By MEG EDEN
The child carries her dead sister’s face,
wears her stolen body like an eternal
garment that cannot be changed,
only soiled. And look at her parents—
who are also children as they hold her
and her pencil-like ankles with fear
of breaking their bizarre infant god.
In her honor the village builds
a temple. She is named after
the goddess with three eyes.
We film her because we do not
understand, but if we were not here,
would she be found
perhaps—and be thrown
in the heat of a garbage alley?
The father says the child does
well, but what is well?
The baby drinks with hesitance,
and her mother is never quoted.
Meg Eden‘s work has been published in various magazines, including Rattle, Drunken Boat, Poet Lore, RHINO and Gargoyle. She teaches at the University of Maryland. She has four poetry chapbooks, and her novel “Post-High School Reality Quest” is forthcoming June 2017 from California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at www.megedenbooks.com or on Twitter at @ConfusedNarwhal.
By SUE HYON BAE
Which is more suspicious,
mothers or mirrors?
Impossible to ask them
to be honest. But someone is lying.
Once when the elevator opened she laughed
That mirror is compressing us into
and I couldn’t see it.
Once sampling mascara at a Clinique counter
the hand gently trembling
the brush was disproportionate.
Wrist too thin for fingers
or fingers too fat for wrist.
(Which is worse?)
Once she said I should eat more but I
couldn’t see it. Once she said You shouldn’t
buy that dress the sleeves
don’t work and she
was right. Funny the fitting room mirror
didn’t tell me.
Once the bathroom mirror was
too small and untrustworthy
so I walked to my mother’s
room to borrow her wall mirror
and the door zoomed out while the walls
zoomed in like I was in a poor horror film.
That last one may just have been me.
Sue Hyon Bae is a MFA student at Arizona State University.
By GERRI LEEN
Hovering, behind her now, is youth
Memories of freedom, loving whom she pleased
She was adored, tender and sweet
Her cheeks rounded, her smile held back for
Mystery’s sake, not because life was hard
Her favorite color russet, not black
Warm tones to set off her coloring
Now, her face draws down with life lived
Narrow and not so easy to lighten
Eyes still dark, hair in fashionable waves
She sets trends but it’s harder in black
Mourning does not become her
She finds the most elaborate earrings
Flaunts them against her widow’s weeds
Waiting ahead of her
Her care and creams and parasols
Will keep her skin lovely, creamy as a peach
But her eyes, those dark beads that give nothing back
Turn a rheumy blue, coated over by cataracts
Her lips turn up, secrets they seem to promise
Secrets in her hair shot with gray, still marcelled but
Bobbed now, the latest thing even if she cannot see it
In the mirror, she will still set the fashion
Gerri Leen has been published in Spellbound, Paper Crow, Enchanted Conversation and others. To read more of her work, visit her webpage: http://www.gerrileen.com
Poem by: ARACELI ESPARZA
Crow flies from tree to tree
Against a mute colored sky
Ice garbage road kill
Clutter the curbsides
Reminiscent of cow head Calaveras
And other animals that roamed the land before
Petrified with exhaust
miniature ice bergs lay dead on the side of the road
This is man’s winter bones
Reminders of how he has altered nature
With his tools, gadgets and modernisity
Araceli Esparza serves as the Latino/Bilingual children’s literature and literacy consultant at the Madison Public Library system in Wisconsin. She has an MFA with focus on Children’s literature from Hamline University and has published in various magazines and literary journals including Diálogo Journal, DePaul University, and Verse Magazine. Her research focuses on Latino Children’s Literature and intersections of race, class and gender. Araceli has presented her research at the National Latino Children’s Literature Conference, YWCA Racial Justice Summit, and Hamline University.
David Caspar — “Cocoon”
Poem by: ROCHELLE POTKAR
Like an eye sheered in light
contract to the vibes of bestial men
Curdle amidst your clothes that hide
the cleavage, figure, narrow waist, thigh
Grow lard so you can’t be seen
retreat, refuge, go where the sun isn’t
Walk the streets,
expand like a river of rage, naked
on freewill and the edges of total abandon
A two-forked road it will always be,
a mobius mountain
-not once but every time
Ask whose city you are in?
and body? Whose country?
In whose memory shall your life be contained?
And will it be a good one or a bad one?
Rochelle Potkar was born in the small town of Kalyan – and – craved the big city only to realize that Bombay was a small town in a large world. Her stories have appeared in several Indian and international magazines. She is the author of “The Arithmetic of breasts and other stories.” Her next book, “Dreams of Déjà vu”, is a speculative novel. She now lives in the ‘pandoramic’ city of Mumbai and Bombay with people real and imagined. She blogs at www.rochellepotkar.com
Pictured: St. Peter’s Basilica
Poem by: EDWARD REILLY
A sudden sprawl as Peter’s Epistle was being read.
It would have been a peaceful passing, at Mass,
When we were gathered to celebrate the Resurrection:
But then, Death is not something to be desired.
As she bent to succor her husband of fifty years.
We eased his head into her lap, a Pietà almost.
This had happened before, Sister Mary announced,
And would happen again until the very end.
By the time of the Asperges, he had recovered,
Enough to arise and smile at the attendants
Whilst they hooked him into their infernal machines,
His lifeline printed out in sinuous lines of ink.
Soon enough he was taken by ministering angels,
Each of us watching ourselves drifting away.
Edward Reilly — b. 1944, Adelaide, South Australia, resident in Geelong (about 80 km. SW of Melbourne). Sessional tutor at Victoria University in literary & education studies. PhD (Poetics, Victoria Uni. 2000). Edward has been active in Geelong as a teacher & cultural organizer for the past 30 years, and enjoys reading as widely as possible, travel to strange strands & family. His writing has been published in journals and websites such as Cordite, Eureka Street & Redreaming the Plain (Melbourne), SideWalk (Adelaide), DiVerseCity (Austin), Nimrod (Tulsa), Río Grande Review (El Paso), Poetry Ireland Review (Dublin) and in trans. in Literatūra ir Menas (Vilnius).
Art: Sandra Vandelli — “Lontana – Nostalgia”
Poem by: ADRIAN ERNESTO CEPEDA
So many faces, traces of others
come flashing at this instance;
the way she stares like a portrait
keeps me hanging with her poignant fingers;
this stranger caressing dares of silence
on her own cheek she ponders, fully robed—
I can feel her eyes undress me;
deciding if she will be my lover,
another mother, or distant sister—
this stranger keeps me wondering
will she keep changing make-up,
blinking furious faces,
or will she disguise her excitement
always shading me from her favorite cover,
never knowing which one will leap?
Watching how this stranger waits there,
will I be her artist and love the way she sits for hours?
Should I embrace her colors,
brushing her with my own palettes
unmasking desires, slowly slithering
so many poses, pensively glowing barely deep?
Could she be a victim, the duchess or my vixen?
From this distance, so many faces,
traces of others come flashing—
at this instance, she hides too still for me to keep.
Adrian Ernesto Cepeda was born in Detroit, Michigan. After graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Adrian spent years following The Road Not Taken, living the writer’s life immortalized by Robert Frost. He is now enrolled in the MFA Graduate program at Antioch University and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their lovably spoiled cat Woody Gold.
By SHARON ROOK DALY
Day unfolds into shadowed evening
stripping away expectations
worn throughout the day
for society’s minions.
I can conjure these masks
from the thinnest of vapors
and hold them in place
by a delicate balancing of fingers
curved around my chin
lest they fall from my countenance
Light recedes into darkened sky
of artifice unmasked
revealing my primordial form
like a nocturnal creature
unfolding its wings
on the verge of awakening.
Sharon Rook Daly is a teacher by profession, a recent fellow of the Greater Madison Writing Project, and a member of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets.
Ballad By JANET PORTER GHIO
Joyful of spirit and light of foot;
Her luminous eyes reflect
The passion that lies
Beneath her outer look
and endows her with amenity.
Wise is she who keeps her own thought.
And free is she that reserves her opinion
Until asked; and gives what she ought
with delicate grace, for their redemption.
Viva Brazilia! The core of the Portuguese Empire.
In 1500 AD: a Republic so advanced and fine,
They left a great legacy to inspire
future generations to redefine.
Alegria de espirito e luz pe
Seu luminoso olhos refletem
A paixao que se esconde sob
O seu aspect exterior
E confere-lhe com comodidade
Janet graduated from UCLA in 2010 with a BA in English and departmental honors in Poetry.
“Reading, analyzing and writing poetry opened a whole new world to me, of seeing and feeling the world with more vibrancy and awareness. I constantly strive to create a subtle meaning to my poems, yet leave an opportunity for the reader to interpret them personally.”
By: JAMES PENHA
is Marie is de Loynes
is in love
perhaps with another painter today
artist woman artist
perhaps with her selves her shapes
Madame Marie de Loynes
hurts delicately exquisitely certainly
pains delicate consciences
remorselessly in blue and blood
and in the proof of geometry:
is a closed
A native New Yorker, James Penha has lived for the past twenty years in Indonesia. He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and in poetry. Snakes and Angels, a collection of his adaptations of classic Indonesian folk tales, won the 2009 Cervena Barva Press fiction chapbook contest; No Bones to Carry, a volume of his poetry, the 2007 New Sins Press Editors’ Choice Award. His earlier chapbooks of poetry were Greatest Hits (Pudding House: 2001) and On the Back of the Dragon (Omega Cat Press: 1992). Waterways selected lines from his many contributions to that litmag as its 2011-2012 themes for submissions. Penha edits The New Verse News, an online journal of current-events poetry.
Art: Yossi Sapirshtein
Poem by: JAMES JACKSON
A lovely stare and strings of 3 faces,
One old, Regret.
One fake, Fear.
One real, Now.
Yet but are not all 3 real,
Real and staring, carrying
feeling of fortunes non fortune
and reality’s mistress.
A constant glare yet smile of all 3,
illusion yet not,
real to the unreal
and back again.
Stare not my memories,
Stagger not my intention
Stagger not, Stagger not
nor post haste so.
James Jackson is 22 years old from Northern California. “I am addicted to literature, art, and film. I write out of joy, and I write out of pain. I write and create for every reason there is to write and create. Poetry frees the mind and strengthens the spirit in ways nothing else can. Dickinson, Poe, Ginsberg, Pinsky, Cummings, Wilde, and of course the Bard, are just a select few among the many of my inspirations. My poems are pure stream of consciousness. I sit down with a pen and my state of mind and then I let the pen do all the work for me. My poetry is about love, it is about hate, it is about war, and it is about peace. It is about self, society, culture and anything else you need it to be about. You can never be wrong about poetry or any kind of art in general. For art, or creativity itself, is the answer to the problems of humankind. Education and creation, these are our answers.”
Art: Mieko Anekawa
Poem by ERIKA ENGGREN
Awake, in this
floating state I wonder:
what brings me this tingle –
this rushing –
this blood beating heavy.
These particles inside me
come close – just barely :
a whisper – collision
then slowly explode.
In pieces I’m drifting,
in corners of spaces
I see myself there – over there – and here too.
I search for lost treasure
It’s buried in emerald
digging and digging
this pull far below
This high causes buzzing
it rings all around me
it creeps up like
If there is art, creativity and love in something, I will be drawn to it. I’ve been writing since I can remember, and it’s always kept me sane. I was first published at the age of 12, and writing poetry has always been a deep passion of mine. I graduated film school in 2013, and my short films have almost always incorporated some type of poetry. I love the flow of creation, I love how it keeps my soul going. It is one of the few things I know that I always want to hold onto in this life. Erika
Art: Dale Collins “Taijitu”
Poem by: ANGELA ENGLISH
Haunted by your trio of faces
The mystery in your eyes
Smirk in your hand
Or is it a heart in disguise
Your look changes
Ever so slightly
Like clouds in the sky
Am I dreaming?
Or are you transforming
Right before my eyes
Go deeper I say
Do you see what I see?
Angela exemplifies some of ZO’s purpose in publishing – in her statement … “I’ve used writing to help me get through a tremendous amount of loss in my life. It’s been a source of healing for grief and life in general.”
She is a new writer and her cathartic use of poetry is tangent to our thoughts of using the arts to touch and be part of the transformation needed in this world.
By TAMMY BYLER
The Eyes of hope
Eyes of blue
Times of yore
When all was new
Deep in thought
I saw ahead
A life so full
So free from dread
through the years
Of ebb and flow
A crusty glow
Now all the blue
Has covered o’er
Through chocolate glass
I ponder more
Could I have been
This or that
Or reaching back
I’ve learned it’s hard
To tell what’s true
Oh how I yearn
For eyes of blue
Tammy Byler is a singer/songwriter and began writing short stories when she was a child.
“My first compilation was entitled “Tammy the Storybook.” It was handwritten on notebook paper and carefully bound through each of the three holes with light blue yarn. Today I still write songs, and am a busy entrepreneur working with three of my own businesses. I would love to do more creative writing in the very near future.”
Art: Sandra Vandelli –“Ghost”
Poem by: DANIEL MOTENEGRO
Trinity in Visage
Ghost of Tomorrow
Daughters of Generations
Hands of Stability
Comforts of Memory
Women of Legacy
Beauty of Time
Daniel Montenegro is a singer/songwriter with a passion for seeking beauty in all that is. He is now a Pharmacy Technician (by profession) and half of a musical duo known as General Gordan.
“I have made it my mission to create, inspire, and promote art as life. I pursue it with the utmost passion and respect it so richly deserves.” Daniel
Art: © Hakkan Lye
Poem by: PAULA JUNN
This is how I imagine myself to be when my tormentor dies.
I will wear black to keep with decorum and propriety.
I will even shed a tear.
Who will know that that drop of water is of pure joy and satisfaction?
To live longer than that persecutor,
To see her End gives me the utmost pleasure.
Inside where no one can see, my eyes are green with joy,
My mouth is filled to the brim with maniacal laughter.
I cannot eat or sleep thinking about those days that
I spent being tortured by that demon with a human shell.
The dark past is behind me, but the pain I endured is as if I was afflicted yesterday.
Fresh in my thoughts, my body remembers
The pain, the darkness, the absolute abyss I was pushed into.
I am reminded of that past whenever I look in the mirror, seeing
The bags under my eyes holding weights of anguish, sorrow and humiliation.
At this moment my body tremors and glows with fulfillment.
I feel free.
My past had been dyed black and blue with pain and frustration from her abuse.
Today is the last day I will wear this dreary color.
Tomorrow and the days that follow are those of celebration until my End comes.
I shall celebrate my emancipation from her grasp,
My bright and delicious future that has not been touched by her web of
manipulation and ill will.
A celebration is in order.
A celebration, indeed.
Paula Junn is from many places. Born in New Jersey and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Paula enjoyed living in Cambridge, MA for eight amazing years. She is now pursing a Master of Fine Arts Degree at the California Institute of Integral Studies and is passionate about creative expression and building healthy, loving communities.
Painting: © Amy Ackerman — “Hope Two”
Poem by: ALEX BLANK MILLARD
Watching is the worst
But, we are always watching.
We watch through her
together, Future and Past.
Each day, she grows closer
to Future and further from me.
I become younger, by comparison.
She begins to forget our favorite moments:
Kissing Eduardo beside the Chirimoya tree
when we were five, when his touch was welcome.
that delicious Leche Asada el Cocinero used to make
when our feet still dangled off the stool,
….when we were still impressed by desserts.
But el Cocinero is too old to make puddings anymore,
mostly he sleeps, unneeded,
since our parents died two springs ago.
I feel like an orphan,
so we all do.
Each night she lets us in a bit
before she sleeps.
Future pulls at her with aspiration and fantasy
but not I.
I whisper to her of games we played by the water.
When we were too young to care about modesty,
….when we were free and wore our hair short and curly.
I make her giggle with stories of small adventures,
….and amigas fuertas
When we were naive and brave, when we were our own heroes.
When we knew so little we knew everything.
Before our ojos lost their shine.
Alex Blank Millard has an MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. After 15+ years of working in education, Alex now runs her own consulting business in Philadelphia. She is also a panel member, answering reader questions for the project I Believe You | It’s Not Your Fault and runs the project Women* Draw Penii. Her most recent writing can be found at xoJane.com. You can follow Alex on twitter @hippoinatutu.
Photo: Chris Ridings, © FATC
Poem by PATEEL EULMESSEKIAN
“You’re breaking me as a human being,” my friend tells me,
as I recount the happenings of the year before in September 2012.
She sits, crying about the boy she loves.
I don’t know if he loves her back.
“It’s pleasant in its tastelessness,”
I heard my aunt say in the background chewing on a Chia.
Press 0 if you want to accept this call.
Mama, mama, mama did you pucker your lips when you first kissed baba?
I tell grandma I won’t be able to hold her hand because my hands will sweat so much
her hands will slip right through.
She tells me to keep a kleenex in my hand.
At the bar, over whiskey, his friend says, “She’s a keeper.”
I’m not sure I want to be kept,
Hey guy, what’s the matter with you!
I should write about my thoughts, but how?
Share this with the rest of the world?
The beauty of poetry is the willingness to bare yourself to others,
and accept unacceptance.
Is this really how I’m going to die?
This poem is a journey into numerous worlds, observations, friendships, and familial relationships. Emotional growth comes about in this poem as well. The idea of growing up, feelings, sharing a life with someone else conjures up positive anxiety, one that allows moving forward. The first part of the poem is spaced evenly with a space in between, but the lines get closer together as it progresses into the second stanza, where rapid thoughts cloud the mind. The speaker starts to get uncomfortable as soon as it becomes about herself. I included conversations with a mother, a father, a grandmother, an aunt, and a friend. The intimacy is allowing the world into not only the speaker’s life and private thoughts, but other characters involved, and how they view their surroundings.
The questions that are mentioned in the poem stem from honesty and frequent processing in the mind of the speaker. There are two long sentences, but one is extremely lengthened and it is a reference to an intensely heightened feeling of indecisiveness. The character/speaker feels conflicted with themselves from sharing a part of themselves with another. I pieced together different points of intersection with different people, which seemed appropriate once I completed the puzzle. Once a poem is written, I take a break and let it breathe on its own. The speaker converses with the poem and treats it like another entity. I’m not afraid to say the speaker is me. The first line and the last line of the poem are complimentary. The first speaks of an event that took place, and the last is a reflection on the event. The middle portion is what happens on the sidelines. Life still goes on but, the thought of that day lingers and questions arise. Pateel