"Red" theme issue
Poetry Chapbook Contest
Featured in this Issue:
Poetry by: Sandra Anfang, Allen Shadow, John Schneider, Alison Stone, Donna Pucciani, Mary Elizabeth Birnbaum, Ace Boggess, Charles Rammelcamp, John Glowney, Kristel Rietesel-Low, Jen Ashburn, Robert Fillman, Susan Cummins Miller, Alan Catlin, Shawna Swetech. Richard Ryal, J.I. Kleinberg, David Chorlton, Karen J. Weyant, Jennifer Campbell, Joseph Zaccardi, Robert Cooperman, Gunilla T. Kester, Anthony Seidman, Heather Ferguson, Ashley Wagner, Katharyn Howd Machan, Susan Roney-O'Brien, Joan E. Bauer, Julie Johnson, Holly Day, Mark James Andrews, Lauren Ila Misiaszek, Scott T. Hutchison,
Maria Sebastian, George Kalamaras, Pamela Annas, Daniel McGinn, Chris Pellizzari, Kimberly Ann Priest, Max Stephan, Amanda Hayden, John S. Eustis, Kevin Ridgeway, Johnny Cordova, Theodora Ziolkowski, Mary Kathryn Jablonski, J.I. Kleinberg, Livio Farallo, Kathy O'Fallon, Gabriel Dunsmith, Joe Cottonwood, Lisa Geiszler, Jackleen Holton, R.A. Pavoldi, Ed Taylor, Serena Fusek, Alexis Rhone Fancher, Carrie Gardner, Matthew J. Spireng, Frank William Finney, and Ted Mico
Front Cover: by Tim Cavadini
Back Cover: by Emanuela Iorga
Sample Poems from Issue 43
Smoke Breaks by Karen J. Weyant
Port Wine Stain by Sandra Anfang
Red is the Oldest Color by Serena Fusek
The Colony, Est. 1929 by Maria Sebastian
by Karen J. Weyant
The girls on night shift spend every break
with their cigarettes, slipping out the factory
back doors, while crinkling Marlboro packs
and Bic lighters in their hands. Outside,
they leave their butts bent and floating
in parking lot puddles laced with car oil.
We sometimes hear them laugh, but no one
knows what they talk about,
their conversations lost in the pounding
of machines and the loud drone of furnaces.
When they come in, leftover smoke
trails from their nostrils and smiles.
I want their red fingernails, their lip gloss,
the ash that sometimes lingers on their jeans.
I've been here three weeks, haven't smoked in four,
but I long for their burning. I drink Mountain Dew
and eat stale crackers and Snickers bars.
Only when I inhale deeply, letting hot metal air
burn my throat, lungs, the roof of my mouth,
do I feel any relief from the craving.
© 2023 Karen J. Weyant
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Port Wine Stain
by Sandra Anfang
I sat across from him at a wedding.
My face flushed as my eye ensnared
the patch of sanguine pigment like a slap
across his neck, left cheek, and jaw.
He seemed at ease, while I macerated
in the soup of subtler flaws, ticking off
my list of cover-up techniques.
It must have taken years of work
to bring him to this peaceful place.
I flashed on the Elephant Man, recalling
the absurd tale of how his mother,
startled by an angry pachyderm,
may have wrought his fate.
What drew attention made him beautiful,
the bold Picasso face abstracted
by my cut-glass goblet,
emblem of Gaia and Bacchus’s feast
after things got testy.
His face a metaphor made real,
a flag of surrender unfurled,
an island of self-acceptance
in the jagged sea of our perfectionism.
© 2023 Sandra Anfang
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Red is the Oldest Color
by Serena Fusek
The cave artists
painted the horses
some of the red
is so deep
down the spectrum
of ocher cadmium
to give the horses
life that has lasted
of their breath.
but the horses
gallop across rock walls
their hooves beating out
the rhythm pulsing
through the caves
of our veins.
© 2023 Serena Fusek
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The Colony, Est. 1929
by Maria Sebastian
The former hotel and theatre
has been re(d)novated:
new stage, velvet backdrop,
scarlet curtains, leather pads
on heavy stools of cherrywood
to match the reclaimed bar top.
The solo performer's cheeks
appear flushed under a lone light,
his happy stand-up bass forcing
a good-morning vibe, but this place
was not built for Sunday brunch.
It may be morning, but never in here
where a hundred years
of gossiping embers
flame in a fireplace
like the waitress's face
when she forgets
I already paid.
Even the umbrellas
in the beer garden
suggest a warning to stop.
Maybe it's the only color
for a secular sanctuary,
souls floating by like dry ice
along the balcony,
pointing to the exit sign.
© 2023 Maria Sebastian
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