“the poems you like” by Mike Bove

all begin mid-sentence with a cool edge
tumbling inward to a vermillion core

they possess images                they make images

& many of them are quite striking
due to disavowal of standard punctuation
with the exception of instances of extreme
emphasis or necessity.

your grandmother’s pain lives inside
them along her mahogany shelves
next to a framed photograph of a dead soldier
& the window is open because the poem must
have a question but in place of an answer

there is the wind                                 you hear

angry fathers in the lines
& see vast expanses of ice on january lakes
off the backroads leading to a city of great joy
& a love which someone you know has left
buried beneath the big oak in the park

all the poems you like feature a sunflower

all the poems you like are flapping
like maple leaves and in them your old pets
have come back to life & so has miles davis

please don’t forget the burnished sun
& the russet fields                  

that steamy vermillion core

please don’t forget that all the poems you like
end with

this & this
or this


MIKE BOVE‘s poems have appeared recently in RattleThe Cafe Review, and others. His first book, Big Little City, was published by Moon Pie Press in 2018. He lives in Portland, Maine with his family and teaches in the English Department at Southern Maine Community College. 

“Black Rain” by Ilona Martonfi

terraced rice fields
sheltering in a wooden hut
leaking thatched roof
my yukata gets wet
with black rain 

a freezing winter day
charcoal-burning stove
smell of roasted sesame
organic sweet miso soup
dosimeter clicking sound

I take photographs
with my father’s muddy lens
dark, blurry images
similar to my memories
which I am slowly losing

a spit of fields and sand 
where a pine forest grows 
after the tsunami 
what I really want is to
once again live in my home


ILONA MARTONFI is the author of four poetry books, Blue Poppy, Black Grass, The Snow Kimono and Salt Bride. Her work has published in numerous journals across North America and abroad. Six chapbooks, Visiting the Ridge, Charivari, Magda, Adagio, Mud and Moth. Her poem “Dachau on a Rainy Day” was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. Artistic director of Visual Arts Centre Reading Series and Argo Bookshop Reading Series. QWF 2010 Community Award.

“Firework” by Sophie Luo

A gunshot wound,

Blooms across the night sky
Like a carnivorous flower.

Illuminates its crowd
Red, then green, then gold.

And the sun
Does not set until midnight.


SOPHIE LUO is a student and emerging writer from Vancouver currently studying Biomedical Sciences at McGill University. From anatomy to poetry, her strange combination of passions yields an indecisive personality, a penchant for rumination, and a disproportionate fascination in ordinary things – all of which she records and expresses in writing.

‘Midnight is Dark Lunch’ by Ingrid Cui

When my girl is not in the room
I let myself down and climb
out of the divided line. I psychoanalyze
chunks in my skin, that phase of
my youth; your condescending
glance surveying my paper:
stop using that and which
when you don’t even know the difference.
Obey precocity’s flirt,
prostrate nietzsche at stone’s depth,
flaunt abercrombie stitches.

Meet the boys with white shirts
sipping high london tea, dream
chiaroscuro thrillers
in bars at deep midnight –
dorian tried opium
maybe you should too.
When the phase moves on,
give baudelaire a good burial.

My girl cannot stop the time;
she is gone, gone
through the crowd of loose
bodies, and her eyeshadow sways
music into stillness. He did this too, morgan,
smith; there must have been clubs back then.
There is nothing soft
about the dancing of animals.

When we go to denny’s after
I ask, what does a man amount to
if he only lives for three years?
You take my temperature
and tell me to eat my pancakes.

 


INGRID CUI is a student at the University of Toronto and an editor for The Trinity Review (https://www.thetrinityreview.com/). Her work has been published in L’Éphémère Review, Half a Grapefruit Magazine, Ghost City Review, and Poetry Institute of Canada.

Copyright © 2020 by Ingrid Cui. All rights reserved.

 

‘Heyday’ by Robert Nisbet

It was not promising. The train
went into Swansea High Street backwards.
(Some points thing, they said).
He looked. Landore, copper, steelworks,
smoking with time’s grey industry.
Ahead, an unknown Wales.

But there lay ahead
quotidian reassurance, office and evenings,
espresso’s hiss, the Everly Brothers,
the bouffant Swansea girls, the age’s hum
of liberation. In their heyday then,
to the Mumbles pier, bank holiday,
the candy and the carnal thoughts
of Kiss-Me-Quick.
Young, they invented the weekend
in the immediate sunshine.

 


ROBERT NISBET is a Welsh poet living just a few miles down the coast from Dylan Thomas’s Boathouse. He has published widely and in roughly equal measures in Britain and the USA. He is a Pushcart Prize nominee for 2020.

Copyright © 2020 by Robert Nisbet. All rights reserved.

‘Beyond the Stars’ by Jason Waddle

The stars are the freckles that
press their cheek to God’s cheek.
This creates the energy we
witness at night when our cheeks
are pressing lovingly against our
lover’s cheek, and this
causes a rumble in her belly
where another life is the
signature between two lovers
that forms the universal womb
of creation that is written
beyond the stars.

 


JASON WADDLE writes poetry and fiction. Since 2017, his work has been traditionally published 18-times. In the summer of 2019, his first book was accepted for publication by a New York publishing house. ‘Awake in Dreams, Sleeping Death Away’ comes into the world on February 28, 2020.

Copyright © 2020 by Jason Waddle. All rights reserved.

‘I Took All the Spoons When I Left You’ by April Ford

And yes it’s true, I took all the forks, too.
But taking all the forks isn’t as cruel as taking
all the spoons and here’s why: Forks can kill you.
Their tines can blind you, like, if you tug too hard
on a piece of sinewy steak and your face gets in the way.
(The media gravely under-reports how often faces get in the way.)
Not to mention, forks are the freaks of tridents. Their extra
prongs aren’t cute like the extra toes on polydactyl cats.
But spoons, but spoons. Listen up: If forks are for tearing things,
then spoons are for holding things together. Spoons are for bowls
filled with soup your mother used to make; they are for balancing
on the tip of your nose to make your first childhood love laugh.
Spoons are smooth landings, branches bowing, ballet dancers
contouring. They are for gathering and for nourishing.
Taking all the forks when I left was my way of making sure
you wouldn’t get any ideas (because grief can do that to a person).
Taking all the spoons when I left was my way of making sure
you would notice.

 


APRIL FORD is a gender fluid author living in Verdun with her feline rescue family. She’s the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for her short story “Project Fumarase,” and has held fully funded residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Ucross Foundation. Her debut novel, Carousel, will be released on May 14, 2020 by Inanna Publications. aprilfordauthor.com

Copyright © 2020 by April Ford. All rights reserved.

‘Cambie Poem’ by Taylor Gray Moore

The grey beast of Cambie,
with all its angular teeth,
eats up the old homesteads
and spits out 3D ink creations
for the bright things to move into.
Some kind of feet move
along the pavement
toward the mysterious fog
that crossed the harbour
during the storm last night
and whispered things to
teams of developers
who have since been laid off.
Some of them wrote memoirs
detailing the incident,
and these have sold well.
I had meant to include more
concrete information
in this report, but the noise
from the street below
is too oppressive,
and my dog
has just been spayed and neutered.
Please send more money:
the project will be completed
and sent homewards
as soon as the ocean thaws.

Yours truly,
Juan de Fuca

Appendix:
this poem is about
the somewhat embarrassing
redevelopment
of Cambie St in Vancouver,
or, at least,
how I imagine it,
for I am in Montreal
and have never seen it.
Lola wrote me a letter
describing it
in fearful syllables
and my jailor
passed it to me
through a crack in the wall.
I read it again now,
feverishly, and with great sorrow,
as the vermin
gnaw at each other
around my feet.
My naked body,
clutched tight around itself,
withers like a grape on the vine.
Lola, please burn this letter.

 


TAYLOR GAY MOORE was born in Vancouver, BC, in 1992 and has lived there for most of his life. He attended McGill University in Montreal, where he obtained a B.A. in English Literature. His work has previously appeared in Graphite Publications, Pulp Magazine and the Spadina Literary Review.

Copyright © 2019 by Taylor Gray Moore. All rights reserved.

 

‘si difficile’ by April Ford

i wish that i could speak to you
in a language other than love,
speak about you in a language
other than loss. for whenever
i think about you, i become
someone i’m ashamed of. bright
incandescent shame that shows
how foolish i am, my blood
luminescent with recidivism,
my breath sour from deceptions
i told myself to protect you, when
you are as safe for the lover’s heart
as antibiotics on the unsuspecting gut.

 


APRIL FORD is a gender fluid author living in Verdun with her feline rescue family. She’s the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for her short story “Project Fumarase,” and has held fully funded residencies at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and Ucross Foundation. Her debut novel, Carousel, is forthcoming Spring 2020 with Inanna Publications. aprilfordauthor.com

Copyright © 2019 by April Ford. All rights reserved.

‘Brother I choose’ by Ryan London

there is someone who looks just like you
who can speak with pretenders and skeptics
and sing duets alone and untainted
knowing he is out there
knowing he has ever been
i smile to myself

you draw me with small hands
as if i cannot hold you
as if i listen to the music of pretending
knowing my love feels like sandpaper
knowing it burns like your hand on a stove
but heals like a kiss
i smile to myself

 


RYAN LONDON is from Toronto but based in Montreal where she graduated from McGill’s Industrial Relations program. Her poems center around the female experience, mental illness, and suicide. She is a strong believer in language accessibility, believing poetry should be written with the intent that it can be experienced by anyone.

Copyright © 2019 by Ryan London. All rights reserved.