Monday, October 14, 2019

Cuban Missile Crisis Anxiety, a poem by Steve Brammel

Cuban Missile Crisis Anxiety
by Steve Brammell

Lunch in a brown paper bag, eating in the bleachers,
reading my Lord of the Flies,
the other kids loud, but not enough to hide
the sudden sirens in the distance only I can hear.
I try not to move too fast across the basketball court,
its circle a bullseye, push the bar on the exit door,
the runaway elevator I’m trapped on never reaching bottom.
Outside I sprint to the edge of the playground,
look west where steel mills never stop smoking
and the Nike base, with its white-finned rockets,
guards against those slow bombers of another era.
Just beyond the curve of the earth Chicago is the prize.
I estimate the minutes it will take
for grinning Khrushchev’s missiles
to cross the Early Warning Line,
and how many more until the people,
now alert in the streets with nowhere to go,
all look up, just like me, and watch the warheads,
bright in the autumn sun, fall like Armageddon’s stars.

From Steve Brammel: I worked for many years as a technical and medical writer in Birmingham, Alabama. I was also a frequent contributor to Birmingham Magazine, Alabama Magazine, and other regional publications. My feature each month in Birmingham Magazine examined life in the city through a poet’s eyes. A long fascination with the culinary world led to another career in the restaurant business. Marriage finally brought me to Indianapolis, where I am employed in the wine trade, and still writing. I was a member of Austin Poets Theater in my younger days. I recently completed a manuscript of narrative poems based on my time in the South titled Red Mountain Cut. I am a native Hoosier from Michigan City and a graduate of Wabash College, where I studied with the poet Bert Stern.

Monday, October 7, 2019

The Dragon and the Wolf, a poem by Maria Pizzo

The Dragon and the Wolf
by Maria Pizzo

I want to believe I met a wolf in my past life.
I want to believe he wasn’t a figment of my imagination.
In a world with so little, missing genuine love,
I want to believe his arms that held me were real.

Have you ever been so alone
that the walls begin to talk?
Buying into lies,
philosophizing the woken lonely nights?

I want to believe what he told me was true.
I want to believe that balance sustains life.
Where everything is nothing,
and nothing is everything,
the absence of all is so much in itself.

Have you ever been so wrapped up in someone
that you shrink down to nothing?
Feeling like your existence has ceased,
finding peace in the silence, hoping never to return?

I want to believe he was real for my sake and his. 
Hidden away, menacing face, completely unapproachable,
desperate for love. 

Out of the cloud of delusion,
I know the sky is painted and music is artificial.
I know love is temporary
and that wolves don’t speak truths.

I know I’m alone
holding a pillow in the dark
as hyperventilation steals the air.

Imaginary fire orange dragon,
you were alone at the beginning.
You’re alone, and it’s the end.

From Maria Pizzo: “I am from Metro Detroit, Michigan. I am a junior at Ball State University pursuing Telecommunications and Creative Writing. Although most of my college work has been with film production, I recently interned through the Indiana Writers Center for the Building a Rainbow summer program.”

Monday, September 30, 2019

Up in Flames, a poem by Mary Redman

Up in Flames
by Mary Redman

In a rusted barrel behind a frumpish house,
raged a growing pyre fed with scraps
from a cardboard box.
Its tender was no white-garbed virgin
stirring ritual flames, but a young wife
in a cotton housedress.
Brown hair fastened at the base
of her neck escaped
and lashed her face with strands
while she worked against the wind,
her mouth a grim line. There was time—
the babies napped, and the older children
were off to play. 
Impassively she incinerated pages—
was nearly finished, had heaped a final load
into the backyard drum.  
Then, caught off-guard by smoke-
reddened eyes and heat that pinked her cheeks,
she watched a gust lift one lit page,
sail it aloft, and set the field ablaze. 

When the firetrucks and her neighbors
arrived, she said nothing of her blunder.
An empty box lay in stubbly grass,
while embers of dreams she’d released
floated like fireflies through the white oaks
hung with green acorns
in thickening afternoon shadows.

Mary Redman is a retired high school English teacher who currently works part time supervising student teachers for University of Indianapolis. She enjoys having time to volunteer and to take classes at the Indiana Writers Center. She has had poems published in Flying Island, Three Line Poetry, Red River Review, Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, and Tipton Poetry Journal, and elsewhere.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Small Book of Heart Songs on the Shelf, a poem by Norbert Krapf

Small Book of Heart Songs on the Shelf

by Norbert Krapf 

There was a small handsome hardcover book
on the shelf near the bed in which I slept
that I could not resist reading at night,
a collection of poems by Native high school students.
I don’t remember the title, but it could have
easily been Heart Songs, so pure, natural,
and sincere were the beautiful musings of these
young thinkers expressing and sharing their
vision of the world they were exploring,
navigating, coming to terms with. Nothing
concocted, not a word puffed up, no images
strained to impress. The rhythms were like
the beat of a heart and the pulse of blood
that flowed from the center of each young life
I was touching and becoming one with.
I can still feel the texture of the cover
of that little book and how happy my hands
were to hold it, how much I loved opening
those pages and being inspired each night
as I savored a few poems on the ground level
near the wall beyond which the desert pulsed.

Norbert Krapf's latest collections are The Return of Sunshine (2018) and Indiana Hill Country Poems (2019). His adaptation of his Catholic Boy Blues collection (2015) into a play was performed in June in the Indy Eleven Theatre of Indy Fringe, and he is currently working on a new play, Andrew and the Bells of Lohr

Monday, September 16, 2019

Sweet corn tanka, a poem by Laurel Smith

Sweet corn tanka
by Laurel Smith

On Sunday the sweet
corn was perfect: each bite
a confirmation
of every summer memory
laced with butter, salt, warm gold.

By Thursday, in spite
of cool storage, these last three
ears were failures: no
fireworks, poor texture and taste,
bland regret between our teeth.

Cultivars for “sweet”
number over a hundred:
have we known them all?
Zea mays—star of the farmers’
market, perennial favorite.

From Laurel Smith: “I live in Vincennes, Indiana, and happily participate in projects to promote literacy and the arts. My poetry has appeared in various periodicals, including Natural Bridge, New Millennium Writings, Tipton Poetry Review, Flying Island, English Journal, JAMA: Journal of the AMA; also in the following anthologies: And Know This Place, Visiting Frost, and Mapping the Muse.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Trauermantel, a poem by Michael E. Strosahl

by Michael E. Strosahl

Little girl,
little girl,
wants to dance,
wants to twirl

Flit and fly,
skip and flutter,
hushed by Vater,
stilled by Mutter

But Oma would not mind,
Oma would not care,
Resting in the box upon the table
Should she dare?

To twirl her dance dress
under the black,
to flit her wings
under her mourning cloak

And wouldn’t her Oma smile?

Michael E. Strosahl is originally from Moline, Illinois. After moving to Indiana, he joined several poetry groups and traveled the state meeting many members of the Poetry Society of Indiana, also serving on its board for several years. Maik (as he is known) has appeared in the print version of Flying Island, along with appearances in the Tipton Poetry Journal, Bards Against Hunger projects, on buses, in museums and online at indianavoicejournal, poetrysuperhighway, projectagentorange and adaysencounter. He has recently relocated to Jefferson City, Missouri.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Living Week to Week, a poem by Phillip Smith

Living Week to Week
by Phillip Smith

Relief is what I seek
ooofrom this dread destiny
oooof living week to week.

Make payments every week,
oooif only partially.
Relief is what I seek.

Creditors want to speak.
Why does it have to be,
ooothis living week to week?

Spending I cannot tweak.
No one can hear my plea.
Relief is what I seek.

The situation bleak;
ooomy stark reality.
I’m living week to week.

My pay is at its peak.
To get what’s due to me,
ooorelief is what I seek
ooofrom living week to week.

From Phillip Smith:My stories have been published by Jake Magazine, Inscape Magazine, Literally Stories, Chicago Literati, Comic Carnival Zine, Scarlet Leaf Review, and Dime Show Review. My poem “23 Years Sober” appeared in Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry. My stage adaptation of Stephen King’s novella “Rage” was produced in the spring of 1993. During my senior year at the University of Evansville, I was awarded with the William H. Gumberts Award for Fiction.”