Thursday, January 31, 2019

42 From 90, a poem by Christopher Stolle

Editor's note: Today is the 100th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's birth.

42 From 90
by Christopher Stolle

Jackie ran toward home
his cleats stubborn
his pants fashionably dirty
his cap racing behind him

the fans bewildered
the pitcher stunned
the catcher confused
by such disregard for decorum

the third base coach livid
cursing, stomping, chasing
after his charge

the teammates swarming
the coach retreating
the manager fainting

the umpire extending his arms
to take flight with Jackie

Bio: Christopher Stolle’s writing has appeared most recently in Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, Edify Fiction, Contour, The New Southern Fugitives, The Gambler, Gravel, The Light Ekphrastic, Sheepshead Review, and Plath Poetry Project. He works as an acquisitions and development editor for Penguin Random House, and he lives in Richmond, Indiana.

Monday, January 28, 2019

No-Name Bingo Club, a poem by Marissa Rose

No-Name Bingo Club
by Marissa Rose

Named for want of anonymity
or lack of creativity, it’s anyone’s guess—
dead nights and a vacant parking lot
both transformed by that institution
setting up snap-leg folding tables
in an old store-front, Sunday nights in town.
Not holy enough for night church?
Pay your looseleaf dollars and unfold
your chair among the long, brown rows.
It was not a brotherhood—
the prizes were canned peas or a bus pass—
but a queer girl could do worse,
stamping daubers the color of road vests
over a grid that looked the same
each time you played. You could feel lucky
when luck was doled out evenly
between you and the octogenarians,
and if the numbers didn’t jag
in stair-steps toward your favor,
at least they never tried
to save your soul.
It went the way most places went:
there, and then not. The town
did not spin off its axis, or even,
after a time, recall what the paneled walls
once held. Sometimes the carnies
would set up ski-ball and a ferris wheel
in the parking lot, spinning glitz
incomparable to the cage of numbers
that once bubbled and called out for you.

Marissa Rose's work has previously appeared in Tangerine Magazine, Facing LGBTQ Pride, and Raleigh Review, among others. In 2016, she was a finalist for Poet Laureate of the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 and was selected as the representative poet for Delaware County, Indiana, in the collection, Mapping the Muse: A Bicentennial Look at Indiana Poetry.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Her Addiction: a poem by Mary Sexson

Her Addiction
by Mary Sexson


You laid down the needle,
and took up your life again,
only looking back to count
the reasons you had lived.
Your boy beside you each day
is enough, you said.
So we all walk forward
a few steps, holding
our breath to see if this
can last, or will some terrible
pull breach the dike and drag
you back into the wash?

You say you have your own God,
one the books don’t talk about,
one who is privy to your fears
and secrets. But this God
doesn’t punish, or hold you
down with guilt. And so I,
in my faithlessness, call him
to me, render my recompense,
and barter for my debt.

Back Into the Fray

One hundred days did not
give you the clarity you sought,

nor did it remove any obstacles
from your path. It merely proved

to be a short respite, for all of us,
from the relentless grind

of your addiction. We laid our heads
down, collectively, and slept

a dreamless sleep, and woke to find
you gone again, back into the fray

of your life, your own war zone,
the bombs falling all around you.

Rewriting the Script

I dreamed I was writing poems
about you, last night, you burning
in the fire of your addiction,
tied to the hopelessness of it
as if you’d already made the agreement
to ride this thing to the end,
no matter what, and then I
was frantically editing these poems,
moving your hopelessness off
the page, inserting courage
and a resilient spirit, you
saving yourself over and over.

In my dream you kept resisting
my rewrites, changing the script
back to lost and broken, the vehicle
that is your life crashed to the side
of the road, with no survivors, but I
wrote you back in, crawling
from that wreckage,
a strong sponsor answering
your last cell phone call for help.
People from a nearby meeting gather
and lift you off the road, take you
back to their meeting and hold you
until the bleeding stops. In my dreams
you live, every single time.

Bio: Mary Sexson is the author of 103 in the Light, Selected Poems 1996-2000 (Restoration Press), and co-author of Company of Women, New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press). Her poems have appeared in Flying Island, Tipton Poetry Journal, Grasslands Review, New Verse News, Trip of a Lifetime, Ichabod’s Sketchbook IV, Sustainable Indiana, the Shared Spaces/Shared Voices project, and several anthologies, including Reckless Writing (2013), A Few Good Words (2013), The Best of Flying Island (2015), and Words and Other Wild Things (2016). Her newest work is in HoosierLit Literary Magazine (The Geeky Press), Flying Island, and Tipton Poetry Journal (Brick Street Poetry). She has two Pushcart Prize nominations.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Lost in Translation: A Spaniard With English Ears, a poem by Vincent Corsaro

Lost in Translation: A Spaniard With English Ears
by Vincent Cosaro

Language is a shifty puta.
Play around with it just right
and you can build bridges between tongues.
Use only the shape of ink
and write on a thin strip of Spanish wood.

The sky is a cello.
The dog is a pair of boots.
Red rivers urge me to row home
as wolves chew on low bones.”

Add more filler
a handful of black and white chords
some música.
Abstract thought is in style now.
The gringos will think you’re an artist,
that you have something special in your mind.

Go smoke on food mars.
Your feet are nothing but old pies,
lukewarm, unmoving.
You sleep with a bad case of dorm ears.
Your shoes hold zapped out toes.
You can’t eat, you comb air
like a photosynthesizing plant
a large metal tree, upside down
a bowl.”

They’ll have no clue you’re full of mierda
that you have a small book,
a pocket translator,
turning your native tongue
into some lengua ludica.

Write like a mala traducción.
They’ll think it’s art.
Just don’t tell them
you’re actually a linguist.

Vincent Corsaro is an MFA student at Butler University. He was born in raised in Indianapolis, and is involved in both the musical and writing communities in the city. He describes himself an avid rock climber, reader, musician, and person. In the spring of 2018, he published his first work of fiction in IU's Canvas Literary Arts Journal.

Monday, January 7, 2019

In the Poet's House, a poem by Terry Ofner

In the Poet’s House
by Terry Ofner
I saw wainscot of tin made to look like wood
and I traced my finger on it and followed her up
and heard notes as from a practice room
somewhere above—fingers on white keys

and black made to look like wood and the left
hand put down a limping bass line and the right
foot held the pedal and I felt the quiver and traced
a finger along it and wondered—can I be

like me? and the now answered with a mocking
tin-like song: “Can I be like me?” then I saw her skirt
disappear at a twist in the stairs—and the ghost
of piano forte made a sound like metal and wood

and I traced a finger to feel it and I saw her
follow herself up into the music

Bio: Terry Ofner has published poetry in World Order, 100 Words, Right Hand Pointing, Ghazal Page, Flying Island, San Pedro River Review, and forthcoming in I70 Review. Helives in Indianapolis and is an editor for an educational publishing company headquartered in Iowa, where he grew up—not far from the Mississippi River.