Prose Poetry / Flash Fiction

Neither Sun nor Death

Howie Good

They are beating the cars with metal bats. I think, “Am I supposed to be here?” That thing is on fire in a big way. I don’t get outside as much anymore. An illegal string offset “echo” has disappeared into the archive, to be handled by only people who wear white cotton gloves. I’m left to just cry. You need to be careful in interpreting that. Every day I confront the same choice: stay inside or perish. Somebody grabs Suzanne’s hair and twists her neck. We make eye contact. I know tulips aren’t spelled two lips.

[Interactive Objects]

C. Kubasta

Both place-based and place-less, this is a poem of great disloyalty. These are interactive objects discolored by the touch of people’s hands.

It is time to look at the concentric rings of once-whole wood. Here is the drought that starved us out. Here, the fire that barely killed us.

We contract the disease that killed him —remember which salad dressing to order, but not the man we cherished like a vow.

infanticide in outer space

Dylan Krieger

because the concept of heaven renders us all bygone astronauts. because burning forever would, in my book, be better. because this is my book, goddammit, and your ghost just a character. a character i stone to death over and over, like a piñata whose precious insides turn out to be just blood and water. because i want to show you how even a wordsmith can stumble on mother, the first syllables to stick between the teeth and sift the rubble for relief. a word that even now precedes me, precedes bondage, earth, trees, vaseline and ennui. precedes the need to give myself over to the elements and then, in turn, retreat, tape together my cheeks and terrorize the moon’s sleep with the memory of my confessor banishing me to the basement floor. by four in the morning, she’d awoke and spoke regretfully, but for me it will always be too late to go back to outer space, where the umbilical tethers taunt and chafe and the faraway planets don’t know me by name, but by taste

VIII/XI/MMXVI

Maureen Alsop

Krishnamurti said when the one you love goes, a part of you follows. Typewritten gnats spill greasy birdseed tunnels. For a moment there are two worlds. Spring presses toward me through glass; my garden hallway, a clutter of moths in milky silt. Crocus unpin your breastbone. In all eventual acts, humans compose ghost.

Audio Recordings of Doomed Airliners

Jaime Garcia

What I’m afraid of, because the conquered broadcast their panic and their endless wild as a quarantine of forests. The theory is that sometimes it rains when she died and sometimes it doesn’t, that we invented ourselves from sheer want or stumbled into someone else’s miracle, and every person thrown around your body is a dream and every dream is a bridge and every bridge is a god and every god an invention and a beached planet co-existing and co-exiting.

The Squalling Call

Lorene Delany-Ullman

A black swarm above a fallow field, or they roost in the street trees, and in the groves of eucalyptus along the Metrolink tracks. Are they blackbirds, starlings or crows? For three nights, our neighbors play Death Cry of a Crow to the trees and sky. How frightening, we say, waiting for the branches to empty. How righteous we’ll feel when the throng of birds takes flight, rowing through the air to new colonies.

Soldier Child

Robert Miltner

Two dark oak doors with white porcelain knobs. The dun plaster and lathe walls frame a boy of thirteen. He wears an unbuttoned double-breasted coat clutched at his chest by his left hand. His cropped hair is as dark as hardwood floors. A turned-up collar, his torn pants and bare feet. The white bandage wound around his left knee. The weight he won’t put on it. The way he stares back, his eyes black as the holes of gun barrels. The way he doesn’t blink.

Embracing the Bodhisattvas

Robert Miltner

Night sky with slivered waning moon. A river filled with flares and riven with flaws. Glow-sticks in underwater glass jars: a controlled burn of spiritual ambiguity. Flint and stone walls encase the Buddhist temple. Candled lanterns illuminate paired hands. An ancient tree aglow with sparkling seeds. The lush mountain range is tonal. Listen: raindrops make the brass bowls sing.

Aubade

Jonathan Jones

Well meant is insincere, turn out their pockets and whatdoyouknow. This one would be a marriage, this a different set of rules. Keys on the kitchen table and the milk sour breath of happiness. Aubade, so easy to criticize, I know, the ones you do not know. Their tone rings reminiscent of nothing so simple to correct. Dead language roped around their wrists. Time’s microscopic epic labels everything lost property. Less casual than formal. All on show.

The Myth (4)

Jerry McGuire

The Company of Wolves, “The Story of Grandmother”

All the pretty girls in their bright red hoods, against forest green, blizzard white, diamond mine, pure flame. Each her beast of cunning oncoming, filthy blast of desire, lostness of love. The dance behind everything a stumble through the woods, strut down a narrow path, fumble at the door. Behind it, always, grandma in grandma drag, rocking, knitting, humming a pop song, cuddling her Bible, cradling her shotgun. The guts in jugs on shelves, ferocious tease of teenage nipple, the cunt you never see. Everything turns from cartoon to feast of horror and back again, looping forever, origin story to grind of endtimes, sacraments of warning, damnation, redemption, salvation. The woodsman who comes chops everything up and stacks it in neat piles smeared with granny, the wolf, the girl. That he himself escapes is never in doubt. She forever puzzling over path of pins, path of needles, he confirmed and solemnized in path of axe.

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