John Short

The Mistake

Every afternoon
in the shadow of the Acropolis
new sculpture somehow comes to life,
groups of men and women
busily clay their hands
then after a week they line results
along the pedestrian zone.

Each has a curious title:
people walk from one to the next
looking, assessing,
they have no choice really
these objects are unavoidable
they weigh them up then read below,
glance back baffled, move along.

All might have been fine but
the titles shed confusion not light.
No one trusts the sculptures now,
until a madman in a filthy coat
emerging into strong sun
fixes an olive branch
to an outstretched plaster hand.

 

Bio

John Short was born in Liverpool and lives there again after many years in France, Spain and Greece. His work has appeared in magazines like Barcelona Ink, Prole, Orbis, Algebra of Owls, Dream Catcher, Picaroon, Blue Nib and Envoi. His story collection The Private Unmentionable Gargoyle is available on Amazon under the pen name Hubert Tsarko.

Gary Metheny

Intimate Conversation
after Richard Jones
 
We speak
in low voices
 
leaning in
to each other–
 
my breath
touching you
 
softly
 
on your cheek,
 
your breath
touching me.
 
 
 
Just Music
 
I usually prefer songs
without lyrics–
 
just music,
 
extending her hand
without a word,
 
inviting me to dance.
 
 
Bio
 
Gary Metheny is a retired editor whose poems have appeared in many literary journals worldwide over the years including Monomyth in the U.K., and in the U.S., Rosebud, Tar River Poetry, Blue Unicorn, and The International Poetry Review. He lives with his wife, Ruth, in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA. 

Dion O’Reilly

Membership

It’s weird to be a member of an invasive species,
accumulating sky miles and slurping Starbucks.
Weird to be within my skin, yet part
of a horde, colony, swarm in search
of sugar, creating commerce as it goes.
My activewear unspools its filaments,
fills the mouths of salmon, remains
in their guts like undigested worms.
I dream of generations pouring out
of my womb—shining insects,
their hungry mandibles eating
from a trough filled with strange corn.
Now, the night is bereft of music
I’ve almost forgotten—
hosts of frogs belching love,
slip of salamander
into the cold grip of stream.
The color of the sky today
like something scraped from
the walls of a collapsed hive—
golden elixir acquired
with the last coin sewn into my coat.

 

Bio

Dion O’Reilly has spent  much of her life on a farm in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. She has worked as a waitress, barista, baker, theater manager, graphic designer, and public school teacher.  Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Sugar House Review, Rattle, The Sun, Massachusetts Review, New Letters, Bellingham Review, Atlanta Review, Catamaran, and a variety of other literary journals and anthologies, including an upcoming Lambda Literary Anthology. Her work has been nominated for Pushcarts, the Intro Journals Project, and was sent to the judges for The Folio Literary Journal Poetry Contest and the Peseroff Prize.

dionoreilly.wordpress.com

Sammi Cox

An Independent Melody

her heels click upon the pavement

     striking discordant notes

 

as she moves over

     cobbles and flagstones

 

interrupting the song of

     the morning rush hour

 

hammering out a tune

     that is all her own

 

Bio

Sammi Cox lives in the UK and spends her time writing, reading and making things.  Her poetry and short fiction have been published in various places online and in print.  Her first collection of tiny tales, One Turn of The Wheel, was published by Three Drops Press in 2017.  Find her at: https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/

John Grochalski

crossing the 72nd street foot bridge

the chinese women
walk slowly
in front of me

laughing as they read sex graffiti
tiptoeing over broken bottles

as i daydream vodka and wine
and the tenants of independent wealth

they twirl their blue and yellow
IKEA umbrellas

like cabaret stars

but then quietly pass the man
who’s always drinking his beer
out of a can hidden in a paper bag

this is the after-work world in mid-may

in a moment when there is no rain
in a spring that could only be described

as deluge

crossing the 72nd street foot bridge
the rush hour traffic idles below us

as always, volcanic in its fury
the rumbling of engines
the honking of horns

a symphony of thunder
seemingly ready the strike us off our path
and combust

but still going nowhere
for miles and miles

in both directions.

 

Bio

John Grochalski is the author of the poetry collections, The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and The Philosopher’s Ship (Alien Buddha Press, 2018). He is also the author of the novels, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013), and Wine Clerk (Six Gallery Press 2016).  Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where the garbage can smell like roses if you wish on it hard enough.

David Flynn

After Three Years of Marriage

I fear with you:
Grinding sounds from the future;
sloshing from the past.
I fear with you
that you might yawn,
that your attention might turn toward a laugh.
I fear with you,
and you fear with me,
that I might like a hill better,
or a pool.
We hold hands,
in love,
walking rapidly.

 

Bio
David Flynn’s literary publications total more than two hundred.  His background includes reporter for a daily newspaper, editor of a commercial magazine, and teacher. He is director of an all-day Nashville blues festival, the Musicians Reunion, now in its 36th year.

Kathryn Atwood

Deer in the Graveyard at 16th Street

Two creatures fly silent between the still stones;
heads back, eyes wide, hooves touching down madly, surely,
swifter than the wind or death, who hunts them,
tail twitching, nose to the earth. 

 

Bio

Kathryn Atwood is the author of four young adult collective biographies for the Chicago Review Press. Her poetry has appeared in Freefall, Light and Life Magazine, Peeking Cat Poetry, Poetry Breakfast, Secondwind, Subtle Tea, The Same Press, and Void Magazine. Her book and video reviews have appeared in multiple print and online journals including Afterimage, PopMatters, and Wild Violet Literary Magazine.

Michael T. Smith

Scrambled Eggs

I thought today of scrambled eggs,
of cooking them on the right amount of heat
I thought today of that white skillet —
so hard to see —
with the oil soaking them subtly.

I thought today of salt and pepper,
a hail of seasoning,
making a Ben Day painting of my eggs,
one of texture
with sodium warnings from the Surgeon General.

I thought today of using hot sauce
and even the trademark of the name Tabasco.
And of the “maybe”
of using this condiment burnt off my tongue,
erased by its own liquid lowe.

I thought today of metal forks,
and how old this bent one must be
musical — as it scrapes the plate in delicious cacophony.
It, a memory leaked
through, just like the yolk.

I did not think today of hunger.

 

Bio

Michael T. Smith is an Assistant Professor of English who teaches both writing and film courses.  He has published over 100 pieces (poetry and prose) in over 50 different journals.  He loves to travel.

Dane Karnick

Commonplace

Beyond the welcome mat
The north living room wall
Is a charred memory

Through its spacious show
Of eviscerated lumber
Still whip-cracking the years

For Las Vegas parents
Who relax on the couch
Next to the blistered wood

Honoring birthdays or
Celebrating school sports
With commemorated smoke

Inhaled around homework
And breathed through seasons
Around chopping potatoes

Since this house embraced fire
Like a young sibling
Snapping at family

 

Bio

Dane Karnick grew up by the Colorado “Rockies” and lives near Seattle.  His poetry has appeared in Poppy Road ReviewEphrastic Review, Bluepepper and is forthcoming in El Portal.  Visit him at www.danekarnick.com.

John Anthony Fingleton

In contrast with shadows

The shadows cannot find you now,
Or pain to tease your soul,
The earth has consummated you in death.
The cold wind that hunted you,
To cut you to the bone;
Has now to turn back upon itself.

I hope the lake retained its stillness?
It did the last time I was there;
When I ran with breaded hands, to feed the swans,
We watched trees reflect a frosted beauty,
As we walked along the grassy knoll,
But we cannot restore the echoes that have gone.

So the shadows still continue,
They even haunt your grave,
But never penetrate beneath the clay,
They cannot speak or trouble you,
Despite of how they try;
Yet are persistent in returning day to day.

 

Bio

John Anthony Fingleton: He was born in Cork City, in the Republic of Ireland.  Poems published in journals and anthologies in Ireland, UK, USA, India and France as well as three plays produced. Poet of the Year (2016) Destiny Poets International Community. Poems read on Irish and American radio as well in Spanish on South American broadcasts. Contributed to four books of poetry for children.  Has poems published in numerous national and international journals, reviews, and anthologies. Poet of the Month (March 2019) Our Poetry Archive.  First solo collection ´Poems from the Shadowlands´ was published in November 2017, which is available on Amazon. Web https://lostvikingpoetryjohnanthonyfingleton.wordpress.com/