Enter the City

“That Night on the Old Girard Avenue Bridge” by Ken Romanowski

In the early 1960s we were a young, row home family. Dad was employed while Mom was a homemaker. My parents saved enough money to take the four of us, including my younger sister and me, to a Big Five college basketball game in West Philadelphia. For us, this was huge.

Our destination was the Palestra, located on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). This 8,700-seat arena was the hub of the Big Five, which included LaSalle, Temple, Penn, Saint Joseph’s (St. Joe’s), and Villanova.

Continue reading “That Night on the Old Girard Avenue Bridge” by Ken Romanowski

“Carrol Avenue” by Joshua Ginsberg

You never promised
to make me a writer or an artist;
only that you would beat me like one –
backbreaking barbacking
reeking of beer and dragging ass home
just in time to curse the sunrise;
you hardened me to the clatter of the L,
showed me who serves
the best Chicken Vesuvio,
taught me to drink bourbon neat, and
where to find a stone mermaid
carved by the shore of Lake Michigan.
Whispered to me all the dirty things
you never told Sandburg.
On days so cold I thought I might shatter
you slid a warm sly smile into my pocket
waiting for a cab at Chicago and Milwaukee
while I read the inscription at the base
of Nelson Algren Fountain.
You lowered me down below the streets,
entombed so deep under
prairie style terracotta and concrete
that sunlight’s just a myth, where
you stole my teeth and wallet, left me
drained and dreaming, straining in the dark
to see through two bruised and swollen slits;

but it was there in the shadow of the bricks
of that rat’s nest palace of filth,
that at last you spread wide
your tarnished gold wings
and blessed me with
your secret face.

Joshua Ginsberg is a writer, entrepreneur, and curiosity seeker who relocated from Chicago to Tampa Bay in 2016. He is the author of “Secret Tampa Bay: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful and Obscure,” (Reedy Press, 2020), and his poetry, fiction, and non-fiction has appeared in various print and digital publications. He maintains a blog, Terra Incognita Americanus and has been a business proposal and resume writer for over 10 years. He currently resides in Tampa’s Town and Country neighborhood with his wife, Jen, and their Shih Tzu, Tinker Bell.

Please note: Poetry is compressed to fit smart phone screens. If you are reading this poem on a phone screen, please turn your screen sideways to make sure that you are seeing correct line breaks for this poem.

“Swimming in Montevideo” by Steve Carr

Swimming, my arms slice through the water, one arm, and then the next. Over and over. My fingers are held firmly together, and pointed, like the head of a spear. My shoulders swivel from side to side, twisting my torso. My muscles are like pulled taffy, pliable, twisting, elastic. A continuous flow of power – an electric current of physical, bodily, energy – courses through my legs. They are scissors cutting the water. My feet are fins, paddles, webbed-like, kicking and churning up the water, leaving a continuous splashed trail of bubbles in my wake. The water is cool. It slides over the smoothness of my flesh. I shed it like ever-changing layers of liquid skin.

Continue reading “Swimming in Montevideo” by Steve Carr

“Man Sold Separately” by Danielle Keiko Eyer

It was one of those houses that had been dumped on the side of the street, meticulously equidistant from the houses on either side. It was one of those houses where the hot water never ran out in the winter and the air conditioner never broke down in the summer. The neighbours in the similarly-shaped houses shared gossip and borrowed cups of flour and pretended to like each other until the door closed and the lock clicked and their sincere thoughts came to light. It was a neighbourhood with the level of superficiality typically found in the suburbs.

Continue reading “Man Sold Separately” by Danielle Keiko Eyer

Three Poems by James Croal Jackson

Writing a Break-Up Album in the Underworld of Los Angeles

parking garage stone and yellow emergency
the microphone’s metal web against my lips

to vomit last year in haphazard dollops
of song, wolf, and waterfall dry music

career in loneliness this lifetime achievement
many-tailed and thick porous semiconscious

rambling strummed brown fingernails clacking
away at my hard reverbertion of longing the car

window closed to keep the sound in

Passing Claudia

in this city is a familiar intersection /
brick / unlike the old: stone / spotted
your doppelganger waiting the stoplight
/ stalled behind a truck and called your
name / as I drew closer / turned green
you waved back / could not halt my car’s
slope southbound after hello / goodbye
all acquaintances become ruins / friends
who shift faces / places to call home first /
my mother’s / my skeletal wandering to
belong / shell possessing consciousness
beneath acacias / humid summer of moss
between the cracks of historic buildings

in this city my heart is polluted

driving in circles everyone talks
about the same thing love weather
politics rain this summer gone
in a flood another day awash
in the lust pitter-pattering
off the black hot concrete
incalescent the days we
drive in circles around
each other, lip symbols
tiny trinkets the tiny purple
piggy bank I bought for you
from a quarter-slot machine
in a mall outside Youngstown

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James Croal Jackson  (he/him) has a chapbook, The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017), and poems in Pacifica, Reservoir, and Rattle.

He edits The Mantle (themantlepoetry.com). Currently, he works in the film industry in Pittsburgh, PA. (jimjakk.com)

Please note: Poetry is compressed to fit smart phone screens. If you are reading this poem on a phone screen, please turn your screen sideways to make sure that you are seeing correct line breaks for this poem.

Leaving the City by Shaun Haughey

A train of thought still connects me to the city

but I never reloaded my card to go back.
Instead, I left tall buildings,
letting them continue to pulse
and breathe and mingle at their block party.
I left the music of street performers,
the dancing legs of drunks in bars
and brilliant lights shining down from stars.

The stars faded,
dissolving into ribboned stories
cut apart by speeding cars.

Now, I sit slumped in my suburban chair
only moving to pull the blinds shut.
Here, in my room,
where acrylics dry quickly,
I no longer taste the toxic mixture
of turpentine and hair.

Here, I remain living a quiet, quaint life
and when I peak out the window to see
the city still beckoning in the distance

I want to go back there…

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Shaun Haughey is an artist and writer from South Jersey. In 2017, he received his Bachelors of Fine Arts and Minor in Art History from Rowan University. While he attended Rowan, he was a proud member of the printmaking club. He also served as part of the editing staff at The Gallery. His work has appeared on a number of posters throughout the Philadelphia area for bands and events such as Circle of Hope, The NJ Proghouse, and The Tea Club. In his work, he explores mysterious anomalies to make sense of reality. Though he still doesn’t, he hopes that by delving into the mysterious, he can avoid an existential crisis. When Shaun Haughey isn’t ruminating on the meaning of life, he enjoys spending time with his family, reading comic books, listening to music way too loud, getting absorbed in video games, and flying in his TARDIS. You can follow his work on Instagram @shaun.hoy

Please note: Poetry is compressed to fit smart phone screens. If you are reading this poem on a phone screen, please turn your screen sideways to make sure that you are seeing correct line breaks for this poem.

“Escalate” by Caroline Sipio

I.

The escalator pulls me above ground,
a maudlin monotony of movement
that cycles
tens
hundreds
thousands
of times a day.

I wait for the moment
the ridges of the moving stairwell
will halt the tips of my boots
so I can fall on my face.

What would it be like
to have strangers walk over me
or crack my spine like a book?

II.

The reel of you and me
runs through my thoughts
a faucet running on full strength,

relentless.

Are we filling the sink
or getting pulled down the drain?
Either/or
we’re drowning.

III.

Just
Beyond
The
Doors
I
Cannot
Reach

Words are written in black
against a yellow backdrop of caution paint:

WATCH THE GAP

The lettering is half-faded,
a mantra
that’s reinterpreted each day
to fit my mood, a horoscope
that I’m convinced will change my life.

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Caroline Sipio is a writer and bibliophile from the Philadelphia area with a penchant for coffee and imagining different arrangements of words. She has a Bachelors of Arts degree in English from Saint Joseph’s University and a Masters of Arts degree in English from Boston College. She has previously been published in Crimson & Gray. She currently works at Villanova University’s Falvey Memorial Library where you’ll find her happily surrounded by books. Caroline loves to celebrate Halloween year round and watch her miniature, wire-haired dachshund named Lemon play in the leaves.

Please note: Poetry is compressed to fit smart phone screens. If you are reading this poem on a phone screen, please turn your screen sideways to make sure that you are seeing correct line breaks for this poem.

“Beyond Power Lines” by Kyle Carrozza

For Chad Ostrowski

So many nights I walk suburban streets
alone. Porch lights send their luminosity
through trees, allowing me to write
between the lines of my journal.
I can write anything about the sun setting
over Central Pennsylvania, describe the burnt
orange hair of a girl I once knew or wanted to know, write
the words love, longing, or us — and still not say anything
as beautiful as the moon hanging in the sphere of the night
sky framed by power lines. Its face lights my way, maybe
not enough to see my destination but enough to know
that its glow is the sun waiting to come up another day.
Cell phone towers send signals into the sky:
Setting is temporary. Ending is illusion.
Calling a friend near midnight means
our voices, too, float out among the stars.
The things we say to each other
can reach across the distance,
our words filling infinity.

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Kyle Carrozza lives in Coatesville, Pennsylvania where he teaches and coaches soccer. His journalism pieces have previously appeared in The Coatesville Times, Scarecrow Grin, and The Korean Quarterly. This is his first publication of poetry, and he fully intends on bragging about it to the English teachers at his school.

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“London” by Fabrice Poussin

 

Fabrice Poussin is the advisor for The Chimes, Shorter University’s award-winning poetry and arts publication. Fabrice’s writing and photography have been published in print, including in Kestrel, Symposium, La Pensee Universelle, Paris, and other art and literature magazines in the United States and abroad.

“After the Bars Close” by John Grey

Lonely men interrupt the dark
with the snap of shoes
on sidewalk.

Skyscrapers just got taller,
more empty.

Traffic thins
like blood on heparin.

Solemn as a monks’ processional
is the way home.

But with frog-sac croaks
in lieu of chanting.

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John Grey is an Australian poet and US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Columbia College Literary Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review.

Please note: Poetry is compressed to fit smart phone screens. If you are reading this poem on a phone screen, please turn your screen sideways to make sure that you are seeing correct line breaks for this poem.