Cracked by Edward Lee

CRACKED

Who hasn’t,

at least once in their life,

looked in a cracked mirror,

only to realise

the mirror is smooth,

their hand already in motion

to touch the cracks

before noticing the truth,

before seeing their face fall

from sight, the vision of their eyes

the last thing to go, the shock

on their face remaining in the air

like a shimmer of heat

of a hot summer’s day?

Edward Lee’s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  His play ‘Wall’ was part of Druid Theatre’s Druid Debuts 2020. His debut poetry collection “Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge” was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.

He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Lewis Milne, Orson Carroll, Blinded Architect, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.

Find him on Twitter:  @edwardleewriter

His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com

WaxWorks by Edward Lee

WAXWORKS

Do you remember that tunnel

in the old waxworks

we crawled though,

stopping halfway through

to kiss, and touch,

our hearts hammering

with desire

and the possibility

of being discovered,

before continuing on,

faces red and bodies eager,

to look at the rest of the wax statues

that looked nothing like

whoever they were meant

to look like, strangers to us

and to themselves?

I remember, of course,

though there is little

I do not remember

of our time together,

our one year, six months

and thirteen days still existing

inside my heart

and nowhere else,

the memory of us

a stranger to you now.

Edward Lee’s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  His play ‘Wall’ was part of Druid Theatre’s Druid Debuts 2020. His debut poetry collection “Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge” was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.

He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Lewis Milne, Orson Carroll, Blinded Architect, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.

Find him on Twitter:  @edwardleewriter

His blog/website can be found at https://edwardmlee.wordpress.com

Dirty Joke by Kristin Garth

A dirty joke before you understood,

Genetics predestined a young girl who 

Wanted to be good to forfeit childhood 

To the first man you ever knew. 

By elementary school, bend over 

Or reach for ploys, paper airplanes, one 

Boy who beseeched your lips to hover, 

Part for a succession of classmates’ tongues.  

You heard the snide whispers about yourself 

Young

Stung in the cafeteria

Dill pickle betwixt virgin lips

By stealth 

Little snickers

Scurrilous quips

The site of you always seemed to provoke

You were never as dirty as their jokes

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist.  Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of 20 books of poetry including Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir (Hedgehog Poetry Press), Flutter Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press), and Girlarium (Fahmidan Journal).  She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie) and her website kristingarth.com

The Longest Home Run by Jason de Koff

The designated hitter approaches the plate,

no concern can be found written on his face

or the way he holds his tool of the trade,

sizing up the man across the way

who is tossing his rosin bag as if taking its weight.

And then the pitch is thrown and the crack reverberates

through the crowd and the hitter looks to the sky

and pulls the smallest muscle in his gigantic thigh.

He falls to the ground without making a noise

and the first base coach helps him to rise

and leverages himself to help round the bases

but tweaks an old knee injury so is out of the races.

The third base coach now approaches his teammate

but he is too small and can’t bear the weight

so the head coach comes out and helps the two

finish their run as a good leader should do.

As they come around third and are almost through,

all three trip and one loses his shoe.

Before you know it, both dugouts are cleared

but not for a fight as the audience feared.

It is to carry the men through which results in cheers,

it was the longest home run, and few would forget it for years.

Jason de Koff is an associate professor of agronomy and soil science at Tennessee State University.  He lives in Nashville, TN with his wife, Jaclyn, and his two daughters, Tegan and Maizie.  He has published in a number of scientific journals, and has over 80 poems published or forthcoming in literary journals over the last year.  Find him on Twitter @JasonPdK3

Learning Baseball

When did I first hear about baseball?

From whom? Dad out in the garage

with the radio late at night. No,

even before then. My grandfather.

Us out in the driveway in early summer

painting a bookcase. He shows me

how to brush the strokes, while in between

providing slow detailed instructions

on how to properly oil a baseball glove.

Jack C. Buck lives in Boise, Idaho. He is the author of the books Gathering View and Deer Michigan. Find him on Twitter @Jack_C_Buck  

I Can’t Confirm This Really Happened

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sticking to the couch watching the Dodgers. My eyes lower and blot out sections of time like an old slide projector and I can’t tell you a single thing happening in the game. I flip the channel to fútbol on Telemundo and wish that for just one second baseball announcers had the fiery passion of their Spanish broadcasting counterparts. I flip the channel back and for one supreme moment the games bleed into each other and laconic Vin Scully screams GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL at a Dodger home run with the frenzied zeal of a revolutionary atop a lit keg of dynamite. The remote loosens in my grip and I am taken to a beautiful dream.

Simon Nagel is a writer from Edinburgh, Scotland. His works appear in Ellipsis Zine, Flash Fiction Magazine and Taco Bell Quarterly, among others. Look him up online at simonnagelwrites.com and find him on Twitter @simon_nagel

Pandemic Baseball

It’s mostly the same:

the pitcher poised and predatory,

the batter fidgety with anticipation,

the catcher and umpire

both squatting and masked.

You barely notice the lifeless

imitation of rooting fans

planted behind home plate,

the soundtrack of phantom

cheers playing on a loop.

It is only with the crackle

of collision, the soaring arc

of propulsion, the hands

raised in triumph, the ricochet

off the vacant bleacher seat,

the camera panned to a God’s-eye view,

that we can see what we’ve lost.

Matthew J. Andrews is a private investigator and writer whose poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Orange Blossom ReviewFunicular Magazine, and EcoTheo Review, among others. His debut chapbook, I Close My Eyes and I Almost Remember, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Find him on Twitter @2glassandrews He can be contacted at matthewjandrews.com

I Don’t Watch Baseball, But…

I think it would be more interesting

if there were trenches and obstacles.

Some netting that players have to crawl under.

Mud pits. Occasional gator.

Or parallel pitches with parallel games.

Whose outcomes are tied together. But

the 2nd pitch plays with hot-crossed buns

and catches with aprons.

Perhaps, at the beginning of every game

a silly walk is randomly chosen

and strictly enforced.

In order to sit in the dugout

players must make all their equipment

from raw materials. A companion show

leading up to the season, tracks

each player’s skill and progress.

I’d like it if the size of the ball

waxes and wanes by 50%

according to the lunar cycle.

Maybe a race of random toddlers

decides who starts at bat.

The winning and losing toddlers

get guaranteed prepaid college educations.

Mid-game, for 1 inning

a malfunctioning tennis-ball-launcher

could do all pitching. Points count as usual.

Teams specially recruit for chaos-handlers.

One game per season could

be played entirely on stilts.

Final ball could have an enclosed secret message.

Revealed at game end by a ceremonial cleaving.

Then read aloud by a slam poet. In rare cases

it might change the way we see the world.

Ren Pike grew up in Newfoundland. Through sheer luck, she was born into a family who understood the exceptional value of a library card. Her work has appeared in journals such as Train, FEED, and Pithead Chapel. When she is not writing, she wrangles data for non-profit organizations in Calgary, Canada. Find her on Twitter @sputta

According To You There’s Nothing Sexier Than Keanu Reeves In The Movie Hardball And Anyone Who Thinks Otherwise is an A-Hole

truth be told

the way

Keanu

effortlessly 

hits pop-ups in practice

his button-down shirt flung open

baggy sweats flapping in the wind

secretly does a number on me,

no lie.

if i were the President 

my first official order of duty

would be to have

that scene

played on one long continuous loop

at the Met 24/7

365 days a year

because why the hell not?

i can only hope that we’re blessed with more

Keanu sports movies soon

particularly a rasslin one

since that’s what true cinema is all about baby—

just ask Marty Scorsese.

i know he’ll agree with me.

Shawn Berman runs The Daily Drunk. His chapbook, Once Upon a Blue Shell, is due out this Spring from Close to the Bone. He tweets a lot about Adam Sandler. Find him on Twitter     @sbb_writer

I Don’t Know About Iowa

I don’t know anything about baseball

Except that Kevin Costner liked to play Catch with his dad, 

not in heaven but 

In Iowa.

I don’t think I know how to spell Iowa either

But I hope I got it right.

I didn’t go to Iowa

when I came to THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

(If you build it she will come. 

They built and so I

Came) (but not to Iowa)

So I don’t know if Iowa even got built at all.

Anyway I digress

Instead of going to Iowa

I saw two baseball games at two different stadiums played by four different teams.

Both times a kind man I didn’t know explained the rules to me. 

And what I learned was this:

There are hotdogs and beers, and bats and balls, there’s ninths you get to the bottom of, and there innings but no outings though people do get outed, and, crucially, 

Kevin Costner does not come out at every match

(It’s not called a match)

And neither does his dad. 

Which is a shame bc I think they would like the hotdogs, and probably the beers too. 

Perhaps they only play in heaven, which might be  Iowa.

I haven’t been to either

So I guess either’s fine.

Lucy Wallis is a writer from London who can currently be found in Paris. Her lifelong goal is to be a morning person, but that’s not going so well right now. She edits the Zine Near Window and can be found on twitter @thelucylist