JOHNNY HUERTA – 2 POEMS

THE RED HOT COILS

the fan sitting on

a window sill

was gently blowing

the curtains on to

a radiator heater

the phone rang and rang

water boiling in a kettle

steam whistling out as if

it were a toy locomotive

circling the red hot

coils on a portable

electric range

plugged in to a

bloodstained wall

water overflowing in

the old clawfoot bathtub

Randy Travis blaring on

a portable FM radio

from an empty living room

~

DRYING OUT

Drying out

An army cot

Above the Taos

Fire station

Is not an ideal spot

But the cool breeze

Coming through

The window

Sure feels

Nice

~

Purchase Jon Huerta’s debut collection of poetry and moonshine recipes HERE

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JOHN GREY – 2 POEMS

THE EDGE

So there I was

standing at the edge of the cliff with Angela

and we made this vow,

like a wedding vow almost

but with the land dropping away at our feet

and bitter sea-wind blowing in our faces.

It was a pledge to be faithful until death.

I’d known Angela since childhood.

She read books, even difficult ones.

She loved to listen to music.

Her taste extended to jazz.

And she was drawn to the sea.

Not so much to be splashing around in it.

But to observe from a distance,

to feel its power not its playfulness.

The vow was more her idea than mine.

In fact, I was a little uneasy

standing in such a precarious position

on a chilly Fall day.

But she had grown into such a cute teenage girl.

And I loved the touch of her fingers.

And, oh yes, her breath on the back of my neck.

But, after we had repeated our affection so solemnly,

I could detect a certain sadness in her eyes.

It was as if she was saying, “Now what.”

As if dreams end by coming true.

Or a cliff, like the one we peered down from,

offered no opportunities to go any higher.

Or the sea was so vast, so deep,

it could only be indifferent

to two fifteen-year-olds trying to act older.

It was a week later, and in a less perilous setting,

when, with a tear or two, she released me from that vow.

I would have done the same but she beat me to it.

We were not a couple bonded for all time.

But we’d been exposed to the perils of such bondage…

not only bone-shaking and blustery

but at the very edge.

~

A HOUSEFLY REVISITS SYLVIA PLATH

I press against

the curve of glass,

peer out at my world

of linoleum, formica

and stainless steel.

Will I never sip

on the sugar crumbs again

or trot across the good china.

nibbling food-scraps

as I go?

I’m in this bell-jar –

yes, that’s right,

just like Sylvia Plath,

beating my wings,

buzzing loudly.

Well we know

what good that did

for her.

Soon enough,

the oxygen in here

will dissipate

until there’s not enough

to support the likes of me.

Sylvia, I know how

it was for you.

Someone trapped

you in their grip,

popped you into a container,

screwed the lid tight,

left you to choke

on your own imprisonment.

Just like you,

I’ll fall to the bottom eventually.

And yet I’m curious to see

what you have written there.

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LIBBY CHRISTENSEN – GLASS

Glass

Broken festering wounds

deep within shins that try to crawl through it.

The glass shatters from a ceiling that

surrounds, encases, allows

others

to see

ogle

ooh

ah

point.

The dome may be broken

but there are other things to

break

smash

scream at.

To be consumed by the glass

to fall into the glass

to drag an already limp and outrageous body through the glass

is only just one victory.

No one can stop at just one victory

because to stop at just one victory

is as bad as giving up.

These shards come from

cracked vanities

ruined window panes

curved glass domes.

Devour these shards

swallow them

slice your throat open

with ragged edges.

Embed them

into your stomach walls.

Splinter them off into smaller pieces,

digest the fragmented remains.

Pierce your skin

and let it be known

that you don’t mind blood

pooling at your feet.

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Jack D. Harvey – BOMBING VIETNAM

Bombing Vietnam

Good old Joe,
a hell of a pilot you were.
You was my friend,
you was a big child,
all heart, stupid as paint, sure,
but the feel in your talented fingers,
your far-seeing blue eyes;
you and that plane united to kill
every goddamned gook down there
living in that green placid land.

I thought of you,
bombing airstrips, roads,
buildings, villages, factories,
the whole place;
it sickened me and
was I ever up your
big face and down,
looking for tears,
for remorse?

I’m sorry, Joe,
best friend,
I gave you love and respect
with full conveyor belts,
encouraged you
to blow this green land
to hell and gone,
so it’s me and you,
doing a lot of death.

Now you’re dead, too,
burned to a crisp
in your crashed B-52.

He was Joe from Muncie,
a bull’s eye,
a real true soul
who didn’t think much,
an O.K. guy, a
stamper on
American roads,
and now he’s gone.

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AMANDA VAN VEEN – SUNDAY AT VILLAGE INN

Sunday at Village Inn

Sunday morning at Village Inn,

coffee or orange juice? I am asked.

Every time, every day, those two drinks.

What if I want a milkshake for breakfast?

No, that is for dinner with your

chicken, bacon, ranch sandwich and french fries.

Always the same. Each. Time

 

is a constant, or is it

really? The clock always ticks at the same

rate – sixty beats per minute. A

metronome keeping the pace –

the pace of a walker, a jogger, a runner, a marcher?

Trumpets play too quickly, their egos

force it. Flutes play too slowly, their fingers

ache. What are the drums even doing?

 

Marching

at different rates, in different shoes, but still

to the same, old tune. Never

updating the song that plays when

the sports team scores their ball in the endzone

or the pep rally begins with the batons in the air.

Until that day that

 

The band director came.

The one that took the repeating

notes of the sheet music and switched them up.

The one that took that old song,

burned it to ash, then like

The Phoenix,

morphed them into a

New show to bring the audience to their knees.

 

Yet, in the end,

when the trophy is given

and the players celebrate their first place banner,

What do they do?

Have their milkshakes and

chicken, bacon, ranch sandwich with french fries,

at Village Inn, on a Sunday afternoon.

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POETRY: MARLENA CHERTOCK – CEMETARIO GENERAL

Cemetario General

Cemetario General is one of the largest cemeteries in Santiago, Chile. Patio 29 is a plot used to bury the disappeared, the homeless, the unidentified, and victims of the Augusto Pinochet military dictatorship.

 

What’s left of them is arranged in boxes,
fifty or so line a wall.
He turns off the leaf blower,
passes a woman kneeling, her head lowered.

Even in death there are mansions.
Glass criptas encasing tías.
He coaxes leaves away
from the marble structures.

In a narrower section
ice cream and chip vendors push their carts.
Crowded together are plots of dirt, maybe some hierba,
a Nescafé bottle filled with wilted hydrangea.

He asks families to give more.
Sometimes there’s no response. So he digs up the land
and transfers what endured to a mass plot, Patio 29.
He’s so close to the body then, touching its bones.

At home he holds his esposa’s hips
as she cooks dinner, the smell of her sweat and the humitas
mixing in the kitchen air,
holds her as she undresses and they lie down together.

Find her at marlenachertock.com or @mchertock.

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