Two Poems by Scott Thomas Outlar

​Packing a Punch

Not every poem
has to hit a homerun
pertaining to the wit
with which it is presented.

It is not perfection
that is expected,
only the pursuit thereof.
 

 
A Rage Most Sublime

She dances with Shiva –
a controlled frenzy
taken to the furthest edge
of a precarious precipice,
laughing with thunder,
alive with electric chaos
pulsing through each
burning tendril, tantalizing,
reaching out to touch
the distance we cannot fathom…

She screams with a nuclear reaction–
a crazed momentum
careening past the urge to cease,
giving way to fervent temptations,
stretching out to taste the Beast,
seized by silent surrender,
and Revelation is
a sacrifice to the gods of war
who want more, more, more,
demanding blood at the altar…

She is the dripping chalice –
a chosen huntress
roaring with the scales of judgment,
passing righteous verdicts
rendered nightly from the moon
as waves crash, cancelling
the holy tide; the truth survives
in shards, splintered, sent off
through refracted realms of darkness
with promises of resurrection come the dawn…

 

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, and books can be found. He recently received three Pushcart Prize nominations for his work in 2016. Scott serves as an editor at Walking Is Still Honest Press, The Blue Mountain Review, The Peregrine Muse, and Novelmasters.

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A Poem by Trust Tonji

​beginning from the end

some begin living
when air quits passing
through their nostrils

when they have a room
under the earth
in a bottle
in a carefully carved coffin
when they are ashes dancing
with the waves that hop
the roses thrown at them

so we swallow the truth
and let it dissolve like ice cream
into our souls: ‘some feet will
pass through the door
and never return through it’

we might have to see them
through mementos, pictures, clothing,
a door, our breath,
through every meal that tastes
like them & disappear into
an abyss down the throat
through memories that wake up
the noisy shadows of déjà vu
through every pulse in us that

 

replicates dances we once shared
reminding us of
how we will one day walk
 without our heads
live
 without our lungs
& not even a gun will make us run

so this is the genesis of shit:

how we lost our loved ones
& loved our lost ones
how we are incenses
burning in the lungs of time

 

Trust Tonji writes from Porto Novo, Benin Republic.

Three Poems by Gerald Yelle

​Situation Replay

This is the way we fall out of favor and this is how we lose control. 
First there’s a beat to follow. It comes from a touchless 
carwash. A field of clover. Clicking crows, their soft
palates selling five o’clock shadow. Is there nothing we can do?
Going over the long evocations. The amber wavy waves. 
We have these managerial mood swings. 
This oversensitivity to light. Of course we’re always right. 
We could make a career of it. If this is the hard part
we can’t wait to see what the soft stuff looks like. 
We do know what pushed luck looks like. 
Like throwing in the towel. And the sheets. 
And stuffing in the pillow cases. Windows shut. Lights off. 
Birds fed. Stuffed to the gills. We’re especially grateful 
for stuffed gills. It must be genetic –we can easily imagine 
our fathers feeling grateful for the stuffed gills. 
The thought of being stuffed reminds us: we ought to have 
the Bushes for dinner. We’ve got the big house. 
Two prize winning horses.  Let’s ride before we develop some 
new disability. Like one last kiss might someday be.

 

Mountain in a Hole

It’s like you’re a mountain looking down 
in all directions –It’s all down 
from where you are –and you move like a river. 
You drink lakes dry and dive in anyway 
–sinking all the way to the bottom. 
Your mind –a virtual sink hole –iron filings
ride around its magnetized rim:
And still you take the long view
and think in terms of forests.
And though forests consist of trees
and though only trees making small careful
gestures can even think
of reproducing you never have to worry:
No matter what happens to trees
–whether disease takes them
individually or collectively –or if they up
and leave of their own accord others
will remain –the forest will go on.
And so will you. Your end is so far off
you still can’t see it. And moving
like a river makes you sexy.
And drinking like a lake gets you high.

 

Power Brokers

Because some half-baked
notions were making children
sick the power brokers 
came in the middle of the night
to say we needed to fix
our oven –saying those
half-baked notions had their
origins here. I showed them
where to sit while they
fixed it. I assumed they were
going to fix it. They said they
were, but not here.
It wasn’t that kind of repair.
They would have to
take the oven with them.
I wanted to argue or
put up some kind of fight
–but the power brokers
–I mean nobody wins against
them. “Can I say something?”
I asked as they wheeled
the oven out. “I’m going
to stick to raw finger food
now on so don’t bother
bringing that shit box back.

  

Gerald Yelle’s booke are The Holyoke Diaries (Future Cycle Press), Evolution for the Hell of It (Red Dashboard Press), Mark My Word and the New World Order (The Pedestrian Press), and Restaurant in Walking Distance and Everything (Cawing Crow Press). He teaches high school English and is a member of Florence (MA) Poets Society.

Two Prose Poems by Howie Good

Ghost Dance
Cave painters depicted running animals by showing them with eight legs. It reminds me of my grandmother, how she’d pick up a spider she found in the house and put it back outside. Look up there. The sky is so thoroughly that blue she adored it’s impossible to believe she isn’t still alive to see it. Don’t you think it’s time for love? Everything else has failed, the leaves erupting in morbid colors, Dragon’s Blood, Uranium Yellow, Mummy Brown. What’s important isn’t how it’s going to happen, but that it happens, and each silent shining snowflake proceed to fall in the exact right place.

Things We Think We Know

I try to silence the barking dog with one sharp look. Maybe if you and I can stand very, very still, the first wisps of daylight will appear, bright stupid confetti. I’m afraid of human beings. There’s just too much about them that’s hidden and unknowable. Sirens begin to wail. The sadness will last forever. I can’t remember now why I thought it wouldn’t. Keep your eyes out for canaries and lemon trees covered in flames, the flames behaving in ways no one had believed possible.

Howie Good is the author of Dangerous Acts ‘Starring Unstable Elements,’ winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry. His other books include A Ghost Sings, a Door Opens (Another New Calligraphy) and Robots vs. Kung Fu (AngelHouse Press) both 2016. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

Flash Fiction by Francesca Baker

The Chest

It was an itch for a long time before she actually decided to scratch it. Nothing profound or traumatic, just a wondering as she poured water on to her morning coffee, or flicked through mundane television programmes, or pushed the vacuum cleaner back and forth over the mottled carpet – what was in the loft? She had the thought the first day her and Bernard walked into the new flat, and now it was not even new anymore. The flat downstairs had already had three people come and go, and the one next door had a ‘To Let’ board tilting into the window.  

She knew that it was unlikely to be anything exciting, just another dusty space in the roof of a terraced London house, but couldn’t help but wonder. They joked about dead bodies, but she knew that nothing so dramatic would be up there. It had been a cold evening, and the day a long one. 

Bernard was out again; he was always out at the moment, seeming to be working long hours or catching up with new people. So the second glass of wine was welcome as she poured it into the glass, enjoying the round sound of the liquid leaving the bottle and hitting the glass. It lubricated her just enough to lower the censorship and lethargy which sometimes limited her, and she, not sprung exactly, but got up from the russet coloured armchair in which she reclined with more vigour than usual.  

The ironing board collapsed onto her, trapping her momentarily as it opened out in the small corner of her kitchen, but after much tussling she managed to retrieve the stepladder from where it had been shoved accumulating dust since they arrived. Having tugged it over to underneath the loft hatch, she pulled out one half to balance it in a perfect triangle, only to see it collapse back down and hit the floor with a smash. This happened seven times. On the last she left it there and pushed the armchair over instead, noting the unwalked on plush square of carpet and four little divets in each corner as she did so. Hoisting herself up she stood on the arm, gripping it her with her toes as she wobbled, and pushed up the hatch with force.  

Little flecks of paint fluttered down like confetti. She brushed them from her hair, even though she could not really see whether they had landed there.  

Her arms shook as she pressed her bodyweight into them to heave herself up, and she gasped as she knocked her knee against the wooden frame. ‘There’ll be a bruise there tomorrow’ she thought, like her mother might have.  

The dark light took a while to get used to, her eyes aching as she tried to make them see, knowing that the only way to do so was wait. Patience was not her thing. As her eyes adjusted she saw a white cable winding on the floor, and followed it to the plug socket. As she flicked it on dust glittered in the soft light that bathed the gnarled floorboards and piled up boxes. Suddenly she was bored, seeing the same debris, forgotten artefacts, left over objects and stuff to save for later that filled every loft space in the land. She looked at the room with an almost mournful passivity. 

Over in the corner was a chest, and a sudden thrill coursed through her at the same time as she laughed at herself for the idea of there being any kind of treasure up here, buried or not. She walked over to the dark fabric chest and lifted up the lid, tugging hard as she expected it to be locked tight. 

It wasn’t. As the smell of must hit her, she looked inside and saw it.  

Her face crumpled up and her stomach knotted. She gasped and edged back, an automatic reaction to fear, even when of an inanimate object. She must have taken more and longer steps than she realised, and it was too late by the time she slipped and fell through the loft hatch. Hitting her head on the seat she groaned and slouched back.  

The next morning Bernard found her.  

‘Stupid bitch, drunk again.’

Francesca Baker is a word lover, book geek, and literary enthusiast…among other things she runs a writing workshop and blogs at https://www.andsoshethinks.co.uk

A Poem by Jenne Kaivo

Benediction

Give thanks to the soft and insatiable fog
that hides us away and keeps our blood cold.
Give thanks to the mighty, unstoppable hag
called Hunger, who rides us until our knees fold.
She is steely of mind and lanky of leg
and humbles us all ’til we’re gone to the mold.

Give thanks to the legends of guilt and of sin
that teach we were evil before being born.
Give thanks to salvation if you only can
since we are all damned; before death let us mourn.
There are reasons laws stand against any fun.
A puff of a pipe means Hell under the horn.

Give thanks to the dollar and thanks to the cent
because we are born free and we forge our own chains
and thanks to the madman’s tyrannical rant
on which we vote yes and Democracy reigns.
Give thanks to us all, because we always hunt
ourselves down with arrows and cause our own pains.


Jenne Kaivo lives in Santa Rosa, CA, with a roommate, lots of dinosaurs, and overflowing books. She has had works published in Synaeresis, Subtle Tea and The Lovecraft Ezine, and can be found at
https://jennekaivo.blogspot.com

Two Poems by Adam Levon Brown

​Flowers of Bone

The river of epiphanies
has been littered with
flowers of bone

The calcification
infests the body
of water while

Microchip fantasies
manifest in third eye
nullification

*

Broken axle screeches
to the axis of Hypnotic suggestion
Stop, Halt

Glass shatters in the distance
Teeth grinding,
mixing cement on an abandoned
highway to critical thinking

Sensuality has all but split
as seraphim spit the seeds
of solitude upon the psyche

The river of epiphanies
has been littered with
flowers of bone

 

My Wish

I want to exorcise you
from the dirt

With my holy fingernails
tearing at your casket

I want to birth you back into
this world as if from a dynamite encrusted
womb attached inside my cherry-plumb heart

I want to scream at you for
leaving me in this fallen Eden
filled with emotional, electronic malaise

I want to resuscitate the stars in your eyes
and wash away the formaldehyde handprints
that the coroner washed you with.

I want to close the gap between life and death
and mostly…

I want to hear your voice again

…I
  want
     to
      hear
        your
         voice
               again…

 

Adam Levon Brown is a published author, poet, and cat lover. He is editor of Madness Muse Magazine. He has over 150 poems published in 11 countries. He has been published in venues such as Burningword Literary Journal. http://www.AdamLevonBrown.