by Jeff Weddle
My first book was two folded sheets, eight pages, counting the front and back covers, cheap paper photocopied with my poems and bound with two staples. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
I was lonely and broke and living in a busted up trailer In Oxford, Mississippi, sending my poems out like crazy, occasionally getting an acceptance from some small magazine or another.
The Isolated Gardener
by Julie Carpenter
Since I’ve been in isolation, my world has become much smaller. I am fortunate enough to have a yard where I can plant things and a local nursery with a good no-contact, curbside pickup plan. So, I have planted some vegetables in raised beds and put some flowers in the front of the house. Even though I’m doing my best to distract myself with gardening, my world has quite suddenly become much smaller. As a writer, I work from home, and now I also entertain myself at home. The most I get out is to walk around the neighborhood, which fortunately has wide streets and residents who politely cross the street to make sure they don’t break social distancing.
by Essie Lee
Are a joy I’ve never had.
Always telling, never holding back.
When I go out and first start living,
the Little secrets I shall keep:
Where, just behind the ears, to scratch the cat;
I will let my opera voice lie dormant until
I let it boom out from a mountain;
I will hide the little jar of clover honey at the very back of the fridge from prying and dangerous tongues.
The secrets that sleep in the womb of my mind are like a wellspring
Ready to SPRING OUT and KNOCK YOU OVER!
There is pleasure in waiting.
A truth in hiding.
Too much truth will sooner drown a man than tempt him.
Fall for me slowly. The way I did for myself.
See every detail, but each at a time.
Gentle cascades of hips and lips
No torrents of buttocks and thighs.
They hold so many secrets,
Tiny delicate fractured things.
I am close to bursting with my desire to tell you!
I haven’t met you
But I anticipate..
Author, Holly Wardlow
by Jarad Johnson
This is a book that I read for my Anthropology class this semester (when we were still in actual classrooms!) and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I don’t know about you but learning about different cultures has always fascinated me. It not only reveals how different from each other, but also the base humanity that we all share.
Ask Uncle Morty
by Uncle Mortimer
Dear Uncle Morty,
I’ve been seeing this guy for about a month now and he’s asked me to be exclusive. He’s almost too perfect. He’s tall, handsome, and rich. He’s a smooth dresser. We go to exclusive clubs and restaurants. So, what’s the problem? We only go out at night. Not in the evening but after dark.
Poetry for Quarantine
by John Patrick Robbins
Nothing Changes But The Weather
Most the world was in a self imposed quarantine, and here I was hooking up with a semi stranger in the backseat of a car.
A life lived dangerously had been my mantra so just because the apocalypse was near why stop the party now?
She was a second date and beat nothing at all.
I was a drunk and not in the least bit picky.
She took the ride and I watched the traffic from the view of the parking lot and thought up this little ditty I'm sharing now.
You know it's memorable, when you're penning poems in your head with your pen in someone else's ink.
She was a second date and I just another empty soul to share space and grind against for the lack of anything better to do.
Never polish off the edges, leave them hidden in poorly penned poems for everyone to read.
I never high five myself for it's far from an achievement.
We all need something and I wasn't under the delusion they ever needed me.
We had our moment and went our separate ways.
I ended up with a poem and she simply got a goodbye.
Nothing changes but the weather.
Ask Uncle Morty
by Uncle Mortimer
Uncle Morty sometimes gets requests to apply his Netherworldly wisdom to the problems of existence of one kind or another no matter which side of the veil you call your home. He has decided to share his answers with our readers in hopes that you also may be heartened by his sagacity. (He told me to write that.) Following is a request for advice and his response. Enjoy.
by Brian Rihlmann
BATTLE OF THE BULGE
because of vestigial tooth and claw
the raised hackles and the roar
the avarice, the acquisitiveness
that served us well
through thousands of forgotten years
millions of atrocities
swept under the proverbial rug
this world will not conform
to our foolish images
there’s a mountain of dirt under there
bulging the stitches
of our carefully woven mandala--
how the roots of trees
shatter concrete beautifully
as drunken spiderwebs
and we, scampering
with darning needles
trowels in hand
by Jarad and
I recently read Sir Phillip Sidney’s, “In Defense of Poesy,” for class, and it got me thinking about my own relationship with poetry. “In Defense of Poesy,” is an essay written during the time of Queen Elizabeth, in response to another essay, written by Stephen Gosson called “the School of Abuse,” which argued that poetry was a waste of time, the, “mother of lies,” (a BIT dramatic there if you ask me), the “nurse of abuse”. Gosson even said that Plato had been right to banish poets from his idealized commonwealth. That last bit is a little inaccurate, actually. Plato only banishes the rogue poets from his utopia, not all poets. But that’s really neither here nor there. Overall, Gosson had some harsh criticism for poetry, and while I sometimes find myself unmoved by poems, I wouldn’t say that it’s a waste of time because that seems like a slippery slope towards censorship, not a censorship by the state necessarily. Even a personal form of censorship is the enemy of free thought. A total ban on one type of expression will probably mean you miss something. Of course, it’s important to understand that “poesy” at the time referred to all fictionalized arts, even prose and drama. Poesy in this usage is the artistic sculpting of truth and beauty, expressing yourself in artifice and fiction, metaphor and symbol.
Things to do While Quarantined
by Jarad Johnson
Most if not all of us are self-isolating right now – if not under outright quarantine. That means that we are all stuck at home, with our loved ones, who we may or may not be about to strangle if we have to spend another second with them. Everyone goes stir crazy eventually, and if hasn’t happened to yet…..it will. So here are some things that I have been doing to keep myself from climbing the walls!
Reading- You might be saying to yourself, “duh,” as this seems like a no- brainer given the fact that we are a literary website, BUT I’ve been reading, wait for it, outside. The great outdoors, god’s country, or, as it’s more commonly known, my back porch. I’m exploring the forest and becoming one with nature, from the comfort of our outdoor couch. The days have been nice here, even if the news hasn’t, and a cup of tea and a little escapist literature never hurt anyone. And if you ever find yourself a bit down and in your own head a bit of a sit or walk outside clears the head if you can manage it. If you are truly stuck inside trade bouts of reading with any kind of exercise – even walking in place!