"Heart Scars" - Bob Ambrose


"Heart Scars" - Bob Ambrose

The surgeon said I have a raw heart,
that where he worked his high-tech
wire would heal and bear no scars.

But all he had were images,
renderings of my left atrium
processed by silicon circuits,
color coded for conductivity,
rogue circuits splotched red
across my pulmonary veins.

They fairly danced with life,
made my heart skip stutter-
step beats. That was before.

Now the big veins stand inert,
gun-metal gray, dull as lead
pipes, bare limbs of an ancient
oak shattered by a blue bolt,
frozen and fossilized — this
the price for too much life.

I walk through new life
with a hole in my heart.
I bear invisible tattoos.

Can a body hit sixty-eight
without a rough mark
clawed across the vitals?
Could a soul survive so long
in the land of incarnation
without the grace of scars?

Technology is miracle. Hospitals
crawl with angels. Doctors patch
bodies for a few more rounds.

But raw hearts ride currents
no machine can measure. Sinking,
I am buoyed by a thousand ‘thoughts
and prayers.’ Flailing, I am borne
again to source or abyss. Surely
I will drown in a sea of grace.

"Heart Scars" by Bob Ambrose originally appeared online at his blog Reflections in Poetry.

"Giving Way" - Dennis Bagwell

"Giving Way" - Dennis Bagwell

Hush little girl
Don't say a word
Let's just sit here a few moments longer
With your soft little hand in mine
I wish I could keep time's dreaded grasp from dragging you off into the swift current of adulthood
But wishing is a useless past time
I can already see it in your eyes
I can hear it in your words
Your body is slowly giving way to the woman you will someday become
It's simply a matter of dreaded time when moments like these will become fewer and farther between
But today you're still a little girl
So let's just sit here a few moments longer
With your soft little hand in mine

"Alone" - Cassandra Sam


"Alone" - Cassandra Sam

Alone became my norm and as one tends to grow feelings
for that which is familiar
    I formed a frightening infatuation with sharing
    only the company of myself
It is to be noted that this was not healthy or fulfilling
quite the opposite in fact
see this was detrimental to my health and if happiness

could be measured in wealth
    I was left with empty pockets and featherlight wallets
but these were all my own
and for that I was grateful
for I knew the pain in companionship
I was aware that to place more coins in my pockets would mean to inevitably face
more heavy a downfall, and too often
    have I forgotten to brace myself
    for the moments where I must pay for my own loose change
so changes in me took place which have left me so pennilessly,

and purposefully alone
or dangerous-
is he who seeks solace in sentence scribbled less than legibly

on the back of his own eyelids
or she who speaks in false past tense, pretending to be stronger than her poetry
The time is 12:37 AM
I am laying in my bed trying to decipher the feelings I have not been having as of recently
typically when something is bothering me I try to assign it a story, space, and color
but this shade of black
    so selfishly sticks it's in all settings and plots
    which come to mind
sucking until it grows drunk on dread and dreariness
it greedily fills then spills out of its designated resting space
testing space and time between where I am now

and there which I have been before,
some would refer to this as rock bottom
I just call it, "Wednesday"
I ask myself why I am like this

"Late" - Joseph Wallace

"Late" - Joseph Wallace

latte drifting
in the
sunset colors
orange pink
sky blue
latte drifting
in flared nostrils

I should like
to be carried
with the scent
across a cheek

coffee brown
in the
morning glory
red orange
glorious morning
coffee brown
and birds sing

I should like
to be carried
with great gifts
through the lips

yellow teeth
in the
middle night
purple black
moon white
yellow teeth
and loving eyes

I should like
to be carried
from the smile
to loving ears

late rushing
in the
beating sun
white blue
leaf green
late rushing
“let’s get coffee”

I should like
to be carried
on birds’ wings
catching your eyes

latte drifting
in the
sunset colors
orange pink
sky blue
latte drifting
drifting to sleep

I should like
to be carried
off to sleep
warm and cozy

cozy and warm
on birds’ wings
with great gifts

into loving arms
with a scent
like I should

"Chris, the Cockroach" - Michael Keating

"Chris, the Cockroach" - Michael Keating

Rain makes the days seem satirical

It was the night that you wanted to keep
the royal moth we found when the exterminator
let himself in for his monthly routine
“who’s in charge here”
neither of us, maybe the bug
that insect is a king to us
but I guess that doesn’t matter much
I was unsettled and unsure
of whether it was because of
his sudden appearance or lonely odor
that slipped out of his equipment.

“Just finish closing up
turn off all the lights, I’m nocturnal
Pretend as if I’m not here”

Tried to oblige. but he joked on
“I’m Chris the cockroach,
I come out at night and kill all my friends
call me the Terminator”

Had to mention it sounded Kafka-esque
although it went over his head
he said goodnight and by the morning
this whole place will be rid of unwanted visitors
I hoped that included exterminators.

My walk home couldn’t shake the lonely odor
Rain makes the pain satirical
I imagined his instruments of death
sprayed out seconds and minutes and days
and that the liquid contained
little pieces of his soul, although I know it was just
chemicals to kill bugs.

"[ When I Was a Faith Healer ]" - Gregg Murray

[ When I Was a Faith Healer ]

I cut my teeth on the hopeless. I'd hold
their hands, ask with patience what cares

were cursed. The devils that in amorous
colloquy made them weep openly.

They knew it was alright, and I worked
through recollection. I was a technician.

I gave them the reason, backed by a vision.
I moved on to the wicked. I was led

into the heavy rooms. Family members
stood at cracked doors, fingering beads

and crosses. I summoned kinder forces.
My pyrotechnics were practical, flares

and flint, kindling and rabble-rousing,
rending, espousing. The hell was hot,

love was water. These days grew longer.
In middle age I turned to the blind eye.

It was my sports car, my affair, my turn.
There was never enough money to burn.

I was a physician of the Lord. It took
time to feel the word, to see demons

in the iris black as cataracts. Lay on
the hands, lay on the scalpel, no one

understands the science of spectacle.
There is no guide for the impossible.

But I'll say this, diligent student, I believe
it respectable, noble, even regal,

to make way for the miracle.
Gregg Murray is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia State University and the founding editor of Muse /A Journal. He is the featured reader at Word of Mouth open mic, Wednesday, September 6,
8:00 pm at The Globe, Athens. "[ When I Was a Faith Healer" ]  appeared online in diode poetry journal. He will be reading at the Decatur Book Festival on Sunday, September 3 at 3 pm on the Java Monkey stage.

"Incantation" - David Noah

"Incantation" - David Noah

This is the way we are in August
in America in 2017:
Nazis march in Charlottesville
and the president stands silent
until he speaks up.
For them.

This is the way
we wait with anger and hope on street corners,
holding signs and looking for signs,
while our cellphone screens blister
with news served too fast to eat,
and civil war is in the air.

This is the way
the enormity of the wound—
to the country,
to the invisible pertinent currents
coursing through our metaphysical bloodstreams—
staggers mothers walking down streets,
stuns birds from the skies,
and makes fathers stumble against walls.

This is the way
the eclipse comes
in a rushing silhouette across America,
as a sign.
Or a symptom.

This is the way
the shadow slides into our pockets.

This is the way
dragon eats the sun,
the way bear rears into the sky
and tears apart the light,
the way demons sweat darkness
and speak up for monsters.

This is the way
we say to each other:
we have reached totality.

And this is the way
we look at one another
and remember the light.

This is the way we wake up.
This is the way we turn and find our way home.
This the way we remember.
This is the way we begin.