Marjorie Maddox

Duo of Dusk and Past

Always
the high notes crack
at the edge of sunset,
then slide past horizon into
never.

Never
into then. Past horizons slide
toward sunset. At the edge,
cracks sound high notes
always.

All Souls’ Day, 2018

Even now, awash in the world’s weeping,
Joyce, Richard, Rose,
they do not rise, but float,
bloated reminders of hope
Jerry, Cecil, David, drowned, drowning,
tense too often a matter of attention
to soul or soul-
full of what we’ve lost,
Bernice, Simon, Daniel,
the memory and the chanting
twinned tightly to whatever
belief we sing, whatever
Melvin, Irving, bodies we cradle
in the dark grave of corruptibility.
O slain cousins of ancient faith,
pray this day for us.

Not-so-hostile Takeover

All red-hot July,
            yellow bobs
                        in a sea of green
                                    until a blue breeze
                                                            and gray time
finally take aim,
            fire a whiff of wind
                        across wispy white seeds
                                    that parachute far and wide,
                                                            house to house, yard to yard
and all is gold,                             Gold,                                  GOLD!

The Day I’m Supposed to Read Poems on Blizzards a Blizzard Arrives

And it whirls me up into white—pages twirling
out and away, cold the stranger in the front row
I owe an ode to when all I have are ballads
on blizzards, like the one that uncovered
for my father a stranger’s still-pulsing pump
in a pile of wrecked cars, yes, that one,
plus other assorted disasters of the heart
and will, which—piled up these weather-
stricken days—did, I confess to sleet,
give me the survivor’s desire to not
careen down the blank highway
past ditches and near-misses
to read to an audience
of no one—everyone
else with a backbone
of sense/sensibility
hunkering down,
as I did after all,
here by my
electric fire
typing
ice.

A boy and a girl

hold my hands into the next decade,
their minute fingers tightening
by the second over the life-lines of my palms,
a Morse-code of blood tapping through the skin
we share, bodies clasped like chromosomes.
Our threesome two-step is together and apart,
similarly ticking our differences.
here will our feet and hands click us
on this new giant clock, calculating the years
with such loving and hostile precision? 

                        Snowboarding Live at the Olympics

               Lose the wheels and score with so-cool-you’re-cold,
       better-than-a skateboard, foot-sleds for snow that alley-oop
   through air with dare-you’s as slick as any acrobat’s triple flips,
          as tricky as a magician’s slight-of-wrist that’s now just
                  feet and hips jiving for that perfect winter 10.

~~~

Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Marjorie Maddox has published 11 collections of poetry, What She Was Saying (prose), 4 children’s/YA books, including Inside Out: Poems on Writing and Reading Poems with Insider Exercises; the anthology Common Wealth: Contemporary Poets on Pennsylvania (PSU Press), and Presence(assistant editor). www.marjoriemaddox.com

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

Suzanne Lea

Leaving 

She kissed the lip of every teacup
in the cupboard,
tasting each daybreak
born on mismatched posies.
Touched every spoon
with damp fingertips,
leaving only the impression of loss.
Whispered into the pockets of overcoats,
a story about cold days
and castoffs.
Asked the spider
behind the bathroom door
to remember to pay the paperboy.
Finally, she touched the corner
of the tattered Afghan throw.
The one with the intricate pattern of squares
holding everything together.
Then she gently pulled a single thread
and began the process
of unraveling every stitch

14

He is dead now. In a small beige room, I realize my hands are empty. A stranger in a navy blue suit is talking about Jesus. I do not remember where I left my cup of coffee but I am told that Jesus is nearby. The man in the suit suggests we pray for comfort. Asking Jesus for comfort feels like asking my abuser to hug me after he has punched me in the gut. I cannot find my coffee cup but I wish I could. An empty cup would be so much easier to hold than the weight of this.

Learning to Write

I am learning to write all the words I have carried around inside me. This requires a gentler touch than I am used to. Noisy is easy, writing is harder. Each time I intend to write, produce a snapshot of a thing that isn’t me, every landscape becomes a self-portrait. Without me, I can not anchor my words to a story. My writing is still in its infancy. A larvae of the animal it will become. Until it has grown to its full potential, I offer each word as a gift, a prayer, an invitation and I leave myself, willingly, caught up in the meaty tissue at the center of every story.

The Happy Hour Wolf

Leaning in heavily
ham-fisting his highball like a vice
he drops his wilted butt on the floor between us.
Smoke oozing from between his pointy teeth
he licks his juicy bourbon mustache
and smiles hungrily.
“How about a bite to eat?” he whispers into his highball 
and immediately, 
I am sure he means me.

That Kind of Girl

I wish I was the kind of girl who’d taken a left instead of a right and ended up in a different town. Perhaps if I was another kind of girl, I’d meet you in a bar and I’d tell you that I thought you were pretty, even though I meant you were handsome. I might let you buy me a drink. I might kiss you in the bathroom, pressed against the stall. If I was that girl, I’d write my name in sharpie on your hand, only this time, you’d call.

~~~

Suzanne Lea is a southern writer with a fondness for dark chocolate and swear words. She has been published in numerous online journals and magazines, as well as the print anthology, Crooked Letter i: Coming out in the South

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

Hiram Larew

Valentine

And up is low
And famished full
And night is day in many ways
And hardly if
              is really so

And love stays still and sways
And summer shivers slow
And inside’s out
And up is down
And high feels low

Flinch

The world is full of skills
And knowings of
     with eyes wising —
Too bad then
     that smarts don’t come from veering off
Too bad that keen hates bang
Because flinch is where all the weather’s made
Flinch is really where we feel akin
     (Ask any cringe)
Flinch is how the teach of sirens go
     or more badly said
How guessing knows

Forasmuch

What to notice really is
          the almost did —
What’s intended
What’s perhaps —
         its feathers spread

So yes to that – that should have been —
         how ruffles lift the wind
          where just about to
                      is the Spring
Or is that wink that skips from why to when —
           right up to where trouble’s
                      almost been

~~~

Larew’s poems have appeared widely and have been nominated for four Pushcarts. His Poetry X Hunger initiative is bringing poets to the anti-hunger cause. On Facebook at Hiram Larew, Poet. 

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

Carl Scharwath

TRUE BEING

For a moment,
Frozen in the window of my soul.
Immersed in a disquieting vision.
Knowing I will never see you again.

NOMAD

The moon quivers in the morning ecstasy
Red roses dance with reflective dewdrops
Heaven’s knowledge and eternity held
In the rapture or a wanderer’s anguish.

AXIS

The passion shall escape
  While the past,
   Flickering hungry
Is bleached invisible.

You gaze at
  The unfeigned light
   Walking out determined
From your world.

Knowing how it feels
  To be broken
   And have a black hole
On your timeline.

CREPUSCULE

Living between all boundaries
the light is always within grasp
winding through the face of another.
Entangled in the capsule of darkness
waiting to move forward in love
and paint a new beginning.

~~~

Carl Scharwath has appeared globally with 150+ journals selecting his poetry, short stories, interviews, essays, plays or art photography. His photography was featured on the cover of 6 journals. Two poetry books ‘Journey To Become Forgotten’ (Kind of a Hurricane Press) and ‘Abandoned’ (ScarsTv).

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

Shontay Luna

Surprised Septolet

  I
stomped inside
too loud, too quick.

She screamed,
startled
out of her slumber.

Doors Diamante 

The Doors
wild, dark
refreshing, probing, satisfying.
Unique, theatrical (respect, reverence)
glorifying, worshiping, adoring
illustrious, eminent,
legends.

In sleep

  In sleep’s dimmest
darkness,
it is there.
The figure stands in
the open closet,
not moving.
And she barely
sees shadow
and still silhouette
and in her room.
Until she realizes
it’s only
the mischievous
night.

Faces 

 Faces in the folds
of a curtain in
the afternoon sun.
In fleeting shadows
behind vibrant
light bulbs.
In vision specks
after sudden sneezing,
in opening of the eyes during
night’s reign.
And,
in my heavily medicated
presence,
the faces are
everywhere.

1-21-13

Sweet,
the sweetest sound
ever made.
The whisper from 
your lips,
calling my name.
Never in the world,
has there ever been,
a sound so 
sweet.

~~~

Shontay Luna is a lifelong Chicagoan who studied Poetry at Columbia College before finishing her studies elsewhere. She’s most recently published in Anti-Heroine Chic, Rigorous and The Daily Drunk. Her books include Reflections of a Project Girl and Recollections & Dreams.

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

Fizza Abbas

Scribbles 

Mouse scurrying around the house, 
stops near the site 
where remnants of a delicious meal 
are scattered around, 
to find a slice of meat 
he saw others enjoying 
at a dinner table 
yesterday. 

Upon finding his favourite cut, 
he smells the scent 
to visualise how welcoming 
would his other senses feel 
once he took a bite. 

Good food for thought, 
he would say! 

Eggshell

I agree,
since you have ingredients
to make an omelette,
you got the right

to judge my broken egg.

Words

As the darkness rolls in,
the karaoke night of mice at my house
is in full swing:
they snake around a network of hedges,
talking in riddles
with the disjointed pieces of a tale,
that they secretly narrate
to their friends
to dupe me.

Their slight eye movements
trigger the eardrums
to look too,
for a navigation map
that they think has the license
to authorize their reckless movements
and a drunken state
at this hour of the night.

The remnants of a delicious meal
make for a lack of a map,
and they end up thanking me
for a blissful evening –
Lilliputians who use ink to blot us down
matter too,
they finally say.

~~~

Fizza Abbas is a Content Writer based in Karachi, Pakistan. She is fond of poetry and music. Her works have been published at many platforms including Indiana Voice Journal, Poetry Pacific, Runcible Spoon, Better Than Starbucks, The Poetry Village, Bonnie’s Crew, Cabinet of the Heed and Foxglove Journal.

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

John Grey

GOOD AND EVIL

The carving on my wall
is some African devil mask
that I picked up on my travels.
The hollow eyes stare
all day, all night,
at the crucifix on the mantel.
There is good and evil
in everything…
even a room.

LOOK, UP IN THE SKY

Crows on a tree branch,
DC-10 heading south.

One gets roadkill,
the other, peanuts and a beverage.

They both fly
but the cabin service differs.

IN THE NURSING HOME

Each confined
to their own room,
the sick can no longer
suffer together.

No communal TV.
The tables are silent.
Cards put away.

Here is an exile
inside another exile.
Even thoughts
can’t find their way
through to other people.

THE FIELDS SURROUNDING THE MONASTERY

Day flips open the land this morning.
Some fields lie fallow.
Others are anxious to grow.
Monks move about them,
praying and sowing.
In a world made brilliant
by the beneficence of the sun.
it never once occurs to them
that they are the only shadows.

THAT POET IN THE FOXHOLES

He was a soldier.
Made it to sergeant.
Three stripes.
Wore them proud.
He wrote poetry too.
Mostly in foxholes.
Never composed one
before he went to war.
Nor when he came home.
Only when the bullets
were flying, did he think
a bloodroot worth
saying something about.
They bud,
bloom barely a day,
then die.
They never ask
for any of this.

~~~

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Sin Fronteras, Dalhousie Review and Qwerty with work upcoming in West Trade Review, Willard and Maple and Connecticut River Review.

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

Bruce McRae

Hell’s Kitchen

Today’s special is pride pudding,
smothered in poor choices.
On the menu is a rare insight,
with a side order of lifelong regret.

Chef recommends the fear of success.
Our sorrow pie is very popular.
Would you like a glass of tears with that?
Are you ready to order?

Mirrored Sunglasses

When you looked at me
you saw yourself
and did not like it.

Short And Sweet

Once upon a time, the end.

Forestry

Yesterday the elm trees nodded.
Last night the old oaks
were heard panting for breaths.
And tomorrow, the lindens will try
God’s ever-dwindling patience.

And So It Was Written

Michael said to Gabriel
something so beautiful
it must not be heard.

Gabriel replied
with a valley of mordant water,
with a sea’s worth of alum and tears.

With a hill of destruction.

Apologies

Dear Future:

Allow me to apologize
for the actions of my contemporaries.
I’m afraid they were quite drunk
on the wine of living.

~~~

Bruce McRae, a Canadian musician currently residing on Salt Spring Island BC, is a multiple Pushcart nominee with over 1,600 poems published internationally in magazines such as Poetry, Rattle and the North American Review.

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

Bartholomew Barker

Early Birds

How I hate those poets who rise at dawn
to write a couple hours before work—
Wallace Stevens especially, Emperor of Ice-Cream,
my ass! You’re not the only one with a day job.

And don’t get me started on Ted Kooser,
who should be staying up late in the flatlands
to watch the milky way flow instead of drinking dawn
from a bucket some early bird probably pooped in.

My muse sleeps in a bottle and does not awake
until neon lights buzz. She inspires the moon
and I do her bidding beneath flickering televisions,
whipping a ballpoint to get every last drop.

The only time you’ll see me in the stark morning light
is if I’ve had to walk home drunk and forgotten the way.

Holding On

As the soft skin of your leg
conceals the strength of your thigh,
I lean in close to hear your voice—
quiet as dandelion seeds in autumn
with words powerful as a storm.

Hand in hand, enjoying your perfume,
your mouth and eyes straighten,
no longer curved like the rest of you.
I don’t want to relax my grip
but know I can’t clutch onto my desire
without losing that which I hold most dear.

Yes Man

I was the teacher’s pet
not because of my smarts
but because of my charm,
smooth chocolate compliments
and precision tattling.

I knew which bully to befriend
for much-needed protection
and when to stab him in the back
then upgrade to a bigger model.

There will always be men
who think they’re great
and need little guys,
like me, to confirm
their awesomeness.

~~~

Bartholomew Barker is an organizer of Living Poetry, a collection of poets in the Triangle region of North Carolina. His first poetry collection, Wednesday Night Regular, written in strip clubs, was published in 2013. His second, Milkshakes and Chilidogs, a chapbook of food-inspired poetry was served in 2017. www.bartbarkerpoet.com

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt

Daisy Green

Loneliness 

I see the candle flickering in the shadows, the sweet smell of jasmine arouses my thirst for sensual lovemaking. I sit alone in this dark stone cottage nesting in the hills of autumn. The trees are shedding the security of their warmth, of the cold winter that is approaching.  I sit all lazy and dazed. I dream of walking hand in hand with the beautiful man I adore, step by step, crunching and crushing the red, brown, and orangey leaves.

The sound of the lambs
The tweet tweet tweeting birds sing
From my garden swing

Embrace the Reality 

Today I feel alive. There’s someone at my door. My heart joining the tapping of every knock. I open the door wide just like the look in my eyes. It’s him, he is here, he’s finally come. I wrap myself around him and embrace him tenderly.  We are lost in a stare. My eyes are shut tight. I awaken from the night. I must have fallen to sleep. With the realization of my dream. The cold stone cottage dampens my joy. I crawl from my bed and blow out the candle but there’s no point in making a wish. I look from my window and the leaves have disappeared, replaced by the spirals of icicles neatly webbed between the branches of the trees. 

Tea in the morning 
Pot of herbal for my lunch
Wine in the evening 

Word Block

Writer’s block 
Hello
Knock knock 
Racing against the clock
Assignments piled up
Until you feel the door unlock

Sit in the garden
Sit at the desk 
Bring the pen to the paper 
The books you’ve read 
Will make the words flow

Let the words you drank 
Filter through your paws

Hidden Doors 

So many hidden doors
In this house she’s never lived in before
Only in her dreams and nightmares does this house appear
Each dream revealing a new room 
Which has familiarity 
Sometimes includes her family
Doors of happiness
Doors of sadness 
This is just life
Clearing her path 

Game Over 

A marital inquest 
In which one should enquire 
Forgetting the days of one’s desires 
Togetherness has just expired 

Hostage 

Hostage to the virus 
Where is my protected vest? 
Will this nightmare rest?

Daisy Green’s inspiration comes from being a victor of domestic abuse who continues to thrive in life. Her words come from the heart and are most often dark. Her purpose, through writing and sharing her poetry, is to empower others to identify their own pain but most importantly to give hope. You can find her work at her blog – Daisy Green and on
Facebook

Untitled

If you’d like to be featured on The Short of It, click here for the submissions guidelines.

#TheShortofIt