Brooklyn Bridge by Esme Devault

Photo of people on the Brooklyn Bridge
 

It’s a long way down— We start on 5th Avenue: all/that/claustrophobic/glitz. You want a pair of $200 kicks— so hey, okay kid we get ‘em. You carry that box the rest of the way. We walk to Grand Central Terminal, and eat our bag lunch beneath the constellations ceiling bluer, stars brighter, marble Earth down under. On the platform, we randomly choose between the 4, 5, and 6 lines. A large black man says “Oh, no-you don’t want the local.” We take it anyway, since it comes first, and they’re all headed in the same … Continue reading Brooklyn Bridge by Esme Devault

The Habit of Walking by Sharon Ackerman

worn brown boots in leaves
 

Solvitur Ambulando—a Latin phrase meaning “it is solved by walking”—is credited to the philosopher Diogenes in the fourth century BCE. He uttered this phrase when presented with a difficult metaphysical question, though judging from the masses of people I’ve seen out walking over the past year, some of us are rediscovering the truth of that observation. Of course there are many different kinds of walking; fitness walking, pilgrimages, walks with mapped out ends and destinations. But the walking Diogenes refers to is aimless walking, purposeless walking and it is this type of walking that has … Continue reading The Habit of Walking by Sharon Ackerman

Bardigues by Pui Ying Wong

France

By the river a sign warns
of sudden flooding
because of the nearby
nuclear power plant which looms
over tree farms and poppy fields.

Years back the utility company
built a new road and park,
giving out enticement like soldiers
do with candy bars
in occupied zones.

Now most town folks work there
and pray nothing bad happens.
We are in the next village,
one as pretty
as the guidebook says.

We sleep easily in a house
scented by a lush garden.
We too pray but sometimes
a squadron of black smoke escapes
into our dream and stays.

plume of smoke over tree tops
Smoke by Gary Cycles. CC license.

Pui Ying
Pui Ying Wong is the author of two full-length books of poetry: An Emigrant’s Winter (Glass Lyre Press, 2016) and Yellow Plum Season (New York Quarterly Books, 2010)—along with two chapbooks. She has won a Pushcart Prize. Her poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Plume, New Letters, Zone 3, among others. She lives in Cambridge, Mass. with her husband, the poet Tim Suermondt.

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The Hopeful, Courageous Power of Anger by Renee Branson

Black and white photo of black fist painted on white fence
 

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” —Augustine of Hippo There is a lot to be angry about. Skyrocketing rates of COVID, financial stress from months of quarantine, deadly racial injustice, political chaos . . . and that’s just the first few things that come to mind. I am angry. More importantly, I’m okay with being angry. One of the more common misconceptions about resilience is that there is no room for anger. … Continue reading The Hopeful, Courageous Power of Anger by Renee Branson

Another Plastic Buddha by James William Gardner

Streams of headlights along highway
 

The truck stop parking lot reverberated with idling big diesel engines. The air smelled like sour urine. Randal Whitley stood by the open door of his cab smoking a cigarette and drinking his morning coffee. A stick of beef jerky and two chocolate donuts was all he’d had for breakfast, but that was usual. He seldom sat down to eat in the mornings. When he awakened he was wired and anxious to hit the road. It was drizzling rain in Tuscaloosa, a cool morning for the time of year. Usually it was already hot in … Continue reading Another Plastic Buddha by James William Gardner

Poised by Barbara Saunier

owl partially in shadows
 

Cosseting daylight tousles her hair, chucks her under the chin, pinches her cheek. Won’t let her cross the road without a firm hold—even at the corner when she looks both ways. Once night rises, shadows from headlights overlap shadows from moonlight overlap shadows from kitchen incandescence. Overlap flashlight’s narrow way. Only in light are there shadows. With the yard light’s firm hold on the drive, shadows tousle her eye, chuck foreboding. Dark waits out the routine just around the corner of the shed, behind the tree, the other side of the truck. So much distraction … Continue reading Poised by Barbara Saunier

Beauty of Decay: Photographs by Daniel Pravda

Photo of old barn with rusting roof
 

                I grew up in Virginia Beach where I witnessed damage and destruction of rural and natural lands for the lie called development. I feel levels of anger and disappointment when I see greed eclipsing nature. As poet Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote, “Aftercomers cannot guess the beauty been.”     I now drive around Eastern Virginia and North Carolina and search for ways to preserve rural and natural beauty. This beauty manifests to me in rusting barns, abandoned homes, churches and schools, forgotten tractors, trucks, and plows, as well as … Continue reading Beauty of Decay: Photographs by Daniel Pravda

The Trees Are a Better Mother by Genevra Levinson

Black and white photo of bare tree
 

Genevra Levinson is an Honorable Mention in Streetlight‘s 2020 Essay/Memoir Contest It is autumn. I think of Mary Oliver’s river of loss as I watch the trees burn fragrantly and allow themselves to be naked in their distance from the sun. I wonder about this kind of graceful dying, and how we humans grapple with death and the strangeness of our own faces during the fall season—the dying season. The ghoul-masks, monsters, blood, and skeletons no longer thrill me darkly as they did when I was a child, nor fill me with dread as they … Continue reading The Trees Are a Better Mother by Genevra Levinson

Almost and The Last Supper, 2 poems by Clair Scott

Piano in foreground, Large painting of woman in background
 

ALMOST A Steinway. A red silk dress. The audience still, anticipating the first note of Schubert’s B-Flat Sonata. Anthony Tommasini ten rows back will write the most sensitive Schubert ever in tomorrow’s New York Times. My hands hover over the keys. I begin with lyric phrases followed by the ominous trill. My little brother. Composing contrapuntal music at the age of five, playing flawless Chopin preludes presto con fuoco on his gleaming grand piano. Illustrious teachers line up to listen tweaking their moustaches in disbelief. Downstairs I bang fortissimo chopsticks on the old second hand … Continue reading Almost and The Last Supper, 2 poems by Clair Scott

William Crawford’s DRIVE BY SHOOTING

Photo of man painting
 

Some of America’s greatest photographers roamed the country by automobile. They forever changed the context of artistic imagery. They eventually replaced traditional monochrome with color, and they shot the unnoticed aspects of the backside of our country. Stephen Shore, Bill Eggleston, and Lee Friedlander were well known, working members of this New York school of photography. I am their present day disciple. An avid minimalist shooter, I helped to invent “forensic foraging,” a throwback approach to modern digital photography. The heavily saturated, vivid color of these pictures drive the work. The subject matter is often banal … Continue reading William Crawford’s DRIVE BY SHOOTING

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