Sunday, October 21, 2018

Volume 39 Cover Reveal

Featuring Worcester artist Robert Munford and the winners of the Worcester County Poetry Association's Annual Frank O'Hara Prize and College Poetry Contest

We're excited to reveal this year's cover showcasing Robert Munford's "The Kiss." 

The manuscript is now in the hands of the printer and will be out later this fall.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

From Volume 38: "Wool Hats " by Elizabeth P. Glixman

Wool Hats
By Elizabeth P. Glixman

It’s time to close the windows,
take out the wool socks and blankets,
hunker down as if it is war.
The enemy is at our front door
holding the grenade of wind, rain,
and cold in his hand.
The hats are on the bed
knitted in autumn colors like the last leaves
lying on the ground beneath the maple tree
outside the bedroom window.

Wasn’t it May yesterday
when I shook the hats.
Pieces of crumbled leaves
and weariness fell on the bed
from cradling heads.
I put them away with moth-proof
packets of herbs.
They became closet prisoners.

New clothes, new generations appeared
Swimsuits, dresses, t-shirts, and cargo pants.
Today these clothes of freedom are in jail
for the raw winter.
The orange, raw-umber red hats are in the light,

ready to cover heads.
The lambs of the spring are not yet born.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Open for Poetry Submissions

We are open to poetry submissions now through January 31, 2019. Visit our Submittable page to submit. Fiction writers, we will be open for submissions again January 1 to January 31, 2019. We look forward to reading your work!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

From Volume 38: "Blackberry Season " by Joannie Stangeland

Blackberry Season
By Joannie Stangeland

When the house pours its yellow light
into the day’s long wake, we become
swimmers treading water, dusk an ocean

here in the back yard. Slowly we float
to the sound of ice in a glass of tea or gin,
guitars on a neighbor’s radio,

dandelions unwrapping like anemones,
urchins, a spiny seed for every thought
planting again this unasked-for harvest

drifting as the smell of blackberries
settles, holds the last of summer close
and deep enough to make us heady.

Here with evening falling into our arms
we know we’ve stayed inside too often,
felt strangers to our own hands,

the fortunes we can’t read on our palms,
our wishes charted to some other porch
where cleaner windows gleam, gold islands.

The wake behind the last boat thins
to plain water and salt. Robins nest in the eaves,
and we founder on our wooden chairs

in the swells of that purple scent,
begin our stories again, starting
Once upon a night with so many stars

Sunday, July 8, 2018

From Volume 38: "White Walls" by Julie de Oliveira

White Walls
By Julie de Oliveira

My mother looks beautiful
As she wipes down long lengths of
Cold marble with glass cleaner.
She smiles as she dusts underneath
Picture frames of sunburnt,
Blue-eyed, blond-haired children
Building sandcastles a thousand summers ago.
She knows this house so well,
She knows exactly where to cross
On its creaky waxed wooden floors
As not to make a sound as she steps,
The only sound is the swish of her mop.
She scrubs the insides of their oven
With her dry cracked hands
On her feeble God-fearing knees
As I do their dishes.
Making sure to speak
In our native tongue,
She tells me what she would’ve done differently;
Peach walls, not eggshell;
Suede, not Italian.
Cristo and the last supper and
Arroz efeijão, not mac ’n’ cheese.
The constant in and out of our family,
Neighbors, and people we’ve never met
But welcome with open hearts anyway
Because we understand the lonely,
A cold bed, and a foreign country.
Less space on white walls; more family.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

From Volume 38: "Cleaning the Bathroom " by Jennifer L. Freed

Cleaning the Bathroom
By Jennifer L. Freed

His towel, hanging rumpled on the bar,
holds the ghost of his hands.

His Pears transparent soap.
Two strands of silver woven through his comb.

The hamper—full
of his clothes. Can you carry them

down to the washer, hang them
on the line?

And then
can you fold them smooth against your chest

and let them go
to Goodwill? 

In the shower, dandruff shampoo
he thought he’d try. 

On the door, the empty
hook. When

will you wash your hair,
stop wearing his robe?

Sunday, May 6, 2018

From Volume 38: "Atlas of the Known World and Surrounding Regions" by Andrew Gent

Atlas of the Known World and Surrounding Regions
By Andrew Gent

The squirrels have built a palace
in the crook of a tree
high above my bedroom window.
Hanging gardens, stately
antechambers, harems
and exotic bazaars,
all hidden within a clump of leaves.
I see the dignitaries
come and go,
preening and twitching
like leaders of the great
industrialized nations of the world.
In the neighbor’s yard,
two members of parliament
argue the finer points
of the Sumerian calendar
while the blue jay
calls them names.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

From Volume 38: "I always dream about money: or the mediocre happy poem" by Jacqueline Morrill

I always dream about money: or the mediocre happy poem
By Jacqueline Morrill

She answers the door almost naked
But for leopard print undies
The asshole of an orange cat stuffed under her right arm
His sleeping head cradled against her bare breast
And a plate of meringue cookies balanced in the other hand
“Hey babe!”

This is what our life looks like
What my mother has come to call the “poor phase”
As if everything is temporary
And we’re just waiting for the next level.

It is the reason why my hair looks like straw and rat tail
Why our everyday costume is more than slightly shabby.

Some nights, with our bodies bracing against the cold—
Because I refuse to keep the oil burning,
I pray we might find a winning lottery ticket lost under the driver’s seat.
But we don’t buy lottery tickets, no extra cash,
And we don’t play scratchies because my dad is superstitious.
My sister enters Publisher’s Clearing House every month and hasn’t won yet.

I am sad for myself
I am sad for this generation of degenerate debt-collecting hipsters
With dreams of poetry and poppies
Told we could be anything we want
An overwrought population of millennial potters
And bakers
And candlestick makers
Thanks to Mr. Rogers and Big Bird
for our downtrodden mantra
All you have to do is dream and you can achieve.

My all poet friends are potheads
Smoke dangling words like grapes above their angry, hungry mouths
My working friends are tired
Earning less than the total of monthly bills
Living the life grad school and dean’s list has gifted
My parents are unemployed
Car salesmen are a dime a dozen
The cape house retirement forgotten.

I am an unpatriotic American,
Disgusted by jingoism with hopes for a better next month
Raise your glasses, here’s a toast to
Health insurance, job security, life insurance
Rent, electric, cable, phone, school loans, school loans
Gas, maybe groceries this week, more school loans,
Car insurance, mortgage, heat, life
Walking dead horny homunculus spitting ink
Onto signs reading God Bless the estimated 3650 homeless
Worcesterites hobnobbing from Kelly Square to Webster Square
Peg-legged, pit-mouthed, and sucking dry air from a God
We don’t
I can’t believe in anymore.

But today, when I see her smile
A soft furry purring thing at her side
The smell of red sauce stewing in the kitchen
And the ring on her fourth finger that matches my own
The ring that symbolizes the freedom to touch in ways Russia could never understand
The freedom to love in ways Uganda kills for
The freedom to proclaim unity in ways Arizona can never refuse
I don’t regret the $40 copay for intent to unionize document
Or the $75 marriage license
Or the $20 bottle of cava to celebrate
Or the $100 in tips saved up for three days
For tapas barely covering tiny square plates
Our swan-arm taste testing cold meat
that melts on our tongues to heal daily sores slow, slow.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

From Volume 38: "Watching the Film About Robert Bly" by James K. Zimmerman

Watching the Film About Robert Bly
By James K. Zimmerman

hair white as the snows
he remembers, sky
he writes about

nail-bitten hands pushing
rocks uphill, furrowed
still flutter like sparrows
when the wheat is ripe

gray eyes full as a morning
fog in Minnesota winter

voice at times the honk
of a goose in migration
laugh of a midnight loon
prideful lion’s roar
bellow of a moose in rut

on his serape
his father’s dust lingers
Basho whispers in his ear

the popcorn is very good
with butter and salt

and after, there is a long line
at the urinal, drumming

Sunday, February 11, 2018

From Volume 38: "Altamira" by Harry Gordon

By Harry Gordon

After the Fiesta de San Fermín
we drove up from Pamplona
to Laredo and slept together that night
on the beach
where the ebb is so extreme that
in the morning it looked as though
the ocean had disappeared.

I can still see you lying there
at dawn, dozing,
as satisfied and indifferent
as a pub cat.

That afternoon we drove up to
see the ancient paintings
on the low ceiling of the Altamira Caves,
handsome, sinewy deer,
bulls, and horses, their muscles
contoured by the stone.
There were no men in the pictures,
so I convinced myself that the artist was a woman.

We crawled in on all fours,
like the beasts above us,
and in turn lay on a rock worn smooth
by thousands of tourists
and one great artist.

I remember lying there and looking up
and, near the charging bull,
seeing her tiny hand print,
her signature in ochre,
the only thing left of her now.

I reached up through time
and placed my hand on hers
and wished that I could be that close to you.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

From Volume 38: "Suburban Housewife" by David S. Macpherson

By David S. Macpherson

When I was a suburban housewife in the 1970s, before everything changed so drastically, you could play with your kids and still smoke cigarettes. You didn’t want your kids to smoke, but back then, we believed in the old adage, “Do as I say, not as I do.”  Soccer had just become popular so I drove the kids in the station wagon to practices and games. Or they ran off to another kid’s backyard for T-ball or touch football or whatever else suburban kids did to fill up their day. You didn’t worry where they ran off because they never left the block. Back then, your kids were safe in someone else’s backyard.
When I was a suburban housewife in the 1970s, I had to find ways to fill up my days as well, but I didn’t have the luxury of T-ball. I had laundry to do. I had groceries to put away in the green Formica cabinets. I had bathroom scum to wipe up. I had Tonka trucks to trip over. Throughout the house, I played music: Neil Diamond, Mack Davis, Crystal Gayle. Back then, music was wholesome and smooth.
I left the albums of my childhood in the closet. My favorites: Buddy Holly, The Kingston Trio, Ella Fitzgerald. Those records were too painful to listen to. It reminded me that I was not in New York anymore. That I would never get a chance to go to the Village Vanguard to hear Dave Brubeck or Thelonious Monk anymore. Now, I was a suburban housewife living outside of Chicago in a land of green manicured lawns and garden gnomes. You didn’t talk about being a New Yorker, let alone a Jewish New Yorker. Back then, you wanted to act as goyish as possible. Wonder Bread was safe bread.