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.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Song of the Radio Bees, a poem by Norbert Krapf

Song of the Radio Bees
by Norbert Krapf

Back then when Indy was a world away to the north
I was a teenager in Kentuckiana washing and waxing

cars and drinking beer with chums when the engines
sounded on the radio like wild bees in the woods

swarming nearer and nearer as a loud hum
turned deafening and they roared closer.

When I first sat in the grandstand decades
later as a man circling into his seventies

I heard a female voice say, “Ladies and gentlemen
start your engines” and those bees roared again,

louder than ever before. The low-slung cars
roared off, big bumps raised on my arms

and legs, and my lips smacked with the taste
of honey and malt as this late song brewed.

Norbert Krapf, former Indiana poet laureate, has recently published his 12th poetry collection, The Return of Sunshine, about his Colombian-German-American grandson. He is completing a collection of poems for children and a prose memoir about his writing life, Homecomings.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Hungry, a poem by Jessica Mayo-Schwab

by Jessica Mayo-Schwab

He feeds at night like a shy raccoon
Waiting until the last light is out.
A quiet rustling from the next room precedes a whimper.
His cries creep into my dreams and draw my head out 
                     from the pillow nest where I hide, desperate for sleep.
He waits for me in the next room,
eyes wide open and smacking lips.
My hungry boy. My animal baby.

From Jessica Mayo-Schwab:I am a new mother of a hungry boy, also a wife and a social worker. I love long walks on the Monon with my guys, reading and writing.”

Monday, May 6, 2019

The Death of Mr. Peanut, a poem by Mark Williams

The Death of Mr. Peanut
by Mark Williams

My early memories include a sky-blue Packard
cruising down Main Street past The Victory Theatre,
past the gleam of drum sets and shine of black pianos
behind spreading wings of glass at Harding & Miller Music.
Past rows of chocolate mice at Hermann’s Candy.

Today, my mother’s at the wheel. That’s me
beside her, watching Main Street narrow to the river.
Suddenly my mother’s pumping the brakes,
leaning out the window toward a parked taxi.
Mister! I’m going to hit you!” Mother shouts.
Sure, lady. Go ahead,” the taxi driver says.

With my mother’s arm across my chest,
I learn a yellow cab will stop a sky-blue Packard.
Next, I learn that Mr. Peanut, the peanut man
who stands outside his shop to hand out nuts,
has blue eyes inside the giant smile
that cuts across his giant peanut head.
You OK, buddy?” Mr. Peanut asks—
his head too large to fit inside my window.

For me, the Tooth Fairy will soon be history,
followed by the Easter Bunny and, most sadly, Santa Claus.
But first to fall is Mr. Peanut, his detached
head smiling in the corner of his shop. And there,
leaning against the nut-filled counter,
a man with peanut-colored pants smiles, too—
his blue eyes moving up my mother’s legs
as she calls my father on the phone for help.

From Mark Williams:I live in Evansville, Indiana, home of Hermann's Candy, which vanished along with Mr. Peanut. My poems have appeared in The Hudson Review, The Southern Review, Rattle, Nimrod, New Ohio Review, The American Journal of Poetry, and the anthology, New Poetry From the Midwest. Finishing Line Press published my poem, 'Happiness,' as a chapbook in 2015.”