Linda Benninghoff, “There”

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There

Be still, here are the railroad tracks
stretching, two parallel lines,
almost to eternity, rusty and thick
with the print of those who threw themselves on them.
But beyond this is a field with butterflies,
monarch, sapphire, black velvet,
and they twist themselves through flowers,
and below that the grass is like
an expanse of what you see when
you see the edge of everything for the first time.

 


Linda Benninghoff first became interested in poetry in her twenties when she was introduced to contemporary poetry, Galway Kinnell, W. S. Merwin, and so on. She was recently introduced to international contemporary poetry and says poetry has made a big difference in her life.


 

T. S. Hidalgo, “New Year’s Eve”

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New Year’s Eve

It’s a ball,
summer fish in the boat’s spring.
I’m startled to hear
someone from my country:
he’s reading in the frog’s language,
the one of the sad countenance,
like Borges did,
except this one
goes one step further
than the never-Nobel-winning
Buenos Aires writer
and ensures he did the same
“months ago”
with Amadis de Gaula.
He’s on chapter forty-nine,
on what happened to Sancho Panza
wandering around his island.
I try to find someone I know.
I look in front of me:
Bret Easton Ellis is lying
on the couch
dressed up as Jesus Christ,
the author of American Psycho
looks here to be 33,
giving away winks
pretending to blink
behind an enormous white sheet.
They ask him, mike in hand:
“Who are your favorite three writers?”
and he answers,
icy, emphatic, solemn:
“Easton Ellis, Easton Ellis, and Easton Ellis.”
I need, and order, a gin-tonic
“G’Vine, fever, twist of lime and tonka beans”
On-the-house tequila shot too.
So we carry out the liturgy of the moment:
salt on the back of your hand,
lick up the salt,
tequila in one swig
and lemon slice for dessert:
totum revolutum,
shining in your guts.

 

* Totum revolutum (latin): a total revolution: an explosion


T. S. Hidalgo holds a BBA (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), an MBA (IE Business School), an MSc in international trade (CESMA Business School), a master’s in SAP, a master’s in creative writing (Hotel Kafka), and a certificate in arts administration (New York University). His works have been published in magazines including Otoliths, By&By, and Poems-For-All, and he has won prizes (in short story and novel) from Criaturas feroces (Editorial Destino), AIDA Books, Pandora Magazine, and at Festival Eñe, where he was a finalist (in novel). He works in finance and the stock market.


 

Andrea Wyatt, “The Cowlies”

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The Cowlies

Never had there been a better season.
The cowlies freshened twice and each time twins.
The gan grew tall then fell and twist then
we gather in the golden strands to go;

Stars and planets swirl through mist
all day and under we dance with the blue things.
we always had to eat the lake pinder in the baskets;
orange cheesen from the cowlies and bloonberries in every hillside hatch;

We were larky all of us but our mean and aging sagakeep Casburn
who never had, he said, seen such a time. Dour and wordless he glowered
at the cowlies and the gan. Disregard his plaints and pouts we did
and dance in the golden mist;

We obey the regulations yes from the follow forever text,
they are nor onerous nor cruel.
Laugh we did at the silly ones, ponder at the peculiar ones
but follow both silly and peculiar;

Never had there been a better season.
The cowlies freshened twice and each time twins.
The gan grew tall then fell and twist then
we gather in the golden strands to go.

 


Andrea Wyatt’s first two books, Three Rooms and Poems of the Morning, Poems of the Storm, were published in Berkeley by Oyez, a press associated with Black Mountain and California Renaissance poets. Her third book, Jurassic Night, was published by White Dot Press. She co-edited Selected Poems by Larry Eigner, Collected Poems by Max Douglas, and The Brooklyn Reader. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, Clackamas, Hanging Loose, and Plum Tree Tavern. Wyatt works for the maintenance division of the National Park Service in Washington, D.C.


 

Dave Martin, “The Deer”

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The Deer

Somewhere, my apartment turns
into a forest fire. The birds
have all left us behind, and I can’t tell

if I’m buried or opening a door,
or if it’s just not enough water, but

inside I’m screaming. I go in the kitchen
and get the bread out on the counter.
I get out the meat and the mustard.

There are still deer outside, melting
into pools of charred earth.

I get myself out on the patio, away from your singing.
I chew up the bread, meat, and mustard,
and swallow it all down with beer.

A one-hundred-foot smoldering pine folds
and drives its head into the roof, and the windows explode.
I don’t know where you are,

but it sounds like a river is dying.

 


Dave Martin is an MFA candidate at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI, where he works as assistant director for the Writing Center and serves in various editorial capacities for Comparative Drama, Third Coast, and New issues Press. He lives in Kalamazoo with his son and two cats. His poetry can be found in Hear Here, Two Cities Review, and Fourteen Hills.


 

L. Ward Abel, “Oconee”

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Oconee

The pine-tree rolling’s
a torn brown stocking
a rift that hugs the wing
curved ten miles all the way out
to the zero line. She used
to have names like
river lightning
or was called thunderstream
below hearing or
sound a water table makes.
But now she refuses a
name I can give.
Somebody sighs.
The rainflock sings again.

 


L. Ward Abel, poet, teacher, retired lawyer, and composer and performer of music, lives in rural Georgia, has been published hundreds of times in print and online, and is the author of Peach Box and Verge (Little Poem Press, 2003), Jonesing for Byzantium (UK Authors Press, 2006), The Heat of Blooming (Pudding House Press, 2008), Torn Sky Bleeding Blue (erbacce-press, 2010), American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012), Cousins Over Colder Fields (Finishing Line Press, 2013), Roseorange (Flutter Press, 2013), and Little Town Gods (Folded Word Press, 2016).


 

Jennifer Gravley, “My mother is a spider.”

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My mother is a spider.

My mother is a spider, silent and waiting. My mother is a spider inside a coat sleeve in the closet. She crouches in shadow in the toe of my shoe. She lives in the dark without worrying about her eyes. My mother can feel the smallest breeze, find any crack near a ceiling or floorboard. She adores corners. She has never asked anyone to bring her food or water. My mother inhabits the space between a file and the paper in it. She gains entrance to every box I have ever saved to move farther away from her. She mills about stairwells and entrances. My mother is a spider tattooed on the arm of a man who plays drums in his basement. The hair on her legs is his hair. My mother is a spider hanging from a tree. My mother is a spider in my bed. My mother is a spider tucked inside the mouth of a pillowcase. She lives in woodpiles and in outbuildings. All the things my grandmother said are tucked inside her mouth. My mother is a spider with a sac. Her sac contains me. My mother has a particular idea of housekeeping. She appears still, symmetrical. To stand next to her is to show your mathematical work. My mother is a spider inside my mind.

 


Jennifer Gravley makes her way in Columbia, MO. She is a writer of sentences and a watcher of bad television. Her work has recently appeared in Sweet, Rat’s Ass Review, and Bayou Magazine, among others.


 

Joanie Mackowski, “First”

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First

How begin disrubbled
fable, how beckon the first. Amid

what, all fall down. Amiddling. How begin
midshards, imparticulate, grace

for the mill. How amid this
dross of corporate inchoate to cohere

a motion distinct from the general
motion to proceed with the order;

how interred in medias
erases initial condition poof. As sea

to shining drowns all gnash-
tooth outbound wail. And absent

sense, which is relative. Absent self,
which relative suffers. Absent other,

absent vanishing point, absent shadow, tick
absent took, all but absent equi-

liberation: earth, ocean, void, face mingled
l-m-n obedient to the herd’s flux

and sway—amid this unbounded
mingle culmination, somehow

alchemized I, I am, I do, I watch, I zing
the plush, I thrill each synaptic

chasm with storms of hormones,
I intuit astral protoplasm.

Yes. At long last first I was I.
The singular. The lost consequent.

The refractory iteration of you.

 


Joanie Mackowski’s books of poems are View from a Temporary Window and The Zoo. Recent work has appeared in Poetry, The Yale Review, and Guernica. She teaches at Cornell University.