M. J. Iuppa, “Harvest”

M. J. Iuppa’s fourth poetry collection is This Thirst (Kelsay Books, 2017). For the past twenty-nine years, she has lived on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Check out her blog: mjiuppa.blogspot.com for her musings on writing, sustainability, and life’s stew.

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Harvest

Placing my hands around a ripe, sun-soaked
tomato, I feel its four chambers—muscle that
counts beats in leafy darkness before I tug &
twist, teasing it out of its wire cage without
causing a rupture that bleeds—sad paradigm
of touch gone too far.

I know it’s risky—this breathless act
called harvest, where I find myself
submerged in dry heat, heeding
cicadas’ deafening decibels as I
measure this protected heart
that’s ready to burst.

 


 

 

 

Missile Hymnal Amulet

Poems by G. F. Boyer

These are poems of survival—especially survival of religious indoctrination. At the same time, these poems celebrate a rich natural world: the physical and sensory world of plants, animals, and insects; the innocence and presence of nature; and even an animism that overpowers Christian fundamentalism and the increasingly revealed indifference of God. Through it all, time, aging, and dark humor provide a strong pulse, saying life will go on with or without us. The title’s missile, hymnal, and amulet represent the three sides of this conundrum, as rage, beauty, and love interweave in these crisp and incisive poems. “That’s how bayonets are made, you say. The wound is triangular and doesn’t heal easily.”

 

 

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David Lee Garrison, “Chromatics”

David Lee Garrison, a native of Bremerton, Washington, is a retired professor of Spanish and Portuguese. His work has been read on the radio by Garrison Keillor and by Game of Thrones star Tara Fitzgerald on the BBC; it has also been featured on Ted Kooser’s poetry website. His most recent book is Carpeing the Diem: Poems about High School (Dos Madres Press).
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Chromatics

Black notes
on gray staves

of oak and ash,
grackles gather.

Measure by measure
they line the branches,

inscribing
their dark music.

 



 

Missile Hymnal Amulet

Poems by G. F. Boyer

These are poems of survival—especially survival of religious indoctrination. At the same time, these poems celebrate a rich natural world: the physical and sensory world of plants, animals, and insects; the innocence and presence of nature; and even an animism that overpowers Christian fundamentalism and the increasingly revealed indifference of God. Through it all, time, aging, and dark humor provide a strong pulse, saying life will go on with or without us. The title’s missile, hymnal, and amulet represent the three sides of this conundrum, as rage, beauty, and love interweave in these crisp and incisive poems. “That’s how bayonets are made, you say. The wound is triangular and doesn’t heal easily.”

 

 

Milton P. Ehrlich, “In My Naked Body”

Milton P. Ehrlich, Ph.D. is an eighty-seven-year-old psychologist. He is also a Korean War veteran who has published many poems in periodicals such as the Toronto Quarterly Review, Christian Science Monitor, Huffington Post, and the New York Times.

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In My Naked Body

I showered in the barracks
latrine at Camp LeJeune.
It was like being born
twice as a Jew,
since all the guys knew
my foreskin was different
from anything they had ever seen.
As the only Jew in my company,
I ran for my life countless times
before ever confronting the enemy.

 



Judy Kaber, “1952”

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1952

I would like to fill in
the missing color, splash it back,
know that the diamonds
on my brother’s pajamas
are blue, that my doll
wears a burgundy dress.

The curlers
rolled in my hair are tiny
pink nubs.
My brother holds
a box, faded in the flash.
His eyes spill sleep.
No parents. Behind
the camera, I think.

Behind everything.
Later I learn to roll
tears in a ball in my throat,
to pound a silent pillow.
My chest grows gray
boxes. I file away pain
under mistake, stupid.

In the photograph
I wear yellow pajamas,
sit on a green rug,
in the background
silver tinsel hangs
from the tree.

 


Judy Kaber’s poems have been published in a number of journals, including Off the Coast, The Comstock Review, Atlanta Review, Tar River Review, and Spillway. Her contest credits include the Maine Postmark Poetry Contest in 2009, the Larry Kramer Memorial Chapbook Contest in 2011, and, most recently, second place in the 2016 Muriel Craft Bailey Contest.

Judy is particularly interested in the sound and taste of language and the power that it has to move people. She belongs to the online poetry workshop The Waters, as well as a local, in-the-flesh group, The Poets’ Table. She lives in Maine.


 

Jo Angela Edwins, “Smilax”

Also check out our Big News page for an exciting (at least to me) announcement!
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Smilax

When people you love begin to lose their minds,
you grieve for them as if their breath were still.
Their voices—plucked wires, relentless and shrill—
call out to you. In the yard, thorny vines

sprout from rhizomes you must unearth and toss
in garbage pails if you hope to be rid of them.
Spade to root, glove leather to chartreuse stem,
and the work isn’t easy. The leaves wear a gloss

bright as the face of a nymph, but life’s unjust:
what’s lovely seduces, and danger slips out of focus.
Love withers. In its place, a purple crocus,
pretty enough when it blossoms, dries to dust.

And there the poor Smilax, ungainly, wild with need,
her name suggestive of a lazy joy,
goes mad at the whims of a faithless boy
whose pain turns to saffron while hers turns to weed,

weeds you exhume in the summer glare,
a battle, like most, that could always be worse.
You sweat and you fret. Your hands blister. You curse,
while a telephone’s ring cuts through the thick air.

 


Jo Angela Edwins has published pieces in various journals and anthologies and is a Pushcart Prize and Bettering American Poetry nominee. She has received awards from the South Carolina Academy of Authors and Poetry Super Highway. Her chapbook, Play, was published in 2016. She lives in Florence, SC.