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

Two poems by Adedamola Olabimpe

The Bitterness of Nineteen

fog & car alarm lullabies, take note of this unrealness.

these are the end of your teenage years & you are wasting away like all lonely teenagers do.

mirrors are terrifying portals to the black holes around your eyes,
to your hollowing neck.

you, falling angel. you, fallen angel.

something dark & silky has found home in your body but this is not the first time you have had to share your home with a foreigner.

all the moments of unexplainable shame buzz & flicker when you think.

you want to love yourself but the mistakes keep finding you & keep finding you & keep.

 

 

 

What I mean when I say I have a dissociation disorder

I mean my brain likes to kamikaze when the pain is too much for it to bear.

I mean I have never been able to be one person for too long. I mean strangers are hiding in the spaces between my teeth & they like to hijack my body.

I mean you cannot be in love with me because I don’t even exist. Like a helium balloon in a child’s sweaty fist, I am slipping away from this body.

I mean time likes to play tricks on my mind. She bends & folds, tears me away from the present and forgets me in the past.

I mean my entire existence is sometimes a fever dream & I have to help myself remember my name.

I mean my memories are sandcastles I don’t remember making stuck on the shores of an angry sea.

I mean I am superhuman. Watch me dissolve into my sheets. Watch as I exit the plane you are tethered to. Watch me become my mother, my mother’s mother. Anybody but myself.

 

 

Adedamola Olabimpe is a writer currently living in Lagos, Nigeria. They think white bread is one of man’s greatest inventions and will probably fall apart without headphones. They have works published in Rattle, Anti-Heroin Chic, Sub-Saharan Magazine and others. You can find them on Instagram @borednigeriangirl and on Twitter @lilbrowneyedfae.

Three poems by Clem Flowers

3rd floor dining

Blue haze washes over my throat whenever I put on Is This It

Remember

All the hours out in the city, starlight swimming over all the metal like the kudzu I was worried all my life would eat us all, floating over the humidity like a cartoon bear smelling a pie cooling on a windowsill while we drank tall boys we got from the gas station over by Criminal Records where they didn’t ID long as you paid in cash then stole a bit of bliss beneath the haze out in the historic graveyard full of decaying racists so many among us revered as heroes and the thought of the fury they would’ve felt of gay sex happening the six feet above their oak coffins made it even hotter before we drove home with the windows down letting the low air cooling us off like wild dogs as Julian Casablancas sang of the good old days

as Julian Casablancas sang of the good old days a blue haze washes over my throat

Remember

how gentle your rough hands could be

 

 

 

Delivery Driver off the balcony

Fog of the dead
generations sway beneath
factory lights

I see the spirits
from my mom’s car
as I wait for dad to
come pull up

the flavor of the
Double Bubble
left around the time the last sunlight
dripped down over the pine grove

I learned
long ago
not to tell
anyone
about the ghosts

no one
believed me
& just enjoyed my
“over active imagination”

I tell my therapist
about it years later
& asks
if these may have
been stress dreams
tied to
my parent’s divorce

I immediately start
to weep

so glad
this is over
the phone

 

 

 

3 windows

I went to the beige hell
all for nothing
beneath the death
of all my memories

I watched my dreams bloom &
float away from the bed of lavender
just out my window

I went to the beige hell
all for nothing
beneath the death
of all my memories

fluorescent hum
was my own
funeral march

 

 

Clem Flowers (They/ Them) is a poet & low rent aesthete. Poetry editor of Blue River Review. Pushcart nominee. Nb, bi, and queer as hell, living in a cozy apartment with their wonderful wife & sweet calico kitty. Found on Twitter @clem_flowers