STEPHEN MEAD – CORNERS

Corners

I like to imagine not having them,
maybe finding myself in the country,
a ranch hand’s kid who really believes.
I saw it all once on film:
up at dawn tossing hay, carrying pails,
riding flats toward hills wide as far
can exist without sirens,
those usual howling squares.

Yea, that’s the picture I used to hold
while under some strange man, waiting out
the performance in a farm large as Coney
before the hurting would begin & I learned
to coat it, changing my face
to a new line:
“Hey, got the time Mister?”

Sooner than forever it was all over.
I kept eyes on the bed stand’s lamp
& bolted another drink, chinks
of what was happening only a numbing
kind of rush
no match for the stallion-carousel
bright & far away…

Then it turned into a turnpike,
this corner, that,
picking up streams of green paper, cash, fast hands,
ragged breath & more & more concrete.
Now I make sure to only do it in the dark,
keeping my gaze off headlights, off neon,
& I’m afraid to have dreams,
for what if the stables are just a different district
with the stalls all ready &, even there,

this will still be my life?

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JERI THOMPSON – HOPING MAYBE

Hoping Maybe

They always said “Maybe” when they didn’t want to
take my brother and me to Knott’s Berry Farm,
Ringling Brother’s Circus, Disneyland, Marineland.

Then there was Mackinac Island in Michigan.
Our visit, full of grandmothers, grandfathers, uncles and aunts.
They had all been to Mackinac Island.
We asked if we could go this visit, this trip, this time, this place

Mackinac Island. My mother would talk of going there as a girl
where she saw a Pyranha fish in a tank, ate
cotton candy then puked on the next
directionally confused roller coaster going just the right speed.
I got to watch the Banana Split’s Show while pouting
when “Maybe” waved as it passed us on the calendar, as
days fell away too quickly in Michigan. My heart was broken
many times by disappointments from maybes.

My mother didn’t want to say “No,” yet wanted
us to “shut the hell up.” Everyone’s parents mess their kids up
and even as a kid I knew “I’m sorry, no” is easier than another “Maybe.”
“Maybe” taught us hope is a four letter word.
“Hope” taught us not to count on her because she lies.

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JACK FREEMAN – IBRAHIM

Ibrahim

 

Go past the doorway—

past the knitter’s frame,

and the farmer’s wife,

naked in the sod

as if draped in linen—

walk on, into

the dunes, into out-

croppings cut by

ice, into a basin

of dark knots and

ribbons— an oasis

without water (palm

trunks flaking, scalped

dates scattered, half-

buried like scarabs)—

return to the port,

to the foreign stores

peddling screens,

scraps of lithium,

and plastic zip-ties—

place your prayer

rug under your bed,

your prayer book

under your pillow—

on your side, trace

the minaret with

your thumb.

 

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POETRY: WILLIAM DORESKI – THUNDERSTORM PAVILION

Thunderstorm Pavilion

 

From the thunderstorm pavilion

we watch rain brew over China

then cruise across the Pacific

and slop ashore at Carmel.

Crossing the continent in moments,

it arrives in time to endorse

explorations we’ve kept secret

from our many pear-shaped friends.

 

The thunder itself is a rumor

we’ve paid our agents to spread.

Writhing octoploid in the wash,

we absorb a million volts

to glow in places no one glows

unless assuming the leadership

of islands of fabulous wealth.

 

With your pale expensive thighs

you scissor off lengths of sky

to drape over the coffins

of those whose clothing wrinkled

in downpours we had to sponsor

for the sake of unborn children

whose inheritance is in doubt.

 

The glass of the pavilion fogs

to conceal our best maneuvers

as clouds the color of angels

enter and kneel to worship

not us but the distance between.

 

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POETRY: NELS HANSON – GUESTS

Guests

A lost dog and at his side

a lost friend are running day

and night across blue rivers’

bridges, down red roads not

clay but pavement, from state

to state each a map’s different

color. No time for rest or sleep,

to eat, only random wild root

or berry, quick short drink from

a cold spring. Each hour I hear

them growing closer, closer,

expect at any second one kind

paw scratch at my screen door,

the whisper of patient knocking,

muted, shy, polite but unafraid

no one will answer after their

long journey as I rise to greet

my two guests, the strangers

I’ve waited all my life to meet.

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