What’s Next? by Linda Lowe

Posted in Linda Lowe with tags on June 8, 2020 by Scot

 

No sense worrying that the car’s gone. You’re beyond transportation. You’ve entered the twilight zone of essential need. You read about dystopia back before they shut down the papers, burned the books, screwed up the internet. So now it’s here. What’s next? What’s left in the cupboards? There’s peanut butter. They always ask for peanut butter, the charities. It’s got protein they say. Your mother spread it on white bread, removed the crusts the way you liked it. You want to call your mother but she’s not there. She’s not anywhere. Not for the last thirty-three days. And fourteen hours.

_____________

Linda Lowe’s stories and poems have appeared in Outlook Springs, What Rough Beast, Crack the Spine, Star 82 Review, The New Verse News, and others.

Chronometer by Gil Hoy

Posted in Gil Hoy with tags on June 8, 2020 by Scot

 

I’ve no use for

a stainless steel
lightweight, corrosive

resistant piece
of hardware

that burdens
my wrist

and can’t tell me
something helpful anyway–

like when my children
will grow up

my heart
will stop beating

or the last proud
polar bear

will step off
the last piece
of melting sea ice

and silently
disappear.

____________

 

Gil Hoy is a Boston poet and semi-retired trial lawyer who studied poetry at Boston University through its Evergreen program. Hoy served as a Brookline, Massachusetts Selectman for four terms. His poetry has appeared most recently in Tipton Poetry Journal, Chiron Review, Right Hand Pointing, The New Verse News, MisfitMagazine, Mobius: Journal of Social Change, Ariel Chart and elsewhere.

Two Poems by Ron Lavalette

Posted in Ron. Lavalette with tags on June 8, 2020 by Scot

Nightly News

You can call it whatever you want, put
whatever label on it you like, but no amount
of obfuscation makes the end result
any less bitter. You can close your eyes,
vow to keep your mouth shut, turn and
turn and turn away from the truth
but, in the end, there’s really no escape:
he was only seven years old, maybe less,
and he’d been shot through the neck.

And your mother can still love you,
and your girlfriend or your wife
or your brothers and your sisters
can still love you, but some nights,
around midnight, you remember:
he was only seven, maybe less,
and that’s as old as he’d ever be.

____________

When We’ll Finally Quit

There will come a day
when we have to tear up all the flags
to make more bandages.

____________

Ron. Lavalette lives on Vermont’s Canadian border. His poetry, flash fiction, and creative  nonfiction has been very widely published in both print and pixel forms. His first chapbook, Fallen Away (Finishing Line Press), is now available at all standard outlets. A reasonable sample of his work can be found at EGGS OVER TOKYO. 

After Listening to Van Jones by Dan Provost

Posted in Dan Provost with tags on June 8, 2020 by Scot

I am not kind
to anyone
anymore…

Too many bodies
being stepped over
or necks being
knelt on…

I am a white boy with
a scowl in my
soul…

and privilege I want
to vomit…

Seen too much shit to
believe in peace and harmony

all on TV, of course—
never had to look in
the mirror and worry
about
what time I’ll be shot
today.

Or be cuffed and thrown
in back of Johnny Law’s cruiser

Disaster is not around the
corner…It’s here now…

My friends are angry…
The bullshit continues…

There will not be
a next time…

This time?

The Sidewalk Girls by J. Lester Allen

Posted in J. Lester Allen with tags on June 3, 2020 by Scot

 

not too good with eyes
I must admit
to getting along much better
with the backs and behinds
of arch and sway,
the truthful tone of calves
and beautiful ankles of
a better world.

the eyes want too much,
I can’t bring myself to tell them
that they’ve been beaten
to the haul
and that what remains
might not be worth the
price of admission.

so these blue eyes of
many things find themselves behind
sunglasses and
beneath ball caps,
submerged in cheap
liquor,

running from no
job, a wife in another
state of a life
just gone.

sometimes it takes a man
10 years to be
sure of what he knew
all along:

that the worm will always
get its apple, no matter
the season
and that a summer
dress and stiff shot
of breeze, in all its
perennial beauty,
will never last any of us
quite long enough.

George Perry Floyd by Scot Young

Posted in Uncategorized on June 3, 2020 by Scot

george perry floyd
with a cop’s knee
on his neck
another on his back
he begged
to breathe
cried out
for his deceased mama
as the world watched
most of us at the time
too stunned to cry

400 years of asphyiation
and four bad cops
murdered
george perry floyd
on that minnesota asphalt
our eyes watched
as he quit moving
the knee remained
after his last breath
as an exclamation point

but it isn’t just
the four
cops that are guilty
we can spread that out
from sea to shining sea
today
the six oclock news
just showed a clip of
his six year old daughter
sitting on his best friend’s
shoulders
smiling
arms outstretched saying
my daddy changed the world
my daddy changed the world

maybe this time
maybe this time
we shall overcome

Three Poems by Kevin Ridgeway

Posted in Kevin Ridgeway with tags on June 3, 2020 by Scot

THE REMAINS OF MY FATHER

I picked up a bust my mother
made of my incarcerated father’s head.
I threw it against her 1960’s tile kitchen floor,
and it shattered into a million different pieces.
I gazed at my trembling hands and
licked the blood across my knuckles
after I broke my parents’ hearts
with my revenge killing. I’ve endured
many sleepless nights draped in
a heavy guilt that has left me drenched
in a kind of shame reserved for tainted
angelic boys with the same conscience
that tortured my mother at her
every mistake. I grew up to poison
myself until I transformed
into a supernatural monster
from a place much worse than
any of the kinds of perceived hell’s
they failed to scare me straight with
in order to embrace the false promise
of an indifferent heaven,
a heaven that took away
our lost souls and shattered them
all into a million different pieces.

____________

JUST ANOTHER FACE IN AN ANGRY MOB

 

The supermarket
is an endless line
into the weary indecision
of coupon expiration dates
and my personal
lack of an appetite
for even the most repellent
canned discount meats
smelling of wet roast beef farts
that haunt daydreams
under the poisoned influence
of uncertainty
in the awakening
of a home made ugliness
they curse me with
for clearing my throat
near their healthy,
expensive fresh produce,
salad fix-in’s for
what could be
the end of the world
before I kick them
all in the balls and run.

____________

MY OLD DRUG DEALER

He smiles ear to ear
across Cherry Avenue
at the 7 Eleven,
ready for me
to buy
some crystal
which he paws
into the palm
of my hand.
I flick it with
a finger steady
enough to claim
nine months
off dope.
I tell him
I’m clean now,
but he thinks
I’m full of shit.
He stands there
in the fizzled glow
of an empty,
burned out laundromat,
waiting for me to fall
so he can swoop
in and catch me.

Three Poems by Wendy Taylor Carlisle

Posted in Wendy Taylor Carlisle with tags on June 3, 2020 by Scot

Carol Dies

and we are called to grieve and foster
driving down through the south
into Dash County, to Hoot’s BBQ
where we overhear the story about
a sex addict coming home from
treatment in California and Mary Lou
you know Mary Lou, says she wants
to meet him, but it turns out not
to be true, not a sex addict that is
so, Mary Lou is all disappointed, and we
speed past the Dizzy Dean Rest Area
in Wiggins, driving hard through
a twelve-hour day to come to rest late
where Carol lived in Ocean Springs
and everyone is gathered, all the sisters,
all the brothers, everybody coming from
all over, New York to Arkansas
and everybody old and shot and wondering
who’s next, because Carol was the first
and you can’t help but wonder about it
and the Baptist preacher preached
a laid-back 45, which is restrained for a Baptist
preacher and the food was church-lady
and fried-chicken-delish and we drove
right back home by way of a late dinner
at Hoots BBQ again, where we overheard
another conversation about a local lady
who couldn’t even get hired at Wal-Mart
as a greeter because customers couldn’t get past
her big-mouth-chatter and into the store,
and after that, straight home
and didn’t talk again about the trip.

____________

Dry Fall, Dull Leaf

At the end, it’s the wanders,
fit to drive you blind. She ambles
through faded fall leaves, baffled,
no telling when she comes to herself.
Unfazed by rain, most days she can’t
remember where she set her sweater down.
The weather that year seemed to have
its timing off, rain/sun in reverse order,
one or the other not enough for a flaming leaf.
Perhaps, that confused her, the trees parched
or drowned. No one of us can untangle
her withering. Rain seemed to pelt down
as usual; sun shone like good business;
but mom didn’t come back to herself.
No matter how we want her back,
want a fall leaf to brag on.
She twists her freckled hands.

____________

Rooster Cogburn, 1975

Rooster Cogburn’s problem wasn’t his one eye, wasn’t the Civil War and Quantrill wasn’t the Raiders, wasn’t his grit or lack of it, wasn’t because he never knew a dry day in his life, wasn’t Eula, or the Illinois woman, or his lost son, or the Indian Territory or the Hanging Judge, or the sixty men he killed, or how Mattie sent him after Ned Pepper, or the snake bite or how he run that horse to death, or carrying the slight body of Baby Sister, mourning her lost arm.

Rooster’s problem, and I don’t mean to tell you his story here, was the problem of having the wrath sitting down on him.  Rooster’s problem was paying for everything in this world because, ain’t nothing free, but the grace of God.

________

Wendy Taylor Carlisle lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She is the author of four books and five chapbooks. Her poems have appeared on line and in a dozen Anthologies. For more about her work, check her website at www.wendytaylorcarlisle.com.

RIOTOUS by Howie Good

Posted in Howie Good with tags on June 3, 2020 by Scot

A police van
has been
overturned
and the Burger King
on the corner
is burning,

and if you
absorb
the oily black
smoke,

willfully
breathe it in,

your heart
muscles
will seize up
and your family
desert you,

you’ll forever
be marked down
in the book
as a looter,
an arsonist,
a so-called
“outside agitator,”

who made,
for a time,
this murdering
old world
to tremble

 

Two Poems by Mike James

Posted in Mike James with tags on June 3, 2020 by Scot

Self-Crucifixion

I have trouble doing the last bit. I can place one foot atop the other, nail them down pretty quick. Then my left hand isn’t much of a problem. Though I miss the nail a few times because carpentry isn’t my skill and because I can’t lean over fully, swing all in. The challenge is always my right hand. Once the rest of the work is finished, it waves around unpierced. There’s no clean way to nail it myself. I must always cajole some passing stranger through flattery, fetish, or father guilt. Luckily, on a busy street there’s always someone willing to step right up and nail it down

_____________

 

How This Autumn’s Been

Lately, I go out and walk in the morning woods. I look for
Rooms large as an acorn, large as the spider’s crystal palace.

I love words, but once feared religion. Thought the Devil was
Just God in long pants, hiding behind a fern in the next room.

You might have heard, the alphabet is a grand palace with
Many rooms. No need to guess my least favorite letters.

Many days, I have no direction. My compass is broke. I’m a small bird
In a grain silo, circling towards cracks of light as if each is another room.

One of these days, like everyone else, I’ll go away without packing.
There’ll be a few stones on my doorsteps. No key beneath a stone.