The Poetry of Ace Boggess, Merilyn Jackson, Jennifer Judge, Lorraine Henrie Lins, and David Livewell

81 North


by Jennifer Judge

This time of night
it’s just me and the truckers.
They slide from lane to lane
like cautious whales acutely
aware of other whales,
their communication a
seductive pulse across
flat endless landscape.

I like the headlight flash
they give to tell me it’s
safe to go back to my own lane.
Their crude politeness shines
in these pools of black highway.

I like how it feels like we are
standing still, speed and time
flattening out.  I like how all
of this—the night, the streetlights—
enters me and then disappears.


I, Book


by Merilyn Jackson

Play your fingers along my spine,
splay me late at night,
when my fragrance, like jasmine,
most delights.
Open me before death-dealing daylight
turns my pages yellow from white.

Bind me in leather, plush as your inner thighs.
Ink me only with eyes in that hue
of words that soothe, surprise,
and arouse only you.
Drink my meanings, hidden or apparent,
it’s just so my mysteries charm you till sunrise.

Hold me in your naked, sickled arms.
Spread my wings and lay me on my face
content if you agonize me
into that ecstatic state
we share under my cover.
Blind me blind as a new lover.

Let your eyes feast on my every sentence
each of which rises to your lips to speak it
as if you need to hear it, taste it, expel it.
As now, you would not quell it.

There, I’ve taught you how to read me.



for Bob Duggan


by David Livewell

I feared his February feast day more
than morbid palm-leaf ash on my forehead
and more than metal, studded feet I kissed
on the Good Friday crucifix.  At eight,  
we knelt at altar rails (or guillotines)
while priests (or hooded executioners)
blessed our gagging necks with candlesticks
crossed in a ribboned X like scissors.  Patron
of the blocked throat, we dared not speak his name
in the long line, a childhood silence golden
as tabernacle doors that guarded hosts
in the dark, curtained caves.  The legend said
he cured a choking boy.  We learned his fate,
how iron combs had flayed his flesh and how
a swift beheading followed when his own
throat was slashed for God in 316.
The old parishioners arrived in droves,
untied their scarves, unbuttoned collars, talked
of healing miracles, immunity,
how sore throats passed them by when blessed by Blaise.
The martyr’s intercession left them coated
with God’s elixir in their sinful throats,
those caves where blasphemy might sound, those tunnels
thick with tobacco smoke and phlegm, with germs
ripe for strep or tonsillitis. Soon
their winters eased. No gargled medicines.
No honey drops.  No mentholated balms.
No ginger brandy stirred in currant tea.
The name of Blaise was searing heat itself,
a remedy to swallow like a flame
before our Adam’s apples ripened, swelled,
and dropped each voice to manly registers,
last strangleholds to clear the throat for good
against the chilly sanctuary stone.


Chicken Stock From What’s Left

by Lorraine Henrie Lins

My mother would use the neck in her soups;
lay the raw curve of chain-linked bones
to the watery boil of yellow onions, quartered carrots,
and two celery stalks, broken in half, leaves and all--
and as if an afterthought, the three bay leaves:
A bite of pepper, a grab of salt and she’d brush
her hands of the earthy grit, turn her attentions to me—
my homework, my unkempt hair, my bagging posture.
She’d pull long on her cigarette and exhale smoky
times-tables at me, rewind stories of when
I was small enough to fit in her lap.
It was enough, back then, to know she was half focused
on her simmering pot, half focused on the balding tip
of my pencil, rounding three times seven into twenty-one.


Astronomers to Announce This Week They
Have Witnessed Disruptions in Space and Time

—Google News


by Ace Boggess

We think we’re watching another sequel
to the classic film on universal stillness.
Behind each frame it’s more chaotic,
artsy-fartsy. We can’t see
what leaves us dizzy,
falling back toward concrete.
We know we’re insubstantial
where once we thought ourselves
understood. Why are heavens
so pompous with their mysteries?

What does it mean for the rest of us?
It’s not like we can order a pizza,
grab a beer, lie back on our driveways
to enjoy the spectacle.
Even if our eyes were telescopes,
our chances of focusing on just the right moment
in several billion years of space
would be one in ten
with a bunch of zeroes after.

There’s something off
about that moment, so we might not notice.
Space/time, black holes, aberrations—
frustrating, if you ask us humans
on our little blue speck of awkward dust
where even our marvelous clocks lose time each year.


A Note About The Authors:

Ace Boggess of Charleston, West Virginia, is author of the novel A Song Without a Melody (Hyperborea, 2016); and two books of poetry, most recently The Prisoners (Brick Road, 2014). His third collection, Ultra Deep Field, is forthcoming 2017. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Mid-American Review, RATTLE, River Styx, and many other journals.

Merilyn Jackson writes on dance and books for The Philadelphia Inquirer, tanz magazine, Berlin, Ballet Review, and other international publications. Columbia University’s Catch & Release, Cleaver Magazine, Poiesis Review 6, The Poetry Nook, Broad St. Review, and others have published her poems.

Jennifer Judge has taught creative writing and composition for 19 years at King’s College in Wilkes-Barre, PA.  She lives in Dallas, PA with her husband and two daughters.  Her poetry has appeared in Rhino, Literary Mama, Blueline, and Mothers Always Write.

Lorraine Henrie Lins is the author of the poetry collection All the Stars Blown to One Side of The Sky, and two chapbooks: I Called It Swimming and Delaying Balance.  Lins is a Bucks County Pennsylvania Poet Laureate and Director of New and Emerging Poets with Tekpoet.

David Livewell won the 2012 T.S. Eliot Poetry Prize for his book, Shackamaxon.  Currently, he is working on a second collection.