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Kendall A. Bell - Two poems

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Like salvation 
And here is the jar of stars I've  collected - your name etched  into each glowing corner. And here is the pulse of my wrist against the soft flesh of your legs, a reminder of devotion, the Morse code of an unspoken truth. And here are the arms I travel like memory, like the record playing over and over into the deep corners of evening. And here is the weight of what I carry each day, in all of the inches of  skin, in the name of this perfect thing we cannot name, but know to be our reason to open tired eyes, to hold like a newborn - like salvation. 



Come bail me out of this god forsaken precipice
I watch her cat eyelinered eyes flutter in the strain of the artificial light at 1am. Her body, a still, pale softness surrounded by a deep sofa embrace. Her forehead tilted back and exposed. I want to make a ritual of kissing the taut flesh, watch the anxiety's release, let the glow highlight the perfect inches between the blonde waves of her hair and the exhausted, …

Glen Armstrong - Spoon Bender

Spoon Bender

But I was left alone.
Like a bent spoon.
Or a cowboy.
Boot that needs reheeling.
I walked around for a while feeling.
That I’d put too much faith.
In Uri Geller and symmetry.
My new and expanding faithlessness.
Would take me far.
I embraced that national restlessness.

That so many young men before me had.
I drove my rental car.
To Redondo California.
But I remained alone like a show dog.
Only bred when some shadowy.
Master’s needs took precedent. 
Or a discredited theory.
I would have thrown the broken boot.
Into the ocean if there had ever.
Been a broken boot to throw.



Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three recent chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cloudbank.

Howie Good - The Stages of Grief

The Stages of Grief

Obviously, surprises aren’t always good. There are so many areas where someone can get lost
and not even realize it until they’re lost. You did find hints along the way – memories, but no
nostalgia. There’s in you some of the stuff that you don’t want to be there. It’s like a gray alien
woke you from a normal night’s sleep and showed you the moons of Saturn, leaving rocks in
your heart. And then it’s not like that at all, and then it is again, and then it’s not, and everything
is blurred and ten thousand times brighter.



Howie Good is the author of The Loser's Guide to Street Fighting, winner of the 2017 Lorien Prize from Thoughtcrime Press, and Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.

Mary McCall - A Dream With My Great-Grandmothers

A Dream with My Great-Grandmothers

These women, stories finally made flesh,
sit across from me on an upholstered couch.
Helen folds her hands upon her prayer’s knees.
Margaret offers me a piece of heaven-scraping cake.

Sitting across from me on an upholstered couch,
they ask about me, how my grandparents are doing.
Margaret offers another piece of heaven-scraping cake.
I’m careful to mind my language and hemline.

They ask about my mother, how my grandparents are doing.
I ask Margaret if she threw sheet ropes out the window,
was careful to mind her language and hemline,
and lindy-hopped to Benny Goodman with men.

I ask Margaret if she really threw sheet ropes out the window,
if she wore three gold rings during WWI
and lindy-hopped to Benny Goodman with men
who kissed her gloved hands goodnight.

She wore three gold rings during WWI
because she couldn’t say no to soldiers
who kissed her gloved hands goodnight.
Helen attended politicians’ wakes on Sunday afternoons

because she couldn’t say no as a socia…

Paul Koniecki - Two poems

on the nickel block

where we go to see
about my best friend’s medicine

and she explains how the
city has been extraordinarily slow

in filling the holes on
this street for months and

months again she tells me
how much safer she feels

there than in the fast
neighborhoods how tall beautiful and

immature her son is for
his age and i notice

lately that construction cones have
become as thin as apricot

stalagmites marking time as nothing
but brave young titian colored

brachium punching out and up
like any part of a

bird’s mouth rootstock reaching for
a breath of finished air

all they want alive we
turn around in an abandoned

parking lot behind the next
pile of broken orange teeth

i wait for you to reseal
your blunt with mother’s spit




Some things are better free

Nothing happens in America until
someone sells a ware and a truck or
train delivers it unlike all my favorite

songs that start squarely in the middle
of the end. Our first Winter together I
read up on how the swine flu begins how

tra…

Jonathan Dowdle - two poems

3 AM Insomnia

Perhaps, my darling,
The most intimate thing we can do
Is give another our sorrow,
To be open, split, and vulnerable,
Even while knowing
The wound might not be sealed,
But left open, and crying,
The way a child does,
Without shame, or reprimand,
But merely
To have the hurt held
As though it were just another
Part of us.



Ache

You beat until you bruised my heart,
You don't get to ask
Why it's gone black. 



Jonathan Douglas Dowdle was born in Nashua, NH and has traveled throughout the US, he currently resides in South Carolina. Previous works have appeared or are appearing in: Hobo Camp Review, 322 Review, The Write Place At The Write Time, Blue Hour Review, and After The Pause.

Carol Lynn Grellas - two poems

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Child in the Distance

I want to remember the days
of being young. Of being
the same height as my mother’s knees.

Of carrying a tub of fruit inside
from the orchard while the sunlight
drown the fallen leaves in gold

and everyone I loved waiting
at the kitchen table; my father
in his fiddleback chair, holding

a gin and tonic and a lit cigarette.
But those aren’t memories anymore,
they’re tiny pages scribbled

in an old diary, after the war,
tucked beside the rules of etiquette
like treasured bibelots. Still,

if I try hard enough to recall the feeling
of being a child, it was for an instant,
a flicker of whimsy; a barrel

of uneaten fruit, the tenderness
of handpicked apple blossoms
pressed against my chest.



The Boyfriend?

I’m the guy who looks prettier than you
who wears Zegna suits and cufflinks
with my initials in gold.

I’ve been told I’m great in bed and that’s
an understatement unless you underline
great in red, then you’d be on the mark.

Here’s my card, it’s white, stark
except for t…