• #11Forklift, Ohio: Issue #11
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  • #24Forklift, Oeno: Bin #24
  • #25Forklift, Ohio: Issue #25
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  • #28Forklift, Ohio: Issue #28
  • #29-30Forklift, Ohio: Issue #29-30
  • #31Forklift, Ohio: Issue #31
  • #32Forklift, Ohio: Issue #32
  • #33Forklift, Ohio: Issue #33
  • #34Forklift, Ohio: Issue #34

 

June Melby

We Need Leaders

 

Tonight I bathed the cat.  Actually, I only bathed the back half of the cat.  It was for poopy reasons.  Tomorrow, perhaps, I will bathe the front half of the cat, but one never knows.  Poopy reasons are unpredictable.  The cat can’t predict them either, and was pretty much in denial about the whole thing, as all cats are.  Cats are expert at denial, which is why they’re put in charge.  We can’t help ourselves.  We want leaders.  We need politicians.  Someone must call the shots because there are more poopy times ahead.  Someone must lead us through them.  The kitties should go first, so cute.  Their claws hanging out of my forearms.

 

 

 

 

Arthur Solway

People Like To Tell Me Things

 

Something about a birdcage 

without its bird, 

 

or a thousand pairs of hands 

 

on which you could count the friendships 

that have fallen off the map.

 

Europe, somebody says, 

has nothing else to teach us.

 

Or how flamingos stand perfectly still 

like question marks. 

 

Like things that fall from the sky.

What if it was rice instead of rain? 

 

People like to tell me things.

 

 

 

 

Analicia Sotelo

My English Victorian Dating Troubles

 

I am bad with men 

 

because I am deeply holy: they see 

 

right through me, they know 

 

I wish to please.

 

They say I have a petticoat of needs.

 

Let’s ruffle up some pillow feathers.

 

Let’s see what they look like

 

laid out on the beach like

 

striped seagulls 

 

after scraps 

 

of my native tongue.

 

Out here, where the sand is so white, 

 

so Westernized, how could I not

 

sink into it 

 

& burn with questions

 

like what am I doing here

 

I am in the wrong book

 

I am in the wrong era

 

I am not Dorothea

 

I am Analicia

 

Why does the 21st century feel like this?

 

Like men are talking into 

 

their favorite phonograph

 

& the phonograph is me

 

receiving their baritone: You’re so exotic

 

Watch out, men, says my violin

 

I am a Royal Bengal man-eating tiger

 

I will devour your pith helmets

 

as well as these enchiladas 

 

piled high w/American mozzarella anytime of day

 

See, there is a white man

 

in every single one of us.

 

Yes, everyone is wearing casual yacht wear now

 

and mispronouncing their specialty condiments

 

O gentlemen

 

I am the angel/whore of kale chips

 

I like to purchase as I please

 

I am completely in character

 

So I will accept your pearls

 

though I may cut them off with my teeth

 

& watch them slip down to the sea

 

into the kind woman 

 

you’ve invented

 

for your own troubled purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

Ryan Collins

Accomplice

 

When I remember to search for patterns 

in the debris of my previous lives, 

I cannot account for all my thievery.

I feel a balance carried where once 

my appendix used to be. Never a robber, 

always a burglar. I cast modest nets 

in proven waters. I mind the exits, 

the sweep of second hands & each time 

my nerves temper, steady. I steal 

from my uncle. I steal from my guidance 

counselor. I steal from my drug dealers. 

I steal words from open mouths, steal 

anything I can carry from behind any 

open door I find & I never work alone.

 

 

 

 Laura McCullough

Negatively Charged

 

/ my brother used to say 

every lake, every body 

of water, had a plug, 

if only you could find it  

 

that could be pulled, water 

emptying / what a thought / 

that we might yank a plug

and everything would drain / 

 

it was like that the morning 

after our mother died / i couldn’t find 

the ocean / as if it were gone ::  

moving water has negative ions 

 

some scientists say / they say 

negative ions promote alpha 

waves and increased brain 

waves = higher awareness, 

 

better oxygen absorption, and

blood filtering of serotonin 

and other contaminants / what

is water / where does it come 

 

from / where does it go /

and what is the relation 

of water to waterfall / i could 

not understand any of this

 

even if i were to stand near

the ocean which today I can 

no longer find :: i can not sense 

the four directions / my brain 

 

is an ocean the plug of which 

has been pulled, and going down

is going down in any language 

or equation / i have often asked 

 

if rain loves the sky it falls from / 

Now i ask, does love sky the rain?

 

 

 

Emily O’Neill

whiskey got me feeling pretty

 

 

don’t lie about the crystal / you’ve collected: champagne

 

bucket, tiny sherry glasses / or the kindness you do

 

letting me rest against your neck / breathing

 

 

 

people say vanilla as if that’s a bad thing

 

but just try mimicking it / or Tupelo’s perfect bourbon

 

ice cream melting into pecan pie / speaking of

 

 

 

perfect / holy trinity of cider, 1972 Calvados, the Old

 

Fitz bottle descending to the tray table / my girlish

 

Gemini mouth / my girl blushed into the face of me

 

 

poison apples in my cheeks / you weigh me in hand

 

same as sifting garlic bulbs / in search of what’s heavier

 

than it seems / waiting / make the ending patient

 

 

steal the salt / a waterfall / cat named Koala / door to door

 

Jesus / who could believe us / waiting at the fence

 

watching rabbits / I say hello, Dad & know how strange

 

 

 

that lands / us braided & scored & rising / at eleven

 

every day to mourn morning / missing coffee, missing

 

palm flat / pulling me warmer / you, your mother’s chef

 

 

 

& caution & not the little shit you think

 

you started as / a beard can be shelter / so I nest there

 

where the crumbs land / sometimes / your twin self

 

 

 

a hiding place / let me forget how to curl my hand

 

while chopping onion / the soy, the rain, the bastard

 

halibut / my watch, broken but that clock says

 

 

 

 

yes / I’m waiting, make the ending / patient / love is

 

a razor / a bottle aged to savor / four small batch roses & I hope

 

we pour another jigger / I hope you aren’t mad

 

 

 

 

 

Ian Randall Wilson

A Thousand Poets on the Stairs

 

In the place of the house

a dream of house.

Box trees.

 

A barn in November.

The small black birds

are startled.

 

Time in its dark shafts

turns grass brown.

No getaway for spiders.

 

His parents gone, 

he has thrown away 

their amassings

 

emptied each floor.

At last a governmental scarf 

with its ribboned decorations.

 

At last a bare floor.

The world has gotten bigger

his part of it small.

 

 

 

 

 

Eloisa Amezcua

Defenestration

 

Have I told you about cats  

falling from windows?  

 

How the lower the window,  

the more damage to the body; 

 

the more room they have  

to fall, the more they can catch  

 

themselves on the way down.  

Who hasn’t fallen in love  

 

and wished to swing their head, 

arch their back, splay legs  

 

like wings and land on their feet?  

I fell once, from an airplane,  

 

on purpose. I didn’t love the man  

strapped to my back but for a moment  

 

I might have. He asked if I  

was alright when I fell silent 

 

as we tumbled toward earth 

like a comet. I was excited,  

 

I swear. It’s just that I had already  

fallen, and I knew the difference  

 

between falling out of control  

and falling into it. Love, I turn  

 

to you on nights so purple   

so dark as my muscles loosen  

 

and hands uncurl because I don’t know  

the difference between what will happen  

 

and why it happens. Still, we fall asleep  

and there is no more falling, just me  

 

and you in this first-floor cat-less apartment.