The Name Game

Personal identity rubbed off
along uterine walls perhaps.
Fellow hollows: Hello,
hell ..... o, hhh.
Look into the mirror all day,
pinch forearm flesh,
provoke responses from ghosts
in foot and head wear: No one there.
The license photo, the passport
number lead to black holes.

An owl under a dunce cap parrots.
The hippocampus hunts
for a National Geographic photographer
to register survival techniques.
The label gun practices on canned goods
but misses with every shot:
On sale for $0.00 with or without coupon.

A stick man in a field for study
puts on a uniform that never launders
so that at least a crowd waves.

Bulls-eye nipples at the crossroads
wound with expectation.
Lips and larynx make up the rest.

About the Author: Rich Murphy’s poetry collections have won two national book awards: Gival Press Poetry Prize 2008 for Voyeur and in 2013 the Press Americana Poetry Prize for Americana. Asylum Seeker is the third in a trilogy out now (2018) Press Americana. First in the trilogy was Americana, Body Politic, the second, published by Prolific Press in January 2017. Murphy’s first book The Apple in the Monkey Tree was published in 2007 by Codhill Press. Chapbooks include Great Grandfather (Pudding House Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox) and Paideia (Aldrich Press).

My Body Was Never My Body

My body standing
in the shower fifteen years
old looking down surprised

by intersecting curves
how my body was becoming
a woman with breasts

too big left one hanging
low and pointing
out my broad

shoulders unlike
other girls in dance class.
At twenty-six the teacher

said I was getting a paunch
a hundred and eighteen up
three pounds shame years later

buying a suit at thirty-five
for Molly’s wedding me grabbing
my belly like it was a big

balloon to deflate
my nephew says how good-
looking I was then.

A tall friend declared my
pate a silver
crown I couldn’t see

those years of dyeing
every five weeks sucking
in toxic blond

highlights and babies
made purple spider
veins on my legs itching

on hands turns to age spots
like my mother’s stubby
hairs each morning on my

chin a life of checking
mirrors windows a parade
of passports and driver

licenses in the bottom drawer
form a flipbook of a waning
woman in a parallel universe.

About the Author: Abby Caplin was a finalist for the 2018 Rash Award in Poetry, semi-finalist for the 2018 Willow Run Poetry Book Award, nominee for the 2018 Sundress Best of the Net Award, honorable mention for 2017 Quercus Fall Poetry Book Award, award recipient of the San Francisco Poets Eleven 2016, and finalist for the 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in Alyss, apt, Canary, Catamaran, Dunes Review, Love’s Executive Order, Mudlark Flash, Salt Hill, TSR: The Southampton Review, These Fragile Lilacs, Third Wednesday, Tikkun, and others. She is a physician practicing Mind-Body medicine in San Francisco.

One Eye Open

He sleeps with one eye open,
he explains, so death can't
creep up on me. It isn't
to be trusted, he says with
a smile. Death loves the sneak
attack, striking when you're
most comfortable: in the midst
of a glorious dream of past
adventures or imaginings
of hoped for things. Always
sleep with one eye open to spot
the bastard before it's too late.
Remember, death loves the dark.

About the Author: Paul Lojeski was born and raised in Lakewood, Ohio. He attended Oberlin College. His poetry has appeared online and in print. He lives in Port Jefferson, NY.

Emily As The Skin That Blisters Will Blister Again

I am no longer pretty,
but to her credit
& to the credit
of what she can do
with a proper focus,
I don’t need to be
pretty to feel
like a chandelier
falling to become
the inelegant crunch
her heel can
make into music.

About the Author: Darren C. Demaree is the author of ten poetry collections, most recently “Lady, You Shot Me”, which was published by 8th House Publishing. He is the recipient of a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, the Louis Bogan Award from Trio House Press, and the Nancy Dew Taylor Award from Emrys Journal. He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

The problems

And I Paul,
he said,
have walked the earth,
my soul buried
beneath this flesh-
the flesh of temptation-
the flesh of trials,

and we speak today
of horrible detestable things,
the destruction of
religious liberties,
which have been
foretold since
the beginning,
the imprisonments,
the torturing,
the maiming
of the limbs,
of the lounge,
for one should not
speak such a name,

and we cry,
and we whimper,

and if Paul roamed
this earth today,
he would,
certainly, say... 

And your problem is what?

About the Author: EG Ted Davis previously published with Poydras Review and continues to have work published on online literary journals here in the US and the UK.

Looking at the Moon with Both Hands

Somewhere, right now, a twelve-
year-old boy enters a black
Ford driven by a stranger.

He will never be found
by the police

but sold into slavery
in Iraq,
he will buy his freedom
and marry
an American tourist.

There is, somewhere, a man
with a photo album
with Polaroids
of hundreds
of missing children.

He thinks, someday,
he may find one.

Two stray dogs
chase a tin tuna can
down a littered street.

Huddled in a doorway
two preteen girls
embrace for warmth
and comfort.

A black Ford
cruises the neighborhood
crushes litter
under its wheels.

About the poet, Robert Beveridge: November 2018 marked Robert Beveridge's thirtieth anniversary as a publishing poet. When not writing, he makes noise ( in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Medium Chill, San Pedro River Review, and South Broadway Ghost Society, among others.

A Posterity Conceived and Born of Conscious Love

— Margaret Sanger

god she said is not a baker
she knew very well the answer
say what you mean she was told
and she started here but went round the world
she told them she told them good
desperate the crowded house
would have it how long it took how far
to China for lunch Germany for chemicals
Ireland for drear she came back to a league
that wanted itself and needed themselves a waistline
she left for the clinic the clinic
lines to the corner crammed with how
with howling babies how many their ages
name address married or single
couldn’t keep up she was thrown around
but kept her fingertips to herself felt the skin
tried to remember her father’s face he said
the shape of the head reveals a person
and in the end she was the delicate of
a husband just the idea of it a comfort she was
dangling over space someone found her and helped her up
gave her a swat on the bottom sent her home
not a very long time something
not in mind yet something she would do
bending the knees can help follow these steps
will it be rhythm continence or pessaries jellies
and case histories and raids and the head
of the policewoman’s bureau and husbands on the roof
the advancement of science civilized discoveries secrets
of life and all the while something so visible so obvious
just allow it just show them how is all

About the Poet, Jeffrey Kingman: My work has appeared in North Atlantic Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Grey Sparrow, decomP, PANK, Squaw Valley Journal, Crack the Spine, the Lascaux Prize 2015 anthology, sPARKLE & bLINK, and Light and Shadow anthology, among others. I was the 2012 Revolution House Flash Fiction Contest winner, the Red Berry Editions 2015 Broadside Contest winner, and the Eyelands Book Awards 2018 Prize winner in the unpublished poetry book category. I have been a finalist in several other writing competitions. I have attended numerous conferences including Napa Valley Writers’ Conferences, Omnidawn Press Workshops, UC Berkeley Extension class, Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and Nebraska Summer Writers’ Conferences. I have studied with Jane Mead, Norma Cole, Laura Walker, and Barbara Claire Freeman, among others. When not writing, I can be heard banging on the drums in a band called O Happy Dagger.