Plan

Steve Black

Paul Dickey
Jay Friedenberg

Grant Hackett

Josh Jacobs

R. Mac Jones

Katie Kemple

Sarah B. Ledbetter

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

Franca Mancinelli
(trans. by John Taylor)

Alan Perry

Dora Rollins

George Salamon
Sarah J. Sloat

Gerald Waggoner

Cindy Yarberry

John Yohe

Guest Editor: Brad Rose
Sarah J. Sloat

The Note

 

I think it must be the timing. It somehow seems wrong to write about the election here. I don't feel like pontificating. (You might want to make a note of that on your calendar.) It also feels wrong to write about anything else. The Note, in other words, doesn't know what to say. And this has happened before. When The Note has nothing to say, she says nothing. She falls almost entirely mute. When in this state of mind, she often calls me from Indianapolis, where The Note has been working at a bar on Washington Ave. for some years. Our long-time readers will recall that my friend The Note was once a pediatric dentist, but a string of mishaps blew out her marriage, her relationship with her kids, and her license to practice. A couple of years ago, while sweeping the bar at closing time, The Note got inexplicably gut-shot by a panicked would-be robber. She recovered mostly and went back to work at the bar. But sometimes the bar door will open and she'll feel something strike her abdomen. Some percussive phantom. A ghost bullet. 

 

She called tonight. She's been calling me G for going on 10 years now. Another story.
 

"G."

"The Note! It's been a while. Good to he.."

"Yeah. I got nothing. I got nothing to say."

 

"Okay. Just tap the phone twice if you're okay... Okay, I'll take that. Hey. They found water on the moon."

"I thought they already had," The Note said. I could hear traffic. She's outside the bar, smoking.

 

"Yeah, but just in the dark and super-cold places. They found water molecules just under the surface of the sunlit areas. They're hoping there's enough to provide water to astronauts."

 

"Do you get poems sent to you about the moon?"

 

"I don't know, Note. Not often," I said. "Not much left to write about it, I guess."

 

There was quite a long pause. We got comfortable with those long ago.

 

"To hell with all y'all poets, then," she said. "It's your damned moon. It's the only one y'all have."

"It's your moon, too, The Note. Why did you say..."

"In unfiltered sun

and oceans of dust—

water on the moon."

"Ha. That's not bad, Note. That's..."

"It's a freaking haiku, G.  Goodnight."

"Goodnight, The Note."

Our special thanks to Brad Rose, our long-time frequent contributor and friend for guest-editing this issue. As always, thanks to all you readers, our mighty editorial team, and our contributors to this issue, 141, "The Plan." 

Dale


 

Katie Kemple

 

Truth be told

My lips to your ear,
scribbled on a napkin,
in staccato tones,
on the page of a journal,
screamed in a field, 
posted anonymously,
left in the subway, 
given in a glance,
gone with your hand, 
hidden in an Altoids box
buried in the yard
with a snail shell, 
a plastic ring 
and a feather. 

Josh Jacobs

 

Zoom morning weather

Across the grid of faces
waking before me,
one cat seems to move
uncannily—as if
from one square tile
to another in a garden—
inhabiting the background
of each one-inch home 
in turn, as though
there was one cloud
passing above to wash
each face in turn with shade
and light, as though
there was one sun.

Sarah B. Ledbetter

 

Olympians in My Backyard

Throw the gods a bone
the one you couldn't bury because it 
shone and they will stand 
with you
weep and
collect you. 
(not the bone. 
They're no good at fetching.)

Their company beside you
seeing the bone, thrown,
Seeing what you see and
what you don't.

Gerald Wagoner

 

—4/18   11:00 pm 49º Low Cloud Cover

When I walk this late,
cars are rare. Opposite 
our local Nursing Home, 
today’s town criers of 
nightly death sit in their 
black news van sipping 
cold coffee from paper 
cups. It’s the same 
night, every night.

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco

 

Peach Season

The fruit wants you
to eat it.

Stone fruit, with its little
heart. 

It is a wound,
an asteroid, tiny fused

ribs. The painting we saw
in the Prado and I looked and walked away 

and then came back. It is a story that I only tell
myself.

His lost last

name. A small
tossed seed.

I watch the light cover the table,
shift beneath my clavicle, and then move on.

Paul Dickey

 

Wife Cutting Hair

Her license is not
recognized in the trade,
yet her work is sacred,
derives technique 

from old masters.
She sculpts a clay.
He submits as he
would not have thought.

They have differences:
should his hair be left
to curl above the right ear,
or be snipped 

to appear parallel, 
although in fact shorter?
They get on with it.
Soon she is done.

She shapes a masterpiece
she can live with.
He recognizes himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Sarah J. Sloat

 

Sarah J. Sloat

 

Sarah J. Sloat

 

Jay Friedenberg

 

Sinusoid

park jog
the sinusoidal sway
of her ponytail

Jay Friedenberg

 

Flesh Tones

screen sharing
a glimpse of flesh tones
at the bottom of his window

George Salamon

 

Really Short History of Doom-saying 

When it all began
there was no one around
to say "this will end badly,"
and by the time Cassandra
said it, nobody believed her.

Steve Black

 

tanka

trying to get ahead
of the arthritis
i recall those i loved
and the few
who loved me back

Dora Rollins

 

Butterfly sting

Franca Mancinelli (translated
from the Italian by
John Taylor)

 

Three Short Poems

—they’re still weaving.
Join up the breath thread

and welcome all the thumps
of a heart you’ll arm yourself with.

    

 

every day you tread on 
the slightest grace,
an ant-flower in the grass growing
                                              
forget me not.

     

 

I point my eyes and my area
is rounded off, the circle of my life.

—from Tutti gli occhi che ho aperto (All the Eyes that I have Opened), Marcos y Marcos Editore, 2020.

Cindy Yarberry

 

To Merwin

How do you die in your sleep

do you open the window wide
so you can hear the warm rain
dripping in the palm leaves
when the night is deep

do you leave your last poem
unfinished on the desk
words trailing down the page
some of them not quite right

do you see the places you have been
and the people you have loved
once more with perfect sight
before the sun rises over the sea

or do you just go to sleep

Alan Perry

 

Altar Calls

My church emailed me to say 
services will resume next week
by reservation only.
A call-ahead option is not available,
parties of more than four are frowned upon.
For forty minutes now, I’ve been on hold 
on the “Reservation Hotline,” having memorized 
“Ave Maria” and The Singing Nun’s greatest hits.
Think I’ll ask for a quiet corner pew 
near stained-glass windows, so I can watch 
colors change as the sun sets.
I know it’s a limited menu 
of breads and wine, but I admit
I’m only going for the salvation.

Grant Hackett

 

can you recall the first poem to see you

why is a luna moth in eclipse
beyond my grasp

how did the smell of rain arrive on earth

John Yohe

 

Mrs. White

Sometimes in summer she sunbathed in the backyard in a bikini and the boy would look through the spruce between their houses. Mr. White sold real estate, his friendly face on yard signs all over town. The boy didn't know what she did, but she always wore business suits with smooth dark legs and never smiled. At night they fought, yelling at each other to shut up just like his parents.

When the boy was fifteen, Mr. White asked him to feed their cats while they went on vacation. The first night he walked around their house looking at the museum-like rooms, everything immaculate, except their bed, on which lay a pair of bunched up thigh-high stockings, like the women in his father’s magazines wore. 

It seemed then—and it still seems now—that she left them out on purpose and he held them to his face, inhaling and rubbing them against his lips.

R. Mac Jones

 

Tears with Enough Mass Simply Break Free of the Eye

In the space station,
we do not fall asleep,
we do not fall in love,
we do not fall for anything.
Instead,

we drift to sleep,
maybe drift in love,
and drift for anything
we’ve forgotten
to tie down.

Contributors

 

141

Steve Black has been writing Japanese-inspired minimalist poetry for the last few years and has been published in various journals. Can be found in more recent times sweeping various roads in the Thames Valley (UK).​

Paul Dickey won the $5,000 2015 Master Poet award from the Nebraska Arts Council. His first full-length poetry manuscript They Say This is How Death Came Into the World was published by Mayapple Press in January, 2011. A second book, Wires Over the Homeplace, was published by Pinyon Publishing in October 2013.

 

Jay Friedenberg is President of the Haiku Society of America and served for two years as Associate Editor of the organization's journal Frogpond. He has won multiple U.S. and international contests.

Grant Hackett writes one-line poems, indexes books, and currently lives in Yellow Springs, Ohio. Some his work can be found at is/let and in the archives of Roadrunner Haiku Journal.​

Josh Jacobs lives outside Boston. Recent work has appeared in the Jewish Literary Journal.

R. Mac Jones' work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Liminality, Eye to the Telescope, Dreams and Nightmares, and elsewhere.

Katie Kemple’s work has appeared in the anthology Oh One Arrow from Flim Forum Press, and recently on The Collidescope, The Racket, The Sock Drawer, The Dewdrop, Tiny Seed Literary Journal, and Harbinger Asylum.

Sarah B. Ledbetter is a writer and culture-maker whose dances and writing are rooted in bodily experiences. Her works have been presented by the Berlin Festival of Black Cinema, the Sans Souci Dance Film Festival, the Body Mind Centering Conference, International Poetry Review, La Peripherique, Poetry Superhighway, Floromancy, and upcoming in the inaugural edition of R&R Literary Journal in February 2021. She is currently at work on a dance project that explores female solitude and solidarity in the era of state-mandated reproduction. 

Franca Mancinelli’s Mala kruna (2007) and Pasta madre (2013) were awarded several prizes and later published in John Taylor’s translation as At an Hour’s Sleep from Here (Bitter Oleander Press, 2019). Her prose poems, Libretto di transito, are likewise available as The Little Book of Passage (Bitter Oleander Press, 2018).

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco lives in California's Central Valley. She has published three chapbooks, Various Lies, Lion Hunt, and Water Weight, with Finishing Line Press, Plan B Press, and Right Hand Pointing, respectively. Her latest book, The Empty Clock is out from RHP in a limited edition of handmade copies with unique covers by Dale Wisely and a regular edition. It's a book of haiku written during the 2020 pandemic summer Contact us if you want a copy, which you do

Alan Perry is the author of Clerk of the Dead, published by Main Street Rag Publishing in 2020. His poems have appeared in Tahoma Literary Review, Heron Tree, Gyroscope Review, and elsewhere. He was nominated for Best of the Net, and is a Senior Poetry Editor for Typehouse Literary Magazine.

Dora Rollins constructs collages in Tucson alongside her annoyed cat. She looks for unexpected connections and is inspired by almost anything that maintains her attention. Her poems have been published in Borrowed Solace and Iron City Magazine.

George Salamon loves humor and nostalgia even now when they are out of fashion.

John Taylor has recently written Remembrance of Water & Twenty-Five Trees (Bitter Oleander Press) and a “double book” co-authored with the Swiss poet Pierre Chappuis, A Notebook of Clouds & A Notebook of Ridges (The Fortnightly Review Press).

Gerald Wagoner b. Pendleton, OR (1947), BA creative writing U Montana (1970). MFA sculpture, SUNY Albany (1983). Moved to Brooklyn, NY (83) to make sculpture. Taught art & English NYC public schools. (1987-2017) Publications: Right Hand Pointing, Ocotillo Review, Passager Journal, BigCityLit, The Lake, What Rough Beast Coronavirus Edition, Coffin Bell.

Cindy Yarberry’s work has recently been published in The Sun and in Streetlight Magazine. A retired educator, she has worked in adult literacy, taught high school English, and directed disability services at a two-year college. She now enjoys the big open skies of Montana.

Born in Puerto Rico, John Yohe grew up in Michigan, spent years in Oregon, and lives in Colorado. He has worked as a wildland firefighter, wilderness ranger, and fire lookout. Fiction Editor for Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry. www.johnyohe.com

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