
In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth,
pulled rubber from a rib
and made it bounce. Truly, this is truth
they do not teach. The incidental
music of all tragedies. The first act
of indifference and the last place
to find it. Just ask the blind man,
he saw it too.

2.
At this point we pause, not for silent
reflection, but for self-motivation. If in fact
there was a beginning of formless planets
within these thin pinpoints of sleep, then shall
we dismiss it as the dream within a dream?

3.
Questions brew more questions in my cup,
tastes like coffee and children’s laughter
at the moment of cruelty. Forgive me, I do not
mean to mislead. It is the children themselves
who are cruel. The coffee, the yellowish-brown
stain on the white shirt I wore this morning.

4.
Now, what of the rubber rib? The answer is clear.
Eve herself could not comprehend, I expect no
more of you. But if simply put, we travelled to Eden ,
not as strangers or separate bones, but as apples,
would you understand? Or would you eat of yourself?
Bounce off of me?

5.
Perspective Destiny:
the serpent saw himself in the tree
having a hell of a time. The tree
saw himself fall in Eve. Eve saw herself
adorned with a ruby red spot between
her legs. Adam saw only the scar
where his rib was pulled.

6.
After the fall, Eve wrote her first book in a series
based on her travels through the states: Mom’s Apple Pie.
Adam dreamed big, but sat too long in front
of the television, and never, under any circumstance,
threw away the trash without being told.
The Apple, try as he might, never amounted to anything.

7.
On the seventh day God rested.
And on the forty-fifth day of my fifteenth year,
I stopped wetting my bed.

 

 

Jeff Crouch
brob di

Jeff Crouch

 

 

J.M.Hart
Papers

After you sign those papers, I’ll never have another anniversary. I wont’ wake up to flowers and soft music. I won’t have vows to listen to or a video to watch. Boulder won’t mean anything more than mountains.

I’ll never have a good night sleep. I won’t have someone’s body pressed against mine. The morning won’t smell like last nights dinner. The sheets will still be wrapped around my toes. There will be an extra pillow and no ones scent lingering on it.

I’ll have one less birthday to celebrate. One less card to buy. No cake or ice cream in June.

After you sign those papers, I’ll be free from you, and you from me. I’ll have your number in my phone, but I won’t ever call it. I’ll have one or two of your socks in my drawer, but won’t tell you. I’ll buy your brand of deodorant and smear it on the underside of my hand for months. When I see you out, I will smile and nod, pushing my cart past you and your milk, eggs, and beer.

I’ll never make dinner for two. Buy a whole gallon of milk. Have your name next to mine. Buy a combo pack at the movie theatre and touch your hand as you reach for the same piece of popcorn.

After you sign those papers, you’ll hand me the ballpoint pen expecting me to do the same.

 

 

Victoria Clayton Munn
In the Sand

I buried shiny rocks
in wet warm sand,
gave them
broken shell tombstones –
and pretended they were
lost passengers,
from the Titanic
like the model I’d made
out of papier-mâché-
floated it on the murky water
seaweed tangling from its hull
bringing down the boat.
I found the passengers
spread throughout the area
just like those I’d read about –
from the dark wetness – I placed
one large rock to bear witness
saying psalms over a
cracked oyster graveyard.

 

 

Rob Plath
i am a fish smoking a cigarette on the face of a skyscraper at 5:15 p.m.

i was explaining
to someone
how a certain drug
made me feel
& i used
the word ‘safe’
& they stared at me
like i had just
said the word cunt
in a convent
obviously they
feel safety
in sobriety
in their impenetrable
bubble of bliss
i suddenly
felt like a freak creature
like a fish
smoking a cigarette
while
scaling
a
skyscraper
at
5:15 p.m.

 

 

rehearsing letting go

weaving my way
thru the old graveyard

all the markers
looked like thick
gray concrete newspapers
leaning in the wind

all w/the same headlines:
MAN MEAT IS A MIRAGE

i stood between two
of the large stones
lit a cigarette

gathered smoke
within my ghost

the wisps drifting
out of my nose

the antithesis of
god blowing into adam’s
virgin nostrils
breathing life
into so-called man

 

 

Peycho Kanev
waste

they lie on their backs like
broken flowers

they lie on their backs with
legs wide apart like the hands of
the clock

their faces starring at the sun

and as the time lose itself into the
darkness

they lie on their backs

young and old
some of them received some deadly kisses
by the faith
and some-not touched at all

this monstrosity in the human race
everyone is praying to be loved
and everyone is nobody

tarot cards:

but all the flowers today are
dirt and worms.

*His new poetry collection which is in collaboration with the poet Felino Soriano and the Editor Edward Wells is out now and can be found at Amazon.com.

 

 

Allura Diez
In Defense

Sitting at the bus stop
she closes her eyes…
if she can’t see them staring
they’re not.

She likes it
           (or does she?)
being an exhibit       you’re asking for it, you know

“I like the way I look,” she protests
They do too, with a glance over her shoulder
at the glazed-over faces, staring point-blank
          drinking,
          eating her
          up

In defense, she wears shorter skirts       tighter tops
falsiesheelsjewels
—she’s not doing it for them
          (she insists!)

hearing them now:
gorgeous, beautiful, [attentionseekingcheaptrick]
eyes down,
clouds in her cheeks
“it’s all for me”

she still claims, wishing it were true.

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