In Homage to Those Who Metamorphose

by on Sep 21, 2017

Lithe and tanned, tattooed and bandana-ed, he caught every eye in an evening class of adult learners sharing notes and dreams plus breath mints and chips from the snack bar two stories below.

He tracked the action with a non-blinking gaze and shared deep-exhaled ideas, throaty words caressing the room–life truths from a biker Yoda in boots.

One evening toward the end of May he told the hushed room of imprisonment for violent offenses; anger management classes; parole; loss of parental rights; drug abuse; total, utter, visceral despair; and hate–mainly for himself, but directed at others.

You wouldn’t have liked me very much then, he said, striding out the door, leather-clad, helmet in hand.

 


Sarah Bigham teaches, writes, and paints in Maryland where she lives with her kind chemist wife, their three independent cats, an unwieldy herb garden, several chronic pain conditions, and near-constant outrage at the general state of the world tempered with love for those doing their best to make a difference. Find her at sgbigham.com.

In the Wadi (after Armor by Cristina Troufa)

by on Sep 20, 2017

Armor by Cristina Troufa

In the Wadi

Just beneath my skin sits a wadi of thorns;
a fissure deepening as the years rage through.

If you would travel there, protect yourself.
Carry water for when the sirocco desiccates,

a blanket for the midnight chill. Adapt
to the granular, the sere, alert to the biting

things that live in the cracks. Meet each
directly. In time, like any who complete

a quest, you will be rewarded with a lush
bloom, a small season of furious reprieve.

 


Devon Balwit writes and teaches in Portland, OR. She is the author of five chapbooks, which, along with her poems, can be found if you look for them. When not writing, she is her dog’s best friend.

Cristina Troufa is a Portuguese artist born and based in Porto, Portugal. Cristina holds a Licentiate Degree in Painting (1998) and a Masters Degree in Painting (2012), both in FBAUP (University of Fine Arts of Porto). Since 1995 she has participated in collective and individual exhibitions, in Art Galleries and Cultural Spaces of Portugal, France, Spain, Italy, Australia, Canada, Denmark, Taiwan England and USA.

Growing Alone

by on Sep 19, 2017

 


W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and educator. He is the author of seven books includingImagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage (wjacksavage.com).  To date, more than sixty of Jack’s short stories and over nine-hundred of his paintings and drawings have been published worldwide. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.

At the Edge of the Forest

by on Sep 18, 2017

after Fall Landscape by Julian Onderdonk, oil on board, 9in. x 12in.

In the first days of October,
the clearing always looks the same—

A sea of frenzied tawny tangled grass
keeping the bones of the birches
with their ochre crowns at bay,
and the colossal tree my grandfather
showed me as a boy,
set apart from the others, holy,
seeming to know more about
storms and droughts and seasons
than the rest of the woods,
its branches twisting and sprawling
(like all of our histories, he said)
and clothed in plumes of
chestnut and fire and wine

But the breath of autumn is passing
as he did; softly, swiftly,
with only the sound of a branch
breaking, a hip cracking,
taking with it the knowledge
that the tree is just another scaffolding;
a sweat-beaded promise, a protest
against decay, a hope born of
pattern and chance and time spent
straining toward the sun; a desire
blossoming from a hundred years of
memory and anticipation as it bears
the weight of a robin’s egg blue sky
caught between summer and
winter, morning and night,

somehow utterly unlike all
the other skies that came before it.

 


Ben Groner III (Nashville, TN), recipient of Texas A&M University’s 2014 Gordone Award for undergraduate poetry, has work published in Appalachian Heritage, Third Wednesday, New Mexico Review, Fourth & Sycamore, Texas Poetry Calendar, and elsewhere. You can see more of his work at Ben Groner III – Creative Writing

our tracks

by on Sep 15, 2017

 

our tracks
to the woodshed
deepening
soon there will be
that first bold lie

 


Marilyn Fleming is a writer of Asian forms of poetry primarily, tanka, haiku and haibun, and is currently studying sumi-e painting to add to her poetry collection. She loves the ‘less is more’ simplicity of Asian forms of poetry. She is a Wisconsin native who enjoys nature, poetry, gardening and retirement. She hopes to have her first book of tanka published by the end of the year.

parachute silks

by on Sep 14, 2017

 


Debbie Strange is a Canadian short form poet, haiga artist and photographer whose creative passions bring her closer to the world and to herself. She is the author of Warp and Weft: Tanka Threads (Keibooks 2015) and the haiku collection, A Year Unfolding (Folded Word 2017). Please visit her archive of published work at: Warp and Weft ~ Images and Words.

Bad News

by on Sep 13, 2017

From an over-decorated kitchen –
leafy vegetables wilting in the fridge –
a fly caresses the only orange
in an all but empty glass fruit bowl.

A woman imagines the mountains
of the swirling sea, that spirals
down her stainless steel
sinkhole.

She loses her kitchen knives,
the covers of her pots and pans,
the partner to each pair
of slipper-socks,
the gunsmoke arguments,
her medical results,
and her keys.
The safety of her youth slips –
under the locked door and
out onto the streets.

 


Helina Hookoomsing is a short-story and poetry writer based in Mauritius. She was raised in London and is currently doing doctoral research in the field of anthrozoology. She has published poetry in the local Mauritian press and her short-stories have been published in editions of the trilingual Mauritian literary anthology, Collection Maurice. She facilitates creative writing clubs and workshops, and has performed at spoken word events around the island.

Skeletons

by on Sep 12, 2017

There is a skeleton
in the bathroom mirror:
starved and sexless.
So hollow I use her
clavicles and ilia
as percussion instruments.

Maybe I should be scared
of her wooden smile,
and empty glances.
But strangers stop me daily
to compliment her beauty,
and who am I to disagree?

 


Alixa Brobbey has loved writing since her childhood in a small Dutch town. She hopes work published in Canvas, The Battering Ram and others will lead to a career as a world-renowned author someday, but for now is content to obsess over Harry Potter and publish posts on her blog: Alixa Writes

Hollow

by on Sep 11, 2017

Hollow out the darkness.
There will be a tunnel of night.

It won’t have a name,
but you will learn to call it

love-soft words as your breath
turns to glass. At the end,

someone slips you a handful
of coins. You buy fish and bread

and ale. Tomorrow you wake
to a hollowed out sun.

On your stoop, the newspaper
burns. You read through flames

until your eyes ignite.
Better, sometimes, to be blind.

The tunnel yawns as it waits
in the glossy dark to swallow your life.

 


Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota. His work has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Recent collections include Family Reunion (Big Table), A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press), and How Fascism Comes to America (Locofo Chaps).