Holly Day Returns

The Things I Know

I read headlines about cannibals living in
plain sight, drunk driving accidents,
children bringing guns and knives and drugs to school and

I wonder how I’m supposed to send him out there
when five years old seems much too young to see this world.
I read headlines about priests charged with raping boys

daycare providers caught with child pornography
school janitors hiding secret murders for years
trusted neighbors with basement torture chambers, and

I wonder how they can ask me to let him go
when it seems my whole life has been about hiding
from the monsters waiting for us just beyond the door.
 

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2000. Her poetry has recently appeared in Tampa Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle, while her recently published books include Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, A Brief History of Stillwater Minnesota, and  Ugly Girl.

 

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Laura Zucca-Scott

Our Journey

Early in the morning
When all is quiet
I could hear the seagulls’ calls
Like old sailors lost at sea
After the storm

We ate our breakfast
As on a mission
Talking about our trip
Of all the smiles
Yours was always true

You had fought your battle
And came back victorious
Now on the ferry boat
I could see the early sun
Reflected in your eyes

Peace was simple
Peace was strong
We did not know
We could not know

We were saying goodbye

 

Mavericks

The umbrella like a maverick sun
They are looking at the bonfire
A tradition old as time

While a subtle rain falls
The slender church tower
Looks down in delight

A child and her father wait
For the flames to rise higher
And the night to get warmer

Their eyes meet for a moment
Reflecting the golden light
A truce long awaited
An ancient world

A new world

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Dr. Ralph Monday

The Girl in the White Dress

The mirror, a silver moon,
conjurs up the
girl from the settlement
town, scissored tan long legs
sweeping forward beneath the
thin, white dress, eating up the land,
the miles, dissolving behind her
whatever myth it is that she flees.

A stream of song lays her longing
behind her
like discarded lover’s clothes,
like an October without color,
enigma of knowing, of feeling
whether in the dark or light of
day.

Who loved who, or was there no love,
smear of truth, enigma of lies.
I can read her morse code mind, tap tap
as she flees: streaks of mental text
flashed across the glass, that hurt, that bruise,
that laugh over wine.

I see her other side, the one she left, tanglec
of truth & memory.
Pause & give me a moment. Pause but for
a clock tick. Then I would read your
iconography, your mythology.
I would know your landscape like no
other, the lines of you, architecture of
physical things, the terrible event
that tore you away.

This doesn’t have to remain in the deep
bone marrow. Let me give light,
the strange shimmer of the borealis.
Lie down in the road & let me kindle
the ashed fire.

Go with me to still waters and drink
mercy spun like silk from my fingertips.
 

Ralph Monday is Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., and has published hundreds of poems in over 100 journals. A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014. A book Empty Houses and American Renditions was published May 2015 by Aldrich Press. A Kindle chapbook Narcissus the Sorcerer was published June 2015 by Odin Hill Press. An e-book, Bergman’s Island & Other Poems is scheduled for publication by Poetry Repairs in March of 2017, and a humanities text is scheduled for publication by Kendall/Hunt in 2018.

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Bradford Middleton

THE NOISE UPSTAIRS

A work of flash fiction

What the hell was that? Jack thought as a violent noise erupted in the room upstairs from him, a room that had remained unoccupied since the death of Mrs Green several years earlier.  It was a large Georgian house that had over the decades lost its grandeur and now was nothing more than rat-infested rooming house for people living on benefits or minimum-wage workers.  Jack lived alone and had done since he’d first moved in almost a decade. Before and Today, like a lot of other days, he was midway through his daily routine of weed but that noise had unnerved him.  The house stood mainly empty with just five occupants across the six floors and fifteen rooms and it was rare for Jack to hear anything from his neighbours, the nearest of whom was two floors down.  It also meant he could indulge his existence with loud music and the occasional wild night, generally after a night in the pub and with someone he’d never see again.  It had been this kind of life for a while now and Jack’s only sorrow came from how little money his part-time job paid and the thought of how much damage he could do to himself if he earned a decent wage.  His mind was often blown as he smoked all the weed he could handle but the shock of the noise from upstairs really unnerved him.  He knew he had to investigate but right now he decided that maybe another joint and possibly something soothing and calm on his turntable would help take his mind off what he was imagining was going on upstairs.

The Beach Boys The Nearest Faraway Place could solve most problems and chill out any room but mid-way through Jack’s attention was grabbed by a horrible scratching noise.  It reminded him of school and the chalkboards his fellow pupils would scrape their fingernails down before teacher arrived in the room.  It was an evil noise and Jack actually shook as the vile noise continued.  He knew now that he had to go and find out what was making that horrendous noise.

Arming himself with a knife out of his kitchen cupboard he poked his head around his door and up the stairs revealing nothing out of the ordinary.  He opened the door more fully, checked he had his door-keys in his pocket, and advanced through the door towards the edge of the stairwell heading up.  The stairs had deteriorated to a crumbling wreck of wood and warn-out carpet and to maneuver up them was difficult.  He would occasionally lift his next foot on to a step only to discover there was nothing to support his weight.  After nearly falling through on one occasion he descended to a crouching stance, touching each step just to make sure there was something there to support him.  It had been a number of years since he’d last walked this route; he had been heading downstairs for all the years since he’d moved in.
Having reached the top of the stairs he suddenly thought that maybe, finally, after all the years since his upstairs neighbour had killed herself he could be getting a new neighbour.  Someone to fear, someone to grow tired of, someone to grow annoyed with.  Then again, he considered the alternative. That instilled a panic in his soul as he contemplated the idea that maybe it was something more sinister?  There was the possibility it was something evil.
Looking around he saw nothing, nothing at all.  The doors were all closed and there was nothing blocking the hallway so Jack walked up to flat fifteen and took out his keys.  Unsurprisingly the keys worked as so many cheap slum landlords save money by handing out the same set of keys to all their tenants, hoping that none of them would discover.  As he turned the main lock a loud scream emanated from within and Jack took a step back, preparing himself for… well he wasn’t quite sure what to be confronted with.  He pushed the door open and it was then that shock came…
What appeared to be a face flies out from the corner of the room, screaming at an unbelievable volume and making it plainly clear that Jack needs to slam the door shut and get the hell out of this situation as quickly as possible.  His mind takes too long to process and react and the next thing he feels is a hand wrapped around his ankle, pulling hard, pulling him into the room.  Even with all his force he can’t stop his backward trajectory and almost immediately he is on the floor with this thing on top of him.  It couldn’t possibly be human, it certainly wasn’t behaving like one as it ripped at Jack’s flesh, eating it raw straight off the bone.  Jack looked at his killer and couldn’t work out what it was but it was short and wiry but had more strength than ten Jack’s and was a deep dark red colour that suggested it was something evil, something demonic.
Jack knew this was the end, the end of his life, the end of his addiction.

He knew he should have stayed in his flat getting higher and higher and not have got involved with the noise upstairs

 

Bradford Middleton was born in London in 1971 but eventually found himself in Brighton in 2007 and began writing.  Since then he has over 250 unique publications, including a novel from New Pulp Press and a couple of poetry chapbooks from Crisis Chronicles Press and Holy & Intoxicated Press.  His work is dotted all over the internet and in several magazines and journals.  He tweets occasionally @beatnikbraduk and is on Facebook at bradfordmiddleton1.

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Bobbie Troy

Did You See the Snow Falling Sideways?
By Bobbie Troy

did you see the snow falling sideways?
did you see the rainbow’s end?
did you see the flowers in springtime?
did you see the children playing?

did you see my heart being broken
when you walked away and shut the door?

Growing Up
By Bobbie Troy
(For my grandson Daniel)

I see you
pushing up and out
like a flower
breaking through the earth
no longer hidden
but moving through the air
and finding your way amid
the cacophony of life
that’s called
growing up

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Laura Zucca-Scott

The following is a non-literal translation of the winning poetry for the “Firenze Capitale d’Europa” award (Section C – theme poetry). The poem is making reference to the 1966 flood that devastated the city of Florence and to the people from all over the world who came to help.

 

Mud Angels

Merciless rain
A time long gone
Mud Angels
From many places
Wrapped their wings
Against devastation and pain

An astonished Florence
A soft whisper
Of indomitable spirits
A presence so simple and pure

When I look into your eyes
From a picture of that time
I wonder where you are now
And what you remember of those days
Of water and fire
A solitary angel

A promise of newfound humanity

 

As written by Laura Zucca-Scott:

My hometown, Livorno, in Italy, was hit very hard by a storm (something like this has never happened before). My Dad called me to let me know that they were okay. Unfortunately 9 people lost their lives. The city is flooded in many areas and there is mud and destruction everywhere. Thankfully, people got together to help each other and start the cleaning up process. I am afraid it will take years before things go back to normal. And, unfortunately, the loss of human lives cannot be reversed. Many of the buildings withstood the force of the water and the mudslide otherwise many more would have lost their lives. It is not very different from what happened in other areas like Florida and Texas, only it is much more localized, and it is the result of a strong storm with lots of rain, a tornado along the coast, and a lot of other  concurrent unfavorable factors.
In the poem, I am trying to pay homage to the people who are suffering because of these events

 

 

Hope Is My Hometown
By Laura Zucca-Scott

Hope is my hometown
devastated by water and mud
Hope is the tears of the people
Who lost everything
In the rage of a night
And see no tomorrow

Hope is the people
With broken backs
And broken spirits
Who still will not rest

Hope is the sunset
That still shines
On the rocks
By the beach
Coloring tomorrow
Of indigo blue and pink
Hope is a lonely seagull
Taking flight
Searching for
A new day

 

 

 

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Ryan Quinn Flanagan Debuts

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

 

Drop

I want my poems
to be like game show
confetti

dropping suddenly
out of nowhere
onto heads
in no discernable
order

with much confusion

no one knowing how
or why

but forever
happy.

 

 

Ask the Bandini

the wine goblet has imperfections
I like that
I have imperfections as well

the wine goblet is large and blue
as I am large and blue

there are vines of grapes
down the sides
so you know what to put in

artistry
and an instruction
manual

a set of four
we are very close

my very own brotherhood
of the grape

 

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

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