Tag: poetry (Page 1 of 3)


By: B.W. Shearer

The little red apple
Sitting in a train carriage
Is having a free ride
And seems to be quite
Jaunty, except for one
Neat little bite
On its underside

Bruce Shearer is the award-winning author of many plays, radio plays, short stories, and poems both for adults and children. His plays have been extensively performed both in Australia and overseas. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife, Liz; daughter, Emma; and son, Daniel.

If You Want to Get Along, Trapped in the Matrix, & One Too Many Incidents

By: William Doreski

If You Want to Get Along

A black police officer finds
the gun in his locker sabotaged
by a nail jammed in the barrel.
If he fired it on the range
it would burst and kill or maim him.
When he reports it, the chief
chides him for lacking humor,
assigns him to traffic detail
until he “learns to get along.”

If you want to get along, go along,
Sam Rayburn told Lyndon Johnson
in the forties when men were men
and women were appendages
and black men didn’t exist.
Reading about this attempted
murder diffuses my thinking,
and I return to my childhood
on my great uncles’ plantation.

Field hands picking tobacco
told me ghost stories fresh from
Jamaica, where spirits blossomed
in primary colors, and death
didn’t always stay dead enough
to satisfy honest mourning.
They taught me how to smoke
raw green tobacco leaf
and tie trick knots that later
would puzzle my fellow Boy Scouts.

Now the pale New Hampshire
July afternoons pass with mute,
middle-class decorum. Police
walk the streets, chalking the tires
of cars parked in two-hour spaces.
No one jams their guns with nails,
no one accuses them of failing
to get or go along. I miss
the fragrance of green tobacco
flexing through red Valley soil.                     

Does anyone bother flying
from Jamaica to pick the crop?
Or do immigration officials
deport them with their machetes
and flasks of high-octane rum?
The hills angle into mutual
embrace, the hot light flailing
at the edge of my vision where
dark figures mingle voices
accented just for emphasis
and to make the story true.


Trapped in the Matrix

You lure me outdoors to watch
fireflies dandle in sultry dark.
No stars or moon to compete
with the sparks that puncture
the gloom with mating displays.

Why do you need my witness
to confirm that fireflies ignite
themselves in honor of fireflies
all over the world? We lean
against the night instead of
each other, crickets counting
the hours to dawn, the snort
of a browsing deer a comical
exclamation to alert us
to layers of fear and contentment.

If I reached toward the grumble
of forest I’d first encounter
a phalanx of daylilies planted
when I still almost loved this place,
before the great impoverishment.
Daylight hurts like the memory
of more flexible structures, but night
inserts its stainless prongs and feels
for the organs most at risk.

I should have studied harder
and become the pianist my mother
envisioned striding onstage
to play music she didn’t begin
to comprehend. You should have gone
to medical school and practiced
the healing that would assuage
the cold that crawls over you
even in the steamiest moments.

But this level of destruction
has educated us so finely
we can feel the heat of fireflies
enlarging our pores, opening us
to the rumpling of continents
begun when the world was fresh.

One Too Many Incidents

In a daze, I fling myself
on the bad guy and crush him,
voiding an exoskeleton
toughened by years of felony.
Police stand by, applauding.
I leave the scene by driving
up a narrow road littered
with car parts gleaming and sharp
in the lowering yellow sun.
A drawbridge across a gully
not even canoes could navigate.
As I cross, it opens, dunking me
into the hold of a sunken ship.
I designed this ship in honor
of Leonardo, whose drawings
of fanciful contraptions inspired
the idea of a self-healing ship
that struck by bombs or torpedoes
would apply first aid and continue
its world cruise unimpeded.
It sank because it tipped over,
because of too much superstructure
for too little hull. I’m here
with the ghosts of the mimes I knew
when everyone was young enough
to find mimes funny enough
to imitate. They died of luck:
car crash, cancer, drowning,
boredom, angst, and suicide.
I escape the hold and climb the bank
and find a man reading Gibran’s
Prophet right there by the gully,
his face clenched with the agony
of bombast. That man is also me,
the ghost of me that arose
when I thought I had drowned,
The pain of reading that gibberish
salts through me like a serum,
and I toss the book in the gully
and walk away from as much
of myself as I can spare.

William Doreski has published three critical studies and several collections of poetry. His work has appeared in various journals. He has taught writing and literature at Emerson, Goddard, Boston University, and Keene State College. His new poetry collection is A Black River, A Dark Fall.

The Symphony of Sickness

By: Maia Evrona

I wheeze when I try to breathe,
and my nose is so stuffed up
it’s been transformed into an instrument
in my symphony of sickness.

My voice has changed: always weak—
a mangled flute—
now it emerges thick
from my sore and congested throat.

With my fever breaking, I can take off my socks
without my feet turning blue and hurting
with a pain that attacks and lasts like the sudden crash
and lingering vibration when cymbals clash.

What a switch! I am so acutely sick
that my chronic symptoms seem faded…
I like to pretend they’re only noticed
in between my ordered sneezes.

But the foghorn cough that came and went,
the throbbing migraines and creaking knees,
the sounds that sound louder than they really are,
clanging against my raw and beaten eardrums,

never did sound like this coordinated affair,
with its conductor so present and focused,
the musicians operating perfectly
on cue.

The symptoms that have droned on
and come and gone over the years,
sometimes louder, sometimes softer,
sometimes as only a memory
echoing in my ears,
have always felt like a cacophony,
so different from this

Maia Evrona’s poems, as well as excerpts from her memoir on growing up with a chronic illness, have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and elsewhere. Her translations of Yiddish poetry were awarded a fellowship in 2016 from the NEA and have appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Kenyon Review Online, and other venues. She also loves to sing. Her website is http://www.maiaevrona.com/.

The Creek

By: William Cullen Jr.

Someday the sea will receive these waters
but not before a fawn has sipped from them
and not until a boy casts his first made lure
over the shadows of the leaves
into a clear pool just downstream
where his tiny Trojan horsefly
will drift across a field of vision
followed at periscope depth
by a brook trout as hungry
as the boy can make
temptation feel.

William Cullen Jr. is a veteran and works at a social services non-profit in Brooklyn, New York. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Gravel, Lake Effect, North Dakota Quarterly, Pouch, Spillway, Switchback, The American Journal of Poetry, and Whiskey Island.

The Kitchen Scene

By: Gus Vishnu

Things didn’t go as expected
when I said “Let me tie you up,”
and you said “Okay.”
And onwards we stumbled
“You are no good with rope”
“We need a safe word”
“How about ‘No’?”
you in nothing else
but your socks and handcuff knots
on the kitchen chair, playing
the ingenue, pouting your mouth,
wiggling your hands behind
your back, testing
my work, making sure you
can get out when you
want, and between your legs
me on the floor with my elbows
on your spread knees,
looking up to you looking down.
“Now are you going to do something,
or will you just watch me?”
I said “Tell me stories,
I am a story whore,” and
you drop the coquettish part
to warn “You are exhausting.
I am more than my
hormonal longings,
this boy or that girl, careful
or I will tell you things
that will make you not want me.”
“Think of all of them,
then start with the first.”
Things didn’t go
as you might have expected
in the kitchen scene
when neither one of us
said “No.”

Gus Vishnu is a graduate student at University of Toronto who calls Vancouver, BC, home. He spends all his time missing the rain too much.

U.S. Highway 85

By: Marne Wilson

You took me driving there once,
eagerly pointing out prairie dog towns
and one-room schoolhouses.
Your mother had already told me
this was your favorite stretch of road out of many,
and I believed it as your face brightened
at sights you must have seen countless times before.

When you flicked an apple core casually
out the open window onto the pavement,
you seemed not litterbug but man on his own property
with dominion over all he surveyed.

Perhaps I appeared disinterested or detached,
but in truth I was so awed
to be sitting in your passenger seat
that I could concentrate on nothing else,
letting the scenery wash over me
and focusing on the sound of your voice
and the light in your eyes.

An even earlier memory comes to mind—
me in 7th grade, the only year in all of school
when I didn’t even pretend to have a boyfriend.
There I am in Miss Tillema’s study hall,
scribbling in my magenta notebook
that I know there is a boy out there made just for me.

But since I have no image of him to focus on,
instead my thoughts are full of scenes
from U.S. Highway 85.

Marne Wilson lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia.  Her poems have most recently appeared in Blue Fifth ReviewPicaroon Poetry, and Hobart.  She is the author of a chapbook, The Bovine Daycare Center (Finishing Line Press, 2015).  Visit her website at http://marnegrinoldswilson.wordpress.com/.

The Gate of Pinecones & El Camino Del Mar at Dusk

By: Agnieszka Krajewska

The Gate of Pinecones

Will you come through the gate of pinecones
where Baker Beach breakers bite the shoreline
and flights of bent-necked pelicans
hover in the winds against the serpentine cliffs
that winter rains weaken and ruin

where the falcon stands still in the coastal thermals
and I say in a hundred round about ways
as we kiss in the bunker’s cement pillbox
and observe the coastal fog float on the inversion layer
that I have already fallen, that I am already falling
that I am already ruined, that I am falling
into the ocean, that I have already jumped
that I am dissolved that I am a landslide
that the land has slid out from under me

And the force of this is, yes, like high tide
like undertow that pulls you deeper if you fight
but I, like a surfer, like a fool,
went in willingly.


El Camino Del Mar at Dusk

The sun has just set and a lavender haze
             glows behind the darkening silhouettes
                          of cypresses that lean away from the shore.

Seagulls’ cries cut through
              the far-below breakers,
                            and sparrows spill from bush to bush,
                                          chirping the ingathering call of evening.

At the Land’s End labyrinth families
            are still trying to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge.
                          The startled moon has been tossed into the sky,
                                       and I think it will light my way,
                                                     but redwoods and bushes and blackberry brambles
                                                                   form a dim tunnel where raccoons rustle.

Darkness gathers at the feet of giant fennel
              and danger smells like black licorice.

At last, I emerge at the trailhead where the Legion of Honor
              columns are all lit up for the evening,
                            and a fountain out front conceals
                                         the sound of the ocean,

and the gray path snakes downhill
              to the city made of beaded lights.

Agnieszka Krajewska is a poet, essayist, and combat epistemologist. She received an MA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University in 2004, and was ordained as an Adept in the Open Source Order of the Golden Dawn in 2009. Her poems have appeared in two chapbooks, Water Breaking (Ye Olde Fonte Shoppe, 1997) and Residual Heat (Self-published, 2014). She lives in San Francisco, California.

Winter 2018

Rob Bowman
Fiction Downstream

Jon Epstein
Nonfiction | Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues — Hollywood or Bust

William Cullen Jr.
Poetry The Creek

William Doreski
Poetry | If You Want to Get Along, Trapped in the Matrix, & One Too Many Incidents

Isaac Gomez
Drama Still Hungry

Leath Tonino
Nonfiction | Big Canyon

Rachel Smith
Fiction Hotels

Maia Evrona
Poetry | The Symphony of Sickness

Clarinda Ross
Drama | #Gunsense

Larry Narron
Nonfiction | Island of the Blue Dragons

Agnieszka Krajewska
Poetry | The Gate of Pinecones & El Camino Del Mar at Dusk

Ben Loory
Fiction | Just a Thought about the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile

B.W. Shearer
Poetry | Jaunty

Gus Vishnu
Poetry | The Kitchen Scene

Eli Ryder
Fiction | Nicky Heads Home

Christie Tate
Nonfiction |Tin Drum

Marne Wilson
Poetry | U.S. Highway 85

Courtney Taylor
Drama | Lights in the Sky

Maggie May Ethridge
Fiction | Stray Cats

Terry Barr
Nonfiction |I Didn’t Have That

Natasha Deón
Interview | TCR Talks with Natasha Deón

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.


Lust Will Ewigkeit

BY: Robert Beveridge

The needle at seventy.
The plains states pass,
one endless road and miles
of crops. Now and again,
corn becomes barley.

You, next to me.
The heat was too much;
you cropped your hair, left it
at the last rest stop
hundreds of miles ago.
Your t-shirt lies
on the cooler.
Seat half-reclined
window topless
seventy-mile-an-hour wind
dries sweat before it forms.

Read More

TCR Talks with Mag Gabbert

BY: J. Markowitz

The physicality of Mag Gabbert’s poetry and essays is dreamily overwhelming. We enter a twilight through the medium of a body—her body—which her craft makes so palpable that it could be our own. Via the sensations of her vulnerabilities, Gabbert delivers us to the liminal spaces between pleasure and shame, power and exploitation, existence and the body. She takes us to the edge of her mortality, because it is there that we are most aware of our own aliveness.

Read More

Page 1 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén