poem

Temple of Jupiter by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

sibyl 2
.
Hello, Sybil. Old fortune teller.
Dusk in its blue taxi
weeps at your endless agony.
Poetry should be grief, not grievances.
I come to hear your prophecy—
how the world is shrinking
like your cage of immortality.
.
Show me how to convert the useless.
The graceless and wasteful.
The northern half of a southern laugh.
Reveal to us how to yearn so purely
we turn into hollow light.
“Please ask for assistance.”
Let me chew on your fat dreams.
.
jcwportrait_May_13+
Jeffrey Cyphers Wright is a publisher, critic, eco-activist, and artist.He is best known as a poet and the author of 15 books of verse, including most recently Blue Lyre from Dos Madres Press. He has an MFA in Poetry from Brooklyn College where he studied with Allen Ginsberg and also taught. Recent poetry is included in New American Writing, 2017. For many years, Wright ran Cover Magazine, The Underground National. Currently, Wright stages events showcasing artists and writers at KGB Lit Bar and La MaMa ETC in NYC, in conjunction with his art and poetry journal, Live Mag! He regularly contributes to American Book Review. Wright is a Kathy Acker Award recipient for 2018.
.
.
Advertisements

2 Poems by Louis Gallo

elpenor1

Marc Chagall The Soul of Elpenor (L’ame d’Elpenor)

.
Getting Wasted With Elpenor
.
Pretty bored last night so I decided
to descend to the underworld
hoping to meet the great Achilles
or Agamemnon or, you know, one
of them, even that mad Ajax would do.
Instead I ran into Elpenor sulking
on a lonely, miasmal crossroad.
Seems no one had buried him yet—
remember he’s the dopey kid
who got drunk atop Circe’s roof
and fell off and broke his neck
(one or two lines in The Odyssey).
He’d talk to anybody who drank
the blood, begging, pleading for burial
so his soul could cease its wandering.
Well, I wasn’t much help
so back up on a roof (Circe’s again?),
we wound up getting cheap drunk
on Gallo wine–
and once more Elpenor slid off
to still another death, another
broken neck.  He looked so sad
as he peered at me from the ground
though I had already explained
that I lacked the power to salvage
either his body or soul.  I sang
from my vantage–Ray Charles’
rendition of “Born to Lose,”
never quite deciding who ranks
as the greater losers:
hopeless, broken blokes like Elpenor
or those of us who can’t restore them.
.

Dream

I tried to tell her she did not smell
like mosquito repellant
but I could tell by her frown
and the way she flicked her hair
that she didn’t believe me.
She kept sniffing at her arms
in a kind of minor horror.
I took her hand and tried to
pull her into the house
but she resisted:  “How can I
come in when I smell like poison?”
she whimpered.
“Smell me,” she demanded,
“all over,” as she proceeded
to remove her clothing.
What a dilemma.
If I told her she smelled
like champagne or the attar
of roses, she would accuse
me of lying;
if I told her she did indeed
smell like mosquito repellant
she would go berserk–
for this was one clean woman.
In the end I offered to rub her down
with denatured alcohol
(which smells horrible)
to remove every trace of repellant.
She liked the idea
and followed me into the house,
the screen door banging behind us.
I smeared the wretched alcohol
all over her flesh and rubbed it in.
Then I carried her to the tub
and washed it off with Ivory.
Now I’m boiling water for
sassafras tea as she lies back
on the sofa, smiling, purified,
ablated, redeemed.
And I tell you, I’m smiling too.
.
Louis Gallo
Louis Gallo’s work has appeared or will shortly appear in Wide Awake in the Pelican State (LSU anthology), Southern Literary Review, Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic,, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth,  Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others.  Chapbooks include The Truth Change, The Abomination of Fascination, Status Updates and The Ten Most Important Questions. He is the founding editor of the now defunct journals, The Barataria Review and Books:  A New Orleans Review.  He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.
.
.

The Greeting by John D. Robinson

vet
.
The Greeting
.
Outside the city railway
station, he greeted the
incoming and outgoing
travellers with a strange
barrage of hostile
noises and sounds of
anger, no intelligible
words and his
presence loomed
large in filthy army-
clothing, long unkempt
beard and hair, shoes
falling away from
his feet, he moved
slowly as people,
without time to spare,
moved quickly by
ignoring him, maybe
glancing back,
grinning
and even if he were
spewing intelligible
words, the reaction
would be the same, I
smoked a cigarette and
watched him and his
determination to
interact, to provoke a
response, to
communicate in vain
to a world rushing-by
and not giving a
fuck about his
anguished cries or
what they meant
they had more
important things on
their minds, like
getting to work
on time.
.

 

John D Robinson

John D Robinson is a UK poet: his latest publications are ‘The Pursuit Of Shadows’ (Analog Submission Press 2018) ‘Hitting Home’ (Iron Lung Press 2018)

Baptism of Sorts by Cliff Saunders

sunset

.

Baptism of Sorts

.
All day, one question buzzed:
Why did the glass slipper
of pain take so long to correct?
It took too long but only
.
in the physical sense
of passing secrets. When
rain did come, it sounded
like Mozart and felt
.
like a war zone about
to become a baptism of sorts.
What went wrong with the facts?
‘Twas the instant roosters were
.
stunned by late-season snow,
and the Ferris wheel by the sea
got harder to find. From treehouses
ants wept, employees were
.
told to destroy their wallets.
Assertive but untested, I had
to protect the magic form
of a literary triceratops
.
from Gilded Age cuisine.
I leaked nothing but light
and a flake of sweetgrass.
I was a man without
.
a turtle ambulance or a cloud
losing its lust. Seduced
and betrayed by dark thoughts,
I made a mist descend
.
upon the beach like a losing streak.
It was a great day for trying
to sneak into a fortress of love,
it was also the day the music
.
in a roller rink sounded just
like a nervous breakdown.
I started talking to cars!
It was a summer of negotiations
between opposing hummingbirds
and windshields. I tried to sound
like a great sea, but the power
of love broke my heart, shattering
.
expectations. The cameras died;
only one of them melted.
I got off easy when the luggage
of choirboys swamped me
.
with grief. Healed and flying
high, my pain vanished
into the sunset like a late friend’s
shadow, difficult to escape.

.

clifford-saunders-photo

Cliff Saunders has an MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Arizona. His poems have appeared recently in West Trade Review, Pinyon, Serving House Journal, CURA, Rumble Fish Quarterly, SurVision, and Snow Jewel. He lives in Myrtle Beach, where he serves as co-coordinator of The Litchfield Tea & Poetry Series

2 Poems by Lilah Clay

sundial

Photograph by Brian

.
A Weaving 
.
I feel like a sun dial.
That stone anchored
in field,
turning my shadow arm
around the day.
.
I always know what time
it is.
Time to pause,
breathe,
turn away
from the foundation of the past
poured over
skeletons of bad doctors.

                     *

So the years cobble me together,
part invalid, part brilliant.
A weaving of yarn and river
that bandages my presence
here.

                    *

Who mourns the soul
of an old barn
collapsing into firewood?
.
Who understands
the security of confinement
to rebuild anatomy
upright?
.
The Distance Crossed 
.
This cocoon you have spun
of silk, ink, scar tissue,
has summoned the irises
up from their winter graves
to watch you emerge
.
part sphinx moth,
part willow pressing forward
toward bone from buried roots.

.

So gently the transition
of embedded
to free legged,
only perennials
.
can sense the distance
crossed
from wood grain
to human
again.
.
lil
Lilah Clay is a writer, poet, and survivor of chronic Lyme. Her poems have been published in World Literature Today, Splash of RedHer CircleVine Leaves Literary JournalMarco Polo Arts Mag, and Ascent. Her current collection of poetry Bed, Window… Sky explores the imaginal realm of the last twenty months she has spent mostly in bed healing a back injury. 
.

nightmares no longer scare me by J.J. Campbell

jj
.
nightmares no longer scare me
.
it’s the constant struggle
.
the never-ending dance
with pain
.
will you drink yourself
to sleep or to more liver
damage first
.
you look at your badly
damaged left leg and
wonder why you chose
to stop doing drugs and
just accept the pain
.
i look in the mirror
before i go to sleep
each night
.
nightmares no longer
scare me
.
loneliness is the only
friend that never let
me down
.
eventually, i’ll be an
old man
.
alone
.
still talking to himself
.
still playing all the
old songs
.
still holding out hope
that dream woman will
walk through that door
.
hell, even a burglar
would be a welcome
sight
.
jj

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is currently trapped in suburbia, plotting his escape. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at Lucidity Poetry Journal, Fourth & Sycamore, Synchronized Chaos, Horror Sleaze Trash and Pyrokinection. You can find him most days waxing poetic on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Mockingbird Manages the Morning by Carol Hamilton

mockingbird

Photograph by mjeedelbr

.
Mockingbird Manages the Morning
.
despite sweet grass scents and hummings
from highway and military base
and the heads tucked to feeding dish
as the furry black and tortoise-shell cats
silently eat against the minor twits
and tweets of blackbirds lighting and
alighting the stretch of electric wires.
His insistent love pleadings outcry
even the squirrel’s acrobatic rustlings
in leaps from crepe myrtle to giant elm.
Ambulance siren laces voice
with car passing in front of the house.
But then squirrel takes the lead
with a metallic clatter as he bounces
off an ancient and unused martin house
Morning light is gentle and glosses
the slim trunks of crepe myrtle
yellow-green and lovely.
Now the squirrel does pom pom twirls
with his tail as he bounds on branches
and fence links near the cat dish.
And even the mockingbird has left
the squirrel to what now appears
to be his morning callisthenic routine.
At last all is muted in the soft air
telling me how rain will come tonight
                                                … perhaps.
.
carol ham

Carol Hamilton has recent and upcoming publications in Bluestem, Southwestern American Literature, Commonweal, Louisiana Review, Cold Mountain Review, Common Ground, Sanskrit Literary Magazine, U.S.1 Worksheet, Broad River Review, Homestead Review, Poem, Louisiana Literature, Haight Ashbury Poetry Journal, Off the Coast, Blue Unicorn, Birmingham Poetry Review, Pigeonhole and others. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has published 17 books in various genres.  http://www.carolhamilton.org/