Michael Lee Johnson – 1 poem

Cheaters

 

 

 

I am tired of cheaters

 

online, weary eyed crossword

 

players complicated chest moves

 

drift dancers, lies, laid soft peddle,

 

shared pillow, dark closet dreamers.

 

Campaign gossip whispers,

 

infidelity, sex objects shoved up orifices

 

in open or private places.

 

Sex shops open late, consummation

 

nightclubs, cities dark corners.

 

Two doctrines of selfishness

 

you should know about

 

penises and affairs most are short.

 

Flesh and fights, scabs, cheaters in the night.



🍃

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 880 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author’s website http://poetryman.mysite.com/.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, includingFrom Which Place the Morning Rises andChallenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems. He also has over 91 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015:  https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos  Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL. nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015.  Visit his Facebook Poetry Group and joinhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/807679459328998/  He is also the editor/publisher of anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762

 

https://www.createspace.com/6126977.

Ian Mullins – 2 poems 

Laura’s Room


It’s cold in Laura’s room.

The curtains are drawn, but there

is no window behind them,

only the shapes of bricks

drawn by hand on the wall.

No carpets; only a handful

of dirty rags festering on dry boards,

where you find comfort

how you may. You study

the art of waiting when no-one

is expecting your call.

Nothing can be read

in the few simple stains

high on the four plain walls.

No furniture need comfort you,

no light need detain you.

You enter the same way a fly

enters an empty bottle, in Summer,

perhaps from hunger

or curiosity, or restless after a thaw.

It should be quite simple

to fly your way out, should flight

be needed. The door is never locked

when Laura leaves the room.


🍃


21


She’s 21

looks good naked

got a boyfriend/girlfriend

sex when she wants it

says she’s going to Australia soon

maybe take the bus

work for an hour or two

sleep on the beach

naked under stars

naked as she

drink down the years

shower under a waterfall

grow fat like a walrus

have three or four kids

she’ll never see again

collect men like syringes

die on the beach

in the middle of summer

says you don’t have to bury me

just fold me away

I’m 21;

forget about the rest.


🍃


Ian Mullins bails out from Liverpool England. His collection Laughter In The Shape Of A Guitar was published by UB (undergroundbooks.net) in 2015. He has published poems and stories with Purple Patch, Neon, The Journal, Mad Swirl, Clutching At Straws, Hellfire Crossroads, The Literary Hatchet and many more.

Mare Leonard – 2 poems 

Green and Blue

 

At the distant edge of the universe

is the first green

 

Blue is the color of our dreams,

whether we remember or forget

 

Unclaimed wishes on the moon

lie like unripened fruit

 

The blue tiles in my kitchen,

 blue-jays on grey walls

 

Indulge in the triple greens of  summer,

guac, limes, Margarita edges

 

Speak to no one   sleep in the hammock’s

wide net   release into the Blue


🍃

 

A Sidelong Glance: After viewing Erik Van Lieshout’s work at Mass MOCA

 

So who are you Erik Van Lieshout

            So “prominent and provocative.”

and who do you think I am

 

lying in a sexy sprawl, so close

            to your scribbles, portraits of you and yours

the red, white and blue of your internal

 

existentialist trip to the USA,

            I’m so close to your edgy videos:

  you, your  politics. Is Bush in denial?

 

you ask in, Guantanamo Bay Watch, 2005.

 

Now I’m asking, why am I spending time

            inside your world? Order me something

Erik Van Lieshout, play your medicated angst ridden

 

instrument, and stamp paid, done, on my hands.

            My writing frenzy has gone on too long.

 I  want to rant in my own political rage

 

 or meditate next to your New Mexico sunsets.

            You demand this,  The artist creates an intimate installation

that incorporates the viewer.  That’s me, Erik Van Lieshout.

 

 Keep me  in your Brown Cafe to become One

             with red and yellow tulips,

One with an old woman wearing a scarf, an apron, bagging

            a kilo of potatoes.

 

So what if my life is a sidelong glance.


🍃


Mare Leonard has published chapbooks at 2River,Pudding HouseAntrim House Press andRedOchreLit. She lives in an old school house overlooking the Rondout Creek in Kingston, NY. Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches writing workshops through the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College.

www.maryclareleonard.com

Toti O’Brien – Fiction 

THE PIANIST

The sound. Fluid, and pixelated. The sound—sweated, and magic. A suspension of breath, then the applause.


     *

     Fluid means attached, continuous: someone holding your hand during a walk. Holding tight, never letting go. They won’t let you go: they have grabbed your hand while still in the elevator, before reaching the wooden portal, leading outside.
      You can’t manage the portal by yourself: it’s too heavy. You have tried. Someone has laughed. There are always witnesses to your poor performances, you have noticed. It is tiresome. You see laughter about to burst on their face—invariably you start clowning around, meaning your act was for their amusement. They think all you do is potentially funny for some reason. Wrong. Most of what you do is dead serious. You are learning how to live, what’s entertaining about it? You are trying to survive, understanding the ropes of what seems an insecure trade. Don’t they know? They are so eager to laugh… and you oblige, wearing your puppet hat, being the doll.
     You have tried to push the darn door, thrusting your entire body in the effort, palms spread against the wood: first the thing didn’t budge, then it crept an inch or two while you lost your balance. Someone laughed then took your hand, slamming the thing open with their other hand. Dang. When are you going to be strong enough?

     Now, a walk is fluid because of the hand that never lets go of yours. Outside, streets and sidewalks are a sort of giant, nasty river. You have to cross, smartly and prudently, or you’ll drown. Danger! they have cried: you could be run over by a car. Those things are blind: they don’t see you. You need watching!
     You can watch for cars: you aren’t blind, you understand velocity, you can run. You think you are quite fast but then, how can you know if they don’t let you try?
     There’s a loophole in the system, you have noticed… You can’t do things because you don’t know how. But if you don’t try how can you figure? “Everything,” they say, “will come in its own time”. The mystery is unfathomable. Everything will come… how if some things are late? If they forget to come? Should you indefinitely wait without taking action?
     You take action. You repeatedly ask. You are denied.

     It is one of the fundamentals laws—so implied you don’t bother formulating it. Things need to be asked for, then denied. It’s a dance… You find it tiresome, but—who knows—maybe its lack would be boring. Anyway they all seem adept to the game, seemingly unavoidable.
     It’s not that things are forbidden. At least you haven’t thought that way. They only need to be pushed or pulled—like a toy your brother has grabbed at the other end. Things need to be dug out, like holes in the sand. You are good at digging deep, narrow holes with your plastic shovel. What are you looking for? Nothing, or—in fact—the middle of the earth, but of course you don’t say it to avoid someone’s burst of hilarity. Truly you are looking for the other side: it can’t be too far. It’s a matter of patience and determination. You haven’t formulated it, but you know. Things can be obtained by patience and determination—against resistance. Resistance is law number one. You push against the abominable front door, separating the world of home from the slushy, river-like street. You pull on the hand keeping yours like a secret. You pull on your chain. It will end up breaking.
     Still, you should thank the hand that insures continuity to your crossing. You should, but you can’t.

     Your steps pixelate the crossing. Small, pointed, separated. You steps are teeth, little dots, nails hammered by your legs. You hammer the nails on the street. Your steps are black marks on the page leaned against the piano stand. You have asked what such words mean, for they don’t look like those printed, for instance, on father’s newspaper—that large thing he hides behind, to suddenly lower a corner and yell at you.
     They are notes, mother said with a smile. You have already seen notes, like the one she has in her hand when you go for errands (the other hand holds you). Not the same kind of notes. You like those on the piano better: their blackness, their hammering quality on the page. You don’t know yet they transform themselves into sound. They remind you of your black shoes drawing steps on the pavement. Your steps make sound.

     *

     Now, the piano teacher is exceedingly tall. You are cross. You don’t want to be given lessons, sit on the wooden stool, be quiet, listen to what he has to say. But you weren’t given a choice. Besides, you understand the thing has implications. You mean it came attached, as some do. It came wet and a little bleeding. Those things you can’t just refuse—you can, but not bluntly or blindly.
     You need to apply some care, for they aren’t neutral. They are sticky, attached, you were saying. You have understood the piano thing is quite sensitive. You can’t frankly oppose it. Still, you don’t want to sit with this oversized unknown individual.
    Predictably, he is interested in your hands. He claims them… how original. He starts by parcelizing them… numbering fingers: how ridiculous… Now your fingers have numbers—they need to hammer keys for a counted amount of times. He’s concerned by your doing this: daily, please, for at least twenty minutes (how can you keep all those arithmetics going?)
     Your hands—so free, so capricious—have been regimented into a foreign army. They’ll wear an extraneous uniform, speak a language that sounds mechanical and of little interest. Should you obey? Should you surrender to this obnoxious routine?
     As we said the question is tacky. Mother is hooked on it… this tall man as well. A promise of obedience escapes you.
     You bitterly regret it.

     **

     Piano routine has grown to two daily hours. She is gifted, the master said. He said it after two classes, promoting her to the written page, admitting her to the secret of curly markings and ornate hieroglyphs. Should she feel grateful? In a way she does. But the scores have lost their magic. Now she has eyes for them.
     She already had eyes. She doesn’t want too many.
     The point is, her talent (what is it, if not something someone says about someone else?) has gained her two hours of daily reclusion, cutting her out from toys, brothers, games, television… Two hours sat on a stool behind a closed door. Is it a prize? Clearly it isn’t. A punishment? Clearly it is, but the talent-thing fogs it, blurring the contours. Can you be talented and consequently punished? Apparently.
     Piano practice cannot be begged off by means of repeated asking. It doesn’t respond to the rules of resistance… there’s something unnatural about it. Not all have to deal with it: it landed on her, alas, like an oversized hat, quite uncomfortable. It grows stickier and stickier. Mother clings to it: a jellyfish.
      She has heard her play once. Mother used to play. Now she doesn’t. Never will again. Why? This belongs to a set of no-answer-questions: a wide coffer adults keep accurately locked. Mother doesn’t play: she does, now, as if mother’s hands took hold of hers. By the way, isn’t she mother’s possession? She is, though she’s pulling out… patience, determination.

     *

     She can’t beg her way out of her piano hours, though the weight of it swells as she grows older. The afternoon becomes shorter: homework takes more time. Little is left, and in such exiguous window there’s more urgent, tastier, spicier stuff she wishes to do. Girlfriends’ phone calls. Mysteries on television.  Challenging card games with brothers. Craft projects.
     She would gladly give up school, play piano instead: the lesser between two quasi evils—she means bores. But that isn’t in question.
     She must deal with temptation, then. Skip practice? At least shorten it, biting off a tad at the end or at the beginning—maybe both. Interrupt? More than once. Lie about it: that’s hard. Mother asks for practice reports—she verifies her progress, of course, with the teacher. If she cheats she will be discovered. If she doesn’t score well she’ll be in trouble. How? Not sure. She’s afraid she will become worthless.

     While her hands—they have a life of their own—play the keys, her eyes wander over the wooden surface of the instrument, beyond the score. She could reproduce every mark by memory… she has read the veined designs a zillion of times.
     She knows all the shapes that can be made out: clouds, trees, bridges, buildings—more than all, faces. Many. Her gaze slips from the score to the shiny panels, lingers on the images, visits the faces, engages in mute conversations. The scenario entertains her. She starts nurturing a weird thought: to kill time, at least push it forwards. She asks herself if the figures are due to the wood’s irregularities and strata, of if someone actually traced them.
     Someone actually traced them. She knows this is a fancy—a lie, in other words—but she starts believing it. Then it isn’t a lie anymore: it is the beginning of insanity. Over practicing leads there, unavoidably.

     *

     She is insane. On the right side of the piano, an arch leads into an empty room. Since her study time is late afternoon, for a part of the year there’s no daylight. A lamp draws the small circle of her supposed concentration. Besides, darkness surrounds her. It would not be a problem, if not for the presence of the arch leading to the unknown: meaning to a room she can’t seize or control. Slowly emptiness starts to obsess her, to haunt her. A cold breath is coming through—a menace. Someone could be there, hiding, then jump out and surprise her, especially if she gets too absorbed by the music—that in the meanwhile has grown complex. (She is talented, the teacher keeps saying). She’s absorbed anyway: the pieces are more layered, the arpeggios and thrills faster and faster. Then she’s suddenly startled. She stops dead, she thinks she heard something. She shivers.
     She has spotted a new design on the wood, in the intricacy of blond and red lines: in the lower right angle. Usually the score blocks it, but one day she has found it. She hides it since, but she knows it is there. A devil. A demon. Not only the face: the full bust, a bit crooked. Enticing. Not unpleasant. Mischievous, in a seductive way.
     Still the devil… on the right, together with the gaping arch of obscurity. She is chilled. She no more dares entertaining bad thoughts such as cheating on practice time, skip more tedious assignments—checking them anyway, on her notebook. Whenever temptation assails her, fear grabs her. Grabs her hand, lifts it in mid air, directs it.

     Her teacher—year after year, he has become a friend—is preparing her for recital. She is ready, so is her Beethoven. She will be a success and he’s proud of her. Will mother? Perhaps.
     He asks her to rehearse curtain bows. “Look at that arch!” he exclaims. “A perfect mock stage! Go back there then come forwards, stop center, bow, count to three, lift up, smile!” But she is frozen: she needs confessing she can’t. While she thinks of lies the truth falls from her lips. Sympathetically, her teacher laughs: “I will cure you. Come on! Nothing is in the dark that wasn’t in… etcaetera.” She has no choice but stepping out to the corridor, through the television lounge, into the room of darkness. Cross it, then come forwards. Like diving in cold water… same shiver, same exhilaration. She runs, she repeats. She has done it ten times. She feels ten years older: a grown up. “Bravo, my little diva,” says he.
      She knows he has taught her something for once.

     *

     Early on Easter morning, she cut her hand with the dented knife used for bread. She was tidying the kitchen to surprise her mother, first thing. Wraps and ribbons were littering the table: chocolate eggs were opened the night before, following tradition. Mother hadn’t cleaned up, for it was too late.
     She’d take care of it then make breakfast. With the knife she tried cutting a golden cord whose knot couldn’t be undone. She could have stored it as it was. Her action was an excess of zeal. Plus, the knife wasn’t the right tool: a pair of scissors were needed.
     The blade tore her palm cutting all the way through, deep, zigzagging: a mess. Mother found her bent over the sink, unsuccessfully trying to stop the bleeding. That asked for a trip to the emergencies. Talk about a surprise.

     She cut her left hand. No more bass, no more accompaniment, for the moment. They would use the occasion to strengthen her right hand—said the piano teacher, unscathed. She still practiced for hours.
     When the wound scarred, she saw how it interfered with her destiny line… She kept pondering: her fate had been artificially upset. By her own hand… the other one. Would it consequently change? The scar matched the line for a while—only, it made it nonlinear. Complicated, arabesque. Then, towards the end it sharply diverged. If the line were a river—as of course it was—the scar marked a crucial bifurcation. A delta of possibilities.

     Though it was perfectly scarred the hand wouldn’t heal. She could scarcely move it: it was knotted, nested, as if holding something it couldn’t let go. Mother brought her back to the surgeon who had mended it. Maybe there was nerve damage, he said. That, said mother, of course couldn’t be: the girl played the piano. She had to keep playing.
     For sure.
     She had noticed the surgeon was exaggeratedly tall. She had not paid attention when her dangling flesh was sewn up. He grabbed her by the hand (the right one) with a tone of authority. Not unsympathetic. Come with me—while he dragged her to the sink he had filled with hot water. He let go of her right and took her left: frightened, she tried pulling back. Firmly he sunk it in water, starting to articulate it, pushing and pulling.
     She screamed once: it hurt like hell. But something came lose. He laughed, letting go of her. “Hopefully it is only muscles. Don’t let them shrink. You need this routine, daily. Hot water, then brace yourself. Move it! Move it!” Then he turned towards mother: “Don’t worry, she’ll play”.
     Yes she will.

     *

     After the concert’s end—she went with friends of her age; the academy gave away tickets to gifted students, like her—she climbed on stage, then respectfully waited on the side. She had started collecting signed programs.
     You see: she had embraced her musical destiny. She had made room for it. She simply kept practicing, progressing—and destiny made itself. Now she went to concerts and collected autographs she then showed to her mother, quite proudly.
     While she waited, she noticed his scorched fingers. All around his nails the flesh was raw, and profusely bleeding. Astonished she looked at the keys, to see if they were stained. She could not tell.
     Her turn came. He smiled automatically. She pushed her program forward, smiling as well. He signed with a flourish—quite an emphatic gesture. “I liked your performance,” she said, meaning it. He smiled more. “I wonder though,”—that was inappropriate, she knew, “how could you so marvelously play with those wounded fingers?”
      She promptly regretted it. It wasn’t her business. It could have been something he wasn’t proud of. “My fingers?” He looked as if he was seeing them for the first time. Surprised, astonished. “My fingers?” He had to be insane, she thought. Over practicing does it.
     In fact he laughed, soundly. What was such hilarity about? “But I don’t play with these,” he exclaimed, giggling away.
      Then what did he play with? Whose fingers, she meant.

🍃

Toti O’Brien’s work has appeared in Between the Lines, Litro UK, Panoplyzine and Five on The Fifth, among other journals and anthologies. More about her can be found at totihan.net/writer.html

Robert Cooperman – 2 poems 

GRANDPA’S REVENGE

 

After Dad’s hat frame factory—

fragile as bone china—splattered

like cheap crockery, Grandpa shouted:

 

“You screwed up, Sol!

If you hadn’t been in such a hurry

to push me into retirement,

I could’ve saved the business.

But no, you and Harry thought

you had all the answers.”

 

While his fists punched the air,

I wanted to shout Grandpa hadn’t kept up

with orders, sent the delivery man

to wrong addresses, gave contradictory

instructions to blockers and finishers,

 

while Dad had worked competent

and patient as a spider at its web,

though he’d got caught in it, when ladies

stopped buying fancy chapeaus,

and Harry ran off with the payroll

and a frolicky finisher. and left

his wife in shrieking destitution.

 

Dad a shamed suspect, until Mom held up

a hand like a traffic cop, and in a voice

you had to lean closer to hear, said,

 

“That’s enough.  Blame the times. 

Blame Harry, for a drunken thief,

but don’t you dare blame my husband.” 

 

The room grew so still I could hear

the planet creaking on its axis:

all of us frozen, until Mom nudged me

out the door and told me to go play. 

🍃

MONEY LAUNDERING

 

Not as in the mafia buying

into a legitimate business;

but as in two friends ironing

wrinkles out of hundred dollar bills

ahead of their trip to Myanmar.

 

Two lovers of the tropics: they’ll trek

in steam-fecund national parks,

visit holy Buddhist shrines, walk

exotic cities, and relax at a resort

in a lake reached only by boat.

 

All of that costs money,

and not a business in the country

accepts credit cards or has ATM’s,

and merchants will take only

hundred dollar bills less blemished

than the faces of super models, crisp

as the uniforms of the junta’s elite.

 

Any crease, any stamp or ink-writing,

any crimp or smudge, and the Franklins

will be tossed back like fingerling trout.

 

So El has spent all night laundering bills:

merchants and generals with their hands out.

🍃

Robert Cooperman 

Diana Raab – Poetry and Flash Fiction

WATER’S ANSWERS

  

I glance over at your tree barks

standing like Bohemian soldiers

in your yard never touched,

 

hoping to find you wandering

on the same path as me,

or riding the water of ocean waves,

 

when I suddenly bump into your psyche

in the ethers which connect us,

as you quietly ask my name

 

and together we scribble something

undecipherable because

the world outside us

 

is of no essence—

what only matters

is your name in fantasies and dreams

we weave inside already planted roots.

 

You urge me to scribe and shape

what sleeps in my broken, lust-free heart,

what’s gathered upon its collapsed chambers,

but I glance up to waters which connect us,

 

in front of the table where

your wine was served

centuries ago when you promised

to strip the shadows of my mind

 

in the hope to give back

all that the world has taken away

on the water where you wrote

the word lust  for me with the sun’s morning rays.


🍃


STORM PARANOIA 


In my face in your face in the world’s face

that’s where my dog’s butt was during every hour last night and I wish I could say that he thought he was protecting me from the Lock Ness monster or something, but it was just him telling me his deep-seated fear, probably established by some childhood trauma, which is what people do these days, blame shit on their childhood because they don’t want to take responsibility for who the hell they are, but while writing, I realize that there’s no way my dog, as smart as he is because he knows I am coming home even before I do, could possibly be so psychologically in-tune, but who knows, anyway, back to the monster wind and my eight hours of interrupted sleep, worse than the kind of my newborn babies who were at least consoled by me jamming my milk-swollen breast into their small innocent mouths to shut them up, but no this dog was inconsolable and thought by licking every inch of my exposed skin and making circles on every inch of my bed to find the perfect position parading back and forth on my still body trying to hold a book to read while wagging his tail back and forth upon its pages, just because he thought I could protect him from the monster wind which was only after him and the sleep which I wish I had. do they make ear plugs for canines? please send asap.

🍃

Diana Raab, Ph.D. is an award-winning poet, memoirist, blogger, essayist and speaker.  Her book, “Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life” is forthcoming in 2017.  

Raab is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, Huff50 (The Huffington Post), and PsychAlive. More at dianaraab.com.


Diana Raab Ph.D.

www.dianaraab.com

Twitter @dianaraab

https://www.facebook.com/DianaRaab.Author

Rowan Johnson – Fiction 

PILGRIMAGE


When the pilgrim sets off, the calm ocean glows in the burning early morning. The Mediterranean does not look far, but the Byzantine paths from the village of Kalkanli to Caretta Beach veer around smallholdings, ravines, through orange tree farms and vast olive groves.

In one of the groves he meets a beaming shepherd and his dog, beatific in the Biblical land. The pilgrim shares a few crusts of dry bread and some olives from his knapsack with the shepherd, because is it not true that out of the ground they were taken; they are but dust, and to dust they shall both return?

Further along, the road to the beach tapers, and soon the air is filled with the stench of a smoldering pile of burning plastic. Far in the distance, farmers throw plastic bottles on the pile, laughing manically, while a pack of stray dogs, hungry for human flesh, grow rabid with the increasing heat of the fire.

The pilgrim turns back toward the village, broodingly cursing the farmers and the dogs. But soon enough, a flock of a hundred marauding sheep appears in front of him, blocking the way and beetling down the dusty path towards him. He ducks down a narrow side road to avoid being trampled, and soon gets lost in a labyrinth of dense orange trees. Eventually, the trees start clearing, but then he notices a crumbling ruin and a soldier patrolling in full uniform, brandishing his rifle. The pilgrim ducks behind a large cactus to avoid being seen. All around him, fields of harsh brush and thorny nettles are scattered like landmines.

Far off his original course but just a few fields away, the spire of the Agios Nicolaos church in Yayla shines blindingly white here in God’s country. Which way to turn? Not through the burning trash and the dogs. Not through the flock of marauding sheep. Not risking being shot. Mutilation by thorns seems the only option. He bows his head, prays softly and crawls over the first cactus toward the church. Already, deep red gashes form along his arms.

In the brilliant distance, the calm waters of Caretta Beach still beckon. Maybe the turtles there are resting in the cool water by now. But the pilgrim will not know anything about it. He will not reach that place today. Perhaps he will never reach that place.

🍃

Rowan Johnson holds a doctorate from the University of Tennessee as well as an MA from the University of Nottingham, England. His work has been published in Two Thirds North, 4ink7, Passing Through Journal, Wordriver Literary Review, GFT Press, and the Writers’ Abroad Foreign Encounters Anthology. He has also written numerous travel articles for SEOUL Magazine.

A note to readers

Hi Bindweed friends,

Your Editor-in-Chief is currently leaving England to move to Northern Ireland. It is a busy time of packing and cleaning before a 9 hour drive to Scotland today to take the ferry across the Irish Sea.

Nevertheless, I will do my best to keep the publishing schedule on track for Issue 2. New writers might want to take note that the response time for reading submissions will be longer than normal as I relocate – apologies for the delay. Sometimes life gets in the way of one’s publishing pursuits!

Leilanie 🌺

Editor-in-Chief 

Bindweed Magazine 

Linda M. Crate – 2 poems

I’M MAGIC

 

If you’re looking for me

you shan’t find me

because I’m magic,

and you don’t believe;

I suppose a healthy dose of skepticism is

to be expected from one who doesn’t

even hold his religion

sacred

let alone his love—

you hunted me like a wild animal

with your wolf fangs

you dragged me to the ground and made me yours,

and I let you;

but I puzzled over it all—

because while I knew love was painful

I didn’t think it required this much blood,

and so I changed and became stronger

I was always a wild creature;

but now your gilded cage can’t even find me

let alone hold me.

🍃

 

A SOUL ON FIRE

 

You put your hands

into my cosmic cookie jar,

but my stars were not

yours for the taking;

they burned you on the sharp

edges of their wildness—

always I was “too” something:

too fat, too uptight, too anxious, too provocative

or I was not enough:

not pretty enough, not provocative enough, not brave enough

you could never make up your damn mind,

and so when I look back at the pictures

I can safely say

that I’m happier without you;

and your icicles so sharp and so cold as the hell fire

in your soul.

🍃

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville. Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print. Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press – June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon – January 2014) were published. Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015. The second novel of this series Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015.  Her poetry collectionSing Your Own Song is forthcoming through Barometric Pressures Series.

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Linda-M-Crate-129813357119547/

Novels: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Magic-Linda-M-Crate/dp/1508572968 & http://www.amazon.com/Dragons-Magic-Linda-M-Crate/dp/1517126312/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1456149250&sr=1-1&keywords=Dragons+%26+Magic+Linda+M.+Crate

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorlindamcrate/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/thysilverdoe

Stanley Kaplan – 2 poems

DOUBLE DAMNED

 

I spurn your sentiments,

and you spurn mine.

I situate myself side saddle 

on that hayseed horse.

I, a woman cultivated

and created to consider

the sound points and the

puny pronouncements,

of he, the man in my life.

 

But she wonders how this

and that happened to me

and mine.

O saraband and stately

pavane, what precipitated

this passion, this poignant 

participation in the daily 

doings?

I will be double damned if I do.

🍃

REVENGE

 

Hollywood, who,

no why, no way to 

exchange this day for that.

Like Bill Sprat, who had

no fat,

on his fancy belly, we

who watch, wish him no

well.

If not hell, a half one

situated on a southern

ridge.

🍃

Stanley Kaplan has published work in a number of journals and anthologies, including, Onthebus, Chiron Review, Midstream and Quiet Courage with others forthcoming.

He lives in New York City where he paints as well as writes. Stanley is the recipient of a Pollack- Krasner Foundation grant.