Poetry Chapbook Contest
Poets featured in this Issue:
M. Brett Gaffney, Marc Harshman, Jeff Walt, Joan E. Bauer, Barrett Warner, Lisa Bellamy, Christopher Ankney, Mather Schneider, Daniel Donaghy, Susan Nisenbaum Becker, Brandon D. Christopher, Josh Smith, Anthony Isaac Bradley, Cecil Sayre, Paul David Adkins, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Livio Farallo, Terry Godbey, V.P. Loggins, Eric Odegaard, Ed Taylor, Andy Roberts, Jason Irwin, Michael Joseph Schmidt, Katie Knoll, Michael Lee Phillips, Carl Mayfield, Robert Cooperman, Brandi M. Spaethe, Mary Stone Dockery, Adam Berlin, Marcy Campbell, Leslie Anne Mcilroy, Alan Catlin, Mary Carroll-Hackett, Mira Martin-PArker, AJ Roberts, Ace Boggess, John Lampe, Rachel Katz, Katharyn Howd Machan, C. Dylan Bassett, Peter M. Gordon, Jeanne DeLarm-Neri, Tony Magistrale, Gene McCormick, Jessie Janeshek, Sjohnna McCray, Alison Stone, John Hazard, Steven Bernal, Aidan Ryan, Robert L. Penick, John Marvin, Karen Eileen Sisk, Liz N. Clift, Jose Angel Araguz, Heather Rick, Rita Moe, Annmarie O'Connell, Natalie Byers, Terry S. Johnson, Kevin Brown, David Chorlton, Sarah Fawn Montgomery, Dan Sicoli, Beverly Boyd, and Gerald Locklin.
Photography: Nilserik Larson. Artwork: Liza LaBarge. Cover photographs: Andrea Fasani (front) and Able Trent (back).
Photography by Nilserik Larson:
Sample Poems from Issue 33
The Magician by Jeff Walt
Addressed to Someone Long Without an Address by Sean Thomas Dougherty
If I Dare by Terry Godbey
Trajectory by Jason Irwin
by Jeff Walt
Sundays in the living room, before Disney
and our baths, he made our mother vanish
right before our eyes. His long, black cape shiny
as water pouring through the hands of summer.
I swaddled my sister and brother
tight in my eight-year-old arms that trembled
with frightened joy. We held our breaths and bit
our nails as he sawed her in half, pulled nickels
from her ears, instructed her to bark
with a quick snap of his fingers. Then
they left us for the Windmill Tavern. Alone together,
we sang and danced in her pink pumps.
Draped in his silky cape, we saved lives and killed
off all the villains using the gadgets
that possessed the glittery magic
until the dark, late hoursour games behind us
when the shadows became spirits our magic sprouted:
falling ice the footsteps of men
surrounding the house; winter’s spiraling whine
moaned up from the gut of the furnace.
When he asked if he could be my father,
I said, yes, wanting whatever that meant. We fled to closets
when they fought, afraid a clap of his hands
might reduce us to dust. The day he packed his bag
of magic, she begged him to stay. I hid
his wand in my sockbecause,
in the dark, on his lap, he had pulled me tight, whispered
that he had the power to turn rocks into chocolate,
little boys into goats.
The black stick held all his tricks.
© 2013 Jeff Walt
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Addressed to Someone Long Without an Address
by Sean Thomas Dougherty
Since you ask me, what they took
Left such a bruise, like being hit with a bat
Outside of that bar. The night you left
I woke up by the side of the road.
Light never resolves problems, nor clarifies.
It simply says, now you can see the wreckage.
To say goodbye, however difficult it is
We can never say it enough.
To recognize what drugs
In the wee hours. You need not be dead.
Through the summer of Camaros,
Boardwalks before the boarded shops, the sky
Dark with hurricane,
That stretches across decades.
Constellations, cities unzoned and unmapped
The last full moon
Of Indian summer bathes the barbed wire
In the small hours,
O, sweet clover
I rise to sleep in the backseat
Of your absent arms,
To accept whatever small gesture you may have left
© 2013 Sean Thomas Dougherty
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If I Dare
by Terry Godbey
If I dare
say your name
it’s like dropping
from a cliff.
Memory makes its own glue,
repairs the days
from my brash
faith in us,
you had more
We still kiss in cars,
evening’s tight dress,
let it fall.
© 2013 Terry Godbey
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by Jason Irwin
The first time I set eyes on him was first grade.
He was the new kid in Miss Clemens’ class.
I watched one day as he pulled an Iron Man
superhero action figure from his book bag
and stuffed it into his desk, sheepishly looking around
to make sure no one noticed; that’s when our eyes locked.
He put a finger to his lips and smiled. I marveled
how his hair—unmovable as my grandmother’s
reminded me of Planet of the Apes.
Weeks later we met at my neighbors’ first communion
party. From that day forward
we were inseparable. People often mistook us
for brothers: two runts gamboling around
in Catholic-school blue—smiles crammed full
of crooked teeth and bubble gum.
He was my first hero, after Reggie Jackson
and Rocky Balboa; always made sure I was included
in sports and threatened to kill any kid
who made fun of my leg or those brown orthopedic shoes
I was made to wear. By thirteen or fourteen
we were enamored with beer and girls,
though I was always at a loss when it came
to the opposite sex; in love with his older sister
all throughout Cub Scouts and freshman year,
when we moved to public school and our lives
would lead us in far-flung directions.
We were two bottle rockets then, screaming to be noticed,
to make our mark; spinning out of sight
in an endless summer sky. All those years from first grade
to high school and beyond: the train wrecks, suicides and cancer
that took many of our friends; those nights we sat up drinking,
planning futures that would never turn out how we hoped;
the party he threw for his twenty-third birthday
the night Kurt Cobain died—the first birthday in years,
he was home from prison.
I often wonder, if it wasn’t for my leg, for always being sick,
if I wouldn’t have been right there with him
burglarizing all those houses; out west when he held a gun
to his head, or those times he put a crack pipe to his lips,
trying to erase all the pain.
Years later as middle age took us by surprise,
we’d sit under cobwebs and fluttering neon,
drinking what must have been our first beer
together in a bar, toasting to better days, new beginnings,
and to friendship; always to friendship.
© 2013 Jason Irwin
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