Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Three Poems from Richard Schnap


A woman with a worn skirt
Conjures longing from a violin
Outside of a supermarket

A boy with a battered guitar
Strums adolescent sorrows
In front of a coffeehouse

A man sings blue ballads
Accompanied by a bruised keyboard
On a sidewalk by a bus stop

A girl whose lonesome voice
Fights against the noise of traffic
At a corner near a drug store

And each one places a container
A cup, a box, an old can
To collect the coins of strangers

That yield pennies and nickels
But sometimes only raindrops
Falling from a dark grey sky

On the Wings of Words

The stories we embrace
Are often the ones
Absent from our own lives

A wife who devours
Romantic novels
As her husband shares other beds

A boy who studies
Tales of other worlds
As his father makes his mother scream

A man who collects
Biographies of heroes
As he cowers every time the phone rings

And then there are those
Who write their own
As if then they could conquer fate

And maybe leave
Something behind
To ease someone else's burden


There are engraves names
Of once revered thinkers
Their philosophies belonging
To a long-forgotten past

And the humble chapel
For a beloved songwriter
Whose soul-stirring melodies
Only the dead still croon

And the school dedicated
To a man that gave his life
For children that now always
Seem to mispronounce his name

And a circle of candles
For an accident victim
That flicker for a moment
Till the wind snuffs them out

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  A two-time Best of the Net Nominee, his poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally, and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.  His debut chapbook, A Wind From Nowhere, is available from Flutter Press.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Three Poems by Linda M. Crate

dead men don't speak

you were a fool
fancied yourself a king
get your feet
away from my throne
for i am the king
of my own universe,
and i don't need your hands
sullying my dreams;
you always sought to control me
tame me and throw me away
in some gilded cage
but that is no way to treat someone
you would say is your equal--
truth is i was just a price you could
not afford,
and you always wanted me to take you off the
pedestal so i'll just knock you off it now
leave you for dead and the world
can make of you all they want when they see
your bloodied face and all thousand of your masks
fractured around you
like some alchemy or summoning gone wrong
broken by the same lies you forced down my throat;
i will issue no apology--
built you up but you let me down,
and so now i will take my thrown back and my crown
the same ones you would have shattered
in the crevices of your wolf grin;
dead men don't speak and so you are dead to me.

rotten apple

you'll face an army of me
for all the nasty
things you said and did
don't worry your pretty little head
over that
worry about cleansing that soul
of yours of all its blackness,
and isn't it embarrassing
that you cannot manage without want
because I would be ashamed
to be such a succubus?
you may be pretty on the outside
but inside you are the apple
with the most rot,
and the pomegranate bleeding the most
bitter of blood;
always insisting that you're strong
when you are the weakest
of worms
feeding off the dreams and souls of all those
whom you possess you seek to make
yourself strong through the weakness others succumb
to please you--
but i refuse to be your willing victim
i will let you fall prey to your own needs and hang
yourself on your own noose,
and drink my champagne when i see that your dreams
drowned beneath the flood of your own rage.

hanging yourself

i held my hand out to help you
only so you could
crucify it,
and so now when you need my help
i will let my scarred hands
remain at my side;
it kills me to be the villain,
but i remind myself of how many times you
let me drown
and somehow it doesn't seem so unreasonable
to be this angry--
you were a heavy heart to carry,
and so i had to drop
your bones in the river;
let them wash away and i cleansed myself
of all your need and your wrath
because you were always just a noose waiting for
the right moment to hang yourself.

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville.  Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print.  Recently her two chapbooks, A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press--June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon--January 2014) were published.  Her fantasy novel, Blood & Magic, was published in March 2015.  The second novel of this series, Dragons & Magic, was published in October 2015.  Her poetry collection, Sing Your Own Song, is forthcoming through Barometric Pressures Author Series.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Three Poems by William Doreski

Haystack Rock

You think that posing on the beach
places you in time and space,
Haystack Rock bulking behind you,
a landmark almost large enough
to see from the opposite coast.
The wet sand gleams a stainless gleam.
The few other beachgoers bob
in the distance, shy punctuations.
You expect me to count the teeth
in your smile, each a milestone
on the road from this life to that.
You expect the incoming tide
to honor your barefoot tracks
by enhancing them with foam
and bits of wrack for decor.
Your reasoning warps across time
and the ether to embalm me
in the muddle of rain that follows
every step forward or back
in the general rush of elements.
Did Einstein say anything useful
in the climate of your recurrence,
when you bend like time and touch
your toes in the cloudy light
brimming over the Pacific?
Did he claim that mass contracts
when bodies exert their gravities
in mutually comfortable orbits?
I think mass expands when subject
to your smile,
and the first tremor
of the earthquake that someday will trip
a tsunami fatal to this coast
shudders at the base of Haystack Rock
like a word kept under your tongue.

Money, the Original Sin

An oily bonfire in the street.
Someone's burning currency
in a whirlpool of kerosene.
Rubles, Euros, pesos, levs,
florins, rupees, pulas, yuans.
The stink almost topples me,
but I have to watch the curdle
of notes, their infinite suffering.

You would enjoy this spectacle,
would savor the char and flake
of honest money deflating.
Passersby dodge around the fire,
but some toss in a dollar or two,
their faces brimming with joy.
I wish I had the courage
to empty my wallet and sniff

the full savor of this arson.
You would probably add checkbook
and credit cards to the pyre.
At last a fire engine arrives.
Two firefighters tricked out in brave
yellow coats and helmets stare
into the flames, assessing
their brilliance, force and intention.

Let it burn, one says.  A nod,
and they're off.  Most of the money
has whirled into the ether,
leaving ash the color of bone.
You'd let it cool, then scoop it up
and save it for a future in which
money, the original sin,
barely lingers in memory.

Swan Killer

A Danish tourist choked a swan
by accident.  It dangles
in his panicked grip like a length
of emasculated firehose.
I read the whole story twice.
The onscreen photograph withers,
collapses in wasted pixels.

Thousands of miles away
and limpid with crossed horizons
this little disaster defines me
from the neck down, kinking itself
in my sorriest organs.  Crimes
like this fail to deter the stars
from their rush toward the farthest

edge of limitless nothing.
Like William Blake's crucifixion,
featuring a tree, not a cross,
the world exerts a cruelty
that from some angles looks like joy.
And you in your woolen distance
refuse to acknowledge the space

I've tried to occupy, a silence
peculiar to certain mountaintops
where the wind's too proud to blow.
Not that you would choke a swan
or even me, given the chance.
But when I phone, your voice fades
in a thousand shades of umber,

and not a single word coheres.
Somewhere a cat coughs up a shard
of mouse.  A child cries in sleep,
hopeless.  Police have questioned
the swan killer and gone away,
leaving the corpse on the lawn
where dogs will pick it apart.

William Doreski recently returned to Boston after years of teaching at Keene State College in New Hampshire.  His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013).  He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell's Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Three Poems by Patricia Walsh

Sociopath Blues

Looking back, a parody of what is mine
Burning fairy lights a course to savor.
Nothing matters now but you, a likely creature
Swinging from rafters for quality purposes.

Speaking at speed to detriment standing
It's a wonder how the words catch at all,
Condemned by close passions, an opportunity found
To sweeten the nemesis biting at speed.

Playing with human remains, joyfully macabre
Some psychosis, reined in, colors the gouges
Of a self-same cut, trickling with delight
Spiking at will, a floor's territory.

Reaching out to heat, a sleeping smoke
Sends you on your way to a darkened kip,
Metering overdue, underrated, a costly
Mission to the moon, it was always yours.

An overburdened angel settles matters.
Leading by the hand your stress-free lives,
Cutting across a law of possession
Hanging your jacket where nothing was intended.

Learning from mistakes more than successes.
You flower from experience at my expense
But not to worry, some red light flickers
Over your soul, sold like the world was.

(And with them) Persecutions

You want for food that rots on the table
A house crumbling as we speak.
Where thieves break in and steal
Where your treasure is, so is your heart.

Missed continuously on the infernal phone
Grappling for dear life on, sweating a bit
Weeping into beer a cause for celebration
Some sympathy flies in your face.

Still cold outside, brewing cigarettes, smoke
Leaving already, and me bereft.
Witnessed solo by self-same informers
Who never let a situation run dry.

Monoxide scribbles make up for lost time
Some poisonous experiment reaps dividends
Exclusively eaten, success in development
Singing professionally is a hard-won dream.

Playing comedian where none was intended.
Snapping into place a lexicon of spite
God knows you need the company, recognition
Of all falling before your, a fine gene to waste.

Wrecking your car has to be laughed at,
It cuts across tragedy where you need it most
Blowing the profit of a processed waste
Drinking success is all that is yours.

More Than an Apology

Connecting with excess, drink and a sorry existence
Biting heels for a scrap from the table
Form following function in an escape plan
Touching cufflinks forbidden in time.

No one wants to see me unhappy
No schadenfreude washes over my tears
A rabble of protection still guards me
From the poison of my words falling flat.

Measuring attention, keeping time
On what now means the world to me.
Some shallow soul jaundices association
Enough for you to slap me on the floor.

Still warm, enough for you to cut my losses
Relaying information in front of your aides
Sunk from view, fleeting familiarity
From all that is mine, resigned to the moon.

You got what you wanted.  Lessons learned
Forbid me from doing the same mistakes
Spitting poison to share my heart
A tirade suitable expressed by speakers.

Half-naked through sunlight, via the curtains
Another day rears its brightened head
Enough to reassure my incarceration is gone
Enough to kiss the last standing enemy.

Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland, and was educated in University College Cork.  Previously she has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010, and has since been published in a variety of print and online journals.  These include:  The Fractured Nuance, Revival Magazine, Ink Sweat and Tears, Drunk Monkeys, Hesterglock Press, Linnet's Wing, Narrator International, and The Evening Echo, a local Cork newspaper with a wide circulation.  She was the featured artist for June 2015 in the Rain Party Disaster Journal.  In addition, she also published a novel, titled, The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Three Poems by JD DeHart


Let's go toading, someone
suggests, which I believe
is a game that involves
spotting the people in British
films that will turn out to be
lecherous heart-breakers.
Of course, I'm talking about
the polite productions
that draw on tattered novels.
I have grown in appreciation
for the British classics, with
their ever-present awareness
of the importance of manners
and wedding dresses.

Bald Eagle

Must be some kind
of heroic creature beneath
the hairless form in front
of me.  Which reminds me
of my brother losing his hair
and what may soon be
my fate.  So I should focus
on the salad bar, the static
television across the room,
rather than noting the aquiline
nature of the man sitting
opposite me, who one day
may be me looking back.

Real Looker

She's a real looker,
and you can tell because
all the old men have turned
She's a real looker,
I hear one of them say,
and I do not bother to turn,
instead imagining Emerson's
roving eye, a bouncing
ball of observation.
Now that would be a Real
Looker, certainly so.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Two Poems from ayaz daryl nielsen

She said she knows
about all of it by growing
up and going to school
in the City of New York
well, you can't fool me, I'm
from Kellogg, Minnesota.

a roommate returns from Mexico

an empty mescal bottle, white
worm gone with whoever had
the last shot--Jasmine, perhaps,
or Babs, lightly snoring as they
drowse upon a couch and a cot
the easy-going all-night acid,
tempered by our home-brew
lessens as first light enters
through open curtains, caressing
a carpet covered with full sleeping
bags and tired puppies, and I,
walking beside our nearby stream
eating a favorite tree's ripe plum,
face the rising sun, arms raised,
heart, psyche and soul embracing
blessings of friends, time and place
before I sleep, yes, before I sleep

ayaz daryl nielsen, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs)/hospice nurse, editor of bear creek haiku (25+ years/125+ issues), homes for poems include Lilliput Review, SCIFAIKUEST, Shemom, Shamrock, Kind of a Hurricane Press and online at bear creek haiku.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Two Poems by Ron Yazinski


From Taormina, I watch Mt. Etna spewing smoke and ash,
As it has for thousands of years.
The air tastes of soot;
And I can see my fingerprints on the table of the outside cafe.

And I think of Empedocles, the Greek
Who claimed a man like him
Who was a philosopher, a poet, a physician and a prince,
All wrapped into one,
Could only be reborn as a god.

Twenty-five hundred years ago,
To hasten his apotheosis,
He threw himself into the caldera of Mt. Etna,
Leaving only a sandal behind.

I stare again at the spreading clouds that block the sun,
And then return to my room
To wash his reincarnation off my hands.

Popular Delusions

While reading from a book of popular delusions,
Like that of teenagers parking on a lover's lane
Who barely escape a crazed one-handed man
Who leaves his hoot in the door handle as they speed off,
I consider the author's contention
That stories like that spread, because, at their heart,
They contain a caution about breaking societal norms;

Which makes me think of Joseph this Christmas,
And the lesson of taking a trophy bride,
Especially one already carrying another man's child,
A man he could never hope to compare with.

How he stands there amazed,
As shepherds and kings
Who all know of his predicament,
Ignore him,
Singing songs of how great her first lover is;
And he accepts it,
Because love has made him a fool.

A retired high school English teacher from Pennsylvania, Ron Yazinski is inspired by the personalities and energies of his new hometown, Winter Garden, Florida.  Initially enticed by the climate, he finds the hospitality and openness of the people who live in this marvelous little town, refreshing and rejuvenating.  Ron's poems have appeared in many journals, including Strong Verse, The Edison Literary Review, Chantarelle's Notebook, Centrifugal Eye, and Pulsar.  He is also the author of the chapbook, Houses:  An American Zodiac, and two volumes of poetry, South of Scranton and Karamazov Poems.