THE LOUD HONK by John Grey

Traffic near stalled.
The car in front of me
continued to occupy
the place I wanted to be
more than any other.
But, as the vehicle inched forward,
so did that place.

I could see the back of the head
of the woman driving.
It didn’t matter who she was,
what she looked like
or whether her personality
was frothy beer or iced tea.
I couldn’t tell if it
was her selfishness,
or just plain luck,
that saw her edge by
Greg’s liquor store
moments ahead of me.
or stop for some guy
in the crosswalk
when that was a role
I could only see myself in.

I finally pressed my finger
on the horn
because I wanted her to know
that, though she was already
crossing Elm street
and it looked like
I wouldn’t make the light,
that tomorrow could well
be a different story.

That was the sound you all heard.
Not my impatience.
My ultimate vindication.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Sheepshead Review, Poetry Salzburg Review and Hollins Critic. Latest books, “Leaves On Pages” and “Memory Outside The Head” are available through Amazon. Work upcoming in Lana Turner and International Poetry Review.

The Gutter Moon by James Eric Watkins

Gazing in
the ghetto
its glow stares

into my mind
in to my eyes
as I rise from

the flickering debris
from the shadows
themselves

from the crevices
filled with tears
and broken dreams

from the compression cracks
in the concrete sidewalks
and the screams of sirens

from the overdoses
of heroin and sadness
from the madness of bad choices

from the filth
and the flashes of
red and blue, from

the ashes of forgotten
faces hidden in those spaces where
only lies are to become true.

And then, as always
there is you, so many miles away
yet emanating a faith

so strong in the light while
chasing out the blackness so
much further into this night

pushing the last
minute particles
of dust and darkness

so far away/from the gutter—Moon.


James is drawn to art and the complexities of life the way smoke draws to a sudden draft.

pumpkin has entered the chat by M. Roanoke

Bitches, please.

Come at me,
with your
sweaters
and scarves
and seasonal
drinks,
your campfires,
treats,
your crisp-cool air and
cozy glee.

Tell me
how you
live for spooky season
only
when you have
died for it.


M. Roanoke (they/them) is a queer crone and folk artist based in Kansas City, Missouri.  Their interests include anything subtly outrageous and/or gently menacing. Their work has been published or is forthcoming in “Focus on the Fabulous: Colorado GLBT Voices,” and Bureau of Complaint. They are on twitter @gangyrothstein.

Look You in the Sky by John Martino

You had two heads, and now you’ve
lost one. Big bang sky with a spread
of stars where your brains should
be. Nothing exceeds like necessity.

Every inch takes a mile. Every mile
a destiny. Way, way down inside,
where the mass is always meaner.
Always the flat-top monster, never

the fright-wig bride. Last night,
you wandered lonely as a Rover
vaporizing rocks on Mars. And what
were you thinking with all that red light

cradled so recklessly in your arms?
Indigenous minds want to know.
The torch mob’s in the village, yo!
Can’t you hear that missile blow?


John Martino is an educator and writer currently residing in Hong Kong. His poems have appeared in Another Chicago MagazineConnotation PressThe Bitchin’ Kitsch, and frak\ture, among others.

This Isn’t the First Poem About a Government Death Ray by Richard LeDue

Put tinfoil on my windows
to keep out the heat
and government death rays,
but it’s almost autumn now,
so it’s time
to let the windows show the neighbours
the colour of my underwear,
while the colder weather
proves the government’s evil plots
coordinated by seasonal workers.


Richard LeDue (he/him) currently lives in Norway House, Manitoba with his wife and son. His poems have appeared in various publications throughout 2021. His first chapbook, “The Loneliest Age,” was released by Kelsay Books in 2020, and a second chapbook, “Winnipeg Vacation,” was released in September 2021 from Alien Buddha Press. As well, his third chapbook, “The Kind of Noise Worth Writing Down,” is forthcoming in early 2022 from Kelsay Books.

2 Poems by Cheryl Snell

Disquiet

Ice fringes the bare birches. Black crows
pour across the frozen sky, cawing
after an escaping hawk. The wind
waits for my body to fall in on itself─
such a long time coming, this white static─
my spine cracks like knuckles under a valve
convinced it’s my heart. Despite all
protections paid ─ mountains of kale, etcetera─
I’m no longer myself here. I’ve lost
my keys, my last address, the big picture.
Every night this week this winter
I’ve stood under a lace of snow
while freedom seized the sky─
birds clouds moon─
and felt my body fill with another
kind of melancholy. From the silence
inside my solitude comes an impulse
to explain it ─ but I’ll never utter the words.
What would be the use?
I know how slippery they sound
and how subversive memory can be.


Recursive Angel

It was years before I understood
the sun’s last yawn through winter maples;
the yard all harrowed field, exhausted
by false starts. Why must the season end
with trees dying to such an ambiguous yellow?
It misleads those of us who’ve given up.

I wasn’t always so gullible. Through
my fogged mirror, I could touch the face
of my mother, and I knew what was in store.
While I stopped looking, the fading continued,
with flicker enough for me to imagine
what more I’d lose and all I’d leave behind.

I was startled by the halo of moons
and the shapes emerging from a muffle
of dusk at first, but now I’m clear eyed
as the child I was, dreamy and melancholy.
Watch her, knees to chest on the porch,
drinking in the bright garden of the world.


Cheryl Snell’s books include four novels as well as poetry collections from Finishing Line, Pudding House, Moira  Books, and other small presses. Her work has most recently appeared in Eunoia Review, One Art, and The Rye Whiskey Review, and others. She lives in a suburb of DC with her husband, a mathematical engineer.