Categories
Poetry

Adventures of Mr. Teddy and I

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Adventures of Mr. Teddy and I

By Meher Narula

This poem has been inspired by the “dress-up” games played by children, where they let their imagination run wild, imagining themselves as valiant knights or regal queens. Today, I thought maybe we should also let ourselves be swept away in the charming fantasy of one such incident…

One day,

Up on my head went a creaky bucket,

And on my feet slid Grandpa’s old boots,

And donning the old bat I decided

That today I was Sir Nicholas Right

Up again with an adventure in sight

My trusted friend Mr.Teddy by my side.

Teddy was as brave as a hundred bears,

And I as strong as a hundred men,

And so it was today that we entered the enemy’s lair

And hoped to save the world once again.

Down the stairs we dashed,

Through the door we jumped,

Tip-toeing across the dew topped grass

To where we knew the garden gnomes snored,

And sat shining with vicious allure.

The gnomes tiny teeth chittered,

And their malicious sticks glittered.

But we held steady and flung upon them,

Determined to crush them!

But our swords who could slice through air

Quailed beneath their pronged snares,

And so we were stuck,

And so our story ended,

Two martyrs who landed a fatal blow

But ended their lives to destroy the gnomes.

Spread eagled on the grass

Was where my mum found me,

With my rickety bucket and my old bat,

And the little gnomes without their little hats.

And so I was dragged back to the house,

Where Teddy and my knight days were doused.

But I swear I can still hear

The garden gnomes laughing

As they glinted in the evening sun.


Meher Narula, a high schooler, almost 16, lives in Noida, India. She is a girl of reason and science, however, she immensely enjoys the euphoria and thrill of writing down her vivid imagination on paper (so beware, one day she might just convince you that chickens can talk!). In her rare free time when she isn’t studying or writing or spending time with her family, she enjoys playing her guitar, cooking, and gardening. She is also a devout disciple of the golden mantra, that singing is an essential part of every activity, preferably loud when alone, much to the dismay of her brother’s ears.

Categories
Poetry

What Is a Pelican?

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What Is a Pelican?

By Matthew James Babcock

      after Susan Elizabeth Howe’s “What Is a Grackle?”

From the ground, a particle wave

crossing humid noon. Stern sage

in repose among the moorings,

tourists murmuring concessions

into coffee cups. In motion,

a Da Vinci diagram streaming

in daydream stage. Pelicans unfurl

more than ascend, launch

like unbound manuscripts

hurled into headwinds. Their wingspans

plane edges from storms.

Presume a uniform procession,

and they assume more roles

than the red horizon holds:

staunch reformer, serene wingman,

ascetic in the senate of sky,

outfitted with the evolutionary wonder

of gold cutlass and swag bag,

the endless sunrise in the mage’s eye.

Adopt one as cosmic consort,

or anoint your dozing confessor.

Recall the stately white male scarcely

audible on the mirror lake— 

lull, charm, and descant: Stay stoic,

came the telepathic trace. You are

the marble before the temple. Always

sculptor and sculpture in the air,

the everlasting space spanning here and there. 

Philosophy of the Pelican

            the three creeds

The needless thought ever encumbers.

The seedless heart never numbers.

The heedless soul forever slumbers.


Idahoan. Writer. Failed breakdancer. Books: Strange Terrain (Mad Hat Press); Four Tales of Troubled Love (Harvard Square Editions); Points of Reference (Folded Word); Heterodoxologies (Educe Press).

Categories
Poetry

2 Poems By Trevor Moffa

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Dissolving with the heavy edge of light

There is a      weight      to all tonight, a haze,

The air is thick, the moon is full, the lights,

The lights each fade to nonlight          irregular,

Late August blurred and settling on the world.

No leaves too      heavy      with dampness downtown,

But wetted brick equally oppresses,

No rain but water beads on roofs and hoods,

And I can hear it in the distance       falling.

How water wades from pores to air      return,

I watch it obscure my world in          rising

Protest of its earthly boundary     changing

State en mass      diffusing      in the after-

Rain around a moment, around present,

Dissolving      with the heavy edge of light.

Forgive me my lingering

The bed is too big and smells of us

And I feel the fitted sheet creased and patterning

My body beneath me

      my body like wax

Spoon heated and poured to seal what memories

I’ve folded into this morning without you

Wrapped in what presses an incantation

In dream-rolled dunes too gentle to notice

Upon my restlessness

      my body like fleeing

Glacier over kame and kettle of cotton

Focused telescope imaging ghosts

Of stars that might be like ours

Worth missing


Trevor Moffa is a poet and former coal miner, park ranger, bookseller, and button pusher from Pittsburgh, PA. His poems have most recently appeared or are forthcoming in 3Elements Review, Stoneboat, Sampsonia Way Magazine, and Nimrod International Journal.

Categories
Poetry

3 Poems By Michael Conner

HAVING REGRETTABLY KILLED A SPIDER

Having regrettably killed a spider

silently stalking the bedroom dresser,

I began to wonder why I did not

simply let her be, or calmly catch her;

rehome her in a tree. What is it that lurks

in me, defaulting insistently to

violence? — How do I gently set it free?

STRAWBERRY POEM #23

This little strawberry plant on the stoop

has been through it; tripped on, toppled, dumped out.

Face down clump of dirt beside the front door,

each time repotted once more, another

chance to defy the odds, growing despite

roots exposed to the elements, soil

soaked in dog piss. Pick it up and move it.

Starting all over again from nothing

is a particularly potent form

of progress — the coming Spring will prove it.

THINGS MY INFANT DAUGHTER TAUGHT ME ABOUT LABOR EXPLOITATION

I take no interest in work that disturbs

a sleeping infant.

For there is no work more worthwhile

than maintaining a place of peace

for a mind that cannot comprehend it.

Furthermore that which cannot be done

by choice among the crisp whims of quiet solitude

is not work at all—

it is mark-stepping time; toil

for the vampire class.

            I know it well — the way it drains.

And so I will my hands

into knotted clubs of oak, keeping

time in generational circles of grain —

            building tables,

            foraging mushrooms,

            shoveling snow,

in service not of keeping some ghastly hand at bay

but so the work may be finished when the child awakes.


Michael Conner is an English Literature and New Testament scholar specifically interested in exploring society’s relationship with nature & the climate crisis. His nonfiction work has appeared in Tenderly Magazine. He resides in South Florida with his wife and daughter.

Categories
Poetry

Should I Ever Pass This Way Again

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Should I Ever Pass This Way Again

By William T. Blackburn

Under shade of seckel pear tree, juices on my lips

Sun slipping between leaves, breeze disheveled

As songbird wings, flapping, slapping metronome

Green sheaves unfurled in springtime, scrollwork

A record of this season writ

In summer’s youth

Meadow cat peacock strutting, saunters slyly by

To the deep fields, amid folds of earth hunting

Little mousey morsels upon grain seed fed plump

This microcosm of the universe unfolding cycle

The way all things wander

Among summer’s stars

Stage right: graveyard headstones in dark granite

By decades, sun faded, wind and rain exfoliated

Grandad’s gift: shorter walks each Sunday service

Along the border in restive sleep his final home

Visitations every weekend

At summer’s dusk

With uncles, carried there a casket heavy laden

Inter in that sacred soil Grandma’s tiny frame

Mark down another name for those who remember

Bringing flowers as each year rolls slowly by

In my mind alone now

With summer’s passage

Our old farm, left to suburb subdivision lanes

The honeysuckle and sassafras stripped away

A creeping sadness overshadows: memory born

I cannot walk among orchard trees cut down

Laid to rest on hearths

After summer’s gone

My time slipping steady now, years strolling by

Busied surely daily diatribes and pantomimes

In my suburbia trapped as rat in cage on bookshelf

Admired and derided in equal measures panned

Join that happy host

When summer’s passed

Seasons seem to meld year after year progression

Succession in demi-regular heartbeats sounding

This round-trip visitation: a meeting with oneself

For in my own time, my own mind, a universe found

Alone within this grace

As summer’s depth


William T. Blackburn struggles still to find his car keys. He holds a degree in English: Writing/Teaching and Music Composition. His work appears in numerous digital and print publications. He contributed to Adirondack Center for Writing: PoemVillage 2019-21 & Response II. He is an Ageless Authors judge 2020 and Pushcart Prize nominee.

Categories
Poetry

Three Poems by John Grey

Lake Ghosts

I love that morning lake fog.

It’s the nearest I ever come

to seeing ghosts.

There is my mother and father,

my three sisters,

misting up in the tranquil transition

of night into day.

We had our disagreements

when they were alive.

But now they’re no longer here,

they walk on water.

A Teenager’s Wheels

I watch my father command the wheel

as he guides the car in and out

of highway traffic

at sixty miles an hour,

eyes and hands and feet

as coordinated as a fencer’s.

Or he’s in the passenger seat,

giving lessons with nothing more

than expression,

as I nervously nudge the vehicle forward

across the expanse

of a college parking lot.

We’re so often in the car together.

Like fishing is for some,

it’s our bondage.

For all the attention paid

to the way ahead,

there’s always a sideways glance involved

and the sense that, like love,

driving is unsuited to solitude.

Yet I can’t wait

to venture out on my own,

license tucked inside my wallet,

every street at my disposal,

one eye on the road,

one eye on the passenger seat

that will look so lost and forlorn

until it’s filled by someone.

Cedar Waxwings

January,

a high, thin cry of zee

draws me to the window.

Cedar waxwings

flash gray velvet feathers

from a nearby bush.

They peck through snow

at barely visible berries,

load up on winter’s chaff

to see them through the lean.

There’s something in a bill,

so small it barely warrants

the lift of a head while swallowing.

But the flock is relentless,

under orders from survival,

pecking furiously

even at nothingness.

My gaze is crystallized

in a window pane,

their essence likewise.

They’re too busy to notice me.

Even if they did,

I doubt that I’d astound their living.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Orbis, Dalhousie Review and Connecticut River Review. Latest books, Leaves On Pages and Memory Outside The Head are available through Amazon.

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems By Aaron Sandberg

Fortune

The dog tipped over the trash,

sniffed week-old egg roll with his snout,

found the cookies we couldn’t crack,

swallowed two still-folded futures,

then like us: gagged, hacked

one out.

Transit

We watched as

         the new one

in foreign tongue

         tugged on

his shirt

         and asked him

to tell her

         how to get

to the bus—

         which could take her

to the train,

         which would make her

board another,

         which would get her

to the work

         she was promised

from this land—

         and listened

like her life

         was held

in his hands,

         whispered

his words

         and then

doubled back

         until she

could hold to

         the first

before learning

         the next,

like walking

         the wire

taut over

         the canyon,

both trembling

         but trying,

then showed her

         what’s meant

by tunnel

         and ticket,

and when she

         had repeated

all steps

         back to him,

tore hearts

         when she asked

if we

         could explain

how then,

         together,

to get her

         back home.


Aaron Sandberg thinks ‘cellar door’ sounds fine, he guesses. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in West Trade Review, Asimov’s, The Offing, Sporklet, Lowestoft Chronicle, Abridged, Giallo, Right Hand Pointing, Monday Night, and elsewhere. A Pushcart-nominated teacher, you might find him—though socially-distant—on Instagram @aarondsandberg.

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems By Deryck Robertson

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Coloured Pencils

A box of coloured pencils

     (or, pencil crayons au Canada)

Lies unopened in my tired mind;

24 pointed tools of potential

Courtesy of

Crayola Canada, Lindsay, Ontario.

New dreams of

Golden yellow dawnings & mahogany red sunsets,

Fresh jade greens and emeralds blooming

Under white clouds leisurely floating

Through aqua blue skies.

Each moment in time becoming more

As the origin is reduced to

Unsharpened stub ends and broken tips

Lying at the bottom of what remains

Of the worn cardboard box.

At the end,

Only the oranges and browns remain.

F 150

Rusting truck beds carry

The memories of adventures

Of beat up backpacks and

Dusty, rutted roads

Tie downs and ratchet strap

         Reminiscings

Each scrape, bruise, bubble

         and dent

A story written in metal

That someday will disappear

Into the soil of time

To fertilize the imagination

Of those that long for

The things that

Rusting truck beds carry


Deryck N. Robertson lives and creates in Peterborough, Ontario. His work has appeared recently with Melbourne Culture Corner, Northern Otter Press, TunaFish Journal, Burnt Breakfast Mag, and The Minison Project. He can usually be found in Algonquin Park with his family of paddlers or thinking about practicing his trombone. His latest self-published zine will be printed as soon as he finds enough empties in order to pay for it.

Categories
Poetry

Portrait of a Mother on the Eve of Spring Break

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Portrait of a Mother on the Eve of Spring Break

By: Tamra Plotnick

through the parlor window
I witness
my last umbilical issue
load her distilled yet spindly
wonder into a hired car
and stream away

trailing behind
a long buried yet noodling crevasse
an invisible emptiness threading my core
that she began spinning since her womb exit fifteen summers back
that holy filament hooked onto her suitcase wheels
stretching my hollowness
past prospect

I stand behind glass
these wafery walls of skin
vacant of her
         glamour, grace, gall
this empty arc of bones
pressing against my own architecture
         prayers, poems, partners
so as not to cave
under the weight of
         values ill-instilled
         quests unshared
         talk too tacit
         bonds unbound

like Demeter
I forfeit color and verve
with her departure
though blossom’s promise looms a day away
and the charge is to view flamboyantly all

till the return of my Persephone
I will
spring
break


Tamra Plotnick’s poetry and prose works have been published in many journals and anthologies, including: Serving House Journal; The Waiting Room Reader, Global City Review and The Coachella Review. Her book In the Zero of Sky, Poems will be released by Assure Press in 2021. She has performed her work in multimedia shows in New York City where she lives, dances, teaches high school, and malingers with friends and family.

Categories
Poetry

Cat Eying the Butter

Cat Eying the Butter

By: Antoni Ooto

Every morning I feel you missing.

It’s been a while,

and only now do I speak quietly

about you;

hoping for an impossible presence

to hold on to.

There is less laughter

at the breakfast table,

but as I chew,

I think of you

eying the butter on my plate.

Sick as you were,

you never lost your taste

for thievery.

for Baby (our tiny cat)

(February 19, 2000-July 28, 2014)


Antoni Ooto is an internationally published poet and flash fiction writer. Well-known for his abstract expressionist art, Antoni now adds his voice to poetry. His love for and studying the works of many poets has opened another means of self-expression.

His recent works are published in Amethyst Review, The BeZine, The Poet Magazine, Brown Bag Online, The Wild Word, Active Muse: Journal of Poetry and Art, and many journals and anthologies. Antoni Ooto lives and works in upstate New York with his wife poet/storyteller, Judy DeCroce.