John Dorroh – “Missed Opportunities”

“Missed Opportunities”

1.

There were missed opportunities with your sister

that I no longer regret. I did for a while because I

love her homemade chili the stuff with lime and

cilantro and those those little flecks of ghost peppers.

Any woman who can make a bowl of chili sing like that

deserves to be honored. And believe me, I wanted to

honor her before she changed into a man.

2.

The miracle was not in the fact that she always knew

that there was a man living in her house, but the fact

that she carried through, unafraid to tell her family

and friends that she was planning on tossing her

vagina a farewell party, complete with midgets,

tattoo artists, and kittens dressed as baby possums.

3.

The surgeon took her scissors and made a nip tuck

then a tuck nip and pushed God out of the way.

“He’s mine now, so you sit over there and close

your eyes and mouth. I will call you if there is a

moment of distress.”

4.

Those opportunities are now memories of things

that could have been: a little family moving with the

rhythm of the ocean, water grinding itself across

the sand to make changes that all of us can feel.

~

This poem was originally published on April 9, 2018, by Piker Press.

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JD DeHart – INCIDENTAL LANGUAGE

Incidental Language

Pardon the spill
in the aisle. A bit of
language slipped out.

How embarrassing.

I know we don’t speak
the same tongue, though
our mouths have the
same shape.

Yet, here is a stray word,
like a neighborhood cat,
roaming through our
planned conversation.

~

JD blogs here and posts poems here.

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WES HOUP – 3 POEMS

Watch Out For Aardvarks

The high council of pissants
carefully reviewed your application
for permanent inclusion and finds that
you lack any clear sense of order;
you remain stubbornly and selfishly
anchored to ephemera
and take on balance
more than you generate and provide.
We acknowledge your curious disposition,
and your genuine affinity for activities
that promise no monetary gain
and thus no clear class mobility.
But this is just a footnote
in a much larger negative report.
We will not, in the end, recommend you
for tenure in our pismire.
Also we are unwilling to discuss
our recommendation
via chem-trail or antennae.
We wish you the best of luck elsewhere,
and watch out for aardvarks.

~

DIGESTATION

a.
Cool spring water shimmers
a narrow dissolution channel
between my legs.
Nearby a raccoon has passed
the entire exoskeleton
of a crayfish,
most likely Cambarus
(given the lack of suitable habitat
for Orconectes),
pincers folded up
in prayer, like Jonah.
Sun-bleached, it looks like
an obtuse piece of diggery,
equipment found in a junkyard
or moldering behind
the dead farmer’s barn.

b.
Where the spring’s flow disappears,
a great horned owl
has eaten a crow,
and from the crow’s feathers
sweet Betsy grows.
Crows die, crows grow,
I know, but woe is he
and she who doubt
the kind of hunger
that forces dominance in the wood,
to eat crow every night
and remain wise,
or the crow, for god’s sake,
the crow, to sacrifice itself
to fertilize trillium.
Pandemonium.
Harmonium.
Ad infinitum.

~

Custodial Testimonial

4:15am, Sunday,
the only other soul
on the road to Damascus
is a young preacher
in a Corolla
headed to the church office
for final revisions.
He’s worried about messaging,
and his left headlight is blank.
God-only-knows-what
he’ll fashion: surely love, hate,
forgiveness, avarice, charity,
or some other heavy cudgel
based on a verse from Acts
magically supported
by a verse from Isaiah.
See? Continuity.
Poof! Even vengeful gods
Change their minds.

I’m headed to work, too,
and I’m also worried.
A wedding party drank and feasted
all yesterday and now
the Forest Lodge sewer line is clogged.
A rough calculation suggests
each person must have defecated
2.3 times to impound (TVA-style)
an 8” pipe. Damn.
That’s a proverbial shitload.
Sadly, there was no child present
able to turn a shitload into wine.
But it’s Sunday morning—
time for forgiveness.
I am here to ease things
to the underworld,
and while I cannot perform miracles,
I know a snake who can.

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Karen Mandell – YARD SALE

Yard Sale

Useless, I could tell instantly.

Baby toys in plastic orange and red, grimy fry pans,

bent hollowware burning in the sun.

I walk in past the woman and the baby sitting on the concrete stoop.

I’m on my way out before I see the books piled on the grass,

their pages soft with age, the damp dried out of them.

The Sun Also Rises, the striped Scribner edition.

Do I have this one at home?

I crouch down and turn limp pages, not reading, brushing off dust,

unwinding a tendril of cobwebs from my finger.

The odor of paper stored in boxes too long.

This one’s not worth it, broken spine, even for a quarter.

I put fusty Hemingway down.

The baby cries, his voice quavering and scratchy.

The woman picks him up and says it’s time for a nap,

you’re ready aren’t you, you’ll lie down for a little while.

I stand up, the sun hot on my hair.

I want to lie down, a baby, in a darkened room with only a thin cover.

An opened window with a fan going somewhere.

I’d close my eyes even if I didn’t really want to

because there’s not much fight left in me right now.

The baby whimpers.

I forget what city I’m in,

whether it’s Minneapolis or Boston before that or

Chicago back even further.

I’m a burnished nub, everything rubbed out of me,

clarified. Even so, I have to get back to the car,

do the things that make it go,

add on to myself the crumbled pieces

that fell off and lie there, in the grass.

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Robert Allen Beckvall – MAYBE IT’S FREEDOM

Maybe It’s Freedom

 

Maybe we got souls that crave

The dream of the wild west

With saddlebags and campfires

Teepees and wigwams

Some say we are living a national nightmare

Maybe, just maybe the crazies and druggies and alkies,

Tent dwellers and unbathed, unloved, unlucky,

And the squeezed by technology/big brother/international conglomerates

Want to have fights in saloons

Want a girl from a brothel

Want to ride the plains after the Great White Buffalo

Maybe they want pistol packin’

Vest wearin’, neckerchief tyin’ sheriffs and outlaws

Maybe they want to tan hides and touch their enemies

Or, make love under the stars

While the spirits of the ancestors circle the night sky

Maybe that gal diggin’ bottles and cans from a trash can

Wants to ride with Wild Bill like Calamity Jane

Maybe the guy with oozing diabetes legs

Wants to catch and tame a wild mustang

Maybe they like to dream

That their stolen Safeway cart is a covered wagon

And you’re either driven’ it or attackin’ it

On the wide open plains

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EMILY RIVERA – TRASH

TRASH

Trash.
I like that word.
Trash.
What is it?

Is it that blonde girl behind Denny’s?
Maybe your uncle who slept with them all?
Maybe the actual trash can in your room?
The one overflowing with paper?

Maybe it’s that one plate of nachos no one finished
Or it could obviously be that one pan of food,
The one with all that… dull green mold
Disgusting.

Trash.
Why the hell is there a lot of trash?
Why do people call it hideous?
Why is it called trash? Trash.

Is your life trash?
I hope not, that’ll just be sad.
Is your friend’s life trash?
It better be compared to yours.

Well, I think trash is beautiful.
Trash is filled with a wonder of color.
Don’t you see that weird mystery liquid?
Amazing.

The thin pieces of hair draping over the sides.
The red spots from the ketchup.
The orange peels from, well, oranges.
The yellow peels from bananas.

The green everything- mold, lettuce and whatnot.
The multiple wrappers from various brands.
That one bare steak t-bone.

Wait, now that I think about
Trash is disgusting.

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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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