Two poems by Marisa Silva-Dunbar

Everlark

We sit in the doorway and watch the summer storm,
as it overtakes the mountain. Rain is supposed to be
a rebirth, healing. The primrose blossoms he planted
under the window, catch the drops before they soak
the earth. They’ve been waiting for this type of downpour.

I can’t help watching him as the thunder rumbles
deep in the hills. He doesn’t fear storms—
is a soothing presence, a balm that I find
when I need it most. In these last few months
I’ve come alive, unfurled. I reach for him—
we’ve grown back together. His lips on my neck,
my hands in his hair; in this moment we are real.

 

Liminal Space

Between dreams and being awake,/ I hold my breath. Wait. The flicker/ of fluorescent lights, neon signs;/ an empty gas station in the mist.// Take a walk with me through an abandoned mall/ —we have been here before when the arcade/ called our names and we followed the carpet of stars./ The thrum of hearts and slushies melting, creating pools of sugar;/ the drip drip never stopping.// We were gods here/ idols in the now empty food court;/ chairs and tables tipped in a resting tableau./ Sbarro can’t save us now, as we fade into oblivion.// Let me cradle this nostalgia overgrown with philodendron.

 

Marisa Silva-Dunbar’s work has been published in ArLiJo, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Pink Plastic House, Sledgehammer Lit, Analogies & Allegories Literary Magazine. She has work forthcoming in The Bitchin’ Kitsch. Her second chapbook, “When Goddesses Wake,” was released in December, 2021 from Maverick Duck Press. Her first full-length collection, “Allison,” was recently published by Querencia Press. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @thesweetmaris. To check out more of her work go to http://www.marisasilvadunbar.com

Two poems by Kristin Garth

This Is Not The Bluebird Poem

If you read the poem seven times
on an electronic screen of any kind,
computer or telephone, she will climb
out of a digitized hole her verse designed
with each tap of a lowercase “i.” Her wee
fingers the architect of a portal
you would never suspect amidst twee
bluebird imagery that lulls a mortal
into complacency until eyelids
flutter and you might miss a dot of “i”
increase its radius, notice limbs have slid
through gorilla glass, black unblinking eyes,
long legs, last, convey a wraith you can’t outrun.
Be glad you did not read the bluebird one.

 

 

The Bluebird Breathes

Spy the shivering bluebird in a drift
of snow. It is alive you only know because
fear agitates its paltry plumes as you lift
it from an icy tomb where it was
resigned to die. It shudders in your mittens
as the sun grows nigh enough to liquify
its intended fate. Some kindness is forbidden
you have recognized too late as it plies
its beak against a rosy cheek, opens
each freckle until crimson droplets meet
to obscure a fleeting humanity.
Flock who wait in dead dogwoods discrete
to devour leisurely, you never see
behind the crimson veil of your own gore
that nurtures beauties you should have ignored.

 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist, the author of a short story collection You Don’t Want This ( Pink Plastic Press), The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and many more books.

Three poems by Linda Crate

a new mythology of bones

i guess i should’ve known
you were never mine,
shone a little too bright to
actually be a sun;

but still i wished for you
throwing my heart at the wishing well
of the universe

as if this would make it so—

but we came undone,
every ribbon and bow left to fade
in the dark creek that knew
no sun or moon;

once it destroyed me but i look at
those ribbons and bows and all of their
bones and don’t recognize that girl—

i needed a new mythology of bones
so i could be me.

 

 

you’re too late

carved your name
so deep into one of the trees
of my heart,

that the tree still
remembers the scar even
if i am learning slowly
how to forget your name;

you left like winter
departs from spring

coming back to leave a few
snowflakes so that the
flowers become confused and
the birds sit protesting in their trees—

but the cold no longer bothers me,
and i have reclaimed every diamond of
the snow to mean me kindness;

if you were hoping to destroy me
then you’re too late.

 

 

the purple house

sometimes i feel like
that purple house
in the middle of nowhere

a beautiful magic
not perceived the right way,

known but unknown;

misunderstood and hated
simply because i have character
and depth—

the mythology of my bones
may not be for everyone,
nor the lyrics of my heart and soul;

but i won’t stop singing because
you think i am too much—

go find less.

 

Linda M. Crate’s works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of ten published chapbooks, four full-lengths, and three micro-chaps. She has a novella, also, called Mates (Alien Buddha Publishing, March 2022).

Two poems by KG Newman

The Smell of Campfire

I take my receipts of scar tissue
and trudge through the snow
for more little sticks, disfigured
branches, sprigs of
dry dead pine needles.

This is the fragile conviviality
I envision, my grown son and I
roasting mallows in the dark,
recuperating faith with fistfuls
of untreated lumber.

To our yellow-orange faces I say
to sacrifice me to the weather
if it comes to that. Hopefully
it won’t but we both know
how disproportions creep in

and the campfire requires
a pale-knuckle grip on its memory,
as if the sparks can bark out
colors of coming sunrises or
our uncertainties in disguise.

 

 

The Properties of Wax

The hangman hands me a crayon
and gives me five minutes to scribble
the best advice I can remember
for my son. I leave out the rules
about buying a gremlin
and don’t mention the benefits
of library cards in multiple counties
but I do include the news
of what I felt when I finally
found the courage
to stand on the dock
where I first kissed his mom
to watch ships dip over the horizon,
particles disappearing
into the same unforgiving sun
I’m about to stare into,
beyond the promise
of contrails and this crayon
which I crush into my palm
after signing love Dad,
undecided on whether
the next me
would make what’s left
into a vigil candle or, alternatively,
a stick of red lip gloss.

 

 

KG Newman is a sportswriter who covers the Broncos and Rockies for The Denver Post. His first three collections of poems are available on Amazon and the Arizona State University alum is on Twitter @KyleNewmanDP. More info and writing can be found at kgnewman.com. He lives in Hidden Village, Colorado, with his wife and two kids.

Two poems by Andre F. Peltier

Antebellum Echoes

“This is something that is a local matter
and that’s something that we feel
should be left up to the local
authorities at this
point in time.”

– Sarah Sanders

Aunt Marthy
sold biscuits in
Edenton;
she laid by,
little by little,
pennies, nickels, dimes
to buy freedom
for her displaced
children.
Commodity handed down,
generation to generation,
and wealth retained.
That money, laid by,
instead, credited the
candelabrum.

And at Twin Lakes
central Florida,
home of alligators,
Zora Neale,
and Mickey Mouse,
a coward stood his
ground.
And Trayvon lay
deadful dead.
Seventeen years,
Sybrina and Tracy
Drowning in tears.
The coward
carries the
candelabrum.

“Four hundred years
the white man has had
his foot-long knife
in the black man’s back…”

The mentally
disturbed,
lone wolf, white male
shooter
needs sympathy
and forgiveness,
but none for
Tanisha.
Killed while cuffed
near the car.
Whose lives
matter?
And Cleveland cops
carry the
candelabrum.

Big Mike
shared his songs
on Soundcloud.
At eighteen years,
he was going to fix
air conditioners.
At eighteen years,
he was blown down
on the streets of
Ferguson.
And Mark Twain
rolled over.
And Jay Nixon
passed the
candelabrum.

“…and now the white man
starts to wiggle
the knife out,
maybe six inches!…”

Lead in the waters
of Flint.
Lead in the waters
of Baltimore
where Korryn Gaines
met her end.
A puddle of blood
and a five-year-old son.
She licensed herself,
but Baltimore County
Police,
Sans body cams,
Licensed themselves.
No cam shots of the
candelabrum.

Rodney King lived
to watch Reginald
pulled from his truck
and stoned.
But Motown’s own
Malice Green,
with skull on the sidewalk,
was holding eights and aces
as the peace-men
played their clubs.
And Alton Sterling
and Dee Dee Dodds,
no charges filed,
never saw the
candelabrum.

“…The black man’s
supposed to be
grateful?…”

Then lonely Mya Hall.
“Out here,
you can be
attacked.
You can be
raped.”
Looking for that
connection
in the darkness,
Mya wandered while
TSA met
with loaded guns.
Jeh Johnson
secured the
candelabrum.

Armed but with a
telephone, twenty shots
in his own backyard,
in his own holy city of
sacraments.
Stephon Clark will be
forgotten too.
Another Ferguson.
Another Charlottesville
With bad folks
on both sides,
James Alex Fields
handed to unnamed
officers in Sacramento the
candelabrum.

“…Why, if the white man
jerked the knife out,
it’s still going to leave a
scar.”

So shout their fucking names
from the rooftops
and from the hillsides
and from the mountains
of the world.
And Malcolm
never touched the
candelabrum.

(Originally published 2/2/21 by Big Whoopie Deal now defunkt)

 

 

 

When War Broke Out

On the edge of the gully grew
three old apple trees,
stately and gnarled.
The remnants of some
ancient
grove or orchard,
at one time sweet and juicy,
now the size of golf balls
and sour as the day was long.
We climbed and ate none-the-less.
Hours we spent
in those trees.
Hours we spent hiding
in the leaves.

In spring, the blossoms bent boughs
and filled the air
with our stately perfume.
Like snow after a
blizzard,
white blooms blanketed the canopy
and consumed creation
with autumnal nectar.
But it was in summer
we climbed.
It was during those long,
golden days
we perched with robins and jays
atop the greenery.

We were drawn to those lofty treetops,
all of the children
in the neighborhood.
Compelled to make it
higher
than the day before,
higher than our friends.
Some were giants
while others were a tangled mess
of honeysuckle or lilacs.
We conquered them all,
Hand over hand.
But those twisted apples
always beckoned.

Sometimes, in early fall, war broke out.
Ten kids within the trees;
ten in the adjacent field…
and the apples were
launched
volley after volley.
Hours passed
as we played at combat.
No winners or losers,
just bruised children
and bruised apples.
In the end, mice and worms
would feast as we were called
home at dusk.

(Published 1/26/21 by The Great Lakes Review)

 

Andre F. Peltier (he/him) is a Pushcart Nominee and a Lecturer III at Eastern Michigan University where he teaches literature and writing. He lives in Ypsilanti, MI, with his wife and children. His poetry has recently appeared in various publications like CP Quarterly, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Provenance Journal, Lavender and Lime Review, About Place, Novus Review, Fiery Scribe, and Fahmidan Journal, and most recently in Magpie Literary Journal, The Brazos Review, and Idle Ink. In his free time, he obsesses over soccer and comic books.

Twitter: @aandrefpeltier

Website: www.andrefpeltier.com