By Guillermo Filice Castro
on the brink of
with a touch of
using blindness as a guide
at the edge of
a dreamed death-
write a song
write a song
you can sing in heaven
By Seni Seneviratne
Let me assume a pose that is suitably uncomfortable. There’s no obvious way to shift me from a life of necessary solitude, though I sometimes miss the joy of slipping from the warm side of a sleeping lover to watch the moon through cold curtains. Life is a stolen word from someone else’s lines, but can it harm if it’s surrounded by my own?
Into the nearest cafe, miss out main course, bite into blueberry sponge. And who would say yes to that last bit of overheard chat? Not me. I’m wondering which way to go after all this time of take what life brings, …
By Nathan McClain
there’s a bluebird, asleep,
in the pokeweed, and we argue still—
what’s pinched in its beak—
a thread of red string, perhaps
what’s left of picking apart its nest?
Though I like to think of the thread as once
woven to some larger piece of cloth,
maybe your scarf.
By Cathy Linh Che
In the car, phantom shadows.
The moon was a sliver.
The sun blared orange over the canyon,
and I caught myself awkward and nervous.
In the woods, I constructed for us
a makeshift shelter––tent with broken poles,
hands that intertwined in restless sleep.
In Flagstaff, the huevos rancheros
smothered in pork and chile verde.
A circular bruise on each knee.
I’d never seen anything like this.
Stacked mesas with their red
and sandstone striations.
Dusk striped violet and blue,
diffusing into golden light.
Scratch deep red on your arm.
What if love meant marking a body?
The red insignia a testament
to blood beneath the skin.
The soundtrack to a road trip played
on an uncertain loop. A blaze of time zones.
The spinning …
By Stash Hempeck
as we each silently steal
up our rock, heft
the angular stone up and down
in our hand as though to weigh
its power, as though to find
that perfect balance, as though to search
out the proper side, while we imagine
arc of flight and point of impact, followed
by instant bruise or instant blood, the outcome determined
by our obtuse or acute point-of-view.
This is the secret path we choose
to tread, to halt
—if for only one brief moment—
what we know
will surely come to pass.
But still we hope
that this will be the time one of us finds
courage enough to straighten
up, to firm
our spine, to cast
down that hand-held demon back
onto the …
By Erika Dreifus
with thanks to Steven M. Lowenstein
My father’s parents were Germans,
and they were Jews,
and they were born long ago,
one just before and one just after
the outbreak of the war
that was to end all wars,
They came to New York in ’37 and ’38,
met and married and had a son.
From them, I have inherited
copies of Der Struwwelpeter
a fondness for Riesling,
Pünktlichkeit is beyond punctuality.
It is showing up ahead of time for movies,
meetings, and medical appointments;
submitting papers and assignments
safely before their deadlines;
and returning books to the library
at least one day prior to their due dates.
Pünktlichkeit is a preemptive way of life,
and not everyone admires it.
Even Rabbi Breuer of Frankfurt,
By Patricia Spears Jones
What happens when you lose your taste
For living things-a lover’s mouth
The scent of her skin; his dark pubic hair
His hand’s distinct wave
How to savor what can no longer
Offer warmth, languor, curses
This we speak of
Again and again
A theme so lacking in originality
Is not that taste
It’s heat, spice or sourness
That shapes such loss.
Is it not
Of paramount deliberation
Is it not that need to stroke a living thing
That returns us to the pain of what
Has moved from breath?
By Mike Stutzman
Yes, yes, yes—
the sandbags I have stacked,
and the sheets of plywood
nailed overlapping my storefront heart.
I have made ready
for your grey eyes to turn me
away once more. The cheerful experts
track your cruel silence.
I press to my ear a radio
jammed to the station
devoted to the crisis you bring:
the ways you will ruin me
if you shift even a few degrees.
Yes, I tune my guitar
to the chimes they play on the hour.
How I have rehearsed the way
I will take the dark O
of your no and drift its innertube
to the house of your family,
allow the swollen flood of circumstance
to lift me to your window.
By Bernadette McComish
I am poured out like water,
spilled onto the floor, soaked into wood.
A terrible loneliness forces me
to love a man who says I don’t love you,
too many times.
Removed from me: all things visible,
I will not forget the one who came before.
I shall no longer look
for you in another man’s bed.
I’m sure, I am poured out like water,
slipped backward into the oceans.
I who am in love
have forgotten how to sleep alone.
In this bondage I am broken
How did my body liquefy
into a pool of bones?
I am poured out like water,
do you hear me,
What shall I sacrifice
for healing and how do I
How many times do …
By Brie Huling
There was no one here to tell me I was wrong.
In taxidermy, you skin the animal first
like removing the skin of a chicken.
I’m casting my own form here,
but I am an amateur. It’s pretty obvious.
& you have cast me queerly, firm tendrils falling …