Make beer bread w/one can of cheap lager. Consider becoming more flavored yourself. Eat more bone marrow. Reduce cruciferous vegetables, especially cabbage. Soak your feet in well water centered with rind of blood orange.
Remember clubs of cheery types of people who gather in groups like knitters, coin collectors & those who like old dolls. Do more meditation when recycling & garbage has finally been collected Sing at sunrise or when the dew comes off the grass.
Embrace your household of living beings – mice, squirrels or your offspring. Find a handful of fountain pens, freaks & curlers or the right side of the bed. Ask everyone one song that makes them cry every day.
Ellen Stone taught special education in public schools in Kansas and Michigan for over 30 years. She advises a poetry club at Community High School and co-hosts a monthly poetry series, Skazat!, where she lives with her husband in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Ellen is the author of What Is in the Blood (Mayapple Press, 2020) and The Solid Living World (Michigan Writers’ Cooperative Press, 2013). Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart prize and Best of the Net. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
We forged a friendship when the kids were small, money tight, the unexpected birthday gift that screamed of possibility;
this machine with its basic straight and basting stitches, its practical and fun zigzag, and other sexier stitches
I later learned earned names such as Scallop, Icicle and Diamond, all contributing to the creation of shiny silver knight costumes,
long-tailed green dragons with gold bellies and oversized paws, quilted Christmas stockings sporting each child’s name on the cuff,
wide wale corduroy knickers for the high school version of Carousel, all tailored with my reliable indestructible sewing machine.
Cancer changed priorities and my Singer found a home in the back of the closet with other abandoned pastimes
until Covid coaxed it out to fashion protective masks but instead, sewed one straight row, then jammed in reverse.
Elaine Sorrentino is Communications Director at South Shore Conservatory in Hingham, MA. Her work has been published in Minerva Rising, Willawaw Journal, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Ekphrastic Review, The Writers’ Magazine, Haiku Universe, Failed Haiku, and has won the monthly poetry challenge at wildamorris.blogspot.com. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
of a toilet seat from next door, we share a wall, I wonder what they hear, we don’t yell, in fact, last night you won a gold medal for strongest
Tickling the sheets for an extra hour, watching TV Land reruns, calming the old dog, scolding the late night teen, replaying long forgotten embarrassments, existential worries, stop snoring, give me the blanket,
Cut your ragged jagged toenails already
And still at 5:30am
I am up, slippers, bra (yes, bra) and coffee in that old, stained mug, wearily proclaiming me World’s Best Wife
Yet morning is my only solace
So please dear sleep until noon
Elisa Subin is a poet whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in 34 Orchard Literary Journal, CCAR Journal: The Reform Jewish Quarterly, Not One of Us, Jam & Sand and Nebo: A Literary Journal, among others. She won an Honorable Mention in the Reuben Rose Poetry Competition.Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City. The illustration depicts Emily Dickinson in a cable-knit sweater.
what I wanted was a Ray Griffith sweater, one with bulk, hand-knitted
by an aunt, decades old and worn, warm, awkwardly fit yet comforting,
with measured sleeves and cuffs not frayed though pulled and loose at the elbows
with that little collar that fenced the neck from cold, that when you pulled out a pen
and paper something warm and witty spilled onto paper, or a letter glib
with insignificant news, a caricature or profile of idiosyncrasies,
a letter of comments on the weather, a teabag like a wet plum on paper.
Jeff Burt lives in Santa Cruz County, California with his wife. He works in mental health. He has contributed to Heartwood, Williwaw Journal, Red Work Journal, and Montana Mouthful. He won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review Narrative Poetry Prize. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City. The illustration depicts Emily Dickinson in a cable-knit sweater.
I used to have space, a place where my stomach could go–at least for the few seconds I’d try to tuck it in to achieve that flawless flatline profile I knew was mine.
Post pandemic quarantine, pizza-ed, macaroni-and-cheesed, fed fresh bread and potatoes mashed, I am now one solid mass. No room inside for anything to inch. Everything’s rounded, filled to the max. No spaces between even organs, arteries, nerves. Vertebrae? Packed tight.
But more than the starches, the carbos and fat, I’ve swallowed, sucked up months of virtual everything: concerts, coffees, choirs, holidays, birthdays, church. Too many boarded-up windows and doors down empty streets. Tired of all the blue links cramming my computer, the masks hanging from everywhere–doorknobs, pockets lamps, ears, even from my rear view mirror.
I’ve swallowed isolation, which you would think might be empty, but it, too, grows inside me, protruding, pressing against each inch of my taut drum skin. I ache for some space to break free
Patricia Mosco Holloway is a writing teacher residing in Denver. Some of her work can be found online at Rattle, The Ekphrastic Review, New Verse News, in The Explicator and in college textbooks teaching writing about literature by Rolf Norgaard and writing about theater by Suzanne Hudson. She is a 2019 finalist in the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Stella Bellowis an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Though fake fire hisses out gas flames between logs fashioned from steel, the convivial intent seems real. Today, the gaseous blaze plays
to an empty alcove inside an emptied coffee house with seats taped over. PLEASE ENJOY on first read really pleads TAKING TREATS OUTSIDE.
The adjacent jazz-worshipping bar’s taped over too, FUN PREVENTED BY ORDER OF HEALTH DEPARTMENT Let’s Drink Again, Together, Next Spring
Somebody’s grandmother subs, working as a barista, aw-hecking when she flubs another order. “So sorry, bub!” Outside, two friends try distant lurking
in puffer jackets, wool hats––darts of mammal steam with each word more. You’d think they’d been expelled outdoors, mere beasts feeding in the cold, apart.
Lee Patton, a native of California’s Mendocino coast, has enjoyed life in Colorado since college. His first poetry collection, In Disturbed Soil, is forthcoming in 2021. Recent poems appear in Heirlock, Impossible Archetype, and New Verse News. His fifth novel, Coming to Life on South High, comes out in 2021. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
I say it must be coming for us because I don’t see it coming for us. I look at the dog’s picture from 3 years back and find an old, old beast, tired of delivering to us his loads of love. He greys and whitens, mats and tufts. How exhausted he is, and how greedy I am not to see it, urging him on to and on to August when he was ready that April, the same month a doctor felt my husband’s neck and frowned. I turn to his picture and from here I see swelling, the push in and out of tumors that had grown for years, perhaps a decade, but when I’d pressed my lips to his neck and lingered, I felt only desire, never disease. Each day now I say we are fine. Let the record show I believed it and knew all along I was wrong.
Jessica L. Walsh is the author of two poetry collections, most recently The List of Last Tries, and two chapbooks. Her work has appeared in RHINO, Ninth Letter, Sundog Lit, and more. She is a community college professor outside of Chicago but a native of rural Michigan. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
in the style of Dan Albergotti’s “Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale”
by Tyler Letkeman
Make hot chocolate. Count the icicles that drip from your eaves. Shovel all the driveways. Makes snow families through four generations. Create new constellations. Snuggle up warm in a blanket and dream of running through open space and warm air. Examine your reflection in a frosted window. Zoom with family. Cry along with the fading light. Sing through the long nights. Cut your homework into snowflakes. Bake your grandma’s cookies. Decorate your tree with your favourite ornaments. Decorate your heart with your favourite memories. Listen for the sound of hoofbeats on your rooftop. Be grateful for the stone and timbers that shelter you and the waves and wires that still connect us. Grieve. Grieve for the ghosts of Christmases past. But remember our present, wrapped up in a box in the lengthy dark, is a present to ensure future Christmases.
Tyler Letkeman is a husband, father, brother, son, teacher, learner, reader, nerd, artist, scientist, poet, traveller, vacummer, shy guy, and general-life-enjoy-er. He is the creator, editor, and web-master of four lines (4lines.art), a poetry and art magazine that aims to get to the heart of things as simply as possible, and has recently self-published his first collection of poems, Gaia’s New Clothes. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
The year of Christmas in March we dipped our fingers in sugar and mud and played at creation with cake.
At night we dreamed of slitting our wrists, no blood seeping out, as if from a doll or seeds bred in darkness at Easter: non-sentient snippets of hair, curled fingers dry underground, pink seashells gleaming with poison.
The year of Christmas alone we waited and waited and waited. We looked for the first new blooming of spring.
Federica Santini lives in Atlanta, GA, and teaches at Kennesaw State University. She holds an M.A. from the University of Siena, Italy, and a Ph.D. from UCLA, where she studied poetry and literary translation. A literary critic, poet, and translator, her work has been published in over forty journals and volumes in North America and Europe. Her recent poetry appears in Snapdragon, Plath Profiles, and The Ocotillo Review among others. She is a 2021 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference Fellow (Arizona State University). Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.
Well son, your old man was stationed at his bleach-stained futon for months. Armed with just a cheap bong and an X-box.
We rationed our ramen and toiled paper. Unsure of when we’d escape this bunker of ours.
Dorito dust soaked the air like gas with beer cans flying like shrapnel.
And I didn’t bathe for weeks. War is hell.
S. B. Fields is a freelance copywriter in Brooklyn. You can find his work in the Anthology of Poetry by Young Americans as well as recycle bins across NYC. Ever the crippling extrovert, Fields spends his nights at the local corner pub perfecting his upcoming chapbook, Sleeping Sun. See more of his work on Instagram @SBFieldsPoetry. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.