January 2021 | poetry
I went for a walk yesterday when a flock of wild turkeys flew over my head and landed feet first on my path. Then a commotion of wild dogs chasing wild hogs gathered around my legs but moved past, now hogs chasing dogs fleeing one lone wild cat with a tail that spun like a propeller. Now all I could think of were the wild one-eyed Jacks I drew to win a poker pot last Friday night, that and a wild hair up my ass kept me steady on my path that I’d long ago chosen instead of calm, the mere contemplation of calm left me blank in search of breath. What good is breath if you cannot pant? Just then a wild goose flew over and dropped an egg in my cap. I held it up and yelled, thanks. Days later its shell cracked and a good looking little gosling sang in my arms. “Born to be wild” was all I made out. I sang back “wild thing, I think I love you,” knowing the score.
Charles Springer has degrees in anthropology and is an award-winning painter. A Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee, he is published in over eighty journals including The Cincinnati Review, Faultline, Windsor Review, Packingtown Review and Tar River Poetry, among others. His first collection of poems entitled JUICE has been published by Regal House Publishing. Read about him on his website at https://www.charlesspringer.com. He writes from Pennsylvania.
January 2021 | poetry
Love Sonnet Written on Learning That the President Has Been Hospitalized
What a fine day for schadenfreude, my dear!
I’ve no intent to offer thoughts or prayers:
for we, the heathens, lovers of Earth, fear
no god—aspire not to sainthood. May
we live long in love, and the nation heal—
and if the wicked suffer, what’s it to me?
Why must we their empty conscience appeal
for kindness, or give an ounce of ours? We
have a future to fight for! They won’t steal
another thought from us. I think of you,
of post-pandemic strolls, how it will feel
to be relieved of this hate. O, we knew
these would be awful years; at least we laugh,
say I love you, watch for flags at half-staff.
Confessions of Private Grief
In the yard of my childhood home
there was a mature Jasmine shrub
beneath my window. On many mornings
I would arise from my private grief
with a deep yawn and breathe in
a sweet gulp of air that would rush
like rum down my throat and into
the center of me. This is love,
atoms discovering atoms.
I recall my first experience of infirmity.
It was like a dream, all vague shapes
and things that make no sense in retrospect.
An old man hobbled toward a casket.
There was silence but for the click of his cane.
He paid his respects, then turned. A solitary diamond
dripped from his eye and shattered in the grass,
so hard and so fragile. This is death,
atoms splitting into atoms.
I have lived as free as a fragrance on the wind,
as shackled to the earth as the vine that produced it.
May I confess in a poem what is forbidden us in prose?
I want the atoms you exhale, the cells of your skin,
the platelets in your blood. To open a door and find you
as alone as we are in dying. To touch my grief to yours.
To be a single gust of sweetness howling in the dark.
Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and earned an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world. He has had his poetry published in several journals, including Burningword Literary Journal (which nominated his poem ‘The Machinery of the State’ for the Pushcart Poetry Prize), Noble/Gas Quarterly, and The Esthetic Apostle.
January 2021 | nonfiction
My ruminations don’t come preformed in neat complete sentences with subjects, verbs and objects, beginning with capital letters and ending with periods (what the British call full stops, hexagonal red symbols of written language); rather my contemplations appear in my mind as fragments that start and pause and pick up again, that change direction and double back on themselves, that sometimes s-l-o-w w-a-y d-o-w-n and come to a near halt—as you may be tempted to do at a stop sign when no cars are in sight—and then plunge ahead; but they’re always connected in an erratic and inexplicably continuous narrative that switches on with my pre-dawn awakening and runs all day (like our ceiling fans in August), punctuated by comma and semicolon pauses, by parentheses for explication and dashes for enhancement, by asterisks that act as mental notes in the margin, by question marks and exclamation points, not to close off the dialogue but rather to ask or assert … and even when my thoughts start to evaporate, before they dissolve completely around ten p.m., there’s an ebb, a gradual subsiding, and I can almost hear the dot-dot-dot, the slow, even syncopation of ellipses, those three-dot placeholders, the last ticks of consciousness that lull my brain to temporary cessation, and while the last of these may finish with a fourth dot—the finale, the inevitable full stop—I don’t see the sign, hear its clang, or feel that definitive plop: I’m switched off for the night….
Alice Lowe’s flash fiction and nonfiction have been or will be published this year in Hobart, JMWW, Door Is a Jar, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Burningword Literary Journal. Her essays have been cited in the Best American Essays and nominated for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net. She writes about life and literature, food and family in San Diego, California, and posts her work at www.aliceloweblogs.wordpress.com.