ricochet by Jonathan Jones

Posted: November 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

and eventually you run out of all
that whiskey inspiration. Counting
your bullets and breathing quiet.
Change a shirt and hold your own
hard stare.

The bullets point to take you home.
That’s how I find you. Sixteen and cooked rare
in a pool of red outside the drugstore.
A ricochet which curves the air
and folds two poles in half.

Jonathan Jones is a freelance writer currently living and working in Rome. His main influences are Scott Fitzgerald, Raymond Chandler, Saki and Yann Martel. He qualified in 1999 with his M.A. in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University College and in 2004 with an MRes in Humanities from Keele University. He now teaches writing composition at John Cabot University in Rome.


Your mention recurred
(In history books, in research articles,
Even a fictionalized film and a theatre)
Like light reflected and re reflected
Within a diamond,
The dazzle in me.

Marshy battlefields
Lit only by Will o Wisps
Shredded longitudes, pieced parchments,
Isles of limited facts,
In name of your birthplace,
In undulations of sound waves
I find the edges of a stamp
Of your land, now with a new name
And altered boundaries too,
Like the ever shifting confines on love.

A sealed box,
The loosening screw
Each circle of its turn
A crown of thorn or a laurel wreath,
Finally the content-
Is this the dagger you’ve brandished
To defend your men?
I kiss the blade
And smart with the pain
Befitting only someone
In love with the dead.

They call me deranged unable
To comprehend love happens
And cannot be chosen.

In the sky disjointed stretches of light
Monsoon returns pitting civilizations
In the graph of rain creases.
Years’ long monologue with you
My hair silvered like moonlight,
My skin rumpled like foil
My voice wisp of a ghost
Can I feel your touch?

Perhaps yes,
You are less of a stranger
Than the ones next to me
Where the mesh of responses
And counter responses come in between,
You, there unconfined, unaware
My beloved, ten centuries afar.
Lahari Mahalanabish is a software engineer by profession. Her book of poems One Hundred Poems had been published by Writers Workshop, India. Her poems/short stories have appeared in The Statesman, The Asian Age, Himal Southasia, The Criterion, Poets Online, Saw and Ashvamegh..The Literary Flight.

Once upon an afternoon, I did not know that very soon,
a rather remarkable yet utterly quotidian thing was in store—
There I was, calmly reading, startled by an immediate needing
I felt something eagerly pleading, pleading me to not ignore
“I should do this, ” I thought, “heading this bidding to not ignore—
A quick search should show me more.”

Ah, basically I learned it was in the beak of a bird who yearned
to be understood, not spurned, ghostly echoes of words it deplored
Eagerly went I to gather;—or perhaps I thought rightly rather
that I must learn about the matter—matter of this creature’s score
It was then I learned that the raven’s tongue could caw or
make words of ours, like “nevermore”

And the sudden, calm, audible note issuing from between these mandibles
Thrilled me—filled me with familiarity through language heard before;
So then, feeling the smile part my lips, I watched while the bird’s head dipped
“‘Tis someone who quipped to the raven, ‘say ‘nevermore””
Some person had spoken and back quoth the raven “say, ‘nevermore'”
This the bird said and nothing more.

It also did a pretty good PacMan?
And, like, that sound your computer makes when you click something and it kind of dings at you like “sorry you did the wrong thing why don’t you go back, man?”
idk basically it was the antithesis
of Poe’s poetic melancholy beauty
and studied verse
sonorous sounds summing up
nothing more than craft
instead of that, this raven’s speech
was the definition
of artlessness

I clicked the video
I clicked play
quoth the raven
“Say ‘Nevermore’

Version 2

Brendan Gillett is blessed with the ability of human-like speech sometimes.

Put your language in my mouth like a cold strawberry—
not a scythe;
Put your language in my mouth like crème brulee
or a decadent macaroon,

put your language in my mouth,
like parsley, not hemlock,

put your language in my mouth the way my mother did,
serve it with milk and warm skin, not the way undertakers
inter carrion in the earth,

put your language in my mouth,
a scented letter in a gold-rimmed envelope,
or last season’s roses pressed within the leaves,
of a poetry book,

not like disinfectant meant to remove contaminants,
from a crime scene,

I wish you had placed your language in my mouth
like a velvet glove, but instead you pour
burning asphalt onto my tongue, pave bitumen
and rock and flatness where there is none,

Learn German, you say, integrate,

I feel the reverberations of your language,
like a line of freight trains ploughing my mind,

You prescribe your language to me like anti-depressants,
to be consumed thrice a day.
Rakhshan Rizwan was born in Lahore, Pakistan and is currently a PhD candidate at Utrecht University in the Netherlands. Her poems have appeared in Papercuts, Cerebration, Muse India, The Missing Slate, Postcolonial Text and elsewhere. She is the winner of the Judith Khan Memorial Poetry Prize.

(the first graduating class to live and die with AIDS)

At first, it was some gay disease
from that flight attendant who had sex
with random men all over the world
and then we learned
about bath houses
multiple partners in a single night
and we gasped
and hid our titillation

or maybe it was eating monkeys
— a mutated virus
from the brains of monkeys,
a delicacy eaten warm with a spoon
or from green monkey meat,
whatever that was

or was it sex with sheep
over there in some foreign land.

Surely, it had nothing to do with us—
teenage heterosexuals in rural South Georgia—
only not all of us were heterosexual
and none of us took it very seriously

now — herpes was real
as an outbreak swept the college campus,
we whispered behind closed doors
who had it
where she got it

and gonorrhea, of course,
just need some penicillin,
and some of us remained
good Southern virgins
with discreet abortions
while some got sick and died
of AIDS related ignorance.

Susan Beall Summers is an Austin, TX poet active at local open mics and events including Austin International Poetry Festival. She has been published in Di-Verse-City (an anthology of AIPF), Ilya’s Honey, Texas Poetry Calendar, Small Canyons, Harbinger Asylum, and others. Her first collection is Friends, Sins and Possibilities (DreamersThreePress, 2011).www.tidalpoolpoet.com

Loneliness by Bekah Steimel

Posted: October 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

She said it must be lonely
the core of the night
Hours meant for chirping insects
and buzzing addicts
Hours meant for dreams that reveal us
to ourselves
it must be lonely


Loneliness is being the thing that doesn’t belong

Loneliness is being a poet in a world that has no time
for poetry

Loneliness is cutting your shoulder because there is no scream
louder than blood

Loneliness is getting kicked out of the woman’s restroom
because of your square jaw and broad shoulders

Loneliness is trying to make eye contact
when your family’s heads are bowed in prayer

Loneliness is concealing your drug use from those you love most
because they love you most

I am mostly lonely surrounded by faces
I am mostly relaxed surrounded by stars
the core of the night
Hours spent in reflection that reveal me
to myself
Bekah Steimel is a poet aspiring to be a better poet. She lives in St. Louis and can be found online at http://www.bekahsteimel.com and followed @BekahSteimel.

Lip by Vin Whitman

Posted: October 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

I’m lonely and want to go out dancing

She smiles with her gash of a mouth

Resolved to be more
Than a daffodil against the wall

More than the chemical
Residue of her parents

Scraped off the mirror
And into foster care

Never turned off
By fine-gauge imperfections

She hoped there would be one
Who’d moisten or stiffen

In the direction of her

Who’d pet a monster and
Let it sleep on the coverlet

Who’d be caught naked in her
Electric nimbus

Inverted and not suitable
For work

I want to dance. I’m tired
of being lonely

She resolves to turn
All heads including hers

She threads the needle with red
And begins to sew

You know,
It’s still a pretty smile

Vin Whitman writes in fearful imagery that can make him paranoid, but he’s learned to thrive on it. He is working on the social skills needed to do social work. He reads with The Tea House poets in Florida. More of his work can be found at: http://www.theoctopusdiary.blogspot.com