Danny Earl Simmons: Featured Author

Like a Grasshopper in a May Meadow

So much life,

   so much green,

      so much dew on my feet,

         so much eye-squinting sunshine

and hot wafty

   late morning melancholy

      that keeps me from sailing

         the effervescent puffs of white.

So much wanting
   to leap and never
        come down. So
             much lush. So much

thick. So much rain.
   So much not knowing
        how brief a spring can be
             and how little there is to be

gained by bouncing
   from here to there
        and, in no time at all,
             becoming a wingless,

dry, empty thing
   lifted by a mockery
        of wind and so much



by Danny Earl Simmons 



Ghazal: Brimstone


Sometimes I wonder if hell is less fire than brimstone.
Maybe it’s like taking your phone into the shower with you.

Her perfume is right where she left it, infused into her pillow
where it insists on bringing up old worn-out conversations.


Is there air enough in hell for the moaning of dirges
or is it more like staying up late for a little peace and quiet?

She was at the grocery store the other day picking out avocados.
I smile at the memory of guacamole and that she wasn’t really there.

I hope hell has horses for carrying lost souls through the thick black
to the pretty yellow bonfires and the warming of hands with old friends.

I wish she would have just slapped me hard and told me to go to hell.
Instead, all I have is this ugly red stain and the moldering of day after day.


by Danny Earl Simmons



Drama Queen

for Mat

One hand goes directly to his chest,
clutching. The other hand is outstretched,
beseeching something unknowable. He wobbles,
staggers backwards, collapses in a heap.

He listens for shouts of 9-1-1 and sirens,
hears none, begins to moan and pant.
He winces, glances sideways hoping
for a rescue and a little mouth-to-mouth.

Still alone, he struggles loudly to one knee
before allowing gravity to grab him
by the collar and introduce his face
to the cold reality of the hard gray ground.

The red of his life begins to pool,
rutilant beneath the ache in his head,
as a dizzy contentment warms
his drifting away into sleep.

He awakens gagging, squinting
against a blurry brightness, confused
by the high-pitched din of urgency
and his being unable to swallow,

then smiles around the hard plastic tube.


by Danny Earl Simmons


Danny Earl Simmons is an Oregonian and a proud graduate of Corvallis High School. He is a friend of the Linn-Benton Community College Poetry Club and an active member of Albany Civic Theater. His poems have appeared in a variety of journals such as Naugatuck River Review, Off the Coast, Shadow Road Quarterly, Grey Sparrow, and Verse Wisconsin.

Clear Days

They scare me. Give me blizzards but not a blue day with a ground of ice and a T-Rex bite to the air. She enters the kitchen in a white tank and short shorts. The slink of corn flakes into her bowl stings. The stillness gets me most of all: inescapable frost that digs the face when shoveling out a pickup bed or packing tools to fix some old fart’s frozen pipes. She has her mother’s skin, clear with dapples around the crest of her nose and tops of her shoulders, and my yellow teeth. We talk to each other (I don’t want to make it sound like we live in silence) but we don’t say much. Except for the storms. Like the prom night. At 2 when I woke to a broken bathroom mirror and her with fists bloody and an eye black: fists from the mirror, I never found out about the eye. But she cried on me that night. Mascara staining shoulders of my shirt a deep violet black. Her tears were torrents and I was there. She told me she hated me and she hated that mother was gone and I was there. She told me she loved me anyway and I was there. At 4 I made Denver omelets and some strong coffee. She skipped volleyball practice and told me jokes.

         —Jenna giving you a ride?




         —It’s cold out.

         —I know it.

         —Susie, I could take you. Lemme get the truck warming.


         She stands at the bottom of the driveway, balling fists inside her gloves because the fingers are too thin.


by Aaron Bauer


Aaron Bauer lives in Colorado and received his MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His work has recently appeared in Prism Review, Spillway, Superstition Review, and many other journals. Also, he has served as Editor for Permafrost and is a Contributing-Editor for PoemoftheWeek.org

Eleven Years

He gets confused sometimes—

gets up, walks a few steps,




looks blankly ahead

     then turns around,

          sits back down




The doctor says it’s dementia;

it’s just the beginning, really.


It’s in his eyes, though:



          He’s not forgotten



I’ve not, either—


    not the way he sat

    with me quietly

    through the years:


my parents’ divorce,


in efforts that could’ve given me

a way out,

          losing my grandmother,

missed opportunities

that might’ve mattered.


He’s been there for all of it—

the last eleven years that settled me

into adulthood.


     He’s graying now;

the black hair he had once

has lightened around his chin

and above his eyes.


          He’s handsome as ever, though,

when he grins,

and that’s what makes it


      his aging.


We’ve been happy

along the way,

                    me and Dylan.



He’s been a good dog.


by Rachel Nix


Rachel Nix is from Northwest Alabama. Despite an irrational fear of frogs, she’s declared herself pretty content with living in the boonies. Her previously published/forthcoming work can be found at Spillway, The Summerset Review, and Bop Dead City.

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