Recess

M. Estabrook      

         

Swaggering, shoulders swinging

thick-legged golfers clomp

into the clubhouse lobby

after their games are done

glaring this way and that

in their shorts and baseball caps

brash voices bellowing

their exploits on the links

so everyone within earshot

can enjoy their triumphs too

and notice them in their post-game splendor

big-baby boys really

still playing king of the hill

in the schoolyard at recess

trying to impress the little girls.

2647213782_9500cac028

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

An Online Literary Magazine

Poet

Tree

March 2015

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Osiris, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is "Almost Rain", published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com.

Simon Perchik

*

 

Once it heals these flowers

you feel its fragrance

smoothing your cheeks

 

though the journals are sure

dismiss your sores –it’s grief

that’s withering, eaten alive

 

as rainwater and marshland

inside a common love song

bringing up your knees

 

already airborne around you

and with your forehead

what happened happened.

Silent Arrows

A. J. Huffman

 

are a more effective way to die.

Struggling to evade backward glances,

these ghostly soldiers slide

into periphery stealth mode.

Biting, like ants, they slip

through cracks of vision and skin.

Viciously stealing breath, they greet

their targets.  A brief burning

is their calling card.  Falling

is the whisper they reap.

A.J. Huffman’s poetry, fiction, haiku, and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press: www.kindofahurricanepress.com

Ascendance

Julia Campbell Johnson

 

Stark light from a bright globe,

barefoot on greasy kitchen dirt,

looking down.

 

I am the only one who fits here,

in this three-foot cube of space

on the refrigerator’s top.

 

From here I will jump

into my father’s arms.

It is the only way down.

 

From here you can’t see the cracks

in the linoleum, the dust on the baseboard,

only mother’s faces looking up, hands clapping.

 

I’m snug here, safe until

the downward flight.

Holding my breath, riding the air

 

the few feet across the kitchen – an acrobat

in pajamas – for a second, two, sailing,

descending into Daddy’s arms

 

so I can hear him laugh.

 

 

Night Senses

 

My father’s chair was red.  It was

a big, red, reclining throne of a chair

from which he held court every night

after supper, From that chair he bellowed

and laughed and barked commands

for the channel to be changed.  From that chair

he terrorized our cat, who learned

over the years to stop in the doorway

before proceeding, hunching

on cautious paws, ready if need be

to spring in the opposite direction.

And every night, for some

period of time, he simply sat,

a still and silent eye.

He sat as the rest of us grew tired

and went to bed.  He’d lift his cheek

upward to receive a good-night kiss

as we each passed him by.

 

Later, from the other side

of the wall that separated me in my room

from him, I would hear Johnny Carson sign off.

I would hear the clanking

of his chair’s built-in ottoman

as its metal frame recoiled.

He would turn off the set,

and in the silence I would wait

for the next sound.

Sometimes his footfall as he passed

my room on the way to the one he shared with

my mother at the other end of the house.

Other nights, the clank of the ottoman being extended

again, which meant he couldn’t sleep.  

 

On those nights I would feel each moment

of that silence, distinct and long,

each moment passing me on to the next.

I could not see,

but in my mind I knew his repose –

the recliner extended at an obtuse

angle, one of his arms crooked

behind his head.  I could not see,

but my hearing was keen, and he knew

he did not have to speak loudly.

I would go.

Always.  

Never, ever once the thought

that I would not go when he called

for me to come and take

the ride on Daddy’s lap.

 

By the time I was a teenager

I was rarely available for him

on such nights as these.  I’d stay out late

with girlfriends, cruising through Ray’s Drive-In,

or driving through the mountains

with rum-spiked bottles of Coke, or hanging out

with boys after their basketball practice.

I wouldn’t go home until after

I’d figure him to be asleep.

It was during those years he mellowed,

took on a softer tone.  Once,

As I passed him in his chair,

I stopped when I heard

his voice, a quiet falsetto –

Daddy’s little girl, he said.

 

My chest tightened, and I felt myself

squeeze around those words

as if to fossilize them.

But he didn’t mean me—

the cat was in his lap.

I remember listening

to hear if she was purring.

Julia Campbell Johnson received an M.F.A. in creative writing from American

University. Her poems have appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Poet Lore,

Tundra, Timber Creek Review and Pennsylvania English, among others. She

lives with her husband and two children in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Of late, Patrick Theron Erickson's work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Super Highway; Wilderness House Literary Review; Prairie Wolf Press Review; Poetry Quarterly; Breakwater Review; Cobalt Review; Poetry Pacific; Red Fez; SubtleTea; and The Oddville Press.

Name Change

Patrick Theron Erickson

 

You change your name

as often as a multilateral conglomerate                                                  

because you are                                                                                      

a multilateral conglomerate

 

merging and submerging

and reemerging

 

a hub in every port

a portal in every hub

 

more appendages

more tentacles and hooks

 

What is cyber espionage

and cyber sabotage

but child’s play

 

a mere drop in the bucket

compared to solar storms

and solar flares

 

the sun reasserting its solar eccentricity

flexing its solar plexus

 

the end of gridlock

and the beginning of freedom

 

not from necessity

but from want.

At the Cemetery in Autumn

Barry Yeoman

 

Green moss

on the shaded side

of gravestones

on a hillside

at the cemetery.

 

Blaze of orange

and yellow

and cranberry

on a breeze delicious

as wine or cider.

 

And the hard-

nosed greens

the constant pines

that remind me

of my grandfather

 

here beside his grave.

Constant and brilliant

in his simplicity

an understatement

of attire

 

an aroma

sweet as pipe smoke

and steel

that outlasts winters

where I think

 

thoughts toward him

to myself.

And more leaves

the color

of worn ball gloves

 

and a litter

of leaves

like rusty brown

eyelids

lost in a dream

 

of cemetery cosmetics

shuffled and circled

by the sanctity

of squirrels, till time

hangs still on the margins.

 

These statues

of days

are stacked

like firewood

against the starry

 

depths of winter

where the snow

will soon ask

a forgiveness

gently and forever.

Originally from Springfield, Ohio, and currently living in London, Ohio, Barry Yeoman’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Danse Macabre, Harbinger Asylum, Red Fez, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Crack the Spine, Burningword Literary Journal, Two Hawks Quarterly, Wilderness House Literary Review, The Rusty Nail, &c.  Learn more at www.redfez.net/member/1168/bookshelf