we are sweet
by Nanette Rayman
Even as our legs
graceful as spread arms walk fast near the river
afraid of defenestration though we live
nowhere near any castle or moat
even as our lips
sweet as chocolate marble brioche murmur fast
near the mountain, afraid of free
speech removal though we live
in a country based on talk shows and media posts
Even as our hearts
riotous and delicious, those fiery hot pokers beat fast
tilting with memory, and not about to give it
back. We will not be a country washed down
the drain by terror; we are warriors not ghosts
waiting at the ready to burst through your door—
though we live nowhere near forget-me-nots,
nowhere near any downpour of no-go zones.
We sigh in the rain
in our land of bending freedom
nippier than stupor waiting for winter to pass
through gristly potholes where rain
detonates fear, we are warrior, the tar
of oblivion we won’t walk, oh no. We won’t
back down. We wait for winter to pass past bootstraps
of mountains as they warm us from tragedy.
Bio: Nanette Rayman's poetry books include: Shana Linda Pretty Pretty, Project: Butterflies, two-time Pushcart nominee, included in Best of the Net 2007, DZANC Best of the Web 2010, winner Glass Woman Prize Publications include: The Worcester Review, , Sugar House Review (poem mentioned at newpages.com), Stirring's Steamiest Six, gargoyle, Berkeley Fiction Review, Editor's Pick Green Silk Journal, chaparral, Pedestal, ditch, Wilderness House Literary Review, decomp, glass, Contemporary American Voices, Editor’s Choice—short story-Green Silk Journal, featured poet at Up the Staircase Quarterly, Rain, Poetry & Disaster Society, Pedestal, DMQ, carte blanche, Oranges & Sardines, Sundog , Melusine. Latest: Writing in a Woman’s Voice. She performed in many plays off off Broadway. She studied at Circle in the Square and with Gene Frankel. She graduated from The New School.
Waking Up to Cat
by James B. Nicola
Her mighty force patrols her twilit realm.
When I, audacious Gulliver, dare to rise
she deploys all twenty bayonets in file.
Their threat against my flesh restores the calm,
then she reassumes her throne, my chest. The wise
face, the unyielding Mona Lisa smile,
sage whiskers, and the almond emerald eyes
impose such pleasant peace, though. And what harm
does she inflict, what tribute does she gain,
in shocking me to rouse now out of bed,
with nary an adjustment to the counterpane—
for after all, the monarch must be fed—
only to keep me in place, her royal purrs
reminding me these lands are really hers?
Bio : James B. Nicola's poems have appeared stateside in Green Silk, the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews, Rattle, Tar River, and Poetry East, and in many journals in Europe and Canada. He is the featured poet in the current issue of Westward Quarterly, having once received the same honor from New Formalist. A Yale graduate, he won a Dana Literary Award, a Willow Review award, a People's Choice award (from Storyteller), and three Pushcart nominations. His nonfiction book, Playing the Audience, won a Choice award. His poetry collections are Manhattan Plaza (2014), Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater (2016), Wind in the Cave (2017), and the upcoming Out of Nothing: Poems of Art and Artists (2018).
by John Grey
The bed was designed for the likes of you.
Yes, the mattress, the sheets,
have always had such softness in mind.
The springs will take your weight gladly.
They'll be surprised at how much you seem to float.
It's a fine bed in itself,
manufactured in North Carolina,
with fancy filigree in thefinials
and a foot-post to match your svelteness.
I've had it for some time
but it's always seemed like part
of a larger picture
and I'm not talking about the room.
It has an eye for beauty as I do.
And it has a comfortable place for it as well.
As I do also.
So come on in,
throw yourself upon the bed,
feel its welcome
from honey-shine hair
to newly-naked twittering toes.
Some women and furniture just go together.
And I am here,
an overseer for the join.
Bio: 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.
by Robert Beveridge
Every time we kiss
the sighs of a thousand poets
float by in the breeze
we degenerate for one another
lose our solidity
run over the curb
and into the gutter
through the sewer grate
and eventually out to sea
Maybe we'll reform as one
in the next rain
and those sighing poets
won't have to watch us kiss anymore
Bio: Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pulsar, Tessellate, and Scarlet Leaf Review, among others.