genre: Poetry

Aleatoric Sequence

Aleatoric Sequence

By Ricki Cummings   

it’s something we hadn’t really thought about until she mentioned it: where i end and you begin, this permeable  layer we’d assumed was a good thing how we                                               intermingled  commingled (this is a reference not just to fluids and bodies but brainwaves) (like shaky electrons and electronics through the conservatory air) how can this… Read more »


On His Way To See A Man

On His Way To See A Man

By Amy Lerman   

For Maria Luisa Over coffee, my friend tells me how he drove to Juarez with his mother’s dresses, his father wanting only one as a remembrance. When he’d piled them into the truck bed, he found himself zippering a sleeveless checkered jumper, a clichéd movie gesture he couldn’t stop right away. His father told him… Read more »


Ghazal for Aylan Kurdi

Ghazal for Aylan Kurdi

By Glenn Morazzini   

On his stomach, head to one side, where the land is too far, sea too near. My child slept like that under a white cotton blanket, in her crib. I’d stay near. Sometimes, I’d place a finger under her nose to check for breathing. How’s that for near? This child. Mediterranean blue waves for blankets,… Read more »


When Lightening Rides Thunder Bareback

When Lightening Rides Thunder Bareback

By Bonita Lee Penn   

is all that is seen /  piano keys dance  / click and clack  /  kick, slides cross empty palms  / snap of heels on concrete stairs  /  ledge unsteady as hot wind hurries through a field  / cane field / flames chase / sweet douse of tears that stopped crawling out lids / wet love… Read more »


The Woman on Court Street Bridge

The Woman on Court Street Bridge

By Celeste Schantz   

En Plein Air, Summer Beyond these muggy river catacombs in afternoon another mother sinks down in despair: Spill over, spill over Now my only son is gone She howls down phantoms from the sultry air. On moss-wet stone two little girls are watching; the vapor chills; heat hovers like a prayer as something plummets deep… Read more »


Thieves

Thieves

By Lee Sharkey   

The thief has stolen the water from under the village. He flees, holding it in his arms. The land is parched As a hand gathers eggs from the nest, the rich have gathered all the earth. No bird opens its wing The land idolator builds his house in our orchard. He’s in love with his… Read more »


Advice to girls who want to –

Advice to girls who want to –

By Ellen Hagan   

after Nikky Finney Be reckless when it matters most. Messy incomplete. Belly laugh. Languish language. Be butterfly stroke in a pool of freestylers. Fast & loose. You don’t need all the right moves all the time. You just need limbs wild. Be equator. Lava. Ocean floor, the neon of plankton. Be unexpected. The rope they… Read more »


My mother calls them magpies—

My mother calls them magpies—

By Ellen Hagan   

& somehow the name fits. My daughters with full on beaks basking & flaunting on their walk/jaunt to school. First day flitting & flirting in April’s early sunshine. Each step, a float from bodega to BX36 bus stop. Their arms as wings, hailing & Miriam, who caws, Morning, in a baritone. So the driver says, Hey there… Read more »


Lady in the streets, but a freak in the bed

Lady in the streets, but a freak in the bed

By Ellen Hagan   

Chris “Ludacris” Bridges Usher, “Yeah!” Nah. In the streets, watch me spit, suck, stuff, scrawl, loop, lilt, launch, lick— out loud. Do deep squats at stoplights, and grind it loose while leaning at the bus stop. I don’t stop. Ride the pole on the A train, up & down, don’t give a thousand shits. You… Read more »


We, the Rubber Men

We, the Rubber Men

By Iain Haley Pollock   

  We gunned each other down, gunned each other down in the street, abandoned each other unburied. Later, those left bearing the palls burned to show their love. Burned to light our streets with the dying asterisms of their rage. And we watched until our watching made of them a carnival: He, the twirling fire-spitter.… Read more »


Hope Was a Thing with Pink Feathers: Oksana Baiul

Hope Was a Thing with Pink Feathers: Oksana Baiul

By Dzvinia Orlowsky   

  Hope was a thing with pink feathers circling Olympic ice. Despite her tender years, a woman of great composure. Circling Olympic ice for gold, Ukraine!  We could hardly believe our ears: This woman of great composure,  triple Lutz-flip-loop world premiere. Ukraine! (We could hardly believe our ears) representing the once orphaned and lost… With… Read more »


My Father Floating

My Father Floating

By Kathleen Aguero   

  Ninety-six, my father floats in a fearful dream, rises outside his body, but he’s stuck in the living room, which appears tilted at a surreal angle, ceiling fan coming out of a wall. Float somewhere nicer, my sister suggests. Havana, Athens, Cairo, places he traveled as a younger man, extra pages stapled into his… Read more »


The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend

The Enemy Of My Enemy Is My Friend

By Robbie Gamble   

  Dubiously framed as third-world proverb, dusted off and paraded as realpolitik but consider: my new-found friend (or second-generation enemy)— what if he has an enemy, do I watch my back doubly, or trust my new friend to keep a newer enemy at bay? And in such a hostile world where enemies and pseudo-friends line… Read more »


creation myth   1941       ponce pr

creation myth   1941    ponce pr

By María Luisa Arroyo   

  her ebony hair to her knees hid her twisted young spine & limp love     to him    her coconut sweat her sweet bread     her whispers of his given name     ay, gerónimo every time    he wrote her songs by lantern light in bed    every dawn his kiss still on her lips     the machete’s glint gone     ten… Read more »


Plantation Wedding

Plantation Wedding

By Artress Bethany White   

  In the middle of my lecture  on antebellum plantation life  abolition  Lydia Maria Child  and William Lloyd Garrison pronged slave collars              hung  with iron Christmas bells ringing  and Kara Walker’s oeuvre  a recasting of slavery for the next generation  I finally vocalize a question  I’ve suppressed  while binge-watching episodes  of Say Yes to… Read more »


For O.

For O.

By Joanna Solfrian   

  Everything welcomes you—thorny lizards, the West Indian keeper of fighting cocks, the fog caught in the throat of the valley. They step towards you, or drift like airy continents, for they know you are a conjurer of seeds, of balances, and of the wind that shepherds them both. Your lithe form cuts the sea… Read more »


The Deepening

The Deepening

By Barbara Siegel Carlson   

  It’s as if each morning were a pool into which I have been lowered. Or I dove in and now sit on my blue sofa at the bottom of the sky, swathed in a milky substance amid the trilling of crickets. A few minutes ago my husband clinked his spoon to his cereal bowl,… Read more »


Ashes

By Félix Morisseau-Leroy   

That little box you see on the windowsill
is keeping my ashes
after my body’s been burned


Me You

Me You

By Félix Morisseau-Leroy   

Me, you, she, they
When I say me, it’s her
When I say him, it’s you


Possible

Possible

By Elisabeth Schmeidel   

to laugh yourself to death
laugh at yourself
laugh to yourself


The Stony Sea

The Stony Sea

By Elisabeth Schmeidel   

– Where do you want to go?
– I don’t know.
– When will you come back?


Tortoise

Tortoise

By Srečko Kosovel   

It is only in poems that I realized what a poet is.


A Face in Solitude

A Face in Solitude

By Srečko Kosovel   

Moonlight bathes the Karst trails,
the shredded fields, the junipers between the rocks,
my soul all shaken weeps,
wounded as if from sharp dew.


Night Meeting

Night Meeting

By Srečko Kosovel   

O, I don’t care what you are,
I don’t ask about your ways,
nor where you’ve gone, where you’ve been,
whether you’ve killed, or you’ve sinned.


Scenes from a Single Life, 1985

Scenes from a Single Life, 1985

By Linda Aldrich   

“‘Tain’t natural to be lonesome.” Our Town, Act II At the Berkeley Psychic Institute, seven students and one teacher watched the air around my head to see what might appear about past lives and contracts I had hidden from my consciousness regarding children. A boy and a girl, they finally said, will come to you… Read more »


Julie from Gaza

Julie from Gaza

By Susan Eisenberg   

A person can take just so much sad news
or guilt: that teenage Arab boy, his mouth
forced into a funnel for gas and set ablaze;


What mud-drunk song waits

What mud-drunk song waits

By Peter Grandbois   

Let’s start with the obvious:
no one wants to be found
when only dirt-dreaming


Dépaysement

Dépaysement

By Daniel Lawless   

(—French. ­­The feeling of being in a foreign place, exiled.) For Thierry R — For three days you were like a piece of ripe fruit Falling through a tree of many sharp branches. But what could I do? Ice chips, damp washcloths… Finally, the halls grew quiet, The doctors, even the nurses departed. It was just the… Read more »


1982

1982

By Daniel Lawless   

The year many found the needle but lost the thread.

When was lost, stayed lost. AIDS. Rhodesia.


Snap Trap

Snap Trap

By Ellen Steinbaum   

“Snap trap” was his recommendation
after a glance at the mouse droppings
under my kitchen sink. I refused,


Stain

Stain

By Benjamin Williams   

Like eroding wood.
Like aging bricks.
Like initials in
concrete.


From “Hunger of Images”

From “Hunger of Images”

By Marta Del Pozo   

Having eyes, I could not resist climbing to the highest
branch and plucking the last of September’s apples. Put it
in the fruit basket and, at ten in the morning, place the basket
on the garden table. You bring the coffee and the croissant


The Reappearance

The Reappearance

By Wendy Cannella   

Turkeys, a rafter of 42—creeping parade
of purple wattles, rolls of soft tissue


Grendel, 1971

Grendel, 1971

By Jennifer Jean   

There’s a fist
making its way up the Venice boardwalk,
a cocked fist aiming. Its name


At the End of the Day is The End of the Day

At the End of the Day is The End of the Day

By Denise Bergman   

A minute in its creaseless uniform in a row of cadets, salutes Dusk can’t contain the torn sky’s entrails A half-past-nine like all the others but its own half-past-nine An unpassable valley between tick and tock, the scout reports back The scout measured: distance equals length times time Distance circumnavigates time The prisoner’s minute was… Read more »


Thought

Thought

By Dennis Daly   

In dying one knows,
Unlike other organisms.


Indications

Indications

By Allan Peterson   

We saw dog hair caught in splinters, twisters in the sink,
the sheet-covered moon indicating sadness,
dust balls moving like storms under the furniture.


Stephen Dunn Interview

Stephen Dunn Interview

By Lee Hope   

STEPHEN DUNN author of Whereas: Poems Interviewed by Lee Hope Solstice Editor-in Chief and Fiction Editor   (From Lee Hope): It is my privilege to interview one of the foremost poets in our country and the winner of the Pulitzer Prize.  Over the years, I have read all of Stephen’s Dunn’s eighteen poetry collections as well as his book… Read more »


Ben Berman & Kathleen Aguero Interview

Ben Berman & Kathleen Aguero Interview

By Kathleen Aguero   

BEN BERMAN author of Figuring in the Figure Solstice Poetry Editor in conversation with KATHLEEN AGUERO author of After That Solstice Consulting Poetry Editor   (Editor’s note: Kathi and Ben interview each other, using a more back-and-forth style than a traditional interview format.) Kathi: Strange Borderlands, your first book, took its impetus from, among other… Read more »


Danielle Legros Georges Interview

Danielle Legros Georges Interview

By Ben Berman   

DANIELLE LEGROS GEORGES author of The Dear Remote Nearness of You Solstice Consulting Poetry Editor Interviewed by Ben Berman Solstice Poetry Editor   Ben: Many years ago, when I was teaching high school in Hyde Park, you visited my class as a guest speaker, and I remember being struck by how immediately you connected with… Read more »


Prayer for a New God

Prayer for a New God

By Tyler Erlendson   

-after Francisco X. Alarcon i want a god who lives in a tattered shack by the sea mold growing up its cedar shingles, a god who offers thunder as applause, who knows the heart is both a rapturous and feigning preacher, prone to believing loud praise in the body. i want a god who longs… Read more »


Sing Sing’s Electric Chair, Old Sparky  

Sing Sing’s Electric Chair, Old Sparky  

By Isaac Black   

“We are what we have done…” –Wendell Berry   You didn’t know they were going to shuck down Death Row’s deadliest killer (supposedly forever) in 1966. That oak-wooded strapped chair was the “pay your bills, reaper,” you told the ghosts nodding around you, oh yes, yes, dawn to dust. You ignored the others–the grim-faced madmen who just took up space close by. The… Read more »


Before the Last Shot

Before the Last Shot

By Carlos Gómez   

What was I doing at fifteen? Face down on the pavement, nostrils tinged with bullet-smoke, the brick-dust falling around us like fresh snow or white chalk, I watched the kid stalking the sidewalk. It was summer in Brooklyn. Nothing ever happens until it happens. That’s how my brother and sister-in-law described their tours at war… Read more »


Salvage

Salvage

By John Sibley Williams   

           —Delray, Detroit, 2014 From this fourth story window I see power lines eating sky, gray awnings blocking all light from the recesses. All neon-like; the entirety of night is captured, drowned in inch-deep puddles. A child half-buried in tarp, asleep between walls.  Walls buried up to their necks in empty… Read more »


Expedition

Expedition

By Valerie Duff   

Before Louisiana, Jefferson signaled Lewis with a mirror to his home at Monticello, the hilly path between plantations ten miles on horseback. Distance was a summons to expand the language of one’s purchase, to annotate direction. Knowing the terrain was, for many, second nature. Lewis tracked veiny rust-colored routes that arced like hipbones in his… Read more »


Not Our Tribe

Not Our Tribe

By Jed Myers   

My daughter writes, to all those who follow her on the web, my eyes               are the same as my father’s. She means to reassure herself they are not so strange. But mine are a stranger’s eyes, as were my grandfather’s, open late like the immigrant grocer’s lit with the awnings up after midnight, eyes… Read more »


March 3, 1991

March 3, 1991

By Miriam O’Neal   

At the undertaker’s I open the box, pull pins from cuffs and collar, shake out the folds, stroke the soft sleeve of the nicest shirt my father will ever own. Then, like the aproned women in The Gleaners, with my sisters I bow over his pocket’s leavings. White comb gray with oil. Timex with replacement… Read more »


Dark-Eyed Junco

Dark-Eyed Junco

By Rebecca Hart Olander   

Doesn’t the name bring to mind a dangerous woman at a table in the back corner of a smoky bar? The kind you walk into after disembarking from a six-month stint trawling the ocean, your skin indiscernible from salted cod? Aren’t you both afraid and compelled by her, cloaked as she is in her dark… Read more »