Enter the City

“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.

Two poems by Jeff Nazzaro

Smiles

Needed a place to rest my bag,
had something to put in,
something else to take out.

Crowded Red Line train, stood
in the middle, one empty aisle seat,
beside an old woman

who slept, scarved head on the glass,
worldly possessions at her feet, on her lap.
Pilled blanket cradled slumped shoulders.

Blessed courtesy not to hog both seats,
she stirred when my bag touched down.
Unwelcome intruder, I worried.

I bent to put my phone in the special
padded phone pouch in my bag. Her
stirring roused the blanket, her clothes—

the odor hit me in the face like morning breath
from a generous lover. She turned her head, opened
her eyes, lifted them up, so close.

Still bent, I struggled to liberate my e-reader
from my bag’s special padded tablet pouch.
The first thing that old woman saw

when she unstuck her tired eyes
was my pale bespectacled face
and the smile I spread across it to greet her.

She smiled back, and it was warm,
and her eyes were open, bright, and big,
and then she pushed up her sleeves

and scratched and scratched the insides of her arms
up at the crook, first one, then the other,
etching lines of piqued white into the dark brown,

muttering about all those uncalled-for
things all those foregone people had said,
all the way to Pershing Square.

Post-Post-Post-Modern Poetry

I’m standing in the doorway
of the Metrolink train much
too early because this is the door
that opens right at the top of the stairs
that lead down into Union Station.

I’m much too early because the word
is out and this space fills up fast,
and if you wait too long in your comfy
blue polyester-and-Naugahyde seat
you’ll get stuck on the stairs behind
all the slowpokes and miss your next train.

I’m reading Alone and Not Alone,
by the poet Ron Padgett. See, I put my phone
away and took out the book, having borrowed
it a few days before from the university
library. The cover creaked open
with a virginal moan.

In between poems, my eye is drawn
to a middle-aged woman playing
some iteration of Candy Crush
on her phone. The colors mesmerize,
the action titillates, congratulatory
messages burst forth on the screen.

I look around and realize I am surrounded
by screen swipers and tappers, our poetry
being again rewritten, even as I put the Padgett
away and reach for my little black notebook
and ballpoint pen.

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Jeff Nazzaro lives in Riverside and works in West LA. He commutes three hours each way using Southern California’s wonderful public transportation system and swears he loves every minute of it. His poetry has appeared in numerous print and online journals, including Ekphrastic Review, Cholla Needles Magazine, ClockwiseCat, and Thirteen Myna Birds.

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.

Two Poems by Diane Grosse

Somnolent on the 1374

Floating bodiless over
a spectacle of color
crowds in harlequin regalia-
exaggerated bodies with
noses casting shadows
three feet long-
grotesque faces emit deep laughter.
The mind dances with sequined
guests as we glide on tiny smooth wheels
rolling through

a breezy meadow with
fluttering bouquets of butterflies.
Run and tumble, arms feathering
through multicolored daisies-
giggles catching in wispy fine hair

at a place of work
a familiar feel of tension-
the looming figure snatches
pages spitting from the printing mouth
waiting for approval.
Crinkles snake across
their forehead

Fordham
This is the local train to Stamford.
shift awake-

Tickets please.
force the ungluing
of eyes to produce the ticket
for a conductor
holding a slender cream baton
keeping time
gliding metal
starched white gloves
in flawless motion-
a kettle drum reverberation
lull

Days Before Winter Solstice

Shuffling office papers thirty feet up with windows
nailed shut for your safety, a barely traceable
scent of food turns a head, eyes settling past traffic lanes.
The bar’s picnic tables are un-hibernated, as are its patrons,
taking advantage of this seasonal mixup.
College gals lean forward, spilling out among themselves
(plus one); Overloaded straps about to ping.
Finger-combed hair is pulled back and
high in unison, piling to top knots –
All alike dolls.
Pitchers dribble. The girls follow,
washing down the gold.

Diane Grosse has been writing since childhood – spilling memories, desires, and fantasies onto paper. She has spent her professional life in the publishing industry, surrounded by words. After receiving a Masters in Writing, she upended her life, leaving her beloved New York for the South – and new sources of inspiration. Her first publication and award was for the poem, translated to Spanish as El Trovador, durng high school. Her writing has been published sporadically over the years in journals and newspapers. Most recently, her poetry was published at naturewriting.com, and an essay has been accepted for inclusion in a collection of works on the topic of human/animal interactions, forthcoming.

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.

Three Poems by John Grey

NEWLY SINGLE

It’s been two months
since she told me she loved another.
That’s her explanation
but I still know so little
as I try to catch up to
the truth behind her words.
At least the bars were open by then.
And I felt sick enough
to risk the muted sunlight
of a drinking establishment
while her image floated smugly
in the alcohol.

Of course, the semi-darkness
did me no good.
I couldn’t help wonder
how the truth became a lie.
All that was left for me to do
was be part of her history,
even as I said goodbye
to all who lived it.

So now I can do what I want.
But I don’t believe happiness arranged all this.
Not now that I’m talking to the walls,
trying to explain to a blank TV screen,
almost went mad asking the refrigerator questions.
So goodbye coppery hair.
Goodbye large soft breasts
No doubt I know people I can talk to.
But to be in love with a woman?
I’ve no wish to be suspected of that again.
For some reason, it mattered once,
It would be wrong to deny it.
But perhaps a man is perfectly suited to living alone.
It is a difficult thing to do, and so maybe
it is just as well to learn how to do it –
without the presence of a saboteur.

I’ve said it aloud,
if that could make me feel any better,
a proclamation untitled and undated,
my sorrow made brave by alcohol.
I am speaking as clearly as I can,
mingled with the sincerity of the tears she shed,
her altered face, the change in my own,
the promise to never get this way again,
to not even look at anybody else.

Surely there’s enough in disinterest to keep me occupied.
I’ll be like the funeral of someone
musty and fusty, narrow-minded but clean
and only breaking out in bitterness
when no one is looking, not even me.

REHEARSAL

He cleans himself up
in the railway station bathroom.
Water has at the grit
lodged in the seams of his leathery skin.
He even nudges an old razor
across his stubbled chin.
Then off comes the shirt
and. with a moist paper hand towel.
he scours the dirt from his breasts.
see-through rib-cage
and scarred stomach.
Once done, he slips by
those with a train to catch.
back out into the streets
where his destination is
the same as every day –
a park bench, the shadow
of an overpass, the ground floor
of an abandoned factory.
His hair is matted.
His clothes dirty and disheveled.
And he still reeks like a dumpster.
But. in that men’s room,
those were more than just
half-assed ablutions.
more like rehearsals for a better life.
He never will get good at it.
He no longer expects to.

JOGGERS IN THE PARK

The joggers pass by me –
some float, some struggle,
a pant here, a grunt there,
maybe twenty of them
from the gazelle up front
to the red-faced tortoise at the rear.

The cherry blossoms are in bloom.
Day-lilies fringe the trails a tawny orange.
But these runners
are too consumed by how
they’re doing today
compared to yesterday.

No rocks. No pines. No oaks.
No sunbathers sprawled across the lawns.
No Frisbees. No dogs let loose from their leash.
No pigeon-soiled equestrian statue.
No quick kiss and the stroll that proceeded it.

They could just as easily
be jogging through the city dump,
an abattoir, City Hall, a department store.
Most likely the track is
in and out of an old clock factory,
tick-tocking their current pace,
teasingly clanging their best time ever.

I ramble on
and a squirrel darts up a tree at my approach
as if it’s life depended on it.
A jogger, if pressed,
would tell me the same.
I stop to admire a cluster of white flowers
in a cockspur hawthorn thicket.
That’s three lives,
three dependencies.

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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.