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Showing posts from May, 2014

A poem for Memorial Day from Jeffrey Owen Pearson

Memorial Day, 1955 by Jeffrey Owen Pearson That picture of you in our 1953 Pontiac parked outside the Chicago brownstones It was after the cemetery on Decoration Day After Aunt Florene’s cigarettes After Uncle Tony’s Stag beer You in your ribbed t-shirt flexing your muscles Sent you outside by Mom’s scowl— or maybe the heat— where you listened to the 500 on the radio with the car doors open Someone’s racecar went over the back wall You went over the fence Mom swore you’d be back by dark Tony brought wine and Italian bread from the basement refrigerator— we called it Hunka-Bunka bread— As you waltzed in and spun Mom to “Fly Me to the Moon” The moon itself leaning like Sinatra at the end of a long, long alley above all the red and the white and the blue Bio: Jeffrey Owen Pearson’s poems appear in So It Goes, Reckless Writing Anthology, Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island and Maize. His chapbook Hawaii Slides was published by Pudding House Publicatio

A poem for Memorial Day from Lylanne Musselman

On Memorial Day by Lylanne Musselman I’m on another bored walk, pacing a treadmill in Toledo, Ohio, and the TV flashes Jim Nabors singing Back Home Again in Indiana, his ritual right before The Greatest Spectacle in Racing, where men and women go 500 miles around and around in the Circle City, and sudden goosebumps rise— sentimental over my Indiana, where I was born, educated, grew to be me, left family and friends behind—with the sycamores and moonlight on the Wabash, when old Gomer sings “I long for my Indiana home,” memories come racing back, days spent staying with my beloved grandparents— long gone, the carefree antics of my youth—long gone, loves I left or never thought would leave— long gone. Before long the song is over, balloons lift, engines roar, my heart beats fast, as I walk in place, through the blur of tears and race cars— my life in Indiana, given the checkered flag. Bio: Lylanne Musselman is a native Hoosier with many family, fri

Nonfiction by Bryn Marlow

I DID. By Bryn Marlow Did I grow up hearing the word “gay” mostly on Saturday mornings while watching cartoons as in,             When you're with the Flintstones             Have a yabba-dabba-doo time             A dabba-doo time             You'll have a gay old time and notice that a gay old time week in and week out involved a grown man getting locked out of his own house and hammering at the door to be let back in?             I did.             Did I make my way through the world compliant and quiet, the middle child, a people-pleaser who valued appearances because they helped keep the peace and make folks happy?             I did.             Did I embrace the Bible thumping tenets of my family with a fervor all my own, label my same-sex attraction sinful temptation fanned by the flames of hell, plead with God to remove from me the stubborn desire to lust after other boys, promise to read my Bible two hours every day, never backtalk my mother an

A poem from Stephen R. Roberts

Wrestling Alligators by Stephen R. Roberts The story of the man who lost an arm to an alligator in a lake down in Florida makes me think I should put my arms around these words in a reptilian intimacy, hug my pets while they’re young and still small enough to accept such displays of love or whatever they call it. I should do this at an early stage of development because it can be difficult to concentrate as an arm is being pulled from its socket in a crocodilian water-dance by a stanza easily confused with rapture or infatuation. Mayhem and motive may be misconstrued, the same as alliteration, if underfed or overused while ligaments, muscles, and the mind are being stretched and torn beyond their capabilities of elasticity or accommodation. So I rub the bellies of the little beasts. Place my pen to paper, deceptively revise the entranced, undulating bodies to feel the heat of cold-blooded words unwind. Bio: Stephen R. Roberts lives on eight acres of Hoo

Mothers write about their children: Poems from Mary Sexson

Free Thinker: The Road to India by Mary Sexson You never blinked an eye when you stepped off the plane in that ancient city eight thousand miles from everything you knew. You got in a cab with strangers and let them take you to some dilapidated hotel, overcharge you for a dirty room, and drop you off at the train station the next morning, your wallet a little lighter, but the stink of tourist wiped off of you forever. The train took four days to cross that heave of land, and you to find your way to a quieter place where no one would ever know who you were, and cell phones didn’t work. You walked in on your own two feet, hungry, and looking for the light.   The Continents Between Us by Mary Sexson You have sent me your songs, in zip files that I download late at night, listening intently,  trying to discern your voice, your style of guitar or drum work.   I sometimes scan the online videos    where I know I will see you playing yo

Mothers write about their children: A poem from Marjie Giffin

Place of Peace by Marjie Giffin Elisabeth sleeps, Knees curled against my groin, My knees tucked around her toes, My mother body Encircling her daughter body: Warming the nest, Lining the next, Nesting. Our cheeks pressed, Her breaths puff evenly, Play a soft cadence Against my skin. The space between us Is moist and close, And a flutter Of her tiny lashes Touches, tickles lightly. Nestled as we are, Her slumber becoming My poetry, I commit the feel Of this little one’s lifesong To memory – That I might at any moment Recreate this place of peace. Bio: Marjie Giffin is an Indianapolis writer and educator who has taught writing as an adjunct professor at IUPUI and writing/literature at a private school for gifted students. She is an M.A. graduate of Butler University in English and continues to take writing workshops as a member of the Indiana Writers Center. She is an author of four regional published histories and has her poetry published in anthol

Mothers write about their children: A poem from Tracy Mishkin

skin artist by Tracy Mishkin for Noah your flesh my canvas      cortisone cream the dots of Seurat      no brush      my finger shades salve to skin      rough red rash      morning bathe paint      evening paint sleep      my hand my palette   Elidel      Vaseline      moving easel      no model paid to sit      still impatient impasto greasy splotches      scream resist     dismiss my art    quilt reed basket coiled pot      my son my canvas      masterpiece respite itching redness open sores Bio: Tracy Mishkin is a career immigrant. Born in academia, she taught in Georgia and published two books on African-American literature, then disappeared, resurfacing in the land of non-profits with the Bureau of Jewish Education in Indianapolis. Three years later, she was spotted across the border working retail at the Uniform House before she immigrated to the corporate world, where she resolves insurance problems at Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. Finishing Line Press will

A pantoum by Katherine Simmons

The Day Mother Gave the Cat Away by Katherine Simmons The day that she gave the cat away she felt so desperate and bone-draining tired— for yes, a young mother’s fatigue and dismay bears fruit in deeds that are poorly inspired. She felt so desperate and achingly tired. The kids wouldn’t nap and their moods became sour, bearing fruit in deeds that were poorly inspired. Her whole house declined to a mad swirling howl. The kids wouldn’t nap and their moods became sour. The sweet baby shrieked and flailed in display. The whole house declined to a mad swirling howl. The pet snake escaped and was getting away. The mad baby screamed and put on a display. Sister pinched her balloon and laughed when it burst. The pet snake escaped and slithered away across sister’s lap and up under her shirt. Sister grabbed the balloon and squeezed ’til it burst. They giggled with glee at the runaway snake, as it crossed sister’s lap and hid in her shirt. Mother sighed with despair a