Friday, August 28, 2015

Little Detroit, a prose poem by Michael Brockley

Little Detroit
by Michael Brockley

The factory by the railroad tracks where your grandfather built McFarlan sedans is shuttered, its windows broken. Its doors jimmied open by scavengers. At Independence Day parades, undertakers once pulled floats along Grand Avenue in their vintage Auburns and Duesenbergs while county fair queen hopefuls waved and tossed butterscotch candies to the crowd. For the city sesquicentennial, the married men modeled the beards and mustaches of Civil War generals. Your clean-shaven father let muttonchops stubble his jaw. Then won a sawbuck for the way he favored General Burnside. Tom T. Hall played for tips in Sue's Diner, the same place you bought sausage-and-egg sandwiches on Saturday mornings. Where you daydreamed over exotic paragraphs in a discarded Grit. Hall sang of giving $7.80 to a waitress for her rent. Of catching catfish in the Whitewater River. Folks said when fog rose from the Whitewater, a phantom McFarlan accelerated along the center line of Cry Woman Bridge. That the hit-and-run girl lies buried beneath the cemetery's dollhouse. You shoplifted paperbacks from Chambers' drugstore. Comic books in which a cursed cowboy tested his quick draw against Beelzebub. During pick-up games at Spartan Field, you tackled with the rage of a teenage boy without the keys to a Rambler. Or even a rust-bucket Corvair. You heard rumors of panthers hunting in the western hills. Of creatures that chewed off their feet to escape the traps on the outskirts of town. When you left for good, you hitchhiked north, abandoning the first car you owned. A Mustang that started once.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Tremor, a poem by Norbert Krapf

The Tremor
for Liza and Maggie

A daughter goes off
to school sensing
she is entering the end
of one phase of her life

soon to begin another.
Her mother stands
at her side amazed
at what her daughter

has become and will
become even more.
A tremor of love
passes between them

like the pitch of a tuning
fork whose sound waves
displace the silence
in their opening ears.

                        —by Norbert Krapf

Bio: Norbert Krapf, a Jasper, Indiana, native, was Indiana Poet Laureate 2008-10, received a Glick Indiana Author Award 2014 (Regional), and held a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council of Indianapolis 2011-12 to combine poetry and the blues. His latest of 11 poetry collections is Catholic Boy Blues: A Poet's Journal of Healing (ACTA Publications, In Extenso Imprint, 2015). He collaborates with bluesman Gordon Bonham.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Lorraine, a poem by Frederick Michaels

by Frederick Michaels

Sweat rolls off the bridge of my nose.
I can taste a salty Main street flavor
as I catch it's 90° on my tongue tip
and share the brief liquidity with my lips.

It's just 25 minutes to the Lorraine,
but it surely feels like a long, hot way
from 1968 and the news on the TV.
I heard it plain then, but didn't feel it.

Comfortably unafflicted by deprivation,
cul du sac'd with like-minded faces,
insulated by middle class tunnel vision,
I was still numb and dumb from JFK in '63.

Now half a lifetime gone, the images
from my grainy black and white memory,
emotionless and a million miles removed,
snap into focus and I see all at once:

I am the hands on the rifle
I am the blood on the balcony
I am America unseen
behind a veil of indifference;

and as I peer through my view finder
I wonder how we do that to one another.
I wonder how we survive as men
and a bead of water drips down the lens.

Bio: Frederick Michaels writes from the low-stress environment of retirement in Indiana. His work reflects inspiration drawn from a tasty helping of personal insecurity, seasoned with savory words and events snatched out of the air in every day living. He maintains an ongoing love affair with history. His work has appeared in Flying Island, The Boston Poetry Journal, and Lone Stars Magazine, as well as in the anthologies Reckless Writing (2012 and 2013), and Naturally Yours.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Tintinnbulation, a poem, by Jo Barbara Taylor

by Jo Barbara Taylor


Wind chimes wrinkle into timely pitch to report a windwhipped stir
in the air. (you've heard them tingle) 
When the tornado trespassed in Richmond, 
(those days before sirens)
the chimes on Main Street screamed and one block over, dead silence.    


The carillon holds dear twenty-three bells to give us this day
every morning, (you've heard them quiver)
our matins in precise pitch tuned
(morning reminder)
to stir a sleeper or a sinner, soothe the souls of the dead.


In Scranton church bells speak our daily bread. When the Marias
toll, (you've heard them shudder)
Aunt Lizzie chants Hark, hark, the dogs all bark.
 (call to confession)
Repentance digs in hard coal, lungs of the living, legacy of the dead.


Winter, sleigh bells answer the call of school bells and cowbells,
rhythms of daily habits (you've heard them shiver)
when snow cloaks the path.
The strike, the hum, the overtone chime now and at the hour of our death

Bio Jo Barbara Taylor lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, grew up in Indiana, and remains an Indiana farm girl at heart. Her poems and academic writing have appeared in journals, including Tipton Poetry Journal and Inwood Indiana, magazines and anthologies. She leads poetry workshops for the North Carolina Poetry Society and OLLI through Duke Continuing Education. She has published four chapbooks, the most recent, High Ground by Main Street Rag, 2013.