Issue 114 — 

Bill Christophersen (ArLiJo#114)
Betsy Hughes (ArLiJo#114)
Francis C. Klein (ArLiJo#114)
Kenneth Pobo (ArLiJo#114)
Mike Wall (ArLiJo#114)
Bill Christophersen

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 114


It’s not just the interminable afternoons. . . .
(The bees, their pollen put up, haven’t a clue
what to be about; the flight paths of June
no longer appertaining, drift, as I do,
from pane to pane.) It’s when the daylight sheers
and summer’s death rattle skirls in the field
beyond the house. . . . Lying in bed, I hear
the in-, then out-of-phase crescendos; yield
to waves of panic glasses of warm milk
won’t assuage, cool compresses won’t quell.
I get up, go outside (the air a silk
cravat) to stare it down. The clamor swells:
Darkness audible. Insomniac rune.
Primordial, incorrigible tune.

Copyright © 2019 by Bill Christophersen.


The medical equipment
technician delivering the
oxygen tank my emphysemic
father needs to help him
recover from the
exertion of walking from
one room to the next
is coaching him on how
much time to allot
each half of the
inhale-exhale cycle.
Here’s the deal,
he says, demonstrating.
Inhale: “Smell the flowers.”
Exhale: “Blow out the candle.”

Mnemonic was published by Hanging Loose (93: 2008). Copyright © by Bill Christophersen.


Here’s to the god that looks both ways: behind
to evening shadows on the noonday street;
ahead to daylight-saving time, upbeat
forecasts, the fantasy that all will find
restored to them what’s died, dried up, gone gray.
God of terminus and god of hope—
for that’s the trick, isn’t it? To cope
with one at night and glimpse the other by day,
so that this winding sheet of ice and snow
doubles as cocoon; so that this white
light that pains the eye and numbs the soul
disperses to reveal an Armory Show
of colors cavalcading out of sight;
so that the old year takes but its rightful toll.

January was published by Birmingham Poetry Review (34: Winter/Spring 2007). Copyright © by Bill Christophersen.

About the Author
Bill Christophersen was born in the Bronx and educated at Columbia University. He is the author of The Apparition in the Glass: Charles Brockden Brown’s American Gothic (U. of Georgia Press) and Resurrecting Leather-Stocking: Pathfinding in Jacksonian America (U. of S. Carolina Press), as well as three poetry collections: Two Men Fighting in a Landscape (Aldrich Press), The Dicer’s Cup (Kelsay Books) and Tableau with Crash Helmet (Hanging Loose Press). His book reviews and critical essays have appeared in Newsweek, The New Leader, The New York Times Book Review, The American Book Review and Poetry. His poems have won awards from Rhino, the Kansas Quarterly and the Robinson Jeffers Tor House Foundation, and have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and for inclusion in Best New Poets 2014. He lives in New York and plays traditional and bluegrass fiddle.



Betsy Hughes

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 114


You’ll find him in his smithy — poet’s yard.
He builds the fire and stokes it with a fuel —
imagination. See him labor hard
with such as hammer, anvil, powered tool —
the pen! It moves across the page to say
the writer’s telling truth, the bard’s intent.
Bright words are sparking, and the interplay
of intellect and heart convey, invent,
create anew the universal theme
from personal experience. He casts,
he shapes the heated mold, designs the dream,
he fashions in his forge the stuff that lasts.
That blacksmith’s skill, white magic, weaves a spell;
its artistry, its poetry compel.

Copyright © 2019 by Betsy Hughes.

  Inspired by Walt Whitman

God’s presence in the world is manifest
in every blade of grass — the here and now.
With radiance in daily life we’re blessed,
divinity endowed in us somehow.
It is outside our selves in nature’s sight,
direct and vivid, beautiful and true;
it is inside our selves in inner light,
afflatus, holy breath, which surges through
creative, vital marrow. Yes, such grace
is in the present moment, growing green
and democratic in its every place
where poems of all the people we can glean.
While leaves of grass are blowing without fear,
our liberty will never disappear.

Copyright © 2019 by Betsy Hughes.

About the Author
Betsy Hughes graduated from Vassar College, earned her M.A in English from the University of Dayton, and taught English for 30 years at the Miami Valley School. She is fascinated by the sonnet genre because of its inherent qualities of sound and rhythm and its wedding of discipline and freedom. Her first collection of sonnets, Breaking Weather, winner of the 2013 Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition, was published by the NFSPS Press in 2014. Bird Notes was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. She lives with her husband in Dayton, Ohio.



Francis C. Klein

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 114


I buried my brother in an unmarked grave
with the other bodies jumbled in the pit.
For seven years, he didn’t know who he was.
For the last seven, we didn’t know where he lived.

Dust made from ashes, ashes from dust,
in a no man’s land’s arid plain.
Look to the sky for birds of prey.
Look to land for a scavenger’s name.

Man is as evil as he ever was,
Satan with a rifle, black bump stock.
Kill the children as they come from play.
Hunt them down if they run away.

The origins of crime are lost
in the chimp’s incisors, swinging fists.
Look to the enemy sunk within
reptilian DNA.

Are you my tribe? Am I on
your lengthy enemies list? It’s gone
viral, in electric spin.
We are all brothers under the skin.

Copyright © 2019 by Francis C. Klein.

In Super Eight

I wrote in a dark room,
the cave of the past
behind me as I reeled
the movie backwards
in super eight.

What frame should I stop in,
let the light burn through
the closed projector,
the scarred sprocket smell
of dust and acetate?

I found you
dancing in a basement,
in a yellow dress,
one measure
of the long waterfall of youth.

Where was my face
in this picture?
Others passed me,
screened my figure,
made a scrim of bodiness.

I will be gone
before you see me,
shade uprolled
into the valance,
shadow on the pavement of the flesh.

Copyright © 2019 by Francis C. Klein.

In the Gated City

Who is like me?
What man? what image?
I began as a cell.

Who, except me,
had my sequence of teachers,
advisers of the book?

On the first page,
I wrote in a garden,
maze of the fourfold path.

When I was yours,
I walked to all compass points,
a jetty in the sea.

When you were mine,
the oak gates opened,
vines in the towering trees.

You sat on my right side,
rib extension, stretch
over the core, the knee.

Kneel with me
in the gated city,
teach me

the constant consonants of the scrolls.

Copyright © 2019 by Francis C. Klein.

Iron Filings

Lay your hands on my shoulders,
one of the chosen ones,
made in the image of the wind.

Currents of air
come down from the mountains.
I walk through tracks of dust.

We make the magnetic bond
of lines of iron filings
in ellipses on the plate,

muted attraction and repulsion,
the positive and negative of place,
curves of the storm.

When I saw you,
you bent me to you.
Now we align as one.

What is the gap
between the index finger and the thumb?
What is the arc

that joins us in this moment,
mind over mind,
thunder in the palm?

Copyright © 2019 by Francis C. Klein.

About the Author
Francis Klein has had 3 chapbooks published by Finishing Line Press:
Podebrady (2011), Untouched by Morning (2012), and Dais (2017). His work has appeared in Mudfish 18, Fear of Success, A Letter Among Friends, red herring ii, Lion Rampant, Penumbra, Oberon, and The Ledge.



Kenneth Pobo

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 114

Brown Cords

His first time in
a gay bar, Steve wore
brown cords, a pack
of Newports in his pocket.
Some guy asked him to dance
to “Dancing Queen,”
put his hand on Steve’s ass—
part of him wanted to say
stop that,
part of him wanted to say
more please.

After the song ended,
the stranger slipped away
into other dancers.

Steve ordered a gin and tonic,
more at ease
but ready to go.

Copyright © 2019 by Kenneth Pobo.

Jeff Sees His Old Church Is a CVS

From age seven I sang in the choir.
Mrs. Selkie taught me
how to get notes to fall
just right. I got solos.

Deacon Pinter said he wished
every boy would be like me.
Maybe I didn’t look gay—
he’d have kicked my ass
in a most unholy way,
as they all would. Long ago.

At work I make up tunes
I hum silently. A few I share
with Jerry who once egged me on
to audition for Dancing With The Stars.
I dance too. Today

The Bible Church of Tibbs Ford
is a drive-through CVS.
We get bagged drugs while eating
McDonalds fries. Pills,
a small blue choir in a bottle.
We swell with praise,
forget what we’re praising.

Copyright © 2019 by Kenneth Pobo.

About the Author
Kenneth Pobo has a new book out from Clare Songbirds Publishing House called The Antlantis Hit Parade. Forthcoming from Duck Lake Books is Dindi Expecting Snow.



Mike Wall

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 114

MLK in Vermont

In the space between mist and slope
he feels borne aloft
but so bewildered at this cresting, bumpy
touch and go push up and rise
he forgets the wound scarred shut,
and laughs and glides
along a line of the Green Mountains
in how the hell did he wind up in Vermont.

He sees farmhouses up here,
pastures so sweet-green
he smiles at his pleasure.

He folds his arms
piston-ready, a runner’s brace
in this sudden young-body exultation
of ebb and flow.

The liquid of his joints renewed,
he rocks forward smoothly
a steady 3 or 4 feet off the ground,
climbs the contours of the fields in arcing light
until darkness slips around him
and he hovers
among fireflies,
dew glistening
on the shoulders of his coat.

Copyright © 2019 by Mike Wall.

   (Considering a 1942 Black and White Photograph of Hundreds of Sailors at Ease on    the Foredeck of the Japanese Battleship Musashi)

Perhaps they raced each other out
of the reek of diesel
up vertiginous stairs
and discharged into the sun,
and so young they gathered in packs by the rails and looked out
to the mild sea,
but no one approaches the prow
which runs into haze but pauses here,
captured by the photo which none of them
could have supposed I would see.

The engine pulse in the steel never stops,
the rhythm they felt habitual as their heartbeats.

Two men move away from the others.
One gazes out, one in a handstand,
smiling, I think.

At shrines tucked into corners below decks,
they offer thimbles of sake,
bits of dried fish
to the kami of Musashi,
to its gray elongation,
to the big guns turreted behind them,
squatting in their ancient geologic expanse.

Copyright © 2019 by Mike Wall.

About the Author
Mike Wall taught English for 36 years at Owen J. Roberts High School in Pennsylvania and now volunteers with rescue dogs and with retired police officers. He works at a bookstore. This issue constitutes his first publication which has created “a state of unexpected, happy delirium” for him.