8 minute read

Poetry

Farewell to a comet

Shamik Banerjee

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Long you stayed above this life-birthing sphere. Have you a memoir as now you take leave? What did you savvy of existence here? Like us, will you too at departure, grieve?

Will you to your cometic brethren tell, of great promontories, of sloshing waves, of a millrace, a tableland, a dell, or how the soil’s munificence life saves? Or plants’ inchoate saplings, soft and mild, or finned swimmers’ locomoting ‘neath seas, or of four-leggéd sprinters of the wild or beltways in magnanimous cities?

A Dirt Road Anthem

Laura Holt

Summer clay beneath my feet Stains my skin a faint reddish-brown When I walk Where my ancestors walked. Your way is flat, Hard-packed, Strong, Sturdy. Even spring rains And winters frosts Cannot move you, Cannot wash you away. Your kiss leaves a taste Of dry grit on my lips. Beneath you, My roots grow deep.

Laura holt

Laura Holt is the award-winning author of the YA Star-Crossed series and Village of Salt and Sorrow. Her poetry and short fiction have been published in Calla Press, Pegasus Literary Magazine, Ginosko Literary Journal, and the Eber & Wein 2015 Anthology. She is a self-professed word witch with a passion for mythology, history, and caffeine who enjoys telling stories about angry girls with magic powers and wild natures, whose bark is as bad as their bite. When she’s not writing, you can find her stretched out on a yoga mat, hiking down wooded trails, or wandering the aisles at a local bookstore searching for her next great read. She lives in small-town Georgia with her daughter, three cats, and a lot of fake plants.

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Or, if on personkind, what will it be? Will it be on Mouths that both bless and shrew, Minds with adhesion and duplicity, or those ‘Eyes’ whose veiled tears none saw but you?

shamik Banerjee

Shamik Banerjee is a poet and poetry reviewer from the NorthEastern belt of India. He loves taking long strolls and spending time with his family. His deep affection with solitude and poetry provides him happiness.

Sicily!

Lisa Macaione

Sicily! Coursing through my veins fiery as Etna lava, blood stained dark as Nero d’Avola. A sleek eggplant in my hands forever will make me weep. Was it there—the bloom of white mandevilla in a terra cotta pot growing as casually by the sea as a Greek goddess?

The waves of the Tyrrhenian crash against me at night I was there— I was there— the taste of salt on the air lemons on the breeze mountains jutting like giants guarding the shores, sheltering stucco villages soaked by sun. I crossed those cobblestone streets, beneath balconies with laundry waving overhead, prayed in cathedrals built by centuries of conquerors, and I, so small, in so much awe. How can I be anywhere else now that I have known Sicily?

Lisa Macaione

Lisa Macaione is a writing workshop facilitator with an MA in English Literature from Leiden University in the Netherlands. Her poems have appeared in Panorama Journal, Belt Magazine, and Literary Mama, among others. She lives in her hometown of St. Charles, Illinois with her husband and two daughters.

Mother

Erin Mullens

I walk down the Street. So cold. My fingers move But don’t feel.

This foreign country

Roils my blood

And hurls up memories

Spitting them out faster Than I can sort them, ever.

My mother sent me Chex Mix. I cried when I ate it.

I would’ve thought a Gucci purse Was the best present I could get But it’s not. It’s home Wrapped in blue plastic And shipped via Korean mail.

When the snow falls I see my little brother Pulling me outside Play with me, he says. And when I go to a pizza shop Where the waiter and I Communicate only via looks The cheese tastes like the flight here When the land slowly became ocean And I slowly became a foreigner.

Sometimes I hated America. Always I hated America. I cried too much on my own. But I feel out of place here, too And so my form twists, contorts I stretch like rubber And retreat like the waves.

My mother calls me And I don’t know what to say. I’m still alive, I tell her. I know because I feel too much. Maybe someday I can explain But when I am old enough to have the words I fear she will be too old to hear.

Erin Mullens

Erin Mullens (she/her) is an American college student with a passion for writing. She is an assistant poetry editor for October Hill Magazine and when she is not writing she enjoys reading the news and hiking in the woods. Her poems have appeared in The Amazine, Raw Lit, Iceblink Lit, Words & Whispers Magazine, and Persimmon Review. You can follow her on Instagram at @moonchildisuhgood.

Opening Night tickets for sale

Tristan Tuttle

There are now micro-plastics inside of infants and parasites from organic food and chemicals pouring into the Ohio River Basin and if you don’t reject straws you’re part of the problem and if we could all CHILL THE HECK OUT maybe we could get along but also stand your ground, okay?

Like, we need to fight!

Fight the devil, fight each other, fight the power, fight the snowflake democrats and the greedy republicans! Feed the homeless and eat the rich but use their charitable contributions. Yell ugly things loudly to cover up the fact that this is all virtue theater, sound and fury signifying n o t h i n g

Tristan Tuttle

Tristan Tuttle is a writer and poet who lives in north Georgia with her husband Jared and their two daughters, Jubilee and Rejoice. She spends her days chasing her girls through the garden rows and writing about it. Her debut poetry collection A Kudzu Vine of Blood and Bone was a #1 New Release on Amazon. She can be found at www.tristantuttle.com as well as on Instagram @tristantuttle and on Substack at www.tristantuttlewrites.substack.com.

The Kid Shaurya Pathania

The kid eats, the kid sleeps, the kid falls, the kid cries the kid picks his nose, And then the kid smiles.

Shaurya Pathania

Shaurya Pathania is a 21 years old who does nothing for a living right now. He struggles with opening sachets of sauce and has a keen interest in poetry. Few of his works are published in Spillwords, Exist otherwise, Drip Lit, Indian Periodical and elsewhere. You can reach out to him @shauryapathania__ on Instagram

Mother Wound

Caiti Quatmann

There’s no guide for mourning the living no five steps for enduring festering fetid lesions of upheaval turgid thermal tendrils of grief purulent pernicious pillories of anguish septic sloughy tethers of torment these insidious mother wounds

Caiti Quatmann

Caiti (she/her) is a teacher and emerging poet. She taught and studied writing at the University of Missouri--St. Louis. Caiti writes about issues important to her life from mental health, motherhood, and neurodiversity to education and learning. Caiti has been published online by LitBreak Magazine and The Closed Eye Open. She is regular contributor to ASDE’s Tipping Points Magazine and an editorial assistant for HNDL Mag. Caiti lives with her husband and children in St. Louis, Missouri, and can be found on Instagram @CaitiTalks

Father

Benjamin Bishop

My dad left his kids in a hurry. He moved all the way to Missouri. He stopped at the bar, Then got in his car. Now he’s the father in the clergy.

Benjamin Bishop

Biography on page 10.

Place in Space

Dana DeFranco we carry the space on our backs we fly between the dots / we slip through the broken lines / because these are not lines we fly between the notes and drown out the sounds we wash the echoes in aquifers and shades of indigo we learn that wherever there is love it’s from the other side we don’t even know our real names and still we are always here together just breathing as we take our place in space

Dana DeFranco

Dana DeFranco is a writer and educator in the San Francisco Bay Area. Much of her work explores the ways in which our humanity is both fragmented and healed within the everyday. Dana’s poetry has appeared in The Raven’s Perch, 2River View, Papers Publishing, and other literary magazines. Her poem “Suffice” was featured on KALW San Francisco’s radio program, Bay Poets. Dana’s first chapbook, Blends and Bends, was recently published by Bottlecap Press. Dana holds an MFA in Creative Writing, Poetry from Mills College in Oakland. She is a full-time Pisces.

Snags

Megan Jauregui Eccles

I screamed into the forest and the forest screamed back, the wails of hollow trees echoing inside my bones, rattling until they snap, all of me decaying in the leaf litter to feed another wasted life

MEgan Jauregui Eccles

Megan Jauregui Eccles lives in the foothills of San Diego and is a novelist, professor, and accidental poet. When she’s not re-homing rattlesnakes, she plays Dungeons and Dragons with her five sons and hatches a variety of poultry. www.meganeccles.com

Spontaneous Combustion

R.M. Engelhardt

Into words

R.m. Engelhardt

R.M. Engelhardt is a poet, writer & author whose work over the last 30 years has been published in such journals as Thunder Sandwich, Full of Crow, Rusty Truck, Writers’ Resist, Dry Land Lit, Rye Whiskey Review, Hobo Camp Review & many others. He currently lives & writes in Upstate NY and his books of poetry are entitled “DarkLands” (Published By Whiskey City Press 2019) & “We Rise Like Smoke Poems Psalms & Incantations” (Published by Dead Man’s Press Ink 2021). His new book of poems is entitled “RAW Poems By R.M. Engelhardt 2023” All books available on Amazon.com.

Love

Taryn Paige

i won’t quiet my love, not in a world that is overshadowed by disarray and separation.

people go through the motions, the lows of incredible hurt and the highs of ecstatic joy. you never know what they face each day, though.

this is one reason why i will never compromise my outward kindness to others.

i show love in several ways: in the poems i write in connection to a small detail about someone, in the understanding i show when things don’t pan out like i thought; in the small messages of get home/drive safe, i know you can do it! and let’s talk about this, in the material things of my own that i would give up in a heartbeat to someone who needed them more than me. my heart is a faucet that won’t shut off. it pours and it pours love from every square inch. i am a lover. i am an empathizer. i was given a gift of loving unconditionally in a world plagued by spite and hate. even so, it will not quiet my love for the world. for the people. for me.

Taryn Paige

Taryn Paige is a recent Ohio State University graduate and author to two books of poetry, Extremities and To the Afterlife. She has been published in several online zines and in Ohio Bards Poetry Anthology: Poetry by Ohio Poets (2023). Taryn is an art lover, a muscle car enthusiast, and a mental health advocate. She is currently working on her next book and in the process of bringing her current books to a shelf near you.

mid-april

Lisa Macaione

(After James Tate’s “The Last Days of April”)

In our home’s garden the champagne daffodils bunch like bouquets, the bulbs a gift from you last Mother’s Day. They blush in beds we tilled, the yard work all our doing. We held our wedding in April. That year, spring’s warmth awakened late, bright the green grass, trees still bare. No flowers blooming, but white roses on our cake.

Lisa Macaione

Biography on page 13.

and it’s always you Megan Jauregui Eccles

How is this second skin warmer than your exhalation Apple blossom, mud, gin Spit me out, swallow me again

Beg me to remember the feel of your tongue on my name White clover, blood, liqueur Break me open, ask for more

Megan Jauregui Eccles

Biography on page 15.

Nocturnal Shaurya Pathania

the fridge frights me, in the night empty of light, it doesn’t glow at all, and still, I put my hands inside, it captures, it holds, I fumble , I grope.

I search in dark and end up with nothing, but a crumble of bread and me.

I’ll boil some water for me, if only I can stand up, but my room is cold and so are my bones.

Shaurya Pathania

Biography on page14.