When Words Come Out to Play, by De Jackson

When Words Come Out to Play
by De Jackson

they bump and grind and sway,
find each other in the dark,
make sparks and new sparkled
syllables.

they dance an iambic cha-cha-cha
or swing or swagger,
stagger up to the space bar
for another shot of rum
-bled phrase.

their days are filled with spin,
moon-milled whim
and the frothy-follow-flow
of the sea. They’re free to
hy
-phen
-ate
as they please, catch a breeze
to some sillier shore.

Watch ’em jingle, jangle, wrangle
each other into jaunty jigs,
two-step schlep their backpacks
full of giggles to the floor.

Leave ’em to their own recognizance
and they can tumble, tickle
peanut-butter-brickle
even the most frostbitten
tongue-tied
soul.

 

 

De Jackson: In another life, De Jackson might have been a gypsy, or a pirate. In this one, she’s a parent of a teen and a tween, and a published poet who’s been paid in garbanzo beans, author copies, and one time, a whole dollar. De plays with words daily at WhimsyGizmo.wordpress.com.

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The Last Sprinkler Dance, by Amy Stumpfl

The Last Sprinkler Dance 
by Amy Stumpfl

We emerged through slamming screen doors
that our fathers never got around to fixing.
Bright colored blossoms in pigtails – all arms and legs,
pushing the season in sensible, well-worn swimwear.
The cool air shocked still-tan skin, but the low sun was kind
as we dodged icy droplets and shared freezer-burned Bomb Pops.
Goosebumps glistened as we giggled and squealed,
not knowing this would be our last dance beneath the sprinklers.
Soon, Barbies would give way to boys and broken hearts.
and friendships would fade and scatter with the leaves.
But for now, our world felt safe, easy and unscripted.
Every day was a do-over, and home was as close
as the next slamming screen door.

 

 

 

Amy Stumpfl is a freelance writer, an avid reader and reformed drama queen. She reviews theater for The Tennessean, and is obsessed with her marvelous husband and children, as well as Nashville’s amazing arts scene.

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My Left Hand, by Vivienne Blake

My Left Hand,
by Vivienne Blake

My left hand
is grubby and green
from preparing beans
of which we have a glut.

Is scratched from berrying,
with nails that need cutting –
they’re splitting from quilting –
unadorned save a  wedding ring.

Spreading ugly knuckles –
too much piano and keyboard –
with big brown splodgy age spots
and meandering blue veins.

No longer plays a solid base
on clarinet or piano,
strong and supple to tease a trill
or vamp a ragtime riff.

My left hand
has forgotten how to play.

 

 

Vivienne Blake is a late-developing poet and quilter living in rural France, recently published in The Book of Love and Loss, and in the first issue of Gnarled Oak

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Match Point, by Ed Higgins

Match Point
by Ed Higgins

our words
bounce
back
& forth.
is it
still
love
love?

 

Ed Higgins’ poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals. He and his wife live on a small farm in Yamhill, Oregon with a menagerie of animals including three whippets and two manx barn cats. Ed teaches creative writing and literature at George Fox University south of Portland, OR.

 

 

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Nijinsky’s Sister, by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Nijinsky’s Sister
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

Write me a poem
about Nijinsky and his sister –
leave out the mad dead brother,
just show the two pitiful children, taken
and raised by the state, trained
to dance through agony into grace.

Were they lovers? Or did his lover
seduce her? Hers, him?
In that confused triangle
who was the puppet-master?

Describe the manipulations,
write me of beauty and confusion
you who know about the other,
the unacknowledged sex
whose lessons are impossible and wrong.
Did she leap, as he did,
hoping somehow to break the law
and stay suspended in the air?

Make him love her; at least
write me that.

 

 

Bio: Mercedes Webb-Pullman: IIML Victoria University Wellington New Zealand MA in Creative Writing 2011. Published in: Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Otoliths  and her books Numeralla Dreaming, After the Danse, Food 4 Thought, Looking for Kerouac, Ono and Bravo Charlie Foxtrot. www.benchpress.co.nz

 

 

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Orange Orchards, by Marie Kilroy

Orange Orchards
by Marie Kilroy

At the far end of the East Coast,
miles from the metropolis of Miami,
hangs the southernmost part of Dade county.

I was often told to amuse myself
in the flat fields and orchards that surrounded us.

I would run through the rows
of orange trees behind our house,
weaving in and out like a needle through green cloth.

The fruit hung heavy on the branches:
sticky sweetness stirred into a perfume
with the breeze, mixing with the wet earth.

Memorizing my path I scanned
tops of trees making sure
the red tiled roofs weren’t out of sight.

I was raised in these tiny paths
dividing the line of land and tree.
This is where I could grow

on sticky nectar that dribbled
in tiny ripples through my
fingertips like candle wax.

It was the only place I could relax.
Those were long days, sun-filled,
before the mud-colored boxes lined the hall,

before our family crumbled,
before we moved far away
from those heat-filled fruit forests.

 

 

 

Marie Kilroy has been published in The Driftwood Review, Lummox Press, and Lines + Stars. She graduated from the University of Mary Washington with a B.A. in English and lives in New York City.

 

 

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Cloudy With 100 Percent Chance of Rain, by Pat Phillips West

Cloudy With 100 Percent Chance of Rain
by Pat Phillips West

Portland weather sounds
like Miles Davis, kind of blue, this wind
staccato, this rain a one-note tap, tap
October to March.
When geese chatter about heading south,
the cat hears his woman mumble,
Me too.  She uses the same flyway,
walks a well-worn path
to the store for wine and cat food.
Back in the warm bungalow,
she pours the tabby some kibble
neat, no chaser, and sips a generous glass
of Shanghai silk merlot.  Buster notices
her new habit of talking aloud to herself.
He curls up on the rag rug next to the woodstove
for his early evening nap.  Then a strange sound
registers on his radar.  He raises one eyelid
to see her attempt a wobbly soft-shoe shuffle
his direction.  Forget how much you hate water,
let’s kick loose Gene Kelly style, go tap dance
around a lamp post.
Buster crouches, fixed to pounce.

 

 

Pat Phillips West moved so often even her closest friends asked if she was in the Witness Protection Program.  She refused to comment.  Her poems appear in Haunted Waters Press, Persimmon Tree, VoiceCatcher, San Pedro River Review, Slipstream and elsewhere.

 

 

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