Untitled memory

Posted in January 2010, Poetry on January 22, 2010 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

I remember my kite.
A blue diamond I carried around
all of the time, like a dream
folded into my back pocket;
a good book too good to share
both tattered with wear and tear
worn in like bare feet in the summer.

Its tail was my shadow
echoing down a long corridor
too big and spilling out of me
like youth when it gets too big
for penny loafers and expectations.

I was on my way to class
with footsteps heavy
as the books I was supposed to read,
but you learn to carry it
even when their covers were their only weight
and you learn that real life
is a homework assignment
and you learn
to keep your dream in a back pocket,
folded up, waiting.

I remember my kite
as I pull it from a trunk
of all my youth’s stuff
stuffed into a box in the corner
like a child in “time out.”
It never did see the sun
but from behind a window pane.
It never did find its wind.
And I have yet to fly.

d.m.riggs. is a writer and poet, living in knoxville, tn. he’s badder than bad bad leroy brown. though not necessarily clever. http://d-m-riggs.xanga.com/

Baghdad Redux

Posted in January 2010, Poetry on January 21, 2010 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

I saw Quinn again tonight,
first time in years, sailing the streets,
weaving through people,
collar up, head cocked,
arms like telephone poles sunk
in the pockets of his overcoat,

the brilliant pennants of his long red hair
waving over the stadium
where years ago he took my handoff,
bucked off guard, found the free field,
and heaved like a bison into the end zone.

Tonight, when Quinn wove by me muttering,
I should have handed him the ball.
I should have screamed, “Go, Quinn, go!”
He would have stiff-armed the lamppost,
found the free field again,
left us all in his wake to gawk

as he hit the end zone
and circled the goal posts,
whooping and laughing,
flinging the ball like a spear
over the cross-bar, back to Iraq.

Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, MO. He has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had poems published in or accepted by The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, Public Republic (Bulgaria), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), Opium 2.0, Rusty Truck, Deuce Coupe, Poetry Super Highway, Pirene’s Fountain (Australia) and other publications.


KARMA DEBT

Posted in January 2010, Poetry on January 20, 2010 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

I am still paying off

the karma debt,

unrelenting gods bill me

from on high,

all the friends I ever had

are gone, they all

let me down in the end.

Out on the hard road,

the debris I’ve left,

the disasters, so many

wrecks on the highway,

such bloodbaths,

a thousand bridges

burning above hatchets

barely buried, and still

the walls to mend,

still the love for one

who never did love me.

Played the past so often

that today I wager

with empty pockets,

the die cast, the side of

snake eyes tossed,

this morning I wake up again

without redemption,

only a poor boy’s will

to pay his way

and the penniless pride to

keep pressing on—

Phil Lane His poems have appeared in various small magazines and online over the years.  He teaches English and lives in Northern New Jersey.

http://www.breadcrumbsins.wordpress.com

DO NOT RESUSCITATE

Posted in January 2010, Poetry on January 19, 2010 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

The monitor showed 3rd degree block–

a heart rhythm where the atria, the top part

of the heart, beats separately

from the ventricles, the bottom,

like random thoughts,

one thought connecting to another,

the next two or three

escaping the common thread.

The patient was 60 years old,

not a young 60

with kidney and liver disease,

a pacemaker buried inside her chest

like a sunken vessel at sea.  Its engine

refused to spark a beat of the ventricle.

We knew she was dying,

her blood pressure like air in a tire

leaking lower and lower, and lungs filling

with fluid.  When her heart slowed

to 40 beats a minute, her eyes grew wide.

We couldn’t believe her brain received

enough blood to feed her words

Is this the time to pray?”

We answered in unison, “Yes.”

Janice Krasselt Medin is an RN and also has an M.A. in English with Emphasis in Creative Writing from Ohio University.  Her publications include two books of poetry: Remembering the Truth (Temenos Publishing Company, 2006) and Communion of Voices (Big Table Publishing Company, April 2009), a chapbook.   Her poems have appeared in several journals such as Southern Hum, Alimentum (as menu poem), Gander Press Review, Word Riot, Up the Staircase, and many others.  Please note that the books and poems above have been published under the name Janice Krasselt Tatter.  She is now publishing under her new married name Medin.

of loneliness and videotape

Posted in December 2009, Poetry on December 30, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

bare head,
bloated stomach,
I saw no rings on his hand
when

he came out of the
waiting room with a
folded over newspaper
in his hand,

I’ll be damned he said,
to me or no one, but

Marilyn died.

well that sucks, I said,
not sure which Marilyn
he meant but I was
thinking he was crazy
and talking about
Monroe.

damn right it does and
he showed me the spot
in the newspaper about
a former porn star, her
black and white face
followed by a few
small paragraphs.

you ever watch
Behind the Green Door?
he asked like I might
be some sort of
lonely brother.

heard of it, I said,
never saw it.

well, you should,
best porno ever
made, right up
there with
Insatiable
and I tell you,
I’m gonna go home
after this, light
a candle and watch
them both and

he went back to the
waiting room until
his car was fixed.

I handed him his
keys and watched
him drive away
in the vagueness
of his two-door
Chevrolet, imagined

his return to a close and
cluttered sitting room
with the shades pulled
south of the window sill,
watching his deceased
beloved on the small
screen, so very close
through the telescope
of
loneliness and videotape.

David LaBounty, his poems and stories have appeared in several print and online journals including the Apple Valley Review, Underground Voices, Word Riot, Night Train and the New Plains Review. His third novel, Affluenza, was published in the summer of 2009.

Mud Luscious

Posted in December 2009, Flash Fiction on December 28, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

“It’s time, ladies,” Esther announced, tapping a spoon against her coffee cup. “Time for the exchange.”

The women seated at the three canasta tables grew quiet, smiling with anticipation as Dolores walked over and stood beside her cousin. Around her long neck gleamed the white diamond necklace, as stark and bright as an icicle. It was crusted with 239 diamonds and looked like something a princess would wear.

“Leah,” Esther nodded at the redhead at the corner table, “if you will join us, please.”

Shyly the slight woman got up, dusting some bread crumbs from her left sleeve, and joined the two cousins in the middle of the party room. She appeared quite nervous, as if called upon to deliver a speech she was unprepared to give.

“You look as if you’re going to cry,” Esther remarked to her frail cousin.
Dolores smiled palely. “I already am in my heart.”

Esther then removed the necklace and fastened it around Leah’s neck. “How does that feel?” she asked, smiling broadly.

“Like I’ve won something.”

“You have,” Ruth, always boisterous, bellowed from the front table. “You look like one of those people on that survivor show who are awarded an immunity necklace after they’ve won some crazy challenge.”

“Immunity from what?” Dolores asked, puzzled by the analogy.

“From ordinariness, woman.”

“Certainly anyone would have to feel special with a necklace like this around her neck,” Esther said, grazing one of the diamonds with her left thumb.

“Even the plainest of Janes.”

The $30,000 necklace was much too expensive for any of the dozen friends to afford so together they chipped in $2,500 to make the purchase. Esther was the one who first came up with the idea of buying something someone could be seen wearing on a red carpet. It was an extravagance, to be sure, but one she was able to convince the others to indulge in so they could experience what it felt like to be very glamorous, if only for a short while. The arrangement was that each woman got to keep the necklace for a month and could wear it wherever she pleased.

They chose their months out of a hat, and Leah picked June, which pleased her because she was a teacher and school would be out so she would have plenty of spare time then. Four women already had their month with the necklace, and all had interesting stories about the different places they wore the expensive piece of jewelry. By far, the most unusual place was a volcano in Hawaii, which Allison climbed with the necklace around her neck along with a Christopher medal. Jen, too, wore it in the clouds, seated in a glider piloted by her latest man friend who was old enough to be her uncle.

“So do you have any special place where you want to wear the necklace?” Hazel asked Leah shortly after Esther put it around her neck.

“I don’t.”

“You don’t?” she said, surprised. “But you’ve had four months to think about it.”

She nodded, in silence, unable to take her eyes off the diamonds.

“I won’t be getting to wear it for another two months but I know the first place I’m going to wear it.”

“Where’s that?” Dolores asked, overhearing her remark.

“To bed with my husband,” she said, smiling wickedly. “And that’s all I’ll be wearing too.”

*
Later that evening, after she got home from the exchange party, Leah sat at her dresser and stared for several minutes at what Esther always referred to as the “luscious” necklace now gleaming around her neck. Idly tracing a fingertip across a couple of the diamonds, she thought of it more as “mud luscious” because it was so heavy and thick. Like a coil of rope, she imagined. She knew she couldn’t afford such an exquisite item but agreed to chip in on its purchase because she was feeling so low at the time Esther approached her with the proposition. Only a few weeks earlier Vince, her husband of eight and a half years, informed her he had fallen in love with someone else and wanted a divorce. She was devastated, not having any idea he was seeing another woman, thought for a moment he was pulling her leg. But he was serious; assuring her he had come to his decision after considerable thought.

She was mistaken, she realized now, the necklace didn’t make her feel any better about herself. Not for a moment. Indeed, even after Vince left, she still felt as if his foot was planted squarely on her neck. She really couldn’t think of any place where she could wear the necklace, where she wanted to see anyone she wanted to impress with diamonds around her crushed neck.

Squeezing her eyes shut, squeezing them until they throbbed, she removed the necklace and placed it in the bottom drawer where she kept her handkerchiefs and scarves, suspecting it would remain there until the next exchange party.

T.R. Healy was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and his stories have appeared in such publications as The Boston Literary Review, Callused Hands, Superstition Review, and Tulip.

Walking

Posted in December 2009, Poetry on December 27, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

Though a hand in the hive

Will bring sweetness to the mouth,

Such momentary richness

Leaves a sting of raging poverty.

Imagine them,

Two souls walking down an uphill road,

Him with a stain on his shirt.

They were captured,

In a photograph.

It’s the truth, and it’s

All we have to go on

In this odd dialogue about the fruits of bad weather.

Nathan Knapp has been published in Lark(!), Third Wednesday, and The Midnight Diner, Infuze and Flashing in the Gutters.