summer 2016

Chris Hancock

All mothers dream
Their sons will grow up strong.

All mothers worry
Something will go wrong.

Sons grow up playing war
Coming to dinner with mothers at home.

Sons will go off to far away wars

Leaving mothers to live alone.

Enough mothers lost their sons

In far away battles of retort

For the mothers who lost sons

To get together for support.

The Gold Star Mothers
Sought to ease the pain.
The Gold Star Mothers
Brought grieving mothers back again.

 

Note: “The Gold Star Mothers” is excerpted from Mothers Forever, a book of poetry examining the lives of three characters
beginning in 1887 and ending in 1980. Each character loses a son in either
World War II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War. To help them cope with
their grief, each joined an organization called the American Gold Star Mothers,
whose purpose is to help mothers manage the pain of losing a child through
military service and to support hospitalized veterans. This poem takes place in
1946 as Martha Jackson is becoming a Gold Star mother after her son was killed
as a soldier serving as part of the Red Ball Express during World War II.


Chris Hancock lives in Kennett Square, PA and teaches Health and
Physical Education. His writing and photography can be seen at
chrishancock789.com.

In Memoriam Liliosa
Hilao

Gonzalinho da Costa

I was
the first murder victim under Marcos’ martial law regime.
I will
not be the last casualty of political repression.
What
was my crime?
I
exercised my freedom of speech and expression.
They
were guaranteed under our constitution.
I
exercised my freedom of the press.
Associate
editor of Hasik, our university
student publication,
I wrote
articles like “The Vietnamization of the Philippines,” “Democracy Is Dead in
the Philippines Under Martial Law.”
The
year I died I was 23 years old, about to graduate with honors from Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila.
Soldiers
forced their way into my home, looking for my brother.
He was a
Communist, they claimed.
Not
there, they ate our family’s lunch, like wolves, no fairy tale.
Arriving
home with my sister, a high school student, I asked for a search warrant.
They
slapped me, forced me into a room, attempted gang rape.
They
beat my sister, damaging her hearing and eyesight.
Nighttime,
they hauled us both off to a military camp.
They
pummeled me like a live chicken before it’s stewed.
Bruised
all over, I resembled a ripe blackberry bush.
Injected
with “truth serum,” I turned into a tender, swollen orange punctured multiple
times.
Indentations,
gun barrel points, inscribed my flesh like seals of the Antichrist.
Ringed
by a bracelet of cigarette burns, my mouth hung open, a door about to shut.
Old hempen
bag, I collapsed in the cell I shared with my sister, middle of the night.
Powerless
to prevent further abuse, handcuffed by circumstances, my brother-in-law, an
army officer, visited me.
They
are my last witnesses.
Next
day, I was gang-raped in the men’s bathroom.
To destroy
my testimony, they poured muriatic acid down my throat
And
then alleged I had committed suicide.
Some compassionate
man, they said, attempted to save my life by stabbing my throat so that I could
breathe.
Hole in
my throat says otherwise.
I was
butchered like a pig, by pigs.
They
excavated my internal organs to destroy any evidence of rape.
They
divided my body, top of skull down to pubis, same purpose.
Again,
I ask, what was my crime?
I had spoken
on behalf of freedom, using my intellectual gifts from God.
My
brain was returned to my family in a pail.
I had
drawn courage from my heart, my deepest entrails, so to speak.
My
entrails were also returned in a pail.
I had opened
my mouth in protest.
My
tongue was cut in half.
I was the
poster girl for the fate of all those who dared to oppose the regime.
I am
the first. I will not be the last.
Never
forget.
Never
again.
Nie vergessen.
Nie wieder.


Author’s note: The poem is about the torture and murder of Liliosa Hilao during the
martial law regime of Marcos. Some artistic license has been used to
recreate her ordeal. The poem responds to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s
expressed intention to bury Marcos at the Cemetery of Heroes (Libingan
ng mga Bayani) on September 11, 2016. The poem protests Duterte’s action by inciting remembrance of the
heinous crimes committed under Marcos’ command responsibility. Allusion
to the Holocaust is intentional.


Gonzalinho da Costa—a pen name—teaches at the Ateneo Graduate School of
Business, Makati City, Philippines. He is a management research and
communication consultant. A lover of world literature, he has completed
three humanities degrees and writes poetry as a hobby.

Ace Boggess

                  Dowling Productions, 1953

          

when I saw the title I thought
of the folk singer Donovan
happy hippie chirpy crooning sweet
but that’s not him on the stretcher
not his gray matter growing
pulsing in a scientist’s aquarium
it’s one more scheming money man
with new life & new power
to control others (not that he couldn’t
already) he’s a tax cheat
a conspirator to crimes unspoken of
it might have made a better story
if the brain took over other brains &
their bodies suddenly began to sing
“Hurdy Gurdy Man” or “Mellow Yellow”
that would be like a haunted Volkswagen
filled with the ghosts of clowns
a merry melancholy where
the ectoplasm glitters & scents
of carnations breach the screen
no here’s just another bastard who
wants it all & wants to take it with him
while others want to stop him
but how can they? which I think
was the point of folk songs all along


Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick
Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not
Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His novel, A Song Without a Melody, is
forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing. His writing has appeared in
Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota
Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West
Virginia.

image

Ace Boggess

palm fronds crackle in the breeze
like kernels of popcorn
percolating coffee
one hundred fingers snapping
to a song that no one hears

full moon blasts the clear sky
like a motorcycle headlight
coming closer
as invisible wheels
assault the open highway

even crickets refrain from song
though there are many
their prayers constant
faithful as those of prisoners
at rest for years on their iron bunks


Ace Boggess is the author of two books of poetry: The Prisoners (Brick
Road Poetry Press, 2014) and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not
Fulfilled (Highwire Press, 2003). His novel, A Song Without a Melody, is
forthcoming from Hyperborea Publishing. His writing has appeared in
Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, North Dakota
Quarterly and many other journals. He lives in Charleston, West
Virginia.

image

– M. A. Istvan Jr.

1

Dusky nimbi
dampen the glow
of closed blinds.

The cotton sheet
cloaks us from squalls
stirred by fans.

And the tin roof rings.

2

To evade the death conniption
recall that urge to stay in
bed
those dark mornings of storm.

Say it was the urge to
forsake
keeping the jigsaw together
(though that would be a lie).

3

Drawing the drapes
on this pouring slate day
stops shadows from drooling
down the bookcase.

4

Pearl-end stems of liquid
coronets
over impact craters closing.

Limpid domes afloat upon
plashets
behind each pother reposing.

5

Sheets of lashing rains
gust-swept down dead ends
like silky top-sands
over desert dunes.

Each swift white ripple
vanishing into viridity.

6

You feel bad that you must
go to write lines or paint
as opposed to sitting here
meditating on the rain.

But let comfort you this.
Doing so makes you the rain
rather than its devotee.

7

The flood carried away
his mound of grass clippings
building for twenty years
at the edge of the forest.


M. A. ISTVAN JR., still into extreme shoulder pads, spends most of his
time lobbying for the rerelease of BoKu, an adult juice box from the
90s. Visit his page at https://txstate.academia.edu/MichaelIstvanJr.

image

Alec Solomita

At a certain point, it’s all loss.
You can’t drive at night any
more. Calamari gives you
indigestion. Booze becomes
as impotent as you.
Friends peel off like old skin.
Parents are long gone. Children
turn on you like it’s your fault.
And your spouse just drifts off,
thinning into the blue sky
like smoke at the nursing home’s
Fourth of July barbecue.

 


Alec Solomita is an editor and writer living in Somerville, Mass. He’s
published criticism in The New Criterion, The New Republic, and
elsewhere. His fiction has appeared in, among other publications, The
Adirondack Review, The Mississippi Review, Southwest Review, and
Ireland’s Southword Journal. Recently, he’s published poetry in
3Elements Literary Review, Literary Orphans, Silver Birch Press, Turk’s
Head Review, Algebra of Owls, and Driftwood Press.

Windsor

Robert Carr


With
fingers spread wide a bonny boy

walks
the country fair.  His hands turn out

to
catch the smells, to see through palms,

to
taste with the white space beneath

his
little nails.  He touches everything –

the
flat nosed pigs rutting in a white-washed stall,  

the
draft horse muscle steam, the cow flows

of
milk and piss – the animals rise to meet him,

through
damp skinned pits they stumble knobby kneed.


Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, a chapbook published in 2016 by
Indolent Books. His poems are published in Radius Journal, Pretty Owl
Poetry, White Stag Journal, The Pickled Body, The Good Men Project, Dark
Matter Journal, Canary Literary Magazine, and numerous other
publications. His published work can be found at robertcarr.org

Poppies

Robert Carr

I think
they’re supposed to be
opium
poppies

but the
abstract art in Dermatology
looks
like an angry cluster

of
pimples. I’ve stopped picking
the basal
cells beneath

my
wide-rimmed garden hat, the long
white
sleeves of my shirt.

There’s a
little boy with mom
and a bad
sunburn beside me.

He’s
playing with a rubber shark
that
swallows his pinky finger.

I’m
watching his tiny digits walk
across
the cushion toward – What

do you
think they’ll remove today?
The
poppies blister in anticipation.


Robert Carr is the author of Amaranth, a chapbook published in 2016 by
Indolent Books. His poems are published in Radius Journal, Pretty Owl
Poetry, White Stag Journal, The Pickled Body, The Good Men Project, Dark
Matter Journal, Canary Literary Magazine, and numerous other
publications. His published work can be found at robertcarr.org

image

– Nicholas B. Adell

I found one of your ribbons on the floor
tonight—
a pastel, faded purple.
It reminded me of your hair—
violent strands swaying in autumn air.

Don’t open the door Delores,
I liked you the way you were.


 
Nicholas B. Adell is an attorney in Chicago.

Rescue – Laura Kiselevach After twenty years of working as a visual designer and photo stylist for such clients as Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, and The New York Times, Laura Kiselevach decided to pursue her passion for photography. Using only her well trained eye and a smart phone camera, she captures both the grandeur…

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