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The Man Who Was Fire

by John Grey

At first, red tongues flicked his face,

his chest, his limbs,

like salivating beasts.

But then he burst, hot and bright,

and flame flung itself outward

like escaping through

the opened doors of fire.

 

His blazing body whirled and tangoed

to the sizzle, bubble, pop, of its own music,

then suddenly fell as life went one way,

weight, the other.

It slithered on the ground like snakes,

naked and clattering.

 

Eventually, he was smoldering ash.

Spectators stamped him out.

The man who was wind came by

and scattered him.

 

?

John Grey is an Australian born poet and US resident since the late seventies. He works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in Xavier Review,  White Wall Review and Writer’s Bloc with work upcoming in Poem, Prism International and the Cider Press Review.

photo by gordontarpley.

It’s Easy, Adam, Like Breathing

by Kelly Jones

Sitting on a cliff, smoking cigarettes and waiting to come down

off the mushrooms we had eaten,

you look at the lake beneath us,

tell me that you’re scared of drowning,

as your friend had done.

He accidentally jumped from a cliff

onto a submerged rock, in shock

sucked in water and never resurfacing.

Heat lightning or hallucinations light up the water below us.

I run my fingers through your hair,

tell you not to worry, that you can stay above it.

 

How, you ask.

It’s easy, I say, just float and breathe.

You’re right, you agree, just float and breathe….

 

But I was wrong.

A few years later your lungs collapse as you sleep.

No way to float away from that,

you can’t breathe when it’s your body that you’re drowning in.

 

?

Kelly Jones lives in New Orleans, an MFA student at the University of New Orleans’ Creative Writing Workshop. Kelly’s work can be found in Main Street Rag, Knock Magazine, and Cold Mountain Review. Kelly also enjoys  improv, biking around, and attempting to play the accordion.

photo by Abeeeer.

Letters

by Valentina Cano

 

To hold your name

should not conjure up

days of stifling suns.

It shouldn’t mean hands

that fold themselves

over and over

like obsessive handkerchiefs.

Your name shouldn’t be a red dot

blinking in some warehouse,

warning of an open door.

I should feel no spider crawl,

hairs gluing and ungluing

themselves up my arms.

No.

Your name should be flour or sugar.

Substantial. Spotless. Filling.

It should carry the taste

of a lemon drop,

rolling and moist

on my tongue.

 

 ?

Valentina Cano is a student of classical singing who spends whatever free time either writing or reading. Her works have appeared in Exercise Bowler, Blinking Cursor, Theory Train, Magnolia’s Press, Cartier Street Press, Berg Gasse 19, Precious Metals and will appear in the upcoming editions A Handful of Dust, The Scarlet Sound, The Adroit Journal, Perceptions Literary Magazine, Welcome to Wherever, The Corner Club Press, Death Rattle, Danse Macabre, Subliminal Interiors, Generations Literary Journal, Super Poetry Highway, Stream Press and Perhaps I’m Wrong About the World. You can find her here.

photo by cynthiacloskey.

Switching Trains

by Richard Fein                               

 

A jerking stop, doors open, passengers exit and enter.

And there she is. It’s been years.

But there she is on the station platform.

Oh, it’s her, that gait, that face, definitely her.

Somehow, someway our paths cross yet again.

We must have been traveling on this same train,

maybe even in this same car all along,

or at least from Atlantic avenue where I first got on.

She’s passing by my window, headed toward the Flushing local,

head down, walking slowly and alone—she’s alone.

She turns, lifts her head.

We’re eye-to-eye through the window yet she doesn’t notice me.

Am I so absent from her memory?

But then again I’m not expected here nor is she.

Yet here we are almost together one more time.

I could run out now and change lines,

for she’s walking slowly with head down,

and she’s alone, all alone—like me.

Yes, I could run out now.

Or I could sit here and let the doors close.

Choose,

the certainty of 86th street my planned terminal point

or  42nd street and  dare for serendipity.

The doors are still open, but not much longer.

Choose.

?

Richard Fein was a finalist in the 2004 Center For Book Arts Chapbook Competition. He will soon have a chapbook published By Parallel Press, University Of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been published  in many web and print journals such as Southern Review, Foliate Oak, DROWN IN MY OWN FEARS Morpo Review, Ken*Again Oregon East Southern Humanities Review, Morpo, Skyline,Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain Aroostook Review, Compass Rose, And Many Others. He also has an interest in digital photography and has published many photos. Samples of his photography can be found here.
photo by Ryan Vaarsi.

Hurry

by John Grey

You’re in such a hurry to write.

You can be late for life

but not for poetry.

You’re destined to write.

Your imagination needs company.

Only pen on paper

will stay up with it

when the rest of time is sleeping.

Speed. Destiny.

No regrets

for all the stuff you’ve missed.

What’s life anyhow?

Can’t write about it when you’re doing it.

You deny yourself things.

You deny yourself people.

You’re a merciless as you need to be.

You don’t even stop to laugh.

Or to cry.

There’s death out there somewhere.

There’s everything anyone person can create

if every moment is devoted to their passion.

If they don’t waste a moment.

If they don’t speak.

If they don’t eat.

If they don’t love.

The end of it all doesn’t let up.

So why should you.

 

?

John Grey is an Australian born poet and US resident since the late seventies. He works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in Xavier Review,  White Wall Review and Writer’s Bloc with work upcoming in Poem, Prism International and the Cider Press Review.

photo by Jamiesrabbits.

Raleigh to Seattle in 13 days

by Kelly Jones

It’s time to go now.

We’re not ready but we’re doing it.

 

Getting in the car and putting distance between

us         and                   them.

 

Losing ourselves in the in-between of two coasts.

Leaving a trail of exhaust to maybe, one day, follow home.

 

I’ll send postcards to people from each state we go through,

let them know that we were somewhere, that we did something.

 

We’ll be out there,

floating on the edge of that new shore, finally not drowning.

 

?

Kelly Jones lives in New Orleans, an MFA student at the University of New Orleans’ Creative Writing Workshop. Kelly’s work can be found in Main Street Rag, Knock Magazine, and Cold Mountain Review. Kelly also enjoys  improv, biking around, and attempting to play the accordion.

photo by cupcakes2.

Crosser of the Code

by Rodney Nelson

 

 

he attended the watch and not the death

and commemoration

sat in on the

watch with many but went alone to the

desert to think and in time he would have

amercement

he would have had to sit in

on the death and commemoration to

get a wedding invitation and had

not been at either one

not attended

the loss and mourning but had thought and walked

alone in the desert and he had to

have amercement

would have had to sit in

on the wedding for anyone to come

to his own watch and death in time but he

went uncommemorated

had not gone

to the death and commemoration or

the wedding so had amercement again

and he went to his watch and death alone

 

?

Rodney Nelson’s poetry got into print long ago; but he turned to fiction and did not write a poem for twenty-two years, restarting in the 2000s. So he is both older and “new.” See his page in the Poets & Writers directory. Nelson was in San Francisco during the first “hippie wave,” and his first published work was in the so-called underground press. He morphed into a book and copy editor and lives in the Dakotas.

 

photo by Tilemahos Efthimiadis.


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