Childhood would have been halved without her in the velvet dark of the cinema perched on the edge of our seats fistfuls of popcorn frozen in the air as we watched, unblinking small aliens enormous explosions cars chasing buildings falling twice, if we wanted to
she would take us to Burgerland on O’Connell Street long since gone and we would gorge on milkshakes and chips and chips and chips and salt, so much salt and I remember those nights perched on the edge of the bed doubled over trying to burst the ball of pain in my stomach happy
I watch her now with my daughter the eighty years between them nothing the light just the same
Bio Steve Denehan lives in Kildare, Ireland with his wife Eimear and daughter Robin. Recent publication credits include The Irish Times, The Phoenix, The Blue Nib, The Opiate, The Hungry Chimera, Evening Street Review, Ink in Thirds, Crack The Spine and The Cape Rock. He has been nominated for The Pushcart Prize and his chapbook, “Of Thunder, Pearls and Birdsong” is available from Fowlpox Press. https://denehan.wixsite.com/website
—Of God’s Twitter Handle. // Brother, you’ve submerged yourself from heaven’s gawking of your name. Breathing a song here. Writing a verse there. Throwing your weight after drone survey and every lesson learnt after downloading a portrait of yourself from the internet.
Heaven is calling you from the rigorous pulsation of your mother’s hefty heart beats. Today isn’t your birthday, /& though many moons have fallen from the clouds, that isn’t your fault or god’s plan like Drake’s pierced tongue frosting mirages of boys rising through the tide on this isle of their mother’s tears.
I ask, if ever I’ve been known. If ever I’vent been pained. If ever I’m looking for what you too have been been searching for. Too much pain inside this body’s accordion. So many voices tearing this eardrum apart.
Everyday, I see nightmares flicker through dead cells. I inch towards dilemma. I take to my phone’s recorder and I spread my tongue on it like there’s no tomorrow //(&) if there be another day, maybe this anonymous voice note shall be computed into the tenacity call of those who lived without a trail.
But I’m not ashamed of my body’s pursuit in darkness. Of the way years turn into wine inside my head & [or] how time takes to the course of plastic surgery.
Maybe we’re just a constellation of god’s filter on instagram stories waiting to be promoted to reach a targeted audience.
/& Just maybe, we’re memes on God’s Twitter handle: “God does not actually live here”.
Abeiku Arhin Tsiwah is a Ghanaian Smartphone Enthusiast //& Content Critic. He’s the Poetry Editor at Lunaris Review (a Journal of Arts & the Literary, Nigeria) & the Creative Director at The Village Thinkers (a Creative Writing & Performing Arts Society, Ghana). The 2018 Shortlisted Poet for African Writers Awards has had his works anthologized/&[or] publicized in reputed literary volumes: EXPOUND, Whispers, NovelMasters, Kreative Diadem, Anansekrom, VisualVerse, Gnosis Magazine, Tuck Magazine, The Liberian Literary Magazine, etcetera.
Rub us! Her pale toes wiggle as he grips each one with proper respect, never slipping a digit between them because those spaces are the mouths of the feet, and he wouldn’t want them to gag. The massages have been guaranteed each evening, once her keys collapse on the counter and her flats are flung off, for two decades bookended by student ramen and osteoarthritis, every squeeze a symbol of solidarity through flu and SlimFast failures and families crumbling like Gondwana. Get the heel! When tension seeps from a knob of bone repeatedly plastered against the steps of Robie Street, she grinds her green eyes into giddy slits and festoons the cramped bedroom with shrieks of relief.
Zigzagging back and forth across the Canadian/US border, Adrian Slonaker works as a copywriter and copy editor. Adrian’s work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in Pangolin Review, Aerodrome, WINK: Writers in the Know and others.
This process of decay quickens, the heart beat comes too close, too close.
You tell me on the phone your patient has died, at last, you heard his final breath, folded his wrinkled hands holding on, not letting go.
Here, paint flakes, doors refuse to shut, windows warp and out through cracked glass pinks and white-rose petals photosynthesise, then fall in shreds.
I remember my son aged three tottering on wet grass tumbling, tumbling, mum… my… wait for me.
Over there the gypsophilia, we call it baby’s breath, will soon overlay the cracked bird-bath and below in garden’s hollow where pool’s absorbing setting light astilbes crest the golden lilies, butterflies wisp over irises and interleafing the surfacing fish those hostas still whisper life-giving secrets.
Julie Sampson is a widely published poet. She edited Lady Mary Chudleigh’s Selected Poems, 2009 (Shearsman). She has two poetry collections: Tessitura, (Shearsman, 2014); and It Was When It Was When It Was (Dempsey and Windle), 2018. She was highly commended in the Geoff Stevens Memorial Poetry Prize, (IDP). Her website is https://www.juliesampson.com/
Kaity has lipstick on her teeth just an imperfection that I don’t mention
there’s a baby faced kid kissing a train wreck stolen on her cheek between total ignorance of the present. Her cough is hoarse and her life is measured in hard years freebase years shoplifting years and time in between jail sentences family interventions and maternal disappointments
& then there’s Brandon I’ll miss him most of all he’s trapped between the death of the sun & the cold vacuum of eternity; trapped like a ship in a bottle talking just to hear his echoes hit the wall
Luke Kuzmish is a new father, recovering addict, and writer from Erie, Pennsylvania where he was a 2018 finalist for Erie County Poet Laureate. His work has been selected for publication by the likes of Beatnik Cowboy, Rigg Welter, Call Me [Brackets], Ink Sweat and Tears, Poets’ Hall Press, Mojave River Review, amongst others. His first full-length collection of poetry, “Little Hollywood,” was published by Alien Buddha Press in 2018.
I long for the high cliff above a battering sea, the long fast drop in slashing winds, the howl of exit quickly made, not cemented into these beds, vacant eyes locked into sharp lights, a mob of IVs jammed into emaciated arms, truth rough handled, contorted by white coated messengers delivering death’s missives, reports of the body’s surrender, until the smell of my own demise is all that remains of once glorious dreams.
Paul Lojeski was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. He attended Oberlin College. His poetry has appeared online and print. He lives in Port Jefferson, NY.
Did he kiss you first? What were his hands doing? Were the lights dim or bright? Did he notice one eye is bigger, one tooth slightly longer? Were there splotches? Did your air catch, your chest clutch? Did many freckles dance? How much time was allotted for staring? What scents did he notice? Did he ask, “Have you ever…?” Did he ask, “What are you thinking?” Did he say, “Oh my” and have to look away? Were there any sighs? Any tears, or just a goofy grin? Did he trace curves and whorls, find that tailbone bump? Did he try to polish your nose? Was there much laughter? Any music playing? What was the room doing? What were you thinking then? Did he kiss you first, and if so, what exactly did that mean to you?
Len Kuntz is a writer from Washington State and the author of four books, most recently the story collection, THIS IS WHY I NEED YOU, out now from Ravenna Press. You can find more of his writing at lenkuntz.blogspot.com
Andrew Dooley is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a BA in English/Creative Writing. He has a self-published collection of poetry titled Shine Walker, and his first published poem titled “flicker”, can be found in Visitant Lit Magazine.
Death was omnipresent in my childhood. It had claimed many dear ones, my dog, but it took Catherine and Heathcliff on the Yorkshire moors to make me ponder over the metaphysical core of such inevitability that most people abhor.
Emily Dickinson drove with Death in a carriage but in an oven Sylvia Plath held her rendezvous. Virginia Woolf embraced it with a pile of stones, and Cathars gladly went into fire to defend their cause.
My own battle with death started when I was seven years old. A fever devoured my brain cells and temperatures soared, but I never felt comfortably numb as in Pink Floyd’s. I only remember crawling on four like a half-anaesthetized worm.
Now I daily think of death as an invisible boat that will ferry me across the mud to the other side of the cosmic road, to a clay-free world, where the light that is cloaked with so much fog will be released from this bundle of bones.
Dr. Susie Gharib is a graduate of the University of Strathclyde. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in various magazines.
Sooner the wind’s song Passing through the leaves Early in the morning Where the sun lays the heat of its head Against the earth and One might waken To see the earth take shape Within your eyes To be blessed with a thousand names Spoken into creation; Yes, these are the moments Truth is born from, and without them It doesn’t exist.
Jonathan Douglas Dowdle was born in Nashua, NH and has traveled throughout the US; he currently resides in South Carolina. Previous works have appeared or are appearing in: Hobo Camp Review, 322 Review, The Opiate, The Right Place At The Write Time, Blue Hour Review, Whimperbang, After The pause, Midnight Lane Boutique, Visitant, Adelaide, Blue Moon, Bitchin’ Kitsch And The Big Windows Review.