For our last issue of the year, we offer mushrooms, caption writers, and bygones.
Next month we:
Submission guidelines can be found here.
An Ode to Mushrooms
Spore, grow you must.
Feast until the day of your devouring.
Trickle under, dig deeper.
Bow gracefully, rise dutifully.
Stomach filling, spirit expanding.
Cousins everywhere, sight out of mind.
Let wind carry your children,
until the earth returns you.
Anton Violazzi is the author of the forthcoming novel Ligate. His recent work has appeared or is appearing in Burial Day Books, As You Were: The Military Review, Short Édition, NonBinary Review, Nine Cloud Journal, and elsewhere.
He lives in, above, and around the Bayou Country.
Ode to Caption Writers
The thing about a flat screen TV is
the sound is pathetic, even with a sound bar,
at least the bar we bought. “What did he say?” I ask.
“No idea,” says DeeGee. And one time,
“He’s going to the park? What park?”
“He’s going to embark.”
Thank God for captions. Sure, they’re all you watch.
Movies could be filmed anywhere. Sense and Sensibility
in Los Angeles. Apocalypse Now in DC.
A Tesla might drive by in Lincoln. Who cares?
You’re reading movies now. Even sounds:
violins plucking mysteriously
stream trickling merrily
crows cawing raucously
Now, you don’t miss a thing. You finally understand
what Kenneth Branagh is saying in Wallander. Grasp
Matthew McConaughey in anything. You get that
wolf howls are threatening. Bird chirps, cheery.
If only captions weren’t limited to screens.
“It’s been two years since your Medicare Wellness exam,”
your smiling doctor says. “If we establish a baseline, we
can take steps at the earliest signs of dementia.” Clearly,
his practice has been swallowed by a conglomerate
of hospitals that is forcing him to swallow the imperative
of your annual mental exam. But wouldn’t
billing Medicare needlessly
across his smile be helpful?
Or when Forever Green man comes to your door and says,
“Forever Green uses no harmful chemicals on your lawn.
They’ve been thoroughly tested. Why,
your dogs could eat from the sack,”
meeting quotas deceptively
might as well be flashing on his cap.
Because of you, caption writers,
I see your work wherever I go:
car zooming annoyingly
koi pond burbling pleasantly
owl hooting ominously
Thanks to you, caption writers, with my life trickling
pleasantly though sometimes annoyingly, occasionally
raucously, and with each passing day more ominously by,
before I embark, I’ll notice:
dog licking lovingly
hydrangeas blooming beauteously
clock ticking portentously
before it’s all too late.
Mark Williams’s poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Rattle, Landslide Lit (erary), and other journals. Finishing Line Press published his long poem, “Happiness,” as a chapbook in 2015. And Kelsay Books will publish his manuscript of poems, Carrying On, in 2022. Mark carries on in Evansville, Indiana, where he and his wife, DeeGee, read movies in a house with a natural lawn.
ODE TO THE BYGONES
today, i spring with the petals of a chrysanthemum,
& bolt darkness behind a threshold
of memories; let bygones be bygones.
i unpin my name from the bark
of grief like a shearer paring a fleece.
i carve my body into a plaque
of love, like a gardener snipping
the edges of a peony.
i stanza my throat
into an orchestra of psalms
like a wagon of freemen—
someone said happiness is a river,
& today, i take the fin of a dwarf
puffer, paddle in the bliss of the waters.
today, i amplitude my hand
towards the crest of dreams—
i faith in hope to morph
into a pasture of fulfilment.
today, i unwind the orbit of time.
i bolt darkness behind
a threshold of memories. let bygones be bygones.
Ajani Samuel Victor, Frontier II, is a black writer and poet. He was the winner of the “prisoner of love poetry contest,” a semi-finalist at the 2020 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize and he was also shortlisted for the 2020 Kreative Diadem Annual Writing contest. He is one of the contributors to SPRINNG Afro-eros anthology. His recent works are/forthcoming on Snapdragon journal, Blue Marble Review, WRONGDOING magazine, RIGOROUS, East French Press, Eremite, The Shallow Tales Review, Augment Review, and elsewhere. Say hi to him on Twitter @solvic16