Friday, May 18, 2018

Poems I Admire #51

On the Seventh Day

When God is leaning back, 
all full of himself, and resting 
on his laurels, I get up early, 
go to my desk and try to take 
his place, fill a few blank pages, 
create my own world. Maybe 
Monk’s Bright Mississippi 
or Ahmad Jamal plays 
in the background 
as the characters doo wop 
and stutter weave, in 
and out, between, the lines 
a twenty-one year old 
autistic boy, learning 
to be on his own, bites 
his wrist and slams 
his head on the floor 
and still can’t tell me why, 
my mom calls and we hardly 
ever have much to say 
except a cousin I never met 
died of cancer yesterday, 
a day before his 30th birthday, 
and she wants me to buy a card, 
write a hundred dollar check 
to help pay for the plot, and yes 
my heart is still slowly healing 
from this summer’s surgery 
and the load of loneliness 
that has always surrounded me 
feels heavier as I struggle 
to imagine what a good day 
could ever be like again. 
And when I take a breath 
step out of my head, 
I read about one more 
young black man, his hair 
freshly braided, walking 
down another unlit 
stairway with his girlfriend 
in Brooklyn’s Pink Houses 
as a rookie cop patrols 
the hallway toward him, 
his gun unholstered, and opens 
a door. I want to go back 
to my desk and pretend 
I’m God so I can write 
how the bullet whizzes 
past, ricochets harmlessly 
to the floor since God 
chose to sit idly by, act 
like he had little to do 
with any of it, content to speak 
through some Sunday morning 
preacher about a better place, 
that the lord never gives more 
than his children can bear, 
how we will one day understand 
his master plan when just once 
I want God to stand up, shine 
beacons of the brightest light 
and share the shame and blame 
while the wide world cries 
with its head in its hands.


First appeared in Paterson Literary Review and is included in Tony's full-length collection, "Until the Last Lights Leaves."


Tony Gloeggler is a life long resident of NYC and runs group homes for the developmentally disabled. He's been published in numerous journals including Rattle, New Ohio Review, Nerve Cowboy, Raleigh Review, Chiron Review, Poet Lore and Ted Kooser's newspaper feed. If interested, google will show your more work and his full length collections

Friday, May 11, 2018

Who’s This About?

Somewhere between nine and all’s gone still, 
right around the time quiet’s an enormous thing, 

he gulps a swallow of greed against lush, 
lets his little lady stroke his ego, moans 

the satisfaction of a good hot meal. His skin’s 
so thick she can write her name in it – like blue ink 

on an arm with too many tattoos. She remembers 
every deceit like a cinnamon sneeze or a blade 

sliced across a needled wince of sinew and graffiti –
his sweet thing whose name she wishes he’d remember. 

Some nights she leaves his plate in the microwave, 
where flies can’t land, and prays for dreams.

Included in my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)
(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Galleywinter #5 - Paul Hostovsky

Late for the Gratitude Meeting 

The guy in front of me in traffic 
is letting everyone in,
waving at the cars like a policeman 
or a pope--
and I really have no patience for all
the indulgence
and magnanimity at my expense,

because I’m late for the gratitude meeting,
which is only an hour long.
And if I miss the first ten minutes 
of silent meditation I’m going to scream, 
because it’s my favorite part and because
it helps me remember to breathe.
And I’m going to throttle this guy 

if he doesn’t stop deferring 
to all of the trundling humanity 
turning left onto Main
at this intersection where I’m sitting, 
fuming, not feeling the love,
not feeling the gratitude,
feeling only resentment and disdain

because I have the right of way.
Would you rather be right or have peace? 
Try letting go, I can hear them say
at the gratitude meeting three blocks away,
striking the rim of the Tibetan singing bowl, 
which begins vibrating,
and keeps on vibrating
like this steering wheel I can’t stop clenching.

Paul Hostovsky’s poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net. He has been published in Poetry, Passages North, Carolina Quarterly, Shenandoah, New Delta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Poetry East, The Sun, and many other journals and anthologies. He has won a Pushcart Prize, the Comstock Review's Muriel Craft Bailey Award, and poetry chapbook contests from Grayson Books, Riverstone Press, Frank Cat Press, Split Oak Press, and Sport Literate. He has nine full-length collections of poetry, Sonnets from South Mountain (2001), Bending the Notes(2008), Dear Truth (2009), A Little in Love a Lot (2011), Hurt Into Beauty (2012), Naming Names (2013), Selected Poems (2014), The Bad Guys (2015), and Is That What That Is (2017). He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Read Paul's poem in Poetry (click here) 

Here is a link to Paul's latest book (click here)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Reflection

If I were not afraid

of becoming white, wind-scraped bones
in the dry of a thorny dead ravine
long after hovering and foul feeding;
if I were not afraid

of one turned back after another,
an end to coffeehouse debates,
and never seeing another eye squarely;
if I were not afraid

of shaking hands with her Galahad
every other weekend too soon after the red
fades from her eyes and my stinging cheek;
if I were not afraid

of a bent caney man
looking this way then that
for someone to tend his grave;
if I were not afraid,

I would succumb until golden
passion meets breathless exhaustion – 
then break all my mirrors.

The Gold Man Review - November 2011

Friday, April 20, 2018

Poems I Admire #50

Sometimes You Do Something Before It Happens

I know when I open my mouth I will start
the conversation that will end everything 
we knew before.

We have held our breath to prevent this.

I know this is where it will happen: Our 
botanic gardens; that the sound of my words, 
the hard, irreversible, until now unspoken 
truth, will dwell here for you among the lavender 
and english thyme and lamb’s ears (so 
soft) and rosemary, which you 
always remember is for remembrance.

Broken, like the silence, we will walk away 
from the warm light, the dotted Spring sky, 
the reticulated ivy, the knot garden, suddenly
untied, and you will begin, and I will 
begin, to create our separate stories 
of the break up, our hollowed-out chests not 
showing the concave shell blown out between us.

You will walk away, believing 
that we have a later we can meet in. I will try 
to love you at arms’ length, then, and remember 
with this emptiness, how you filled me, almost

enough. But maybe this is not the time, the time

that’s coming. Maybe in this moment, as you bury 
your round and generous face in the full pink peony (a beautiful
cabbage of a flower), as you risk inhaling a dozen courting ants,
seeking its sweet, sweet abundance, I think maybe 
I will say nothing, nothing sharper 
than those vivid petals, that spherical bloom. I nose

into a flower myself; it so supple, even the edges feel smooth, 
so stiff, it seems to bear my weight, bend rightly, 
and bounce back, holding again its perfect shape.


First appeared in Eclectica Magazine

Kathryn T. S. Bass’ poetry has appeared in dozens of journals and three collections.

Among other honors, Kathryn has earned a Ph.D. In Creative Writing from the University of Denver, a State of Colorado Artists’ Fellowship, and residencies with both Brush Creek Ranch and The Jentel Foundation for the Arts.

Kathryn's books, Within/Without: A Conversation in Poetry and Painting, Bright Seeds (a Finishing Line Press New Women's Voices Series selection) and The Mysteries are available through her woefully neglected website, www.kadroodle.com.

On her less poetic days, Kathryn is a marketer and program designer in the financial services industry, a jewelry designer, tomato gardener, wife, and devoted dog parent in beautiful Colorado.

Friday, April 13, 2018

On Swearing at Last

Clichéd as a slow-mo-bullet-dodging-bent-over-backwards lean,
all good grimaces start with a reach for some sweet-smellng heaven

that had been altogether doubted till just right then – when God
or the blind lust of nature or last, last straws hide as round and rare

as a double rainbow providing a Pythagorean theoremsful of despair
in an ever expanding universe of none-of-this-matters. The day-in-day-out

sameness pierces the middle of our belts right at the ever-center center
of it all – where declarations of independence become Atlas shoulders bulging

with muscle. Then there’s reading by the thin half-light of an adjacent room
while ripping swigs of warm beer you were lucky to get for half off.

You have everything sewed up by hand with thick black thread, but the beer
always goes flat in the can on the slow drive home for one last give-a-fuck.


Included in my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)
(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)

Friday, April 6, 2018

Galleywinter #4 - Paul Hostovsky

This Is the Way the World Ends

The world is getting ugly 
and the ugly are getting
beautiful--

they were 
always beautiful of course 
but the world in all its beauty 
didn’t see them that way

until now, 
now that things are
really ugly, really brutal, 

so unspeakable 
we can only cover our mouths 
and wonder how such people 
can do such things.

And what was ugly before 
pales 

beside this new ugliness,
which is very, very old. 

And that pallor and that 
pose--

the hand at the mouth 
at the sight of so much 
ugliness--is oh my god 

so beautiful 
that it blows the world 
in all its beauty 
away.

Paul Hostovsky’s poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net. He has been published in Poetry, Passages North, Carolina Quarterly, Shenandoah, New Delta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Poetry East, The Sun, and many other journals and anthologies. He has won a Pushcart Prize, the Comstock Review's Muriel Craft Bailey Award, and poetry chapbook contests from Grayson Books, Riverstone Press, Frank Cat Press, Split Oak Press, and Sport Literate. He has nine full-length collections of poetry, Sonnets from South Mountain (2001), Bending the Notes(2008), Dear Truth (2009), A Little in Love a Lot (2011), Hurt Into Beauty (2012), Naming Names (2013), Selected Poems (2014), The Bad Guys (2015), and Is That What That Is (2017). He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Friday, March 23, 2018

A Hypothetical Analysis

Let’s just say, hypothetically,
I go in for a vasectomy consult.
Let’s say the doc gropes

and finds a tiny little lump
on my left testicle. Let’s say that
a few weeks later

all the tests agree
that the tiny little lump
is a fucking son of a bitch

that’s spread.
Let’s say I ask to spend
one morning

of last deep breaths
with you.
Let’s say I ask to treat you

to one of those creamy coffees
you like at the Sweetwater Café.
Let’s say I pretend

I hear every word you say
and am not distracted by the tears
you don’t let fall.

Let’s say I ask you to walk with me
along the riverbank, like I always wished
we could but never did,

until we stop,
watch the water rush by,
and let the silence between us

become as intimate a thing
as we ever dared share.
Let’s say I walk you to your car,

hug you there, for a long time, maybe,
before returning home, hypothetically,
to my wife.

First appeared in B O D Y 

Friday, March 16, 2018

Poems I Admire #49

The Roofers
Mather Schneider


She always wanted me
to get the roof fixed.
It leaked for years.

They came today
got right to work, I had to love that sense
of purpose.
I watched them for a while then felt like a fool
and came inside,
listened to the boots walking
all over my world,
the house shaking like a war
for hours,
me down here in my bunker
dust falling from the ceiling
and them up there
in the open
fearless,
balanced like little G.I. Joe dolls
on the edge of a bathtub
filled with hot tar, the hot tar

they mopped onto the surface
like heaven under
a black light
the stink of it, the nasty stink of it.

By late afternoon it quieted down.
I heard them laughing, and one guy
sweeping up my patio
like he owned the place, like some filthy
shopkeeper, whistling
a child’s tune

and when they drove their huge truck away
they didn’t even say goodbye.

I came outside
leaned my ladder against the house
and climbed up,
peeking my head up like a survivor
looking onto a quiet sunset
over a battlefield
and I thought,
it looks pretty good, but what
do I know

and I thought, a 4 followed
by 3 zeros

and I thought,
she still isn’t coming back

and I thought
now it will probably never fucking rain
again.


First appeared in Rattle

Mather Schneider was a cab driver in Tucson for many years and is currently living in Hermosillo, Mexico. His poetry and prose have been published in the small press since 1994. He has 4 full length books available.

Friday, March 9, 2018

The Whatever Else

Behind the peppermint-spattered alley
mustachioed men, sweating and drinking,
wait for the stiff hand of brown leather
to reach into their well-worn anticipation.

Smiles float into the foamy gulf and sink
like stones unimpressed by grandmothers
staring at a white kind of wealth as rich
as flapping wads of cash wafting the stench
of unspoken lust over rattlesnake tongue.

Everything bought and paid for bites through
lower lips and boot-walks an arid sophistication
that isn’t anybody’s finest hour. It’s all shouting
without words and shuffling little foxes back
to their straight-backed chairs.

It’s licking lips, throwing elbows, tossing trinkets
that lose their way, and men with know-how dancing
all night long, reveling in the picking and the choosing,
the pretending to be nice – but this isn’t about being nice.

This is about corn stalks and dust, irrigation ditches
and forgetfulness, dancing and spending and never
getting married. This place is crowded with nothing
but resignation and whatever else there is to do.

Included in my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)
(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)