2 Poems by Nanette Rayman

Slutted, Waiting for Next Year
Not to worry. Your life is only your life
until you know this world is a dream. Like
how you’re talking with someone intently
when suddenly you feel the air in shadow
of a repellent machete—not
real, the earth, and your mind moves through
the air with its radical rain and you snap
back to this world—where did you go? Kissing
the air, your body falling to asphalt. Now
Dreaming Doubt could be the most beautiful part
of being. Descartes, are you turning over?
The most beautiful part of sitting outside on earth
is the improbable fact that we are
among flowers, though tramped on
unaware they are slutted waiting for next year.
Not to worry. It will be lighter soon, prettier. You know
the road where you will walk, and you walk. The life
you thought you’d have is a dream. Are you
home or not home?  Not to worry. You
had no home. The door slammed. Beautiful
dahlias battu on this earth where the breeze whispers,
barely moving the calendar. Do not bend
your body in a posture of dejection over
a pothole of urban smut. Dream there
is something you can depend on:
“Behold, a place (makom) is with me”
            (Exod. xxxiii. 26)


renaissance bird beating itself
I am an angry woman
I blister with mountain air
And flail
seemingly alone
against what I have energy to fight
and rail, renaissance
bird beating itself
against a lampshade
beneath the dirty
of winter sky, beneath the boiling
summer sky laying bare
its machete, the broken
glass bursting
and I feel
the frore air—a sting, a cut,
no tonic before I fight
and I gorge
on the fight against the gougers
of flowers, imagined
freedom, the petals
are all eaten—
I will not go
into the brumal sky
and I feel a bite
and prick in my breasts
I caress like a cavity
unfilled, stashing
muscular vengeance
for the Never Again
that has come
beneath the névé gelid sky.
Nanette Rayman
Nanette Rayman, author of poetry books, Shana Linda Pretty Pretty, Project: Butterflies, Foothills Publishing. Best of the Net 2007, DZANC Best of the Web 2010, winner Glass Woman Prize for prose.  She performed off off Broadway, studied at Circle in the Square and with Gene Frankel. She graduated from The New School.

3 Poems by Don Thompson

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Abandoned Ranch
Barbed wire snarls in a heap
behind the barn.  Its doors sag
on hinges barely held together
by rust and regret.
You can’t even smell horses anymore.
Out in the fields, fence posts
that no longer have any purpose
lean toward each other.
A mile off across the fields,
two abandoned grain silos like sentries
stand guard over everything obsolete—
even my own past,
which no longer has a market value.
Nevertheless, I do recall the silo
on grandfather’s farm in Kansas,
already unused a lifetime ago.
I’d look into it, amazed
by how much emptiness it could contain,
and by the spindly tree growing inside,
all alone, determined
not just to endure,
but to reach the sunlight a hundred feet up
and feel the wind.
The diesel well pump whines
through clenched teeth, spoiling
early morning peace and quiet.
But that’s what it takes
to put water on the alfalfa.
Insects have been forced into the open,
driving blackbirds into a frenzy.
The flock swirls and chatters
around a few motionless egrets
that bring an inner calm with them—
philosophical about abundance,
having lived through hard times.
And hungry or not,
they have such good manners that none
wants to be the first to eat.
don thompson photo 2
Don Thompson has been writing about the San Joaquin Valley for over fifty years, including a dozen or so books and chapbooks.  For more info and links to publishers, visit his website at www.don-e-thompson.com

A Poem by Gabriella Garofalo

Call them twice, bitch –
I’m white, I’m clean,
Dancing angels are no danger –
OK, I know the question, I’ve been diving into it
As naked Persephone in luminescent shadows
Dives into her moony waters:
Them their eyes –
She knows we give no nice answers,
She knows we don’t spin it nice,
Now that mothers look so dazzled
Walking to sunny afternoons with dearest daughters,
They’re holding hands, you know?
Ejit, in due time they’ll empty guns
At each other: blazing words, scorching screams –
Ejit, they asked for a loan
So she made them mortgage her soul
And now it’s time to give it back
To the water, our chief mortgagee –
Sorry, the nice little lady can’t help you,
That dyslexic light so busy splitting life from limbs,
Forcing open the blue, lashing bodies,
Yes, sure, so they traipse and choke and traipse again –
Sorry, mothers, sorry, daughters,
It’s her frantic week, simple as that –
The sky? Well, he’s fed up sick
With your cries for help, forget it,
Don’t even try to ask, hard cheese if the henchman
Wrests dead children, dead seeds, scarves, nosh or dosh –
A deranged diagram of love and whatnot –
And never forget he might bait
That ambivalent April against you.
Born in Italy some decades ago, Gabriella Garofalo fell in love with the English language at six, started writing poems (in Italian) at six and is the author of “Lo sguardo di Orfeo”; “L’inverno di vetro”; “Di altre stelle polari”; “Blue branches”, “ A Blue Soul”.

She Was Loaded by John D. Robinson

She Was Loaded
Earlier tonight
Miles Davis
take of
‘Time after time’
came from my
radio and the
last time I heard
that was when a
friend knocked
at my door: I
could see that
she was loaded and
she opened up
to me,
I could have
taken the
but rolled joints
and poured wine
and when I
awoke I was
alone and when I
saw you next you
were in a casket
and I walked away
from this funeral
as I have done
so many times
time after time.

John D Robinson

John D. Robinson is a UK poet. His work has appeared widely in the small press and in online literary journals. His chapbooks include Cowboy Hats & Railways (Scars Publications, 2016) and An Outlaw In The Making (Ibid, 2017).

Reprise by Frank Wilson

Mystery deepens as time proceeds. He knows
As little now as at the wordless start,
When all seemed wondrous. Only now, grown old,
In thrall no longer to willful reason,
Enchantment manifests itself once more,
In his patient garden during winter.
Awaking in the night, he finds himself,
As at the start, unafraid of darkness.
Frank Wilson is a retired Inquirer book editor. Visit his blog Books, Inq. — The Epilogue. Email him at PresterFrank@gmail.com

White Storm by Gary Metras

By Lynette G. Esposito
White Storm by Gary Metras, published by Presa Press, the reader is introduced to traditional form and images that walk, skip and run across the pages in common and uncommon images delighting in clarity and directness but holding a surprise insight that appears close to the end of each poem.
For example, the first poem entitled White Storm, the reader is surprised that although night is wheezing and the trees are pounding, it is a love poem  and a lament on lost youth and hope.
                             Old man night is unsettled
                             In his white haired sleep.
                             From my bed I hear him
                             wheezing in the trees, pounding
                             his fists on the brittle mountain.
The poem ends with
.                            …Where are the angels?
                            about to sing our praises and the praises
                            of light and grass and field solid under foot,
                            so we could rise from the bed:
                            and step into the simple day?
The word images demonstrate the precise language of winter and age and lost youth and it works well .
Robert Peters of The Connecticut Poetry Review says “Metras writes moving mediations on our lives and on his own.  His language is direct and unpretentious.   His music has a full and faultless sound…in every poem there is a surprising  insight,,,”  I found this so true.  On page 73,
The Melted Bell suggests so much.
                                Born in fire, the forged bell
                                Learned its pure song that rang
                                Sundays through slatted steeple
                                Down hill and across valley.
The poem has four stanzas with four lines each and each stanza details the power of the bell until it is melted and the sound can only be carried in the heart.  But still, although it can no longer ring, it is heard.
Metras celebrates women men love in his poem, Believing in Eyes ,on page 74 where he references the Beatles’ Lucy in the sky with diamonds to what men see in the eyes of  their beloved women. He mentions diamonds he sees in the eyes from wife to his daughter to his granddaughter in a way one can feel his joy .in knowing these girls.  He ends the poem with:
                                …So let us praise all the women
                                 who ever showed us that joy, that hope,
                                 which men by ourselves can’t know.
This poem clearly shows the complexity of the deep relationships between men an women.
I don’t have a favorite poem in this book.  I liked them all.  This is a good read.
You can find the book here: White Storm
Lynette G. Esposito has been an Adjunct Professor at Rowan University,  Burlington County and Camden County Colleges. She has taught creative writing and conducted workshops in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Mrs. Esposito holds a BA in English from the University of Illinois and an MA in Creative Writing and English Literature from Rutgers University.  Her articles have appeared in the national publication, Teaching for Success; regionally in South Jersey Magazine, SJ Magazine. Delaware Valley Magazine, and her essays have appeared in Reader’s Digest and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her poetry has appeared in US1, SRN Review, The Fox Chase Review and other literary magazines. She has critiqued poetry for local and regional writer’s conferences and served as a panelist and speaker at local and national writer’s conferences.  She lives with her husband, Attilio, in Mount Laurel, NJ.