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.”

Monday, August 7, 2017

In Red's Juke Joint in Clarksdale, a poem by Norbert Krapf

In Red's Juke Joint in Clarksdale
by Norbert Krapf

In Red's juke joint they play the blues
after the sun don't shine. The notes
they play are blue but the ones plugged in
on the wall glow red and the beer bottles

Red sells from behind the bar are cold and brown.
A small river flows behind the old building
and in front stands a cut barrel in which meat smokes.
Between the river and the smoke the blues cook

all night long and the beer flows as slow and long
as the river don't stop. People come to sit
on bar stools and chairs and listen to the blues
nights the way they come to sit in pews in church

Sunday mornings and in Red's and in the church
the music is about the same though some people
say the music in the juke joint comes from the Devil
and in church it comes from God. My ears tell me

the music in Red's is the call and response of the Devil
and God talkin' together and the people listen
the same whether the smoke comes from a candle
or meat and all the singing sounds sacred.

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