Rhetoric and the Reeducated by Jacob Slifka

Listen, learn, to lean and leer,

then lie and lie through lips.

Follow, feel, philosophize,

“Now fight! Now fight! Not free!”

Censure, stain, to slander, steal,

You stretch and stretch yourself.

Consigned, wings clipped,

condemned you’re conned,

And conned by creed till culled.

So to you,

worshiper of Deino, Enyo and Pemphredo,

choose to use your two,

instead of the one of the many.

Catolescence, Six-Word Sentences, and Strategic Ambiguity by Ela Rossmiller

Catolescence

The kittenish curling of paws
Is replaced by howls.
Pet me! Pet me! Feed me!
And not that Fancy Feast crap!

No more pouncing on stupid toys
or cuddling.
That’s for kittens.

But she is not yet a cat.
She cannot kill a mouse to earn her keep.
She has no clue how to raise a litter.
That tomcat is bad news.

Dust motes twirl in the airy sunlight.
Should she leap in rapturous pursuit?
Meditate upon them in sphinx-like silence?
Nap?

She ponders.
Her tail twitches.

Six-Word Sentences (credit also to Ed Manchester)

Can’t talk. Must work. Selling soul.
Public restroom. Soapy hands. Broken faucet.
Why will I never know why?

Everyone’s a foreigner. Everyone’s a friend.
Same type conversations lack hybrid vigor.
Rhombus among rectangles seeking friendly trapezoid.

Self-directed, life-changing, envelope-pushing, cross-sectional, wide-ranging experience.
Live and learn, then press delete.
Be careful with that delete key.

She slams doors. He picks locks.
She empathizes with him for once.
Beaming smiles, happy hearts, six words.

Strategic Ambiguity

You say I am not listening.
I listen to your life.
The truth you tell.
The truth you don’t.
The life you live.
The life you won’t.

You never said –
(I heard the silence.)
You never meant –
(Nor didn’t mean.)
You never promised –
(But I believed.)

The space between us
Is freedom for you
And entrapment for me.

A River, The Veil, Trapped, and The Hunter by Trisha Grove

A River 

A river runs through it,  

But where does it lead? 

It flows steady and strong, 

And moves with speed. 

With purpose and poise,  

It flows along. 

Destination unknown, 

But not knowing is not wrong. 

A river runs through it,  

But where does it go? 

Follow the water, 

And then you will know. 

The Veil 

Am I crazy? Am I dead? 

What’s going on inside my head?  

It’s like I’m here, but yet I’m not.  

I must be stuck, or some how caught; 

In between this life and death.  

I look around and take a breath. 

A moment to realize I must avail, 

And break myself out of the veil. 

Trapped  

Trapped inside this box, 

 and all I want is out.  

Yet I’m still stuck, 

under six foot dirt and grout. 

I’m running out of air,  

Because all I do is shout. 

In hopes that someone hears me, 

And finally let’s me out.  

The Hunter 

Watching closely from afar, 

He sees you seated at the bar.  

He knows you came here all alone,  

He wants to make you all his own.  

He’s wanted this for quite awhile; 

He’s thought about it, the time is now.  

Tonight he’ll put his plan in play; 

He’s the hunter, you’re the prey. 

They by Connor Bowers

They use their race  

To always set the pace  

They use their power  

To try and devour  

Those who are louder  

They use history  

To try and claim victory   

They use their status  

To sit inside a palace  

They use their gender  

To end her  

And often become offenders  

They use their wealth  

To hurt someone else   

They use who they are  

To always leave scars  

They are White Men. 

Mrs. Fothergill’s Tips for Storing New Potatoes, circa 1874 by Michael Cornelius

A clamp is a must (or so Mrs. Fothergill says).
Choose level ground with nominal exposure.
Dig a small pit (if you have no gardener, you may need to do this yourself)
four feet in diameter.
Lay down straw, and then—this next bit is essential—
fluff it sedulously (or so Mrs. Fothergill insists).
Place the new potatoes on top of the straw.
Harvest them 2-3 weeks after their flowers fade
for best results.
More straw, more soil.
Mark it well, but not so that any
miscreant neighbor may spot it.
You can then enjoy the
“luxury”
(or so Mrs. Fothergill observes)
of new potatoes all winter long.

Unless, of course, there is a freeze.
Rot is then inevitable.

Serve with gammon, goose, or game;
Fit for rustics, and for dames.

A clamp is a must (or so Mrs. Fothergill says).
Choose level ground with nominal exposure.
Dig a small pit (if you have no gardener, you may need to do this yourself)
four feet in diameter.
Lay down straw, and then—this next bit is essential—
fluff it sedulously (or so Mrs. Fothergill insists).
Place the new potatoes on top of the straw.
Harvest them 2-3 weeks after their flowers fade
for best results.
More straw, more soil.
Mark it well, but not so that any
miscreant neighbor may spot it.
You can then enjoy the
“luxury”
(or so Mrs. Fothergill observes)
of new potatoes all winter long.

Unless, of course, there is a freeze.
Rot is then inevitable.

Serve with gammon, goose, or game;
Fit for rustics, and for dames.

Serve with gammon, goose, or game;
Fit for rustics, and for dames.

A Finding of Firsts by Kaitlynn Gordy

A first glance
Blue meeting gray
Stuck in a trance
Asking you to stay

Fingers brushed
A name falling from lips
Cheeks flushed
A heart beat skips

Hands slightly fidget
Picking up a napkin and pen
Exchanging ten digits
A promise to meet again

This poem is about two people meeting for the first time and hitting it off. They subtly connect with each other and decide to exchange phone numbers. They both hope that they will meet again in the future and that this encounter could potentially lead somewhere. The start of this relationship in the making represents a new beginning. They are both starting something new and could potentially begin a life together as a couple.

Passage by Michael Bloom Ford

Standing still in the archway between
the yellow room and
the gray room:

The pasts hits me
from behind like
malicious gusts of wind from the ocean

They’re dead.
I realize

Breaking free from that briny wind is painful
it finds its way into scars and wounds
but I stand firm

The dead can stay where they are.
The living
are full of blissful tears
walking unfettered toward futures