M. J. Arcangelini: “The Relative Sanctity of Objects”

.

service-pnp-ppmsca-07400-07487v

.

.

The Relative Sanctity of Objects

Memories alive as spirits encased in objects,
Set in amber, locked in lucite, wrapped in plaster,
Hanging within webs of spider and silk worm.

A small shell, butterfly, baby shoes, decayed molar,
A coffee cup, refrigerator magnet, Limoges china,
That chair, that blanket, that framed photograph.

The bed which witnessed such tender gymnastics
Turned over to the junk man and thrown onto his truck.
Things given away, things thrown away, things kept.

A 1920s straight razor, a 1903 Colt .32 revolver.
Hoping to feel lighter when the gravity of the past
Still weighs heavy, tethered to dead men’s things.

.

.

About the Author: M.J. (Michael Joseph) Arcangelini was born 1952 in western Pennsylvania. He has resided in northern California since 1979. He has published in a lot of little magazines, online journals, & over a dozen anthologies.  He is the author of five collections, the most recent of which is “A Quiet Ghost,” Luchador Press 2020. Arcangelini has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He can be reached at poetbear@sonic.net

.

More by M.J. Arcangelini:

A Few Random Thoughts

Ten Movies

.

Image Credit: Samuel Kravitt “Rocker with taped seat” (1935) The Library of Congress

Kerry Trautman: “When Drinking Alone, the Mind Ponders Unknowable Things”

.

.

.

.

.

About the Author, Kerry Trautman: I am a poetry editor for Red Fez, and my work has appeared in various anthologies and in journals, including The Fourth River, Gasconade Review, Midwestern Gothic, Paper & Ink, Third Wednesday, and Think Journal. My poetry books are, Things That Come in Boxes (Kingcraft Press 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press 2015,) Artifacts (NightBallet Press 2017,) and To Be Nonchalantly Alive (Kelsay Books 2020.)

.

More by Kerry Trautman:

Context

.

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Utah Sunset” (2021)

Troy Schoultz: “Gas Money”

.

Forlorn sign for a long-closed gas station in Green River, Wyoming.

.

.

Gas Money

Young, broke, classes skipped,
A bottle of Crown Royal stolen from your father’s rec room bar.
The only thing that made sense to us
When we were lost,
Was a full tank of gas.
Cars were serious currency,
An escape from living rooms drenched in T.V.’s glow,
And high schools that chewed us up.

Those years seemed composed of only morning and night
Swinging by the Amoco station for a breakfast
Of Doritos and Mountain Dew. Sunlight draining
Into the streetlights. AC/DC in the cassette deck,
We tore a rut in the asphalt of Main Street,
Waiting desperately for something to stain our colorless lives.
Bald tires, loose tie rods, burnt oil exhaust,
A blind headlight, all that mattered
Was fuel and motion. We attempted to outrun
Milltown pensions and expectations waiting for us
Beyond the polluted river,
And inflated lies of a diploma slapped in our grimy hands.

These days I’m in awe of being alive.
My car’s over ten years-old, but bought and paid for in cash.
The oil is changed like clockwork.
There’s money in the bank.
Out at the old lighthouse at sunset,
Headlights gather, stolen twelve packs emptied and discarded.
The ghosts of who we once were
Trying to make a quarter tank last another weekend.

.

.

About the Author, Troy Schoultz: I’m a lifelong Wisconsin resident.  I’m currently a sometimes lecturer at the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. My poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Seattle Review, Rattle, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Word Riot, Fish Drum, The Great American Poetry Show, Steel Toe Review, Midwestern Gothic and many others in the U.S. and U.K. since 1997.  I’m the author of two chapbooks and one full-length collection: A Field of Bonfires Sings (Wolf Angel Press, 1999), Good Friday (Tamafyr Mountain Poetry 2005), Biographies of Runaway Dogs (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2017) and No More Quiet Entrances (Luchador Press, 2020).

I was nominated in 2012 for a Pushcart Prize by Slipstream literary magazine for my poem “The Biographies of Dogs Who Dared to Run Away.” My interests and influences include rock and roll, vinyl LPs, 8 track tapes, found objects, the paranormal, abandoned places, folklore, old cemeteries and the number five.

.

More by Troy Schoultz:

The Art of Manliness

.

Image Credit: Carol M. Highsmith “Forlorn sign for a long-closed gas station in Green River, Wyoming.” (2018) The Library of Congress

Maryfrances Wagner: “Losing Cousin Carolyn”

.

20200816083609_IMG_0808

.

.

Losing Cousin Carolyn

The news came via Facebook.  Simple Obit.
Immediate family only.  This is the age of Covid.
This is the time of dying alone.  Grieving alone.

We sat in a funeral home pew the last time I saw
Carolyn, cousins lined up together as we always are
when we say goodbye, in this case to our last uncle.

Despite opposite views, we shared a life together,
weddings, reunions, death.  A time to share family
stories or photos we found in a parent’s basement.

I imagine her sons graveside with their father,
no chairs, no flower sprays, no family circling them.
Her brother hundreds of miles away, kidneys failing.

I drive past the house where they lived when we
played Fish or paper dolls on her bedroom floor.
It seems so small.  The shutters and window box sag.

A vacant birdhouse sways near an empty feeder. A clump
of limp jonquils wave, and their old Dragon Blood Sedum
I loved pokes through the broken arms of a gargoyle.

.

.

About the Author: Maryfrances Wagner’s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (Thorpe Menn Book Award for Literary Excellence), Dioramas, Pouf, The Silence of Red Glass, and The Immigrants’ New Camera. Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, Natural Bridge, Voices in Italian Americana, Unsettling America:  An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (Penguin Books), Literature Across Cultures (Pearson/Longman), Bearing Witness, The Dream Book, An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation), et.al.  She co-edits I-70 Review and served as Missouri’s Individual Artist of the Year for 2020.

.

More by Maryfrances Wagner:

Dreaming Through Covid

.

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Bird on Wire” (2020)

Greg Field “White”

.

505421ldsdl

.

.

White

Who can hold the color of the moon,
a porcelain saucer of sweet cream?
The curse of skin at times translucent,
blue veins like gold coursing through quartz.
Pink and red meat glow through with promise.
Its tide of tumbling spindrift seeking
to dissolve all else, to consume even people
poking along in the sand.
Wading through snow carrying thick black books
with tiny type flowing through pages
like marauding ants snapping at the air
they spread through forests and plains,
a seething blizzard that demands
of all falling under, the pure flag of surrender.

.

.

About the Author: Greg Field is a writer, artist, and musician living in Independence, Missouri with his wife, poet Maryfrances Wagner.  His poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies to include New letters and Chiron Review.  His new book, from Mammoth Press, is Black Heart, which focuses on his Native American heritage.  He is a co-editor of the I-70 Review.  His paintings are in private collections all over the country.  He plays drums for the improvisational jazz band River Cow Orchestra.

.

Image Credit: John Henry Twachtman “Snow” (public domain)

Sam Barbee: “Hybrid”

.

.

.

Hybrid

After blight, our chestnut forests
rotted.  Their shadows now emerge,
suffering in furniture and mirror frames,
within unconsecrated slights of legend.

A ring of scientists now cross-breed
remaining Chestnuts with a Chinese genus,
conjuring a stubborn breed, not quite clones,
but another noble effort resistant to demise.

Wooden spooled crib where our grandchild lies
hosts our echo, a remnant thrashing
versus what life will offer, wandering on
with the deceased against what wind strikes down.

So much put asunder, crumbling stumps
rootless and toothless beneath heaven
in a forest felled in microscopic confusion,
among graves where the mighty stood.

.

.

About the Author: Sam Barbee’s poems have appeared Poetry South, The NC Literary Review, Crucible, Asheville Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology VII: North Carolina, Georgia Journal, Kakalak, and Pembroke Magazine, among others; plus on-line journals Vox Poetica, The Voices Project, Courtland Review, and The New Verse News. 

His second poetry collection, That Rain We Needed (2016, Press 53), was a nominee for the Roanoke-Chowan Award as one of North Carolina’s best poetry collections of 2016.  He was awarded an “Emerging Artist’s Grant” from the Winston-Salem Arts Council to publish his first collection Changes of Venue (Mount Olive Press); has been a featured poet on the North Carolina Public Radio Station WFDD; received the 59th Poet Laureate Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society for his poem “The Blood Watch”; and is a Pushcart nominee.

.

Image Credit: Illustration originally from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.London ; New York [etc.] : Academic Press [etc.]. Image Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Public Domain

Guy Elston: “Green”

.

33887799773_0710ec9366_o

.

.

Green

The strawberry advertised itself
early, already edible (if not truly
ready) in late May.
I’d already been warned,
monitored when on the patio
where the planters sat: Hands off!
Berries need time to grow, Gub,
and care, like this little red one;
in a month he’ll be ruby-rosacea,
with a white seed in every pore.
Always time, always care; too late
for the one I’d kept tucked at the back
beneath a blanket of young leaf,
tart and still with its crunch.
Next summer, secret-sick, gut-
knotted, I’d pluck myself completely;
for now, I wiped my fingers
on my jeans and passed the salt.

.

.

About the Author: Guy Elston is a British teacher and writer currently living in Toronto. His poetry has been included by The Moth, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Honest Ulsterman, Anthropocene, Rust + Moth and other journals. He was commended in the 2020 Geoff Stevens Memorial Prize.

.

Image Credit: Digitally enhanced illustration from Flore d’Amérique,. Paris, Gihaut [1843-1846]. Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library Creative Commons License 2.0.

John Dorsey: “Poem for Danny Bell”

.

service-pnp-fsa-8b35000-8b35500-8b35577v

.

.

Poem for Danny Bell

you had a face like a weasel
& a heart like a lion
in your late 40’s
your parents gone
you had never lived alone
carrying your faded baby picture
around the factory floor

in the morning
watching for deer
from the bus window

the sun dancing
along every wrinkle
you never noticed

the passing of time

your thin black hair
slicked back
with a cheap plastic comb

eat your lunch
apple first
tuna sandwich
with the crust cut off

wait to go home.

.

.

About the Author: 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 Poetry, 2017),Your Daughter’s Country (Blue Horse Press, 2019), and Which Way to the River: Selected Poems 2016-2020 (OAC Books, 2020). 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.

.

More By John Dorsey:

Anthony Bourdain Crosses the River of the Dead

Punk Rock at 45

Perpetual Motion

.

Image Credit: Dorothea Lange “Baby from Mississippi parked in truck at FSA (Farm Security Administration) camp, Merrill, Oregon” (1939) The Library of Congress

Lynn White: “The Light At The End Of The Tunnel”

.

service-pnp-habshaer-nv-nv0400-nv0436-photos-366236pv

.

.

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

They all said the same,
that the light
at the end
of the tunnel
had been switched off.
She didn’t believe it.
Who would do such a thing?
So she went in search of it
wended her way along
the long dark tunnel
until she saw it
just a speck at first,
a glimmer of
starlight
shining
seemingly
from the outside in
while leaving the dark
outside.
Perhaps they were right
someone had turned it off
inside.
She scrambled up towards
to the end of the tunnel
and searched for the switch.
She found it
turned it on
and then
all was bathed in light
flooded with bright white light
but still she saw nothing
nothing hopeful
just emptiness
bathed in light,
in blinding light
so bright
so blinding
she fell back
disoriented
into the dark
into the emptiness of the dark.

She left the light on.

.

.

About the Author: Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud ‘War Poetry for Today’ competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including: Apogee, Firewords, Peach Velvet, Light Journal and So It Goes. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/

.

More by Lynn White:

Imagination’s Real

We Should Have Seen It Coming

.

Image Credit: Douglas M. Edwards “Nevada Spoils Tunnel, south end interior, view northeast – Hoover Dam, Nevada Spoils Tunnel, Near the Lower Portal Tunnel Access Road, Boulder City, Clark County, NV” (2003) Image courtesy of the Library of Congress

Eric Burgoyne: “Witnessing the Arrival”

.

.

21

.

Witnessing the Arrival

My wife sleeps alone as
the meandering breeze
rustles palm fronds framing
a gibbous moon.

Across the road, gazing
into anthracite sea, I stand
on the beach listening
to instant echoes of the

Soft crunch and shatter of
waves meeting the reef
forty yards offshore, reflecting
on the beauty of life.

Those waves survived thousands
of miles punished by unrelenting
winds before transcending
the Hawaiian Trench.

Reaching our resting island
in the middle of the night
relieved someone is present to
witness their arrival.

Thinning lunar light leaves
faint shadows on the sand
as I walk home to my wife
in her relieved repose.

Reunited after our years apart.
As a lost wave gratefully
reaching solid ground, anxious to
embrace and caress its warmth.

.

.

About the Author: Eric Burgoyne is a poet living in Haleiwa, Hawaii. His degrees are from Reading University, Berkshire, England, and the University of Utah. Later this year he completes a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Teesside University, Middlesbrough, England. When not writing and reading he’s surfing, motorcycling, or chasing his grandchildren.

.

Image Credit: Chase Dimock “Hawaiian Waves” 2019