Alan Cohen, “Waiting”

Alan Cohen’s first publication as a poet was in the PTA newsletter when he was ten years old. He graduated from Farmingdale High School (where he was poetry editor of the magazine The Bard), Vassar College (with a BA in English), and University of California at Davis Medical School. He did his internship in Boston and his residency in Hawaii, and he was then a primary care physician, teacher, and chief of primary care at the VA, first in Fresno, CA, and later in Roseburg, OR. He has had 108 poems published in 53 venues over the past eight months.

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It is the stuff of which all is made
It stands, gallons deep, in a great basin
And a ladle is ready to hand
There is a spring at the bottom

You can drink or bathe
Or take away buckets full
There is no dragon at the door
You can return as often as you like

It can be used to make fame
Or profit, to found a church
You can find it by following your heart
There are maps and prophecies

There are signs and portents
But they only point
There is nothing to show
It is always there, waiting

Wayne-Daniel Berard, “Certain Facility”

Wayne-Daniel Berard PhD teaches Humanities at Nichols College in Dudley, MA. He publishes broadly in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. His poetry chapbook, The Man Who Remembered Heaven, received the New Eden Award in 2003. His nonfiction, When Christians Were Jews (That Is, Now), subtitled Recovering the Lost Jewishness of Christianity with the Gospel of Mark, was published in 2006 by Cowley Publications. A novel, The Retreatants, was published in 2012 (Smashwords). A chapbook, Christine Day, Love Poems, was published in 2016 (Kittatuck Press). His novella, Everything We Want, was published in 2018 by Bloodstone Press. A poetry collection, The Realm of Blessing, was published in 2020 by Unsolicited Press.

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Certain Facility


Dad shakes his head
in the nursing home
he never did before
showing only dead certainty
on everything his own
position my brother’s and
my worthlessness the
unshakable nature of his
every decision he was sure
and what were we? Now
it’s side to side eyes lowered
he doesn’t know
               but that’s
not the worst he doesn’t
know if he ever knew anything
he prepared the post-modern for
us to find our worth in freest
insecurity now
         Dad is diapered
in notsureness which
he’ll allow no diverse
foreignness to change.

Robert Nisbet, “Golden Boy”

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has been published widely in Britain and the USA. In 2017 he was shortlisted for the Wordsworth Trust Prize in the UK, and he has twice been nominated for a Pushcart Prize in the US.

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Golden Boy

Hugo had hairy legs and we had goose bumps,
that summer in the lido (we were all fifteen).
He’d stroke a languid way down-pool
for half an hour or so, while we, shrieking,
dive-bombed, arse-first, off the springboard.
Then, on a packed spectator bank,
he’d stretch and brown himself,
turn golden in the sun.

That was his way through school,
and later. He did well, I suppose.
Made money and influence and enemies.

I remember best though, back in school days,
the night we had that leaving dance
(some of us going off soon to the tech).
And Hugo clearly fancied pretty Hetty.
But there by the cloakrooms, midnight,
our Hetty cuddled up to me and Harry
(two of the lido goose-bump boys),
slipped her hands through our arms,
bonding us in a sexy, rugby-style front row,
saying “Walk me home, boys?” Yup. Will do.

We walked her back, squeezing, giggling,
the mile and a half to her parents’ house,
cherishing that last sight of Hugo, in the doorway,
drawing morosely on a cig.