Simon Robson – 1 poem

NOTHING BETTER

 

 

There’s nothing better
than sitting at a glass table,
a vase of fresh flowers,
chrysanths, pansies, I suppose…
banging out a derisory poem about
my landlady who can’t put down her phone,
scrolling with her thumb –
she’s raised my rent for Botox treatment,
Facebook friends, watching Netflix,
French, romantic, merci, pouring wine…
Elizabeth Taylor,
I’m getting drunk after work,
red Johnny Walker, nothing better, merci…

Excuse me…
I’ve dropped the Tandoori peanuts –
Pharaoh Sanders on the stereo,
hateful grudge matches at work I’d rather
not go into,
popularity contests I’m never likely to win,
a lazy, bored, belligerent worker,
I’ve seen them handing round charity buckets
of self-pity…

While my landlady is electric, sexy,
curled on a new sofa of roses –
she’s missing her young Romanian boyfriend
who’s homeless,
I passed him in the subway back, poor boy…
a Romanian ex-car washer who drinks Red Bull,
bad cramps in her stomach, she says –
he plays the wild gold casino,
her stomach is sore with slot machines –
he follows her around like a shadow
because he’s got nothing better to do –
nothing better.

 

🍃

 

 

Simon Robson

Agnes Vojta – 2 poems

Shadow

 

It is the hour of the bats. They streak

black across purple sky, dart

between silhouettes of trees

that swallow the bats into blackness.

 

My mother and I sit on the porch. Every night

we watch the fireflies appear

and dance on the grass. We cannot

decipher their coded signals.

 

Mom delights in the fireflies and the bats

and the moon as if she sees them

for the first time. The goodbye

leans its shadow over us. We both know:

 

this is her last visit. So we don’t

talk about grave things, but just

point out the bats

and drink the last of the wine.

 

🍃

 

Mondays

 

Mondays are transitions.

We said goodbye Sunday night,

and you drove off, leaving

the house empty again.

I put away my hiking boots

and the red dress.

 

Mondays are bridges

to the week’s busy bustle.

Over coffee I consult

the calendar for appointments.

Outside, rain soaks

desolate February fields.

 

On Mondays,

I am off balance,

slow to settle into the day.

I stare out the window,

see the rain streak past,

and wait for equilibrium.

🍃

 

Agnes Vojta grew up in Germany and now lives in Rolla, Missouri where she teaches physics at Missouri S&T.

She is the author of Porous Land (Spartan Press, 2019).

Her poems recently appeared in As It Ought To Be Magazine, Gasconade Review, Thimble Literary Magazine, Trailer Park Quarterly,  Poetry Quarterly, Sonic Boom, and elsewhere.

Her website is agnesvojta.com.

Cynthia Anderson – 2 poems

The Regular

 

 

Every afternoon around two,

after lunch, after a nap,

he puts on his wide straw hat

and blue jacket, and walks

a few blocks to the park.

He’s sure to see someone

he knows, and today it’s me,

a friend of a friend, saying hello,

and he remembers, though

I must tell him my name.

They say his wife isn’t well,

she can’t get out any more,

and today he seems distracted,

not quite sure what to say.

Still, we talk for awhile, mostly

about our friend and the fine

day that’s come out after rain.

As I say goodbye, he takes my hand

like a lifeline, squeezing hard—

I know that grip of the very old,

the one that says, Don’t go

the one where loneliness spills over

as the stranger walks away.

 

🍃

 

 

The Ticket-Taker

 

He was a fixture at the Riviera

Theatre, in his blue blazer

and red bow tie, peering out

behind old-fashioned glasses.

Stationed just inside the front

entrance, he greeted each patron

as though he were their host,

tearing their tickets with aplomb.

If asked, he offered his take

on the feature, and his opinion

carried weight—anchored

by a vast knowledge of film.

He was a throwback, like

the theatre itself—worn seats,

limp projection, muffled sound.

But the movies were first-rate,

foreign and independent, never

run-of-the-mill. Authentic.

Then the 21st century arrived:

new ownership. Improvements.

The ticket-taker jettisoned.

He wasn’t the kind who could

start over, though he tried—

he moved to Los Angeles,

failed to find work, drifted,

committed suicide. That wind

in the eucalyptus, those ripples

on the reflecting pool—he haunts

the place where he thrived,

twilight dimming the city,

the show about to begin.

 

🍃

 

 

Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she is the author of nine poetry collections. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravenswww.cynthiaandersonpoet.com

Ken Poyner – 2 poems

THE CALL TO RATIONALITY

 

We could live the life of chaos.

Waving to strangers from the windows

Of yellow houses.  Ordering tea sets

For yachts adrift in the Interstate median.

Professing our love of horses

To the mad young boys who ride turtles

And condemn the grass.  There would be

So much

We could do.  But our lives are regulated,

Beginning to end, beginning to end, one thing

Ended and another beginning.

For our purposes a cigar

Is always a cigar, a train tunnel

The dark of the journey.  Waving

From the murderous windows of yellow houses

Is an excitement for people without mortgages.

Wave with me anyway.

The boys are strapped to their turtles,

The grass has had its come-uppance,

And everyone loves horses, loves tea sets.

There are strangers just over there.  Wave!

They pull off their blue shades and look at us,

Regard their watches, one

Starts at least a half gesture to wave back

And you can see cause and effect

Weighing on him.  He will make

An independent decision, and our world

Out of that one humid fact might go on.

 

His fingers in the air like bamboo

Twittering as though at the start of a race,

His wave, the sleek economy of it:

His waving.

 

🍃

 

 

THE DROWNING

 

Beneath the bed she can hear

The ocean heave, lap at itself,

Crest and growl:  independent.

She does not know how long she

Has been adrift, or this room

On the third floor awash.  Years

She has not peered under the bed,

Vacuuming with the length of the hose:

No smell of salt, no cry of seabirds,

No clatter of exoskeleton joints.

How long has the ocean hidden, how long

Did its infinite biology transpire

Beneath her bed – the bed

Barely as wide as she, barely

As long?  Brine and octopus

Calligraphy, mollusks as danced out

Through centuries of washed stone, the joy

Of fish in ordered numbers.

She has suspected.

Now, ever so cautiously,

She leans over the side, pulls up

The drape of cold, night blankets.  The

Clear sea breezes bring as well

Some stench of what gets cast

To the shore: the sea’s refusal

Of failure, the inept and worn out,

The decay of creatures falling behind.

Her hair is free to wash across the floor;

The spray there is mineral and oily.

She leans farther, past the box springs,

Balanced with only a fistful of mattress,

Wanting only to look, to look deeper,

To witness the joy of land-loving mermaids

Giddy with the sea, gasping in air.

 

 

🍃

 

 

After years of impersonating a Systems Engineer, Ken has retired to watch his wife of forty+ years continue to break both Masters and Open world raw powerlifting records.  Ken’s two current poetry collections (“The Book of Robot”, “Victims of a Failed Civics”) and three short fiction collections (“Constant Animals”, “Avenging Cartography”, “The Revenge of the House Hurlers”) are available from Amazon and most book selling websites.  Visit him at www.kpoyner.com.

Frank C. Modica – 1 poem

Odyssey

 

 

He trekked three hours

to his dad’s house, his duty,

 

driving him to the hospital

for bypass surgery.

 

In the hospital for 9 hours,

he walked loops around the

 

brightly lit corridors, prayed

with the rest of the family.

 

Feeling like a boat tossed

about in the wake of a storm,

 

he raged against the gods,

besieged the nurse’s station.

 

He drove back home to rest,

waited for news. At the tenth hour,

 

a phone call–the blood sacrifice

on a surgical table. No mercy.

 

 

🍃

 

Frank C. Modica