Catherine Owen: “Funeral”

Funeral

And so the bees became widows
But this was not enough for us.
We had to decimate their longing too.

In fields of poppies, the hives dried their tears.
Autumn arrived with its smoke & sorrows.
We remembered childhood but it only angered us

With its purity. You know the heart.
Its wasps hold endless stingers. Or does it only harbour
One simple, irredeemable wound in it.

No, you won’t understand until it’s too late.
And winter has snowed in
All the honey of our lives.

 

Catherine Owen has published 13 collections of poetry and prose. Her work has received grants and awards and been toured nationally. Her upcoming compilation of memoirs is called Locations of Grief: an emotional geography. “Funeral” is from an MS titled The Letting Go Poems.

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Kavona White: “I Ain’t Crazy”

I Ain’t Crazy

Been losing grip
Feeling myself quickly slip
Into this bed of sorrows
But I got work tomorrow
I know how this story ends
But I’ll enlist my therapist
Admitting to my troubles
Discussion begins with emotions
That have been impossible to sort
Between what’s reality and a nightmare
Impulses and negative thinking
Childhood traumas
Daddy and my po’ momma…
Are they the reason behind it all?
Or am I just too damaged?
Irreparable
Just an angry black female
Fucking her way through life
Hanging on by a thread
Blaming everyone else in her way
Taking hits and blows
That’s all a sista knows…
Pain is all a sista knows
There’s little time to wallow
Damn I got work tomorrow
There’s all these bills overdue and…

Cowardly I give up
Running fast
Away from existence
To hell with this world
I don’t need you.

 

Kavona White is a “poet in the making.” She received her B.A. in Sociology from Norfolk State University. She will be attending her alma mater for a Creative Writing Program Fall 2018. She is an advocate for minority women issues and mental health. Her aesthetic is personal, raw, and real.

 
 

Tim Robbins: “A Shipment of Joists”

A Shipment of Joists

At the In-And-Out Burger four
deaf women curl, straighten,
spread talkative fingers.
They’ve pulled off their rings.
The brunette with plastic
jewels on her chest endangers
her nails.

First visit to the new trailer in
Florida, I get lost coming from
the shower. Futilely cross-
hatching the dark, I marvel
at dew fatter than fattest rain.

Having screwed me once, Tyler
gives my belly a tap
or rather takes a tap from it.
My navel is neat as a grain.
Ancient, pyramid-preserved,
it will sprout somewhere beyond
pain: words in the plane, tight
as my form pressed to the
curving wall.

New additions: divided
lenses, shy amplifiers in the
ear’s alcove (as though we
have to bug ourselves to spy
on loved ones).

Arch supports like paid companions
let us walk but keep us from kneeling.

Would these were as decorative
as the silk lilies and forsythia
that brighten and cheapen
your high-ceilinged home,
your recent honeymoon in Paris
and Rome, your calm amid the
flagrance of Versailles (which
would have been a battle cry
when we were a couple).

A new beat has lived in our pulse
from the moment we could walk,
the moment we could waltz,
the moment we tucked the sea
into our pocket and sauntered to
garden after garden.

In the narrowest bed imaginable
we fabricated. On the streets of
Berkeley we erected our first
disagreement. Scaling it abraded
our palms and left us panting.

Sunday mornings catty corner from
our window, the poor and those
who aspire to be poor gather
to hoist their good news over their
heads. The kids hurl it like
a dodge ball.

 

Tim Robbins teaches ESL. He has a B.A. in French and an M.A. in Applied Linguistics. He has been a regular contributor to Hanging Loose since 1978. His poems have appeared in Three New Poets, Slant, Main Street Rag, Adelaide Literary Magazine, Off The Coast, and others. His collection Denny’s Arbor Vitae was published in 2017. He lives with his husband of twenty years in Kenosha, Wisconsin, birthplace of Orson Welles. 

Tim Miller: “The Woman of Vix”

The Woman of Vix

Let my crooked look fall on you in life
and you’ll be free of infirmity and pain
and our people will know the far future.
I may wander the earth with a knobbled walk
and this hard, twisted face I turn at you,
and while no man will spread my waddling legs
I already know how you’ll bury me:
a thousand liters of wine in one krater
of bronze, a frieze of chariots and horses
on its rim and a gorgon gazing out
from each handle. I will be laid on a
wagon and adorned with Greek and Etruscan
treasure, with amber and diorite and iron,
with brooches and beads and rings and a torque
of gold round my neck fashioned at the ends
into the paws of a lion, and topped
with two tiny winged horses in ascent.
Not bad for a woman no one will love
and just right for a woman you can’t ignore.

France, 480 BC

 

Tim Miller‘s poem “The Woman of Vix” is part of a larger collection on prehistoric Europe, the entirety of which will be published later this year by the High Window Press. Other poems from this collection have appeared in Crannog, Londongrip, The High Window, Poethead, Cider Press Review, Cumberland River Review, The Basil O’Flaherty, Albatross, The Journal (Wales), Literary Juice, Bitter Oleander, Juked, Concho River Review, Foliate Oak, and others. His long narrative poem, To the House of the Sun, was published in 2015 by S4N Books. He writes about religion, history, and poetry at www.wordandsilence.com.

Maryam Barrie: “Settled by German Presbyterian Farmers”

Settled by German Presbyterian Farmers

Settled by German Presbitarian farmers, it was a town of Feldkamps and Finkbeiners, and my last name was Hanifi. Divorce was taboo, a scandal, it was 1966, and only my parents were divorced, though my mom would not admit it, as my father had not yet given her permission. The neighbors knew though, and Christina across the street would taunt me with it. I’d march Christina over to our screen door, and ask my mom to settle the question once and for all. She’d say, “The answer is the same thing I told you before.” Into that gray air I’d turn to Christina and try on a face of triumph.

It wasn’t just that. I was a brown little girl, and loved my brown Chatty Cathy doll dearly. There was one family in town darker. I’d explain the absence of my father by saying that he worked for the CIA behind the Iron Curtain. In Chicago.

My sense of otherness was palpable and had a tart tang. I cherished it, though I knew it set me on the outside. I was there anyway. My best friend, Galen, wore green satin pants to school, with three inch high platform shoes. In the library boys would drop off notes at our table that read “Die faggot!”

Moving back there after the degree, and marriage, and daughters, one woman I had been in Girl Scouts with earnestly told me, after I had said how glad I was that my husband and mother would be the only ones watching my girls while I taught, “You know, you can put them in daycare.” At the one high school reunion I attended, my very drunk friend hoisted her up onto his shoulder, like Rhett Butler. He was wearing heels, and standing at the top of a steep stone set of stairs, weaving as he yelled, “Am I man enough for you now, Sue?” I wrassled her bottom off of his shoulder, setting her down safely. She was drunk too, and told me tearfully that she just wanted to live in a white picket fence world.

Her daughter and mine were in the same third grade classroom. That was the year girls told mine that she didn’t wear headbands correctly, once they’d demanded her help with math. Sue’s daughter, Megan, told mine that it didn’t matter if your feet were comfortable, it just mattered if your shoes looked new.

My husband and I wrote letters to the small newspaper. He wrote for gun control, and I wrote about treating gay students respectfully. When my friend died of AIDS, I had a fire in me to leave that town. So we did. I hear from my brown faced students here at the college that it is still not a good place to drive in whilst brown, or to be a brown face in their yearbooks. Let them have their sameness, and the way they are poised now to rule the world.

 

Maryam Barrie, married with two grown daughters, lives in an Oak and Hickory woods between Dexter and Chelsea, Michigan. She has taught at Washtenaw Community College since 1985. She is a read-a-holic, and loves gardening, trees, colors, the earth, Hildegard of Bingen, and poetry. Her favorite writer today is Lucia Berlin.

Robert Beveridge: “Pocket”

Pocket

In the darkest hours
I wonder
if she keeps a picture of me
in her breast pocket
tilted a bit
the pointed pocket corner
throwing my shoulder
to the bottom of her chest
the way I keep hers

 

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pulsar, Tessellate, and Scarlet Leaf Review, among others.