It is later spelled out: The aerial suffering, hard-knocking On each open door of our homes Without punctuated pause, And warnings. And concise words Of caution, breezing in the air Preach nothing but sheer solitude As if nothing is more important To our living than silence, and Mascaras, and six more feet away From our respective grave.
AM Kamaal is a Nigerian poet and writer. When he’s not writing, he reads Jericho Brown and Ezra Pound, listens to the evergreen songs of Àyìnlá Ọmọwúrà, or watches Hollywood. Illustration by VRRagesh, who is a noted cartoonist from Kerala.
White petals drift across the empty lawn — sun’s arc bends.
That spring, I became temporarily blind by choice; doctors scoured my eyes with lasers. Earlier I’d traveled the Sichuan Highlands during the Redbud Festival, seen those tendrils of good-luck crimson; and how wild rhododendrons blanket mountainsides.
But I missed the peak cherry blossoms in my home city, then weeks of shadows followed. “Next year,” I said. “Next year, “I’ll walk the Tidal Basin while “the breeze sends petal spirals “cross the waters.”
And now next year has come and with it, plague. The paths beside the river are blocked. Trees know nothing, save that it is spring.
In my neighbor’s yard a sapling blooms — White petals drift across the empty lawn — The March breeze carries the closing tang of winter. Soon redbuds will flower.
W. Luther Jett is a native of Montgomery County, Maryland and a retired special educator. His poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies. He is the author of two chapbooks: Not Quite: Poems Written in Search of My Father, (Finishing Line Press, 2015), and Our Situation, (Prolific Press, 2018). A third chapbook, Everyone Disappears, is slated for release, Fall 2020, by Finishing Line Press. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
hopeful genius dirty collar situation wonder claiming biting pencil scratching guess crossword puzzle giving answers chewing gum tied back hair fiddle greasy grey pot smoking is anyone granting wish on hope be it lost or found in this
pink-lipped mummies designer gym suits platform sneakers outing needed selfie shots gossip babble murmur giggle text on phone takeaway coffee gripping sipping keeping fast step separate pacing walk hard team power beauty temple pouting flee delivers health
deal constructed business suits let’s go hey mate cool in awesome check out new porn up online no lunch spot sit down here allowed in shut down mode pull compensation feel strange new life in whine did you see gay dude look at you paranoia sings fear gamble
and them dot tightly small group thrice on well-mowed lawn hedge square as kids run shouting cake shop gifting wait birds squawk hopeful scrap day party happen easy rules social distance not held why new work style no job or school manipulation welfare scandal
and me alone same time day night no change i still cruise wander a swim they say no too cold bloke gape smile back on chat concern in plunge to ice remind my real salvation claim i scribe own journey pack my bag when restricting travel lifts gain back my queer life amble
Stephen House is an award-winning Australian playwright, poet and actor. He’s won two Awgie Awards, Rhonda Jancovich Poetry Award, Goolwa Poetry Cup and more. He’s been shortlisted for Lane Cove, Overland Fair Australia, Patrick White Playwright and Queensland Premier Drama Awards, a Greenroom acting Award and more. His chapbook, real and unreal, was published by ICOE Press. Illustration: “HopePunkWorlds IV” by Karyn Kloumann, founder of an award-winning indie press, Nauset Press.
“It was snowing/ and it was going to snow” Wallace Stevens
The late cold slips in at toe-level where the door isn’t quite flush, more cold behind and rain, becoming snow that unpacks the sweaters that have lost a button or have sprung an elbow hole or grown a matted fake fur collar, those ones destined for Good- will, but not quite yet since an April chill surprised us and we have to make do in the house with one bed- room in the cellar, its back wall built in- to the hillside where a now-lost son slept, like a stored turnip, under an up-high window rimed with frost while we played music all day as if those flatted fifth notes could ward off the snow that was coming, the snow that we knew would come.
Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of five chapbooks and four books. Her third and fourth books, The Mercy of Traffic (Unlikely Books, New Orleans, LA ) and On the Way to the Promised Land Zoo (Cyberwit.com), were published in 2019. Her work is widely available in print and online. Ralph Almeida is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and creates in Brooklyn, NY.
Freedom, freedom Freedom, freedom Freedom, freedom Freedom, freedom Sometimes I feel like a motherless child Sometimes I feel like a motherless child Sometimes I feel like a motherless child A long way from my home —Richie Havens
The flowers died on my banana seat a long time ago, the bike’s still in my parents’ garage, which I haven’t stepped foot in since the Ides of March,
it took a long time for those flowers to wither. I noticed it first in the 90s, the colors started to fade, kids were wearing helmets, high on Ritalin, then came the rust,
it spread like a virus. Lemonade stands closed, street corners emptied, cool kids left the bleachers, John Hughes was misunderstood, and no one knew the movie, Over the Edge.
A mask has been added to their armor–I saw one on a little girl today. She was sitting on a bike with no flowers, pedaling wildly away from freedom.
Nancy Byrne Iannucci is the author of Temptation of Wood (Nixes Mate Review 2018) and Toxic, which will be released in 2020 (dancing girl press). Her poems have appeared in publications including Gargoyle, Ghost City Press, Clementine Unbound, Three Drops from a Cauldron, 8 Poems, Glass: A Journal of Poetry (Poets Resist), Hobo Camp Review, and Typehouse Literary Magazine. Nancy resides in Troy, NY where she teaches history at the Emma Willard School. Bill Mazza is a visual artist using chance, duration, and accumulation to reinterpret landscape as a relationship of people to their mediated environments, through painting, performance, and community-building collaborations.
The sun rises, looks around, withdraws to regain its courage. Up again, it still looks timid as a tulip. I’m out early, plucking trash from the roadside, hoping to encourage bunchberry, clintonia, and wild ginger— flowers gone nearly extinct after flourishing for decades along our dead-end road. The day promises and promises but won’t follow through. Orpheus won’t see Eurydice again, Ophelia won’t start swimming, and our assassinated Presidents won’t resume their leadership. I’m sick of Dunkin’ Donuts bags, of plastic pints of vodka, chocolate milk gone sickly, Milky Way wrappers flapping on the rim of the marsh where peepers chant in a disciplined chorus. I bag the trash so emphatically it squeals in protest. Old friends would laugh at my flailing gestures, but they’ve all died and left me to patrol the boundary between nature and culture by myself. The sun has gained some strength and I sweat enough to attract a maze of blackflies keening their indelible, inaudible rage. My bag is full. I heft it home to deliver to the landfill, where even the feisty dreams fade, leaving only the faintest and least offensive odors.
William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e- and print journals and in several collections, most recently Train to Providence, a collaboration with photographer Rodger Kingston. James Roper is the chief photographer of World Food, a book series from Penguin Random House, the first volume of which will be released in 2020. He lives in Lawrence, Kansas.
All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth —Chief Seattle
Back & forth. Front to back. Side by side.
That forgetting & remembering
dance of who we are.
If earth’s rhythm holds the groundswell
of well-being how do we heal her wounds
when we can’t remember
the language of flowers, rivers, trees?
We forget everything is part of everything
& everything belongs to us all.
Forget forgetting. Tell me how the earth—
a sentient being breathing, sweating, quaking,
bears our transgressions.
All spring the cherry blossoms cascade
in pink weeping blooms, heart-struck
by the red breasted bird—quiet, patient reverent
his hymn a hallowed invitation
to return to love,return to love, return to love
from the dance of disconnect.
Nothing moves for weeks. Unearthed in stillness
I remember I am—
trailing vine, fallow wind, spinning star
suspended in sky searching for light.
Louisa Munizlives in Sayreville, New Jersey. Her work has appeared in Tinderbox Journal, Words Dance, Menacing Hedge, Poetry Quarterly, PANK MagazineWomen’s Anthology TL:DR Press and elsewhere. She is the Sheila-Na-Gig 2019 Spring Contest Winner for her poem “Stone Turned Sand.” Her work has been nominated for Best of the Net. Her Chapbook, After Heavy Rains by Finishing Line Press is forthcoming. Illustration by V.R. Ragesh, who is a noted cartoonist from Kerala.
In the novel I’m writing I’m a healer. I call myself Luis, so the memory of a stranger reminds me of the old spirituality but, I believe, the new science – what I do for others I do for myself, altruism strengthening the body’s immune system.
On my way to the wet market I feel like an orphan, homeless dog that sired generosity I lost to a motorcycle accident. Leafless tree with a choir of magpies and orioles showing nature still holding the idea of community.
Arriving home, I give filled plastic bags to loved ones in their golden years. We don’t live by bread alone. I count the change, I give them the change. Upstairs, washing my hands, I remember the Essene practice, in Qumran during the time of Jesus, of self-absolution, which Gospel writers ascribed to Pontius Pilate.
A long, long time ago I gave myself permission to sit on the floor, my back touching the wall’s dark echo, arms like a poem’s sagging lines on top of my knees, fingers forming circles. This time, being alone brings me grief, knowing that across the planet lines sag, the poem with no other place to go.
Jonel Abellanosa lives in Cebu City, the Philippines. He is a nature lover, an environmental advocate, and loves all animals particularly dogs. His poetry collections include Meditations (Alien Buddha Press), Songs from My Mind’s Tree and Multiverse (Clare Songbirds Publishing House), 50 Acrostic Poems, (Cyberwit,India), In the Donald’s Time (Poetic Justice Books and Art), and his speculative poetry collection, Pan’s Saxophone (Weasel Press). Ben Shadis is an independent-of-wealth artist and unrepentant shack dweller living in northern Vermont. He regularly contributes to conversations at the general store and climate change. He is survived daily by his cats, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Turtle Bailey.
Jars of peanut butter in my pantry four, creamy, not chunky Rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom cabinet I’d rather not say Cans of beans stacked neatly in a storage tub enough to shoot a sequel to Blazing Saddles How many times I’ve put on makeup this week none Number of days in a row that I’ve worn sweatpants seven, the grotty ones Books that I’ve finally finished three Friends I’ve seen in person this week none Meetings held on Zoom too many Obituary listings in the morning newspaper take up more pages than the Sports section Confidence in our national leadership none Gratitude for first responders and grocery store clerks boundless Sleepless nights every second or third one How many times I’ll see my granddaughter this spring only on Facetime Date when we’ll leave for the beach not anytime soon Days until my grocery delivery arrives three, maybe more Substituted or unavailable items in that order some, maybe all Closets I’ve cleaned so far none Blooming trees in my yard two Blossoms on those trees I don’t know, but maybe today I’ll count them
Lucinda Marshall‘s poetry has appeared in Broadkill Review, Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, I am not a silent poet, Foliate Oak, Tuck Magazine, Stepping Stones Magazine, Columbia Journal, Poetica, Haikuniverse, and ISLE, among others, and in the anthologies Poems in the Aftermath (Indolent Books), You Can Hear The Ocean (Brighten Press), Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just Me? (Beautiful Cadaver Project), and We Will Not Be Silenced (Indie Blu(e) Publishing). She hosts the DiVerse Gaithersburg Poetry Reading and Open Mic. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
छातीभित्र जोसिलो हावाको झोँका पस्छ आँसुको वर्षातमा पनि समयले नयाँ उदेश्य हिँड्छ सुख्खाले खाएको डाँडामाथि ईन्द्रेनी सजिदिन्छ एक्लो पहाडलाई अँगालोमा बेर्न दूर देशबाट आइपुग्छ मायालु बादलको हूल
समस्याहरू जेल्लिरहन्छन् यात्राहरू भत्किरहन्छन् तर हरेक बिहान आशको नयाँ घाम उदाउँछ डढेलोले खाएको ठुटोमाथि बसेर एउटा चरीझैँ गीत गाइरहन्छ जीवन !
The green mountains come and sit On the window, left wrecked by the earthquake The sun moves, scattering light over the desolate garden The wind blows, wafting fragrance all over the woods The rivers flow of their own accord As though nothing untoward has happened anywhere The plants and trees sway nonchalantly.
In the bright mirror of the horizons The mountain glances at its own face mauled by an avalanche The stars twinkle in the dark Seemingly trying to appease a sick child The moon appears in the sky at deepening dusk To show the weary porter his way
In some corner of the heart Birds of excitement keep flying Spouts of wishes spring in the dry heart, Light throngs around the eyelashes Like children gathering around a balloon-man.
A waft of a zealous wind enters the heart Time moves with newer ambitions even in a rain of tears The rainbow blossoms over the mountain, beset by drought A band of clouds reaches from a distant land To embrace the lonely mountain in its bosoms.
Problems tangle Journeys halt But the sun, every morning, rises with newer hopes Like a bird on a charred stump of a tree Life keeps on singing a song!
Chandra Gurung is a Bahrain-based Nepali poet. His anthology was published in 2007. He has translated many Hindi, English, and Arabic poets to Nepali, and Nepali poets to Hindi. His poems and articles have appeared in More of my beautiful Bahrain, Snow Jewel, Collection of Poetry and Prose complied by Robin Barratt (UK), Warscapes.com and leading dailies in Nepal. Karen Shimizu is not fond of writing bios. She loves to draw, paint, cook, garden and play cello, but does none of those things professionally. Professionally, she is the executive editor of Food & Wine magazine. She lives with her family in Birmingham, Alabama.