Tick by Erin Belieu
Remind me of a similar devotion;
how the head, buried
deeply in the brush
and guilty of damp flesh,
in its gratefulness,
a perfect worship.
This is why one body,
fastened to the forest
of another, swells.
This wild dependence
of the host on her guest.
“Tick” first appeared in Erin Belieu’s collection of poetry Infanta. She is the author of three other poetry collections, including One Above & One Below, Black Box, and the most recently published Slant Six. She has been selected for the National Poetry Series, is a recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation fellowship, a Breadloaf fellowship, the Ohioana Book Award, and the Midlands Author Award, and was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, Ploughshares, Slate, and The Best American Poetry. Belieu is Director of Creative Writing at Florida State University and the MFA program at Lesley University. She is also co-founder of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.
EN ROUTE by Eileen Cleary
After he died, we pushed through
the double doors, leaving him
for the orange morning.
We rode the bus home,
its passengers blind
to the ghost among us.
Minutes weighed as much as months,
and we could not remember yesterday.
Eileen Cleary is a nurse and poet, currently studying for her MFA at Lesley University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Bird’s Thumb, First Things, Literary Mama and Westview.
Angie by Robbie Gamble
To save her right arm
they carved away most of her bicep
to release the abscess that had dwelt and grown
upstream from her favorite mainline vein.
Now she treads water with one good arm
bobbing above that sweet warm heroin gulfstream
sometimes kicking out from the undertow
but then lying back to welcome the curl of it
and she is scared shitless
and she smiles sweetly
as she toys with the lifeline
we keep trying to throw her.
[a version of this poem originally appeared in Ibbetson St. Press]
Eclipse by Jon Lee
–For Joshua, to make sense of time
At first the stars will seem immortal, perfect. All
Of us believe this when we’re young. But you are not
To blame. The fault lies in the distances that fall
Between us: gulfs of time and space that mask the hot,
Destructive cores and cool the flames. These gulfs are meant
To shield you from the storms that otherwise would bleed
The sky of air and leave you breathless. Their intent
Is right. But sometimes they can hide the things you need
To see the most: the errors in the orbits, flaws
That mar the faces–how it happens that the light
That one hour gives you warmth, the next can cause
Your skin to burn, and leave you crying for the night.
These differences may seem like lies. Perhaps they are.
But know that they are meant to shelter, not to scar.
The Sounds of Charlie by Dr. Ernest Williamson
Charlie makes sweet mumbles of the ghetto,
ghostly smoke from his horn knows my street.
his tunes walk rightly only when crooked cops arrests their crimes.
times are ticking tautologies of trite talk
but Charlie’s horn doesn’t know that.
the funk of the juke sails high over the sad tides
unlike stationary windmills moving fast
over dead grumpy fruit.
Charlie is a cool man,
but he won’t speak to me;
especially when he is trying to sit still,
in the midst of undeniable trouble.
blood filled streets
in the same ole fills
in the same ole ghetto
even as the blues in jazz make me wanna grab a horn
and listen to all of the other sounds,
Charlie rightfully refuses
Ernest Williamson III has published creative work in over 600 journals. His poetry has appeared in journals including the Oklahoma Review, Review Americana: A Creative Writing Journal, and the Copperfield Review and has been nominated three times for the Best of the Net Anthology. His visual artwork has appeared in various publications including theColumbia Review, the GW Review, and New England Review . Dr. Williamson is an Assistant Professor of English at Allen University.
Why poetry matters: Poetry is the hearbeat of our collective humanity.Without poetry, man would live a robotic existence devoid of love, reflection, and faith.