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Anais Vionet Nov 2023
My last Thursday class is over - my class-week is over.

Looking back at the science building we’d just left,
the hallway looked dark, like the throat of an animal,
the people snaked out like a tongue, the archway
seemed like a mouth - I shivered and looked away.

Lisa laughed, and my senses returned to reality.

The clouds on high, hung like fresh linens on a line
being dried by the sun in its Egyptian-blue heaven.

The air smelled rich, clean and ionized and ever
the inventive stylist, it periodically rearranged my hair.

Leaves rustled, sounding like a buzz of conversation,
as they rushed from place to place, as if late to class.

The breeze was working hard, in jerky flourishes,
like the strokes of an indecisive artist.

The afternoon seemed as bright and brash as a shout    
as if it wanted, no demanded, our emotional attention
and I gave it, smilingly, ready for the weekend.
Danielle Sep 2023
Little did I know that I've forgotten a lot how ardently melancholic the scorching afternoons were.

those afternoons, where it consisted of sweet reeks of cotton candy and lollipop, those afternoons that I don't have to beg just to rest, not to measure the time approximately and counting how proximate the distances are, like how I trace my digits on things to know if they're adjacent;

this afternoon, it's like I'm coming home to you.
b e mccomb May 2023
it's four pm sunday afternoon
and in an unforeseen
turn of events
i'm awake

guess i've slept so long
i couldn't nap away
one more

remembering how on friday
waiting at the bus stop
a library employee
walked up to me and said

"would you
like a poem?"
and handed me
a note card

and on it was printed
a poem
and a reminder that
april was national poetry month

it reminded me
what i've known for far too long

that there are words inside me
clawing tooth and nail

trying to get out
and i have to let them

so today it's
sunday afternoon
and i'm thinking about how
sunday afternooons
aren't what
they used to be

they started out in
the backseat of a
blue dodge van
crammed between my brothers
npr on the radio
i hated car talk
but loved to hear the way
my dad laughed at what
couldn’t possibly be jokes
not since it wasn’t funny

but after car talk came
prairie home companion
garrison keillor's gravel
serenade of life in
lake woebegone
static bluegrass
the drama
of guy noir
the hilarity of
tom keith and fred newman
playing ping pong with
airplanes dive bombing overhead

winding up around the lake
through the corn fields
until we got
to grandma’s house

afternoons turned into
evenings and i would fall
asleep in the backseat
on the way home
staring upside down out the
window at the incandescent
orange street lights
barely bright enough to cast more
light than the stars
treetops dissolving into the dark sky

i always thought it was
fascinating how it everything
looked different from that
angle in the dark

sunday afternoons turned into
dashing around
the church grounds
picking up deer bones in the
back lot and throwing them
into the pond
eventually removing screens
from windows and
climbing out onto the roof

we got older
turned into teenagers
lazy summer days
a memory so
soaked in sugary
pink lemonade mix
i can't help but scrape my teeth
remembering the taste of
citric acid and innocence

how we thought we were
so grown up
but i'd give anything to be
that kid again

i wish we’d gone
on more trips to the mall
before the shops were dead husks
a fallen ozymandias
to the promise of capitalism
when there were shoe stores
and book stores and a
radio shack and a gertrude hawk

we would spend ages in the
bath and body works
smelling and calculating
how much body spray
we had to buy between ourselves
to get the most out of our coupon
exchanging the bills and bottles
in the food court across from the sears
years and years
before it would become a post
apocalyptic vaccination center of
folding chairs and masked queues

before i lost them
to the split paths
adulthood takes
us all down

i wish i'd known what
i know now
that no matter how bad
it feels in my own head
it's never a death sentence
it will come and go

i wish i’d known
that none of it would last

sunday afternoons
the in-between
washing my hair
while my friends
went with my parents
to church

i don't go to church
don't think i ever will again
even though i wonder
if the sense of community would help

it's sunday afternoon
but it's not how sunday
afternoons used to be
with johnny cash on a loop
as i lost myself in
empty cardboard boxes
straight lines of
dusty wine bottles
shattered pints of
gin on gritty concrete

sunday morning
coming down
but it never felt like
coming down
it felt as close to peace
and quiet as i could get

sunday afternoons
turned to hazy piles of
navy duvet and
dr teals scented sheets
but i can’t do that anymore
i’ve wasted enough time
trying to sleep out
my own thoughts

so i'm trying to
let myself remember
let the words out
one afternoon at a time

something about this
sunday afternoon
feels like how
they used to be

an indigo country playlist
on the tv
all alone
with my herbal tea
the candle burning is
lilac and violet
i'm starting to think
i could find a way to heal

i'm not writing this poem
for it to be good
i'm writing it because if i don't
i might slip down with
the raindrops into the drainage grate
never to be seen again

i have to let my past
wrap itself into my future
or i'll lose the parts of
myself that brought me to here

there’s something about
having the window open
while it rains that tells me
it’s going to be all right
something about how the
library bells still ring
just off the hour
that reminds me

how time passes
how sunday afternoons
have changed
and i’m sure they
will change again soon
and what a relief that is
copyright 4/30/23 by b. e. mccomb
Anais Vionet Apr 2023
My roommates Leong, Sophie, (Charles) and I were coming from a Yale sporting event. The sky looked like a ***** Swiffer-mop and the wind seemed to be ignoring the posted 20mph speed limit. It was a typical spring day in New Haven, overcast, 65°, with intermittent, drizzling rain. I was thinking it was a good day to be a duck.

We were looking for something to gnaw on and a beverage - of the alcoholic variety. We picked up some Mike’s hard cider (featured in our refrigerator now), which proves college students really do plan for the future.

It was about 4pm and the streets were puddled, slick-looking and empty. The lone passing car sounded like it was riding on a sponge. I was wearing a navy blue, short sleeve Polo dress, a matching Polo bucket hat (for the rain) and a slub knit hoodie that I ‘borrowed’ from Sunny forEVER (seriously, I ordered her a replacement from Amazon) and Roxy boat shoes.

On a side street, a “party-bike” sat parked, sad and abandoned in the rain. A party-bike is a tram fitted up as a bar that slowly drives noisy drunks around. The drunks sit around a “U” shaped bar, on small, backless stools welded onto the tram. Yes, an open-air bar on wheels. I can’t help thinking that a lawyer came up with the idea, because what could go wrong?

The first time I saw a “sightseeing” party-bike was on Beale Street, in Memphis Tennessee. Memphis is the Disneyland of barbeque and the blues. Every storefront for blocks is an open air blues bar, a barbeque place or souvenir shop (or all three at once). Party-bikes make sense there, because intoxication is like oxygen in Memphis. It's a party-bikes native environment. In New Haven, they seem cheap, excessive and opportunistic.

As we were walking, in the distance, we heard the wail of a saxophone and a beat so clear, that the sound seemed to linger and shimmer in the air, like a cartoon neon ‘Jazz’ sign. We instantly turned that way and discovered it was coming from a place called “Three Sheets” which was having open-mic tryouts for the house band.  

It’s a bar that serves food and there’s a ‘beer goddess’ painted on one wall. In Georgia, we’d call it a ‘fern bar.' We found a table in the darker back, out of the way, and settled in. A waitress quickly took our orders and brought us several IPA beers.

Near a platform stage, there were 6 or 8 musicians sitting around (with their instruments) waiting to take a turn forming a trio with the house drummer and bass who were laying down a constant beat. One would step in with a guitar and play for a hot minute, then a guy with the sax, another with a trumpet and yet another with a clarinet, it went on and on. They each had a solo, at some point, and it made me wonder why I don’t listen to more jazz.

Our afternoon of music was something Sophie had wished for. Earlier that morning, as we were leaving the residence, she’d said, “I wish there was a concert or something going on tonight - something musical,” and boom, we get this. Still, I don’t subscribe to the idea of holy intervention.

I hate it when I hear people say, “God never gives us more than we can handle.” I bristle, my head snaps in the direction of the speaker, I want to see who that dumb-*** is. My parents and sister are doctors, and believe me, people are dying every day in situations that are more than they can handle. Heart attacks, staph infections, gunshot wounds, covid, cancer - Uggg, sorry, I got off track and boiled-over there.

Anyway, we had some jazzy music and incredible Vietnamese pulled-pork sandwiches with fries and a smoky ketchup that I could have just drunk.
**I put (Charles) in brackets because, as our driver and escort, he’s usually there in the background when we’re not in the residence. But his presence is circumscribed, because he’s not there socially. Is it rude not to include him in every narrative? I don’t know - it's a habit.
BLT Marriam Webster word of the day challenge: Circumscribed: something limited by choice.
By the Spanish Arch
a few kind crusty folks
talk in the March sunlight.

Soft incantations of sweet trad
spill from a concertina, tin whistle
and fiddle, sloshing out an ambiance.

An old fella' makes a poor man's black velvet,
The ladies drink Estrella Galicia and San Miguel.
Another lad jokes: my grief counselor died last week

but he was so **** good I didn't care.

A motley crew, good-natured and friendly,
Drawn to session like moths to a flame;
Always I wonder whether I belong.

"I think in his heart Frodo is still in love with the Shire:
The woods, the fields…little rivers. I'm old Gandalf.
I know I don't look it, but I'm beginning to feel it"
Lines Fourteen to Sixteen from The Lord of The Rings.
Ananya Kalahasti Nov 2021


me around your finger.

keeps me hanging to every word,




                                that slips out of your mouth.

trapped in

- - hugs - -

that i can only imagine but not feel.

gazing and searching for

          s t a r s

in your eyes
Erian Rose Nov 2021
mid-afternoon sunrays beam
against the blanketed city snow,
your miles away this December
wishing on the same falling stars.

Saturday trains murmur dusk-cascaded gleam
you're across the Atlantic shore
seasonal depression combating
last-second windswept bliss

unfinished song-writes seem
inkless on half-folded paper airplanes
for hidden chances and empty truths
lone twilight in streetlights mold
Nat Aug 2021
The laundry heap sighs, one shirt less burdened
Ever tense, the afternoon, ever still
Clouds crawl by like television static
Not a drop of rain meets the windowsill

Just a squatter, hidden away
Idle hands, second-hand body
A vacant home, a fragile world
Everything fits a bit oddly
Garrett Johnson Jun 2021
Photo of a street in the Mountains and thanks.

Maybe last.
In anxiety... purpose.
Pending in leaves made.
From you.

Garrett Johnson.
****, I left in on.
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