Issue 10.3

Issue 10.3

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Comrades. The Winter 2017 issue of Forge is here.  Read and enjoy.

Purchase the hard copy here.

~Melissa Venables

Uber-editor, Forge 10.3

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Содержание

—Проза—

Vic Cavalli: The Silencers
MH Lee: Serendipity
Megan Paske: A Story from Another Spring
Robert Roman: Fish Fry

—Поэзия—

Judy Crystal: Why I Understand the Cheyenne
Eric Greinke: Ambition | Hunger | Modern Problems | The Dancer | The Plumber
Gary Metras: Reservation Road, Winter | The Jazz Center Lends its Space to Poets for Peace | The Promise of Song
Simon Perchik: 11 Poems — Winter 2017
Patrick Riordan: 98-99
Heather Truett: Red Jacket

—визуальный—

Fabrice B Poussin: In Time

VittorioCavalli.com

98-99

By Patrick Riordan

A neon cross was propped up

On its left side above the liquor shelf

Like Jameson had carried it to Calvary.

 

Here, beer was named after the river,

Tasted like dust and cost the same.

Boys at the end of the bar

 

Leaned crooked in salt stained denim

And wind-fucked khaki jackets,

Spit dip into cut open Gatorade bottles.

 

The summer had brought heat and sulfur

And the roads would be white until autumn,

When the apples came down with the rain.

 

 

———————

Patrick Riordan is a graduate of the University of Rochester. He is a copy-editor and writer based in Western New York, where he is working on a collection of short stories about people in Buffalo.

11 Poems — Winter 2017

By Simon Perchik

*

Don’t you believe it! to be continued

distracts from the front page

brushing against some hearse

 

wants more time –this newspaper

is opened then wider as if the rattle

could be heard though you sleep

 

a lot, sitting in a chair half wood

half the way a bell will practice

till its stance feels right

 

though you are the only one

listening in some great hall, your arms

folded as if they were not yet lost.

 

 

 

*

Just by reaching in –this sore

is heated though your arm

covers it the way moonlight

 

can’t hold on any longer

lets some hillside pour over it

and mornings too grow huge

 

count the nights from so far off

and each other –you collect

enter each room deeper and deeper

 

careful not to shake the walls

–on tiptoe so nothing falls

takes root bent over a table

 

warmed by these small rocks

to follow you, shut half by the stench

half on their own, one by one.

 

 

 

*

The flowers leaving this page

open up in water

are already heading back

 

the way your shadow empties

still remembers one by one

icy streams crossing overhead

 

with something more to give

–you write another letter

make the words embrace

 

followed by day, by evenings

and everything put on paper

is safe, is mountainside

 

returning rock by scented rock

drained and in this small bundle

passed among the others.

 

 

 

*

These stones still anxious, sip

stuttering as if they had no surfaces

or shoreline –syllable by syllable

 

you gather them up, not sure

they can bring the dead closer

though this sill is already wet

 

reaching out the way its paint

covers the Earth with a darkness

brought together piece then pieces

 

breathless, buckling and uncounted

–you bathe these stones in a broth

broken open, flowing to a stop.

 

 

 

*

You think it’s cramps

though certainly this dirt

resembles her voice

 

and no one here but you

pours from a bowl, sure

it’s laced, opens out

 

sickens your step by step

–for a while they’re quiet

washed in front her grave

 

though your mouth is tighter

swollen, surrounded by inches

no longer dry or empty.

 

 

 

*

You cover one eye, upset

though sunlight means nothing now

and against your cheek some mother

 

strokes her child –you praise half

and what’s left spends the night

the way all wounds begin

 

as a single touch then end

broken apart under the same wind

birds use for a home

 

and every morning more sleep

is needed, more darkness, returned

as if it had its beginnings here

 

is touching down, adored

by one hand held out, the other

no longer moving or found.

 

 

 

*

From each funeral some dampness

rushing in and hulls half wood

half already end over end

 

still remember a place being close by

–it has to do with looking up

though her name can’t be changed

 

and this gravestone stays soft

the way shorelines forget

where to come back for water

 

trembling just below the surface

–you call for furniture, dishes

rinsed in flowers once scented

 

with sunlight, used to this dirt

to company and every shadow now

something that never happens.

 

 

 

*

For a long time the stairwell

uproots the way a sudden gust

is led between this floor

 

and the floor above, empty

worn out –it grows a mist

hovers from hand to hand

 

as if you are holding a cup

wet from mountainside

though she is not asleep

 

and your armfuls drift

pour hot coffee across the wall

the sheet, the distances

 

–from where you sit this bed

is in bloom, is touching your lips

as branches now that it’s over.

 

 

 

*

Over the same spot these sleeves

clinging to grass as if a jacket

would scare off whatever flies

 

could reach around and your shoulders

that no longer take leather for granted

fall back though the zipper

 

is used to rain, rain then no rain

runs through fields not yet planted

or attacked or along some tree-lined lane

 

its harvest changing into those stones

mourners startle the dead with

step by step –from every direction

 

a safe place disguised as water

hiding inside your mouth, your arms

and nothing else to lay your head on.

 

 

 

*

With roots that glow in the dark

you approach each grave

the way all wood remembers

 

its first wish was moonlight

and overwhelmed the Earth

as mornings that grow only in dirt

 

–you lean across, breathing in

breathing out to exchange places

though the ground is decorated

 

with nothing more than itself

stubborn, still filled for campfires

and all around are the beads

 

outlined in the shadows, woven

slowly row by row, fondled

and endless songs about travelers.

 

 

 

*

It’s a rickety table, not sure

where the bend in the river

brushes against weeds and mud

 

–this watering can’t last

has already broken apart

the way every tree is carved

 

by those endless seas

her initials are used to

as kisses and your mouth

 

–wood can’t save you now

though everything you wet

is circling the Earth for her

 

–you will die from thirst

one after the other, counted

without the summer you needed.

 

 

——————–

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The B Poems published by Poets Wear Prada, 2016. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

The Promise of Song

By Gary Metras

This afternoon the first robins

stood in a circle of lawn

snow-hidden since October.

Their rapid, humid breath

melts more snow than

tonight’s frigid moon

could freeze. Next week

birdsong will fill the valley.

But now someone walks

the still white field,

his heavy boots crunch

the snow with February’s

only song, moonglow on

his shoulders like epaulets,

like winter’s ghostly uniform

that all must wear a little longer.

 

 

——————–

Gary Metras has had poems in America, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Poetry, and Poetry Salzburg Review. His most recent book is The Moon in the Pool (Presa Press 2015). He is the editor and letterpress printer of Adastra Press.

The Jazz Center Lends its Space to Poets for Peace

By Gary Metras

                                                            for Greg Joly

 

In a west-facing room of a reclaimed factory

overlooking the Connecticut River

in Brattleboro, Greg is reading.

His poems so full of history names & dates burst in rushes

like water releases from the hydro plant:

Jefferson, Thoreau, Nearing, Weigl, Lew Welch,

all dead

but one, all breathing in the same room

as they never could

in the world of text books, taxes, and bombs.

Life is like that—you die,

someone remembers you lived

and brings you back,

even if only for a moment some moonless Saturday evening

in Vermont

as a gray-faced black lab walks between rows of chairs and people,

its toe nails tapping the warped, wood floor

in a rhythm that sings

I am not at peace

The world is not at peace

Listen to these songs    Listen

When applause echoes against painted bricks,

the dog somehow knows

it is not for him; he strolls to a corner, lies down, pretends

to sleep.

 

                                                           

 

——————–

Gary Metras has had poems in America, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Poetry, and Poetry Salzburg Review. His most recent book is The Moon in the Pool (Presa Press 2015). He is the editor and letterpress printer of Adastra Press.

Reservation Road, Winter

By Gary Metras

On Friday, even if it snows, I walk

my street, only seven houses this side

of the mountain to the locked gate

where the state reservation begins,

and where, in summer, we bring our grand-

daughter to the playground. Today is sun

after snow, all sparkle fluff. No trees

or wires down like last time. The road’s

well plowed and sanded, making the walk

leisurely, as intended, and I glance into

the windows of the neighbors. One should

not do this, but I do, then turn back

to kicking plow-clumped snow.

Besides, no one is home. No one stands

or sits on their side of the glass, staring

out at the world, expecting something strange

and beautiful, or terrible after storm.

Empty living rooms startle, like finding

torn feathers of a cardinal on snow;

there was song then silence. There were children

warming yesterday’s cold air with laughter.

Already their snowman tilts toward the sun.

Some driveways are cleared, some only have

tire tracks leaving. All that vacant space

cars fill after dark, I think, standing here

in the bright air, holding a red feather up

to divide the sun. How yellow the quill is surprises.

The fibers at its base are wispy, not frozen,

could still tickle a child’s cheek. I accept

a wild animal’s death. But I don’t understand

the neighbors who never raise a shade,

not even on the sun side that faces the street

I’m walking. It makes one wonder

what they hide. More than simple shyness

and shabby furniture. But the closer neighbors

disturb me more. They never lower a shade,

front, back, or side. They rise before sunup

and seldom is any room lit past the news hour,

as if the misfortunes of others shame them

to early sleep. I always stop in front

of the retired professor’s house. We haven’t

spoken all winter. I worry about her health,

if she is in the hospital again. Suddenly,

her front window flashes with a waving hand,

no body, no aged, smiling face; just a flash

of thin flesh that makes me think I should hurry

home and bury this acorn of acknowledgment

beneath the heart of the rhododendron

hibernating under my vacant picture window.

 

 

——————–

Gary Metras has had poems in America, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Poetry, and Poetry Salzburg Review. His most recent book is The Moon in the Pool (Presa Press 2015). He is the editor and letterpress printer of Adastra Press.

The Plumber

By Eric Greinke

George grew up on a farm.

He was a loner even then,

& liked to fish or hunt alone.

He kept his feelings bottled up.

He became a self-employed plumber.

He had a helper who went with him on jobs,

to carry his toolbox & spare his bad back.

He’d open up & talk while he worked,

telling him how water flowed,

how valves & joints controlled

a home’s circulation, how rust

corrupts the arteries from outside

while sediments block the flow

from the inside, & need to be drained.

The only time he cried

was when his dog Jeff died.

Jeff was in his twenties, blind

& also deaf.  They’d been together

since he was a pup.  He put him out

of his pain with a .22, & then he wept.

 

 

 

——————–

Eric Greinke’s work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, most recently Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Poem, The Aurorean, and Forge.  He has collaborated extensively with other poets, and is working on a book about it, to be titled In the 3rd Person.  Three of his essays appear in the soon to be published anthology Poetry Matterswww.ericgreinke.com

The Dancer

By Eric Greinke

for Maria Sorenson

 

Maria was born in Uppsala.

She married young

to a man who turned out

to be a bad drunk.

She divorced him, against

19th century Swedish mores.

She fled to Chicago

with her daughters, remarried

& moved to the suburbs.

She loved to dance.

So did her new husband.

No matter what happened

during the work-week,

they always went dancing

on Saturday night, right up until

the day he died, at age seventy-five.

Maria polkaed through her eighties

& waltzed through her nineties.

She wouldn’t wear hearing aides.

She feared they made her unattractive,

& men wouldn’t dance with her.

She died at one hundred & three

from an infected, broken leg,

just days after her last elated dance.

 

 

——————–

Eric Greinke’s work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, most recently Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Poem, The Aurorean, and Forge.  He has collaborated extensively with other poets, and is working on a book about it, to be titled In the 3rd Person.  Three of his essays appear in the soon to be published anthology Poetry Matterswww.ericgreinke.com

Modern Problems

By Eric Greinke

Too many hearts

Not enough heart

 

Too many feet

Per square foot

 

Too many objections

No objectivity

 

Too many Christmas presents

No Christmas presence

 

 

——————–

Eric Greinke’s work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, most recently Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Poem, The Aurorean, and Forge.  He has collaborated extensively with other poets, and is working on a book about it, to be titled In the 3rd Person.  Three of his essays appear in the soon to be published anthology Poetry Matterswww.ericgreinke.com

Hunger

By Eric Greinke

The snow is gone for another year.

You take down the bird feeders.

As soon as you leave

four blue jay brothers blow in.

Not finding what they want,

they fly off, sudden as they arrived,

squawking their war cries.

A red squirrel skitters by,

snags a stray sunflower seed,

& retreats up the trunk

of a maternal white pine.

Last, the sparrows arrive.

They’re hungry, & they settle

down to scratch & search.

I keep my eye on them, when I can.

 

 

——————–

Eric Greinke’s work has appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, most recently Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Poem, The Aurorean, and Forge.  He has collaborated extensively with other poets, and is working on a book about it, to be titled In the 3rd Person.  Three of his essays appear in the soon to be published anthology Poetry Matterswww.ericgreinke.com