Category Archives: Poetry

Taxidermy

Nothing is a taxidermy.
Life is constantly relaxing its muscles,
and the corner is always a river
with people leaving their prints like receipts.
Bread is purchased and jelly is bagged,
and cigarettes are smoked for proof,
how the smoker can blow donut holes.

But we all have constraints.
Our little bad habits that are shackles
that keep us from flying.
So, I will buy my bread and jelly,
and redeem my coupons for evolution,
and hope to get a set of wings
from a stiffened, dead bird.


Amanda Tumminaro lives in the U.S. She is a poet and short story writer and her work has been featured in Thrice Fiction, Jokes Review and Stickman Review, among others. Her first poetry chapbook, The Flying Onion, is available now by The Paragon Press.

Nobody Dies in Dreamland

As I left for the last time, I hugged my dying father.

I was amazed. It was my son
his seven-year old’s pulse of hormonal weaponry
the same conclusive scent of being
track of curled hair
spoor of roller coaster protein filaments
split ends that I live to sniff
run my huntsman’s fingers through.

So that is where its from
from this old man, whom I had never hugged before
would never hug again

who lived his life, distant as a glint of lesser star
could not be seen beyond suburban street glow

who had no god, no heaven, no stone to roll away

followed his own obscure footprints
through knee length snow into the silent forest.

So, it is, with these deceptive little snakes

the old, the brilliantly new, play tricks.


Alan HillAlan Hill is the Poet Laureate of the City of New Westminster, Canada. He has been published in over forty literary magazines and periodicals across Europe and North America. He originates form the west of England. He came to live in Canada after meeting his Vietnamese-Canadian wife while working in Botswana.

This is the Afterlife

For My Father

You are dying now but we will always have the afterlife
what I have made for you, that I offer as gift.

It is here now, if you care to join me.

Open this book, pop it up in folded card
in the look up from a valley bottom
into tangle of car lights through trees on the top road.

One of those cars is you coming home
in the escape from another work day disappointment, the office
to your consolation children.

Off course, we may have been that disappointment
yet in your diplomacy, never let us know
not then, when we were still young.

Here, in this rest that I offer you
it is always a November evening, just after rain.

There is a house set back, pasted against open fields
the garden you made, hidden now until spring

then a drop, a river valley, an alluvial aloneness
a blackness, tidal in his completeness
the night long shake of unseen freight trains.

No place is ever really us.
We are awkward, too city, too proud to belong.

This is the nearest we will get, amalgamated, invented
in the outline of mountain tops, the pull of never visited peaks
stain of crayon, marker

in an estuary with an open fist
offer of bloody palm, unsigned paperwork

the cracked spine of this discarded book
that I never did quite finish
that has its pages laid open to the ocean.


Alan HillAlan Hill is the Poet Laureate of the City of New Westminster, Canada. He has been published in over forty literary magazines and periodicals across Europe and North America. He originates form the west of England. He came to live in Canada after meeting his Vietnamese-Canadian wife while working in Botswana.

Confusing the Sun & Moon

Dirty drifts hide in the shade
of shocked cherry weeping
beneath branches sporting buds

destined to not bloom. Snowmen
abandoned lose their heads.
Fat squirrels thieve acorn eyes,

noses from the once plump.
What’s left to see? My son asks
what we call the moon

seen during the day.
My answer — moon.

Sometimes the sun can make things look dimmer
especially if you look directly
into it

which I would do
if there were a sun to look into
but all I have is this grey

gloom mottled sky
with a hint of snow
like a threat

or sweet temptation
as if I’m standing on the edge
looking over

down
at the other me looking up
mouthing the word

jump.


Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook—The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press)—and a full-length poetry collection—What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.

I Swear I Need New Medicine

There are reasons for this too, and reasons for the reasons; there always are.
— Raymond Chandler, “The Simple Art of Murder”

I’m dreaming of Kansas again,
the way hot air
touches everything.

The back patio after a storm,
hidden in green laughter.

A chickadee puddles in the shade
of a fender in the parking lot.
I saunter by feeling drunk

with empathy, a tonic that only
lasts until I reach the automatic

glass doors leading inside
where cool air is a blessing. Then I think
peccant angels crammed on pins.

Super glue, duct tape, temporary fixes.
Everyone I know is dying or moving out.


Jim Zola has worked in a warehouse, as a security guard, in a bookstore, as a teacher for Deaf children, as a toy designer for Fisher Price, and currently as a children’s librarian. Published in many journals through the years, his publications include a chapbook—The One Hundred Bones of Weather (Blue Pitcher Press)—and a full-length poetry collection—What Glorious Possibilities (Aldrich Press). He currently lives in Greensboro, NC.

Kris Kringle’s Picture on Coca-Cola Can

After hanging plastic candy canes,
shatterproof Santas and half a dozen
pine-scented sticks from our artificial
Douglas fir; my Jewish daughter turns
the seventh bulb on the electric menorah
in her bedroom window while across
the hall my infant son sleeps beneath
a ceiling of golden stars projected
by his penguin-shaped Dream Lite,
the sound machine filling his room
with ocean waves and their crashing.


Brad Johnson’s first full-length poetry collection The Happiness Theory (Main Street, 2013) is available at http://mainstreetrag.com/bookstore/product-tag/brad-johnson/. His work has been accepted by Hayden’s Ferry, J Journal, Meridian, Poet Lore, Salamander, Southern Indiana Review, Tar River Poetry Review, Willow Springs and others.

 

Faith, A Russian Wife’s Tale

She thinks it is because he hit her,
thinks the tiny hard spot grew
into a monster, a mountain, a man, his fist
buried in her breast, his fist
a mouth. She says, if only he’d hit me
anywhere else, believes he meant to leave
parts of himself inside, believes
it had to hurt because that’s how
he knew to love her, and she believes
in love though she’s forgotten what it is
to love the body. Hers is nothing
but uzli, hundreds and hundreds of them,
knots on a knit quilt, around her wrists,
inside the lymph nodes, knots
for every direction of wind.
If she unties one, she thinks
she will become illegible, a compass
always pointing east, a fisherman’s net,
the fish, loose or lost, and she doesn’t know
which is worse. She’s started drinking
to understand him, takes it cold
and in a tea cup, tells herself
the pain comes from outside her body.
And when he holds her hand
and rests his head against her
missing breast and tells her
she is soft and golden, she believes
her body is a map, it’s every ocean floor,
it is saltwater and sand.


julia head shotJulia Kolchinsky Dasbach emigrated from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine as a Jewish refugee at age six. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon and is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. Her collection, The Many Names for Mother, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and is forthcoming from Kent State University Press in Fall 2019. Author of the chapbook The Bear Who Ate the Stars (Split Lip Press), Julia’s recent poems appear in Best New PoetsAmerican Poetry Review, and Nashville Review, among others. She is Editor of Construction Magazine (www. constructionlitmag.com) and writes a blog about motherhood (https:// otherwomendonttellyou. wordpress.com/).