Steve Sibra

 

 

 

Waiting For the Paint To Dry

The paint on the wall; it never seems to dry.  Yesterday my brat child ran her fingers through the wet film on the surface of the sheetrock then wiped it on the carpet.   I was mad but she just cussed me and then ran outside and disappeared.  She has not come back.

What can you say to people when they ask how things are going?  “Oh, okay I guess . . . except the house is painted nine different colors and none of them will dry.  And, oh yeah, my daughter has become a little monster.”

My wife Alice would probably disagree.  If she were here.  Which she is not, as far as I know.

The thing is, the house talks.  I’m serious.  More accurately, I guess you would say it writes.  The house draws smiles in its own wet paint and then it writes on its own walls.  It erases it before I can even say anything in response.  Nobody else sees it.  It makes the writing go away.  And the stuff it says; well, it’s less than polite, I will tell you that.

It’s ruined my daughter.  The house with its chatty wet paint is like an uncooperative babysitter, evil and cunning, setting a horrible example.  It’s one step ahead of you and you can’t fire it like you could a regular sitter.  I guess you could set fire to it.  Maybe that is an option.

I hired a guy, name of Sherman, to repaint the whole place.  Inside and out.  I found him on Craigslist.  He looked it over, he seemed to think he could do the job.

Didn’t work out.

Sherman was in the laundry room getting ready to go after the wall with a paint roller.  I walked by on my way out to the front yard and noticed a gigantic smile in the paint on the laundry room wall.  It didn’t register right away but the smile was actually more of a drooling mouth with big teeth.  From the front yard I heard a scream; when I got back inside Sherman was gone.  The mouth on the wall was now grinning and licking its lips.

God damned house.  What will I do when the body starts to stink?  Lucky for me that people disappear off Craigslist all the time.

When Alexis comes back – she is so petulant sometimes; but when she comes back maybe I am going to have to move.  It will be a tough decision.  This is a great neighborhood – other than, you know, man-eating house with perpetual wet paint.

And I’m not sure how to market it.  How much do I tell the realtor?  What if the house doesn’t want me to move?  It could eat the realtor or any prospective buyers.  This has become a real problem.

Of course my wife Alice might have something to say about it.

She’s the one who painted this place these goofy colors.  She’s the one who looked me right in the eye, then stepped into the wall of the kitchen; walked right through the paint.

We were having a fight.  I should have sensed that she was up to something.  We always used to fight about how to discipline Alexis.  How to raise our child.  I might have known it would come to something like this.

Alice was the type who always had to win an argument.  No matter what it took.  She always had to be right.

She always had to have the last word; even if it was unspoken.

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Sibra is a is a Montana farm boy relocated to the big city.  He has been published in the USA, Canada and Europe.  Steve’s poetry chapbook is titled The Turtle Is Not A Metaphor and his work is linked from the facebook page “Steve Sibra – Author of Poems and Stories.”

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Tom Sastry

 

 

 

Spiteful days

I arrived at the divorce lawyer’s office
a piece of storm-dripping
whipped from the street.

Deep in the hush
of a building too polite to cough
my trousers slowly dried.

As I left, the stoppers fled.
Disappointments hurled themselves
from the sky’s black lung

spraying my face with staples of cold spit.
It was midday. The streetlights were on.
A man was bellowing into a waste bin

looking for his life.
Between one shelter and the next
is feral havoc. I must get home.

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Sastry is a poet and spoken word artist living in Bristol. He was chosen by Carol Ann Duffy as one of the 2016 Laureate’s Choice poets and his debut pamphlet Complicity was published by Smith/Doorstop in October 2016.

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Josh Ekroy

 

 

Theft

is a winding but necessary route
to the pinnacles of equality.
To strip a flat bare is to fill it with light;
objects usher in the dark.
Few homes today are forgivable
as the rank odour of my pervades them
so burglary is purifying,
an amicable greeting by the robbers,
their way of letting you know you are useful
and therefore that they accept you.
You may be proud they sit at your desk
and riffle through your papers. It is true
they are looking for cash or trying to adopt
your identity but did anyone else ever show
such an active interest in your life?
And they admire your onyx ornaments,
wish they could get a worthy price for them.
The admiration of a thief is sincere
so you can feel safe, as long as you let yourself
be freely robbed. The moment you inform the police
and they begin their stumbling enquiries
is the moment you should move out.
If you instal a burglar alarm, even a token box
on the front elevation,
your burglars will feel insulted.
If on the other hand you purchase
a costly bunch of sparrow-hawk feathers
from the blind girl in the Strike St Market
and hang them over your door
nothing will disappear from your rooms.

 

 

 

Josh Ekroy’s collection Ways To Build A Roadblock is published by Nine Arches. He lives in London .

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Adam Magee

 

 

The Fauna

Watch him bide behind anorexic tree
fingers. His liquid-wood skin, oxidised syrup
in the trident of sunlight
dangling from angler still branches.

He trots past the patches of his fauna veil,
blue and alazarin bird berries jiggle over his goat’s tail.

Bends a fur-knarled knee into the stone
pierced river bank: ledger filled with froglets.
Genuflecting the sun the water’s stubborn
need to be clear yet secretive; it is a language
they both speak.

Dead-fish eyes, dark as a badger sett
stare with a monarch’s wisdom
at me: never blinking as he glugs
rushing water, fast as the beat
of a humming bird’s wings.

 

 

 

Adam Magee is Swansea born poet and a student at the University of Gloucestershire studying his BA, and applying for his MA. He is also a events and communications officer at the Cheltenham Poetry Festival, who set his mentorship with Angela France. He helps run poetry events such as Buzz words and Well Versed in his spare time.

 

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Lance Lee

 

 

 

 

Report from the Front

 

 

Everything tumbles together, syringa

in bloom, sweet clover on the air,

the earth’s breath between showers,

bitterns poised to strike unwary fish

who abandon their granite posts

with staccato QUAWKQuawkquawks!

when I come too close;

muskrat who ignores me

as she parts the water with her nose,

twigs for her den in her teeth;

and hissing snapper with jaws

even death respects

who slides into tall grass

that trembles at his passage.

Not far from this suburban edge

semis from Quebec roll by

with cargoes of furs, blocks of ice,

cedar sprays, antlers, Eskimo songs

and shrieks of children from farthest north

where they fence small squares of sky

from wilderness and polar bears. I want

to link all these in a causal chain,

as though I am he who knows, weighs,

            values, names—

but only this moment by moment teeming

answers my hunger for sense.

 

 

 

Lance Lee is a past Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts. Homecomings, his sixth poetry book, appeared in 2015. He has also published A Poetics for Screenwriting,  Second Chances a novel), and Time’s Up & Other Plays. He lives in Los Angeles and spends several months annually in London.

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Debarun Sarkar

 

when stories of crocodile did not belong in the zoo library

under moonlight
load shedding was routine

before dinner on the front yard porch
grandmother laid out a cot
and grandfather told stories

under the moonlight my mother
would narrate her greatest childhood mysteries
she would inquire grandfather every night
when it rains why doesn’t the whole sky fall?
who is singing inside a radio?

grandfather’s narrative irrevocably
moved and navigated
to his years of navigation across the borders
when border security existed only on paper

on the boats and near the house
crocodiles haunted the silence of the night

with men who came out of their mouths alive
and men who killed them in the slush

riding the boat away to sell merchandise
hoping for the storm to not strike

 

 

 

Debarun Sarkar currently lives in Calcutta and spends most of his time juggling between freelancing and writing. Recent works have appeared in or are forthcoming in 1:1000, Visual Verse, Former People, Burningword, The Los Angeles Review of Los Angeles, Your One Phone Call, In Between Hangovers, the murmur house, among others.

 

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Beth McDonough

 

 

 

Aegopodium podagraria, a Praise Song.

 

Now, I’ll choose to love
this bishop weed’s
efficiency.

I shall admire
his knit-wire roots,
tenacious crazing
tangle- down
to anybody’s
Hades.

I will hymn
some centurion’s aromatic
salad – grab
that verve and grist,
salute its Gallovidian indefatigability
Roman invincibility,
roaming in Scotland’s slushing wet
or three-month frost.

I will now shout
exactly how to pound
tasty wild-form pesto, not accept
some basil-puny
imposter from
the Co.

I can sing at starry undie whites
of fecund umbel flowers,
encourage them to sprint
to seed – should  their under-
soil capilliaries prove
systematically
inadequate. I’d hate
to be unable to worship
this mighty
bishop weed.

 

 

 

Beth McDonough’s poetry appears in Gutter, Antiphon and elsewhere; she reviews in DURA. Her pamphlet Handfast with Ruth Aylett (2016, Mother’s Milk Books, available on Amazon UK) explores family experiences – Aylett’s of dementia and McDonough’s of autism.

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