Emily as an Attempt at Gun Control #17

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


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


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

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?)

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

Pocket-Sized Compliments

Theresa Kelly

Photo Credit:  Jessica Suárez/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

Photo Credit: Jessica Suárez/Flickr (CC-by-nc)

I keep your compliments in my pocket
On the bad days, I pull them out and wipe off the dust
to remind me.
On the good days, I try to write you a poem,
but the words blend together and get lost in my hands
I’ve only ever written poems about panic and heartbreak.
I talk about everything, but I lack the ability
to turn you into a metaphor.

pencilTheresa Kelly is a 2016 graduate of West Chester University. She received her degree in English secondary education. She has previously been published in Lip, Literati, Daedalus, and Toasted Cheese. Email: theresajoykelly[at]hotmail.com

The Curse

Marchell Dyon

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

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

In her prehistoric thinking if no one stoned her
She would throw herself against the rocks
From her arriving spring into the night

She ran away from the moon’s light hunting her every step
She wanted to remain as she was
She did not believe in the evolution of womankind

She wanted her chest not to sprout and flower
She wanted the red wetness between her thighs to stop
You are a woman now, was all the advice

Her grandmother gave with a smile
No more make-believe but woman’s work
No more dolls but babies at your breast

Her older sister had warned her about the curse
Seven times Cain, said her older sister
She looks back at the moon calling her

She tried to shut her ears to the sweet lull of the moon
She knew she could not stay forever hidden from the goddess
But she was determined to try

pencilMarchell Dyon is a disabled poet and budding storyteller. She believes her disability has inspired her creative spark. Her poetry has been published in Toasted Cheese Literary Journal, Full of Crow Poetry Magazine, Rainbow Rose Ezine, Blue Lake Review, A Little Poetry, Medusa’s Kitchen, The Stray Branch, Strange Horizons, Mused Bella Online, Convergence Literary Journal, Silver Blade Magazine and Torrid Literature Journal. She is from Chicago, IL. Email: marchelldyon[at]yahoo.com

Two Poems

Diane Webster

Photo Credit: Ed Kennedy/Flickr (CC-by)

Photo Credit: Ed Kennedy/Flickr (CC-by)


Frozen Flat

Valentine’s Day the deflated
snowman and Santa blobs
lie frozen in the lawn
like stepped-on chocolate pieces
still covered in wrappers
after the Halloween frenzy
to haul candy beggings
back home to savor
until Christmas stockings bulge
more, more, more
and the groundhog sees his shadow
for six weeks more of winter
pooled around the low profile
inflatables smiling in snow;
hand across a flat heart.


Hermit Myth

Of course hermits are wise old men
unconcerned with other people’s issues.
They remain mysterious in solitude
because most people can’t stand
a moment not connected
to cell phone, TV, internet and chat rooms.
Hermit is a profession to aspire to:
if you’re lucky, no one knows you exist,
if they do, they think you’re crazy
and give you the moniker of ghost
of the woods kind of like Bigfoot,
fun to leave footprints, tufts of fur
and not be seen except in nightmares
or corners of eyes, then gone.

pencilDiane Webster enjoys the challenge of picturing images into words to fit her poems. If she can envision her poem, she can write what she sees and her readers can visualize her ideas. That’s the excitement of writing. Her work has appeared in The Hurricane Review, Eunoia Review, Illya’s Honey, and other literary magazines. Email: diaweb[at]hotmail.com