“Poem for Demetrius M. Salada, Admiral (RA) of the Golden Arc Spaceship” By Scott Silsbe

 

 

Poem for Demetrius M. Salada, Admiral (RA) of the Golden Arc Spaceship

Admiral Salada, I don’t know if it’s really true—
if the Golden Arc that you built got you to space.
By chance, I found myself in a small apartment
in Braddock Hills sifting through what remained
of your library—books rescued, I was told, from 
a house fire. Some of the better titles I noticed…
Experiences of Space in Contemporary Physics.
The Harmonics of Sound, Color, and Vibration.
Extraterrestrial Contact and Human Responses.
Effects of Nuclear War on the Pittsburgh Area.

The man who was selling the books handed me 
your old business card, which is how I know of
The Golden Arc. That and his story about how 
you just vanished one day after years and years
of telling people that you were building yourself 
a way to leave this cracked earth, busted world,
this unsustainable planet we’re breaking to shards.

I hope that your spaceship held up and got you 
to wherever it was that you were heading for.
I now keep your business card in my wallet as 
a conversation piece, as a souvenir from my job
to show off to people I meet. And I guess as a
small piece of your life, which I know little of—
just a small fragment from someone who had hope
of another world that was obtainable, if very distant.
Someone who didn’t care if people thought he was
stupid, crazy, or a dreamer of otherworldly dreams.

 

About the Author: Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit. He now lives in Pittsburgh. His poems have been collected in three books—Unattended FireThe River Underneath the City, and Muskrat Friday Dinner. He is also an assistant editor at Low Ghost Press.

 

Image Credit: “Le voyage dans la lune, en plein dans l’œil!!”, a drawing by Georges Méliès of the vessel landing in the moon’s eye in the film Le voyage dans la lune Public Domain

 

“Unknown Soldiers” By Brian Rihlmann

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UNKNOWN SOLDIERS

There ought to be
a monument,
a sort of war memorial
for workers killed
on construction sites,
in industrial accidents,
for those chewed up
and spit out
by the cruel machinery.

For migrant workers,
underpaid foreigners
crippled by cut corners,
then banished
from this promised land
of stone faced natives,
not so far removed.

For those whose true genius
was stamped out in childhood,
and their lives burned up,
firewood reduced to ash
by the slow flame
of factory drudgery,
by the booze and pills
that made enduring it possible.

Unknown soldiers
fighting daily battles
every bit as important
to our way of life
as men in uniform.

But such a monument
would cover half the country
in a black granite slab,
a giant tombstone
where fields of grain stand tall.

So there will never be one,
of that I am certain,
just as I am certain
that somebody,
somewhere, someday,
will hate me
for writing this.

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About the Author: Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semi autobiographical, confessional free verse. Folk poetry…for folks. He has been published in Constellate Magazine, Poppy Road Review, The Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press and has an upcoming piece in The American Journal Of Poetry.
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Image Credit: Lewis W. Hine “Doffer Boys, Macon, Georgia” (1909) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

“The President Called the United States a Company” By Prince Bush

 

 

The President Called the United States a Company 

A Christmas mourning / I mourn God’s slain child
and Jesus Christ, a wall that’s hard to yield
to while crows eat / kids starve / ovaled stomachs 

feed on human flesh / hosts as repurposed
puppets or proponents purporting laws
and slips on behalf of Freudian slips 

            the President called the United States
            a company / and there’s truth / I too sing 

company / throwing precious repastures
away / enough to feed refugees they
say there’s no food for. I mourn a Jesús

             and Jesus / you might not / so how can I
             show you mercy?—replace Jesus with green

wood-plants / white people / you / must keep Jesús
because death is owned by a company
that must throw away precious repastures.

 

About the Author: Prince Bush is a poet attending Fisk University. His work has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, SOFTBLOW, Cotton Xenomorph, Protean, and Mobius, among others. More work and biographical information can be found at pbush.com

Image Credit: D.R. Payne “Border monuments 223, 224, and 225, along the California-Mexico border” (1892) The Library of Congress

“Downpour” By Z. D. Dicks

 

 

Downpour 

The class was over     three men remained
chewing words and rummaging 
through syntax     I sat youngest of the three
as they spoke of gratitude     flooding faces

I’ve made it to seventy     everything else is a bonus
I digested these words     chopped sausage 
and tomato sauce     ate them his feather lite words 
soaking heavy like lead rain     vision blurry 

Like glasses broken     left arm tight and sluggish
as if sodden on one side     wet chill with tingles of death
I write because I have to     not to get published
drenched by his first words     everything else 

Is a bonus     the slow drip into a half filled tank
that patter wouldn’t fill my years     my land 
was cracked and broken     thirty five years he’s 
drenched by a day     and I’m a puddle in sun

 

About the Author: Z. D. Dicks is the author of Malcontent (Black Eye Publishing) described as ‘Uncompromising, sometimes controversial, but always entertaining’ by Clive Oseman and ‘Evocative, atmospheric, breathing new life into the everyday’ by Nicola Harrison. Z. Dicks is the CEO of Gloucestershire Poetry Society and Gloucester Poetry Festival. His work has been accepted by Ink, Sweat and Tears, Three Drops from a Cauldron and Fresh Air Poetry. He frequently reads at poetry events throughout the UK.

 

Image Credit: Louis-Antoine Froissart “A Flood in Lyon” (1856) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

“A disappearance” By Dameion Wagner

 

 

A disappearance

I would like to disappear

into my thin white

body I am day- 

dreaming again of

you and him 

my blue eyes 

are open 

two lips,

are four when they

met in secret

in a kitchen 

where people 

prepare food &

eat because they

are hungry and 

cannot wait 

wait wait don’t 

think for a minute

before you take

a bite of that

Tonight give me 

a kiss  if I die in

my sleep.

 

About the Author: Dameion Wagner lives and works in Columbus, Ohio. His work has appeared in Crab Creek Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, and The Gordian Review among a few others. He has also written reviews for Heavy Feather Review and The Rumpus. He won Miami University’s 2017 Jordan-Goodman poetry Prize judged by Janice Lowe, and most recently was the 2018 recipient of the Academy of American Poets University Prize. He received his MFA from Miami University’s Low Residency program. 

 

Image Credit: William Henry Fox Talbot “The Bust of Patroclus” (1843) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

“And Why Am I a Free Man?” By Ace Boggess

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“And Why Am I a Free Man?”
         —Paulo Coelho, The Zahir  

time is the most valuable element
on any periodic table

spend it
give or lose it
wear it around one’s neck like gold

or clamped on wrists
like iron shackles

breathing it in takes a moment
but the exhale lasts a lifetime

less with good behavior

I mined years for their raw hours
spent & spent

another dinner in some sad café

 

 

About the Author: Ace Boggess is author of four books of poetry, most recently I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So (Unsolicited Press, 2018). His writing appears in Notre Dame Review, Rhino, North Dakota Quarterly, Rattle, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia.

 

More By Ace Boggess:

“Why Did You Try to Sober Up?”

“Are Your Emotions More Or Less Intense?”

 

Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “View from the inside of the clock face on Portland, Oregon’s, historic Union Station’s 150-foot-high tower” (2018) The Library of Congress

“Hearts Break All the Time” By Jeanette Powers

 

 

Hearts Break All the Time

I remember the gnarled hands
of my grandfather
working the rotary dial
of the old goldenrod yellow
Ma Bell telephone
calling the hospital
where my grandmother lay
waiting to have her chest cracked
for a double bypass

heartbreak was not new to her

I hung my fingertips
on the tall bureau with the phone
and the lazy susan with her fake pearls
watching him talk and listening
I love you, Helen
I’d never heard him say that before
tears fell down through the stubble of his cheeks
they were the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen

his hand always trembled for a cigarette
and it did then too

they are decades gone now
just like land lines and my youth

the doctor is earnest
reading my genome results
tells me I can’t absorb folic acid
or Vitamin D, my liver is weak
and that no matter how healthy I am
a heart attack is sure

I’ve already had several
I assure her with a smile

she doesn’t laugh
but I’m hoping I’m just like my grandmother.

 

About the Author: Jeanette Powers: poet, painter, philosopher, professional party dancer and working class, anarchist, non-binary queer. Here to be radically peaceful, they are a founding member of Kansas City’s annual small press poetry fest, FountainVerse. Powers is also the brawn behind Stubborn Mule Press. They have seven full length poetry books and have been published often online and  print journals. Find more at jeanettepowers.com and @novel_cliche

 

More By Jeanette Powers:

Reflections in the Windows of Your First Car

Cycles of Grief Go On And On