Thursday, December 31, 2015

Shari's 33rd Annual New Year's Day Bash, a prose poem by Michael Brockley



Shari’s 33rd Annual New Year’s Day Bash
by Michael Brockley

Captain Wah Wah’s grandchildren, Sophie and Dylan, jitterbug across the hardwood floor of the dining room, switching partners between their parents and aunts. Chairs arrayed along the wall, the dinner table dismantled and tucked inside a workroom. On stage, Ben sews dead flowers in the Pancho and Lefty gospel. The bandit polished his guns for the underground queen to see. As dusk arrives, Dylan shivers into the skin of music, and starlight flickers at Sophie’s feet while she chants Cabbage stew for money; black-eyed peas for luck. She strews rose petals among the guests. Shortbread cookies cool in the kitchen. Orange-and-brandy cake. Apple-cranberry-walnut pie. One of the aunts spins Dylan head-to-toe around her waist as Shari sings “You Ain’t Goin' Nowhere.” Sophie twirls at the ends of Captain Wah Wah's fingers. Oh, oh, are we gonna fly/Down in my easy chair. Those of us who applaud snack on grapes left over from midnight. On cinnamon-flavored buñuelos for love. Sophie’s father perches his daughter on his shoulder as Stan fine tunes the happiness song. Dylan and Shari allemande. We each lean forward from our part in the evening, listening to harmonicas and fiddles. To someone singing “The Weight” for the first time. The grandchildren stretch the “and, and, and” of the chorus until we are all breathless. This is how music is born. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Blueberry Hill Pancake House, a poem by Wendy Vergoz

The Blueberry Hill Pancake House

parking lot
on the East side
of town
is where
I picked up
my laptop
from the forensic
specialist,
plus the flashdrive
of Lydea and
her girlfriends,
the pornographic
clips
my husband
the pastor
had downloaded
onto my computer
six days before
he sent the letter
to his congregation
promising
with confidence
that there is
nothing
scandalous
about
our divorce.

--by Wendy Vergoz



Bio: Wendy Vergoz is an assistant professor of English at Marian University. Her poems have appeared in The Christian Century and Anglican Theological Review, and her poem "Unfinished, A Found Poem," written after 9/11, was read on the first anniversary of the attacks at churches in five different states. Vergoz participated in “Arts Kaleidoscope: Art, Poems, and Videos,” an exhibition of visual art and ekphrastic poems at Gallery 308 in Muncie, Indiana.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Hibakusha, a poem by Jared Carter

Hibakusha
by Jared Carter


Please stay awhile; the evening light
          still troubles me.
Before it changes into night
          I seem to see

That street again. Something reveals
          itself, and cuts
Across the years, breaking the seal
          on what I’ve shut

Away – that moment when they all
          burst into flame
And blew on through the paper walls,
          calling my name.

Bio: Jared Carter's most recent book is Darkened Rooms of Summer: New and Selected Poems (University of Nebraska Press). He lives in Indianapolis.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

God Bless Our Troops, a poem by Barry Harris

God Bless Our Troops
by Barry Harris

God bless our troops
especially the snipers
who, eye at the scope,  scan
a man hanging in the cross
hairs, perhaps the enemy,
a man who can be dead
a thousand yards away
one second after God
blesses the trigger.

God bless our troops,
especially the drone controllers
sitting in cubicles
underneath a Nevada desert,
firing a missile a continent away
at a band of terrorists
or a wedding party.

Small decisions make a terrible difference,
true spooky action at a distance.


Bio: Barry Harris is editor of the Tipton Poetry Journal and has published one poetry collection, Something At The Center. Barry lives in Brownsburg, Indiana and is retired from Eli Lilly and Company. A graduate of Ball State University with a major in English, Barry was founding editor of Tipton Poetry Journal, which has been published in print and online versions since 2004. In 2009, he helped found Brick Street Poetry, Inc., a non-profit organization which now publishes Tipton Poetry Journal, hosts Poetry on Brick Street, and sponsors poetry-related events. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Saint Ann’s Review, Grey Sparrow Journal, Silk Road Review, Kentucky Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Silver Birch Press, Boston Literary Magazine, Night Train, Hiss Quarterly, Cherry Blossom Review, Flying Island, Lily, The Centrifugal Eye, Redheaded Stepchild, Flutter, Wheelhouse Magazine, Houston Literary Review, Snow Monkey and Writers’ Bloc; and in these anthologies: MOTIF 3: Work, Twin Muses: Art and Poetry and From the Edge of the Prairie.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Filled With Ladders, the World, a poem by Wendy Vergoz with painting by Sofiya Inger

Filled With Ladders, the World
by Wendy Vergoz

My father’s hands hold metal legs,
I on the ladder’s penultimate rung
last-but-one-any-higher-too-high.
My father’s hands hold metal legs,
I scoop wet leaves from the rooftop gutter,
first-house gutter, wet brown leaves,
soft green moss. I pry the screen off, sharp,   
slide my fingers underneath, my fingers which,    
long ago held white string, Jacob’s ladder.     

Strong-girl hands with slender fingers hold
Cat’s Cradle, Jacob’s ladder
she climbs from seeds, from the singing bell
the ringing bell, the bicycle bell
the sweet-girl voice counts
the ball and jacks singing
Jacob’s ladder, fingering string and jacks                   
and feet lift from the ground           
to jump the rope to count to sing to lift                       
past faces, past light, the faces are the light
voices present voices past
rise past singing ringing fingers hands

Solid as stone the ground, light as flowers her feet
ascend descend, spill through time like purple flowers

My father’s hands hold metal stems
and purple flowers spill through time
we float through time on singing bells
and ringing bells, the ball and jacks           
—the ball and chain pull us down
how dreadful is this place where tiny men would
pull us down, we float up past
my mother’s face, your mother’s voice   
the voices of our mothers
lift us sing us ring us past the sun and moon
the stars at night ascend descend and rise again          
The world is filled with my father’s hands
my mother’s voice, the rungs of the crib    
your father's hands free you from
the rungs of your crib, we float we lift   
ascend through time, time present, time past
—the ball and chain a nightmare dream
as we float through the purple flowers        
the ball becomes a singing bowl
a ringing bell, the chain a string a seed a stem
the ball and jacks, the jumping rope
the faces stars the faces moons, they lift me sing me                 
ring me toward or ring me through          
the girlhood string of Jacob’s ladder
Jacob’s gate, we float we rise        
through purple-flowered strings of time
how dreadful is that darkened place, those tiny men
will never hold us down                 

My father’s hands and mother’s voice       
your mother’s hands and father’s voice
my daughter’s hands, my son’s voice
strong as stone and sweet as bells
the singing voice, the ringing voice      
the world is filled with voices past and voices now   
singing bells and ringing bells
voices light leaves and bells        
suns and moons and purple flowers    
Jacob’s ladders fill the world, daughters sons
stems and seeds, the world is filled with
ladders made from faces light
and moss-rich earth        this place is filled with
I dreamt it on stone        angels

                                                                      
      Bio: Wendy Vergoz is an assistant professor of English at Marian University. Her poems have appeared
in The Christian Century and Anglican Theological Review, and her poem "Unfinished, A Found Poem," written 


after 9/11, was read on the first anniversary of the attacks at churches in five different states. Vergoz 

      participated  in “Arts Kaleidoscope: Art, Poems, and Videos,” an exhibition of visual art and ekphrastic poems at Gallery 308 in Muncie, Indiana.




"The World Is Filled With Ladders," acrylic on board, by Sofiya Inger.