Posts for June 25, 2015

Carole Johnston


my butterfly brain
synapses fire at midnight…
neon zen laughter

Beatrice Underwood-Sweet


Whatever poet first equated sultry
with sexy
must never have visited the South.
Sultry is a susurrus of grasshoppers
and motionless tall grass.
Sultry is sweaty droplets
tickling and itching their way down your back
and spilling into your butt crack.
Sultry is like having a wet rag
to breath through,
your lungs laboring to separate
oxygen from H²O.
Sultry is nights so hot it’s
impossible to sleep.
Sultry is using the smallest motion
possible to rock your chair
on the front porch. 
Ask any Southerner and they’ll 
tell you true. Ain’t nothing sexy
about sultry.


a frequent traveler.

upon waking, you are not sure
in what city
you had fallen asleep

maybe in atlanta 
in which case 
you will find your mother
on her porch swing
balancing a mug of coffee
she will not finish
on her knee

when you join her
she will remind you 
to close the back door
even though
you have never forgotten

or maybe you are in 
on your sister’s couch
where you must have passed out
after drinking too much 
discounted wine 
she will be banging
the neighbor boy
from saudi arabia

she will shake you awake 
to tell you about it

you could be
in your apartment in knoxville

in columbus
on the floor of your brother’s condo


next to you
a man
jerks in his sleep
as if while dreaming
he has fallen from a great height 

on instinct
you grab his hand
so that upon landing awake
he will not need to wonder
where he is

Mary Allen

Call to Post


Call to Post
            After “The Poem You Asked For” by Larry Levis

My poem would not cooperate,
refused to appear when summoned. 

Day after day it hovered
two feet outside my door,
parading its lines,
teasing the nib of my pen.

I tried to coax it onto paper
with black ink, red ink, a school girl’s
tablet lined in blue. I looked to Webster,
to Rodale – but still it stayed away. 

At last, in growing bafflement –
no, in outright desperation –
I challenged it: Show up!
Show up or be disqualified! 

My poem obeyed forthwith, flounced in,
sat down, and thumbed its prose at me.

 Mary Allen

HB Elam

on giving the front seat to your mother, being driven to the movies and regretting you ever got in the car

She said “look at the black cloud back there”
as if that was a bad thing
as if the tornado still twisted her life
as if black was bad
and our president wasn’t our president
or not hers anyway–she said this and sighed
quite heavily
and continued
the silence she had broken a bit before.

I simply thought
of all the flowers that sing for that rain,
for the silver leaves
in expectancy and praise
of that black cloud,
wandering lonely,
so far removed from those
with which she would shower
with another tomorrow;

of the teenager who got an extra shift
at the gas station to pay
for flowers for his boyfriend
because so many mowers were revving up
for a monocultural matricide;

of the woman who misplaced 
her husband to the indiscriminate hydro plane
that carved her wooden life
with a slick, swift precision
only a blade of water could provide;

of the thirsty child
who could only dream
of such a storm
a harbinger in the second year
of his Hebrew dessert of a life,
with nightmares of an eternal Egypt
clouding his mind;

of all the songs of all the possibilities of all the universalities
held in that cloud–
waiting to be spilled
before us,
on top of us–

but so close to being
blown away,
out of our lives
and suffered by another 

Jessica Swafford

Murking Through

My legs feel heavy –
Concrete sludging
Through veins.
I’m off balance –
A lumbering Godzilla
Murking through
Ocean waves.

There are no winners
In this battle.

Only those who
Emerge again
From the darkness
May call themselves

Lennart Lundh

suffer not little ones

he makes notes on things
things seen in shadows
shadows absent in the light
light by which you can make notes
notes you look over
over all the years
years that will bring you children
children who will have no fear
fear will not teach them terror
terror known by such as he



After Walking on a Cool Morning

Poem 25, June 25


After Walking on a Cool Morning


Walking after days of Kentucky heat

& humidity, I stare down this page,

looking for words to write,

looking into my psyche where

intimate words are best kept secret.


My walk was no flight like the crickets

in fescue, escaping my feet, first one, then a pair,

blacker than a cloudy night,

their world the only stage

from which they sing, to the drumbeat


of their legs.


After walking, in my own space,

I confront the page. There are shades

over the windows that hide me

from myself. I am reminded of blinders

on the red mule I plowed behind.


Even blind,

to the left, to the right, reminders

of the sweet taste of green, she surely

spies ahead, for the blades

of corn wave toward her nose, her face,


& I can read the quivering of her legs.

Pat Owen

After the Ballet Recital

Women and girls chatting
in the courtyard
posing for pictures
absorbing the day.

Owen suddenly climbing
a light pole
struggling red faced
all the way to the top.

We all look at him
from where this drive
to climb?

Shaking our heads
we return
to each other

Gaby Bedetti

In the Whole Foods Parking Lot

We remember our
reusable bags. Next to
us parks a Hummer.