Saturday, May 30, 2015

Two Poems by Jessica Lindsley

Cannibal Ballet

Grotesque circus of humanity:  cannibals all, we eye
Each other, sizing the meat of the buttocks, the fat

The sweep of muscle in the leg, the shoulder roast,
Rib meat, hocks, delicate cheek cutlets,

Knowing we are the worst carnivores,
All appetite, boundless vast bellies


Physical Liberty

The demands of the body
Have been shelved

Those desires have been
relegated to the basement

Among the etiquettes, out-of-date cartographies
And expired geographies

Filed in the Dewey Decimal system under
"Things That No Longer Matter"

Its card pulled from the catalog,
waiting to be discarded.

Until somehow I notice this man's smile,
those perfect imperfect teeth.

My library is wholly unshelved, books tumbling
Pages turning, open

Fanned by wind tinged with gasoline,
All the things I locked away.

Jessica Lindsley grew up in North Dakota before the oil boom.  Her work has been published in the Smoking Poet, Blackwood Press, Thirteen Myna Birds and other publications.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Poem by Ally Malinenko


I did a count.
From diagnosis
to now 4 months later
I figure about 50 strangers
have seen my tits
since this whole thing started.

This number could top out at 75 before year's end.

In the beginning I was shy
like all girls are in the beginning
slowly taking off my shirt
folding it neatly on the chair.
Unhooking my bra
tucking it under my shirt
Modest.  Chaste.

I would suck in my stomach as
they laid me back on the table.
A virgin for sure.
Be gentle, I would think.
Be kind.

But now, I've changed.
I whip that thing off,
toss it on the floor with my bra
like it was my own bedroom.
I usually have my tits out before
the doctor has even warmed his hands,
hop up on the table.  Flash him a smile.

Or when that one time
during radiation when I was afraid
there was something wrong
I had the right tit out of that gown
before he even had the office door shut.

I'm a total slut now.

I do it so much it's a wonder I don't do it all the time.
On the subway, reading poetry
at the grocery store
topless checking the cantaloupes against my own.

It's actually nice.
I get why guys like it being shirtless.
I've started walking around the house this way
past the open windows.
My tits happy and free
enjoying the cool air that floats in
the chatter of teenagers on the street.

I don't even wonder anymore if they can see me.
I don't even care.

Being topless, whenever,
this is something that women
have categorically missed out on.

We should fix this.
Men should not get all the topless time.

I think about the boys of my youth
when we used to go to the lake
how they would all raise their arms
in a salute to the sun and in sync
lift their shirt
drop it to the floor
they're slender bodies,
the way their shorts hung on them
the muscles of their shoulders flexing
like they were remembering
something primal
something free
something sexual
that had been buried far too long inside.

Ally Malinenko has been writing poems and stories for awhile now.  Occasionally she gets things published.  She is the author of The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press), the children's novel, Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books), and This is Sarah, forthcoming from Bookfish Books.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Three Poems by Joanna M. Weston


I'm watchful at dawn when
mother-in-law picks nails
from the skirting the last
owl flirts on the eaves
so I turn sideways to watch
pistons seize without oil
on their bushings cars
drop carburetors through
rails on bent bridges
I turn turn see roses
sculpted on the headboard
gearstick sketched over
patterned velvet try to
catch spiders under bowls
always distracted by mice
marching down stair-wells
where collars ties hang
to catch morning's
metallic carcass

Looking In

the mirror takes me
loses me in wide spaces
narrow vacancies

stretches its mouth round my face
speaks and swallows words
I haven't said
and won't until tomorrow

the mirror grasps my hair
twists it about my neck
and leads me out of the frame
to a room I've never seen before

The Building

windfalls of hammers
from roof and walls
ravage the sky
hang tiles from
tree top mountain

drifts of nails
through skull and cloud
drumming un-syncopated
beat against pipe
scaffolding car
welding clink to clank
through my battered days

Joanna M. Weston is married, has two cats, multiple spiders, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen houses.  Her middle reader, Those Blue Shoes, was published by Clarity House Press, and her poetry collection, A Summer Father, was published by Frontenac House of Calgary.  Her eBooks can be found at her blog:  http://www.1960willowtree.wordp

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Poem by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Monstrous Past

You asked me what's the scariest monster I've ever seen, but I don't know.  Cartoon monsters aren't scary, not animated ones or those in B films.  Blockbuster monsters are usually misunderstood males for kids to love in the end.  Come on. you say around a malty mouthful, your eyebrow ring glinting.  You trot back to the kitchen for another, never bothered that you're drinking alone.  What about serial killers or men who rape women? you say, eyes soft, glassy, vocal cords loose, mouth easy, ready to grin.  You've got to have a scariest?  What about death?  I shake my head, shrug.  I say, I think we read Grendel in school.  He was a monster.  He had a bad mom, or maybe it was a bad sister.  I pinch the bridge of my nose and start to answer truthfully, but you're nodding off as you sip, the bottle loose in your calloused hands.  I know I could tell you anything, any bright, delicious, mercurial lie.  I could say I've ridden in death's cart where the mountainous sky is big and golden.  I could say death is my sister, a woman who rules a darkness of rough men.  I could say monsters aren't real, but instead, I tug your hand and lead you from the couch to sleep on my spare.  Streetlight falls across your thighs, your punk tee shirt.  The nightlight turns your face green.  You squeeze my hands and say, I love you, even though we've just met.

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink, 2014), Queen of the Platform (Anaphora Literary Press, 2013), Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2010), and the collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014) with artist Sally Deskins, as well as two letterpress books, and eight chapbooks, including Spindrift (Dancing Girl Press, 2014).  She is the editor of Women Write Resistance:  Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013).  Wiseman has a doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She has received an Academy of American Poets Award, the Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship, and her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, Margie, and Feminist Studies.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Two Poems by Laura L. Snyder


Past the traffic of crowds, past the sidewalks,
the dream races.  I take both hands, lay them
on the studded door, warm and rough brown,
inhale and drop my gravity.  On my exhale, I push,

move forward, and something begins to itch
beneath the skin of my shoulder.  It is not
the feet of crow who shadows me; a greeting
of leaves hangs over the door.  The door

I push becomes a bridge, the earth rushes like
a boiling river.  The way is clear.  The hand
open before me has the verdigris of trees,
their rough patina thick like powdered bronze,

dappled from years of light and shadow.
I choose to know living green of chlorophyll,
my end and my beginning.  Looking down,
this navel begins a branch.


Let go of familiar
outlines.  Turn your feathers
into the ruffles of an evergreen,

you'll blend in.  Sometimes
it's in the way
you set your jaw.  Poise

can be everything.  Let the moon
silver the ridges, the valleys
will care for themselves.

Then, before you blink,
let the hook of beak open the way
to the furnace of certainty.  Not everyone

can do this.  Trust the hot red blood
to charge you, the gizzard stones
to grist the last hard word.

Laura L. Snyder uses a slanted profile to scratch out words in hard-back journals from rainy Seattle.  Find her latest writing in Windfall, Labletter, Switched on Gutenberg, The New Verse News, and in anthologies:  Switch (the Difference), From Glory to Glory:  Anthology by Poetry in the Cathedral, Manifest West:  Eccentricities of Geography, and in Poets of the American West.  Laura was nominated for a Pushcart, and for Dzanc's "Best of the Web 2010."  Winged came out from Flutter Press in 2012, and a second chapbook, Witness, won the Willit Press Prize for 2012.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Two Poems by Douglas Cole

A Child's Nightmare

Inside a hurricane wind
I saw the white sun iris
and the small dark spot that is
the center of the storm's eye.
I entered the vast dream,
a loose cell smaller than
a lost jewel in a far field,
and beheld a bloom of angels
descending in a body of smoke
near a blood-red stream.

I emerged among warped
white bodies of Chirico
statues on a chessboard plain,
Captain William grinning
as he cut the scalp of a dog.
"This is my game," he said,
"a little croquet with the queen."
Then he pulled the fresh brain free,
and dropped it to his teeth.

Lured by a jeering voice,
I wandered in an orchard maze
through a violet haze of heat
and joined a long procession
entering a vine-draped cave
where arms of wind arose
from a black suburnal stream
deep flowing fast and falling
into a wide blind mouth.

A lively spirit dancing down
took me through the twisted
roots descending in the vault.
"Beginnings bear the seed,"
she said in a blue volt voice,
"of everything to come."
And she cast me in the deep,
where I fell and reached,
and held to a ragged web
above the gulf of an abyss,
staring into the fiery heart,
a child before its maker.

The Swing

Smoke from a passing truck curls
over the hedgerow as I watch
the girl in perpetual motion
swing back and forth beneath
the elm tree behind her house.
With their shades always drawn
and wind ticking int he screens,
I wonder what she sees
inside, nightly, an only child
with parents who won't allow
her to return my wave, who
shuttle her in the back of a van
and keep her bound by invisible hands
wrapped around their corner lot.

I imagine inside her home
a mother and father with advantages
but no luck, looking on with fault-
finding eyes gone cold by a grinding
sense of the shortage of money,
the living room a grim echo
of their unspoken thoughts,
a mantle clock scything away,
rows of mysterious ancestors stone
still in photographs on the walls.
Her room is perfect, and she checks
her chores on a weekly list.
She will not speak unless bid to.
Never have I seen a friend come over,
never has she gone to the nearby field.

She climbs instead upon her swing,
nudged into movement by the wind,
riding with her legs stretched
out in the surge of her body's power,
hands gripped into the braids of rope,
some urge drawing her higher
and higher and her face turns to sky.
She pushes from her tethered arc
up through the arms of the elm,
and the neighbor's dog runs after her,
the whisper of a house falling back
as she ascends through pale leaves
in waves of individual flames.

And I see her free above the city,
beyond all luck in a wild current,
riding a storm that rips the clouds
and plunges all homes into darkness.
Nightly she rises, parents wandering,
calling through the trees, but never
looking up to see her high overhead,
turning in a lathe of stars.

Douglas Cole has had work in The Chicago Quarterly Review, Red Rock Review, and Midwest Quarterly.  He has more work available online in The Adirondack Review, Salt River Review, and Avatar Review, as well as recorded stories in Bound Off and The Baltimore Review.  He has published two poetry collections, Interstate, through Night Ballet Press and Western Dream, with Finishing Line Press, as well as a novella called Ghost with Blue Cubicle Press.  He has received several awards, including the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry; the Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House; First Prize in the "Picture Worth 500 Words" from Tattoo Highway; as well as an honorable mention from Glimmer Train.  He was also recently the featured poet in Poetry Quarterly.  He is currently on the faculty at Seattle Central College.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Poem by Alan Catlin

Hellcat on Wheels

In her twenties, prime vocations
of record were:  folk singing, poetry
and practicing blonde babe.  Idle
hours were spent admiring herself
in mirrors, still bodies of clear water.
Success in all fields gradually eluding
her, relationships ended, time performing
now spent on padding her resume with
an excess of pounds.  Arts abandoned
for an unfulfilling dead end job,
one night stands, occasional weekend
sleepovers slowly remaking her into
the kind of woman who had the moxie
and the body to sincerely say,
"I gave up poetry for Roller Derby."
Joined a team called the Hellcats,
made the road squad as Badass Bertha,
a rogue elbow and a forearm smash away
from  an Ode to Immortality.

Alan Catlin has published a number of books in several genres.  His most recent poetry book is, Alien Nation, a compilation of four thematically related chapbooks.  His latest chapbook is Beautiful Mutants from Night Ballet Press.