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If Joe was here, I’d offer him tea, sugar bowl with miniature spoon,

Slice of lemon as if an English sophisticate

Able to quote Milton’s Latin poems without a stutter

I’d pinch my neck blue, credit a make-believe lover with eyes colored bruised

Put a single red rose, without a vase, on my old grey coffee table

Act as if the table held as much magic as any grey sky before rain

Sit a Spell

–John Dorsey
enlightened me to
the fact that dilapidated
houses in northern New
England can be worshipped

while listening to Gimme Shelter

was not just a
convenient irony.

Did We Ever Dance?

I always feared the devil
but did succumb to his
dances with the orchestra

many times.

Maybe you
were with me?

Statement from a Syllabus

Classic Literature is
insanity feeling good at the
moment of its conception.

Two Poems by Paul Jones

The Good Butcher

The good butcher ignores the bones.
He seeks out the soft tissues,
the parts that hold parts together.
He has set the saws aside.
He reaches for the broad cleaver.
It will do for cutting sinew,
for exploring the spaces
ligaments and tendons conceal.
Whatever holding on was had,
the butcher has disjointed,
disassembled, disunited.
Yet nothing is broken or hewn.
He stacks the once familiar flesh
in the cold room. Except the chest,
whose intact ribs, he hangs on hooks.

____________

Lunar Explorer

“Now I am drinking the moon,”
Jimmy age six said one night when
we sat outside after dark,
when the crickets were crisp
musicians coming closer,
and the fireflies as thick
as stars were forming their own
kinetic constellations
as if eons were passing
just above the uncut grass.
Jimmy was tilting his glass
of Coke at an angle that
caught the moon glow, another
ricochet for sunlight
held for a moment in his
small tight hand. He chugged it
down then he made a sound
like a distant train, high
then low, then high again,
as the fizz went up his nose.
“That’s how the rocket sounds
when it tries to land,” he said.
He sat the drink on the table.
He clapped his hands loudly.
“Then it crashes in a crater,
but it’s the moon that explodes.”

____________

 

Paul Jones has published poetry in many journals including Poetry, 2 River View, Red Fez, River Heron Review as well as in cookbooks, in travel anthologies, in a collection about passion (What Matters?), in a collection about love (…and love…), and in The Best American Erotic Poems: 1800 – Present (from Scribner). Recently, he was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and two Best of the Web Awards. His chapbook is What the Welsh and Chinese Have in Common.

A manuscript of his poems crashed on the moon’s surface April 11, 2019 as part of Arch Mission’s Lunar Library delivered by SpaceIL’s Beresheet lander.

Jones serves as Board Member at Large for the North Carolina Poetry Society and is Vice President of the Board of Trustees for the North Carolina Writers Network.

Three Poems by Shawn Pavey

Poem Without the Words “Heart” or “Bone”

 

Cows in a meadow don’t bother with beauty.

Cow interest lies in tender grass
to break the fast of a cool night’s sleep.

A rooster crows in the distance.
Birdsong from leaves just changing tint.
Crickets chime and tree frogs drone.

A stormfront threatens rain.

____________

At a Weathered Picnic Table in Georgetown, CO

 

Tired looks like it needs a haircut and a shave.
It lives in bones and might need a shower.

Arthritis tells me I may never have been young.
Pain dulls a mind easy like high school ditch weed.

While viewing sunlight on Rocky Mountain aspen leaves
in October, think of dandelions in spring’s front lawn.

Yellow is not gold and gold not yellow.
Logic and taxonomy tells us these things.

Waiting for a train, in this case, is not a metaphor.
Waiting for a train never feels like a metaphor.

A train is coming a train is coming a train is coming.
Waiting for a train never changes that.

____________

New York City

 

A good slice,
a real bagel,
jazz from subway buskers.
Not once did you disappoint, New York.
Grand Central.
Penn Station.
Stops on the 6 train.
Car exhaust, diesel fumes,
hot pavement, sour trash,
fermenting piss, cheap cologne,
hot dogs from street vendors,
butter in bakeries, it’s all there.
Sound. There is always sound.
Horns and sirens, saxophones
searing through a chromatic scale,
shouts in languages you’ll never understand,
engines and squeaky brakes.
Pigeons in Bryant Park, mole sauce
at that little joint near The Parkside Lounge.
Pastrami and pickles at Katz’ with Matthew.
Beers wherever we could find them.
A fancy hotel with my soon-to-be wife.
Every face on the street a poem
you can’t help but love.

____________

 

Shawn Pavey is the author of Talking to Shadows (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2008), Nobody Steals the Towels From a Motel 6 (Spartan Press, 2015), and Survival Tips for the Pending Apocalypse (2019, Spartan Press) which was 1st runner up for the 2020 Thorpe Menn Literary Excellence Award.  He co-founded The Main Street Rag Literary Journal and served as an Associate

 

 

 

 

Shawn Pavey Bio

Shawn Pavey is the author of Talking to Shadows (Main Street Rag Publishing, 2008), Nobody Steals

Three Poems by Victor Clevenger

I Will Never Know Why

a young woman
holding a red rose
like a magic wand
on a pittsburgh street corner
needs $5 to feel satisfied

____________

 

 

Poem for a New Generation of White Sheet Wearers

licking the dried blood & pride
from your grandfather’s cheek bones
does not make you tough
it just leaves a bad taste lingering
on your ignorant tongue

that you’ll one day have to cut out
of your own mouth
if you ever desire
to passionately kiss the soft lips
of forgiveness

_____________

 

Asking Generations to Come

how far back in history do we go to ease sorrow

blowing our hot breath against an ice age

like dead dandelion scraps towards sunbeams

as we still attempt to melt every bullet ever owned
into harp strings

for you

As I Age by Luis Berriozábal

 

Time dissipates as we pull
away from each other as
if love never existed at all.

Some find paradise in a cheap
hotel and others find it
in beautiful beaches and islands.

Who ever feels fulfilled? I
get sand in my eye and find
roaring waves wash over me.
Still, I seek an elusive love.

The years go by and I am
still who I have always been.
There is no secrecy in
my pain. As I age, I flaunt it.

Thinkin by Neila Mezynski

 

Think I’ll talk to myself not having you here to listen.
Been gone so long.
I’ll go for a walk to hold your hand that’s not here residing in flannel all round warm.
The blue shirt your blue that is sorely absent from on you. Warm round in blue.
Fit my hand.
Baseball hat not good for all those black curls damped down tromped on too small.
Your food so nice spice take so long. Food nazi. Sorry.
Think I’ll do a party or go whichever I mean impossible.
I’ll jump out of a plane with you of course but don’t know now if I’d feel safe in the rarified air of you not there.
Think of making work with steel with you to lift off shelf and do balancing act with marshmallows so soft.
I could jump too but don’t have your soft curls to keep the air gentle for soft landing.

 

The Place by Dan Provost

The Lounge,
Bar, Tavern, Inn…

The place…

Where worries are beheaded…

And promises go home–

Never kept, only arranged

While fear rolls on the ground
eyes staring up

At you during your
long stumble…

 

the only black man
in two counties
to drive a mercedes
on our country roads in 1992
It was your father’s
after years of teaching music
to backwoods kids like me

people had known you
all your life & still
they stopped you
to ask where
you were going

when the truth is
you were just like everyone else
seduced by the frost
& going nowhere.

Two Poems by Mike James

Wind & Those Afterthoughts

There are windy days where we think a lot about our hair
This is more likely if our hair is long
Even if it doesn’t catch sunlight burning downward
Or doesn’t hold darkness in place
The wind likes long hair
Though long hair is not an instrument for the wind to play
Long hair is something to feel and feel
So every stylist loved Rapunzel and the joy she gave
For days after leaving her tower, they forgot the world of tears

____________

Once In A While

A chicken egg aspires to be a tumbleweed.
A tumbleweed tires of being mistaken for a roving bird’s nest.
A bird’s nest has an everyday wish for travel.
A grey heron prefers shadowed fresh water to sky.