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Poem by Steve Glines

 

First Sunday after the Ascension of Saint Jack

We sit in a pew three empty rows from the front where the
reverend is sure to spot us. I am here to satisfy my wife’s
desire to find a church I will tolerate. I have my spiritual
side. I seek the truth, I seek compassion, I seek justice. I am
my brother’s keeper, but I am not religious. I cannot be
religious given what is done in the name of religion.
Nietzsche was right, god is dead or, at best, no longer cares.
He has moved on to populate another place with his
offspring. By Zeus I hope it works out for them.

The protestant priestess of this well appointed church offers
the usual incantations and exhortations and, passing on to
the homily, she fawns and gushes over a prominent member
of the church sitting in the front row like a peacock. She
adores him and asks him to read. His name is Mathew but
he reads from John 6. The irony is lost on all. His suit is
French, his shoes and tie are Italian and, I suspect, his car is
German. He has gone far on pocket change.

It’s been a week since Jack died. Poor and penniless, he
thrived on a pension of crumbs and love from the flock he
tended, those for whom The Word was paramount. No one
was unwelcome at his table and no one lacked shelter from
the storm. His tent could sleep a multitude if required and
while his shoes sank into the mud from the holes in them, he
would have walked barefoot willingly.

I look down to hide the tear rolling down my cheek. Jack
would not be welcome here. The Word is not worshipped
here. Yet I recognize the language rolling effortlessly off the
silver tongue of the Mathew reading from John, he has his
reward. I know this church, they would shut and lock their
doors to the homeless at night. Next week my wife will ask
me to try yet another church. I pray for different results.

 

Steve Glines is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Wilderness House Press and Wilderness House Literary Review, an online quarterly. In his past lives, he has been a general assignment reporter, a political commentator, a technical writer with two monthly technical columns and half a dozen computer science books to his credit. Today he writes poetry and fiction. In 2016 he was awarded the Ibbetson Street Press Lifetime Achievement Award and a lifetime achievement award from the Massachusetts State Democratic Party. He is a member of the Robert Creeley Foundation and is a past Assistant District Governor for Rotary International.

Jennifer Matthews’ poetry has been published in Nepal by Pen Himalaya and locally by the Wilderness Retreat Writers Organization, Midway Journal, The Somerville Times, Ibbetson Street Press and Boston Girl Guide. Jennifer was nominated for a poetry award by the Cambridge Arts Council for her book of Poetry Fairy Tales and Misdemeanors. Her songs have been released nationally and internationally and her photography has been used as covers for a number of Ibbetson Street Press poetry books and has been exhibited at The Middle East Restaurant, 1369 Coffeehouses, Sound Bites Restaurant in Somerville and McLean Hospital.

 

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Posted on Leave a comment

Poem by Stephen Glines

 

First Sunday after the Ascension of Saint Jack

We sit in a pew three empty rows from the front where the
reverend is sure to spot us. I am here to satisfy my wife’s
desire to find a church I will tolerate. I have my spiritual
side. I seek the truth, I seek compassion, I seek justice. I am
my brothers keeper, but I am not religious. I cannot be
religious given what is done in the name of religion.
Nietzsche was right, god is dead or, at best, no longer cares.
He has moved on to populate another place with his
offspring. By Zeus I hope it works out for them.

The protestant priestess of this well appointed church offers
the usual incantations and exhortations and, passing on to
the homily, she fawns and gushes over a prominent member
of the church sitting in the front row like a peacock. She
adores him and asks him to read. His name is Mathew but
he reads from John 6. The irony is lost on all. His suit is
French, his shoes and tie are Italian and, I suspect, his car is
German. He has gone far on pocket change.

It’s been a week since Jack died. Poor and penniless, he
thrived on a pension of crumbs and love from the flock he
tended, those for whom The Word was paramount. No one
was unwelcome at his table and no one lacked shelter from
the storm. His tent could sleep a multitude if required and
while his shoes sank into the mud from the holes in them, he
would have walked barefoot willingly.

I look down to hide the tear rolling down my cheek. Jack
would not be welcome here. The Word is not worshipped
here. Yet I recognize the language rolling effortlessly off the
silver tongue of the Mathew reading from John, he has his
reward. I know this church, they would shut and lock their
doors to the homeless at night. Next week my wife will ask
me to try yet another church. I pray for different results.

 

Photography © Chad Parenteau
Photography © Chad Parenteau

 

Stephen Glines has spent most of his career as a journalist with a reputation as an edgy technical writer. For five years he authored a monthly technical advice column titled “Panic” in Altos World Magazine. The column was written in the voice of a fictionalized, over-caffeinated, sleep-deprived, computer engineer working for the mob. He also wrote a column titled “Famous Last Words” for Unix Review about products that never quite materialized or did and shouldn’t have. He is the author or co-author of five “trade textbooks,” a travelogue about teaching in Fiji and a flash fiction chapbook. He also has a bunch of unpublished novels if anyone is interested. For the past ten years he has been the editor/publisher of Wilderness House Literary Review.

Chad Parenteau’s photo was taken in May 20111 at the International Community Church, in Allston, Massachusetts during the fortieth anniversary celebration of Stone Soup, months after the passing of Jack Powers, who founded Stone Soup Poetry in 1971.

 

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Stone Soup Servings Presents: David P. Miller

 

Stone Soup Servings is a regular series for Oddball Magazine that features upcoming performers at Stone Soup Poetry, the long-running spoken word venue in the Boston area that has recently partnered with Oddball Magazine. Stone Soup Poetry meets from 8-10 p.m. every Monday at the Out of The Blue Art Gallery at 106 Prospect Street with an open mike sign-up at 7:30 p.m.

On May 26, we close out Stone Soup’s anniversary month with a feature by David P. Miller. We hope that his performance will encourage you to buy his forthcoming chapbook from Červená Barva Press. If this is your introduction to David (despite his past appearances in Oddball Magazine), read below for a sampling of his poem Sunflower Sutra Variations, the complete series being previously published over at Wilderness House Literary Review.

 

Sunflower Sutra Variations
Variation I

I walked away from her, tracked my path back and up a different cross street. It was evening,
           I was sick of seeming just another
Jack with an agenda, trailing a woman home from the subway. Hopscotching
the oily rain puddles to keep my distance. I know that
look. Fretful and sidelong, or icecold and penetrating, or the scream of a
           silent look away. Not that
I rush to conceal skin, gender or age markings. All these
and hells of presumption engage us, even when we play against type.

And the gray aura of baffled vision, the rusted
corolla of It’s a Me Thing, You Wouldn’t Understand, razor-edged
leaves of the forest of no return – Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Attempt
           Another’s Threshold. I’ve lived in that
unholy land, I know
the grime of my imagined type, soiling
all those attempts at gestures that failed, rebounded to my own confusion,
and those alien eye contacts that may have hurt:
           a male stranger’s hello still
entangled in family memory with death and humiliation.
A perfect mistake, to offer a smile to a man or woman outside your checkboxes.
How to indicate Prefer Not to Say when skin color and gray hair
           precede like heralds?

Poor melting pot, poor patchwork quilt. Your recipe fails to bind, your threads dissolve.
You were dreaming Emma Lazarus’ song
and you woke to find the New Colossus a ragbag.
So I retrieve a few of the homelier scraps, lift my clumsy needle, add pieces
           not to an American Dreamcoat, but an American rakasu, Zen robe.
And deliver it to who will try it on, alter and pass it forward.
We’re standing together, taking hands and dropping them,
           slapping away and clasping again. We strain to see the pattern
           among ten thousand arcing sparks.

 

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Poem and Artwork by Irene Koronas

Artwork © Irene Koronas
Artwork © Irene Koronas

 

gertrude morning

a reasonable position concerning stein
her conscientiousness boggles with critical eye
her circumstances in perspective

she traveled the precipice
falling off into out of far off till time ticks her off
blind until morning streams on her black skirt
and there are no high heels for her for she for they for we
expect nothing more than this
this then is where she resides
besides if you read the label it says size 20
meant for larger women who want to feel thin
and what is thin. there is slim there is trim
there is reduced to this
that is what this remains
fastened on the shoes she wore
the dashes and dots, periods rush to her toes

bulbing her image on posters and screens
she pulled up the window shades

we have this image in our minds
sipping the flat surface we embrace
only what is a clip art suggestion
of who she was. we know what is written
we think we know but who can really know
who anyone is or was and if thats not enough
i hardly think she was when she was
judging who she was
when she was
who she was
flinging bling
finding no rings on her fingers

 

Irene Koronas has a fine arts degree from Mass College of Art Boston. She is a multi-media artist working with paint, collage, mono-printing, artists books, poetry and photography. She is currently the poetry editor for Wilderness House Literary Review. Her poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and online zines. Her poetry is in eight anthologies, and she has two full length books, self portrait drawn from many Ibbettson Street Press; pentakomo cyprus, Červená Barva Press . Emily Dickinson, Propaganda Press (chapbooks); Zero Boundaries Cervena Barva Press, Turtle Grass Muddy River Books, will be available in April 2014.

 

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Poem and Artwork by Irene Koronas

Artwork © Irene Koronas
Artwork © Irene Koronas

 

communion

mixing partly this, partly that, each partly screaming
a recipe, turning it over like griddle cakes. I feel full
boiling death and birth crackling over the same fire

crammed into cup

I break apart bread, rearrange sentences, scramble words
undress nouns wearing polyester, synthetic verbs. I swear
we all try to get outta the way of flying frying pans

paragraphs squeezed blue as harmonicas

dirty dishes in chipped porcelain sink
guilt dotting down the drain

Jesus. everything has become a crisis
its hard to enjoy french toast smothered with butter

we war with food, cars, air, and music
there is no time to add horses into this mix

 

Irene Koronas has a fine arts degree from Mass College of Art Boston. She is a multi-media artist working with paint, collage, mono-printing, artists books, poetry and photography. She is currently the poetry editor for Wilderness House Literary Review. Her poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and online zines. Her poetry is in eight anthologies, and she has two full length books, self portrait drawn from many Ibbettson Street Press; pentakomo cyprus, Červená Barva Press . Emily Dickinson, Propaganda Press (chapbooks); Zero Boundaries Cervena Barva Press, Turtle Grass Muddy River Books, will be available in April 2014.

 

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Poem and Artwork by Irene Koronas

Artwork © Irene Koronas
Artwork © Irene Koronas

 

angry with wind

yellow orange leaves twist
and fly and grind
everything turns red rising
like wild mountain trout spurn

lovers rake the wilderness
suture their wounds

all our sins so strong
the bitter blue buckets used
to rhyme our circle
i know euphoria will own

our random race to the finish line

gritty does not figure into this wind

 

Irene Koronas has a fine arts degree from Mass College of Art Boston. She is a multi-media artist working with paint, collage, mono-printing, artists books, poetry and photography. She is currently the poetry editor for Wilderness House Literary Review. Her poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and online zines. Her poetry is in eight anthologies, and she has two full length books, self portrait drawn from many Ibbettson Street Press; pentakomo cyprus, Červená Barva Press . Emily Dickinson, Propaganda Press (chapbooks); Zero Boundaries Cervena Barva Press, Turtle Grass Muddy River Books, will be available in April 2014.