When I ran away to visit my friend,
five hours by plane, we got drunk in
her kitchen and stomped our feet when
we laughed and dunked ice cubes with
our index fingers into glasses of whiskey.
One night later, she introduced me to
her friend, a madman with hair like silk
and I got all wrapped up in his strange
colors. He sang me his songs and I,
swept away, warmed to him.
We wrangled that night on a twin bed
in the guest room and slept, my fingers
tangled in his hair, his pale back against me.
The next morning he was strange, silent,
beautiful still, but his eyes wanted nothing
from me and, when I touched his hand,
he pulled away. He reached into a bowl
on the Cedar Heights buffet where there
was fresh fruit. “Here,” he said, “have an orange.”
Like Cisneros, I am delighted with my disasters.
Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is
LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Press). She is also the author
of WHAT WE CAN’T FORGIVE. LATE NIGHT RADIO,
PERHAPS YOU COULD BREATHE FOR ME. HUNGER,
AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE: POEMS 1996-2006, NOT
UNTRUE & NOT UNKIND (Arabesques Press) and R
UNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: C
ollected Poems (Red Hen Press). Her poetry has appeared
in numerous journals over the past four decades. Martina lives
in Hollywood, California with her husband Brian and their best
is not whether or even how but
we are shriven
with the essence
of souls, of hearts
we have earned to deserve.
You want to feel it like
a sprinkle of superfine sugar,
licking it from your hands, your arms,
but it will come more sweetly
in the woods where nothing
escapes God's notice
no not for an inkling
of time or fellatio
or even for the price
of a bargain
at George Washington's best white sale.
In our time
herein on Earth
will we notice how the sparkles
of creation can
siftle through bare branches
and sensuously budding
leavings of lowdwellers
to become say a cell in the body
containing everything someone else was
or will be
if we are open to that kind of berthing?
The question of belief
becomes the essence
of what you crave,
proof, if you need it,
dropping into hair
or onto skin
or onto clothing
to make its quiet way
catching one by the hair or
glazing one's arms or legs leafily,
gouging the skin
with a perfectly-placed
briar of pain,
diving through a pore
seemingly beyond our ken.
He was a finger-picker, and I was a frailer,
and she was this beautiful dark-haired guitar
with this forthright mischief in her eyes,
this clef tattooed above her sacrum,
this mother-of-pearl shiver she sent up
my 15-year-old spine. I was in love with her,
me, a masturbater in God's eyes as I locked
the door, closed my eyes, and my mouth
sang mute accompaniment to my own flailing
hand: traditional enough, but back then
I thought I'd go blind if I kept it up. Then Doc
Watson came to town with that happy guileless
Tennessee voice, that flat-picking style as clean
as a ringing bell, and his son Merle on banjo.
We both bought tickets and asked her to go.
You know how this story ends. She goes with him,
the finger-picker. And I can't stop crying.
And I can't stop frailing. And six months later
Merle dies in a tragic tractor accident,
and Doc stops singing for a long, long time.
She left him for her ex
who played the 5-string banjo
in a bluegrass band and whom
she'd left for him--and not
three months before--for a short
wound him like a string around
the tuning peg of her index,
touched him and he stiffened,
and he sang. And he broke
down and wept when she went back
to her banjo-playing ex
like a second thought about
a second fiddle, a repeating
chorus or refrain. So he went out west
to forget her. But he couldn't forget--
he saw her everywhere, saw her hands
in the hands of strangers, saw her hair
on the heads of strangers, saw her breasts
in the shapes of the Grand Tetons
high against the big Wyoming sky
at twilight. And on a side street
in Jackson, he saw it in the window
of the pawn shop, its slender neck adorned
with mother-of-pearl inlay,
its fifth tuning peg indented like
a new paragraph, a new chapter,
its pale full-moon face a blank
slate. And he bought it for fifty bucks
which included the case, capo, strap, three
fingerpicks and a Mel Bay's Learn to Play
the Five-String Banjo book. He was
motivated. To win her back, of course.
And of course he didn't win her back.
But he did learn to play in a frailing way
"Cripple Creek" and "Old Joe Clark"
and "Sail Away Ladies Sail Away."
Paul Hostovsky is the author of five books of poetry,
most recently Naming Names (2013, Main Street Rag).
His poems have won a Puschart Prize and he has been
featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer's Almanac.
kosi is leaner these days, starved
it's only a trickle,
knee high at the most
no need of any boat, anything
and sit by the edge
of the woods --
(still meter gauge!)
only three mail trains
will pass by
throughout the day
you know. . .
Kanchan Chatterjee is a 45 year old male executive, working in the ministry of finance, government of India. He is from Jamshedpur, Jharkhand India. His poems have appeared in various online and print journals, including, Eclectic eel, Mad Swirl, Shot Glass Journal, Jellyfish Whisperer , Bare Hands Poetry , River Muse, Decanto, and Ygradsil. He is a Pushcart Prize (U.K) nominee for 2012.
waiting in vain
for another turn of
this stupid dance
while the saddest song
Peycho Kanev is the author of 4 poetry collections
and two chapbooks. He has won several European awards for his poetry and he’s nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Net. His poems have appeared in more than 900 literary magazines, such as: Poetry Quarterly, Evergreen Review, Columbia College Literary Review, Hawaii Review, Cordite Poetry Review, Sheepshead Review, Off the Coast, The Adirondack Review, The Coachella Review, Two Thirds North, Sierra Nevada Review, The Cleveland Review and many others.