Three Poems: Once We Were Kids, Moving Fear of Staying, Growl

Sage Ravenwood Writer’s Note: On writing these poems, ‘Once We Were Kids’ is based on an actual childhood memory. I wanted to capture the innocence of that time period yet show how the outside world creeps in no matter how safe and loved a child is, /the boy who commented on me liking chocolate ice […]

The Capris of Middle Age

Vicky Macdonald Harris No longer the resort capris of Laura Petrie dancing past her husband forever flat on the floor; she espousing her deception in the 1960’s trope of sly hoodwinking for gain, with luscious undercutting smiles of perfectly drawn lips, but now the capris of refuge and repair. Capitalizing on placement, the middle aged […]

Covenant

Hattie Jean Hayes I finally dream of the cathedral. The air is stiff for a storm. I find you at the end of a cigarette streaming elegia into the dark. We are in the cellar. I can read music: inverted braille, pocked-wall vertebrae. You stroke a dog, belly-up in the dirt. The grit of penitence […]

The Ocean’s Only Word (cont’d)

Lee Potts I worked for your mother one summer digging. Setting roots tangled up in soil from some other place into holes about as deep and wide as a kettle. I relished disturbing stones and my sweat soaked into the heart roots of a dozen peach tree saplings. That island didn’t need an orchard and […]

Driving at Night in the Rain with the AC Broken

Tyler James Russell You tell yourself you aren’t doing anything, not really, nothing strictly wrong. This is just how things are, and the headlights in the other lane are blurry as stars but brighter and the rain is throbbing on the roof and a girl with thin legs in the passenger seat is looking out […]

Traffick for Miles

Tyler James Russell If you laid them out fingertip to fingertip like rows of paper dolls the girls would cover the lower half of Manhattan so you try it, you lay them out in a place where there are no city blocks, only fields forgetting if you are supposed to count the hair beehives, ponytails, […]

cathechism with stone & ghost

Evelynn Black the artist: the first person to set out a boundary stone, or make a mark –Deleuze & Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus six stones standing who knows how long in the November air: notes to a path: where not to go: the gash of the land: ash of remembrance: ash in the fog: not […]

Lunch at café close to the water

Ailing Zhou She walks into a café by the lower end of the Hudson to check off a box the front is rustic but the girl who takes her order is almost Futuristic her speech the exact same inflection as she jumps from Thai name to Nigerian name to German name her beam on pause […]

When I wished my name was Anna

Emma Lee As the others settle into the end-of-term going-through-the-motions of set exercises, I’m marked as different. The maths teacher tells me at length about the character Emma Peel, although I’m too young to have seen the TV series. My relief at recognising words in the foreign-to-me language he speaks seems to encourage his view […]

Dinner Hour, Miami

Maeve Reilly We all have to eat Mr Buzzard we all have to twist sideways, eyes down, hovering to get the best drop on our prey, tonight you soar as high as the 17th floor of this condo- minium while down below at tables and bars humans home in with knives & tines and white […]

the herb garret

Kate Hargreaves in pelting sop-footed rain on the South Bank belly warm with jackfruit & espresso I held the rope railing & climbed stairs that were ladders to bundles of crisp nettle & ground poppyheads hanging over glass cases of forceps & rusty urethral sounds dusty stuffed caimans & floors creaking despite sawdust under boards […]

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Kate Hargreaves 1. Unroll foxes, hares, and long-tailed birds from foliage in unintrusive neutrals. Mark with pencil, pattern repeat ensuring an excess of feathers and waste of feet. 2. Teeter on a stool with one loose leg. Fashion a plumb from a silver pendant and leftover holiday ribbon. 3. Reach crackling shoulders overhead & click. […]

Rock Song

Mary Ford Neal It’s a small stretch of sea, but it boils with anger. Still, it will be the colour of my family’s eyes, so however much it rants, it can put no fear in me. And the journey will take no time at all, and I will be the only passenger, and unafraid of […]

Yours,

Kate Crowcroft the letters are there, they are ink holding patterns multi-cursive hand at the door late in suit and tie round and cored, the dun clot with the sweet before before before

Alien

Kate Crowcroft A few months before the crashyou slid chicken skin down the vegetable shoot. How you get here, girl? She ran two boyfriends: Hunter & Chase, so you knowI’ve got a Remington RP in the nightstand & you asked to borrow the hairdryer. Till then, the closestyou’d come to technologies of death were your […]

On Amoxicillin

Adrian Dallas Frandle Writer’s Note: The title of the piece “On Amoxicillin” invokes the dual sense of “on” as both a polemic (“On Beauty…”; “On Grief and Grieving…” etc) and the state of treatment, of “being on” a course of amoxicillin. The poem falls toward the end of my collection in progress, Acoustic Ecologies and […]

Embezzeled Emotion

Catherine O’Brien If I say ‘I love you’ and you don’t say ‘I don’t love you’, I cry fraudulence, have we even had an argument? Have you failed to fire my heart out of a circus cannon? In this surrealness, I walk a slanted tightrope back to you Falling backwards only to the sigh of […]

My Mother Was Once a Story

Sally Badawi Hijab wears my mother. Her jaw pinned smooth with pearls: convex mirrors refract evil blue eye. This is to orient a west in love with detonating stone, in love with hollowing caves to fill hungry gaze. My mother once lived hair on display until she picked the rubble from her scalp, shucking shrapnel […]

Wolf Song

Lisa DeCastro I am an onyx pearl Inside your shell Rolling on your tongue Swallowed Implanted A stone in the underbelly In a jeweled state of unrest Waiting to be released Uninhibited On the waves Of your most guttural Howl Lisa De Castro has published three books: Margot (novella), The Beauty of Decay (poetry), and […]

This is what happens when you go places:

Sidney Dritz In my head I’m still standing on that curb, night time in May, and my lips on your lips, airplanes racing overhead, taller than you for once, your feet in that gutter, my feet on that curb, my hair in your eyes, your lips on my lips, and it is hard, but it […]

Mortuary Science

Terri Linn Davis (read Terri’s interview about this poem with our Poetry Editor, Ian O’Brien, here) Terri Linn Davis has an MFA in poetry from Southern Connecticut State University, and her work has most recently been published in Emerge Literary Journal, Neologism Poetry Journal, Belletrist, and Ghost City Review. She lives in Connecticut with her […]

Robbie was here

Adele Rickerby Robbie was here ‘84 Flick of a thin folded foreskin, a ring of rubber peeled, turning, curving, splaying and spraying a stream of steaming urine to splash like flax against the foothills of grimy snow, stacked and compacted along the long sides of the never ending highway to nowhere, as ‘Jesus, kid! Hurry […]

Two Audio Poetry Performances: Toxic and You Are Music

Melinda Smith Editorial note from Janice Leagra: I don’t remember how I first connected to Melinda on Twitter, but I remember seeing one of her tweets where she shared a video of herself singing and playing her guitar and I became an instant fan. Then when she started sharing herself reading her poetry, set to […]

Journeys

Leanne Ncube Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: This evocative poem is from emerging writer, Leanne Ncube. I first heard this performed at an open-mic event and it blew me away. She drops us into a precarious journey and we rattle along with a car as it makes its way through a decaying city. It’s a […]

Two Poems: The Kindest Way and Heat

Jonny Rodgers Editor’s note from Ian O’Brien: I am so proud to be able to share these poems with Janus readers. The thing that I love about Jonny’s work is that it strikes that balance of crafting and accessibility, blending the cryptic and the conversational, and I think that makes for the best poetry. In […]

Sommelier 2020

Stephen Smythe Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: I recently heard this poem recited at a live event and was immediately struck, as I always am with Stephen Smythe’s work, by the voice. There is that wonderful balance of wordplay, crafting and a deceptive simplicity that I love in poetry. The result is a powerful sense […]

Three Poems: Three Months Old Today, Coloring with My Daughter…, and Foundation

Brian Wallace Baker Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: I first discovered Brian’s poetry through a prose poem he had published in the Lindenwood Review earlier this year. I was instantly struck by his voice and his imagery: he not only takes us to interesting places, but he often comes to them from a side-angle. He […]

Violently Bashful

Melanie Tomkins Editor’s Note from Ian O’Brien: I heard this poem performed at the Coalition open-mic event, which Mel is co-founder of. I love her poetry – the imagery, the word play, the strong character voices she creates. This poem showcases Mel’s talent with imagery and her love of nature. I love the ambivalence, the […]

Thistle

Ives Phillips I let the bud poke my palette,Bitter up my tongue,Because I’d rather that thanGrin a grin you don’t deserve. I reserve my honey and blushOnly for those that were thereTo tie a balloon to my wristAnd feed the light in my eyes. I blew a dandelion back thenWishing us all well, only toWatch […]

Papier Mâché

Elizabeth M. Castillo                                            I hate papier mâché the stodge, the sticky remains of the glue the way it gets everywhere, and is always far more effort than whatever activity I promised we’d do. I see through its thickness once the mask is shaped and set, and decorated in all bright, appropriate colours, though the […]

Missing Person Sign at a Rest Stop on the Pennsylvania Turnpike

Kate Deimling A blue line of highway snakes across the map.Alongside, a girl named Jean is enshrinedin image on the screen. It’s unmistakably a school picture:heavy blond bangs, face framed by ponytails,wide smile asking to be liked. Here’s her birth date,and I calculate she’d be 59.Contact state police if you have information. Is there any […]

Three Poems: Lessons in Alchemy, Name Your Poison, Behold, The Universal Uterus

Seanín Hughes Editor’s Note: These poems are taken from Seanín’s debut full collection-in-progress, Reasons for Admission, wherein each poem corresponds to a reason for admission to lunatic asylums during the nineteenth century. In this selection, ‘Lessons in Alchemy’ toys with ‘hard study’, ‘Name Your Poison’ answers to ‘opium habit’, and ‘Behold, the Universal Uterus’ responds […]

fuel dispenser

Pam’s Pantry

Shawn Van Horn I read that they’re finally tearing it down.   It has always been there, way before I moved here, way before Ike’s interstate changed everything. It was a place of brief respite for others but for me, the battered and withering staggered shake siding, with its cherry paint peeling like a sunburn,  […]

Matisse’s Bouquet de Fleurs pour le Quatorze Juillet, 1919

Jared Beloff That summer pink flowers gave the least promise,their heads bowed down out of the vase’s slender rimrevealing green stalks shivering to expandbefore we registered the shock of purple pushing upward,crowded by sweet williams’ and asters’ stilled propellers;before we halted at the blue salvia still standing at attention,their cobalt swelling up from the porcelain […]

bright whole ripe oranges on wooden table

every time we think of her

Christina Kapp she held an orange / probed her thumb / with enough force / to wrench skin / from flesh / nail threading / through pith / like a body / shedding skin / like the quilts / a handmade shroud / of skin / peel muscle / from membrane / a puncture / […]

landscape nature flowers summer

Hay Fever

Rebecca Bailey Rude as dandelion seeds, yet you still grow,  The dock leaf to my thistle counterpart. For years I reaped, could not un-sow, The perennial of my fallow heart. The bloom of time won’t stop me  Crying your name (in Latin) to the others. But if bulbs don’t thrive, then let them be. Remember, […]

woman wears gold colored blue gemstone pendant necklace

The Conifer and the North Wind

Geraldine Clarkson He gave me a gift of needles bound round in banana leaves, fragrant, folded in coconut wood.  He came to me first in wafts of October storm, a hard-nosed North wind who sliced sideways  at new growth, shook cone-buds, rocked me till, maddened,  I smelt my own fragrance flying high around. I was […]

brown cattle on green lawn grass during daytime

Sturdiness

James Garza Q:   is there something erotic about destroying the environment?     A:          yes     we roll up our sleeves past the shoulder            & impishly                              plunge arms into                                                     the cow     our fingers meet by chance                           (in the reticulum)           & we look […]