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Showing posts from 2014

A poem from T.D. Richards

Why I Love Ham Salad Sandwiches With Baloney By T.D. Richards In the cassock of her feed sack apron, Mom moved in the kitchen with sacramental intent, bending under the cupboard to withdraw the oiled meat grinder, her mother’s wedding gift. As her acolyte, I clamped the grinder to the counter while she chopped chubs of baloney and cranked them into mince meat to mix with sweet pickle relish and creamy mayonnaise and soda crackers that crunched and crackled through the razor edged cutting plate. She raised white Wonder bread asleep in its warren to chaperone the ham salad spread made with baloney. I got the meat grinder when mom died nd my sister got the recipes I knew by heart. I’m told there may be a final Feast to come. If so, I implore that Mom be chosen to make ham salad sandwiches with baloney and I be invited to eat them ad infinitum. Bio: T.D. Richards is a freelance writer who has written poetry as a way of sharing his lifelong observations from w

A poem from George Kalamaras

Manifest Destiny by George Kalamaras Feel free to induce me. Press your breath against my breath. Stick your finger down the lorikeet’s throat and expel the sleep medicines. Ask me for a blanket and I will produce a thread. We can each hold an end and vibrate a song in praise of pioneers. The Conestoga part of my heart can only let you in a little. I will gladly feed you beans and lard, watch the flames pony-prance untamed       shadows across your face. We have the same connective tissue inside our more-than-private bodies. It resembles a very long river, difficult to cross. If I were an antelope, you might be a prairie hare. If I a sheep, you, an Australian cattle dog. We have known one another throughout many incarnations. One time I came to you as lightning, you, the fierce, almost-soothing rain. Bio: George Kalamaras, Poet Laureate of Indiana, is the author of seven books of poetry and seven chapbooks, including Kingdom of Throat-Stuck Luck , winner of the

A poem from Ryan Frisinger

words away (in three parts) by Ryan Frisinger words away once upon a time, i moved down south, met a girl who never shut her mouth, so i finally had to kiss her words away. words away, pt. 2 we crossed the world in maps and pictures, goddess shrine was my bedroom fixture, book of poems and telephones, we were never more than words away. words away, pt. 3 until, the ghost and star of both tattoo and heart pointed north to where a happy ending, happiness in need of mending, happy that it’s finally ending are only words away. Bio: Ryan Frisinger is a professor of English, holding an M.F.A. in Writing from Lindenwood University. He is also an accomplished songwriter, whose work has been featured in numerous television shows, such as America's Next Top Model and The Real World . His non-musical writing has appeared in such publications as Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, The MacGuffin, and Punchnel's. He resides in Fort Wayne, India

A tribute to Galway Kinnell from Dan Carpenter

Kinnell at Butler U., Feb. 6, 1989 by Dan Carpenter Perfect poet’s presence      Galway limp white dress shirt dull brown hair finger-combed raking his brow heavy hands and gentle voice a seamy-faced Gus Hall drunk on angels I drink in his beauty for free in a lecture hall packed with lit students under duress           signed in        penned and I contemplate the abstract and the concrete along a straight diagonal line –           at the far end Kinnell       pawing his glasses           singing of swifts and frogs rescued           when one has been a long time alone . . .           at the near end      a row ahead of me           within a hand’s reach           khakied knees raised to chin level           black hair rich with brown hints      like chocolate cake           a third his age half mine           a freshly made human doing what Galway says a poem does           doing the job to be           leaving it to the apprehender           to make of

The Blanket

by Keith Krulik             We all have obstacles to climb, personal barriers or demons to get over, physical or mental challenges to overcome. These are the things that build character, that turn followers into leaders. The question I pose is this: How much can you endure before you cease to build character, before you don’t build into a leader and are yourself destroyed? How much can you take?             When my headaches began over two decades ago, I felt my body as a blanket, a thick, heavy quilt. I hung on a clothesline as Evil stood beside me, wielding a baseball bat, inflicting pain every few seconds, over and over. Back then the pain was just beginning; improbably, it seemed less intense as now. Over time and the continuous beatings, the blanket has worn thinner.   In those eight thousand days, I have transformed to a thin sheet, something even a homeless person would discard.             Each day I receive my beatings through all sorts of conditions, through all the

Crow Hour in Bloomington IN, a poem by Hiromi Yoshida

Crow Hour in Bloomington IN by Hiromi Yoshida That dreaded hour when they start flocking together—ruffling their black rag feathers, debris       of the long winter days—scattering across the greying sky—intense with needless       exclamation (raucous cacophony), heedlessly dropping scatological calligraphies like Jackson Pollock scrawls across the sidewalks of Tenth Street leading to       Crosstown in Bloomington IN. Bio: Hiromi Yoshida has been described as one of Bloomington's "best writers" by Christopher Harter, editor of Bathtub Gin, and as one of Bloomington's "finest and most outspoken poets" by Tony Brewer, co-founder of Matrix organization. Winner of multiple Indiana University Writers' Conference awards, Hiromi Yoshida's poems have appeared in Borderline, Evergreen Review, Bathtub Gin, and the Matrix anthologies of literary and visual arts.

A poem from Helen Townsend

How We Know Things by Helen Townsend It is strange to see the sky dismantled and lowered toward the ground. Pieces of fictional sky in the real sky, each billboard chunk hangs from a cord. As I imagine a blue topaz dangling from the thinnest of white gold chains, that’s when I make eye contact with you And I wonder are eyes eyes Yours like green glass held up to the sun Perhaps you see a green sea of milk, a turtle floating there with a universe on its back is grief grief Did you howl in the corner of the orchard the day you understood divorce means Daddy is leaving Like I did in the shower the day I left my Dad’s prostate-ridden body in a bed someone would too quickly clean for another old man to die in is wonder wonder Did you delight in the exquisite taste of a pumpernickel bagel the day after your first time with love and are you convinced this new space in your body is big enough to hold many worlds, to carry truth everybody can see Bio: Helen

My Big Fat Gay Marriage Issue, Resolved

by Bryn Douglas Marlow             The minister signed our marriage certificate with a flourish, then said, “One of you needs to sign here as ‘husband’ and one over here as ‘wife.’” It was 2005. Dave and I were wed in Canada on our ninth anniversary as a couple, soon after Ontario legalized same-sex marriage—so soon that gender-neutral forms were not yet available.             When we returned to the U.S. our marital status lodged in the Twilight Zone. It’s still there. We believe we’re married. A whole vast country north of us believes we’re married. But what happens in Canada stays in Canada. According to those with saying power, Dave is married to nobody. Guess what that makes me.             Being nobody wears on a person. Researchers have long documented the negative effects of the stigma of homosexuality on gay people. Recent studies show that residing in a U.S. state that outlaws same-sex marriage has a direct, adverse effect on the mental health of lesbians and gay m

A poem from Helen Townsend

Dusting Antiques the Day We Buried You by Helen Townsend           “Death is the opposite of time.” --Deng Ming-Dao I wish instead of laying you in a hole we could tuck you into this tall-as-a-man, weigh t- driven German-designed clock. Eight copper alloy layers like a cake reserved for grand events the middle tiers hold silver doors and dancers enter, exit, twirl on the hour, each like a moon flung around a single, familied earth. If I knew alchemy I could haul you from that pine bed cast you to handheld size, tune you to metal clockwork, watch you keep the time as you go on defying it. Bio: Helen Townsend lives in Indianapolis. “One of my favorite things is sitting down to write or revise, and when I look at the clock, hours have gone by. Everyone who writes or makes art or has a great conversation has experienced that. It feels like a glimpse of eternity.”

Sphinx the Hunter, a tale of discovery

By Robin Lovelace I have a black cat named Sphinx. Actually, she is Antoine’s cat. But Sphinx still lives here, Antoine does not.   A three year marriage and I loved Antoine, truly loved him, but he didn’t believe me. He said I couldn’t really love him . . . or anybody else for that matter. I met Antoine when I needed a lawyer to defend me from a hit and run charge. Yes I was guilty. Yes I hit someone and left the scene. Only because I was late for work and I didn’t need an arrest on my record and I sure didn’t need the insurance problems. Later on, we discovered the guy I hit was drunk. He was riding a moped. Swerved out in the street before I could push on the brakes and I had no previous record. The drunken moped driver lived but had to be in a wheelchair. Actually, it worked out pretty good for him. He didn’t die and he was eligible for disability checks so he could sit in his little house and drink up the rest of his little life. I got six months suspended and had to pay a

A poem from Brian Beatty

How Faith Works by Brian Beatty My granny always tithed what remained of her Social Security check at the end of each month to a few of her favorite radio evangelists — to help them reach out across the AM airwaves to touch more souls with their holy healing powers. But I never saw her seal one cent into an envelope addressed to any of those charlatan TV preachers she watched just as religiously on a black-and-white set balanced in the window ledge of her rent-controlled senior citizen apartment — no matter how often they asked for her prayers. “You wouldn’t see Lord Jesus prancing around the front of a church in a fancy suit like that fool’s,” she told me more than once. “Not up in my idea of Heaven, you wouldn't, anyway.” How her gold brick of President Reagan’s government-issue cheese turned blue in the back of her fridge I remember now, too. Bio: Brian Beatty was born and raised in Brazil, Indiana. He received his undergraduate

An ars poetica from Bonita Cox Searle

I Am Fat with poems unwritten. They came uninvited and bred like rabbits. They clogged my heart and smothered my throat. They impacted my gut— it no longer worked. They crammed my hippo thighs until I became an elephant. Elephants don’t write. My pachyderma expanded and expanded and expanded until it cracked and words seeped out— One thin poem at a time. Bio: Bonita Cox Searle lives in Noblesville, Indiana, where she writes poetry, short stories, memoir, and mystery novels. Her first published story, "Murder on Potter's Bridge," won The First Annual Armchair Detective Story Contest sponsored by the Polk Street Review. It will appear in the 2014 fall issue.

A poem from Helen Townsend

Thumbs by Helen Townsend I have my father’s thumbs. I first noticed them o n a summer road trip, when no teenager wants to ride cross country in a Ford Taurus with Mom and Dad. From a bored stare from the back seat I first saw the thumbs on the hands grasping the steering wheel were the thumbs on the hands holding my book. We pray to remember who we are. That’s what Sr. Christina taught from inside her cavern of black fabric under reprints of Jesus and Mary. I didn’t know yet that I carry my icons on me. Bio: Helen Townsend lives in Indianapolis. “One of my favorite things is sitting down to write or revise, and when I look at the clock, hours have gone by. Everyone who writes or makes art or has a great conversation has experienced that. It feels like a glimpse of eternity.”

The Literary Life and a Little Death

By Dan Carpenter I am fresh from an online debate with bookish friends about one of America’s most celebrated living poets when death comes to a family member who shares the poet’s name by sheer coincidence and shares a trademark quality of her favorite subject matter: Non-humanity. No sooner do I vent my weariness with Mary Oliver’s incessant animal poems than Oliver dies on me; and I must try, against all hope of achieving poetry, to write him a decent eulogy. He earned it; he gave a pet’s perfection in his six willful and sporadically violent years, and he may have lasted his full feline half score and five had it not been for my lassitude, my complacency, my wishful thinking that his profound lethargy and pitiable crying of the last day was just one more occasion for a tough little guy to barf out his troubles and trot on. Probably poisoned by some plant or refuse he ingested, the vet surmised. Who knows? Who springs for a $100 autopsy for a cat, especially if it might y