"Boneyards, Junkyards, Backyards" theme issue
Poetry Chapbook Contest
Featured in this Issue:
Poetry by: Kevin Ridgeway, Abra Bertman, Jeff Bagato, Donna M. Davis, Maria Dylan Himmelman, Anthony Seidman, Simon Perchik, Joan E. Bauer, Jen Ashburn, Jason Roberts, Cammy Thomas, Matthew J. Spireng, Lyn Lifshin, John Schneider, Elizabeth Joy Levinson, Alan Catlin, Gayle Bell, Max Stephan, Matt Dennison, Michael Pantano, Ed Taylor, Ace Boggess, Nick Vafiadis, John Grey, R. Bratten Weiss, Kari Wergeland, Robert Penick, Troy Schoultz, Jennifer Vaknine, Daniel Edward Moore, David Bart, Devon Balwit, Shana Hill, Alison Stone, Holly Day, Will Cordeiro, Jennifer Clark, Julie Cyr, Clint Margrave, Kareem Tayyar, Kersten Christianson, Nicholas Yingling, Catherine Moore, Joe Cottonwood, Nancy Carol Moody, Alexis Rhone Fancher, Harry Moore, James Valvis, Robert Cooperman, Frank J. Dunbar, James Doyle, Charles Rammelkamp, Kenneth Feltges, Carl Mayfield, and Edward Micus.
Front Cover: Jon Damaschke
Back Cover: Tim Starnes
Featured Photography: Jon Damaschke
Sample Poems from Issue 39
Junkyard Girl by John Grey
Graveyard Ghazal by Alison Stone
Cornered by Holly Day
To Donnie by Carl Mayfield
by John Grey
It must have been the way
she slithered, the way her
hip bones clicked and clacked like castanets.
The eyes had a lot to do with it as well.
They swelled with moonlight
and jumped out of her sockets.
Then they were like hands held out to her.
Yes, she danced with her own eyes.
Down by the swamps, she was
more the swamps than all that
brown, diseased water, those
bowed-head, sucking cypresses.
She was all that croaking and hissing
and grunting and shrieking,
all the noises that never seemed
to come from any one animal
but from the whole rotting morass.
When she writhed and howled
at the edge of that wretched marsh,
she reeked of that same decay,
breathed in and out rabidly
like gators feeding.
And she was the junkyards too,
the rusting flesh of road-deaths,
the fearsome dogs that licked her,
the rats she patted like cats.
Atop hills of crumpled metal,
she flung her shirt from her body
like unwanted skin,
spun and screamed
while her breasts burst away from her rib-cage
like animals sprung free from traps.
She was every barren place,
every forgotten place,
like in my heart so deep
she was my heart,
became the low cackle of terror
at the bottom of my laughter,
the dark blood that drips out with my tears.
© 2019 John Grey
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by Alison Stone
With prayer and song, I call to the dead.
Chased in dreams by grief, I fall toward the dead.
Rest in peace, we say, but cling and carry
on. Our ugly snufflings appall the dead.
Like babies, ghosts reach for shiny objects.
Jewelry and moonlight enthrall the dead.
Another school shooting. Students leave gifts—
notes, flowers, pom-poms, a doll—for the dead.
The orphan built a castle in her heart.
Locked windows, doors. Behind each wall—the dead.
I trust Brigid’s forge, Demeter’s grain, Pan’s
forest songs. Don’t tell me they’re all dead.
Moonlight in the newly-dug hole. A guard
paces. Tomorrow they’ll install the dead.
What do they miss most? A loved one’s laugh? Their
own bodies? Food, music, rainfall? The dead
take so much with them—secrets, stories, love,
portions of our hearts. Those prodigal dead!
Is that hawk a sign? Or those bold sparrows?
Alison, they’re only birds, drawl the dead.
© 2019 Alison Stone
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by Holly Day
We plan to get rid of our noisy neighbors with elaborate schemes
involving dinner parties and poison, Trojan horses and noisy sex.
In the end, we just head off to bed, put the pillows over our heads
wait for morning.
In the backyard, I nod my hellos, mention the party from the night before
mention we’re thinking of having a party of our own.
Maybe we could throw a party together, the neighbor suggests, begins making plans
for some awful thing with people and nonpoisonous food
something to bond the neighborhood together
because people never try to know their neighbors anymore. She
says she knows a band that could play, something fun and young,
perfect for a block party.
I tell my husband about the neighbor and her plans
suggest we build a bomb, something big and noisy
that would take out her whole house, or maybe convince an airplane
to land on her roof. There is no place left for us to hide
from the congenialities of strangers, the rumble of lawnmowers and spy drones.
They have built their houses right up against our front door
as if to make sure they see us every time we try to leave.
© 2019 Holly Day
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by Carl Mayfield
Your phone calls increased
after your mother died, detailing
the mugging, the lost teeth.
You were through with young women,
wanted to have a beer together
for the sake of golden old times
but I was too far gone the other way,
which was somehow lost in translation.
The revolver stopped the phone calls.
Only the world calls now, wanting me
to make and throw more junk on the pile,
to dress for the country club where
the dumpster has cornered the integrity.
We’re all too old for make-up—
you, me, the dumpster.
I only leave the house when the phone rings,
thinking of you at the oddest times,
like when the traffic channels homicidal rage
and I step of the curb anyway.
© 20189 Carl Mayfield
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