Names, On His Body
My brother has the names of seven girls carved into the inside of his left forearm. The names of nine carved into his right. They are angry scars on tender, hairless flesh. The veins at his wrists pushing up into the "d" of "Amanda." He uses a buck knife given him by our grandfather. He wears short-sleeved shirts. I can barely look at him.
Going Out With Angela
He thought of a conversation he'd once had with two friends of his, about when sex begins...with a kiss? With the removal of clothing? Which article? The shirt? Pants? What has to be touched? Finally his friend brought it all to an end with his quote: Sex begins when you know you're going to have sex.
Phoebe Kate Foster
Sandy learns that whenever Mazzonelli’s ex-wife runs into him, she screams, "Don’t come near me, you monster, or I’ll have you sent to jail for the rest of your rotten life!" He lost his fancy wine-and-cheese shop after the divorce. "Nobody wants to buy their Beaujolais and Brie from an abuser," the neighbors say.
Places You've Been, Places You'd Like to Go
Matthew R. Gleckman
In the inky-black darkness of her room she tells you that she once had an uncle who used to fly-fish, that she would visit him during summer vacations to Idaho, and that she had always hoped to learn. "There is something poetic about a river," she says. "Its rhythm." You promise to teach her someday, but know you never will.
The Angel in the Municipal Pool
The wind wasn't a howling storm, it was a friendly but decisive neighborhood wind. It rustled the dry leaves and lifted up a plastic bag like a giant butterfly. It lifted my parents off the ground and blew them here and there, like falling leaves, but in reverse. They continued arguing. Soon I couldn't hear them any more. They were gone.
On the morning of August 26th, Miri awoke to find that someone had stolen all the notes.
More accurately, someone had stolen all of the notes except those found in Beethoven's Für Elise. And what they didn't steal they forced to line up along the staves in the locked and rigid pattern of one of the most tired, most recycled pieces of recital fodder of the last two centuries.
Man in the Moon
Adrianna de la Rosa
She took almost nothing with her when she fled her marriage. She didn't want anything that could remind her of the past. Who was she? Something different. There was nothing in her tiny studio. The glamour of nothingness. She loved it. Bare walls, bare grey carpeted floors and the promise of the Moorish tub behind the louvered shutters.
Baseball as the Antidote
Mexicali fans at Nido de los Aguilas, it turns out, like to chant, and the thing they most like to chant is the nickname of Smith, who leads the league in RBI. But you don't get a lot of "Bubbas" in Mexico. The fans have trouble with the "uh" and instead render it as "Boo-ba," which gives it a much lighter, happier air.
Why I Never Played Ball
My father grew up in the Philippines during World War II. They didn't
have baseball gloves; they didn't go out and play catch in the
evenings. In fact, to hear him tell it, their main sport was riding a
pig bareback through the house (until the Japanese soldiers killed it
for bacon) and picking the leeches off their legs from wading through
swamps. So Dad couldn't mentor me in baseball.
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March 18, 2003
Welcome to Slow Trains, where the postcards never stop.
Volume I in print & Best Online Journals, guest-edited by Pam Houston
Drinking in Hurricanes
Jamie Joy Gatto
Ten years ago during Hurricane Andrew, I walked barefoot into the rains with my then new lover, now husband. We held hands and scurried over fallen branches, met the wind and rains and found ourselves making love under ancient oaks on a City Park bench while the rest of the city hid themselves safely behind shutters.
Surveying the Koran
by Brian Peters
I fear that I may have committed a subversive act, perhaps even an act with national security implications; yet if confession is good for my problematic soul, I must admit it. I read the Koran.
of slow trains
Here in the farmlands of Indiana...poetry is not scorned as once I feared. Instead it is tenously respected, by both farmers and executives, as one might respect a proctoscope -- they're certain it performs some valued function, but they'd rather not get too close to the topic.
Entering the Monastery: An Ongoing Journal (Part 4)
I know where there's a black widow. It's inside a warm cabinet that only a few people ever have access to. Someone told me about it, and as soon as I could I opened the door and took a look. Sure enough. A black widow spider and two dead ex-husbands. It's possible, just possible, that we go too far in this "live and let live" thing around here.
He was smiling
Someone had placed three bright orange flowers at his left shoulder. One of the women sitting in the room invited me to offer incense.
There was a profound stillness, and the funny thought came to me that when you are in a room with a corpse, the most important thing in the room is always the corpse.
the Creative Life
featuring Jennie Orvino
I think that anything is worth writing about if it is filtered through an aware consciousness. I learned this from reading Billy Collins; I learned this from hearing the work of our former local poet laureate who is ageless and energetic in his eighties. He wrote a most amazing poem from observing life around him while waiting in line at a copy shop.
the Creative Life
featuring David Gans
I tend to keep the lyrics in my head for a long time, occasionally pushing them around on paper, until I have a pretty solid idea of what it's supposed to sound like. Then I pick up the guitar and start to make it into music. I actually have a good reason for this: the more I can conceive of the music before I pick up the guitar, the less I am bound to the habits and conventions of the guitar.
Born This Way
I want to swim through Madonna's hair / come out changed and reinvented
Talkin' Freewrite Flammable Blues
Diane E. Dees
Woke up this morning in a Restoril fog / With a synapse lapse in cerebral smog
Elizabeth Was a Bonfire of a Cat Person
elizabeth understood cats / their neat paws padding thru the feline underworld
Another Kind Light
The naked light you carry around the house, the cleanliness you cause like rose petals on linen cloth.
Spread the butter lightly / Take your time -- we couldn't crumble the bread too soon / Have to admit, my fingers are clammy from too much handling of burnt toast
train of lover's thought
take me right there again, take me right there / where the warning whistle sings a sad siren song / a deep mournful tone of a wistful wanting horn / connecting the past to a future reborn
Rebecca Lu Kiernan
My kitchen is Gucci Butter Rum Tart / I was fractured that day / And money didn't get in the way
A Glass Poem That Avoids Sentimentality While Teaching You Many Facts
glass is to be thought of as a supercooled liquid rather than as a true solid / although this definition might make you smile if your head has ever gone through a windshield or picture window / but Alice was able to go through a looking glass...
Recipe for Success
Tiffany Lee Brown
red stiletto heels / dahlias falling up from their shadows / on the well-worn coffee table
This poem rides in / elevators to the 37th floor / This poem climbs mountains / with pitons and ropes
Playin' Them Penn Station Rush Hour Musical Chairs Blues
as if the ensuing announcement / was for videos of J-Lo's sex life /Giuliani bobbleheads / or some other bauble / of
a fallen humanity
Americano: An Interview With Emanuel Xavier
With thirty-five new poems, Emanuel Xavier considers what it means to be American -- but Latino; Latino -- but gay; Nuyorican -- but Ecuadorian; revolutionary -- but not an activist. In essence, Americano is the next chapter in the life of a native son surviving the contradictions of his homeland.
May Touch Redeem Us
A wide-ranging collection of erotic poems, some playful, some profound. Many are meant to be read aloud; some are meant to be whispered. We hope you'll share them with someone you love.
All material in Slow Trains is copyrighted to the original authors and may not be reproduced without permission. Violators will be prosecuted.