Monday, August 14, 2017

Goodwill, a poem by Marjie Giffin


is scattered all over the canopied bay
among the trampled cardboard boxes
and crumpled bags and soggy sheets.
A young, moody-faced teen languishes
on the curb, nodding when spoken to
but not answering my motion for help.
Figures, I think, cursing lazy youth,
as I trot to the back of my car and heave
up the hatch and begin loading my arms
with all the added goodwill I can muster:
baubles that came from Macy’s, canisters
that once spilled out Gold Medal flour,
baby dolls that were kissed and held.
No time for sentiment; tepid rain drips
from the awning and pools on cracked,
uneven cement. The scent of moldy
cast-offs mixes with the mustiness
of tentative, springtime rain. A sack
of Christmas candies catches the eye
of the non-attentive teen; May I?
his eyes seem to ask. I toss it to him
like a bridal bouquet. In the rearview
mirror as I pull away, I see him grinning
as he digs in the crinkly silver sack.

Marjie Giffin

About the poet: “I am an Indianapolis writer who has recently been published in Poetry Quarterly, Flying Island, Snapdragon, Words and Sounds, and in a teaching anthology. I am active with the Indiana Writers Center and participate in many workshops.”

Monday, August 7, 2017

In Red's Juke Joint in Clarksdale, a poem by Norbert Krapf

In Red's Juke Joint in Clarksdale
by Norbert Krapf

In Red's juke joint they play the blues
after the sun don't shine. The notes
they play are blue but the ones plugged in
on the wall glow red and the beer bottles

Red sells from behind the bar are cold and brown.
A small river flows behind the old building
and in front stands a cut barrel in which meat smokes.
Between the river and the smoke the blues cook

all night long and the beer flows as slow and long
as the river don't stop. People come to sit
on bar stools and chairs and listen to the blues
nights the way they come to sit in pews in church

Sunday mornings and in Red's and in the church
the music is about the same though some people
say the music in the juke joint comes from the Devil
and in church it comes from God. My ears tell me

the music in Red's is the call and response of the Devil
and God talkin' together and the people listen
the same whether the smoke comes from a candle
or meat and all the singing sounds sacred.

About the poet: Former Indiana Poet Laureate Norbert Krapf's most recent poetry collection is Catholic Boy Blues, which was followed by the related prose memoir Shrinking the Monster, winner of an Illumination Book Award and finalist for an INDIES Award. Forthcoming is a collection of poems about his grandson (almost three), Cheerios in Tuscany. Norbert co-facilitates a workshop with Liza Hyatt, Bless This Mess: Writing About Difficult Relationships. For more, see

Monday, July 31, 2017

Going Deaf, a poem by Mary M. Brown

Going Deaf
by Mary M. Brown

For a while it’s mostly bliss,
swimming a lovely, negotiable
lake, the hush of small fish,

or like resting inside a shell,
a turtle, a nutmeat, a swaddled
babe, pacified and riding

the sweet blurry line between
stillness and sleep. But later
you wonder whether the lake

is a roiling ocean you are
alone in with sharks, other
predators, and water pressure

or a kind of padded cell, you
the slow prisoner who wonders
if anyone else will show up

to bring you poetry or mass or
whatever you yearn for—a bible,
cigarettes, kisses, a knife in a cake.

About the poet: Mary M. Brown lives with her husband, Bill, in Anderson, Indiana. She’s a Hoosier not by birth but by long residence and disposition, and she enjoys proximity to all six of her grandchildren. Retired now, she taught literature and creative writing at Indiana Wesleyan for many years. Her work appears on the Poetry Foundation and the American Life in Poetry websites and has been published recently in Christian Century, The Cresset, Quiddity, Flying Island, and Justice Journal.

Silent, a poem by Nicole Amsler

by Nicole Amsler

My skeletal fingers tent over my chest
A makeshift cage for my aching, thrumming heart
Pain can still slide in
Like a fume, a moth, miasma
But my fingers clench, at the ready
To beat back that which threatens.
Futile dispersion.

But they do not reach, do not beckon, call
They do not beseech or even pray.
My hands only bear witness, gnarled and still.
They do not speak the anguish
Instead words perish, congealed and unknowable
A barnacle, a lesion, an ectopic pearl
The unspoken, Brailled in scar tissue.

From Nicole Amsler: Seldom a poet, I write stunningly dull marketing copy as my day job and magical realism fiction at night. I am a writer conference groupie, a middle aged cosplayer, and a book pimp. I've moved eleven times in my 20+ year marriage and Indiana is the only place I've lived twice.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Pale Horse, a poem by Alex Schnur

The Pale Horse
by Alex Schnur

Death comes not upon a pale horse,
but riding on a blood clot,
prowling through an artery.

It hides in piles of filth
and the insides of microbes,
on the wings of birds
and the dust of a coal mine.

Death waits in the wings of our vices,
swirling in the bottoms of bottles
perched upon cigarettes
packed into pills
dripping from needles
and homogenized into trash food.

It lurks in the oceans,
both the shallows and the depths.
It waits on the mountains,
in both snow and stone.

Sometimes death takes to stage
and you see it coming,
as fast or as slow as it likes.

Other times death is a thief,
quick as lightning,
and before you can hear the thunder
your life is gone.

About the poet: Alex Schnur is currently working to achieve a bachelor's degree in English from Indiana University - Purdue University Columbus, with a concentration in creative writing. He only refers to himself in third-person for the purpose of crafting biographical statements.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Stella Rosa, a poem by Chrysa Keenon

Stella Rosa
by Chrysa Keenon

Why does the poison
Make my words flow easier?
The burn through my veins is like
the lightning of God
cursing me with the pain all humanity has wrought
I hate the feeling
but the elixir makes me see stars
Dancing across my skin, like when you’re around.
If I could touch one, I would
crush it into my bones
and make it part of me, not letting it
flow away in the morning
like my dreams of you.

Bio: Chrysa Keenon is a student at Taylor University, studying Professional Writing. She has been published in various newspapers and magazines, including Changes in Life, The Echo, The Fictional Cafe, and Evangelical Church Libraries. She spends the time she is not writing reading and perfecting her knitting skills.

shots found, a poem by Kristine Esser Slentz

shots found
by Kristine Esser Slentz

i found you in shot glasses dotting the dark wood of an irish pub bar; sadly, among the tiny cup wreckage you couldn’t find me.

About the poet: Kristine Esser Slentz is originally from northwest Indiana and the Chicagoland area, accent and all. She is a Purdue University alum that studied English literature and creative writing while working at the independent student newspaper, The Exponent. After college Kristine has written pieces in publications such as the HuffPost; Pattern; and Nuvo, Indy’s Alternative Voice. Currently, Kristine is the Assistant Editor at Unfold and has published poetry in Sweater Weather Magazine and The Unprecedented Review.