"Saturday Chaconne" - Clifford Brooks




"Saturday Chaconne" - Clifford Brooks

Damon and Pythias
shake off Syracuse,
and brush their shoulders clean.
In downtown Athens
short skirts scoot us up one street,
then left on College Avenue.
Brothers head into a hookah bar.

Jackson’s secondhand bookshop
contains collections
by Rilke, Neruda, and Simic
whose woo factor
hit their limit.
Now they’re here
with scribbled epitaphs
that whisper: The heart doesn’t
always win.

Nor is family loyal to their tortured son.
So, I decide to inscribe my insanity
in a tattoo venue.
Now, the motto of my family’s melancholy
is carved into muscle over time.
The blood spilt in that chair
is theirs as much as mine.
Finem Respice
is forever
on my left arm.

On Four Fat Tires, we careen
into the old decor of New Orleans.
This eatery has been renamed,
but it’s still the same.
Dad sits inside, smiling:
My old man
is always smiling.

We watch the waning sun
set across Broad Street
over the Arches
that urge us to understand
that the ache of youth passes,
age has a slanted perspective,
and nothing is wasted with good company.

As evening winks in,
dogwood lets petals drift.


Clifford Brooks (www.cliffbrooks.com) was born in Athens, Georgia His second full-length poetry volume, Athena Departs: Gospel of a Man Apart, as well as a limited-edition poetry chapbook, Exiles of Eden, were published in 2017. His first poetry collection, The Draw of Broken Eyes & Whirling Metaphysics, was re-issued in August 2018. Evergreens, his second chapbook, will be released by Lucid House Publishing in 2019. Clifford is the founder of The Southern Collective Experience (www.southerncollectiveexperience.com), a cooperative of writers, musicians and visual artists, which publishes the journal of culture The Blue Mountain Review and hosts the NPR show Dante’s Old South. He is on the faculty of The Company of Writers, and provides tutorials on poetry through the Noetic teaching application.  


"Crow Prayer" - Michelle Castleberry

"Crow Prayer" - Michelle Castleberry

Oh, Lordy!
Because you already know our hearts, 
Lord, we only pray so the others hear. 
Because you do not render this as blasphemy, 
we can say we believe less in You than magic. 
We believe less in magic than in the found corn chip, 
the stolen rivet, or button. For these are all testimonies of You. Take this as You will.
We have creation hung in our jaws and cough
our thanks from high nests for each perfect unlivable law.
We keep track of the breakage, 
for You love a tally.
We sound the alarm for the dumb ones
including those two-leggeds You adore.
We sing our praises from the craw
“Aw, thankee very much; we are much entertained!”
Who is so hardened, Lord, that they cannot hear our song?
Which is 
Awe!Awe!Awe!




"Crow Prayer" by Michelle Castleberry appeared originally in Still: The Journal. She is a writer and social worker in northeast Georgia and has been a featured reader at Athens Word of Mouth. Her work can  also be found in publications such as The Chattahoochee Review and The Atlanta Review. Her first book, Dissecting the Angel and Other Poems. was finalist for Georgia Poetry Book of the Year for 2013. She is a Fellow with The Makery through the Hindman Settlement School in Kentucky.