Friday, January 11, 2019

Fix Yourself Some Peanut Butter Toast

After Galway Kinnell

Our bedroom door was locked.
Our radio was turned on loud enough 
for the entire family to know 
that traffic was light 
and there was a 30-percent chance of rain. 

The speed of our movements 
was insufficient for sweating.

Caresses and kisses
snapped eyes shut 
in a passionate focus 
on quiet propriety. 

The usual words were transformed 
into a skin-to-skin telepathy. 

In spite of all this, 
or, perhaps, because of all this, 
there came a knock at the door 
and a high-pitched insistence on pancakes. 

What followed that knock
was supposed to have been 
a muffled come-cry, 
but sounded a lot like 
"peanut butter toast!"

Friday, January 4, 2019

Galleywinter #13 - Alexis Rhone Fancher (erotica)

Ce Qui Importe (What Matters)

How there can be no daylight between us,
a magnetic field,
a seamless glue.

How desire hardwires my nipples, 
how I want you to bring them 
to your face.

How you nibble my labia,
and then, there’s your tongue - 
like an electric grid.

How your fingers zap their way
to my center,
plugged in, like a socket.

How your cock
bends into me,
an over-amping arc.

How I straddle your face,
legs parted so you see no light, 
only me, sticky, 

and juiced.

Alexis Rhone Fancher is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Verse Daily, Plume, Rattle, Diode, Pirene’s Fountain, Tinderbox, Nashville Review, Wide Awake, Poets of Los Angeles and elsewhere. She’s the author of four poetry collections; How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), Enter  Here, (2017), and Junkie Wife, (2018). Her photographs are published worldwide. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly.

Friday, December 28, 2018

This Is the Knowing

Cheeks flush pomegranate red
upon embers - this is the knowing
that eventually everything ends badly.
Still, there’s a welcoming of the wet
taste of raspberry against my tongue.

Fingers lace saltwater gray
between damp - this is the knowing
that eventually everything turns tepid.
Still, there’s an easy sway to the talk
on the scaly brown boardwalk.

Lungs inhale thick sticky black
against rot - this is the knowing
that eventually everything is a suffocation.
Still, there’s a strange steady rhythm
to this sharing a blanket each night.

Minds race cold paisley and blue
upon ice - this is the knowing
that eventually everything grows gone.
Still, there’s unlocking my eyes in the dark
and seeing the absence of being unknown.

Shadow Road Quarterly (defunct) - Winter 2012

Friday, December 21, 2018

Poems I Admire #55

Seven Men Break Silence at a Union Rescue Mission Meal
Jeff Alfier

Sun-gristled, they glide in silhouette past our kitchen
door, their undertones low enough, a music without origin…

     One fall, our lab run off. From an upper window, dad
     swore at me. Said it was ‘cause I named him wrong.

     I climbed the avenue to get here late yesterday.
     Got left outside like a dog’s water bowl.

     My atheist daughter climbed Mt. Lemmon
     to be closer to her dead brother.

     A woman told me laughing’s just another way
     to kiss. Left my laugh under the ice in her glass.

     I come by yesterday. They was closed. I leaned
     against this door. Swear I heard jokin’ inside.

     Done tried my hand at a love poem. But the eclipse
     slurred my moonbeam in a soft-focus lens.

     Got here late. Saw light under the door. Slept right
     there. Soft as a child carried to sleep up a flight of stairs.

First appeared in Jeff's chapbook "Anthem for Pacific Avenue"

Jeffrey Alfier is 2018 winner of the Angela Consolo Manckiewick Poetry Prize, from Lummox Press. In 2014 he won the Kithara Book Prize, judged by Dennis Maloney. Publication credits include Crab Orchard Review, Southern Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Copper Nickel, Emerson Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Kestrel, Midwest Quarterly, Poetry Ireland Review and South Carolina Review. He is author of The Wolf Yearling, Idyll for a Vanishing River, Fugue for a Desert Mountain, Anthem for Pacific Avenue: California Poems, Southbound Express to Bayhead: New Jersey Poems, The Red Stag at Carrbridge: Scotland Poems, Bleak Music – a photo and poetry collaboration with poet Larry D. Thomas and The Storm Petrel: Poems of Ireland. Gone this Long – Southern Poems will be out in 2019, from Main Street Rag Publishing. He is founder and co-editor at Blue Horse Press and San Pedro River Review. An Air Force veteran, he is a member of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

Friday, December 14, 2018


As the end of her life neared,
dreary persistence disguised
all she had once been, save her
grace, unmistakable
in the elegant extension
of her hand as it reached for his.

The Summerset Review - Winter 2012

Friday, December 7, 2018

Galleywinter #12 - Robert Lee Kendrick


As I fumble lug nuts, four buzzards
lunge for a flayed squirrel's gut
dragged backward by one of their wake.

Red caws split grey-gauze air,
rise to meet trash fire smoke
slipping between trees. Last moving

load in the truck – two chairs, cracked
table neither Steph or I want
for our separate meals, mattress

neither wants to sleep on again.
Detritus for Goodwill or ditch
shopper. I mount my dry rot

spare as the birds tear their meat,
clean the mess someone left
in the dark. Their eyes relentless

and calm as water. One sees me.
He shows no fear. To him I'm no more
than the jacked-up truck or the tire.

He plunges back to wet flesh,
taking his share of the balance.
Still waiting for mine. Temporary

wheel ready, any direction, still
forward. The birds rise, petals
scattered in sky. Unfinished

viscera, flayed hide, and bones --
glisten that smothers the ground,
strength for the next errant mouth. 

Robert Lee Kendrick lives in Clemson, SC. He has previously published, or has work forthcoming, in Birmingham Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Atlanta Review, Tar River Poetry, Louisiana Literature, and elsewhere. His chapbook, Winter Skin, was released in 2016 by Main Street Rag Publishing. His full-length collection, What Once Burst With Brilliance, was released in 2018 by Iris Press.

Friday, November 30, 2018

Just Pink

There it is again; this time
it’s in the morning sky
over Three Sisters and it’s layered
with various shades of blue
and somber dawn.

The gray frost on the grass
is a metaphor, but I don’t get metaphors.
So, I stare at swirls in the sky
until I see smoke from a chimney
and colors begin to fade.

It’s gone now and I wonder
if it was ever there at all.
Maybe it was really
a more sophisticated hue of itself,
a near-relative with money
and a hundred-dollar name.

No, I decide it was just pink
as I stumble into the bedroom,
kiss her barely wetter than a peck,
whisper I’m sorry for last night
and head to the barber for a trim.

The Toucan Magazine - December 2012

Sunday, November 25, 2018

The White Camels of Somalia

The camels of Somalia are white and lap sand like water
as they trundle their burdens between the dark gray grassland

and whatever color eternity is. Their milk is sweet as orange
marmalade. They butcher easily, bleed-out quickly, and their meat

tastes like honey if you cut away the fat for candles that sparkle
and smoke the blackest black smoke. The camels of Somalia stampede

before storms despite the affection of their Gabran handlers, who weather
mile upon mile of wind and grit and weep against the scars on their eyes.

Off the Coast - Fall 2013

Friday, November 16, 2018

How Cold Is the Snow

Where do you go, little bird, when it snows? – Nicky Mehta

You’re not really a little bird
anymore, are you? You’ve grown
tall. You choose where to go,
when to eat, what to breathe.
You say, “No,” a lot these days.
You limp, too. When
did all that start, little bird?

Your eyes don’t seem connected
to anything anymore. You curse 
and scowl, let your stomach ache,
let your body reek. You shiver 
at night, little bird, and curl up 
alone in the grass, wonder 
when your next warmth
will come. You are bruised
along your ribs. Why? 
Your eyebrows are shaved.
Why? You called yourself
a faggot to my face. Why?

Do you remember that wintertime 
is just around the corner, that we get snow?
Do you remember throwing snowballs
not so long ago and slush leaking
down your shirt? Do you remember,
little bird, how cold is the snow?

Toe Good Poetry - November 3, 2013

Friday, November 9, 2018

Pumpkin Pie

Pure autumn color bursts
under snow-white whipped cream.
Memories of Mama and family and noisy
people gathered to eat and laugh and casually
kindle the ties that bind
intensify as the aroma of sweet savory
nutmeg crowds the kitchen and my beloved
parents' house becomes a home again -- 
in spite of the year's long