Poetry

Blind and other poems

by Jonathan Harrington

 

Blind
Old man, your eyes
the color of spoiled milk,
every evening we saw you
on the corner under the streetlight,
your hand outstretched, a few coins
sparkling in your upturned palm.
You must have known
the sound of our footsteps,
for one evening as we approached
you reached out and softly
put your hand on my shoulder
and whispered in my ear:
Pity the blind.
It’s beautiful to
be touched so lightly.
But we turned and walked
away—happy, in love.
When we got back
to our apartment I
could still feel your
fingers perched on my
collar-bone like a bird.
Much later, after
she left me for good
I’d go back each night
to the corner where you stood.
I could hear the elevated train rattling, clattering
and the bang of doors
as the shop-keepers locked up for
the night. But you were
never there. Every time
I pass that corner
I wonder where you are now,
old man, your eyes
the color of spoiled milk.
Wherever you are
have pity on me.

 

The Woman Below

A woman lives
in the apartment below me,
but I’ve never seen her.
I hear her at odd hours
stacking boxes or banging pans
and listening to JS Bach
and sometimes
the Fifth Dimension.

She makes beautiful noise downstairs.
I can tell by the way the china clicks
when she’s setting her table
that she has delicate hands
and is graceful.
We might be lovers
if I only had an opportunity
to meet her.

Once I left a note
on her door saying:
If you ever need anything…
Of course, she never called.
I can hear her downstairs now
watching reruns of “Seinfeld.”
I have a TV dinner
in the oven.

We have a nice life together.

 
Applicants

One by one
I watch them go in
and file out again.
I overhear their stories—
as if Mr. Stevens could care
about their lives
as much as their typing speeds
and the way they wear their hair.
Their dreams are all so similar
(and so similar to mine)
that even after thirty years
it’s like I’m walking in
with each one of them
each time
and walking out again
drained
of all we held inside.
No wonder they look so empty
when they take
Mr. Steven’s hand
and lie
that it was a pleasure
meeting him.
Then heave a sigh
and disappear
behind the elevator doors
like shells
of what they were before
they made this trip up here.
And they go
down, down, down,
to face the blinding light
of noon in Midtown:
the breathless air,
the strangled sky,
the next, and next, and next guy
with whom
they interview.
It’s how the world’s always been.
At least, thank god,
just one unlucky girl
will have to make this trip upstairs
again.

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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.

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Jane7

detail of Pastoral Hours

acrylic, polyvinyl acrylic, rhoplex & interference, pearlescent & metallic medium on canvas

by Jane Gilday

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Cher Bibler, Fiction, Uncategorized

The Time Before

by Cher Bibler

 

I.
Tonight there is no light but the glow from around the streetlights. I am standing here waiting for you, but you don’t know it so you won’t come. I stand alone and look over the park past the swingset and the slide, into the darkness over the baseball field. This is such a sweet slow time when I’m alone and there’s no one to misunderstand me.

A car goes by slowly but I pretend not to see it. The air looks thick and foggy in front of its headlights. I hold in my breath until the echo of its sound dissolves and I’m alone again.

If I’d told you to meet me, you would have, but I’m still not sure about you. I pretend there is some magical way you will sense that I’m here and come to me, because this is the way I want you: I have a dream figure of you sketched out, how I’d want you to be if you knew that I wanted you, if you were sure of me. I know what reactions I’d want, things I’d want you to say and feel.

In a way this time is better than the real thing will be, this dream time; or so I tell myself. I am holding myself back, keeping this suspense, watching you.

II.

I am sitting here with you. We’re talking about books. We’ve never read the same ones but we’re sure we’d both like them, if we had. I’m trying to tell you why.

I hold myself just far enough away from you so we don’t touch. I’m waiting for this to overwhelm you. When I first met you I never expected to feel this way about you. You were just an ordinary person; I had no warning.

I’m sitting crosslegged hugging my legs. I lay my head on my knees and look down at the carpet. You’re talking about your sister but I’m not listening anymore. Our conversations lately have drifted aimlessly.
I’m amazed at this thing that’s grown here between us. I analyze its beginnings, as far as I can dissect them. I can’t find the seed where it began, but I can see how it gathered momentum and how I witlessly encouraged it along.

III.

I’m thinking about my last lover, and how he merged into the dream I had of him until I couldn’t tell them apart. I’ve had plenty of time to think about the mistakes I made with him and I keep them at hand for reference so I don’t make them again with you.

It’s not fair, I guess, to compare future lovers with past lovers, to make them compete with old ghosts grown mellow with memory, but at each step I’m reminded of the last time I felt this way, and sometimes your eyes merge with his eyes and I think there is only one man out there who keeps coming back to me in different disguises.

My old lover never really liked competing with my fantasy of him.

IV.

I have practiced conversations we will have someday; I’ve told your dream counterpart all the secrets about myself. He took it well. He was very understanding.

V.

I sit here by you, not touching but close enough I can feel your body heat. I’m looking at your hands, studying the texture of your skin wondering how it would feel. It looks very soft and I wonder why that attracts me (stereotype—men are supposed to have strong hands).

I imagine how you would react right now to me touching you, but I don’t touch you. I sit wrapped in this thought.

 

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Cher Bibler is the author of About Irene, a novel told from the viewpoint of a collectible french fashion doll about her friends, her owners, and the things that happen around her. She has had poetry and fiction published in magazines such as The Evergreen Review, Amanda Blue and The Firelands Review. She sings in a rock band, edits an incredible online literary publication, and has perfected the art of making potato pizza. She currently resides in Merida, Mexico.

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Scott19

photo by Skot Horn

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Poetry

2 poems

by Judith Steele

 

Kin

1.
A meal, a table, a grandmother
forcing food into a child’s mouth.
He must eat what she prepares,
He obeys.

The grandfather sadly leaves the table,
stares through the window at the sea.
“Go out” says the daughter. “Get away”
He can’t hear anything but Duty.

2.
A child, an uncle, an aunt, absent mother and father.
A gold puppet with green emeralds
the uncle offers the child. The aunt watches
with sad eyes. Does she want the child
to take the gift or not? The child is silent,
unknowing.

3.
She is driving in the dark, looking for her sister
at the concert, at the pub, in the car
She’s lost her white coat, her handbag,
the brooch her sister gave her, and her sister.
Her fear is always with her,
driving in the dark.

.
Sea of Life

.
Childhood sea, peaceful light,
sand-castles, slippery-dip,
companion I remember
from another life.
Adolescent sea
high tide blue wave
lifts and carries
our exuberance.
Middle-age, a green line
on the horizon, few companions
We wait for the sea’s return
to soothe our aching feet.
Now all sea waves
are viewed from windows.
I can’t get out
until my ship comes in.

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Judith Steele is Australian. Her poetry has appeared in Northern Territory and South Australian publications including Northern Perspective, Northerly, Dymocks Northern Territory Literary Awards, Friendly Street Poets. Poetry or prose has appeared on websites including The Animist, Four and Twenty, Islet Online (as Dita West), In other Words:Merida .

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Angie26

photo by Angela M Campbell

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