Jeffrey Zable

 A GLORIOUS LIFE

And when I dipped my big toe into the marmalade

it sent an electric current to my brain, reminding me

of the time I rode my skateboard to the ocean to drown myself

over the termination of a 7-minute relationship with the most

beautiful girl I’d ever known, but once I got there I shivered

and kevetched about forgetting to wear a jacket.

Upon returning home, I got ready for college where I studied

the art of nasal irrigation, pubic hair plucking, and how to shaft

others who disagree with my perspective.

I created a life that was a model for others who had nothing

left to lose in the final seconds of a glorious life. . .

Theresa C. Gaynord

Ashes to Ashes Tribute to David Bowie

I imagine nothing happening,
a pair of glasses, an oversized
armchair; a pronounced
experiment in failure for you.

I don’t understand this rational
approach that has you dying
so you can be reborn again,
into the corner cafes and tea

houses where the artistic is a
bridge you must cross desensitized
from the muse who follows wherever
he is led.

There are adjacent streets to walk
in, to raise eyebrows with, polluted
from use in the cheapest of ways,

and you’ve seen them all,

those ominous signs of communal
ideas to earning triple digit profits,
not with poetry of song but with entitlement.
Disgusted, you swore you’d never

write again, sing again, perform again;
but then you hitched-hiked to that
place in Brixton, where the soot-smelling
dreams of all things romantic and unique

resonated within you. Carrying six dollars
and a knapsack you bought from a vendor,
you were reborn many times as you rode
the rails of life like the junkie you were,

feeling the uptown beats of inspiration.
Spontaneity was your rap, your flow,
the monster you hauled through every
road stop in spite of cash.

There were those that chucked and criticized
you for cramming it all in, for truly feeling,
when they felt nothing. A true artist is this,

a true artist is that,

presumably they questioned in the solemnity
of those cheap moments where there was
never to be a suitable answer, if ever,
to keep them satisfied.

That will cost you five dollars, maybe one hundred,
we’ve got your bag all right. The artist’s left now.
Sorry folks, the stage is closed. Fade to black,
empty, ominous quiet.   

Emalisa Rose

my fall girl

she fell on the sword

for us, first time, the

counter of Gimbels

when we ‘borrowed’ 

that pouty girl pink

when Mae wasn’t looking

untangling our vine

when the thorns had

outnumbered the roses

i heard she took sick

in the spring

my counterpart artist,

painting the trees i’d 

be poeming about

we harkened to sounds

of the colors, just in

our diversified dialects

but we laid down like leaves

drunk on the gospel of autumn

first night november.

half past tequila

the serrated edged blues

marinate with the triangular

greens. Rain beads the baritone

branch as it slides down the

cobblestones. Leaves puddle

like brush strokes on watercolors.

**half past tequila at Tommy’s..

somewhere in the Keys**

a good time to grow hips again

perhaps it’s time to grow

hips again..as this virus

gets real to the marrow.

Why starve as a 0 petite

with a closet of dresses,

when there’s no place 

to wear them these days

i’ve been thin, i’ve been

fat. Thin looks real sweet

but fat feeds the void as

i wait for that life i had taken

for granted, hoping the cows

will come home again.

Howie Good

Heart Sounds

You unbutton most of the buttons of your blouse. The doctor places a cold stethoscope against your chest. He listens in silence to your heart. He listens with his eyes closed. He listens for what soon seems to you an unusually long time. You start to wonder what it is he’s hearing. The dry rattle of old heartaches? The volcanic rumblings of pent-up emotions? The beats your heart skipped last night during the exertions of lovemaking?  The doctor is frowning in concentration as he listens. Whoa, he finally says, there’s a lot going on in there.

Claw

There’s a lump about the size of a marble under the skin of my left palm. I showed it to my brother, a doctor, when he dropped by the house. He felt the lump, pressed it, asked me if it hurt. He said I had something called Dupuytren’s Contracture. As I age, my fingers will contract inwards. Eventually my hand will turn into a kind of useless claw. I won’t be able to put my hand in my pocket anymore or pick up a coffee cup with it or cup her breast. I’ll have to learn to grasp at straws with just one hand.

John Grey

WATCHING THE DRYER IN THE LAUNDROMAT

I’m accepting of the shirts,  

            the underwear,

that show up in the glass,

            while never asking myself once

            what I think about Twain or Whitman or Goethe

or even pink lips

            and the fumbling of my heart –

instead my eyes dry in tandem,

ears lock onto the motor hum,

and I am losing the point of myself  –

            it was blood and bone

            that separated itself from heaven,

            that leaked over time,

            that set its weaknesses up for cancer –

so why do I spend precious time

watching clothes lose their fluids

in the dryer,

the constant looping –

            I’ve lost my ability

            to be malleable –

                        man with issues

                        morphs into laziness,

                        proceeded by his spine,

                        his spirit –

I’m all pipes with rusted joints,

selling off my copper,

accepting the inevitable,

as round and round and round it goes –

as round and round and round I go.

Fabrice Poussin

Contemplating an End 

Euphoria races through the collapsing body 

mountain made of rock from faraway galaxies 

harvest rich with the delights of another dawn 

fibers teased by the gentle finger of infinity. 

Intertwined in a singular embrace 

we watch the shroud of the last aurora borealis  

anxiously awaiting another stage on the journey 

from eons we never knew to a great revelation. 

It will be but a moment of expanding joy 

energy free at last to play never-ending games 

the annihilation feared for centuries yet 

when our frail existence will gleefully vanish. 

As in an act of passionate love with the cosmos 

crushed by the mass of all dimensions 

you and I will lie on a bed invisible to time 

to savor our complete submission to what began. 

One as meant to be within the fibers of eternity 

our stories entangled with all that ever were 

we will delight in the warm oblivion gifted us 

safe within the warmth of the original particle.  

Jeffrey Zable

THE TRANSLATION

It roughly translates to I spit on your shadow,

cook your own stinkin’ hamburger,

or cross me off your damn list.

You can basically interpret to fit the situation.

You can also call your doctor

and see if he’ll meet you through zoom

for the pain in your head that means

you either have a tumor or bad memories

that started when you first came out of the womb.

Either way, you’ll probably get through it

for at least another day, which you’ve been

telling yourself is better than nothing,

when you consider the alternative. . .

                 THE REASON

No, I didn’t die on cue and neither did you,

which means we may as well wait it out.

Smile for the camera, and pretend it’s all been

a valuable learning experience

leading to wisdom and a happy ending.

Now I must go and relieve myself of everything inside

so that I can face the crowd. Promise them that their story

will live forever, not only among those of our kind,

but among the lower animals as well, who keep getting smarter,

yet still do most of the dirty work that keeps the rest of us

looking so fresh and new. . .

Noel Negele

Begin again 

To start from scratch
is to be alone in a foreign land
amongst strangers—
It’s renting a small room
in a shared house 
with a deposit that almost leaves you penniless 
but as Bukowski once said:
‘ Glad to have the room’.

It’s shitty work
and dissatisfying paychecks—
it’s introducing yourself 
over and over again;
‘ Hey, my name’s -insert name –
nice to meet you’.

It means sleeping on a bed with no sheets,
with your clothes on
using your jacket as a pillow.
It means failing a lot.
Waking up in the middle of the night
mortified, fully aware
you’re hanging from a thread—
a delayed wage away 
from homelessness.

Starting from scratch 
is loneliness—
it’s you at your room’s window
smoking with your arm hanging outside
considering throwing in the towel
instead of stepping in the ring one more day.
Your head under the vicious attack
of either anxious and distressing thoughts 
or good memories that are more haunting 
than anything else.

It’s working in a factory
with matching clothes 
on nights shifts or, 
if you’re lucky,
double shifts,
doing mundane tasks 
and too sad to hit on the Polish girls.

It is a mountainous desperation
enough to make one pray 
but starting from scratch is also
exhilarating under the right light 
of romanticism—
the slave that plots his escape.

You meet new people 
and see new places
and surprise yourself 
with stocks of strength 
you never thought you have
as you take on the dog days 
with the patience of the stoic. 

And when you laugh 
amidst this swamp of grey
you know it’s the laughter 
of the strong.

So hang in there.
Starting from scratch 
means you’re on your way.

Ian Copestick

I Just Don’t Know

I don’t know what is
wrong with me today.
I suppose it’s just one
of those occasional
down days. We all get
them from time to time.
At least, I know that I do.
Days when the slightest
thing pushes you over the
edge, when the bad, sad
memories come at you
from all directions.
But, the worst thing you
can do is to wallow in your
misery, times like these
call for action. Even if it’s
just going to the shops, to
get yourself a bottle.
The important thing is to
get up and about, it’s harder
to hit a moving target. Also,
the longer you stay lying in
your pity pit, the harder it
is to ever get out, it’s like a
swamp or some sort of
quicksand.
Under your bedclothes seems
the safest place to be, but it’s
exactly where your memories
expect to find you.
So, get out of your pit, and try

to just live, tomorrow is always

another day.

Another chance to put things

right.


Alex Salinas

Drift

I dreamt the king had died &

Come to life &

Upon a throne of warped records

Kurt Cobain growled 

My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me

Tell me where did you sleep

Last night

And up the tar-stitched avenue 

Goethe dished dogeared copies of

Faust & frenzied

Citizenry wailed 

O beautiful for spacious skies

For amber waves of pain

And Cobain rifled out his 

Powder-coated brains &

Heavy rains reminded one of

Fables of invincible Old Glory &

Upon front-door rafts drifted we—

Survivors, naysayers, 

Stayers of stale philosophy—

And a new wet world resurfaced O

So blue, O so green & in my

Prayers I answered the question of 

The bygone musician whose needled

Passion soared always toward

Emptiness between stars:

Last night I slept in the kingdom &

Tonight, I learn to swim.