Month: February 2016

Featured: Spring Festival

Aaron Styza
These medical masks aren’t for surgery,
They’re lotus flowers for the mouth.
The air’s killing us slowly.
Let me tell you a tale about the Emperor
Who planted sorrow in his garden
Because he longed for his late wife
And her stories.
And the bit where the shadow puppeteer
Molded her likeness in clay
And danced its shadow on the wall
Behind a candlelit curtain.
The Emperor teemed with song again.
The Pearl River takes the heart away,
Coils like a belt to break bone.
We’re swimming backwards through history
And, dear, the water’s just fine.
But I’m so thirsty.
So thirsty, I drink your words.
So hungry, I carve the sky with a knife.
As for loneliness, well, I left out the detail
That the Emperor had other wives.
It’s better to believe shadows become enough,
He might have said,
Getting as lost in form as Narcissus once.
The curtain ripples—blink and she’s there:
No, she’s combing the passages of his hair.
IMG_3759Aaron J Styza received his BA in creative writing from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. He currently lives in Guangzhou, China, where he teaches English. His work has appeared in Heron Tree and Sediments Literary-Arts Journal.

Featured: Alley Rat

Ayaz Daryl Nielsen

why were you in this
useless empty ditch?
your basement nest was
hidden, warm and safe
your mate lingers these
brief, precious moments
your broken body
she lay aside her pen
evening darkness in place
a quiet city
oinkifiedayaz daryl nielsen, veteran, former hospice nurse, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs) lives in Longmont, Colorado.  Editor of bear creek haiku (26+ years/130+ issues), with hundreds of poems published in anthologies and worldwide, he is online at:  bear creek haiku      poetry, poems and info. 

Featured: Dreaming the Lost Ones

Lisa Zimmerman
Listen to the poem:

The hushed slide of the back door
was the dream gone slack, my mother
not a ghost actor after all, but the horse was
a black vanish, silk slipping past the needle
and the day mumbled forward
inside all the interrupted clocks.
Later I watched the moon’s little path
of white fire across the lake—October
moon hanging in the throats of coyotes
beyond the boundary of night wire, a song
of blood and light.
The rattle I heard then was not death.
It was the day’s engine ticking, giving in,
an old wind wrangling the last leaves
from trees out there in the dark.
LisaZimmermanJPGLisa Zimmerman’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Natural Bridge, The Florida Review, Colorado Review, Poet Lore, and other journals. Her most recent collections are The Light at the Edge of Everything (Anhinga Press) and Snack Size: Poems (Mello Press). She teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

Featured: Sensible

William Aarnes
You can earn your living
teaching students
that making sense
isn’t sensible.
Nor, everything considered,
is living.
Nor is dying.
Nor, given their limits,
are the senses
fully sensible.
And common sense,
philosophers insist,
isn’t sensible—
though common sense
would suggest it isn’t sensible
to wake at three
conscious that your consciousness
will vanish.
Nor is it sensible
to arouse your spouse
by saying out loud,
“Well, fuck that.”
Nothing is sensible—
not even the solace—
what else should you do?—
of stirring sweetener and cocoa
into the coffee you’ll sip
on your customary walk
through the street-lit dark.
William Aarnes has published two collections with Ninety-Six Press—Learning to Dance (1991) and Predicaments (2001). William Aarnes’ Do in Dour is forthcoming next spring from Kelsay Books. Recent poems have has appeared in Main Street RagShark Reef, and Red Savina Review.