Monday, September 26, 2016

Aja Beech


The boy ran until his legs collapsed and drug himself on his belly
into the scrubland. He kept breathing low, like mami taught him
when she held him close on long evenings atop a railcar.

There was still yelling in the distance where the light was strong.
He lay his forehead on folded arms. Dust clouding his face with each breath. He looked
to the left and saw a single shoe for a child smaller than his five years.
Above him, on the spikey leaves of a small canotia,
shredded fabric from a shirt for someone very large.
It waved slowly with the air.

The yelling in the distance calmed to a voiceless hum
and then into silence.
All light was gone but for the stars

He peered into the darkness
and whispered “Mami, aqui.”

After a moment he used his elbows to prop up his
thin arms and spoke louder. The whole night he lay there hidden in the starlit scrubland,
listening carefully to the wind for an answer.

Aja reads "Borders":

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Aja confesses: "It is my firm belief that all Americans should be concerned with the harsh conditions people endure traveling north into the U.S. from South America. Thousands of people are known to have died trying to cross Arizona deserts in the past two decades and it is estimated that 24% of those now crossing the Southern border into America are under the age of 14."

AJA BEECH lives in Philadelphia, PA. Sometimes she work at a paper store, sometimes she is a freelance author, all of the time she is a mother to two sons. Some of the publications where her work can be found are at The Five-Two, Al Dia News, Apiary Magazine, Certain Circuits, Huffington Post, Incandescent Mind, WHYY Newsworks, and Twelve Winters Press. Articles about her work have appeared at the Philadelphia Inquirer, Generocity, Magazine, and The Philadelphia City Paper. Her poem, "for you women", was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2012. In 2010, she received a Leeway Art and Change Grant to compile an art and poetry chapbook concerned with the death penalty. In 2011, she was named a Creative Connector in Philadelphia.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Paula Willis


Had we but world enough and time
this photo session were no crime,
just a way he can remember
in this, his memory's December,
that with his hand on cock and tits
(our room more mirrored than the Ritz)
he brought himself to splattered joy
with all the gusto of a boy—
elsewise he'd come to break our fast
insisting on another blast.
I'll do my camerawoman's part
and spare Facebook our private art:
I'll hit "delete," not "post" or "share,"
lest our grandkids spy us there.

Clarinda Harriss reads "The Porn-Phone Caper":

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PAULA WILLIS is a Baltimorean who has had considerable experience with Alzheimer's sufferers. This and her new experience with the magic of a smart phone are what inspired the poem.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Jennifer Lagier


Ashy reek erases hillsides and sun.
Air quality degenerates.
Employees in Big Sur
and Carmel Valley
are warned to leave,
work somewhere else.

In Marina, dogs sniff smoky atmosphere,
refuse to go out.
Clothes, carpets, drapes smell
like the smoldering, illegal campfire
that started this blaze.
Shrubs and outdoor tables disappear
beneath a constant bombardment
of powdery dust.

Jennifer reads "Reek...":

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Jennifer confesses: "This poem is part of a longer, still evolving series about the 2016 Soberanes Fire started by an illegal, unattended campfire. It is still consuming acreage in Big Sur, Carmel Valley, Soberanes Canyon, Garrapata, is projected to destroy almost 200,000 acres before being contained."

JENNIFER LAGIER has published twelve books and in literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Newest books: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Harbingers (Blue Light Press). Forthcoming chapbook: Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website: