Monday, June 27, 2016

Walking the Highway Back Into Town, a poem by James Owens

Walking the Highway Back Into Town
by James Owens

                 --Michigan City, Indiana., July, 2015

Insects unstitch bodies in the weeds:
a possum on its back, the pads of its feet

turned up pink, an infant's supplicant palms;
a fresher possum, draped with a fertile tangle

of black and green flies; a raccoon simplified
by heat and time to a tattered pelt and a snarl

twisted to bite the tires that killed it.
Drivers honk or yell, not to warn

but telling the happy news that they are riding ---
traffic from the casino that simmers with money

like fortunate blood --- while others trudge in sweat
and mosquitoes, among the slain, displaced

and liable to damage. Then the poor streets.
Young men glare, astonished by their own rage.

Sticky children plague a sulking, blotch-faced
woman who clouts one from a chipped porch.

The white-haired, drunken man spilling helpless
as ashes from his raveled suit wants to talk

about storm clouds thickening over the lake.
And one teen-aged, dark-skinned girl stands perfectly

untouched on a high concrete wall, looking out
at what is coming, not down at us, beautiful, alone.

Bio: James Owens's most recent collection of poems is Mortalia, from FutureCycle Press. His poems, stories, translations, and photographs have appeared in Valparaiso Poetry Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Superstition Review, Kestrel, and The Stinging Fly, among others. He lives in Wabash, Indiana.

Monday, June 20, 2016

The First Will Be Last, a poem by Scott Hensley

The First Will Be Last
by Scott Hensley

The city's final statement is itself.
It cannot see, or conceive,
Of anything beyond its bounds.
And so, it's not yet thought of its finest possibility:
Its slow and sure descent
Toward the ground. 

Bio: Scott Hensley is an Indianapolis native and resident. He and his wife, Erica, own and operate a small farm on the city's southeast side.

Monday, June 13, 2016

How Many Times?, a poem by Norbert Krapf

How Many Times?
by Norbert Krapf

How many times does the touch
of other people stay with us 
in the tissue of our flesh,
as memory that comes alive,

return when another touch
comes calling to draw us out
of where we are back into
another time or place:

that priest who went wrong
in what he did because
he needed something he knew
he should not take but could not

stop himself from having,
maybe a relative who wanted
to make us feel good about ourselves
and did know where to stop,

that first girl who put a fingertip
on the place that rose with a thrill
in response to the tingling electricity
of her warm and lush sensuality?

All still alive in us, decades later,
no matter how much our flesh
shifts and declines, still present
in how our spirit rises and falls.

Bio: Norbert Krapf, former Indiana Poet Laureate, is a Jasper, Indiana, native who lives in downtown Indianapolis. His most recent books are Catholic Boy Blues (2014) and Shrinking the Monster: Healing the Wounds of Our Abuse, a prose memoir forthcoming in fall, 2016. He held a Creative Renewal Fellowship from the Arts Council Indianapolis (2011-12) and received a Glick Indiana Author Award (2014).

Monday, June 6, 2016

How to Be a Cop's Wife, a poem by Lindsey Warner

How to Be a Cop’s Wife
by Lindsey Warner
Stay to the side
as thick boots pound through rooms
bullet clicks into chamber
radio blares “42- Edward-29 copy.”
Pray everything is charged
no keys are lost
car battery isn’t dead
shirt was white

Stand for your goodbye kiss
check the pins are all on straight
breathe out as tires squeal around the corner.
In the evening, listen to faraway sirens as you fold clothes.
Slide open a drawer and hear bullets click into each other,
run your fingers under extra silver buttons and loose change
smell the acrid stench of metal polish.
The sock’s match hidden beneath a box of condoms.
Bring the socks together,
fold the tops and leave them there,
next to the soft skin of folded paper:
a drawing by the other woman’s child.

Fall asleep imagining
buttons flashing red and blue
in front of the liquid night.
Awake to the ratchet of handcuffs,
the lock on the door.

Bio: Lindsey Warner is an elementary art teacher. She has been writing poetry since she was a teenager, which gave her quite a bit of time to get all the rotten, angst-filled poetry out of her. She enjoys her creative life and her beautiful son.