Saturday, December 31, 2016

Poems I Admire #28

I Know My Father
From stories only, from Mother’s mouth
on winter evenings by a single lamp.
A splendid man, a doctor,
taken while I drifted.
Smelling always of soap –
his fingers, the folds of his knuckles.
And from his framed face on the mantel,
unruly hair leaning across his forehead
as though windblown.

Can you see him? she asks, and I can,
bending over the beds of sick children,
soap scent whispering from his cuffs
as he warms with his breath
the disc of the stethoscope,
places it on small, bony chests, translates
the rattling of their lungs into ink on a page.
The crinkles at his eyes, the sky
deepening outside the hospital windows.
How he ruffles their hair, tucks their pain
into his pockets ad moves on, leaving
a bright wink shimmering at each bed,
leaving them drowsing,
taking their pale faces home.

Where he winds her in his arms
and lifts her to her toes, presses her cheek
into the faded spice of his collar
in the small kitchen where the fragrance
of rosemary lingers after dinner.
He kisses the back of her neck
as she washes dishes,
standing as close to the sink as I will allow,
I, big in her belly, tethered and drifting,
missing my father by weeks.

First appeared in San Pedro River Review

Ricki Mandeville’s poems have recently appeared in Comstock Review, San Pedro River Review, Pea River Journal, Texas Poetry Calendar 2014, and other journals and anthologies. She is a cofounder and consulting editor of Moon Tide Press and the author of A Thin Strand of Lights (Moon Tide Press). A speaker for various literary events, she lives in Huntington Beach, California.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

She Told Me Once Her Name Is Gigi

I don’t know where she got it,
but she says it with enough ooh la la
to lead me to believe she was weaned
on strong coffee and croissant,

and, even though she’s walker-old,
she smiles during her afternoon strolls
as if remembering how easy a thing
the inspiration of breathy French exclamations
used to be. We exchange pleasantries and pass

in the opposite direction. She tells me again
how happy she is to “still be here on Planet Earth.”
I know this is her way of saying she’s glad
she hasn’t died yet and gone to heaven,

but her wording makes me wish
that Wilford Brimley and Don Ameche
would suddenly jitterbug by to whisk her away
for a dip in an alien-cocoon-steeped pool
as they await the Mother Ship and immortality.

Of course, it never happens. Another thing
that never happens is me turning around,
walking with her awhile, asking her
how she got her name.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Poems I Admire #27

The Calculus
Paul Hostovsky

My hygienist likes to include me
in the decision making.
“Shall we use the hand scaler
or the ultrasonic today?” she asks me.
I like the way she says “we,”
like we’re doing something intimate
and collaborative,
like building a snowman,
or more like dismantling one
after an ice storm, flake
by frozen flake. “The calculus
is caused by precipitation
of minerals from your saliva,” she explains.
“You can’t remove it with your toothbrush.
Only a professional can do that.” She’s very
professional. She doesn’t dumb it down.
“Pay more attention to the lingual side
of your mandibular anteriors,” she says.
I love it when she talks like that.
I love the names of teeth: incisor, third molar, bicuspid,
eyetooth. Her own teeth are
virtuosic. “Calculus comes from the Greek
for stone,” she says. “In mathematics
it’s counting with stones. In medicine,
it’s the mineral buildup in the body: kidney stones,
tartar on teeth.” She teaches me all this
as I sit there with my mouth open,
looking astonished.

First appeared in Off the Coast
Paul's poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net. He has been published in Carolina Quarterly, Shenandoah, New Delta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Atlanta 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 chapbook contests from Grayson Books, Riverstone Press, Frank Cat Press, and Split Oak Press. He has seven full-length collections of poetry, Bending the Notes (2008), Dear Truth (2009), A Little in Love a Lot (2011), Hurt Into Beauty (2012), Naming Names (2013), Selected Poems (2014), and The Bad Guys (2015). He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

On Adam and Eve

Maybe he was a natural in the sack, or maybe
she liked her ribs tickled after dinner. Who knows,

maybe she thought it looked like a slimy sci-fi
thing full of nothing but need. When all there was

was forward and pondering barely intelligible lisps of lies,
when wrath was ice-cold and slaked like a lemonade of whys

squeezed into a thick yellow pulp, did they ever stop
to wonder how everything could have gone so wrong?

How limber, their now imperfect minds! How daintily
they could clink glasses with the polite society of their loins.

How often did he ask Can I ever be inside you and still feel
the need
for air? Did rash waiting spread into a distracted

bounce of us against them? Do we really need to mention
the possibility that she turned around and told him to leave?

Maybe all he wanted was one more try before finally giving in
to the long hard blasphemy of damnation.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016

Included in my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)

(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)

The Air at Avery Park on a Day like Today

tastes smooth as the sleepy brew
of yellow melting green into a steam

so sweet there is nothing left to do
but breathe and think yourself back in time

to the day your dad dropped by and promised
he’d never leave again – which he didn’t

for a sorta long time.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016

Saturday, December 3, 2016

"The Allness of Everything" Friendly Review by Sara Clancy

Here is a link to a wonderful review of "The Allness of Everything" by poet Sara Clancy. Enjoy!

Click here.

On Being Found Not Guilty

He left like shots from a jugular,
stomping away as worn as his reasons
for giving up drink. His shades slid

down his nose like dime-store readers,
so he squinted into the exquisite naiveté
of an ever-yellow belief that all of life

is always fair. Smiling at passersby
while two-finger tipping the hat he wished
he’d worn, shame and shaving and feeling clean

for the first time in months hit him hard as hate –
the kind that sticks and takes root like a graveyard oak.
He fled with his bald head wrapped in spite, his teeth

fully bared, and his eyes drying fast in an isolation
that lands like heat on drought over sourdough dreams.
Through newsprint and hot mirage, he jerks a soda

from a past he never really lived – stolid and beyond
the aging of a reality he used to know, one
as red as rose petals leaping from an ex-wife’s chest.

From my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)

(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)

Poems I Admire #26

Tattoo-Girl in a Sheer, White Blouse, Sushi Bar Fantasy, in 4 Parts 
Alexis Rhone Fancher


I want to unbutton her. I need to run
my fingers down her rainbow skin,
expose the peekaboo of her sleeves.
I have a suspicion what’s underneath;
the clouds, the python, the sloe-eyed siren
who clings to the cliff of her narrow hips,
the hyacinths behind her knees.
I want to see for myself.


She’s washing herself in the sink like
Madonna’s desperate Susan: neck, armpits,
breasts. Lucky me.
She asks me to scrub her back;
I trace a lotus flow atop indigo waves,
the springboard for a hummingbird with
iridescent wings. I dream about such things.

She aims the hand dryer on the wall at her
throat, lifts her arms above her head. On her
right bicep, a Kyoto dragon wrestles with
the sun, on her left, the beginnings of a crescent moon,
a festoon of stars twinkling on her wrists like
diamond tennis bracelets.


She unbuttons her jeans,
shimmies them down around her ankles.
Above her mons a red heart ripped asunder,
and something written in Japanese.
“What does it say?”
“Whatever you want it to.”
I want it to say “Enter Here.”


See our reflections in the mirror
above the sink,
me, looking worshipful, ravenous.
She looks like the girl who’ll choose
the tattoo needle over me, romance it until
there’s nothing left for wounding.

I should have found her sooner.

First appeared in Chiron Review

Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (forthcoming in 2017). She is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Rattle, Slipstream, Hobart, Cleaver, Public Pool, H_NGM_N, The MacGuffin, and elsewhere. Her photographs are published worldwide. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, where she also publishes a monthly photo essay, “The Poet’s Eye,” about her on-going love affair with Los Angeles. Find her at:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Loud as Dragonfire

One feature common among the winged creatures of mythology
is their overall readiness to curse. The Middle Ages were covered
in dark brown gravy thickened with flour and seasoned with salt.

I would have made an excellent rack of ribs. Hope never draws
sharks or flies; it draws things that go from gray to blue to gray again
and, on late afternoons, beach up on stars. Worry, however, likes

to get drunk, stupid, and stumble to bed. Fear loves posting selfies
of its frowns and lap-dances for a better set of brushes or another
shot of turpentine. I discovered that recently while writing love notes

to half-drunk karaoke blondes on the far side of the bar who sounded
just like monks moaning chants after drinking seasonal ale and turning
loud as dragonfire.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Poems I Admire #25

Ruby (1954)
Roy Beckemeyer

You always wear men’s pants, un-tucked
work shirt. I once asked my dad why. He
just grinned, said “More comfortable, I guess.”

A Camel hangs from the corner of your mouth.
You chalk your cue, tell old man Solis again
what a lousy eight-ball player he is, smirk, hunker
over; line up your shot, grind your cigarette
into the floor; stretch over the table.

Your hair falls in your eyes, a comb-over,
barber shop style, same sandy-brown color
as your scuffed men’s shoes. You tilt onto your
toes, the shirt falls away and I see a hint
of slender waist. My illusion of you as shapeless
falters a bit, but then you straighten up, spit
reality into your empty beer bottle, shift
the chaw around in your cheek.

How can you be real here, in this no-stoplight
small town? In the tavernous darkness you are
pigs-feet-in-the-brine-on-the-bar real,
swaggering, boisterous, cussing real,
never-leaving-until-the-bar-closes real.

But you walk home alone every night,
down cindered alleys to the barks of dogs
who should know you by now, under stars
lost in sultry air; barely glancing at all those
windows open to the breeze, where curtains
flutter like white moths and wives in sleek slips
toss and turn and stir in their sleep.

First published in Chiron Review

Roy Beckemeyer was born in Illinois in 1941, earned a BS in engineering in 1962 and served in the United States Air Force. He moved to Wichita, Kansas, in 1966 and has made the state his home ever since.  He received an MS from Wichita State University and a Ph.D. from The University of Kansas, both in engineering.  He worked almost 30 years for Boeing, retiring in 1997.

He has written poetry most of his life, but began a period of sustained and consistent writing in 2009. His work has appeared in a variety of mostly regional literary journals, including Gazebo, Beecher's Magazine, Kansas City Voices, The Midwest Quarterly, Straylight, The North Dakota Quarterly, Nebo, Mikrokosmos, Coal City Review, and The Bluest Aye, as well as in the anthologies Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems (Woodley Memorial Press, 2011), and To the Stars through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga (Mammoth Press,2012). He was the Kansas Authors Club poet of the year for 2013, and won first place in Beecher's 2014 Poetry Contest. His first book of poetry was published by Coal City Review and Press in 2014.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Brand New Color

Grayspace is the color of a god
who no longer trusts seascape grit.

He purses plump and rose-red lips
while fingering wooden beads
both fat and wet, edible as homesickness.

He cares about his Jesus, snow white doves,
and whatever came before the wailing

of something as much a plea as a cry
behind bars. The septic stream that tastes
like any heaven anywhere is just one block south

of the high-rise selling confections to hungry
workers like a badger on a snake. “Don’t think

you know what I know about hot meals
and warmth,” he says, then grabs a spatula,
turns red in the face, flips another pie.

“Remember childhood?” he asks, knowing
that we do. “Remember childhood.”

From my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)

(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)

Signum Crucis

She slams the Father-shot
in one experienced gulp,
head thrown all the way back,
and rattles to the burning soothe.

She lingers in her exhale,
reaches for the Son, swallows
him hard and hurries
to complete her holy trinity.

Turning the spent Holy Ghost upside down
on the sticky wet bar, she closes her eyes,
lets her head dangle, swirls it around,
and enjoys being half way to abandon.

She wiggles to the dance floor,
twirls with Bobby before moving on
to a couple of unknowns
and getting to know them.

When her glow gets runny
she returns for second service.
First, the Ex and his bluish-purple rage;
she keeps her eyes closed and lets herself believe

it wasn’t all locked-up tight
and letting the neighbors know.
Bobby hears another of her moans
over the glorious thump of the bass.

Next, the Girls, a twenty-something
triumvirate of crossed arms and pursed lips
over the day-in-and-day-out blur
of her jaded green eyes.

She sips the last shot slowly,
selects a Soon-to-Know-Well,
gestures across her chest
and slurs Amen.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016