Brand New Secondhand Dress

Glen Armstrong

 

Afraid that she’ll tear her two-dollar dress,

        she lives in its floral pattern,

 

        like a girl in a garden with a book on a mission

        to translate fading perennials.

 

        Like a fabric woven so long ago

        that we’ve forgotten its fabrication.

 

She forgets her own name

 

         within that floral labyrinth

         where pistils floss their teeth.

         Stamens wait for phone calls.

 

What comforts her was broken

          in by another, in another age.

 

What clothes her suggests

          a hundred ways to be naked.

Tinplate

Byron Beynon

 

This is the rain my father knew.

My mother would see him to the door

 

as he left for work

at the tinplate plant.

 

A worker for all seasons,

his continental shift

 

sounded like a dance,

a geological movement

 

over a quarter of a century;

mornings, afternoons, nights,

 

two of each as he'd wait

for the one weekend holiday per month,

 

the stop-fortnight of summer

as July closed and August began.

 

His coil of days,

the overtime for extra pay

 

inside a fork-lift truck.

I still see and hear him leave,

 

his uncomplaining silence

I search as the tinplate shifts.

Figment Twenty-Three

Gerald George

 

Edna’s son gave her one, so before

long Morgan asked his son to get

him one, and soon, one after another, almost

everyone at the Eldercare Hotel got

one until the halls seemed filled with

wheelchairs coming and going, the

motorized ones whizzing, and of

course the staff tried to restrict wheelchairs to

those who needed them, but, who

did not need one?—why should

anyone hobble about on a walker when

one could race around in a

mechanized go-cart with three

speeds forward and a buzzer to

warn people out of the way just as

if the drivers were—look out!—fully

alive, but then Morgan and Edna had

a head-on crash, and so the caregivers said

no more wheelchairs, someone might get

hurt, we can’t have that, so everyone had

to go back to crutches, couches, tapioca,

Bingo, and reruns of

“This Is Your Life.”

2647213782_9500cac028

L i t e r a r y . J u i c e

An Online Literary Magazine

Poet

Tree

As Jerusalem Burns

Dvorah Telushkin

 

We sit

Over Cappuccino

And croissant.

Looking at blood dripping from 

Teenagers' faces.

Blood from your eyes.

Chewing the buttery flaking bread,

We sigh and moan and rush to read

The Op Ed.

 

Maybe someone got an idea.

Maybe someone can do something

New.

A white dove.

A black crow.

 

Someone. Something.

We can't just sit here.

Suicide bombers.

Limbs lingering on street corners.

Mutilated. 

Flakes of flesh.

Mouths that can

Never again 

Sip tea.

Our own jaws 

Hanging loose.

 

Until the newspapers

Close.

Napkins fold

In our French manicured hands.

And we shake the 

Crumbs from our

Dana Buchman suits.

August/September 2013

As Jerusalem Burns -  Dvorah Telushkin

Brand New Secondhand Dress - Glen Armstrong

Babylon - Roberta Senechal de la Roche

Home - Roberta Senechal de la Roche

Tinplate - Byron Beynon

Figment Twenty-Three - Gerald George

A Mother - Barry Spacks

Letting the wind build dunes - Charles F. Thielman

From the Last Puritan - Michael Prior

Once Upon a Time in the West (after Sergio Leone) - Michael Prior

Roberta Senechal de la Roche is an American historian, sociologist, and poet born in western Maine and raised in upstate New York.  She graduated from the University of Southern Maine and the University of Virginia, where she received a doctoral degree in history.  Currently Professor of History at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia, she lives in the woods outside of Charlottesville near the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Dvorah Telushkin is the author of Master of Dreams, her memoir of her 14 years as assistant and translator to Isaac Bashevis Singer.  She is currently launching her one-woman show titled “In Search for the Perfect Pocketbook”, as well as a poetry/photo series titled Faces in Trees.

Byron Beynon lives in Wales. His work has appeared in several publications including The London Magazine, Poetry Wales, A New Ulster, The Blue Hour (USA), Worcester Review (USA), and In Parentheses (USA). A Pushcart Prize nominee. A new collection of poems titled The Echoing Coastline is forthcoming from AGENDA EDITIONS (UK).

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan.  He also edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters.

Home

Roberta Senechal de la Roche

 

Your mother said, it’s always a place

but you’re never really there.

Do you know what I mean?

Your father wasn’t either, but he stayed anyway

for you and all the rest that happened here at home

until you went away untouched.

 

When I was young they were still around, she said,

amazing grace and ladies’ gloves

went up all the way in white.

But someone took down the sky in bits,

and never put it back.

It was in the war, and we were scared.

They rationed doubt;

we left the rest behind.

 

You’ll catch on as you go I think,

but you won’t get it until it’s late.

I just want you to be happy and find someone,

though you can’t if you’re like me at all.

 

Look, I have pictures here that show

what it was like to be a child

before the colors went away.

 

The room gets small and tight,

she says I want to lean, a wing is broke,

what’s left as I get down to bone?

 

You have to go, you have your own,

but as you back out slowly through her door,

you know you really want to hear again

that story we tell ourselves in the dark.

 

 

Babylon

 

The scent of lilacs leaning over terraces

can break us all over again,

if we think back.

 

Silence lies latent in the golden boughs

we hope to find, we who return

to sift through the archeology of desire.

 

The raven’s kiss is on the land,

upon the perennial queen of shade

who comes with pomegranates after winter,

 

Whose sleep is a history of dust

whose crown of shadows

marks the final fall of flowers.

 

We danced with bells and snakes,

purified our hands in smoke

but had to leave with words we could not speak.

Gerald George has published numerous poems in journals, magazines, newspapers, and anthologies, and a book of poems, Imitations of Indonesia (Chestnut Hills Press 1997). His verse plays have been produced on stage and radio. In 2010 he won the Donn Goodwin Poetry Prize. He serves on the editorial board of Off the Coast. He lives in East Machias, Maine.  

A Mother

Barry Spacks

 

Defiant once -- would not clean her plate! --

so they taught her lack of confidence,

broke her will, sat her up all night

a child entrapped at the dining table. 

 

Through life she played the incompetent,

trying her hand at everything,

at everything

expecting to fail.

 

Kindly, unvaunting, did she damn

her timidity, that led her to be

a watcher? that gave her

a diplomat's skills?

 

Easily teased, easily laughing,

alert as a workday saint, she strived

to be helpful, modest, weathering

as she aged to a total state of grace.

 

Blessed to be raised by a kindly woman,

some of her goodness descended to me.

I remember best her beaming smile

and the way she helped me cut the ties.

Barry Spacks, a poet/painter, earns his keep teaching writing and literature at UCSB after many years of doing the same at M.I.T. He has published poems widely in journals -- paper and pixel -- including stories, two novels, eleven poetry collections, and three CDs of selected work. For a long time he has been a very busy man.

Letting the wind build dunes

Charles F. Thielman

 

You prep this canvas, painting it black,

leaving indigo and cobalt blue

for the approach to foreground.

 

Walking your nerve-into-muscle hinges

around each trained urge to irrigate

what is with what is wanted,                                        

 

constructions of thought being infamous

for planting balsa inside reach, you see

today’s truth like a spider's web

stretched over a mirror.

 

If only you could be ambidextrous

after waking at 4 a.m. carrying the colors

of a dream, night sky starred silent, oak

ready to sweat wings into shallow skies.

 

You paint quickly, with muscular strokes,

letting a distant wind build dunes, letting

this sable brush follow what speaks

between mind and pulse.

 

Allowing your eyes to hold one memory

beside canvas, your long glance

of Laotian women gardening atop

 

a freeway ravine, their bodies moving

as if deaf to the hiss of traffic,

refugees in their native dress, they bend

 

and rise, step, bend and rise, and step

while reaching into a seed sack,

planting what will grow.

Charles F. Thielman was born and raised in Charleston, S.C., and moved to Chicago, where he was educated at red-bricked universities.  On city streets, he has enjoyed working as a city bus driver, truck driver, warehouse manager, and enthused bookstore clerk. Married on a Kauai beach in 2011, a loving grandfather for five free spirits, his work as poet and shareholder in an independent bookstore’s collective continues! His chapbook, Into the Owl-Dreamed Night, is available from Uttered Chaos Press [ utteredchaos.org ].

From the Last Puritan

Michael Prior

 

Mr. Cromwell, I write you now with cadmium

blooming in my heart, I am a fugitive pigment

on the walls of your art.

 

The night flattens itself across my table,

tempts me with endless legs of sleep.

But I will not be led astray.

 

The deep rivers call me too, Mr. Cromwell.

I am unwell: pulling my daily bread

from hooks, planting

 

seeds on my neighbour’s roofs—

a fallen star stirring up the earth

like God’s molten plough.

 

Mr. Cromwell, I beg of you: return

to New Somewhere, reclaim

New Nowhere, because here

 

the land punctuates my thoughts

with its sad commas of tree and sky,

and here, Mr. Cromwell, is where I will die.

 

 

Once Upon a Time in the West

after Sergio Leone

 

Tumbleweeds rumble in herds towards

the horizon, only to realize it keeps getting

farther away.

 

Men draw quickly, fire caps and corks from

plastic pistols, drink themselves down

to sleep on herbal tea.

 

A guitar string snaps like a rubber band

across a classroom. Someone leaves

holding ice to an eye.

 

I ride into town on a second-hand horse,

wearing a white hat and spray-painted

spurs: no one seems to care.

 

The music swells like a river at full flood,

the flies flicker on their wires. The sky

blushes behind a paper fan.

 

I practice my quick-wrist in the mirror.

Coyotes cut through the dessert;

I take the proffered slice.

Michael Prior is a writer living in Toronto, Ontario, where he attends the University of Toronto’s MA in Creative Writing Program. His poems have previously appeared, or are forthcoming in Canadian magazines such as The Antigonish Review, Branch Magazine, Carousel, CV2, Freefall, Grain, and Qwerty. He was finalist in the Malahat Review’s 2013 Long Poem Prize.