Poetry Drawer: Five Poems by Dr. Milton Ehrlich

THE TASTE OF STILLNESS

Makes your mouth water
if a toasted marshmallow
approaches your mouth,
or if a hot cup of tea
soothes your insides
on a freezing winter day,
or if the bliss of the breast
allows you to savor the moment
of each life-enhancing breath.
Taste buds may be the key
that opens the door to the taste
and scent of where you were
before you were born.

AM I DYING?

Just because
I’m green around the gills,
can’t get up from the floor
and every joint aches.

Just because
I can only see a fish-eyed view
of what’s real that no glasses
can correct.

Just because
my gut speaks ferociously
in a language all its own
with gurgles, and hisses
I’ve never heard before.

Just because
You sound so far away,
far away for much too long.

I pulsate
like a far-flung star.

NOT HERE ANYMORE

Yet I can still hear
my musical alarm
wake me up for work
Some day I’m going
to murder the bugler,
some day they’re going
to find him dead.
I see my white shirt
hanging on the door,
my empty shiny shoes
lined up on the floor.
I feel alive in a way
I’ve never felt before.
I must get out of bed,
but I’m not here anymore.
Where have I gone you ask?
You will be the first to know
just as soon as I find out.

TAKE IT EASY

because you’re not going anywhere,
you’re already there.
Whatever is, is.

Slow down, pace yourself
before you fall down.
Remember to breathe
when you have so many
things to worry about.

Gunslingers are eunuchs
who want to feel like men.
Learn to forgive them
for their ignorance,
but, always be ready
to hit the deck.

THE LOVE OF MY LIFE

is young and tender as a sweet peach tree.
With a lovely face and high cheek bones
there’s a glint of jade that sparkles her eyes.

She has a scent of lavender from her garden,
grown with her long slender fingers and toes
that resemble rare precious stones.

Her hour glass figure beneath thick black hair
billows like dark clouds. Surrounded
by flocks of birds she smiles the smile
of a messenger from heaven.

Milton P. Ehrlich Ph.D. is an 87 year old psychologist and a veteran of
the Korean War. He has published many poems in periodicals such as the
London Grip, Arc Poetry Magazine, Descant Literary Magazine, Wisconsin
Review, Taj Mahal Literary journal, Antigonish Review, Ottowa Arts
Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Huffington Post, Christian Science Monitor,
and the New York Times.

Poetry Drawer: Five Poems by John Sweet

the distant past, approaching

standing in the sunlit spaces of
late-afternoon shadows, he is talking to
pollock who is dead but the
truth is something else
altogether

warm
for november but not
                       warm

an age of hoses whipped to
death for entertainment

caviar and lemonade

young woman on her bloody knees on
the church steps but
the idea of saviours no longer applies

the stores are all out of business,
windows boarded over,
and he is asking pollock why?

and i am leaning in close,
hoping for an answer

song for tired hands

waves of autumn leaves across
pitted brick courtyards

subtle mistake of considering
early november sunlight to be anything
more than itself and she
turns to me, says you can’t spend your
whole looking for answers in the mouths of
dead men, and it sounds like
                                the truth

sounds like god digging for bones out
along I-88, like pilate selling splinters of
the one true cross

laughter and hope, sure, but what about
the ever-present past?

it was linda’s cancer then
david’s suicide and always the
mumbled wisdom of homeless junkies

it’s the promise of wide open spaces
but even on the warmest afternoons
the fact of winter overwhelms

even in your arms i am
cold and getting colder

am old and getting older

what more can i
give you but the truth?

the image but not the idea

moving east through six a.m.
tunnels of rain, november, december,
age of desperate ghosts, this woman w/
the pale scars keeps slipping pills
between yr lips, keeps speaking in a
language he doesn’t quite understand

only 10,000 miles to the coast

only the ghost of frida kahlo
to light the way

sister asleep in the back seat and he
misses the exit and then the
one after that, and these faded plastic
wreaths w/ their tilted wooden crosses
on the side of the highway

this first grey light of day

thinks let me keep my name

thinks let the suicides all
take someone else’s

starts with love and then
burns his way down to the
ghostwhite bones

litany of concentric circles

finished his drink then
shot himself

said he hoped the poem would be better than the
shit i usually wrote but i didn’t even
know him, wasn’t even there, and he pulled the
trigger and it was november

was sunlit and cold and the blood on the
walls, sound of the girl smiling in the doorway
of the porn shop and my car wasn’t running again

was rusting in the sunlight of someone else’s
driveway and the sound of the
shot and she was smiling as i walked by, was sharing a
cigarette with the guy who worked there, asked me
how the poem was going, said she wasn’t even there but
he had finished the drink then shot himself and
past the high school was the river

sunlit and cold and i found his body floating
near the shore, knew his girlfriend but i couldn’t
lift him up and two kids on the bridge above
throwing rocks down at us, tried to explain that i
wasn’t there, that i wasn’t here, but my
hands had lost all feeling

mouth was bleeding and the hole in the side of his
head where the light poured out, said the girl
had been his sister and i told him he was dead

do you remember?

it was november, bright blue sky and frozen and
he’d written his girlfriend a letter, had told her
he was sorry and then he pulled the trigger

told her to ask me about the poem

showed her some words i’d scribbled across the backs of
some carry-out menus when i found her
standing in the doorway of the mexican restaurant,
explained that i wasn’t even there, and these kids
across the street throwing rocks at us

my car down by the river, tangled up in blue
on the radio and she said she’d always hated dylan,
said she’d always hated the stones, and then he
finished his drink and pulled the trigger

static poured out of the hole in his heart and
he said the poem was the important thing

said the gun was just a metaphor but
he wouldn’t stop bleeding

laughed when i showed him what i’d written
and told me i’d better try again

indian summer

on these clouded glass afternoons
spelled out in pastel shades of blue and
grey, down dead-end streets in a
town you can’t escape, climb the cemetery
walls, walk the last thousand miles
down to the river, body of a dog
tortured and killed, 13 year-old kids huffing
spray paint, soft warmth of the
mid-afternoon sun, end of autumn,
                                freeway sound

                                dream of home

                                wake up lost

                                still no sign of snow

John Sweet’s Blog

Poetry Drawer: Petition by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

In Arles
the citizens circulated a petition
demanding that Vincent be institutionalized
It was following that commitment that he
moved to St. Remy

The people of Arles
do not know that I am only in their town
because I escaped from a mental hospital
stole money from my mother
and fled across the ocean

to where I lived
when I was younger, stronger
and my mind was less disordered

I do not believe that disorder
warrants imprisonment

When I see the citizens in the bakeries
and cafes
giving me hard stares
and passing a sheet of paper from hand to hand
I will escape to St. Remy

where I will play my violin
on the street
for coins

Inky Interview: Author Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois from Denver, Colorado

Flash In The Pantry: Serotonin Reuptake by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Mandela Warp: A Moment in History by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Cooking Shows by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Still Wet by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Loch by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Photogenic by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Microwave by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Granite by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Trick by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Coal by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Coal by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Coal

I chew coal for extra nrgy
Wind turbines
blow a deadly breeze my way

In the migrant trailer
in which I live
I flex my biceps in front of the mirror
to reassure myself I still exist
and am capable of continued survival

I grin into the mirror
with my black teeth
Script for the company store
is scattered on the rug like fallen leaves

I have a woman
but I’ve misplaced her
I go looking for another chunk
of coal

Inky Interview: Author Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois from Denver, Colorado

Flash In The Pantry: Serotonin Reuptake by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Mandela Warp: A Moment in History by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Cooking Shows by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Still Wet by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Loch by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Photogenic by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Microwave by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Granite by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Trick by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Four Poems by Dr Carla McGill

COYOTE

He appeared on the paved path
on the old railway trail
near foothills, long slope
of the rocky wash.

Near crevices where winds form,
blast down the valley, leaves spinning,
stunned trees, even the dry river
stones stupefied by its force.

He was stock-still, the wind twisting
around his tail, and glancing my way,
ears alert. Ancient chaparral ancestors
stirring in his pale eyes, yelps
and howls from a thousand open
plains already sounding in unknown
and guarded inner places.

No one else was around but the lizard
near my feet, anticipating possibilities.
Nearby brush, rustlings, stirrings.

Then he was gone, as if by magic,
disappearing, no sound in the thickets
by the path, collecting heat as it bore down.

The winds stirred again,
a couple of blasts, no birds
anywhere that I could see, no brush
rabbits, just the dead bee I then came across,
and the dog collar, tan with gold flecks,
half-buried in the dirt.

Now I hear everything from all directions:
heavy bison steps, antelope grunts,
bobcats hissing, wind tearing through hedges.

There’s another lizard, minding his way
as we both acknowledge that today
something nearby will be devoured.

PHOTO OF MY AUNT

She was not posed, but staring off
from the gazebo at a party, her hand
almost to her head as if shielding
her eyes from the sun. Straining
to see something, she looked
curious, as if I could tell by her gaze,
as if she knew what it all meant,
as if she saw what was about to happen,
as if she knew it was there, the ultimate
end of all things that we found familiar,
the end of wondering. On the ground
behind her, at the edge of the gazebo,
her purse, silver clasp glinting in the sun.

WHAT I FOUND ON THE BEACH

Gray pebbles, ceramic shards,
pieces of plastic, rope, shell
trifles, abandoned claw tips.

Then, buried in seaweed,
it shone through, purple
with streaks of red,

shining glass, orbicular,
no cracks or chips. Wet,
cold, yet still exuberant.

It seemed to ignore being found,
and went on as it had been, silent,
on my dresser, waiting for the sun.

WINDS, STONE, ICE

Hard to get up, open to assaults
of bright winds, glossy fields
in the distance, flickering
and shimmering, blinding
and flashing with energy.

On the other hand, stone walkways
are dignified, but stable to the point
of fatigue. The gray and black flecks
run all through, repel everything,
explain nothing. They fossilize in the cold.

Glaciers on the horizon, gleaming
like answers to questions, like
ancient wisdom, like stories
that put one to sleep after wincing
and blinking and shivering all day.

Carla McGill earned her doctorate in English from the University of California, Riverside. Her work has been published in A Clean Well-Lighted Place, The Atlanta Review, Shark Reef, Crack the Spine, Westview, Common Ground Review, Caveat Lector, Inland Empire Magazine, Carbon Culture Review, Vending Machine Press, Nebo: A Literary Journal, Schuylkill Valley Journal of the Arts, Streetlight Magazine, The Penmen Review, Whistling Shade, Cloudbank, Paragon Journal, Burningword, Poets’ Espresso Review, The Alembic, and Broad River Review. Her story, “Thirteen Memories,” received an Honorable Mention in Glimmer Train’s MAR/APR 2016 Very Short Fiction Contest. She lives with her husband in Southern California where she writes poetry and fiction.

Poetry Drawer: Trick by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Trick

The woman who claims to be my wife has a lost look
She’s holding a raw egg in her hand
Dr. Oz told me
I can lose seven pounds a week
by using Garcinia Cambogia Extract, she says

I have been away for many years
held as a P.O.W.
I don’t understand what she just said
I have no idea who Dr. Oz is
My only reference is:
The Wizard of…

In grief over my presumed death
this woman who claims to be my wife
began eating wildly
became morbidly obese
I still cannot believe she is who she says she is
I think that it is a trick
set up by my former captors
I cannot remember if they were Communists
Stalinists or Maoists
I don’t understand what any of that means
if I ever did
or why this woman sitting next to me on this couch
is stroking the blond hairs
of my arm

Inky Interview: Author Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois from Denver, Colorado

Flash In The Pantry: Serotonin Reuptake by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Mandela Warp: A Moment in History by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Cooking Shows by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Flash In The Pantry: Still Wet by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Loch by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Photogenic by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Microwave by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Granite by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois

Poetry Drawer: Four Poems by Alita Pirkopf

A BRIGHTER LOOK

Though the unworkable world
of my impossibility is always present,
incessant, unceasing, encircling,
it has turned ever so slightly,
causing previous decades
of different understandings,
or misunderstandings, to shift,
turning my face to the rays
of the always somewhere shining sun.

Possibility, after so long, emerges,
takes on unfamiliar shapes,
like eon-shaped, water worn rocks,
like Philip Glass repetition,
changing with continuing variation.

A SMALL TREE

stretches its branches
toward the ice night’s
cold stars. I forget
that elsewhere,
of course, is growing,

that green will come again,
turning where I stand
to tulips and tart rhubarb,
relaxing my winter will—
which now I wish
would right my brittle world.

THERE IS THIS DARKNESS

The tape
rolling
controlling
in my head
for years
showed ovens
and visits
to my
Germanic
relatives.
It plays on
the past.

Serial dreams
of a witch-
grandmother
have not
faded.
The dark closet
she placed me in
holds me forever
with my mother’s help.

But to dreams
and tapes
and documentaries
a new tape
has been added.
It plays
in the present.

A German
language
tape
I study
as I fall
asleep.

Night comes now
not always
with black fingers
or witches’ hats
but still sometimes.

WHAT I MAKE OF IT

My sons grew up
playing with their father
in summer and in snow.
They could have sailed
to Troy

            in the time
they stayed away
I wove
summer threads
into light fantasy,
and winter wool
into thicker
and heavy fabric-
ation

           until finally,
from remaining threads,
I make only this,
a story I repeat, then write,
and plan to press
between clothbound covers.
Ancient stories
in an old-fashioned book.

After receiving a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Denver, Alita Pirkopf became increasingly interested in feminist interpretations of literature. Eventually, Alita enrolled in a poetry class at the University of Denver taught by Bin Ramke. Poetry became a long-term focus and obsession.

Alita’s work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in The Alembic, Artifact Nouveau, Burningword Literary Journal, Caduceus, The Cape Rock, The Chaffin Journal, The Distillery, Euphony Journal, Existere, Good Works Review, The Griffin, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Harpur Palate, Illya’s Honey, Lullwater Review, Moon City Review, The Paragon Journal, The Penmen Review, Quiddity, riverSedge, Rubbertop Review, Ship of Fools, Stonecoast Review, Temenos Journal, Vending Machine Press, Vox Poetica, Westview, and Willow Springs Review.

Poetry Drawer: Three Poems by John Grey

BEACH DAY

Summer’s here,
blue and cloudless,
hot and steamy
with the sun at full throttle.

A gull perches on a wooden pole,
feathers ruffling,
blood dot on its beak.
A pelican scoops some sea
up in its pouch,
sloshes down to a single gray fish.

We’re seated under an umbrella,
with just our feet in the light’s flame,
toes baked like bread.

A crab darts across the sand,
seeks shelter under my chaise lounge.
Your arm reaches up
to caress a cool glass,
filled to the brim with pina colada.
This is paradise as we know it.

Waves flop on shore,
retreat and flop some more.
A surfer paddles way out,
then returns to us
on the crest of a swell,
tall, erect, well-balanced,
like a statue on a fiber-glass base.

Everything is happening.
There’s movement in all directions.
And yet it all adds up to a calm.
I close my eyes, begin to doze.
The action never lets up.

SONG ON MY LIPS WHERE IT BELONGS

Songs come out of nowhere.
The mood is music-ripe.
I hum.
I make up words.
Initiate a melody.
I’m loud.
People stare at me.
But it doesn’t bother me
to be strolling along
and singing.
Why not?
There has to be a piano playing somewhere.

SURROUNDS

The woods are thick and the trail is narrow.
I smell the piney closeness, almost overpowering.
And my feet look for their place
on this tiny gauge track.
The warblers have all the sky for palette,
fill it with song.
Wildflowers, yellow and pink and blue,
take up the space their roots endow,
always room for one more blooming.
So much green, so much trunk and bark,
and breeze and sprouting,
my identity holds fast
to the next thought and the next.
Better to give myself up to the surrounds,
whisper the cinquefoil and the tortoiseshell.
My breath concurs.
My soul vacillates.
My heart takes one more step..

Inky Interview Special: John Grey, Australian Poet, USA resident

Poetry Drawer: An Awkward Meeting in a Coffee House by John Grey

Poetry Drawer: Two Poems by John Grey

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.

Poetry Drawer: Seems There Are by Joel Schueler

Seems There Are

less people you can call friends
money can’t buy you back again,
you lost you
you’re losing me too,
fourteen angels and fourteen more
cannot untie the you from before.

Joel has a BA (Hons) in English Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. He has just finished his first novel and his works have been accepted across eight different countries in over two dozen publications including the Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Bangalore Review, & The Brasilia Review.

Poetry Drawer: Two Poems by Anne Mikusinski

Bedtime Story

Our tale

For tonight

Is
Submitted for your approval

And
Brought to you
By the overtired
Spaces in my brain
Embellished
By imagination’s
Wishful thinking
It’s beginning simple
Two people
In a room
One reading
The other playing some
Sort of music
That fits the scene

Or not.

Eventually the music stops
The book is closed
There might be an embrace
Or, maybe more
Before it fades to black.

Interlude

Tonight’s pipe dream
Is littered
With tiny notes
Written in my second language
Hidden
In different rooms
When found and read aloud
You laugh at my accent
Soon silenced by a glare
You draw close
Removing them from my hands
To kiss my fingers
All is forgiven

And Again..

Tonight’s pipe dream
Is sponsored by
All the lovely pillow talk
We haven’t had
Those idle

Conversations
Delivered softly
Your voice a rumbling purr in my ear,
Sleep is overrated.

Anne Mikusinski has been writing poetry and short stories since she was seven.
She finds inspiration in music and art, and sometimes, even little things that happen every day. Her influences range from Robert Frost and Dylan Thomas, to David Byrne and Nick Cave