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…

Shaun Photo

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.

csipio (1)

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.

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.

“Bus Station” by Eileen Moeller

You:
Mister Bulgy Hair Rasta Man

and You:
Miss Spike Heels short skirt geography tights

and You:
School Uniform Knee sock Girls whispering about school
uniform boys passing by

and You:
Mister White Hair Highland Fling braid down the back

and You:
Mister Prep School Tie and pinstripe attache case

and You:
Mrs. Old Lady like a dumpling

and You:
Mrs. Sleek Chanel gold chain and button everywhere sheer
stocking alligator handbag

and You:
Mister Buzz-cut Leather Jacket Pirate earring tooth gap football fan

NONE OF YOU EVER
NONE OF YOU
NONE OF YOU

NONE OF YOU
EVER WILL

GET INTO A POEM OF MINE

UNLESS I WANT YOU TO

AND DON’T YOU FORGET IT.

Photo 35

Eileen Moeller and her husband, Charlie, have lived in the Philadelphia area for the last twelve years. She has two books: Firefly, Brightly Burning, published in 2015 by Grayson Books, and The Girls in Their Iron Shoes, published in 2016 by Finishing Line Press, and has many poems in literary journals and anthologies. Her blog: And So I Sing: Poems and Iconography, is at http://eileenmoeller.blogspot.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.

“London: Circle Line” by Eileen Moeller

A woman reads on the Underground
as it drags like a match along the tracks.

A woman wearing a handkerchief linen blouse
on the hot train reads a thick book
about World War II and bites her lip.
A young girl stares at her as she does this.

A girl who sits on her suitcase at the car’s end
with nothing to do but stare at the woman’s
head as it tilts toward the book,
her blunt cut hair, the drama of her face
as it acts out the words.

The words unknown, of course, to the girl,
except for what she can see in the angle of brows,
the pinch of lips, lashes flickering
the way signal lights
pull a train along
beneath the pages of city above.

Images float to those hungry for them.
That’s what they say
and that’s why some angle off
to an old lady at the other end.

A white haired lady frail in her thick coat,
in spite of the heat, who glances full of longing
at the blonde hair of the girl
squinting past her down the car.

This is how it works and always has, just like a fax.
Heat transforming text into text
and the certainty of response:

mysterious as the memory of a young girl’s
first awakenings to the world
as she hunches in silence with strangers
under the ground while London burns.

Photo 35

Eileen Moeller and her husband, Charlie, have lived in the Philadelphia area for the last twelve years. She has two books: Firefly, Brightly Burning, published in 2015 by Grayson Books, and The Girls in Their Iron Shoes, published in 2016 by Finishing Line Press, and has many poems in literary journals and anthologies. Her blog: And So I Sing: Poems and Iconography, is at http://eileenmoeller.blogspot.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.

Five Poems by John Grey

A CITY AFIRE AT NIGHT

No foot can survive unscathed,
not walking over these coals,
not while the city burns
and before the guilt rains down.
Nowhere to run
that isn’t molten,
a pool of tar
flooded with crying,
a conflagration,
where even the gutter creatures
barely survive.

Broken glass, syringes,
acids and powders,
hookers in flaming dresses,
the angry heat
sputters around,
red and luminous,
yet weeps to itself-
incandescent tears
in a dreaded backstreet
of people fused to the spot.

Heaps of them burn,
variegated scars
begin to smoke
intense as hell
in clots of black,
red-stained rivers
smog orange moon,
overheard wires sizzling,
the sky is aflame,
the coast can never be clear.

THE WOMAN WHO JUMPS FROM A BRIDGE

I don’t do
this out of despair.

It’s just that the part of me
that’s been down so long
wants to exert itself,
to make something
of all this nothing.

It is a series of events
that do not aim
for release,
and certainly not joy.

How it works
is that

all off my truths
hit the water
at speed,

create suffering
for myself
but end it
instantaneously.

Then I can claim victory,
that one breath left to me.

AN OLDER BROTHER’S NEW HOUSE

Prideful is the last word I’d ever use
to describe the man
but as we step outside
through the sliding doors,
there’s more than shyness
in that awkward smile,
more than addiction
in the way he releases a cigarette
from the box
and lights it in a kind of
unspoken triumph.

His blue shirt is open to the throat.
His skin is leathery
but his mood is as smooth
as the petals of the tulips
slowly shutting down for sunset.
I feel as if I’m on a tour of
a historic house
with him as my guide
when it’s just the place
he finally can afford
after years cocooned in one of those
pale stucco dwellings
pressed into the side of the hill.

And now here he is,
after a hard day’s work
in which he can feel every dollar earned,
with a cigarette in one hand
and the palm of the other
flat against solid brick.

He watches the smoke rise.
dissipate, be rendered invisible by air.
Now, for certain,
with his name on a deed,
that will never happen to him.

OCCUPANCY

You know there’s rooms such as these:

a dull kitchen
with a woman slumped in her chair,
a cigarette burning down to ash
in one hand,
a cold coffee cup holding up the other

a parlor
and a man crashed on a couch,
staring at a baseball game
on a dusty television screen,
half-slobbering, half-drinking,
his fourth beer of the night

a dark bedroom
and a young boy
hanging from a belt,
one end wrapped around
a light fixture,
the other crushing his throat,
and a chair kicked to the side
for all his life was worth

You already live in these rooms.
And some day,
you’ll meet the occupants.

KISSING SOLDIERS GOODBYE AT AN AIRPORT

People stop what they’re doing. The guy in the
bar raises his beer in salute. The ones who’ve been
there overnight toast the uniform with slowly
raised eye-brows. A little kid is slapped by his mother.
“Stand to attention,” she says, as if the anthem
is playing though it’s just the usual voice warning
all and sundry not to leave baggage unattended.
An old woman wipes a tear from her eye.
She’s seen it all before. It doesn’t always end happily.

It’s not like you see in the movies, the train load
of men in brown uniform hanging out of the window
kissing their childhood sweethearts. The farewells are
scattered. And it’s a busy airport of course. Over
by the x-ray machine, an entire family is paying
their tribute to a bespectacled man in his thirties
who was a banker yesterday. By the sign that says,
“Welcome to Rhode Island”, a middle-aged couple embrace.

Boy kisses girl between sobs sure but it’s the girl
who’s in green and brown, her tickets stamped Baghdad.
A pregnant woman leans over her belly to peck.
And a child of eight or so turns away from a departing
figure, cursing his father for leaving him. Goodbye is
a strange kiss, odd meeting of the mouths, one lips
off home, one to war. Swapping spit, we used to call it.
In lieu of touch, a jaw full of each other.

 

File0005 V3 (2)

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.