Charity Case

Loving and Dying Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers and Amy Kohut

by Howie Good

 

1

Swallowing a handful of pills solves every problem, although I didn’t necessarily want it that way. Nearby is another me that I can’t see but that sees me. It’s impossible when looking around not to imagine some prior tragedy, all the deserted cities the jungle overgrew. Whatever happened to the right to be lazy? I try to tell myself that if less is more, then nothing must be even more. A woman outside the Stop & Shop is collecting money in a can, her eyes like rusted bullet holes.

2

You look up from what you’re doing, interrupted by a chain of thunderstorms moving through the region, something that might mean something, broken people and animals, and the way they stand, and the trouble they get in. The wallpaper pattern repeats the image of a body hanging from a lamp post. It sounds horrifying, but that’s the idea. You and everyone else have begun to suffer the effects. Often eyes become red. So I press my eyes shut.

3

A farmer and his wife, after their dependable horse dies, want to carry machine guns so they can intimidate passing motorists. They go immediately to a lawyer. No skin off my ass. Unanchored by horizons, I ride on a cloud beyond the beyond, where simple words look like galaxies.

4*

Some years are bright and funky. But she had a sad little funeral. It was rainy. It was all wrong. And I was thinking, God, she loved life so much, everything in the world, including the air. Like the Sufis say, “Life is a dream, and death is waking up.” Not that anyone will.

*Source for #4: Allison Meier, “The Funeral of Artists” at 
http://hyperallergic.com/179082/the-funerals-of-artists

 

©Copyright 2015, Howie Good

HOWIE GOOD - [Read Full Bio] a journalism professor at SUNY at New Paltz, is the author of several poetry collections including: "Beautiful Decay," and "The Cruel Radiance of What Is," offered in a single collection from Another New Calligraphy, as well as[...]


[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: loving and dying by J.A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers.
 

 

Snapping Twig – Summer – 2015

Vol: May 2015 thru Jul 2015

Dark Specks in a Blue Sky

Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

by Howie Good

 

  1

The woman from Human Resources had drowned on vacation.  At her memorial service, the first speaker proclaimed, “To hell with facts!” I shook my head and went looking for the end of the American Century, but, as usual, arrived late. A man stopped beside the spot where I was standing on a heap of broken stones. He had a face like a derelict cathedral. I showed him the packet of seeds I had brought all the way from home. The directions on the back said, “Sow in average soil after danger of frost.” I can’t remember his exact advice. It must have been something along the lines of “Everywhere is anywhere.” With just my fingers, I began to dig.

 

  2

There was a time when everyone wasn’t in such a hurry to fuck. I took long walks clutching a piece of paper with an address written on it. Sometimes I would sit down for a rest on a broken couch abandoned by the side of the road. In those days a person heard barking and birds. Hardly anyone says anything interesting anymore. It’s mostly user names and passwords and the howls of a woman giving birth in the attic to a series of monsters.

 

  3

Whichever phone number I call, the suicide hotline rings. That’s the part I don’t get. Then the scene changes – a burned girl, about 10, hooked up to a morphine drip. Off in the distance, skyscrapers loom through 9/11 dust. I have no plans, and no secrets either. A camera is being developed for satellites that can view facial expressions from space. But don’t worry. The government can’t constitutionally use it yet. And unless you live somewhere sunny, they can’t see you anyway.

 

©Copyright 2015, Howie Good

HOWIE GOOD - [Read Full Bio] a journalism professor at SUNY at New Paltz, is the author of several poetry collections including: "Beautiful Decay," and "The Cruel Radiance of What Is," offered in a single collection from Another New Calligraphy, as well as[...]


[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: bring me my spear o clouds unfold by J.A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers.
 
 

Snapping Twig – Summer – 2015

Vol: May 2015 thru Jul 2015

Half-Whole

A heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

by Sarah O’Brien

 

               Heap of half-clean clothing serves as a throne for your phone, which holds a half-memorized number that you half-forgot to remember to delete. So what if he’s still the Emergency Contact to half of your heart. So what if he’s a disease that caused you sickness from the start. His memory stimulating severe damage to your half-functioning liver, ten pieces of fudge while insisting “just a sliver.” A glimpse of his gaze prompts promises; half-assed attempts to move on that leave you glaring down glasses half-empty, envisioning instead what he would say, what wacky witticism would be tossed your way: the wise-ass you get when you cross a poet with a donkey. Half-completed grieving, half-afraid to stop, to drop temptations, to roll with the punches. Bruises fade, but who else will humor your claim I like my coffee black as he hands you Half & Half? Who else will teach you the complexities of jazz, the half-whole diminished scale? You decide you’re better broken than half-heartedly hanging onto hands of handsome men who aren’t him.

 

©Copyright 2015, Sarah A. O'Brien

SARAH O’BRIEN - [Read Full Bio] studies Creative Writing and Studio Art, with a concentration in cheap red wine. She will be an alumnus of Providence College come May 2015, although she denies this if asked. Sarah is the Managing Editor of the literary journal, The Alembic...


 
[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: a heart is not judged by how much you love but by how much you are loved by J.A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers
 

 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

Terminal 2

by Sarah O’Brien

 

            Curled up on cold airport tile, your voice reverberates from the other side of this world: Everyone gets lonely sometimes. Not me, though, right? Not me, I have my independence. I have this jacket lent by two Moroccan men because they couldn’t stand to see me shiver. Crumpled ticket clutched closely to my chest as the 4 a.m. sky makes its exit, as the 5 a.m. sun surrenders its seductive glow. Rome is less romantic from Terminal 2, where families huddle for warmth and stale chips serve as supper. A homesick British chick asks about those American boys. “Cliché at heart,” haughty response, my head down, doodling hearts on an expired bus pass.
          Yes, I was thinking of you, but also the steps of my apartment, tattooed with permanent engravings of temporary lovers. And yes, I miss you, but not the hellish tirades, hot tears wiped away so casually. Condescending, kind-of compliments that caused me to question. The who will be there and the what time will you be back and the why the fuck are you wearing that who are you trying to impress. Never been more alone, keeping from sleeping for fear my seven-year-old L.L.Bean backpack housing dirty laundry will pique a thief’s interest. Foreign feeling, but finally found: I’d rather be lonely than yours.

 

©Copyright 2015, Sarah A. O'Brien

SARAH O’BRIEN - [Read Full Bio] studies Creative Writing and Studio Art, with a concentration in cheap red wine. She will be an alumnus of Providence College come May 2015, although she denies this if asked. Sarah is the Managing Editor of the literary journal, The Alembic...


 
[Featured]Photography Image Credit: alone by Frankie Turiano. ©Copyright 2015, Frank Turiano
 
 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

Birthday

blood-letting in the backyard Copyright 2015, J. A. Spahr-Summers

by Sarah O’Brien

 

There are seven of them now. Twisting, towering time-markers choreographing shadows that stretch their limbs along the darkened walls. With them, familiar voices flicker, rising and falling in awkward accord. As if a slice of Aunt Ruby’s red velvet cake and another sip of homemade sangria could make us forget that last year, we were unsure we would see seven. Those overhead fluorescent lights penetrating tear-stained eyes as Dr. Carmine slowly shook his head, his thick eyebrows kissing one another like caterpillars. Three months, maybe four. But Drew’s dimples are highlighted in the dim glow of tradition. His grin gives way to giggles: caught red-handed, rebellion evidenced in frosting on fidgeting fingers. Hope embodied in hastily handled tokens, waxy carriers of wishes—we watch as seven symbols are silenced with a breath, before they burn out.

 

©Copyright 2015, Sarah A. O'Brien

SARAH O’BRIEN - [Read Full Bio] studies Creative Writing and Studio Art, with a concentration in cheap red wine. She will be an alumnus of Providence College come May 2015, although she denies this if asked. Sarah is the Managing Editor of the literary journal, The Alembic...


 
[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: blood letting in the backyard by J. A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers
 
 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

Small Things

fly Copyright 2015, Frankie Turiano

by Eman Bouras

 

And you’re sitting there wondering whether he believes in God or not, whether you’d love him any different if there wasn’t as much distance between your hands and the fluorescent lights, if your lives weren’t as far apart as they are— And you ask him, “How many bodies this time?” because he’s reading the paper and he knows these kinds of things.

But he doesn’t answer, he still needs his morning coffee.

 

©Copyright 2015, Eman Bouras

EMAN BOURAS - [Read Full Bio] writes and studies English Literature in Florida...


 
[Featured]Photography Image Credit: fly by Frankie Turiano. ©Copyright 2015, Frank Turiano
 
 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

To Whom It May Concern

yeah yeah Copyright 2015, J. Spahr-Summers

   by Sarah O’Brien

 

Tried to write you into a poem once. Tried to fit your flaws into haikus, as you got high beside me. To quell your quirks into stanzas, your measured breaths into meter, your seaside voice into verse. Didn’t work out. Maybe it was the way you peeled the label off your beer bottle, piece by piece until paper was scattered on the bar’s bare back. Maybe it was your tendency to answer messages merely mentally, or the way you slept through morning classes cause your alarm was that indie song you love and didn’t I tell you that was a bad idea. Maybe it was how you pointed out the clichés in my poetry, your crescent moon mouth mocking my metaphors, smiling at my similes. So certain that we were a couplet, and you were just an off rhyme. Maybe it was the way you skillfully sidestepped questions aimed at your soul. You wouldn’t fit into my form. And before I could break the line, you broke me.

 

©Copyright 2015, Sarah A. O'Brien

SARAH O’BRIEN - [Read Full Bio] studies Creative Writing and Studio Art, with a concentration in cheap red wine. She will be an alumnus of Providence College come May 2015, although she denies this if asked. Sarah is the Managing Editor of the literary journal, The Alembic...


 
[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: yeah yeah by J. A. Spahr-Summers. ©Copyright 2015, Jeffrey A. Spahr-Summers
 
 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015