Poetry Chapbook Contest
Poets featured in this Issue:
George Moore, Holly Guran, Sean Thomas Dougherty, Alan Catlin, David Chorlton, Lowell Jaeger, Ciara Shuttleworth, Max L. Stephan, Oliver Rice, J.T. Whitehead, Cecil Sayre, Richard Oyama, Rob Cook, Mary Carroll-Hackett, Betty Scott, William Doreski, John Marvin, Sheelonee Banerjee, Michelle Ann Kratts, Les Wicks, Tereza Joy Kramer, Richard Prinz, David Bart, Joe Nicholas, Ann Ritter, Michael Derrick Hudson, Cal Freeman, Damian Dimick, Amy Upham, Cal Freeman, Elena Botts, Kristen LaFollette, Rebecca D'Alise, Jonathan Greenhause, Richard Murray, Jessi Jeanne Reath, Cindy King, Barbara Harroun, Matthew Murrey, Jake Young, Aaron Anstett, Philip Kobylarz, Les Wicks, Mike Schneider, John A. Nieves, C. Lynn Shaffer, Josh Anthony, Jennifer Clark, Aaron Wiegert, Cheryl Dumesnil, Michelle Bonczek Evory, Cheryl Pearson, Alexis Rhone Fancher, Tara Ballard, James Valvis, Scott D. Wordsman, Darren C. Demaree, Robert Perchan, Ron Reikki, Jason Braun, Todd Osborne, Charles F. Thielman, Ed Taylor, Simon Perchick, Vincent Peloso, Vicki Mandell-King, David Filer, Ciara Shuttleworth, Kenneth Feltges, Michael Hettich, Rob Carney, Tony Magistrale, and Gerald Locklin.
Front Cover: Marta Bevacqua
Back Cover: Vivian Calderon Bogoslavsky
Sample Poems from Issue 35
Life Size by Richard Murray
The Book Burners by Michelle Ann Kratts
Follow Your Bliss? by Lowell Jaeger
What We Can Never Hold by Jonathan Greenhause
by Richard Murray
Body chemistry couldnít alchemize
age-old, basic truth,
and make golden years
out of the transformation
of a man not in his element.
His violin in his stiffening hands
felt like dead wood
that rang hollow and echoed troubles
not music to his tin ears.
Iron-poor blood and metal fatigue
of steel nerves had him leaning
toward a complete collapse,
yet he seemed more inclined
to not cave in
the last time I saw him standing.
His overly firm handshake
gave the impression of someone trying
too hard to hold on,
and revealed a statue
he was turning into
from the inside out,
starting with the hardening of his arteries.
© 2015 Richard Murray
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The Book Burners
by Michelle Ann Kratts
it is inevitable
that you will show up
outside my door
when I am half asleep
you will stir me from my dreams and storms
youa grown man with a movie-star moustache
and a picture perfect smile
you will offer me flowers and matches
you will wait until I say yes
and I always say yes
it is inevitable that you will take me to this place
where we will burn everything to a crisp
a pile of soot around our filthy feet
there will be smoke rings
around our nostrils
and alarms will sound as we rise from the dust
and the cracks in the floors
firemen will break windows
to save us
they will trample on our things with heavy boots
(on your flowers)
doors will swing open
so we can breathe
they will try and chase us from this smouldering ruin
It is not safe here
youyou silly heartsick boy
it is inevitable that you will carry me
through jungles of jagged shards of glass
down creaking stairways
through garden trellises
blackened by our fires
your feet will bleed and my hair
will leave a tattoo where it has been pressed against your cheek
or is it tonight that we will fly above the wild mess weíve created?
me, tucked carefully inside the warm fabric interlay of your
it is inevitable that I am safe
even with your movie set in flames
nothing is more inevitable than
opening up a book
and you and me
© 2015 Michelle Ann Kratts
What We Can Never Hold
by Jonathan Greenhause
This is a piece of cloud from the hurricane that flooded our basement.
This is a spoonful of sunlight divorced from its source.
This is the architectural masterpiece impossible to engineer,
& these are the clothes that have made no man.
This is the language never invented.
This is the feeling you get immediately before being executed.
This was the color of my eyes before I went blind,
& this is the pinhead all those angels will be
This is your first thought right after death.
This is your soul before itís given back to you.
This pictureís a representation of the presence of nothing
& thus has no canvas nor limits we can approach.
This is the delicacy never prepared.
This is the wave that got my sneakers wet on an Asbury Park beach.
This is the gravitational pull keeping us together,
& these the silences that ripped us apart;
& this is the artwork destroyed for the sake of art.
© 2015 Jonathan Greenhause
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Follow Your Bliss?
by Lowell Jaeger
The fly beats himself against the glass,
his buzz cursing, determined to break through
to another world blooming outside
my living room walls. Thereís a lesson
in every small thing. Letís assume
thatís true. A celestial message in the blue-
bottleís passion. Sublime,
though moments ago he may have tip-toed
over dog shit on my back porch stoop,
fancied himself richly blessed,
wiping infectious residue of dung across his face,
relishing the stench of his lusts and cravings.
It must wound him to bash himself
like that. He backs off, staggers,
storms around the room, charges full throttle,
over and over,
I open a door. He wonít
go for it. His wings glitter topaz, smoky
quartz. Intricately forged plates of his armor,
hinged and spiked. Gears coordinating
all six legs mesh exactly. He climbs
glass effortlessly. Walks on my ceiling.
Soars with all the iridescent frenzy
of a hummingbird.
But he wants dog shit,
wants it so bad I canít stand it, canít
concentrate on the woes of my own
blissful addictions. I roll a newspaper and swat.
Letís assume thereís a lesson.
Itís a very small thing.
© 2015 Lowell Jaeger
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