Monday, February 25, 2019

Enigma

My father came 
in the footsteps
of a post-war survivor 
distracted by demons.

He seemed to care
in obscure ways,
difficult to discern
as I much preferred 

tangible hugs.
He did his dutiful best 
to provide for me by hard
work, his insignia for love. 

Since he decoded caring as 
Maintenance, he checked 
the frequency of my bowel 
movements as a baby 

to measure my well-being 
like a mechanic 
dips an oil stick. He once
showed emotion when he

punched trash cans
in the alley after I had
an all-nighter prom, an
unfamiliar tradition 

in the islands. Still shocked
by his departure from military
restraint, I don’t know if he
was angry or relieved

when I came home so late. 
As an adult, I settled for 
the unsolved mystery that 
was my father. Beginning 

with hugs, I cared for 
the old man until his 
last days in the ways 
I had wanted for myself.    


© Patsy AsunciĆ³n, 2019

Expectant fathers being instructed on diaper changing
U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Anastasia Puscian/Released
from Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Waterfalls

In nature calls
The waterfalls
And all befalls
The sound of liquid magic
Perishes in the fabric
In sheets of white velvet.
Trailing from blackened rock
Carrying all it brought
Of gold stone and sediment
Changing and eroding the land
Like a snake on parade
Making the ordinary grand
Pulverizing stone into sand.
In nature calls
The waterfalls
That perish in their liquid magic
In sheets of white velvet.


© Nicole Personette,  2019

Strickland Falls, Tasmania, Australia
Photo by JJ Harrison
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Those Letters Never Measure

Worldling, you are my confession—
I’d like to have a word with the man in the sea
when you sing your kyries don’t sing them at me
Dry throated dream, you test my patience
with your pageantry and your killing spree
each—each—each—

I didn’t know how to speak
Your shadow swallows words like
snake jaws so immune to moderation
skin and stone, sit and roam
I’ve given the nod, please take me home
ohm mani padme ohm
Um mani padme um

Our Father, with heart of seven
hollow be thy shame
Thy kingdom won, 
thy will be, will be—
we’ll be old one day
What can you say to me then
that hasn’t already been said?

It’s been a year, 
I’ve folded myself into a sigil 
Those letters never measure
what matters meant to me
they busted lust in Boaz
and on the shores of Galilee
Working magic, bread and fish
even Jesus made a wish

And when the night grew tired
You stripped bare the sacred flaw
but your hair against the hearth-flame
was the most perfect sight of all
what little heart we muster
thunders on the deep
I hear it every morning
and before I go to sleep


© James Cole, 2019

Chaos magic sigils
by Rune370
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, January 7, 2019

Wishbone

 There are sins I’d commit again
Even knowing what I do
About remorse and
Consequences.

Rules make more sense once you break them

The sound they make sliding out of the way
Is pleasure and breath
When I inhale them
They race my pulse
When I bend them enough 
to show what lies beyond the law
The boundaries between good and evil
Should and shouldn’t
Yes and No
May never have existed
And snap like a wishbone.


© Michelle Stoll, 2019

Wishbone
Photo by Tequask
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, December 31, 2018

It Was a Good Year

It was a good year —
just a few broken dreams,
no broken bones,
no famine,
no nuclear war.
It was a good year!

My new friends are fun,
my old friends are alive.
I’m a year older
but 365 ways wiser.
I've replaced a few broken dreams
with a dozen new and whole.
I can do it because
I have no broken bones,
I am not starving,
nuclear war didn’t destroy me.
I can dream big again!

It was a good year —
just a few broken dreams,
no broken bones,
no famine,
no nuclear war.
It was a good year!


© Helen Kanevsky, 2018


New Year train on the Circle line of Moscow Metro
Photo by government of Moscow
from Wikimedia Commons

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Christmas Eve on a New York Subway

It was long ago, living in New York,
thrift store shopping on the Upper East Side
on a snowy Christmas Eve.
My best friend and me,
my first year back from Hawaii,
traipsing from store to store,
plundering the exquisite cast-aways
of the rich and famous,
laughing as we paid Wal-Mart prices
for Bloomingdale’s goods.

Walking the streets of Madison Avenue
we were the poor relatives from Brooklyn,
living in a broken-down building on the edge of Bed-Stuy,
paying $80 for rent,
setting roach traps every night before bed,
living on mac and cheese and tuna casserole.

The subway, our magic carpet ride,
transported us Uptown, to indulge our pleasure of “thrifting,”
our friendship deepened by the love of the hunt,
the clicking of the hangers as we pushed through
dresses, sweaters, pants, shirts, trying on shoes 
and hats and scarves, so joyful to find a bargain
that matched our desire for that very thing,
and smug, thinking we looked like a million bucks.

We walked miles in that pure snow,
on those safe streets,
welcoming shops full of abundance
and the good cheer of Christmas in the City,
softened, everything softened
by snow, Christmas lights, happy people.

It was night as we neared the subway
to go home.  Gathering our bags
around us, we sat down on the long bench
that ran the length of the train car.
We lurched toward the next stop.
The doors opened and a drunk man got on.
He looked around, and seeing the bench empty,
staggered forward, sat down beside me,
put his head in my lap,
and fell asleep. 

© Evie Safran, 2018

Snow in New York, by Robert Henri
in the collection of the National Gallery of Art
from Wikimedia Commons

Monday, December 10, 2018

Palooka

The ex-wife always hated my fights, said that boxing’s a barbaric sport.
And since my only talent was channeling rage, I never had any retort.
While it’s true that my peers had considerable skills, athletes with timing and grace,
Ruled by fierce dedication to their craft, honing technique, precision, and pace,
As opposed to a brawler who just longed for a chance to punch someone else in the face,
Perhaps that’s why I’d spent so much time sprawled out on the mat.

The people would jeer and they’d call me a bum; a mountain of lumbering mass.
I’d fling wild blows at my pugilist foe and he’d promptly knock me on my ass.
It’s hard to say if more practice and grit would have made a difference in the ring.
Every time I passed through those parallel ropes, my mind fixated on one thing—
An image of pop with that damn leather belt.  I swear I could still feel the sting.
Once I was old enough to hit back, he switched to a bat.

A career based on trying to punch my way through time was not favorable to success,
And to treat weekly trauma to body and mind, I began drinking to great excess.
Those last couple bouts I was swatting at air; a display that had grown tired and sad.
Greeting jabs and left hooks with a frenzy of howls, I clutched onto the corner pad.
Then a straight right hit me square in the jaw, thrown by a man with the face of my dad.
With a slow count and loud bell, the farce had come to an end.

Lucky for me there is always a place for the spiteful to bloody their fists.
At mixed martial arts fights on amateur night, I’ve been working my way up the lists.
No exhibitions of fluidic form, here brutality is what earns respect.
Every man who steps onto to that octagonal floor has some wrong they’re trying to correct.
Nothing to gain but a merciless clash with a thug like my dad, I suspect.
And if that’s not exactly true, I can always pretend.

© Ben Siegan, 2018

Roman Hardok knocks out Jakob Jakobi in round 2
Photo by Henning Snater
from Wikimedia Commons