& Peacocks in Trees by Susana H. Case

& Peacocks in Trees
& fog at night lingering
& a black bear with rope
strung through his snout
& a boy pulling it
who offers to pose for photos
& what first seems
to be furniture in a chai shop
but is a man
in rags asleep upright
& a radio that plays only static
& everyone coughing coughing
& a tourist who brags in broken
English of the fifty grams
of dope he smokes each day
& a night watchman
who takes a bribe to unlock
a tower with a marble casket
& the Taj Mahal in moonlight
before the workers shout
to open the massive doors
& the ghosts of suicides
who jumped from the stairs
near the gateway
& the beggar who offers
to leap into a well for rupees
who when I say no looks down
in disappointment
photo--Susana H Case
SUSANA H. CASE is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently Dead Shark on the N Train in 2020 from Broadstone Books. Drugstore Blue (Five Oaks Press) won an IPPY Award in 2019. She is also the author of five chapbooks, two of which won poetry prizes. Her first collection, The Scottish Café, from Slapering Hol Press, was re-released in a dual-language English-Polish version, Kawiarnia Szkocka by Opole University Press. Poems by Case have appeared in Calyx, Catamaran, The Cortland Review, Portland Review, Potomac Review, Rattle, RHINO and many other journals. Case is a Professor and Program Coordinator at the New York Institute of Technology in New York City.

Philadelphia Pulp by Ezra Solway

reading term
Philadelphia Pulp by Ezra Solway
A homeless woman, crouching on the wet
Rittenhouse lawn, sniffs a donut.
Above her, a seedpod denotes.
Vapors of Ribeye, from the cart
On Walnut, sails leeward to the sun.
And slips of grease dot the pavement.
The bronze backside of William Penn,
As he gazes Northeast to the Elm
Of Treaty, is baking in the sun.
Staring, in the left corner of the Barnes,
Van Gogh’s Postman wonders
When Spring will blink.
If you ponder the pimples of a pineapple,
Fibonnaci. And before the gold
Casting of Philbert the Pig, a foundry.
It’s easy to forget Reading Terminal
Market was once a Railroad.
Ezra writes in Philadelphia where currently he’s an MFA candidate at Temple University. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and featured in Eunoia Review, Flash Fiction Magazine among others.

Perforations by Colin Dodds

Perforations by Colin Dodds
the flaws reassure
Parking lot, internet, all the things worse
for being new and clean
Subdivision houses white and lined up like molars
Disguises for messiahs disquiet us
Fantasy and coincidence move in tandem
A lapse in the logic of divine realtors lets a little reality in
The Woolworth Building wears a veil
over her complicated face
Stone staircases trace the horns of Moses
up the university hill, down the bright gold ravine
At the lion boil, we get drunk on history—
imperial or apocalyptic, depending on your tastes
“There is only one sun,” a mother tells her boy
feet light on wet concrete, outside a tanning salon
Maybe no grand theory can unify all us assholes
The hand that cut us was neither neat nor thorough
How it looks and how it feels are separate things
The difference between a ceiling and a roof
Putting a plastic bride and groom on the waves
never made the sea a wedding cake
Colin Dodds is a writer with several acclaimed novels and poetry collections to his name. He grew up in Massachusetts and lived in California briefly, before finishing his education in New York City. He’s made a living as a journalist, editor, copywriter and video producer. Colin also writes screenplays, has directed a short film, and built a twelve-foot-high pyramid out of PVC pipe, plywood and zip ties. He lives in New York City, with his wife and daughter. You can find more of his work at www.thecolindodds.com

In Medias Res by Charlie Brice

garage alley
In Medias Res by Charlie Brice
I come from the people whose potatoes went bad,
            whose land had been beaten by English dragoons,
and who had been abandoned by fat boys in Rome—
some dressed in red and a big one in white.
I come from courage-sweat of firemen in Omaha
            who spoke in brogues and risked their lives
to save blazing futures—whose wives waited
in hopeless housedresses for them to come home to
boiled dinners roiling with cabbage, carrots, turnips, salt pork,
            and what meat they could scrounge.
I come from one fireman blown up in a gunpowder factory,
            identified by the scapular wound so tightly round his throat
they had to bury him with it. I come from his great
grandson, my Uncle Johnny, who so hated dimly lit restaurants that
he would turn on the high beam of a foot-long black police flashlight
            to read the menu and bellow, “This place is too goddamned dark!”
I come from a couple who got lost in a snowstorm
            in Cheyenne, Wyoming, in 1944 and never left.
I come from the prairie—it’s sweet smell of columbine in summer
            and from the perilous purity of its frozen abyss in winter.
I come from a frayed baseball mitt stained with spit, smelling of leather,
            from a Ludwig oyster pearl drum set with Zildjian cymbals in the basement,
and, in the backyard, from one tulip as red and true as a beating heart.
Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Sunlight Press, Chiron Review, Plainsongs, I-70 Review, Mudfish 12, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere.

Bad Things Happened by Holly Day

Bad Things Happened by Holly Day
We could feel the spirits only when we sat
by the walls. There was something left behind by those who sat
just there, under His eyes, in the back row of hard, wooden pews
the fear of God. There was such an obvious difference between where
the good Christians and the bad Christians sat in that place.
They were as powerful as they were exotic, the ghosts
of terror, His omniscience, the flapping of stained sheets
just out of sight. Their eyes bent spades into old train cars
huddled shadows in the rusty quiet, dreams of wheels turning.
I wanted so badly to stand in the room as a light
to take a small bit of their pain into me and survive it all
next time. There are bodies in the lake out back
that need to be counted. My visions can wait
but He will never come.
Holly Day’s poetry has recently appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction, Grain, and Harvard Review. Her newest poetry collections are Where We Went Wrong (Clare Songbirds Publishing), Into the Cracks (Golden Antelope Press), Cross Referencing a Book of Summer (Silver Bow Publishing), and The Tooth is the Largest Organ in the Human Body (Anaphora Literary Press).

Hollywood Rain by Scott Laudati

Hollywood Rain by Scott Laudati
You started off looking for Rome like I did.
In poems, in love letters,
written for a city planes fly to every day
but you knew
or decided
you hadn’t earned it yet.
you went to West Hollywood,
a walk each night down Sunset,
not exactly The Malecón
or The Rue des Rosiers
but the girls are skinny
and sometimes you follow the one
with the German Shepard
up Rodeo
to a house her father couldn’t afford
until they painted the walls
with Sharon and her baby.
The neighbor’s thought a murder
would sink the value but they forgot
the California sun can
baptize anything.
And when the tourists come
she puts her yoga mat in front of the bay window,
falling into downward dog
like she doesn’t know what she’s doing.
And the men snap pictures of her
stretched out on this cursed land,
almost as rare
as a Hollywood rain
but nowhere near as beautiful.
Scott Laudati’s recent work has appeared in The Cardiff Review and The Columbia Journal. He spends most of his time with a 14 year-old schnoodle named Dolly. Visit him on social media @ScottLaudati

The Cave by Rustin Larson

The Cave
The most beautiful thing I saw today
was a damaged square of sidewalk
where an old butternut tree had fallen
and cracked it like a pie crust
revealing a hollowness that plummeted
forty feet down into an abandoned coal-
mine shaft.  A room with walls of coal.
I once entered a cave, felt an ancient comfort.  Today
I woke in my room.  When I meditate I plummet
and imagine I can understand bird song, the sidewalk
robin, “For this day we thank thee, for thy pie crust
we thank thee, for our lives…” The song falls
down the long shaft of being to where I sit, fallen.
The cave was in Missouri; I felt at home inside; no coal,
just graffiti from Jesse James.  I could see the crusts
of bread strewn in the bandits’ grotto.  Today
however is blind.  I pound the sidewalk
with a stick, hear its hollowness.  Coins plummet
as I throw them into the crack.  A buzzard plummets
from an invisible mountain, roses have fallen
and light the cavern with embers, onions walk
out of the garden, sugar burns into a lump of coal,
the pie becomes a rock, the robin creates day,
our ancestors’ bodies sleep in the earth’s crust.
If I have time for stories, I trust
so many things are subtracted, plummeted
down into nothingness, just like daylight
without earth for it to shine upon, the fallen
soul’s limitless with wings soaring around a coal
of intention in uncreated space, a walk
without soil or solidity.  No, my fragmented walk
is what it is, my mind broken like the crust
of a communion wafer, the lit coal
on the tongue, the destruction, inevitable, plummeting
around and dependent upon and part of the body fallen
from its tower of ashes into unending day.
Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, and North American Review. He won 1st Editor’s Prize from Rhino and was a prize winner in The National Poet Hunt and The Chester H. Jones Foundation contests. A graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing, Larson was an Iowa Poet at The Des Moines National Poetry Festival, and a featured poet at the Poetry at Round Top Festival.

Supermarket by Lou Gallo

Supermarket by Lou Gallo
When she went out to scout
for ever-dwindling supplies
I sat on the porch rocker
and watched a tiny wren
hop about the front yard
pecking for seeds.
lou gallo
Three volumes of Louis Gallo’s poetry, Archaeology, Scherzo Furiant and Clearing the Attic, are now available.  Three forthcoming volumes, Crash, Why is there Something Rather than Nothing? and Leeway & Advent, will be published in the near future.  His work will appear in Best Short Fiction 2020 forthcoming. A novella, “The Art Deco Lung,” will be published in Storylandia. He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.

From The Sogni Banali Series by Marina Kazakova

rain sky
From The Sogni Banali Series
Under the drizzling sky
my heart survived
another grey day
of driving between the lines,
without you,
between the bikes,
in solitude,
between the eyes,
in search for true
crossing the boulevards
 wet and empty,
surrounded by gorgeous
of medieval times:
stuck on an intersection
in admiration
for the arms and shoulders
of a Roman arche –
solid and carved
as my stubborn heart
longing for a sunny afternoon
with the beautiful you.
Your silence is shaking
my heart,
jiggling the floors,
the roof,
the moon above,
knocking the walls,
slapping the doors,
telling my fingers
to write one more
for you and of yours.
In silence i am waiting
for words
to express
how strong
your silence
scratches the interior
of my wobbling heart.
Marina Kazakova (b. Gorky, Russia, 1983) is a Russian-born Belgium-based poet. Her literature works deal to a large degree with confrontation with the past and explore the challenges posed both by memory and grief. Published internationally in magazines and journals (Three Rooms Press “Maintenant”, “Great Weather for Media…”, “Crannog”, “Duck Lake Books”, “Writing in a Woman’s Voice”), Marina is a frequent performer, she has been shortlisted at various international poetry festivals and art events. Marina holds Master’s degrees in Public Relations and Transmedia. Currently, she is the Communications Officer at Victim Support Europe (Brussels) and working on her practice-based PhD in Arts at Luca School of Arts (KULeuven).