Friday, July 6, 2018

Three Poems by JD DeHart


Like the image of the old
bound in balms by the young,
the girl in a meadow, just
a painting I glimpse.

She cares for the weeds
the same as the tender floral dots.

Her voice is an uncommon
invitation to the young, and her
eyes float the roof of the world,
considering her next phrase,
or the next petal to drop.

One finger pointing, indicating
someone, something, just
beyond the limits of canvas,
an invitation to jump in, invent
the other face in the portrait.

Sloth's Sway

In the considerate movement
of the sloth, I see my own
sanguine approach to this day.

Problems without solutions
gather in my mind like a mob
at bedtime, and so I carry these

voices with me all day, more
worn by the night than I should be,
slowly turning my head, munching

a leaf, preparing to hop down from
my perch, but thinking better of it
in halting concentration.

High-Back Chairs

Indecorous, the table
belongs in another room.
The wallpaper crisis,
aesthetics peeling in piles.

The high-back chairs join
the wing-backs for a seasonal
migration up the stairs.

I recall pictures of hollowed
out buildings, shavings, rust,
an artist who captured
ruin photographically.

One day my most carefully
preserved art will be nothing
but curls, hardly an insect
preserved in amber.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He blogs about books and authors at

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

A Poem by Andrew M. Bowen

Driving to Muncie

The cottage-cheese clouds curdle
as sullen blue churns to swift-running gray;
the storms move in summer's violence,
the rain lashes the earth while thunder grunts,
and lightning dances in sky-high thunder ecstasy.
Great circles drive the kingly storms;
dew and piss and river and ocean
are taken up and then fall down
to feed the floods and ferns and forests.

Where stands the laboratory
that can take the measure of humanity?
What microscope can pin death
and what balance can weigh honor?
What calipers can divine integrity
and what telescope uncover love?

Once, prairies and floods and wild things;
swamps, trees, and living hills
would have conspired to slow my pace.
Now taxpaying populations
have laid these great pavements down,
encasing living, breathing Earth
in clever coats of steel, concrete, and hydrocarbon,
and reducing days to casual hours.
My ease requires the grudging
cooperation of the many to subdue the one.

Like Rasilnokov I stand baffled
by the pair that haunts my brain.
The one wants to sculpt this life
with wisdom, calm, and reverence
and leave a memory of talent
to shine like the first star of twilight.
But the other--the manic profane other--
wants hoisted bottle and bong,
one endless swill of brandy and attitude
before a willing death in bullets and pills.

Life is a tragedy.
We enter the world golden and empty,
yet petty hates and cheap frivolity,
misplaced hearts and withered brains
erase our slates of clean potential.
We hurt from blind blows of fumbling others
and in turn must lash out with closed eyes
and live with the gleeful whips
of shame and rage at failure.
Conscience is the ghost in the secret room.

And now I return me home
and the storms return to greet me.
The brawling rain chops vision into quarters
and lightning breaks from a nuclear point
to crackle down with relativity's speed.
Its sparkling glee mocks all the lights
of the moisture-battered city,
and its beauty that lasts but a glance
and the chaos of the swirling rain
and the proud laughter of the wanton wind
all scream at egocentric man:

"Life is a tragedy.
Enjoy it while you can."

Andrew M. Bowen works as an insurance salesman in Bloomington, IN.  He has published 71 poems and recently submitted his first two novels for publication.  He is also an actor who has appeared in eight independent films, seven stage productions, and two radio teleplays.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Three Poems from Sanjeev Sethi


In the melody of mirrors
I can't see myself:  the
hangover of hubris has
its effect.  Brachylogies
of the unknown kind
create an uproar in my
inner life.  The unsaid
has potential to incinerate.
Ataractic characteristic of
words entice me to indite.
Their aura stokes the self.
This union has a canorous air.


Achievers and those aspiring to be
are in queue with their Like(s).  In
networking units and the like there
is a demo of desiderata.  Pathfinders
detect no stigma in it, like those in
concupiscent gear check in at areas
of abasement without awkwardness.
Catafalque is not for all.


The flowers of shame
preen in pottery.
Adjoining in the miniature
firkin's emptiness
is evident.
I tell myself,
on ledge of life
there is no club
for the cursed.

Sanjeev Sethi is the author of three books of poetry.  His most recent collection is This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015).  His poems are in venues around the world:  Mad Swirl, Synchronized Chaos, Chicago Record Magazine, Unlikely Stories Mark V, Peacock Journal, Poehemian, M58, A Restricted View from Under the Hedge, Amethyst Review, Bonnie's Crew, Urtica Lit Blog, Beakful|Becaqee, and elsewhere.  He lives in Mumbai, India.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Three Poems from Ken L. Jones

Secondhand Aria

The sparse facts of my revelations have a winter kind of silver light
out by this dreamy meandering hotel.
Where the smog, the dust the factory made rat-a-tat becomes
but the voices on the other end of a not too very well done pantomime
that leads to an eroded stairway to a thrift store.
Where unicorns and woodland nymphs are as common as koi fish.
Near where the grapevines of late autumn are the fairy godmother to a sea
that melts away into sheets of gold and trinket boxes made of half melted snow.

Luminous Exit

The seaside was impulsive and dreary.
Yet I felt strangely at home in the shadow of a dilapidated lisping castle
that loomed above me in the gold velvet steep hills
and though it was shattered it laughed like a child
as trade winds that once knew jade Atlantis scampered through it
and oh how that made the approaching darkness to become as numb as prehistoric stone
as it fell like Icarus yet never flinched for an instant even as it became one with the Irish coast.

Irish Farewell

I use to meet her in the late afternoon light
she whose long hair hung like Druid ruins.
On those days when the rain was half remarkable
and the breezes tickled the apple tree until it giggled like a child.
Back then my life lacked mucilage.
'Twas a low ceilinged room growing narrower everyday
until her lilting words that hinted of vaster universes
placed me on The Famine Ship and sent me on my way.

Ken L. Jones has been a professionally published writer for nearly forty years.  At the beginning of his career he became well-known as a cartoonist and had such work appear at Disney Studios and for the New Kids On The Block singing group.  In the last ten years he has concentrated heavily on writing poetry in various genres.  He has appeared in Kind Of A Hurricane Press' many anthologies and blogs.  His poems have also appeared in Phil Yeh's Uncle Jam Magazine, Dual Coast Magazine, Red Ochre Press, Poetry Quarterly, Circle of Light, and Tulip Tree Review.  His most recent achievement was a poetry chap book called Dreams of Somewhere Else published by Prolific Press.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Three Poems from Judith Skillman

Can't Return

Firs rise in green skirts
before the window.
Can't go back, the wind
says in its all too human moan.

I feel the degenerate within
take more of what it owns--
this flesh house
where all winter I sheltered.

Can't return the little birds
skewered and gnashed,
nor the sun
burning away wisps of fog.

How green the green
on February grasses,
how bright the whites
of branches tipped with sun.

The shadow grew like a wing.
Can't return the sturdy log
of a toddler I swaddled,
its baby's breath dried to tinder.


The old scar remembers its sear,
hot poker there inside prodding
an organ.  The afflictions of the hip
lie stored away, a laundry list
so detailed all it takes is one wrong move.

She remembers being paralyzed,
feeling nothing from the waist
down.  Recalls the siren's wail
as they drove with the two-year old
sitting up--crying and alive.

And then the waiting.
An interminable number of years
since then, the word scoliosis
comes into her back, takes its place
alongside four bulging discs.


Hooded bird, come in,
convalesce, hold conversation
with the unknown speaker.
Me, me, me, chirps the sparrow
through an open window.

On railings other would-be wishers
of gladness gather.
Crow, you come too,
dominate with shadow
the tabula rasa of sickness.

Who gets sick?
The sick get sick.
Cloud, rag, turpentine,
chloroform, influenza--
a table set with a vase of fruit.

Orator, forehead of a Latin speaker
placed upside down--
lift the cloak of illness,
its spell begun in a home
called pig sty.

Judith Skillman's recent book is Kafka's Shadow, Deerbrook Editions, 2017.  She is the recipient of an Erick Mathieu King Fund Award from the Academy of American Poets, an Artist Trust GAP grant.  Her work has appeared in Shenandoah, Cimarron Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals.  Visit,

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Poem from Bryan Damien Nichols


the right crest is what you want

it's when white crowns begin to crown
the azure water--
                        the vertical
                        the uplifting
                        the tug

            the curl--

                       its majesty--

                                   and forwardness throughout

thrusting seamlessly
             along azure crowned in white

                         like white crowned in azure

                                     and like

                                                 all the velocity that ever was

                                                              and like everything sublime

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Poem from Ken Poyner

The Exploitation of the Gyndroid

She is
But she is not


In the modern models
Ones like her are assembled mostly
As a collection of
Primary flexible polymers.
Still, a little metal
Remains to mimic
The limitations of bone,
The popularly accepted range of joints,
The expected sense of unyielding interconnection,
And to give balance a reference.

The owner of this place
Rents her by the month from a
Utility services provider -- one
Of those middlemen
Who stock in bulk, and
Customize once the order is
Paid cold in advance
For the full time of the lease.

He uses a small sweat shop of
Bleeding edge programmers
To get the elan his customers
Will endure a premium for.  Each
Programmer draws code on flat screens
With dry fingers, exuding the excitement
Of accomplishment, not the maturity of

The music starts and the lights
Slink out of the way and in three
Layers of flimsy netting she
Steps onto the runway and begins
Her chilling cybernette dance.
Each bend and move is just a bit
Past believable, but short of
Absurd, and she engages the room
Like the mathematics of electric joy.

There is a hitch in the arc
Of the glass in your hand and
It stops just short.  You have
To lower your mouth to sip.
The liquid falls into place
Without resistance, hollowing.

One layer of netting is tossed at your
Feet and her barely veiled surfaces
Shimmer in prurient angles through
The layers that remain,
For now.  She looks back, over her
Directly at you as you appreciate how
She walks timelessly come-hither away.
Your fragile, wandering humanity tells you perhaps
In some circumstances
She is human

Ken Poyner's collections of short fiction, "Constant Animals" and "Avenging Cartography," and his latest collections of speculative poetry, "Victims of a Failed Civics" and "The Book of Robot," can be obtained from Barking Moose Press,  He serves as bewildering eye-candy at his wife's power lifting affairs, where she continues to set world raw powerlifting records.  His poetry lately has been sunning in Analog, Asimov's, Poet Lore; and his fiction has yowled in Spank the Carp, Red Truck, and Cafe