Saturday, August 30, 2014

A poem from George Kalamaras

The Sincerity of Thirsty Hermits
by George Kalamaras

Arenas of moray eels access my rich orange complexity.
The sincerity of thirsty hermits is an abundant blue flesh.

I am no one, if not nothing.
Come to my ear and show me how to sign alive.

You are more beautiful than a horoscope made of milk.
You are lonelier than all the shoes outside a temple in India.

My friend K approached his friend J and asked after S, M, and T.
I knew the others peripherally, mostly because of my friends L and Z.

Now the trains play backgammon on the track to Gabon.
We’d all heard of the German professor eaten by cannibals near Brazzaville.

If you want to acquire land in unnatural ways, sit in the dark hut of your heart.
Ask yourself down through the diamonds and dead bodies of what you can only imagine
     is loss.

Bio: George Kalamaras, Poet Laureate of Indiana, is the author of seven books of poetry and seven chapbooks, including Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize (2011). He is Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1990.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A poem from George Kalamaras

Today Is Close to Today
by George Kalamaras

In those days everything was more beautiful than everything else.
We lived like souls soiling themselves into bodies.

I once wished my name contained nothing but verbs.
Yes, I was young, but no, I could keep still.

If you poison me shy, my cluttered ease might salmon-spawn a flexible sacrifice.
We defy the full moon like we might the seal skin of a cricket.

You may conduct in my mouth any experiment you wish regarding deep sleep.
I am perfectly content masticating indirect objects into prepositions.

Of. Beyond. For. After. During which.
I seem to always start by ending and close by some opening mouth.

Sure, those days—long ago, now—almost seem like the old days.
Today seems very close to today.

Bio: George Kalamaras, Poet Laureate of Indiana, is the author of seven books of poetry and seven chapbooks, including Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize (2011). He is Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1990.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A poem from George Kalamaras

For the Not Yet Dead
by George Kalamaras

The other, the one who does not want to die.
I must be absolutely sure of his name
for I do not want to call him
Nikephoros Gregoras or Georgias.

His touch throughout the tiles
of the house is that of the newly wed.
And this reverence applies even to dust,
an old coin, a fallen grain
of quinoa that might contain pieces of moon.

We are told that somewhere exists
a pair of better hands. We don’t believe
in hands, or even in the word We.
We believe in Epsom salts.
A softening from the bath.

A woman is scarved in roses, dealing cards.
The faces are blank, except
the Jack of Pronouns,
the Queen of Blades.
They’ve finally come to remove the tree
from the ground of this word
or that. I must memorize its name, swirl
of bark, totems in the unwept grain.
Call it quinoa. Call it elm. Call its touch.
back into my once lovely untouched mouth.

Bio: George Kalamaras, Poet Laureate of Indiana, is the author of seven books of poetry and seven chapbooks, including Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck, winner of the Elixir Press Poetry Prize (2011). He is Professor of English at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne, where he has taught since 1990.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A wickedly humorous poem from Leslie Lynnton Fuller

Smarty you roué
by Leslie Lynnton Fuller

Stop telling every woman you know
that you love her.

It’s like me saying
come get the pussy!
the ex said it tastes like banana!

cupid’s handyman, your week
spent on the run
you help women with puppies,
overheating car, malfunctioning toilet

all from the goodness of your heart.
my dear at this age
plumbing is foreplay.

give your ex’s son a tennis lesson,
she dreams you’re the new stepdad
never mean to hurt anyone.

daddy you’re the nightmare on Meridian Street
you do have your ways

when you kiss me,
you massage my
Superior Labial Frenulum
(under the top lip near the gum, I looked it up)
and pretend you’re doing oral

you can’t even kiss without being a tease

oh Smarty you roué
working that boyish charm
into your 90s and in the nursing home
staff will search room by room

see which bed you’ve landed in.

you’ll request a female undertaker
one last chance to vamp
stone dead with a smile on your face
knowing she’ll lift the sheet

Bio: Leslie Lynnton Fuller is an Indianapolis-based writer.

Monday, August 18, 2014

A poem from Jo Barbara Taylor

Kiss Me As If It Were the Last Time
by Jo Barbara Taylor

Though Juliet loved Romeo,
her heart's hope vanished with the dew

and the dawn lark sang go, go, go
hurry before the sky turns blue.

Hours and fate waylaid her hallowed vow
to remain one of two, ever true.

          Hopeless, the brief romance that hovers
          over storied, star-crossed lovers.

Ilsa dropped into Rick's Café,
and Sam sang the love song of Paris again.

In one brief moment, she was larked away—
you must remember this—along the Seine

where she walked with Rick day after day.
Ilsa left with longing she could not contain.

          Futile, the sad romance that hovers
          over tales of star-crossed lovers.

In Rome a princess fell in with a hack
while on holiday from the duty of a royal daughter.

She rode his Vespa, carried clothes in a sack,
danced like a filly slipping her halter.

When the lark flew at sunrise, fetched her back,
she whispered I leave you, though she faltered.

          Gone, the promise of romance that hovers
          over stories of star-crossed lovers.

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, August 12, 2014

A poem from Kyle D. Craig

Screened In Deck
by Kyle D. Craig

          —for Lorna Shoemaker

Today I find it impossible to deny
that cobwebs are spun in the corner,
that the latch on the door beckons,
that my spirit feels like the garden hose
in winter—coiled and closed in a box.
I want to reach up and smack the wind
chimes that dangle motionless
from a hook, feel the onslaught
of the sun’s rays peeking through
pear trees, dance among the explosion
of colors I witness each morning
by way of the feeder: the lemon-yellow
figure of the finch, the blackbird wings
banded in red, or the blue and white
body of the immaculate jay. I want
to scurry behind the squirrel who
walks a tightrope along a telephone
wire, or roll my skin in the soil
and grass like a lab without a leash.
O how I long to be a part of the world!
But for now I will remain locked
in my screened cage, my pens resting
on a small table, steam slowly rising
from the rim of my cup, my whiskered
friend napping on the warm wood,
his water bowl a few feet beside him.

Bio:I live, write, and work as a psychotherapist in Indianapolis, Indiana. I am also a member of the Indiana Writers Center, where I have studied under such poets as David Shumate, Shari Wagner, and Micah Ling. My work can be seen in the forthcoming Spring issue of Tar River Poetry."


Monday, August 11, 2014

Creative Nonfiction from Teri Costello

By Teri Costello

It was winter. I wore the uniform, suits and high heels, hairdos and makeup. My charcoal wool suit had a slit up the back of the skirt, just enough.

Meeting each week to strategize with the boys at the downtown office, I made recommendations to improve their accounting. They were my age - early forties. Young Turks. The conversations were smart. I was hitting my professional stride. I knew what I was about, what they were about, what they needed, and how to deliver. Good times.

In a singular moment, walking down the hall to one of those meetings (it was a Wednesday), my world changed forever. I felt the earth move under my feet, like the song said - but not in a good way. As I entered the conference room, all heads turned, all eyes were on me, mesmerized by the worms slithering out of my nose, mouth, and ears, the flames shooting out of the top of my head.

I started to speak and couldn’t put two thoughts together. Most of my vocabulary was gone, and I could manage only short, awkward squeaks - this as sweat rolled down my back, legs, neck, and face. I looked down, trying to compose myself, and the glassy eyes of my coldcocked self-esteem stared up at me from the carpet. I thought I was dying.

“Is it warm in here?”


Sparklers began to fly across my mind’s eye. Maybe they were in my eyes. Maybe I was having a stroke. Maybe there were no little sparklers.

After two weeks, I called the doctor. I told him I had lost the ability to comprehend simple concepts, my communication skills were gone, and I had gained sparklers, worms, sweat, and oh, a logic-blinding, generalized fury.

He told me to come in and give a blood sample, that he would see me when the results were back. And he’d put a rush on that. He said, “I am going to leave the phone now, Sweetie, but Natalie will come on the line, and she will set these appointments up for you. Okay?”

“Okay,” I whispered.

Thank God - the man knew I was losing my grip and had just attached a lifeline from him to me. Or, he was just trying to get rid of me - the old Natalie trick. He probably used it every time crazy people called him.

A week later I sat in his office.

“You’re too young for this to be happening now,” he said, “but it is. Your hormone activity has completely shut down.”

I laid my head on his shoulder and cried for forty-five minutes - he’s that kind of doctor. I finally gave him a break from the worms and snot and raw fucking hopelessness that were oozing out of me and asked him where we go from here.

The first year was the toughest. Some days I would walk down that hall into a meeting as Superwoman. More often I was rolling down the same hall spread-eagle on a wheel of death, naked, glimpsing wide-eyed boys watch me crash into walls and chairs.

Everyone goes through it differently; I heard that a lot. Even so, can you tell me how they got through it, differently? The German aunts weren’t talking, and my peers were my age, too young for menopause.

It was difficult to leave the house some days. But I did it; we do it. Out of nowhere appeared a sane twin who watched over me, kept me from killing anyone.

* * *

Three years later I was working out of my home office, expecting a client. She called, crying, to say she wouldn’t be keeping her appointment. She had just left to meet with me when her car broke down in the middle of a busy intersection. She got out of the car, walked to the front bumper, and repeatedly kicked it. Then she turned and walked home.

“No worries,” I said. “We’ll reschedule when you feel better.”

BIO: Originally from San Diego, a CPA by profession, Teri Costello took down her shingle in 2011 and moved to Indianapolis after living in Los Angeles and Chicago. In her words, “Life now is sweet, close, and personal.”

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A poem from Stacy Post

Early Dreams of Telepathy
by Stacy Post

When you were eight-track
I was vinyl

When I was CD
you were cassette

strung out on a mixed tape
I couldn’t live without

but now
we’re both MP3

you say we can share a cloud
instead of direct downloads—

out-formatting me once again
It doesn’t matter really

how we share
the music

the songs of our connection
will outlast us, will synchronize

in the ethereal
our early dreams of telepathy

will come true

Bio: Stacy Post, a native Hoosier and librarian, resides in the heartland with her adorable family. A Pushcart Prize nominee for short fiction, her stories have appeared in Boston Literary Magazine, moonShine review, Fiction365, One Forty Fiction, Referential Magazine, Rose & Thorn Journal, WOW! Women on Writing and Every Day Fiction. Her poetry has appeared in Midwestern Gothic, Sleet Magazine, Kansas City Voices, 4 & 20 Poetry, Pearl, Iodine Poetry Journal, Referential Magazine, Every Day Poets and Skylark. Her poetry has ridden the bus rails in Tippecanoe County (Indiana) with their Words on the Go program. Her first poetry chapbook, Sudden Departures, was released in 2013 with Finishing Line Press.