“Flotsam” By Agnes Vojta

 

Flotsam

I shipped my past to this continent
in a box I open rarely. In it,

my mother’s amber necklace
and my grandmother’s silver cross,

a dried flower from my prom bouquet,
ribboned letters from old lovers,

notebooks with poems written
thirty years ago in another tongue,

a brass key that opens no lock I know,
a photograph of the house on the hill

that stands now empty, where my voice
still echoes, unheard,
five thousand miles away.

 

About the Author: Agnes Vojta grew up in Germany and now lives in Rolla, Missouri where she teaches physics at Missouri S&T. She is the author of Porous Land (Spartan Press, 2019). Her poems recently appeared in Gasconade Review, Thimble Literary Magazine, Trailer Park Quarterly, Poetry Quarterly, and elsewhere.

 

Image Credit: Marion Post Wolcott “Child bringing home suitcase on sled, Franconia, New Hampshire” (1939) The Library of Congress

“Frontiers are frontiers but once” By Jeremy Nathan Marks

 

 

 

Frontiers are frontiers but once  

The only thing I recall seeing clearly in the night sky
were all those stars I couldn’t identify.

I never spied Jupiter, Saturn or Uranus up close. I didn’t have
the right glass. Venus and the moon were obvious.

My father remembers Sputnik’s streaking light. Armstrong’s steps,
Cronkite’s glasses, Schirra’s speechless tears on CBS.
Gagarin,
Glenn,
and Shepard.

I witnessed the Challenger.

Frontiers are frontiers but once.
Just ask Alaskans as they collect their cheques.
Or Magellan’s children. Not to mention the People
of the Sun.
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About the Author: Jeremy Nathan Marks is a London, Ontario-based writer. Recent poetry appears/is appearing in Unlikely Stories, Writers Resist, Poets Reading The News, KYSO Flash, Poetry Pacific, Rat’s As Review, The Wire’s Dream, NRM Magazine, Cajun Mutt Press, Eunoia Review, The Conclusion Magazine, Bravearts, and Runcible Spoon. His short story, “Detroit 2099,” will appear in The Nature of Cities Anthology later this year.
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More By Jeremy Nathan Marks:

“Plus Ten”
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Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Children stand in wonder at a mural of astronauts at the Smithsonian Institution’s Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.” Library of Congress

“Visitor’s Day at the Group Home” By Tony Gloeggler

 

 

VISITOR’S DAY AT THE GROUP HOME

Robert, twenty-one yesterday,
walks down stairs carefully.
Both hands clench rails. Head
down, he watches each foot land.
Reaching bottom, he claps twice,
sees her and smiles. He mumbles
and she knows he’s saying mommy.
She hugs him close. Drool slides
down the back of her neck. “Mommy
missed Robert so much.” He digs
into the shopping bag of gifts,
finds a Walkman. She clamps
the headphones on him. He bobs
like a spastic puppet to the Supremes
Greatest Hits. She opens a pint
of rice pudding, starts to spoon it
into his mouth. I pass her a handful
of napkins. Later, she lays his head
in her lap, sings Happy Birthday
and lights matchsticks to wish on.
I place a coloring book, his special
extra thick crayons on the table.
He scribbles interlocking spirals
while his eyes track her movements.
A car horn sounds and she steps
to the window, motions ‘just
a moment’ with her hand.
She bends, kisses Robert’s
forehead.  “See you next week
sweetheart.” We nod goodbye
as she pushes open the door.
Robert throws a blue crayon
across the room, crumples
the scribbled page. He stands,
climbs up the stairs and fits
into his bed, his clothes still on.

 

This poem first appeared in Wordgathering

 

About Tony Gloeggler: I am a life-long resident of New York City and have managed group homes for the mentally challenged for over 35 years. My work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Rattle, The Examined Life Journal, Raleigh Review, New Ohio Review, Stirring and The NY Times. My full length books include One Wish Left(Pavement Saw Press 2002) and Until The Last Light Leaves (NYQ Books 2015) which focused on my job and the autistic son of a former girlfriend. My next book, What Kind Of Man, will be published by NYQ Books in 2019.

 

More By Tony Gloeggler

“Crossing”

 

Image Credit: “Astrale Komposition XI” by Wilhelm Morgner (1911) Public Domain

“Frankly, I’m Not Doing Well” By Daniel Crocker

 

Frankly, I’m Not Doing Well

By Daniel Crocker

 

    A week ago, a little after 3am,  I stood up from my laptop, pulled off my robe, took off my shirt, grabbed the scissors that had been calling to me from my desk for weeks, and  I cut my upper left arm exactly twenty times. It was the first time I’d cut in years, and as far as self-harm goes, it wasn’t so bad. In my early twenties,  I would cut myself over 100 times—arms, legs, torso. This time I got away with twenty. Not my best work by any means. Nothing that would leave a scar. Not really.

    A week ago, cutting was an orgasm. The keen edge of a blade brought me back to the here and now. It’s private. That’s why I cut in places no one can see—until they do.

   Early in our marriage, Margaret found my stash of bloody paper towels.

   What is this? She wanted to know.  What could I say? I rolled up my sleeves and showed her. She cried, and I didn’t cut again for years.

    A week ago, I told Margaret that I thought I needed to go to the hospital. I was shaking and on the verge of tears. I’m not much of a crier. It got her attention. I was standing in my bathrobe and Pikachu hat that tends to reduce my anxiety by a minuscule amount.

    I think I need to go to the hospital, I said. Margaret stood there a moment, taking me in. Thinking.

    All they’ll do, she said, is keep you full of drugs for three days and let you out. She had a point.

    Maybe you start back on your meds and call your shrink on Monday.

    Okay, I said. Later that night, I went through rapid, severe mood swings—mania, rage, euphoria, depression and back again. That night, I cut myself twenty times on my upper left arm. Continue reading

“Out of the Blue” By Mike Acker

 

Out of the Blue

Out of the blue, I hear your rustling in the back
of my frontal lobe among the cellular boxes,
caved-in and heavy with sediment.

When I pull the yellowed, frail strings
leading to you, covers are nudged open
and you appear.

Forty years have worn down your features like
pebbles in a stream; past passions are now
but faint, electrical pulses, barely registering.

But, in this commotion, a crumpled neuron nearby
opens releasing apparitions of you and me standing
over a spot in our favorite park,

searching for the golden snake ring I had thrown
into some bushes after a jealous fit over a once-
sharp reason, now too pointless to recall.

But it is not really you and me; it is aged molecules
that oscillate into a semblance of our shapes
and then shift back to forgetfulness.

As quickly as these stirrings of recollection had come
to life, they fade; the dust of the past settles
back down, like lazy snow.

I will hold on to your shadow
but you, you are now forty
light-years away.

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About the Author: Mike Acker lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. He has lived in various parts of the world; his early education was in German and French. While living in California, he worked as a professional translator. Mike enjoys writing short poetry, especially with the intent of exploring the possibilities latent in a single image.

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Image Credit: “Two Men on Banks of Stream” By Arthur Brown (1878) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

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More By Mike Acker:

The Selfie

What Do You Call This? Bubba Ganush?

“My Nephew and I Escape from Prison” By Kevin Ridgeway

 

My Nephew and I Escape from Prison

he’s technically inclined enough
at just six years old
to operate most tools 
building things like a filthy
Frank Lloyd Wright
obsessed with the idiosyncrasies
of each claw machine
he intends to break ground with
a shovel and begin digging
his hand like one of his
beloved blue print envisioned
crayola claws until there is a hole
big enough for us both to get
to the other side where I’ll be
charged with explaining to
people that we are prisoners
of a psychological spectrum
we refuse to serve needless
time we could spend building
things, writing poems and on
parole from the menace of
social stigma we are too
distracted by our gifted
obsessions to waste time
paying attention to as
we find the miracles in
the attics of our minds,
minds no one quite has
like the two of us.

 

About the Author: Kevin Ridgeway is the author of Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press).  Recent work can be found in Slipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Main Street Rag, The American Journal of Poetry, Big Hammer, Trailer Park Quarterly and So it Goes:  The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.

 

More By Kevin Ridgeway:

Sally with the Accent

Five Hundred Channels and Nothing On

 

Image Credit: Vincent Van Gogh “Prisoners Exercising” (1890)

 

“Remainders” By Marc Frazier

 

Remainders

Aunt Bertha’s thick ankles tucked in orthopedic shoes.
She stirs water into flour for chicken gravy paste.

The soon-to-be-closed eyes of my father
stare at the dog planter on the window ledge.

Mother’s hands run fabric under the jumpy needle,
the machine’s drone luring me to love.

The voice of great-uncle John’s deep bass
volleys with Esther’s small, squeaky refrains.

Nicks on Sergio’s perfect face
held like a calla between my flowering palms.

The smell of Sunday’s roast with onions
potatoes and carrots waft through register vents.

Grandfather’s sad, wrinkled red face
dozes alone in the paneled TV room.

David of the Espanola Valley places his hand over mine
as I look above the table at New Mexican stars.

I cannot recall her last smile here beside the unplugged
body as the doctor says, “She’s passed.”

 

About the Author: Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian ReviewSlant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. Marc is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection Each Thing TouchesWillingly, his third poetry book, will be published by Adelaide Books New York in 2019. His website is http://www.marcfrazier.org.

 

More by Marc Frazier: 

Sent My Way

 

Image Credit: Russell Lee “Removing jars of canned fruit from pressure cooker. Chamisal, New Mexico” (1940) Library of Congress