Carla Blaschka… Robbing Love

 
 
 

Robbing Love

 
       “He’s a racist.”
       “No, he’s not.”
       “Yes, he is. You told me he has White Pride tattooed on his chest. His very nickname means “Hi, I’m a racist.”
       “Look, he no longer goes by Bubba. His name meant White Obscurity. His name meant he who lived in the hills back of Northern-White-Water where I’m gonna go hiking. Now his name is Daniel, which means my friend.”
      Justin laughed and wrapped his arms around her neck, mashing her face against his chest. “Alright, but you need to be careful. I don’t want you to come back and vote Republican.”
      She gave him a nip and pushed away. “God forbid.”
      He gave her an affectionate slap on her ass as they parted.
      Before she left she called the newspaper office and got the weekend service. It gave her the info she hoped for. Throughout that day, Standard Island kept traveling between Kahoolawe and Maui, but that night it would be at anchor. Her rubber dinghy knocked against the island’s bumper and she was helped on board by security. Tonight it was Robbie. She said Hi! and asked to see her mother.
      She hadn’t visited in quite a while. Her mother’s short brown hair had more streaks of gray than Val remembered, but otherwise she looked the same. Her mother offered her some peach ginger hot chocolate.
      She wrapped her fingers around the cup and inhaled the steam. “How are you?” she asked after the initial pause to catch up and test the emotional waters.
       “I’m fine. John’s fine. We’re doing well,” her mother said. “Our harvests are doing well.”
      Val nodded in acknowledgement of the message that her mother was happy with her new friend.
       “How about you? Still seeing Bubba?”
       “Daniel, Mom, his name is Daniel, and he is working as a mechanic.”
       “Of course,” her mother murmured.
      Val frowned at her.
       “We’re O.K., we see each other a lot but, I don’t know, that’s what I wanted to talk to you about.”
      She got an eyebrow raise.
       “I’m pregnant. Twins.”
       “Daniel’s?”
       “No.”
      Mom fired both eyebrows at her. “Who then?”
       “I don’t know.” She paused to get her voice under control.
      Her mother waited.
       “I went to a bar, woke up in the back seat of my car. I knew something had happened, but I didn’t…”, another pause. “I just let it go. I wasn’t hurt. It seems foolish now but I didn’t know what happened, so I didn’t say anything and now, well, here I am.”
       “Are you going to…?”
       “No, but I don’t know…I just wanted to…”
       “See how badly I wanted to be a grandmother?”
      She nodded.
      Her mother came over to sit beside her and put her arms around her. “I’m so sorry this happened. It’s going to be all right, we’ll see to that.” Her voice was low, the kind you use to soothe a baby. They rested like that for a bit.
       “Any child…” her mom said then corrected herself, “any children of yours are welcome in my life, in our life. But I think not knowing who the father is is going to eat at you, and probably the kids too. We’ll figure out a plan, do you mind if I tell the people on the island?”
      Val shook her head. Val considered them all her family.
       “One thing,” her mom went on, “do you agree the person did a bad thing and shouldn’t do it again?”
      Val nodded.
       “Then I think we need to file a report. When the babies are born, maybe we can get them to run a DNA check against their database. Honey,” and here her mother went all delicate, “how sure are you that you are pregnant because of this? Could it be someone else…?”
      Val shook her head again. “I was at that bar because Bubba…Daniel and I had broken up a month before and I wanted to get out of the house.”
       “O.K., I see. Well, finding out wouldn’t hurt, no matter what happens after that.”
      Two beautiful babies were born, a boy and a girl. Daniel stepped up and asked Val to marry him. Tests were done. Val wished she hadn’t. She didn’t want to know this, ever, but she went to the jail to confront Justin, her friend.
       “Why?”
      His face turned into a mask of frustration and hate. “You were willing to fuck that racist but not me? What the hell is wrong with you?”
      Tears streaked Val’s face as she leaned forward and whispered, “What the hell is wrong with you?”
 

Copyright © 2017 by Carla Blaschka

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Jim Landwehr… Good Bye, Student Body

 
 

Goodbye

More and more it seems that
every day I whisper goodbye
to my wife and my children
for tomorrow is a dice shake
yesterday a shooting star
caught in a sideways glance.
It took the loss of a brother
at a young age to cancer
to learn this truth
and see the light and wisdom
of right here and present now.
Because as a poet once said
we are born leaving
and I would argue that
it didn’t stop there, the leaving.
While I love my life
in its fullness and
I can’t help but think that
every day I am whispering
a little louder – goodbye.
 
 
 

Student Body

In an American history class
sits a ten year old boy
focused on the sheen of
her brunette hair
the girl the next desk over.
It cascades down her neck
falling like so much water
and crashing on the rocks
of her shoulders below.
Combed in fine columns
a hair thick, each one
in exactly the right place.
If he breathes deep enough
he can smell her cologne
her scent like lavender and velvet.
If only she saw him.
If only he were not so shy,
they might become something
the two of them and her hair.
As the teacher drones on
about the winter at Valley Forge
the boy dreams about
the valley of her neck
knowing that these thoughts
are not condoned and
more likely deviant sparking
his own revolutionary kind of war.
 

Jim has a published book, Dirty Shirt: A Boundary Waters Memoir, and two poetry collections. His nonfiction has been published in Main Street Rag, and others. His poetry has been published in many different journals. Jim currently resides in Waukesha, WI.

Web: http://www.jimlandwehr.com
Blog: http://www.writerjimlandwehr.com

 

Copyright © 2017 by Jim Landwehr

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Michele Alice… DC Circus

 
 

DC Circus

 
 

I.

 
Golden rod
       is so pretty, I wonder–
has it a fragrance?
 
 
 

II.

 
Who needs Ringling
Brothers when we’ve got
Washington?
 
 
 

III.

 
New Economics 101
 
Debt
is
stimulating.
 
 
 

IV.

 
The Paul Krugman
       Equation: You’ll know it’s enough
when it works.
 

Originally from Detroit, I spent my college years studying Philosophy at the University of Arizona (Tucson) before escaping the heat and ending up in the Berkshires (Massachusetts) where I support my writing by working in a museum.

 

Copyright © 2017 by Michele Alice

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Darren C. Demaree… blue and blue and blue #109 & #110

 
 

blue and blue and blue #109

pink to red
& out
of breath,
 
i love
that the ocean
never lies down
 
& that i can
never lie down
in the ocean
 
 

blue and blue and blue #110

i’m alive
enough
to feel
 
no guilt
about
the dead
 
& that
is common,
that place
 
& that
terrible
feeling
 
that is
so deeply
necessary
 

Darren is a dangerous dreamer, concocting love poems to his home state, and pastorals to his true love.

Darren C. Demaree is the author of five poetry collections, most recently “The Nineteen Steps Between Us” (2016, After the Pause). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children

Copyright © 2017 by Darren C. Demaree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Darren C. Demaree… TRUMP AS A FIRE WITHOUT LIGHT

 
 

TRUMP AS A FIRE WITHOUT LIGHT #424

I see a king as light as a feather held on to by the teeth of wolves. The wind does nothing to him. The spittle is his joy. He is held so tightly by their sharp attention that it must at certain panicking points feel like real love meant to make his struggle valiant. He is a real man. That is his blood. If it’s not his blood, then this story is really fucking dark.

 
 

TRUMP AS A FIRE WITHOUT LIGHT #425

The secrecy isn’t cruel. The secrecy is a misplaced mercy. We have written down the names of so many people that would prefer us to be dead or at least gone. We have chanted some of those names. The secrecy is an animal without bones. It’s useless, but it’s important if we’re going keep the fear that gives us these names.

 
 

TRUMP AS A FIRE WITHOUT LIGHT #426

Don’t let them separate your nerves. They’re poking you to divide you. Accept that this is painful. Challenge their fingers!

 

My poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, New Letters, Diagram, and the Colorado Review.

I am the author of six poetry collections, most recently “Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly” (2016, 8th House Publishing). I am the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry.

I am currently living and writing in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and children.

Copyright © 2017 by Darren C. Demaree