We too are crashers at the Pot-Luck Party.
But by the time we got here, bounties had
been laid for us to sample. We had to
make room for what we brought and made, edging
other dishes aside on the Grand Table,
sliding in more leaves, adding more chairs.
Halfway through chatter, munching, and libation,
our Host, though, disappeared, and now it’s we
who gather and wash the goblets and tankards,
put out rinsed plates, and answer the door chime
for the newcomers, party-crashers all—
plus make sure our drunk friends get home all right.
The uninvited guest turns into host,
then legacy of drinks and dishes past.
James B. Nicola has published work in
Tar River, the Texas Review, The Lyric,
Nimrod and many others. A stage director by profession,
his book Playing the Audience won a CHOICE Award.
His first chapbook of poems, “Still,” was published by Stasia Press.
On my dresser, the Magic 8-Ball sits
there untouched; its dust-lined cracks
in need of a good shaking. I cradle
the hard plastic sphere in my hand
like an infant’s skull. Its smooth black
surface seems to glide along my oily palm.
I am not superstitious, but I can’t help
but wonder if this cheap toy could really
offer me a porthole glimpse into the future?
I stare deep into the vatic blue ink cloud,
as the twenty-sided die swirls around
inside. “Will she leave me?” I whisper
to this wordless confidant, all while tilting
the Magic 8-Ball onto its paint-stenciled
top. But it says nothing, the die is stuck
and, in that moment, the answer is forever
lost to a dark haze of uncertainty.
John Roth is a writer from Ohio whose poems
have most recently appeared,or are still forthcoming,
Let us put on our masks
And dance around each other like snakes.
This is my skin today. Tomorrow I might look different.
I think I will go to sleep in the leaves
And find myself a new face.
Your dirty brown eyes touch me more than fingers.
I don’t want your attention any more.
Retain your dignity.
One down, everyone else to go.
I like the white pages, endless possibilities.
So cold, I am on fire!
I want to be in the water, to swim past the bones clicking together with the tides.
I want to swim into the dark places that were once filled with light.
So much space
I can hardly breathe.
Full of clouds
Swallow them down.
Dreams keep us afloat.
Paper bags in the river.
The girl with too much eyeliner
Someone on the phone.
Speaking a language I don’t understand.
Don’t look at me.
Imprints of life
Keep it moving
Even if nothing is moving
Except the trees outside
And the occasional car over the bridge.
Long hair makes the lady
Lipstick lights the way.
To shelter under.
Mascara, magic wand.
Add more, to start the bond.
Coffee catching down the back of my throat.
So much silence.
So much noise.
Empty seats between you and me.
Keep it that way.
In three weeks something will change,
Like a movement from vagueness to clever
Specificity. It's the evolution of an anonymous
Seed birthed into a boldly defined birch,
It's the names etched stroke by stroke into its bark, and
When rocking chairs, toothpicks, and book pages
Emerge from the woody substrate, forms
Carved out of cellulose contingency.
It's the short shift from thought to action,
From fantasy to passion, from a year's tyranny
Of separation to a ride, together, from
JFK airport to an as of yet undifferentiated location.