Seeing Stars by Kieran Collier

When you were a kid, you bought a plastic telescope and set it up on your porch

looking for the Big Dipper and Orion’s Belt because

those were the only two constellations you’d ever heard of.

 

When you found new ones you named them yourself

like, that one is Kermit because one of the stars is kinda green

and that one looks like lightning so I’m gonna call it Pikachu and

I want to name the one over there Super. Awesome. Guy.

 

You live in a city now, and you barely remember

what night ever was without the reds and greens of street lights

and buildings obstructing your view,

 

but you do remember that it kind of looked like someone spilled salt

on Mom and Dad’s navy blue tablecloth next to the milk stain from last week.

 

Every time you go out on your porch you ask your dad to lift you up

on his shoulders so that you can get closer to the stars

because he is the tallest man on the face of the Earth, or at least you think he is,

so he picks you up like you’re Superman and for a second you can fly.

 

All of your other friends looked at the clouds instead,

finding shapes in the premade spaces

because clouds are made of water, just like you,

but your eyes have always been telescopes reaching as high as they can go

 

ever since the day that Dad told you all of our atoms are made

from exploded stars so our bodies must be constellations,

and that it is up to us to name them.

 

Everyone else found themselves in finite things like

the white lines and blue backdrops up above

but you are naming a new constellation and it is called The Sky

and every single shape is part of another different shape

and everything is connected and every star is welcome

and in the center is the most beautiful constellation of all time,

where every star aligns perfectly.

 

You named it Home, but it’s actually just a father

with his son on his shoulders, and the little boy is reaching his hand up

as high as it can go just like Adam’s on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

but that is only a ceiling and this boy can reach so much higher than that

 

and people used to worship the stars because they contained

the shapes of gods and if this isn’t holy then I don’t know what is.

 

But kid, maybe if you reach high enough

you can find out for yourself.

 

On his shoulders, you ask your dad about his favorite constellation.

He just looks up at you, a ball of burning curiosity, brighter than all of night,

and he smiles.

 

It’s you pal,

it’s always been you.

Longest by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

by 7 pm the silent auction hall was at capacity,
having expelled onto the lawn just as many smokers

the building smelled of hoodwinked hope
a Smith & Wesson went for 1400
a neon Stag sign for 600 to the same bidder
as the Bud sign for same;
2 kiddie picnic tables for same too

our bid was high on a pottery urn
donation to the cause
too often attended but yet
there they and we were again,
in silent barter

I waited in the car while the smokers smoked,
while Monte waited in line to claim his 150-dollar urn
and felt bad knowing her prognosis was sleep long
and longer until longest

I placed the urn on a bookshelf when we got home
and went to bed; in the morning we were told
she had by then gone to sleep

The Moon May Covet by Kristin Roahrig

The moon may covet

The sun
As the sun
Rebirths itself when each day is done
And the sun’s cycles of birth shall cease
But I will be there
As I am now

 

 

Children will die,

Suffocated in their cars
While a parent tries
Another lotto ticket; stays in the store
Buying their own soul
The leaf will scream
And the dog dream
And I will be there

 

 

The morning will rise

As the two into one
Will try to become
The cat will cry
As the rodent dies
A shot be heard
While a little one’s born
And I will be there

3 poems by Matthew Hall

The Cost of Today

Wishing away yesterday
is not quite working out
the ‘no regrets’ policy
is a sucking of water into the lungs

I have tried to forget
as rain forgets the ocean
and imagines a moonless sky
but truth spills over when the tide breaks

Mistakes lead me here
one legged crows and damp aching bones
lead me here

If not for heavens doors slamming shut
if not for flesh fertilising the ground
and feeding the worms
I would not be here

A frozen heart beats fast and loud once thawed
pounds against the chest
dances persistently
counts the blessings and stands on mistakes
presses down and elevates

Fresh air is for those who have suffocated
and now, here
I breathe in and press down

Recharging

I am taking the day off
a day where the thread of sock cotton caught in my toes
and the black hairs on my white belly
and the small spider that appears from time to time
from behind my third hand, two seated sofa
are all one and the same
the radio is off
the television is off
I have polish sausage in my refrigerator
and the strangers, known or otherwise
are dulled by this
pushed to the back of my mind
I hear the business
know it is there
but the spider and I
my toes and their sock-cotton
this white belly and the hairs attached to it
are safe and far removed

Falling in Love with a Photograph

I lived at the time alone in a three bedroom terrace house
each night I played guitar in front of the television
surrounded by photographs of people I once knew
when I went to bed late I looked at the photo of her on my bedside
it was the last and first thing I looked at every day
I thought about leaving the gas on and going to sleep
but knew there was little fairness in a move like that
every time I looked at that photograph she was smiling
and in the end I became tired of it
resented it
blamed it even for the loneliness
it was around that time that I started to notice small imperfections
hair on her upper lip
a steady yellowing in her teeth
a contradiction in her eyes
a suggestion of receding in her once beautiful hairline
and the uglier she became the better I felt
until one day I had no more need of her
I put her in a small wooden box and nailed it shut with carpet tacks
placed her in the back of the drawer in the end of my bed
she is still in that box now
but the box is in my loft
along with my guitar and photographs of people I once knew
but I know she is there just in case I get lonely enough
in this new flat with an electric cooker and no gas

These Children of Poetry by The Plastic Clown

These children mount the stage

& staple polaroids of hope

to pierce youthful breast

their blood drips with meaning

to flaunt at the spotlight

& I remember

that I’m selling poison

mixed with the sweet juice

that I squeeze

from the fruits of my subconscious

dropping the ice-cubes

of my humor

into the cocktails I serve

from the stage

dropping ice-cubes

d’escalier

(that’s French for stairway)

(to show that I’m cool)

but I have to pour these drinks

that will hurt you

that will cut you

that will kill you

& I remember

& can still sometimes see

the landscapes these children reveal

the brightness

of their illuminations

their light ruminations

hurt my eyes

& burn the vampire

chunks of my pride

that I keep wrapped

in an un-protective

cloth of fear

the gauze that

I wrap everything in

The gift of romance

When I’m not seeing clearly

& I will not kill these children

(to gain my focus)

nor kill my father

nor fuck my mother

to profit by the rules of psychology

or the rules of philosophy

or(to be honest)

the rules of religion

but I will kill you all

at least a part of you

this stage will be my last stand

& I will be master of the universe

or nothing at all

please vote for me

vote for me

I will make you drunk

with my words

if you can hear this

I am already manipulating

You

I will molest you

We will be lovers

Politically

Spiritually

What a friend we have in Jesus

& I am not here to usurp Him

but I will always be yr friend

vote for me

23

master of the universe

I promise to try not to

preach

but if I do

then you can too

in the church of the open bar

heaven is just well-told

stories

& we can’t achieve

heaven on earth

but we’ve certainly been

pointing in the wrong

direction

help me help you