Two Poems by Johnathan Justinn

The Nocturnal Council

It's just that the shadows deepen,
they lengthen in the
retreating diurnal parade.

They drink the harvest of the sun,
swallowing every grain,
and casting it into the earth.

And while we sleep they
philosophize in veil born

All the things that make the solid
Saturnine man himself.

And wonder at the few who
stay awake, the nomads
of circadian rhythm.

Old Relations

New Grange tomb and buried seed
both bring spiral psalms of rebirth
Like sacred geometry in the striated
bark of the new spring birch.

Waiting list for absolution,
Dark glimpses of ancestral carvings,
and all hope hung on that one shaft of light-
Seminal celebratory.

Corporeal form clothed in youth,
Praising horn sounding suns return,
Eyes that look to crown, and hanging upside down
With throat cut and mistletoe in the wound.

Bog people with my blood, red beards
Still grown onto set faces in
Perpetual defiance and pagan faith
that lives now only in oaks.

A place of sanguine solitude
Kept silent in books and carved on stone.
Not forgotten in my marrow's oath,
My face its freckled binary.

The Devil is in the Details / B.F. Hayes

The devil is in the details, and I’m inclined to believe it’s true
From he said, to she said, to what did they do?
Whispers and giggles beget envy and hate
And before we know what we’ve done,
It’s already, far too late
Day to day living is much of the same
A game of microwave dinners, fast lanes,
And bills yet to be paid
Love and friendships hold a fragile place
Between texts, emails, and social pages
This by all accounts, is succeeding in replacing
What should only be done face to face
Detached, we allow darkness, to find a foothold,
Where shamelessness, infidelity, and cruelty,
Has, and is, growing ever so bold
Irresponsible I would be, to simply blame technology
For humanities natural inclination
Look for instance at Christianity
Where more denominations exist, than books in the bible
Thousands of ways to worship one God
What chance is there, I ask then, of our survival?
Complicating what is transparently clear
How we function on greed and necessity-
Whilst even the most steadfast get lost in their fear
Let us step back to meditate, and contemplate
On what needs to be done
Step back, in order to see
The big picture in black, and white 
And the details that separate you and me-
Are both in the thousands, and none
Our belief is different and the same
Passion and suffering in a hundred varying shades…
All these details… details used to separate.
To find a reason to hate, and entertain
All the dark thoughts that want full reign
Over our hearts, minds, and spirits alike
However hope does have a say,
Without details we are all the same
We are naught but colors in a rainbow
A spectrum that’s soft, bold, rich, and luminescent
So glorious to behold, it brings high what once was low
We are the notes in a symphony, drops in a sea,
Wind in the trees, and in short-
I am you, and you are me.

Gone's Song / Ralph LaCharity

the young are still forming yet some
refuse & say I'll form no more from now on
those are the ones painted on the sounds of
freights that wail in the basin's palm

dirty dirty freights, heavy fast & unforgiving
coalcars & graffiti'd boxcars railing darkly
they are who've chosen vagrant omnipresence
a clockwork chain reaction nightly thru the town

as long as this town of trained echoes persists
our stillborn, form-no-more Childe can still Be
& Will still be, his Stasis rapt & rapping, his
Refusal'd wee hours' Claim calamitous

intimately Remote beyond reckoning, come unto
the unbridgable Beyond merrily self-murderous

there is no relief
there is no end to grief
love has found us
like a thief

& robs us nightly
robs us nightly

Two Poems by Alx Johns

Bring on the Manatee

Sure, I've wondered what they taste like,
I mean, look at 'em:  A floating tenderloin.
Made to be eaten,
sorry, plump, all torso, bobbing like a motorboat target,
has no place in the modern age.
If I were in some country where they're a delicacy,
and I would be considered rude for not partaking,
I'd dig in, man.

The thing is, someone has to slaughter it,
drag its mopey ass
out of that clear, lush lagoon where it peacefully spends its days,
culls its calf (manatee veal).
Its eyes are little belly buttons,
you'd have to make contact with
and find the will somehow, the good reason
to make it meat.

Virtual Prayer Formula

Call up some slow strings on your media player,
perhaps Arvo Part's “Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten”
Go to Google.
Close your eyes and
listen for half a minute or so.
Open them,
then enter any unfamous name

into Google images.
Try “Bradley Simmons” or “Jennifer Watson”
Now, stare at the faces there.
Give each one a few seconds with the music.
Some are alive, some are dead.
See if you don't begin to feel
some kind of compassion
for an absolute stranger, a mere face
but a fellow struggler, familiar
with failure, loss, loneliness
confusion and love.

Did you do it?
What are you, crazy?

A Drone Scans the Wreckage - Margaret Atwood

Smoke gets in my eyes,
my fifteen eyes.
Glass insulation smolders.
Pink tongues get stuck on it.                                      
Charred cotton candy.

Did I do that?

Palm tree shorn of its head.
Cathedral ceilings, opened up
to the stars, to the stark.
What did they worship in there?
The overhead fans?
The bolsters? The naked bedspread?

I spy.

They cried O God to the pillows.
Now ripped and fluttering,
angel feathers.
These hover, slower than me.
See raw finger paint. Red.
Wet still crawling.

Must have missed something.

Better home in again.
Do some stuttering.
Attapat. Attatat. Attasis. Attaboom.
Accurate this time. Rah.
Anything saved equals failure.

Was I bad?

Teardrops fall and fall.
The rain shower's broken.

the myth i heard / jp wares

where crayfish grab and moan, the tracks dust into planted grass, the town seeps through spring down hill and invisibly into old mudded oconee, nothing moves fast until well past the mill now with white coats and plastic boards looking over the explosion of a once-held river the crustaceans bury deep under the dumpsters, under the furniture and the copper-coiled cold heyday fountain, a delight into a glass bottle and now only rumored, and into the mountain we call town once tracks dug through bricked hills, the well-dressed students clung to brass rail, up down clayton street, i’m sure the buildings still held whiskey, beer, probably then no asian food, no pita, no burrito, only american here. 

bells rang, alumni sang, the town was then already old, and pavers came with hot machines to change the roads for fords, chevys, trucks of boxes, filled with shoes, cases of cold drinks, the lines were drawn and the street as parking lot moved on. 

though climate shed its waters to southern stages, and mussels disappeared, leaving few traces, the hangers left, the mills shut
down, the buttons were scattered to the altamaha and asia, but the tracks were there down the street, pulled by cables electric and taut, the trolleys had pulled over hollowed out cavern of shipments and boxes and sidewalk elevators, and a network grew under this small town, forgotten and dark. 

it is told that the mayor has a key, and the cages by city hall deny not entry to restrooms or a jail, but to the hub of how it worked, halls by which freed men lit candles, and the early music played long and hard. 

the subterranean streets, as chicago and new york, as rome and paris, are there, and now fill with water, delight in the river, 
the boats that cold go scraping the ceiling as trucks hum delivery

on hot days the asphalt weeps the past, a fog rises just as we wake, nobody knows it is more than the nights drink moving on. 
the one other entrance, past clanged horizontal flat door and the icecubed glass of the street, beyond rye bar and cobbled wall shown
mercy for effect of the life that was, a building elicits the entry to the history of athens, and how it did sail, how the Wuxtry did finally sail! 

the mystery builds there: corner shop untold, boxes of vinyl and heavy bass, lifted above by flapping light pages, donald duck the most shredded and old in the wind, soon to be unread, passed along to prefer the more recent fabrics of comics, graphic novels, and the occasional flagpole - the weekly - hung to dry in the breeze of oconee. 

the shreds filter down to the water, the crayfish, the muddy river, the lake beyond, the hills of dead, the lounging student leaning head on oak tree, girlfriend by knee well-keeled the building does float, and who knew? it is the ship held by harbor in a town afloat a hill, eddied downstream from the piedmont, the stony end of appalachia, the woods holding the current. 

any of this could change. the building could sink, any day. 
as the drought builds, the records must sell, ballast beyond the mass of the comics above, the lined heroes, the buxom sidekick, 
the aghast tale of adolescence re-told in dark ink and extravagant face or stipple. but today the Wuxtry sails, you’ll see.