"Everywhere I look..." by Damian Fisher

Everywhere I look, I see suffering…

…I see signs where they are not

I make constellations where there are only

Stars

I wreak havoc on idle tides

To tear the stones from under

Ever more…

Adorned, in sainthood’s golden

Hairshirt’s whitewashed guilt, you too

Must confess those sins of…

To those crystalline eyes, each one a

Chandelier slip-of-the-tongue down to

Mine

Bedside, yours, that I creep to at dawn

Foggy mouthed wide eyed tired

…doubt

As I neell and whisper in our mother’s-

Tongue

Forgive me mother for I have forgiven

Mine father for I

Forgive yourself, for I have not forgiven—

I whisper to them in mother’s-tongue and

Seethe the sacrament; only pocket

Wafers…

…amen.

Everywhere I look starvations sees

And I suckle the coffers of the mother-

Tongue

Ever more I bring more to the father’s-last

-supper

With bread crumbs and wine for the hunch

(judas you have not done enough…

Nearly enough)

I’ve kelled for recindence of thirty years,

Like the Jew

Like the child I’ve begged for years,

Slighted forgiveness for mirrors

I’ve birthed the suffering of each day of which:

‘The silence and emptiness is so great

I look

I do not see

I pray and do not hear’ ;

Only emptiness; his free hands

Guide me.”

- Mother Teresa (1990)

"CODEX OF GLASS" by Raul Garcia

 

fractured

rainbow

vision

inebriated:

 

enumerations of a gaze

beyond the black mirrored

eyes

 

absinthe

of

a frozen star

 

---

 

anonymous

cities

 

to travel

we will have already met:

 

waiting

                      lingers on the streetpath

 

---

 

menagerie of our former faces

serve reflection

forgetfulness exhibited

in the skyline

that oversees sleep

 

rest here

 

until the door frames an escape:

passage

                                 to deserted remembrance

 

--

 

precipitations

slumber through the vacancies that streets map

 footsteps                      drifting

 

--

 

voices in the ruins of silence

salvaged

 

nothing lost, all sequestered to strangers

 

the impenetrable stillness of mannequins:

a witness to everyone

and says nothing

 

--

 

bedrooms transpired through the windowpane

a pulse

eclipsed my body       

 

hidden fingertips: I trembled as I tread in desolation

of your comfort

 

--

 

I am reminded

                   of

       conversations

 

not spoken: evading words immersed in distances

 

the farther the voices utter the familiar they are
to call

 

--

 

our shadows

have crossed daylight

as quiet as statues

they speak

 

the stare

                   reversed

                          to stare itself

--

 

hallucinations replenished

in waves

 

a gaze in meditations

to

elsewhere

 

by the echo of a hurricane

 

--

 

crimson flare

an ellipsis my eyes pursue

 

vapor trails of a glance eluding its distance

 

--

 

false awakenings imprint exposures of a blur

 

revelations

estranged dreams

obscure

 

someone

walking too far for home         too close to sleep

 

--

 

at the anonymous

hour

                          where footsteps

expire

 

                    the circumference of returning

 

--

 

shattered emptiness exhumed:

                       

                    lamplight embalms its scattered  

illumination

 

--

 

eyes unsure

withheld by sunglasses

 

crowd inundations

following the transit lines through the terminal:

 

they have forgotten what I said...       

 

my voice secured in an unusable payphone

the names it carries entombed

 

unnameable

fossils

 

--

                       

daydreams found

in static silhouettes

traversed all that has passed

 

            abandoned longings

                   effaced by departure

 

--

 

night encumbers the tinkering mirrors

of the wine trove

 

nebulous incandescence

subdued refractions

 

the stem

                          of the glass bell

nurturing our dormant voices

 

                                                we sip

                                     in transparency's

refrain

"City Bridges" by Allan Johnston

A train glimmering, rising from

the pedestrian light;

a dance in the weighted

song of work. 
                        If we link

exchange to promise,

would we unfurl

some banner

or a bright marquee
advertising compromise?

Between the head and the heart,
the weight of bright grid iron,
stands the gate to a still, blue bay
and bright, animate air ashine
in the trellis where feelings,
thoughts ensnare in the crisp wind
from the world at each height.
and gold moment’s monument;

sunlight plugs its change and charm. 
What is beyond creation? 
What few emancipations
anoint moments of seeing? 
Find your own breast; you have found
quixotic Spains of patterns.

Still, beyond, all you have hoped:
The city’s gleaming stitches,
the way each structure evokes
a need to cross the water,
then eases down into dream.
Water, the cross-roads, the bridge:
all underlie the planning,

the meaning and need,

the meeting of tribes,

 

traders who bring seashells

and immaculate gems,
the sacks of ripening seed
and fruit, the dressed, dried corpses:

these sinews mark the bridges to meetings,

thinking, reaching a bargain, spirited

air of concourse, the flesh and soul
uniting in this compact
of mud, water, the hard rock,
the refinement of iron,
the lifting over the bright bay

into the crenellated sunset

of the city rising

from destruction and creation,
the dance of impermanence
held still enough this moment.

It lets us enjoy the view.

untitled serial poem by patrick sanders

I

 

Trace the contours of a moment,

read the   sighs.

         Hold intuitively knowing

not to read  too   quickly too

deeply.

often a sigh is just a sigh.

 

There is no  rush with the new sun

         honeyglazing eyelids

         to the white heat of winter's

         last sigh.

 

its afterlife breathes in, pulling dust

to the treetops. leaflike

apparitions crest until the cold air catches –

 

There are many such sighs.

To assume that one would signal some end,

some permission to enjoy

those things that in their lack

we convinced ourselves useless,

is to gamble. we  wait

terminally. consequently

 

     By the time the contours are traced, the moment

has gone.

                  Perhaps  you are still holding when the tenderness tilts. and after

when you clutch for that strange headstatic

you find no comfort in wringing your lover.

closer. You writhe

here, wishing.          If only it were tomorrow! you long  knowing

it is too early to remember the static, too late

to be intoxicated  any more

under its influence.

 

 II

 

as if we live our own seasons

when we love. winter's charm

wears thin around its edges.

wonderfully articulate silences

between two parties

don't make the same

sense. between

the two seasons of a moment

there is silence. you feel claustrophobic

because you are now so with yourself

that you have forgotten you are still holding

someone that is not yourself. so much

that sweat lines where your bodies meet

and you are both appropriately embarrassed.

you have forgotten about the sigh wondering

if you should fill the silence whose presence

you now question. it is now a presence.

it is shadowed and its shadow weighs.

you are now so yourself

and this is not what you wanted. it is what you wanted

to escape. you want to escape. you wanted to escape

seeing everything's shadow and this is not what you wanted.

you fear you have forgotten the contours. worse you fear

you have mistraced them. the sun has gone down and you fear

you have wasted it. worse you fear there is nothing to keep your eyes

closed.   your cold skin  tells you the air has not caught its last wind and finally your lover asks you Shall we go inside? and you have forgotten everything's shadow and gotten some   glimpse

of bare desire to not be only yourself. you remind yourself not to make a shadow of this as the cold air reminds you where you have held.

III

 

you concoct a mythos that is half asleep. probably

you can't see the ghosts from out the window tonight.

still you swear the dust in daylight looks just like leaves.

in your head at least. your lover entertains this and suggests

that the moon is why you are both restless. it waxes night

after night and each time appears full. they insist that

it puts on this show each time the clouds disappear

to make way for spring. this is much more sensible

than your theory of dust apparitions,

but you do not make this known. together you map out:

 

SPRING comes with the final sigh of winter. after

the final sigh of winter. is the inhalation. is the breathing-in

that draws the thawing trodden leaves from their restingplace

to the bare branches on which they were born.

momentarily. they are ghosts now. they are dust.

this is spring's promise. it is unclear whether this

is a promise to the trees or to the leaves.

 

SPRING comes with the clearing of the sky. after

the clearing of the sky. is the moon in the cloudless sky.

is signaled by as much. is the performance of a moon

that never wanes but remains steadfast in its duty to carry

distant light to us. seeing as though we are on the crust

of a star ourselves. a star that has lost its light. it doubles

down on its efforts. this is spring's promise. it is quite clear

that this is a promise to us.

 

IV

 

despite fear you remember this

and work backwards. it is tomorrow,

but you have forgotten

that you had longed for tomorrow.

you still lie next to your lover.

they are in a restless morning sleep

so you do not move. the shadow

crosses you only as the shadow of

pleasure. the fear punctuating desire.

trying to sully it. you remember it

as passing. in the embrace of the

recurring static you do not move

and so fall back again. through the

squint of a shadow the sun paints

white your eyelids and you wake.

you have never been so aware

of your wrinkled clothing.

your lover is patting yesterday

from goodwill rags now looking

out the window. You were right

about the dust, they say and you

rise to see. your vision fixes

on the falling moon now pale, hanging

there to be seen. Oh, they say,

You've just missed it. What luck!

and you mention the moon at least

makes up for this absence.

but there is no moon and it is midday.

and there is no dust in the still air.

and there is no spring   yet.

 3 22 19

"What, Then, Is a List of Things Found" by Shana Ross

Two beetles that look like ladybugs, stretched

Red and spotted, but gaunt and elegant like

Very wealthy ladies from a big city

Their extra long antennae flexing, unable to be still

Though they move nothing else.

Buds covered in hair which seems like fuzz if I am not looking at the bugs

Through a magnifying glass so my perspective shifts

Hard for me to say if they will open into flowers,

Or leaves, or perhaps they have already failed to develop,

This shape their full destiny before an eventual fall.

This is where the wasp lands.

Aphids. Maybe. Something small and herding.

The crowd and silence feels domesticated

And therefore dulled in comparison.

A jumping thing that looks like the aphids,

It comes and goes, skittish

So perhaps it does not count.

A proper ladybug, round, spots semi-symmetrical

As in almost, but not quite

If you look close, similar to someone both

Near-sighted and profoundly nearsighted

Each eye troubling the face distinctly

It follows the red veins of the leaf

Unhurriedly, but unwilling to trespass

On the field of green.

The first set of beetles, now fucking,

If that’s what insects do,

Atop the buds that have not opened.

The milkweed, too, unfurls into summer

That will explode on the winds by fall

In the closeup recountenance, context obscured

Island of the miraculous and unloved,

The corner lot next to the Rite Aid.

Shana Ross is a poet and playwright with a BA and MBA from Yale University.  She bought her first computer working the graveyard shift in a wind chime factory.  Her writing career went dormant for years, for reasons both practical and best discussed in therapy, but she makes a respectable living as a consultant, executive coach, and global leadership expert.  In 2018 she dyed her hair purple and is starting to turn all that around.  This decade her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Anapest Journal, Anatolios Magazine, Apricity Press, Chautauqua Journal, Ghost City Review, The Hellebore, Indolent Press’ What Rough Beast project, Mad Scientist Journal, metafore, SHANTIH Journal, Street Light Press, The Sunlight Press, Voice of Eve, and Writers Resist

4 Poems by Bruce McRae

Sing-Along

 

A song sung by the house dust.

A song to the spider’s laborious thread.

A song in the tread of the emperor’s carriage.

 

The mother weeping

over dishes in a kitchen melodrama –

she hears it, clearly.

The mercenary, cutting thick necks –

he hears it too.

The song of the blue chord.

The song of December transposed into June.

Of the wrong-headed angel.

 

Music plays on a stone adze.

It slips beneath the arctic waters.

It sits very quietly at the back of a classroom,

counting its glass beads and saints’ knuckles.

Adjusting its badges and straps.

Accumulating dark knowledge.

 

You see the heart is an instrument.

The soul is a drum and a hand

pounding on the gates of a glassy heaven.

You see. The song is singing itself

in a night-stained doorway.

From out of the roof of your mouth.

 

A song about razors and cranberries.

A little song about a meteor shower,

about the rise and fall of dew.

The one we all sing, like wind under a rainbow

or chorus of doubt.

 

Beautiful shouting.

 


Space Between the Lies

 

 

Inane moon, maddened stars, cross-eyed planets,

Earth’s bell ringing in the salt and pepper lunacy,

the first night being also the last night,

existence circular in nature.

 

I’m on the light-path, one of the dark races.

I’m loving myself in a black mirror,

Deimos gesticulating, Phobos running not far behind,

Andromeda rattling her leg-irons,

gravity imposing its letter of the law,

atoms warring, space closing

like a door or an eye,

the ultimate silence thickening its broth.

 

My synapses sparkle and spar, mind delighted

with itself, its own divine machinations,

the universe a dull cliché, cosmos waterworn,

the Big Bang quaint in comparison –

like a cute little croft on Mare Frigoris,

say, or the red star of Christmas.

 

The space between the spaces expands,

while I gather in the far-off moments.

The infinite and eternal are wrestling quietly,

God in his heaven, or so I’m told,

a little brownstone bungalow

on the back steps of beyond.

 

All else, the miracle deepens.

 

 

 

A River Running Underground

 

 

In my mind is a paper mountain.

God shrugged, and that was my mind

separating one water from another water.

My mind imagined other minds.

It manufactured an idle daydream.

It made shadows after dark,

creatures without substance and form,

glass cities, ethereal fogginess,

the most beautiful of all the monsters.

 

In my mind is a sun weeping light.

Sparks star off an iron spike

while my mind paints jungle flowers,

highways of ice, celestial filaments,

an army of children crying:

“Toys and snowfall at Christmas!”

 

A vortex of quiescence,

and my mind is resting by a calm lake.

A storm’s fury and human furor

and my mind is wandering in a thick forest.

The universe is a single great thought,

my mind asleep on its downy pillow.

 

Where nothing, and no one, may wake it.

 

  

Auspicious

 

 

The weather promises to change

from man to animal.

Today’s forecast is absence,

with a chance of longing.

In the east, flying horses

and a scattering of flowers.

From the west, incursions,

barbarous hordes, black ice.

 

The weather changes its mind,

abandons its principles,

is forced to choose between

darkness and light.

They’re predicting tons

of tons and long cold showers.

They say it might break,

but we’re in for a hard spell.

 

Today’s weather is being

brought to you by sponsors

who’d rather you didn’t

put their names around.

Listener, the sea is rising

up out of its empty shell.

For all its talk of courage,

the wind is turning.

 

 

 

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island, BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with well over a thousand poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review. His books are The So-Called Sonnets (Silenced Press), An Unbecoming Fit Of Frenzy (Cawing Crow Press), Like As If (Pski’s Porch), and Hearsay (The Poet’s Haven).

"Sleepwalking" by Darian Bequette

we are the few

most observant

yet we are the most perplexed 


we are the ones who find ourselves falling asleep in mirrors

caught up in the world of pines

we called our home

pricked by the corners of stars

as we sink in water

and find mountains have grown

on our bones


all because we found a crystal like clearness

to the things we haven’t seen 

or may never see


the paradox with which

we are faced is astounding

skipping along in different dimensions

a tie fails to exist

as our knot is transparent

the scissors are vital 

but the cutting excessive

division brings us closer than never before


this modern glitch shows symmetry

and though your face shows geometry 

it does not show empathy


those loose fabrications twisting themselves together

i see the pattern before my eyes

i am at a whim

to fleeting nostalgia

lost in alternate settings

like the pictures on a screen 

faceless but moving


they say there is always hope

but at the same time hope is always fleeting

my struggle was never to prove to you that you were wrong

but rather that nothing is right


i’m in an ocean and i’m drowning

but there is no water in my lungs

i’m on fire 

but my skin doesn’t have any burns

that doesn’t mean i’ve never been hurt


transparent divisions surround me with

sweet shimmering nothings

i pass through air and get lost in other places

managing to shatter the glass in my lungs

i let my eyes blur over

for it’s a terrible storm in my mind

and when reality blends with daydreams 

like the colors morphing in a sunset 

i constantly feel as if i am sleepwalking

5 Poems by Maria Berardi

Abstract

(Long Cove, ME.)


Flat water, no demarcation

always undulating, o undines

sky? sea? A thin scrim

measureless depths, mermaids more limited

to paint on, not vapor; canvas.

than thought, nacreous slippers

This \/ represents flight.

flipped from the feet of strange princesses

This oblong is land.

here is richness, treasure past counting

This dot: . is: You Are Here.

life goes about her own program

Hang this on your bedroom wall.

the surf's violence to our soft flesh

Ponder it.

is freshness to the winkles, the whelks,

the rockweed and bladder-wrack.



The Coldest Part of the Coldest Time of the Year


January dawn darkness.

Ponderosa pines blessed with precipitation,

the fine edge between frost and snow, and


lodgepole pine's every needle

articulated by delicate white.

Aspen branches silvered


by intricate ice

suspend a waning moon

in their clutches.


Independent of it,

Venus, a planet;

to us, a star.


I hate that I love this,

that I feel an affinity to beauty,

deadly at this time of year.


Detachment is not in my nature

but it seems to be my path,

the only way out is through


and the only way through

is step after step,

plucking off


each snowflake,

ice-bit, like lint,

like errant feathers,


adoring this world I repudiate.

Denying the despair

that is legitimate but useless.


Holding and letting go,

embracing the loveliness continually

as I continually remove it from its hold on me.



Lattice


You are a lattice, a template.

We send up spindly strings of green


from that six inches of topsoil

that yields all our earth's life,


we shoot ourselves up towards you

and cling fast.

We project, we pray.

We infiltrate. The vine of us


thickens and deepens, splays out

in all directions simultaneously,


we are logorithmic,

we are exponential.


We lace out like cathedral windows,

like butterfly wings.


We grow all over you and, strong

and replete with sunlight, begin to bud.


Oh! The blossoms we burst out!

Oh purple and deepest blue!


Oh delicacy of fragrance!

Oh what fruit will come from this!


You are not there.

But now we are.


Bridge of green and flower,

sturdy as a city.


You are a problem of language

and this is where language stops.


Just words.

This, this: life.



The Faces Carved on the Harbor Pilings

Belfast, ME.


Bemused or mournful, the waning tide reveals them.

They regard the busted harbor and the gulls perched on them.


Thier wood is soft as fur from years of salt and turbulence,

their hood-folds and face lines are encrusted by barnacles.


Medieval, these monk-faces dream their double lives,

the air that slowly covers them in the waning tide,


their other wet element that inches up in the waxing tide,

that slowly and quickly nudges their bearing, fingers their grain.


At high tide they disappear to the Ocean Museum,

at home among sea stars, irish moss, and urchins.



Evergreen


Huge roots reach for water through boulders.

Wind suffuses but does not move.


Such graceful strength,

tensile, and taking


nothing from the living.

Luxuriant there in dirt and sun.


Abundant. Silent.

Resin essence anoints the restless air.




Maria Berardi’s work has appeared in local and national magazines and online (13 Magazine, Voca Femina, Mothering, The Opiate, getborn and most recently Twyckenham Notes and forthcoming in Luna Luna). Her first collection, Cassandra Gifts, was published in 2013 by Turkey Buzzard Press, and she is currently at work on her second, entitled Pagan. She lives in the Front Range foothills west of Denver at precisely 8,888 feet above sea level.

Her process is one of listening for transmissions from the cosmic radio and trying to catch them on paper before they dissipate: the glimpse, the complicated knowledge.

4 Poems by Colin Dodds

Grasping at the Cord

 

Pocked by mussel fossils mocked by graffiti

the coral limestone slab at ruin center wryly

reveals the betrayals impregnations and undulations

of empire—the heavy lifting that briefly vaulted historical time

from its raw parent, pulled taut the wandering strands

and deified our game of life and death

 

At the center of the slab is the mask of the boss

brandishing staff or whip of office

brow pronounced with circumspection

or slack with placid awe anchoring memory

 

Mute face opaque with the madness

to murder and to mollify in conscious service

to the umbilicus that annexes afternoon anxieties

to the melodrama of the night skies

 

A crown wreath mask overshadows that face—

itself a mechanism for the divine to breathe

in our compromised atmosphere

 

Shielded and shielding he handles the cord

ties its numbered knots weaves it among

the dead and never-dead—intimate

with its unreliability but never daring

to imagine its futility

 

 

Empty Armor

 

To pass under an arch and under a yoke

are not so different

To pass under and to understand

are not so different

 

Floodlights pour milk on the monument

Achilles’ shriek arrives in the hiss of traffic

On the arch, a soldier feeds his dead friend

 

Empty legionnaire armor on cornices

of august buildings confers on all who pass

the blessing of men who lived marched

died never asked what it was all about

 

It reminds like a cylinder seal

impressing the eyes of the boulevard

and reassures us of the war

we step from nothingness for

assuming our armor and being assumed

into a posture to encounter strangers

and act like we belong

 

 

Invades Every Zone

 

When was the planet snared

in this vast narrative of unfinished business?
What sun sang it?
What nebula of jostling stars enlisted us so?
 

Police lights ricochet off cobbles

and annihilate the last delineation

between visual beauty and pollution

 

In theremin bus-brake squeal

smell of stale smoke in a wool coat

doorway squint of a tired restaurant worker

and light sweat of a long autumn stroll

the religious mysteries recast as political controversies

recast as market crises recast as sexual tensions

recast as religious mysteries

 

to the beat of a frightened bird’s heart

And everyone has some kind of money in the game

 

Scallop shells on bank, chapel doorways

hiccup The visible is pollution

in the dying downtown of an old smithereen factory

where men once melted to pocket combs

for the gaudy godhood of one unlikely boy

for gunny-gray highway that gathers as it discards

the smaller towns’ million minor fortunes

and hushes hugely past caverns and taverns

dug to hide from the ruthlessness

of wealth and poverty alike

 

where regents and recidivists recede

down a trail of discarded disguises

to a place understood only as death

 

A commerce truly INVADES EVERY ZONE

as the inscription over the bank lobby read—the one

the security guard asked me not to photograph

twice

 

 

You or Someone Closer

 

When your routines cease to soothe

When you park the car and lay your name in a wallet

When the highway hotel and restaurant become useless

When no forms move in the windows beyond the scrubby dunes

When the phone won’t even tremble

When you can’t see the streetlights or hear the wind of any plan at all

When night reaches in directions with no names

 

     And you violate the sleep

     that shapes your days like rivers shape states

     to approach the place and time

     at the spring of all places and times

     where your virtues and sins

     knit into an ill-fitting womb

 

          Then remember

          you’ve been here before and perhaps never left

          Remember it’s all familiar for a reason

          and there is a right way to handle this

          Remember you or someone closer

          went to great lengths to remind you to remind you

          to remember

 

 

 

 

Colin Dodds is a writer with several novels and books of poetry to his name. He grew up in Massachusetts and lived in California briefly, before finishing his education in New York City. Since then, he’s made his living as a journalist, editor, copywriter and video producer. Over the last seven years, his writing has appeared in more than three hundred publications, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net Anthology, and praised by luminaries including David Berman and Norman Mailer. His poetry collection Spokes of an Uneven Wheel was published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company in 2018. Colin also writes screenplays, has directed a short film, and built a twelve-foot-high pyramid out of PVC pipe, plywood and zip ties. One time, he rode his bicycle a hundred miles in a day. He lives in New York City, with his wife and daughter. You can find more of his work at thecolindodds.com.