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Poem by Brian Glaser

 

As Winter
          —26 November, 2018

1.
Why winter?
Season of the cyclamen,

the burn
the fire walks on.

From dark to dark
the sun
shines through a glass.

Will winter ever
uncover or weather

a rattle’s depth
at the early end of its dream?

The trader-trophy,
the snow—

2.
People are talking about you,
ukulele.

It is quiet though
in the Christmas tree fields.

The answer forks
into another answer,

and so on,
like a dancer’s walking.

They are playing a game.
A time, a shame.

A crime,
a game with their spray,

a litter of letters,
a sky of clouds

after the right moon might
go away.

3.
Winter is a woman-god:
It is her season of less and less

until morning light
breaks like a final kiss.

Her children run
in her garden;

so goes her song–
forgive me,

I have only met her
and you have known her

forever,
forgotten child.

 

Brian Glaser has published one poetry collection, The Sacred Heart, and dozens of essays about poetry. He teaches in the English Department at Chapman University in Orange, California.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.

 

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Poem by Sunil Sharma

 

Moving home

Sorting out
days and dates
in a series of years
randomly left
in nooks/ corners,
dim spots— un-visited
for decades—all gone by
in a fleet-footed mode

still— many of them
packed up in old
stacks, books and
family albums, like
that bunch of old letters
of no particular use
yet still preserved as a
testament of a young love
pining for a cold subject.

the fingers speed up
the sorting process
routinely called junk

at times,
the hurried hands tarry and then,
slow down—
when a forgotten face
or others from the family
younger by a few years
stare back from the neatly-tied
bundle of faded
pictures!

 

Sunil Sharma is Mumbai-based senior academic, critic, literary editor and author with 19 published books: Some solo, some joint. Sunil edits the English section of
the monthly bilingual journal Setu published from Pittsburgh, USA.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.

 

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Flash Fiction by Susan Tepper

 

Crystal

After that last house painting gig, when I got out eighteen months later, I had to register as a sex offender. My wife by then had sold the RV, emptied the bank account and split for otherland. Naturally nobody ever bought my story, or even much cares to hear.

See. Along with three other guys, I’m out there high up on the ladder, in fucking December, freezing my balls off, painting those dirty white clapboards a brighter white. Crystal being the paint color name on the can. Lots of them; forty maybe. It was a big house. Squirrels nesting in the gutters. Chewed clear through the fascia boards. We had to repair those, too. There was a certain humor to the whole job, being that we had to keep painting in between snow storms. The boss told the lady of the house that the temps were way below the recommended house painting temps, and we should pick up the job again when the temps were more moderate. The customer, being a lady of solitary (her husband had walked), well she wasn’t about to take shit off some painter supervisor shortly before Christmas. People have strange reactions to the holidays.

“Just paint when there’s no precip,” she ordered him.

So. We hauled ladders over snow drifts and damned near froze to death out there with the winds packing it. The paint was none too happy, either, lumping from the extreme cold temps. Back down the ladders we’d go and on into the garage where we stirred paint until our wrists were about to drop off.

One day. As it was moving toward dusk and I’m still slapping on paint, high at the third story level, gusts so violent my ladder’s shaking, and this female appears at a window right where I’m working. Looking of indeterminate age (words my lawyer used in court). But one thing was for sure: she was naked. And she wanted me to see. She just stood there, naked and skinny as all get out, light colored stringy hair to her shoulders. She had the raw material, and there she was inside that warm room. When she lifted the window, I bent and climbed in.

Now. Sixteen can look like sixty under certain circumstances. Well, at least twenty-six. At any rate this naked chick at my particular windows becomes this daily event. While the crew’s on the ground, cleaning up for the night – that was the moment. She floats to the window like a ghost. I never got her name until later with the court stuff. Irma. She smiled once in the court room when they led me out past the table where she sat prim in a lavender scoop neck sweater. Collar bones sticking out like a plucked chicken. Her mother, in a chair behind her, screamed out at me a string of obscenities. In that split second I noticed the pearl beads sewn like a necklace to Irma’s sweater. She’d grinned at me. A mouth full of rotting teeth. That she was pretty much out of her skull from meth and whatever was something I hadn’t really considered while I was banging her.

So. The painting contractor gets me a mafia lawyer who wrangles a reduced sentence based on Irma’s shaky mental behavior. Or, somesuch long winded argument. I was just happy to get the deal. Apparently there’d been a string of similar incidents concerning: lawn workers, an ice cream truck guy, their vet, and the chimney cleaner.

As for: Prison wasn’t what I’d call enjoyable by any stretch. My cell mate, Toby, a former linebacker, had his junk removed at Rikers. Guard told me all about it on our walk to the cell. I peed my jumpsuit. Toby was lying on the bottom bunk reading.

“I guess the top one is mine,” I said quivering with fear.

He held up a thick Bible. “I’m going through a religious transformation,” was all the big man said.

I climbed up and stretched out, like he was stretched out. I thought about being up on the ladder and kind of wished I had the bottom bunk. We stayed that way a while, him and his Bible, me and my thoughts. When the sirens blared for supper, I waited for him to get off his bunk before I stood up. It seemed a matter of – respect, fear, what the fuck – I don’t know.

We looked each other over without moving a muscle. His one eye sewn down tight gave me the advantage. Looks like it was more than his junk they took at Rikers. Maybe a lot more than was visible then. Then the big man said, “Don’t fret, whitey. I got your sorry ass.”

 

Susan Tepper is an award winning writer and author of seven published books of fiction and poetry. She has received 18 Pushcart Nominations, a Pulitzer Prize Nomination for a novel, and many other honors. She has a dark sense of humor, and loves to share it with the Oddball gang from time to time.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.

 

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Poem by Donny Barilla

 

Ghost

I wrap my flesh upon the ghosts of your silk gown.
with the dampness of the shrouding loft, I
stumble to the bedside and I smell the scent of burlap
and sulk into the pillow of down.

You retreat to the fading light as each hustling dust shreds
through the shadow of the slippery new moon.

Quivering upon you, the gape of the open window
moans with each powdery bone fiber.

In the dance of this chilled, trembling vapor, sweet
tastes lounge across the posture of my lips.

I quake to the sleek wisp of your enigmas which flounder
every flooding juice from mouth to tug of the fibers
found upon the gasping relish where I sleep.

 

Donny Barilla, born in Dallas, Texas, weaves around common themes, such as: mythology, nature, human intimacy, and theology. Writing on a daily basis, he engages in the beautiful landscapes that surround him in his home of Pennsylvania. He currently works on his next book and has published in numerous journals and magazines.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters.

 

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Three Poems by Meg Smith

 

Crimson Veil

I dance as
It lifts the haze of night.
This scarlet,
this mourning,
this music, flow
like cruel laughter,
sweeping through
the dark sky.
This is how
you walk
toward it,
blind.
This is how
I have danced
within it,
turning,
scattering sparks.

 

Strangers Rowing

A passage of bare trees,
Reaches down,
fingers mirrored
on the surface.
Winter has traced its mark
on the shore grass, on
every branch.
We are moving, past,
that is clear.
Threads pull, and
then fade.
At the approach,
shadows wait.
No one watches.
The way opens,
only to the dark.

 

Once Was Night

Whispers
in a bonfire’s snap,
the purr of the lake,
moving against
a shore of smooth stones.
There was no waking,
only the brush of dark wings.
There was no bond,
only blood.
Words fell,
and the light broke,
and all was dust.
No one whispered
anymore,
and waves stole
the driftwood,
to create anew
an unguessed
serpent to surface.

 

Meg Smith is a poet, writer, journalist, dancer and events producer living in Lowell, Mass. Her poems have appeared in The Cafe Review, Pudding, Poetry Bay, The Horror Zine, Silver Blade, Raven Cage, The Blue Hour Anthology, and many more. Her most recent poetry books, This Scarlet Dancing and Dear Deepest Ghost, are available on Amazon.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters. Glenn is also the official photographer for the Newton Writing and Publishing Center.

 

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Poem by Joey Gould

 

In the Bedroom the Moon is a Dented Spoon
          after Meghan O’Rourke

Were you cantilevered
was the moon a pea on the ceiling

was it inverted
& could you see the peppercorns blinking

how does it not drip

were the slats closed
& did you stop to shatter the bedsheets

did you remove all the metal
& did the quitting hurt

was the weld weakened
what was the sound that hit the floor

was there wind
were you gasping
did it smell like leaves

were the leaves raked
                                      & were they burning

did he have hands
& were they scarred

did they remind you of your father
did you shake them

even still was there a skylight
how did you even see

did you even look
                     or listen
                     or accede

do you intend to come back

can you name them

will you stay the night

 

Joey Gould is a writing tutor from Hopedale, MA who has been working for Mass Poetry since 2011, teaching workshops across MA, facilitating the Mass Poetry Festival, & volunteering for Louder Than a Bomb MA. His work, which has been nominated for Bettering American Poetry (twice) & a Pushcart, is easily Googled.

Glenn Bowie is a published poet, lyricist and photographer from the Boston area. He also owns and operates an elevator company that supplies custom-built elevators for clients from New England to Hollywood. Author of two poetry and photograph collections (Under the Weight of Whispers and Into the Thorns and Honey) on Big Table Publishing, he donates all profits from his books to various charities for the homeless and local animal shelters. Glenn is also the official photographer for the Newton Writing and Publishing Center.