Monday, September 18, 2017

Sonnet for the New Immortals, by Dan Carpenter

Sonnet for the New Immortals
by Dan Carpenter

Full lives, they lead
Fine food, craft drink
In the gym by 7
By 9, on the links
For variety, a run
Maybe 20 miles’ biking
Or 1,000 by air
To prime mountain hiking
Concerts & football
With choicest of seats
With perfect friends
With perfect teeth
Yet – my modest lot against theirs shan’t be measured.
They don’t read and they don’t worship; they wander a desert.

About Dan Carpenter: “I'm an Indianapolis freelance writer who has published poems in The Flying Island, Poetry East, Illuminations, Pearl, Xavier Review, Southern Indiana Review, Maize, Tipton Poetry Journal and elsewhere. I have published two books of poems, The Art He’d Sell for Love (Cherry Grove, 2015) and More Than I Could See (Restoration, 2009); and two books of non-fiction, Hard Pieces (Indiana University, 1993) and Indiana Out Loud (Indiana Historical Society, 2013).”

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hill Country Blues, a poem by Norbert Krapf

Editor's note: Robert Belfour was born Sept. 11, 1940. He died in 2015.

Hill Country Blues
by Norbert Krapf

for Robert Belfour

Robert, Robert, they say you are gone.
They say your spirit is gone, way gone,
but your music plays on and yes on.

You grew up in northern Mississippi Hills.
I grew up in southern Indiana hills.
I never hear your song without a thrill.

On the sidewalk outside Cat Head Delta Blues
I stood peering at your face and your shiny shoes
as you sat playing the hypnotic Hill Country Blues.

Brother, brother, how you laid down that groove.
You laid down that ancient mesmerizing groove
that was anything but slick, light, and smooth.

Somehow I hear a horse clomp, clomp, clomp.
I see and hear an old horse clomp, clomp, clomp
when you play your eternal Hill Country Stomp.

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, September 4, 2017

Pond, a poem by James Owens

by James Owens

I trick the scum to life with a pebble,
and wonder, haloed by the water's trouble,
will this carp, cynic and fat by its drain,
still nudge among these slimy stones
when I am perfected to naked bones,
softening beneath the caustic rain?

The wind, for only answer, harries
a rattle of newsprint into the trees.

Rutting dragonflies twist in couples,
green as rotting bronze, and kiss their doubles.
Bold again after a minute's quiet,
the fertile frogs yell themselves hoarse
by scraps of garbage, a discourse
on their tadpoles' choreography.
Old car batteries seep and bubble.

The slow carp oozes through mud,
mud-fleshed owner of the lower sludge,
easing past broken bottles to draw
little prey within the vacuum of its jaw.

About James Owens: His most recent collection of poems is Mortalia (FutureCycle Press, 2015). His poems, stories, and translations appear widely in literary journals, including publications in The Fourth River, Kestrel, Tule Review, Poetry Ireland Review, and Southword. He earned an MFA at the University of Alabama and lives in Wabash, Ind.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Judgment, a poem by Dheepa Maturi

by Dheepa Maturi

I know the angle from which
to pull the threads from my skin.
I know how to twist and anchor them
on shards of my bone,
how to unwind my organs and entrails —
and thoughts —
how to weave them all into jagged tapestry.
It takes practice,
but I've been doing this for awhile.

You do not notice as I spiral my arms
and fling the cloth.
You do not notice as it descends
over your face, torso, feet.
At last, I can comprehend you
through the underbelly of my organs,
through the kinks in my dermis.

You aren't kind,
and you don't love me.
Your words stretch and
distort around the edges.
I don't feel your pulse
or your breath,
but I see you.

About the poet: “I am the director of a nonprofit fund in Indianapolis and a graduate of the University of Michigan (A.B. English Literature) and the University of Chicago. My poems and essays have appeared in Every Day Poems, Tweetspeak Poetry, A Tea Reader, and Here Comes Everyone.”

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Truck Stop Dog, a poem by Thomas Alan Orr

Truck Stop Dog
by Thomas Alan Orr

Wingo lounges in the grass
under tulip trees
near the Ready Go truck stop
along the interstate
near Indianapolis.
He’s headed for Denver
(only he knows why),
waiting on his ride.
Here comes Toledo Jake
in his big Kenworth T660.
Wingo jumps aboard,
head out the window,
tongue lolling, wind tearing
at his ears, Jake shifting
into high gear, wheels whining.
The open road is all that matters.

West of Abilene,
Jake is on the radio
checking highway patrol
with a tanker out of Bismarck,
a flatbed out of Tulsa.
Wingo slurps Cheerios and milk
in the sleeping berth, content.
They cruise into the pit stop
near mile marker two-sixty-five
and Wingo is out the door.
On the knoll, a pretty cur
wags her tail and off they go,
Denver deferred, Jake shouting,
Adios, hermano!” He sighs
and gazes wistfully after Wingo,
chasing love on the open road.

About the poet: Orr's most recent collection is Tongue to the Anvil: New and Selected Poems (Restoration Press).

Friday, August 18, 2017

Ten Krugerrands: Creative Nonfiction by Charlie Sutphin

 Ten Krugerrands

A Parable of Want

by Charlie Sutphin

Years ago, when the price of gold was low, I purchased ten Krugerrands at a coin store. I placed the Krugerrands in holders and planted them around the world like a modern-day Johnny Appleseed. I felt better knowing the coins were there should I have the need. If times were dark and I stumbled into that part of the world again, my gold was safe. I know, I know: Don’t say it. Still, it’s what I did.

The first planting occurred outside the city of Prague in the town of Terezin. With a group of tourists I visited the concentration camp of Theresienstadt before driving through the ghetto. I finished the trip at a memorial to the victims of WW II and was provided 20 minutes to examine (and photograph) the crematorium. Afterwards, the group strolled over the corpses interred beneath the ground.

I excused myself and walked to the farthest corner of the property. Taking a trowel from inside my backpack, I dug a hole 12 inches deep, buried a coin, and refilled the hole making sure to restore the grass, like a scalp, so the groundskeeper wouldn’t recognize what had happened. To this day, that coin remains in that hole in that cemetery in the Czech Republic—testimony to my insecurity. Soon I will pass into oblivion, but that piece of metal will survive, hidden and secure, and preserve a part of my presence on this earth long after that presence has been eradicated.

I recorded the date, the time, the name on the grave, then made a sketch of the location. I repeated this process in nine other graveyards across the world, including the Pere Lachaise in Paris, the Highgate in London, and La Recoleta in Buenos Aires.

Recently, I deduced a more localized stratagem. I bought 50 additional Krugerrands and am in the process of planting each in the capital city of every state in the union. I’m halfway done. You want to know where I’ve buried the loot?

Twelve inches below the ground in the corner of the municipal park closest to the General Assembly is where they rest. If you find one: it’s yours. In return, I ask you to leave something to remember me after I’m gone: a message of gratitude on a piece of paper perhaps, or an illiterate’s proxy, like a penny or a dime, to indicate gratitude to a destiny that has brought you this far. If nothing else, offer a drop of sweat or a bit of spit to mark the spot where I once dug—and you now sow.

Blessings to us all as we share what I have forsaken and you have found. Now dig.

About Charlie Sutphin: I’ve lived in Indy for about 60 years and written here for half--those years. For me, writing is like skipping a stone across the surface of a pond: you search for a word, pick it up, rub off the dirt, fling it forward, and watch your effort journey across the water before sinking into the darkness--never to be seen or heard from again. Isn’t that what it’s like? Ten Kruggerands deserves a spot in the light, I suppose, for a moment or two before settling back from whence it came.

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.”