north of oxford poetry

Into the Lives of Other Folk by Catherine Chandler

Laundry

Photograph by g emil reutter

Into the Lives of Other Folk  
 .
You could be anyone or anywhere—
the checkout lady at the A&P,
the Uber driver sporting purple hair,
the full-sleeve-tattooed ER orderly,
the Denny’s waitress on the graveyard shift,
the Walmart greeter with his hammy grin,
the single mom, the bellboy who’s been stiffed,
the sergeants notifying next of kin.
 .
No matter who you are, I presuppose
a motivation, blessing or regret,
inventing possible scenarios;
but I don’t judge. Each fanciful vignette
seeks some humanity in humankind,
a commonality of heart or mind.
 .
Of course, this works both ways. It’s only fair
to wonder what you might concoct for me,
whose buoyancy can often mask despair,
who craves the saving grace of poetry.
I claim your offhand gift of shortest shrift—
it’s tough to see beyond the crepe-like skin,
the balding crown, the thoughts that tend to drift,
the turkey wattle underneath the chin.
 .
Still, as we sort our gunnysack of clothes,
then watch them spin at Betty’s Launderette,
your story piercing ears & tongue & nose,
we joke about a lost sock, and forget
man’s inhumanity to humankind,
and let the heart begin to cloud the mind.
 
.
chandler
Catherine Chandler, born in New York City and raised in Wilkes-Barre, PA, is the author of The Frangible Hour, winner of the 2016 Richard Wilbur Award (University of Evansville Press); Lines of Flight (Able Muse Press), shortlisted for the Poets’ Prize, Glad and Sorry Seasons (Biblioasis), and This Sweet Order (White Violet Press). Her complete bio, a sample of podcasts, a list of awards, reviews and other information are available on her poetry blog, The Wonderful Boat, at www.cathychandler.blogspot.com . She lives in Saint-Lazare-de-Vaudreuil, Québec and Punta del Este , Uruguay .

Holocaust by Ray Greenblatt

courtesy of emaze

Courtesy of Emaze

.
HOLOCAUST
.
I carry it
like a wen on the forehead,
like a tumor in the gut.
I was born in 1940,
where would I have been in Europe?
dead.
My father was Jewish,
my mother gentile—
what would she have done?
she would have gone with us,
no matter what.
          Even down to one/eighth,
so many would have forgotten
their watered down ancestry,
but the creaking Nazi boots
would have eventually
marched up your stairs
down your hallway
hammered on your door
until your life splintered
burned
dissolved.
.
3473934337_68a6f29514_o
Ray Greenblatt has recently been published in: Abbey, Apiary, Boston Literary Magazine, Comstock Review, Clarion, and Painters & Poets.  His experimental novel TWENTY YEARS ON GRAYSHEEP BAY, half poetry and half prose, is being republished by Sunstone Press.  

Demons by Ed Krizek

tooker-subway-big

Courtesy The Morning News

.
Demons
 .
            After “Subway” by George Tooker
.
Flash like a bomb
on the dark hell. Unconscious
revelations.  Ambush. Fear rises
when I see my shadow.
I try hiding, ignoring, running.
All paths block, barred.
I am a prisoner
of  neuroses which cage me,
concrete and metal.
Where is the exit?
It seems there is only one way
out and Lucifer leans
at the foot of its stairs
holding a red carnation..
.
Ed in Red cropped
Ed Krizek was born in New York City and now runs a sales and marketing business in Swarthmore , PA , a suburb of Philadelphia .  He holds a BA and MS from University of Pennsylvania , and an MBA and MPH from Columbia University .  He is a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Delaware County, has published over seventy articles, poems and short stories in various publications, and won prizes in several poetry and short story competitions.  You can see more of his work at www.edkrizekwriting.com.

The Last Train by Grace Andreacchi

desert train
.
THE LAST TRAIN
.
dressed in old gold it lingers
at the very last station on earth
under a desert sky the air is cold
the stars pinpricks under your skin
on board forgotten faces glow
pale but bravely smiling
you hope they won’t recognise you
and they don’t
so you sink with a sigh into your
green velvet seat
sip a glass of champagne
as the train pulls out
wailing its desert song into the night
you were not expecting this
and yet you are here
this first class seat has your name on it
.
grace-andreacchi-jan-2010
Grace Andreacchi writes novels, plays, short stories and poetry. Her work has been published by Serpent’s Tail, Harpur Collins and Oxford University Press as well as her own imprint, Andromache Books.