Childbirth 1955 by André Masson 1896-1987
PARTURITION
by Katie Manning

My veins roll away.
The back of my hand swells
black with blood.

The soles of my feet
hold each other.
I am waiting on a cliff
over the ocean.
Breathe. Breathe.
I taste the salt.

The me in the room
is not me.

I blow out candles,
blow the candles, blow.
No, I am just a child,
a big breath
before a bright red
birthday cake—
I can’t let go

The next one is the
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The head in the mirror is not mine
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Someone has set me on fire
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Everything
falls.
I’m inside out.

Open my eyes. Wet red life
wriggles on my belly. Mouth open,
eyes closed. It must be crying,
but I only hear my own voice,
Oh my. Oh my.

My husband avoids
sharp objects near soft skin.
The baby is weighed, measured, inked,
placed in a glass bowl.

Sewn back together with blood and twine,
I become
something new.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem is the love child of Mina Loy and Lawrence Ferlinghetti, who make me observe the world in slow motion and in painfully beautiful detail. I adore Ferlinghetti’s work, and I once got to chat with him after a reading about how much we love San Francisco.

IMAGE: “Childbirth” by André Masson (1955).

manning

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Katie Manning collects books, tea, and board games. She is the author of three poetry collections: The Gospel of the Bleeding Woman (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Tea with Ezra (Boneset Books, 2013), and I Awake in My Womb (Yellow Flag Press, 2013). Her work has also appeared in several anthologies and journals, including Fairy Tale Review, New Letters, and Poet Lore. She lives in California and teaches poetry at Azusa Pacific University. Find her online at katiemanningpoet.com.

the-bride-1902
REASSURANCE
by Barbara Eknoian

You left without a good-bye,
leaving a sticky residue
in my mind.
I’m wondering,
if given the chance,
what you might have said:
Honey, it’s been a nice ride,
but it’s time for me to go.
Maybe, I’ll see my folks,
get some answers,
and finally learn
what it was all about.

I’m waiting for a sign,
perhaps in a dream,
not like the one
that appeared when
you first left me:
You were singing
in your high school choir,
which made no sense,
since you always said
you had refused to join
when your music teacher
pulled you into his class
by your collar.

I am waiting for you
to tell me
all that you might have said
about your romantic feelings
in our long marriage.
I am waiting to hear your voice
in a dream say,
I’d marry you again, Honey.

IMAGE: “The Bride” by Gertrude Käsebier (1902).

barbara_eknoian

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Eknoian‘s work has appeared in Pearl, Chiron Review, RE)VERB, and Silver Birch Press’s Silver, Green, and Summer anthologies, and Cadence Collective on line. She has received two Pushcart Prize nominations and is a member of Donna Hilbert’s poetry workshop in Long Beach, California. Her first young adult novel Chances Are: A Jersey Girl Comes of Age, and her poetry book Why I Miss New Jersey are available at Amazon. She is currently working on a generational novel.

landscape-with-freight-train-1909
WHISTLE
by Daniel Patrick Delaney

Scent of tar and honeysuckle rises from the swamp, and I wait.

Heat of the powered room around my neck while the children sleep tangled in their beds.

Breath of strangers close to me moving in shadows of grey against
the walls.

Scent of tar and honeysuckle rises from the swamp and I wait.

Thoughts of daylight flicker in my mind, taking pictures of
moments alive.

Black covers darkness from below, leaving me blind with eyes
wide open.

Scent of tar and honeysuckle rises from the swamp and I wait.

They cannot find me now in the place that has no name, no people
to look.

I hear it, me, always me no matter where, the freight train is
coming now.

Whistle, sweet whistle—screaming down the line for the train to
take me home.

Scent of tar and honeysuckle rises from the swamp and I wait.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Daniel Patrick Delaney lives and writes in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, area.

IMAGE: “Landscape with Freight Train” by Pierre Bonnard (1909).

Peach Cobbler and Vanilla Ice Cream
CONTEMPLATING DESSERT
by Ki Russell

Cinnamon ice cream melts
                                                along the sliver
                           of hot peach that pokes
above a cobbler roof.
                           Milky dribbles slide beneath
                                                the pastry,
swirl in syrup
                           and spiral through the dessert.

My spoon waits.
I am caught watching my confection destroy
the ice cream. An inevitable death by heat.
Not death, but transformation, the napkin assures me.
The liquid state suits the ice cream:
returns it to something akin
to the original form
before all of the salt
and freezing pails
paddled it up.
Go ahead, the spoon whispers,
cut in. Fulfill the dish’s purpose.
Stop waiting.

Ki

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ki Russell teaches writing, literature, and creative writing at Blue Mountain Community College in Pendleton, Oregon, where she resides with her husband and two children, Rook and Ashe. Her hybrid genre novel The Wolf at the Door was released in August 2014 by Ars Omnia. Her full-length poetry collection Antler Woman Responds was released in June 2014 by Paladin Contemporaries, and in 2011 Medulla Publishing released her chapbook How to Become Baba Yaga. She holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Wayne-Thiebaud-Cakes-1963-oil-on-canvas
WAITING FOR CAKE
by Tobi Cogswell

I’m waiting for cake
to fully celebrate
the holiday season, and winter
that truly is winter.

I’m waiting for spice
on my tongue, that tastes
the way fireplaces
smell, when you step out

on the porch and can’t tell
the direction, chimney smoke
hidden by clouds and the night
black-brown as chocolate,

just as intoxicating, the sexy
dark wrapped around like a cloak,
comfort and mystery.
I’m waiting for almond,

the tweed of tastes, color
the speckled loveliness of
dusty piano keys,
or marzipan the pale green

of fondant, draped like bedsheets,
a carpet of grass laid sideways
and silent under frost, the snows
of December. I am waiting . . .

IMAGE: “Cakes” by Wayne Thiebaud (1963).

tobi-lapses-and-absences

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tobi Cogswell is a five-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Her seventh and latest chapbook is The Coincidence of Castles from Glass Lyre Press. Her collaborative full-length collection, The Color of Forgiveness, is available from Mojave River Press. She is the co-editor of San Pedro River Review (www.sprreview.com).

lawrence_ferlinghetti_the_mirabeau_bridge_350_1100-1
RIGHT ANGLES TO REALITY
by Magdalena Ball

On the bridge of time
I waited in a dream
toes curled, lips pulled back.

It could have been anywhere
scanning radio frequencies
cold and bright
as if this alien moon were the moon.

Enceladus spouting water
against a frozen heart
in need of heat.

Open strings ultrasound
pressure waves infrasound
an unheard symphony played
in the vacuum of space while I wait
at right angles to the brane
in the middle of nowhere
alone, nothing picking up the signal.

In place of mourning, I found myself
laughing silently, hysterically
a synecdoche
for all those things we pretended were real.

That big open mouth
the echoing void
your waving hand.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Waiting is such a charged verb – conjuring hope and anticipation, along with the notion of a lack – whatever you might be waiting for you don’t have. A new kind of meaning is created in the permanent waiting space — you neither despair nor are you satisfied that things are as they should be. Following from Ferlinghetti’s “I Am Waiting,” I attempted to capture that sense of longing, and its accompanying mingling of sorrow that comes with knowing that what you’re waiting for cannot happen (lovers will never kiss on the urn, aliens won’t contact us, and ghosts don’t exist) with a forced optimism (“renaissance of wonder”).

IMAGE: “Under the Mirabeau Bridge” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti—a painting that features lines from a poem by Guillaume Apollinaire. Learn more about the painting and artist at georgekrevskygallery.com.

ball1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Magdalena Ball is the author of the novels Black Cow and Sleep Before Evening, the poetry books Repulsion Thrust and Quark Soup, a nonfiction book The Art of Assessment, and, in collaboration with Carolyn Howard-Johnson, Sublime Planet, Deeper Into the Pond, Blooming Red, Cherished Pulse, She Wore Emerald Then, and Imagining the Future. She also runs compulsivereader.com and a radio show, The Compulsive Reader Talks. Find out more about Magdalena at magdalenaball.com.

joyce_dublin
WAITING FOR MY BUS
by Stephen McGuinness

The Christmas lights
are up in the city
and the pavement is glittering.
All seems well in that world.
I am waiting for my bus
at the edge of the river
not staring in
but shivering
for the want of warmth.
On evenings like this
when the wind
cuts up the Liffey channel
the rain, piercing cold
forces us to fold
in upon ourselves.
With hats, scarves and hoods
pulled tight
only our eyes exposed
to the world outside.
The thin seasonal songs
carry over the rooftops
from full florescent shops
and drop lightly
like chimes
over this darkened quay.
To avoid the pokes
from the spokes
of umbrellas
I bat them away
as I begin to jockey
for position
in the queue.
My bus arrives.
We file quietly on
struggle to loosen
and shed our outer clothes
then sink into our seats.
I lean my forehead
against the window
and watch through
twinkling raindrops
as the city fades
into the suburbs.
Now dry, warm
and on my way home
a Christmas song
with all its bells
turns circles
and repeats
inside my head.

IMAGE: James Joyce statue, Dublin, Ireland, by Ireland Image Collection. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

mcguinness1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephen McGuinness is 46 years old, a chef from Dublin, Ireland. He has been writing poetry for the last six months. This is his first published poem.

nocturne-in-blue-and-silver-the-lagoon-venice-1880
VENETIAN WONDER
by Massimo Soranzio

Standing here by the Canal,
Dull and greyish, more than grand,
I am waiting for winter
To come on the vaporìn,
But I know well it won’t come,
Nor will it come tomorrow,
To purge this long summer’s sins.

I am waiting for Venice
To be the new Atlantis,
As for the Tower of Pisa
To give in, at last, and fall.

I am waiting to see who
Will win the race to submerge
The glorious stones of Venice:
This ever changing climate,
Or corrupt men and their greed?
I am waiting to see if
Venice can resist once more.

But in the meantime, my dear,
I am waiting for you here,
Waiting for you to appear:
Let’s meet at Santa Lucia.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Coming from a family that, through centuries of alternate fortunes and even modifications in its name, has retained a certain pride in its ancient Venetian origins, I have always followed Venice’s glorious decline, caused by nature following its course, as well as by an inadequate class of politicians, with a certain interest and apprehension. “Vaporìn” is what Venetians call the steamboats serving as city buses. Santa Lucia is both the name of Venice’s railway station, and the day of St. Lucy, December 12, popularly (though not astronomically) known as the shortest day of the year, and “the beginning of the end” of winter, a season that seems to be quite late this year in this part of the world.

IMAGE: “Nocturne in Blue and Silver, The Lagoon, Venice” by James McNeill Whistler (1879).

massimo-soranzio1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Massimo Soranzio writes on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy, about 20 miles from Trieste. He teaches English as a foreign language and English literature in a high school, and has been a journalist, a translator, and a freelance lecturer on Modernist literature and literary translation. He posts some of his found and constraint-based poetry on his blog, massimosoranzio.tumblr.com.

path-in-the-garden.jpg!Large
EXODUS
by Sheikha A.

I have been walking a long bare path of stones,
the heat such that could burn a hole through
my blisters, yet these walls stay cold

bulging to the candle’s flame,
the hour grows robust and time lean;

I am waiting for the walls to seizure
even if for a brief moment
just so something moves

I wait for the whispering that comes every night
just so the silence breaks,

I have perfected banalities
from where they set in
and taught them to swallow giants

those that have been called hope
in some distant watery sphere of time;
I am waiting for home

in the walls of which is buried the key.
The many daggers of modern sorcery,
each weighing like an artefact rich
thick with darkness like the hour right now

skilled at social warfare

survival

dissipation

…exodus.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sheikha A. currently lives in Karachi, Pakistan, after moving there from the United Arab Emirates, and believes the transition has definitely stimulated a different tunnel of thought. With publication credits in magazines such as Red Fez, American Diversity Report, Open Road Review, Mad Swirl, Danse Macabre du Jour, Rose Red Review, and The Penmen Review among many others, and several anthologies, she has also authored a poetry collection entitled Spaced, published by Hammer and Anvil Books, available on Kindle. She also edits poetry for eFiction India. Visit her blog sheikha82.wordpress.com.

IMAGE: “Path in the Garden” by David Burliuk (1912).

cormorant-01-1891
LIMBO
by Tim Gardiner

I sit in the promenade shelter
rain drumming on the roof.
Raging seahorses skirt
the blackened horizon.
I’m waiting for cormorants
to return in fading light.
I’m waiting for her shadow
to appear in the distance.
I’m waiting for limbo days
to end sometime soon.
My turn must come
once more before I die.

gardiner

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tim Gardiner is an ecologist and poet. His haiku have been published in literary magazines including Blithe Spirit, Frogpond, and Presence while longer poems have appeared in Poetry Quarterly and Salopeot. His first collection of poetry Wilderness will be published by Brambleby Books. He has published many scientific papers on natural history and several books, including one about glow-worms.

IMAGE: “Cormorants” by Theodor Severin Kittelsen (1891).

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,792 other followers