Alexus Erin – MAKING SANDWICHES

Making Sandwiches

Me & my brain are making sandwiches for the first time in years
& I remember
I like sourdough. I wonder
whose hands made the bread & if this cooking,

this creation, is a kind of holiness. My brain laughs.
We’re having a sleepover on a school night
& I wonder
whose mother authorized it

By the grace of God
I am with my brain
& by the grace of God,
this brain’s a scrappy one

Which is to say, she is still sprinting: I’m impressed-
she did a lot of math this month. I joke that
she looks like she’s here
to eff the party up.

Brain tells Body (my body’s here too)
The first rule
of any effective love practice
is to synthesize its thoughtwork

with its bodywork: “Classic
substance-presence query, honeybee,” she sighs
& I know
that sigh was for me

I tell them, “First rule
of the big city
is to mind ya own damn business.” My body sets up
a cot at the foot of my bed

Gingerly removes her stockings, that they won’t rip
& I know
mishandling must be a violence
in which the body keeps score. She, of all people,

must be keeping score- I could stand
to learn a thing or two from this inclination
of tenderness, alone
My mouth, every morning,

famously reaching,
rooting ‘round any regional iteration of the daylight
To inhale a verbose evidence
& then exhale, like

my photosynthesis must be scheduled
to kick in any day now
As though this were the only thing
I knew how to do

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Mickey J. Corrigan – 3 POEMS

Predation

The cockroach wasp
stings her host
in the brain
and the roach is enslaved
enacting wasp desires
bearing wasp eggs
until they hatch.

The roach brain
being the size
of the dot
on this “i”
or smaller.

When the eggs hatch
offspring live off
the host roach,
emerge fully grown.

When the cockroach wasp
does what comes natural
to carry on
her species
we marvel at her skill
innate, precise, deadly—

you, my cockroach wasp
and I, your willing roach.

~

Phyllostachys bambusoides

a species of bamboo
grows and flourishes
for a hundred years,
then flowers
en masse—
a stand, a forest,
seeds and scent and beauty
before quickly dying.

We just fall apart

drifting through long years
the long days empty
of those who passed
who loved and left
us and one thing
after another, parts that seize
thoughts that flee and hours
drifting like snow.

Be the bamboo tree—
ripen, thrust, bloom
in a blaze of useless glory
then drop, giving back
to the depleted earth
where we are all
rooted together.

~

In Our Neighbor’s Pool

We are naked, it’s late
the night dark and lit up
wildly
we sink together
below the surface, lean bodies
submerged in black water
dirty ash embers that float
singe our skin
when we come up for air
to seek time by a moon
hidden in thick smoke
floating in the other half
of a beautiful California sky.

You nod to me as you go
under again to gather the bones
your ancestors have left for you. I am
empty, out of clean air to hold.

If life
is a series of refusals
we said yes to the stripping,
to frigid water, the fiery night
to the death run, hot rage
to live
stronger than the burning world.

When the shit is streaming
we are together
through gasps of dry chill
watch it all go up
the cars char skeletons
the trees inflamed pillars
houses hollowed out, everything
crayoned gray in the ghost mists.

We built our nest
fluffed the glossy feathers
made love and babies
gathered trinkets
from the outside world and now
a pile of blackened sticks.

We are together
holding hands underwater
coming up as the starlings
leap into the morning sky
seeking higher nests.

This is the story we will tell
the story that will build us
a new house, a new way
to wander the green world
watering it with our tears

of naked gratitude.

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Latha Kottapalli – An Ode to Black Gold

An Ode to Black Gold

Roots pulled from hiding

Soothe my soul like soup.

Into you, I empty their skins.

Crucifers crisped to crunch,

Laced with lemon, linger on my tongue.

Into you, I empty their stalks.

Egg whites whipped to stiff peaks

Greet my lips with kisses of meringue.

Into you, I empty their shells.

Coffee beans roasted to an aroma

Titillate my nose to chase the whiff.

Into you, I empty their grounds.

Drupes drooping from stems

Satiate my sweet tooth.

Into you, I empty their stones.

Autumn’s burst of hues,

A muse for my eyes.

Into you, I empty its leaf litter.

Into you, I empty all the refuse.

Off you stir and cook them to a new birth.

Lo and behold, Black Gold tumbles out.

Gold that crumbles to the touch.

Smells like the parched earth

When kissed by the first rain spells.

Gold that soaks up like a sponge, springs up

As the roots, stone fruits, and all that nourishes.

O Earth, your kindness knows no bounds.

 

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TIM STALEY – Confession, honesty and repentance are my first steps forward.

This isn’t a poem or a joke.

This is a confession. Confession, honesty and repentance are my first steps forward.

From approximately 1985 to 2001

I participated in racist behaviors.

I called black people racist names.

I looked down on black people and laughed at racist jokes.

I was not an ally to the one black student in the graduating class of my high school.

I wish to repent these crimes

in earshot of America. It took me 45 years to say these words.

It took me 45 seconds to say these words.

A wise poet once said you have to write about the one thing that scares you most.

Maybe this is the first poem I’ve ever written.

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Tohm Bakelas – end of an era

end of an era
 
outside the pawnshop
i held those rings
in
my
hand
like
autumn leaves
on the turn of winter—
i felt the beautiful times
crumble in my palm
like
withered november leaves—
how could two rings
represent so much happiness
and then
so
much
pain?
like the last leaf
on an oak tree
winter winds shook me loose
from a numbing reminiscence—
i took a deep breath
went inside
and made the exchange
it was that simple
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Emily Bornstein – Just Another Hand

JUST ANOTHER HAND

Just another hand perfecting her form. Keeping

her knees tucked to her chest, her arms above her

head, preparing to plunge into the earth. Ready

to dive wrist-deep into worms, to brandish grainy

chunks of manure. She’ll ignore the smell and the

perpetual line of black residue beneath her nails.

She’ll turn a blind eye to the bubbling calluses and

the crumbling arthritic joints below her fingertips.

Just another foolish hand insisting she has a green

thumb. Painting her nails baby blue so that the flower

might think her honeyed water, so that it might sway

balmily between her fingers. Bathing madly in lavender

and vanilla (so that the blossom might unfurl with her

touch) only to walk swollen and wretched through a twinkling

fog of bees. A crestfallen hand trudging eternally towards an

empty bell jar, a barren translucent womb. (She always saw,

though, the beauty in nonexistent, and therefore undying, petals).

Just another hand on her knees, asking to be sent anywhere but

the hopeless, blistering field. Pleading with the cheap, crackling

wires to send any other message to her muscles. Begging the poet

to stop sending her on endless missions to scrawl futile love songs

across the trees.

 

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Douglas Collura – Her Third Date After a Twenty-Five Year Marriage

Her Third Date After a Twenty-Five Year Marriage

 

 

She says, “Look. The rain’s harder now.”

I say, “Yes, but the theater’s close.”

She thumbs a path across

her melting glass.

 

Her daughter in third-year law.

Her granddaughter a swan.

When did I say I believed

in anyone’s tomorrow?

 

Her cupped hands; lines

connect, curve, cross,

predict nothing. She stares

into the passing moment.

 

“I never thought I’d be this person,”

she says, “never this alone.

I’m afraid sometimes, though

it’s nice not to be second guessed.”

 

My bedroom a chaos of shadows.

She’s unsure what comes next.

Then her legs clamp my hips,

and her mouth finds my neck.

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Margaret Wagner – A GIRL ON HER BOARD

A GIRL ON HER BOARD

She rolled on the sidewalk at dusk,

the wheels of her skateboard whirring.

She bent without effort,

feet tucked under knees

in a pose I’d never seen.

Gray leggings popped out of pink high-tops. Maroon lips,

aubergine nail polish, metal hoops dangled from her ears.

Her chin rested on her long arm. One bare shoulder

slipped out of her oversized black cardigan. She flew

past cherry blossoms, absorbing cracks in equal measure.

Gliding in her own momentum,

never intending to forget her flow,

she followed her beat wherever it led her.

Was this the starting gate of her velocity

or the peak of it?

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Glenn Ingersoll – I WANT

I Want

found in the database of the UC Berkeley library

I want a black doll

I want a dog

I want a little girl

I want! I want!

I want it now

I want mama

I want me a home

I want to be a lady

I want to be a mathematician

I want to be African

I want to be an astronaut

I want to be happy

I want to be like Stalin

I want to go on the stage

I want to live!

I want to say listen

I want to speak

I want you to marry me

I wanted to be an actress

I wanted to see

I wanted to tell you

I wanted to write a poem

I wanted wings

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