Categories
Poetry

A Hole in the Sky By Jayne Martin

A Hole in the Sky

By Jayne Martin

I’m not sure what to do about the hole in the sky
heat that sears my skin desert dry when

no rain falls to quench the earth’s thirst and
we all still want to be first to own the latest 

insert-toy-here made by children over there
for two cents an hour and our planet cries, 

species die, to stroke mascara on eyes filling screens
in the hands of beings consumed by their own desire.

Never mind the lands gone barren, famine
hollowing out bodies to bones, bellies that bloat.

Never mind fish that now float in oceans of fire
Never mind wondering why. 

We know, you and I.
We know, you and I.

***


Jayne Martin is the flash fiction editor at The San Franciscan Magazine. Her collection of microfiction, “Tender Cuts,” was published by Vine Leaves Press. Coming in spring of 2022, “The Daddy Chronicles-Memoir of a Fatherless Daughter” from Whiskey Tit Books. She lives in California, but dreams of living in Paris.

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems By Charlie Bowden

New Iberia

There’s a red man under my bed, ugly as sin

with pitch-black fur and a voice that pricks like a pin;

his claws are obsidian, his tongue is dynamite

but most deadly are the dreams he hurls into the night.

They toy with telepathy and send a message shining

to say that he’s made me a bed that I best lie in.

But then

there’s also

a woman

in my mind

who’s made

of the sun

making sounds

I can’t quite

articulate

but still

she leads me

safely

into reverie

away from

the red man

and his swarm.

Is this

heaven?

I think

as she

drags me

further

into

the blue of the cold wet night, no sun to light my way.

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

The Sound of Simon Armitage’s Shed

When it gets dark outside,

the sound of Simon Armitage’s shed validates me. 

I can ignore the bitter of winding of the wind as it howls

down stairs, up trees, through leaves and out again

and sink into the welcoming, well-worn chair of Imtiaz Dharker’s rhyme.

I’m made glad when the muscle memory of my heart

makes a mark against the viscous, sharp resin of the sky,

my fountain pen spidering over its moonlit sheen

from the soft breath of the warm shed on my flowering seeds.

The scent of sweet pomegranate surrounds me.

I come home smelling of glee, my smile a patchwork tapestry.

Guests often come and go through the shed,

the ghosts of those who are blessed to hear what the garden says.

They sense the echoed sound of a hand reaching to pick from the poets’ tree,

the delicate feel of handcrafted paper beneath their feet, evergreen.

There’s poetry in the stars, you know,

and in the stories of the seats in the park

and, most certainly of all, in the poignant moment:

 the Passover of stress into relief in the dark of the Poet Laureate’s fief.


Photo by Eriks Abzinovs on Pexels.com

Charlie Bowden is a student from Hampshire, England, who discovered a love for writing poetry in lockdown after spending years studying it at school. His poetry has been included in collections by Young Writers, Amnesty International and the Stratford Literary Festival and recently he won the 2021 Forward/emagazine Creative Critics Competition.

Categories
Poetry

The Man in the Moon By Frances Huffman

The Man in the Moon

Disclaimer: For best viewing experience, please view the following piece on a desktop or such related devices as well as through a chrome browser.

By Frances Huffman

Moon

My first word, my mother says.

I pointed at the big, shining bulb in the sky

and met for the first time a new friend.

The Man in the Moon.

“Goodnight Moon”

was the first book I ever read.

It was my favorite too. 

Every night before bed my mother would tell me to rest my head

and say goodnight to the man in the sky.

The moon is so comforting,

a beam of white in the dark of night.

I began to talk to him, The Man in the Moon,

my celestial diary, keeping me awake with his light.

My need for the Man soon ran out,

a total eclipse of my life.

New friends, new people to tell.

I left all of my secrets with them instead.

How lonely he must feel,

without our daily talks.

No one’s secrets to keep.

The loud silence of space, alone, a floating rock.

I hope someone else shares their life with him,

because he is a very good listener,

A wonderful friend when you need one.

The Man In the Moon.


Frances Huffman is a gazebo-loving junior at Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School. She enjoys writing poetry and creative nonfiction. She lives in Pittsburgh, PA and loves taking her dog for walks.

Feature Image by Georges Méliès

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems By Ivan De Monbrison

With both a Russian and English translation

Изгнание

Море белое.
Мы ничего не видим.
Желание не имеет никто.
Солнце ходит вниз
гора как
мяч.
Дверь открывается.
Входит тень
и проходит через комнату
перед проходит
через стену.
Я тебя никогда не знал.

Exile

The sea is white.
We don’t see anything.
There is no desire.
The sun is going down
the mountain like
a ball.
The door opens up.
A shadow comes in
and walks across the room
before going
through the wall.
I never knew you.

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

Странный портрет

Горизонт в коробке.
Рисунок карандашом,
не похож на тебя.
У тебя рука в кармане.
Но это чужая рука.
Голос за дверью,
это твой.
Ничего не имеет смысла.
Мозг – странный орган.

A Strange Portrait

The horizon is in a box.
A pencil drawing,
does not look like you.
You have a hand in your pocket.
But this is someone else’s hand.
The voice outside the door
is yours.
Nothing makes sense.
The brain is a strange organ.


Ivan de Monbrison is a poet, writer and artist living in Paris born in 1969. He has studied oriental languages there after high school, not with great success. Ivan has autistic and schizophrenic tendencies that he has been trying to cop with through art, in the past twenty years of his life. His writing and art reflect maybe also the feeling of the decadence of today’s society, centered on its own vacuity and its lack of real purpose. He has been published in literary magazines globally.

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems By Victor Ogan

The Cold Sermon

Scared to break the ice,

Skin thick with frail goosebumps,

Afraid to fight the icy battle,

Ironically, the battle was a common masterpiece,

Like the werewolves transform every full moon,

Thus, it was a match set in heaven,

‘Braven yourself, to face the brunt of the hard edges,

Or stand still, till eternity pass,

Leaving skeletons dry and emptied’,

A cruel price to pay for a fear of something light,

Kelly Clarkson’s ‘Stronger(What Doesn’t Kill You)’,

In the mind, now a continuous war chant,

A laughable attempt to stimulate the ego,

But its eccentricity, in whole shades,

A whole lot plausible, than the fantasy,

Of the gifted fire benders, with the telekinetic ability,

To break off this ice with not a sweat,

But fantasy must needs meet reality,

Yet in their union, a chasm still maintains,

In the gulf that rents the middle,

The skin finally toughens to break the ice,

Chills that block the lungs,

With entrapped air, falling in its use for animated screams,

Lost in the chasm, a bottomless pit,

Light’s blindness, in the abyss of loneliness,

Herein, the most awkward fears meet reality,

Imprisoned, in a dungeon, disguised as a fortress,

The only companion, a clown who fails at his job,

Bright enough is he though to entice fear,

A genuine performance, he learned to give,

From a careful observation of It’s ‘Pennywise’,

Indeed, the ices broken,

But were the tales, it entailed,

Worth setting a play, whose tussle with it, was the driving conflict?

Photo by jimmy teoh on Pexels.com

Generals of a Fallen Empire

Que será, será,

The broken hearted, strummed on his guitar,

Each twang, a consolation, for the one who got away,

A blind eye, it attempts to throw on his failed cues,

The resolution to his loss.

Rome wasn’t built in a day,

The seeker prayed monotonously into the morning air,

The epic inspiration, a cover,

For the epic failures to match,

Sorrows of the previous days,

The Ends of whose darkness, he had never seen the light.

Have faith in the gods, trust them and they will not fail you,

The pious one sang,

Songs of praise,

To ignore his shame,

Which heavily bothered him to Lamentations,

The cold waters troubling his loins, heated by the burning blood,

Its cruelty aroused by the rising tensions in his heart,

Synonymous with doubt,

For akin his previous experiences were,

To a kid who believed in the total salvation of the human race,

At the hands of some existing superheroes.

Now, broken, yet seeking and pious,

Three heavy weights, a crowd to bear,

Lusting in denial, a desire to push on,

But the heart knows the truth, which the mind can’t be lied to,

That to some clay,

The potter destined to be honoured at The Queen’s Palace,

Loathsomely, to some others,

Dejection was predestined, their final honour,

To be displayed around the city as spoils,

Like the legendary vanquished and prisoners of war,

At Caesar’s Gala,

In limelight of their impending execution,

Thus finding a common ground, lay their greatest achievement,

‘To die is to have lived’.


Victor Ogan is a writer who has strong interests in the fields of Literature and the Arts. He draws inspiration from his internal self-reflection and a careful observation of the world around him.

Categories
Poetry

Winter Purple

Winter Purple

By William Doreski

Black ice curses asphalt roads

this morning, the moon a white hole

funneling away our dream lives.

Few sharp edges in nature yet

we bleed from tiny scratches

inflicted by our wandering minds.

The challenge of snow-freighted trees

remains critical. One orange spark

of sun won’t be bright enough

to disburden the nervous landscape.

December’s always the wrong month,

with superstitions running wild

to obviate a year’s worth

of whatever we sought to resolve.

Driving to town on black ice

reminds me that learning to dance

pained me like foolish politics.

I prefer my music sitting down,

like you with your love of ballads

going sepia as you listen

to recordings eighty years old.

Driving slowly, all four wheels

on tiptoe, we arrive and park

by the river, where ice floes

crush over the low dam and birds,

mostly juncos and blue jays,

punctuate the colorless sky.

Where have all the purples gone?

Don’t you remember how bruised

last winter looked when observed

by the bravest local artists?

We haven’t seen them puttering

at their easels for many months.

We haven’t smelled their oil paint

or licked our lips over thick

slathers of acrylic: not since

the pandemic arrived, flaunting

its dread symptoms and snuffing

the gist of our public lives.

We still drink coffee outdoors

seated on a cold stone wall

where our friends can see us and wave

from a safe distance. Not even

black ice can keep us at home

all day. But if we skid and crash

we might, in the fatal instant,

recover those purple visions

upon which winter depends.


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Mist in Their Eyes (2021). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell’s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

Categories
Poetry

Your Reading

Your Reading

By Hailey Bartlett

The year is 1994, and we are together. You tell me that you are going to visit a psychic this weekend, the one that operates up the street from my house. I think of the plethora of things she will tell you, two of those being: Your dad will die soon, and your best friend is in love with you. You will brush both of these things off, not believing what she said, but believing that you wasted your paycheck on this. I will laugh and agree that it’s a load of bull. I don’t see the point in psychics anyways. I can predict stuff too. But when your dad kills himself a week after the reading, I’ll become a skeptic. You’ll cry at the funeral, but you will not mean it the way everyone thinks you do. I’ll squeeze your hand and we’ll flee the scene early. Everything is always so screwed up after a funeral. So, I’ll take you to the nearest diner. It’ll be dreary outside and my shoes will squeak from the rain when I enter the building. Everyone will stare at us, almost like they know something about us. They know the way I feel about you. They know where we came from. They’re psychic too.


Hailey Bartlett is a writer from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She’s currently studying creative writing at Chatham University. She’s still trying to figure out if she’s human or not.

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems By Gabrielle Gruszynski

Disclaimer: For best viewing experience, please view the following pieces on a desktop or such related devices as well as through a chrome browser.

The Witching Hour

In the ungodly hours of the evening,

Oddities trace alongside the cracks of wallpaper, thinned and torn with age.

Traces of moonlight sprinkle between the shuttered blinds.

Darting back and forth, shifting the space from raven to alabaster.

Though, in between the moments of their conflicting dance,

Lies a moderate figure, forcing a calm between forces.

Towards the end of the hall, this figure dwells.

Its looming presence commanding attention,

Of even an atom’s alchemy mingling in the air.

A faint scent of pine and driftwood lingers between such atoms. 

Golden-encrusted moulding mimics palace jewels,

Asserting aristocracy over those who dare to listen.

The stiffened silence is broken by its soft ticking.

Oh how the ticking tantalizes,

Each second growing smaller,

Each minute making martyrs,

And each hour damning us to hell.

With each passing of the dreaded hand,

The figure’s ego grows tenfold.

The space quakes with an acquired anguish,

Not a peep can be heard throughout the ink-blotted sky.

The raven nor alabaster dare to continue their ballet.

Ghosts of our former glory, 

We dare not interrupt the inevitable.

The figure’s hand materializes a gateway between

Normalcy and the devil’s playground.

Alas the moment grows nearer,

Mere seconds between all that is unholy.

Twelve frightful chimes sound throughout the withered night.

(chime) Everything stills.

  (two chimes) A light, thumping pulse.

    (three chimes) Warm, dripping blood frosts to sheen.

      (four chimes) Jagged fingernails scrape against the aged wallpaper.

        (five chimes) Burned out candles pool puddles of wax.

          (six chimes) Lucifer’s lucky gambling number.

            (seven chimes) A noticeable barometric shift in the air pressure.

              (eight chimes) The corridors of our minds crackle and crunch.

                 (nine chimes) Walls closing in.

                   (ten chimes) As above, so below.

                     (eleven chimes) Hell empties, for all the devils are here.

                       Twelve.

The witching hour is upon us,

May God save our souls.

Our Roots

Madam President, Madam Vice President, 

Roots. Reaching into the depths of the earth, coupling the minerals

and memories of the rotting bygone.

In the way the willow tree hums in the wind, its branches brushing against a

supple spring and its

roots too grasp for the knowledge within.

The pine and evergreen, the oak, the birch, the sycamore all singing the songs

of our youth. For the tips of our fingers reach back into the dirt and unearth a

story.

Flecks of sapphire mix with cobalt to make the stars in our eyes, glossed over

with a sheen of light and reason.

We have seen feet pad against the grass, racing to reach a dream just out of

grip.

Tasted our mothers’ spoon-fed batter against our tongues, hoping to one day

recreate her perfection.

Listened to our grandmothers’ honeyed and high-pitched tales of swords,

dragons, and the dashing prince racing to rescue a princess.

Touched the brink and brisk of an impenetrable abyss, lingering in the backs of

our brains.

And smelled the sense of victory amongst champions when we finally broke the

unbendable.

For the perturbed and convulsed earth trickling from our palms, tells the same

story:

I am strong because strong women have raised me.

We have built a livelihood from each individual brick, formed of red clay and

desert hills. 

Each passing though the palms of our hands, spackled across generations; today,

we finally lay the last one to rest.

The last piece of the jigsaw, each duck carefully tucked in its row, each

uncracked eggshell lying in a woven basket.

Each convention, each protest, each march just to gain the unalienable rights

gifted to us by our creator.

For his word claims that the roots traced along the lines in our hands,

connected to our heartstrings, give us a spot under our own vine and fig tree.

And that we shall not be afraid.

Each revolutionary, each insubordinate, each subversive movement falling from

the sky, like drops of rain or glistening snowflakes.

For they have broken the shackles that bind women to a simple household.

But well behaved women rarely make history.

Every Audrey Hepburn,

           Ada Lovelace,

Harriet Tubman,

           Frida Kahlo,

Every Wilma Mankiller,

           Every Helen Keller,

Marie Curie,

           Every Amelia Earhart,

Shirley Chisholm,

           Elizabeth Cady Stanton,

Louisa May Alcott,

           Coco Chanel,

Katherine Johnson,

           Every Ruth Bader Ginsburg,

Every Gloria Steinem,

           Michelle Obama,

Every Kamala Harris,

           Every working mother, or loving grandmother, or sagacious great-

grandmother,

And every daughter, amassed in her youth, looking to her predecessors for

answers, 

Preserve.

Grasp the roots that couple memories and minerals and bind them together in

our palms.

Interlock images and ancestors to sing out the songs of this great nation.

Of the triumphs and the failures of what it means to be female.

On this momentous day, we call back to the pine and evergreen, the oak, the

birch, the sycamore.

To their deep treaded stories amongst the lush earth,

And to dig just below the surface of soil,

To reach our

Roots.


Gabrielle is a junior and currently holds the managing editor position for her school’s own literary magazine titled, The Archetype. She has always been involved in the arts, whether it be singing at vocal lessons on Thursdays, continuing her dance education of 14+ years, or acting in her school’s theatre and One Act productions. However, writing and English literature have always been some of her favorite passions! Over the course of her writing career, Gabrielle has entered in as many writing competitions as she can manage; for example, the Young Georgia Authors Writing Competition. She has placed first in district two years in a row for her pieces “Seven Deadly Sins” and Of Heaven and Earth: A Collection of Poetry respectively. She has also entered pieces in the nationally renowned Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, receiving a regional gold key for her critical essay piece, “The Disney Princess Debacle.” In addition, Gabrielle has also been selected as a Communicative Arts major finalist for the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. She is beyond grateful and excited to attend the intensive program this coming summer! Her seriousness for her writing career has led her to wanting to pursue writing outside of her formal education. In college, Gabrielle hopes to study English, International Studies, or Broadcast Journalism and would love to work for the United Nations in the future.

Categories
Poetry

Pandemic Endorphins

Pandemic Endorphins

By Caitlin Coey

When you get tired your breathing

gets shallow. The body releases

endorphins to wake itself up,

takes in air, and yawns. 

These days I am always trying 

to wake up the body,

weights, cacao nibs, stand-up comedy,

calf lifts, standing on tiptoes 

like Rose DeWitt Bukater, glittery gold 

eyelids like 8th grade graduation, 

a dark red lipstick called 

Opinionated,  

an even darker one called 

Everybody Lies.

Instead of courting 

the soft texture of a darkened 

movie theater, the silence 

of snow, 6 pm light after 

the panic attack, I take a small blue

pill to increase my serotonin, 

immerse myself in voices 

like flailing limbs, movies like 

an adrenaline shot,

just to feel

my heart.


Caitlin Coey is a queer poet and playwright completing her MFA in Creative Writing at Antioch University Los Angeles. Her full-length plays The Language of this World and Careful Girls have been workshopped in Seattle by Parley Productions. Her writing focuses on gender-based violence, mental health, queer love, and the importance of friendship. Shambles is her first publication.

http://www.caitlincoeypoet.net

Categories
Poetry

A Poem w/o Ghosts

A Poem w/o Ghosts

By Brian Lutz

Go straight past the kitchen.

Go stand by the mirror. Find

the shape there that doesn’t belong.

Spear it w/ your eyes until it becomes

the standing lamp. Do not mistake

its SHADE and glow for halo.

The door was open, that much we know

like the valves of the heart,

like the tunnels that flee the body. 

Do not include the word SHADOW in

the poem just b/c the moon left

jet puddles behind the hung coat.

Do not find in the hinge’s

scream the wedding band she

hid from the mourners in her eyes. 

The room past the kitchen

was like a room that never had

him in it. Like so many rooms

since his 5th grade heart. Go st-

eal the light behind the curtain b/c

it plays wild like a child. This is not

a HAUNTING. It is a car’s impatient

gaze. At some point, have we not all

thought our eyes headlights that

could cut the dark? Have we not

all conjured, in the ceremony

of loneliness, the dead memories

we hid in television and in books?

We know the door was open.

We know the room was dark.

But the ego still wants to say

it wasn’t this way. We had shut

the door. We had turned on the light.

But, b/c the home moaned we go st-

one still and hope. But this poem, b/c

our minds are wise, has no GHOSTS.


Brian Lutz teaches at Delaware Valley University. In 2003, he was named Poetry Laureate of Bucks County, PA. His poetry has been published in numerous journals including Slate, Potomac Review, Louisville Review, Southern Florida Poetry Journal, Welter, Poetry East, Cider Press Review, Poet Lore, Apple Valley Review and Cimarron Review. Brian lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, two kids and three cats.