Issue 34 – Linked Forms

Hexarengay

Erratic Gravity

Kat Lehmann, USA & Bryan Rickert, USA

Once Upon a Time

Tanya McDonald, USA & Lew Watts, USA

Tan-Renga

John Hawkhead, United Kingdom & John Stevenson, USA

Rengay

Last Call

sawdust
on the floor of the saloon
cowboy spit

by the Women and Escorts sign
the glow of a cigarette

her accent over cocktails––
the shape
of her vowels

crowded pub
his touch
on the other woman’s arm

on a barstool living the life
of a country song

last call
the fading buzz
of neon

Alan S. Bridges, USA & Jacquie Pearce, Canada

Role Reversal

a barking dog—
the thunder fades
into the distance

eyes follow the rails
to a single point

the art teacher
trying to explain
perspective

role reversal
how long it takes
to see the other side

the new pronouns
after their name

the poet
giving words
where I had none

Angela Terry, USA & Julie Schwerin, USA

Cradle Song

pink moon
not one wrinkle
on mother’s face

tender ways of love
with tired eyes

cradle song
the kiss
on my birthmark

falling asleep
at the movie show
in her warm arms

treasure chest
a walk in her shoes

party time
mum would rock’n’roll
along with my music

Elisa Theriana, Indonesia & Ron C. Moss, Australia

Celibacy

after the breakup
the strength
of her sneeze

the unheralded joy
of a bowel movement

parboiled potatoes
this frenzied quest for
a seven-inch handle

the sliiide
of fingers down
the ziplock

riding her wave
with the spin cycle

three fingers then two
the intimacy
of a cigarette

Kelly Sauvage, USA & Robert Moyer, USA

Heads or Tails

nickels in my pocket
from our birth years . . .
first of autumn

warm coins
for a cold soda

winter drizzle––
no spare change
for the street performer

spring showers
pennies dropping from
the child’s fist

the ref calls
heads or tails

one long summer day
George Washington didn’t throw
a dollar that far

Michael Dylan Welch, USA & Gary Hotham, USA

Olvera Street

crying baby––
the Mariachi band
stops to tune

a mother hissing
“no tocar”

gaudy ukuleles
hanging with the chilies––
first drops of rain

hushed voices––
painted skulls
in the candle shop

the slap of tortillas
as we count our cash

Sepulvida’s window––
in the evening rush
a siren

Michael Dylan Welch, USA & Oleg Kagan, USA

Over the Wall

counting motorcycles
just to prove
I’m not a robot

behind the slow tractor
hells angels

desert highway
the rank and file
eatin’ dust

licking
its open eyes
gila monster

sarapes sold
at a road-side stand

cantina flies
the only wi-fi
since the border

Terri L. French, USA & Bryan Rickert, USA

Sequences

Purple Hearts

green grass––
a house bought on
the G.I. Bill

yellow tablets . . .
a little shrapnel
in his knee

blue veins––
there’s a hole in
Daddy’s arm

red balloons . . .
an overdose hovering
in the air

black suits––
a flag-draped casket
on a local heroes’ hill

Source: found sequence from singer-songwriter John Prine’s “Sam Stone”

Matthew Markworth, USA

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Issue 33 – Senryu & Kyoka

small town
searching the classifieds
for livestock

Aaron Barry, Canada

easter
the empty
church

Adam T. Arn, USA

hot sake . . .
I barely remember
her name

Agus Maulana Sunjaya, Indonesia

salt and pepper
to taste
rebound boyfriend

Aidan Castle, USA

snowbound in light the other side of an election

Alan Summers, United Kingdom

wilted palm branch
the child practices
sweeping the path

private parts
she shows me
her sketchbook

Alex Fyffe, USA

end of 2020
gathering around the warmth
of the webcam

Antonietta Losito, Italy

change coming . . .
the reassuring mantra
fails to reassure

last third
of the poetry journal
. . . pouring scotch

B.A. France, USA

that turned-down smile
men now give me––
middle age

Barbara Sabol, USA

hanging the wall calendar
less birthdays
this year

Barrie Levine, USA

walking home
from the pub
the moon
goes the wrong
way

spider on my wall
every day the death count
higher

lockdown the key to get out of missing you

Bee Jay, Australia

to love
honour and obey . . .

bursting bubbles

Benedict Grant, Canada

souvenir shop
picking up the local’s
swear words

Billy Antonio, Philippines

con
tact
less

Bisshie, Switzerland

revising my will
someone else gets a lot
of nothing

Bob Lucky, Portugal

childhood
Mom and I remember it
differently

Brad Bennett, USA

mock apple pie
finally accepting
the real me

Bryan Rickert, USA

my haiku
about Gödel’s Theorem
incompl

Charles Harmon, USA

at the briefing
the photogenic PM talks
of racism
this nightlong buzz
from a streetlamp

Chen-ou Liu, Canada

new farmers’ market
trendy microgreens
from the refugee garden

Christine Wenk-Harrison, USA

awake all night
consulting a galaxy
far, far away

trying
a new identity
on for size––
a stretch
but not a good fit

Cynthia Anderson, USA

photo op . . .
the candidate crops
his record

spring colours . . .
I brush in
Just for Men

Dave Read, Canada

evening road
the exhaust
of cheap cologne

David Käwika Eyre, USA

inner critic
editing my poem
to a blank page

Debbi Antebi, United Kingdom

those same signs
the white dress
of a suffragette

Deborah P Kolodji, USA

death bed the joke i’ve saved for this day

Elancharan Gunasekaran, Singapore

in between stars
the question of fidelity

custody battle
the old scar looks new

Elisa Theriana, Indonesia

her joke
still not funny
family text thread

Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco, USA

war talk materializes innocent bystanders

last leaves
seeing my courage
for what it is

homesick
a few minutes after
the roadkill

Elmedin Kadric, Sweden

shinrin yoku––
my mountain bike
enfolds an aspen

blocking carefully
the dancer turns away
from her therapist

spa getaway––
the fix on our marriage
only skin deep

Eric Lohman, USA

checking the facts
the anchor adjusts
his glasses

Eva Limbach, Germany

advice from
a greying poet . . .
swipe left

Genevieve Wynand, Canada

playground
waiting my turn
for the bench

Memorial Day
the auctioneer asks
for a moment of silence

Greg Schwartz, USA

the mechanics of enemies I decline into fractional sums

GRIX, USA

morning playground
a toddler mansplains
hide-and-seek

Hannah Mahoney, USA

where oceans meet overlapping symptoms

once again
the coos of a pigeon
news on rape

Hemapriya Chellappan, India

night drizzle . . .
an uninterrupted lullaby
of the refugee mother

pulling back
her black hijab
evening storm

fading out
the muezzin’s call––
torrential rain

Hifsa Ashraf, Pakistan

PTSD
the tremor in the flame
he fails to trim

J. Zimmerman, USA

my daughter
tightens her grasp
. . . deep end

James Schlett, USA

making pies four generations into pumpkin and pecan

Jo Balistreti, USA

men’s club
eons of evolution
on the half shell

manicured lawn
the candidate’s sign
by a rabbit hole

spit-shined shoes
the Purple Heart vet
rolls to the mic

blacktop road
men in orange jumpsuits
among the litter

Joe McKeon, USA

retirement day
the realisation
I’m ready for jazz

John Hawkhead, United Kingdom

visitation day
funeral director cleans
the welcome mat

John J. Dunphy, USA

watering hole
father sinks
another beer

John McManus, United Kingdom

last cigarette
I cling to my side
of the argument

Joshua Gage, USA

damned if I do
damned if I don’t
trauma therapy

Julie Bloss Kelsey, USA

when the knots
were on purpose
daisy chains

June Rose Dowis, USA

buried
in an unclaimed field
her childhood dreams

Kat Lehmann, USA

wide awake
counting the skeins
of unknit woolens

resisting the urge
to pull on a tangled thread
family argument

Kate MacQueen, USA

virgin birth
even though I wasn’t born
yesterday

Kath Abela Wilson, USA

Kelly Sauvage Angel, USA

family dinner
I find fault
with the silverware

summer Zoom meeting
the backyard birds
refuse to mute

Kristen Lindquist, USA

but for an ill-timed
sneeze––
silent prayer

forty years old
my future doctor
is born

Laurie D. Morrissey, USA

our old coal house
the scent
of black and blue

a horsefly dying
under the jar
this side of me

migrant worker
turning the apples
bruises down

Lew Watts, USA

talk of recounts––
i pitch more kernels
into the popcorn pot

Lori Becherer, USA

afternoon shadow
writing my own
eulogy

Louise Hopewell, Australia

sherpa
only carrying
my libido

Lucia Fontana, Italy

grandmother
hand-stitching a new breast
from flour sack

Marilyn Fleming, USA

Mark Bowler, United Kingdom

watching
the hour hand move
half a bottle left

Marta Chocilowska, Poland

trying to determine
if he’s looking at me––
group zoom call

Mary McCormack, USA

wishbone––
on the short end
of a love triangle

Mary Stevens, USA

lockdown
opening up
the liquor cabinet
I take inventory
of essentials

quarantine
I pull a grey hair
from my brush

lockdown #2
my second chance
not to learn
how to cook, bake, sew,
speak another language

Maureen Virchau, USA

ellipsis all the lines I could have lived

Meg Arnot, United Kingdom

crossing the bridge
our last argument
in the rearview mirror

Michael Kitchen, USA

developing
a complex
about my simplicity

rifle shot
the time it takes
to turn my head

Mike Rehling, USA

a foot
in the door
stepfather

Mike White, USA

espresso coffee . . .
what she knows of my
daily grind

Trevi fountain
she tosses two coins
I, three

Milan Rajkumar, India

blowing bubbles . . .
grandpa loses
his wrinkles

Neena Singh, India

watering
all my roses
valentine’s day

Neha Talreja, India

evening walk
everyone’s version
of six feet

Nick Hoffman, Ireland

blooming cactus
my mom’s
first steps

Nikolay Grankin, Russia

spilled milk
the new mother cries
over her pump

papa’s story
in his sighs
another story

Pat Davis, USA

undressing in the dark
with every year
more apologies

Peter Jastermsky, USA

long weekend
learning to talk
to the cat

Philmore Place, Belarus

through a window––
the neighbor’s window

Pippa Phillips, USA

solemn night
how carefully
words exit

Richa Sharma, India

Y chromosome
the long arm
of the law

Robert Davey, United Kingdom

age five––
it’s not your fault
mother says

birth of a death poem

Roberta Beach Jacobson, USA

first day of spring
the lawnmower fails
to fix itself

Rp Verlaine, USA

corona Christmas––
the tree decorated
with IOUs

Ruth Holzer, USA

morning news
I add to my coffee
a couple of wars

Sanela Pliško, Croatia

a break
in her voice also
valentine’s day

Sarah E. Metzler, USA

confession––
a strand of long hair
on his purple chasuble

Silva Trstenjak, Croatia

50th reunion
this is why no one
stayed in touch

Sondra J. Byrnes, USA

Lip Reading

home alone . . .
mother’s lipstick
on her lips

nude lipstick
the teacher’s wry
smile

under her mask
big sister’s lipstick . . .
first date

following
his gaze to her mouth…
lip reading

lip liner
learning to say
no

Stella Pierides, Germany & United Kingdom

friend’s funeral
I am the one
a stranger

Suraj Nanu, India

seances . . .
even the spirits don’t
talk to me

Surashree Joshi, India

squeezing
the hanger––
how easily
you get bent
out of shape

Susan Burch, USA

beach party––
another throw
of the dice

Susan King, United Kingdom

empty glass
psychoanalyzing
her emoticons

Tanya McDonald, USA

damp dawn
in these coughs
my father appears

Ted Sherman, United Kingdom

concealing her smile
under a burqa––
shadowed moon

Teji Sethi, India

OCD
the whole world
in a crooked frame

Terri L. French, USA

smoker’s cough
the nervous words
of the doctor

Tim Gardiner, United Kingdom

detox
I don’t ask anyone
how I look

Vandana Parashar, India

family reunion
drowning in
my gene pool

Wayne Runningbuck Hunt, USA

relearning
the etiquettes of life
language lessons

Zahra Mughis, Pakistan

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