Remotely

by Hilary Sideris


I teach a man whose face
I’ve never seen. I buy bright

necklaces online, Murano beads,
blood-red coral for Zoom.

His voice wobbles in fear or lack
of connectivity. I can’t ask him

to turn his camera on, he has so
little faith in his bandwidth. Was it

wrong, the way I used to scrawl
all over the margins of persuasive

papers, dog-eared, stapled
in the upper right corner?



Hilary Sideris has published poems in The American Journal of Poetry, Barrow Street Bellevue Literary Review, The Daily Drunk, Free State Review, Gravel, Mom Egg Review, Rhino, Room, Salamander, Sixth Finch, Sylvia and Women’s Studies Quarterly, among others. Her new book Animals in English, poems after Temple Grandin, is just out from Dos Madres Press. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

The Vagaries of Extinction

by Harriet Shenkman


I imagine us taking a table by a window overlooking
the Hudson. The waitress with two-inch nails stands by.

We’ll have a glass of Chianti and eggplant parmigiana, lock
eyes with the folks at the next table.

We’ll dab our lips with napkins that match the checkered tablecloth
and ponder the vagaries of extinction. Have a second glass, a third.

We marvel at the Aldabra of one hundred thousand years ago
evolving back into existence.

If a flightless brown rail bird can re-emerge,
the city life as we used to know it might just.


Harriet L. Shenkman is a Professor Emerita at City University of New York and serves on the Advisory Board of the Women’s National Book Association. Her poetry awards include the Women’s National Book Association 2013 Annual Writing Contest in Poetry, The Women Who Write 2013 International Poetry and Short Prose Contest and The Raynes Poetry Competition, 2014 finalist. Her poetry appeared in Union, Evening Street Review, Third Wednesday, Jewish Currents, Jewish Magazine, Jewish Quarterly, VerseWrights.com., When Women Awaken, The Westchester Review. Oyez Review, The Pink Panther Magazine, The Calliope Anthology, The Alexandria Quarterly, The Comstock Review, Indolent Press, Gyroscope Review, The Berru Poetry Series, and The Last Leaves Literary Magazine, Train River Press Anthology. A Poet-in-Residence at The Transition Network, her first chapbook Teetering was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014 and her second chapbook, The Present Abandoned, was published in 2020. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art. The photograph that accompanies this poem depicts the red light reflecting on the street from the Extinction Countdown Clock in New York’s Union Square.

Walking a Cemetery Path During the Pandemic

by Nancy Smiler Levinson


I.
here lies Ray Bradbury    here ‘our darling’ Eva Gabor
Natalie Wood is at rest in this garden spot
imagine a soft song near this rippling pool
where lies Miss Peggy Lee    ‘music was her life’

August, the anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s
death    her crypt festooned with glossy photos
daffodils and wreaths of roses white and red
draped in memory by her ‘Immortal Fan Club’

lush lawn     porcelain flowerpots
camelias    calla lilies     mixed bouquets
rows of dense manicured hedges
slender spruce and pines skyward pointed

II.
there is no one here today, not a living soul
here a granite bench beneath a tree
this camphor tree   so majestic    wondrous  
I sit sensing its life given by a mighty force                    

breathing     sheltering     with canopy’s whispers
embracing me with long, curved arms   
branches as sturdy as its massive, braided trunk
I am a visitor    here on this breathtaking earth



Nancy Smiler Levinson is author of MOMENTS OF DAWN: A Poetic Memoir of Love & Family; Affliction & Affirmation, as well as work that has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including  Poetica, Voice of Eve, Constellations, Sleet, Third Wednesday, Burningword Literary Review, The Copperfield Review, and elsewhere. In past chapters of her life she published some thirty books for young readers. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

Fear

by Joan McNerney


Sneaks under shadows lurking
in corners ready to rear its head
folded in neat lab reports charting
white blood cells over edge running wild.

Or hiding along icy roads when
day ends with sea gulls squalling
through steel grey skies.

Brake belts wheeze and whine
snapping apart careening us
against the long cold night.

Official white envelopes stuffed with
subpoenas wait at the mailbox.
Memories of hot words burning
razor blades slash across our faces.

Fires leap from rooms where twisted
wires dance like miniature skeletons.
We stand apart inhaling this mean
air choking on our own breath.



Joan McNerney’s poetry is found in many literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Poet Warriors, Blueline, and Halcyon Days, Four Bright Hills Press Anthologies, several Poppy Road Journals, and numerous Poets’ Espresso Reviews have accepted her work. She has four Best of the Net nominations. Her latest title is The Muse in Miniature available on Amazon.com and Cyberwit.net. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

The Ritual of Rising

by C.L. Liedekev


Burn the ladders first,
ash cast into the dust below,
the dust becomes daughters
and sons. Gardens are grown
in the empty. Saviors
lost in the ancient chores,
choreography as prayer.
What rises never returns.
Sacrifice has its own language.
The old born into that tribe first.
Born to breathe the smoke,
the sky as ocean,
as an unnamed father,
it’s face slack, alone,
watching the others slump down
on the altar, on altar after altar,
as far as belief will carry the wind.
As far as the wind will carry
the fragrance of rot.



C.L. Liedekev is a writer/propagandist who lives in Conshohocken, PA. He attended most of his life and all of his college in New Jersey. His work has been published in Open Skies Quarterly, The Literatus, River Heron Review, The Red Hibiscus, Impspired, and Rye Whiskey Review. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

Food Lion, August 2, 2020

by Tracy Donohue


I see only eyes
above the masks

no full faces

until I see the man
without a mask
at the check-out lane

like a different species

well-dressed
firm jaw
tan
around seventy

so very tall

he radiates
a confidence
that comes
from being saved
by myths

a slight smile rests
on his exposed face

such sureness dazzles me

he gazes at me
hawk-like
with half lidded eyes

with a dog’s tilted head
I stop and stare

I want to bark
to tell him
there is danger
to take cover
but he wouldn’t
understand
the words
through my
muzzled mouth

I trot away

I don’t look back



Tracy Donohue is a retired professor of Theatre Arts. She lives in North Carolina with her husband Morton Stine. Along with writing, Tracy enjoys kayaking, singing, biking and reading. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

October, Plague Unlocked

by Kushal Poddar


We changed my mother’s medicine
to placebo.
She showed real ailing, true health,
until
the day she died, still recovering.

“I believe in silver linings.” she said
while we dined in our dim room, almost dark,
and because I had to say something I moved
my lips, “Revolution means circling back to
the origin, not changing the origin.”

Freud sat on the third chair. A sparrow brought
a grain of grin on my mother’s lips. She ate it.



Kushal Poddar is an author and a father. He edited a magazine, Words Surfacing. He has authored seven volumes including The Circus Came To My Island, A Place For Your Ghost Animals, Eternity Restoration Project: Selected and New Poems, and Herding My Thoughts To The Slaughterhouse, A Prequel. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

To Be

by Dale M. Tushman


Lonely is better than sad.
Sad weighs so much
it changes the contours of a
heart.  And it’s messy.
Very messy.  It oozes into spaces

you would least expect, like windows,
a bathroom mirror, the closet,
the coffee cup, so you cannot
always armor up and send it somewhere
you’re not going to be, like         happy.
(Or even mildly pleased.)

Lonely used to have options, 

which allowed one to feel close    enough
to mitigate the silence,
but now, behind our masks and/or
milling around/nearish the doordash person,
we have to take the time
to get distracted enough

to lose the scent of grief or despair. 

There’s always an app or two
or fifty
to produce lights/camera/action which short
circuit the nervousness that comes
with the “s” word.    Unless one is
an elder or technophobe and only has
a flip phone which has limited minutes and apps
and arthritic fingers cannot rescue an incoming call
or find the place where messages hide.
Then,
one can always curse at a missing person,
and the grey of sad can shift
into brown paneled walls of solitude,
like those in the library.



Dale M. Tushman‘s writing started with messages in bottles and notes to Santa. She moved up to ardent and (hopefully) articulate political protest letters (an on-going effort), short stories for university publications and eventually a life in New York publishing as a writer/editor and producer of multi-media education products. Her poetry has been well received in both print and on-line journals and now the smallish screen. She has been a psychotherapist for over twenty years. She is a transplanted New Englander now living in southeast Georgia, a place not terribly much touched by modern times, and one of the good things about this buckle-of-the-bible-belt is that it does love its crazy people: She is hardly noticed among the Bougainvilleas and Spanish moss. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

During Pandemics Everyone Writes About the Sky

by Kendra Nuttall


Sun rays against skin, birds chasing half-empty airplanes
across mango sunsets into moonlight.

I remember the Idaho sky in fall.
I remember Grandpa’s Thanksgiving Day hugs.
I remember Thanksgiving.

I’m one of the lucky ones, I haven’t forgotten
touch. I haven’t forgotten the impossible
warmth radiating from sleeping dogs on winter mornings.

I haven’t forgotten
how to feel. Do you remember the day we got married?
It was raining and we were happy.
It’s raining and we are still happy.



Kendra Nuttall is a copywriter by day and poet by night. Her work has appeared in Spectrum, Capsule Stories, and Chiron Review, among others. She lives in Utah with her husband and poodle. Her debut book, A Statistical Study of Randomness, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.

The Unbearable Lightness of Seed Pods

by Mikki Aronoff


A drizzle of pale green. Paper-thin globes 
float to ground — so light the branches don’t lift 

from their absence. I wait, then pick one up, 
feel the lack of heft my eyes already measured. 

So many have departed this tree. More to tumble
when weather wreaks its windy tricks and twists.

They say a soul weighs 21 grams. This hot summer 
day, more untether from the world. A half million 

now adrift — impossible to consider. We flounder
for remedy, work fast, wave our wands. Beetles

the color of checkerboards stream, wait piggy-
back for the bounty to dry, to spill its hard seed.



Mikki Aronoff’s work has appeared in The Lake, EastLit, Virga, Bearing the Mask: Southwest Persona Poems, Love’s Executive Order, bosque9, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, SurVision, Love Like Salt, London Reader, Popshot Quarterly, and elsewhere. A New Mexico poet and Pushcart nominee, she is also involved in animal advocacy. Sally Lelong is a visual storyteller working in a variety of media that lend themselves to use in a conceptual framework. She lives and works in New York, and routinely exhibits her work in a variety of settings from print to thematic installations to street art.