Bad Dream of Arithmetic

David P. Kozinski

“Frail is the royal barge, / Autumn the cargo.”

from Robert Hillyer’s The Leaf

 

In those last hours or days you’ll negotiate

spheres and rays with Galileo,

finally bend the ear of the brother

who  forever raced ahead,

revisit an evening on the rock

with the girl in micro shorts and long socks

shivering on the billiard table

as the ocean rolled back

and surrounded you,

the steeple zeroing in on Vesper.

 

How have our pomps decayed!

goes your song reprised: the chords

ringing from a practice room Bösendorfer

count moments liked stacked dominos.

All those fingerings

worked out until each arpeggio,

each eighth note, quarter or triplet

struck like a printing press key;

hours curved by the metronome

and the clarinet’s corkscrew

until the piece walked

itself with a sailor’s gait

 

return like the restless night

before the audition –-

divisions gathered in an armada

awaiting subtraction –-

and all the lives in a small world

 

hanging tight on its result.


David P. Kozinski has been the featured poet in Schuylkill Valley Journal. He won the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes. His poems have appeared in Apiary, The Broadkill Review,Chiron Review, Confrontation, Fox Chase Review, glimmertrain.com, Margie, and The Rathalla Review, among others. Kozinski was one of ten poets chosen by Robert Bly for a workshop sponsored by American Poetry Reviewand has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice. He received Honorable Mention in Philadelphia Poets’ 7thAnnual John & Rose Petracca & Family Award. Kozinski lives in Wilmington, DE with his wife, actress and journalist Patti Allis Mengers.

The Bike Shop

Ed Granger

The plows have done their work and then some

as I coast the washboard lane to a bike shop

where the sign on the main road says I can also

purchase peach preserves and tractor parts.

 

A bell on the door brings a black retriever

and the sound of slackening metal pawls

that says a wheel has just been left to friction

and its own kind of true. As the owner goes

to the rear storeroom to dig out the tire

I need – “we don’t get many Italian bikes

in here” – the room regains its equilibrium.

 

Behind the counter around a repair stand

sit a space heater and a knot of men

 

on folding chairs. Their Pennfield caps predict

laments about the price of milk or scolding spouses,

but it seems they are debating when

to stage a bike race for the younger kids

up Pump House Road to an apple orchard.

 

A kind of liturgical calendar is unfolding

with a bicycle feast made moveable by

an annual Florida vacation when two border collies

with the run of the hill will be at a kennel, which

means in turn that the date for a mud sale

is on hold, and maybe an April wedding.

 

A few deft twists secure my new tire to its rim,

and I push my bike back down the aisle and into

the cold with a slice of warm air against my chest

and a fresh sense of the merits of invisible fences.


Ed Granger lives in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where he was raised. He has worked in the non-profit healthcare field for the past two decades, following a stint as a professional journalist. He now writes as a serious avocation while also serving as half-time dad to a nine-year-old daughter. He has had poems published in Little Patuxent Review, River Poets Journal, and The Heron’s Nest.

Lust

Jin Cordaro

You’ll drizzle rich black sesame oil over everything.
You’ll want things spicy and pickled, with tiny whole fish when
normally you don’t eat things with the head or eyes.
You’ll take your dumplings, in any form,
with a thin, transparent skin, or a hard fried shell
still hot from the oil.
You’ll crave your noodles still slightly firm, and garnished
with crisp dark crowns of green onion.
Sushi will become your bread and butter.
You’ll stir-fry all the time.
You’ll eat peanut sauce like catsup.
Your skin will smell like curry steeped
in coconut milk with onions.
You’ll eat it over and over,
until even your tears taste like ginger.

 


Jin Cordaro received her MFA in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming inFaultline, Sugar House Review, Main Street Rag, Flywheel Magazine, US1 Worksheets, and Cider Press Review.  Her work also appears in the anthology “Challenges for the Delusional.”  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the recipient of the 2009 Editor’s Prize from Apple Valley Review.  Born in the suburbs of Detroit, Cordaro now resides in central New Jersey with her husband and twin daughters.

You’ve Been Dreaming about Streetlamps Again

Jin Cordaro

Before the same strange house,
many nights in a row.
And a light begins to stir in your belly that says
you were on this street before, but
they called it by another name.
It shows you the turned up stone where
you once fell and your blood
left a small horseshoe of a stain,
and the hundreds of people
who have lived in that house, and passed
over the front walk so many times
the stones became smooth.
And from each of their bellies,
there’s a burning, soft glow too, that calls
to the light in your belly.
Calls it by name.  They discuss you,
how those streetlamps are burning for you.

Jin Cordaro received her MFA in creative writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming inFaultline, Sugar House Review, Main Street Rag, Flywheel Magazine, US1 Worksheets, and Cider Press Review.  Her work also appears in the anthology “Challenges for the Delusional.”  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the recipient of the 2009 Editor’s Prize from Apple Valley Review.  Born in the suburbs of Detroit, Cordaro now resides in central New Jersey with her husband and twin daughters.

September 5, 1957

Peter Krok

Jack, I can see you on that New York corner waiting
For the Times, knowing a review was coming out,
knowing something good might happen.

In that classic photo, you stand by the corner
window, a Lucky Strike dangling from your lips,
an Orpheus in a black leather jacket.

That night you’d never forget. Going out at dusk
you got an early copy of the Times. The next day
On the Road would be on the streets and highways.

You’d be celebrated as the beat. Who was to know
how your life would change? Who could understand
it all? Who could imagine what would come?

You drove across America,
always on the move and always moving on,
searching for wherever that somewhere never was.


Peter Krok, the editor of Schuylkill Valley Journal, serves as humanities director of the Manayunk  Roxborough Art Center where he has coordinated a literary series since 1990. Because of his identification with row house Philadelphia, he is often referred to as “the red brick poet.”  His poem “10 PM At a Philadelphia Recreation Center” was included in Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania. His book, Looking For An Eye, was published by Foothills Press.

Confluence

Sean Christopher Hughes

After a postcard of van Gogh’s “Bedroom at Arles”
If, in some night, I saw beyond
The newest moon,
And my thoughts would carry me on
To where un-bounding time
Once ran for us, but soon ran past-
I’d turn up the postcard I almost sent
To show you van Gogh’s bedroom at Arles,
And I’d set to stare
At the slats of wave made fast
Where the floor was a pitch to climb or descend,
If there were time to draw us in
And try to be at rest in that room,
In its waited way
That dangles all the feet
Above the flooding of the ground,
Leaving the bed un-touched and dry:
But the looking glass over the basin-
It must be broken, as it’s blank. Or
This room really has no door leading on from any hall,
But rather, in plan, has only the fourth and lunar wall.
And yet now, from here, we both of us glare-
Without a shadow to chase.
And time-pricked in this
-Can only desire for more of itself
To sprinkle now, like a brief thread
Drawn all ways through a needles eye.


Sean became a poet at Haverford College, the best of Philadelphia’s suburban Quaker schools.  He currently reads and writes at “Rutgers…the State University of New Jersey.”  He shares his name with a boxer, a comedian, and an alleged IRA member; we apologize for any confusion this has caused.

 

Bundle of White Flowers

Roy W. Smith
Every time I see a bundle of white flowers
I think of my mom on hospital bedsheets
borrowing her last lungs of air. Before
passing it on, sharing it with the rest of us
as a cooling wind makes her way through
bamboo. My sisters and brother sat
arrayed in a semicircle, waiting all night for
her to die. I had to leave. Why was I in such
a rush? My mom was unconscious as
I leaned in and whispered, “See ya later,”
a nervous laugh caught a wave around the
room and I left and it was such a hot June
evening outside. My mother was so small
and frail, shrinking as the hours crawled
into closets. Yesterday my heart stopped
and started and stopped for a few beats.
I stood there with no heartbeat and it was
kind of annoying because I was busy and
had work to do and I asked mom if she had
lent me some air from Mount Fuji, if she
could squeeze her hand around this
reluctant thing in my ribs or send an errant
spark from New Jersey, whatever the
burning did not consume.

Roy Word Smith. Lives in Bucks county, loves to visit Philadelphia every chance he gets. He finds poems and stories growing out of sidewalk cracks and purring cats. He doesn’t have much education but like Einstein, feels imagination is more important than knowledge.

When Harry Left the Trees

Fereshteh Sholevar

Harry’s wife stopped me and started to
say things, so I listened.
“You know Harry never had it easy,
especially in 1964.
He didn’t want to fight,
or kill anyone for that matter.
I married him without a ring and a wedding dress.
All he did at our wedding night
was to stare at his own face in the mirror.
Harry told me that after the war
he still continued to hide out
and called it force of habit.
He used to sleep under the bridges,
in farms, and stole chickens and corn.
Sometimes on hot nights he played dead
and slept in morgues to keep cool.
He said one time he even refused the open
legs of a prostitute cause he had forgotten
how to make love. He said he made paper birds
and whistled their tunes to blow his fears away.
He had many interrupted sleeps, hearing death
screaming into his ears.”

 


Fereshteh Sholevar was born in Tehran where she studied literature and foreign languages. She received her Masters Degree in Creative Writing from Rosemont College. Fereshteh has published six books of poetry, two of which are bilingual: And the Blue Continues in English and Spanish, and Walking with the Moon in English and German. Her Name Was Samira, a novel, was published by Infinity Publishing in 2012.  She won the Editor’s Choice award  from Philadelphia Poets in 2011.

Is It Better to Sleep

Luke Bauerlein

I am trying, I am trying
to be right with my mind again.
for what else should I be trying
and to what end
when all the night around me
rises to my room
like the waters of a lake?
I want to make the call
the nightblind hours
refuse to make
and patiently distill-
the sky mercurial,
slick as a kill.
Again, the dead have come full soon
to shed themselves
thin as a moon.
Thin as the horizon’s
cold, blue arc.
Every season
is their season.
Every evening, their mark.

 


Luke Bauerlein’s work has previously appeared in the NY Times, Mid-America Poetry Review, Shot Glass Journal, and elsewhere. He currently lives in West Philadelphia, and writes songs and performs with the band, The Late Greats.

Returning Home from the Fertility Clinic

Michael Phillips

She destroyed the garden in her good pants—

Cherry tomatoes and peppers, cucumbers and lettuce—

Using a spade, rake, and hoe.

Using her bare hands.

She trampled ordered rows, snapped stalks,

Raked it all under, and tamped the ground flat.

She was methodic. In possession of herself.

How could I stop her?

She had to get back at her body.

She had to get back at the earth.

After, she sat down in the dirt

And rubbed her raw hands.


Michael Phillips has published short stories and poems in several journals, including Pebble Lake Review, River Walk Journal, Dark Skies Magazine, and The Monongahela Review (Forthcoming). He lives with his wife in Downingtown, PA, and works as an editor for a nonprofit healthcare research institute.