Monday, August 19, 2019

San Souci, a poem by Mary M. Brown

San Souci
by Mary Brown
I am a large quiet bird
I am a newly washed window
opening onto the loveliest fog

I am a comma, a saga that needs
no hero, a long movement adagio
a mime, silver faced and unphased

I am a loose, gauzy gown

I am a giver unable to begrudge
anyone anything, sweetly disabled
by the others in this roomy moment

I am petals unfolded
species unidentified

I am an elegant cursive
ink looped in coos

Slowed, I yearn only for what
I already hold, arms unburdened

I am a casket, a pocket, a cup

I am a coin unspent
content just to be saved

Mary M. Brown lives and writes in Anderson, Indiana. She taught literature and creative writing at Indiana Wesleyan University for many years. Her poetry appears on the Poetry Foundation and American Life in Poetry websites, in Plough, Third Wednesday, Quiddity, JJournal, and many other journals and magazines.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Hiroshima & Nagasaki, a poem by Hiromi Yoshida

Hiroshima & Nagasaki
by Hiromi Yoshida

The flash

The crash

The ash.

Decimation was instantaneous—skeletons etched upon asphalt,

shadows sick with radiation

vomited skyward curses—

The True Man hanging from the over-blossoming
tree of public panic unlynched.

Bio: Hiromi Yoshida teaches American Literature for the award-winning VITAL program at the Monroe County Public Library. Her poems have been published in literary magazines and journals that include Indiana Voice Journal, The Asian American Literary Review, Evergreen Review, and The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society.

Monday, July 29, 2019

He travels with half, a poem by Laurel Smith

He travels with half

his mother’s ashes across the sea,
to the other place she lived away

from him, her East-West selves
grounded in a storied geography:

Here is the river I knew as a girl—
That’s the town where I met him—

her voice a swirl of distant sounds
he knows he will forget. He thinks

dust to dust” a poor cliché, the grains
he now carries more like seeds to be

planted: which one would open in July
with a bloom the size of her fist,

which would grow straight then bend
as if to lift a child who looks like him?

—by Laurel Smith

Bio: Laurel Smith lives in Vincennes, Indiana, and happily participates in projects to promote literacy and the arts. Her poetry has appeared in various periodicals, including Natural Bridge, New Millennium Writings, Tipton Poetry Review, Flying Island, English Journal, JAMA: Journal of the AMA; also in the following anthologies: And Know This Place, Visiting Frost, and Mapping the Muse

Monday, July 22, 2019

Listen to Your Loved Ones Crackle!, a poem by Tim Heerdink

Listen to Your Loved Ones Crackle!
by Tim Heerdink

Oh, what a time we live and die!
Just last morn,
a flash of an article brought strange news
never to be forgotten
as such other atrocities go in history.

Don’t know what to do with your remains?
No need to worry!
Rest forever within the groovy space of vinyl.
For the record,
the sound quality may be horrific,
but that’s all part of the fun.
A teaspoon here,
another touch there,
and now
you’re gold!
What words or music could be important
enough for my ashes to play?
Generations to come will either store the disc
in a basement or attic,
where surely ruin shall follow,
or give it a spin
and complain that an mp3
would be
much better.

Tim Heerdink is the author of Red Flag and Other Poems (Bird Brain Publishing, 2018) and the short story “The Tithing of Man.” He also has poems published in Poetry Quarterly, the Fish Hook, Shared Words, Distinct Voices, The Eye of the Storyteller, and On Earth As It Is in Poetry.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Redwing Swamp, a poem by Paul Richard

Redwing Swamp
by Paul Richard

ferns, fronds, frogs, pollywogs
dew fog,
mist blanket,

snakes just out,
sun’s stove turns up
spring peepers peep

buds awake,
sap ascends,
fledging feathers test flight.

These are all my pets.

From Paul Richard:I've recently had poems published in the Writer's Newsletter in Great Britain. I live in Indianapolis and frequently take poetry classes at the Indiana Writers Center as well as participate in writing and arts seminars. I am a former museum curator and administrator. In my retirement I am a beekeeper and avid gardener and volunteer on behalf of veterans.”

Monday, July 8, 2019

She Loves How Her, a poem by Dan Carpenter

She Loves How Her

mind works
how her attention swoops and swims
through all that lives
how she bares all its secrets
along with all of hers
the way she summons language to this service
uncannily as Snow White
leaving the dusting and bedmaking
to the birds and squirrels

—by Dan Carpenter

Bio: Dan Carpenter is an Indianapolis freelance journalist, poet, fiction writer and blogger. He has published poems in Flying Island, Poetry East, Illuminations, Pearl and other journals, along with two books of poems, The Art He’d Sell for Love (Cherry Grove, 2015) and More Than I Could See (Restoration Press, 2009).

Monday, July 1, 2019

Not Nuns, a poem by Mary M. Brown

Not Nuns
by Mary M. Brown

The nones I know (not nuns
not nuns by a long shot)
but nones, the ones who say

none when asked, “Religious
like those other

nuns, have given up
some things, not men or sex
or children of their own, but

scripture and ritual, done
with all that nonsense,
or maybe those are things

they have never known.
None of the nones I know
are in the habit of meanness,
greed, sloth, cruelty or any
ungodliness. They are none
of those things we religious

folk might wish they were to
justify our own incessant
hunger for church, our failure to

know the holy in the daily,
to realize none of us knows
much of the uncanny divine,

no priest or rabbi, shaman or nun,
none of us able to understand
or unravel much more than the nones.

Mary M. Brown lives and writes in Anderson, Indiana. She taught literature and creative writing at Indiana Wesleyan University for many years. Her poetry appears on the Poetry Foundation and American Life in Poetry websites, in Plough, Third Wednesday, Quiddity, JJournal, and many other journals and magazines.

Monday, June 24, 2019

A Wednesday Night in Bloomington, Indiana: Creative Nonfiction by Sarah Ginter

A Wednesday Night in Bloomington, Indiana
by Sarah K. Ginter
            It was the fall of 2009. Jackie and I decided to initiate our senior year at Bluebird, famous for their Wednesday night cheap beer. Jackie played "You Get What You Give” by New Radicals on her phone, and we sang and let the Bloomington street lamps lead us there, twirling over cracks all the way to the back of the line. We paid the $5 cover, and I winked and said, “I’ll get the first round.” I paid the whole 30 cents for two beers, and we weaved through groups of guys and girls standing and laughing to reach the stage. Jackie stopped to say hello to her friend Ryan who stood with a group of guys she knew too. She introduced me to Ryan, and I smiled looking around. When there was a break in the conversation, I leaned in and yelled in her ear, asking who the boy in the Birkenstocks was. “Andy,” she said then grabbed him and brought us over to the back bar. Jackie ordered three shots of vodka with pineapple chasers, and Andy and I spent the rest of that Wednesday night dancing with a tropical taste in our mouths.
            I wasn’t always in love. I spent many nights before senior year at Bluebird - the bar in Bloomington with brick interior walls and girls chatting loudly in the bathroom. The stage with the lady guzzling whiskey and the band that played when I jumped up on stage. I had on light denim jeans. The flare at the bottom could fit over the banging drum. The tank top flared too. Under the right light, you could see through the fabric on my stomach. But it was a beautiful shirt, one my mother loved to see me in. There’s a picture of me stomping my left foot to the music, my arms above my head, and my eyes are closed. Another night a band played and a man got down on one knee before his girlfriend right there on the stage. They could’ve been acting, I know, but she threw the fake flower bouquet to the crowd. I jumped toward it though I didn’t need to leap much because it was headed right toward me.
            Something started that Wednesday night in Bloomington, Indiana, when I met Andy. I was wholly at ease with him. We talked IU basketball, held hands, and danced. I let the streetlights wrap around our dancing legs and the chords swim in the middle of our chests. I went out that night resolved to start the year as myself without seeking anything more than to live freely during my last year of college. But meeting Andy I knew there was more. What I didn’t know though was that after we locked arms while walking down Walnut Avenue through the hilly sidewalks, soon enough we would be walking home together around bends and over long distances - down the aisle six years later dressed in tulle and tuxedo, dreaming and living and in love.

Sarah K. Ginter is from Indianapolis, Indiana. She earned a BA in English from Indiana University and an MFA in Creative Nonfiction from Butler University. Sarah is a freelance editor and has taught and volunteered for the IWC since 2016. She is currently querying her young adult novel based in Indianapolis and writing a women's fiction book. You can connect with her @sarahelizwriter on Twitter. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Fall, a field guide, a poem by Laurel Smith

Falling, a field guide
by Laurel Smith

For how long will you continue to listen to those dark shouters,
caution and prudence?
Fall in! Fall in! —Mary Oliver

Fall like the hands off a clock, knowing
your new name for the hours will alter
the caliber of darkness and light.

Fall like a star, so fast so far you imagine
the sky as song, words and tune so true
you can already sing it by heart.

Fall like a stone into water, ripples and
shadows, minnows and yellow leaves:
better than a wish, this stone
with nothing more to desire.

From Laurel Smith: I live in Vincennes, Indiana, and happily participate in projects to promote literacy and the arts. My poetry has appeared in various periodicals, including Natural Bridge, New Millennium Writings, Tipton Poetry Review, Flying Island, English Journal, JAMA: Journal of the AMA; also in the following anthologies: And Know This Place, Visiting Frost, and Mapping the Muse. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Father's Day, a poem by Gerard Sarnat

Father's Day
by Gerard Sarnat

It had not occurred
friends regularly
do choose
this day

to send greetings
and often books
more than on
my birthdays
or other good

which is just fine
with me to have
that identity
when I am
out in our

where lost brother LCohen
or now PRoth (will Dylan
predecease?) show us
how to find wisdom

Gerard Sarnat won the Poetry in the Arts First Place Award plus the Dorfman Prize, has been nominated for Pushcarts and authored four collections: Homeless Chronickes (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting The Ice King (2016), which included work published by Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and in Gargoyle, American Journal of Poetry (Margie), Main Street Rag, MiPOesias, New Delta Review, Brooklyn Review, Los Angeles Review of Books, Voices Israel, Tishman Review, Suisun Valley Review, Burningwood Review, Fiction Southeast, Junto, Tiferet plus featured in New Verse News, Eretz, Avocet, LEVELER, tNY, StepAway, Bywords, Floor Plan, Good-Man-Project, Anti-Heroin-Chic, Poetry Circle, Fiction Southeast, Walt Whitman Tribute Anthology and Tipton Poetry Journal. “Amber Of Memory” was the single poem chosen for my 50th college reunion symposium on Bob Dylan. Mount Analogue selected Sarnat’s sequence, KADDISH FOR THE COUNTRY, for pamphlet distribution on Inauguration Day 2017 as part of the Washington D.C. and nationwide Women’s Marches. For Huffington Post/other reviews, readings, publications, interviews; visit Harvard/Stanford educated, Gerry’s worked in jails, built/staffed clinics for the marginalized, been a CEO and Stanford Med professor. Married for a half century, Gerry has three kids and four grandkids, so far.

Monday, June 3, 2019

New Mercies Unseen, a poem by Matthew Miller

New Mercies Unseen
by Matthew Miller

Sometimes, when harvesting the garden’s cabbage
or kale, you notice a small cottontail cowering, cornered
within the grapevine. Though you have no weapon,
he does not trust your intention,
and burrows out into the thorns.

In a nest beneath blueberry stems, twisted and sparse
like a hollowed out spaghetti squash,
a kitten shivers,
born naked and blind.
You stop the spade well above his head,
slide over to transplant strawberries. It’s mercy he never sees.

There are sometimes, also, when you are sipping
dark coffee at sunrise,
eyeing the quiet rabbit.
He nips grass nestled in the asphalt cracks.
Like a mystic praying alone,
he pulls sweet shoots from this rough road,
ears up and head bowed low.

Bio: Matthew Miller teaches social studies, swings tennis rackets, and writes poetry—all hoping to create a home. He pretends his classroom at Bethany Christian Schools is a living room, filling it with as many garage-sale chairs as he can afford. He lives beside a dilapidating apple orchard in Goshen, Indiana, and keeps trying to make tree houses for his four boys in the broken branches. He vacillates between wanting to poison and wanting to feed the groundhogs, rabbits and cardinals that try to make their homes in the garden. For now, they’ve all chosen peace.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Backseat Rider, a poem by Marjie Giffin

Backseat Rider
by Marjie Giffin

Crammed into the backseat
of my daughter’s new Toyota Rav4
with two life jackets, a sack
of boxed cookies, a carton full
of tri-colored tissue-wrapped gifts,
my hefty purse, extra tennis shoes,
and this notebook, I scribble.

I contemplate my destiny:
relegation to the backseat
for the rest of my days.
I now have senior status
which, translated, means
I pay for gas and hotel rooms
and stops for burgers and fries,
and I sit forever in the back
with the baggage.

I have brought too much stuff,
my suitcase weighs too much,
my head is in the way
of my son-in-law’s rearview mirror.

I need too many potty stops,
my phone volume is set too loud,
I forgot to bring the correct change
for the trail of toll booths.

My varicose veins throb
due to my crumpled position,
and my neck aches from
bending my head out of sight.

I dare not complain, or I will be
stereotyped as a crabby old biddy—
anything I say can so easily
be turned against me.

Up front, the radio is dialed
to their station, the cup holders
are filled with their drinks,
and there, the leg-room is ample.

Back here, I chafe away at my age
and suddenly understand my mother
so much better than I did when, years
before, I assigned her to the same seat.

From Marjie Giffin: I am a Midwestern writer who has authored four regional histories and whose poetry has recently appeared in Snapdragon, Poetry Quarterly, Flying Island, So It Goes Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, the Saint Katherine Review, Through the Sycamores, and the Blue Heron Review. One of my plays was recently produced in the IndyFringe Short Play Festival. I'm active in the Indiana Writers’ Center and have taught both college writing and gifted education.