"Bread-Blood-Beats" theme issue
Poetry Chapbook Contest
Featured in this Issue:
Poetry by: Diane Pohl, Donna M. Davis, Richard Krohn, Mather Schneider, Sara Schraufnagel, Toti O'Brien, John Minczeski, Jonathan Pessant, Alison Stone, Maeghan Mary Suzik, Dan Murphy, Gunilla T. Kester, Terry Godbey, Stephan Benz, Christina Gessler, Alan Catlin, Isabel Mader, Serena Fusek, Jonathan B. Aibel, Lisa Mottolo, Joan E. Bauer, Merna Dyer Skinner, Jay Sizemore, John Schneider, Jill Crammond, Deborah H. Doolittle, Dan Sicoli, Ed Taylor, Elyse Hart, Amanda Rachel Robins, Kate Willoughby, Lenny DellaRocca, Red Hawk, Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb, Michael Salcman, Ace Boggess, Dianne Borsenik, Erin J. Peterson, Sarah Bitter, Kathy Winarski, David Bart, Clem Henricson, Colette Tennant, Rohan Buettel,
Therese Gleason, James Lineberger, Michael Rogner, Anna Idelevich, Grace Sleeman, Jim Daniels, Livio Farallo, and Robert Cooperman
Front Cover by Riya Samanta / Back Cover by Despy Boutris
Inside art by: Joshua Atlas
Sample Poems from Issue 42
A Supermarket in Colorado by Richard Krohn
Milk & Coca Cola by Gunilla Kester
Elegy for the Girl on the Moon by Lenny DellaRocca
Route 1 Blues by Serena Fusek
A Supermarket in Colorado
by Richard Krohn
March 22, 2021: Shooting At Boulder Grocery Kills 10
What visions I have of you tonight, Allen Ginsberg, cowering in Condiments!
What dads sweating it out in Ice Cream, moms frozen beneath the neon,
hushing their babies as sprays of blueberries pock the well-stocked walls!
Tell me, Allen: if March is for shoots of asparagus, why are plums the ones
weeping down Qwik Sale bins, these hearts of jarred artichokes broken
into shards, the dead and living alike, kissing cherried linoleum?
I hear you muttering how loaves can still be wholegrain after they've been
sliced, wondering who will mop the spill in Aisle 9 and when snack-bag
sunflowers will stop glaring like jacked-up, one-eyed men.
You howl that bodies and souls are holy, shoppers in Boulder, the massaged
in Atlanta, but what of our troubled parts, brandished arms and calloused
hands, fingers on triggers, knees on Midwest necks?
I see Whitman with you as you flee past the lilacs and lilies in Florals, to sit
on the loading dock, gasping for resurrection and gazing, oily bays
and idle forklifts, blue uniforms stretching banana-peel tape.
But who's still inside among the pierced cans and busted melons, and where
are the rest of us going, Allen, our hysterical cars and weary loco-
motives like slow juggernauts heading over the Rocky sunset?
When will be the next drive-by, Texas or west, loading chambers in the heart-
land of our newly Lost America? Who will howl louder, Whitman or you,
or will it be the ones who mock your fragile democracies?
Give us the day when your beards will lift to admit what has us by the throat,
revelation of which checkout will be our Angel after we register the tabloid
headline that it's not just our captains who've fallen cold and dead.
© 2022 Richard Krohn
Back to top
Milk & Coca Cola
by Gunilla Kester
When I grew up we bought milk in heavy
glass bottles and it wasn't homogenized
large blobs of cloudy fat swam in a bluish
liquid. Made me sick and once I dropped
a bottle in the staircase on my way to our
third-floor apartment and got yelled at, had
to pick up the shards and scour the steps, got
glass in my thumb and came home bleeding.
I was that girl. Bounced a lonely tennis ball
against the dirt-yellow tenement housing
wall, again and again. When a neighbor gave
me a glass of Coca Cola, I finished it in one
ecstatic swallow and loved its prickly taste
until I felt sick and had to go home.
Where I grew up we had Finns who drank
too much homemade vodka and fought
each other, knives up their sleeves.
I saw them carry a bleeding man down
the street when I was ten. In my head
I hid words that much resembled drops
of blood mixed with broken glass and dirt.
© 2022 Gunilla Kester
Back to top
Elegy for the Girl on the Moon
by Lenny DellaRocca
Early mornings she's out there dancing on the lawn,
a ghost in the sprinklers.
I tell no one,
keep it secret
like the story
of Southern Comfort
under the driver's
seat, the tale of my
I see her
on the morning moon
blowing me a kiss
Her friends said
she liked a boy
with pointed shoes,
a kid who never
washed his hair.
Something had struck my windshield that summer.
A red vulture
from the sun.
glass and shoes
on the last day
when Gillis Reed,
the girl in the red
got off the bus.
It was years
before I could
say her name.
the freckled girl who
got off the bus, hit by a drunk driver. Was decapitated.
© 2022 Lenny DellaRocca
Back to top
Route 1 Blues
by Serena Fusek
We were restless
in the yellow night
of sodium lamps
that glowed through the stink
of the chemical plant.
on our skin
like someone's hands
the refinery flare
searing the sky
like a beacon
facing empty hours
too hot to sleep
we cruised the highway
past pawn shops
where the ledgers
kept open by bribes.
Our big engine
throbbing under a hood
wide as a barge
our exhaust spitting lead
our open windows
blew back at us.
The sky beyond our windshield
was a black hole
the stars a story
we heard once
the moon a dead stone.
Sweat slicked our faces
and the radio wailed
"born to run"
but there was nowhere
© 2022 Serena Fusek
Back to top