Thursday, July 31, 2014

A poem from Joseph S. Pete


Untitled
by Joseph S. Pete

O squat office towers in a distant suburb,
you barely scrape together a skyline at 12, 14 stories high.
You’re visible from about a mile away, but too diffuse to fill a camera frame.
But the metro area is so full, so bursting, that not all of the corporate headquarters can
    be squeezed into the laced corset of the central business district.
You’re mostly boxy, in one case cylindrical. There are few curlicues to draw the eye
    except for the crowning radio aerials. You stand primly in contrast to the hurly-burly of
Gothic, Modernist, Postmodernist and whatever-else architecture downtown. Downtown
    is all glass and bygone craftsmanship and ambition; you’re an upended cardboard
    box bobbing in a sea of surface parking.
You’re a cheap date.
You loom over La Quinta motels. You loom over Outback Steakhouses, Olive Gardens,
    Texas Roadhouses. You loom over gas stations, strip malls and outlots.
You loom over Costcos, Petcos, Diamond Supply Cos.
You loom over Home Depots, Office Depots, Baby Depots.
You lord over a wallpaper landscape that unfurls further and further and further into a
    limitless countryside that waxes more crepuscular with every commute.


Bio: Joseph S. Pete is an award-winning newspaper reporter, an Indiana University graduate and an Iraq War veteran who lives in Northwest Indiana. His literary work has appeared in Cuento Magazine, Dogzplot, Defenestration Magazine, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Postcard Shorts, and Yankee Pot Roast, among other publications. He won a "four month supply" of Pabst Blue Ribbon by placing second in the poetry category of the 2010 PBR Art Contest, but the prize was really just a check that would have covered a few cases.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

A poem from Jo Barbara Taylor


Concert at 2 A.M.
by Jo Barbara Taylor

In the deep of night, no moon, no streetlight,
I hear thunder drumming, drumming
far to the west as the percussionist
tunes the tension of the tympani
behind a black velvet curtain.

The drape spreads and the pianist's arpeggio
splashes like raindrops. The storm snares
on a skylight washed in lightning and drowned
in the pounding of drums, a string bass,
the deep-caverned tuba, the moan of a trombone
punctured by staccato yips of a cornet.

The storm moves east as night moves west.
Morning is rinsed in deep grays of wet concrete
and rain clouds. The music fades as the orchestra
sets up on a distant stage. I listen
for the dissonance of tuning up,
         the thrill of the overture,
                  the assurance of harmony.


Bio: Jo Barbara Taylor lives outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, grew up in Indiana, and remains an Indiana farm girl at heart. She taught English in public school for 21 years. Her poems and academic writing have appeared in journals, Including Tipton Poetry Journal and Inwood Indiana, magazines and anthologies. She leads poetry workshops for the North Carolina Poetry Society and OLLI through Duke Continuing Education. She has published four chapbooks, the most recent, High Ground by Main Street Rag, 2013.



Monday, July 21, 2014

A poem from Frederick Michaels


Sing It, Buffy Sainte-Marie
by Frederick Michaels

Crimson flesh and onyx flies—
a vicious scar across the plains.
Breath stealing rotted air
chokes off slaughtered vision.

Wagons heaped of black hides
snake away in morning haze
to rail heads and all points east,
into seamstresses' tiny hands.

Feathered men with teared eyes
knew the truth foretold by stars—
bloody knives will change lives,
gone nature's gift of food, clothes.

Arisen such time unwilled, lament
dead bison naked to your gaze.
Now governments become beasts,
a whole world the land despoiled.


Bio: Frederick Michaels draws a good deal of his poetic inspiration from the land and history. A retired engineer, living in Indiana for nearly 40 years now, this expatriate New Yorker once thought the land was in parks, and history was in books. He knows now that both are in the mind and heart of the poet.


Editor’s note: “Now That the Buffalo’s Gone,” a song by Buffy Sainte-Marie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCWJYTCfjSg



 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A poem from Anne Haines


The Measures, The Years
by Anne Haines

You step out of shadow for your moment.
The singer nods and you go on,
roar of the band receding
just enough for you to step forth and be heard.

You know these six steel strings like you know
your name. Better even: you play
in dreams, nights far afield
when you’ve lost the word for who you are.

All the years. All the bars, the smoke
and funk, the bad deals when you never
got paid. Nights when you rode home flying
and nights when you wanted to die—

all of them now woven into notes
by the scars on your fingers, your capable hands.
Could you ever stop loving this? You stroke
steel and wood, feel the beat at your back—

it’s a story you’ll never stop telling, how you bend
notes to your hard will, let them take
you where they want you, where the sweat
and cacophony need you to be.

Every night, all the years line up
behind you to speak
some of them laughing, some of them
grieving the way bad nights do.

Every night you pull them through you
more passion than precision, more knuckle
and grit, determining the fire.
Every night, in eight short bars, the years.

Bio: Anne Haines’ chapbook, Breach, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2008. Individual poems have appeared in Diode, Field, New Madrid, Rattle, Tipton Poetry Journal, the anthology And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana, and elsewhere. She lives in Bloomington, where she works as the Web Content Specialist for the Indiana University Libraries. She can be found online at http://annehaines.wordpress.com and on Twitter at @annehaines.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five Letter Word, of chance and remembrance at Key West, from Crystal Lynn Kamm

Five Letter Word
By Crystal Lynn Kamm

A man is sitting in a diner. A fish taco stand on Front Street near the beach. His head is bowed low over a crossword on the back of the newspaper. It’s an old paper, crunchy from getting wet on the tables and grimy from being handled by an entire day’s worth of patrons. The man wields his pen over the blank squares and is surprised that no one has done the puzzle yet. Golden light halos the paper, shining through the lens of his water glass. Sunset. He looks up.
A mirror. Usually he knows where all the mirrors are and carefully avoids them, but this one takes him by surprise. It’s only a few inches wide, wedged in the little space between two windows. One could look at it and fail to see it at any other time of day, but when the windows are glowing with sunset, the gray streak of mirror in the middle is impossible to miss. The man catches his reflection in it, spotlighted by the probing fingers of sunlight that seem to enter with the sole intent of exposing him. It’s the face that has cleared the place, relegating the only remaining customers to a corner booth far behind him. He looks away quickly, wanting to avoid his face as much as they.
37 Down. Seven letter word for Freak.
“Alex Trebek,” the man whispers. “Who is Charlie?”
He writes the word in the seven blank squares. Carefully. One letter at a time.
“Who is Charlie?” he asks again, this time an actual, existential question.
He raises his face again to catch his reflection in the strip of mirror. Hold. Don’t look away.
13 Across. Five letter word for Without Another.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

A poem from Jo Barbara Taylor

Gravel Road
by Jo Barbara Taylor

I remember how hard it is to drive in fresh gravel, to keep
the tires straight. Front wheels dig for the weft of the road,
back tires weave a wavy pattern
     that shuttling sound

how dust bloats up as a car trundles down the road,
leaves you cloaked in dirty talcum powder,
croaks a deep cough
     that rasping sound

how it is hard to walk in gravel, the clumsy road
stretches ahead, no steady groove, you just slip-slide,
roll with the rocks to balance,
               that shifting sound

I know rejiggering gravel, twisting stone under wheels.
The grader guts through grit each week,
the rattle of settling,
                  that shuffling sound

I remember the hope of a tarvey, black and smooth,
to lay dust on a thirsty day,
pave your way
                       that mumbling sound


Bio:
Jo Barbara Taylor lives outside of Raleigh, North Carolina, grew up in Indiana, and remains an Indiana farm girl at heart. She taught English in public school for 21 years. Her poems and academic writing have appeared in journals, Including Tipton Poetry Journal and Inwood Indiana, magazines and anthologies. She leads poetry workshops for the North Carolina Poetry Society and OLLI through Duke Continuing Education. She has published four chapbooks, the most recent, High Ground by Main Street Rag, 2013.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A poem from R E Ford


Thick Hair
by R E Ford

It’s thick—internalize it please.
In the nature of you it becomes you.
In its tangled mane and darkness,
you arrive looking in a mirror.

Those dour hours of retreat;
those seconds of freedom on Friday;
I watch the hair move a new way,
some secret we entwine in.

Blackness first then the age of color,
highlights shriek age and dignity.
I study it nonchalantly.
It suits the mood that you incline.

Somewhere in this poem was you
as the hair repels so many unlike.


Bio: “I live in Brownsburg. I've been writing poetry for quite some time. I enjoy reading over writing, but with the accumulation of ideas comes the want to form my own and place them somewhere. My first name is just the letter R. There are many myths surrounding that name, and altogether I like to have several stories circulating about it at once. I work at UPS and attend classes at Ivy Tech. I have six poems going into The New Voices, the literary journal.”