The Gospel of Love According to John
by Therese Masotta
Please write and let me know.
Or better, keep your secrets.
Believe me, time will tell
everything there is to tell about that day
under the bleachers. Then reliving it
will be all you’re about. So find someone
to mind the store, and we’ll stitch
our little sighs together deep in the Catskills
like so much bellybutton lint.
It serves one best that serves one least
to think on matters such as these.
Still, there is so much left over, so much
ensconced in the reminiscences of old fires,
games of whist, and the unexplained knock
you dreamt you heard at your bedroom door.
Go ahead and open it. See for yourself.
It’s Wednesday, but that doesn’t matter. It’s maybe around 5:30, and I’ve already been up an hour. I walk a block down 7th for coffee from the 7-Eleven. There, some people are gathered at the bus stop, and the ill-lit streetlight casts heavy shadows over their quiet bodies. It’s the end of March. I’m jet lagged, but enjoy walking without a coat. In front of my hotel I light a cigarette, and a man with puffy eyes pushing a shopping cart tells me his store is closing—medical marijuana, kept in an old orange prescription bottle. The tents and sleeping bags under the bridge that were empty when I passed by last night are full, the smell of piss more intense. I take a sip of my coffee, think about giving him a couple of bucks, but I’m not in the mood for what he’s selling—so I politely refuse. A car pulls over and a pink haired girl in a black miniskirt gets out of the passenger side and asks if I have change for a hundred. I’m only halfway through my cigarette. Why do these songbirds stay in the city, why do they feel comfortable? A man emerges from the Mexican restaurant with a hose and starts to spray the sidewalks. The sun is starting to rise; in the shift to shadows, palm trees appear, tall and long. The doorman greets me with a smile. They’re serving continental breakfast—through a window I can see a family grabbing croissants and coffee, their youngest girl in pigtails drinking orange juice at a table. She plays with her doll, happy to be by herself.
Jerome Daly is an alumnus of UConn, a recent graduate of the MFA Program at the University of New Hampshire and 2017 recipient of the Dick Shea Memorial prize in poetry. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Gamut, Leveler Poetry, The Chaffey Review, and the Long River Review.
You keep smokes in a soapbox. Past midnight
put a towel under the door and run warm water,
hold our cigarette up to the ceiling fan. Spit
and say the scent still sticks to the walls,
and ma doesn’t know, but she knows, you know?
Some nights you thunder like a storm
or stumble like a child.
You wonder aloud when the fuck you learned to sin
in stride. Chime it was sophomore year
you traded the Bible in your backpack for
a lighter in your pocket, you didn’t mind
aside from the youth group gossip.
Some nights you thunder like a storm.
You bristle no, that I don’t get it. That every boy
who’s laid in this bed has claimed common ground.
Flustered now, like there’s a line between us
in the ridges of the linen and the quiet
is crisp as shame.
Some nights you stumble like a child.
Dizzy off a trio of benzos though I pled, you press
all that is suppressed into shapes with soft edges.
Write wilderness, and wilderness, and love
‘til kingdom come, call it
Some nights you stumble like a child
or rumble like a storm,
but in the mornings
you are unstrung out
and you, and
you are making toast,
singing in the slack.
Always, I see now,
I have been asking the wrong question:
not ‘Where are you?’ but ‘How did you get there?’
Dragged in a river I know to be the same,
whose course has shifted day by day,
I cannot bear to face the sea,
I stay afloat by looking back.
Ted Mc Carthy is a poet and translator living in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the USA, Canada and Australia. His first collection ‘November Wedding’, won the Brendan Behan Award. He has also published a second, ‘Beverly Downs’ in the Moth ‘Some Poems’ series.
His work can be found on www.tedmccarthyspoetry.weebly.com
dust in the high beams
like a coming storm
wanders into our kitchen again
you left the oven on
for two hours
you pulled weeds
gravel in your knees
my love for you
Austin Veldman is a poet, fiction writer, and songwriter. He is currently pursuing an MA in English from Indiana University South Bend. His poetry has featured in Bateau, Dreams & Nightmares, Artifact Nouveau, and others. He currently is an Assistant Editor at 42 Miles Press and the Editor-in-chief at Twyckenham Notes.
You can call it a hymn,
or whatever the fuck;
if the fox
eats one of my fingers
then finally I will get
to be a fox.
I am the seed,
to love this
the rise before
to be what
Darren C. Demaree is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). His seventh collection Two Towns Over was recently selected the winner of the Louise Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and is due out March 2018. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.