What’s Wrong With This Photo?

Marjorie Maddox

Little League, Williamsport, PA,

April 2007, May 2014

 

It’s not the slant of the pitched ball,

the average dust on the bases,

the haphazard smile of the shortstop.

It’s not the pitcher’s skinned elbow,

the crooked cap on the coach,

the cat calls and bellows.

It’s not my daughter at third,

my son at second, deliberating the difference

between safe and sorry.

 

Look.

 

As always, the sun’s angle’s idyllic,

the parents’ faces predictable.

The best batter grips the usual bat

with the same tense glee,

whacks what intersects his path,

whacks it all the way to the edge

of the volunteer-trimmed field,

past that neatly-ironed flag

stalled forever, it seems, at half mast.

 


Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 9 collections of poetry, 2 children’s books (including Rules of the Game: Baseball Poems) and over 450 poems, stories, and essays in journals and anthologies. Her most recent book, Local News from Someplace Else, focuses on living in an unsafe world. She is co-editor, with Jerry Wemple, of Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania and is the great grandniece of baseball legend Branch Rickey, who helped break the color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson. In addition to giving readings around the country, she has twice read at both the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Little League World Series. For more info, see www.marjoriemaddox.com

Rose of Jericho

Lauren Fleck-Steff

It was a long way to here

Blind miles where

Only the highway moved

Unfurling like a black tongue

Or the lone headlight

Burrowing into the night

Deliberate as sorrow

Convinced of its own existence

It’s not until the

Outskirts of Santa Fe

That the radio finds him

Full of static as it is

And that same old line

Where hearts lie

Unfaithful in the pines

Leaves the road tear-blurred

Because darlin’ its funny

How the things you remember

Are the flatness of his fingernails

Or the smell of smoke in his hair

And for tonight, let’s not tell the stars

That they are already dead

Just leave the echo to burn

While our lips hold the lie

And the car grits to a stop

On the edge of the desert

Memory falling like rain

Upon the Rose of Jericho


A native of Pennsylvania, l.e. Archer graduated from Endicott College and currently resides in Salem, Massachusetts.  Specializing in fiction, short prose and poetry, some of her previous work has appeared in The American Dissident, Avocet and the Deronda Review.  She is currently writing her first novel Risen.

Down the Shore

Peter Galen Massey

I’d say we drowned the voice of

The deep Atlantic in Katy Perry.

 

Or banished mystery with

Mini golf and Skee ball.

 

Or caught chaos in a box and

Turned it into taffy for children.

 

But the truth is the ocean

Tamed herself: salt-sweet,

Warm as milk, and lolling up to

Lick our hand like a friendly dog.

 


Peter Galen Massey is a writer who lives with his family in the Queen Village neighborhood of Philadelphia. He blogs at www.petergalenmassey.com

Moved In

David L. Carpenter

Her place is about 5,500 popsical sticks square,
a little bigger than my shotgun apartment.
She loves popsicles soaked in vodka
and saves all the spent sticks next to the forks.

She found one pirouetting in the garbage disposal.
I remembered one disappearing when I tried to toss it into the trash.
She held it up in front of my face and reminded me to save them all.

I’ve learned they make great little spatulas to spread
condiments, peanut butter and cheese on crackers.
She shreds some to make good toothpicks,
and always has some in her purse
to stir ginger tea on the bus.

They can light the stove, candles, lanterns and pipes.
Put out reefer and reach into cracks and pick up dead mice.
Put butter on bread and spread yummy jam.
Keep doors from locking by blocking the bolt to the jamb.

Popsicle sticks are perfect for ballet dancers
to train floppy fingers and keep arms under control.
I asked her how they’re attached and she didn’t give me an answer.
I’m trying not to worry so much and live with more mystery.

Popsicle sticks are perfect for scooping out karite body butter.
It’s my job to apply the green smelly shea nut salve onto her back in the bathroom.
I rub it together in my hands to heat it up and it soaks into her skin so softly.
The label says that the infused grape seed oil herbs are dramatically effective
at healing skin conditions and the essential oils are anti-inflammatory.

I fell asleep with a grape popsicle in my hand once
while lying in her bed, which is really ours now.
The stick lay in a big purple popsicle puddle,
thank God she wasn’t home.
I threw the sheets in the bath tub and tried to wash them clean.
It didn’t work, and I ran to the basement laundry with bleach
and put them back on the bed before she came back home.

seeds

Fran Isaacs Gilmore

first descent

long journey down to the river

through the wilderness

crossing to the other shore Hades offers her

a pomegranate cut open

six rays of shining seeds

she touches a few ruby drops to her lips

swallows them without hesitation

Hades takes her arm and leads her

toward a mountain ablaze with fire

she tries to pull away

gaze at it directly with clear intent

as she does the fire recedes into the mountainside

trees and shrubs in full leaf cover its face

then Hades takes her to a lake with islands of ice

step into the water

with less fear this time she moves forward

the ice melts into islands of green

a creature rises from the water

with large bat-like wings and scowling face

she lurches back and the creature says in Hades’ voice

do not hate or fear me Persephone

gaze fully at my face   she follows his command

the creature subsides into Hades

with gentle countenance and kindly eyes

now you know the secret 

you can bring into sunlight

the first tender cotyledons

from seeds long buried

in the heart’s winter


Fran Isaacs Gilmore is a retired industrial hygienist and teacher. She writes health and safety articles for a teachers union, teaches a class in emotional healing in a state prison, and teaches yoga and meditation to people in recovery. She volunteers as a docent in a local park, and is an avid birder. She lives near Philadelphia with her husband and two cats. Her poetry has been published in numero.

Entering New York

Cathleen Cohen

It’s possible as art:

sculpture,

or an architect’s model.

 

The train passes factories, abandoned hulls—

just backdrop,

undertones in the dark slap

of tunnel under river. Then stop.

 

Hands grab coats, shoulders shove,

pants sprint up to the street.

 

This is sketching,

a tempo of lines.

 

Morning tints Grand Central Station with green

like patina on bronze.

 

Vagrants huddle on grates

like vessels lined up for the kiln.

 

Hailing cabs, arms

scumble the air with texture.

 

Women in red coats swerve down Fifth,

a sweep of bright signals.

 

I would watch, but must cross town

past little emerald parks.

Children in swings

etch the sky with their hair.

 

I would linger

but must choose my point of entry now—

 

flat blue doors to the hospital,

the chill, definite room

 

where my brother lies,

 

light as bone under sheets,

under the vast weight of air.

Cathleen Cohen, Ph.D., is Education Director of ArtWell, (www.theartwell.org), which brings poetry and arts workshops to thousands of children of diverse cultures and faiths in the Philadelphia area and abroad. Cathy’s poems have appeared in such publications as Apiary, East Coast Ink, The Four Quarters Magazine, Moment, Layers of Possibility, 6ix, The Breath of Parted Lips, and Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal. She has received the Interfaith Relations Award from the Montgomery County Advisory Board to the PA Human Rights Commission and the Public Service Award from the National Association of Poetry Therapy.

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.