Saturday, September 29, 2018

Jerry Lee, a poem by George Fish

Editor's note: Today is Jerry Lee Lewis's birthday.

Jerry Lee
by George Fish

Lewis The Killer signature rock ‘n’ roll piano
Great Balls of Fire! There always was A Whole Lotta
Shakin’ Goin’ On when you rocked the piano and
sang your inimitable, raucous way and those live
shows! your long hair tumbling down your face
climbing atop the piano bench and the piano itself
playing the piano with your feet! It was an open
secret you incinerated the piano and the rock
whenever you came on stage and that’s no High
School Confidential! you scorched-earth your
career when you married your 13-year-old cousin
languished in rock ’n’ roll wasteland after that
but you always had your diehard fans, no matter
what then you went country and middle aged,
sang about Middle-Aged Crazy while not
becoming middle-aged crazy, just being the same
Jerry Lee as ever! And yes, What Made
Milwaukee Famous could make a fool out of you
but you rocked and boogied on and were always
loved for your music then came 2007’s Last
Man Standing duets with greats who wanted to
play with you from George Jones to Mick Jagger
from Buddy Guy to B.B. King Merle Haggard to
Bruce Springsteen Keith Richards to Rod
Stewart Eric Clapton to Ringo Starr and more
ending with you and the Poet Laureate of country
music, Kris Kristofferson, doing his song so
reminiscent of you, “The Pilgrim” “From the
rockin’ of the cradle to the rollin’ of the
hearse/The goin’ up was worth the comin’ down”
and now you are indeed that Last Man Standing,
from that famous photo of the Sun Records
supergroup of 1957 Elvis, Carl Perkins, Johnny
Cash, all gone but you still standing tall in your
eighties, and always—forever rock on, Killer!

George Fish is a self-described punk rock poet who lives in Indianapolis. He also does Lenny Bruce/George Carlin-inspired stand-up comedy.

Monday, September 24, 2018

"L'Ancien" and "Telepathy," poems by B. Childs-Helton

by B. Childs-Helton

I bring to bear whatever I can find –
old potsherds, empty casings
from some long-fought war
in secret latitudes
outside the official theater
of sanctioned shadows
on the ancient walls
where the painted prey
brought down perpetually
is signed with a red hand
long disappeared,
magic sown with salt
where the land is silent
but the rocks are resonating underneath
the insouciant sun
that greens a disguise of grass
and hides in the wheel of ghosts
in some other sky.
My voice is smoke
because I have turned to sparks
and incidental ashes like the rest,
unable to remember what to say
but singing anyway in borrowed light.

by B. Childs-Helton

If I were reading someone’s mind
right now (assuming
that a mind is like a book,
enough that its usual job
is to sit unread), the leery owner
might pretend real hard
that whatever page I’m reading
is either blank or trivial enough
that nothing beautiful is visible
above its impregnable anonymity;
that poetry is fancy tricks with words
that fill the dutiful blankness
with odd thoughts,
dangerous suspicions that those words
might not mean exactly what they say
& suddenly turn from a pile of normal bricks
into an expanding cloud of doves,
& there goes the wall that I was trying to build
to keep hope out & imagination in
(disguised as plans I must pretend are dreams),
& suddenly I’m enjoying what can’t exist,
invited to just make up stuff like mad.
Good thing telepathy is a parlor trick.

B. Childs-Helton has been tangled up in language lifelong—immersing in literature, creative writing, songwriting, and folklore studies at and around Wittenberg University and Indiana University. He served on the poetry editorial board of Indiana Writes (now Indiana Review), performed in Bloomington poetry-and-music ensemble Third Wind, and presently contributes to the Lawrence Poets Laureate group. He is also a longtime fan of science fiction, and performs with eclectic-Celtic folk-rock band Wild Mercy. He has subsidized such activities by editing computer books since the 1990s.

Monday, September 17, 2018

West Coast Baby Blueshift, a poem by Henry Ahrens

West Coast Baby Blueshift*
by Henry Ahrens

*blueshift: If an object moves closer, the light moves to the blue end of the spectrum, as its wavelengths get shorter.

for Natalie

Doppler shifts
push high-pitched waves to the west
higher than a baby's wail.

Shadows fall
longer than trees and wind blade towers,
little candlesticks standing straight
in winter's white cake,
Earth rolling from the sun,
swaddling clouds wrapping her tight.

Baby stirs
in the womb on the coast
ready to tip the balance of many
lives and loves.

Born this day
after a shift change at the hospital
far to the west of snow-covered fields
and long-shadowed airplanes,
light still streaming on the coast,
warming ocean breeze brushing waves
in mother’s hair.

Henry Ahrens attended St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Indiana, but now resides in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he teaches a variety of high school English classes. His works have appeared in From the Edge of the Prairie, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Indiana Voice Journal.

Monday, September 10, 2018

My City's Words, Winging, a poem by Dan Carpenter

My City’s Words, Winging
by Dan Carpenter 

I so love these books
and I have come to an age
and come to live in an age
when the love stabs like love
for a lost lover.
Dear departed Kurt/Etheridge/Mari . . .
so dear, my price for their passage.

Dan Carpenter is a freelance writer residing in Indianapolis. He has have published poems and stories in Flying Island, Poetry East, Illuminations, Pearl, Xavier Review, Southern Indiana Review, Maize, Tipton Poetry Journal and other journals.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Aloha Shirt Man Guest-Hosts the Jeopardy Celebrity Christmas Extravaganza with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Invisible Hand Appearing as Contestants, a prose poem by Michael Brockley

Aloha Shirt Man Guest-Hosts the Jeopardy Celebrity Christmas Extravaganza with Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Invisible Hand Appearing as Contestants
by Michael Brockley
Santa Claus putzes with the buzzer, ringing in midway through the Tooth Fairy’s blitz through Christmas Carols with Mistletoe in the title. When the big elf weighs in, he tosses out bromides about seasonal pastries and the veterinary care of flying reindeer. The old saint dumbfounds Aloha with his ignorance of world cultures, as the Tooth Fairy expounds upon feng shui creches. Monopolizes the Christmas Ghosts category. While the Tooth Fairy stifles the jolly night rambler, the Invisible Hand drones about the purity of self-correcting markets. When the Hand brags about creating the Christmas season, Aloha cues the laugh track from the Star Wars Holiday Special, segueing into Double Jeopardy. The Tooth Fairy builds her lead by knowing about the blue, green and white suit that preceded Coca-Cola. She breezes through R-rated Yuletide Movies before Aloha can read the items. For Final Jeopardy, Santa fumbles his buzzer into a glass of water and scrawls What are Russian tea cakes on his screen. The Tooth Fairy bets a dollar on What is Greensleeves, while the Hand wagers its losses on trickle down. It never learned to answer with a question. As the credits roll, Aloha Shirt Man asks Santa for tips on kissing mothers.

Michael Brockley is a semi-retired school psychologist who still works in rural northeast Indiana. Several of Brockley's poems have appeared previously in Flying Island. In addition, his work can be found in Atticus Review, Gargoyle, 3Elements, Tipton Poetry Journal, Third Wednesday and Tattoo Highway. Poems are forthcoming in Riddled with Arrows and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan.