Friday, June 22, 2018

Like Cold Wringing Water from Air

That’s how lungs become frostbitten
balloons of rigid suffocation,

how skin blues around bones
brittle as a lake’s last sheet,

how blinking hurts
against the forever-dark

of a wintertime working
to turn the heat of tears frigid

as wind-burned scars of icy need,
how I long to know your warmth.


First appeared in the Homestead Review



Friday, June 15, 2018

Poems I Admire #52

The Blind Woman Dictates a Poem to Her Love

I used to know how you looked:
strong arms, wrists like a deckhand
on trawlers, your nets reaping tons
from the sea. Arms that could go ten
rounds with anyone in the ring – 
you still have the belts and trophies.

The back of your neck dark red
from the sun. No hat could protect you,
only a hooded parka in snow, when your thighs
became tough as telephone poles
in Texas, relentless and intense
against twisters and hail.

The white of your covered and protected
torso. Narrow-waisted, ribbed from sit-ups
you do each night, the arrow of light brown
hair guiding me to another place I love,
the fiery part of you – the reason I learned
to always leave the lights on with you.

And your kind face. No words to describe
the ruddy intelligence brooding
behind thoughtful eyes the color of seaglass,
if collected from glaciers, white-blue and bold
as they showed without doubt how much
I was loved, no matter the amount we debated.

I can still hear your sit-ups, your counts as they
get short of breath and then breathless. Of course
I can feel your arms around me, hear your whispers
stroke my many insecurities. But the lights – absent
as color on a moonless night. How frost hides
the beauty of a mountain stream, so much is lost.


First appeared in Coe Review


Tobi Alfier is a multiple Pushcart nominee and multiple Best of the Net nominee. Her chapbook “Down Anstruther Way” (Scotland poems) was published by FutureCycle Press. Her full-length collection “Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn’t Matter Where” is recently out from Kelsay Books. She is co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.bluehorsepress.com).

Friday, June 8, 2018

Tracking Lovers on the Shore

I squat, squint. They’re barefoot,
married with two young sons.
She is pregnant with another.

They don’t yet know.
I slide my index finger
along the outer edges

of their soggy indentations.
She will fear another miscarriage.
He will fix the hot-water heater.

Tasting the gritty residue
with the tip of my tongue,
I know they are not moving away

from her parents, after all.
He has declined the promotion.
The arc of their path tells me

they spent all last night
reminding themselves of each other
to the steady rhythm of coming-

again-and-again-and-again
gray breakers.
I look behind, watch

their footprints begin to vanish
beneath the now rising tide
like forgiveness.

I move forward.
Step into their steps.
Think I can do this forever.


First appeared in the Homestead Review

Friday, June 1, 2018

Galleywinter #6 - Paul Hostovsky

Spectacular View

His life was this spectacular view 
that he’d stumbled onto in his early twenties, 
a feeling like falling in love every time he came home to it, 
just standing there without taking off his coat
and taking it in with a kind of dumb 
gratitude and awe, this breathtaking 
feeling of undeserved and unheard-of 
happiness stretching out like a horizon, 
the warm southern aspect welcoming him home 
like a lover’s eyes meeting his 
every time he walked through the door.
And this spectacular view
was his life and his life was this view. 
But then somehow, slowly, 
unaccountably, unforgivably, 
he got used to the view. He grew 
accustomed to the unaccustomed beauty
and luck of his own life. He walked through the door 
and didn’t see it anymore. He didn’t even look. 
He threw off his coat, threw down his keys and his phone
and headed straight into the kitchen 
for another beer. The view at the window 
had become just another wall 
in a life full of walls. It was a kind of blindness,
what they call facial blindness--
he could no longer recognize the faces 
of any of his own angels. It was also a kind of 
defenestration--he had thrown the spectacular view from a window
out the window. So it was a kind of death,
though no one actually died, and life went on like that
bleakly, and blindly, and for a very long time.

Paul Hostovsky’s poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net. He has been published in Poetry, Passages North, Carolina Quarterly, Shenandoah, New Delta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Poetry East, The Sun, and many other journals and anthologies. He has won a Pushcart Prize, the Comstock Review's Muriel Craft Bailey Award, and poetry chapbook contests from Grayson Books, Riverstone Press, Frank Cat Press, Split Oak Press, and Sport Literate. He has nine full-length collections of poetry, Sonnets from South Mountain (2001), Bending the Notes(2008), Dear Truth (2009), A Little in Love a Lot (2011), Hurt Into Beauty (2012), Naming Names (2013), Selected Poems (2014), The Bad Guys (2015), and Is That What That Is (2017). He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Read Paul's poem in Poetry (click here) 


Here is a link to Paul's latest book (click here)

Friday, May 25, 2018

Dear Ruth

for R. B.

I am thinking of you upon the passing of your Leif.
As I write these words, I recall your instruction:
never euphemize death. So let me start over.

Dear Ruth, I am thinking of you upon Leif’s death.
I am also thinking of the pronunciation of Leif’s
name and of its irony. I am thinking I’m certain

that you, too, have considered this irony and won’t
hold it against me – the way my thoughts about you
and your wondering What now? turned immediately,

simultaneously, to poetry and how you are teaching
me to write it. I am sorry Leif is dead. I am also sorry
that I await the poems his death will inspire in you.


First appeared in Literary Orphans

Friday, May 18, 2018

Poems I Admire #51

On the Seventh Day

When God is leaning back, 
all full of himself, and resting 
on his laurels, I get up early, 
go to my desk and try to take 
his place, fill a few blank pages, 
create my own world. Maybe 
Monk’s Bright Mississippi 
or Ahmad Jamal plays 
in the background 
as the characters doo wop 
and stutter weave, in 
and out, between, the lines 
a twenty-one year old 
autistic boy, learning 
to be on his own, bites 
his wrist and slams 
his head on the floor 
and still can’t tell me why, 
my mom calls and we hardly 
ever have much to say 
except a cousin I never met 
died of cancer yesterday, 
a day before his 30th birthday, 
and she wants me to buy a card, 
write a hundred dollar check 
to help pay for the plot, and yes 
my heart is still slowly healing 
from this summer’s surgery 
and the load of loneliness 
that has always surrounded me 
feels heavier as I struggle 
to imagine what a good day 
could ever be like again. 
And when I take a breath 
step out of my head, 
I read about one more 
young black man, his hair 
freshly braided, walking 
down another unlit 
stairway with his girlfriend 
in Brooklyn’s Pink Houses 
as a rookie cop patrols 
the hallway toward him, 
his gun unholstered, and opens 
a door. I want to go back 
to my desk and pretend 
I’m God so I can write 
how the bullet whizzes 
past, ricochets harmlessly 
to the floor since God 
chose to sit idly by, act 
like he had little to do 
with any of it, content to speak 
through some Sunday morning 
preacher about a better place, 
that the lord never gives more 
than his children can bear, 
how we will one day understand 
his master plan when just once 
I want God to stand up, shine 
beacons of the brightest light 
and share the shame and blame 
while the wide world cries 
with its head in its hands.


First appeared in Paterson Literary Review and is included in Tony's full-length collection, "Until the Last Lights Leaves."


Tony Gloeggler is a life long resident of NYC and runs group homes for the developmentally disabled. He's been published in numerous journals including Rattle, New Ohio Review, Nerve Cowboy, Raleigh Review, Chiron Review, Poet Lore and Ted Kooser's newspaper feed. If interested, google will show your more work and his full length collections

Friday, May 11, 2018

Who’s This About?

Somewhere between nine and all’s gone still, 
right around the time quiet’s an enormous thing, 

he gulps a swallow of greed against lush, 
lets his little lady stroke his ego, moans 

the satisfaction of a good hot meal. His skin’s 
so thick she can write her name in it – like blue ink 

on an arm with too many tattoos. She remembers 
every deceit like a cinnamon sneeze or a blade 

sliced across a needled wince of sinew and graffiti –
his sweet thing whose name she wishes he’d remember. 

Some nights she leaves his plate in the microwave, 
where flies can’t land, and prays for dreams.

Included in my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)
(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)

Friday, May 4, 2018

Galleywinter #5 - Paul Hostovsky

Late for the Gratitude Meeting 

The guy in front of me in traffic 
is letting everyone in,
waving at the cars like a policeman 
or a pope--
and I really have no patience for all
the indulgence
and magnanimity at my expense,

because I’m late for the gratitude meeting,
which is only an hour long.
And if I miss the first ten minutes 
of silent meditation I’m going to scream, 
because it’s my favorite part and because
it helps me remember to breathe.
And I’m going to throttle this guy 

if he doesn’t stop deferring 
to all of the trundling humanity 
turning left onto Main
at this intersection where I’m sitting, 
fuming, not feeling the love,
not feeling the gratitude,
feeling only resentment and disdain

because I have the right of way.
Would you rather be right or have peace? 
Try letting go, I can hear them say
at the gratitude meeting three blocks away,
striking the rim of the Tibetan singing bowl, 
which begins vibrating,
and keeps on vibrating
like this steering wheel I can’t stop clenching.

Paul Hostovsky’s poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net. He has been published in Poetry, Passages North, Carolina Quarterly, Shenandoah, New Delta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Poetry East, The Sun, and many other journals and anthologies. He has won a Pushcart Prize, the Comstock Review's Muriel Craft Bailey Award, and poetry chapbook contests from Grayson Books, Riverstone Press, Frank Cat Press, Split Oak Press, and Sport Literate. He has nine full-length collections of poetry, Sonnets from South Mountain (2001), Bending the Notes(2008), Dear Truth (2009), A Little in Love a Lot (2011), Hurt Into Beauty (2012), Naming Names (2013), Selected Poems (2014), The Bad Guys (2015), and Is That What That Is (2017). He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Read Paul's poem in Poetry (click here) 

Here is a link to Paul's latest book (click here)

Monday, April 30, 2018

Reflection

If I were not afraid

of becoming white, wind-scraped bones
in the dry of a thorny dead ravine
long after hovering and foul feeding;
if I were not afraid

of one turned back after another,
an end to coffeehouse debates,
and never seeing another eye squarely;
if I were not afraid

of shaking hands with her Galahad
every other weekend too soon after the red
fades from her eyes and my stinging cheek;
if I were not afraid

of a bent caney man
looking this way then that
for someone to tend his grave;
if I were not afraid,

I would succumb until golden
passion meets breathless exhaustion – 
then break all my mirrors.

The Gold Man Review - November 2011

Friday, April 20, 2018

Poems I Admire #50

Sometimes You Do Something Before It Happens

I know when I open my mouth I will start
the conversation that will end everything 
we knew before.

We have held our breath to prevent this.

I know this is where it will happen: Our 
botanic gardens; that the sound of my words, 
the hard, irreversible, until now unspoken 
truth, will dwell here for you among the lavender 
and english thyme and lamb’s ears (so 
soft) and rosemary, which you 
always remember is for remembrance.

Broken, like the silence, we will walk away 
from the warm light, the dotted Spring sky, 
the reticulated ivy, the knot garden, suddenly
untied, and you will begin, and I will 
begin, to create our separate stories 
of the break up, our hollowed-out chests not 
showing the concave shell blown out between us.

You will walk away, believing 
that we have a later we can meet in. I will try 
to love you at arms’ length, then, and remember 
with this emptiness, how you filled me, almost

enough. But maybe this is not the time, the time

that’s coming. Maybe in this moment, as you bury 
your round and generous face in the full pink peony (a beautiful
cabbage of a flower), as you risk inhaling a dozen courting ants,
seeking its sweet, sweet abundance, I think maybe 
I will say nothing, nothing sharper 
than those vivid petals, that spherical bloom. I nose

into a flower myself; it so supple, even the edges feel smooth, 
so stiff, it seems to bear my weight, bend rightly, 
and bounce back, holding again its perfect shape.


First appeared in Eclectica Magazine

Kathryn T. S. Bass’ poetry has appeared in dozens of journals and three collections.

Among other honors, Kathryn has earned a Ph.D. In Creative Writing from the University of Denver, a State of Colorado Artists’ Fellowship, and residencies with both Brush Creek Ranch and The Jentel Foundation for the Arts.

Kathryn's books, Within/Without: A Conversation in Poetry and Painting, Bright Seeds (a Finishing Line Press New Women's Voices Series selection) and The Mysteries are available through her woefully neglected website, www.kadroodle.com.

On her less poetic days, Kathryn is a marketer and program designer in the financial services industry, a jewelry designer, tomato gardener, wife, and devoted dog parent in beautiful Colorado.