A Difference in Kind

by Devon Balwit

 

The objects are, indeed, lovely—

bamboo baskets that split the light,

urns thin as eggshell,

sake cups glazed in celadon,

 

but the price tags—hundreds, thousands—

eat at me, begging me to ask why

my hours of labor, distilled into poetry,

earn me nothing.

 

Is it that one cannot coordinate black glyphs

with one’s décor, or is it that, deep down,

the poet is judged self-indulgent,

everyone knowing such a dabbler?

 

I wander the displays, appreciative, bitter,

tallying how much I spend

to have my work seen and rejected

or to fund a peer’s prize.

 

I, too, slap matter to the wheel, find a balance, an even lip.

I wet and score, glaze and fire,

losing many, scrapping more.

Why am I, alone, asked to work for love?


Devon Balwit lives in Portland, OR. She has two chapbooks: How the Blessed Travel (Maverick Duck Press) and Forms Most Marvelous (dancing girl press). Her work has appeared or will (among other places) in The Cincinnati Review, Peacock Review, The Stillwater Review, The Tule Review, Red Earth Review, The Ekphrastic Review, The Inflectionist Review, Rattle, Eunoia Review, and Poets Reading the News. You can find her on Facebook.

at a not so far away place for 2 or so days

by Audrey McMillion

 

i wish i would have brought tylenol

because the mental becomes the physical sometimes.

and i swallowed two cups of coffee whole

i’m afraid it will be the only real warmth i’ll ever get

here, they took away everything i love

my home

my books

my bed

myself

my best friend is at the bottom of a duffel bag

and i hope he’s not cold

my third cup of coffee

and i’m shaking

i was already shaking—i assure you

just a little more now.

i pride myself in my lack of soul

but i do have fear

of actually having one

and if i don’t want myself to see it

i don’t want them to either

i always find myself alone in crowded places

drifting off to space

or worse

i am alone alone alone alone

and i want to go home

 


Audrey McMillion is sixteen years old and currently resides in Charleston, WV. With a passion for politics, literature, science, and coffee, she is eager to take on the world. A self-described nerd, Audrey also has a love of Star Wars and The X-Files, as well as an overwhelming desire to learn. Audrey’s poetry has previously been published in Water Soup Press’s Issue #3.

Longanimity

by Alex Feldman

 

It’s a sweltering July night

I haven’t heard from my girl

For days

My air conditioner looks like R2D2 and hasn’t worked

For weeks

The cheapest fan I could find

Sputters as I sweat tar

 

Words crawl across

The TV screen

Notifying me of a dangerous

Chemical in the water

I am warned not to drink it

I am warned not to wash with it

 

I draw a sad horse on my wall

Then run a bath,

Leave the bathroom,

And check my phone;

No missed calls

 

When I return

The water floats Dodger blue

In the white ceramic

 

I dip my leg in the water

It is cool

Just as I planned

Just as I need

 

All I know is the water is “dangerous”

It could give me a rash,

Burn the hair off my body,

Infect me with bacteria,

Creep up inside my genitals

Killing my sperm

Rendering me impotent,

Maybe it will disintegrate me all together

 

Gladly

Slowly

Surely

I submerge myself

 

Right now the risk

Is worth the relief

Like that extra drink

Or a cigarette

Or a woman

 


 

Urchins of Deadcast

by Richard King Perkins II

 

Because.

 

My frown lines are as dark

as cold sap; fit tight,

 

a drill sunken by the magnetism

of grief.

 

It’s alright to be humorless.

 

You subtracted my solar plexus

from the punch of every constellation.

Still, you tried to find sorrow,

sought to apologize,

 

tried to tell me

of the ferret caged inside you.

 

You’ve become colorless

as the urchins of deadcast.

 

Now it’s respectable

to laugh;

 

a sustained fluctuation of sharp stones

and barrenness.

 

Loose sleeves aren’t necessary

for pinecones to appear.

 

Allow the smiling quiet

to keep its quietness

 

lifted by the finest sieve of dawn.

 

 


Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL, USA with his wife, Vickie and daughter, Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart, Best of the Net and Best of the Web nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications.

Two Poems by Morgan Downie

iron

 

lead men, our dusk bodies coated

in soot, slow footed, scorched

 

we talk in mutters, anthracite

hearts dark as welder’s glass

yet we pause at the furnace

the glowing bowl of molten heart

 

look down, owl eyed,

spark filled and dazzled

 

 

 

geocache

 

there, by the carved rocks

uprooted from a bed of moss

a tobacco tin

 

the green and gold of virginia,

hand rolled, slight corrosion

water intrusion, slight damage

 

an unkerneled husk of geode,

split open, white veins

of quartz, pocket smooth

 

a postcard, cardboard damp

to the touch Largs, 8th august 1957

‘where we walked as children’

 

a yellow metal ring

thin from wear

a lock of grey hair

 

and a slip of paper

careful handwriting

‘remember’

 


Morgan Downie is a poet, short story writer and visual artist. He is a keen cyclist and not shy of a canoe. His collections include stone and sea, distances, and a lazarus. He is a keen collaborator and cites having a laugh as his main motivator for creative work.

 

You Lost the Game

by Shannon Hearn

 

how does a separation work in terms of the seams/in terms of/the seems

me/forgetting my jeans in E–’s car irritated they were left/in her trunk and realizing/by opening/my trunk it wasn’t her trunk

it was/mine

 

how to correct(ly) say a truth: (mouth opens)

 

think about the different parts/not the pieces/the parts of the whole there is a  difference/i swear there is/a difference in the parts

that work/to make the hole


Shannon Hearn is a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut where she studied journalism and English with a concentration in creative writing. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming with 3:AM Magazine, Big Lucks, cream city review, Juked, and others.

Nate Sumislaski: 11:00 PM

11:00 PM

midnight moon creeping up behind my back

and as eyes glare

beyond the horizon of desperation,

I’m praying for thunder.

Is it more or less moral than hoping for lightning?

 

anyhow,

my heart in the house of life

brings me back to death

for my hours are short

and my minutes shorter.

 

Do Beauty, Truth, Revolution

mean anything anymore?

well,

maybe not now Love

 

but they did at some point

 

in Time,

I will breath my fatal breath.

 

That I can be certain of

 

to inhale the black poison

of your heart

was worse

than all the alcohol I’ve ever had

 

and you used to seem like a crescent moon

in your youth

or maybe my youth’s imagination

but you were there.

I’m certain.

and I never got to know you

barely even said “Hello.”

 

is the blood stained on my saddle?

or brown brisk branches snap

like that one picture I have of you on my phone?

 

I tried to forget everything we had together

but it’s almost midnight

and the moon has clouded my           mind.

 


Nate Sumislaski is an English major at the University of Connecticut. In his free time, he enjoys strumming an acoustic guitar, going on hikes in deep and treacherous woods, and listening to Bob Dylan (but never all three at once).