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.
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.
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.
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
Julia Campbell Johnson
Stark light from a bright globe,
barefoot on greasy kitchen dirt,
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.
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.
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.
Patrick Theron Erickson
You change your name
as often as a multilateral conglomerate
because you are
a multilateral conglomerate
merging and submerging
a hub in every port
a portal in every hub
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
on the shaded side
on a hillside
at the cemetery.
Blaze of orange
on a breeze delicious
as wine or cider.
And the hard-
the constant pines
that remind me
of my grandfather
here beside his grave.
Constant and brilliant
in his simplicity
sweet as pipe smoke
that outlasts winters
where I think
thoughts toward him
And more leaves
of worn ball gloves
and a litter
like rusty brown
lost in a dream
of cemetery cosmetics
shuffled and circled
by the sanctity
of squirrels, till time
hangs still on the margins.
against the starry
depths of winter
where the snow
will soon ask
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