Category Archives: Poetry

Purple Birds by William Heath

purple and blue swirls

Masterpieces are hard, manifestos, conversation pieces are easy. Here’s a woman who does sculptures of babies popping out of toasters, the whole thing drenched in a combination of blue and yellow paint— her statement. And here’s a painter who paints weird purple birds distinctively; he’s good with his brushes, we recognize his paintings, but who needs purple birds? What purpose do they serve? I know we’re not supposed to ask these questions— instead critics will praise the artist’s unique subject and style and people will buy her toasters, his paintings, prominately display them on their … Continue reading Purple Birds by William Heath

Florida by Jessica McEntee

old man with hat tipped over face leaning against a tropical tree

This is the place that emptied my father, sucking him through the tunnel of its straw. Four days into a farewell visit, I’ve overdosed on sunlight, rousing the insomniac within. The grass is gravid with alligators; the air poses as sand; cars scaffold a melted wax of spent bugs. Everywhere, I see darkness edging, shadows twitching to keep pace—the gloom that magics the glass into mirror. Jessica Noyes McEntee is a fiction instructor at Westport Writers’ Workshop in Connecticut and a graduate of Amherst College. Her debut chapbook, Jackie O. Suffers Two Husbands, was published … Continue reading Florida by Jessica McEntee

Pandemic, 1918 by Eric Forsbergh

Photo of field with blooms sprinkled throughout

….1. France. Poppies blooming blood. Hedged by four sheets strung on wire, my grandparents spent their wedding night, December 1917: a New York married-barracks, moans muffled the night before the men shipped out. Three faces to a porthole on a transport ship. “Fish in a barrel” riflemen would say, sometimes with pity. Who would notice a patient in an Army hospital with a different kind of cough? ….2. Tennessee. Fields overflowing corn. As a girl, my wife heard it from her grandfather. Elmer could bear to tell it only once. He’d turned 18. After morning … Continue reading Pandemic, 1918 by Eric Forsbergh

Reliquary by Annie Stenzel

Photo of wrapped gifts

“Lose something every day. Accept the fluster . . .” (Elizabeth Bishop) Every once in a while I open one of too-many, tiny boxes, and there you are, bright stab of memory: My brave lover from long ago. I see you exactly as you were then, because time took care to preserve the details, the same way amber traps an insect for eternity. One could almost map the genome from this fossil: golden ring with its garnet chip. I used to wear it on my little finger. There are things we find that were never … Continue reading Reliquary by Annie Stenzel

It’s Wrong to Feel Lucky by Marjorie Gowdy

Photo of field of poppies

It’s wrong to feel lucky when a poplar blooms. …………Branches spit out slender pinks below low clouds. In fields here, we find arrowheads. Ancient whispers on the ridge. One death begs another. …………Axe, arrow, bullet, bomb. A siege of poisoned bolts. Up the road, old battlefields sit surprised, suddenly covered in grey blankets …………of stinging dust. Charming fencerows buried. Once, old soldiers sold poppies, tried to warn us. Some rode to save us. …………Yet Zeus swung back and slung his fire. Capitol’s newly fallen: an ugly man of bare ambition, youths who rose through thunder, … Continue reading It’s Wrong to Feel Lucky by Marjorie Gowdy

Vigil and Work Gloves, 2 poems by Ron Stottlemyer

Photo of work gloves and tools

Vigil Outside the nurses’ station, third floor east, twilight spreads its white canopy over the busy avenue of bright buildings. Down the hall, an orderly lofts a pale sheet over a vacant bed. In the next room, the ventilator pulses on, pushing a steady breeze through the cracked wall of a failing lung. In the dim light, the old woman tethered to a fever floats under the fluorescent aura shimmering above her head. Beneath shuttered eyelids, night pools. Right up to the edge. Work Gloves Nothing much to look at lying on the shelf, one … Continue reading Vigil and Work Gloves, 2 poems by Ron Stottlemyer

Cottonmouth by Ron Stottlemyer

Photo of open-mouthed cottonmouth

Cottonmouth As the boat eased out on the pond, there was just enough light to see pale ribbons of sky rippling in the water. Dad paddled ahead with slow, heavy strokes, but the lives watching from trees, listening in the grass knew what had just arrived. As he rested the paddle on his knees, the boat glided on as if it knew where it was going, pulling a wide scarf of quiet behind it. Then the first deep croak sounded in duckweed near the far bank. When he dipped the paddle over the side to … Continue reading Cottonmouth by Ron Stottlemyer

Master of Fine Arts by Robert Detman

book suspended open

Like Portland or is it Austin I am also trying to keep weird. Nobody says keep Oakland weird. It’s got a gentrifying mix with floaters on top and busted bits settling on the bottom and curious pieces swirling suspended. According to Ferlinghetti simile and metaphor make poetry. Ferlinghetti whom I once saw at Brandy Ho’s getting lunch as was I at the counter after having just bought Carlos Fuente’s Terra Nostra as I needed a novel the size, shape and weight of a brick to give my MFA bildungsroman some DNA like Moby Dick, or … Continue reading Master of Fine Arts by Robert Detman

Listen and Blessing the Way, 2 poems by Cindy Buchanan

empty phone booth in rain

Listen When I first conceived of you I was inside a graffiti-covered phone booth near a rundown beach motel. I wept. The OB’s voice on the other end filled with static. You swam through the phone line anyway, lodged for years inside my heart before you sped away. I loved you as best I could, but leaving was what you got good at— lured by street meds, accelerating down tracks that imprisoned us both. Do you ever pass abandoned booths and wish you could make one call? Pick up the phone. Hear my blood pound … Continue reading Listen and Blessing the Way, 2 poems by Cindy Buchanan

Ode to Wonder Woman by Akhim Yuseff Cabey

wonder woman crossing wrists

back then on that Bronx block few of us stood a chance against reruns of Lynda Carter’s Bracelets of Submission…..truth lasso or pale décolletage rendering erotic doses of televised justice on a daily basis. but we all know it wasn’t just her alone. so many of the finest neighborhood girls played defense with both their hearts and breasts—and rightfully so— because we’d wetted our tongues too often just to get a chance to one day lick the closest thing we could find to a cinematic Caucasian nipple. and into the Internet and collegiate suburbs we … Continue reading Ode to Wonder Woman by Akhim Yuseff Cabey