Packaged Poems

Walt Whitman once said, “Whatever satisfies the soul is truth.” And these poems promise to give you the whole truth and nothing but the truth. They are sure to please and bring back memories of the first book you read as a child and maybe even your first crush. As autumn approaches, we must take heed to these kind words by Walt Whitman:

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”

Go forth and enjoy our September issue poems.

John Grey

Children’s book, riotously illustrated emptiness,
the stunted father of all the Tolstoy, Dickens,
Daudet and Dylan Thomas, on my shelves,
its cover tattered but still holding together
but its storyline, its characters, beyond repair,
a hermit now, in dusty seclusion above the paperbacks,
that current world of sex and violence, philosophies
no boy, no girl, no three-eyed ogre ever uttered,
discards without the means of slinking off
into the deep, dark forest of their own uselessness,
staying put like photographs of unidentifiable relatives,
like cups for coming third in fourth grade races,
existing more out of habit than history,
chapters, pages, words, so out of fashion
no deeper meaning would ever wear them,
never taken down, never opened, but there,
memories not called upon,
but stacked up some place in the brain,
from a dead Christmas, an entombed birthday,
gifts with no connection to the giving.

Author’s Bio:
John Grey is an Australian born poet, US resident since late seventies. He works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in Poem, Kestrel and Writer’s Bloc with work upcoming in
Caveat Lector, Prism International and the Cider Press Review.

Alex Van Horn
Finding Balance on Blue Lines

In darkness she asks
why there are no poems for her,
why no lines spell out her name.

What she doesn’t know
is that often whispered to flesh
are words still unfit to balance on blue lines,
so no love poems exist for us.
I will not tell unfamiliar ears
or eyes our secrets,
though the thousands
of silver threads on our bed
may know our voices.

I will not speak of her as only a body,
though if I spoke of her, I would speak
of my skin sharing heat with her skin.
I would write of the faded scar
on her left shoulder, of how some days I wish
to be that scar fading into her—but it still holds pain.
I would write the smell of her skin,
but it changes—Monday means cinnamon
is blended to bone, and Thursday
replaces green apple with tangerine.
I would write but how
can I speak of her and only speak
of how I feel about her?

Author’s Bio:
Alex Van Horn is a Baltimore native and a recent graduate of Loyola University Maryland, earning a B.A. in Writing.

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
empathy is a lunar haiku

ladybugs a sprawl
over tray of almond tarts
deep red rays

hands over head
crouched on attic stairs
ragdoll without shoes

in bed with horace –
tonight’s simple shape
halfway poems in a pile

single sushi
in gravy bowls
the way things line up

Author’s Bio:
Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has edited more than 10 books and co-produced 3 audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. Trained in book publishing at Stanford, with a theology masters in world religions from Harvard and fine arts masters in creative writing from Notre Dame, Desmond is a recipient of the Singapore Internationale Grant and Dr Hiew Siew Nam Academic Award. He has recent or forthcoming work in Cricket Online Review, Dark Sky, Folly, Grey Sparrow, Presence, Nano Fiction, Notes from the Gean, Spilling Ink Review, Sugar Mule, and Walnut Literary Review. Also working in clay, Desmond sculpts commemorative ceramic pieces for his Potter Poetics Collection. These works are housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.


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