Category: Poetry (Page 1 of 4)

Suicide

By: Stephanie Kaplan Cohen

 

No, I didn’t commit suicide.

I did not jump off

the Empire State Building.

 

No matter how many tell

the story of a young girl

who jumped.

 

They speak of many years ago,

before the balcony was
enclosed. They saw

 

with their own eyes,

a desperate young girl

her coat fluttering behind

 

jumped, jumped, jumped.

With their own eyes

they saw it.

 

Look, here I am.

 

But not my coat.

It was, in the style of the time
thrown over my shoulders,

 

and that new red coat of mine
was embraced by the wind.

It flew, it fluttered.

 

People screamed

while it cavorted in the breeze

until it came to land

 

on the top of a now-defunct

store, B. Altman by name.

And because it was

 

so long ago, the store was closed.

In those golden years

stores were closed on Sundays.

 

My cousin and I

traipsed across the street

and told the superintendent

 

My coat was on his roof.

His eyes widened,

without a word,

 

he entered the elevator

and in a few minutes, came down

holding the rag of my coat.

 

But look at me.

I’m still here,

but not my new red coat.


Stephanie Kaplan Cohen has been published in many literary journals as well as The New York Times. Her memoir, In My Mother’s House, was published by Woodley Books and her poetry books, Additions and Subtractions and Body Work, have been published by Plain View Press. Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. For many years she wrote the column “Ask Stephanie” for the Alzheimer’s Association Quarterly in Westchester and Putnam, New York. She is also an editor of The Westchester Review. Stephanie has had many public and private fiction and poetry readings, and her work has been read on NPR.

The Beginning and The End: A Love Poem with 2 Parts

By:  Danielle Foley

 

  1. Words

 

When words are insignificant what does a phone conversation become?

When you can’t find the vocabulary to say what’s in your heart,

Because your brain can’t find the letters

To make up the words

To make up the phrases

To make up the meanings

Because what you are feeling

Is more than a sentence?

How much do you want to talk love?

It’s not a talking thing

It moves you

Me

Together

 

  1. Remember

 

I remember a long, black dress

Paper-thin

Bohemian-esque

With tiny, gold stars (flecked on the fabric)

I remember shingles

That burned my skin like fire ants

I recall floating away on a

Cloud of pills

I remember

Thinking that I was so cool

And you were so cool

And that our love would never die


Danielle Joy Foley received her BFA in Theatre Arts from Miami University of Ohio and MA in Dance/movement therapy from Drexel University. She is a Philadelphia based actress, illustrator and yoga teacher. In her spare time, she enjoys writing, gardening and interpretive dancing.

Passing Storm

By: Michael Seeger

 

Whiplash lightning

cracked then

 

thunder stuttered

rolling wildly with

 

rain falling through

the early morning

 

desert sky leaving

its wet print

 

before the day

broke over

 

the distant cloudy

horizon.


Michael Seeger lives with his lovely wife, Catherine, and still-precocious 16-year-old daughter, Jenetta, in a house owned by a magnificent Maine Coon (Jill) and two high-spirited Chihuahuas (Coco and Blue). He is an educator (like his wife) residing in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, California. Prior to his life as a middle school English instructor, Michael worked as a technical writer for a baseball card company and served as a Marine infantry officer during Desert Storm. Michael considers poetry a passion and writing generally a way of life. Some of his poems have appeared recently either published or included in print anthologies like the Lummox PressBetter Than Starbucks, and The Literary Hatchet and as Finalists in several Goodreads contests.

 

Five Arguments in Favor of My Beatification

By: David Starkey

 

Antioch

 

In Yellow Springs, Ohio,

I stood at the campus gates

calling out, Fraud! Apostate!

 

Nevertheless, the grizzled chief

of security offered me a sandwich

and a business card from a local clergyman.

 

Then he asked me for a prayer.

 

*

 

Bob Jones University Museum

 

In the Old Master Collection,

the Italian Mannerist paintings

near me seemed suffused

with an ethereal glow,

which clearly diminished

when I left the room

and just as plainly

became more radiant

upon my reentering the gallery.

 

*

 

Bethlehem, PA

 

Whilst playing the role of Melchior

in the annual Live Nativity Pageant,

I crossed paths with the donkey,

who stepped on my bathrobe

and pulled my sweatpants to the ground.

My underwear that day was golden-hued,

although I would have sworn

on a stack of Bibles that very morning

I had dressed in red.

 

*

 

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

 

It was a pleasant September morning

in Elizabeth, New Jersey,

when I drove to the Home Depot

to buy a pair of two-by-fours.

 

I nailed them together and surprised

even Father Aleksander with my initiative.

 

Afterwards, several members of the assembly

suggested the Offertory Verses were sung

with special gusto in honor of my rough offering.


David Starkey served as Santa Barbara’s 2009-2011 Poet Laureate and is Director of the Creative Writing Program at Santa Barbara City College. His poetry has appeared in many journals and in seven full-length collections, most recently Like a Soprano (Serving House, 2014), an episode-by-episode revisioning of The Sopranos television series. His textbook, Four Genres in Brief (Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2017), is in its third edition.

Calendar

By:  Nels Hanson

 

The absent ring’s white circle

remains long after the bare finger

turns the color of the hand.

 

For a second where the great

walnut tree stood 90 years

and its high branches reached

far higher than the tall farm house

passing robins hesitate, sensing

a familiar roost, before flying on.

 

In the drought year on the empty

pond on the farm once ours

we cease rowing to watch

the sapphire kingfisher hover

like a huge hummingbird

before it dives for fingerlings

of the sunfish we planted.

 

Someone calling through tule fog

last century cries the horse is loose

above the clean snap of shears

as I prune the vine’s dormant canes

for summer’s yellow grapes.

 

The Christmas presents bought

and wrapped in August and hidden

and forgotten under the bed

dream of a holiday fallen from

a 1965 Great Northern calendar

of a freight train, sure engine

entering the gorge of yellow

aspen through October Rockies.


Nels Hanson grew up on a small farm in the San Joaquin Valley of California and has worked as a farmer, teacher and contract writer/editor. His fiction received the San Francisco Foundation’s James D. Phelan Award and Pushcart nominations in 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016. His poems received a 2014 Pushcart nomination, Sharkpack Review’s 2014 Prospero Prize, and 2015 and 2016 Best of the Net nominations.

What

By:  Bonnie Watts

 

What secrets lie

  beneath the soul?

Those doors are closed

  forevermore.

What carnal dreads

  what charnel threads

that hidden,

  clothe our psyche’s core?

The innermost

  of who we are

will go with us

  into the void.

What weighty matters

  we attach  

to our frail link

  to humanness.

What joy to be

  as light and free

as birdsong

  caught upon the breeze,

without the thought

  that burdens me.

 


Bonnie Watts holds a BA in English from Washington & Jefferson College, and MS Ed in Reading from Duquesne University. She has taught English, remedial reading, ESOL, fourth grade and first grade. Bonnie has lived and worked in several locations, including Pittsburgh, PA; Mandeville, Jamaica; San Francisco, CA; and Gwinnett County, GA. Her hobbies include reading, travel, and cooking.

July 4th

By:  Frannie McMillan

 

Fireworks arc across the sky, but I am fixed

on the plumes of smoke expanding and sliding away.

Spiraling tails of rockets scuttle like anxious sperm

until they burst into a glorious egg, a big bang of life

beginning and ending just as suddenly, embers dying out

as papery ash settles on the crowd, a final scattering,

a tribute I feel thundering down inside my chest.  

 

Later, rum buzzing through my veins, I clutch

against his dense back as he pushes the needle

of his motorcycle’s speedometer higher, my screams

build beneath a borrowed helmet.

We race down a road that ends in water.  

I could forget things here, in this place

where blacktop suddenly becomes glass.


Frannie McMillan’s poetry has appeared in Broken Bridge Review, Front Range, Rockhurst Review, and others. She is currently at work on her first chapbook. Frannie enjoys throwing spontaneous dinner parties, exploring historic sites with her husband, and doting on her one-year-old twin sons and sassy three-year-old daughter. She is a National Board Certified secondary librarian in Henrico County, Virginia and a volunteer with Richmond Young Writers.

Summer 2018


Mathieu Cailler
Fiction Quickenings

Chelsea Catherine
Nonfiction | Pockets and Corners

Frannie McMillan
Poetry July 4th

Bonnie Watts
Poetry | What

Carol Guess
Drama The Incident

Emily Townsend
Nonfiction | The Innocent Non-Threatening White Young Woman

Lucas Cardona
Fiction My Magazine Life

Michael Seeger
Poetry | Passing Storm

Carolyn Núr Wistrand
Drama | Watchwomen

D. Gilson
Nonfiction | Last Will and Testament: A Mad Lib

David Starkey
Poetry | Five Arguments in Favor of My Beatification

Art Hanlon
Fiction | East China Sea

Nels Hanson
Poetry | Calendar

Elizabeth Bruno
Poetry | Skinny-Dipping

Stephen Elliott
Fiction | Los Angeles Stories

Andrea Hoag
Nonfiction | Our Breasts: A Love Story

Carolyn Supinka
Poetry | First (Found) Fig

Stephanie Kaplan Cohen
Poetry | Suicide

Valerie Miner
Fiction | LA Fourmi Faim

Danielle Joy Foley
Poetry | The Beginning and The End: A Love Poem with 2 Parts

Bonnie Lykes
Nonficiton | Developing World

Liska Jacobs
Interview | TCR Talks with Liska Jacobs

The Coachella Review is a literary arts journal published by the University of California, Riverside–Palm Desert Low Residency MFA in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts.

 

First (Found) Fig

after Edna St. Vincent Millay

By: Carolyn Supinka

Pressed into my palm, I pluck you from the night. It is after midnight and I pause on my walk home to duck under the fig tree’s dark drape, feeling up the cold branches for ripe flesh. Inky blue swirl, bruise nestled in my hand. Tear drop plop. Testing your skin with my fingernail, I sickle you. I mimic the slice of the moon piercing the sky, and you bleed sugar into the autumn air. Before taking a bite, I drag your suede suit across my lips. I am just a mouth in the dark. My body invisible to myself, the world needs nothing from me but my appetite. I feel serene in my lonesome skin for the first time in months. The street lamp flickers and before it goes out, I open your body with my teeth, and scattered throughout your flesh I see a field of stars.  


Carolyn Supinka is a poet and visual artist whose work has most recently been featured in Little River, Wicked Alice, and Poet Lore. Her poems have been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and her first chapbook, Stray Gods, was a semifinalist in the New Women’s Voices Series at Finishing Line Press. She is co-editor of VIATOR, a journal of arts and literature inspired by spaces and places. She currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon where she is a MFA student at Oregon State University. Her poetry and visual art can be found here: http://cargocollective.com/carolynsupinka

Skinny-Dipping

By:  Elizabeth Bruno

 

If today were forever, I would call you God.

But since today is just today,

And you are just you, I will just call you mine.  

 

I will close my lips

And push them into yours,

Feeling our heavens collide.

 

We walk through night together,

Climbing our favorite trees

Like angels who can’t touch the ground.

 

Somewhere up in the stratosphere

We shake off our gravity

And let our wings come down.

 

You show me your throat,

That sore war room where

Angry generals stomp around.

 

I show you my lungs,

The walk-in closet where

All my costumes are found.

 

It’s metaphysics, really,

You and I stripping things down

And feeling the universe expand.

 

It’s skinny-dipping,

This undressing inside someone’s mind

And swimming around.


Elizabeth Bruno is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Oregon and a graduate of Yale Divinity School. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, ISLE, Roast Magazine, Montana Magazine, and is forthcoming in The Cape Rock.

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