Poetry: Vroom

Issue 1.2

by Howie Good

 

Something, I don’t know what, wakes me. My head feels weirdly organized, like a city policed by mobs. Ah, the absurdity of having a fixed bedtime! “How long did I nap?” I ask Mollie, whose hair looks a radioactive shade of red in this light. She doesn’t answer, just continues texting. Maybe I should calm down. A soul weighs, on average, 21 grams. How much does a ghost weigh?

*

The sad old men who play accordion on the street were staring at the sky. Only then did I notice that another layer of the atmosphere was missing. That night, rain fell, interspersed with neon words: “glaze,” “thread,” “murmur.” The result was hypnotic. “What a town,” I said, “what a town.” But who spoke for all the dying animals? It wasn’t like every house had a two-cow garage.

*

The last great American hero killed himself in a bathtub surrounded by 12 pairs of children’s shoes. Now a man who looks something like him is hitting on a skeptical blonde. “If you want to study the disease,” he is saying, “you must live in the swamp.” As he spoke, strange black flowers burst open overhead. Back there behind the sun, all ideas fall apart, and dreams tell the future, and everyone is too drunk to fuck.

 


Howie Good co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely. His most recent collection of poetry is A Ghost Sings, A Door Opens (2016) from Another New Calligraphy.

Missing Persons

Issue 1.2

by Howie Good

1
Do you see the donut?
Do you just see the hole?
But if you see the hole,
then where is Mary?

2
I’m killing you –
in my dreams.

So?

No one ever
dies of it.

3
Stop crying.
It’s simple,

like strikethroughs
on a typewriter.

4
I was just thinking you should hug me.
It’s one of the 10 useful objects
no one should be without when traveling.

#1 assembled from Mercy Hospital, a series of drawings by Ida Applebroog.


Howie Good co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely. His most recent collection of poetry is A Ghost Sings, A Door Opens (2016) from Another New Calligraphy.

Poetry: Licorice

Issue 1.2

by William C. Blome

She got on the sailboat, then she got off,
and she looked so, so worried, like a bumblebee
showing doubt it might ever again find its pine-knot
home inside a plank of Andrew’s aging fence,
and so I walked out a-ways and shouted to her
that no pink octopus had ever been known
to ingest licorice; that what we knew her overbearing
husband had done yesterday in northern Australia
was to fill one of her bra cups with licorice drops
and do nothing with the other cup except ice-pick
it through and through so there was no way it could
play puffball on the surface of the sea. He had
thereby given the whole brassiere a genuine chance
to sink in the vicinity of a giant gray octopus. Well,
thus assured (though such assurance was hardly
achieved very quickly), she hefted herself back
onto Andrew’s boat and held tight to its one indigo
sail. I watched her bravely stand beside the mast,
and I noted how she kept rubbing the coarse canvas
between her fingers; it was as if I could hear
the dial of some rotary telephone clicking past
the numbers a caller hadn’t chosen, or spy the bag
of candy I guess she forgot she’d left on the pier.
I imagine the candy now became a factor in her
jumping off the sailboat yet again (i.e., to keep
her licorice safe from the seagulls overhead).


William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC and is a Master’s graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has appeared in Amarillo Bay, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.

Poetry: Fantasizing in Memoriam With Nancy D. (1942 – 2012)

Issue 1.2

by William C. Blome

I forget how much she could make a collar itch,
and I slipped her an invitation to join me watching shadows
jumping rafters in the bunkhouse, though in practically zero
time, we took off our boots and socks and stretched out to edit
herky-jerky pictures of her coming out of loud blue water
at the country club pool and soon losing her swimsuit top
to an aluminum-siding huckster. I can’t detour bragging about
her paint-chip green eyes and tits that pushed out to the county
line, though in a heavy voice she assured me “being semi-naked
among the rich and poor is almost never a problem,” and so
we looked at and listened to her engage the huckster
in pornographic conversation about Prince Souphanouvong
and his two worthless brothers, and the Charles-Atlas-strong
need for better roads in and out of Vientiane, in and out of all
of Laos, for that matter. O I sympathize with the scratched-up
salesman as he tried mightily to widen the discourse to include
bits-o-banter about which recent years had produced
swell vintages in far-off, well-known Burgundy, but of course,
it really didn’t have to be me, anyone could have seen Nancy
stay stubborn in her radical and happy way and heard her
refuse to let the tin man consider “any year later than 1954
and the glory months of Panmunjom and Dien Bien Phu.”


William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC and is a Master’s graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has appeared in Amarillo Bay, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly.

Poetry: Take off Your Clothes and Walk into the Arthropod Wildfire

by Justin Karcher

 

Fireflies are a summertime staple

And I’m so happy tonight that the junkies

Wandering up and down Grant Street

Are like magicians, something like Prometheus

And when they light their cigarettes

Each cigarette becomes pregnant with a firefly

And when the cigarette’s dead and gone

And the butt is cuddling with the concrete

The firefly bursts into life and flies off

 

Seeing all that newborn fire flying through the city

I can’t help but think good can come

From something that is broken, that beauty

Can climb out of cancer and I feel better

Because the last few nights I’ve been feeling really down

Sleeping on a Novocain mattress

And wondering what my exes are up to

Wondering why there are so many hostages

In the word, wondering how the hell car bombs

Find the time to fuck so much

Sad that they’re procreating like never before

And the honeybees are dying too fast

 

We spend too many nights sleeping on Novocain mattresses

Wondering if our feelings are lost

In a nightmare world of anesthesia

Wondering what suits are responsible

For all this colossal shit going down

Wondering what we can to do to right the ship

We end up doing absolutely nothing

 

But those goddamn cigarette fireflies, it’s nice to see

So I think I’ll skip sleep tonight

And chain smoke until I feel warm on the inside

Until the ashtray spits out an arthropod wildfire

That gobbles up the rainforests in our eyes

Until we’re dry and barren and can start over again

Justin Karcher is the author of Tailgating at the Gates of Hell from Ghost City Press. His recent works have been published in 3:AM Magazine, Plenitude Magazine, and more. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Ghost City Review, and the winner of the 2015 Just Buffalo Literary Center members’ writing competition.