And even, even if we did opt for plain white sheets and a white bedspread, they would not be snow, clouds, or even meringue dividing us in the clumping of what gets shifted in nightly slumber. Even after all these years, after we’ve staked our sides, always the same, on this bed, countermands of no use now, we would recognize the white for what it was: liquid nitrogen luring us, as if we’re again young, to touch the diaphanous and burn.
Ronnie Sirmans is an Atlanta journalist whose poetry has appeared in Blackbox Manifold, BlazeVOX, Tar River Poetry, The American Journal of Poetry, and elsewhere.
Just because I am old do not tumble me dry. Toss me away with those unused Wheat pennies, Buffalo nickels, and Mercury dimes in those pickle jars in the basement. Do not bleach my dark memories Salvation Army my clothes to the poor because I died. Do not retire me leave me a factory pension in dust to history alone. Save my unfinished poems refuse to toss them into the unpolished alleyways of exile rusty trash barrows just outside my window, just because I am old. Do not create more spare images, adverbs or adjectives than you need to bury me with. Do not stand over my grave, weep, pouring a bottle of Old Crow bourbon whiskey without asking permission if it can go through your kidneys first. When under stone sod I shall rise and go out in my soft slippers in cold rain dread no danger, pick yellow daffodils, learn to spit up echoes of words bow fiddle me up a northern Spring storm. Do you bad heart, see in pine box of wood, just because I got old.
Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 1062 new publications, his poems have appeared in 38 countries, and he edits and publishes ten poetry sites. Michael Lee Johnson has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards poetry 2015/1 Best of the Net 2016/2 Best of the Net 2017, 1 Best of the Net 2018. 178 poetry videos are now on YouTube. Editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze; editor-in-chief poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses. Editor-in-chief Warriors with Wings: the Best in Contemporary Poetry.
Eric Lochridge is the author of three chapbooks: Born-Again Death Wish, Real Boy Blues, and Father’s Curse. His poems have appeared in Slipstream, DIAGRAM, Mojave Heart Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, and many others, as well as anthologies such as WA 129 and Beloved on the Earth. He lives in Bellingham, Washington. Find him on Twitter @ericedits.
Miles away – disguised Buddha radiates light, almost levitates – I wake.
Gerard Sarnat is a physician who’s built and staffed homeless clinics as well as a Stanford professor and healthcare CEO. He won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, and has been nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards. Gerry is published in academic-related journals including Stanford, Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan and the University of Edinburgh. Gerry’s writing has also appeared widely including recently in such outlets as A New Ulster, Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, Margie, Blue Mountain Review, Danse Macabre, Canary Eco, Military Experience and the Arts, Cliterature, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, The Los Angeles Review and The New York Times. His piece KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY was selected for pamphlet distribution nationwide on Inauguration Day 2016. Amber Of Memory was chosen for the 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. He’s also authored the collections Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting the Ice King (2016). Gerry’s been married since 1969, with three kids plus four grandkids (and more on the way).
That evening a snapping turtle with attitude joined us on the porch and, as shadows placed daylight on the back of the shelf, two toads hopped against the edge of light near the wall.
That was the day I left Chicago, the day of my wife’s birthday, the day I drove a moving truck from one home to another.
That morning I walked the green path for the last time, sat on the bench by the clay carved cliff and watched a scattering of birds fly against a backdrop of sky and lake. One sky blue line cut the lake in two, one white scar connected the clouds. The sun began to rise, slowly, the sky reddened like eyes too long on a task, and the clouds framed themselves in a bath of pink. The purple horizon lightened its skin. Every bird found a rock or a branch. We watched together.
Later the truck and I crossed the Mississippi at sunset, the clouds on fire, the sky, the forest, the river, and the highway narrowed and I could not turn to watch.
Michael H. Brownstein’s poetry volume, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else: A Poet’s Journey To The Borderlands Of Dementia, was recently published by Cholla Needles Press (2018).
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.
“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.”
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
Daun Daemon’s stories have appeared in The Dead Mule, Literally Stories, and other journals. She has recently published poetry in Typishly, Dime 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.