______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

 

Other notable works by Collin KelleyBeverly Jackson and Arlene Ang.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

 

 

 L. Ward Abel-

 

 

Wordless in Missouri

 

“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective   

as a rightly timed pause.”   Samuel Clemens

 

Upon his last visit to Hannibal,

I think it was in 1902,

Sam arrived the conquering hero.

 

The townsfolk displayed

their children as Huck Finn characters

and the author ate it up,

attending dinners, talks and teas.

 

At one such meeting

he laughed and talked

    and just as quickly

fell silent

 

he sobbed.

 

Twain knew it was goodbye.

 

At that advanced age

his youth was finally

 

at end.

_______________

 

Nowhere

Little towns

infused with God

don’t have to speak

or justify

anything to anyone.

 

They pass no eyes

they never leave,

as do so many crows

without purpose,

they remain.

 

I’m through

reading tea leaves

mornings

skies and faces,

just let me rest here.

 

All things

may be possible,

but sometimes

nothing

is enough. 

_______________

 

Where Two Rivers Agree

 

Near Lumber City

a current forms

as wide as a mouth

(but hundreds of miles inland).

There is power here.  Roiling

under-surface, one gets the sense

of dragons or whales.  Red.

Red like blood-eroded foothills

that feed into flow, deep

with memory of storms.

Remains float to the surface,

ride fallen live oak, flee

confluence down,

ever down,

to the dance. 

_______________

 

Brighton, 1949

 

(From the Movie)

 

After talking for a while, she led me up the stairs,

slowly at first, then frenzied.  The sun was soon to come  

after a night of bar-crawling and mischief.  Her bed was

piled high, thick, as was she.  Covers held imprints

of many prior travelers, and now me. 

Engulfed in flame, sizzling, I heard sounds,

sounds filled with moisture and fruition.  Was certain

that others heard us, as well.  Morning came, a return to light,

to shower and our release. 

The arrival had been in black and white,

the leaving–technicolor. 

_______________

 

Thursday, See

 

From the bluff

a blanket long and bluegray

was just beyond hayrolls sloping down

 

to waters covered

by said fog,

 

but lower on the road

to the cut where Line Creek rolls

the bank of cloud was gone

as if magic does exist, and seeing is not

 

believing.

Even if the vanishing hadn’t portrayed

and opened my way to Thursday

I would have burst through regardless

not enough atoms

in the spray to impact more solidness

 

that is my ride, my honda, peacekeeper now

waxed with “what the hell” in her tank.  Shrugging.

I suppose

the haze was fearful of resisting clarity

this morning, fearful of me with my flashing eyes,

as they look

 

a little mad. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Poet, composer of music and spoken-word performer, L. Ward Abel lives in rural Georgia, and has been widely published in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including White Pelican Review, The PedestalVersal,  Juked, Angel Face, OpenWide, Ink Pot, Texas Poetry Journal, Kritya , Words-Myth, others.  His chapbook, Peach Box and Verge, is published by Little Poem Press.  Twenty of his poems are featured, along with an interview, in a recent print issue of erbacce.  His new full book of poems, Jonesing For Byzantium, has just been published at UK Authors Press. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Collin Kelley- 

 

Raise the Titanic 

 

The Titanic is wrecked at the bottom

of my old toy box, red and black paint fading,

masts long gone, bridge smashed, stacks

cracked and listing between Big Bird

and Bionic Woman.  

 

The night I built her, following badly drawn

instructions, I bit down on the glue tip,

poison gushing, seizing my teeth,

stilling my tongue, lips sealing,

my mother screaming, my father leaping

into action, grabbing a toothbrush,

scraping my mouth clean of crust. 

 

The model would never float, it ran aground

on my dresser, until it went nose down

into toy graveyard, littered with the forgotten

and outgrown, settling into long dark. 

 

Documentaries and blockbusters

could never raise her, but now that Lillian Asplund

is dead, age 99, only five when she huddled

in a lifeboat, her father and brothers sinking

un-cinematically into icy Atlantic,

I am searching. Hold my breath, dive

into the motionless sea of basement damp,

bring the ship back to surface. 

 

I can almost see her there, waiting on deck,

breath hovering like a ghost, deciding

she will never speak of this again,

will disappear into the ether, take memories

hidden in drenched pockets into next lifetime,

to be stored in a cool, dry place.  

 

From this depth, I can see my father,

looking down at me, his face rippling

and reflecting in the humid air, smiling,

telling me to go on ahead and not be afraid,

that he’ll be on the next boat. 

_______________

 

Bountiful 

 

We kiss as if nothing ever happened,

my arms encircle your expanded waist,

now thicker than mine, which was too much

flesh for your fantasies of skin and bone.

Everyone you paraded a camp survivor,

a binge and purge purveyor,

a pole for you to vault over my extremis.

You wanted to see their hearts race

at your touch, the membrane so thin between

surface and veins. Make them invisible

in your hands, an x-ray.

You could never make me invisible,

and it was more than fat dividing us.

That brain of yours a split fruit, one half

ripe with the need to explore beyond me,

the other juicy with nesting, the closest

we could get to marriage. 

 

I watch Geraldine Page, round with age,

wearing pounds and years like a hard won badge,

making her final trip to Bountiful.

She summons emotions transcendent of mastered

craft and years in front of unforgiving cameras.

I never loved my husband, seeps

between gloved hands and rising sobs.

She’s telling about the one who got away,

a man who walked a mile every day

just to pass her porch,

his nod the only tangible passion. 

 

On the porch today, your lips brushing mine,

going through the pantomime of ordinary,

as if  your divisive 3 a.m. words

didn’t extract a pound of flesh,

I tell you I’m settling with someone else.

But I can’t help but wonder

if you would walk a mile for me,

now that I’ve mastered the craft of grace,

to nod in assent that you gave me up for less

because I was more.  

_______________

 

 

Duskdream 

 

Music transports me momentarily

as if I’ve slipped through a worm hole  

 

between couch cushion cracks

so I’m suddenly on Boulevard St.-Germain 

 

and a woman wails, making song

from her throat, a hymn of nonsense, 

 

as a red sports car speeds past and I

cinematically turn my head to follow  

 

the burn it leaves in the Paris air,

one hand beckoning me to chase in hope 

 

that it might slow down long enough

to hitch a ride to wherever the driver 

 

might be going, to be the passenger

for once, to let go of the wheel 

 

to race away from where reverie

began, so I can no longer feel its pull 

 

back across the ocean to this life,

a leash pulling me up short  

 

two god fingers on the scruff of my neck,

reigned in for my own good. 

_______________

 

20th Century Boy 

 

The night I screamed you out of my life

for good,  fed your confettied photo

to swirling toilet, a ticker tape parade

and dead fish burial rolled into one. 

 

Later, I found the box, a jiffy popped

trove of forgotten snapshots, you

bursting in full color from every slick

surface, sulky, smirky, your mouth

issuing smoke, cigarette blurred

in your expressive hands. 

 

If I hold them just right, I can make

a flip book of that last day,

bring you back to animated life,

the shots where you’re walking away

snapping through my fingers,

your back retreating in increments,

and if I flip the other way,

you coming back. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Collin Kelley is an award-winning poet and playwright from Atlanta. He is the author of Slow To Burn (2006, Metro Mania Press) and Better To Travel (2003), which was nominated for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and Lambda Literary Award. His spoken word CD, HalfLife Crisis, was recently re-issued by CD Baby. He is the recipient of the Georgia Author of the Year/Taran Memorial Award and a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Kelley’s poetry has appeared in many journals, including In Posse Review, Blue Fifth Review, Terminus, New Delta Review, Chiron Review, poeticdiversity, The Pedestal, Lily, Welter, SubtleTea and the critically acclaimed anthologies, Red Light: Superheroes, Sluts & Saints (Arsenal Pulp Press) and A Slice of Cherry Pie (The Private Press, UK). He is also co-editor of the award-winning Java Monkey Speaks Anthology series (Poetry Atlanta Press) and The Thrill & The Hurting: Poems and Art Inspired by the Music of Kate Bush (Morning Fog Press, UK).

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

 

  

 

Beverly Jackson- 

 

AVIAN FLU

 

God laid an egg

in her nest in the sky,

and the already hatched

called it the Moon.

 

The stars were mere

commas in her journal

of life.  The Sun, a footnote

of last season’s brood.

 

The earth, when it cracked,

spilled out bigger fools

than dodos and dinosaurs—

creatures too human for love. 

_______________

 

GRACEFUL DEPARTURES

 

Their feet make woodcuts in the snow, wings flutter

at feeders, then puff for warmth, posed on drooping boughs.

I watch.  I wonder.  Where are their innumerable dead?

 

These myriad cardinals, jays, finches and titmice–all aflitter in the icy lace—

don’t outlive trees—their lives span but a few years.  Where are the little

cadavers on their backs, stiffened legs, with blind beebee eyes?

 

The occasional mandala of feathers on the summer lawn, or piece of down

snagged on a bush, would be the wily work of cat.  But where are all who sing

no more, too old to relish the tomato worm, to tend an egg, to build a nest?

 

No tiny tell-tale bones litter woods or fields or paths.  The mourning doves

don’t really mourn.  It’s as if birds, like souls, vanish into empty skies

while a simple chee or skirree obscures their goodbyes. 

_______________

 

WITHOUT CERTAINTY

 

 1964

The therapist heard my recurring dream

of being in Pompeii, frozen in ashen

lava, standing in an arched recess,

holding the hand of my mother—

forgotten relics welded in magna,

Madonna and Child—clothed

in grimy grief, despair–

our lifetime legacy. “You love

her too much,” the Doctor said.

“You give her your life.  See?

It’s right there in your dream.”

 

Who can say we are at choice?

 

1937

The Hindenburg theories—sabotage,

 lightning, static sparks—or maybe

incendiary doping compound  painted

on fabric skin—flammable hydrogen,

another likely culprit— but who knows?

Over New Jersey, it caught fire and fell.

Longer than three 747’s placed end

to end, longer than four Goodyear Blimps,  

a flying Titantic, it dissolved  ablaze. Some

survived—even a Nazi acrobat with a dog

aboard.  But the German shepherd didn’t make it. 

 

Who can say there is a grand design?

 

1943

My father rode tail gun in a B17.  His ship was

the last of fifteen in formation when the Luftwaffe

attacked.   The bombs on The Big Bitch exploded,

the plane spun and fell in pieces—fireworks

in a sky cluttered with steel birds, heavens grayed

by smoke while The Secretary of War expressed

his deep regret.  Sixty years later, the fires still burn

in the hearts of the living.  Not dice, but a million

little matches making universal mischief.

 

Who can say God doesn’t play with fire?

 

2006

My mother clutched my hand, but her eyes stared

past the boundaries of this world into the next.  Her

once brown pupils diluted to hoary glass, skin yellowed

as wax, she motioned me closer, her gaze never

wavering.  “You’ve been a good daughter.” Her voice

distant, a gargled whisper lost in rumpled sheets.

As she went, a cold wind swept the room,

a tempest extinguishing every burning thing.

And I was dropped back into myself like a gift.

What can be learned might never be in books

but in ardor that burns up life and then consumes itself.

 

Who can say?

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Beverly A. Jackson is a poet, short story writer and painter living in the mountains of N.C.  She is the former founder, editor in chief, and publisher of Lit Pot Press, Inc. and lit journal, Ink Pot (1999-2005).  Her work has appeared in approximately 60 venues, including Zoetrope All Story Extra, Melic Review, In Posse ReviewAbsinthe Review and Rattle.  She was nominated for a BASS and won several contests with flash fiction. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Arlene Ang- 

 

Black Tar Girl

_sonnenizio on a line from Ros Barber_

 

Windows, if opened, explode onto the street,

as if the street itself injects a bomb. And no matter

how we board everything up, streetlight needles

the walls. She’s on the street corner, her hair

 

a street-gray bruise around her neck. She pretends

she’s waiting for the bus. We know street heroin

is her street — the way a bear stands on its hind legs

before swiping the face, camera and street clothes

 

off the antihero. A street like her can fit a planet

into a syringe. A street can cramp itself into a rush.

We say we won’t let her in. For a street, she hasn’t

any newspapers or street music for our dead.

 

Her street name shoots star galleries on our skin.

We keep the street sounds out. Then, we let her in. 

 _______________

 

Night, with Owls on Witch Trees

 

We never make love, but lie face up

as if we could float all the way to Andromeda.

 

The ceiling fan slashes shadows

into the oak armoire: a Jesus rib, quilted leaves,

a cusp from the Queen of Hearts.

 

We are bone-naked under flannel,

like too many positives shuffling into papers.

 

Outside, a car stalls. Mice scurry

through grass. The neighbor’s girl fumbles

with keys, the hand brake, buttons.

 

In the headlight across the room,

we spool breaths, hold out for an x-ray of sky. 

______________

 

Commute

 

Rain shatters

the outside world;

windows quickly fog.

With bodies

crumpled against each other,

it’s hard to tell

who’s alive and who

is pretending.

The zip from someone’s winter jacket

sticks a metallic muzzle

against my cheek.

I squeeze further to a corner,

and my head wipes

the glass of its mist.

Outside, the gray divides

into fractions of

neon signs, headlights.

In the back, an old man starts

recounting

Auschwitz to anyone

who would listen. 

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Arlene Ang lives in Spinea, Italy. She is the author of The Desecration of Doves (iUniverse, 2005). Her poetry has appeared In Posse Review, Magma, Poetry Ireland, Rattle and Smiths Knoll. She received the 2006 Frogmore Poetry Prize (UK) and serves as a poetry editor for The Pedestal Magazine and Press 1. More of her work can be viewed at leafscape.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ 

 

Advertisements