Lisa Stice

Out of Banishment
for Leonor López de Córdoba

your words transcribed (réplica)
not quite the same as your own
lost from San Pablo at Córdoba

lost like su familia locked away
lost like a promise of safety after
long years imprisoned in darkness

lost favor of Catalina of Lancaster
sepan cuantos esta escriptura vieren
fire of the spirit survives in memories


* Leonor López de Córdoba (1362-1420; Spain): wrote the first autobiography in Castilian (Memorias)

* sepan cuantos esta escriptura vieren (Let those who see this writing know) borrowed from Memorias by Leonor López de Córdoba

 
Drought
for S. Rukiah

to contemplate
to know your own subconscious
that is freedom

tell me what a hero
looks like—will I recognize her
when we meet

I want you to know
all your banished poems are returning
dreams reprinted


* S. Rukiah Kertapati (1927-1996; Indonesia): poet (Tandus), novelist (Kejatuhan dan Hati / The Fall and the Heart), and children’s author (Pak Supi, Kakek Pengungsi / Mr. Supi, the Refugee Grandpa)

* title borrowed from the English title of Tandus

* S. Rukiah’s books were banned and her writings removed from anthologies during the New Order.

 
Weakened Sight
for Ninon Hesse

you know, some of us are afraid
of the dark, some of us need
a little night light in these dark
seasons of the soul when, without
some help, we couldn’t go on,
at least not so easily as before

and when others come to excavate
the scene in full light, they might
find the pen and say his fingers
touched this and never know
it was you drafting out chapters
and setting everything rightly

because, you know, light can be
deceiving too, when squinting,
it’s easy to see what we imagine,
loving our ideas so much, codling
them into a dream-state completely
missing the wallflower in shadow


* Ninon Hesse (1895-1966; Ukraine): historian/archaeologist, co-author/editor (Kindheit und Jugend vor Neunzehnhundert 1, Kindheit und Jugend vor Neunzehnhundert 2, and Ausgewählte Briefe) and memoirist (Lieber, lieber Vogel: Briefe an Hermann Hesse); third wife of Hermann Hesse

 
Bio

Lisa Stice is a poet/mother/military spouse. She is the author of two full-length collections, Permanent Change of Station (Middle West Press, 2018) andUniform (Aldrich Press, 2016), and a chapbook, Desert (Prolific Press). While it is difficult to say where home is, she currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. You can learn more about her and her publications at lisastice.wordpress.com and at facebook.com/LisaSticePoet.

Miki Byrne

Boot Tapping for Winter.

Cold begins to nibble.
Leaves take on autumn colour
and I resurrect my boots.
Haul every pair like treasure,
from dark cupboards
and storage space under the bed.
The pair I keep for dog-walking
still carries last winter’s mud.
Left in the euphoria of coming
sunshine, thoughts of long dresses
swishing over bare feet.
I line winter boots like soldiers
on parade: Black, grey, brown, tall
and ankle length.
Lift them one by one.
Tip them upside down
and hold them by the heel.
Beat each boot with a wooden spoon,
where sole meets foot.
Wallop it hard all round.
My heart thumps faster as I
remain alert.
Watch the floor for a spider
to drop out.

Bio

Miki has had two poetry collections and a pamphlet published, plus over 500 poems included in poetry magazines/anthologies. She was a finalist for Gloucestershire’s Poet Laureate and a nominee for the Pushcart Prize. Miki has read on TV and on Radio many times. She also ran a poetry writing group at The Roses Theatre, Tewkesbury. Miki is disabled and now lives near Tewkesbury. Gloucestershire, UK.

Dan A. Cardoza

My Raised Amnesia Garden

I built it out of redwood, hot-dipped
galvanized bolts, half inch washers,
hexed nuts, 4×6 redwood corner posts.

I am almost sure it’s just for me, now
that it’s nearly complete.

It’s time to compost the raised garden.

Avocado skins, carrot tops, forgiveness, chicken
manure, layers of moldy onion skin too.

And when the last frost has healed the warm soil,
at the first sign of spring, I’ll plant parsnips,

rows of lettuce, alongside turmeric, basil and a
blueberry bush, good for memory I am told.

I’ll sew my favorite, bitter sweet ginger, some
amnesia & avocado in celebration of you.

These I intend to harvest each season,
along with carrot, red radish––tomato.

Bio

Dan has a MS Degree. Dan lives in Northern California and is the author of three chapbooks: Nature’s Front Door, Expectation of Stars and Ghosts in the Cupboard. Partial Credits: Amethyst, UK., Ardent, Better Than Starbucks, California Quarterly, Chaleur Magazine, Entropy, Esthetic Apostle, Foxglove, Frogmore Journal, UK, High Shelf Press, Oddball, Poetry Northwest, The Quail Bell, Skylight 47, Ireland, Spelk, Unstamatic, and Vita Brevis.

Aremu Adams Adebisi

A poem with a matrimonial bed

I hate it when my poem flings me like a waif
and I have just given it, you know, a lush treat.

The synthesis of panjandrums, twittering sound
of paid flesh, corsetted curves, flecked pudenda,

and the in-house experience of fucking an ingenue,
with an eye for the insane and the louche, all splayed

over his imageries, irritate him. My poem grunted
I brought some girls to his house unannounced, ate

the void on what?— ‘his matrimonial bed’! But I had
just fixed your broke ass, Oblivion. I made you

out of void, out of dust, hallucination, soliloquy,
name it, Oblivion; name it! My sculptor-hands

still ring of mud I plastered your frame with.
But this is what you get when your poem is used 

to grief to have considered luxury a phenomenon
of the rich. Silky and cashmere feel of life’s carcass, 

responsiveness to the pearling normatives of breath,
amount to a picayune in his great scheme of things. 

We argue every day on the lodestar, who writes whom,
who scepters the hub of images. Dust-burned skin,

mottled dream, I pity this nature, a glass of myriad
cracks, birthed out of fragments, wrung into whole

Bio

Aremu Adams Adebisi is a black poet, author of works inspired by natural vastness. His products are published on Rockvale Review, Brittlepaper, Laurel Magazine, Thirdwednesday Magazine, Barren Magazine, Poetica Magazine, and elsewhere. He seeks to find depth, peace and tranquility in poetry, exploring the concepts of liberation, equality and existentialism. He can be reached on Twitter @aremudamsbisi

Keana Labra

Unsent

You may laugh as I feign formality
though, the world does not know of the trees climbed.
How vividly I can reimagine your wild-eyes,

brimming with shock as I peeked at you from above.
I always assumed you would be seated beside me.
I should have counted the trails of ants a little longer,

traced the leaves a little slower.
I should have lingered on the sound of your voice
and memorized the way your cheek bones pull skin.

Time was much more forgiving then.
This is how we grew up.
At first, inseparable

then, cut at a pivotal seam.
I recoiled too far
thus, never reconnected.

rips to shreds to you and me,
As a weed, you remain,
withering and present.

You are the reminder of my failure.
I will continue to try and let you go.


Bio

Keana Labra (she/her) is the Editor-in-Chief of the literary magazine, Marias at Sampaguitas. She has forthcoming work with Anti-Heroin Chic and La Scrittrice. She writes articles as the co-editor of the publication, Chopsticks Alley Pinoy. She is a regular contributor for Aristeia Anthology, Royal Rose Magazine and Rose Quartz Magazine. She is active on Twitter as @keanalabra.

Memories at My Fingertips by David Norwood

            I scroll through posts with my thumb and stop on a picture of an old friend. He’s sitting next to a young woman, and they’re both smiling for the camera. The girl is probably in her late twenties and has a familiar face.

            His daughter.

            I hadn’t seen her since she was a child some twenty years ago. Her smile is now the same as his—genuine with nothing to hide. “What you see is what you get,” he used to say. They’re clearly happy, and I can tell she has it together like him.   

            I wonder what he did right.

            Twenty years ago, I ran off the road and smashed my car into one of those green, electrical boxes near an airport. No one was hurt, but I was drunk and didn’t want to be discovered, so I limped my car back home, covered it with a tarp, and passed out on my sofa. The next morning, the police arrested me—damage to government property and hit and run. I was hungover and threw up at the police station. I sat in a small room and was questioned by two detectives like they do in the movies. I lied, but their good-cop/bad-cop routine won the truth in the end. I felt both ashamed and indignant in the end.

            The car’s fault.

            The road’s fault.

            What do those green boxes even do?

            If that wasn’t some government owned box, no one would even care.

            My old friend in the picture (at the time, my old boss) bailed me out. I was given community service and paid a hefty fine. At the hearing, my old friend asked to oversee my community service. I didn’t ask him to, but he did it anyway. The judge obliged—sixteen hours each weekend for a month.  

            My old friend was strict, but fair. Firm, but not unkind. I worked and he directed. During lunch one day, he told me he was disappointed. “Drinking and driving? Hit and run? And, you’re somehow indignant?”His eyes glared. He said I was a better person and to not let this moment define me. He was persistent until I had served my time. Once it was over, he smiled, proud I had finished—a smile like in the picture. A smile I eventually learned to wear. Afterward, he invited me to his home for a cookout along with other co-workers and friends.

            His daughter was there—the same girl in the picture. She couldn’t have been more than eight back then. She rode her bike and played basketball with determination. At times, her Dad picked her up to shoot the ball. She’d smile and laugh as the ball bounced along the rim. She’d then clutch onto other’s legs. They’d lift her in the air as they walked. She’d laugh and giggle while trying to hang on.  

            She then ran up to me as I twirled other kids around—holding their hands while spinning around in place—and she immediately wanted the next turn. I grabbed her small hands and gave her a twirl. I then slowed my spin and lowered her to the ground. She doubled-over with laughter. I spun her again. Her eyes widened and she gasped for a breath. “Faster! Faster!”She split her sides laughing again once I lowered her to the ground. “Again! Again!”I did. I spun her laughs into happy, joyful tears.

            I push my thumb to scroll.

            More posts.

            More pictures. More memories, all at my fingertips.


Bio

David lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan with his wife and four kids. He enjoys bringing his imagination to life and especially looks forward to his free time so he can read, write, and stare at the trees in his backyard. His stories can be found in Corvus Review and Furtive Dalliance. You can also find David at https://norwoodpages.wordpress.com/

C. R. Smith

Unsocial Media

Open the blind and unfold the day
while the water boils and we wait
for coffee to wake us up properly

—nobody speaks. 

Eyes locked on our phones
hands searching blindly for mugs
fingers swiping at screens, scrolling 

through messages, reading replies
opening texts, answering emails, 
retweeting tweets, posting 

Instagram images 
of bowls bursting with cereal 
we’ve no time to eat.

—still nobody speaks.

 
Nocturnal Creatures 

Always a nocturnal creature
I would sneak out of my bedroom 
late at night to explore. 

I especially loved the moonlight 
the way it seeped through the branches 
casting odd shapes and shadows 

replacing all colour 
with the blacks and the greys.
I remember the first time 

I caught sight of an owl, outstretched 
wings swooping silently on its prey
camouflaged by the night.

I watched in awe as it disappeared
into the trees—the next night 
I followed.


Bio

C. R. Smith is an artist and writer living in the UK. She has been published by Ellipsis Zine, Spelk Fiction, Visual Verse, Ink In Thirds, The Cabinet of Heed, and has fiction and poetry in several anthologies. 2019 will see Fourteen, her first poetry collection, published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press. Twitter @carolrosalind

Carol Louise Moon

My Cameo Pin

            “White against a ruddy cliff
you stand, chalcedony on sard.”
THE CAMEO, Edna St. Vincent Millay

White against a ruddy cliff you stand
on a rock in the surf of the bay.  Time
has engraved this image of you.

A cameo pin sticks in a groove of my
heart.  Black is the ribbon which binds
up my throat—       Mother,

my friend, my medallion of life:  your
profile looks away. Though you are gone,
I see you still in chalcedony and sard.


Bio

Carol Louise is a Northern California poet published in many regional poetry journals including Sacramento Voices, and also in Ohio and Missouri. She is an editor, and poetry judge for several state poetry societies. She has been published in several Peeking Cat anthologies. When not composing poetry Carol Louise is busy doing standardized patient acting for several local universities.

Ceinwen E Cariad Haydon

 
Iris

She always fed the birds,
her one commitment after Fred died.
When she started to forget –

her son appeared from far away.

He couldn’t leave her alone
and took her back to his remote place,
inland from Aberdeen

When her house was cleared
the half-full tub of fat balls
balanced on her bible.
The van, piled high,
wobbled off down the back lane.
followed by a magpie.

 
Vanda

The woman sat at the back of the train. You couldn’t miss her, a hefty lass with a black jersey bodysuit patterned all over with white swirls and skulls, and a black leather jacket. Her hair was short and blue, a spiky bed-head style. She was about thirty and had a soft, inward smile. Her mobile riffed like a harmonica, different tunes for different callers, honkytonk and blues. The messages kept coming through. Later, I learnt her name was Vanda.

            I got off at Hexham to change trains and Vanda did too. I waited on the platform; she went out, through the exit, to the car park. Ten minutes later she was back; she was accompanied by an older woman in sunglasses. The new woman was petite and neatly dressed in a trouser suit, standard M&S or Next, I’d guess. She steered three small children and a pushchair in front of her. The children called her ‘granny’. The two adults talked with their heads close together, intense and connected. The children closed around Vanda, six hands stroked her and tugged at her body. The boy must have been seven or eight years old and the two girls possibly five and two. Their upturned faces cracked with smiles and their voices zithered with excitement. Vanda nodded towards the older woman in agreement, some private pact, then the children kissed her goodbye,

            ‘See you later Granny,’ said the boy. ‘Have a nice day.’

The granny retreated, her shoulders hunched. Vanda sat down with the children on a three-seater bench and they all talked at once. Their words zinged around in the sunshine,

            ‘I’ve missed you, mum.’

            ‘I’ve missed you too.’

            ‘And me too, mum?’

            ‘Yes, you too.’

The little one climbed onto Vanda’s lap, stuck her thumb firmly in between her chocolate smeared lips and curled her body into her mother’s breasts. She half closed her eyes and her tiny body relaxed.

            Before the next train arrived, the boy got onto more serious stuff about school and his new teacher, Miss Jennings. He repeated what Miss Jennings had said during the last week, the first week back after the summer holidays, the things she needed to know. I couldn’t catch it all, but I could see he was mad keen to share it all. I wondered why she didn’t know already. His eyes shone as he talked and stared up into her face.

            When the train came in, the boy herded his sisters aboard; he ensured their safety as an adult would. It looked as if he’d been doing that stuff for some time. His mum managed the empty pushchair. The group chattered on during the journey to Carlisle, every so often the lad would take one of his sisters to the toilet.

            I had a long, productive day in Carlisle and in the early evening I returned to the station. Vanda and her family were there too. The children clutched Pound Stretcher bags full of plastic toys, their chins were streaked with dried tomato ketchup and sheened with grease. This morning’s energy had faded. The boy shrugged off his sisters when they grabbed his arms, the girls were worrity and unsettled. The biggest change was in Vanda; she seemed to be at a distance from them, as if she had already put them to bed for the night. She wasn’t tetchy with them, but she was on automatic pilot.  One her third visit to the toilet with the kids, our eyes met. I smiled. She smiled back, almost, and raised an eyebrow. The moment passed.

            The train arrived at Hexham station. Time to change. Vanda and her brood heaved themselves off the train, assisted by the ticket collector. They were met by an old-ish man.

            ‘Grandad, Grandad,’ the children said.

The tired little troupe shuffled off out of the station, back to the car park. I sat there and waited for my connection. I hoped that I was wrong. I hoped that they’d all gone home together. After twenty minutes my mood picked up; yes, I had been wrong. But, no. As the train approached Vanda returned, her wild clothes and blue hair a foil for her empty eyes, her face set in a rigid mask. On the train, I avoided eye contact, although I wanted to hug her. I realised she knew I’d clocked it all. She needed her privacy. She travelled on towards Newcastle, her phone was quiet, and she returned to the life that kept her away from her boy and two girls. They would be safe in Hexham, probably loved, yet still starving for the smell of her, of Vanda.


Bio

Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been widely published in web magazines and in print anthologies. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in 2017. She believes everyone’s voice counts.

Kersten Christianson

Minus Tide

Beneath the full moon
of a flashlight’s beam:
starfish hatchery.

Tiny five-armed stars
bed among sea grass,
the rocking cradle

of tidal current.
The expanse of beach
mirrors the black sky

and we, raingear-garbed
marvel at low tide
creatures, the moment,
of being alive.


Bio

Kersten Christianson is a raven-watching, moon-gazing, Alaskan. When not exploring the summer lands and dark winter of the Yukon, she lives in Sitka, Alaska. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing (University of Alaska Anchorage). Kersten has authored two books of poetry: What Caught Raven’s Eye (Petroglyph Press, 2018) and Something Yet to Be Named (Aldrich Press, 2017). She is also the poetry editor of the quarterly journal, Alaska Women Speak.