Issue 9.3

Walk the Talk

By Denny E Marshall

Walk The Talk

——————–

Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, and fiction published. One recent credit for cover art is Disturbed Digest June 2015; the other half of the drawing is on the back cover. One recent credit for interior art is Bards And Sages Quarterly October 2015. One recent credit for poetry is the Literary Hatchet #12. One recent credit for fiction is online at Postcard Shorts. See more at www.dennymarshall.com.

Skype

By Morgan Bazilian

The image seems too small
My son only appears in the corner
He is moving quickly
as usual
Trying to show me something
Dada dada
and opening his eyes wide
and whispering loudly
and tilting his head
It is a toy jet I think
or maybe a Transformer car
or just a coloured pencil
I can’t tell
The connection goes blurry
but I don’t want to stop his flow
Then he wants to say goodbye
and is told to say “I love you dada”
So he does
Twice and then again
And he is looking for the red button
and laughing and moving
and he finds it
and everything is too quiet.

The Trinket

By Mark Belair

So many loners
I have known have
died leaving
few family and friends, deaths
that occurred so long ago
I may be—or soon could become—
the last mortal left
to have witnessed their life,
the sole remainder
from their small, scattered estate,
the final traceable trinket
on a flea market table
sunlit until shadowed
by what will take it away.

——————–

Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His most recent collection is Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015). Previous collections include Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. For more information, please visit www.markbelair.com

Winter Sky

By Mark Belair

The cloud cover
holds, for the moment,

looming snow
as an old man, leaning on

his cane, approaches
from down a long country lane,

his dark coat
tight to his throat, its angled collar

raised to his wool cap,
his beard

the same
tarnished silver

as the threatening
clouds.

Then he stops and looks up
as if to take measure

of where he is
and how far he has to go

and how soon the sky
will unload

its cold weight, his
bearded face

blending into
the heavens

so vanishing,
his dark

winter clothes
an empty shell.

——————–

Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His most recent collection is Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015). Previous collections include Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. For more information, please visit www.markbelair.com

By the Natural History Museum

By Mark Belair

Two little tourist girls
held hands

and watched
their mother

grab
the cell phone

their father was
texting with

and throw it
back at him, the device

bouncing off him
and breaking

apart
on the concrete.

——————–

Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His most recent collection is Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015). Previous collections include Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. For more information, please visit www.markbelair.com

Still Life with Chair and Fan

By Mark Belair

On a plain
chair back cushion
rises sunlight in
discs designed by
holes that encircle
the cord of the window blinds,
the setting sun recasting, in time,
the sharp discs to soft ovals
that slide to the side, slats
of blind-light appearing,
the slats and ovals then
slipping to the wall and, finally, fading
as the empty chair
draws in the dusk
that mottles it
to shapelessness
while a sweeping fan
seems to search
for something getting
lost, blindly,
left and right, left and right.

——————–

Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His most recent collection is Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015). Previous collections include Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. For more information, please visit www.markbelair.com

Bus Driver

By Mark Belair

A yellow school bus parked
at the curb in the rain stands
empty of students, its stop signs
tucked in, the old driver walking
down the aisle, his head turning
side to side to check each row for
forgotten backpacks, stray books,
dropped electronics, pens underfoot—
and most of all for sleeping kids.

But he finds nothing so lumbers
back to the driver’s seat and plops
down with a sigh—this weathered
man with a drooping moustache—
I can nearly hear from outside, set
to move on yet somehow unable to, instead
checking the mirrors, readjusting the seat—
then closing his eyes and clenching
the steering wheel, the bus the shell,
it suddenly seems, of his own childhood,
a childhood so hollowed by hard years
that a search of it would yield no
forgotten, discarded, or sleeping
dream he could use to drive himself
on.

——————–

Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His most recent collection is Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015). Previous collections include Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize three times. For more information, please visit www.markbelair.com

Note on Lord Acton

By Len Krisak

—Tacitus, The Annals, 6.10

And then Tiberius at last was free
To rid himself of everyone who plagued
Him. Suicides outnumbered those who begged,
Until the beggars took the dagger, too:
A purged and scoured-clean society.
An equal-opportunity deployer
Of spies delating those they either knew
(Or thought they knew) their Caesar wanted dead,
Tiberius, unfazed by law or lawyer,
Had Geminus divested of his head,
And then his mother, for the tears she shed.

——————–

Len Krisak‘s most recent books are Rilke’s New Poems (a translation), the Carmina of Catullus (also a translation), and Afterimage (original poems). With work in the Hudson, Sewanee, PN, Antioch, and Southwest Reviews, he is the recipient of the Richard Wilbur and Robert Frost Prizes, and a four-time champion on Jeopardy!

5 Poems — January 2016

By Simon Perchik

*
Ice and the afternoon
reaches shore the way each grave
grows a far-stone and nights

that have no ships, no barges
and salt no longer beautiful
–you come here alone

to feel at home, naked
sure the sunlight is melting
flowing over her, darkening

in the small stones
that never ripen
cluttered this sea

with your fingers still wet
carried off on a plank
held close while you wait

for her to become water
let you drink and her mouth
freeze with you in it.

*
Because rain no longer dries
these finger-bones reach up
the way all hillsides are forced open

just to water a single fire
with open eyes –are emptied
by winds, pull the sky along

letting it fall away
as cries and riverbanks
though every tree now

is hollowed out –you
are not buried here
there’s no wood on the ground.

*
Though every night is sand the slightest breeze
stretches out on this rickety bedside table
starts a fire in your chest :a single landing light

and the smoke from some plane
circling tighter and tighter, lost
with you in its mouth as songs about waves

oceans, butterflies –you need this beach
–a waterline can save you now
let you softly down, tied hour after hour

to the widening stone overhead
no longer the silk dress that opened
with just your breath and in your arms

the charred guitar still trembles
when wood comes too close and string
touches the pillow or your fingers.

*
This grave gives thanks and it’s sad –her name
hollowed out from the bone in your body
not connected to any other

though help will never come –your throat
gave up everything just to dig itself in
and yet this dirt still changes hands

empties the Earth into a few small stones
already a necklace for this headstone
coming by to make her look her best

as if you were going somewhere together
dressed warm with flowers and kisses
where your arm used to be.

*
Tied to the ground this shovel
relies on the heights
though it’s your arm spreading out

–you whittle off pieces
the way its long handle
shaped the Earth

opened its slow roll-over
for wood that will become
a second sun yet February

is already a single day
warmer than all the others
expects you to remember, dig

till a hole rises alongside
as a few hours
where none was there before.

——————–

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

Genetics

By Alice Pettway

I enter my own
cells, unknit
spiraled fibers,
twist stray
hair around fingers.

Determine if I could
weave a child, free
of the frayed mind
that unraveled
my mother
before me.

 ——————–

Alice Pettway‘s work has appeared in over 30 print and online journals, including The Bitter OleanderThe Connecticut ReviewFolio, Keyhole, and Women Arts Quarterly. Her chapbook, Barbed Wire and Bedclothes was published by Spire Press in 2009, and her full-length collection, The Time of Hunger O Tempo de Chuva, is forthcoming from Salmon Poetry. Pettway is a former Lily Peter fellow, Raymond L. Barnes Poetry Award winner, and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Currently, she teaches creative writing in Bogotá, Colombia. alicepettway.com