Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

I Regret Grinder, But, No Remorse

I have no regret, no grinder of remorse, nor memory of the dental chair.
I have no feeler of sins lost in sand dust with golden teeth, diamond overlay of lies.
Do not dance, play checkers, between the lines of memory-black/white.
I am a sinner wild with elbow muscle, flex right to left.
Dental floss is my Jesus, purple robe, violent-victim.
The cheeks of God whisper fools of toy tot decay, hanger on a cross-victim.
I was an outcast of hell with flames hanging from my behind.
What age of flowers is a whisper into the colors, fool enamel solid white.
I wild elbows flex from right to left, dental floss violent-victim.
I am owner of the cheeks of sunken bones.
What left is decay open space, mouth, tongue, cavities.
Christ never liked the sound of a drill, only aging of flowers, whispers from toy toots.
Lost in the blur of the blue heron I toss my gambling cards, fold.
Back to the farm fields forever and the sounds of wheat in the wind.
Jesus is the stop point, remorse, joy, where the sounds end.
I am an abstract artist, setting black outline in a dental chair,
false teeth pending white, waiting for second coming.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era.  he is a Canadian and US citizen.  Today he is a poet, a freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 880 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author's website:  http://poetryman.mysite.com/  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 83 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015:  https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos  Michael Lee Johnson has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry in 2015.

Monday, May 2, 2016

A Poem by H. Edgar Hix

Julie & Ginny

Born to each other:
you rested your lips against her breasts;
she rested her lips against your forehead.
You have been against each other ever since.

Who can blame you, her nailing you
into this body without your choice,
mother of blood but not of soul.

Who can blame her, you forcing yourself
out of her body, breaking umbilical blood,
drinking her milk but not her mind.

Born to each other.
The bond is quantum elastic:
blame without guilt, guilt without crime.
Perhaps it is all the father's fault.

H. Edgar Hix is a Minneapolis poet with a variety of employment backgrounds, including legal secretary (mainly in Legal Aid offices), computer helpdesk, analyst, library clerk, and warehouseman.  Recent publications include Right Hand Pointing and Time of Singing.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Poem from Joyce Kessel

Eritrean Refugees

On a frail wooden vessel, barely a ship,
369 migrants were left
upon a darkening sea
from Africa to destination unclear.
None with life jackets
nor sea-worthy clothing,
called migrants now,
not refugees,
swept in fearsome waves.
Eight were pregnant women,
many were orphaning children,
including one 13 year old
chasing dreams,
escaping nightmares.

Joyce Kessel has come to understand too well that the reactions to losses and detours can help define a person's character.  She is a member of the Earth's Daughters writing collective and teaches writing & literature in Buffalo, NY, a city with no illusions.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Poem by Bradley Morewood


I am running across a disappearing floor

an illusion
that has to vanish
           so I can be free

I've fallen too many times
have felt electricity surge through my feet

I have given my life to the floor

it is hard to do without it
the stars and a great void seem
           to be holding it up

but I've had glimpses of things falling away
and the joy that brings

Bradley Morewood, a native of Brooklyn, lives in Tampa where he enjoys writing, and performing and recording his poetry to improvised music.  His poetry has appeared in Wild River Review, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, Blue Collar Review, Dream International Quarterly, Red Ochre Black and White, Solo Novo Wall Scrawls, Wild Violet, Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, and other publications.  His chapbook "Where the Bangles Live" was published by invitation by St. Leo University.

Friday, April 29, 2016

A Poem by Ally Malinenko

No Heat/No Hot Water

There were signs
before the heat and hot water
but we didn't pay attention.
It happened
right before the blizzard
that dumped the second largest
amount of snow in
the history of new york city.

I don't know what the largest amount was.
I don't pay attention to weather.
Or statistics.

But here we were, the apartment
usually so hot slowly going cold
like a dead body.
We piled up the blankets.
You wore a snow cap inside.
We watched movies.
We complained online.
Our friends made suggestions
about what we can do to warm up
wink wink
but no one wants to take
off their clothes when they're freezing
and besides didn't you hear what I said
about no hot water?

You know how long it's been since I showered?

Also these drugs I'm on make sex
seem like a weird alien ritual until I'm actually doing it.

The cat, who is nearly seventeen
or maybe nearly eighteen
I'm not sure because like weather
and the signs of the boiler dying
that's another thing I don't pay attention to,
hasn't moved off the couch in days.

The floor is like ice
and the tea goes cold in minutes
if you don't drink it right away.
We switch to wine instead.

The rest of the building is quiet
and I suspect everyone has fled
this dystopia we're in
except for the one girl in the hall
screaming at the super's wife
telling her that this should have been fixed
because it's been days and days now
I'm not sure how many
because I've stopped paying attention to that too

but I press my ear to our cold door,
see my own breath
and I listen
and you say
Come back to the couch, honey.
Your words crystallizing in the air.

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collections The Wanting Bone and How to Be An American (Six Gallery Press) as well as the novel This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books).  She has a poetry collection entitled Better Luck Next Year forthcoming from Low Ghost Press.  She lives in Brooklyn.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Two Poems by Joan Colby

Breaking Up

That night in the car having found her,
His voice shook with bad weather
Like the rain pouring over the wind shield.

You could say she'd been abducted
Though she didn't think that.
She thought How dare you.  When

He put the gun to her head
It wasn't bravery when she said
Just stop.  It was scorn,

It was the broken glass of their misadventure
Into his fantasy of possession,
Her fantasy of love.  Neither authentic.

Seventeen and nineteen,
What could they possibly know.
They knew enough.

She had no use for drama pushing away
The cold metal of his intention
And he began to cry and she didn't care.

Carnival:  Roustabout

Sweaty, swarthy in undershirt
And ripped jeans, needing a shave,
Shifty, still something sexy
In those bronzed muscles, that lean
Torso, grin that promised what you'd
Never imagined until now.  "Hey, red,"
He says helping you into the seat
Of the wheel that will heft you skyward.
He leans too close fastening the bar
Over your bare thighs.  The wheel lifts slowly,
All the people below shrink into
Another dimension.  You are sixteen
And ready for this.  Or maybe not.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, etc.  Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, an Illinois Art Council Fellowship in Literature.  She has published 16 books including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize.  Colby is also a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Kentucky Review.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Two Poems by Amit Parmessur

Monday Fasting

In the glittering temple of our village
the golden lingam sat as a magical mountain.
My father advanced, focused, but poured
the milk, thinking of the many starving children.
And murmuring, murmured a faint prayer.
Mother bowed worshipfully; with soft fingers
she dropped a datura before Shiva's emblem.
My little brother came, with bright eyes.
He tossed fragrant flowers on the stone.
Then I, and my wife too, came near in awe.
No one was really looking at us:
I saw Shiva, purple, powerful, and so real.
I smiled, sought His blessing, retreated, and
went out with many old sounds in my soul.

Little Bird

If you are a big perch,
I am just a little bird.

If you are real,
I have so many wild dreams.

If you are brown,
I have borrowed rainbow colors.

If you know many songs,
I am yet to learn singing.

If your flowers are always pink
I like all that's blue.

If your leaves love suicide
my feathers hatch fidelity.

If you are a swing
I'd love to swing a lifetime

and let the big gust
blow on, and on, and on.

Amit Parmessur owns interesting pots of flowers, especially purple.  His work has appeared in journals like Transcendence, Mused and Aphelion.  His dream is to catch a flying fish.