Thursday, 5 December 2019

Nightmare by John Grey

Dhscommtech at English Wikipedia
[CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]


It’s a mother clutching at her heart
all of a sudden,
dropping to the kitchen floor
and you’re suddenly
no more than an infant,
crawling across the floor,
trying to reach the one thing in the world
that offers affection and warmth.
Then, when you finally reach her,
you realize it’s not your mother at all,
but a stranger mumbling desperately,
“Call 911.”
More crawling,
to the phone this time,
but your tiny hands
can do no more than knock
the receiver off the hook.
For a few seconds,
you carry on a conversation with the dial-tone,
everything out of your mouth
mere garbled sounds.
The woman is dying.
You’re in a hopeless situation,
infancy one moment,
awake the next.
You press your hands against your head.
There’s someone dead in there.

*****

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Kate Winslet by Alex Phuong

Kate Winslet
GabboT [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)]


This story was first published in Barking Sycamores in 2017.


On one Labor Day afternoon, while driving down a Revolutionary Road, a simple, all-American girl named Kate Winslet was searching for something to do for her summer vacation.  After driving for several hours, she saw a billboard with the headline, “TITANIC SAILS ONCE MORE!”  She hesitantly resisted the urge to buy tickets for a summer cruise because of her fear of drowning.  After stopping by Laguna Beach, she went into a library to check out a copy of her favorite novel, Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.  Kate often identified with Marianne Dashwood because of their romantic sensibilities.  She also enjoyed Shakespeare, and her favorite fictional character from the Bard was Ophelia from Hamlet.  After returning home from the library, she became not just A reader, but The Reader.  As she read a book about Steve Jobs, she pondered what life would be like if she were to have Little Children.  She also feared Carnage because she wants to live happily ever after rather than suffer a miserable demise (which could have happened if she boarded that Titanic replica).  As night began to present itself, she went to bed while letting her mind expand with the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.  Curiously, this simple young woman is still nothing like the famous British actress because the Hollywood legend has green eyes while Kate’s Irises were hazel.

*****

Alex Andy Phuong graduated from California State University-Los Angeles with his Bachelor of Arts in English in 2015. He currently writes articles and film reviews online, and resides in Alhambra, CA, USA. His writing has appeared in The Bookends Review, Society of Classical Poets, and Wilderness House Literary Review #12/4.  The link to his movie review profile is Alex Phuong, Author at MovieBoozer

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

1920 by DC Diamondopolous




previously published in Alpha Female Society

A ray of sun struck the copper’s badge and bounced off, lighting up the voting box inside H. L. Drugstore in me South Bronx Neighborhood.
Now washed and mended, I wore the same blood-splattered dress, patched at the cuff, tattered ‘round the collar, mud stains on the hem. It showed the scars from when we marched down Broadway, I holding a sign, The Vote For Equal Pay For Equal Work.
It had started a glorious spring day, fresh from a night of rain, splendid with the radiance of blooming cherry blossoms. Little sister Annie pestered to come along. I told her, “Stay home with the youngins. You’re too small and there might be trouble.” She says, “I’m big enough and I’m a comin.” And so she did, running along the sidewalk, keeping step with the march. Annie inherited the stubbornness that we McPhersons shared.
Hundreds marched. Me arms feeling the ache from holding the poster high above me head. Women clutched banners that stretched the Avenue. Coppers on horseback, coppers on foot, looking for agitation—someone stirrin’ the pot.
It did me heart good to protest among me own, knowing our numbers was a force to reckon with. Still an’ all, we had to keep going, every day, every spare moment spent on the vote.
A man outside Woolworth’s shouted, “Only vote I give you is a kick in the knickers.” Someone threw a rock. Glass shattered. Horses reared. Men broke through the lines. Big oaf of a bloke grabbed me sign, slammed it hard on me head, he did. I fell to the ground. “Lucy!” Annie’s voice had the shock in it. I sprawled in the street until I forced meself up. I looked ‘round for me hat. I got to me feet and when I did something hit the back of me neck, and I tumbled. Slumped on Broadway, staring at the buildings, the raging men, determined women, the world and all its unfairness swirling then dimmed.
Sirens, distant on the rim of me twilight, wailed, coming as a call to get meself up. On hands and knees, I was, when a copper kicked me in the chest. With great pain, I grabbed his ankle and raked short broken nails into his flesh. He shrieked. I rolled a ways over. Stood. For the sake of me sisters, I held up me fists like Jack Dempsey, but before I could sock ‘em in the kisser two other coppers pulled at me shoulders, squeezed meaty hands around me breasts. I kicked. Sunk me teeth into their fingers. Their red Irish faces flushed with the memory of booze, their breath foul as the steerage our family sailed in across the sea.
They threw me into the paddy.
Father brought us here after mum died, for a new start, a better life. Working in a factory twelve hours a day, no windows, low pay, bosses forcing themselves on me. If I’d a had no father or brothers, I might a hated all men. But I and me family could eat. Back home, how can you march with an empty belly? So I wrap hopes and dreams and those of me family in the red, white, and blue.
From inside the paddy, I looked over me shoulder for Annie. The riot swallowed her whole. “Lucy!” But I heard her voice shrill as a whistlin’ tea kettle.
Across the aisle from where I was sittin’ a woman with a gash on her cheek bled something fierce. I ripped off me sleeve, dropped to me knees, and pressed it against the stunned woman’s cheek. Through her tears, I saw eyes that kindled rebellion. The woman beside her began to sing, “Let Us all Speak Our Minds.” The others, meself included, joined in the anthem. A copper in the front of the paddy banged his billy club on the grill and yelled, “Shut-up!” With no mind to the brute, we continued to sing. Louder. On the floor, a poster encouraged us with the words, Never Give Up. Our voices united, overpowered our fears, until he unlocked the gate and struck the nearest woman with his wooden stick.
Annie appeared, her thin arms waving as she ran alongside the wagon. I yelled through the bars, “Go home.” I, the eldest of six to me parents’ brood, demanded a say in their raising and sending me brothers off to war.
Head aching, chest hurting, hair falling ‘round me shoulders, me hat trampled somewhere in the fight. To jail I’d go. A criminal. A dangerous woman. I smiled at the notion and the girl who held me cuff to her head nodded as if reading me mind.
The wagon’s siren split traffic with a blaring fright as we drove down Broadway and turned a corner. The Harlem River glimpsed between outdoor markets, shops, and eateries. Fear starting to get the best ‘o me.
The jail full of suffragettes, it had no where to lock us up. So they let us go.
A year passed since the brawl as I wait to vote. I look into the face of the women around me. Pride. A quiet jubilance. The change in our lives happening in this tiny drab storefront.
I think of the women who fought before us not having the chance to live this day. Do they know? I reckon they do.
I want to believe in something bigger now. That brotherhood will find the compassion to form a union for all of mankind.
I’m next.
A copper stands beside the ballot box, protecting the case with a scowl and a gun on his hip.
He motions me forward.
I keep me head high as I stride to the glass box. I write me vote in big letters and slip the paper into the slat as if planting something that one day will bloom.
I thank the good Lord for this day. Knowing that so shall life get better for me, it will get better for all.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Hoping & Suns by Fabrice Poussin

Hoping

Suns

*****

Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and many other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications. 

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Floodlit Poems by L. Ward Abel Out Today

Cover photograph by L. Ward Abel


L. Ward Abel, poet, composer, teacher, retired lawyer, lives in rural Georgia, has been published hundreds of times in print and online, and is the author of one full collection and eleven chapbooks of poetry, including Jonesing for Byzantium (UK Authors Press, 2006), American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012), Cousins Over Colder Fields (Finishing Line Press, 2013), Little Town gods (Folded Word Press, 2016), A Jerusalem of Ponds (erbacce-Press, 2016), Digby Roundabout (Kelsay Books, 2017), and The Rainflock Sings Again (Unsolicited Press, 2019).

Floodlit
L. Ward Abel

Beakful, © 2019

ISBN: 9780244816636
96 pages

$7 buy it from the printer's website

****

Tranquility Base

It was July 1969 down on Lake Sinclair.
Outside was a night as loud as Mombasa.
Inside the astronauts came down a blurry
black and white ladder, likewise the old TV.

My crewcut years then at ten were just
a clutching of books near two-hundred-year-old nesting-oaks.
I lurked at the edge of reddish water and miles-dark
hardwood

under yin/yang skies. Later in that cabin
I tried to sleep maybe channel astronaut
dreams, but settled on the hawk
dreaming floodlit over the boathouse,
her shadow pouring out to find me.

Sunday, 18 August 2019

The Trip Back Home by John Grey



Look at that,
kids he went to school with,
pumping gas at Andy’s Auto,
bussing tables at Denny’s.
And there’s Chad,
twenty years added to his face
when it should have only been ten,
his nose already red with booze
and scars on his chin
from his latest crackup.
Dale’s sweeping streets.
Ernie’s bouncing off the running board
of the trash pickup truck.
At least, Bobby can afford a pickup…
just not four good tires
And Lucy sure looks cute in that pink uniform,
with Bert’s Diner stitched into the pocket.
Veronica’s pushing a pram.
Can’t tell if there’s one or two in there.
She was as smart as the teacher
when she was in school.
He’s only home for a few days,
staying at his mom’s house,
catching up with friends.
But how do you catch up with kids
who’ve fallen so far behind?
Mostly by keeping how well he’s doing
to himself.
So he has no college degrees.
No six figure job in the city.
No snazzy apartment overlooking the river.
He’s learned you can go home again.
But only if someone’s willing
to take your place.

*****

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.

Saturday, 13 July 2019

All That Glitter by Lynn White

Photograph by Quincemedia from Pixabay


First published in ‘All That Glitters’, Silver Apples, Issue 10, 2018

It glitters
like gold.
But is it
gold
or base
metal
being worked on
by an alchemist..
undergoing
transformation,
perhaps
with a touch
of magic,
with an elixir
of immortality,
an illusion.
Or perhaps
base oil
transformed
to
sparkly
plastic glitter
with
all too real
immortality.
Glittering,
littering
with
everlasting life,
all that glitter.

*****

Lynn White lives in north Wales. Her work is influenced by issues of social justice and events, places and people she has known or imagined. She is especially interested in exploring the boundaries of dream, fantasy and reality. She was shortlisted in the Theatre Cloud 'War Poetry for Today' competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Rhysling Award. Find Lynn at: https://lynnwhitepoetry.blogspot.com and https://www.facebook.com/Lynn-White-Poetry-1603675983213077/