A Song in Four Parts

by Coral Lee

 

I. A BOTCHED MISSION

My two friends and I are talking to two identical boys at a party:
Both in circle frame glasses,
Both six feet tall,
Both cute.

The one I have come with
Is outside, easing his Chantix-induced nausea with a cigarette.
And as I am scheming how I will
Woo Boy A or Boy B–
(There’s something about sneaking out the back door,
A silent cue,
Cuts and scrapes on my shins)–
I have failed to engage in conversation,
And one of my friends is now macking on boy A.
Boy B has slipped through the back door without me.

On the other side of the front door
Is the one I have come with,
Smoking a cigarette.
He asks if I am ready–
I snake my arm through his.

We walk home in tandem;
the freezing air
slices at my shins.

 

II. I AM SORRY ABOUT THE ROSES

I have accidentally killed the dozen of roses you have given me.

The dozen you had given your mother is still alive and well–
This, you remind me gently.

Now feeling particularly brutish,
I break into tears,
and another argument ensues.
It only ends when you inform me
that my expectations are impossibly high.

We are too drunk to effectively argue for x or y without getting confused
and so,
we instead fall to the ground
and silently fold fortune-tellers.

Mine: “Try again”
Yours: “You will get clawed by a bird”

 

III. I AM SCARED THAT THE MAGIC IS GONE

We haven’t had sex for 2 weeks.
(2.5 weeks, really.)

And so, the day before I leave, I look at you and half-jokingly ask if we are never going to have sex again.

You respond with a hand down my pants,
And after
          fucking you, just like that
(Circling my hips because isn’t that supposed to be spicy?)
You get up; root around for your boxers, and with a sigh and snap of the waistband say:
“That’s why I don’t like having sex when I’m drunk.”

I am still naked.
Venus figure that I am,
I look for split-ends disinterestedly.
Do you remember when we used to lay here, unclothed,
thinking of the essentials were we to be stranded on a island,
counting each other’s freckles
until your alarm rang?

 

IV. UNFORTUNATE SITUATIONS TO WAKE UP IN

1. 32,000 feet above the air.
2. In a bed, alone.
3. In a bed, not alone.

 

©Copyright 2015, Coral Lee

CORAL LEE - [Read Full Bio] is currently studying English at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. Her poems have been published in various online and print journals including: scissors and spackle, Neat Mag, Hika...


[Featured]Digital Art / Photography Image Credit: it puts a special burn on sunsets by J.A. Spahr-Summers.
©Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

 
 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

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In a Room With Somebodies

when darkness comes Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

by Allison Grayhurst

 

Your chains fall loose, you lose
the weight of
being.
Proud, nervous, drenched in
mysterious dependency,
you hold
your cup of coffee, unable to make
conversation. Surgically removed
from the crowd, your smile
fades like a snapped tail,
travels into the pit
of your waters, into
the climate of your rolling, twisting
depths. Waves
that beckon your emotions to chime,
rush from belly
into hands and eyes, rush
into the choking
air. You,
restless from living too long
beyond
the skin, hold tight
your alien love, hold in
the cries of your forming compassion and long
for exit.

 

©Copyright 2015, Allison Grayhurst

ALLISON GRAYHURST - [Read Full Bio] is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 500 poems published in over 250 international journals and anthologies. She has eleven books of poetry and seven collections...


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

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

My Secret Place

Elegie Copyright 2015, Julie K. Shavin

by Stephen Mead

 

It’s rarely winter there

or, if so, the snow is magical,

something found at the center

of a wilderness at four in the morning.

Mostly though, it is autumn before the chill

sets in, a moss landscape, patchwork carpet

of will ‘o the wisps.

 

The wind is a river

shutting the world out

like a door in order to open

another one, this one of mottled patterns.

 

Water resembles sea gulls wings, feathers

reflect sky, and the sky mirrors hues

enclosed in an eye dreaming to recall

just what living is about.

 

I’d like to show you this place,

but you can only know it after pain,

not minding the silence or that you are alone.

Then it will ease wide, the relief of a leaf

falling falling towards the sweet fog of dawn.

 

©Copyright 2015, Stephen Mead

STEPHEN MEAD - [Read Full Bio] a writer and artist who has been publishing work for the last three decades, but has only now gotten around to making his poetry (found in various zines around the Web) available in one place. His latest Amazon release entitled, "Our Spirit Life," a poetry / art meditation on family heritage, love...


[Featured]Digital Art Image Credit: Elegie by Julie Shavin. ©Copyright 2015, Julie K. Shavin
 
 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

Seasons

Transition Copyright 2015, Julie K. Shavin

by Coral Lee

 

I. summer: cornfields

We are in a car.

Stalks of corn come and go

threatening to entangle us;

your bashful fingers slide between mine.

 

II. fall: dying leaves

The stutter of your rising and falling chest takes hold of the civilization inside me.

 

III. winter: snow fall

The slow and steady construction of a white powder wall

at the foot of my bed threatens to smother me.

 

The Genie, an Aphrodite-like figure,

tempts me with three wishes:

I wish for coldness,

painless asphyxiation,

and for three more wishes––

            (I’ll let you know when I hear back.)

 

You, scratchy kiss, sleepy chin

have scaled the wall.

Swinging your legs,

you zip up your coat

contemplate the view.

 

IV. spring: limbo

THIS PAGE HAS INTENTIONALLY BEEN LEFT BLANK

(these are the things I have not found words for yet)

 

©Copyright 2015, Coral Lee

CORAL LEE - [Read Full Bio] is currently studying English at Kenyon College in Gambier, OH. Her poems have been published in various online and print journals including: scissors and spackle, Neat Mag, Hika...


[Featured]Digital Art / Photography Image Credit: Transition by Julie Shavin. ©Copyright 2015, Julie K. Shavin
 
 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

With help comes hope 

back on track Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

by Jason Sears

 

From the sidewalk, two

school-aged boys toss cherry bombs

at our passing train. They pop

like guns, and the door I lean on smells like gunpowder.

 

I look at my canvas shoes, convinced

they will be covered with soot. I look up,

and the passengers begin to stare at me.

I assume the false culpability with a half-moon smile

 

and try to look responsible, somehow. I

leave the train, fly down the stairs

past the suicide prevention sign and hope to see

them biking off toward home.

 

©Copyright 2015, Jason Sears

JASON SEARS - [Read Full Bio] is a writer living in West Philadelphia, His poetry has been previously published in The Monarch Review.


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

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

Work

middle of the road Copyright 2015, J.A. Spahr-Summers

by Harry Calhoun

 

All the old ones are gone and beloved.
All the new ones are still here,
here for years, and they can

hurt you. And they do, and it’s
your word against Mother or Father
Superior for your boss.

You’ll never win, and if this
and your wife’s love drives you
to poetry, it has to be all right —

although I’ve tried both
to get along with idiots
and write poems, and neither seems

to pay very well. But ask me
which I prefer. I think it shows
in this poem, which is not work

but release, as from a prison farm.

 

©Copyright 2015, Harry Calhoun

HARRY CALHOUN - [Read Full Bio] is a multiple nominee for both the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net. He has been published in hundreds of poetry journals and is the author of several books and chapbooks: "Failure is Unimportant" (Flutter Press, 2013); "Maintenance and Death" (England’s Pig Ear Press, 2012) ...


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

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015

Self-portrait as a Southern Baptist prayer altar

by Jay Sizemore

 

I.

I’m plain wood, nothing ornate,
these planks could have come from apple carts,
these nails from your father’s tool box,
left from that summer he planned to restore
the deck, but didn’t get around to it.

I’m a place for tears to splash,
collecting in pools with snot
and rabid prayer slobber
on my glossy brown paint,
left from children or grown fools,
desperate to stay out of Hell,
their clasped hands now knotted ropes
tied to an anchor of nothingness.

I’m there, like a well without water
that begs the dehydrated to drink.
I’ll convince you that the voice in your head
is the voice of God, that intuition
or fear is a spirit that moves across your heart
like an undulating beam from a lighthouse.

Come to me. Can’t you feel the flames
licking the soles of your feet?
Can’t you feel the burden of accountability
engulfing your ribcage tabernacle
like a star destined for collapse?
Place that weight on these slender boards,
this meager skeleton has held lifetimes,
is the acorn continually nourished
into not becoming a tree,
while the clouds feel reborn after rain.

 

II.

My grandfather never needed me.
He found God on the dirt floor of a barn,
pushed to his knees by the voices
of the boll weevils, the chants of the pill bugs,
the mutterings of the pigeons and the doves
in the loft, where the light filled with dust
and the sounds of their wings beating their bodies
was like a congregation of angels
trapped on Earth, where the sun was small
enough to be obscured by a thumb.

How many times I heard him ask forgiveness,
his hands trembling like they did
when I would watch him bait a hook,
how they must have trembled when lifted
from the dirty ground of that barn,
his voice a piece of foil shaking like a leaf
on a winter limb, rocking on his feet
as if he could fall, but finding endless reserves
of strength. This man, whom I had seen
sacrifice his best years to the thrum
of wheels on pitted highways,
who wore plain leather work shoes
every day except Sunday, whom I had seen
sweat his shirt through mowing that ridiculous yard,
tilling the garden, who put his hat on my head
and offered me chewing tobacco with a grin,
this man begged the forgiveness of his church,
of his family, said he had failed them,
had failed in the sight of the Lord.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

You Matter - Carl Scharwath

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Life
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

III.

I’ve lived in this house since before you were born.
Before the mortar was dry between the bricks,
I’ve sat here listening for the voice of the Lord.
The carpet beneath my feet has settled into permanence.
I’ve heard spiders walking in the corners of the pews.
I’ve listened to the leaves wrestling the gusty ghost of a storm.
The wasps in the windows pluck at the metal screen like a harp.
It’s music, but it is not the voice of the Lord.

Birds and squirrels jump from the gutters, scamper across the roof.
I’ve heard the little pads of lizard feet tickling the cracks
of the foundation. On Sunday, the children laugh outside,
and they cry inside, hushed by motherly scorn.
There’s singing. Always singing. Someone blows a note
on a pitch pipe. The songs bring chills, Amazing Grace,
but they are not the voice of the Lord.

The minister reads from his book, I can hear him thumb
through the pages, the papery whisk of page upon page.
He shouts down from the pulpit, lets his spittle fly,
slaps his palm on the cover of his Bible,
stomps his feet like Elvis with a tome instead of a microphone,
the audience shifts and squeaks in their hard wooden seats.
But they do not hear the voice of the Lord.

There are prayers and Amens. A weeping confession or two.
Someone blows a note through their nose.
Footsteps shuffle as the collection plate is passed,
I hear the change rattle loosely in the brass-plated tin,
the crisp friction as the bills unfold,
and then another song, more footsteps, and the door is closed.
Where was the voice of the Lord?

I’ve heard the rain blown like pebbles against the glass,
the thunder crashing like a sky torn apart.
I’ve heard the quiet sifting of snow through the branches,
the creak of cold wood, thumps of accumulation dropping
from the eaves. I’ve heard the breeze whistling through a keyhole.
I’ve heard the loneliest starling crying from her empty nest.
I’ve heard a husband kiss his bride for the first time and the last,
heard a mother weep for the loss of her first born.
But I still have yet to hear the voice of the Lord.

 

IV.

Every living thing is reincarnated as an inanimate object.
I never thought I’d see myself as something other
than a hollow amplifier for whimpering,
a dark respite for faces hidden in cradled arms.

Yet, here I am, swelling in the sun,
watching some children play,
kicking their feet into the sky.
Here I am, a place for lovers to hold hands,

to rest in the hypnotic wake
of sunlight’s ripples on the water.
There’s a man here every Tuesday.
He brings a book of poetry.

When he reads out loud, to himself,
I think I’ve found the voice inside myself,
the voice I lost to the listening,
that part of the multitudes’ humming

one perfect note beneath the surface.

 

©Copyright 2015, Jay Sizemore

JAY SIZEMORE - [Read Full Bio] brought the high-five out of retirement. He still sings Ryan Adams songs in the shower. Sometimes, he massages his wife's feet. His work has appeared online and in print with magazines such as Rattle, Prick of the Spindle, Revolution John, Menacing Hedge, and Still: The Journal...


[Featured (#1 top rt)]Digital Art Image Credit: Life by Julie Shavin. ©Copyright 2015, Julie K. Shavin
[Featured (#2 bottom lt)]Digital Art / Photography Image Credit: You Matter by Carl Scharwath. ©Copyright 2015, Carl Scharwath

 
 

Snapping Twig – Spring – 2015

Vol: Feb 2015 thru Apr 2015