ONLINE BONUS: The Hunger of Tides

DaVinci was convinced that the tide was the breath of a beast

he could not see.

You agree.

It swamped your sandy house in the super storm,

washed your grandfather up on the wrack line,

pulled under the heavy mood of the mother

you barely knew as she tried to stay afloat.

Stay afloat.

You wish you were born part tide

and rise above these anxious seas. I will take what you love,

it sings, pressing you

to love

so little, so little, pressing you to rise and fall, rise and fall.

What the tide wants from you, you do not want to give.

 

Galileo felt in its movement the movement of the Earth, moving him

to write

that the Earth is not the center of the Earth, moving him

to live

under house arrest until he died.

When you dove into the Mediterranean, it rocked you against a crag

that rose out of that wild sea

as if it too, needed to breathe. Breathe. It opened your wounds

to brine—

sinew, muscle, nerve, memory, shame—

and bone.

The tide continued to roil Galileo’s imagination.

Imprisoned in his home, he looked at the stars for confirmation

until he went blind.


Peter E. Murphy was born in Wales and grew up in New York where he managed a night club, operated heavy equipment and drove a taxi. Author of eleven books and chapbooks of poetry and prose, his work has appeared in The Common, Diode, Guernica, Hippocampus, The New Welsh Review, Philadelphia Stories, Rattle, and elsewhere. He is the founder of Murphy Writing of Stockton University in Atlantic City.

 

ONLINE BONUS: The Trash Truck

After William Carlos Williams’ The Red Wheelbarrow

so much depends

on the

gas-guzzling

monster

 

who collects the shit

we don’t want

anymore

 

steel jaws

snarfing down

castaways

 

snaking through

narrow streets

 

orphan remnants remain

napping next to the

zinnias


Ellen Skilton is a professor of education whose publications have appeared in Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Curriculum Inquiry, and Rebelle Society. She is in the first year of an MFA Program in Creative Writing at Arcadia University. She is a chocolate snob, a swimmer, and lives in Philadelphia.

 

ONLINE BONUS: When I Try to Let You Speak through Me

I get myself in trouble again

Conjuring you

 

Must be I want to summon

Your response to this moment

 

The bank of language

Stuck back where you left off

 

I want to bring you in

So say what you may

That must have been meant for me

Alone or no one

As in spoken only in fury or despondency

 

Still I struggle to regret

Letting you muscle me to silence

 

Now I take your voice places

You would not want to go

 

I am afraid where else

I can find you

If not when I believe I know your take

When I let your voice resound


Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry, Senior Editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal, and a Regular Contributor for Versification. He is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press). His work has appeared in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Cleaver Magazine, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, and elsewhere.

 

ONLINE BONUS: Hard-hitting Bob

If I want to recall my father’s snow-blue eyes

and his father’s before him, and that old man’s

high, cracked, Rhenish accent

 

there may be no more certain way

than to remember how they looked

when I asked them to name their favorite ballplayers

 

Grandfather Harlan – breathless, piping – said

“It vas Chimmie Foxx, the Dopple X.”

and his mind pushed aside a Shibe Park turnstile

 

but I think Daddy heard a broadcast reconstruction,

the mock A’s and the imitation crowd

unspooled on wire recorders in a studio,

 

then, from a Philco long since dust,

a drumstick socked a hollow block

and: “here’s another long, long home run

 

for the pride of Pryor, Oklahoma,

Hard. Hitting. Bob. Johnson.”

The distance in my father’s eyes,

 

looking past us to the clean arc of a ball

through cloudless skies of pure belief,

to watch once more what he had never seen


A native of eastern Pennsylvania, Jack Romig lives with his wife and son in the Berks County village of Huff’s Church. He was a longtime manuscript editor with Book-of-the-Month Club in New York City. His poems have appeared in The Fourth River and in the former online journal Common Sense 2, where he was poetry editor for three years.

 

ONLINE BONUS: Weed Gallery

The bull thistle, yes, with fierce spines.

Bright blooms on every stem

aren’t sufficient to make it a flower.

 

But how can a violet be a weed? I know

it’s invasive, but April violets glow

in the grass, shy when spring’s starting.

 

They’re blue, not violet, as is clear

from the rhyme. Wind stirs

last year’s leaves, and under my feet

 

five-petaled blossoms gleam

like dark stars. Hawkweed lifts

yellow blooms on its thin stems.

 

It’s a sign of bad soil. But it shines

at the roadsides, and bindweed climbs

on anything, attaching itself to hedges

 

and fences. Yes, it’s a weed, and trains

moan at all hours. Broken-down

cars rust on small lawns.

 

And when I step out under blue-silk

skies, it will be sweet to walk

among flowering bindweeds.


Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared in Lake Effect, Cleaver, Faultline, Small Orange, Meridian, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

ONLINE BONUS: Looking for Spoonbills

This morning I see robins are back,

the first birds I learned by name. How many

lessons were written on the blackboard,

 

the worksheets, the little red desk? My mother

thought everything good in my life came

down to Miss Chase, my first grade teacher.

 

Not the hesitant Sunday School teachers

up the circle stairs to a rickety room

where I pasted noodles onto blue paper.

 

In school  I never found out what moves

on the soft bed of the Atlantic, what makes

its own light in the dark, its body transparent,

 

its skin flashing. O, Miss Chase, didn’t you

realize huge plates of earth crash into

each other? All I know has been flipped

 

upside down and shaken out like a giant

snow globe. This morning Curtis Adams,

teaching on TV, says I can do it, woo-hooing

 

to show how hard a workout I do

though I’m in a chair fluttering my legs

and lifting 2-pound weights. Sometimes

 

I’m threadbare, but on the TV, Florida gleams

in the heat. My mother met me in Florida

once, too old to fly though I didn’t know it

 

till she came through the gate unsteadily.

She was smiling, ready to find roseate spoonbills,

pelicans, limpkins, eager to learn something new.


Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared in Lake Effect, Cleaver, Faultline, Small Orange, Meridian, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

 

Biopsy

you escape

the coil-spring trap

leave the ripped

 

foot there

pooled in blood

you have been

 

touched by

the hot instrument

of pardon

 

see the lawn lit

by benediction

light at the end

 

of day silver

pond a mirror

towers of clouds


Barbara Daniels’s Talk to the Lioness was published by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press in 2020. Her poetry has appeared in Lake Effect, Cleaver, Faultline, Small Orange, Meridian, and elsewhere. Barbara Daniels received a 2020 fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Sympathetic Magic

Old brauchers knew the making of good beer from pumpkins,

the preparation of ripe poultices to fix sore eyes and hearts,

the scribbling of mystic letters that, tacked to the lintel in a grid,

would drive the worst of malefactors from the door.

 

The learning of these arts, they knew, embodied one fixed rule:

A man can teach them only to a woman; a woman only to a man.

 

And so with us. This of you, that of me, in rites of bed and table,

exchanges older than the spoken word, new incantations purely ours,

and secret spells invoking skies and seasons, wind, soil, water, light.

 

We may bury a potato under the eaves and repel all wickedness.

I will show you.

 

*A braucher was a healer in the Pennsylvania German tradition of folk medicine.


A native of eastern Pennsylvania, Jack Romig lives with his wife and son in the Berks County village of Huff’s Church. He was a longtime manuscript editor with Book-of-the-Month Club in New York City. His poems have appeared in The Fourth River and in the former online journal Common Sense 2, where he was poetry editor for three years.

 

Under Quarantine

I watch her watch her mother wave

goodbye through the window

of her room in assisted living,

 

each pressing a single hand

against the glass pane,

palm to palm, as if in prayer,

 

a gesture lasting but a moment

before daughter, a masked

store clerk, departs for work—

 

their loneliness an orchid

dropping its last leaf.


John Sweeder’s poetry has appeared in Burningword Literary Journal, Shantih, Better Than Starbucks, and Haiku Journal, among other venues. His first book of poetry, Untethered Balloons, was published in March of 2021 by Adelaide Books, New York/Lisbon. Now a retired professor, John was born and raised in Northeast Philly and taught at La Salle University for 30 years.

 

Busy Night

The car alarm jabs the neighbors awake

every fifteen minutes when its bark

sets off the strays in their chorus

of call and response and the supermarket

down the block has an alarm, too; it throbs

like a synthesizer overlay on an old disco track,

but the neighbors don’t dance except for

the young couple across the street who hustle

out on the stoop to the rhythm of their

raised voices, the angry tempo of go ahead

and do it, of big man, of bitch, while

sometime traffic on Broad Street whispers

its wheels on asphalt to hush its roll

through streetlights’ amber cone before the siren

song of the EMT’s carting someone in the truck

to the ER on the other side of town while neighbors

wish, maybe, that they were in one of the planes

overhead, the belly-lights sly wink like

saying, You know this is all bullshit, right?

before it screams down onto the runway

at the airport across the river – or perhaps it’s

the ringing they hear borne in the brief quiet

of their own bedrooms, the brazen scurry

of blood through their ears’ capillaries, the rattle

of breath only they can hear like a dream

they can’t quite rise from, a song almost recalled,

its ancient refrain on a loop they can’t shake,

in the mystery of sleep, awake, a puzzle, impossible,

like how, after all, day breaks without a sound.


Chris Ritter is a Philadelphia native living and working in a South Jersey suburb.