Street Light Press

Street Light Press is looking for poetry that moves us. We don’t care for elaborate use of language–give us your real, your raw, and your intimate. The work that you write and hideaway because it feels too fragile to share with the rest of the world, that’s what we want.

39

A Guide to Lighthouses

By Ajay Kumar

The closest

I’ve been to becoming

a lighthouse

is when a firefly stumbled

into my wet mouth devoid

of planetary bodies

strength of sand  mares

but full of sores I swallow

strepsils like a setting sun-

 

The second closest

I’ve been is when

the fireball avatar

of desire

climbed my body

like a lighthouse-keeper

climbs his temple

& looks bright towards the sea

through my eyes

I was glowing-

 

Now

I am yet to measure

the distance to the lighthouse

from it

solitary on a rock but dark

constellated questions in the shape

of questions-

at least I think I am

the closest I’ve ever been

to understanding

what a lighthouse really

means.

Ajay Kumar is a student and writer based in Chennai, India. His works have been published or are forthcoming in The Bangalore Review, ScarletLeaf Review, and The Medley among others.

Skyscraper

Heather Lee Rogers

While you work

I have eaten

the skyscraper

and the elevator

of your love is built

to slowly lumber

from my big toe up up

to our penthouse suite

my mouth is full

of scaffolding

the metal tastes

like blood. I

roll my tongue

around it as I wait

to hear you hear you

slowly climbing

each floor chiming

up the hungry distance

of my legs.

Heather Lee Rogers compulsively tells stories as a writer and an actor in NYC.  Her poems have appeared in the following printed and online publications: The Rat’s Ass Review, Harbinger Asylum, Here Comes Everyone (UK), Leopardskin & Limes, El Portal  S/Tick, Waterways, Adanna Literary Journal, Jersey Devil Press, and Adelaide Lit Magazine, etc. More of her work can be read at heatherleerogerspoetry.com

July 15, 2020

Planetary Orbits 

By Ajay Kumar

Out of nowhere they appear

            the Garba dancers

around October, around Dussehra

 

like slugs made sometime May,

            or frogs, that incarnate in monsoon,

that you guess rode a raindrop

 

& fell from the sky. The dancers

            are dressed in gold red black white

standing under the stars

 

in constellation-politics, switching

            alliances but with finity, partners

reunite before the song ends-

 

The dandiya sticks clap tap & kiss

            in rhythm, the girls they smile

in dance like nowhere else, the boys

 

feel like torchlight-discovered attic

dust. Did you know, dandiya is slang

for gay people? No, I didn’t

 

but can imagine, & the girls,

            they are whores, I’ve seen their

faces under the red-light of Budhwar Peth

 

Really? Yes! & the big guy in the middle,

            their pimp. Really? Yes! I look at the

octobery sky, the stars just are

 

unveiled now, otherwise cityfog-hid

            in a distance, the shapes in them

are myths, their power divided by zero-

 

Imagine, if stars twinkled at heartbeat, how

bright would it be and then how dark.

Ajay Kumar is a student and writer based in Chennai, India. His works have been published or are forthcoming in The Bangalore Review, ScarletLeaf Review, and The Medley among others.

Ithaca Bus

Heather Lee Rogers

Oh you.

My drive-by kiss

my sweet ice cream

got me on this

bus-or-bust

to see your heart-work

hung up, celebrated

your mom, your kids,

the love-of-your-life,

and look-ma-ME

hanging together

by loose threads there

in your post-punk gallery

rain-stained but

smiling sunshine

we’ll adopt our

best behavior

for our sweet

imperfect savior

and this rag-tag band

will play your song

out loud (too loud)

in different keys

but all together

now 1,2,3

and all I really

need to know

is I love you

and you love me.

Heather Lee Rogers compulsively tells stories as a writer and an actor in NYC.  Her poems have appeared in the following printed and online publications: The Rat’s Ass Review, Harbinger Asylum, Here Comes Everyone (UK), Leopardskin & Limes, El Portal  S/Tick, Waterways, Adanna Literary Journal, Jersey Devil Press, and Adelaide Lit Magazine, etc. More of her work can be read at heatherleerogerspoetry.com

Umbrella

By Heather Lee Rogers 

The water bottle

is not an umbrella

still it rains

despite my thirst

            since you happened

            I forget things

I meant to grab

the umbrella

a bleak, Fall rain

the seasons

must have changed

when you undressed me

now Summer’s cooled

and you have cooled

remember now

that moment when

the happy patter of

words keeping pace,

the easy rainfall

of your songs

broke silent

cold

now broken Fall

Heather Lee Rogers compulsively tells stories as a writer and an actor in NYC.  Her poems have appeared in the following printed and online publications: The Rat’s Ass Review, Harbinger Asylum, Here Comes Everyone (UK), Leopardskin & Limes, El Portal  S/Tick, Waterways, Adanna Literary Journal, Jersey Devil Press, and Adelaide Lit Magazine, etc. More of her work can be read at heatherleerogerspoetry.com

Winter

By Lisa McMonagle

Through the window

I watched you kiss her,

relieved to finally see

what you told me

I was only imagining.

My hands shook

so hard I could not

turn the door knob.

I sat on the gray

porch step that Saturday

night in early November,

the wind blew from the west

through the eaves

of the little bungalow,

swirling under the raised

wooden porch floor

where stray animals

sheltered during the winter,

and you only knew

they were there

by their tracks,

though that year

there wasn’t much snow.

How could I know

how mild it would be

when the cold came

so early?

Lisa McMonagle’s poems have appeared in The Women’s Review of Books, West Branch, Word Fountain, the Ekphrastic Review, Third Wednesday, and Eclectica Magazine.  She lives in State College, PA.

By Lisa McMonagle

Derelict

After countless summers

going to seed, in a yard

wild with waist-high weeds,

the abandoned farmhouse

sits forlorn.  Clapboard siding

stripped by wind and rain,

sun-bleached, grain carved

like bone.  A screen door,

tethered by one hinge

to the frame, slants,

off balance.  Shutters hang

on either side of windows,

jagged rectangles boys

lobbed stones through,

just for the joy of hearing

glass break.

Lisa McMonagle’s poems have appeared in The Women’s Review of Books, West Branch, Word Fountain, the Ekphrastic Review, Third Wednesday, and Eclectica Magazine.  She lives in State College, PA.

Bastica y Convento de San Francisco

By KJ

KJ is a poet and short story writer who has recently moved from Pacific Northwest to Arizona.  KJ is a published writer whose work can be found in such publications as Burningwood Literary Journal, Cirque, and Shark Reef, and anthologies such as Last Call.  

I.

half-block cobbled courtyard crowded with Catholic

school children, identical in sweat suit and stature. 

Indigenous women pushing two-sol burnt peanuts, dried banana. 

Pigeon flocks startle, settle, feathers float down

decorating all length of hair.   Inside, the Monastery walls

in blue-glazed Moorish tiles, wooden stalls where Monks

stood for hours, leaned against carved heads  

with crotch level tongues hanging, waiting.  Two-story

fantasy library, twin spiral stairways leading to shelf

upon shelf of dust colored books, the DNA of centuries

crumbling their pages.  Giant calligraphic music books

fonts to be read by cantors 20 feet away.  De la Puente’s

Last Supper a table of guinea pig, potatoes and chilies

Bordered by apostles, innocent children, faithful canine.

 

II.

I trip coming into every room, tiles, bricks and stones

uneven, deceive my feet.  I am pushed against rope, against

plank, against glass surrounding exhibits.  I breathe

centuries old air, while some wear masks. And then

the catacombs.  I skipped them in Rome, but am inexplicably

drawn here in Peru to view what I think will be the remains

of saints.  Stooping through an even smaller doorway,

we descend into a monochromatic world.  Somewhere

between dusty gray and beige.  The dirt, the stones, the bricks,

even the bones are shades of the same.  We walk carefully

on the path between square graves, all crania, all long bones,

all pelvises separated and resting together.  There is an ossuary

where a thousand bodies were tossed, but now bones

lay arranged like a giant sun, femurs and tibia the rays, skulls

creating geometric exclamation points.  The bones are now

decorated for the church, our guide explains, but I see group

burial sites from concentration camps, find my steps slowing,

my own spirit belabored.  I turn to see my daughter-in-law,

swollen with her first child, and worry about this cavernous air

carrying a millennium of disease, of despair, of religious rot

and deceit.  She motions me over and takes my left hand in hers. 

Placing it carefully on her abdomen, she whispers, “Wait.”

I feel a small pulse, a slight quiver.  “He is happy,” she states

and at that moment, beneath a convent in Peru, so am I.

Ghost Peppers

By Carolynn Kingyens

By Carolynn Kingyens

Never Look Back

Let’s string up some lights,

the red chili peppers,

she says, so I go and

retrieve the Cinco de Mayo box 
from the stacked boxes
of decorations

in the corner alcove

of our Harlem apartment.

 

But it’s January, not May,

not even March,

when the color of my face
goes somewhat back

to normal, a little less pink.

 

The sky – a perpetual

ghost, and here we are

on a Saturday night

stringing up lights

around the fireplace,
around windows,

inside glass vases;

these fat-looking fingers
of diablo – everywhere.

Let’s make guacamole,

she says next, so I head

out to Mr. Melon, a 24 hour

health food store
at the corner, to buy a few
soft avocados, and a lime. 

 

Outside, my Nordic nose

goes numb in a matter

of seconds; my face

for sure - pink.

 

I look up at the far right corner

of our pre-war building

to see the windows of our apartment
already aglow in red;

inside - a January inferno

Oh, the drudgery of nostalgia,
the sentimental - strange hoarders of ghosts.

Carolynn Kingyens’ debut poetry collection — Before the Big Bang Makes a Sound (Kelsay Books) — is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Greenlight, Book Culture, and Berl’s Poetry Shop.  Today, Carolynn lives in New York City with her husband of 20 years, two beautiful, kind daughters, a sweet rescue dog, and a very old, chill cat.

[to swell, gush, spurt] / [that which bursts out]

By Sue Scavo

Sue Scavo is a writer and dreamworker, living in Vermont.

Ogechi Umez-Eronini is an International student at Valencia Community College and currently taking up an associate degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing. 


She is an accomplished brand and communication specialist with over 13 years’ experience. She has a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and a postgraduate diploma in Business Administration from the University of Leicester. With a flair for writing and graphic design, she is a well-rounded individual who lives with passion, dedication, and grace.

How shall we speak when we come to fear river. This kind of river – not-water river, not-fluid river, not-cleanse river. How shall we speak of spurt, split. Shall we speak at [of] such a river at all. Shall we launch words on this river, this one, here. This a time for naming. Or will we let the words boil in our throats, in our bodies, in the core of our white bones until we are gutted and nothing is simple any longer. Not awash, but splattered. Not afloat, but plunged. How stained when we do not speak of [at] this river? Feet only? Legs, pelvis, chest, throat? Even the look on the face, the whites of the eyes. Flushed. When I say throat, I mean this throat, here. How shall we [I] speak, stained thus?

Doubts of Love

By Ogechi Umez-Eronini

If on the morrow

I find you left at dawn with your things 

my shock will reverberate through the city.  

 

Perhaps, I will devote time to rearranging my life 

I will persuade myself to believe 

that I can live without you.

 

I will socialize and party, 

in the bid to have a life without you–

I will leave this place

and redefine my ideas 

change my beliefs.

 

Perhaps I will feel youthful.

Don’t know when

don’t know how

but if on the morrow

I discover tolerance was what we were doing 

I will decorate the walls 

and ceilings.

  

I’ll say all the thing I should have said before

Are you there?