The best angel I ever saw was a waitress
at the Cozy Café on Belmont, North Side
of Chicago, 1983. She was kind to me
during my hangover, brought me biscuits
and gravy, told me about her parent’s place
in West Virginia where she went on long
weekends just to get away from the city.
There was a swing on the porch. A windmill
that summoned cold water from a deep well.
There was a mixed breed dog that had lost
a leg to a train. There were train whistles
in the distance and locomotive smoke rising
above the pine trees at the edge of her parents’
property. As she talked about it, I wanted
to go with her, lose myself in those fields
and pastures, in those dread hollows
where sometimes the angels come down
after dusk to drink ordinary air and to speculate
about the tiny lives of humans, how they don’t
understand the vast distances between stars
in those constellations they claim with
words like dipper or hunter, believing
that somehow naming the numinous
made it knowable, familiar, even beautiful.
The waitress’s name was Shirley. She had
dirty blonde hair tied back in a ponytail.
A stuffed largemouth bass stared down
at us from above the breakfast bar. Beyond
the big front window, traffic streamed
by in the morning light, tail pipes smoking
in the cold. Half of the patrons in the café held
burning cigarettes, gestured at friends, poked
bright holes in the space we shared, and grey
smoke rose like blighted cumuli. In those
days, I never looked up.
Jesse Millner’s poems have appeared most recently in Grist and Book of Matches. His latest poetry book, “Memory’s Blue Sedan”, is available from Hysterical Books.
The revolution was around the corner
every weekend a different demonstration
chanting along Central Park down Fifth Avenue
past police barricades.
Cops on horses ready to charge.
In Union Square, we collected signatures to end the war,
for equal housing, open admissions,
to free all political prisoners and to end apartheid,
afternoons on the phone hoping for endorsements
from luminaries like Noam Chomsky and James Baldwin,
Bella Abzug and Shirley Chisholm
raising money to take out a quarter-page ad
in the Sunday New York Times.
Luis Talamantez was released on parole.
Aretha offered to pay Angela’s bail.
We built alliances
and deferred ideological disagreements
until a new steering committee
mimeograph machines spinning wet blankets of black ink
as we listened to Pete Seeger and the Weavers,
Motown and Sly and the Family Stone.
We talked about moral integrity and commitment,
studied the books of Franz Fanon and Herbert Marcuse,
volumes by Marx and Engels I never could finish,
There was The People’s History.
Walter Lowenfels said the revolution is to be human.
Gill-Scott Heron said it wouldn’t be televised.
Muriel Rukeyser crumpled a piece of paper in her hand
and dropped it to the floor.
She asked our poetry class at the City College of New York
to write what had just happened.
Lenore Weiss’ poetry collections form a trilogy about love, loss, and being mortal: “Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island” (West End Press, 2012); “Two Places” (Kelsay Books, 2014) and “The Golem” (Hakodesh Word Press, 2017). Her most recent poetry chapbook is “From Malls to Museums” (Ethelzine, 2020). Alexandria Quarterly Press published her prize-winning flash fiction chapbook, “Holding on to the Fringes of Love.” She is a reader for the Mud Season Review and lives in Oakland, California, with Zebra the Brave and Granola the Shy.
islands windmills stars
the moon is full
the forest is losing trees
we dream of wildflowers & oranges
we dream of Spain & Greece
an ancient beggar comes to the door
& knocks no one is home
we sleep in suitcases
Marcia Arrieta is a poet and artist. Her work can be found in Word For/Word, The Inflectionist Review, Otoliths, The American Journal of Poetry, The Meadow, DASH, Angel City Review, Spectra, Sylvia, and Borrowed Solace, among others. In 2022, a book of her collages and poetry “through time waves” (Arteidolia) and her fourth poetry collection “within sky” (BlazeVOX) were published. She edits and publishes Indefinite Space, a poetry/art journal.
Someone’s Parked Car
they are bringing down trees
around tallaght in marlfield. it’s been wanting
to happen, and a letter gone out
to the residents / rental house
owners. I’m here, overseeing
on behalf of the agent, to ensure
things are done right to spec.
we walked through some months
ago, david and a lady called
sylvia, picking trees out
like cows to be burgers – those
growing up against buildings
and driving at walls like wild
bulls. there’s a process, unfortunately –
trees must grow where
they’re supposed to –
but you do feel a bastard the same.
on the pavement, crows stand about;
men wearing anoraks, beneath
a bus shelter in rain. men stand
about also, smoke cigarettes,
drink from hot flasks and trade lies
about women. someone’s parked car
has been left just below a marked poplar.
someone’s been knocking
on doors for a while now
to see if anyone knows whose it is.
D.S. Maolalai has received eleven nominations for Best of the Net and seven for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in three collections: “Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016), “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019) and “Noble Rot” (Turas Press, 2022).