Like champagne spilled,
you told me
the wine breathed
on its way to the glass.
They will teach your sky to pull its own shade
and pick constellations off its face, or
rob your young well of its softer salts.
Glass fish tumbling in detergents.
How big of them to let you choose.
I see them in the ground.
Curled white petals tempered.
It's a promise to return
one day. To find home how
I left it.
Teeth cut on playground
swings and broken branches
falling from their cavities.
Piles of books, pink and purple,
dirt spilled from the plants
I asked my sister to water.
Put me back in the ground.
We think we contain green,
gold, ember. Shrugging baby teeth
like a crumb trail until gods
find us. We don’t even contain
what we were born with
spitting one of the teeth into the lawn.
It was never ours to inherit.
Let’s Not Cut Up Dead Moles Again
and we’ll run through the field where you stomped
on a monarch butterfly to see
which was faster,
your boot or its wings.
a field keeps its secrets.
Tape the yellow and black to vellum,
pin them to the wall.
Roll your father’s hunting rifle in horseshit,
that will teach him.
In memory of my friends, Gordon and Gregory, ages 7 and 9.
Living on a tropical island
it’s easy to see how time bends, it slows.
Summer is constant.
We mark seasons changing
when papayas ripen,
your hands suddenly look older.
Hotels rise higher every year
until it becomes impossible
to remember the beaches without them.
When Gray Is Beautiful And When It’s Not
I live in a city where ghosts of giant Douglas fir spear
themselves up through grimy gray sidewalks. These ghosts,
the real cause of hailstorms, creep quietly through dull
Seattle streets, looking for blue osprey that died eons ago.
Winters here are never-ending. Rain falls on everything:
beards on old sailors, pin curls on my grandmother’s tiny
head. Gray is beautiful, I tell her. Trust me, she replies, It's not.
In particular, gray pubic hair is ugly. That treat I have yet to
discover, but I shall, I have no doubt that I shall.
Something comes next.
It’ll blow the skin and muscle off bones.
No do-overs, shouts an onlooker,
and the wind and sea, too.
Are you scared? Are you crying?
Just act as if this is all normal.
These kids freezing in the tents
could easily be our children.
People, being people, will cackle
over that and the things flowing away.
But here we are, still standing,
like cemetery monuments in bad weather.
Ode to Insomnia
off key piano
shirt and pants
a size too small
in the periphery
in the old mattress
uneven height of steps
a nervous door
by the view
tucked their flame
on Irish whiskey first
edition books hip
waders for Gail
the swamps and bogs
for the kids.
last he saw her
summer’s hard gasp
tornados in the verge
she calculated odds
time enough to
bring in the wash
yes or no
Without a father or a mother this silence
longs for home the way far-off rocks
come by to soothe you bit by bit and stay
turn your gravestone pointing east
where west should be, round and around
smoothing the Earth for the wind
over and over writing your name in the air
signing away everything –you need this compass
to come back, find the river again
filled without touching your fingers
or the small rock at the top no longer moving
emptied to find you a shore nearby.
What came after?
Empty spaces. Home, again.
Gravity happens to the best
of us, prisoners of someone
else’s war. [What we bury is lost.]
Frost me a sky,
The world, blown off its hinges,
dancing with the door open.
Source: A remixed poem composed from chapter titles of Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire.
Something must be done
when the stars are bright.
In some broken future,
stoically prepare for the moment.
Laces tied in a careful knot
(containing the idea of sound);
bedtime wears away
the potential for elsewhere—
a legend and a lie.
Source: A remixed poem composed from select lines and phrases from the introduction and chapters 1, 3, 4, 5, & 6 of Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire.
H. Edgar Hix
It's called a walker
but it actually rolls.
Carries my stuff.
I can sit on it.
It speaks. On the bus
it says, "Old.
Waiting to be a victim.
Has a wallet.
Can't fight back anymore.
I wish the damn thing
would just shut up.
Megan Rose Gosney & Travis Laurence Naught
She whispers, "Hello," in the dark,
is scared of who might respond.
When, after a time, no one does,
she whispers, "Hello," in the dark.
Joel Best's recent work has appeared in Atticus Online, Common Ground Review, Crack the Spine and Apeiron Review. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and son.
German Dario, a Colombian immigrant, resides in Tempe, Arizona. Recent work appears in Right Hand Pointing, The New Verse News and The Friday Influence.
Jerry Dennis is a full-time freelance writer. His books, including The Living Great Lakes and A Place on the Water, have been translated into six languages and have won many awards. His poems and brief prose have appeared in PANK, Mid-American Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, and other places. (www.jerrydennis.net)
Jillian Egan lives in Poughkeepsie, NY, loves in Lancashire, UK, and writes on airplanes between the two. She is the founder of @softboy_poetry, a parody poetry collective, whose work can be found on Instagram.
Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from Thoughtcrime Press. His latest collection is I'm Not a Robot from Tolsun Books.
Megan Rose Gosney and Travis Laurence Naught are poets from Eastern Washington. They met at Lit Fuse, an annual poetry workshop in Eastern Washington. Both of them like teaching people things. Megan actually gets paid to teach high school English.
H. Edgar Hix, at 65, is now officially old and feels it. He's beginning to realize there's a lot of paperwork to being retired.
Betsy Mars is a Connecticut-born, California-raised poet and educator. Two years in Brazil during her childhood left her with a lifelong love of language and travel. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications, various print anthologies, and in the California Quarterly. Rumor has it that a chapbook is forthcoming in February, 2019.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poetry has appeared in Partisan Review, Right Hand Pointing, The New Yorker and elsewhere.
Trish Saunders writes from Seattle and Honolulu and, in her imagination, from the shores of Crescent Lake, Washington. She has published poems in Right Hand Pointing, One Sentence Poems, Califragile, Off The Coast, and other print and online publications.
Shloka Shankar is a freelance writer and visual artist from Bangalore, India. She loves experimenting with found poetry techniques. Her work has most recently appeared in Otoliths, h&, Poetry WTF?!, Rogue Agent, and so on. Shloka is the founding editor of Sonic Boom, as well as its affiliated press, Yavanika.
Hannah Wagener is a part-time poet and part-time embroiderer. She is perhaps best known for her work as a background actor in South View Middle School's 2005 production of The Hoboken Chicken Emergency.
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