by JC Crumpton
The image in the mirror has become my father’s
during my childhood staring back at me,
wrinkles at the edges of the eyes
like an unvoiced thought. Gray at the temples
representing a wisdom I once thought I already knew.
The hands that held my infant children are also his
and the voice soothing their restless nights
and the words to teach to learn to love
and the smile. His eyes look out at me
from the echoing halls of some distant memory
I only remember in rare, quiet moments.
Moments that flee into the shadows
before the onslaught of a new day beginning.
My hands tremble as I glide the razor
across his strong and chiseled jaw
set in the mirror before me.
JC Crumpton's poetry has appeared in journals like Aoife's Kiss, The Penwood Review, and Violet Windows. Cumpton's collection of poems and short stories are forthcoming from Tweed Press. JC's debut novel Silence in the Garden is due out in May 2017 from Galway Press.
Why is there ear wax?
Why are there mosquitoes?
Why do we have to die?
Why do we call people with darker skin black when their skin is brown?
Why do people hunt and kill animals so they are extinct?
Why are some people mean?
Why didn't we clone the last thylacine?
I don't understand a lot of things.
--Amelia, Age 8
by Casey Jo Holman
A pecan grove grows low and quiet by the side of the highway,
the first thing we see
once we leave the lower nine.
He drives 45, and a line of cars starts to trail behind us,
passively irritated on the two-lane interstate.
He pulls over, lets them pass—the pickups and vans and old, old sedans.
Pecan trees are surprisingly small things.
On the edge of the grove, close to the highway he points out blackened steps.
the concrete is almost too hot, from years alone in the Louisiana sun,
worn down by time and mold and so much water.
Wildflowers spring up everywhere around the foundations,
delicate lilacs and tiny yellow spots of sun.
he picks one of both, hands them to me.
These were houses, before the storm.
At once, I know we aren’t looking at pecan trees.
they’re ghost stories, emotional scars
born by the uprooted people who once grew here.
Casey Jo Holman works waiting tables in New Orleans, Louisiana to support her writing habit. She is a 2014 alumna of California State University, Long Beach. Her work has previously appeared in Shot Glass Journal, Nerve Cowboy, Cadence Collective, Verdad Magazine and a collection of chapbooks produced by Bank-Heavy Press.
by Molly Sloan-O'Brien
I’ve heard all you said and
I love you to death
I always picture you when
the song comes on
I don’t even know why
it reverbs in the chambers
of my heart
I sway gently
as if I am at sea
I want to scoop you up
into my arms
run my hands through
your dark hair
drown myself in those blue orbs
varying between translucent and bright
You’re so beautiful it nearly
renders you exotic
Your mouth alone
the soft swell of your lower lip
Dancing on the edge of
the way you are so unbelievably pretty
I turn into a southern belle
Coming down with
a serious case of
thinking of you
in that sweet Georgia heat
the speed of my heart
come a little closer
relieve me of my senses
Carry me with you
don’t let go
Reach at me with those long fingers
Kiss me like the summer
Molly is an aspiring writer living in Northern Alabama. She is an army brat and is new to the south. She enjoys it despite the heat. Her hobbies include photography, going to the movies and collecting/reading comic books.
For the 400th Feast of St. Shakespeare
by Daniel Fitzpatrick
If only they were swift enough
to script the air before it drifts
away in flatulent flames’ wake,
fattening into feathered cloud.
If only space could outstrip time,
shove the carrion eyes aside
in an instant’s perfect signal.
Our best endeavors dissipate;
blood’s breed ameliorates the worm.
To uniform and force-fed eyes
Lear looms like lines beyond the storm.
Today the plane’s puffed impression
goads driving eyes to deathless love
for unfamiliar initials.
Lemon sun strains the brackish drain
where crabs creep hunger from the lake
all summer in the darting shade
of Phoebes’ insectivory,
while breathless slate restores itself,
awaiting firmer hands to form
an epitaph to our mortality,
stooping to skies like children to the sea,
intuiting reflections in our graves
as we see faces in the flattered waves.
Daniel Fitzpatrick lives with his wife and daughter in Hot Springs, AR. The three enjoy micro-farming, Faulkner novels, and Dr. Seuss. Daniel's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in 2River View, PILGRIM, Eunoia Review, and Embers Igniting.
by Saloni Kaul
Evening’s burnished lustrous dripping gold
The promise of dawn is to be kept, as award,
Widespread sensed like towering truth manifold
Day’s many manifestations doubly reward.
There to wind up the day once buoyant bright
Rises night with its resolute gracious air ;
And in luscious long lingering twilight
Begins to climb its darkening starry stair.
Darkness with its own truths night saturates,
All buoyancy the moon then gently rules the east !
The sky with a brand new music resonates
Many a luminous lantern light this feast.
And so it sets this one spinning onto the next
To experiment with yet unwritten text.
Saloni Kaul, author and poet, was first published at the age of ten and has been in print since. As critic and columnist Saloni has enjoyed thirty eight years of being published. Saloni Kaul's first volume, a fifty poem collection was published in the USA in 2009. Subsequent volumes include Universal One and Essentials All. SALONI KAUL has been published recently in Poetry Quarterly, Tipton Poetry Journal, Eye On Life Magazine, Inwood Indiana, Misty Mountain Review, Poetry And Paint Anthology, Mad Swirl's Poetry Forum and FIVE Poetry Magazine, The Voices Project , The Penwood Review and Mantid Magazin and Haikuniverse. Upcoming poems shall apear in AJI Magazine (Autumn 2016 Edition), in Sentinel Quarterly (October 2016) , The Voices Project and The Penwood Review and River Poets Journal.
by Lou Gallo
The time we took a walk in the blizzard
and snowflakes, like sequins, streamed
into our eyes and we held each other
by the waists for balance and more than balance
because the blizzard came up to our knees
and you wore that red knit cap and a pea coat
and I my L.L. Bean and we stopped to kiss
under a stop light that shed buttery light
and there we were, I like to think lost,
in a storm yet with each other
and thus the storm seemed tropical,
a beach, and the snow became sand
and the stop light the sun and nothing
else mattered or ever would matter
and this happened just yesterday
on a street corner in Virginia,
LOU GALLO's work has appeared in Fiction Fix, Glimmer Train, Hollins Critic, Rattle, Southern Quarterly, Litro, New Orleans Review, Xavier Review, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Missouri Review, Mississippi Review, Texas Review, Baltimore Review, Pennsylvania Literary Journal, The Ledge, storySouth, Houston Literary Review, Tampa Review, Raving Dove, The Journal (Ohio), Greensboro Review,and many others. Chapbooks include THE TRUTH CHANGES and THE ABOMINATION OF FASCINATION. I am founding editor of the now defunct journals, THE BARATARIA REVIEW and BOOKS: A NEW ORLEANS REVIEW. He teaches at Radford University in Radford, Virginia. - See more at: http://www.bellerevejournal.com/read/always#sthash.gpPQTejS.dpuf
by Dan Jacoby
there is a washed out
faded azure blue
to the winter sky
as cold slowly crawls
soft as a pony’s nose
stays long, painful
like a marriage
time a crooked staff
meaner than a crazy dog
shackled to a concrete block
wind rips at you
like a baptist sermon
clings to the bone
stiffens hands laced
with life’s lined cuts
unclench with calmness
only the slow sound
of snowflakes hitting
an unfrozen pond
like stored dreams held
vaguely in corners
of watering eyes realizing
those who have past on
never return, because
they never left
Dan Jacoby is a graduate of St. Louis University, Chicago State University, and Governors State University. He lives both in Beecher and Hagaman, Illinois. He has published poetry in Anchor and Plume(Kindred), Arkansas Review, Belle Rev Review, Bombay Gin, Canary, Cowboy Poetry Press-Unbridled 2015(Western Writers Spur Award), Chicago Literati, Indiana Voice Journal, Deep South Magazine, Lines and Stars, Wilderness House Literary Review, Steel Toe Review, The Opiate, and Red Fez to name a few. He is a former principal, teacher, coach, and former counterintelligence agent. He is a member of the American Academy of Poets and the Carlinville Writers Guild. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2015. He is currently looking for a publisher for a collection of poetry.
by Lana Bella
art by W. Jack Savage
Dear Suki: North Carolina, May 3rd,
slippery motes of a memory effaced
your monarch flight into my waking
hours, where I remembered us ever
and always like this, insomniac with
you fluting over me, auspicious and
green. At some point, tiers of sunlight
sewed up the champagne sky, surren-
dering to a rockfest of unapologetic
swallows. Even as the world grew side-
ways while we grew life with curtains
on window panes and porcelain tiles
over bathroom floor, I arched toward
you for refuge, hand stripped malachite
off the mountains, slopes from rising
grounds, and lakes that freeze at winter.
A Pushcart nominee, Lana Bella is an author of two chapbooks, Under My Dark (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2016) and Adagio (Finishing Line Press, forthcoming), has had poetry and fiction featured with over 290 journals, 2River, California Quarterly, Chiron Review, Columbia Journal, Poetry Salzburg Review, San Pedro River Review, The Hamilton Stone Review, The Ilanot Review, The Writing Disorder, Third Wednesday, Tipton Poetry Journal, Yes Poetry, and elsewhere, among others. She resides in the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps.
W. Jack Savage is a retired broadcaster and educator. He is the author of seven books including Imagination: The Art of W. Jack Savage (wjacksavage.com). To date, more than fifty of Jack’s short stories and over four-hundred of his paintings and drawings have been published worldwide. Jack and his wife Kathy live in Monrovia, California.
by Marianne Peel
Art by Clinton Van Inman
“…the long delayed but always expected something
that we live for…”
-Tom, Glass Menagerie
You leaned toward me
As Amanda Wingfield prattled on
In her organdy trip to bountiful nostalgia
The tilt of your body
Filling the space between us
With an intimacy
That is foreign to me.
You leaned toward me
And you were whisper close
in that connected space
that sigh of a time traveler’s memory journey
saying this is between you and me
and I will speak this
only to you
in the darkness of this theatre.
You leaned toward me
Between the gentleman caller’s kiss
And his apologetic goodbye.
Your body touched mine
So many places at once
I am overwhelmed by
The muscled curve of your knee
The roundness of your shoulder
The arch of your foot that rests quite casually
On my instep
The way your beard brushes
The side of my cheek
The way your fingers fold into
The palm of my open hand.
You leaned toward me
And I want to carry you
Into the jazz curling
Through the fire escape.
We are dance close.
You leaned toward me
A Williams tableau
And we are framed in gilded gold
Shrouded in Tom’s cigarette trails
echoed through a parlor where the lights have
Wrapped in the residue of Old Man Wingfield’s
And the thunder-soft glide of Laura’s first dance.
You leaned toward me
And I feel your eyes
Through the candelabra
That softens our faces
More benevolent than any paper lantern
And I abandon myself
You can’t even hear yet
In this tender, forgiving light…
Marianne Peel taught English at middle and high school for 32 years. She is now retired, doing Field Instructor work for Michigan State University. She recently won 1st prize for poetry in the Spring 2016 Edition of the Gadfly Literary Magazine. She also won the Pete Edmonds Poetry Prize. In addition, Marianne has been published in Encodings: A Feminist Literary Journal;Write to Heal;Writing for Our Lives: Our Bodies—Hurts, Hungers, Healing; Mother Voices; Metropolitan Woman Magazine; Ophelia's Mom; Jellyfish Whispers; Remembered Arts Journal. Marianne also received Fulbright-Hays Awards to Nepal and Turkey. She is a flute playing vocalist, learning to play ukulele, who is raising four daughters. She shares her life with her partner Scott, whom she met in Istanbul while studying in Turkey. Marianne also taught teachers in Guizhou Province, China for three summers, and she also toured several provinces in China with the Valpraiso Symphony, playing both flute and piccolo, in January of 2016. Most recently, Marianne was invited to participate in Marge Piercy’s Juried Intensive Poetry Workshop in June 2016.
Clinton Van Inman grew up in North Carolina, graduated from San Diego State University in 1977, taught in South Carolina and is currently a high school teacher in Tampa Bay where he lives in Sun City Center, Florida with his wife, Elba.
Belle Rêve Literary Journal is a southern literary experience. Our mission is to capture everything that makes the South and its residents unique through the best contemporary literature we can find. We publish new works weekly.
Passionately Ran, Compassionately Fed.