A Poem by Paul Stroble

 

 

Land of Lincoln 

 

I’ve been thinking again

about him, his profile 

 

on Heritage Trail signs; 

Land of Lincoln on cars and pickups

 

along all my childhood’s two-lanes. 

Trailer behind the farmhouse, 

 

yards of fireflies beneath 

crab apples branches; 

 

the lunch crowd at Lucy’s, 

motels, garages, parks. 

 

Springfield on old Route 66, 

Corn Dogs on the west,

 

grain elevators 

along the Sixth Circuit.

 

Shall we trim the honeysuckle 

from the old picnic area 

 

on 51 and have our KFC 

in the remaining neglect?  

 

Railroad lanes lonely and rusted, 

Land of Lincoln and drug store postcards   

 

four score and ten.  Is it 

too much to say that wild flowers

 

and stones themselves cry out

with malice toward none

 

Abe and Jesus vie for which 

we Illinois folk heard first, 

 

saving souls or saving the Union, 

crossing the Jordan or the Sangamon.

 

 

36B8424F-1D52-458D-BCAC-EEE9D1CC5EDEPaul Stroble teaches at Webster University in St. Louis. A former grantee of the NEH and the Louisville Institute, he has I’ve published twenty books on a variety of subjects, including three poetry chapbooks with Finishing Line Press and another forthcoming. One of his chapbooks was nominated for a Society of Midland Authors Award. His poems have appeared in Big Muddy, Tipton Poetry Journal, Pikeville Review, Springhouse, Pegasus, and others.

A Poem by Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas

 

When You’re Small and Your Father Won’t Wake Up

 
Not because she ever thought about 
suicide but because she happened 
to be the one who found her parents,
after swallowing handfuls of pills, one 
 
years earlier than the others. And because
her mother remarried when she was still
young and because that man did the same
after her mother followed in her dead father’s
 
footsteps, so to speak or at least some invisible
path that led them all to the other side. And for 
some reason unknown to her, as if the stars 
or fate had a cruel vision that she should be 
 
witness to the lifeless bodies of her parents 
after downing clusters of pills, as if they 
only saw an aura of light or a chance
at gladness outside their own mortal palms,
 
as if they heard one answer and never
questioned the swallowing of death, as if there 
was something magical about deciding their own 
ending and finding courage in requesting God 
 
to take you there, to a place without need 
or reason to breathe in air, she began 
to ponder if they considered who’d find them.
There, with opened bottles strewn haphazardly
 
around the floor, hands emptied but for wedding 
rings haloing fingers like golden broken promises 
before entering eternity. And she began to think
somehow facing that kind of loss made her love 
 
them even more, made her life and theirs extra 
precious, made her lament all the years she wouldn’t 
see them and she wondered why only one left a note, 
which she kept folded beneath her pillow. Only one 
 
said he was sorry, which made her think he’d
loved her enough to take one moment before 
to write it down, in blue faded ink, in shaky script 
on a tiny piece of now yellowed paper, all the words 
 
smeared from a lone tear, as if he didn’t want to, 
as if he might have reconsidered, as if he’d hoped 
someone might have found him 
before it was too late. 


 

05A8E1B3-2B79-4AF7-8E28-0318C11B8170    Carol Lynn Stevenson Grellas lives in the Sierra Foothills. She studied at Santa Clara University where she was an English major. She is an eight-time Pushcart nominee andfive-time Best of the Net nominee. In 2012 she won the Red Ochre Press Chapbook contest with her manuscript: “Before I Go to Sleep”. She is the author of several collections of poetry including her latest book from Prolific Press, “Things I Can’t Remember to Forget”. She is the Editor for The Orchards Poetry Journal and a member of Saratoga’s Authors’ Hall of Fame. According to family lore she is a direct descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson, or at least her mother said so. http://www.clgrellaspoetry.com

A Poem by Maryfrances Wagner

 

 

Because I Never Learned Calculus

 

I count and multiply everything.  I know

numbers, their sound reliability,

their results.  I count when I brush,

thirty for each quad, each hundred I walk—

steps to the corner, steps to the mailbox,

steps to the car in the lot.  I count grapes

and olives, minutes before rinsing,

seconds before rebooting, 613

pomegranate seeds.  I count coins

and cookies, socks and pencils,

hands in the air, faces in the crowd,

words and stitches, hours, months and years.

 

I cut bread into right angles and quarters,

quilt fabric into rectangles, triangles, trapezoids.

I add fourths and thirds to my batter, double

and divide my recipes, add sums in my checkbook,

calculate unknowns. I count pinches, tads and dabs,

a bit and some, about so and not quite there. I can make

graphs, enter numbers on spreadsheets.

I can’t read the code of formulas, can’t figure

slopes or velocity, and I solve for x

in circuitous ways, too many steps,

and no proofs.  I will never arrive

at an optimal profit, and a differential

for me is a gear. Change has always been hard

to accept, and I’ve never understood limits,

but eventually I arrive at what I need.

 

 

E71B09FA-3B17-44EA-9F1E-7F664F0007BD.jpegMaryfrances Wagner’s books include Salvatore’s Daughter, Light Subtracts Itself, Red Silk (Thorpe Menn Book Award for Literary Excellence), Dioramas, Pouf, and The Silence of Red Glass.  Poems have appeared in New Letters, Midwest Quarterly, Laurel Review, Natural Bridge, Voices in Italian Americana, Unsettling America:  An Anthology of Contemporary Multicultural Poetry (Penguin Books), Literature Across Cultures (Pearson/Longman), Bearing Witness, The Dream Book, An Anthology of Writings by Italian American Women (American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation), et.al.  She co-edits I-70 Review.

A Poem by Eric Ingram

I do

 
 
I am competitive except when
it comes to hide and seek. As a child,
anxious to be caught, I pretended to bark when
really I peed. I stand
 
 
beneath mauve photographs of landscapes
waving these unwashed hands. Doing this
barking. Big dogs bite when
almost touched. Touch but
 
 
do not look. I have no body
to be bitten, but the bite proves
the food. Let me decide how
to lose. Let me confute
 
 
tragedy: I ought to be man
and I will be wife. Forget closets – we'll hide in
urgent bathrooms, desperate to be
sought before sightless nightfall.
“I do” was previously  published in Third Point Press.
B6180427-810B-4C24-B51B-47050B3794F5   Eric Ingram is a writer from San Diego. He graduated from Columbia with a degree in philosophy and visual arts. He lives in Los Angeles, where he works as a video editor. Eric is represented by InkWell Management and is in submission for his debut novel, “The Best Man.” He can be reached at eric.ingram.eric [at] gmail [dot] com, and on twitter: @ingramsandiego.

A Poem by Tracy W. Young

 

The Flight Home

 

I ride the clouds of a twilight sky,

a little bumpy, but nicely executed for a small plane

on a small flight,

with a large question hovering over me.

My son is so close, yet rows away he sits

and I can’t think what to say

or how to help him.

Geese appear in the distance

like a slow-moving arrow

their discipline, so natural

they know where to go, what’s expected, where to be.

How nice to know, and not have to think.

 

 

image   Tracy W. Young began to write poetry as a child growing up in Manhattan during the 1960s. Over the years she has continued to write, while raising 2 boys and working as a lawyer. The process of creating a poem is how Tracy has always found her voice to express thoughts and feelings about life, and the world we now know. She is ecstatic, although a little anxious, about finally sharing her poetry with others.

A Poem by Pat Whitney

Breakfast of Champions

 

Galway Kinnell ate oatmeal for breakfast

made on a hot plate with skimmed milk.

With nothing to savor about the

glutinous texture and gluey lumpishness,

of his morning repast—his words—

he invites Keats to join him. But even

an exchange about Autumn or nightingales

doesn’t erase the hint of oozing slime.

 

Paying a little more attention to the oatmeal,

I think I’d use Irish, steel-cut oats with a

liberal addition of rum-soaked raisins before

I invited Hemingway to my morning table.

And just imagine what porridge with maple

syrup and  local cream might elicit from

Robert Frost about the secret lives of

stone walls, yellow woods and even birches.

 

2009-10-21 09.03.38     Pat Whitney is a former advertising copywriter and retired nonprofit development officer.  She lives in Sunapee NH  where she volunteers, creates little dinners for her friends and family beside a beautiful lake and explores her voice in poetry.