Andres Cordoba: “The Summer The Apricot Tree Died”

 

 

the summer the apricot tree died

I had been asked to tend to the still ripening
apricots that hung as small green bulbs
from the branches of a young tree
in its first flower.

Sown two falls ago.

Father pat the earth with hesitance
as he first lay the seeds to rest.
He smiled before pressing up his glasses
with a dirt covered finger tip.
It then began to rain.

Steady mercies.

 

 

About the Author: Andres Cordoba is a Massachusetts born writer. He has received honors such as the Ginny Wray Poetry prize, the Thayer Fellowship For the Arts, the Patricia Kerr Ross Award, and was named a 2019 Breakout 8 Writer in poetry by Epiphany: A Literary Journal. His work has appeared in Italics Mine, The Gandy Dancer, Gravitas, and Epiphany Journal. A real self-starter, a go-getter– a team player, if you will– his mother refers to him as the Michael Jordan of mutual losses.

 

Image Credit: Pomologie française: Paris, Langlois et Leclercq,1846. (Public Domain) Image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Jon Bennett: “Roundabout”

 

 

Roundabout

He was looking at a traffic map
thinking about his son
“Put a roundabout here,” he said
An anarchist in college
he read about the Paris Commune,
Mutual Aid, a lot of George Orwell
Then he had kids
“…those roundabouts take
some getting used to…”
and his son was named
after Jack London, but
now he was a Republican
a good kid though
He bought a house
and had a mortgage,
and was often
almost satisfied
“…in the end
it will work out better
for everyone.”

 

 

About the Author: Jon Bennett writes and plays music in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. You can find more of his work on Pandora, Spotify and other streaming websites, or by connecting with him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/jon.bennett.967.

 

Image Credit: Wassily Kandinsky: “Circles in a Circle” (1923) public domain

Diana Rosen: “Hollywood Freeway”

 

 

 

Hollywood Freeway

Jazz transports from the John Anson Ford stage,
crowds entertain from their seats, everyday angst
dissipates on every downbeat. No recluses, no
agoraphobics, no shy people in the audience, just
lovers of this pure American music. Danger
accompanies me after the concert as I cross
the concrete overpass, stories high above
this strip of the Hollywood Freeway with racing
crayolas of cars seen in splatters through open slats
in walls shorter than I am. Purple wildflowers wave
from the western hillside, shout, Go Now! No, Wait.
Go Now. I gauge the speed of traffic. Are the drivers
alert? No, not now, too many, too fast. Now! Now!
I run faster than I know I can, jump like Joyner, land
like Lewis on the indifferent sidewalk, run downhill
without stopping til I reach the crowded Hollywood Bowl
bus stop with people oblivious, full of Mahler. I stand
nonchalant, hunt for exact change, cradle the coins
in my hand, step up into the Number 20 where I collapse
into the cracked leatherette seat scratching my thighs
hello. I say a thank you to the God of Errant Jaywalkers
and, yes, the Ray Brown bass solo was totally worth it.

 

 

About the Author: Diana Rosen writes flash, poetry, and essays with recent published flash and poems in Existere Art & Literature Journal (Canada), Potato Soup Journal, and WildforWords (UK) and an essay in “Far Villages”, an anthology from Black Lawrence Press. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. To view her work, please visit www.authory.com/dianarosen

 

More by Diana Rosen:

Dinner at Six

 

Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Nightime skyline view of Los Angeles, California, looking north over the U.S. 101 (Hollywood) Freeway” (2013) The Library of Congress”

Jennifer R. Lloyd: “Hill Hours”

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Jennifer R. Lloyd is a former journalist and longtime logophile. No longer churning words into newsprint on the daily, she sweats out the demons in South Texas or purges them onto the page. In her spare time, she explores poetry, flash fiction and magazine writing. Her poetry has been published in the San Antonio Review and her flash fiction by 101 Words and Zeroflash.

 

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Sunset in the Valley” (2018)

Mike James: “Almost Autumn and Time to Go”

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author: Mike James makes his home outside Nashville, Tennessee. He has published in numerous magazines throughout the country in such places as Plainsongs, Gargoyle, Birmingham Poetry Review, and Chiron Review. His fifteen poetry collections include: Journeyman’s Suitcase (Luchador), Parades (Alien Buddha), Jumping Drawbridges in Technicolor (Blue Horse), First-Hand Accounts from Made-Up Places (Stubborn Mule), Crows in the Jukebox (Bottom Dog), My Favorite Houseguest (FutureCycle), and Peddler’s Blues (Main Street Rag.) He served as an associate editor of The Kentucky Review and currently serves as an associate editor of Unbroken.

 

More By Mike James:

Grace

Paul Lynde

Oh Daddy, Give Me A Quarter For The Time Machine

 

Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Although this photograph of Ingalls Pond, near Hiram in western Maine, was taken a few days before the fall equinox, autumn colors have already made an appearance” (2017) The Library of Congress

Timothy Tarkelly: “Neil’s Dad”

.

.

Neil’s Dad

I knew a man in Titusville
who had everything.
He gutted the house
when he first bought it.
replaced every old thing
with something built to shimmer.
A garage door for every crisis,
but mostly parked out front.
Kitchen counters carved
from Italy’s earthen crust,
but most nights, he ordered in.
Had his walls painted
with the fruits of ancient labor
but lacked the rigor
to turn the lights on.

.

.

About the Author: Timothy Tarkelly’s work has appeared in From the Depths, Philosophical IdiotBack Patio PressRusty TruckCauldron Anthology, and other magazines, online journals, etc. He has had two books of poetry published by Spartan Press: Luckhound (2020) and Gently in Manner, Strongly in Deed: Poems on Eisenhower (2019). He also runs Roaring Junior Press, a chapbook publisher that specializes in small runs of sci-fi/fantasy, horror, and pop-culture infused poetry. When he’s not writing and publishing, he teaches in Southeast Kansas.

.

More by Timothy Tarkelly:

Hastings: A Remembrance

.

Image Credit: Egon Schiele “Porträt eines Herren” (1910) Public Domain

.

Tessah Melamed: “And Other Drugs”

.

.

.

And Other Drugs

His sheets smell
Like smoke and sweat and sex
Like someone else’s perfume
Like the kind of shampoo that makes men feel like men
Like a last meal on death row
Like the pain of failure and the reluctance of letting go
A worst case scenario,
Black ice on the parkway,
The last drop of vodka sliding down a swollen throat,
Ten minutes before last call,
A complication, the exception to the rule
Two cracks in a sidewalk met with an Oedipal shoe
The distinct taste of a relit joint,
The stale regret she recognizes as her own.
Her sheets smell
Like smoke and sweat and sex
Like the last petal of a pink rose
Like sleep on a rainy Sunday
Cocaine and Pabst Blue Ribbon
Someone’s best friend screaming through a closed door
Like running away
Like driving drunk
Creating a home beneath unwilling skin
A 711 parking lot at 3am
The moon and all her secrets
A string of pearls ripped off the neck with a shaking hand
A slight fear of falling
And the hurt he placed under her pillow for the fairies to find.

 

 

About the Author: Tessah Melamed is a writer from New Jersey. She wants you to know that nothing she does is fun, but you can follow her on Twitter @wherestessah if you insist.

Image Credit: Erich Salomon “Murphy Bed” (1935) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

 

AIOTB Magazine Announces our Nominees for the 2020 Best of the Net Anthology

.

.

As It Ought to Be Magazine is proud to nominate the following poems and essays for the 2020 Best of the Net Anthology

 

Poetry

 

Rusty Barnes: The Act of Working

Caroliena Cabada: True Story

Leslie M. Rupracht: Hess Trucks and the End of the Double Standard

Anna Saunders: The Delusion of Glass

Dameion Wagner: I Have Returned Home

Brian Chander Wiora: We Might Have Existed

 

 

Nonfiction

 

Cody Sexton: The Body of Shirley Ann Sexton

Carrie Thompson: I Don’t Want Your Hug

 

 

Thanks to all of our nominees for sharing their work with As It Ought It To Be Magazine!

– Chase Dimock
Managing Editor

 

 

 

Image Credit: O.F. Baxter “Pointer Dog” (1860s) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

 

Elana Rubin: “For B”

.

.

.

For B

He chews a pen, the problem scrunched inside
the corner of his lip. He hasn’t quite
resolved it, but he’ll work until it’s right.
It’s 3:00 AM, and I’m asleep. Outside
my room he crouches to untie and slide
his shoes off. I don’t hear him come at night
or in the morning when he leaves, a slight
impression in the mattress on his side.

I never bought those silly sayings: “True
love conquers all,” the whole “soul mate” ordeal,
but I can see what might lead people to
when I wake up at dawn to pee and feel
him next to me. The infant sunlight slows
to soak his cheeks, an ink smudge on his nose.

 

 

About the Author: Elana Rubin is a rising senior at the Johns Hopkins University, majoring in the writing seminars. While she loves both fiction and poetry, she has a soft spot for form. Her poem “Student” has been published in Issue Eight of Minute Magazine.

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Sunset” (2019)

THE NU PROFIT$ OF P/O/E/T/I/C DI$CHORD

 

 

Some choice cuts from

The Ghosts of Our Words Will be Heroes in Hell,

the latest book project by

THE NU PROFIT$ OF P/O/E/T/I/C DI$CHORD

 

 

Beef, It’s What’s for Dinner!  /  Jason Ryberg

The wind is whipping up
little cyclones of dust and leaves
in the ditch by the side of Old 40 HWY,

and there’s a star-shine gleam
to the chrome ball-hitch
of the pick-up truck in front of me,

and there’s road-side fences to the future,
telephone poles to the past,

and the sun, like a cyclop’s murder-red eye
is climbing up from behind the horizon
and right into my driver’s-side
rear-view mirror,

and Walk, Don’t Run by the Ventures
is playing now on the radio

and there, above it all,
a lone falcon or hawk sits, calmly,
surveying its little fiefdom from the top
of a billboard sign that reads,

Beef, it’s what’s for dinner!

You got that right, pal.

 

 

When You’re Poor  /  Damian Rucci

when you’re poor
you’re always fucking
or fighting

always fucking because there
is never anything to do
but thrust & moan

when that’s done
then you’re fighting
fighting to keep the lights on

fighting to keep the bills paid
fighting to find change to do the laundry
& fighting with the landlord
about that fifty bucks
he’s still missing

but it could be worse
you could always be waiting again
waiting for the electricity company
to finally kill the lights

waiting for that check to hit
the mail box
waiting for the winds to blow
luck your way for once

 

 

The Finger Has Got to Come Off  /  John Dorsey

crazy mark crushes his finger
in the back of a dump truck

instead of going to the hospital
he examines the bone

each angle
like the rings on a tree

each crack
a ridge of undiscovered country

clues to a past
that even he can’t quite recall

weeks go by
and the skin
just won’t heal

he says he’ll have to
cut the meat off himself
before it starts to stink
like a dying animal
left to rot
in the woods.

 

 

Lost Man’s Candle / Victor Clevenger

standing at the end of a cold day
we think about how it is always here
in some form good for a glow
hanging from a rope
tied to a breeze

it’s a lost man’s candle
the moon

creating the dull between the trees
branch’s shadows like arms reaching out
for a waist to grasp in dance
& we’re near

but there is no melody left in our breath
tonight     & there is no whistle
from the lips of the wind either

just the random cries of wild animals
that we’ve all heard
a thousand times before

as we stood there like fools

too fucking stubborn
to just find

a good path back home

 

 

The Ghosts of Our Words Will Be Heroes in Hell is available from OAC Books, and can be ordered via spartanpresskc@gmail.com or by contacting any of the poets on Facebook.

 

 

About the Authors:

Jason Ryberg is the author of thirteen books of poetry, six screenplays, a few short stories, a box full of folders, notebooks and scraps of paper that could one day be  (loosely) construed as a novel, and, a couple of angry  letters to various magazine and newspaper editors. He is currently an artist-in-residence at both The Prospero Institute of Disquieted P/o/e/t/i/c/s and the Osage Arts Community, and is an editor and designer at Spartan Books. His latest collection of poems is Standing at the Intersection of Critical Mass and Event Horizon (Luchador Press, 2019). He lives part-time in Salina, KS with a rooster named  Little Red and a billygoat named Giuseppe and part-time somewhere in the Ozarks, near the Gasconade River, where there are also many strange and wonderful woodland critters.

Damian Rucci is a writer and author of five poetry books including his latest Don’t Call it a Relapse (Punk Provincial Press 2019), founder of the Poetry in the Port reading series, and was a Poet in Residence at the Osage Arts Community in Belle, Missouri. He can be contacted at @damianrucci on Twitter and damian.rucci@gmail.com

John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw’s Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010), Tombstone Factory, (Epic Rites Press, 2013), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016) and Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Press, 2017) and Your Daughter’s Country (Blue Horse Press, 2019). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the Stanley Hanks Memorial Poetry Prize.He was the winner of the 2019 Terri Award given out at the Poetry Rendezvous. He may be reached at archerevans@yahoo.com.

Victor Clevenger spends his days in a Madhouse and his nights writing poetry. Selected pieces of his work have appeared in print magazines and journals around the world. He is the author of several collections of poetry including Sandpaper Lovin’ (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2017), A Finger in the Hornets’ Nest (Red Flag Poetry, 2018), and Corned Beef Hash By Candlelight (Luchador Press, 2019). Together with American poet John Dorsey, they run River Dog.