Lindsay Diem… Playing House

 
 

Playing House

 
her tiny fingers clasped a diaper wipe
and pressed it to my nose
she loudly instructed for me “blow”
and waited inquisitively
 
she wiped my face delicately
the way mommy and daddy do it
and blotted my eyeliner
with a look of disdain
 
she didn’t know what to do with the ugliness
the long black streak of make-up
her eyes, wide and innocent
baffled
by imperfection
 

I teach tenth grade English at Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn, MI. I graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2006. I spend my free time writing poetry and painting. My daughter is my inspiration for my art.

Copyright © 2017 by Lindsay Diem

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

John McKernan… Memorial Days, Every June Thereafter, I Never Read A Newspaper as a Child

 
 

MEMORIAL DAYS

We went to visit
Our father’s grave
 
And immediately
Shrank
To the size of grass seed
 
That way
We could get way down there
Scrape away for hours
All the bugs & crud & stain on the marker
 
The next year we returned
With our monstrous bloated bodies
Full of regret & loss & food
This cycle went on every summer
Until those tiny particles of grief died
 
 
 

EVERY JUNE THEREAFTER

An entire year
1957
 
Slowly rose
From the dust
Of my father’s grave in Omaha
 
Scattering lilac and Easter lilies
Pint bottles of grape vodka
Bras   Incense   Pillows
Radios   CDs   Maps   Photos
 
Gaining speed
Approaching at eye level
The power of gravity
Then accelerating
To the speed of silence
 
 
 

I NEVER READ A NEWSPAPER AS A CHILD

Bombs kept falling out of every sky
Every day for four years

Like pop corn
 
Submarines exploding
In far corners of the globe
Like bubbles of Coca Cola
 
Arms & legs
Eyes & skulls & lips
Scattered across seven continents
Like the grass we mowed in Omaha
 
My POW uncle returned
To show me cigarette burns
Knife wounds
And tell me how he ate a soup
Of spiders ants and roaches
Just like the bugs in your basement
 

John McKernan – who grew up in Omaha Nebraska in the middle of the USA – is now a retired comma herder after teaching 41 years at Marshall University. He lives in West Virginia and Florida. His most recent book is a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field and many other magazines.

Copyright © 2016 by John McKernan

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Michael Schaffner… Not Entirely Lacking A Domicile & Squatters

 
 

Not Entirely Lacking A Domicile

Osprey trailing a thin branch, treetop high,
repeating every few minutes, on schedule
to finish a nest larger than the homes
of the rootless beings I used to see
waking in the park beside my office.
 
Feral creatures, well past their breeding years
by dint of their minds or toxic habits,
they seemed no more than wary scenery.
 
Across the river the sun nestles down
in a bed of shady pines. The sky glows
like a wick just as the flame escapes it.
A slight traffic of herons, homeward bound,
changes shifts with swifts, who give way to bats.
 
I’ve not returned to Franklin Square at dawn
nor seen the sunset there for several years,
nor think that species even values tears.
 
 

Squatters

While running I saw two vultures landing
atop a new house to escape the crows’
harmless yet irritating attentions.
 
A girl at the bus stop noticed them, too,
but I could not presume an acquaintance
based on black vultures, handsome though they be.
 
And they were: black scalps and iron hooked beaks,
above not only crows but even us
as they paced down a million dollar roof
 
as if they owned it, as in fact they own
everything their talons touch or shadow.
I passed around the block. The girl had gone
 
and the great wings spread broadly on the draft
from the near apartments, patches glowing.
 

M. A. Schaffner has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, and elsewhere — most recently in Former People, Raintown Review, and Rock River Review. Long-ago-published books include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia juggling a laptop, smart phone, percussion caps, pugs, and a Gillott 404.

Copyright © 2016 by Michael Schaffner

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Darren C. Demaree… Nude Male With #201 & #200

 
 

NUDE MALE WITH ECHO #201

Without immensity, with
the size of a forenoon day
I can be the white edges,
 
but then I can only grow
to interfere with the scene
of art. I want to be the art.
 
That’s why I’ve covered
my body with pictures,
because before all of those
 
little, driving ink pens found
me supple enough to be
taken, nobody looked at me.
 
 

NUDE MALE WITH ECHO #200

I want to lake
the tree, swim
the trunk
 
after suspending
myself briefly
above the foliage.
 
I want to be taken
in. I want the sun
to nourish me.
 

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 © 2016 by Darren C. Demaree

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Carrie Albert… Frog Artifact, named “Beatrice”

 

beatrice_amphivbiaremnantslab

 
 
Frog Artifact, named “Beatrice”
(3016 Analysis)
 
Mass and Materials:
Of blue petrochemicals, spots intact.
Palm size with “China 1” underbelly
found on earth under far-Eastern
impact of Asteroid Zabo
 
Dated:
Early Plastic Age, before World War 3
on the eve of Meltdown Z when
memories were buried
all religious faiths annihilated
100 years prior to extinction
of living amphibians
 
Explanation:
Goddess Anura, likely a fertility charm used
in Laboratory Zigmar’s early attempts
to procreate human/frog beings
 
Stunning survival, but needs bath and shining
 
Hold in Goddess Vaults 100z456890000//
 

Carrie Albert is poet and visual artist and sometimes the two merge. Her poetry has appeared in diverse journals and anthologies – recently – the Bullies and Bystanders Project: “Changing Harm to Harmony”, HEArt online and upcoming (with photo) in Gray Sparrow, both print and online. Collage, photo and poem pairings have been featured in a number of publications. Here are a few links: Carrie Albert | The Far Field, Carrie Albert — The Monarch Review, Spiritual & Healing Practices – all things healing, qarrtsiluni.com/tag/c-albert. She is also Artist in Residence at inksweatandtears.co.uk. online.

Copyright © 2016 by Carrie Albert