Monday, November 23, 2015

Simon Perchik

Again one hand, side by side
clawing at your throat
–there’s an egg inside

that can't come out, sheltered
by the darkness boiling over
till it was time, in ruins

–what you swallow
is snow, a single pill
falling the way all fevers

are healed by moonlight
reaching into your mouth
as a stone not yet breathless

with room for her to sit on
close to the ground
helping and the corners.

Gerald So reads "Again one hand...":

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Simon confesses: "My inspiration comes when I confront two conflicting images or ideas and try to resolve them. The effort jumps all over the place so that at the end both the idea and the image that started the process are both discarded in place of a new and workable idea."

SIMON PERCHIK is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013). For more information, including free ebooks and his essay, "Magic, Illusion, and Other Realities", please visit

Monday, November 16, 2015

Jennifer Lagier


Carlos became homicide victim
number 22 this year.
He was 16, varsity football star,
in the wrong place when the latest
turf-war slaying went down.

After scrimmage,
as he sat in a friend's pickup,
the gangbanger wearing a
black hooded sweatshirt
shoved a gun into the window,
shot multiple times,
left him bleeding.

"Those bullets were
not for him," a classmate mourns.
"He didn’t deserve it."

"I'll be his voice, stare that murderer
in the eyes at every court date,"
his bereaved brother vows.

The neighborhood simmers.
Witnesses are encouraged
to speak up, anonymously call
the gang task force tip line.

Jennifer reads "Another Death":

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Jennifer confesses: "'Another Death' was inspired by a local newspaper article about the latest gang-initiated murder in Salinas. For some time now, gang activity has escalated, resulting in murder and injuries to innocent victims, frequently children or teens, who just got in the way of gunfire."

JENNIFER LAGIER has published ten books of poetry and internationally in a variety of literary magazines and anthologies. Her latest book, Where We Grew Up, was just issued by FutureCycle Press. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, maintains web sites for Homestead Review, Monterey Poetry Review, Ping Pong Literary Journal, misfitmagazine and helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Visit

Thursday, November 12, 2015

A-Z Challenge: J

To keep the flow of submissions going year-round, each week I'll challenge you to write about crimes beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet. We'll cycle through the alphabet twice a year. Notice we will come back to A in the second week of September, The Five-Two's anniversary.

This week's letter is J. That can refer to jacked, jail, judge, etc. The challenge is, of course, optional. The Five-Two is open to any interpretation of crime, poems about being wronged, anything that strikes you as "criminal".