Let me tell you what it’s like in my head first, there is, like God intended – this unmade bed, scattered artifacts on the floor a mountain of uselessness and everything I’ll need stitches in time that tell only half the story I am not what I thought I would be some days
my brother calls me, his car parked by a dumpster behind a Wendy’s while the girl of his dreams is turning tricks in the bathroom to tell me what I already know; he is on a death run and it’s our parents who did this to him I just need to listen
this is what it’s like in my head scars on my arms just to get off the cold county jail floor I know about desperation I know about almost not making it I know you can’t save drowning a man if the drowning is what he’s after if he really, really fucking needs it, that bottom like a soft bed but he’s my brother, they are all my brothers, these broken that I have traveled with along this dark road
this is what it’s like when I tell him; “Don’t die“, and he says “I’ll try“, some things are dug too deep in us to remove don’t I know it’s not true, there is paper, there is glue there are a million ways to tell a different story
but this is what it’s like in my head today unable to save the one I love I save what I can, here, inside myself and these words – they are also mine; I’ll try not to die.
James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018). Their poems have appeared in Yes Poetry, Gone Lawn, The Collidescope and Thimble Lit Mag. They live by the simple but true motto that “feelings matter” every shape and size of feeling. They believe that every small act of kindness makes an often unseen but significant difference in someone’s life and hopes that their poems are a small piece of that. 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.
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 attention on breaking news, I climb inside the storm
debris piles up, the months establish my body folded, unfolded, folded again
gasping, I grasp uncertainty held within fisted hands I pocket the minutes
jackknifed, my arms keep betraying limber legs
March-April-May nonessentialness open-closed-gone
petunias bloom like question marks, the days returning warm
sometimes the air tosses enemies upon me
vegetating too long walking with you
x-ing out the hours yelling at zoom
Laurie Kolp is an avid runner and lover of nature living in southeast Texas with her husband, three children, and two dogs. Her poems have recently appeared in Moria, The Pinch, San Pedro River Review, A-Minor, and more. Her books include Upon the Blue Couch and Hello, It’s Your Mother. 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.
This day turns stale crusty like old bread tedium showing as first hints of mold
This day is liquid unable to gurgle its way out of a blocked time drain
This day is tired of being today unchanging, unlike seasons of winter melts and spring blooms
This day wants to be the last today This day longs to be tomorrow
Living in Singapore, India-born Uma Venkatraman is a journalist who has had poems published in anthologies such as Good Morning Justice, Along The Shore and Beyond The Hill, and online in L’Ephemere Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, and Plath Poetry Project.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.
A brain on fire I don’t think You care About the lesions That bloom like a flower In unseen places With the sonic force Of a four horse chariot Hades & Demeter ride on Left to float through Barren cites afar Among an infertile death
I’m not sure How many cookies It takes to be happy But so far It’s not 7
Smoke from between my fingers Passes in a prickled breeze Under the laughing sun Things just happen in time & I just wanna pretend its The beginning of a real summer
Giuseppe Infante is poet from Brooklyn, NY and is the Managing Editor of the small press Overpass Books. He teaches Literature and College Writing at Touro College and is co-host of the genre film review podcast, Club Dreadcast. 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.