Daniel Edward Moore: “Fishers of Men”

Fishers of Men

I will not cast a line, not anymore,
not when regardless of where it lands

I’m still bent on a bridge at dawn
waiting for my failures to jump.

I’m the LED bulb on the fluffer’s face
making his tackle box shine, the last

inch spinning off the rod’s hot reel,
the farthest distance from feel.

Now do you see how lies take me down
like a fish belly up on the river below?

The brighter the sun, the bigger the bottle.
Yes, he’s a fisher of men, and yes, violence

is hunger with a hook, and porn technology’s
axe in the ice on the frozen sea of me.

I am a bucket flopping with men, a study in
gasping for air. Someone throw me back quick.

Daniel Edward Moore’s poems have been published in journals such as The Spoon River Poetry Review, Rattle, Columbia Journal, and others. He lives in Washington on Whidbey Island. His recent book, Confessions Of A Pentecostal Buddhist, can be found on Amazon. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Visit Daniel at Danieledwardmoore.com

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Jen Escher: “Wayfaring”

Wayfaring

These flip-flops cost me $7.99 at Aldi’s,
the Whole Foods for broke folks, where I shopped
that summer I wasn’t contributing.
Farming for fennel then burning it up
in a slick of generic olive oil.
 
These embossed, beige soles have felt
the soft red soil of Rocky Ford, Georgia
where I paced and smoked and cried and draft dodged
because I’m a liberal witch who drinks
Dad’s friends under the bar to make him proud.
 
They have marched and slapped through backlot truck stops
in Bemiji, Minnesota where I screamed myself mute,
and the isolation of going straight
to voicemail provided self-reliance.
 
They have skipped over the broken asphalt
and petroleum rainbow puddle pools
in Chattanooga, Tennessee where Mom
laughed tears to the notion of us walking
away from the action flick explosion
caused by my discarded cigarette butt.
 
They have shuffled quite anonymously
through the infinity mirror hallways
of half a dozen hotels from Knoxville
to Milwaukee where night sweats, love, and guilt
are collected every morning and soaked
in bleach for a false sense of purity.
 
They have clopped through ethnic restaurants —
vintage, thrift, coffee, and record shops.
Tapped the ball of my foot from barstool heights,
and been tossed aside for backyard fire nights,
or pretzel-leg sits or beach wave crashes,
tomato sauce lessons or rash sex sessions.
 
V’s are branded into the tops of both feet
from cold beer on the balcony sun burns
which are fading away like the length of the days.

 

Jen Escher is an adjunct English professor and a writer of memoir, poetry, and thinly-veiled memoir touted as fiction. She lives in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin (in a quickly emptying nest) where she cheerfully writes about the dark, dense, and complicated human magic that is love, sex, and self-destruction.

 

 

 

Stephen Mead: “Menthol”

Menthol

White car, white curtain & snow is falling past
the white sill, its chipped paint, these misted panes…

Should your ghost show up now wrapped in veils
& smelling of the weather, the scentless ether fog
& as still as the parked white car

whose headlights are wolf’s eyes yet on the prowl,
then it shall be just another scene written in blank script,
the sound on mute, but for one flake & the next,

that gown hush, & both of us swallowed,
Director, take note,

by the next exhaled drag.

 

A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published outsider artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. In 2014 he began a webpage to gather links of his poetry being published in such zines as Great Works, Unlikely Stories, Quill & Parchment, etc., in one place:  Poetry on the Line, Stephen Mead

 

Arushi Singh: “The Last Breath”

 

The Last BreathA passionate writer and literature enthusiast, Arushi Singh has been experimenting with free style poetry for a few years. She is from Delhi, India, and is currently studying literature Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. She has had her poetry published in magazines like Page and Spine, Literary Yard, One Sentence Poems, Fourth and Sycamore and others, and her first poetry collection, Deviant: The Obscenity of Truth, is now out on Amazon.

Carol Hamilton: “Morning, Green Tea, the Efforts”

Morning, Green Tea, the Efforts

The quiet places hide
in the space where
important papers gather.

They are drawn, as I,
to that spot of sunlight
on maple floorboards,

the space all around the mobile
only touched with bright
blue, magenta, green, orange, yellow.

It is not the lifting
but the dropping things off
into forever that is hard.

But there you go, flutter up
in spring warmth like
the wakened monarchs of Michoacán,

you with important documents
gripped tight in imminent approach
to the grim-faced immigration officer.

But I don’t have to cross borders.
I can sit here in a pool of light
until the sun is high at last

and all the fists open,
the silenced voices speak,
and I am ready.

 

Carol Hamilton has recent publications in Paper Street, Common Ground, Louisiana Review, Pontiac Review, Sanskrit. Louisiana Literature, Off the Coast and others. She has  published 17 books, most recently, SUCH DEATHS. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma and has been nominated seven times for a Pushcart Prize.

Bob Meszaros: “Mrs. Matilda May”

Mrs. Matilda May

1869—

Here, among the pockmarked tombstones
of the poor, below the sycamore that drapes
its ancient limbs across the graveyard sky,
(its thin bark peeling like old skin, day after
day, month after month, year after year)
the dirt lane’s wide enough for just one car.

Born in eighteen sixty-nine, the absence
of a final date keeps her mystery alive.

Childless? Forgotten? An old woman dying
in the house alone? Are her ashes mingling
with the ashes of some other man, or were
they caught by a gentle wind and carried
throughout the world, without end?

Here, where the sycamore bends and twists
its mottled limbs into the sky, above the neatly
chiseled letters of her name, before the heartwood
rots, I carve her initials in the living tree.
No need that death be writ in stone.

 

Bob Meszaros taught English at Hamden High School in Hamden, Connecticut, for thirty-two years. He retired from high school teaching in June of 1999. During the 70s and 80s his poems appeared in a number of literary journals, such as En Passant and Voices International. In the year 2000 he began teaching part time at Quinnipiac University, and he began once again to submit his work for publication. His poems have subsequently appeared in The Connecticut Review, Main Street Rag, Red Wheelbarrow, Tar River Poetry, Concho River Review, and many other literary journals.

Salvatore Difalco: “Manhattan”

Manhattan

6 am: adjacent man in bad wig snaps
like a slug. He’s too ugly for us, skin like canvas,
an ancient egg his skull. He eschews the relic
airs of the neighbour, Mr. Dust, rabble of the hood,
age-spots his calling card. Folks, this is no new
found land, wearing out its greenhorns—decrepit
rules even in its shiny zones of tony brands.
Nothing would survive the flat, expired robes
he wears for breakfast in his musty nook,
rotting man, no smile to spare, so toothless.
He wears earplugs for myopia, plays phone tag
with his God in a red psychedelic sweater.
I’m just saying, nothing like Manhattan
in the morning, even when you’re rotting,
even when you don’t know that you’re dead.
 

Sam Difalco lives in Toronto. His work has appeared in print and online.