November 2023: All We Have
Photo by Alexandra
This journal is intended to be read as an issue. Please consider starting here.
When Robert Scotellaro and I founded One Sentence Poems as a spin-off from Right Hand Pointing (a process almost identical to the spinning-off of Rhoda from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, including appearances by Carlton, the alcoholic doorman in Rhoda's building) we set it up as a blog-style website publishing one poem at a time. That continued for 9 years until summer 2023 when, for reasons no one has been able to explain to me, I decided, as show runner, to recklessly impose a summer hiatus, leaving the editors without dental insurance, which has long been the only perk offered to our volunteer editors of all the publications put out by the literary juggernaut, Ambidextrous Bloodhound Press. The plan all along, which I had registered as a flight plan with the FAA, once again getting confused by the demands of bureaucracy, was to start up again in November as a twice per year issue-based publication. (Twice a year, as we all know, either is biannual, semiannual, or both.) So here you go.
I am grateful to all who submitted to this first issue and congratulate all whose fine work appears here. My thanks to our hard-working editors who are now again on really, really awful dental insurance, Elizabeth McMunn-Tetangco, Natalie Wolf, and Clare Rolens. A special welcome to Clare, who is new to our team. Clare is an English professor at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA, where she has a big hand in Bravura (bravurajournal.org). Clare has published academic and creative writing, the latter in such places as Vestal Review, Bright Flash Literary Review, and Litbreak Magazine. We are so glad to have Clare on the team!
This issue also marks the retirement of our friend Tony Press from the editorial staff. Tony is a fine writer, talented editor, and one lovely human being. He will be missed.
We hope you enjoy this new issue of One Sentence Poems. Oh, and thanks to my wife Marilyn, who talked me out of renaming the journal Rhoda. This is another example of how this excellent person has again saved me from one of my many dark impulses.
Use the pencil
icon to move
through the issue.
blood moon of
the falls, and
wind of March
across bare skin.
Gary Grossman’s poetry book, Lyrical Years (2023) is available from Kelsay Press, and What I Meant to Say Was… will be published by Impspired Press in late 2023.
We’re All Exhausted Here
My pillow once embraced
when I place my head down,
the stuffing shifts
I’m left wondering
if the weight of my head
is exhausting for the pillow.
Maddison Scott's catchy bio felt too long so if you want more of her fiction and poetry, check out maddisonscott.wordpress.com
Mates on a Train
From dingy Central Station the train
rattled west through fibro suburbs
then turned south crossing rivers and
passing through mountains
as my mate and I
turned our attention
to a game of chess
which somehow went my way
at first while the paddocks and towns of inland NSW
slipped past in the dusk
until he had only one pawn
and his king left but
mercilessly he manipulated my impatience
to such effect that as we passed Yass
he checkmated me and in frustration
I swept rooks, knights, bishops
and the chessboard
itself to the floor of the spartan carriage
as our creaking train
crept south to Albury.
Richard Clarke is a retired teacher who, after teaching poetry for 40 years, has finally decided to have a go at writing it.
Masters and Johnson used
plethysmography to measure
arousal in the breasts and skin
and lungs and bladder, but it's
the swelling of your earlobes
I long to taste in these toothsome
little bites, pale al dente substitutes
for the wide skiff of your scapha,
that leave my sensitive thumb
lonely for the perfect curve
of your more sensitive antihelix,
all these delicate structures into which
I want to speak my hungers,
by which you’ve come
to hear me so well.
Garima Rani Saxena
Wear It Loose
was growing longer by the second,
and she could tell
that by morning
it would not only be
touching the ground
but would leave the house
actively pursuing the things
she had merely waited for.
Garima Rani Saxena is an artist, interjecting that she likes to write.
Subterranean Cancer Blues
I wait two floors below ground
for my daily turn on the machine
that murders the toxic cells
that would murder me,
and while waiting, I see you,
a shriveled child (boy? girl?)
slumped in a wheelchair,
your limbs mere wisps,
your pale little face without expression
or a warming shadow of detail,
and I feel dizzy with guilt and shame
for having even looked over
and then quickly looked away
and been admitted unprepared
to the kind of knowledge that now
holds my eyes open to the dark.
Howie Good's newest poetry collection, Frowny Face, a synergistic mix of his prose poems and handmade collages, is forthcoming from Redhawk Publications.
Charles Peoples III
made of morning,
boiled before the house
is ready for consumption,
I am to be prepared
for touch and rub,
of heart to ache,
from boy to man.
Charles Peoples III is a musician-turned-poet via existential crises and can be found at www.CharlesPeoplesIII.com
Leaving the Lake
Perhaps the trick is to get out
of the water in such a way that
even when you go up the ladder,
over the docks, up the stairs, back
across the lawn, into your car,
through the streets, into the city,
back under the roofs, under the name
of whatever life you happen to be
living, you find somehow that
part of you is still out in all that
cold water, swimming.
Kateri Boucher lives in Detroit, Michigan, where she spends her time working for an Episcopal Church, studying theology, and wandering through the city’s many strange fields.
John L. Gronbeck-Tedesco
Mornings at 3
Every morning just at 3,
in the silence of dark time, before
lunging into his savage day in a
factory somewhere far from us, our father
etched with calloused thumb the sign of the cross into
the foreheads of my mother, my sister, my brother, and me.
John L. Gronbeck-Tedesco's poems, stories, translations and plays have appeared in publications and venues such as The Bombay Review, Tuck Magazine, Cathexis Northwest Press, and Karamu House Theatre.
David Q. Hutcheson-Tipton
A dozen times over as many years
Mom locks herself in a bathroom
clutching a bottle of pills
she threatens to take
mows the lawn
David Q. Hutcheson-Tipton is a Denver-based poet and semi-retired physician with an MFA from Regis University whose poems have been curated in Unlost Journal and Mountains Talking.
B. Fulton Jennes
The Only Poem I’ll Ever Write About
My Father’s Kindness
That day I took your claw hammer,
your D-shaped coping saw,
the orange-capped Elmer’s glue,
the little can of Minwax
left over from Nana’s vanity,
nails from the coffee can
over the rumble-furnace,
and made you an ashtray—
a thick-lipped square pit
of scrap wood, sawn, glued,
stained, with two half-driven nails
to hold your ember-tipped coffin nail
between thin silver fingers—
you could have mocked my choice
of flammable material, could have
berated my borrowing of verboten tools,
could have raged about the bent nails
and sawdust left littering the workshop floor,
the glue cap chewed open by a front tooth,
the brown-streaked yellow cheeks
of the still-open stain can, the worklight
left burning above it all,