by N. A’Yara Stein
One night on the crunchy sand of Biloxi
my mother lay with my father and i
became I. The stars, she said, whispered;
her husband was a distant silken conspirator.
Afterwards, they returned to their sparring
and to the delta with its raped cotton plants
in reddened soil. They toiled, oiled the machines
almost ferverishly as the doomed do.
Don't you? Haven't you? Never? I have
want of luxury but not fury.
Easy promises slipped bee-like from tongues
and children's ears grew numb with fear
of the way things fall apart and people disappear.
N. A’Yara Stein is a Romani-American poet and writer living on a chicory farm and has been nominated twice for the 2010 Pushcart Prize. Born in Memphis, she holds an MFA from the University of Arkansas and has been published in The New Orleans Review, The Birmingham Poetry Review, The Oxford American, California Quarterly, Chiron Review, Crossroads: a Journal of Southern Culture, Great Midwestern Quarterly, and Poetry Motel. She currently lives near Chicago with her sons and is looking for a book publisher.
by Gary Bloom
The last time I saw him he
Was at the Jazz Fest in New Orleans
A hot spring day at the Fair Grounds
A black piano in a muddy field
With Jerry Lee Lewis pounding the keys
Like his life depended on it.
A bottle of beer was up there
On the piano, like a candelabra
Between songs he would
Take a swig or two
Do a little dance
And get back to work,
The beer a metaphor
For hard living and wild women,
The piano on its last legs
Getting pounded to death.
by Gary Bloom
After twenty years of driving
The same road to the same job
I wonder what it would be like
To keep going on I10
West, all the way to California.
What would it have been like
To have lived out there, say
San Diego. Would I have
Married a Mexican girl?
Would I have kids?
What would it have
Been like if just
Once I missed exit 53
And kept going on I10
Through New Orleans, through
The Texas hill country
And the Arizona desert
All the way to the blue Pacific.
What would that have been like?
Airmen At The Mall
by Gary Bloom They walk in pairs
One wingman, the other
Leading the way.
They are fresh out of Keesler
And look to be about twelve.
In their bus driver blue uniforms
They could be headed
For the Catholic high school.