Why I don’t smoke cigarettes

by Julie Davis

 

I’m scared I will get stuck

on smokes

like I got stuck on you. 

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Three Poems

by Josh Greschner

L.A.

Technicolor snapshots of heaven most high,
The marquee singed the dilettante’s eyes,
Smoke rose from Mae West’s breasts
On an effigy burnt at the South Central riots.
A d m i r e  t h e  d a y  t h r o u g h  7 0 - m i l  le n s e s:
Billboards, dreamcoats, refugees, celebrities
In lurid kaleidoscopic colours almighty,
Acid blotter stamped with the face of Aphrodite.
Hard-light burns from the ball in the sky,
Technicolor snapshots of heaven most high.

Immigrant

One’s life work
Is the curved iron of a minaret,
Others, a blood splatter resisting departure on an immigrant ship
From the setter’s smooth concrete.
But he forgets all sets in stone
Plundered from the Islands,
W o m b s  o f  n a t a l b o n e .
The setter spins the tongue in ovals
When slides are suffice
And the crew knows he hides
His chagrin with gin and ice,
B e h i n d  c l o s e d  b l i n d s  l e a k i n g  l i g h t.
The chiseler, the witness, the mythmaker
Of the inscription defying expected passé,
Shall win back elusive day.
When righteous man sees the conquered plane
Upright,
When righteous man sees the conquered plane
Concave.

Ukraine

Hooked on transmigration,
I’m not surprised
I believed everything I told myself.
Be it minstrel congregation
Within village oblast,
Or shrouding
Material culture
Within amorphous mass,
Backlight exposes transgressions
Anchored in the unperceived.
Deepen cause to disengage,
To disproportionate
Negative space between borders scythed
With dull blade,
Along lands the northern prism bleached
Like movie theatre screens,
Like noseringed cattle, careened by machine.

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that faint subpoena feel

by Michael Prihoda

I hear Marilynne Robinson
give a reading
in a distressingly empty theater,
half-stricken with the set
of next month’s performance,
her grandmother voice
wilting between her and the
twelve rows to me,
her words vessels for
the pain I still kept in little jars
from my grandmother’s death.
the softest shattering played
cello to accompany
acoustic tears
like an oil spill
life couldn’t quite absorb,
the lines of Marilynne’s face
like the borders I never
crossed, wanting a fictitious
passport, no fuel for a
broken-winged biplane
and she began answering
questions in the quiet,
my timidity chaining my tongue
from asking “are you proud of me?”
suddenly I knew why
people entered defeatist affairs
with untenable, unattainable
ideals at stake and I waited
until questions ceased
with the sputter
of a dying rhinoceros
(almost embarrassed by
his final moments as if
he distracted by living)
before leaving with
the faint subpoena
feel of having
an enormity
left unsaid

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Body Language

by Colin James

We went for a walk to the quarry
and saw a man killing a dog.
He was wearing denim jeans
and a long blue coat.
A truck parked nearby idling.
The air was dense and uncooperative.
One lone steel cable sagged overhead.
In the summer swimmers risk everything.

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Four Poems

by Colin Honnor

The Windhover

Sparrowhawk hovering bow
fly mica hovers amber bead
waterboatman cruise serendipitously
on his blowsy meniscus
stone drops to ripple, its wrinkled
ammonite back is a flanged
frog nubbed for adaptation
as we observe the blind winged­bolt
fly dazzled into double­plated glass
Guides that falcon, instinct, to flight
an egret summer in so vivid blue
sings of its fruiting, hawk above thorn tree
like a flaw in lapis lazuli
so that we thought there could never be
a sky to over blue in Mary’s colour
the hawk unbridled veers, vectors down
towards that rustle in stubble
above the stooked field
plucks the white heart from the blue heart.

The Source

The water child laughs an amphora
struck voice from flute curves hour
laughter is a rock out of the water
wet to dry dust red and broach your terror
the red water fills with rocks stones and boulders
she spills from water broken to heal in water
spills over rocks, where red voices meet voices
in this water running a child of water
see her running over the rocks
laughter chuckles out of water
at the water child, child of echoed laughter.

Delphic

The heavy swells shrugged dolphins off
spume scattering to resolve again
as the caiques vanished in storm squall
steamers with carved waves coiling
in the almost frozen arcs of eels
where dark comes swiftly to the Aegean
and you are on a crimson tide, blue pool
where the full moon is broken to scythes,
sickles itself until tide withdraws, rock
pools showing its calm, blanched white face
more ancient than the skull of Aeschylus
where the white bird flies into sepia
that no rumour of oracles can disturb
as thyme blows down to the beach from hills.

Allotropes of a war 1914-­19

The shell consumed him; was its own deafening musician
awakes sleep in its own consummation to drown the sense with fragments
in its howling aerial music
has exchanged places with him to burst life with its hot viscera:
a worlds breaks from where it hides
in its forgotten foetus in the naked womb
revisits its rusts in fields and ditches battlefields of memory digested in forgotten 
     accents,

evacuates ossuary whose simple white smiles
are all thymus, molar, jaw who have forgotten their words
of the burnt chalk, sandbags, echoes of gas alarms
that flower into roses and poppies of rusted wire.
Their fragile wiresongs hymn the far horizon
the black bark of sunrise splits from dawn's
thickened trunk, insecure as history;
are broken, lie scattered into the red steeping of now
in the no man's land of the undisclosed
between the lead wasp's sting, the high wire.

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