These selections change often. Check back occasionally for new poems. All the selections we post can be found in our paperback issues.
The curvature of the eye
marred by irregularity distorts.
Rain falling through the aqueous arch
prisms, propelling points of light
skyward, produces an aura most saintly.
Sunlight swallowed by the curve
curls sensuously, rising ever skyward
from the steaming fecund surface
of earth and sea to join on wayward winds.
The curvature of the eye
marred by irregularity distorts.
The child looks out and up
into the parental face, through the lashes
of this imperfect form and settles, smiling.
knowing no norm, only accepting the is.
The adult cut and crisp, dried, and molded
cries, mourning their losses and their imperfections
denying, with a stubbornness born from naming.
Name nothing, for in not naming, the eye can accept,
accept, all things as beautiful.
Mother is standing by waiting,
her hair pinned in curls
some already falling
I’m pushed against
his swollen ribs that crack,
splinter, my palms wet with soft acid,
bone ripped aside
I emerge careful.
She stirs a teacup
waiting for me to sit.
There’s plenty for both of us,
she says, and pours.
A warm afternoon.
We pay no mind to Father
sticking dead to the floor.
One of the only
Workingmans’ bars in town
Situated near the GM Plant;
They catered to the men
Who worked the line
Kept the food simple
The jukebox stacked
With blue collar rock
And soul. Saturdays
They hauled out a
Big screen T.V.
For the college football games.
My dad took my sister
And I there even though
We were too young,
Even though the bar
Had a no children policy.
He strung our restless bodies
Through the afternoon
With the promise of
Quarters doled out
For pinball and the skill crane
Where I tried, without luck,
To win my sister
A stuffed panda bear
She had her eye on.
“Just stay out
Of people’s way,”
Dad told us, but
We felt we belonged,
And the smiles
Of the beer drinkers
Confirmed this belief
And gave the bar
An air of grace
That cut through
The stink of smoke
And stale peanuts and spilled
Beer and the leftover
Grime of a hard day’s work
Almost too holy
To wash away.
Confidence, you are the ultimate trickster.
Your bright light is a dangerous fire.
How do you decide where to set up home?
Why do you laugh and celebrate foolishness with the saddest of clowns?
Confidence, you have given voice and stature to vile delusion.
Their jeering and jabbering is drowning out those you have helped better themselves.
Confidence, do you revel in being misunderstood?
When will you quiet your loud trumpet?
Have you not met Consequence?
Do you not ache?
Are you not bruised?
Do you not mourn the many still babies recovered from your womb?
Confidence, you should get together with Humility.
She is an excellent mathematician.
She counts costs and weighs sacrifice.
You would make a wonderful team.
Confidence, opinions should be shy at conception,
naive at birth, carefully formed and delicately nurtured.
Confidence, why won’t you listen?
Are you that insecure?
Life’s hurdles should be approached with Grace.
You should get to know her, too.
She would teach you beauty and see it as an honour.
Confidence, Conclusion hates it when you rush her.
She should be treated respectfully.
Shame on you, Confidence. Shame on you.
Do you not remember dancing with Peace?
Can you not recall the plans you made with Patience?
Have the echoes faded from the music you made with Creation?
Take stock, Confidence.
Put your house in order.
Reacquaint yourself with Quiet.
Spend some time with Reflection.
Let Introspection kiss your forehead.
And for all our sakes, learn how to cry.
Matthew J. Hall
First time my hands touched a steering wheel,
they froze and sweated all at the same time.
My knees buckled.
The air in my chest
played hopscotch on my lungs.
A college parking lot
abandoned for the summer –
not a vehicle in sight –
and yet I felt like a kid
on a bicycle
pedaling in the Indy 500.
But it was part of my father’s directive
driven into him by his father.
Fishing, hunting, facts of life
and steering an automobile through city streets ~
when it came to order,
it was like pick a card, any card,
though eventually I knew
I’d have to deal with his entire hand.
Of course, he never said
okay, now it’s time for Shakespeare
or appreciation of the pre-Raphaelite painters
or the lake poets or…
no whiff of an inheritance there.
In books, in galleries,
I was either on my own
or in “ask your mother” land.
I managed to navigate
that parking lot
without hitting another invisible car.
I stopped when he said.
I turned to the right and to the left
without his having to correct me.
He was more relieved than proud
that I learned quickly.
And I got high marks in fishing,
proved too squeamish for hunting
and his fact of life lecture
came three years too late.
My own child learned
hunting and fishing from his grandfather,
told me not to bother
when I slid “How Babies Are Made”
out of its hiding place.
But I did teach him to drive
and in the same parking lot.
Watching him slowly turn corners,
his foot shaking inches above the brake,
I could have sworn
I was seeing myself at the wheel.
A scary moment that –
two sons, nobody the father.
Creativity, or, None the Existential Less
Morning, lousy weather
out of coffee, computer on the blink,
none the existential less
and it’s story-writing time
synapses and psyche insist
the momentum of being
does not take no or nonsense
for an answer
I wonder if it will be a long story
full of twists and turns
and enough sex to get me in trouble
or a short story
with several exalted subplots
and characters admirable
I wonder if this will be a trip
through the underworld
or through clouds
half symbolic and half frightening
I wonder if I will live
or a decade of monstrous
uncertainty and pitfalls
I wonder about wonder
and put down my pen
as if it were a weapon
or a prehistoric beast
hungry for anything
J. J. Steinfeld