21st Century Schizoid Sonnet by Sam Rasnake
– King Crimson as soundtrack
The rich tableaux –
leaf to forest to wind
in the middle of
concrete and steel
promises and broken
chains for puppet jaws
freeze the tongues
above the news crawler
then give way to mantra:
forget the napalm
bring the iPhone
The wars are
in the street
Subterranean Quarantine Blues by Robert Krantz
Every hundred years or so,
some guy kneels down.
on the bones of his father’s fathers
to plead to the lesser gods
who made tiny flowers—
red-spored and wasp-hostile—
bloom like chain-moored mines
in Chinese seas—
bombs to split
the world in two.
He sweeps red petal remains
into consuming fires,
gathers ash for the hour
of our death.
We’ve walked the markets
of Wuhan, licked the backs of bats
that hang like drops of spittle
between my mouth and yours.
This is the story of men
who pray—eat, love and pray;
pray, and speak…
Do not be Betta fish—
says the prophet—
rage-puffed in bowls
on super-store shelves.
Do not seek a crack
in the indeterminant sky
and a moment to flop
through its open mouth.
Our dream is Siamese,
conjoined for sharing,
in sickness and health.
Do not let your yin
convict your yang,
the beast is gray-stained
and seething in all of us.
Instead, be still
and love your neighbor,
if only from
six feet under.
Moonglow by CTD Robinson
Maybe if I squeeze my eyes closed
the image will imprint beneath
the folds of my skin—to the fleshy
parts of my bleeding being—
like an ancient wax seal or even a brand,
as if the blue hue of the full moon’s
painted sky weren’t outside embalming
the still silent snow in its nightly shroud
but bloomed instead from the warmth
of each orbed, aging eye. Maybe if I
squeeze them closed I’ll remember
every detail—the trees, their tranquil shadows,
the moonglow, unassuming and bold,
as it lights the way to my midnight snack
and so many other uncovered choices.
Maybe, with them closed, I’ll meet you
and other long ago lost ones. And we’ll
dance with Stevens’ Moonshadow, floating
between here and elsewhere, above
and below the luminous glow, as we listen.
Allegory by Christopher Locke
April 14, 2020
A blackbird’s trapped inside my bedroom,
popping the bright window like a child’s
bruised hand. Golden eyes eerie with pupils—
all of him nerve-wracked & wired & furiously
mute. I want what he wants, so I bend & creep
to the other window, grit-toothed & pillow
shielded, alive with Hitchcockian terrors I still
imagine, even at this age. I fumble with the sash,
look over my shoulder at another dry flourish,
his desire heated to almost a reckoning, & I
duck & weave & grimace until the frame
gapes & he funnels like chimney smoke up
into all that blue. But I never think to ask
where did he come from, & how did he choose
the silence of this house, this captive place
where we still dream lost as those wings.
Dawn from the Balcony in Accra by Kath Beattie
High above the rustle of shade trees
Ghana stretches into a new day.
At first flicker of light, the air
dances, clamorous workers greet,
crows shriek, car horns blast,
night-blooming jasmine perfumes.
Below in the courtyard clear slaps
of the djembe ring, the dunun rolls
and from the corner, the soft haunting
tones of the mbira call me to drum.
I pause, drink in the atmosphere
create a memory. Deeper than water,
sweeter than pineapple juice
it seeps and stains my veins,
forming a permanent batik.
Kath Beattie’s published work includes children’s readers/stories/poems/ chapter books/adult books. She has had 50 or so adult short stories, poems and essays/ articles published, broadcast or placed in competitions. She has taught creative writing and runs two writing groups. Writing and reading are a passion, as is theatre, art, the outdoors and life in general.
Robert T. Krantz is the author of four chapbooks of poetry, including mishigamaa and Gargoyle. His latest, Something to Cry About (Cathexis Northwest Press), was released in 2019. His individual works have been nominated for the Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prizes, and have been featured in Hamilton Arts and Letters, Grasslimb, Pittsburgh Poetry Review and others. He lives in the suburbs of Detroit.
Christopher Locke’s poems, fiction, criticism, and essays have appeared in, among others, The North American Review, Poets & Writers, The Rumpus, Another Chicago Magazine, Poetry East, SmokeLong Quarterly, Verse Daily, Southwest Review, Slice, Gargoyle, ARC (Canada), The Literary Review, The Sun, Contemporary Verse 2 (Canada), West Branch, Rattle, Agenda (England), 32 Poems, Rhino, Saranac Review, The Stinging Fly (Ireland), The Southeast Review, Barrelhouse, Whiskey Island, The Adirondack Review, and NPR’s Morning Edition and Ireland’s Radio One. He won the 2018 Black River Chapbook Award (Black Lawrence Press—2020) for his collection of short stories 25 Trumbulls Road, and his latest poetry collection, Music For Ghosts, is forthcoming with NYQ Books in 2022. Locke received the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Award, grants in poetry from Fundacion Valparaiso (Spain), and PARMA (Mexico), and state grants in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts. He has been nominated for Best of the Net and The Pushcart Prize many times. Chris lives in the Adirondacks where he teaches English at North Country Community College.
Sam Rasnake’s works, receiving five nominations for the Pushcart Prize, have appeared in OCHO, Wigleaf, > kill author, Big Muddy, New World Writing (formerly The New Mississippi Review), Literal Latté, Poets / Artists, fwriction : review, MiPOesias, Portland Review, Best of the Web 2009, The Southern Poetry Anthology, MiPOesias Companion 2012, BOXCAR Poetry Review Anthology 2, Dogzplot Flash Fiction 2011 and Lost Children. He has also served as a judge for the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, University of California, Berkeley, the chapbook editor for Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and editor of Blue Fifth Review. His collections include World within the World, Cinema Verité and Inside a Broken Clock.
CTD Robinson writes poetry, fiction, nonfiction and picture books. She obtained her MFA in creative writing from Lesley University in June, 2018, and anticipates earning her MA at The Bread Loaf School of English (Middlebury College) in August, 2023. Recent and forthcoming publications include poetry at Spillwords Press, Soul-Lit and Braided Way, as well as nonfiction at Solstice Literary Magazine and Kripalu.org.