2 poems by James Diaz : “Mother-poem” & “the Weight of What You Carry”

Photo by HilLesha O’Nan

It's Mother's Day
again, because how lucky we are
some of us,
that when it reappears on the calendar
there is someone
to reach out to

not that it's so simple
a lot of therapy
in the intervening years
a lot of sifting through ashes
for intact pieces of bone
in order to pick up a phone
and call home.
we learn the art of water
going over or around hard stone.

we have written many new geologies of our mothers
but those maps were drawn up years ago
we've since found that forgiveness is what comes
from acceptance and that acceptance is what comes
from the way things are

we would have wished for better, safer memories
no matter how bad it was
there was love, I think
without trying to overdo it
it's just that some things are always what they are
and I can accept that or I can dig myself a hole
trying to fix someone else's bad weather

but today I called my mother
and told her I loved her
and I make mention of an old friend of hers
who is in a lot of pain and very  lost
and then she goes on for awhile about an -
old resentment between them
and I think: how beautiful that I can't just let my mom  -
be this way
and understand how hard it is for her to be otherwise
and not drown in her litany of lamentations

she has probably not long
and I know that I will miss even this one day
the simple song of a stone I could not reshape with my own water
the sound of her voice haunted by time
but she is mine
and I can finally say this now
with no hesitation in my body
I love her
and I just needed to call home
to remind her of that.

The Weight of What You Carry

Let me fall
I think & think
so hard the moment
gives way
to mirror
& where it hurts
is somehow where it sings
also this:
I belong
right where I am
boulder to boulder
and the sky is plenty deep
and far away
I think I know you, traveler
have seen your face
be brave, someone say it, please
be brave and here
and wait for it
because things come through the waiting
blessed little hits of light
there is always a thing left undone
until you just do it
just do it, traveler.

Bio: James Diaz is the author of This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018) and All Things Beautiful Are Bent (Alien Buddha Press, 2021) as well as the founding editor of Anti-Heroin Chic. Their work has appeared in Line Rider Press, Resurrection Mag, Negative Capability Press and As It Ought To Be. They have never believed in anything as strongly as they do the power of poetry to help heal a shattered life.

An Interview with James Diaz of Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine.

3 poems from E. Samples in Fevers of the Mind Presents the Poets of 2020

What if Some Day or Night a Demon *

Darkness or truth
Silence of dark
Tall and alone
Grows space
Between stars
Soaks timelines
Fugitive straining to hold
Witnessing a still death
Frozen mid-night
Crystalline adrenaline cloud
Breathing a still life
Slab of floor
Toes cold-shocked
Black lacquered caul
Bare skin
Palpitating blinks
Shadow scent devours
Slippery silhouette
Glitching corridor
Silence. Dark.

*"What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: 'This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more'..."  - Friedrich Nietzsche , the Gay Science


III. Clocking In

Clickclick Click;
Second hand soldiers
compile unemployed minutes
The solstice wind's evening shift begins
Towers fill with
Punchpunch-ing, Punchpunch-ing
In the catacombs
leaf spotted scrolls stir,
anxious to flare a finger snap

II. Clocked

Rotating seasons remain
on schedule, force-fed
Doomed to forever
in all directions
until the paradox
and nonsense of saying:
it obeys; it counts; it moves;
strikes like flint hitting steel,
cracks open dead brush, ignites,
and once flaming sets
a blaze incalculable

I. Clocking Out

Breathe-take and
spill sacred formality
on the last. clean. day.
Think about building
a black hole planet;
Sphere eating sphere
within a coal dust
stained marble mantle
Step off the curb of Kentucky,
hot iron poker in hand
Land on the bluegrass of a universe
perpetually remade to the tune
reductio ad infinitum and
determined to bend you
until you break

oceanic feeling

we come on, hips synching
palm to palm slapping
skirts skimming thighs;
shoulder to shoulder
bioluminescent wings
ripple celestine dew
we're black onyx vibration
and fiery sirius glittering;
a scorching signal shore to shore
we're unidentified aerial
disco balls waxing,
rainbow waves cresting,
hear us kinetic spinning
roar after roar, come on

we're deep wells rising, spilling
salty selenite froth-faced
embracing foot after foot
tumbling satin and sandy
gypsum, silica stars
mirroring voice after voice,
come on, all dancing all
breathing body over body
arms outstretched, reach out
we're two feet off the ground
hearts thudding, we're the sound
come on, come on
we'll carry
we're the lift up and dive
we burn bright and roll
all flooding all
we're the come on
come on, we're happening

Bio: E. Samples is an Applachian cocktail poet; one part West Virginia Mountain Blue ink, two parts Kentucky Bluegrass Black ink, and a generous dash of Tennessee Red-inked Whiskey. She lives in the sweet corn stacks of Southern Indiana. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Still: The Journal, Soliloquies, Abridged, Re-Side, Variant Lit, The Loch Raven Review, Black Bough Poetry, Fevers of the Mind Poets of 2020 Anthology, Crêpe & Penn, The Cabinet of Heed, Lucent Dreaming, Plainsongs, Kissing Dynamite PUNK Anthology, Feral, Capsule Stories, and elsewhere. She's on twitter @emilysamples

Poem by Margaret Royall : “Communing with Monet”

Communing with Monet

Today we happened upon a house in Giverny
huddled contentedly by fields where Monet's Muse
strolled daily through the gently swaying poppy throng,
past teeming birdsong hedgerows, where bold notes were fused
in perfect synchronicity with Nature's mood
We paused, imbibing watercolour splendour there,
Inspired, I took my paintbox, harvested the scene...
Voilà, the virtual scent of lilies fills the air. 

Margaret is a Laurel Prize nominated poet. She has been shortlisted for several poetry prizes and won the Hedgehog Press’ collection competition 2020. She has two poetry collections:
Fording The Stream and Where Flora Sings, a memoir in prose and verse, The Road To Cleethorpes Pier and a new pamphlet, Earth Magicke out April 2021. She has been widely published online and in print, most recently: Hedgehog Press, The Blue Nib, Impspired &
forthcoming in Sarasvati and Dreich.
She performs regularly at open mic events and facilitates a women’s poetry group in Nottinghamshire.
Website: https://margaretroyall.com
Twitter: RoyallMargaret
Instagram : meggiepoet
Facebook Author Page: Facebook.com/margaretbrowningroyall

2 poems by Chris L. Butler : “A Moonlight Dance with Two Strangers” & “If Offred Isn’t a Fictional Character then Bring Me Fred Waterford”

A Moonlight Dance with Two Strangers

I was an apprentice. & she was 
a corporate damsel in distress
who did not know of the scars 
behind my mask. Nor the struggles 
endured just to hold her for a moment

She was a queen. a goddess, 
filled with magic beyond limits.
Her nectar, sweeter than Nefertiti’s.
Ballad after ballad played 
before we had realized 
we’d been dancing for hours.

She was overjoyed that evening
like a southerner at their first sight of snowfall
& under that wintery moonlight we danced
with the electricity of ecstasy 
vibrating through our bodies.
If only I could live here forever
gyrating under celestial chandeliers
inside this ballroom of bliss

If Offred Isn't a Fictional Character then Bring Me Fred Waterford
for June Osborne

I remember watching The Handmaid’s Tale
an apocalyptic novel now playing out on televisions
a system of crooked men in suits calling all the shots
a society where the people are kept from veritas.

Is it really dystopian? because I don’t see how
that’s not just another speculative storyline
that needs to be reshelved in the nonfiction aisle.

If Offred is real, then bring me Mr. Waterford
& Lord, let me be Muhammad Ali
transform me into a fighter with an iron meat hook
let me devastate his jaw with one bee sting
I wanna cause his teeth to confuse their placements
like a mouthful of jellybeans. For Offred, no June.
& the others these immoral souls have harmed

Bio: Chris L. Butler (he/him) is an African American and Dutch poet/essayist from Philadelphia, PA living in Canada. His debut micro chapbook, BLERD: '80s BABY, '90s KID (Daily Drunk Press) is set to be released in August 2021. He is the Associate Poetry Editor at Bending Genres and a feedback Editor for Versification Zine. You can read his work in Flypaper Lit, Trampset, Perhappened Mag, The Bayou Review, and others.

2 Poems by Linda M. Crate : “Anyone Can Appreciate the Light” & “Until He Was Gone”

Bridge, Forest, Fantasy, Trees, Light

anyone can appreciate the light

no one checks
on the strong ones
not even when
you remind them to,
beg them to or subtly
cry out for help;

i know that i am strong
but why can’t you allow
me to be vulnerable?

sometimes even i need
to cry without feeling i will
be judged,
and always i am just expected
to shove my emotions down
so that others can be comfortable
in my presence;

but there are days where i am aching
i don’t need or want to wear a mask—

if you cannot handle my rain then
don’t stand with me and celebrate my
rainbows because anyone can appreciate
the light.

until he was gone

i still think of my uncle
twenty years later,
it will be twenty one
this october;

his depression was too strong
to hold at bay and he took
his own life because the demons
of this world were stronger
than he could endure—

i wish that people could’ve
known him and his art,

it was his dream that he could
just work on and sell his art;
had he held on a little longer maybe
with the internet he could’ve sold some
of his pieces—

i still have the last letter he gave me,
and he speaks of getting more bills than
personal mail and how he was grateful
for my letter;

i didn’t realize he had depression
until he was gone.

Bio: Linda M. Crate (she/her) is a Pennsylvanian writer. Her works have been published in numerous magazines and anthologies both online and in print. She is the author of ten poetry chapbooks, the latest being: Hecate’s Child (Alien Buddha Publishing, November 2021). She’s also the author of the novella Mates (Alien Buddha Publishing, March 2022). She has three micro-poetry collections out:  Heaven Instead (Origami Poems Project, May 2018), moon mother (Origami Poems Project, March 2020.), and & so i believe (Origami Poems Project, April 2021). She has published four full-length poetry collections Vampire Daughter (Dark Gatekeeper Gaming, February 2020), The Sweetest Blood (Cyberwit, February 2020), Mythology of My Bones (Cyberwit, August 2020), and you will not control me (Cyberwit, March 2021).

5 poems by Linda M. Crate