- Arsenic by E. Lynn Alexander
- Suffering Pretty by K. R. Morrison
- Things That Happened in 1974 Part IV by Paul Corman-Roberts
- High Horse by Misty Prostko
- The Dalai Lama Turns Seventy by Tony Brewer
- Boxing by Kerry Trautman
- Markings On the Wall by Linda Kleinbub
- Opinions by Rick Lupert
- Chain by James Croal Jackson
- A Street in Philadelphia by Sean Hanrahan
- The Vicissitude of Womanhood by Alise Versella
- the sun too embarrassed by Scot Young
Frogg Corpse is a poet, vocalist, and photographer from Louisville, Kentucky. Frogg’s gloom inducing poetry is published by Cajun Mutt Press paired with artwork by Vitaly Ilyn & W.D. Pollard.
Frogg’s work has been published by:
Artifact Nouveau, Stick Figure Poetry Quarterly, Poetry Super Highway, Poetry Global Network, Red Penguin, Louisville’s LEO Weekly, The Woody Creeker, Jeffersonville Township Public Library, d/e/a/d/b/e/a/t press, and Written Tales Magazine.
Regulars may notice a somewhat different look to this quarter’s issue, as there is a lot more artwork spread throughout the poetry. Also, if you hadn’t noticed last issue, we changed up the titles so that they are no longer side-by-side with the poems, but on top in a more standard manner. Change is good (or so they say) and we like to keep things interesting here at Stick Figure Poetry Quarterly. In keeping with that theme, this is our first partially curated issue where we had a few poems selected and decided to ask some poets from the community that we happen to like very much to flesh out the rest of the issue.
This was much due to the two big piles of photos Frogg Corpse sent! How could we pick just one? And how could we not pair our selections with the most fabulous poems we could find? We have a very solid issue this Spring with an array of heavy hitters in the poetry scene.
Thanks again to all our contributors, readers and supporters. It’s you folks who keep this going!
in the drawing room
she, settee spread
in vibrant verdant novelty
her emerald womb
none the wiser
in the green
in the hue
of gratitude having married having moved
from the wooden walls
their rodent scratches
to these papered greens. she
sat with the newness
relief. ribboned. full. flushed cheeks.
none the wiser.
in the green.
where once the stench, inescapable
came from chamber pots and straw
death-dust to the breath
became a different threat
that would take the babies soon
but she, clipping hair, folding lace
would be none
in the green
the new drapes, heavy
against the glass
keeping filth out
her dress, now kept clean
soot and shit and spoiled
left behind her.
In the green.
against the papers, florals and gild
and scattered frames, paintings
mantel, the hearth of held meanings
with feathers she stirred up
The arsenic dust
in the green
E. Lynn Alexander is a writer and long time organizer of poetry events and independent publishing, as well as organizing with the board of a local book festival. Her latest book of poetry, “Find Me in the Iris”, is available and she is currently working on new books and an anthology for Collapse Press which will be released this summer.
Funny how struggles make us prettier
How our eyes open
wider when hearts stretch apart
How our lips plump tougher
from kisses left for dead, fossilized in the heart
They highway south, down
a waist, over hip country
harboring words tired of our mouth
Curves carved by words
said and what we fail to say, an abyss
of wombs bled and life unborn, loitering
in ink of a worn journal’s pen
And what becomes of our fists?
Two bloody wombs
of swollen knuckles harboring secrets
from our wrist, stomach riddles
of clenched wounds bred
K.R. Morrison splits her time between San Francisco and a place she calls Mermaid Town, in Southern California. Aside from writing poetry, she is a moon witch, a drummer, and a high school educator who has been teaching English and Creative Writing for 18 years. Her first chapbook “Cauldrons” was published by Paper Press Books, wherein she received a Pushcart nomination for her poem, “Her Altar.” Morrison has featured for various podcasts and curations; her poetry appears in various publications, most recently in the “Beat not Beat Anthology,” published by MoonTide Press.
My face welcomed the growing warmth of the flames on a chilly afternoon. Holding still in the doorway, I could hear a roar of what wasn’t merely a dying machine’s screaming. I imagine there must have been a glow, a light also growing upon this five-year-old face, a moment of thinking of this sound, a whirlwind combined with this light as a kind of celebration, a kind of a dance and if I… got a little closer and looked at it…just close enough. Why would a small structural fire tell a lie?
But it was the machinery, the washers and dryers being eaten alive whose screeching death rattles hammered at my lag, snuck an old DNA message through the creeping fascination.
Later the fireman with the white hat tried to coerce me from one knee, looking right into my face; asking “Now just admit it son…you started it didn’t you?”
Paul Corman-Roberts is author of Bone Moon Palace from Nomadic Press (2021) and most recently the graphic chapbook The Sincere from Libran Apocalypse Books (2022.) An original founder and organizer of the Beast Crawl Lit Festival (Summer Beast 2022 – Beast Crawl Literary Festival) he currently teaches workshops for the Older Writer’s Lab, the SF Creative Writing Institute and the Oakland Unified School District. He sometimes fills in as a drummer for the U.S. Ghostal Service and the Poznansky Sisters, but mostly he is just exhausted.
Get off your high horse
Bend down to the child you hurt
Look her in the eye
Hold her face, wipe the tears.
Put the blanket back on me
Walk away, reflect
If only you could change them
Maybe you would change now.
I don’t want to rip it out of my eye
Loving should not be a challenge
I must’ve been the same for you
No wonder I was the one who was the brunt of it.
Pouring into my hands
And being mad for it running between my fingers
I’ve held out my hand
And I’ve gotten the crumbs from my brother.
I don’t want leftovers
I want something made for me
This isn’t the candy dish at the psychiatrist
Leaving me with the tootsie rolls and lemon heads.
I never screamed, caused a scene
Just passively tugged on the sweater
Mostly ignored, looked over or excused
Even I did that to myself.
Misty Prostko is an 18 year old poet from Bethlehem, PA, and uses They/Them pronouns. They’ve had their poems published in “Poems for the Ride, A poetry anthology” by Coin-operated press, and has performed and numerous open mics. They hope to get more involved in the poetry scene in the Lehigh Valley, and thank everyone who has made them feel welcomed at poetry events!
and Bloomington is teeming with monks
across oceans and mountains they come
to great walls of cornfields
Maroon robes signify
limitless clarity only
knowing minds can conceive
Brown creaky leather loafers
black socks elevated to mid-calf
Moving among merciless
children & wandering hungry
ghosts of Earth
they converge on greeting cards at Target
frowning, furrowing their golden heads
Erupting with belly laughs
reserved for such profane aisles
considering each card
whether his Holiness will get the joke
& moving on to another
perhaps more perfect
Tony Brewer is a poet and live sound effects artist from Bloomington, Indiana. His books include Hot Type Cold Read, Homunculus, Pity for Sale, and psithurism. More at tonybrewer71.blogspot.com
The screen door clunked behind
two boys who sprung
to the small front lawn, eager
tugging-on toy boxing gloves
Bounce-hopping, the small boy
swung first missing
The bigger boy anchored,
swung in a swoop the small boy tipped away from
like a bare foot leaping from
a cold lake wave
The small boy tried a swatty right-left-right,
lost balance fell to knees
The bigger boy reached down
right-right to the small shoulder temple
small cries ow ow!
The bigger boy stepped back,
screen door squealed open,
woman hollered the hell’s going on?!
He punched my face!
Enough! the woman
Cut it out! the man inside
Gloves stripped from fists,
tossed to lawn
I told you this would happen! the woman held
the door open for the boys,
sniffing, shouldering each other
through the doorway
They’re fine Christ shutup! the man
You want them to end up like your ass?
The screen door squeak clunk.
Curbside leaves skittered
in the wake
of a passing car
Everyone knew how best to hurt each other.
Kerry Trautman is a lifelong Ohioan whose work has appeared in various anthologies and journals. She co-founded ToledoPoet.com and the “Toledo Poetry Museum” page on Facebook, both of which promote NW Ohio poetry events. She has served as judge or workshop leader for the Northwest region of Ohio’s “Poetry Out Loud” competition annually since 2016. Kerry’s poetry books are Things That Come in Boxes (King Craft Press 2012,) To Have Hoped (Finishing Line Press 2015,) Artifacts (NightBallet Press 2017,) To be Nonchalantly Alive (Kelsay Books 2020,) Marilyn: Self-Portrait, Oil on Canvas (Gutter Snob Books 2022,) and Unknowable Things (Roadside Press 2023.) Her fiction chapbook Irregulars is forthcoming from Stanchion Books in 2023.
Born under a moonless sky
Cosmos ignited the pyre.
Daddy said it was so hot
Earth could’ve been on fire.
Funny how we let
Ghosts of childhood
Hideout in bedroom closets.
Imagination carried us to
Jupiter and beyond. But we
Looking over our shoulders.
Marked time on the moon before
Night rolled to dawn.
Oxygen in our blood
Purple galaxies and meteorites: our thirst.
Revolving on this planet
Synchronicity brings us
Together in one
Universe tilting this
Vex of harmony.
Weekend warrior extracting
Xenon from the night sky
Your lantern is fueled by yellow
Linda Kleinbub is the curator of Fahrenheit Open Mic and Pen Pal Poets and the founding editor of Pink Trees Press. Her first full-length book of poetry is Cover Charge(Autonomedia, 2022.) She’s the editor of the Silver Tongued Devil Anthology (Pink Trees Press, 2020.) Linda was one of six local poets invited to read at the Americas Poetry Festival of New York 2021. Some of the places she’s been published are Best American Poetry, the Brooklyn Rail, The Observer, Yahoo! Life, Home Planet News, First Literary Review East, Sensitive Skin Magazine, and LiveMag!
An open air tour trolley rolls by
and we overhear the guide say
this is the most beautiful residential
street in the world.
“That’s a subjective Statement”
I yell towards them and feel
really good about what
I’ve accomplished here.
from the forthcoming collection “The Low Country Shvitz”
Rick Lupert is the recipient of the 2017 Ted Slade Award, the 2014 recipient of the Beyond Baroque Distinguished Service Award, and a 3 time Pushcart and one time Best of the Net nominee. He is the recipient of the 2017 Ted Slade Award, and the 2014 Beyond Baroque Distinguished service award for service to poetry in Southern California. He created the Poetry Super Highway ( https://www.poetrysuperhighway.com/psh ), the daily haiku site Haikuniverse (https://www.haikuniverse.com ) and hosted the weekly Cobalt Cafe reading for almost 21 years. He’s authored 26 collections of poetry (most recently “I Am Not Writing a Book of Poems in Hawaii”). He writes a weekly Jewish poetry column for JewishJournal.com and created the daily web comic Cat and Banana with Brendan Constantine.
Cramped in that silver
nook by the kitchen
was how not to know me.
The panini-maker pressed
pitas onto various vegetables
that were consumed and
churning in the high-
grade processor (with
special red spice).
Carrots in the juicer,
bananas in the blender,
hearts on dark trays headed
to tables by the window
overlooking the snow-
plowed parking lot. I dropped
wine glasses all week
and would you agree
it was too much when
the army came in
to sweep glass
off the floor?
James Croal Jackson is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. He has three chapbooks: Count Seeds With Me (Ethel Zine & Micro-Press, 2022), Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, 2021), and The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights, 2017). He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, PA. (jamescroaljackson.com)
What are you doing, Walt Whitman, walking down my street, replete with cane and mask? Your mask which fits so firmly in place. Your cane taps out the seconds. You must have no time for verse today. You walk at a brisk pace to match the morbidity rate of the epidemic.
Your shock-white hair sets off the fallen pink blossoms perfectly. Have you forgotten spring along with your poetry? People can’t seem to find the time to write during COVID, not even you, one of our most revered poets. You, angry specter, Whitmanian doppelganger, must be seeking an essential business to frequent.
Did you hop on that last PATCO line from Camden and pay with muted yawps? Or are you now my neighbor simply attempting to flee the approaching storm, the impending doom? I hope you feel impelled to write when you get home. I know you cannot bear to see burly men die, not after the Miami White Party.
For a minute, you lead me to ponder the interconnectedness of all things. Then, I realize that this connection may kill us both. I flee from you, Walt. Our six-foot distance, the length of you laid out, is not enough. No time for poetic flights of fancy during ‘Rona. We have to return to the prosaic to survive.
I’ll see you next time we’re in the meat section of my local supermarket, where you can cruise to your heart’s content. I’ll introduce you to my husband, and we can discuss freedom and verse and free verse. We will contain multitudes later.
Sean Hanrahan (he, him, his) is the author of the full-length collection Safer Behind Popcorn (2019 Cajun Mutt) and the chapbooks Hardened Eyes on the Scan (2018 Moonstone) and Gay Cake (2020 Toho). His work has also been included in several anthologies, including Moonstone Featured Poets, Queer Around the World, and Stonewall’s Legacy, and journals, including Impossible Archetype, Mobius, One Art, Poetica Review, Serotonin, and Voicemail Poems. He has taught courses on Chapbooks, Ekphrastic Poetry, and Poetry and the Body. He hosts a monthly poetry series for Moonstone Publishing. He can be found on Instagram as gaycakepoet.
I will come out the other side of puberty
As an antelope is pretty caught grazing, all loping legs and meaty flank
The oppressors’ prowling through long grass
Cackling hyenas all staring at my ass
This is how rumors spread
At thirteen, “A slut,” says the herd
She goads a rise out of all their willies and it’s something they do not prefer
This involuntary reaction to her sex
She doesn’t even want it
Does not hunger herself
Does not want to be hungered after
A prize cow. Body sectioned into parts for the butcher’s razor sharp
The grotesquerie of meat
The tender filet or inner cheek
What of Philomela’s tongue?
Of Daphne’s fingers shriveling into leaves
What is visible is the flesh and not the girl underneath
Before the pheasant was a meal it garbled a note
Before I was a woman I was still “so cute you could eat me up”
I am a bite sized morsel on which I wish you to choke
I could hide behind the patina of nicotine yellowing my thumbs
And still be deemed a delicacy
For vultures feast on bones
Perhaps I could call out to Hera and have her divest a man’s stomach its want
Turn his intestines into clematis vines
And then scorch the root
Alise Versella is the author of When Wolves Become Birds (Golden Dragonfly Press 2021), Maenads of the 21st Century (dancinggirlpress) and Psalm for the Weary (Alien Buddha Press) both forthcoming. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize and once for a Best of the Net. She is published widely in journals both online and in print and can be found easily with a gin and tonic and at www.aliseversella.com.
i heard when johnny cash died
that dylan said he was
the north star
that you could guide your
i remember you shifting
thru the gears of
yr midnight green
mickey thompson mags
on the way to mugs up
to see yr best girl
and how you always
did the right thing
playing it safe
never taking risks
never going head on
into that goodnight
i remember how
& roommates each
altered your dna
cleaning you out
how each one chipped
away at you
there was only dust
i can tell you
it was good weather
for a funeral
to show its face
but it is
never a good day
except for those
that cashed in
with hands in their pockets
and you know
that girl from mugs up
was the only one to speak
when asked for comments
she broke the quiet awkwardness
said you had the best smile
and stopped left it at that
but i knew there was more
that wasn’t said
hiding behind sunglasses
and fighting tears
i remembered the way
you laughed the most
walking to the car
promised to keep
in my head
hoping you could hear
on a green
wagon wheel arms
on saturday mornings
his red ryder rifle
before ARs and AKs
before the country
went to hell
in a hate basket
when the good guys