Monday, August 27, 2018

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, a poem by Dan Carpenter

by Dan Carpenter

Every day the probability grows stronger
that someone I last met trading jumpshots and elbows on grimy blacktop
or kisses on a secondhand sofa in an off-campus dump
is dead now
for it hasn’t been a month or a year
and don’t think I can’t tell what is from what seems

four decades are a boulder
fallen across a mountain highway spiraling down
having this time missed me
but not the entire caravan
it waits
ahead or behind
for me to drive on
work around get out and climb over proceed on foot
backing up being no option

but there’s one other

maybe you know I’ll just sit here in idle
let the ’71 Beetle purr its contentment
light the Marlboro I swore off in ’85
flip on the radio and play it safe
not one
not one beat
will Aretha ever miss

From Dan Carpenter: “I’m a freelance writer in many genres, born and residing in Indianapolis.I have published poems in Flying Island, Poetry East, Illuminations, Pearl, Xavier Review, Southern Indiana Review and other journals. I have published two books of poems, The Art He’d Sell for Love (Cherry Grove, 2015) and More Than I Could See (Restoration, 2009).”

Monday, August 20, 2018

Night: Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a poem by Doris Lynch

Night: Sangre de Cristo Mountains
by Doris Lynch

Here. Now. Not above
but mated to earth
through journeys of clarified
light. The Navajo etched
crosses onto rock walls
in Canyon de Chelly
to mark the placement
of stars. Tonight I watch
one fall. It skips across
Heaven’s meadows, close
enough to grasp with my hand,
close enough so that God’s fiery
hair singes my head, my heart.

Doris Lynch has recent work in Tipton Poetry Review, Frogpond, Haibun Today, and Flying Island. In 2017, she won the Genjuan International Haibun contest.

Monday, August 13, 2018

The Luminous Mysteries, a poem by Michelle Brooks

The Luminous Mysteries
by Michelle Brooks

For the better part of an hour, I sit
in an examination room, my nose
dripping onto the butcher paper,
having feigned interest in the fake
breast handed to me by a doctor
at this urgent care. I had only hoped
for a quick shot of antibiotics to make
me well once more. After the door
shuts, I drape my red coat over my legs,
the coat I bought at a thrift store in Grosse
Pointe, only a few miles from this decimated
city I loved upon first sight. The doctor
instructed me to practice on this model
until he returned with a script. He takes
my word for my condition, and grabs the breast
from my hand, telling me a girl can never be
too careful, and self-exams are the first line
of defense. Don’t ask me how I ended up
here. I’ve never been good at directions.

Michelle Brooks has published a collection of poetry, Make Yourself Small, (Backwaters Press), and a novella, Dead Girl, Live Boy, (Storylandia Press). She says she spent a summer in Gary with a now ex- boyfriend. She says she loves Gary, even as the boyfriend did not fare as well. A native Texan, she has spent much of her adult life in Detroit.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Winners of the 2017 Woman's Press Club of Indiana Prison Writing Contest

Winners of the 2017 Woman's Press Club of Indiana Prison Writing Contest

First place:

Down on Sand Creek
by L.D. Smith

Two words scrawled on a paper plate,
Taped on my front door, said, "GONE FISHIN'!"
I got a weekend date with Mother Nature.
I can't tuen 'er down 'cause the treat's on her.
Only my close friends know where I'm goin'.
It's my home away from home in the palm of God's hand.
I pitched my tent on a soft sandbar.
Then I grabbed me a few dry leaves and twigs.
I struck a kitchen match on the seat of my britches.
Then I lit my kindlin' and added more wood.
Night was creepin' in like a hungry coyote.
As my fire burned bright on the edge of the creek,
The flames were a-dancin' like a band of demons
Celebratin' the capture of another lost soul.
I grabbed my fishin' pole and a box of night crawlers.
Then I baited my hook and I give it a sling.
I reached in my cooler and pulled out a cold one.
Then I kicked back and waited for a big ol' cat.
Way down stream I could hear the clatter
Of the board floor bridge as a car crossed over.
Other than that, the only sounds that I heard
Was the breeze in the trees and a trilling whippoorwill.
Every now and then, I could hear the random rustle
Of a critter in the bushes or a hoot owl hootin'.
Along toward midnight I felt my pole jerkin'.
So I gave it a yank and caught a seven-pound cat.
They musta been hungry 'cause I caught five more.
I throwed 'em in my cooler, then I called it a night.
I believe the most peaceful thing a person can do
Is to sleep outside underneath the stars.
Morning came early and the trees were alive
With the birds celebratin' a brand-new day.
I cleaned me a catfish and greased up my skillet.
Then I made me a fresh pot of camping coffee.
I gave the Lord thanks for blessin' me so.
Then I had me a breakfast that was for a king.
I put out my fire and packed up my gear
And as bad as I hated to, I said goodbye.
I hope someday when I leave this world
I'll be right here in my favorite place.
Sittin' on the bank of my dear ol' friend;
Sittin' on the bank og Big Sand Creek.

L.D. Smith is an inmate at the Indiana State Prison, in Michigan City.


Second place:

by Jason Green

I am,
a hybrid of Dr. King's Dream
and the 5 Elements of Hip Hop-

I am,
every displaced, inner-city, poor Black person-
every East Chicago Calumet Houseing Complex resident-

I am,
my triple great-grandfather on the Underground Railroad
in 1845.

I am,
the courage it took for him to run to Ontario-

I am,
a modern day Nat Turner-

I am,
Mamie Till, the first time she saw her son Emmitt's tortured body

I am,
a product of Intelligent Design;
created in His image-

I am,
the epitome of soul,
notice the manifestation of natural swwag in my stride.
It's in my DNA-

I am,
the blood, sweat and tears
My ancestors cried
amplified 1,000 times.

I am,

Samuel C. Beacham is an inmate at Chain O'Lakes Correctional Facility, in Albion, Indiana.


Third place:

... Devouring …
by Samuel C. Beacham

I am waiting to devour you.
I am already under your bed, in your bed,
under your sheets, in your head.
Devouring …

Moving, stepping in your steps, inside your steps,
in your shoes, in your feet.
Trickling into your mind slowly, slowly reassuring.
While my hands are on your controls.
Devouring …

I spin golden lies before your eyes,
And use magicians’ tricks to fool your wits.
You’ll never be what you should be as long as I am who I am.
Devouring …

Jittering sweats, roots digging deeper
I am in control, you are just a sleeper.
Even trade. I’ll always deal myself the ace of spades.
Bottoms up, head down. You must like getting fucked around.
You’ve got the pills. My name’s addiction …

And I will forger be …

Samuel C. Beacham is an inmate at Chain O'Lakes Correctional Facility, in Albion, Indiana.