Reparations, by Joseph Felser

Reparations
by Joseph Felser

With each
smile
frown
pout
burning question
passionate opinion
you sabotaged
my defenses
ancient walls
crumbled
to dust
and I
surrendered
to your
entreaties
you conquered
me
you entered
victorious
the lost
citadel
of my
heart
then
only then
you looted
the treasury
stole the
crown jewels
made off
with the
golden fleece
sacked and
burned
the city
to the
ground
where I
wait
covered
in dust
and ashes
to hear
from you
a hint
of regret

Joseph M. Felser, Ph.D. received his doctorate in philosophy from The University of Chicago. He is is on the faculty at Kingsborough Community College/CUNY in Brooklyn, New York, where he has taught since 1997. The author of numerous published articles and reviews, as well as two books, The Way Back to Paradise (2004) and The Myth of the Great Ending (2011), he also serves as a member of the Board of Directors of The Monroe Institute in Faber, Virginia. He recently began writing poetry, which has appeared in both print and online journals, including Whatever Our Souls, Wildflower Muse, Ordinary Madness, Joey and the Black Boots ReBoot, Red Wolf Journal, Ariel Chart, and The Mystic Blue Review.

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Flat Line, by Debi Swim

Flat Line
by Debi Swim

       The cursor blinks
              patiently
     steadily
          impartially
between words, between thoughts
waiting. for words. to appear.
waiting.
Sometimes, I get up. Walk around.
hoping for inspiration, direction,
not even considering that it blinks.
like a heart, like a pulse, keeping
me alive. I take it for granted, like
my heart. How many beats left
before the end? How many blinks
till it is over? No more poems?
     No more inspiration?
That will be a kind of death.
     Breathless. Wordless.
        Straight line.
               Scream.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 338.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

Getting Away, by Christopher Hileman

Getting Away
by Christopher Hileman

Things evolve, she said.
Makes me want to peek under
rocks and seek causes.
Or else get away
quickly, ducking low and tight.

I hoped to head out
by now – on the asphalt road
only so long as
is necessary –
then across the ripe wheat fields
to the south of town.
But I keep going
back for stuff I think I want
knowing all the while
I’ll dump half of it
in the heat of the damn day
and the wheaten dust.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Prompt 330.

Christopher Hileman moved to Oregon in 1973. He has retired to live on the volcanic bluff overlooking Willamette Falls in Oregon City, Oregon. He ascends the stairs from his basement digs to improvise on his Yamaha keyboard or the house Playel grand when the calico cat releases him from below. The part-Irish Wolfhound here likes him.

Count Down, by Debi Swim

Count Down
by Debi Swim

Grandpa got it at the green stamp store.
He built a small shelf on the wall
in the living room and placed upon it
the black and faux gold clock. I would
watch the pendulum swing back and forth
unaware of time ticking away, unaware
that this moment wouldn’t last,
nor Grandpa, nor my youth.

A clock sits on the bookshelf
in my reading room.
I listen to its steady beat,
faint, droning under the din of life.
Its rhythm keeps me grounded
with its steady tic-tic- tic
setting the pace, reminding me
with every second-hand lurch
I live one second at a time,
until the last …
tic-tic toc.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 320.

Debi Swim writes primarily to prompts. She is a wife, mother, grandmother and persistent WV poet.

Language Of Lies, by Roslyn Ross

Language Of Lies
by Roslyn Ross

It was the first lie which led the way,
like an orange beacon on the hill of
deceit, beginning that march into evil,
which left love hanging on the broken

gate of betrayal, where more lies stood
as statues, carved in sad facts of denial,
and right, kneeled, whimpering in the
skirts of yesterday; adultery’s hood had

defined my truth, hidden your face in such
blackness, that no amount of torches could
ever bring enough light to bear upon what
now was an impossible, searing, darkness.

Note: Written in response to Red Wolf Poems, Prompt 321.

Roslyn Ross is a former journalist, who has worked in newspapers and magazines around Australia. In recent years she has worked as a freelance manuscript editor. Born in Adelaide, she has spent much of her time living overseas, including Antwerp, Belgium; Bombay, India; Luanda, Angola; Cape Town, South Africa; Johannesburg, South Africa; Lusaka, Zambia; Vancouver, Canada; London, United Kingdom and Lilongwe, Malawi. She has also spent extended periods in Russia, Portugal and the United States, as well as living across Australia, including Adelaide, Port Pirie, Wagga Wagga, Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, and is now settled in the Adelaide Hills. She began writing poetry at the age of twelve and has had work published in a number of anthologies, mainly in the US, but also more recently, in When Anzac Day Comes Around, 100 Years from Gallipoli Poetry Project, edited by Graeme Lindsay.

Computer Chess, by Jared Pearce

Computer Chess
by Jared Pearce

I keep clicking undo
to trace my losing
streak, to find out

All my mistakes.
If I go another way,
if I had allowed my brother

To tag along more often,
or if I had not lied to my friends
to protect my embarrassment,

Or if I had been more subtle
or more striking, would the children
be happy then? And with her,

What could I have done
better to love? I’m not sure
I can find my way past those bishops

Of self-deceit or the surprising leap
from revelatory knights
to hold that Queen

So she’ll see me and want me.
I’m always back at the game’s beginning,
fretting over the pawns of diet

And so many hours slept, holding
dear to my rooks for the endgame—
the end that comes no matter

How far back I go or how
much I can erase of where
I started or how I got here.

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.

Cutting, by Jared Pearce

Cutting
by Jared Pearce

One would have her leg
hacked off, another an arm—
such appendages seem easy
to divide. But others went
for fashion: buttocks
and trim the thighs, or my head
must be ten percent my body
mass. And some for bits to cheat
loss by removing every other toe,
one ear, the incisors, hair.

Until she said her
too big breasts, worthless
lobes, too in-the-way,
too defining, the two great balls
chaining me to womanhood,
making me a sex—these stones
strapping me in a drowning
when what I want is to be held
with a light grace, apart
from what I am or am not.

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.

Portals, by Jared Pearce

Portals
by Jared Pearce

The contractor came to see about
where I wanted a hole punched
in the back brick wall to make
a closet and keep the pantry.

We measured, we bartered,
we shook hands, until on the front path
he told me both his parents died
within a month of each other:

He hadn’t shed a tear, he said,
though his pastor encouraged his grief;
He’s been having trouble getting back
to work, he said, he can’t handle

The somewhere revving saw
to cut into a lighted room from
a darkened passage, a blueprint
showing where the load and stress

Should be anchored to rest.
There’s no point in crying,
he said; now that they’re gone,
what tears could cut like diamonds?

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.

Skeleton, by Jared Pearce

Skeleton
by Jared Pearce

How could it have happened,
toad, you dead and left a perfect
skeleton on the campus walk?

How could the hungry birds
or hustling student feed have passed
your crunchy morsel, mistaken

For a scrunched cupcake wrapper?
And how could I have found you,
complete, except your eyes,

The skinny leather of your hide
tanning itself on your brittle frame,
a frame perfect inside its sack

sucked dry, a series of sticks that shift
our gears upon the planet, a bundle
like a lodge, a lever that lets us roll the Earth.

That’s all the machinery we’ve got:
what good is a scrambled-egg brain
or spider-nest nerves against

The arm’s hatchet or quarterstaff
swung of the hip. You were right,
toad, we’re built for valor

And making grace before
our long rest where we hand it back
in its dustcloth, worn and happy.

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.

Endangered, by Jared Pearce

Endangered
by Jared Pearce

Tiny frog, remnant
of your dying race,
enjoy this garden,
this cricket feast,
where those weeds
that began their war
last year have invaded
most areas, holding
no prisoners, never
counting their populace
or hassling with birth
control or stopping
the kids from eating
too much.
       Frog, learn
from these weeds:
we can all thrive
if we’ve got someone
to care for and
someone to kill.

Process: I look at something, it looks at me, and as I wonder about it, a poem shows up.

Some of Jared Pearce’s poems have recently been or will soon be shared in Marathon, Peacock, Poetic Diversity, DIAGRAM, and Red Fez. His first collection is forthcoming from Aubade Press next year. He lives in Iowa.