Simon Perchik: Two Poems

You lean into this tree as if its roots
struck something made from wood
no longer moves, became an island

with mountains laid out in rows
and though they have no arms
they open them when someone

is left close by –under such a weight
their hands break apart the Earth
from feeling their way around it

grave after grave, blinded by moonlight
as the chunks you never saved
form this nearly empty night

with nothing but the bright green hole
this dying tree drains, keeps dry
between what you wanted and the shine.

*

From inches away his finger can’t miss
–the other kid plays dead, falls arm over arm
the way all games come with a well

are filled with wishes hardened into stones
sure the Earth would go along
though there’s no splash –what you hear

is the thud that purifies each death
as one aimless night followed by another
overflowing and this park

becomes the sudden laughter
you no longer get to be
are waiting for this dry wooden bench

to open, let you in, hear the stream
stones hear when young, not yet
sent to the bottom even in the afternoon.

 

 

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems published by box of chalk, 2017. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at http://www.simonperchik.com.

Advertisements

Peter Leight: “Feeling Uncertain”

Feeling Uncertain

When I want to know how I’m feeling
I place my hands on the surface of my body
and move them around,
it is tender the way it always is—
I’m trying to be careful
in order to feel more carefully,
checking in with my feelings,
hi there,
how are you feeling?
Are you feeling okay?
You don’t want to have bad feelings,
or a feeling that is a pointless or worthless feeling,
or the kind of helpless feeling you have when you don’t even feel like yourself,
as if you’re having somebody else’s feelings—
you’re not even sure if it’s confusing or if you’re just being inclusive,
as in Lonely Avenue,
songs of Ben Folds,
Nick Hornby words,
and photographs by Joel Meyerowitz
after the song Lonely Avenue first performed by Ray Charles.
Of course, you want your feelings to get along together,
to be comfortable with each other,
although there are also times when you don’t even know how you feel,
or if you’re feeling anything,
you’re not even sure what it feels like to feel something—
when this happens I lay my hands on my body and move them across the surface
in the sort of shallow arc a jumprope makes,
it feels a little swollen,
as if there’s something under the surface that’s pressing on the surface,
buried like a fossil or relic waiting to be brought up on Lonely Avenue,
I could cry, I could cry, I could cry.

 

Peter Leight previously published poems in Paris Review, AGNI, FIELD, Beloit Poetry Review, Raritan, Matter, and other magazines.

Tim Gavin: “Hoping to See a Vision at Saut d’Eau Waterfalls”

Hoping to See a Vision at Saut d’Eau Waterfalls

Our words–a few casting clouds–
Shadows drifting over a vast landscape–
Of trees, rocks, valleys, and fields
Others spoke but their silence between
Phrases left an echo of a soundless vowel
That occurs at the beginning of a word
Before the breath forces the first syllable
While behind us a man with a white cane
Marked with red single-stepped his way
Through the crowd to see beyond here
And now of what no one else could

 

Tim Gavin is an Episcopal priest, serving as the head chaplain at The Episcopal Academy, located in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania. He oversees the school’s volunteer service cooperative and its partnership program with St. Marc’s School in the Central Plateau of Haiti, which he visits three to four times a year. His poems have appeared in many journals and most recently in The Anglican Theological Review, About Place Journal, Chiron Review, Digital Papercut, Evening Street Review, Screech Owl Review, HEArt On-Line Journal, The Lake, Poetry Quarterly, decomP magazinE ,and Blue Heron Review. He lives with his wife and sons in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania.

James Owens: “Lesson”

Lesson

The gray and white cat
stills and tightens

at the edge of
the weed-and-Easter lily patch,

tail-tip twitching serious,
and blurs into chase

when the
cottontail bursts

out to kick through
the weed-and-raspberry patch.

The rabbit scuds
deftly under the board fence.

Wham, the cat doesn’t fit,
recoils and

shakes the blow from his head.

 

James Owens‘s most recent collection of poems is Mortalia (FutureCycle Press, 2015). His poems, stories, and translations appear widely in literary journals, including publications in The Fourth River, Kestrel, Adirondack Review, Tule Review, Poetry Ireland Review, and Southword. He earned an MFA at the University of Alabama and lives in Indiana and northern Ontario.

Mariya Deykute: “Coming Home”

Coming Home
 
I must have always been in the house,
ear pressed to the ground.

Earth smell; catacomb warrens;
Akhmatova fall; God-light on everything.

The Mongols touched this land–
right here, below my temple.

What do we leave in the places we leave
forever, what scraps decay in the roots?

Skeletal, high voltage towers march
carrying lightning between them.

Kaschej the Deathless hides among them,
gnaws on his own femur.

I hear armies inverted underground,
still in their helmets.

The tallest surepka grows from their feet,
the sweetest pervotsvet. Even the house

stops its gestures to listen,
secrets folded like heirloom

tablecloths: birds and fish embroidered
over stains, silk delicate at the seams.

What am I but a ghost in its snuffbox?
What am I but a flicker

on the ground, mouth full of spring fir?
From the road, you wouldn’t know a door

was here. Every time I sleep I travel and yet
stay still, surrender the dusk knowing,

the twilight logic. I remember America,
even as it fades: that was a beautiful dream.

I am here now because I fell asleep here, as a child.
My grandfather’s finger reached from the ground

and pressed a fingernail of dirt deep into my ear.
Wherever I go, I only hear his soldiers’ songs,

homeless sounds, time slowing in eddies.
I was always here, even as I thought

I was somewhere else. There is a beard of moss
on the gate, a bird in the eaves. Mongol blood

chokes in restlessness on the flowering linden.
Kaschej tans in the trees. Sweetness excuses everything,

sunlight on Lethe. Underground, the dead soldiers
sing in sync with my heart, the wind

a train whistle that learned my name.

 

Mariya Deykute was born in Russia, raised in Brooklyn and grew up in the UMass:Boston MFA program. She is a poet, performing artist and teacher. Currently, she teachers on the Navajo Reservation and is the founder and curator of the First Fridays reading series in Gallup, NM. History is important to her; as are words; as is our inner and outer wilderness. 

George Freek: “Fear of the Cosmos”

Fear of the Cosmos

(After Su Tung Po)

I open the window,
and breathe the spring air.
I stare at a sickle moon.
The night is incredibly clear.
I can hear crickets,
hidden in the grass
singing discordant hymns.
I’m lost in memories
of springs past.
I drink a glass of wine.
I’ll soon be fifty-five.
The stars surround me,
a halo in the sky,
but they are far away.
They bring me no cheer,
and they’ve been dead
for millions of years.

 

George Freek is a poet/playwright living in Belvidere, IL. His poetry has recently appeared in Carcinogenic Poetry, The Adelaide Review, Off Course, The Tipton Poetry Journal, The Ottawa Review of the Arts, and The Sentinel Liteayr Quarterly. His plays are published by Playscripts, Inc.; Lazy Bee Scripts; and Off The Wall Plays.

Joseph V. Milford: Two Poems from “After the Mermaids Have Gone, Vol. 1”

16.
 
I’m free of the anvil
That hath killed all my
Neighbors

[insert Norwegian death metal shredding]

I’m free of the succubus
And have been sodomized
By Muses

[insert Norwegian death metal shredding]

The occult, with its
Focus on freedom
Is in the gutters and tapwater
Of this smalltown venue

[insert Norwegian death metal shredding]

 

24.
 
My heroes didn’t hear my songs
And I didn’t hear theirs until they were dead

We miss each other and don’t even know
Our own cornbread with cracklings, the stale musty

Living room, with the plaid-covered couch
And its wooden frame where guitars were played within

The wood—the paneled wooden walls and false teeth
Of the great-grandmas

Rattling at night in glasses
In the medicine cabinets

As the trains earthquake by with promises

 

Joseph V. Milford is the author of the poetry collections CRACKED ALTIMETER (BlazeVox Press) and TATTERED SCROLLS AND POSTULATES, VOL I. (Backlash Press). He is an English professor and Creative Writing instructor living south of Atlanta, Georgia. He also edits the online poetry thread, RASPUTIN, A POETRY THREAD.