The night is filled with the sound of your breathing by Robert Beveridge
I don’t know how there is a field
of lavender in the middle of this dive
with its inconstant fluorescents
and bourbon that tastes like water
and yet here we are a dozen drinks
deep in an attempt to find even that first
sheet to the wind that will enable you
to ask me what’s wrong and me
to strip off the veneer of “oh, nothing”
or “I love you and I’ve never told you”
and get to the real heart of the problem
which is how all this lavender attracts
these weird genetic butterflies who
flit around and dig at the floor, build
a silver river that runs from our stools
to the little hallway where the bathrooms
are. Maybe because the bulbs work there.
The Protracted Game by Karlo Sevilla
This quarantine, my poor children
play hide-and-seek in the confines
of our little house. To prolong
the game and spend more time
having fun, my little daughter,
when it’s her turn as seeker,
when she spots her elder brother,
does not announce it right away.
My son is not amused at her device,
calls her out as she feigns ignorance.
He doesn’t like it when the seeker pretends
to have not yet found what she already has.
Sliding over the Edge by Susan J Wurtzburg
The Yokohama coast where railway tracks hold the land
close to the seashore like a giant zipper.
Wooden sleepers stretch north to Kaena Point,
an albatross sanctuary on Oahu’s rocky tip.
A promontory across the ocean, and many mountain ranges
from my father, lost to geography.
The landscape impinges on his daylight hours,
four white walls, a wheelchair, and a door.
No entrance to the world. He has exited his mind
and left his body untenanted, an empty shell.
This dry husk of a man, confined to a bed, no walking,
but occasional gliding, nurse powered.
Motionless, but for a flapping arm, almost like a wing
practicing flight, skin transforming to feathers.
Plumes of hair upright, but inside an old sea bird preparing
to launch from his wheeled chariot.
Rounding skyward, an avian intervention giving sanctuary
as his mind slides over the edge of reality.
Spending his final years airborne at sea, so ideal
since he always loved birds, especially albatrosses.
Zooming in Neverlandia by Fay Loomis
condemned to Zoom
in a lineup
where am I, she yelps
(giggles ripple through gallery view)
did you steal my ankle bracelet, too
(hysterical hooting arcs toward release)
The New Partner: Loved Up in Lockdown by Romy Hooper
I know you’re going to tire of the smell of my shit.
I suppose even mothers will tire of theirs,
despite them all talking about the preciously
coveted moment with their bowels,
behind a locked door.
A door that doesn’t open,
but gives the lock enough slack
for our toddler hearts to squeeze through
dying for a hug.
You’ll get sick of that.
You’ll tire of the endless mornings spent in my ritual,
completely unaware of that part of me,
Now it’s all game-changer territory,
sentences like ‘we’re all in this together’
turn rapidly into
‘if you’re going to isolate for a month together
you’ll either emerge married or broken.’
These things travel through my tubular ears,
clinging to synapses who know what’s best,
and ignoring them anyway,
cos Fuck Them,
You’ll tire of my incessant wine bottles
and the time I’m willing to spend exhausting
all the ways we could make money in this
Perspective will be key
You’ll tire of my need, sometimes to recede.
Unable to understand that the role I’m assuming
is to document this for our wannabe children
somewhere down the track.
Someone has to let them know their origins.
Unfair not to.
And you’ll tire of my references to him.
The past lover you’ll want to decimate
but I won’t let you.
Through the thick speak of stories, and the
unravelling of what we were to each other
they’ll all come out.
Clean of anything that’s makes them anything,
other than part of the folder entitled
Or ‘Who Was.’
I can’t decide yet.
You’ll tire of me, dear lover.
And you’ll realise then,
that I’m an imposing someone who taught you
that magic was still alive,
at a time when we were being programmed
to have it mean nothing in the stratospheres
You’ll tire of the magic,
because I’ll be responding to what Our Government
tells us to do,
as well as, I hope, what We need to.
Trying to cling to the fragile tails
of the kites we were intending to fly,
and the picnics with stilettos I’d turn up in
to impress your friends
on your lunch break.
Obsolete is a hard word
attached to a hard line
we all have to tow now.
And I honestly don’t know if it’s right to tow it with you
but everyone else has it harder, aye?
I’ll miss your loving stares when it’s all
cut and dried, and laid out for you
in a way that’s easeful.
And, my love,
I’ll aim to discover these things in our durational pass
with a fervour that equals the sun.
Patient, but equally ignited for whatever will come.
Romy Hooper is an actor, writer and voice artist from Tāmaki. Graduating from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, she always loved poetry and was determined to fuse it with her theatrical career. Her spoken word solo play took her to Bristol’s Boomtown Festival, she was in the Southampton’s company for the Pop Up Globe, and she narrates audiobooks for Blind Low Vision NZ, while working for the Auckland Fringe Festival. She recently completed filming The Gulf, and Warner Bros feature Centrepoint.
Fay L. Loomis grew up in rural Michigan, migrated to California, and now leads a quiet life in the woods in upstate New York. A member of the Stone Ridge Library Writers and the Rat’s Ass Review Workshop, her poems and prose have appeared in numerous publications. Fay is also the author of three books on outdoor sculpture for the cities of Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and Lansing, Michigan.
Karlo Sevilla of Quezon City, Philippines is the author of three poetry collections: Metro Manila Mammal (Soma Publishing, 2018), You (Origami Poems Project, 2017) and Outsourced!… (Revolt Magazine, 2021). Recognized among The Best of Kitaab 2018 and twice nominated for the Best of the Net, his poems appear or are forthcoming in Philippines Graphic, UK’s Poetry and Covid Project, Small Orange, DIAGRAM, Matter, Eunoia Review, Black Bough Poetry, Ariel Chart, Dissident Voice and elsewhere.
Susan J. Wurtzburg was born in Toronto. A retired academic (Ph.D., Anthropology), she lives in Hawaii, where she writes, and runs her editing business (Sandy Dog Books LLC), in between biking, hiking, and socializing online, while she waits for the pandemic to diminish. Susan’s poetry has appeared in Bindweed Magazine, Hawai‘i Pacific Review, The Literary Nest, Poetry and Covid, Quince Magazine, and the Rat’s Ass Review. She belongs to the Rat’s Ass Review Writing Group.