Almost Spring

Wendy Insinger

White violets and woodsmoke,
Good dogs and bad boys
Fooling around down in the ravine,
Wet sneakers, reborn worms, raindrops on lilacs,
Cool, budding air you can drink like an aphrodisiac,
And all the things that April means.

Spring grass in horses’ teeth,
The joy of damp dirt and soft ground giving underfoot,
Starlight in mud-puddles,
New trails scratched out in front of den holes
And the scent of sweet decay.

Wild onions, fresh chives,
Last year’s nests falling out of trees,
Mist on the moon and bird fights in the morning,
Sap cracking pine bark, ice hissing under new waterfalls,
The sounds of war and peace.

Spring before it’s sprung,
Bright moss and broken branches,
Turtle eggs, torn fur, old cracked tennis balls,
Skunk cabbage and white-washed skeletons–
Bones so architecturally perfect they beg to be picked up.

This is the crack between the seasons
Nature’s lost and found
Where what once was meets what will be for awhile
Dark, tramped down feathers of an old broken wing
And the heavens full of singing.


Wendy Insinger is a professional writer who spent her high school years in East Falls, PA.  After completing a B.A., Anthropology (Barnard College)  and an M.A., English (Brown University, writing program), she was a Contributing Editor at “Town&Country” Magazine for 14 years.  She has written for  “Vanity Fair”, “Islands”, and numerous other publications, as well as being a monthly columnist for “Horse Show” and “County Life”.  She is the co-author of The Complete Book of Thoroughbred Horseracing (Doubleday, 1981).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as, “Chronogram”, “DIRT”, and “River Poets Journal”. She lives in Warwick, NY.

Reclamation

Kat DeBevois

Found

someone else’s

chapbook lily

composed

with black fire

intertwined

with golden lightning threads

Reclaimed

a green open field

surrounded by

silver slivers

of an opaque navy sky

pearly, unpolluted air

…reclaimed…

her blue vesper fire


K DeBevois has worked as a news reporter, publicist, medical journalist and trade journal editor. Her creative work has appeared in Essence Literary Magazine and the Schuylkill Valley Journal

the old dogs of Karma

Jim Trainer

with their past glories

sheared off

the old dogs of Karma

come sniffing around

I had left them

in the backyard

laying around

I was spending my

sotted nights trying

to remember a song

I had no melody, no radio

time was pecking away at my bones

&wisdom’s sand

was wearing away the bulwark of decades

with gentle

annihilating breath

the old dogs of Karma

come in

like it’s

New Year’s Eve

like maybe we should settle

they want more

than

the meat of my youth.

with sad, oil-black eyes

and tongues dry&white

the old dogs of Karma

come sniffing around

for what’s left.


Farewell to Armor, Jim Trainer’s full-length collection of poetry, is out now through WragsInk Press and available on Amazon.com. Trainer is the founder of Yellow Lark Press. He currently lives in Austin, Texas where he serves as contributor, curator and editor of Going For The Throat-a twice-weekly publication of cynicism, outrage, correspondence and romance. To read and find out more about Jim, please visit jimtrainer.net.

Boundaries

Helen Ohlson

This poem is my clean porch.

That painting is my sparkling oven.

The sail to Bora Bora is matching chairs

that don’t creak their age.

 

You cruise the linear life.

You straighten your curtains,

plant flowers in rows,

imagine your life all in order.

 

I splash through colors

and throw words all around the room.

You can’t imagine

what sails outside the lines.


Raised in Sharon Hill, PA, Helen Ohlson pursued several careers, and finally chose teaching. She taught Middle School English and a Gifted Seminar until retiring after 29 years. She has been writing and publishing since 1995. In 2013 her poem “Peyote Sunrise” was chosen for Times They Were Achanging – Women Remember the 60’s and 70’s, and in 2014 she and her writing group, the TransCanal Writers, won a Delaware Press Association award for their anthology Five Bridges. Helen resides in the Utopian village of Arden, Delaware, where Utopia might be up for debate, but artists and writers enjoy unabashed community support.

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.