Poetry

The Recipe

by Jane Gilday

.
THE RECIPE

Well, well I have love on my mind, I need a recipe, the old-fashioned kind
and I been looking here and there, been looking high and low
and I think I got something solid, something solid to hold.

Here it comes:
It don’t take no rush, it don’t take no thrill, it don’t take no kinda hush all over the world,
it don’t take no check, it don’t take no law, don’t take no kissing cousins or sweet grandma,
it just takes one part soul and one part light, stir them up kindly ’til they take up right
and you’ll have love, love, the real sweet kind, you’ll have love, love can make ya go blind.

Well lead me on:
it don’t take no dissing, takes no awards, don’t take no zoning board or border wars,
it don’t take no great divide or no vizier, don’t take no one-man-show or a luxury car,
it don’t take no court or election night, it don’t take no cloudy day or suspicious minds,
it don’t take nothing away, it don’t take sacrilege, it don’t take dead-end jobs or cherry pie,
it just takes one part soul and one part light, stir them up kindly and they’ll come out alright
and you’ll have love, love, the real sweet tasty kind, you’ll have love, love, the real sweet tasty kind.
Don’t take no amusement park, it don’t take no mountain hike, it don’t take no world premier,
or no fast motorbike, it don’t take under toe, it don’t take royalty, it don’t take by-the-hour,
it’s no spending spree, it don’t take no best-seller, don’t take no abuse, it takes no giveaways,
it never sings the blues, it don’t take no chains nor no weatherman, it don’t take no exit poll
or emergency plan, it just takes one part soul and one part light, you stir ’em up kindly
’til they come up right you’ll have love, love–the real recipe–from the good book of eternity.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jane Gilday is an artist, poet and musician who lives in Pennsylvania. Her artist statement: “jane gilday is 8 years old and likes to color”

Here’s a link to The Recipe on Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user200829/the-recipe-by-janey-the

or Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QSmhhQLjrCc&list=UU0mBECkX3hUOevWxgel1Icw

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jane3

art by Jane Gilday

Standard
Poetry

When We Said Goodbye and other poems

by Jonathan Harrington

 

When We Said Goodbye

That morning
you stepped out
on the porch
with just your robe on.
You touched me
on the shoulder
and said: I’m sorry.

I got in my car
and drove
I don’t remember where.
Finally,
I headed out
into the country—
home.

At the foot
of the hill
in the pasture
behind the house
two roan horses
lay in the wet grass
beside each other.

Sunrise
set the field
on fire
and I saw them stir,
one nudging
the other
with her snout.

I had never seen
horses lying down.
And until that morning
when we said goodbye
I had always believed
that they slept
standing.

 

X

The hardest two-syllable word
you´ve ever had to say in life—
X-wife. The “X” choked out, mumbled,
whispered, but hard and clear on “wife.”
Eyes lowered, a scarlet “X”
of failure on your chest. Ashamed
to even spell it out—“X.”
You´re friends, a cliché for which you´re
grateful. Still, you dread the coming
time you won´t be able to just
pick up a phone and ask her what
her day was like because some truly
sane and decent guy has taken
her and closed the door. So when the
phone rings beside their bed she´ll sigh
and say: Probably my X, just
let it ring. And you´ll know why.

 
Traffic

Every morning
she stops beside you
at the same spot
in front of my newsstand
both of you rushing to work.
How perfectly timed your mornings must be
for your feet and hers
to touch the same crack in the sidewalk
as they always do just before nine
when I’m cutting open boxes of magazines.
She sometimes tries to catch
the look in your eyes as she hands me exact change.
But you always gaze down
as if something shameful
is happening between the three of us.
At night I lie awake
wondering who she is
as the light from the streetlamp outside my window
pours onto the frayed carpet
of my furnished room.
I wonder if you ever
lie awake at night, too,
somewhere across town
thinking of her.
In the morning while I stack the Daily News,
you get off the bus
as she comes up from the subway, briefcase in hand,
and you walk toward each other.
It is a ritual between us.
I hand her the Wall Street Journal,
and you the New York Times,
as your feet and hers almost touch
but then are lost in the traffic
of our separate lives.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Jonathan Harrington lives in an 18th century hacienda which he restored himself in rural Yucatan, Mexico where he writes and translates poetry. He was an invited reader at the International Poetry Festival in Havana, Cuba in 2012. A graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his poems have appeared in Poetry East, The Texas Review,Poetry Ireland Review and many other publications worldwide. He has published four chapbooks: The Traffic of Our Lives (winner of the :Ledge Press, 19th annual chapbook award), Handcuffed to the Jukebox, Aqui/Here (bilingual) and Yesterday, A Long Time Ago. His translation of the Maya poet Feliciano Sánchez Chan´s book, Seven Dreams, appeared this year from New Native Press. In addition to poetry, he has edited an anthology of short stories, authored a collection of essays, and has published five novels.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Kreso10

art by Kreso Cavlovic

Standard
Art, Interview

art by Jane Gilday

Jane1

Merida Review: How long have you been painting/writing/making music? (Yeah, we’re focusing on the art here, but it all feeds into each other, doesn’t it?)

Jane Gilday: been painting & drawing–“i wanna do coloring!”–as long as i can remember…my next-oldest sister, connie,(7 years older than me) also draws and paints, and from earliest days i wanted to do what she was doing..my mom played piano and i banged around on it, just making noise, but music making really grabbed hold of me at age 13, when the beatles hit the USA…zoom! never looked back…was playing in my first bands, for money even, by age 14.

 

jane9Arbor Birds

Acrylic on Panel

MR: What were some of your early influences?

JG: visual art: albert pinkham ryder….andrew wyeth…fabrics…wallpaper….my sister connie’s drawings & paintings…everything seen just looking at the world around me…the many, many amazing illustrations in a 1920’s edition of ‘my book house’ that mom had found somewhere…my sister still has some of those books and i’ve bought my own–the ‘good ones’ from the 20’s & 30’s–at local flea markets…music: all kinda pop-rock-folk music heard on radio starting in the mid-1950’s..the zillions of 45’s my sisters trudy and connie had…the classical music mom played on piano and listened to on records…later all the beatle-stones-brit explosion bands, then dylan, then holy modal rounders, new lost city ramblers, incredible string band, then tons of rootsy-folk music and jazz etc….then patti smith (whose music-critic writing in creem etc i loved before she started a band, television, tons more….oh THE BLUE NILE i love the blue nile to the nth degree—plus assorted poets for lyrical content & inspiration etc

jane13

Happy Woman on Stoop

Acrylic on panel

MR: Do you know what you’re going to draw/write/etc when you start a project? Or does it just kind of come to you? Or some of both? I guess I mean, how thought out is it, and how much is spontaneous? Does that make sense?

JG: some of both tho what i love best is just starting with no preconception and seeing what happens…i love on-the-spot messy accidents and getting to that totally empty blank-mind state when there’s no words, just visual visual visual…same with music, tho obviously some songs have more deliberate shaping & sculpting to them..but i always try to record new ideas as soon as possible after they’ve occurred to me….i.e. “first thought, best thought”

jane18Laptop Lounge Girls

Acrylic on panel

MR: Can you describe a day in your life? Any day.

JG: i wake up, have a bowl of the thick soups–more like stew–i make in crock pots, then an apple or orange…read while eating…then maybe play guitar some..then go to coffee shop for wi-fi..then do whatever seems like the best thing to do that day…no set pattern.

jane20Belladonna

Acrylic and interference medium on canvas

MR: Do you have a favorite of your own works?

JG: there’s a few, but one is ‘harmonious essence of genesis’, a madonna kinda thing, owned by michael joseph who lives in nyc…michael is the curator of ancient manuscripts at rutgers university library–it’s among my facebook photos…mike is a writer….another is called ‘crucifixion of kathleen’–a triptych, and i think all or part of it is somewhere among my facebook photos…it’s in a private collection in pennsylvania.

jane25

Autumn Moonrise on Rocktown Road

MR: How did you get from punk to banjo???

JG : imo punk IS banjo and banjo is punk is rock is classical etc….long before i went to nyc & played in ‘the the’ i was playing banjo, fiddle, oldtime & roots & folk & jazz etc– from age 15 on…..tho i use such terms for convenience’s sake, i dont really believe in punk or americana or jazz or rock or classical or folk or ANY other such academic-reactionary needless-meaningless ‘definition’..music is just music and there’s only two kinds: good music and bad music…as duke ellington aspired to in his music: “beyond category”..and .as louis armstrong said: “it’s all folk music–i aint never seen no horse play music.”…and as keith richards said: “there’s only one note–you just stretch it this was and then that way”

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jane Gilday is an artist, musician and poet living in Pennsylvania. Her artist statement: “jane gilday is 8 years old and likes to color

Standard
Poetry

Nightfall and other poems

by Crawdad Nelson

 

Nightfall

Far off the concussive message of sporting arms:
goosehunters deep on the bay, lying flat on their backs,
on floating caskets lining the flats, on flat water,
on the flats, on backs
like disabled beetles lifting single skeletal arms
–firing into conflicted sky–
as rain simmers everywhere, goes on forever,
and wind tries me across the cheek; out there on the island
ring of steel against dried timbers,
splintering planks, sinking in;
there’s something to be said,
wind says it without me,
distant shotguns pronounce it with modern accent
geese high over all proclaim it with courage
despite revolving winds and birdshot,
exclaiming “here I am,” sailing into gunfire,
eternity at a thousand feet,
far off the beating drum of time choosing who dies,
I see nothing coming up the alley, nothing soaked
to bare skin on barren coast,
walking home, eating the body.

I see steel across darkness into shadow,
someone grunts, and does it again, steel
clean and hard against the wood, into the wood, the wood.
Sitting in the room old as time
I watch the white dress flap in the wind

and sand falls like dry rain seeping inside the walls;
solving and resolving things, measuring good and bad,
deep and wide;
voices rising from floorboards confused in purpose and effect,
crying out schedules and times, charging two bits a plug,
accusing visitors of cold murder,
calling out names;
whereas the bay renews itself at dawn and dusk, purges
trenchant obstacles and the small parts of expired creatures,
that form the breast of the sea, and time
is unheard of on the soft roll,
unheard of and unheard.
Nothing creeps in like a night fog.

.
Stealing Time

Discovering old Playboys on the shelf
at Cardoza’s antique shop I relive secretly 1970s ,
when nobody shaved.

Avoiding work,
expenses, expectations.
Watching girls pass outside, swinging hips,
between jobs, after clients, business;
across the street hookers tarry,
disguise their intent, speak with their hands.

Under the $40 skillets and War 1 medals
a cluster of stiletto knives,
surrounded by dead raccoon coats
still slightly inky and rainy,
and one has to push through big band records

and carved balsa salmon trolling lures,
triple barbed and hideously clawed,
the type that hang like charms in every old garage or shed
on the Pacific coast, smiling anachronistic herring,
awaiting rebirth, to discover the genuine stone blade
or the box of fragile obsidian arrowheads
dating to antiquity. Time comes wrapped in trade blankets,
a man’s last decorated pair of nuts
for gambling, burled and runic
as a set of oracle bones.

.
Teller

What do you know about love
wondered the bank teller, accepting my nom de plume
on a $25 check
you ought to know something if you write
those poems…

I tried to explain how little I knew with a simple
gesture and a few words

but she caught and held my eyes,
she stood
on her toes which
was like watching the sun rise
as her neckline
dazzled with gravity
and promise,

I wish I knew what you know,
she offered, but I said it was far simpler
to be a poem than to make one.

I wished I knew less.

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Crawdad Nelson has published poems, stories, essays and articles in the small press for over twenty years. He has been editor, pasteup man and photographer as well. He currently works at a community college helping people understand what they think about things they read and write.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Scott18

photo by Skot Horn

Standard
Fiction

work in progress

by Steve Benson

 

CHAPTER 1

 

1

          “You full of shit, marshal.”

          “How’s that?”

          “Look, I know you got a job to do, but aint no way a U.S.  Deputy Marshal gonna put his life on the line for me.  Face it.  I’m just a punk to you; a worthless little fly on your shoulder.  If they put the moves on me, the first thing on your mind would be your wife and kids.  You got kids?”

          No reply.

          “Your wife then.  How long you been married?”

          “None of your business.  Now finish your breakfast.”

          “OK, I get that too.  The less that scum like me knows about you and your family, the better.  All I’m saying is that you have your priorities.  And I don’t blame you for that.”

          U.S. Deputy Marshal Joe DeMaio washed down his last bite of toast with a glass of orange juice.  He stood, walked across the hotel room and opened the door as far as the chain would allow.  Two Muskogee police officers looked back over their shoulders at him.  Joe nodded and shut the door.  He looked back at Leon Fix who was now standing in front of the mirror, wiping crumbs from his tie.   “Let’s go,” Joe said.

          “Gimme a minute to get presentable.” Leon replied.  He put on his suit coat and brushed at it the same way he did with the tie.  “I got to look good for the judge.”

          You’re gorgeous,” Joe said as he opened the door.  “Now let’s go.”

          Both officers turned and looked into the room.  “Stay behind Mr. Fix here and don’t be shy about keeping your hands on your weapons,” Joe said to the officers.

          The four of them walked down the hallway, Joe in the front, Leon in the middle and the officers bringing up the rear.  Leon strutted down the brightly colored carpet, seeming to enjoy the convoy of law enforcement that surrounded him.

          “It’s the same with these two cops here,” said Leon.  “Lucky if they making forty grand a year, and now their chief tell them to guard me with their lives.  With their mother fucking lives!  Aint gonna happen.”

          “You sound like you’re expecting trouble,” said Joe as he continued to walk toward the elevator.  “Anything I should know about.”

          “Naw, just talking.  That’s all.”

          Joe stopped and turned around.  “Then shut up and get serious,” he said.

          “I am serious marshal.  Just want to make sure you are.”

          Joe turned and continued on; the others followed.  He hoped that there would only be one day of testimony.  He’d had his fill of Leon Fix.

 

2

          The group arrived at the Muskogee County Courthouse and entered through a nondescript side entrance where they met Chief Bailiff Stewart.  Boxes of court records teetered halfway to the ceiling of the small musty room.  Stewart stood next to the only desk in the room; his face craggy and suspicious.  Joe had met with Stewart the day before so there were no security check points or metal detectors.  Stewart did a quick pat down of Leon and then signed off on the police officer’s escort papers so they could leave.

          “We’re going to leave through that door,” said Stewart as he pointed his meaty finger.  Joe noticed a dried splotch of shaving cream under Stewart’s left ear.  “We’ll make a right and two lefts.  We’ll enter the courtroom through a wooden swinging door with a small window in it.  Fix, you sit with your attorney and Deputy Marshal DeMaio will sit behind you in the gallery.  Any questions?”

          “Yeah, I got one,” said Fix.  “What a nigga gotta do to get a cup of coffee?”

          Stewart’s flat top haircut seemed to bristle at Fix’s question, like a dog whose fur had been stroked the wrong way.  He sighed, looked from Leon to Joe and spoke.  “He does know he’s white, right?”

          Joe couldn’t help but chuckle at Stewart’s question and the unexpressive way he’d asked it.  “I think they call it race confusion,” Joe replied.

          “Shit.  I know I’m white.  I’m just being who I am.  Ghetto aint got no color.”  Leon smiled wide revealing two gold plated canines.  “It’s all attitude.”

 

3

          A bailiff, a Deputy Marshal and a low level meth transporter walk into a courtroom.  As Joe looked through the small window on the side door to the courtroom, he thought of this joke setup but couldn’t pin down a good punch line.  The jurors were already out and sitting at the opposite end of the room.  To Joe’s right was the judge’s bench and to his left were the prosecution and defense tables with the gallery directly behind them.  Leon’s attorney sat with the prosecutor while the defendant and his attorney chatted back and forth at the other table.

          “Show time,” said Stewart.  He pushed the door open and held it as first Leon and then Joe walked in.

          Leon sat down next to his attorney.  Joe stood for a moment, looking at the people seated in the gallery.  The first row was filled with suits and stern faces.  He guessed DEA.  The others seemed to be a mix of media and curious members of the public.  One small group on the back row of the defense side of the room had him concerned.  He recognized them as relatives of Marco Trujillo, the defendant.  Two armed bailiffs stood behind them on either side of the main courtroom entrance, so Joe was somewhat reassured.  He walked to the first row of the gallery and stared at two men until they both scooted in opposite directions, opening up a spot directly behind Leon.  Joe sat down and noticed a strong odor of cologne on the men who sat on each side of him.  Yep, definitely DEA.

          “All rise,” said Bailiff Stewart from the front of the courtroom as the judge entered through the chamber door.  “The Honorable Judge Thomas Stoffers now presiding.”

          Joe noticed that Stewart’s eyes were darting around the courtroom as the judge made his way to the bench.  He hoped that the bailiffs at the back of the courtroom were as serious as Stewart.

          “You may be seated,” said Judge Stoffers as he sat down.  He placed his glasses on the end of his nose and began reading a file on his desk.

          From behind him, Joe could hear the beginnings of a commotion.  A male voice spoke in irritated tones.  “He was set up.  He didn’t do nothing.”

          The outburst was followed by a female voice shushing him.  Joe assumed it was members of Trujillo’s family.  Bailiff Stewart moved several steps toward the gallery.  His eyes were on whoever was making the disturbance.  Joe could again see the dried shaving cream under Stewart’s ear.  He smiled, realizing that Stewart was just too damned imposing for anyone to tell him about it.  The male voice at the back of the courtroom grew louder but Joe, unlike the DEA Agents who surrounded him, kept his head forward.  What happened behind him was the bailiff’s business.  His business was currently sitting in from of him wearing a mustard yellow suit and scratching the back of his shaved head.

          “Bailiffs, please escort that gentleman from the courtroom,” Stewart said.  Joe could hear the footsteps as the bailiffs did as they were told.

          “Get the fuck away from me.  I’m gonna be heard.  My brother didn’t do nothing!”  Stewart stepped forward even further, he was now standing between the defense and prosecution tables.

          “Bailiffs, get him under control!” he said.  Joe could now hear shuffling as the bailiffs grabbed at the man.  A woman began to cry and plead with the man to calm down but he continued.

          “Get offa me cops!  I can say what I want!”  One of the gallery benches scraped across the hardwood floor as the bailiffs wrestled with the man.  Stewart was now standing at the gate that separated the gallery from the front of the courtroom.  He opened the gate and stepped through to help the other two bailiffs.

          Just as the gate swung shut, Trujillo stood from his seat at the defense table.  Joe was the only law enforcement officer who saw him get up.  The bailiffs were still trying to get Trujillo’s family out of the courtroom and the rest of them were watching the show.

          Trujillo ran toward the front of the prosecution table, he was staring directly at Leon Fix.  Joe put his hand in his jacket and grabbed his gun.  There was something in Trujillo’s right hand but he was moving too fast for Joe to see what it was.  Trujillo came to a stop in front of the prosecution table.  The judge, who could also see what was happening, yelled for Stewart, but he was too far away to do anything.

          Joe leaned to his left and pulled his gun out.  He was practically laying on a DEA agents lap.  Trujillo pulled back his right arm, meaning to stab fix.  Joe could see it now, Trujillo was holding a pen.  Joe aimed at Trujillo’s chest and pulled the trigger.  The pen, which was halfway to its target, fell onto the table while Trujillo fell backward to the floor.  The Muskogee County Court emblem on the front of the judge’s bench was now coated with a layer of Trujillo’s blood.

          Joe could again hear a commotion behind him, this time much louder.  The thirty or so people in the gallery were now trying to run through the double door entrance to the courtroom at the same time while Trujillo’s family screamed and cried.  Joe jumped over the railing to the front of the courtroom, grabbed Fix by the back of his collar and pulled him to his feet.  They exited through the same side door that they had entered through earlier and didn’t stop until they were again in the room where Stewart had met them.  Joe pushed Fix into a chair in the corner of the room.

          “Sit down and keep your mouth shut.”  Joe pulled his cell phone out with his left hand while still pointing his gun at the door with his right.  He called the first Deputy he saw in his contact list, U.S. Deputy Chuck Miller.  Miller answered on the first ring.

          “What’s up DeMaio?” Miller said.

          “Miller, listen up.  There was an attempt on my witness’s life.  I’m currently in a storeroom in the Muskogee County Courthouse.  I need backup ASAP!  I shot the perp, it was the defendant.  Get someone here as soon as you can.  Bailiffs tend to get itchy trigger fingers when you shoot up one of their courtrooms.”

          Joe ended the call and looked down at Fix.  “Are you OK?  Any injuries?”

          “No,” said fix as he patted himself, looking for stab wounds or bullet holes.

          “Good, just sit tight.  The cavalry will be here soon.”

          “Hey marshal, thanks for proving me wrong,” said Fix.  “You still crazy for doing it, but thanks.”

          “Just my job Fix.  You’re court property and I’m protecting it.  Nothing more.”

          Fix slowly nodded his head.  Joe thought that it was the first time he’d seen anything close to a deep thought in his expression.

          “Still…thanks,” said Fix.

 

 

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Steve Benson was born in Corpus Christi Texas and has lived most of his life in the American Midwest. He currently lives in Merida Mexico with his wife Jill. Steve has collaborated with Jill on writing and creating two short films. They are currently working together on a feature length script, a ghost story set in the 1870’s. Imagine Cabin in the Woods meets Little House on the Prairie. This is Steve’s second novel.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sally4

Remedy Diner by Sally Davies

Standard
Poetry

Freighter and other poems

by Andrew Taylor

 

Freighter

Journeys that follow
old routes
invisible mapped
by satellites

freight box carried
through zones

buy the organic
and gold top milk
skipping early
co-ordination

lanes lead directly
to paths near rivers
charted walked

patch of grass temporary
camp quickly
assembled picnic

the place to which
to return

 

Equinox

early hours feel
appropriate
by one it will be time

enough to think through
& track

bring the birthday bottle back
open & consume

soon enough a pattern
of recognition & names

will emerge

beat in time the embrace
offers proof

a shared month

the planting of trees
it is the season

hide the widening road
blanket the ridge

 

6.12.13

11.30 a.m.
Raisin or Roisin
Post-its posters
yellow
spiced smell of cold
coffee
teapot must conform
to cleanliness
Anglepoise
radiator off
blinds closed
clouds heavy
the blue enamel mug
Tristesse Myrrh
Columbus
between glass Venetian
blinds locked open
email off Nils
photo of the inside of
a building in Liverpool
communal kitchen
door posters
departure
travel west
sanctuary of services
if only for ten minutes

paisley French Grey
magazine
warmth
a glass of beer
clothes on
the picture rail
a case half-emptied
cushioned
medical box
bare trees
light
alters
perspective

 

Mello Mello Haiku

Lemon on Lime Street
Artists Depot Slater Street
steaming cup of tea

Counter coffee sacks
on table tops fresh flowers
window framed shadows

11/07/14

 

Cool Roller

dust shatters in wake
        trackside weeds bow
purple yellow primary colours

hidden copse activity

low tide
        canal is full

slowly release

girl in shorts connected
        tennis net like fence

under cloudy skies
        sheep shelter under oak

*
reverse journey blind
        evening sun creeps
across shed on damaged fields

tilt long shadows
        fade behind scattered grey
and whites

fullness of borders attempted
        crop circles

shoot into the sun
        expected flare

smattering of poppies
it fits together

curvature of Watford Gap
        southern stop

housing estate trackside
        pathways zones unmapped
derestricted band of cloud

Boil of sunset circle of sheep
        empty feeder
fuel of coolness
march of pylons

alternative route follow the ravens
        sod the canal boats
is two hours eight minutes
quick enough?

support roads empty
        steam from skirted towers

ridge non-indigenous silhouette
        plate layer’s hut

when it turns to shit shall I turn to it?

the beauty of the welfare van
        flasked tea packed lunch

take a tiffin tin

day of abstract expressionism
        stood in front of satellite view of earth

leaving of station excitement look
        for the green light

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Andrew Taylor is a Liverpool born, Nottingham based poet. He is a lecturer in English and Creative Writing at Nottingham Trent University. His debut collection, Radio Mast Horizon is published by Shearsman Books. Publications are forthcoming from Like This Press and VerySmallKitchen.  http://www.andrewtaylorpoetry.com

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Angie7

photo by Angela M Campbell

Standard