Archives for posts with tag: Relationships

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Collateral Damage
by Michael Minassian

I just wanted to say
that I won’t be coming home
anytime soon, so it’s OK if you
throw out the boxes
I didn’t have time to pack
in my car before you came back
from work; I’m sorry I didn’t
stick around to tell you in person,
but if I could have sent a drone
to bomb our bedroom
I’d accept any collateral damage:
my favorite shirt, the few cd’s, & cologne
I left behind, the photograph of you
that time we saw an alligator
in the canal (too bad you didn’t fall in);
so don’t wait up for me or bother to check
your voice mail, I won’t be calling
& even if I did, these are not the verbs
I would use, WTF do you think?

IMAGE: “Boxer” by Jean-Michel Basquiat (1982).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Michael Minassian 
lives in San Antonio, Texas. His poems have appeared in such journals as The Aurorean,The Broken Plate, Exit 7, The Galway Review, Third Wednesday, and Verse-Virtual. He is also the writer/producer of the podcast series Eye On Literature. Amsterdam Press published a chapbook of poems entitled The Arboriculturist in 2010.

PHOTO: The author in Mexico shortly before the move.

Snow Storm in Brooklyn
After
by Tony Gloeggler

It’s the night after Christmas
and it’s snowing in Brooklyn
again. The wind’s blowing
harder and flakes are falling
faster than they did 8 years ago.
This time, my phone won’t ring
in the cold cold night, your soft
sleepy voice won’t tempt me
into walking through Kensington,
the only two people sweeping
snow off car hoods, throwing
snowballs as your hair grew
all wet and tangled. No, we won’t
remove our boots in the hall,
sit on the couch kissing
tentatively, make our way
to the bed for the first time.

But if I was tempted to pick
up the phone, I wonder how
long it would take you to recognize
my voice? Would you know me
in one, two, nine syllables
and win the grand prize
chosen especially for you?
Would you remember it at all,
the way you’d walk your dogs
late at night and call hoping
to hear something sweet
and sarcastic before you fell
asleep next to your boyfriend?
If I asked you to go walking,
yes tonight, how many breaths
before you’d recover your
frazzled grace and tell me
it’s too late, too far, to walk
from Austin to Brooklyn?

Is your husband home, down
in the basement, playing
with computers and machines
making music without melodies
or words? I know, I know
you still love Bill. Would you tell me
in a rushed whisper not to call
ever again, click off quickly?
Would you wish me a merry
Christmas, move to another
room, close the door behind
you? Clutch your new daughter
closer, carry her with you
or lay her down in her crib
quietly? Could I forgive you
if you had a Texas accent?
Would it possibly lend
your words a softer sexier
slur, or make them sound
too sweet and too fake?

Would you ask about my writing,
tell me how much you loved
my new book, how the poems
still tear you apart, make you
cry when you read them
late at night and pretend
you’re not the woman
in the ones that hurt the most?
Would you ask about Joshua?
Would your hands move
like giddy fish as you go on
and on about your baby girl?
Could I imagine how deeply
the light in your eyes burn
when you tell me her name?

Would you say something,
anything about how you miss
New York City, how often
you think of me, no matter
how much you want to forget
those three years? Would you
tell the truth or lie, say
you really loved me?
How you hope I’m happy
and I’ve learnt to let go,
that this new year
will be my best ever
when we say goodbye
one more time?

PHOTO: “Snow Storm in Brooklyn” by algernonregla.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tony Gloeggler is a life-long resident of NYC’s boroughs and manages group homes for the developmentally disabled in Brooklyn. His poems have been recently published in The Raleigh Review, Rattle, Chiron Review, Mas Tequila Review, Nerve Cowboy, andPaterson Literary Review. He’s been nominated for Pushcarts a handful of times and would like to know who he needs to talk to to have a chance to actually get one. He has published four collections (One Wish Left/Pavement Saw Press, The Last Lie/NYQ Books, Until the Last Light Leaves/NYQ, and Tony Come Back August — a duo with photographer Marco North — with Bittersweet Editions). The last two books focus on his 35 years working with the developmentally disabled and his connection with the autistic son of an ex-girlfriend.

carole king
A song in my key
by A. Garnett Weiss

The movie threw a spell over the art house
On screen: A riff off that phantom at the opera—
a damaged genius, rejected by his muse, becomes a monster
Clichés abounded, but desire and betrayal, the heat
in the lyrics, in the haunted melodies called to me

I felt bewitched by the guy who had brought me to the show
He’d seduced me away from my man
For twelve weeks
he’d given me a self I hadn’t known
One morning, he left my bed and disappeared

For weeks after that, I couldn’t breathe without crying
Every day brought rain
Empty and concussed, I stayed inside my two-room flat
as storms rattled the slate shingles
When the sun shone, I closed the blinds

It was Carole King who got me through
“You’ve got to get up every morning with a smile on your face
and show the world all the love in your heart,” she sang

I didn’t know what was left in my heart, of my heart
The love had been drained out of me the way blood
is drawn with a syringe

Still, each morning I put that record on the turntable
One day, I began to sing along

At last, the phone did ring
The man I’d left for the one who left me was on the line
His voice quiet, calm, each phrase ended
with an upswing, like a question

I remembered his hands on my skin
How he would look at me and no one else

He invited me to spend a day by a lake
I stalled, said I’d call back, sat in my tiny kitchen
till the old fashioned streetlight came on below the window
Then I listened to Carole again, to her promise
people would treat me better, I’d feel as beautiful as I am

And told him ‘yes’

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IMAGE: Portrait of the author, from around the same time period as the poem.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For this series, I let my mind wander to wherever it would take me and was surprised that the songs which came to me were each connected to a different man at different times in my life. I hadn’t expected to revisit the circumstances captured in “A song in my key.” Returning there felt unwelcome at first but no longer. The song referred to in the poem is “Beautiful” by Carole King (1971).

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Published in anthologies and chapbooks, online, and in local and national media, the author’s work has appeared using the pseudonym A. Garnett Weiss or under own name, JC Sulzenko. She served as poet-mentor for The Gryphon Trio’s “Listen up! Ottawa” project, sits on the selection board for Bywords, and is inaugural curator for The Glebe Report’s “Poetry Quarter.” Her books for families and children include Fat poems tall poems long poems small and What my Grandma means to say, launched at The Ottawa International Writers Festival. Visit her at agarnettweiss.com.

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Did You Think I’d Crumble?
by Steve Bogdaniec

My parents rented the upstairs of their two-flat to my dad’s youngest brother and his new wife. Dad worked nights, so Mom was often home alone with me. One night, Mom heard one of the most easily identifiable lines ever recorded coming from the floor above:

“At first I was afraid / I was petrified / kept thinking I could never live without you by my side.”

When the song was over, Mom heard those lines again. And then again, and again, over and over—for weeks. Mom says that she knew my uncle wouldn’t be married much longer. He wasn’t.

The best guess is that I was two or three at the time, but the way Mom tells the story, I feel like I remember it. I imagine my aunt playing her 45 of “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor, looking for strength and empathy, pissed at my uncle, hurt, crying, cursing, the song reaching the end, standing up and putting the needle of the record player back to the beginning, stinging, scared, but made resolute by the power of the song, playing it in full again, soothed and enflamed by its charisma, its beat, its call to action, again, reaching to her, propping her up, again, singing only to her, she thought, although that was wrong—Mom and I heard it too.

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PHOTO: The author at around age three looking up the stairs.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Bogdaniec is a writer and teacher, currently teaching at Wright College in Chicago. Steve has had poetry and short fiction published in numerous journals, most recently Eclectica Magazine, One Sentence Poems, and Blood Lotus.

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Desire
by Barbara Eknoian

     “Boredom: the desire for desire” Leo Tolstoy

I’m bored so I search in the cupboard
for a tasty treat, but there is none,
so I nibble on cheese and crackers,
but it doesn’t please me
as I really desire
that chocolate and cream, devil dog,
that I used to buy
at the grocery store every time
I ran an errand for my mom.
But now I know they’re not good
to eat because of trans fats,
but crackers won’t satisfy.
I want, I need that sweet, artificial
sugar taste.
Or maybe, it’s really a need to kiss
my husband on his sweet lips
like we did when we first met.

SOURCE: Previously published in Cadence Collective.

EKNOIAN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Eknoian‘s work has appeared in Chiron Review, Pearl, Newverse News, Cadence Collective anthologies, Your Daily Poem, and Silver Birch Presses anthologies: Silver, Green, Summer, and Self-Portrait Collection. She has participated in Donna Hilbert’s poetry workshop since it began. Her children and grandchildren live with her in La Mirada because there is always room at her table.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION:  Kidding around with my husband  during the summer of 1974 at the Palisades Park town pool in New Jersey.


Bakery at the Corner of Sweet Street and Regret
by Elizabeth Alford

We were on the edge of winter,
balancing our friendship like a plate
on the edge of a counter.

I was the counter.

But I could taste happiness from the street.
The warm, smile-inducing cinnamon and
eau de vanilla seduced not only my nose
but those of endless
passersby.

And the moment I stepped inside,
I knew I was in Heaven. A celebration
of cakes and cookies greeted me
like an old friend.
Every baked surface was draped
with ribbons of icing.
Even the walls were inviting;
my bulging eyes fell upon one close-up
of dripping red velvet atop a bed of
chocolate chips,
beckoning like a lover.
Fancily framed, majestically hued,
deserving of the Louvre—
if it had a kitchen.

I told her this joke; she was insulted.
The bakery was German-based.
That was the beginning of the end.

Across the street, a homely-looking van housed
a homely-looking hippie
named “Hippie Dan.”
I met him. Sweet guy, I thought.
Bright red beneath the brown,
like a cherry cordial.

I gave him most of my sticky bun.

I didn’t think to give him a toothbrush.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was inspired by a date at an actual bakery in Oakland, California. The name of it escapes me now, and I don’t even remember how to get there — but the sights and smells left a deep impression, as did that lovely homeless man parked across the street.

Alford

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Elizabeth Alford has always had an on-again-off-again relationship with Poetry; but in the wake of her graduation from CSU East Bay, she recently announced that they are going steady (much to everyone’s relief). She lives in Hayward, California, with her loving fiancé, mother, and two adorable dogs. Her favorite things include sushi, loud music on long drives, staring at the stars, and writing. She has been published twice in the student literary magazine Occam’s Razor, once as a third-place Donald Markos Prize winner in 2014.

PHOTO: Elizabeth Alford in her backyard (June 2015), not doing too badly after that bittersweet breakup.

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It Took a Storm
by Stephanie Morrissey

He came to me with crystal clear blue eyes,
that, at first, captivated and calmed me
like the ocean on a sunny day.
Soon I would learn that they
could turn angry, frigid at the drop of a hat,
bringing with it an onslaught of turbulence
much like an unrelenting winter storm.

Eventually that frost extinguished
the last embers that blazed within my soul.
My wing clipped,
I was no longer able to fly.
Just stay hidden,
locked in a golden glided cage
the lock etched with
words of love
turned into lies.
A prisoner sitting
in a blackness
witnessed only by those
blinded by passion.

My wing healed;
the cage was left open for a day!
So I flew, as fast and as far as I could,
right back to myself.
I never looked back.

As the years pass and I get further
away from that fearful, beautiful
creature locked in her own personal hell;
I’m grateful my fire has returned.
I arose from the ashes created,
with my freedom regained
I lit the fire, allowing my passion
to burn anew.

I’m grateful to be once again
flying amongst the clouds.

PHOTO: The author under a sunshade and prepared for a dust storm.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: There have been many moments in my life where I left “it” behind feeling as if I had changed — but I’ll never forget when I walked away from someone and felt I would never be the same again. Yet, the experience somehow brought me full circle to who I’d always been. The lesson I learned was you should never compromise yourself for someone else.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie J. Morrissey has been has been writing poetry for over 20 years — but, until recently, was hiding in a hobbit hole with her poetry as the protective walls. Ready to step out in the world and share her poetry, in the past three years she has performed at the poetry segment for Art Outside 2013, Austin International Poetry Festival 2013, Metal and Lace twice as a featured poet through Austin Salon Poetic 2013 and 2014, and hosted an Open Mic for about a year at Ruta Maya — all in and around her current home base of the ever-weird Austin, Texas. She has also performed for Expressions and was included the anthology for the venue titled A Gathering Of The Poetry Tribes: Instant Anthology 2013. If you can’t already tell, Stephanie likes to be on stage, and in her spare time, when she isn’t immersed in writing or drawing, she is having wondrous adventures with her youngest kid, her boyfriend, and her friends — most likely cooking at least one meal in the process.

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I Visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
a Few Months after My Divorce

by Jennifer Finstrom

and know, without wading into the water, that it is both cold and deep. I should have worn my necklace made from shipwreck pottery, ceramic fragment smoothed by tongues of sand, sliver of broken plate speaking the language of mourning brooches worn by Victorian ladies.

When the Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her crew on November 10, 1975, I was six years old. Twenty years later, the ship’s bronze bell was brought to the surface, the centerpiece of the museum. It will be what I remember most from this visit, and I want to put out my hand and stroke its cold flank, listen for what it can tell me of silence.

Later, walking the beach, I imagine what mermaids would swim off Whitefish Point, see them in winter coats with shiny fish scales in place of fur. They circle the lighthouse, carry spears instead of tridents, bear souls in their arms to an underwater Valhalla.

I take six stones with me when I leave. They stand for someone’s death. I don’t know whose.

PHOTOGRAPH: The bell from the SS Edmund Fitzgerald on display at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Michigan’s Upper Peninsula comes into my poetry quite often, and even though I’ve vacationed in other places over the years, when I read this call for submissions, I knew that I’d write something about the UP.

Finstrom Vacation

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Finstrom
 teaches in the First-Year Writing Program, tutors in writing, and facilitates a writing group, Writers Guild, at DePaul University. She has been the poetry editor of Eclectica Magazine since October of 2005, and recent publications include Escape Into LifeMidwestern GothicNEAT, and YEW Journal. She also has work appearing in the Silver Birch Press The Great Gatsby Anthology and forthcoming in the Alice in Wonderland Anthology.

PHOTO: The author on vacation (in Evanston, near her home city of Chicago) this year.

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Congratulations to Rachel Carey — author of the novel Debt (Silver Birch Press, 2013) — and her fellow playwrights Beth Jastroch and Bob Kolsby on the premiere of their collaborative play Cul-de-Sac at The Shelter in New York City. Directed by Michael Kingsbaker, the play runs from Thursday, June 5 through Sunday, June 8th and features Kelley Gates, Meghan E. Jones, Jordan Kenneth Kamp, C.J. Lindsey, Morgan McGuire, and Aaron Novak.

BACKGROUND:  In the summer of 2013, The Shelter tasked three writers with a unique, collaborative challenge: using a palette of assigned characters, meld individually written stories into a single, seamless play. Six characters, three writers, one narrative. Nine months later, Cul-de-Sac was born. Examining the lives of three couples living as neighbors on a suburban cul-de-sac, writers Rachel Carey, Beth Jastroch, and Bob Kolsby use marriage as a forum to examine the shifting gender norms, cultural expectations, and everyday realities faced by today’s young couples. They show us that what happens behind closed doors can often surprise us, challenging our beliefs about love, passion, and the fidelity of marriage.

WHEN: Thursday, June 5 – Sunday, June 8, 2014

WHERE: Cherry Lane Theatre, 38 Commerce Street, New York City 10014 (just below Bleecker in the West Village)

RUNNING TIME: 130 minutes with a 10-minute intermission

TICKETS: ovationtix.com

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Andy Warhol created his now-famous portrait of Elizabeth Taylor in 1963, but it wasn’t until 14 years later that Liz received a copy. The courteous actress was quick to thank Warhol for the signed edition. When Taylor passed away in 2011 at age 79, The Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh installed at its entrance two of the many versions that Warhol created.

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Silver Liz [Ferus Type], 1963
silkscreen ink, acrylic, and spray paint on linen
40 x 40 in. (101.6 x 101.6 cm.)
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.1998.1.55