The Book of Eve

I tell you temptation was cool
As a string of pearls in my hands.

It wasn’t the apple, peach,
Or apricot (the color of flesh & mouths)
It was the prospect of touch
That caused me to reach out.
But what did I, fresh-born,
Fallen from the realm of mythology,
My feet still sunk in silvery clay,
Know about desire?
Only that the word seed
Stemmed from it,
That all of nature
Seemed to be ripe with it.

It’s alive inside you,
An entity with a will of its own—
Who are you when desire
Steps into you
But its own vision?
Eyes polished by the sun,
Hands ready to touch a newness
Familiar as your own heartbeat.

It’s skin hunger.

For although we are whole as beings
We are half of something always
And crave the mystery of that other side.
You must dance with Desire.
All the while
Trying hard to concentrate on other things.

I tell you it was tender.
It was patient and soft,
Asking for direction.
A strange place it brought me to
With kind music
And colors out of a dream.

And He, although a stranger
Whose rib I’d departed from,
Was my shelter.
Mouth and hands I wanted to return to.
How could it be otherwise
With the clear God-pattern
Drawn on our palms
Like crib notes.

It wasn’t the new world and everything in it,
The winged leaves and colored sky,
The animals in all their curiosity.
Nor the serpent with the slow groove
Of persuasion moving in the branches.
It wasn’t the new world
That called to me—
It was Him.
And out of temptation,
That young disease,
I answered.

The first touch was sharp,
Disturbing places
Foreign inside me.
It was the color of warmth,
Stained me like blood on white cloth.
The cotton-white doves
Trying to deliver peace
Had told me about this,
But they were mute about the burning,
The feeling of fire setting in the belly.

No voice spoke out about this.
I was first—
The one pushed out in front of it all
To navigate in the dark,
To taste but not be filled.
I was the initiator, initiated.
It was easier
To reach out, to grasp
Something solid, whole, sweet.
And because of me
They gave these palpitations a name.

And this was the curse,
The prickly womb-nest,
The uncleanliness pinned to women—
That She could lead you into dirty waters
Blindfolded, stain your hands
With blood—that She
Was supernatural
And could turn a man to seawater
In her hands, let him scatter
If she chose him to.
She could deafen you with silence.
She could make you devour
Your whole existence
With temptation.

She could make you go mad
With wanting
To eat out of her hand.

— Corrine De Winter

Corrine De Winter is an author and Stoker Award Winner for her poetry collection The Women at the Funeral. Her inspirational writings have been published in many journals, (her poems “Bless The Day”, “Bedside Prayers,” “The Language of Prayer,” “Teen Sunshine,” etc., continue to be used in traditional church services, ceremonies, and on many websites). She has won numerous awards for her writing from the New York Quarterly, Triton College of Arts & Sciences, and The Rhysling Science Fiction Award. Her work has been applauded by such luminaries as William Peter Blatty (The Excorcist), Tom Monteleone, Thomas Ligotti, Nick Cave, Stanley Wiater, Heather Graham, and others. William Packard, former editor of the New York Quarterly, was a mentor publishing De Winter’s work early on and inviting her to write “The Present State of American Poetry,” a regular feature in the journal. At Packard’s invitation, she read her poetry at the New School in NYC, and continued a rapport with Packard until his passing. Packard was a big supporter of Charles Bukowski, and De Winter was published with him several times in his last years. A naturalist, philanthropist, metaphysical seeker, artist and the founder of “Small World Fund For Children,” Radio Host for SUPERNATURAL RADIO, on the Blogtalkradio.com website, De Winter lives between this world and the next.

Image Notes: “In The Garden of Eden” by Kasia (Flickr) under Creative Commons, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Christine

You are dream etched in lipstick
written in the curls of black rubber
blowing across the burnt asphalt outside. You have become a part
of an imaginary phonograph collection, something to listen to
while I dig epitaphs out of marble
one letter at a time.

I will pound these mountains down until they are
knee-high tombstones, irregular doorstops, bags of gravel fit only for
garden paths and country roads. My plans sound like gunfire
in my sleep, I am determined
to obliterate this cartography of love
damn myself to illiteracy and ice.

— Holly Day

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Big Muddy, The Cape Rock, New Ohio Review, and Gargoyle, and her published books include Walking Twin Cities, Music Theory for Dummies, Ugly Girl, and The Yellow Dot of a Daisy. She has been a featured presenter at Write On, Door County (WI), North Coast Redwoods Writers’ Conference (CA), and the Spirit Lake Poetry Series (MN). Her newest poetry collections, A Perfect Day for Semaphore (Finishing Line Press) and I’m in a Place Where Reason Went Missing (Main Street Rag Publishing Co.) will be out late 2018.

Image Notes: Visual Artist Frank Bonilla “Red Swirl” is combined with a CC2.0  image of a heart and a silhouette of a tree and tombstone.

Light in the Window


Dream a memory of clouds that chase the moon, of winds outside a house that knew a devastating war.

On the second floor, a window lights, silhouetting a seated woman in a long dress. Her head bowed low, her hands clasped as if in prayer. A tree bough bends and breaks. Soon it’s swept by gusts to rest against a tombstone in the family plot.

The inscription on the stone is weathered and pockmarked by Minié balls. From this grave, a phantom rises in the wind. Not of this world, the wind does not affect its composition—a Confederate soldier missing an arm, his uniform in shreds.

Above, the woman’s shadow rises and looks out the window. She touches her lips as she waves a handkerchief before floating down to join him.

 

— Marge Simon

 

Marge Simon lives in Ocala, FL. She edits a column for the HWA Newsletter, “Blood & Spades: Poets of the Dark Side,” and serves on Board of Trustees. She is the second woman to be acknowledged by the SF&F Association with a Grand Master Award. She has won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Poetry.

Image Notes: From a news article “Man Arrested for Pretending to be Ghost at Cemetery,” the cemetery is combined with a ghostly image from The Minds Journal.

The future of autopsy reporting


from the allotted bloom
spewing lilac into april

                    some emerge

through the cartoonish hole
installed in my skull:
all spaces
some dashes trail
there is an escape hatch!
nine floors from the first
riddle we read in empty midtown
(I hover in sure-footedness)
I am a wing-walker in the
                    black &
                    white
                    elevator
that announces you like
a lukewarm idea
in opinionated lighting

(I coinhabit your lobby art
amid plotting plants:

ficus                couch ficus

philodendron philodendron
the couch is done for          )

something about concrete being
                    in limbo
the rabble rousing continues
we gulped too much
                    air
all consider the afterlife from
                    certain
                    heights
afterthoughts become regardless
intent is squinty in the eyes
in my back pocket
I keep a suicide note folded upon
itself just so
just so death never finds
me accidentally

— Joshua Bird

Joshua Bird is a modern hermit. He can(not) be found hiding from the oppressive Floridian sun by day & wallowing in sentences that hang slightly ajar by night. His work can be or will be found in Eye Flash PoetryInk in Thirds, & Visions International. Visit his website: joshuabirdpoetry.com

Image Notes: This bizarro/weird poem (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speculative_poetry#Weird) is complemented with lilacs and a superimposed skull.

All the Better, Dear Wolf


Look, I know I’m a predator.
I’m five years of age, in my prime,
hairy all over,
with teeth six inches long
and sharp as rapiers.

Do you think I’m really going
to spend my days
munching on berries
the size of a titmouse eye?

I’m a quadruped of course
but, for the sake of a fairy tale,
I’m willing to stand.
And speak as well
though in a deep gruff tone
in keeping with my native growl.

Some young thing
comes hopping and skipping
through my home territory
dressed redder than a whore’s lipstick
and waving a basket of goodies –
of course I’m going to drop everything
and accost her with my tried and true,
“Where are you going, little girl?”

I could just grab her there and then
but I’m willing to go along with the plot
even if it means swallowing
a bony and tough old grandmother,
cross-dressing and having to listen
to all that “What big teeth you have” etc etc.
just so some little kid
in a farmhouse in the middle of Nebraska
can near wet herself with tension
as her mother reads to her at bedtime.

What I’m saying is that
I play by the rules,
both of my own nature
and the story as it was explained to me.
Which brings me to the total unfairness
of a poor defenseless beast like myself
being slit open by a huntsman’s axe
just so that tasteless biddy can go free.

Look, I’m a wolf.
We’re on the verge of extinction.
And the world’s overrun with
silly little girls in red
and grandmothers.
That I come out of this whole affair
fatally wounded
is a public disgrace.
A change of attitude is sorely needed
So poet,
what big words you have.
What a big emotive, evocative medium you have.
What a big bully pulpit you have.
What a big audience you have.
Okay maybe not so much, these days.

–John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.

Image Notes: Finding an image where Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t the innocent victim wasn’t easy, by this Pinterest image by Kevin Kunkel just might work.

Transgender


Cupid glistens in the middle of the sun.
You’re blinded by such beauty.
 
While tumbling downwind, as you pass
the checkout, you can remit hard cash
and take Cupid away, anywhere you want.
 
You haven’t been giving black holes
any thought lately, busy making round trips
to hell and back. But I think it’s ok for you
to go home now, you could use some sleep.
You won’t face the least resistance because
all of your firewalls have been dismantled.

A constant stream of intoxication coats
your captive dreams like lava flow.
You can be gregarious because nobody cares,
and free to coddle established traditions.
 
The black hole less than event is more a stage
recycling time from its magic cosmic calculus.

In essence cyclone and tornado
are mathematical conglomerations
of chthonic spheroids that gather strength
on an immense scale, climb the ladder
of pure desire and meet in rings of amplitude.
 
Picture yourself at the center of the equator
of a black hole. Never can you both be exposed
simultaneously. Reminisce about how the sun
rose and set billions of times.

The Doppler effect given up for dead,
who hid the Mars bars behind canned beans
is obviously irrelevant.
 
You see that Nature’s magnets are cones,
and the planets actually double magnets.
Intense parsing yields you expanded poles.

Matter forming matter at the apex of two cones
balances with space, winds and unwinds again
forevermore, nothing gained, nothing lost.
 
— Thomas Piekarski
 
 
Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly and Pushcart Prize nominee. His poetry and interviews have appeared in literary journals internationally, including Nimrod, Florida English Journal, Cream City Review, Mandala Journal, Poetry Salzburg, Poetry Quarterly, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, and Boston Poetry Magazine. He has published a travel book, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems.

Image Notes: Black hole eating a star—the rare event caught. See cosmology.com (http://cosmology.com/News212.html)

The Valley of Dry Bones

        For George Lenker

Not South, but somewhere in an arid space
Where your heart beats slower,
Surprise having flown away long ago
Like a mockingbird.

This blue landscape whose landmarks
Are your being, flat-line highway
Dividing you down the middle.
This is the place
Of heavy shadows, silhouette buildings
That neither welcome nor reject you,
Only bring to mind the possibility
Of warm rooms
And tender mirrors.

You have traveled for years
To reach The Valley of Dry Bones
With only sips of clean water
And a few crumbs of memory
To tide you over.

— Corrine De Winter

Corrine De Winter is an author and Stoker Award Winner for her poetry collection The Women at the Funeral. Her inspirational writings have been published in many journals, (her poems “Bless The Day”, “Bedside Prayers,” “The Language of Prayer,” “Teen Sunshine,” etc., continue to be used in traditional church services, ceremonies, and on many websites). She has won numerous awards for her writing from the New York Quarterly, Triton College of Arts & Sciences, and The Rhysling Science Fiction Award. Her work has been applauded by such luminaries as William Peter Blatty (The Excorcist), Tom Monteleone, Thomas Ligotti, Nick Cave, Stanley Wiater, Heather Graham, and others. William Packard, former editor of the New York Quarterly, was a mentor publishing De Winter’s work early on and inviting her to write “The Present State of American Poetry,” a regular feature in the journal. At Packard’s invitation, she read her poetry at the New School in NYC, and continued a rapport with Packard until his passing. Packard was a big supporter of Charles Bukowski, and De Winter was published with him several times in his last years. A naturalist, philanthropist, metaphysical seeker, artist and the founder of “Small World Fund For Children,” Radio Host for SUPERNATURAL RADIO, on the Blogtalkradio.com website, De Winter lives between this world and the next.

Image Notes: Artwork, “Stranded,” by Nikolai Lockertsen

I unlearned my future


           when I tripped over trees
birdsong at my knees like cricket call. I never knew
I was tall. In my world everyone was
mirror -imaged, custom -fitted. Life- droned.

Paradise, we thought. Wore smiles
picked at birth. Ate pre-portioned food,
slept exactly eight hours. Our sun was a cutout,
flip sided by the moon. Programed.

We lived outside of metaphor. Things were not
other things. Things just were. Libraries were
one big “How To,” with poets lost
to exile hundreds of years before.

We did not even bleed.

But here, in this strange place, I am other.
They call me the tower, and the one
who breathes through clouds. They say
I am like a giant bird with melted wings.

They say I must learn to be small again.
To build a nest.
To come home.

— Babo Kamel

Babo Kamel’s poems have appeared in literary reviews in the US, Australia, and Canada. Some of these include Painted Bride Quarterly, Abyss & Apex, The Greensboro Review, Cleaver, The Grolier Poetry Prize, Rust +Moth, Mobius, a Journal of Social Change, and Dreams and Nightmares. She was a winner of The Charlotte Newberger Poetry Prize and is a three-time Pushcart nominee. Her chapbook, After, is forthcoming with Finishing Line Press. Find her at: babokamel.com

Image Notes: Descent of Icarus by Mikey Barrera (Pinterest)

Homebound

lift the bowl to the stars
and remember the cries of the infants
as you catch their tears
dripping as the light goes down

we leave tomorrow—
tonight we sip the stuff of legend
—and take to the skies in old vessels
powered by the light

is there life waiting for us
—germoplasma-evolved—
upon arrival
from the aeons and far away

on regolith barrens
sharpened in a vacuum
that dew-covered grasslands
welcome?

the journey ends there
and soon
it will be time to go—
we sip from the bowl of tears

and lift our voices
to the stars
as one by one
they fade away
 
— WC Roberts
 
 
WC Roberts lives in a mobile home up on Bixby Hill, on land that was once the county dump. The only window looks out on a ragged scarecrow standing in a field of straw and dressed in WC’s own discarded clothes. WC dreams of the desert, of finally getting his first television set, and of ravens. Above all, he writes, and has had poems published in Silver Blade, Liquid Imagination, Strange Horizons, Apex, Space & Time Magazine, Shock Totem, Scifaikuest, Star*Line, and others.

Image Notes: The stellar image is from NASA:  Within the swaddling dust of the Serpens Cloud Core, astronomers are studying one of the youngest collections of stars ever seen in our galaxy. This infrared image combines data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope with shorter-wavelength observations from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), letting us peer into the clouds of dust wrapped around this stellar nursery. https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA18014

Issue 38 Poetry

The Book of Eve

The Book of Eve

I tell you temptation was cool As a string of pearls in my hands.

Read more

Christine

Christine

You are dream etched in lipstick written in the curls of black rubber

Read more

Light in the Window

Light in the Window

Dream a memory of clouds that chase the moon, of winds outside a house that knew a devastating war.

Read more

The future of autopsy reporting

The future of autopsy reporting

from the allotted bloom spewing lilac into april

Read more

All the Better, Dear Wolf

All the Better, Dear Wolf

Look, I know I’m a predator. I’m five years of age, in my prime,

Read more

Transgender

Transgender

Cupid glistens in the middle of the sun. You’re blinded by such beauty.

Read more

The Valley of Dry Bones

The Valley of Dry Bones

Not South, but somewhere in an arid space Where your heart beats slower,

Read more

I unlearned my future

I unlearned my future

I unlearned my future when I tripped over trees birdsong at my knees like cricket call. I never knew

Read more

Homebound

Homebound

lift the bowl to the stars and remember the cries of the infants

Read more