Thursday, February 02, 2023

New Flash Fiction by Emma Lee

 Where Bleach and Fabric Fresheners Can Take You

 Jen had loved stories where a young woman dragged a small suitcase into a sparsely furnished bedsit in a grotty end of town, put up some fairy lights and revelled in the freedom to dream, hoping her job in retail or hospitality would lead to a chance meeting where her talent would be recognised and her dreams come true. The furniture would be heavy with ghosts of previous occupants, the bathroom home to a forest of mould and the kitchen barely functional. Glamour doesn’t involve eating. There would be a garment rail for charity shop finds. 
 Reality would seep in like the dusky odours from the lumpy mattress and sagging sofa. It was freedom from parental restrictions and family expectations. Freedom to be alone. There wasn’t space for friends and it wasn’t a place to invite them back. Not a place to start a relationship either: more of a series of one-night stands. A place to sink into despair and float in the city’s dirtier corners: invisible, unseen and unheard.  
 But Jen had a plan and a box of bleach, air and fabric fresheners. She put the key in the lock and opened the door. Leaving the box on the sofa, she made several trips to collect two wheeled suitcases and a pile of boxes. First job: open the windows. Second job: bleach the toilet, shower and basin in the bathroom. Third, tackle the kitchen, such as it was. An oven with hob, a sink, fridge freezer, cupboards above and below a workshop which her rice cooker dominated. She sprayed the mattress and sofa with fabric freshener. She’d persuaded the landlord to let her have the large table and office chair that had been dumped in the backyard. She scrubbed both clean. 
 After a lunch break, she put her sewing machine on the table. Jen almost hugged it. It would keep the ghosts at bay. Opening a suitcase, she hung her designs on the garment rail. Swing dresses designed to skim curves in jewelled colours. Sober jackets with a pop of colour and proper pockets with skirts or trousers to match. Her online store had earnt her enough to put a deposit down on a retail unit. She hung her mood boards with sketches of evening wear and bridal dresses, applique flowers and machine embroidery patterns, and fabric swatches on the walls, their vibrancy energising the dingy beige woodchip wallpaper. Her daylight lamps would prevent the dark moods creeping in and nagging. 
 She didn’t need the romance of a chance meeting. She was free to prove that her fashion wasn’t a little hobby but a valid business. Jen might not be on the red carpet, but her name would be.


- © Emma Lee 2023


Emma Lee’s publications include “The Significance of a Dress” (Arachne, 2020) and "Ghosts in the Desert" (IDP, 2015). She co-edited “Over Land, Over Sea,” (Five Leaves, 2015), was Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines and blogs at https://emmalee1.wordpress.com.

 

Wednesday, February 01, 2023

New Poetry by Mike Daniels










Near the Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Plant

A shark’s tooth
dries in my hand,
on this day that marks
the twelfth year
since I’ve last spoken
to my only sister.
The bay smells like
a murky soup,
and the sky wears
a thick grey shroud
from the power plant.
Tell me, who doesn’t love
when siblings feud?
If only I could let go
of this razor-sharp thing,
I feel lancing the boil
filled with the blood
and the pus of pride.


- © Mike Daniels 2023


Mike Daniels grew up along the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, and he studied poetry with Lucille Clifton at St. Mary's College. His poems have appeared in numerous journals. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

New Poetry by William Doreski










Hell’s Gate Bridge

A trick of moving perspective:
a speedboat expresses its wake
through the red-painted railing
of this black-arch railroad bridge.

The Triborough suspension graces
the river scene but can’t compete
with the massive, flatfooted bulk
of the bridge on which our train
scrawls a stainless holograph.

Manhattan from this distance
looks like fungi on a rotten log.
We’ll get there soon enough,
but let’s remember the speedboat
raving with bright insouciance
rail travel never attempts.


- © William Doreski 2023


William Doreski lives in Peterborough, New Hampshire. He has taught at several colleges and universities. His most recent book of poetry is Dogs Don’t Care (2022).  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in various journals.

 

Monday, January 30, 2023

New Poetry by Jennifer Rodrigues










Someday you will die and strangers will come into your home

They will buy your lace wedding dress,
your polished chess set,
the stained-glass window of a swan flanked by red lilies.

Someday I’ll walk through your home
and look through the piles of
pictures you took of Rainier Beer,

a futuristic hotel lobby from the 1970s,
the portrait of a mother and her
three grown daughters smiling at her.

I will buy your Tibetan rice paper drawing
the one in teal ink of monks rowing a large
wooden boat, temples in the background.

I’ll be the only one to notice the still intact
geode and take it home.
When I walk your hallways, I’ll feel

the energy of your movement, eating
alone in front of the tv surrounded
by family pictures on wood paneling.

I’ll sense how you busied yourself
woodworking in the cluttered garage
as you tried not to be buried by grief

of grown children and passed partners.
I will hear your home’s silence,
imagine your molecules imbedded in the sofa,

touch your lingering in the carpet and walls.
You will be in a corner watching me
take in what I can’t buy.

Your former possessions will be honored in
my possession, until
strangers walk through my home.


- © Jennifer Rodrigues 2023


Jennifer McKeen Rodrigues currently lives on the sacred Powhatan land of Fairfax, VA. She has been published as a poet and/or photographer in The Muleskinner Journal, tinyfrights, Amethyst Review, & The Martello.

 

Sunday, January 29, 2023

New Poetry by Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad










What remains

All that’s left of the fallen—
a fan of feathers in the grip
of warring winds     plumage splayed 
on rain-licked asphalt.

Winter hours bleed
benign shadows—
the swoosh of tyres pulsing amidst
the steady strobe 
of amber     red     green.

A world on wheels thunders
puckering a pool of gems around 
an erased carcass
and water, like a final rite
weaves a weeping wreath—
an afterthought—
dewy diamonds
liquid flowers.


- © Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad 2023


Oormila Vijayakrishnan Prahlad is an Indian-Australian artist and poet. Her works have been published in Cordite Poetry Review, Black Bough Poetry, Eunoia Review, and Bracken Magazine, among others. She was nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize and nine times for the Best of the Net. She lives and works in Lindfield, on traditional Gammeragal land.

New Poetry by George Young










The Wound Dresser

At noon, if you’ll just take a walk in the park, sit
on the green bench by the ale-colored pond and wait
she’ll come to carefully lift
the blowzy bandage off your wound, cauterize
the gaping hole with warm sunlight
and stuff it with soft white gauze from a cloud.
O you’ll limp back to the office feeling better—
but of course the wound is fatal.


- © George Young 2023


George, a retired internal medicine physician living in Boulder,  Colorado, has had two full length collections of poetry published: “Spinoza’s Mouse,” Washington Prize, given by Word Works, and “The Astronomer’s Pearl,” Violet Reed Haas Prize, given by Snake Nation Press.

Friday, January 27, 2023

New Poetry by John Grey










Your Inheritance 

So what of mine should I leave to you?
My clothes? They’re more utile than fashionable.
I could gift you my books but not
the willingness to read them.
And my music collection.
But it’s so 20th century.
To you, music’s not music
unless there’s an internet face to go with it.
Same with my films.
In your mind, black and white is a disease,
the 70’s are ancient history
and movies began with “Iron Man.”
At least, the car might give you
a couple of years of use.
Likewise, the house and furniture
though, when you marry,
your wife could be so aghast
at my interior decorating tastes,
she tosses every table and chair
in the dumpster.
There are the photographs of course.
Some drawer should provide a suitable haven
for where you got your looks,
the one thing of mine not so easily discarded.
The souvenirs you may as well bury with me:
the plastic Eiffel Tower, the Vatican City key-ring,
the Rocky Mountains snow-globe etc?
They’re everywhere I’ve been.
They’re not where you’re going.


- © John Grey 2023


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Stand, Washington Square Review and Floyd County Moonshine. Latest books, “Covert” “Memory Outside The Head” and “Guest Of Myself” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in the McNeese Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and Open Ceilings.

New Poetry by Peter Mladinic










Children

I’m out of touch with children
but I was a child.
Everything the child sees is big.
To the child people are big, big as trees.
The field is vast, the river wide and deep,
wider, deeper for the child.
You too were once a child, a son.
Why you took your own life is a mystery.
In college you played baseball,
second base, as I see you on the diamond.
When we met you said recovering.
I didn’t see you fall off the wagon.
Five o’clock shadow,
rumpled chinos, blond hair thinning,
the Paradise Lounge, your abyss. 
I call from my side of the river,
as if you could hear.
For the child all is magnified, a twig
on the ground in the woods,
damp earth, mint freshness of leaves,
crisp winter leaves under his or her feet.
In the woods of childhood joy warbles.
The child hears, keener than I.
One morning in a restaurant
you harangued the server about no milk
for your coffee.
I live with trees and rain.


- © Peter Mladinic 2023


Peter Mladinic’s fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico, USA.

 
 

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

New Poetry by Jen Schneider










Looking for Lost Underpants at Dawn 

cotton briefs whisper
as souls in rubber soles prep
for a coming extinction

Looking for Lost Underpants at Dusk

winds wave Hello as
cotton briefs on laundry lines
dance for empty seats

Closing Time

Dusk moves in as headlights and hankerings
for pasta noodles in butter, corduroy couch
cushions, and Netflix logins move up. Priorities
as peculiar as policies percolate. Eyes blink.
Demand for caffeine sinks. Echoes wink. Now’s
not the time to dance awkward office-made
rhymes. Souls in rubber soles, stitched of
clocks and overhead chimes, seek paths home.


- © Jen Schneider 2023


Jen Schneider is an educator who lives, writes, and works in small spaces throughout Pennsylvania. Recent works include A Collection of Recollections, On always Being an Outsider, Invisible Ink, On Habits& Habitats, and Blindfolds, Bruises, and Breakups.

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

New Poetry by J.R. Solonche










Adam's Dream 

First there was this strange sensation.
It felt like a finger running along my ribs.
It was quick, firm, with neither pleasure nor pain.
Then I was lying on my back.
A great tree took root between my legs.
In a moment it grew to its full height,
swaying in the wind.
Then it exploded into a glorious crown of fruit.
An angel of the Lord came with a flaming sword.
The angel of the Lord burned the tree to ashes.
I scooped the ashes up into the cup of my hands.
I rubbed the ashes into the skin of my chest and shoulders.
I rubbed the ashes into the skin of my arms and legs.
I found myself in a new place.
There was not a tree nor a bush nor any green thing.
The earth was red and hard beneath my feet.
But I was not alone in that new place.
Behind me I heard laughter and weeping.
I heard laughter and weeping behind me.


- © J.R. Solonche 2023


Nominated for the National Book Award and nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize, J.R. Solonche is the author of 30 books of poetry and coauthor of another. He lives in the Hudson Valley.


New Poetry by Kenneth Pobo










Rainbow Shirt 

I sit in my rainbow shirt. 
A stranger tells me
to burn it.  The bumpy
bus craves the anonymous. 
We’re nobody
to each other. 
He looks at me like
he might puke. 

Well, dude, go ahead. 
The shirt can be washed. 
The rainbow withstands
the storm.


- © Kenneth Pobo 2023


Kenneth Pobo (he/him) is the author of twenty-one chapbooks and nine full-length collections.  Recent books include Bend of Quiet (Blue Light Press), Loplop in a Red City (Circling Rivers), and Lilac And Sawdust (Meadowlark Press) and Gold Bracelet in a Cave: Aunt Stokesia (Ethel Press). His work has appeared in North Dakota Quarterly, Cordite, Asheville Literary Review, Grain, Hawaii Review, and elsewhere.

 

Monday, January 23, 2023

New Poetry by Nina Rubinstein Alonso










Burns Beer and Wine           

They owned Burns Beer and Wine in Inman Square
had an old hippie guy living in the basement
forget his name who took care of plants and

said he preferred them to people 
on the outside wall was a tall mural with the dark
outline of an Arabic notable wearing a fez

like an upside down flower pot signaling
nothing specific while suggesting an alien type 
who seems friendly but you’d best stay alert

there were other buddies whose names 
I’ve blanked on and even that mural faded
later painted over to blandness but

in those days the guys were dealing
pot in the back room with quiet concern
about quality trying to be careful who to

trust next time since that suitcase disappeared 
at the airport no one’s sure what happened
but somehow vanished and was never found.


- ©  Nina Rubinstein Alonso 2023


Nina Rubinstein Alonso’s work appeared in The New Yorker, Wilderness House Literary Review, Sumac, New Boston Review, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, etc. Her book This Body was published by David Godine Press, her chapbook Riot Wake by Cervena Barva Press, and her story collection Distractions En Route is upcoming from Ibbetson Street.

New Poetry by Yuu Ikeda










Taste

your kiss always tastes like vodka.
i love brandy,
not vodka.
you love vodka,
not brandy.
i love loneliness,
not desire.
you love desire,
not loneliness.
reasons why we kiss.
because i want to feel loneliness.
because you want to feel desire.


- © Yuu Ikeda 2023


Yuu Ikeda (she/they) is a Japan based poet. She loves writing, reading novels, western art, and sugary coffee. She writes poetry on her website. https://poetryandcoffeedays.wordpress.com/. Her latest poetry collection “A Knife She Holds” was published from Newcomer Press. Her Twitter and Instagram : @yuunnnn77

Thursday, January 19, 2023

New Poetry by Les Wicks










Escalations

Baking the cake
called awake.
This life not much, but more than bread,
herd the shadows to the shed
for milking & the drench
(those delusions we too are not led).
So we invent, peer out of our trench
write some books, pretend there’ll be recompense.
The sun combs its shattered hair
once so ordered, such permanence
or this we thought seeing only there
that casual endorphin glare.
The ambition of table, of chair
another day to live, much as we dare.

                                                    Tried to believe in numbers
                                                     but they never added up.


- © Les Wicks 2023


Les Wicks has been published across 37 countries in 16 languages. His 15th book of poetry is Time Taken – New & Selected (Puncher & Wattmann, 2022). He can be found at leswicks.tripod.com/lw.htm