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II

To Sleep Inside a Scream

_________________________


Allan Peterson
( Gulf Breeze, Florida )
Fluently

Awake I saw the wasp that stings hickory 

into a nest and helped it 

choose the leaf for stinging and writing 

saw the cracks in the page 

we call rivers though meaning does not run 

like my face flowing silently 

all night into and out of every window I pass




Joe Balaz
( Ohio )
Unfit

Even if it hurts

try not to look
at yourself
                                                
as a worn out shoe
in a pile of personals

left on the front lawn
for all to view.


There is no cause
to remember the receipt

that once came 
with a new pair                                           

polished
and ready for a leisurely stroll.


Those meanderings in the park
have been gone for awhile 

long before the weeds
sprouted through the cracks
in the sidewalk.


Used and tattered

one half
of a former perfect fit                                                                

is now being revisited
                                                                                   
and shredded
by the neighbor’s dog.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                            

Bits and pieces                                                                   
of  leather                                                                            
and sole 
are strewn everywhere                                                      
                                                                                          
as a sprinkler                                                                       
watering the grass
spits out a eulogy

marking each second of time.




Cathy McArthur
( New York )
Journal

6:15 this morning
fog rises over lake
not Sandburg’s but a mass,
like people—gray parade

the geese fly up, banter.
Last night’s dream comes to me—
a loud woman scolded
about who I should be

while I admired her 
cover-up—green jacket 
like the murky lake. Lost
new goggles yesterday;

I tried to look beneath 
tangled weeds while floating. 
Nothing there. Look here though,
a purple thistle grows.

Broken branch, spider web,
dead leaves, a small sunny
gather at the smooth edge.
Light on water now—two

men converse while fishing.
One, drifting says, “not much.”
Far out in separate 
boats they’re casting lines—

I write, cold on the bench
while crows caw. Something moves
past trees. Spotted deer, or
large mouth bass jumping in 

air, and my poem—a page 
before coffee; outside
the lake, a blanket tossed
up, a thin screen lifted.




Alison Ross
( Atlanta, Georgia )
Silent symmetry

I crave internal symmetry. 

I want to drink liquid sutras
smoke mirrors
and exhale samsara

I want to poison all clocks
and regurgitate infinity

I want to dream of monks
who shout chants shaped like birds

I want to sleep inside a scream

I want to breathe clouds filled with comas
and choke on karmas made of cats

I want to silence all hallucinations
and blind all hymns

I want to die inside a symmetry of birds. 




John Grey
( Providence, Rhode Island )
Isn’t That Einstein at the Bus Stop

He’s been standing there a half hour already,
It’s cold as nuclear winter,
and he can’t even wear a toke
because without that fuzzy hair
he could be just anybody.
The speed of light
he has the perfect formula for
but the speed of buses
resists all equations.
A brain massive enough
to contain the universe
bobs atop impatient aching legs.
Can’t afford a taxi.
Genius doesn’t pay.
But he must get back to work.
His head bulges with the proof
that time travel is possible.
But what if time
is public transport?




Nic Sebastian, Two Poems
( Arlington, Virginia )
the aid worker

my grasp on earth
is choice, in searing 
handfuls 

I stalk on high legs 
through earth quake 
and moon blight

marbled skin drapes
on my eyeball 
splintered bone sings
in my ear

the quick threads 
of my feet 
burrow deep
then tear




the mango tree

so cool inside
the mango tree

soaring leaf dome 
wired for jade rustle

rough bark knobs 
sweet along my back

fugitive suns 
burst on my eyelids

mango juice runs off 
my fingers 

the universe 
sways with the breeze





untitled by Dee Rimbaud

( Scotland )




Steffen Horstmann
( Holyoke, Massachusetts )
Jack Kerouac in a Memphis Diner, 3:23 A.M.

You sit at the counter nursing a cup of coffee,
Thinking of Lucinda & your most recent vision
Of fiery wheels spinning above seated mystics.
The chrome jukebox silent, wind gusting debris
Through the streets.  You consider how even a city
Has its deserts, its wastes of scrap yards
With piles of rusted metal & stacks of crushed cars—
Where at night the dispossessed light ashcan fires
& exchange stories of travels in boxcars, of how
They continue to be compelled onward by some
Nameless need.  Sometimes in the city's din
You hear in your head mystics reciting mantras,
Something you believe that has to do with
The nomad's dictum—to remain always in a mode
Of departure.  But the thought of Lucinda
Will not leave you, despite your trysts
With other women in empty lots & alleyways.
You see the image of her body beneath yours,
Lying on a beach with wind swirling sand
Through her dark hair.  Lucinda, whom you left
Abruptly on a crisp morning as she slept.
Outside buses & semis roll by, red sparks issuing
From their wheels.  The black highway
Stretches into the distance, your gaze fixed
On the point where it melds with the night.




Maurice Oliver, Two Poems
( Portland, Oregon )
“Roots, Thick As Pencils” Sonnet

Begin with tractor threads in the snow. 
A train track with a flattened penny on 
it. Clods of regional clay. Fog rolling in 
over a chalky lake. A city’s lights in the 
far distance. Farms nestled in thickets 
of woodlands. A smokehouse. Rusty
gardening tools. The way night birds 
roost in a barn’s ledges. A danger sign 
posted near an abandoned quarry. The 
word “rural” in print. Footwear suited 
for manual labor. Lichen hugging rock. 
Rain that insist on freezing by midnight. 
Feather beds. Tin roofs. A recently drained 
wetlands besieged by land developers. 
Kernels of loose grain in the wind. Or just 
a small amount of preening required.




Busenfreund

A cloud shaped like an elephant’s head.
 
Birds, smitten with wings & throat-calls.
 
Foliage with the unique ability to back-stroke.
 
A tunnel cut through one lush green mountain.
 
Soft pink blossoms intent on survival.
 
The prime and painted nailheads of the moon.
 
A complete habitat in a shoebox, beneath my bed.




Helen Losse
( North Carolina )
Opening the Floodgates

Perhaps, open floodgates
are reason enough for the tears,
having come at the end of a drought,
and as the end of a drought, as a storm. 

We fight, war or no war:
hot war or cold:  (even over the
weather, whether it’s good or bad,
not merely needed or unneeded,

as the case truly may be).  Truth is,
the fighting remains,
as does our history of violence
and our embarrassment of riches.

Truth is, the money and the power
empower the fight, defining one’s enemy
according to his power  and his money,
and though the enemy may be formidable,

we lack much in truth.  Better breathless
than dead, better tearful.




Alison Eastley
( Tasmania, Australia )
The Wait

It didn’t seem to matter how much she cried
when word drifted 
back. 
 
She’d heard it 
before
and there was only so much talk
 
she could stand
without crawling into bed, 
straightening 
 
sheets
smoother than her crumpled sleep.
If it wasn’t for narcotic 
 
herbs stalling 
her shadowy wait by the window,
you’d think 
 
she was a statue
by the door
and as for any footsteps,
 
twenty years
wore thinner than a Salvation Army 
blanket given in a war.




C. E. Chaffin
( California )
Home Surgery

Daughter, when I freed 
the glass sliver from your heel
you screamed, you shook, your foot lurched—
so I gripped your ankle with all the firmness 
love could muster.

Plucked from your sole, the fragment shone 
like a jewel in the bathroom light 
while blood streamed, mixed with water,
into the white altar of the sink.

At the moment you hurt more 
from my maneuvering, 
did you doubt me? 

That thought wounds my heart 
more deeply than the matador 
can bury his long blade.


I - The Curve of Smiles
III - Minarets, Incense, Beggars

Featured Poet - Mark DeCarteret

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