|Interstellar Contact by Sniedze Rungis
I stopped by Issaquah Creek
for twenty minutes, the first
spring run off charging
under the bridge, thinking
about how to define
the gray of the way,
deciding on tarnished silverware.
Then, proud, I walked back to my life
I didn't know a single person
do this, let alone be foolish enough
to admit it in a poem.
James Valvis lives in Washington
State with his wife and daughter. His poetry or fiction has appeared
this year or is forthcoming in 5 AM, Arts & Letters, Clackamas Literary Review, Confrontation, Hanging Loose, Hurricane Review, New York Quarterly,
Nimrod, Pearl, Potomac Review, Rattle, Red Rock Review, Slipstream, South Carolina Review, Southern Indiana Review, and many others.
A Gust of Wind
Nearly Blew Over Our Lady of Guadalupe
so the priest
had a young Mexican boy come up
out of the outdoor
away from his natural
to hold onto the Virgin
as she was seen
these hundreds of years ago
by Juan Diego
near his place in the wintery mountains.
Now he sweats
in the 100 degree parking lot
through the thicket
of the bilingual Mass
his head pressed
lighter than air
thinks perhaps of the actual mother
the body beneath
thinks perhaps it is he
in the narrow
mountain pass outside
his meager home,
how he pleaded with the bishop to no avail!
...till he brought back
his miraculous serape.
Now he is forgotten
by Father and the congregation
until Holy Communion is over
but he saved her
as no other could
his head buried deep
in her secret lap
just emptied of roses.
What I Miss From the Past
For Greg Kuzma
is smoke. When it was time
to burn trash Saturday
my brother and I dragged
sawed-off old cartons from
washing machines, dryers,
we kept in the basement
and filled all week with trash.
Before anyone knew
it was the dawning of
Aquarius, the dawn
of the Age of Plastics
arrived, and we burned that
fast as we could, filling
the world with Dioxin
years before Uncle Sam
discovered how deadly
it could be and called it
Parquat. The aerosol
cans we loved! Burn ‘em and
Blam! Blam! Blam! and we’d duck
from flying metal strips,
red-hot, whirring past eyes
through with a faith in God,
Chevrolets, apple pie,
and who knows what other
silly stuff. A car crash
killed my brother before
they got a chance to kill
him in Viet Nam. I
loved to smell evening smoke,
visiting our little
town. This was good smoke, smoke
from the burn barrels out
back in dark dirt alleys,
smoke from paper burning,
maybe bits of garbage.
And in the Fall, leaves burned
on lawns all over town
just after the Good War,
when everything we did
was the right thing, somehow.
Kosmicki is a poet and social worker living in Omaha, Nebraska.
He is also the Editor and Publisher of The Backwaters Press. His poetry has been
published in numerous magazines, both print and online. He is a 2000 and 2006 recipient of the Nebraska Arts Council's Merit
Award. He is the author of three books and 7 chapbooks of poems. Two of the poems from his book from Word Press, Some Hero
of the Past, have been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer's Almanac.
Marigolds, his seventh chapbook of poems, was recently published by Black Star Press.
Ophelia Introduces Herself to the River
My name means slender sapling leaning closely
small brown rocks nestled in silt
air ascending inside oyster shells
goldenrod nodding by the
My name means Tuesday tracing bone-colored reeds
willow leaves tasting echoes
water’s high C’s
water rising to furious moonlight
and you are sweetly doing nothing
My name means vengeance pays attention to the tides
The River Offers a Ring to Ophelia
What language could I speak, but of clarity,
of seeing through? Not true—I spoke
the language of nudity. The language of all
rivers is lust. I licked Ophelia’s calf,
the color of peaches rinsed in the rain. She dipped
her hand inside of me. I played in and out
with shadows her fingers made in my swirls.
I fixated a fish within the sunlight’s freckles.
She was unwary of the layering I could perform.
The black of tree trunks twirling toward
the orange autumn light seduced the sky.
But I know when to change perspective. I lured
her vision with my movements. My slow
hushed touch. I jiggled the little white pebbles.
Little moon stones. They looked like pearls.
She kept reaching for another. And another.
has poems in Fifth Wednesday Journal,
Pebble Lake Review, Rhino, Sweet, and elsewhere. She has her MFA from Stonecoast and an MA in English Literature.
Carol also works part-time as a Writing Tutor at Pine Manor College.
at the cafe across from the sunflower
field just west of miami, I am sipping
from a tiny ceramic cup,
waiting gazing at the afternoon rain
while the hush, guayabera-covered
cubans on either
side of me sit
slouched grin through filthy plumes
of cigarsmoke; the old leatherfaced
ladies at the table by the
speaking quietly la lengua de
cervantes, a tide of syllables I don't
understand, and it's better that way
sometimes there's just
a little blither bliss sitting just outside
the logic of words, listening instead
to the ringing
of saucers cups
soupspoons clanging and the rain—
listening mostly to the voice
of the rain falling over the sunflowers
and the sunflowers with their
heads slightly bowed, ogling, as the petals
drip their silver song.
M.P. Powers has poems published or forthcoming in Rosebud, The New York
Quarterly, Slipstream, A Cappella Zoo, Third Wednesday and many others. He was born in Chicago and lives in the Miami area in Florida.
I am /
This triad that asks
for a fourth,
this not dead, not
alive, that doesn’t bleed save through the clamor,
the extensive consensus,
for what is already twisted, this hero.
Hospitals and Health
You are /
This procession of
self-confessed criminals, this ghetto whore
capable of murdering
this lack of common
sense, this skinless machine,
this deaf ear that
cannot enjoy, understand, define, or visualize
the sensuous sounds
of a tango,
this flavorless postoperative
this nonexistent ER.
I am /
This ellipsis, this
electronic lip tag
that disciplines our
mouth, this open hand
fearful of landing
on the vampire’s fork.
I am / You are / We
This dead mother/ this
dead son, this dead father,
this dead sister, this
dead friend, because we left them alone
in their last minute.
We are /
This future winter,
this subtropical hell,
this spring curse,
this slow farewell, death's gift.
Ortiz has a B.A. in English literature from Inter-American University, and a M.A.
in philosophy from World University.
His poetry has appeared in over 200 online and print journals He has been recently published, or his poems are
forthcoming in: The Battered Suitcase, Zygote in my Coffee, Right Hand Pointing,
Poui: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing, Writers’ Bloc and Temenos: Central Michigan University’s Literary
Journal. Flutter Press published his chapbook, At the Tail End of Dusk (2009).
I could become as broken
blood collects beneath me
a tide pool of afterbirth
to focus on her cry,
sound raining down
me from the corner
the room as the doctors
nurses check her over,
moving her bird-thin
and listening to the beat
her walnut heart.
remnants of me
her translucent coral-colored
and tell me that it will be easier
the long run
I do not hold her.
she is carried from the room,
stray fold of pink blanket
over the nurse’s shoulder,
Susan Milchman lives in Minneapolis
with a tolerant husband, two spirited little girls, three goldfish who will never die, and two ancient felines with stomach
issues. She has recently had her poetry published by Slow Trains Literary
Journal and considers herself a permanent student at The Loft Literary
Center in Minneapolis.
Translated by Abol Froushan
This dry tree
how has it arranged itself so well
... under the rain.... to stand up?
The pomegranate that’s hanging
why should someone squeeze .... who knows nothing?
the rain that should rain down in this poem doesn’t rain?
And life.... this short lullaby.... finally puts me
on a page that spent a life in ‘I don’t know’
How many times should I write
... that I’ll never write?
I’m sure....London’s blood group
which most likely is O or
because I keep hitting the rain...keep getting wet
What ecstasy revolves round this
in my mind
I wish someone came
to stop this Dervish that keeps twirling in my head
the rain that keeps raining no
longer comes to my poem
This cursed beast
has brought tears to all eyes
who drags so much
out of the clouds over London
Is someone idling up there
or is it true
that it’s still raining?
so nothing ends
what a shame
Ali Abdolrezaei began his professional
poetic career in 1986 and became one of the most serious and contentious poets of the new generation of Persian poetry. He's
published 21 varied books of poetry.