Mounted Kalmucks on Shackamaxon Street

Leonard Kress

I’m thinking of the mounted Kalmucks
on Shackamaxon Street, how in the world
they got here, Stalin’s bodyguards, despised by him.
By here I mean Fishtown, where defunct
Domino Sugar coughs up syrup into the Delaware,
the old treaty park, wedged between ports,
the north one full of Latin grapes, the south
with its rusted cranes and pier-front courts and condos.
Its pleasure dome for bad-backed longshoremen
with mangled knees and missing digits.
I’m thinking of that one old Kalmuck.

Fishtown Betrayals

Leonard Kress

She pedals over trolley tracks and cobbles
on Allegheny Avenue, past Szypula’s bakery,
its rye line redoubled. Past Stanky’s GoGo,
where yesterday her husband stumbled,
booted out, the old baba said, who defends
the counter at Borowski’s Cleaners. She stops
at the light to let two semis chug by, and the 54 bus,
and a polka dot open-hatched hatchback, speakers
the size of baby coffins, salsa notes pounding them shut.

Pine Street

Leonard Kress

Behind the bar the ex-all-pro defensive
back draws mug after mug of Rolling Rock.
It’s late and still a crowd, three deep at the counter.
He is not badly out of shape, only a few afternoon
regulars recall his interceptions, the two-point safety
that almost led to super bowl. He is quick and agile and good-natured.

Local Poet Profile: Nathalie Anderson

Philadelphia Stories

Nathalie Anderson must have a very large shelf in her house for all of her awards. To name a few: the Pew Arts Award, the Washington Prize from The Word Works, the McGovern Prize from Ashland Poetry Press, the Academy of American Poets Awards … the list goes on.

Gift

Sharon Black

Here, I brought you an orange.

You prefer tangerines?
I like tangerines too
and might have made that choice
had I not thought of your hands
which are better suited for oranges.
I get a solid feeling about your hand
holding an orange.

Top Three Reasons Why Your Stories are Not Getting Published

Carla Spataro

Lazy Writing: We reject most stories in the initial screening process for this reason. Not because the ideas in the stories aren’t wonderful, but because the writing is not as carefully thought out as it could be. This includes overly abstract language, overuse of similes and metaphors, adverbs, incorrect use of

Fathers and Sons

Joseph Lombo

You don’t know I’m watching you,
watching those hands made rough by bending iron in shops;
watching hands so easily clenched into fists
gently strum the strings of
an out of tune guitar.

Night Sweats

Joseph Lombo

You’re twelve and you can’t remember
the last time you slept through the night.
If their raging voices don’t wake you
the tension beneath their smoldering silence will.