Categories
Poetry

Two Poems by Jason Melvin

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Toothpaste

as I squeeze the toothpaste

onto my toothbrush    staring

into the hotel room mirror

         I wonder

if the apocalypse happens,

could I sustain myself

by eating toothpaste?

With a foamy mouth

         I examine

the near empty

travel size tube

It expired a year and a half ago.

Punching Air

you had to sneak up   yelling did no good

walking up   lightly shaking   whispering Dad

never a good idea

a punch was coming your way   too fast to dodge

ten quarters stacked on his elbow

caught in that hand

         FAST

3rd-degree tae-kwon-do black belt

         FAST

you learn that lesson once

Saturday afternoon boxing matches

watching with eyes closed

laid out in the recliner   TV so loud

the deaf could hear it

which was kind of the point

I go for the toes   down on all fours

for a punch to reach   He’d have to sit up

and I’m hitting the ground

the recliner footrest   my shield

no war zone in that sleeping mind

bad ears take you out of the draft line   but

What’s behind those closed lids?

that keeps him on high alert

Punching air

at the slightest touch.


Jason Melvin is a happily married father of three children and one granddaughter. He has of late rediscovered his joy of writing and thought WTH, let’s try publishing. His work has recently appeared in From Whispers to Roars, The Beatnik Cowboy, The Raw Art Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Closed Eye Open, Kitchen Sink Magazine, The Electric Rail, and Front Porch Review.

Categories
Poetry

Two Poems by DS Maolalai

Painting a hot day.

a woman

in a housecoat,

threadbare

on her balcony,

eating an apple

which is dirty

with fingerprints,

looking

at a view

of the ground.

A bright day.

I can’t find my glasses.

they are somewhere

in the apartment,

but I am at work

in an office-building

opposite customs

overlooking the river

where Dublin

meets the sea.

I wear prescription

sunglasses, get odd looks

from the deli-man

as I grab a cheap sandwich

at the corner

near Tara St station. it’s not

a bright day; the sky dusty

as a broken piano,

untuned and hardly

played, a closed lid

in an under-used

guestroom. I walk

out to the evening

which slaps against weather

quite heavily, like a flag

in Kilbarrack

hanging from a window.

the world today

is clear and lovely,

the dark grey pavements

wet as bathroom mirrors.

I lean by the corner

and eat my sandwich. wear

my sunglasses, enjoy

the cold autumn, egg

salad emulsion

and a fingerprint thinness

of bread.


DS Maolalai has been nominated eight times for Best of the Net and five times for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

Categories
Poetry

I Am

I Am

By: Irina Talty

I am two worlds torn in half.

One is Bulgaria,

in the small city of Druzhba. 

Long, lazy summers

sticking with sweat, 

breath tastes like fresh 

banichka; warm and flaky.

My floury lips 

take another bite. 

Grainy sand under my feet

seaweed catches between my toes

the musty language of the sea

sliding over the sand. 

In the distance; a seagull, the roar 

of a jet ski. Laughing, shrieking

wind slapping my cheeks, 

knuckles pink, red, white

melting into a painful sunset. 

Dinners, humming with the lullaby of 

clinking plates and silverware

scooping food and pouring wine

glass after glass of the sweet fruit

wrapped under the canopy of vines. 

Bodies close, leaning in, 

gossip, fights, laughter. 

I race upstairs to chatter with cousins

with an unfamiliar language; yet

we can understand the familiar song 

of each other’s voices. 

Bulgaria, the smell of pearly soap,

cigarette smoke, and sweet grass.

But I am also here. 

America. 

Apple orchards and Halloween

fast food drives and greasy fingers

solo cups and first kisses

sloshing, wet, giggles. 

Hamburgers, hot dogs, 

little league games. 

Sitting in the heat, the fresh 

scent of cut grass. 

Driving with the windows down,

hand catching wind,

wind mussing hair. 

Coffee shops, subways, 

family, loud, bustling

banter while chowing on 

buttery angel cake, slippery spaghetti.

Smacking lips, smooching cheeks

telling me how tall I’ve grown

and asking me who my boyfriend is.

Road trips, cheap coffee,

lips on skin, lips on lips

feeling free, going faster,

first loves, first jobs, graduate. 

America, my first home. 

The feel of wet snowflakes, 

crunchy leaves, soft cherry blossoms.

Sitting in an American shop.

Tattoo ink bleeding into my skin

carving lines to create a sunflower

reminiscent of the golden fields

lining the country roads of

Bulgaria. My second home

forever with me,

etched onto my ribs,

etched into my heart.


Irina Talty is an Emory University grad who is currently teaching first grade in Atlanta, GA. She hopes to go to graduate school for creative writing after she has served her two years in Teach for America. She loves cooking, hiking, and her pet rats.