ISSUE 3


 

MEAN PAULINE by Erin Redfern

Mean Pauline has bees in her chest

and a honey-stuck throat. She loves a cracker-jack

whiz kid, hates to explain herself.

 

Mean Pauline works in a dusking room.

Her red pen otters through prose estuaries.

Words, words–rash paddlers she bobs

with an inky tip before turning on her back

to crush and munch a tender mussel.

 

Mean Pauline loses two minnows in the shallows,

five gold coins to ebb tide. Come semester breaks

these currents are stronger than you’d think;

rafts just sink and boats with passengers

won’t float. Can we blame her

for striking sweetly, for saving herself?

 

Mean Pauline loves Huck better than Jo,

thinks only some tides are worth wading in.

If she works hard and does what she’s told

maybe her lost minnows will swim back to her,

maybe burnished gold can be turned back to flesh and blood.

 

Mean Pauline somersaults the red pen,

locks me homeless in hallways.

She knows I won’t break in. She’s left something

precious under her desk, curl of a girl

who wants to go home, minnow-lost

little who has no home but this.

 

Erin Redfern’s poetry has appeared in Zyzzyva, Compose, and Scapegoat Review, and has been nominated for Best of the Net 2015 by Crab Fat Literary Magazine and Blue Lyra Review. In 2015, she served as poetry judge for the San Francisco USD’s Arts Festival and as associate editor of Poetry Center San Jose’s print publication, Caesurawww.erinredfern.net

 


 

CITY OF ADJECTIVES by Alan Elyshevitz

In the guide book nothing is written

of the aspiring rabbi who menaces

his internal clock with midnight study.

Or the gullible diabetic consuming

a corn syrup lunch. Or the vendors

who upholster their stalls in scrap iron.

Every hour gas-driven machines

scrub corpuscles from public stone.

A counterintuitive vertigo pervades

a ground-floor café. The city stumbles

and wavers, ices over, then heats up.

All the while a collegial kleptocracy

shreds incriminating adjectives,

withholding them from tour groups.

Only the waiters will illuminate you:

To live in this city one must rely

on a nearly giddy forbearance.

 

Alan Elyshevitz is a poet and short story writer from East Norriton, PA. His collection of stories, The Widows and Orphans Fund, was published by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. In addition, he has published three poetry chapbooks, most recently Imaginary Planet (Cervena Barva Press). He is a two-time recipient of a fellowship in fiction writing from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Currently he teaches writing at the Community College of Philadelphia.


 

IN EXCHANGE FOR SILENCE by Tennae Maki

We carried stones in our hands.

Later down the line, the group

of us would clench our fists,

fists full of dust.

 

Distant landscapes with cliffs

of clay, they were meant to be

climbed at some distant date.

 

The wind had torn the leaves

from trees. Even the pine

needles had fallen from their

narrow trunks, dehydrated

and brown.

 

The cause we didn’t see but our

mothers still held parasols in

the way of the breeze, shielding

the sight lines of earnest whys.  

 

Tennae Maki is a weekend writer that works at an architecture firm. She’s also the audio archivist for an arts radio station.


 

TO A DOG WHO SANG THE BLUES WHEN LEFT ALONE AT DAYS INN by Mark Jackley

I never learned to lift

the instruments of my ears 

 

to the trombone ease of love

sliding in and out.

 

Sometimes they don’t come back.

Teach me how to howl.

 

LEARNING DAVID BOWIE DIED

in Vegas

floating through

the Death Star of the Tropicana

 

levers to pull

buttons to push

Major Tom I hear

 

planet Earth

is blue

but that is just a rumor

 

Mark Jackley’s new book of poems is Appalachian Night, available for free at chineseplums@gmail.com. His work has appeared in Sugar House Review, Fifth Wednesday, Natural Bridge, Talking River, and other journals. He lives in Sterling, VA.


 

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