Dry Rope

Broker’s Pick
Timothy Pilgrim


Photo Credit: maciekbor/Flickr (CC-by)

Hiking in, her weight, constant,
seven pounds, be it rain,

snow. Tented on glacier,
summit above, always curled,

her, sinuous pillow for my head—
not left out, laid straight, wet

under anemic stars, knots
pre-tied tight, night icing

each coil and twist. I confess,
I love my dry rope,

pamper her when we go down—
a warm bath, rubbed dry,

draped across the bed,
sinuous, supple, brown.

pencilTimothy Pilgrim, a Pacific Northwest poet and emeritus associate professor of journalism at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., has published over 300 poems—with acceptances from journals like Seattle Review, San Pedro River Review, Third Wednesday, Prole Press, Cirque and Toasted Cheese. He is author of Mapping Water (Flying Trout Press, 2016). His work can be found at timothypilgrim.org. Email: pilgrimtima[at]gmail.com

Real Man Howls

Poetry
Timothy Pilgrim


Photo Credit: Neha Viswanathan (CC-by-nc)

Armpit hair with darkened curl
announces a soulful,

acoustic woman. Organic.
Escapee from brotherhood

of jockstrap. I sense hope
within black growth, believe

she might, indeed, be free—
doesn’t love beauty contests,

riding horses, can make
a decent quiche—will teach me

how to knit, read Munro aloud,
show me how a real man howls.

pencilTimothy Pilgrim, a Pacific Northwest poet and emeritus associate professor of journalism at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash., has published over 300 poems—with acceptances from journals like Seattle Review, San Pedro River Review, Third Wednesday, Prole Press, Cirque and Toasted Cheese. He is author of Mapping Water (Flying Trout Press, 2016). His work can be found at timothypilgrim.org. Email: pilgrimtima[at]gmail.com

Pulling the Tooth

Poetry
D.W. Moody


Photo Credit: Ben Grantham/Flickr (CC-by)

for days
my jaw my bones my face ached
occupying my waking thoughts
alone in bed I’d stare at the emotionless white ceiling
struggling for a few moments of rest

one morning upon waking
I could feel it slowly letting go of me
it sagged and jiggled in my mouth
alone
with mom working
everyone else
outside playing
not waiting for me to tackle the day’s adventures
even by bus too far the clinic
yes alone
my bare feet padded quietly through the house
till I stood in the cool shadows of the kitchen
hand trembling
hot sauce spreading through my mouth
blood and condiment swirling together
strings of nerves dangling in the crevices of my mouth
a crimson river flowing into the sink
shaking trembling holding my prize of bone

pencilD.W. Moody grew up between California and the Midwest, lived on the streets, hitchhiked around the country, and held a variety of jobs in Kansas and Southern California until settling into life as a librarian. His poems have appeared in Shemom, The Avalon Literary Review and Foliate Oak Literary Magazine. As a new father, life is busy juggling the demands of work and being a committed parent: he writes when he can. Email: d.w.moodysmailbox[at]gmail.com

ChicagoProtestsMarch2016

Poetry
Rose Knapp


Photo Credit: nathanmac87/Flickr (CC-by)

Stale cold black coffee rings
Disintegrating ceramic cups
Ghostly pepper spray mists
Burning blonde-haired chills
Molten smeared ink blotters

pencilRose Knapp is a poet, novelist, electronic music producer, and multimedia artist. She has an experimental novel forthcoming and poetry publications in Chicago Literati, PDXX Collective, BlazeVOX, OccuPoetry, Danse Macabre, and others. She currently divides her time between Brooklyn and Minneapolis. Email: knapp_rose33[at]yahoo.com

Emily as an Attempt at Gun Control #17

Poetry
Darren C. Demaree


Photo Credit: Rémy Saglier/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

Under her bones
& in the middle
of making love

to me with her lithe
body, I am confronted
by the idea,

that though I am
experiencing pleasure,
it’s pleasure enhanced

by the safety
of her body’s cover.
There is no clean shot

at anything other
than my tensing limbs
when Emily is on top.

pencilDarren C. Demaree is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children. Email: darrencdemaree[at]yahoo.com

Night

Broker’s Pick
Richard Dinges


Photo Credit: web4camguy/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

Photo Credit: web4camguy/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

Flesh and breath,
sweat and oily sheen,
bald head, freed from
hair and gray,
muscles bulge then
fall flat, sag into
flatulence, hips
once were hills
to be explored, now
rounded mysteries
under frayed comforters,
night no longer
an exploration,
now a dark cavern
in which to hide.

pencilRichard Dinges has an MA in literary studies from University of Iowa and manages business systems at an insurance company. Abbey, Pulsar, Rio Grande Review, Studio One, and Common Ground Review most recently accepted his poems for their publications. Email: rdinges[at]outlook.com

Alcaics: on a hashtag

Beaver’s Pick
Judith Taylor


Photo Credit: baldeaglebluff/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

Photo Credit: baldeaglebluff/Flickr (CC-by-sa)

What happened? Who knows? No one can read a mind
scroll back the thoughts like seismograph traces, see
just where the quake struck. We are left here
sifting the wreckage for scraps, for reasons

—some prop that gave way, broke under sudden shock,
brought down the whole house. Then we could make ourselves
safe, make our own house safe: the next quake
won’t pull us down, we’ll be ready for it.

It’s that we’re human. That’s what we do. We make
home, shelter; fire, hearth. Structures to keep us safe.
Crops, pasture, fields hacked out of dark woods;
calendars, numbers against the vast sky

that drifts above us. Patterns of when and why:
verse; music; carved stones. Pictures and glossaries.
Faith, hope and love. Just law and mercy.
Everything keeping us sure of our selves,

each other’s selves. So much we can only take
on trust, and walk as if we believe there’s ground
to bear our weight. We have a place here,
that’s what we say in the frightened, quiet time

we try so hard not ever to give ourselves.
We have a home; if not a place, a tribe.
Kith, kin. Or one heart somewhere for us.
Structures we build on a spinning planet

we need to tell each other we trust in still.
If one looks down, looks over the edge, we might
all fall. We need these explanations
—not why a house tumbled down, but why ours

still stands. That hashtag, something we need to hear:
depression lies, we tell ourselves. Something struck
this house or that; some monster drew this
person or that to their self-destruction.

Sounds like a glib line, telling you what you feel’s
false: silence once more slapped over what you know.
More, though, it’s our own mind we talk down,
begging it, almost, to give us good news

tell us we’re part of a world we think true,
can live in, can think we belong in.
We build the house still, tremulous as the ground is.
Stay, please, we say. Stay. Help us to keep it standing.

pencilJudith Taylor comes from Perthshire and now lives and works in Aberdeen, Scotland. Her poetry has appeared widely in magazines and she is the author of two pamphlet collections — Earthlight, (Koo Press, 2006), and Local Colour (Calder Wood Press, 2010). Her first full-length collection will be published by Red Squirrel Press in 2017. Email: j.taylor.09[at]btinternet.com

Wish

Poetry
Judith Taylor


Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan (CC-by-sa)

Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan (CC-by-sa)

I don’t want death driving
something delicate, like a carriage:
I don’t want Gentleman Death

in his long black car
shimmering by to take me away.
To have to maintain polite

conversation with Death, of all the people!
No. Send me a death
dull and true

in charge of a heavy ox-cart;
with a load to haul, and no concern
for anything in his road.

Death in a shapeless hat,
his old clay cutty not even lit
as he stares away

towards his destination,
never looking to see what caused
that jolt.

A Death who does not stop
and who is mercifully uncaring.
And maybe his oxen look to see

where they put their feet
but the solid timber wheels
do not discriminate.

On the day I hear that wagon rumble
I will lie down to wait.

pencilJudith Taylor comes from Perthshire and now lives and works in Aberdeen, Scotland. Her poetry has appeared widely in magazines and she is the author of two pamphlet collections — Earthlight, (Koo Press, 2006), and Local Colour (Calder Wood Press, 2010). Her first full-length collection will be published by Red Squirrel Press in 2017. Email: j.taylor.09[at]btinternet.com

We’ve Changed Grammatically

Poetry
Lauren Scavo


Photo Credit: Ronn "Blue" Aldaman/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

Photo Credit: Ronn “Blue” Aldaman/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

We were a compound sentence:
two subjects and their corresponding predicates,
joined by nothing but a monosyllable.
We could stand alone but chose not to,
and our souls, though independent,
corresponded in subject and substance
so that our names belonged as a unified thought.
Now we are a comma splice:
two thoughts connected in subject
but missing a coordinating conjunction—
the tiny piece of something
that means nearly nothing on its own,
but when it isn’t there, you know it isn’t there
and you feel its absence
in the way you stumble over words,
like they are incomplete or out of place.
We are two independent clauses,
and all that connects us is a comma,
and in that way, among others,
you are like the mistake I made
on my eleventh grade research paper on Julius Caesar.
But instead of Times New Roman,
I wrote you in the shape of my veins,
and instead of turning you in to my teacher,
I introduced you to my parents.

pencilLauren Scavo is a recent graduate of Grace College, where she studied Drawing/Painting and English. Her hometown is in Pittsburgh, PA. Email: scavolj[at]grace.edu

Color Blind (For Real?)

Poetry
Marc Livanos


Photo Credit: BuzzFarmers (CC-by)

Photo Credit: BuzzFarmers/Flickr (CC-by)

Why is my race your foe needling you to lord over me,
saving me from my own savagery?

Why is my skin color a phobia gnawing at your innards,
making door locks snap as I approach?

Why is my punishment swift revealing deep-seated prejudices,
exposing unrecognized biases?

Why is my street flashing “blue”
when verdicts and fines from the 2008 meltdown are reversed?

Why is my excessive “heat” normal
when straight powder has a lighter sentence than crack?

Why is my wanting to explode unexpected
when a child or brother of mine is killed?

Why is my disinterest in school surprising
when suspension leads to a Juvenile Delinquency record?

Why is my broken home shocking
when a JD record forces Family Services to see if mom is at home or work?

Why can’t you see how I feel when redlining my community continues
as Hudson City Bancorp pays $33M to make redlining allegations go away?

Why can’t you see how I feel about Democrats wanting a piece of Dr. King
when they created a welfare system making fathers abandon their children?

Why can’t you see how I feel about Republicans
when they just want another mockery of the Civil Rights Act?

Why can’t you see how my heroes are athletes and entertainers,
not your pandering leaders?

Why can’t you see how I feel when the NBA, reacting to LeBron going pro
out of high school, forces players to wait till 19, while PGA, AHL and MLB do not?

Why can’t you see how your rise from poverty
didn’t require you to deal with what I do?

Why can’t you see how your decades of
pensions and home appreciation were denied me?

Why can’t you see how your decades
of opportunities were never mine?

Why can’t you see how I feel
when you just see me as another deadbeat or dealer?

Why can’t you see how my constant smile and nod
responds to your hurtful put downs?

Why can’t you see how I just want
you to be truthful?

Why can’t you see the difference
is the difference within you?

Why can’t you see your problem
doesn’t emanate from me?

Why can’t you see I’ll respect you
when you respect me?

No point our talking
if you won’t hear me.

pencilMarc Livanos’s chapbooks Panhandle Poet — Solitude and Panhandle Poet — Second Helpings are available at Barnes & Noble. His poems appear in Straylight Magazine, Poet’s Espresso Review, Emerald Coast Review, Stray Branch, Old Red Kimono, The Poet’s Pen, Conceit Magazine, The Ultimate Writer Quarterly, PKA’s Advocate, WestWard Quarterly, Zylophone Poetry Journal, Feelings of the Heart, FreeXpresSion, Shemom, Ceremony, JerryJazzMusician, and The Pink Chameleon. Email: marcl[at]mchsi.com