November, 2015

Tick by Erin Belieu

Remind me of a similar devotion;

how the head, buried
deeply in the brush

and guilty of damp flesh,
becomes platonic
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.

Poetry is important because it explores what it means to be fully human.

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]

Robbie Gamble is diving into an MFA in poetry at Lesley University. He has had poems appear in Ibbetson St. Press, The Christian Science Monitor, Main Street Rag and Modern Haiku. He works as a nurse practitioner, caring for homeless families and individuals in the greater Boston area.
Robbie says, “Poetry matters to me as a reader and a writer, because it creates a space for those vital conversations that take place in the strange and difficult-to-access contours of our psyches.”

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.

Jon D. Lee is a poet and folklorist who teaches literature and composition at various Boston-area universities, and is always hard at work on the next project. He has two books of poetry, most recently These Around Us, and his poems have been anthologized in Follow the Thread. His work as a folklorist recently resulted in An Epidemic of Rumors, a monograph on the role of disease narratives in outbreaks. When not writing, he can be found playing with his wife and two children, or hitting the running trails.

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
streaking still
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
to make.

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.