Jacob Spivey

Left Behind

The rumbling roaring of oil and rubber:
high-viz jackets, building houses for students.
The stinging of smoke in the choke of the town:
the staff outside Greggs on their cigarette break.

Gone are the days of industrial glory;
the factories standing as the loneliest ghosts.
The buildings that once ruled the world:
now a Tesco, a Boots and a Subway.

And the children of men who lived and died
on these factory floors are still there,
selling overpriced sandwiches for minimum wage
in a world that has changed and left them behind.

But beneath the stars on the hill,
Looking out across the Town,
these Tesco’s, Boots and Subways
mirror the heavens with their dazzling lights.

 
Bio

“I am a writer who finds that the more mundane things in life – the things taken for granted – are often the most fascinating and defining. In my writing all I want to do is explore these little bites of inspiration and try to make sense of them all.”

Daun Daemon

When Mama Sang “Mockingbird Hill”

Mama festooned the house
with her singing, draping her trills
and warbles over the furniture
like strands of sun-kissed roses
strewn over a dew-covered hill

She filled my heart with happiness
because she was happy when she sang,
all the world peaceful and still,
brimming with the goodness
of her thrilling mockingbird lilt

Now I wake to birds in the springtime
in the trees near my window sill —
though their songs aren’t as lovely
as the tra-la-la and tweedlee dee dee
of my mother singing her song to me


Bio

Daun Daemon’s stories have appeared in The Dead Mule, Literally Stories, and other journals. She has recently published poetry in TypishlyDime Show Review, Third Wednesday, Synaeresis Arts + Poetry, and other journals. Her poem “I hear her voice calling” won the Origami Poems 2017 Kindness Contest. Daemon teaches at NC State University and lives in Raleigh with her husband and four cats.

Benny Biesek

Referent

Back before me, case in point:
How apes like men destroy. The candelabra
Cleaned and dreamt-up, seance in a paper
Cup, a tin man out back trying his luck.

Say you’ll remember, how dawn becomes
Reckless, how caged mutes shout out
And gesture.

In the end no silent treatment, no plots
To overthrow the watershed mark. In
The end spilled lozenge and a token to ken.

Survive the wreckage, yes, we can. Can
Sardines, yes, we can. The world on
The verge, yes, why not.

Back before me, back to the wind:
How men devour like trophy cases.
How the seance was born famous.
The days, never-ending, never end.

The parlance of the watchtower. The
Americans, shut-down. The end,
Be it tomorrow or today, comes, cleans.


Bio

Benny Biesek is a reader for Frontier Poetry and Tilde: A Literary Journal. His work has appeared online and in print, including previously with Peeking Cat Poetry. He resides in California.

Gary Beck

Nice Change

This weekend I saw cherry blossoms
forsythia, hyacinth, daffodils,
all giving the illusion of Spring,
even though it was cold.
Then I saw Robins,
the first time since last year
and knew the sullen days
of winter were departing.


Bio

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. He has 14 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press), Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order (Winter Goose Publishing). Conditioned Response (Nazar Look), Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications), Blossoms of Decay, Expectations and Blunt Force (Wordcatcher Publishing). His  novels include Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor and Crumbling Ramparts (Gnome on Pig Productions), Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers). Acts of Defiance  (Wordcatcher Publishing). His short story collections include A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications), Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing) and Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). The Republic of Dreams and other essays (Gnome on Pig Productions). Feast or Famine and other one act-plays will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of magazines. He lives in New York City.

Temidayo Opeyemi Jacob

Shedding Off

This poem is not talking about oldness
running into the palms of newness,
This poem is oldness itself,
running into the palms of newness;
fulfilling the words of the preacher
who said “there is time for everything”.

Time to be born once and to die once:
Time to be born again and to die again,
such that whatsoever falls off and on
becomes an old city telling three tales:

of those things that died inside of us,
of those things that continued living
and of those things that started living.

Sometimes, my body becomes full
like a basket of fresh tomatoes, and
it starts to fall out of broken skins.
My body falls to the soil like flakes,
just to pick another body with flames.
My palms wipe off old sights, words,
acts, places, spaces and even faces,
as they draw in everything new again.
And pieces become peace in a dark room.

 
Bio

Temidayo Opeyemi Jacob is a Nigerian writer and photographer. His works have appeared on NaijaStories, TushStories, some anthologies and some blogs. He blogs at mayorjake.wordpress.com. He is on Facebook as Temidayo Mayor Jake, on Instagram as @spillandspell, and on Twitter as @mayorofajegunle.

Juliette Sebock

Fur Baby

I once blocked a girl on Facebook who said,
in a conversation entirely separate from me,
that she didn’t understand
why someone would give up a relationship
if their partner asked them to
get rid of their pet.

I told myself I didn’t want that kind of negativity,
even just in my digital life.

In that same thread, someone agreed
and complained about people who call
their animals their “children” instead of their “pets,”
as if what someone else says in this context
really has an effect on her life,
as if these people are truly delusional
and believe they’ve given birth
to a fluffy, four-pawed “fur baby.”

There’s an episode of Modern Family
in which Cam and Mitch don’t get a baby
but Larry the Cat
and Mitch comments that Cam is cramming
Larry into a child-shaped hole in his heart,
and maybe that’s where the word “fur baby”
comes in,
saving the day and giving you something
to love when there’s nothing else.


Bio

Juliette Sebock is the author of Mistakes Were Made and has poetry forthcoming or appearing in a variety of publications.  She is the founding editor of Nightingale & Sparrow and runs a lifestyle blog, For the Sake of Good Taste.  When she isn’t writing (and sometimes when she is), she can be found with a cup of coffee and her cat, Fitz.  Juliette can be reached on her website or across social media

Bruce McRae

Wink

Was it the mote in God’s eye?
An errant spark or eyelash?
Is wink the root of ‘twinkle’?

That look on Daddy saying,
‘you’re a mighty fine girl’.
The sly rebus of I.C.U..
The coded quick nudge between us;
hale and hearty co-conspirators
unseen by the spy of patsy.
The wink says ‘you’re in on it’,
‘you know what I mean’, ‘it’s time’.

Or is it only half a blink,
Horus’s other, lazier, eye to follow,
his watery shorthand for infection?


Bio

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with over 1,400 poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are ‘The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), ‘An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy’ (Cawing Crow Press) and ‘Like As If” (Pski’s Porch), Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).

Clarinda Harriss

In My Basement Are Many Galoshes

If it were not so, my clever terrier would go
digging for other treasure. But here come gray
and moldy boots for our walks on sloppy days.
I shove my feet through the cobwebs. Kilo,
thank you for these, also for sniffing out the blazer
I’d thought lost to the trunk of teenage finery
dating back fifty-sixty years or so.

Kilo finds me delicious. How many an old bel-
dam can say a fellow creature thinks her smell
is wonderful? I could almost love myself
as I did at sixteen, wearing a new dress or just
my skin, before the years of rot and must.
I love what I know better than to trust.


My Cat Had None of My Bad Habits

Ms. Katz, nee Cookie, never

–chewed up books the way I did at
age five

–let herself get picked up by somebody
stupid

–lost her dignity by trying to be
charming

— thought she could tell
a joke

–made a big deal about
dying


Bio

Clarinda Harriss is a professor emerita of English at Towson University. She edits and directs BrickHouse Books, Inc., Maryland’s oldest literary press. Among the more recent of her books are DIRTY BLUE VOICE, MORTAIN, and THE WHITE RAIL. A collection of poems based on her years as an Alzheimer’s caregiver, INNUMERABLE MOONS, is at press.

Samuel Guest

Cherophobia

i fought against love until we both lost

it terrified me to think about what would
have happened if you had swept me away

 
Wet Flowers

there are few
things as romantic
as wet flower bulbs
drooping after the rain

little droplets sliding gracefully
down each stem

falling to the ground without making a sound

 
Between the Clouds

darling
you are what i hold deep in
my broken soul

i want to get rid of this fog
so i can treat you right

we can grow wings together

take me between the clouds
where we can survive off
the undying blue in the sky


Bio

Samuel Guest is a Jewish/Canadian poet, author, and educator who was diagnosed with a non-verbal learning disability at the age of seven. His book “The Radical Dreams” was published back in April 2018.  He lives in Toronto, Ontario where he works three jobs.

Karen Wolf

Green

fleshes out a leaf and blades
of grass along walk ways peopled

with olive-skinned
tourists, inhaling a copper

green-sheen glazed
skyscraper. It

skitters across a pond on a frog’s
back before turning

brown as an eye-bulging head
dives into mud to escape a blue

heron beak. Light
brown bark calls up cemetery

dirt shoveled on a pine box
three rows from mother’s stone, gold

of gravediggers’ backward
ball cap matching daisy

centers collected in her vase. I
place one on the fresh

dirt.

 
Rolling with It

Years pile on slough
away wrinkle
free skin, sag perky
nipples and erase all
fears of superiority that
texturize conversations like
my veganism pitted against
animal cruelty. Attention

to style slips
away as mood and comfort
dictate seducing me into
satisfaction. I

cloak social
interactions in silence,
let the drivel eat
up time better spent learning
the language of
a sage oak or rising
in a hot air balloon above the badlands
of the near disaster of my life.

 
Easing Passage

Boulders of conviction
blocking
the path of our interaction cast
shadows upon our shared
reality—
your inner
argument suffocated within a self
made suit
of armor that nothing
my stubborn words penetrate; nothing
you’re brooding
over escapes, or my
insistence chinks—
couldn’t we just go for a walk?

 
Bio

Karen Wolf has been published in Smokey Blue Literary and Art Magazine, The Wagon Magazine, Oasis Journal, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The Bookends Review, The Drunken Llama, Blynkt, Raw Dog Press, Street Light Press, Lady Blue Literary Arts Journal, Ripcord Magazine and many others. Her chapbook, THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2018.

She says that poetry soothes the savage beast and opens her eyes to the beauty that abounds within the world.