Sprinklerhead/Cassette Tape/Widow Code/Bathtub Soliloquy – by TOM SNARSKY

Sprinklerhead
The effect was immediate: I fell
For you like a dinner plate.

This year’s “stiff competition” is next
Year’s Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and we

Should be concerned. Call a medic,
Or maybe a rain delay. Whatever

Gives you enough love to sleep
Halfway through the long, lonely night.


Cassette Tape
You come from anxious stock:
daughters in the pharmacy, love
sealing the wool at centigrade.

How many woozy lambs would it
take for you to fall in love with
sound? It follows sharply through

the ravine, on your coattails like
mildew on the fine morning. His
hand burns with seeds, the kind

that fall into the soil and dissolve
without a word. One foregone
conclusion is he’s messing you up

with winter; another is he’s singing
with that wet kind of fear you like.
It is absolutely not necessary to make

that choice at this time; you should
know, though, that time is likely
to forge a decision and pass it off

as yours, without your permission
or so much as a passing glance.


Widow Code
I mistook your body
For a flood & died in it

Every decision is insane
N’oubliez pas ça

The secret admirer
Walks out from the mist

& takes you
As his only prisoner

You have four options
None of them are pretty


bathtub soliloquy

hello

i can hear the chain

rattling

i know you’re up there

uh

out there

at least i

think i do

does the chain connect

me to you

(chain of fools)

or is it just over here

on the tub

severed

like i’ve been born


***

Tomas

 

Tom Snarsky teaches mathematics at Malden High School in Malden, MA. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in H_NGM_N, aglimpseof, minor literature[s], ex-ex-lit, Of/with, Zoomoozophone Review, The Helios Mss, and elsewhere. He lives in Braintree, MA.

*Featured photography courtesy of Brian Michael Barbeito*

 

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I’m Her. And You’re Him./Blink./ – by PAM JONES

I’m Her. And You’re Him.

 

A few feet in front

of

me

I see you there

Smiling at me,

The way that you do

 

Arms crossed

Dark hair

 

I run to you

but she’s

there

and so is he

 

And when our

Outstretched arms

Meet

You’re a hologram

 

Nothing more

 

So my eyes brim with tears

And I walk

Away

But not

without

A pang

of sadness


Blink.

 

I blink away

My tears

As I ask you if

We can just start over?

that it’s advice a

Good friend once

gave to me.

 

before I realize

you won’t read it

 

At all

 

I was once libido-worthy

I looked great

And I was a good mom

 

Now I don’t exist

 

Improbable, impossible

But we had a connection

I know you know it

 

Wrong. Bad timing. Geographical limitations.

but it still happened.

now i’m the hologram

that never really existed in the first place.


***

Pam Jones is a retired stay at home mom. Both of her kids have flown the coop but that doesn’t stop her from baking cookies and cupcakes from scratch every time they visit. She loves to start the day with a cup of coffee and her crossword puzzles. She writes poetry as a hobby and is excited to share her work.

*Featured image courtesy of Brian Michael Barbeito*

The Bridegroom Rejoices in the Fragrance of His Beloved – by RANDEL MCCRAW HELMS

The Bridegroom Rejoices in the Fragrance of His Beloved

 

My bride is as a fragrant grove,

Her savor is the salt of love.

 

The scented braid beside her ear

Loosens my knees when I draw near.

 

Beneath her tongue lies liquid silk;

Her breath, a waft of honeyed milk.

 

The scent of each breast is risen yeast,

Her navel, wine, a heady feast.

 

Under her arms, amongst the hairs,

Lies memory of foxes’ lairs.

 

Syrups glisten her lips below,

There is, I swear, no sweeter flow.

 

And best of all, between her knees,

The faintest tang of ripened cheese.

***

Randel McCraw Helms retired from the English Department at Arizona State University in 2007, having taught classes in the Romantic poets, the Bible as Literature and contemporary literature there for thirty years.  He is the author of five books of literary criticism, including “Tolkien’s World,” “Who Wrote the Gospels?” and “Gospel Fictions.”

Making poems is his lifelong avocation, and now he has time to write them as much as he wants. He is preparing a book of poems to be entitled “Matters of Life and Death.”

Blame it on the Chiffons / Rumble – by PATTI SULLIVAN

BLAME IT ON THE CHIFFONS

 

Or maybe it was the Ronettes
or just that Wall of Sound that made me do it
pushed me across the dance floor

my hand reached up, tapped Joanne’s shoulder
to cut in on a ladies choice slow dance

never mind that they had been a couple
all the way back to the sixth grade
it had been nothing but Joanne and Danny forever

I didn’t care and ignored her angry look

she of the in crowd, leader of her pack
she of every outfit just right
with shoes and purse to match

shaking that dark mane of teased hair she mouthed NO
then finally saw I was not going away
she unclenched herself from him

as I slipped ungracefully into her vacated spot
feeling his sweaty palm on my back
we sort of glided there for a minute or so

the song was “Will You Still Love me Tomorrow”
or maybe it was “Baby I’m Yours”
it was over too fast and I had to give him back

her friends could glare all they wanted
I’m now standing a bit taller and stronger
since he had sort of danced with me

more like a quick jostle around the floor
it brought me that much closer to Shangri-La
nothing could hurt me now since he’d been mine.


 

RUMBLE

 

On entering freshman year at high school
some of the girls practiced B.Y.O.B.F. (bring your own boy-friend)
others had the far-sightedness to date older men
so they had their boyfriends waiting for them after junior high

I was just another invisible girl to ignore or laugh at
finally catching someone’s attention, he wasn’t the one I wanted
so that first dating round was all practice till the real deal came along

I’d gotten a ride home from the dance with my friend’s mom
when the unmistakable sound and smell of boy-car
pulled up in front of my house and idled in the driveway
that guy I’d had my eye on had followed me home
my mom stepped out onto the porch saying come inside now

my friend’s mother gave the car a look to kill
they wanted to nip this romance in the bud
but it takes more than moms to keep teenage forces from colliding

if he’d been on the football team or part of the class council
instead of a nobody maybe they would have welcomed him differently
but then only a streetwise wanna-be hood could be so irresistible to me

later I would finally have my taste of that teenaged two-step
sweet tuck-n-rolled slow dance of a mixed cocktail
mingled in the dark with English Leather, Marlboro’s, Zippo lighters
and over-heated engines.

Rumble.


***

DSCN8057

Patti Sullivan’s books include, For the Day,  Not Fade Away, and At The Booth Memorial Home for Unwed Mothers 1966.Poems appear in Solo Novo,  Lummox, ARTLIFE, and Lilly Ledbetter: Women Poets Occupy the Workplace. She assists with Corners of the Mouth, Poetry at the Steynberg and the Annual San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival curated by Kevin Patrick Sullivan. She is also a visual artist with several book covers to her credit and group and solo exhibits.

 

 

How I Say I Love You – by MELISSA LIBBEY

 

How I say I love you

I’m a master with words.
I can string a sentence together like a seamstress weaves a hem.
I can make a simple event sound like the most marvelous thing to happen in the history of forever.
I could convince anyone that a life without words is a life I feel that is not worth living.
But words fail me when it comes to saying I love you.

I want to be able to use words.
I want to be able to display my feelings with synonyms and syllables and metaphors galore.
I want to paint a picture with my discourse and hang it on a wall.
But I don’t know how to say I love you.

How can I tell you as your hands are sliding up my back?
How can I tell you as your lips brush my neck?
As your fingers are tangled up in my hair?
As your arms are wrapped around my waist?

As we share the same breath, as I taste your lips on mine.
I decide that instead I will show you.
I’ll keep you warm as you sleep next to me so that maybe I’ll make an appearance in your dreams.
I’ll wake up with you before the sun is up so I can make you tea to warm your soul.
I’ll make you laugh hoping that it will make you think of me while your gone.
I’ll wait up for you so that I can hold your hand while you fall asleep so that we can wake up together and do it all over again.

Maybe I get tongue-tied when I try to find the words.
Maybe I get shy when I’m consumed by the love I feel for you.
I know that I can’t seem to find the words to say how I feel.
But now you know that’s how I say I love you.

***

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Melissa Libbey is a recent graduate with her MA in English and Writing Studies. She is also the first intern for Sick Lit Magazine. When she isn’t writing or reading, she can be found drinking wine while petting her dog. She has also been published on Thought Catalog, Kean Xchange and her twitter: @Miss_Libbey16

*Photography also courtesy of Melissa Libbey*

I Think of You in Terms of Hysteria – Poetry Collection by WEASEL PATTERSON

I think of you in terms of hysteria

the moon hangs empty tonight
leaving tall buildings
and sharp sins to shelter us

under busted street lights
you lure me closer
lips cinching
tongue plucking teeth
leaving the taste of maraschino cigs
the taste of tobacco with class

my fingers climb the stairway of your back
but you have eaten too many thorns
your stems have grown jagged

i slice my hand trying to get inside you
dance the tango while you make the earth quake
you were obliteration
pulling apart our bodies

yet this is what i crave
dust and debris piling in my throat
the taste of our home crumbling into dissolution
abandonment

you slipped away from me
left your last words on the concrete
they were the shotgun shells
pumped into my gut

the last delirium that will never heal


Afflictions

my thirst quaked for your tastes
when the fevers left
I searched for you
inside every crevice made
from the linings of our last breath

we were weak
fingers wandering
the final roadways of our bodies
no recovery in our sleep
only erasure as we fall
to our frailty

such is uncertainty
such is time—

eroding our vision
taking away our patience
for each other as we eat of our flesh—
we are hungry creatures
wanting each other to die
so we could meet in the other life

our hands gather at the confessional
arsonist waiting inside

when the fires touch your skin
I could only think
of how lost we will be
when we finally share
our last rites


We Think We Know What Snow Looks Like When it Falls

walking downhill
feet cling to slippery sidewalks
as the snow falls
you huddle against me
while we try to keep balance

I want to ask you
if these skies have always carried
the grey of ourselves
but I stay silent
fearing your answer

my father always told me
not to trust anyone else
people are like weeds
you can rarely pull them out
once they’ve gotten in

so I learned not to talk with people
sewing my lips each year
to keep from being infected

we crawl downward
towards a coffee shop at the end of the hill
could you hear my heart stop
underneath the steel of my chest
could you feel the skips
each time your hand brushed my arm

I can’t peel it back for you
it’s tradition in the family
to lock the muscle into place
and save face when you want to open yourself up

we hang out in the drive-thru
no lobby to fight this cold
I think about how you would taste if I kissed you

drivers honk at us
because we are not cars
only bodies that mesh together

maybe they are bitter
seeing two men entangled
uncomfortable with the idea
that we may be lovers

but these drivers have everything
they got jobs
they got kids
and every other goddamn thing in this world
and they want us out their damn way
so they can get their booster shot
to get them through the day

and we have nothing

I wanted to fuck you here
in this drive-thru
anger still blasting at us
while I strip you down
to the pale white skin
what would these bastards think

I am selfish
learning about desire
craving a taste
like every time I see a cigarette
lying on the ground

though you will never know this
you swallowed the balance in my steps
made my rebirth wobbly

we grab our oil
walk back uphill
bodies warming
the grey gets harsh in the clouds
as you slowly loosen yourself from me


I Still Dream of you When the Stars are Gone

you were the centerfold I stared at in the dark
growing crinkled over time
catching a few rips on the edges
but flesh is only temporary

when I thought about tasting you
the air stood still
my frame grew fragile

hushed breaths squeezed out the thinning of my dreams
as I let you roam around inside me
we were skeletons
playing bass with each other’s veins
waltzing jitterbugs through our blood

this is all we have left
chunks of bone
growing brittle over time


Heroin

my therapist said
I should empty the bad dust
piling up in my skull

I tried to peel it back
in order to scoop the mess out
but jackals are too addicted
to their demons

so I light up in the parking lot
to cure the remains
I failed to take out
but self-medication
can’t erase your taste
from my past


***

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Weasel is a degenerate writer who received his Bachelors of Arts in Literature at the University of Houston-Clear Lake. He currently uses it as scrap paper to fuel his two publishing imprints Weasel Press and Red Ferret Press.

Blue Rose Suffering – by C. STEVEN BLUE

Blue Rose Suffering 

 

All the false promises you gave

All the rivers you were gonna save

All the children lying in their graves

Can’t hear you any more

 

All the love you can’t return

All the lessons you’ll never learn

Until your tattered world

Comes crashing down on you

 

How many dreams

From so many dreamers

Wither up and die

Can you tell where they went

When you no longer see

The sparkle in Love Song’s eyes

 

I was the eternal smile

You’ve stolen it away

You’ve robbed and pulled and pricked me

Till I’m full of your decay

 

Blue rose is suffering

Sing it gospel style

Famous spirits now join in

You walk a familiar mile

 

First love returns to you

And spreads her fertile wings

You find old friends

Sing old songs

And think of long gone things

 

I used to be a gentle soul

But your world has crushed me

I gave you all my faith and trust

But you still don’t trust me

 

I went to school

To learn your golden rule

But you do unto others

However you please

 

I loved a girl

I gave her my heart

But her commitment

Was only a tease

 

Blue rose suffering

Sing it gospel style

Famous spirits now join in

As you walk the familiar mile

 

First love returns to you

And spreads her fertile wings

You find old friends

Sing more old songs

And think of long gone things

 

How long you go on suffering

To heed the muse’s call

When all you need is time, you think

To get up when you fall

 

To write—and write—and write—and write

And write some more again

If only you had the time

                To write

You know the muse would send

 

You know they say

If you live long enough

You’ll disprove all your beliefs

Not only the ideas

And principles you stand for

But all of the metaphors

Causing all of your grief

 

And all of what’s matter

In the universe

Be it light or be it dark

                Means nothing

In your little scheme of things

Except the inspiration

That gives you the spark

                And the time to write it

                And to dream . . .

 

Blue rose is suffering

Sing it gospel style

Famous spirits now join in

You walk a familiar mile

 

First love returns to you

And spreads her fertile wings

You find old friends

Sing old songs

And think of long gone things

 

© C. Steven Blue

***

CS Blue_Corv2_alter2a_satur_CROP2

 

C. Steven Blue is a Poet, publisher, producer & host of poetry events, musician, artist, multi-media performer and videographer. Steven was born in Phoenix, Arizona, but grew up in Pasadena and Hollywood, California. After a 27 year career in stage production, He and his wife retired in Eugene, Oregon, where he continues his poetic journey. Steven is a street poet, with no formal education in poetry. His poems have poured out of him since he was a boy. He won his first poetry award at age twelve.

Steven has six published books of his poetry. Through his publishing company, Arrowcloud Press, he has published other poets as well as poetry anthologies for the city of Eugene, Oregon and the Oregon Poetry Association. He has been published in over a dozen countries and interviewed on television, radio and in literary magazines. His work appears in countless literary journals and anthologies, both in print and online. He is also the pioneering author of the very first—ever poetry chapbook actually published as a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/591180474377593. For more information, go to www.wordsongs.com.

Admission /In petto/ Driven/ I Spar by Myself – by SARAH KERSEY

Admission

“the truth is nothing more

than a puddle of clear water

dammed in ditch.”—Derek Walcott

 

The truth in drought, once rife with succulent

tongues, now dumb, yet not without meaning beneath diffident

gerunds, a confession so different

from ones to gods of rain, nimble and translucent

as morning mist, foreheads kissed by teasing misses, coy as blooming linens.

An inebriated sky, asphyxiated of its vapor and

even now, I do not dance for the rain as appeasement.

From above, a lone, valiant cumulus, worn out from

Distance like an ostomy releasing its injury; a downward sigh,

the cloudburst’s preponderant relief anoints me like a kingly oil.

I am repentant,

Sold.

 

In petto

On our wavelength of light, crestfallen,

Dim and lackluster,

My king humbles himself in our queen-sized bed,

Yielding to slumber.

The warmth of the flicker off his skin

Tests my thighs for a response

He doesn’t know he called for:

An arterial mist, like perfume.

My breathing is

Buoyant, matchless;

My heart steps to the side

To make room, my love.

Walcott’s White Egrets offers a celestial exit

Tucked behind snow-stuffed skies of March, up

To the crescent moon trumpeting for an old friend.

 

My rib cage is driftwood to straddle;

Secure from the irresistible surge of

Blood, from many waves of blue

Liquid love effused from self-abuse.

My love is safe with me.

 

My love, invisible,

Heady love—halting love

Supplements my book before bed.

 

Driven

My crow’s feet and all

my years have elapsed in young orbits.

As I head on, the segmented rubber neck on the northbound side

beeps and lays on distress signals,

about to take a nose dive

southbound towards the detour.

 

The car’s cabin is tentative—

50, sometimes 45 if it drifts.

Heating coils are taut like

a flushed face. Salty back windshield,

ice crust sweats to tears.

Laws of motion run forward with ferocious veracity

while I still feel the wheel, a slippery grip on a phantom first lover’s form,

a scintillating side line. Surrender to forgetting

February; blur into rearview.

Laws of motion run backward with license and restriction:

corrective lenses for 20/20 vision.

 

So worn out, so tired,

what lies immediately ahead is relegated to the periphery.

Silhouettes on the roadway?

Steering askance,

I plow through them all,

under the old and over the new,

tantamount to trampling down

shadows that empathized.

 

I Spar by Myself

(originally appeared in Verse Magazine in May 2014)

 

All humans live in air, not on ground.

Formed from soil, float around.

Scattered brains, mind contains

follies of thoughts, volleyed.

Hey, she, they:

Are ideas conveyed

In terms of

Weight, in “is per are,” or is/are.

No drying, no crying.

All humans glide together.

Pulled towards one another.

If one goes home=the other goes home,

Then both are home.

If one goes out=the other goes out,

Then both are out.

If one spills…

…then the other is separate.

The one cannot flow into the other.

The other will always be dry.

It’s like when a vase gets snatched up just in time

when the wine spills across the table.  Spills always cry.  Vases are dry.

Thus, one can never assume that the other thinks or talks about him as much…

…because he doesn’t.  For, every single mention of A is equal to the half-mention of B.  If your name starts with T, he’ll only cross the smallest one when balancing his checkbook.

Meanwhile, the one is dreaming about the other every single night, and he clamors

for sleep.  As a result, one must learn to deal with the newly-acquired

irrelevance.  How to be irrelevant…without crying.

Smiling while dialing the morgue.

***

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Sarah Kersey is a poet and musician from New Jersey.  Her work has appeared in Yellow Chair Review, Squawk Back, The Harpoon Review, Verse Magazine, and other publications.  She will soon be an x-ray technologist.  Sarah’s personal blog can be found at rest-harrow.tumblr.com

*Featured Photography provided by Melissa Libbey*

Tender Thorn Wounds / When Love is a Rose – by ADAM BROWN

Tender Thorn Wounds

 

Melting desire

inside the cornucopia

of flourished corneas

 

Black on black

smeared lipstick

in the shape of

a heart

 

Pulled teeth

and bitter roses

stapled to the vest

of mortuaries

 

Sweet pain

makes for

the best

company

 

 

When Love is a Rose

 

Push the barriers

To the next phase

Of enlightenment

 

Love is a four

Letter word with

Thorns and a psychotic

Break in the middle

 

You can taste

The fresh blood

That trickles from

Your fingers

 

As you cling

To the last

Shreds of

the best feeling

you’ll probably

ever experience

***

Adam3

Adam Levon Brown is a published author, poet, amateur photographer, and cat lover. He is an editor at Creative Talents Unleashed and a book reviewer for Five 2 One Magazine. He has been published in dozens of venues, including Burningword Literary Journal and Yellow Chair Review. Adam can be contacted via his website at http://www.AdamLevonBrown.org where he offers free poetry resources.

 

It Couldn’t Have Been a Song / This Bucket of You / Autopsy/ Upon a Valentine’s Day which landed on a Saturday for once. – by LARRY D. THACKER

It couldn’t have been a song,

a somewhat obscure tune
with a low randomness
for creeping up on a station
and reminding me of you.

No, it ended up being some
daily task, some unavoidable
thing that would never let me
go: the simple act of ironing.

Being in the Air Force you
were more obsessed with
nicely pressed uniforms
than even the army was.

Volunteering, you gladly
pressed my camouflage shirt
as I mused on your blonde
sweetness, your feigned

blue-eyed innocence. I was
enraptured. God, it’s just
impossible to get rid of
a wrinkle once you iron it in,

you huffed, with a smile
that would melt me down.
And now, these years later,
believe me, I’m well aware.


This bucket of you

You’re a gradual something missing
and un-sudden, subtle in your own
ghosting manner of:

maybe I’ll see you later. Or not.
It’s hard to say, isn’t it? We’ll see.

You were lightly excusing yourself
from the noise I’d become, weren’t you?
Fleeing this relentless distraction I’d invented
and branded as your bothersome memory,

drip, drip, and dripping away,
over-spilling with each ripple along
the delicate edge of my running over,
rolling off my skin and soaking everything
in a fine lovely poison I learned to lap up
in my dreams and mistake for love.

I could feel you, instant by instant,
filling up a portion of me with every
fucking drop, heavier, a burdening mix
of tears and sweat,

something cumulative and anchoring,
trailed behind me in pools I hoped
you’d never track me with.

We’ll see.


Autopsy

The last time I saw your face it rippled
and unfocused through watering eyes

I could not contain. I felt no manly
hesitancy for revealing – there in daylight

at the barracks smoke pit in Monterey,
forgotten cigarette dying in hand –

that my heart was cracking and permanently
emptying of you, your lingering still fresh

in my mouth from a last, deep, stubborn
nearly forgotten kiss. I think I knew

this tear-flavored kiss would never
die, some masochistic invitation, that

I’d be cursed by what you left behind,
my body and mind giving up for a time,

heart mud-caked and discarded for years
along the too comfortable river bank

of your dangerous, unrelenting memory.


Upon a Valentine’s Day which
                                      landed on a Saturday for once.

He works all week in the love-hate career
that keeps them physically from each other,
living for Friday afternoons, the two-hour

detoxifying drive to her embrace, leaving
a stretch of resentment, finally dissipated
by the time he meets her company where

he can breathe again, having held his breath
since pressing a soft kiss to her drowsy lips
at half past 5 am every Monday morning.

——————————————

8 years it’s been this past October, with
this May their 4 year wedding anniversary.
How do you do it, people ask, amazed.

Maybe that’s why you all get along so well,
others venture. We do it because we have to.
And no, it’s not why we get along, I think.

I don’t think the world is ready for us to live
together all the time quite yet. Just look
what we’ve done with what we have.

——————————————

How would the world ever handle the love,
this endless shine of happiness and trust,
we would vibrate out into the Universe?

Why would we choose to put some distant
beings through the frustration of solving
such a mysterious resulting supernova flash

when it finally reached them millions of years
from the day when I finally live with you?
Is the world prepared for the threat of such love?

***

wvw pic of me

Larry D. Thacker is a writer and artist from Tennessee. His poetry can be found in journals and magazines such as The Still Journal, The Southern Poetry Anthology: Tennessee, Mojave River Review, Harpoon Review, Rappahannock Review, and Appalachian Heritage. He is the author of Mountain Mysteries: The Mystic Traditions of Appalachia and the poetry chapbooks, Voice Hunting and Memory Train. He is presently taking his MFA in poetry and fiction at West Virginia Wesleyan College.