Category Archives: Poetry

Sadness by Claire Askew


“Your sadness has no / lips, nothing to press against my / sadness.” – Heather Bell

You walk in and I can see
you’re defeated — with every
sexy angle smoothed away
you’re cold and sad
as a paperweight.
You’ve tried to hide
behind a clean shirt
and scent that clings like ink
to my hands, keeps me awake
for hours, but I can see
the scraps of sadness’ feast
sticking in your teeth and hair.
It’s on you like a brand, dark
and bittersweet as blood,
my hungry gaze. I want
to haul it out of you
and thrash its sticky blackness
over stones, jealous
of the stifling hold it has.
I place my hands
face up on the table,
their insides pale as flags
of surrender, and say
give it to me to deal with
later. Let me take the midnight watch
so you can sleep.

                – Claire Askew

Claire Askew lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she works as a lecturer in Literature, Communication and Creative Writing and hoards manual typewriters in her spare room.

A Gentle Censure From My Lover, The Librarian by Michael Conley

A Gentle Censure From My Lover, The Librarian

Maybe if you just read more books you wouldn’t be
so damn miserable all the time she said
which I didn’t get
because all I ever do is read books, was in fact
reading a book when she said it,
resting it on flat palms the way I imagine
I would hold a communion wafer
or baby bird
if I were religious or a child
and I looked up from it only momentarily,
long enough to see her shut the bedroom door,
releasing the handle slowly so as not to disturb me any further.

                – Michael Conley

Michael Conley is a secondary school teacher from Manchester, UK. He is currently studying part-time for an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Screaming Silence by Zach Fishel

Screaming Silence

No spaces between

The aftermath of

A monastic principle
authorized, and believed.

I want to forget,
waving like leaves
in a short-lived October.
The blowing
piebald in my vision
as I contemplate
or life as things fall
to the ground
crashing but finally,

                – Zach Fishel

Zach Fishel is a recent Pushcart Nominee and UT Press Fellowship holder. When he isn’t editing at Jumping Blue Gods he is hard at work sipping rye and fishing. His work has appeared in numerous print and online journals.

all hooves and diligence by Miriam Matzeder

Hoofin’ It, originally uploaded by Katford.

all hooves and diligence

no matter my

i am always awake
with loving him:

the blood,

the purposeful

where horses go
and race to their

all hooves
and diligence,

steam rising
from their

                – Miriam Matzeder

Miriam Matzeder is from Kansas City, Missouri, where she’s been writing since she was an awkward adolescent. Nothing much has changed.

What Tales by Alan S. Kleiman

What Tales

The old barn captured
in a sunny day-light print
the years of stories
mere hints.

The tires in the loft
four summers, one snow
the spare?
Folks must have left in winter
snow treads still mounted
Heading north out of town.

The summer treads could stay
like bathing suits in January
who could imagine a need?
Hey, were those wheels
from that Pontiac
broken down, sold “as is”
tires forgotten?

If hay could speak
What tales, what tales…

Walls lined like wrinkled brows
keeping silent
what tales.

Out in the field
her small feet earth bound
she stood and looked around
in every direction

                – Alan S. Kleiman

Alan S. Kleiman’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Verse Wisconsin, The Criterion, Fringe, The Bicycle Review, Pyrta, Eskimo Pie, and The Montucky Review. His chapbook, Grand Slam, is forthcoming in 2012 from Crisis Chronicles Press.

Laced With Silver by Uma Gowrishankar

Laced With Silver

Under the branches of crape myrtle I spread a carpet,
flowers slid into dark corners when I was kissed the first time.
                                                                                    I turned away.

Amethyst is the colour I remember of the evening thick with
nodules of mulberries. The touch,
softness of the skin was the radiant light that spun patterns blinding,
the jasmine flowers drowned me in its raunchy pungency: just for the flowers
I remember the evening,
                 not for the kiss

which did not gather the moon beams so abundant that night,
it didn’t even gather the pale greenness from the stalks of flowers
crushed beneath us.

                – Uma Gowrishankar

Uma Gowrishankar is from Chennai, South India. She blogs her poetry here.

The Typist by Claire Askew

The Typist

We worked together –
two of two-dozen in a warehouse of noise.

My fingertips were black
and slick with carbon film
but swift and deft –
in those days
I could fill a page
in four minutes dead.

He fitted tapes
and fixed machines
hot and ink-smeared
to the wrist;
drank what dreams he’d had
each night and sat all day
amid the stink of his regret.

We never spoke. I flicked
the single vowel of his name
across a wall in lipstick once,
the only clue I ever gave.
At night I wept under the bed
as ack-ack guns chewed up
the dark and spat it out
as rubble, corpses, fear.

He met a girl
with dark brown hair
and skin that gleamed
like scissorblades, then just as soon
he ruined her and went to war.
It’s years now since his bones
went in the ground,
yet typing this, my heart
still misfires, stricken at the sound.

                – Claire Askew

Claire Askew lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, where she works as a lecturer in Literature, Communication and Creative Writing and hoards manual typewriters in her spare room.

I Wish by Grace Quantock

I wish…

I wish you star-shot nights.
Fevered limbs spangled with the glory of your dreams.
I wish you sunflowers and glitter.
May you live to grow creaky and see the trees bend.
I pray for peony petals for you, for sweet williams, blushing tints.
For bridal gowns, dress up and ropes of pearls.
I wish you an open heart,
I wish you succulent bites, warm from the oven.
By the hands of your loved one.
May you find wild strawberries, sun-warmed and sweet.
May you wash your hands of their sticky blood with mountain water
Like we did as children.
You must remember.

                – Grace Quantock

Grace Quantock : Wellness provocateur, writer and sick chick to trail blazer at Connect: Facebook :: Twitter

volcano etiquette by John Dorsey

volcano etiquette

make a muscle
to prove a point.

sing as loud as you like
in your native tongue,
really, it’s fine.

nobody ever said
dr. doom
was a villanelle.

if a tree falls in the woods
help it up.

academia is its own
status mountain.

dance with your shadow.

leave bread crumbs for the sun.

given enough time
we all learn
how to disappear.

                – John Dorsey

John Dorsey currently resides in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw’s Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), and Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010). His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

across the room by Riley Nisbet

across the room

I saw you
in a flower dress
and I wondered where
the other summer
clothes hung
in the closet
during cold months
like February

something happened
between us
and we wound up
lying beside
each other
as I read to you
Williams, Roethke,
and one by Creely;
and while Bon Iver
played through the speakers
my mind wandered
to your dream catcher
tattooed shoulder
and your postered wall
of Lennon/McCartney
in ‘65.
I like The Beatles.
I like Bon Iver

I like books too
and writing
will you read what I write
if I write it for you?
about you?
my book
could be on your shelf
and myself
in your mind
I’d like that

I like breakfast
I like the one
we had together
this morning.

                – Riley Nisbet

I am a student at Central Michigan University, and I am terrible at introductions.
Twitter: @rileynisbet