my fan – by J.C. Mari

 

every so often
she asks to see what I’ve written
and i’ll send her one or two.

i don’t try to imagine
her face while she reads them and
i don’t ask if she reads them naked in bed

or maybe in her kitchen
tank top and underwear.

i do imagine she probably takes
puffs out of a joint
and drinks beer while she reads.

Maybe she is in bed and the lights are dim
just enough to read.

every so often
she asks to see what’ i’ve written
and the same thing always comes to mind
like a recurring infection
or a stubborn gnat:

she told me once she wants
for someone to read aloud to her
from “Tropic of Capricorn” while she lays in bed
she

wants to fall sleep that way.

I don’t try to imagine
if she’s naked in bed or
maybe in her kitchen smoking a joint
wearing tank top and underwear
when her lover comes home.

Mind busy with its beartraps
i give her what she wants from me:

typed-on paper.

 

 

 

 

J.C. Mari is a Floridian who ekes out his living in occupations unrelated to poesy or the arts. He is occasionally published here and there. Like everyone else he does his best to achieve/maintain some degree of functionality.

The Journey – by Moira Garland

i.m. my brother Kerry 1944-2006

 

When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in – Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

 

While his chest becomes railway maps of love
I collect booklets of knowledge.
I re-arrange what I know. He knows
what is coming. We all know about bones
and flesh, the time they take.

Each morning cascades of silver tears
on journeys to work turn to double yellow
lines on black tarmac.

I still have the same white Fiat.
The mock leather seats are cracking with age
looking like they’re about to give up.
I won’t let them.

 

 

 

 

Moira arrived in Leeds via Liverpool, Warrington, Hong Kong, Cheshire, York and Huddersfield. Prior to poetry taking hold she worked as a bottle-packer, graph sorter-outer, medical secretary and lecturer, accompanied by a few fun things: melodeon playing, knitting and a son.

Eight – by Mary Gustafson

 

We were in it together.

Who?

Me. And him.

You were Eight!

I wasn’t supposed to cross the dam my parents told me.

He was at least twenty years older than you!

I should not have been there in the first place.

You were the victim.

I should have run.

You didn’t know.

I could have fought.

You were EIGHT.

 

After the woods, I follow orders, muddy little kid feet in stirrups. Thick rubber fingers prod metal spreads.

A ceiling blob is a kitten. I decide: exposure is death.

I cut my cheeks with razor blades burn diary pages in my parent’s powder blue bathroom kiss big boys the French way in fourth grade diet, screw myself small, and lock the manhole cover. Never let insides out again!

My privates shimmy down round playground poles.

I liked some of it.

That’s normal.

I want that feeling back I kiss bigger and bigger boys. When I am ten, I feel old.

I was eight.

 

 

 

Mary Gustafson is the author of My Wish, The Story of a Man who brought Happiness to America, a writing coach, copywriter and blogger. She describes herself as an author with a long childhood, which has been transformed into productive fodder with therapy, mindful practices and time.  You can find Mary at maryswriting.com, on Facebook and on Twitter.

Expatriate in Rome – by Emilio Iasiello

 

starving there, sitting around the cafes
at night, passing wine
with another vagabondo,
the smell of Rome
cast up in arcs of fresh pasta
and grilled veal

I suddenly think how lire
goes farther than dollars
if you know how to spend them
the way being lost
in a city
is the only way to become its native
without speaking the language
but knowing its streets
knowing where to bum
a drink or bed
or
that two blocks away from the pantheon
is a bar where Angelo feeds you
if you just mention the words
new york
and I remember the time
(short on cash)
I found a package
wrapped in newspaper
written in english
and uncovered a treasure
of bread and cheese,
a warm can of beer,
and ate in the intimacy of an alley
thinking life would be perfect
if I only had
the racing form
or funny pages.

 

 

Emilio has written two books: a collection of short stories, Why People do What They Do, and a nonfiction narrative, Chasing the Green. He has also written for the stage and screen and has had numerous works produced in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and London, UK. His film credits can be found here

Goodbye Forever – by Judith Simon Prager

Studying Russian in a dusty old classroom,
             pronouncing badly and trying to understand more closely
What Tolstoy meant,
             beginning his novel with unhappy families.

Guided by the professor, straight-backed and eagle-eyed,
Who had one last lesson for me,
             saved for endings.
 
Daily as we parted, I’d call out, “Do svidaniya.”
             Good bye. Until we see each other again.
And she’d reply in kind, kindly smiling.

Until, after the last meeting, I turned at the door to say it
One last time, and learned a new word instead.
“Do svidaniya.” Goodbye.

Putting down the chalk,
“Nyet,” she said, and dusting her hands
     offered “Proshchay.
I stopped. She didn’t move towards me, but her stern eyes melted.
             “Which means we will not see each other again.”

I looked into her eyes as the room changed color.
What use would there be for such a word?
             The firing squad? The death bed?

There are myriad words for “later,” “until next time.”
Words packed with promises of reuniting.
             Hasta la vista! Arrivederci! auf Wiedersehen!

But goodbye forever?
Adieu instead of au revoir.
Words in Chinese and Japanese and Apache…
            Worlds of sad, us-splitting words.

And maybe we are born into it, born to die that is.
Farewell, farewell, farewell.

That professor had shepherd-ed me
            through Yevtushenko, Pushkin, and Pasternak.
In that dusty room we had shared my clumsy translations, her patient
  prodding and nodding,
So that, turning towards the door, I felt the bitter taste of proshchay,
            And let it close forevermore behind me.

 

 

 

Judith Simon Prager is a long-time instructor in the UCLA Ext. Writers’ Program, a non-fiction/fiction writer, lecturer, therapist, trainer of medical personnel and first responders in a protocol (Verbal First Aid) she helped develop about how words can set a trajectory of recovery. Latest book, a novel: What the Dolphin Said, about consciousness and connectedness.

Childhood Language – by Jack Little

 

I ask you for translations of “chrysalis”,
of “metamorphosis” – but forget these words
of other adults in an instant.

We carry language in the sea-smoothed rocks, elastic bands
and safety clips the pocket treasures in scruffy grey shorts
the adventure tools that bind us to the childhood awe
of the smell of holiday-wet grass, and the summer butterflies
and moths we caught and kept in jars.

How do you translate this feeling into action?
Add to my vocabulary, I’ll voice it out loud
I’ll write it all down,   remember.

 

 

 

 

Jack Little (b. 1987) is a British-Mexican poet, editor and translator based in Mexico City. He is the author of ‘Elsewhere’ (Eyewear, 2015) and is the founding editor of The Ofi Press. He was the poet in residence at The Heinrich Böll Cottage on Achill Island in the west of Ireland in July 2016. @JLittleMexico

Alibi in ’65 – by Carol Folsom

 

I park the Valiant in a slant space
drop a dime in the meter
the back of my polka dot dress
clings with car sweat

squinting
hand cupping eyes
I jaywalk between
slow afternoon cars
the sun pounds
a nail in my temple
the scent of burning asphalt
car exhaust
a whiff of Nuway hotdog

Lerner’s dress shop
a shock of cold air
sweet dusting powder
I grab a size 8 blouse
from the sale rack
and pay

he’s waiting for me
just out of the shower
skin flushed warm
smelling of soap

I’ll be home by supper
show off my new blouse
hope it fits
the sale was final

 

 

 

Carol is an attorney in Jacksonville, Florida. Her work has appeared in Belle Reve Journal, Talking Writing, On the Veranda, Cradle Songs, Three Minus One, Everyday Fiction, and Flashlight Memories.