Monday, May 30, 2016

Bible Study, a poem by Tracy Mishkin

Bible Study
by Tracy Mishkin

Genesis begins with light, ends with a coffin
in Egypt. Then another coffin floats on the Nile,
an ark for a tiny, wailing refugee who will build
another ark, a tent of meeting in the wilderness.
As an old man, he will squint at the Promised Land
from an eroded mountain, his sister and brother
buried somewhere behind him. No one will mention
his children. If he were granted a gravestone,
it would say he argued with his god. The one
who sends floods that rip coffins from the earth,
bobbing past this ark in which we huddle together.

Bio: Tracy Mishkin is a call center veteran with a PhD and an MFA student in Creative Writing at Butler University. Her chapbook, I Almost Didn't Make It to McDonald's, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2014. Her second chapbook, The Night I Quit Flossing, is forthcoming from Five Oaks Press. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Guarding Zimbo Talking Blues, a prose poem by Michael Brockley

The Guarding Zimbo Talking Blues

(He had one of those white-boy shots. 
Tommy Chong, speaking of Bob Dylan as a basketball  player)

You’re on Bojangles, says Silas. Hack him if he gets in the zone. The American Songbook dribbles to his right, favoring his melody hand. At the crossover he looks at the ball for a backbeat before bouncing it back to his shooting side. Hums something that might have been “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.” I center my body between his hips and the basket. He grins the way he must have grinned each time he made love to one of those beautiful brunettes. Steps back and guns a set shot over my token defense. Twine. How do I body up the man who could Mr. Jones me during a time-out writing binge? On his team’s next possession he weaves into the key. The lane opening as if Baudelaire and Rimbaud had set NBA picks for his drive. At the goal the lucky wilbury stops, gathers his jump and kisses the orange off the sweet spot. His eyes glitter with that Nashville Skyline twinkle. Who’s got that man? Silas asks the rafters. My teammates glare at me as Jokerman spins off another pick-and-roll for two. Loose balls and deflections find him along the baseline arc where the ball ascends from his groin past his chest and head until he flicks it with the fingers that strummed “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again.” He posts me in the paint and calls for the rock in that Book of Deuteronomy howl. Then puts on that gaucho fedora from his Rolling Thunder days. And sunglasses for the coup de grĂ¢ce. It’s about face now. The next time Blind Boy Grunt catches a no-look from Guthrie, I’ll ring them bells until he’s knocking on heaven’s door. 

by Michael Brockley

Bio: Michael Brockley is a 66-year-old school psychologist who works in rural northeast Indiana. His poems have appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, The New Verse News, The Rat's Ass Review and Panoplyzine. Forthcoming poems can be found in Atticus Review, Gargoyle and Zingara Poetry Picks.

Monday, May 23, 2016

42, a poem by Dave Malone

by Dave Malone

What Jackie knows
We hope to know.
And when Preacher
Steps up to bat,
The man decides
On home. No fear
In him we know
About. Such is
The stuff we cast
Our heroes with.
In palest nights,
The widow grasps
The lot of sand
And diamond grass.
The grace of speed,
The running path,
The numbered runs
Of Brooklyn’s best—
Always fleet
Of foot during
Triumphant theft.

Bio: Dave Malone received his graduate degree in English from Indiana State in 1994. He later lived in the New Albany area. He no longer lives in Indiana, but he considers himself part Hoosier. His great (seventh) grandmother, Mary Coughman Bridgewater, was a doctor of medicine in the early 1800s and lived at the small village of Pigeon Roost with her family. Though she lost children at the conflict there in 1812, she survived. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Two Variations, poems by Jayne Marek

Two Variations

                   —for Hazel, 1951-2011

1. Conjunto

When I hear your name, Hazel, it is 1994,
you and I knee-deep in the Colorado River in Austin, Texas,
under the rock hollows at Barton Springs, both of us visitors
who met at the library and don’t have swimsuits
to take with us over lunchtime, under the July sun so rabid
we can’t stand to eat. We talk and talk,
your Australian accent telling of loneliness
from one continent to the next,
brown water billowing over our toes
like a thousand sentences to be read and written.
At evening, you drive us in your landlords’ Datsun
to a cantina where we order tacos and beer, both
the same temperature, because we are here for the conjunto music
you have never heard before. The Mexican quartet
knows everyone sitting at the patched tables
except us, so the men in silver-seamed pants
flourish their fingertips as they play through the favorites,
listeners’ feet shifting on soiled hardwood,
the sandals, the tennis shoes, the polished wingtips
of the older man, the red patent pumps of his lady
who leaps up, takes his hand, and the two smooth their dance
across the floor as all heads turn to follow them
and fans slog overhead, shifting scents of cerveza
and lime, green and tangy, over our greedy hands.

2.  No Stairway to Heaven

I dream of staircases that end in midair,
steps of gray composition tiles or faded wood, no railings,
where I wait at the abyss
not knowing how to go on.

Awake today, I remember Mexican pottery
with riotous blue and yellow petals painted
in bold strokes, filling the shops of the Texas street
where we browsed—the colors were happiness.

And we watched an old couple in plain street clothes,
in the cantina that summer night,
who danced seamlessly like two halves
of the same soul.

What I want to say is

I hope you had beauty in your mind as your eyes closed, Hazel,
unable to breathe, fearful of taking the empty step,
and remembered the tall young man,
your lover later that humid night,
every touch a streak of searing orange.

—by Jayne Marek

Bio: Jayne Marek’s poetry and art photos have appeared in publications such as New Mexico Review, Blast Furnace, Gravel, Lantern Journal, Siren, Spillway, Driftwood Bay, Tipton Poetry Journal, Isthmus, The Occasional Reader, Wisconsin Academy Review, and Windless Orchard and in several anthologies. She is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. She also has a chapbook and a co-authored book of poems, as well as articles and short fiction. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ponderings, a poem by Bonita Cox Searle

by Bonita Cox Searle 

Ghosts sleep in ponds
And rise up in early morning
To haunt geese.

When fish think they are alone,
They dance on the surface
Of the pond.

Herons make no noise
When they catch fish

An unloved pond
Chokes on algae
And raises mosquitoes.

A loved pond
Feeds its guests
And invites them back.

Old man pond frogs
When they are awake.

When living on a pond,
Ducks and geese practice
A separate
But equal philosophy.

Ponds are as moody as the sea.

Autumn leaves fall
To the pond’s surface
To dance with fish.

Muskrats sashay back
And forth past
Dancing fish on the pond.

When a pond freezes,
The fish stop dancing and
Fall asleep.
Herons eat elsewhere.

A pond does not know
It is a pond.

Bio: Bonita Cox Searle lives in Noblesville, Ind.,where she writes poetry and short stories. She is working on a novel. Her work has appeared in the Polk Street Review and Flying Island.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

On the day we found out, a poem by Rebecca Hill

On the day we found out
We surrounded you,
A protective barrier like soldiers shielding their general.
We hoped to keep you here with us, safe,
But as I watched you digest the news, Alzheimer’s disease,
I saw a battle of strength, anger, disbelief and shock
Struggle within you. 
But on your face was what I’ve always known,
That you were the strong one,
The rock that kept this circle of family viable.
And so you continued to fight. 
Now years later,
You drift farther away from our shore.
Your voice faint from where we stand on the shoreline.
You are so far from us that
We no longer distinguish the person you used to be
From the person you are now,
Drifting and bobbing on the water,
A warrior’s death, waiting for only the torch.
Your anchor no longer tethered to our ship.

— by Rebecca Hill

Bio: Rebecca Hill is a freelance writer who has published some poetry over her lifetime.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Used, a poem by Jared Carter

May 2 is Independent Bookstore Day.

by Jared Carter

Abandoned, on rough wooden shelves –
          dusty, crowded –
Volumes bereft, beside themselves,
          almost shrouded.

Here the gaunt castaways on view,
          their faces blurred,
Their jackets torn, their binding glue
          half cracked, their words

A mumble now. The old Playboys
          are finger-worn;
The back room, with its special toys,
          still offers porn.

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