To Clocks

︎︎︎ Uche Nduka

︎ April 15, 2021

Reckoning with taking
a road trip into    
                  the self

we both know             
        which way

to swim
inside each other's blood

as for prophecies                   
             we don't

pay them much mind

equilibrium ain't                       
                no friend of ours

we shift pages                     
             but damnit

I'll rather kiss you                   
                than write sprawled

across white blankets

Uche Nduka—poet and essayist—is the author of twelve volumes of poems of which the most recent are LIVING IN PUBLIC(2018) and FACING YOU (2020). His writing has been translated into German, Italian, Finnish, Arabic, Romanian, and Dutch. He presently teaches at CUNY and lives in New York City.

Skeleton Key

︎︎︎ Sanjeev Sethi

︎ April 8, 2021

Need-based cliques possess their own ethics,
the conventions of consummation. Is shilly-
shallying a mind or a heart thingy?

Exceptional comicality turns on the waterworks.
Polity honeycombed with funny money begets
meanness and misery. Fill finds its fulfillment.

Sequences of sustenance etch their imprint on
the marquee of our internal drive-in. Sometimes
gelt arrives but grace doesn’t.

Subduction is my way of not confronting reality
as if sight is the only indicator, as if one can’t
see without seeing. Completion finds completion.

Sanjeev Sethi is published in over thirty countries. His poems have found a home in more than 350 journals or online literary venues. ‘Wrappings in Bespoke’ is joint-winner of Full Fat Collection Competition-Deux organized by The Hedgehog Poetry Press UK. It’s his fourth full-length collection. It will be launched in 2021. Recent Credits: Thin Air Magazine, North Dakota Quarterly, Kairos Literary Magazine, Pomona Valley Review, Amethyst Review, Berfrois, and elsewhere. He lives in Mumbai, India.


︎︎︎ Sylvia Pollack

︎ April 13, 2021

Spinning through space   plastic spoons   and  bottle caps
broken Bic pens   plead   touch me with more than your eyes.

Shards of plastic   seek consolation   yet desolation reigns.
Detritus falls   from great heights   makes mandalas

on concrete floors   If I’m held in too high regard
I might tumble   from   perfection's platform   too

still wanting to please.   Or better still   be useful.  
Have I outlived my usefulness?   I am tea bag   toothpick

Scotch tape dispenser.   My country’s a garbage heap.
My nationality is now.   Soothed by symmetry   and repetition

let’s focus on the miracle   of injection molding
forget the strip mines   sweat shops  strip malls.

Spin plastic shrouds   text invitations   to the funeral,
bring a bottle   of single malt Scotch  to the wake.

Sylvia Byrne Pollack’s work appears in Floating Bridge Review, Crab Creek Review, and Clover, among others. A two-time Pushcart nominee, she won the 2013 Mason's Road Literary Award and was a 2019 Jack Straw Writer. Her full-length collection Risking It was published in 2021 by Red Mountain Press.

Acceptable Condition

︎︎︎ Jerome Berglund

︎ April 14, 2021

sometimes I also like a book
that some madman has scribbled all over
doodled pictures across
moderately worn its cover, edges
scratched lines into, starred deliberately
dog eared half the pages
and manhandled atrociously
with tender love and carelessness
evincing definitive admiration for

Jerome Berglund has published short stories at Paragon Press and the Watershed Review, a play in Iris Literary Journal, and poetry in Abstract Magazine, Cathexis Northwest Press, deLuge, the Dewdrop, the Elevation Review, GRIFFEL, Lychee Rind, Meat for Tea, Nine Cloud Journal, Poet’s Choice, Raw Art Review, the Silent World in Her Vase, Tiny Seeds, Wild Roof and most recently Barstow & Grand. 

A Hot Dress

︎︎︎ MK Punky

︎ April 6, 2021

When she wore her favorite sundress on the hottest day of the year
the burning light on her bare shoulders
warned her away from public displays of her pulchritude
should she unwittingly inspire unchecked cupidity
in the pedestrian predators roaming the streets
searching for the faintest sign of whoredom
in women who ought to be saints

Popes Celestine I (422) and Celestine V (1294) were canonized
but Popes Celestine II-IV were merely men
possessing private armies and vast holdings of fertile lands
as well as acute powers of forgiveness
when compensated properly

Would it be an indulgence she wondered
if when no one was looking
she hitched her skirt hem
high on her thigh
white from holy shrouding
never scourged
befitting a Madonna not yet fallen

MK Punky is the performance alter-ego of Michael Konik, former bass player of the 80s hardcore punk band The Clitboys. The poet laureate of Vista Street Community Library in Los Angeles, MK is the author of 13 books of fiction, poetry and journalism, most recently The Unexpected Guest, a memoir of befriending and housing a homeless neighbor.