Four Poems by Terrence Sykes

Anchovy Gospel

Often
the distance between
salvation & damnation
is merely a few rows of
unweeded & unhoed
green beans

+++

AFTERLIFE

I was conceived
my mother lay in a cemetery
in some
forbidden – fragile
moment in time

I was born
my father working graveyard
in some
forgotten – forsaken
nondescript town

Perhaps that is why I pose
in this necropolis
Why do the dead
always have the best
views ?

+++

Discovery of the New World – 1392

rising crepusculo
&
misting commingle
spacecraft descends
into swampy expanse
lone figure arises
from new world craft
surveys surroundings
mothership monitors
dashcam image feed
ascent into marsh
bring mire consequences
hungry alligator
devours being
telepathic screams
echo into ethers
declared inhospitable
to their civilization
exploration team
leaves orbit
vines consume craft
centuries pass
metallic orb
submerges into landscape
slowly decomposes
awaiting eons
&
return to stardust

+++

HOW DO YOU SAY EX-LOVER IN FRENCH

My ex-lover
& ex-lit major
always bestowed
French writer’s names
upon all his dogs

apparently though
ménage à trois
were the only words
of the language
he ever understood


Although TERRENCE SYKES is a GASP ( Gay Alcoholic Southern Poet) and a far better gardener & forager & cook …..his poetry & photography & flash fiction has been published in Bangladesh, Canada, Ireland ,India, Mauritius, Pakistan, Scotland, Spain & USA….born and raised in the rural coal mining area of Virginia … this isolation brings the theme of remembrance to his creations — whether real or imagined.

GUY WALKING BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD, poetry by Larry Smith

He’s wearing lite camos
walking toward town
in a rain slowly turning to snow.
He could be me, I hear myself think
and answer, Maybe he is. At 77,
you’re already near invisible.

I pull up, lower the window, and call,
“Hey, would you like a ride?”
He looks over, reads me and
walks on. No real love there.

 


 

LARRY SMITH is a poet, fiction writer, and editor-director of Bottom Dog Press. A native of the Ohio River Valley, his work echoes back to his sense of Appalachia, then and now. He is a professor emeritus of Bowling Green State University living peacefully along the shores of Lake Erie.

 

 

IN THIS CORNER, poetry by Frederick Pollack

There are many Creations. One,
the opposite of ours, involved
no initial outburst.
Through a time longer than all of ours,
there were wisps and tremors
in darkness. These joined by chance;
a sigh preceded breath. Consciousness,
when it comes, is of a sweetness
not yet arrived; wonder
applies to memories.

The next universe over
offers little distinction
between the mind and an industrial filter.
Pollutants, smoke from
a mean and unforthcoming primal fire
accumulate. Being is a grudge.
In that twilight,
something hunched by a wall
broods, like its neighbor, like us, on the first
lie: that everything will be all right.


FREDERICK POLLACK is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press), and two collections, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Many other poems in print and online journals.

ASTRIDE MY ATLAS, poetry by Ben Nardolilli

I saw him, and I humbly asked him,
What name did he prefer?

Dionysus, or Bacchus, it was fine,
I just had to understand

He was originally a Thracian god,
If I knew that, I knew him

He only wanted my worship
And that I knew he had an origin

 


 

BEN NARDOLILLI currently lives in New York City. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, The Northampton Review, Local Train Magazine, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. He blogs at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com and is trying to publish his novels.

The Beatles once, poetry by Corey Mesler

The Beatles once sought to buy an island,

a place to be just Beatles.

They shopped.  In the end it came to

nothing and they went home and

recorded Revolver. I still like to think

about that island: its colorful hotdog

stand, its church full of dancers, its

electronic wonderwall, and its

resplendent army of happy engineers

and trombonists, of curanderos,

wantwits, and mooks, and people just

like you and me, O, in our fierce and

jerrybuilt dreams.

 

-RJ-

 

COREY MESLER has been published in numerous anthologies and journals including Poetry, Gargoyle, Five Points, Good Poems American Places, and New Stories from the South. He has published over 20 books of fiction and poetry. His newest novel, Camel’s Bastard Son, is from Cabal Books. He also wrote the screenplay for We Go On, which won The Memphis Film Prize in 2017. With his wife he runs Burke’s Book Store (est. 1875) in Memphis.

WHAT KIND OF HEAVEN WILL YOU FIND ON MARS, poetry by Ace Bogges

 

—Peter Cooley, “A Premature Afterlife”

 

The heaven of silence & heaven of this-

equipment-helps-me-breathe—I need

all the help I can get, suffering daily Earth-

like gravity, fog, political discourse.

 

The heaven of no-more-presidents.

 

The heaven of we-can-argue-or-survive—

O2 canisters work in mysterious ways.

 

The heaven of see-my-house-from-here &

lovely-spot-for-a funeral.

 

The heaven we make for ourselves in the heavens,

amidst heavenly bodies, our bodies

buffing up pressure suits—

 

what would sex be like on Mars? 

Cold. Suffocating sometimes. Same as here.

 

-RJ-

 

ACE BOGGESS is author of five books of poetry—MisadventureI Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It SoUltra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press in 2021.

TWO POEMS by Timothy Dodd

Television Light

 

In the autumn forest I could

not find the screech-

owl that night, rotating neck 

in the moonlight, the fool’s 

gold pupils hunting in the crypt 

of darkness. So I headed back 

at the usual time, ready for a cup 

of tea and the warmth 

of furry blankets. 

My sister was up, her leg 

hurting again, changing

channels on the TV. “Only movies

on are ones I’ve seen before.”  

Our father came down 

from bed, needing an Alka-Seltzer.  

“Stop staying up so late.” He turned 

and left, squinting, in his white, holey 

underwear, showing crack, and sister 

asked why I had a lizard leg stuck 

in the corner of my mouth. On 

the screen two grouse pecked 

in a thicket. I heard hands feeling 

around in the foggy hallway, 

searching for the switch.

 


 

WORKADAY

 

My teeth are mine, and I remind myself 

every day looking closely into the mirror.

 

Even tired from a day of breaking wings

at the chicken factory, I tell Brandy, too, 

 

when she calls. Sometimes she gets a bit

curious, or pries and pecks without getting

 

at the real seed. Is that what your doctors

said? Makes my knee ache like someone 

 

twisted its cap off. When her mother came 

over last week and removed her old Hush

 

Puppies, there was a funny smell. Like glue

and ancient pottery. “I forgot your creamed

 

corn,” she said. Don’t matter. We all took

some Tylenols. Out of the corner of my eye, 

 

that tiny mouse shot under the oven. I heard

a little squeak. A visitor might have thought

 

it came from the vermin. But Brandy says

there’s always more than one way to dance.

 

-RJ-

 

TIMOTHY DODD is from Mink Shoals, WV, and is the author of Fissures, and Other Stories (Bottom Dog Press, 2019). Cave-based and 71% Luddite, he’s still punching a few social media buttons: find his artwork on Instagram @timothybdoddartwork, and his writing on his “Timothy Dodd, Writer” Facebook page. Bring a cupcake and dill pickle ’cause you’ll probably be the only one there.

In This Corner, poetry by Frederick Pollack

There are many Creations. One,
the opposite of ours, involved
no initial outburst.
Through a time longer than all of ours,
there were wisps and tremors
in darkness. These joined by chance;
a sigh preceded breath. Consciousness,
when it comes, is of a sweetness
not yet arrived; wonder
applies to memories.

The next universe over
offers little distinction
between the mind and an industrial filter.
Pollutants, smoke from
a mean and unforthcoming primal fire
accumulate. Being is a grudge.
In that twilight,
something hunched by a wall
broods, like its neighbor, like us, on the first
lie: that everything will be all right.

 


 

FREDERICK POLLACK is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS (Story Line Press; the former to be reissued by Red Hen Press), and two collections, A POVERTY OF WORDS (Prolific Press, 2015) and LANDSCAPE WITH MUTANT (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018). Many other poems in print and online journals.

CHINESE CHARACTERS: LESSON 1 by Yuan Changming

思:  thought takes place 

      In the field of heart

闷:  depressed when your heart is

      Shut behind a door

忍:tolerate with a knife

      Right above your heart

***

Yuan Changming published monographs on translation before leaving his native country. Currently, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) & BestNewPoemsOnline, among nearly 1,600 others across 43 countries.

ashes: ashes, poetry by John Sweet

give this man crawling blind
through the upstate desert
a glass of fire

give him the gift of barbed-wire,
of crows,
of merciful crucifixions and
let us all be victims
let us all be true patriots

a pair of broken hands tied
behind every back and a
noose around every neck and
let us all finally be equal
in the end

 

***

 

John Sweet’s recent bestsellers include 2 extremely limited edition chapbooks, HEATHEN TONGUE (Kendra Steiner Editions) and the toe-tappin’ A BASTARD CHILD IN THE KINGDOM OF NIL (Analog Submission Press).