Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Variations: Volume 3, Issue 4

Happy New Year to our loyal readers, followers, supporters and poetry submitters. We are so pleased and proud to present Volume 3, Issue 4 of Blast Furnace to close out our third year of publishing the journal. The call for submissions for this edition did not feature a specified theme, and we received a rich variety of poems through the Submittable application.

Our guest reviewer for this final issue of 2013 was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania poet Bob Walicki, whose first chapbook, "A Roomful of Trees," will soon be published by Redbird Press. Many thanks to Bob for his enthusiasm and fine-tuned, musical ear during the review process.

Some exciting changes and opportunities are planned for Blast Furnace over the next twelve months. We look forward to sharing them with you soon, so please stay tuned for updates to be posted to the website in the coming weeks.

Wishing you a safe, fulfilling 2014!

- R. Clever, Editor/Publisher

Blast Furnace Volume 3, Issue 4

Autumn

What's the consequence of melting ice
Surely, we will need more olives. Sweet vermouth
Is at such a premium and there are darknesses
Awaiting. Eyes agleam in the Chinese lanterns
That dance our inebriation. Your wife's bamboo
Plants rustle the available light, slivers mix.
Ambience ensues and further out in the yard,
Carved pumpkins are yawning.

Timothy Dyson has lives in Exton, Pennsylvania. He has been married for thirty years to a beautiful blond, has two cats, and is retired from corporate human resources. His many poems have been featured in a variety of publications.



Moon

I’d gone to the river for water, but trudging
back to the cabin, I found the unmistakable silver
sliver of the quarter Moon in my bucket. No wonder
the sky had clouded: I’d accidentally scooped

the Moon up instead. Not virtue
alone stopped me from keeping it. Unlike
the monied snobility who want, say, the Mona
Lisa to hang in their loo, I lacked

the space, so I turned around, sloshing cold
water over the sides of the pail, slogging down the slope
to the riverbank to put the Moon back
where I’d found it. When I got there, wouldn’t you

know, I discovered the Moon had seeped
out what seemed, in retrospect, a rather conspicuous
hole in my bucket. I retraced my steps, scoured
the wooded path, the thousand

eyes of the dark looking too, but uncovered
nary a clue of the Moon or its dissipated ooze. Soon
dawn came like a barge on the river, the workaday
world of light in its hold. Over the next few nights, I took

Barkley out to pick up the trail, though this proved
fruitless, save for a few wild
berry vines stumbled upon, thorns & all. O,
I was set to quit when he practically dragged me by

the leash to a smallish cemetery up a hill. I felt
queasy passing through the rickety
gate, but gazing upward, I caught the glimmer
of the Moon, beaming down at me from atop

a tall pine.  How did you get up there? I asked
like a coyote howling. Not really expecting a reply,
I nevertheless heard a dry lecture on the science behind
condensation, plus a few condescending comments

concerning the phases of the Moon. Letting Barkley run
free, I marveled at his vaulting, nearly
somersaulting, with the aplomb of a circus
pony over headstones & romping crazily—like

a lark flitting from larch to larch—across sunken
plots until, in the time it takes to suck a lemon
drop to a nub, he’d disappeared. Barkley!
I called & whistled, begging pardon of the Moon, which

now was nowhere to be seen either.
Out of the blackness, Barkley,
big floppy ears flapping, came bounding
toward me as if after a rabbit or chased

by a rabbit’s ghost. His paws, muddy
from digging, caught me so off-guard, I fell
backward into an open grave, where, the breath
knocked out of me, I saw, gingerly

clenched between his teeth, what I took
at first to be a human skull, though damned
if, upon further reflection,
it wasn’t the Moon.


As Wordsworth Wandered

He came upon the precipice & saw
The endless blue of sky & sea that reached
Beyond & breathed the salty air of flaw-
Less nature. God’s eternal extended

Finger to man, he scribbled, given form.
Not taken with that chapel ceiling’s painting
Of weary, vaguely Jove-like outstretched arm,
He found divinity in everything,

From some ten thousand dancing daffodils
Beside the billowy, white-bearded waves

That kissed the jagged shore, to miles & miles
Of woods unspoiled, disrobed of autumn leaves.

He also noted briefly as he fell
An odd cloud that looked like [illegible].


White

pines moan, buckled
with ice & grief. Dogs, hungry,
in a snarl after Karuka

disappeared, slog through end-
less snow that scumbles field
& firmament. No sky

means no god. What remains
dangles from creaking
branches. One snaps, collapses,

frightening the skittish
team. The sled flips & I
tumble out, a bundle of pelts

trawled across frozen earth
until my numb fingers
let go. Quickly to my feet,

I galumph after, waist
deep in snow, barking
commands that my ancestors,

who spoke with all creatures, taught me,
but long gone, the yipping echoes,
fades into nothingness. I stare

at the blank page, void
of direction, mine
an unwritten, invisible

history. No longer feeling
my legs, arms, anything, I fall.
When Karuka returns, hoary

coat clinging to her ribs, she licks
my face to wake me, I think,
before her fangs break my flesh.

Matt Morris has appeared in various magazines and anthologies, including DMQ, 88, Hunger Mountain, New York Quarterly, Runes, Swink, and others. He is the recipient of five Puschart nominations. His first book, Nearing Narcoma, won the 2003 Main Street Rag Poetry Award (selected by Joy Harjo). Pudding House has published his two chapbooks, Here’s How and Greatest Hits. He currently lives on what remains of a farm in West Virginia.
 
 
 
Adolescent Love Affair with Merope

East Tennessee lays open like Chios, a long ravine valleys through uneven
hills—rolled and folded over, layered like anticlines. The truck bumbles
down Asheville Highway, the only station, 1480 AM is stuck in the ‘50s—Bill
Haley and Hank Williams scatter into white noise on Viking Mountain. Air on
the ridge is cold and dry like unsweet tea. We suck fresh pressed wind—extra
virgin, catch beams just lathed from the sun.  At night, we watch faint milky
arms stretch the sky as if they held us in, and you say

                                Look at all those dead stars begetting life,
                                and tucking you away

Thick scent of Fagus and Quercus litters the mist, the truck winds its way
through whorls of hillside. I mean to go back, but years later I disappear and
lose the corn silk skin of Pleiades behind rising street lights.

Christopher Petruccelli's poetry has previously been published in Josephine Quarterly, Connotation Press and Gingerbread House Magazine. He recently graduated from the University of Tennessee where he studied under Dr. Erin Elizabeth Smith and interned at Sundress Publications. Christopher has also read for the Best of the Net for two years.



Jogging

There is nothing but the evil in and out
of January air, the rhythmic thud
of sneaker to sidewalk on a quiet Sunday,
the Pittsburgh grey sticking in my lungs
burning from bronchioli to brain

as a white cat with no ears
licks the tires of a white car
in someone’s concrete driveway,

the hooves of aluminum reindeer
point to the sky, their mutilated half-bodies
resting behind the Sunoco station,

the Blockbuster Video manager,
a Tom Arnold look-alike,
the one who asked me once if I lived alone
and liked David Lynch,
empties the night drop box.


Rubbernecking

In the sterile moment just before the explosion, we watch a doe on the side of the freeway
pull her hoof from the crosswork of a grocery cart and hobble up the exit ramp. It’s not
yet dawn, but I’m thinking

about the derrick in my parent’s front yard, the mechanical rhythm of learned sex. I’ve
sacrificed to power grids, worshiped at the edge of chemical reservoirs, kept the gentle
hills and short thick forests from invading

my blood. On this cold highway, the day pinking up like a transplanted lung,
we wait for the ripple of smoke and glass to blanket us, the bulwark of artificial heat from
the tractor-trailer fire to kiss our foreheads, the shower of burning corn-chip bags to litter
the burm, crackling as the fat and foil disappear

into cinders. We can’t stop watching the gruesome trainwreck of a truckwreck,
breathing the burning of wanderlust. Locomotives were romance once, railroads
punctuating canyons and rimrock like perpetual courtship, womanhood rising
dangerously to meet our pioneer vision, and I want to prove
I can leave.

Molly Prosser is the Visual Merchandise Director for ModCloth.com, a fashion retailer that launched the literary journal The Written Wardrobe under her direction. Molly oversees multiple teams of writers, stylists, and photographers in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Penn State and an MFA in Creative Writing from Carlow University, where she has taught literature, writing, communication, and marketing. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and mini dachshund.



church ritual

warm unmoving august air
miserable mid-morning mass
penalty   penance   punishment
for drinking sneaked rectory wine
entire summer   every Saturday
every Sunday    sitting   kneeling
same front left pew   hands folded
holding plastic rosary   pocket bible
wearing only owned suit   blue wool
white cotton shirt   starched   scratchy
itchy   sweaty   too tight   too hot
topped with one of dads clip-on ties
perpetual smell of faded dying flowers
overly perfumed blue haired women
acrid smoky yellow odorous incense
unfocused eyes daydreaming downward
alerted as I feel mothers close inspection
hear her familiar forced tsk tsking sigh
unsnapping the red leatherette handbag
releasing familiar aroma mix   cloves
menthol cigarettes   smelling salts
Black Jack caffeine chewing gum
pink dust of cracked compact powder
rattle of keys   coins   cellophane
as she locates the least wadded  tissue
wets a clean corner with nicotine spit
tries to wipe that newest brown freckle
from my blushing sunburned cheek

Carl "Papa" Palmer, retired Army, retired FAA, now just plain retired, lives in University Place, WA. He has six chapbooks and has been published in Trellis, Mobius, Dallas Review, Mayo, Wilderness House, New Plains, Copperfield, Welter, Cadeus, and Stony Thursday.


 
Baltimore, In Perpetuity

It’s morning and my younger brother lectures
me on the Heisenberg Principle, how
a thing is always moving, how the more
we know about where it’s going the less
we know about where it is and vice versa
which makes me think of Gary Shtenyngart’s claim:

To write a book set in the present
is to write about the distant past.

When I lift my nephew over
my head my brother watches me
as though he owns the store from which I’m planning
to shoplift. He remembers me stealing
twenties from our mother’s wallet, wrestling
police against the line of pay phones outside
Towson Town Center, hanging
out the passenger window smashing
mailboxes with a wooden bat as Phil Alexander sped
his Honda over the suburban hills of northern Maryland.

Meanwhile, my nephew laughs and drools
above me, his arms outstretched like 737s
he watches land at BWI.


Every Touch Is Urgent

The river moans
like a child punished
when air escapes
its frozen cast.

My God, who could
stand another winter
landlocked in Michigan
where each boot print
is evidenced in snow.

Every touch is urgent
and the world ends
when her father takes
her keys, when his mother’s
boyfriend moves in
with leather fingers, boots
stained with nicotine.
She runs beside the train,
her blond skin dyed blue
by the searchlight-moon,
her hair trailing like rain
up a highway windshield.

He stretches from the open
cargo door, holds himself
with one hand, swings
for her with the other.

They didn’t account
for speed or the weight
of wind. As if the world
itself refuses, saying no.

Losing you is losing me
so joined are our identities.

Her fingers reach
for him as though his touch
alone can lift her.

Winner of the 2012 Longleaf Press Chapbook Contest, Brad Johnson has published four chapbooks of poetry. His first full-length collection, The Happiness Theory, is due out from Main Street Press in the fall of 2013. Work of his has also been accepted by Atlanta Review, Nimrod, Permafrost, Poet Lore, Salamander, The South Carolina Review, Southern Indiana Review and others.
 
 
 
Iris

I could only carry six tangerines
and a paperback by Camus
to his small bedroom.
“Everything is inevitable,”
I read out to him and
nose pressed to winged hips,
his laugh saturated my skin.

Ours was a hard water town,
minerals lined faucet
edges like raw pearls.
There was nothing until 8pm,
nothing again until dawn.
Joints of trapped oak, I wanted
to fill my bone hollows
with something real:
packed dirt, library books,
car exhaust on
the creases of our lips.

I read that the Greeks
had a goddess of rainbows
who arched her creations
from clouds to the Underworld.
In those moments,
Hades’ hovering souls would
be awash in seven colors.

No one remembers her,
a minor name in the pantheon,
a bringer of light to the black.
How to explain a goddess’ erasure,
and how do I explain nights
when he gave me something
unredeemable?
He held my hands in one of his,
twisted together quilt-hot skin.

We drank the heavy water,
opened windows, let flies in.
How many times can I tell a lie
until it becomes truth?
When he freed himself of the town,
I didn’t tell him.
When the doctor asks my history,
I recite Camus.

On a Monday, I’ll sit on the bus alone,
watch vacuously out the window
as parents walk children to school.

A goddess of sky and ocean,
winter tangerines cut
too soon off their stems.
As I curl on the bed at 8pm,
hand wide under my bellybutton,
I’ll wish my thoughts reached
your thoughts, instead of veins.
I’ll wish I had given you a name,
that you still floated,
breathed underwater.

Alyssa Ogi is currently a Masters of Fine Arts candidate at the University of Oregon. Most recently, her poetry was published in The Naugatuck River Review, Literary Laundry, and Spectrum.


 
Need

Crows have been raised
by dark mothers. They've learned
to stealthily wing in
to the 7-11 for prime pickings:
the rushers, the careless,
gorgers and bums who
sustenance gravitate
and leave themselves open
to such murderous
quick-eyed finesse
thieving hoarders.
 
Wild-nurtured to talon
the civilized world
with pecks and flaps and elbows
in a blasphemous quest
for personal wants,
crow children learn well
to scrabble and scrounge,
watch warily
pounce
then hop and
blackly fly away
ignoring victims' crying and cries
damning them to Hell.
 
The jostle and snatch move.
The blend-in.
The theft by distraction.
Fledglings pick at all chances
from pockets
and droppings
off of food trays—
whatever glitters is possession, prey.
That which tastes sugary
that which rots in the gutter
taste equally divine
when one is hungry, providing
enough sustenance for yet another day.

Mother Crow glints in her aching veins
and cackles, needs and knows nothing
of Heaven or sin. Her black eyes
and bloodstream
spark with ferocity. She takes
from the mouths of children
feathering them back
to attack, attack
again, again.


Camping

Me and Mama, we’re seasoned. There’s a glowing sign
of prosperity in the sky above us, a familiar welcome mat
to pitch camp by. We are all about cocooning
in tie-‘em-up-tight sleeping bags at the end
of a pressing day; but before that we need
something filling, something sweet,
so we hit the graham cracker snacks,
cold frank and beanies, then stroll “next door”
and talk a little talk with the one-nighter RV, breathe deep
of simple comforts. There are brothers and sisters
ready to lend a candle, there are security dudes
keeping the rowdies low or out. Mama makes gas money
during the day selling individual spring waters
she buys by the case; me, I’m all about
the hot taps in the bathroom, the way
a splash of warmth cuts the early morning chill
when the restroom doors open. At night
I read my books by cold light arcing in,
settling myself in the passenger bucket seat. Tomorrow
I hope to nab some bargain underwear
with the pennies I’ve found on the parking lot edges,
passing and paying a nodding respect to the kind-sirs
who let us huddle with our fellow long-term travelers
or shoulder up against the sketchballs.
Security trundles by winking at my mom
while quoting Sam Walton, who
magnanimously claims his stores
“are a destination for safe rest and refuge”
while adding that “long-term tenting”
is not an option; still, since we’ve bent-kneed
our obeisance there’s the promise of a
parking spot exactly like this one just the next town over.
Which is good. Maybe. Maybe I’ll be able to lay claim and
squat in my same school at least another month—that would be
a surprise—before heading down the Eastern Seaboard to
Sam’s next overnight campground, a free
fine place to stay when the blacktop of the world
ends in a concrete curb and the only fire-pit you know
smolders and s’mores in your mother’s eyes.


Looking at Girls

The Art: scan the landscape
casually. When the brain bings
do not tweak a muscle, keep
the rove of eyes non-committal,
let the scan drift vacuously past
for all outward appearances. If you find yourself
without sunglasses or reflective surfaces—
those allies to dark and mirrored scrutiny—
then allow the body to turn away; look
at the ceilings, take interest in
a potted geranium, a fly preening
on his dinner of crumbs, and
with hands in pockets push
the feet in the slightest casual shuffle
bringing feminine form back into the frame.
From there it becomes personal taste
in the appreciation: the sway
of hair across the shoulders, pertness
or ampleness of breast, robustness
or absence of rump, perhaps the thinness
extending from calf to ankle. And if
by chance you make eye contact
let the clandestine curtains behind irises
fly up in the instant: I am innocuous
fabulous warm and simple, trust me, I am
dangerous only to myself. Lie about
the heart detonating in your chest.

Scott Hutchison's poems have appeared in such publications as Poet Lore, The Southern Review, and The Georgia Review. Newfound has nominated me for a Pushcart this year. New work is forthcoming in Kestrel, Aethlon, and Cold Mountain Review.



Repeat Offender: [asphyxiation]

I saw her in the yawning alleyway
light with a slack shuffle.

Each dragged foot souring
unborn buds of flowers polluted red-
white, preserved and rusting.

A face in abandoned row houses where friends crawl
across wilting wall-petals, burning

pulp waste onto linoleum floors until
morning brings its cigarette coughs.

I’ll put your butts in a mason jar for you.

Put your trust in my hand reaching
for the slit in your scarecrow mouth.

You found me, bare feet sinking into mud,
dehydrating into a shade ginseng bodybag—

we lose ourselves in these small worlds.

Meet me outside Des Moines, stranger.
There we can leave interstate eighty, via county roads

where pavement flirts with gravel and dust.

We can find fringe fields of cattails, marigolds
beside the rivulet where a muskrat dwells beneath

hatching mosquito larvae, horseflies suspending
into cross-knit stitched corn stalks;

where the breeze is brisk
for nothing.

Paul Osgerby is a nineteen-year-old undergraduate student at the University of Iowa, studying Journalism and Anthropology.



Structure Full of Glass Ephemera

1.   There was something visceral, something tactile. Bricks on buildings, trunks on trees, benches. I wanted to touch. Something. It was mid-week quiet. I was supposed to be going somewhere.
2.   I know it's here, that place. Maybe under the overpass, with the rushing traffic funneled above. Maybe it’s in the hotel, across the street, next to the mall. Maybe I should go shopping.
3.   This place I know: this slim side street away from the tourist-traveled paths. Here are back entrances for locals. Here is a wall that didn't used to be here. Where did that flower shop come from? Maybe I'm not where I think I am.
4.   I remember the low arc of balconies. Everything period-dated, everything new. My dance teacher lived in the one tall apartment building. Sorry, Amy, the consignment shop is closed now. I have to remember to read Utopia. It seems I am mistaken.
5.   Trying to run away from you and running into you. So many intersections. We were always going the wrong way that summer. Always making U-turns.
6.   The last time, I told you. Breads and cakes and coffee. I ordered something cherry.
7.   What is it about train stations? Because they are solid between motion? Because they are slower than planes, and older? Why do they make me want to walk more slowly? Why do I feel you in the walls?
8.   I didn't go far enough, that day. I stopped in a store and bought shirt. Slightly sheer, with an upward curving hem. Black with pink flowers. I had it for years.
9.   Once it was up the street, across the road. Near the buildings where classmates claimed to find headless monkeys in dumpsters. A farm-stand structure, full of glass ephemera. Things cracked and splintered. Things discarded.
10. Yesterday: a voice mail. I won a thrift shop gift card. I think I'll buy a scarf. These days, I'm so practical with my purchases.
11. I know it's here. It must be here. I feel pulled in a direction. When roads diverge, I know the way. But there is always the lure of cafes and conversation.  Round tables on sidewalks. Voices. It seems I've gotten relaxed in distraction. I feel so guilty. I promise I haven't forgotten.
12. You knew about New Orleans. The alligator head on the shelf. Born to be decapitated. Fated to be a symbol.
13. Once it was the city outside the city. Something about sweaters on a shelf. Stones and more overpasses and underground tunnels. Fountains and train tracks. Where?
14. I'm wearing my new shirt and I'm supposed to be going somewhere. There is some kind of feeling tonight I know. Charged and smoky-dark. This time, I won't get sidetracked. Now, I know where you went. It's been too long. We have a lot of talking to do.

C.J. Harrington lives and writes in Virginia. Her writing is published or forthcoming in 3 Elements Review, Gone Lawn, Apocrypha and Abstractions, and The Voices Project.



Names Which Must Be Spoken

Names abounding rolled from my grandmother's tongue.
          Klimek, Voboril, Piskorski
She tolled their weddings and births, illnesses and deaths,
          Kruml, Kapustka, Turek
their foibles, infidelities, kind acts and cruel.
          Beran, Kusek, Papiernik
She traced family trees down to cousins far removed
          Welniak, Skolil, Benda
and mapped their names by topography.
          Cedar Valley Koellings, Lost Creek Nolls,
          Box Canyon Florians

My grandmother prayed with Goraks and Sudowskis,
worked altar society with Blahas and Bruhas,
danced the polka beside Miskos and Longs,
prizing each name like a mother her child's,
          Wozniak, Zabloudil, Furtak
until age stole her breath's naming grace.

She lies among Radils and Huffs, Cummins,
Carkoskis, Kovariks, Meeses, Krajniks, Petskas—

Such as these walked here to the sound of their names.
Names which must be spoken, time leaving so little else.

My grandmother named my first forty years.
We are never too late to speak them:
Wachtrle. Her name. Wachtrle. My breath.

Darrell Petska retired after more than thirty years as an editor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before university life, he worked as a psychiatric tech/caseworker and nursing home evaluator. His poetry has appeared in Bolts of Silk, Red Fez, San Pedro River Review, Scissors & Spackle, Lummox, HEArt Online, Eunoia Review and elsewhere.


 
The Sky Turns Itself a Godless Carousel

The hated youth
kick fresh the night
and launch fireworks
in zero gravity

We color the streets
in human confetti
and wish upon silver
scratchcard stardust

A flamingo-pink bar
called 'BAR' lights
the pharmaceutical
white legs of winter

True, we only drink
when we ain't drunk
and never in the AM
unless we're awake

We preach electric
and blister the wet
flesh of Manhattan
with false majesty

We upload our fears
and call it feeling
and call our friends
and call them fuckers

Philip Tinkler was born in the bucolic north of England. He has been published in places such as the Mad Hatters' Review, The Medulla Review, Montreal Serai, Stepaway Magazine, Skive Magazine, Red Fez, and Word Riot. His first collection of short stories, The Naked Prayerbook, is available at LucidPlay Publishing. He lives in New York City and can be found at www.philiptinkler.com.



Western Industrial

It was the shadows,
the sharp unreal cut
across passing light and darkness,
the staircase railed and wrapped
up to the top,
the round top,
out of sight.

The way the lines
lead the eye everywhere
and so nowhere.

He used to tell us of machines
so great they were stripped,
shipped in pieces between towns,
tumblers and vats
as big as a kitchen table,
conveyor belts as long as arms,
price tags jeweled
in arithmetic.

It wasn't new, what happened
at port. Gradually, the loading
went one way.

We have seen
this syntax
before:

The nowhere industrial formations
flow like an arroyo, seco o mojado,
depending on a confused climate
alongside water without humidity.

It isn't for us to say,
but the time of totality has passed.
We manufacture footnotes now,
echoes of all else
that we have forgotten
how to make.


Sate

Grain piers gorge
            on the fogged-in lake
shore where metal necks
            throw wheat at piles
of ferment and rot,
            reasonable facsimiles
of the coal pyramids
            outside Inland Steel's
blast furnace number
            four. In gray morning,
long, low-slung sheds,
            cavernous barns of spark
and heat, coke the ores
            of a garroted mountain,
spit blast and steam
            on the way to piles
of ingot and sheet.
            What else is the wheat?
Silos and smokestacks
            drink by train car loads
of the docked hulls
            the lake quietly laps,
the sound of lips
            parting, the shift whistle
ringing totems in steel.

Phillip Barron has taught philosophy at the University of North Carolina and digital humanities at the University of California, Davis. He is co-editor of the journal OccuPoetry and served as editor of the 2012 Squaw Valley Review. Recent writing appears in Orion, Saw Palm, Ardor, and the Columbia College Literary Review. He is currently at work on a Master of Fine Arts in poetry at San Francisco State University.



The Fair

The attendant at the Tilt-a-Whirl spins
our car an extra turn, then another,
so we’re dizzy before the ride begins.

It starts and I cling to you like a lover,
the candy apple causing some regrets.
When we’re finally released you hover

while I sit and moan and the apple threatens
to reappear. It’s clear rides are out
for the rest of the night. Instead we set

off for the sideshow, where the callers shout
for us to come and see The Smallest Horse!
The Giant Rat! Burping up sauerkraut

I drag you in. That’s not a rat, of course,
but some poor creature from another place
like Australia, or the Galapagos,

with a twitching nose and terror on its face.
We move on to the horse, viewed from a berm
so its pen looks like a trick to erase

its legs. Feeling peeved, we turn to leave, firm
in our resolve—till the Headless Woman’s booth.
But this we can’t resist. And where’s the harm?

Behind glass, she hides under a dropcloth,
then is revealed. Someone hoots, “Show us your tits!”
She shrugs, like, What’s the fuss? She picks a tooth.

Now you’re really ready to call it quits,
but first: The Smallest Twins in the World.
A space heater on the fritz glows and ticks

beside two wrinkled women who lie curled
around each other, one self, dichotomous.
I wonder if you see the flag unfurled

that says the freak show really starts with us.

Dawn Corrigan has published poems and prose in a number of print and online journals. Her debut novel, an environmental thriller called Mitigating Circumstances, was just released from Five Star/Cengage. She lives in Gulf Breeze, Florida.



Back When We Were Wild
 
Kansas.
I wish we could share a kiss,
but
the prairie sneaks up
so goddamn fast,
then never leaves.
 
I spent three days
boiling in hundred degree heat,
driving across endless flats
ith a ghost who plays mute co-pilot.
 
I haven’t seen a hill
but somewhere back there
was a famous frontier town I missed.
I’ve been reading Raymond Carver
while I drive, it seemed more useful than maps.
 
In a junk shop
or a hotel with no hot water,
I catch a smell that reminds
me of atonement,
of another time
back when we were wild.

Jason Baldinger is a Pittsburgh based writer with two books to his credit, on Six Gallery and Speed & Briscoe Press. He has two more books about to be published in the first half of 2014. Some of his other poems have found a home with places such as The New Yinzer and Shattered Wig Press.
 

 
Wife Writes Her Husband A Final Letter

Dear: It is time
to give up the language
of your side of the bed
and what time will you be home
for dinner, where shall we go
on vacation this year, are you ready
for bed. Those words sit inside
a chrysalis turning into clear gel:
the magic trick of before and after.

Will our bodies now vanish in one
big explosion or many tiny leavings
so that one might explain it with words
like a gradual cessation? Either way
we’re gone like the way I once opened up
your dresser with ease, folded your underwear
with the tenderness of a newborn baby
in its crib. Gone like the way
we posed for photographs that
could not be torn apart anymore
than we can abandon our children.
Gone like the moment of I do and I will,
like a science project put on a shelf.

Our history is life’s history: invisible
ink written on bodies. A story of sky
and leaf changing, the snow
of our backyard yielding to daffodils
and a cherry tree dropping its pink
blossoms. A history of tides going
out and then in again like a patterned
cliché we come to expect. Once nothing
else mattered but our caterpillar life,
like our babies, our candle-lit dinners,
hours of talk and ascent. That time
on top of a Montana mountain,
the plowed fields of Israel, the
soothing sands of Mexico, and kittens
and cookies in Idaho. Segment
by waving segment, we must find
our way again, muscle to joint, grateful
for the blessedness of green leaves.
We are as young as we will ever be.


On What Would Have Been An Anniversary

I’d like to say it was this moment,
but you know it wasn’t—it was
a long time ago, meaning long enough
to question a connection, still long enough
to recall the equation of one plus one
equals one the way you said you liked it.
Long enough to hear the angry story
I mumbled daily under my breath later,
say when I walked down East Avenue
for fresh air or turned left onto
Goodman, or passed the only house
we ever owned. I’d like to say
it never happened, which is to admit
the godawful twist of lives with one
on the floor curled in a bun, the other
out there somewhere with problem solved,
wrapped up in a package with a new woman,
a second start, lighter with most things
left behind. I’d like to say you don’t
understand, never did, but I’m not sure
about that anymore. In fact, there’s so little
I really know, perhaps ever did. Funny
to wait so long to recognize that enormous fact
that I walked through like a fog
without a name. I’d like to say it was
this moment 38 years ago that made the earth
solid, but I’ve learned since that nothing is
solid—not now, not then, not later. I imagine
you’ve already found that out too—
or maybe not.


Ideals of Form
For Seamus Heaney

A second floor view of a New England church
steeple, the tops of changing trees, the light
still. Perfection: the poet walks in,
pauses along the wall, then leans into
the podium. Deep and heavy on the floor
of memory, we must keep our feet on the ground
and our head in the air, he reads
about November grace. Spirits are among us:
at the center, the private self in the arena of history.
His language, a whole new sweetness:
a plumb line to measure everything else.
Honest to earthiness: a reminder.

Gail Hoskings is the author of the memoir, Snake's Daughter: The Roads in and out of War (University of Iowa Press). She teaches at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Gail received her Masters of Fine Arts from Bennington College. Her essays and poetry have been published in such journals as The Fourth Genre, Nimrod International, The Florida Review, The South Dakota Review, Cream City Review, Passages North, Post Road and the Chatahoochee Review.



Visitation

Yet might I visit you, and let my head rest
On your eyes, both of us breathing the same air
Under the same sky. I want to be more than

A memory, flitting, fleeting, a faint
Ripple through the years since we first met.
Even that spreads outwards, and here I am,

Walking into your empty house, kindly
Opened to me, with those yellow Post-It
Notes, and scattered intimations of San

Diego life. We made ourselves at home.
Every day the sun shone on your absence.
Running through days, two girls with mischief and

Frangipani petals from your garden
Unwrapped chocolate, sat outside on white chairs,
Licked the days clean with notes from your piano.


Synopsis of a Story in Three Generations

Two days before he died
                                        my father fell;
there were no broken bones—
                                                only the knowledge of getting up
leaving him before he finished leaving himself.
I’ve been falling ever since,
                                             a rain that doesn’t remember how to stop itself,
the idea of falling become the act.

That was yesterday years and years ago and continents away,
when one daughter was six months old
                                                               and the other more than three years
from being born.
I’ve been falling ever since,
                                             and in the falling been swept onward to here,
as if falling is a river full to its banks with rain
and here is the only way to the sea.

I am still arriving
                             into my daughters’ eyes
together with a sloping cobblestone street and falling leaves,
an unfamiliar house we are learning to inhabit
                                                                           and finger puppet after finger puppet.
In between the routines we make
                                                      is a background flux
unsettling all the settling,
drifts of fallen leaves moving about in snatches of wind,
                                                                                           moments flitting by
and their ghosts,
                           resisting capture, slipping away through clutching hands,
through photographs and memories, where nothing
                                                                   but the living of lives
                                                                                            can be saved.

David Adès is an Australian poet currently living in Pittsburgh. He has been a member of Friendly Street Poets since 1979. His collection, Mapping the World, was commended for the Anne Elder Award 2008. His poems have recently been published or are forthcoming in 5 AM, Atlanta Review, Boston Literary Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Four and Twenty Poetry Journal, Gutter Eloquence, Illya’s Honey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Poetica, Red River Review, Sleet Magazine, Spiritus, The Fourth River and Uppagus.



Amante del VientoLover of the Wind

Entiérrame en un agujero, por favor.
Bury me, please, in a hole.

Soy amante del viento, de las hojas
I am a lover of the wind, of the leaves

que bailan delante de la luna
that dance across the moon

en el crepúsculo del otoño
in the autumn twilight
 
y ríen al susurro del invierno,
and laugh at the whisper of winter,

del aire caliente antes de la tormenta

of the hot air before the storm


que desafía los relámpagos y los truenos,
that defies the lightning and thunder,

of the falcon that hangs in the indigo sky
del falcón que cuelga en el cielo índigo

above me, and of the memories
sobre mí, y de las memorias

of youth that it carries from me
de juventud que las toma de mí

and scatters over the eternal earth.
y las difunde a través de la tierra eterna.

The night is dark, and I am cold.
La noche es obscura y estoy frío.

I am a lover of the wind. And the wind
Soy amante del viento. Y el viento

has been stilled. Bury me.
ha sido aquietado. Entiérrame.

Riley Welcker has many stories, essays, and poems bulging from his briefcase. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Business, a Bachelor of Arts in English, and is currently a Master's of Fine Arts student at the University of Texas at El Paso. His work has appeared in numerous publications including the Montréal Review, Menacing Hedge, BlazeVOX, Passages North, Oklahoma Review, Mindful Word, Mandala Journal, Kansas City Voices, eLectio Publishing, Hobo Pancakes, Chrysalis: EPCC Literary and Arts Journal, 521 Magazine, Story Shack, Syndic Literary Journal, and Rio Grande Review.



Dont call me a Luddite

When we weren't looking our lives
became ruled by head wires
and we can't disentangle
because everyone knows
a cord unwatched becomes
a cat's cradle, and
we know if we gut that Gordian knot
eyes will pour out, bloodless, shot
lenses, pictures of shot glasses
and junk statuses dulling our senses
My eyesight is dim but my friend
I can see without blinking
lights, can sleep without notification
I can't sleep without turning off lights
and shutting them out.


I am dreaming of a white winter
with ice in place of brushed silver
metal and I'm standing there
in the middle of people
who bury their broken hearts
in bad pop music, hoping
something new and beautiful
will grow between clattering keys,
or from behind touch screens.
Steve Jobs' legacy will bury us all.
The apple doesn't fall far from the tree
and the roots are always hungry.

Christopher Fields is a student physical therapist studying in Springfield, Massachusetts, and poetry is his outlet.
 

  
Credo

 
Zack Rogow is the author, editor, or translator of twenty books or plays. His seventh book of poems, My Mother and the Ceiling Dancers, was published by Kattywompus Press. Zack is the editor of an anthology of poetry of the U.S.A., The Face of Poetry, published by University of California Press. Currently, he teaches in the low-residency Master of Fine Arts in writing program at the University of Alaska Anchorage and serves as poetry editor of Catamaran Literary Reader.



Sprockets

 
A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past twenty years in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. Snakes and Angels, a collection of his adaptations of classic Indonesian folk tales, won the 2009 Cervena Barva Press fiction chapbook contest; No Bones to Carry, a volume of his poetry, the 2007 New Sins Press Editors' Choice Award. His earlier chapbooks of poetry were Greatest Hits (Pudding House: 2001) and On the Back of the Dragon (Omega Cat Press: 1992). Waterways selected lines from his many contributions to that litmag as its 2011-2012 themes for submissions. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry.



Six of Coins
 

Uche Ogbuji was born in Calabar, Nigeria. He lived, among other places, in Egypt and England before settling near Boulder, Colorado. A computer engineer and entrepreneur by trade, his collection of poetry, Ndewo, Colorado was published by Aldrich press in 2013. His poems, fusing Igbo culture, European Classicism, U.S. Mountain West setting, and Hip-Hop influences, have appeared worldwide, most recently in String Poet, Featherlit, Qarrtsiluni, Leveler, Atavic, Shot Glass and Stonecoast Review. He is editor at Kin Poetry Journal and The Nervous breakdown, founder and curator at the @ColoradoPoetry Twitter project. He is also a founding member of the Stanza Massive, a small, DIY-minded group promoting members' books of poetry, including through collaborative, multimedia experiments with their texts.