“Sharing My Canoe” by William Doreski

Thanks for sharing my canoe.
Yes, I drift around the pond
all day, reading and trusting
what I read, tasting the onset
of colder weather, aching for
the affection of migrating birds.

I’m glad to have you examine
notes I’ve taken on the poems
of Wallace Stevens. So many
secrets to set me blinking and wise,
so much texture to smooth me.

You with your decided flesh
offer coffee custom brewed
to seduce me into a lower case
version of myself. Why bother
with the niceties of literature
when the pond exhumes itself
in stink of leaf decay and fish?

Here comes rain to impress
its wax seal on everything sweet.
Refreshing with fragrance of stone,
revising the last unfallen leaves.
You fold my pages into yourself
and look homeward or shoreward
with the slightest tinge of fear.

We should always be this subtle,
leaving only the faintest ripples
as the canoe I refuse to paddle
sketches a simple hieroglyph
only the pond itself can read.

 

 

William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in many print and online journals. He has taught at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His most recent book is Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston.

“Antions and Quesswers” by J. S. MacLean

An answer more labyrinthine than the question
is not an answer, is it?
Like, ‘What was here or there before the Big Bang?’ . . .
Can “Nothing” be an answer?
Perhaps, but for some, invented ones are better.
Like . . . if infinite mass collapses
in upon itself in inner space
that has no room so
spits it out, banging the door
and no one to yell
‘Don’t slam the singularity!’
So, a creation of questions
. . . a chaos to construct.
So what do we truly understand
about what is confirmed
by each eroded particle?
Some molten rock cools into granite
then is ground into sand
by super patient weatherers.
This thing called life appears
leaving answers in its tracks.
Some history has
gone missing in
middens of time.
Evidence is all there is;
unnumbered data points
and not one contradiction!

 

 

J.S. MacLean has been writing poetry since the early 70’s with two collections, Molasses Smothered Lemon Slices and Infinite Oarsmen for one, available on Amazon. He has around 175 poems published in journals and magazines internationally in Canada, USA, Mexico, Ireland, UK, France, Israel, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, and Australia. He enjoys the outdoors…and indoors too. In 2007, he won THIS Magazine’s Great Canadian Literary Hunt in Poetry (1st Prize). He strives for lyrical and hopes for accidental.

“Intro to Poetry Class with Billy Collins Before He Was, and I was Only Seventeen” by Amy Soricelli

My professor comes in many languages.
I see him on the shelves, a long line of him.
Each book with different covers all saying the same thing.
I remember in English, how he’d pace his thoughts in the front
of the room, a skinny cigarette burning;
no one knowing where he’d land the ash.
Often he’d say something funny, and we’d stop to smile.
He never expected we were listening,
told us so.
Oh, you were listening?
Before we could finish putting our poem to ink,
we’d have to go around the room borrowing
compliments from one another.
Act kind to each other before you don’t, he’d suggest.
Soon after, we tossed ice pellets,
tiny bits of stone.
He’d sit in the front, ducking;
drinking coffee,
flicking his ash.

 

 

Amy Soricelli has been published in numerous publications and anthologies including Dead Snakes, Corvus Review, Deadbeats, Long Island Quarterly, Voice of Eve, and The Long Islander. Her chapbook, Sail Me Away, was published in 2019 by Dancing Girl Press. Amy was nominated by Billy Collins for an Emerging Writer’s Fellowship in 2019 and for Sundress Publications’ Best of the Net in 2013. She is a recipient of the Grace C. Croff Poetry Award, Lehman College, 1975.

“His Two Laps Nightly” by Robert Nisbet

Twice past the Naval estate, past the Racecourse,
past Palmerston Farm, the cricket club, the Lane.
Close to four miles, while the family sank to evening.

The Olympics had done it, Grand Prix, gold,
the family rapt by the flickering fulfillment.
Inspiration, aspiration, puff and blow.

The first half-mile was the purest, always,
the calves’ vibrancy, the sweet straight breath.
The gasping, rasping later he attuned to.

The family meanwhile slobbed on TV news,
domestic Masterminds overseeing all,
earnest and dazzled and enraged by turns.

Winter, he kept laps going, maverick man,
ever more excluded, lonely, as the streetlights
flickered thinly in November murk.

 

 

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who lives about 30 miles down the coast from Dylan Thomas’s Boathouse. His poems have been published widely and in roughly equal measures in Britain and the USA, where he is a regular in SanPedro River Review, Jerry Jazz Musician and Panoply. Robert is a 2020 Pushcart Prize nominee for his poem “Cultivation.”

“Transparency” by Daniel Romo

The homeless filter in and out of Starbucks—a motley crew of discarded
Grandes and Ventis who order free ice water, charge their old phones, and
spend an excessive amount of time cleaning up in bathrooms the baristas
frown upon entering because they’re forced to mop what’s left of a mess
from the newest residents. I sit in an uncomfortable wooden chair in the
corner and watch a Netflix show in which a man confined to a wheelchair,
for the first time, faces the man who shot him, paralyzing him from the waist
down and I recall when I sat across from my ex-wife in the coffeeshop and
apologized for every shot I ever fired at her during our marriage, leaving her
paralyzed, herself, because I’m sorry was a bullet she’d never been struck with.
Sometimes humility and forgiveness are the same shade of grace, different hues
of blue that mold into the same background of clouds that weren’t there to hide
your view of a world you thought you had to have, but existed to protect you
from the effects of its harmful rays. Today I think about how I always tell my
girlfriend not to text while she’s driving and she tells me she’s learning how
to navigate my stubbornness, and together we travel down our beautiful open
road of iPhones and irony. The Uber Eats driver picks up an order of lattes and
coffee cake and will deliver them to someone who has chosen convenience over
extra fees, and it’s amazing how advanced technology has made us, the way our
food can be passed directly from provider to driver to consumer which goes to
show
just how hungry we are.

 

 

 

Daniel Romo is the author of Apologies in Reverse (FutureCycle Press 2019), When Kerosene’s Involved (Mojave River Press, 2014), and Romancing Gravity (Silver Birch Press, 2013). His poetry can be found in The Los Angeles Review, PANK, Barrelhouse, and elsewhere. He has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte, and he is an Associate Poetry Editor at Backbone Press. He lives and teaches in Long Beach, CA.

“The Well of Abraham” by Jack D. Harvey

The lamps in the bedroom,
in the midday sun
are far far away,
dreaming of the dark;
the sunlit gold leaf dancing
on the ceiling,
the sunlit motes
flitting in the corners,
filling the room with light,
mark the day.

The sun outside
beams like a cyclopean baby;
from far away in the universe,
its blinding flaming eye
outside our windows
peers in;
through half-parted curtains
the winnowing air of June
wanders in.

The afternoon repents,
forbears its heat
and the air cools our fevered brows;
our tired faces become tranquil;
we sleep and the day passes.

Later, wakening, quickening,
we eye the long shadows
under the windowsills;
in front of the dim walls,
the unlit lamps stand out
like small obelisks,
wakeful sentinels.

Long ago,
the well of Abraham
on the same afternoons,
knew the passage
of heat and light,
knew over the eyelids
of the patriarchs
the passing of ages and
the dust raised by
the water-bearing daughters’
rapid pace, the pitchers’
spilled water splashing
on the dry ground.

Takers of water,
water-bearers,
more serene than the sun,
you are our living lamps at midday;
dream only of the darkness,
but draw of the light.

 

 

 

Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, Sparks of Calliope, Bay Area Poets’ Coalition, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal, and a number of other on-line and in print poetry magazines. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.

The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired.

“From Your Lover in the Middle East” by John Grey

2020 Pushcart Prize Nominee

I’m off to the hardware store
by way of Iraq and Syria,
then the dentist, in the family car
(okay so make that a jeep)
a hit-out at the local racquetball club
or a harrowing mission to the war zone.
I haven’t seen you in two months,
since the hot tub,
your nakedness supreme,
and greeting you with the word “Peace.”
The women I see on my travels
may be mysterious
but they’re fully clothed,
and just a little stiff.
and not forgetting their neglected smiles.
As for their hips –
I have a flag like that.
And their hair doesn’t pour.
I could easily thumbtack it to
the wall of my barracks.
You illuminate my dreams.
Their awkward, reticent bearing
wouldn’t make it through my first snore.
I wear a combat helmet.
I drive to the museum
where someone’s labored over what
they earnestly believed was beauty.
But, praying for flesh, they were stuck with sand.
The sculptors are either dead or in their dotage,
tribal elders, whose tribe has been
stolen out from under them.
That’s me piloting that blunt-nosed fighter.
Or watching the young woman drop her packages.
But I can’t help her.
Those boxes could be bombs.
And I’m working on the kind of chest
where majors could pin medals.
And I’m looking ahead to a day
like the one I’m looking back on.

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in: That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly, with work upcoming in: Qwerty, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review, and failbetter.