You spoke of uncertainty as if it were a nest. You gave me
its guarded beauty. It was a gold cup. It was a lake.
I could drink or drown there, but you caught me
looking at a crowd gathering on the shore. They were speaking
only your name. When they left, the scene darkened.
Is it enough to say that we kept watch? In another sentence,
a hidden machine replaces the word green for darling,
but this is the story of the lake and cup. I am in it as someone
writing. You are like the green curtains that open or close.
Jonathan Minton lives in central West Virginia, where he is a Professor of English at Glenville State College. He is the author of the poetry collections Technical Notes for Bird Government (Telemetry Press, 2018), In Gesture (Dyad Press, 2009), and Lost Languages (Long Leaf Press, 1999). He is the editor of the journal Word For/Word (www.wordforword.info).
from bed and shuffled to the kitchen, her hands before
her in the dark, turned on the tap, drank
some water from a tumbler, placed the glass in the sink
and died, falling to the floor, never returning
to bed. In the morning, the man awoke to find
her side of the bed empty, the blankets folded
back. He called to his wife without reply.
Staggering from bed, he donned his robe and slippers.
In the middle of the bedroom, he paused, listened for the bustle
of breakfast preparation and heard nothing.
Remembering his hearing aids, he chuckled to himself.
In the bathroom, he peed and farted, washed
his hands, and poked his hearing aids into
his ears with stubby fingers. He lumbered down
the hall to the kitchen, where he found his wife,
partner of a lifetime, crumpled on the floor
like a pale moth. He said her name,
as though he might summon her to rise,
and then dropped into a chair beside her
and said nothing. I am alone, he thought
in the moment before he felt her presence. He gasped,
seeing her familiar form before him
even as he watched her empty shell on the floor.
Her smell surrounded him, the vibration filled
the room. “How could you leave me alone?”
he thought. “How could you go?”
“I have been with you for a lifetime,
but I have never known your mind,”
said her voice, like faraway static.
“I see you now,” she said. “All
the things you never disclosed. How
lonely I always was and how empty you
were.” The man sat quietly and said
nothing, for there was nothing left to hide.
Fishing in the Dark
Sitting on a shore
a still lake
the sun not yet risen
stars are still
in the sky
the placid water
my jacket I’m
the damp cold
beneath the smooth
surface the fish
in the sand
a mysterious world
I watch the glassy
where I cast
with a splash
the baited hook
I am alone
will I feel
on the end
of the line.
Wade Fox lives in Denver and teaches writing at the Community College of Denver. He is the founder of New Feathers Anthology, an online and print literary and art journal. A writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction,he has published poems in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily,Cabildo Quarterly,Datura Journal,Occam’s Razor, Littoral, and R.K.V.R.Y, and short stories in Occam’s Razor, The Corner Club, and Minimus. He has also written book reviews and cowrote a chapter in the book Blues: Philosophy for Everyone. As an editor, he has edited many authors, including, notably, George Harrison, JK Rowling, Vladimir Putin and Kamala Harris.
There is spicy stew in front of me and spicy stew becoming me. I sometimes articulate a thought that seems to come from beyond. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Sometimes I touch my hair and realize my limits. Hard stops in spite of the world passing through.
The door opens and a chilly, unseasonal breeze scatters a stack of paid dinner checks. The new patron’s leather blazer and domino mask designate him as a crimefighter. Or a criminal. Or the shadow of a clown. This is not me.
To have a destiny, one must have a self / be a game piece. Be a racecar. Be a top hat. The thimble holds but a drop of stew. Though the waitress must know that I will not try it, she is obliged to describe the new item on the menu.
I suppose it would do no harm to try the jacket on. There is ample room in the shoulders, and though it looks odd buttoned up, there is room through the waist as well. I have recently lost some weight, and the weightless have been treating me with more respect. More affection. I meant to say the “waitress.” This is not me.
Antonyms for “White”
I’m not home when you show up
with the box
full of colorful socks
for the white
It’s, accordingly, a big box,
and you leave it in the driveway.
It’s a sudden rain,
the sort in which religious types
I am more tempted to invent
a character who would
cherry-pick a pair
of the donated socks for himself
than I am to cherry-pick
a pair of my own.
He walks around,
his poorly hemmed pants revealing
the pink and yellow stripes.
Among the Forgetters #17
Strange blue brightness.
Red brick house.
Yellow taxis still wait
for us to break
No one loves the Bride
more than my cousin,
Shiny white police
seem like swear words
that when uttered
seem like forbidden tunnels.
Few dare enter.
It’s enough today to seem,
enough to glow
subtle ways that no one
Glen Armstrong (he/him/his) holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters. He has three current books of poems: Invisible Histories, The New Vaudeville, and Midsummer. His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit, and The Cream City Review.
than Van Gogh is the worst painter to ever pick up the brush
If riskless perfection is the goal, Hendrix should’ve never
picked up the flaming guitar by his LSD dripping teeth
I’d rather break my bones to break down the door
then wait for it to be opened
I’d rather speak with meaning
and be ignored than placate.
Confidence is the Infrastructure
There’s no doubt in my mind, there certainly shouldn’t be any doubt in yours-Bob Ross
Doubt will kill the poet before the Plath Syndrome gets a chance
If you don’t believe you have something worth saying, what are you saying?
If you speak for a response, you aren’t an artist but a reaction
The bard does not differentiate between love and hate
That is not his lot in life, that is the lot of everyone else
Some people will love you, some people will hate you
If you change to be loved by those who hate you, those who loved you will hate you
As they should, as you deserve, you are not a model, not meant to be beautiful
You are a heart bleeding and beating at an exponentially slower meter
This purpose is being the maggots on the street rot
This purpose is being unapologetic on how horrible you are
In hopes that someone will see and maybe say I might just try being me too.
A Pick-Pocketed Identity
Prison is only a trade school
for black market occupations
School is only a ceremonial entrance
into the magic trick that is distracting you for your entire life
Assembling your life like cheap Swedish furniture
Step-by-step, bullet point by bullet point
and somehow after following every detail perfectly
the puzzle you’ve assembled doesn’t look like the picture on the box
Note to Self:
You did what you were told to by those who didn’t care about what you want
and you are now surprised that your life isn’t what you wanted
There is design and there is following a template of a designer
You have lived a greyscale, milquetoast, Chinatown knock off of a life
No wonder, now it’s falling apart.
Trash Compacted to a Diamond
If you channel invert the night
sky transforms to acid rain
There are sketches more masterful
than molasses thick paint
on canvases larger than walls
I’ve heard a man use a ballpoint pen
and a wooden banister to compose music
more intricate than any orchestra
Gravity has laws, beauty doesn’t even have a guideline
Not to those who dedicate their lives to studying it
Who know how hard it is to see
It doesn’t hit you like a mortared wall
It hits you whenever it’s too late, whenever that may be.
John Maurer is a 26-year-old writer from Pittsburgh that writes fiction, poetry, and everything in-between, but his work always strives to portray that what is true is beautiful. He has been previously published in Claudius Speaks, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, and more than fifty others. @JohnPMaurer (johnpmaurer.com)