Monday, December 23, 2019

Helicopter Poet,a poem by Nancy Pulley

Helicopter Poet
by Nancy Pulley

I hover over creation, stroke
a metaphor as if brushing
the hair from my grandson’s forehead,
pull a poem back from the hot fire
of the critic as I did my son’s fingers
from our autumn campfire. I can’t bear
for the world to see them through any
except a mother’s eyes. How I cherish
the fact that they came from me, wonder
if I should trust others to love enough
to help with their raising. A teacher
suggests taking out the heart of one, and
a nearly famous poet calls them “sentimental.”
Yet try as I might to build poems
like bridges, I keep birthing them from
some romantic liaison with air, sky, tree,
river or the occasional star that falls
to earth like a God. Words are not
brightly colored Lego blocks
to be torn apart and repurposed. They cling
to me, my little monkeys, my sweet
offspring, daughters coming in from the yard,
peach juice glistening on their young, pink lips.

Nancy Pulley's poems have appeared in Tipton Poetry Journal, the Indiannual, Flying Island, Arts Indiana Literary Supplement, Passages North, Plainsong, the Sycamore Review, and the Humpback Barn Festival collection. In 1992, she won the Indiana Writers Center poetry chapbook contest, resulting in the publication of a chapbook, Tremolo of Light.

Monday, December 16, 2019

The Visit, a poem by Mary Redman

The Visit
by Mary Redman

Her eyes, a windless pond,
look but do not see as I move to her table
in the dining room. Slowly, the focus

changes—and she knows it’s me
but can no longer say my name.

I take her out, slow-footed,
for our walk along a certain route,
the road encircling her sheltered home.

She tries to set a faster pace
as if she needs to prove something.

No need to hurry, I say.
Tongue-tied, she tries to speak,
as if she must—to keep me coming back.

She may be right. I do not know
how to do this sort of small talk. I speak.

She nods, pretends to catch my point.
Looking at her soft-skinned face,
draped jowls, crosshatched lines marking
years, I wonder when she changed
so. Soon it’s time to leave—

We hug as if one of us might break,
and I smell soap and Charlie, faded
after hours of wearing. I tell her

I’ll phone tomorrow. She blinks.
I wonder what she thinks as I turn

to leave. She watches ‘til I’m out of sight—
I see her in the rearview mirror.
Down the road a few blocks more,

I breathe a sigh of relief, regret, and guilt—
as sticky as a July day after rain.

Mary Redman is a retired high school English teacher who currently works part time supervising student teachers for University of Indianapolis. She enjoys having time to volunteer and to take classes at the Indiana Writers Center. She has had poems published in Flying Island, Three Line Poetry, Red River Review, Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal, and elsewhere.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Absence, a poem by Roger Pfingston

by Roger Pfingston

My wife and I miss Carole,
our next-door neighbor,

and Elmer, also our neighbor
who lived across the road.
Elmer for his daily banter,
a mechanical wizard with mowers

and such, a sharp-eyed nonagenarian
who roamed his yard, hose in hand,

flushing the tunneled darkness
of moles uprooting his grass.

Carole for her resolve against
cancer while tending myriad

flowers, her front yard
the plotted absence of grass.

So recent their going,
sometimes we pick up the phone

or glance out the window
before we catch ourselves.

A retired teacher of English and photography, Roger Pfingston is the recipient of a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and two PEN Syndicated Fiction Awards. He is the author of Something Iridescent, a collection of poetry and fiction, as well as four chapbooks: Earthbound, Singing to the Garden, A Day Marked for Telling, and What’s Given, the latter recently published by Kattywompus Press.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Flying Island's 2019 Pushcart Prize nominations

Flying Island, the online literary journal of the Indiana Writers Center, is pleased to announce its nominees for the 2019 Pushcart Prize.

Vincent Corsaro for "Lost in Translation: A Spaniard With English Ears," January 14, 2019

Mary M. Brown for "San Souci," August 9, 2019

Terry Ofner for "Cave Painting," April 1, 2019

Mary Redman for "Meatless Friday," November 11, 2019

Mary Sexson for "Her Addiction," January 21, 2019

Congratulations and good luck to all the poets.

To submit fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry to the Flying Island, click:

Monday, December 2, 2019

What the Body Does to Us in Time, a poem by Norbert Krapf

What the Body Does to Us in Time
by Norbert Krapf

Where does all the pain come from?
Those knobs at the base of the thumbs
that pulse and make it hard to open
anything screwed tight. And those noises

the shoulder joints make when we lift
our arms? The dimming of our eyes
and the disappearance of moisture
in them that once lubricated vision?

Those rude noises that more easily
escape the apertures we’d rather
not name? And what about those
names that escape us so easily now?

I mean even of people we still know
we like. Oh and those appointments
we are obliged to keep, who wrote them
down in such illegible script on the wrong

days or not at all anywhere? And the sweet
flowers we have loved so long, why can’t
they be polite enough to whisper their
euphonious names in our wide-open ears?

And love, why do we so seldom understand
what the other is saying and become irritated
by the irascible and too-loud word What?
Why do our vowels still speak but consonants

drop out of range so quickly though we strain
to hear their sounds? Why must you have
your eyes and I my ears checked so often
as operatives we took for granted for so many

years but have so quickly and shockingly gone
goodbye? Why am I struggling to remember
what I’m trying to say? Who gave me the gift
of forgetting so much so easily as fast as this?

Norbert Krapf's latest collections are The Return of Sunshine (2018) and Indiana Hill Country Poems (2019). His adaptation of his Catholic Boy Blues collection (2015) into a play was performed in June in the Indy Eleven Theatre of Indy Fringe, and he is currently working on a new play, Andrew and the Bells of Lohr