Wednesday 21 February 2024

David Q. Hutcheson-Tipton: Weather

Windshield wipers 

bat away raindrops.

Mom is driving. I ask where are we going?

                           (I think,

                           (Are we running away?)

She & Dad are

not getting along, 

might get a divorce,

if they do, who would I want to live with—

*

For years after “going to bed” 

I’ve been lying in the hallway

where Mom & I wait

during tornado warnings/

watches before climbing into

the linen

closet

            

            Dad power-walks out

the front door,

his eyes scanning the sky 

for funnels

sleepless,

waiting for voices 

to grow tense. Inevitably: 

“Mary, why don’t you see a psychiatrist?” 

“John, how can talking to one help?”


*

A dozen times over as many years 

she locks herself in a bathroom 

clutching a bottle of pills

she threatens to take 

as Dad

mows the lawn

[The final six lines appeared under the title “Harmless threat” in One Sentence Poems, November 2023.]


David Q. Hutcheson-Tipton is a poet and semi-retired physician. His poems have found homes in Red Eft Review, One Sentence Poems, and Unlost. He lives near (and occasionally in) the Colorado Rocky Mountains with three miniature poodles (a few other people, as well).

Tuesday 20 February 2024

Maurice Devitt: The Uncertainty of Winter

There is a darkness on the brightest of days,
maybe just a speck, but he knows it’s there,
a last wasp ghosting behind him,
tripping his mind with the fear of the sting.
He slows his step, turns around
and it’s gone, just a stranger laughing
or a blind spot in the mirror. Takes five
deep breaths (a recentring technique
he’d picked up on a talk-show and started to trust),
busies himself with other distractions, hoping
that starved of attention, it won’t slink back
into his peripheral vision, firstly as mote
then full-blown spectre, standing
in the middle of the room, spotlight fully on.


A past winner of the Trocaire/Poetry Ireland, Bangor Poetry and Poems for Patience competitions, Maurice Devitt is the curator of the Irish Centre for Poetry Studies site. His second collection, ‘Some of These Stories are True’, was published by Doire Press in 2023.

Monday 19 February 2024

Fred Pollack: The Street

Sometimes you hear a voice that’s hard
to identify: soft, husky,
that of a woman who wants
you. And you hurry
joyfully towards her through all
the obstacles, which include
your bones and lungs and heart. But as

you struggle, the voice becomes that
of your mother; it’s time
to come in. And you cry, Oh no,
see how bright the day is,
the street is safe and I’m not tired;
and she, with the mystifying sound of a tear,
says it’s not and you are.


Fred Pollack is the author of The Adventure, Happiness (Story Line Press; the former reissued 2022 by Red Hen Press), A Poverty of Words (Prolific Press, 2015), Landscape with Mutant (Smokestack Books, UK, 2018), and The Beautiful Losses (Better Than Starbucks Books, September 2023). Many other poems in print and online journals. www.frederickpollack.com

Saturday 17 February 2024

Cindy Ye: The Package

I have wrapped up all our shared memories in a paper box,
covered by light blue plastic paper and sealed with tape.
I don't like bows, paper flowers, or other cheap decorations,
and a square box is just what I want.

I will call the delivery man to pick it up,
he will charge me an additional three dollars
for another cardboard box to wrap it in,
and then send it off for me.
The delivery will begin as air cargo,
and upon landing will be transported by truck.
I didn't choose expedited shipping,
so reaching your place will take about seven working days.
The delivery person might be careless
and leave it on someone else's doorstep.
So, if by that day you haven't received it,
you can take a look at other people's homes.
(But be careful not to be mistaken for a thief and reported.)

I must leave for an unfamiliar place,
where nothing was familiar to me except soil and plants.
I have to burn each piece of soil into bricks to build my house,
and plant each apple seed into apple trees
to have something to eat.
If I'm lucky, I'll meet strangers, learn their language,
and understand why
they name December after shooting stars.
Then I'll write letters to my friends,
hopefully, I can begin writing when the apples ripen.

The plastic wrap may have faded by then.
And the colour will have seeped into the cardboard box.
By then, I hope that you have already opened this package.
Otherwise, you might appear blue
in the memories that you see.


Cindy Ye is a graduate school admissions advisor and a sustainability advocate. Her writing explores bonds between individuals that go beyond verbal communication and conventional interactions.

Friday 16 February 2024

Glen Wilson: Play

She takes it seriously, my cat Molly,
every limb committed
to its part, inching forward
smooth and silent. The crow
is busy with his repertoire
of caw, croak, and rattle.

And I only notice this high stakes moment
as my radio drama has just finished,
the tune of Barwick Green fading,

- and then with a leap my cat sinks teeth and claws
into the bird’s black mass, feathers scatter
from torn pinions, they twist together,
calico to black to calico to black and red.
The crow gets in a few jabs with his beak
before it is beat.

Then it is still,
She purrs over her prize, licks her wounds,
every choice a consequence,
and slowly walks over to her saucer.
She laps the milk I left out this morning
before disappearing over the fence.

I ready myself to clear the body,
for I’ve done this before, it does no good
to put it off. Just as I go to open the door
another crow lands beside his fallen mate,
and as if giving directions, he is resurrected,
and flies off, having given the performance of his life.


Glen Wilson is a Poet from Portadown. He won the Seamus Heaney Award for New Writing (2017), the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Award (2018), the Trim Poetry competition (2019), and Slipstream Open Poetry competition (2021). His collection An Experience on the Tongue is available now. Twitter: @glenhswilson

Thursday 15 February 2024

Jeff Burt: Premonition

I had left my friends exhausted by conversation
and good will to walk the gravel road home at night.
I heard the chatter of tire-tossed rocks in the distance.
I moved toward the ditch and raised my thumb.

A car approached and a car went by.
Pine needles whispered, scything the air,
cutting down the wheat of the yard lamps.
I skated happily on gravel toward home.

Befriended by trees that could not speak,
how could I know, then, life would turn like this,
the beckoning of a road without furthering light,
the tug of communion with others like a rope

tied to the pier once taut, then slacking,
that friends extend and woods bring back.


Jeff Burt lives in California with his wife, floods, drought, earthquakes, and forest fires. He has contributed to Williwaw Journal, Willows Wept Review, and Sheila-Na-Gig, among others.  www.jeff-burt.com/

Wednesday 14 February 2024

Tom Kennedy: Resilience

I am an ear of corn:
I listen to the wind,
I feel the sun's caress,
I am blessed by the rain.
If I suffer the imposition
of your desire
to cut me down -
thrash and bind me,
crush and grind me -
you will still find me alive
as you knead and mould me,
shape and fold me,
into whatever form you wish,
far from my field of birth,
my earthy days.
Even as you consume me,
I hear your praise.


Thomas Kennedy is a member Dun Laoghaire Active Retirement group, who among other activities run a weekly creative writing course. Originally from Meath, he is now retired and lives in Dun Laoghaire.