Issue 96 — 

William C. Blome (ArLiJo#96)
Katherine Holmes (ArLiJo#96)
Kenneth Pobo (ArLiJo#96)
Kimberly Ann Priest (ArLiJo#96)
John Stephens (ArLiJo#96)
Adam Webb (ArLiJo#96)
William C. Blome

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 96



Wrens

Wrens (small hands, small fists) jab
between branches of a mulberry tree,
and in the fury of their idle combat, they smash
windows in furniture factories and collapse
empty cardboard cartons. As most of our yesterdays
huddle in the brain as a mob assembling
in distant glades, something suggests I confess to you
the glades are an interlocking thatch
of on-their-way-out trees, and thus the daunting image
in front of the wrens (providing they make the jumbo
effort to bridge the jumbo distance
between their mulberry tree and all those other trees)
is a furiously busy switchboard staffed
by headset-wearing adolescents, and while
additional details will likely refuse to surface,
understand it’s all because of your indolence that
there’s zero confidence wrens can close the distance.


Copyright © 2017 by William C. Blome.



About the Author:
William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as Amarillo Bay, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.

 

 


Katherine Holmes


REM sunshine

Still as shingles
    the day is going on
it knocks on the fingernails
    and splayed arm
a stump recalling its nerve.

There was a horrible hour
    in the night
        tiger near a garage again
having to be appeased for those
in the ramshackle mansion rooms
        insects behind a closed door
they can’t really get to you
with the wind in your brain.

Are we trees rooted in sleep or
is that tree out there sleeping?

The turned-in eye at night
    fastens on another twig
that gropes towards the REM sunshine.
Leaf mosaics sift the breeze
        ambrosia until
gusts toss reels of autumn technicolor
        under the flannel snow.


    The day is going on.
Flared synapses of yesterday
    sunk into the trunk
ungnarl the finger
    and the searching toes.

    A cat sits near the
stalled lump of provision
waiting for the sun that shines
    on trees and us.

Copyright © 2017 by Katherine Holmes.



The Miranda flower

Impact tree-bud large
magnified at a crouch
in a city rock garden
the minuscule flower
vase labeled Miranda

holding a blue moment
a museum piece
small as thought in a
calendar of granite.

He passed here too,
force the farce
of love clawing
kissing to clutch.
No witness in
the sightless rocks.

Cacti and Siberian
moss turn stickling
like divorcees.

Rooted to her spot
blue Miranda
proffers her potion.

At first she had pity
and pretty-feeling skin
that blossomed into
bruise and survival
in the rocks
alone as a crocus.
Youth could not
yet know a man.

Soft fern soothes
a hairline fracture
in the scalloped blue
goblet of memory.


Hurry on.
The labeler of growth
between rocks might see

a loitering passerby,
that she was touched.


Copyright © 2017 by Katherine Holmes.



Foghorn

foghorn far-off
how can it be comforting
when it enters the unconscious
like a barge
and sounds like the bored lullaby
of a belcher
or the bedtime story of an industrialist

the hearer
starting to snooze
counts the hornblows as whales
sloshing up and
clearing the height of a hundred waterbeds

foghorn snoring
outside the fathoms
of slumber
a dream decoy alleviating
the tossing whitecaps of isolation

matter-of-fact as
the forlorn divorced man
who warns about the jaggedness
underneath things
conscious of stubborn boundaries
between ship and ecstatic sea and shale

another newly
at his wild worst
forgets his early alarm
blaring to
a building after he’s gone
warnings at best infrequent and far-off

yet consoling
is the sea-clock
for the sightless
in the night mantles
a time of loneliness and transit
with unfamiliar places to pass through

while foghorns
keep what adds up
to a fleet from going down


Copyright © 2017 by Katherine Holmes.



About the Author:
Katherine L. Holmes’ poetry, short stories, and one-act plays have appeared in more than 50 journals, most recently Agave Magazine, Thin Air Magazine, Cider Press Review, Mused Literary Review, Red Booth Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Blood Lotus, and The Adirondack Review. In 2012, her short story collection, Curiosity Killed the Sphinx and Other Stories, was published by Press Americana. More information is at her website: https://sites.google.com/site/katherinelholmesauthorprofile/

 

 





Kenneth Pobo


Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 96




From the Porch

He watches fireflies
write small gold
letters in mid-air
just
above
a canterbury bell’s
sexy
blue lips.


Copyright © 2017 by Kenneth Pobo.


African Violet Steve

He sees beauty in few places,
but when he does, he stops,
or to him, Earth slows its orbit,
the moon releases the tides,
briefly. Beauty breaks down.
He’s now on his twenty-fifth
African Violet, having killed each one:
too little water, too little heat,
not the right light, oh,
it’s terrible to love something
and get it wrong, green pads
blackening. An optimist,
he tries again. His dad grows one
that’s seven years old—
never out of bloom,
a man who prefers NASCAR to gardens.
His friend Sue tries to help—
several thrive in her apartment.
Steve wants the world to stop
turning, even once, time
descending on a bud just opened,
lavender flowers, small and perfect,
and likely not to last.


Copyright © 2017 by Kenneth Pobo.


About the Author:
Kenneth Pobo has a new book out from Blue Light Press called Bend Of Quiet. His work has appeared in Indiana Review, Mudfish, Atlanta Review, Weber: The Contemporary West, and elsewhere.

 

 
Kimberly Ann Priest


Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 96



My Friend Believes She Wishes a Miscarriage Into Reality
Nominated for a Pushcart Prize


It dropped out of me
bloody. I mean
it was bloody in the bathroom—I stood
in a pool of blood— No,
sat in it— No, laid in my bed. No, cried. No,
—I didn’t.

I was bleeding
not in the bathroom
not in my bed but

in the shop while working earlier that morning,
cutting foam and stems, filling vase after vase with water,
arranging flowers for a wedding, and singing
Dani California— singing—
sweating out pink drops, dropping
a leaf, a petal, a card: congratulations on your special day,
the fetus.

Did I tell you I was singing?

I was.

I didn’t tell you I wanted the child.
I didn’t tell anyone
or buy a plastic stick to know if it was even there.
The sloppy mass was on the bathroom floor.

I mopped it up, dried myself, slept
the whole next day.


Copyright © 2017 by Kimberly Ann Priest.



Sunday Morning


A girl in the third row counts the seconds it would take
for a man twice her age to undress her. There are many ways to find
God
, says the preacher: from inside a belly, from inside a cave,
from inside the spirit of a man.
Her mother sits on a long hard pew underlining verses, deep creases
in her forehead and the corners of her eyes.
The young man looks tranquil next to the preacher’s wife;
he turns to see the girl again with his dark brown eyes.
The preacher holds his Bible open like a plate over-filled at a picnic;
a slight shift and the food will spill off.
The girl learns the hungry are filled if they are seeking—the girl
learns to keep her gaze straight ahead.
The pastor’s wife smiles at the man in the front row and he smiles back.
Her mother is marking each minute with Amen. There is only
one way to know God
, says the preacher: from outside
the brothels, from outside the bars, from outside, the Spirit will come.


Copyright © 2017 by Kimberly Ann Priest.



About the Author:
Kimberly Ann Priest received her MA in Creative Writing at Central Michigan University and is currently completing an MFA in Poetry at New England College while volunteering with AmeriCorp in Fort Worth, Texas and teaching English composition courses online. She has published in several literary journals since she began writing poetry a few years ago including Ruminate Magazine, Storm Cellar, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Critical Pass, and forthcoming in 3288 Review.
 

 

John Stephens

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 96




Boy on the Beach


Out of blood there grew the flower called hyacinthos not the petals of which were marked with the mournful exclamation AI, AI (“Alas”).
—Hyacinthos


A boy stands by the September sea with his dog.
He looks at the unbroken ocean, the dog barks off gulls,
bites waves, runs their breaking white crests.

The boy turns to eye the sea, wonders how
it ends. His sisters’ faces lean into the wind.
The water darkens the sand, the girls tug their skirts,
the tallest takes the hand of the little one,
and the four wade in the waters they cannot know.
Their mother snaps a photograph.

The dog is gone to dust now, and so is the boy.
His sisters watch the night sky, ask, where are
the flowers of Hyacinthus, which one of us is next?



Copyright © 2017 by John Stephens.





A Butcher in Any Town


We must kill them. We must incinerate them. Pig after pig . . . cow after cow . . . village after village . . . army after army . . .
—Colonel Kurtz, Apocalypse Now


Rain ran after monsoon in that jungle haze,
drowning reflection of the wife back home,
and desire lay sleeping in queer being.

Kurtz had gone mad in a stench of ivory tusks
thinking the trade would be worth something.
His heart was the drum beat in the dark blue

spectral as thousands of necrotic eyes followed
the horned head that swayed in smoke to sounds
of no human language. He commanded his tribe

to bow like rioting vegetation under king trees,
to butcher and poach tusks for god beads and tobacco.
When he is done with his litany, they pick him up,

carry him to a hut, amid flies buzzing over the raw
heads on pikes. Live long enough in the jungle
and the mania will speak to you, lust will grow,

and soon everything will seem to belong to you,
even the very face of the stars.
That’s when the jungle wants you dead.


Copyright © 2017 by John Stephens.



About the Author:
John Stephens is the author of Return to the Water, (C & R Press June 2013); other published work include poems in Stone River Sky, An Anthology of Georgia Poems (2015), Iodine Poetry Journal (2016), Amarillo Bay (2016), Stream Ticket (2016), Boston Accent (2016) and Head and Hand Press (2016). He lives in Milton, Ga. and his gifts have helped to establish the Adam Stephens Night Out for Poetry at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Poetry @TECH series.
 

 



Adam Webb

Featured in ArLiJo Issue No. 96



Beauty
—Baudelaire: La Beauté

I am a dream of stone.
My breast wounds poets
inspiring a love
eternal
and silent as matter.
Residing in the heavens
misunderstood,
I unite a heart of snow
with the whiteness of swans,
while hating all movement
which displaces lines.
Never to laugh; never to weep.
My poses, borrowed
from proud monuments,
consume poet’s days.
I fascinate these docile lovers
with radiant eyes.
Pure mirrors
make all more beautiful.


Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.



Looking in a Mirror after Reading Neruda

Like a shadow on the wall,
I’ve been sentenced to stalk myself.

Disturbed roots lift the sidewalk;
Dead flowers
Wait to be replaced come spring.

In desperation, supported
By dreams
My faces appear.


Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.



After Looking to my Left

Gallery faces
lean toward The Tempest
like a Caravaggio.
Chiaroscuro shines
one face through the shadows.

I love you;
but,
you’ll never know.

Anyway,
here’s all I have to give;
words
I wrote on the back of a playbill.


Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.


Wahalla Beach, Whiting July 17th, 2013

I am drunk on the sound of waves
in the sun seared sand.
Smells of trout and bass
whistle through the saw grass hazy with gnats.
Waves hit the rocks
leaving dead alewife and lakeweed as they retreat.
I must be crazy
to love a place
where I don’t wanna be.


Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.



Looking at a Box in Florence

No one wants their name
in the tamburo.
The Medici’s
have Da Vinci’s
fingerprints on file,
in Uffizi.
They’re on Verrocchio’s
The Baptism of Christ.
Leo painted the second angel,
the one keeping an eye
on the carpenter.


Copyright ©2017 by Adam Webb.



About the Author:
Adam Webb is a poet and translator originally from blue-collar town in Northwest Indiana. Adam graduated Summa Cum Laude from Calumet College of St. Joseph. Currently, he teaches English in Singburi, Thailand and travels the world in his free time.