Refuge

by on May 26, 2017

If sky darkens on a day when you have roamed too far,
if wind picks up, trembling leaves on familiar trees,

if lightning carves its fiery veins above your head,
if thunder explodes, and a fury of rain drenches you,

if you stumble in this wet misery on a street
that all but disappears, I offer you an open door,

and at my table, an honored place. If power lines
lie sizzling and snaking on the wet ground, we will

find lanterns and candles, some crusty bread
and plenty of wine. Together we can ride it out,

this storm that rose so suddenly. Others have already
come, shaken and storm-cursed, but warm now, and dry

in this well-built house, where voices study the daunting
language of hope, and new songs braid and rise, until fear

is sealed away, and a new, quiet courage spreads around
us, a lake glimmering at sunset, or moonlight in the spring.

 


Steve Klepetar has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems (both from Flutter Press). Family Reunion (Big Table) and A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press) were released in January, 2017.

crow moon

by on May 23, 2017

 


Debbie Strange is a widely published Canadian short form poet, haiga artist and photographer. Her books include the full-length poetry collection, Warp and Weft: Tanka Threads (Keibooks 2015), and the haiku chapbook, A Year Unfolding (Folded Word 2017). She invites you to visit her archive at debbiemstrange.blogspot.ca.

usual questions

by on May 22, 2017

 

usual questions
at reunion dinner
taking the broccoli
for another spin
around the plate

 


Christina Sng is a poet, writer, and artist. She is the author of two haiku collections, A Constellation of Songs (Origami Poems Project, 2016) and Catku (Allegra Press, 2016). In the moments in between, she finds joy in tending to her herb and bonsai garden. Visit her at christinasng.com.

The Stars Are All Dead and Have Fallen

by on May 18, 2017

And with help we loaded the pickup
with all the other things that no longer functioned.

Washing machine that shook itself to death.
Ancient computer, dirty face like city ice.
One stained mattress, upon which no children
were conceived. And so forth. Drove

somewhere. Nothing grew there but hills
someone had burned with cigarettes.

Thorns survived. And kudzu. There was a ditch
where an old Chevrolet dammed the runoff
and buried itself in red mud. There we did
our unloading. Appliances rolled downhill

like snake eyes. Newspaper bundles and slick
magazines fell like bad cards. Sliding down,
the mattress ripped some kudzu cover away,
exposed layers of garbage. Households like ours.

A daughter’s bicycle with glossy mylar streamers
looked to have been almost new, but vines
threaded its spokes and frame,
stitched it to the earth like Frida Kahlo.

We have returned our portion.

 


Barbara Young hasn’t been writing much this year. East Nashville got too popular, so she and Jim packed up the cats and moved out to White Bluff. A grocery, two hardware stores, and a bakery that only makes doughnuts. Change is interesting. Because writing prompts can be easier than poems, Barbara sometimes becomes “Miz Quickly.”

Ode to the Corner of the Drug House Down the Gravel Road Off the Two Lane Highway #51

by on May 17, 2017

While everyone slept
I set up all of the mirrors
to face against the walls

& I couldn’t be sadder
that nobody realized
& nobody thought

that this was strange.
Come to think of it,
when was the last time

I saw what I look like?
I have pictures of myself.
I was a pretty man.

 


Darren C. Demaree’s poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. He is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing) and is the managing editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He currently lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

The Spoilt Season

by on May 16, 2017

This is the spoilt season, the dying land.
Here are weeds and crows and graves.

Trucks growl up our street all night
and in the morning we pull our shades

against another day of rain and tears.
Here are angry men wading icy streams.

Here is their music of broken drums.
Here are drugs and beds with their sheets

torn up, and dust on the nightstand, dust
on the walls and floor. Someone lived

here once, in wind and fading light,
when the kitchen hummed, and the scent

of soup went everywhere. She lived
in a body, painted her image on glass

where it shone in the dark, another star
made of desire, kissing the brow of sky.

 


Steve Klepetar has received several nominations for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, including four in 2016. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems (both from Flutter Press). Family Reunion (Big Table) and A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press) were released in January, 2017.

Practice Makes Perfect

by on May 9, 2017

mother intoned,
thumping time on the side of the piano
with her ruler
while I struggled at the keys.
So I practiced the art of magic
(deception, we shall call it)
like  turning water to ice under a silk scarf,
and coaxing my mad dogs under the table
to silence their whimper.
They, accustomed to spaces
dark and deep, began to sleep.

Once in a dream
I carried a dead child on my shoulders
as I crept down the night hall
to the stygian mirror,  expecting to see
a snarling beast with plundered eyes.
But there was no image
in the silvered shadows.
The hair on the backs of the dogs
began to rise.

But practice makes
permanent,
While I practiced the art of the silk scarf,
and perfected the image of coolness,
the mad dogs rose, growled
and shook their chains.

 


Elizabeth Vrenios has had poetry featured in such online poetry columns as: Clementine, Kentucky Review, Form Quarterly, Scissors and Spackle and in issues of The Binnacle, Poeming Pidgeon Unsplendid and The Edison Review. Her prize-winning chapbook, Special Delivery was published by Yellow Chair Press in the spring of 2016.  She is a Professor Emerita from American University, and has spent most of her life performing as a singing artist across Europe and the United States.