Jay Sizemore: “Fiesta corrida”

 

 

Fiesta corrida
~after Hemingway

Every day it’s the running of the bulls
and every day it’s a fiesta,
alternating sips of absinthe,
brandy, and beer,
tastes of licorice, caramel, and malt,
our bodies just gaseous
place holders for want
for something else,
something beyond these moments.

Let’s go to Paris,
let’s go to Madrid, to every land
in between, where the world
trundles forward
like a train on a track without end
and the people act unaware
of even being onboard,

where the sky opens itself
like the bare back of a bather,
where the mountains and the clouds
rest beyond the horizon
like crumpled butcher’s paper,
and everything just lives
for the sake of living,

never minding the hearts
nor their desires unrequited
their ventricles filled
with cherry-scented smoke,
the mornings will be cold
as the afternoons will be hot,
the beaches bright and reflective
beneath an unforgiving sun,
which only makes the water
more appealing to the flesh.

 

 

About the Author: Jay Sizemore is a poet and author of 15 collections of poetry. He currently works and lives near Portland, Oregon.

 

Image Credit: Joaquim Mir, Terraced Village (1909) Public Domain

Joseph Mills: When the Dance Instructor Says “Follow Your Partner’s Lead”

 

 

When the Dance Instructor Says “Follow Your Partner’s Lead”

Ignore the imperative,
the possessive “your,”
the complicated questions
of trust and simply ask,
how you can both
“follow your partner’s lead.”

Wouldn’t that be
an Escher painting,
a Moebius strip?

I’m following you
following me
following you
following…

and perhaps that’s the point.
Most in relationships
understand the ebb and flow
that occurs, the changing
of places and leads
over the day and days and years.
Of what good is it
to assign positions
to the wave and the water?
Which hand is responsible
for what happens
when hand meets hand?

 

 

About the Author, Joseph Mills: A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, I have published six collections of poetry, most recently “Exit, pursued by a bear” which consists of poems triggered by stage directions in Shakespeare. My book “This Miraculous Turning” was awarded the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family. Last year I published my debut work of fiction, “Bleachers: 54 linked fictions” which takes place at a youth soccer game.

 

Image Credit: Russell Lee “Round dance. Pie Town, New Mexico. Among people where square dancing is the usual form of dancing, regular ball room dancing is called “round dancing” (1940) The Library of Congress

Nadia Arioli: “On “I Walk Without Echo” by Kay Sage”

 

(You can view Sage’s painting “I Walk Without Echo” here)

 

 

On “I Walk Without Echo” by Kay Sage

To be a woman is to be caustic
with no power. To instigate

but not to burn. A bellyless earthquake,
a doctor’s bill that goes on and on.

They say we were made second.
Helpmate, companion, never the main

story. A plot point in a chapter
about blood. We go back,

the feminine parts of ourselves,
fetus Matryoshka dolls.

My mother said I looked like one
as a baby. I thought she meant I was

one. I learned in an encyclopedia
I was right. My mother was in utero

with ova. An ovum became half
of me. I’ve still got most my eggs.

To be second but half already there
and while carrying half of the next feels

like a mathematical anomaly,
the kind that would fill a volume.

I sat holding up my dress, bent into three
points: head, knees, one between. Lips

out like shellfish. I want to walk
without echo. I wait on a porcelain ear.

I picture it—perfectly round O’s
of red. Such a bright color in the dark.

I will it: I walk without echo.
Bleed, damn you.

 

 

About the Author: Nadia Arioli (nee Wolnisty) is the founder and editor in chief of Thimble Literary Magazine. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Spry, SWWIM, Apogee, Penn Review, McNeese Review, Kissing Dynamite, Bateau, Heavy Feather Review, Whale Road Review, SOFTBLOW, and others. They have chapbooks from Cringe-Worthy Poetry Collective, Dancing Girl Press, and a full-length from Spartan.

 

 

Mj Taylor: “my drunken alibi”

 

my drunken alibi
cd not pass

erased from her life
like chalk

a best friend
a spirit intertwined

gone like
the setting sun

it’s been two years
& the words hang

heavy on my lips
the would-have-been’s

the old man’s regret
like a halo

the snow falls in
nebraska & i cant help

but think of
you in this cold

in mill
valley

 

About the Author: Mj Taylor is a poet living in NE. He has been nominated for the Pushcart prize as well as Best of the Net. He has two chapbooks, “Rattled” (kleft Jaw Press) & Skee-Ball at the Holy Arcade (River Dog). He can be reached at mktaylorjr93@gmail.com

 

Image Credit: Arthur Rothstein “Melting snow. Hayes County, Nebraska” (1940) The Library of Congress

Jonel Abellanosa: “Anilius”

 

 

Anilius

And if some people and nonpeople
call us false coral snake? Nothing
untrue with the bright red and black
bands segmenting our bodies in your
fossorial wonder, ways you follow
imagination’s slither into quiet joy.

Evolution has left us the vestigial
pelvic girdle, which makes me picture
human swaying hips – to and fro
geometry to hunger’s kiss, zig and zag
into beetle delicacies, fish and frogs
of lunar gourmandizing.

We bear the oldest ancestral traces,
skulled, like lizards, with God’s
original blueprint for our biology,
most resembling our kin that bit heels
of dinosaurs – finding the broken
fangs way it isn’t edible.

 

 

About the Author: Jonel Abellanosa lives in Cebu City, The Philippines. His poetry and fiction are forthcoming in Poetry Salzburg Review, Chiron Review and Eunoia Review; and appeared in hundreds of magazines, including As It Ought to Be, The Lyric, Thin Air, Rigorous, Loch Raven Review and The Anglican Theological Review. His poetry collections include, “Songs from My Mind’s Tree” and “Multiverse” (Clare Songbirds Publishing House, New York), “50 Acrostic Poems,” (Cyberwit, India), “In the Donald’s Time” (Poetic Justice Books and Art, Florida), and his speculative poetry collection, “Pan’s Saxophone” (Weasel Press, Texas). His works have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Dwarf Stars and Best of the Net Awards.

 

More by Jonel Abellanosa:

Jaguar

 

Image Credit: Image from: The naturalists’ miscellany: London: Printed for Nodder co,1789. Image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Omobolanle Alashe: “Posterity’s Grave”

 

 

Posterity’s Grave

The early hours of Tuesday morning
saw Providence donning a dark cloak
with stars across the somber fabric
and blood running through its weft
She was majestic in all her gore-ish regalia,
off to till the earth for premature graves
This was neither intended nor planned
then again, nothing ever is
and Providence knew this as she gathered wood for early coffins
and sowed seeds for our chrysanthemums
Her tears would water the soil
that covers our graves in black roses.

Burial shrouds make for subtle foreshadows in times like these.

 

 

About the Author: Omobolanle Alashe is an emerging African writer who sees the power in words and the beauty in their expression (as dark as they may come). She juggles life as an undergraduate law student, poet and language enthusiast. Some of her work may be seen in Clumsy Spider Publishing, Tell! Africa Publishing, As It Ought To Be Magazine, OyeDrum Magazine among others. She has an anthology in the works and hopes to publish it soon.

You may contact her at bolanlealashe@gmail.com and @bo.la.nle_a (Instagram).

 

More by Omobolanle Alashe:

Cherish

 

Image Credit: Still Life by Egon Scheile (1908) Public Domain

Paul Koniecki: “1976”

 

 

1976

the Bicentennial Minute
is playing on the cathode
ray tube in the corner

in the yard around
the house you’ll own
for fifty years

half-full November
is an annual feast
eleven twelfths gone

and i am ten
someone said an old score
i am the skin of broken grapes

in the house alone
to hide or burn it down
your drinking makes me drunk

fire requires an accelerant
hiding is another kind
heart racing faster

holding one’s breath
takes oxygen
away

the harder you try
to be an empty room
each year i blow one more candle

wishing beyond invisibility
to disinvent
myself

 

About the Author: Paul Koniecki lives and writes in Dallas, Texas. He was once chosen for the John Ashbery Home School Residency. He is the Associate Editor of Thimble Literary Journal.

 

More by Paul Koniecki :

today the sky is
a flag that helps everyone

 

Image Credit: Benjamin Franklin Upton “Portrait of a little boy named, Frank” 1851–1856 Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

Sonya Wohletz: “Piñon Tree”

 

Piñon Tree

In the old schoolyard there is a piñon tree,
Stooped and curled in the palm of a gentle slope,

A shelter where we drew alliance from a shadow.
We prognose her promises in fine-twigged fingers

viscid and clear issuing forth from the strips
Of bark that flays itself in offering to the sun.

A flame incandescent with the need for rain
Cries hoarse in the blue cradle of a desert noon.

I throw pumice stones in ellipse, one by one, then air—
powdered cast-offs patterning an elegant script

Across skins, telling of a heart, the vixen vein, or dog dream.
I didn’t aim for anyone there among the rabbit

Brush, amidst the smell of Easter and all the shells
Of the first story cracking open. A fragile yolk

that cannot be responsible for what I see entrailed.
This, the shrine that carves itself into a waking earth

With its slicing axis of damp and salt. The maternal blood
Swallowing speech into its quiet palace. I wonder how

Sorrow and pain have shaped the throat of grace. The
Blood council warns: “Do not invite anger here,
deceit, nor regrets. do not dissolve the home we are
Making for you here in thought.” I’ve

Lost the thread now of a poem where I stand beside
A boy or a tree and confront all of the deaths

I could not watch, the mother of each that places
Doubt on the cool ground beneath that tree,

Who places the rocks in my hand, who speaks
The word for throw in the language of forgiveness.

 

 

About the Author: Sonya Wohletz is a writer and researcher whose interests include colonial Latin American art, the motions of the planets, bats, the weather. Her work has appeared in Latin American Literary Review, La Piccioletta Barca, Unlimited Literature, and others.

 

Image Credit: William Bell “Piñon tree, Kanab Cañon, Utah” (1872) The Library of Congress

Paul Corman-Roberts: “Evolved Reptile Brain From Arrakis”

 

 

Evolved Reptile Brain From Arrakis

Evolved reptile brain wants to burn it all down.
Evolved reptile brain plateaus
at the spilling edge of nihilism
the real reason
Atlantis took a dive.

Big Reptile prayed for the meteor.
Big Reptile
                          got the meteor.

The simplest of details
like that little detail
left unattended
lying
in the corner
on the floor.

So many cannot rest
until this detail is secured.
Some move on to the other details
lying in other corners
they continually forget about.

We make so many excuses for our heroes
that we don’t make for our friends.
We make too many excuses to our friends
because we don’t imagine them as heroes.

I don’t know what it is
about tonight
but this feels
like one of those
very rare nights
when everyone is going to be ok.

And I don’t mean like “Oklahoma” Ok…
          …or maybe I do.
I’m not actually an authority
on what “ok” is.
It took me a long time to learn

I want the fucked up horrible dreams.
They make me feel relevant.
I get that these are a blessing.
I get that I’m lucky
                          they are only dreams.

I promise you are safe with me.
Please don’t hate me for that.

It’s too easy to say our masculinity is toxic.
It is actually much worse than that.
It’s a one-way ticket into the abyss.
They didn’t make a map for the way out.
But sooner or later we all go in.

 

 

About the Author: About the Author: Paul Corman-Roberts is the author of the forthcoming full length poetry collection “Bone Moon Palace” forthcoming in Spring 2021 from Nomadic Press. Corman-Roberts is an original co-founder of the Beast Crawl Lit Fest in Oakland CA where he organizes and teaches.

 

Image Credit: Digital art adapted from Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, London: Academic Press, [etc.],1833-1965. Image courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library

Samuel Prestridge: “Feeder”

 

 

Feeder

Scrabbling colors–birds rioting seed,
a broadcast punctuated
by squirrels
                         as I hand feeders
from limbs, rails, poles, to my short wife.
She fills them, hands them back,
a Saturday task done
for luck, for variegated finches;
dull republican sparrows; blue jays,
braying fundamentalists; and,
this morning, one bald cardinal—
alopecia or a mate’s black
savagery.
                     The morning rhymes
with dirt-roads, years arranging
rearrange the evenings’ crows’
F’koff! F’koff! or hearing one night, two cold
stanzas into a poem that gave me only
two, a fluttering, then silence quilting
the beat before the rasping, bitter
call of the existentialist bird,
pure pique drawn naked
over a cheese grater. 
                                         It cried once,
flew away, never returned,
or at least, I never heard it.
But there’s a resonance, even now,
something in me saying Yes . . . yes, you’re right.  

Sometimes, it’s just like that.     

Not for what we offer, birds come,
not because not offering would keep them
here or away. 
                             Small charities suggest,
suggest, suggest, suggest, each repetition
feting the air thicker, stubbing any move
against an ignorant amazement
that isn’t anything but a lack 
of anything else. 

Once, Fort Worth, I saw Deke Birds fall
from St. Patrick’s cathedral.  Conical lumps
sprouted wings, veered upward inches from smash,
worked air to gabled roof peak
for yet another hurling.
                                                 They didn’t feed as they fell,
weren’t gaudy about it, weren’t attracting mates.
The plunge was itself, the rushing down,
wings clamped to succor a plummet
so intense it seemed a longing,
a sidewalk smack avoided
by a feather’s breadth. 
                                            Dropping,
they sang, their cry, a large tear
drawn upward through a slide whistle.

I don’t know all the birds outside
our window, don’t want to know,
don’t know why, but we feed them,
not for what’s done, but that they’ve come,
that they’re here, and we know as much. 

                It’s not so much a hoping
as a way of living in lieu of.  We do; 
they come.  They’d come, anyway,
but in our doing, we welcome
the scrabbling wings, the hunger
toward which we raise our hands.

 

 

About Samuel Prestridge: I live and work in Athens, Georgia.  I have published articles, poems, essays, and interviews in a wide range of publications, including Literary Imagination, Style, Appalachian Quarterly, Paideuma, Poem, and The Southern Humanities Review.  

 

Image Credit: Illustration from A popular handbook of the birds of the United States and Canada,. Boston,Little, Brown,1903. Courtesy of the Biodiversity Heritage Library.