Thursday, October 30, 2014

Three Poems by henry 7. reneau, jr.

pixie dust, in progress

for Ashley "Ash" Hunter

                    every big thing
has small beginnings
My Little Pony
becomes Secretariat
every phoenix
risen from crematoria ash
off the old block
                   in every part of
every living thing/
is stuff that once was rock
is the Starbucks mermaid
              with bifurcated tail
the unexpected gift
at an unexpected time
like homemade dynamite,
or gansta, gangsta
wit' extra chips
               in her Hello Kitty
as Mighty Mouse,
the gimme cap
turned back--
10 feet tall & bulletproof
                 as hundred proof
as lightening in a bottle

Note:  quoted italicized fragment by Lorine Niedecker


Beauty resides, always, in the eye of the beholder.  "Amelia" penned "Emiliya"
by immmigrants who couldn't spell.

This or that expression of beauty solely obliged to the outside gaze:  Some scrap
of symmetry gets noticed, here & here, & there.  A splash of mystique inside a 
mischievous smile, leaping boundless from the window of her soul.

The lady had many secrets, & da Vinci just painted one of them.

The Stevie Wonder calliope of harmonica glee
that escorts Venus on a half-shell onto shore--all wonder wonderful & awe.

Like beauty is defined:  moonlight on ascent of angels,
as priceless that surrounds the heart,
a silvery beguilement
of diaphanous moonbeams wax &
wane a feminine
lunar gravity of magnetic attraction
that compels emotion, & the waves, to rise enthralled.

vente quad mocha/whole milk/whipped cream & a caramel drizzle

a surface sweetness
that is everything sexual except sex
the family-friendly log
a big bold spicy shout-out
Farrah Fawcett billow of hair
that covers
her once bare breasts
the mermaid of Starbucks
her bifurcated tail
the splayed legs of celebri-ho
an empty cup
waiting to be filled
as if ambushed by
come-hither euphoria
too seductive
to deny

henry 7. reneau, jr. writes words in fire to wake the world ablaze:  free verse illuminated by courage that empathizes with all the awful moments, launching a freight train warning that blazes from the heart, like a chambered bullet exploding inadvertently.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Poem by John W. Sexton

What We Grow Out of Grows Into Us

My favourite jumper was a bright lemon
sleeveless hand-knitted sweater
given to me at the age of four.
(I was four, the sweater was newly-born).

This miraculous garment, more miraculous
than a Miraculous Medal, was teased into existence,
(between two knitting needles made of baleen),
by my baby-sitter Nanny Tyler.

As well as presenting me with this sweater,
Nanny Tyler also gave me a ship in a bottle
which had been made by her son who was a sailor
in the Merchant Marine.

Sadly, the ship in the bottle struck a reef
after slipping from its moorings on top of the television
and sank into a thousand pieces.
(My father must have counted them
for that's what he said had happened.)

The bright lemon sleeveless hand-knitted sweater
remained upon my body for I refused to remove it,
even when taking a bath.
As I grew, the sweater began to penetrate my skin
until it was totally submerged.

It still resides inside me,
now part of the plasticity of my adult frame
and molecularly fused with my body fat.
It was last detected by an ultra-sound scan in 2007.

Amen for my bright lemon
sleeveless hand-knitted sweater.
Amen.  Amen.  Amen.

John W. Sexton lives in the Republic of Ireland and is the author of five poetry collections, the most recent being The Offspring of the Moon (Salmon Poetry, 2013).  He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem "The Green Owl" won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007.  Also in 2007, he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.  His haiku have previously appeared in Acorn, Ginyu, Modern Haiku, Frogpond, Simply Haiku, The Heron's Nest, The 58th Basho Festival Haiku Anthology, bottle rockets, Roadrunner, Chrysanthemum, Moonset, Haiku Scotland, Albatross, paper wasp and World Haiku Review.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Two Poems by Joseph Victor Milford

Noose and Neck, Plummet and Lion, Circus of If

If you are the girl falling and I am the lion then between us is the lying.
If you are the sonar then I am the radar and between us the submarine.
If you are the stamen then I am the pistil and the honey-bee is drunk on nectar.
If you are the hammer then I am the nail and we have an unreliable contractor.
If you are oxygen I am carbon dioxide there are leaves there and we hedge.
If you are shade I am cave and we get lost in the forest spelunking.
If you are the storm then I am the ship and the crew is terribly unequipped.
If you are the parabola then I am the hyperbola and we are out of focus.
If you are the lead singer then I am the bass player and we fuck entire audiences.
If you are the oil I am the dinosaur it took thousands of years for us to drive sedans.
If you are the fish-hook I am the carp and we are lost about a lake in the dark.
If you are Mercury I am Venus and you have the orifice and I lost the penis.
If you laughed at the last line we have hope--in between us only faith & phone.
If you are coral then I am sponge and between us is the underwater kingdom.
If you are the black willow I am the eastern red cedar and between us are corporations.
If you are mountains then I might be erosion.  Too slow for you.
If you are fan-fiction then I am power-pop and between us is a legion of bad haircuts.
If you are poems you don't know any of them while I'm reciting.
If you are god and jesus and I am god and jesus then between us are our devils.
If they are like spiritual prosthesis:  indeed we don't need them in our catharsis of flesh.
If you are river I am canyon and between us is a soundtrack of falcons.
If you are a post-hole digger then I am a bulldozer and between us are 100 virgin acres.
If you are cast-iron fences I am barbed wire so where build the house?
If you are home I am horse and between us are shacks and nags.
If you are mine then I am yours and between us are the semantics.
If you are gun then I am bullet and between us is the ballistics test.
If you are reading then I am riff and between us is my discernment because
I could do this all night.  If you are language I am silence and between us is only music.
The kick of the drum, the cry in orgasm, the gasp from surprise, the words on the eyes.
The if's and their fenceposts made from salt-taffy slaked by the ocean.
If's melting into something, those times coagulating, salt sweating into evenings, thens.

Centaur in Suburbia

Minoans had never seen the likes of my brethren before
Roiling over the scant turf of their promontories.
The roar of galloping and a man's voice whooping
Must have struck fear into them, made them create
Monsters as explanation, an entire Centauromachy, and
others as well, the harpy, minotaur, typhoon, arocoix, satyr, chimera.
Pindar recorded accounts of such liminal beings born
of sun and raincloud, and Chiron, tutor of demigods,
ensured that fire stayed in the hands of man; however,
I am just astonished where my abdomen becomes a chest
Again, there, at my girth, and looking down to where manhood
Once announced itself, I see the shoulders of my equine
Body--locks of my curling hair around my face as I pace
Up the alley towards the bratwurst kiosk and a mounted
Officer nods his helmet at me.  He acknowledges nothing
Amiss--an ancient myth striding over steaming manholes.
Fetlock, pastern, coronet, cannon are now my locomotion,
no white fragile ankles of common man cracked during
a draw and quartering, yet no one seems to acknowledge
my stature, being at least half of a noble creature, as I clop
up to order my dog with grilled onions and peppers, finely
grained spicy mustard.  The vendor speaks of the weather,
smoking a cigar; is he referring to my pastoral nature?
I am in downtown Chicago, behind Wrigley Field--could I
graze on that famed pasture?  Tail whipping flies from my gaskins,
I saunter towards the bank--centaur or not, I am short on funds
And the old ways of arrows and kidnapping aren't fitting
For such an anthropomorphic wonder once honored with garlands.
I wait in line behind a station wagon full of young neighing
Colts and a pensive mare; they progress, and I trot to the tube
And pull my i.d. from my saddlebag, send the parcel through
The vacuum and request a withdrawal slip.  I've been here before--
I am now in Peachtree City at my Suntrust bank, and the blonde
Teller who always stares at me stares at me the same; however,
Today I am untamed!  I am centaur!  No matter.  "Thanks again
Mr. Milford and have a nice day.  Thanks for banking with us
here at Suntrust."  I get my cash and amble out into the parking lot
thinking of where to sun myself.  I am hungry again, and I consider
the Zaxby's drive thru window, but I have no drink caddy, no
way to dip the fingers into the sauce without things going askew.
And the dream is easy to interpret--no one notices my horsehood,
my man-equine meld of powerful shoulder, sinew, bone and intellect--
the perfect machine that is not allowed inside of any municipal building.
Pegasi have the same problem.  So does the manticore.  How could
a machine of half-man and half-horse ever feel sorry for himself?
No.  The dream is about the death of myth--the myths I made,
running across tundra and steppes away from gods, animals, women
and men alike where neither my animal nor human nature could unite.
Thoroughbred noble savage, mosey towards the cul de sac and wait
Until a subdivision family lets you in, corrals you in an Elysium field
Beside the swimming pool and patio grill, the lawn chairs and sprinklers.
As your graying mane shortens and the horse-like features cease
To linger, you become the new centaur, covered in sunblock,
Woven hat, soccer tee wearing old man on the riding lawn mower.

Joseph Victor Milford is a Professor of English and a Georgia writer who is currently working on his EdD doctoral studies.  He was born in Alabama in 1972, and he went on to receive his Bachelors degree from the University of West Georgia, in English and Philosophy, and then his MFA in Poetry from the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa.  His first collection of poems, Cracked Altimeter, was published by BlazeVox Press in 2010, and he is presently composing a collection of poems with Hydeout Press, forthcoming in 2015.  He is also the host of The Joe Milford Poetry SHow, where he has compiled an archive of over 300 interviews and readings with American and Canadian poets.  He is also a member of the Southern Collective Experience.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Two Poems by Cassandra Dallett

In a Video Today Two Small Deer Ran Across the Golden Gate Bridge Behind Them an Idling Line of Migratory Animals in Plexi-Glass Boxes

when I was growing up we saw deer dart across country roads
big brown eyes stealthy on pavement
sometimes they didn't make it splattered windshield glass
leaving meat inside the grill
the whole car often crushed in around the body
and there was trouble to get into if it wasn't hunting season
so you quickly stuffed him in your trunk so as not to waste them
washed the blood from your hood
butchered him in your kitchen
tables running red
head staring sad eyes off the countertop
hooves and soft hide a savage decoration

in season it was free reign and the hunters came by truck load
dressed in their orange day glow vests their camouflage pants
little pouches of hot rocks to warm bottoms and cases and cases of beer
it is somewhat terrifying to wake up to armed men in your yard
their hunger not for the venison, too gamey for suburban taste buds
but for the kill the outsmarting of the spry animal
the satisfaction of tying him to the front of their car
prone legs splayed helpless
I always felt compelled to cover them
close eyes untie roped legs
lay him buck or her doe down with dignity
something those drunk and murderous bastards never had.

Start Here. . . 

He says
I don't deserve you
I say
Then start
He says
You're my goal
I say
You better build up
your drummer's callous
'cause I'm hard to beat.
The skin of my right index
finger will grow hard
with the story of us
pressed into paper.

Cassandra Dallett lives in Oakland, CA.  Cassandra writes of a counter culture childhood in Vermont and her ongoing adolescence in the San Francisco Bay Area.  A reluctant poet she believed poetry better left to the hippies and beats of her parent's generation.  While taking classes at Berkeley Community College she stumbled, or rather dragged her feet, into poetry.  When her father died in late 2006, wanting to keep his stories alive she wrote her first poem, Talk Story, a poem about a father who never shut up.  It won Poem of the Month at The Beat Museum of San Francisco.  Cassandra reads out often and in addition to several chapbooks, she has been published online and in print magazines such as Slip Stream, Sparkle and Blink, The Bicycle Review, Chiron Review, River Babble, and Up the River.  A full-length book of poetry, Wet Recklessness, was released from Manic D Press, May 2014.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Three Poems by Richard Fein

Throwing Mother Out of the Car

The hypnotic mileposts muttered your getting sleepy, daydream sleepy.
I kept fidgeting and finally started banging the radio.
My reception had been poor since leaving home.
Then at 60 miles per, the dot ahead burst into a hitchhiker.
She was a tattooed highway princess
pasties for a blouse, a thong for pants
with a 69 porned all over her right arm.
Naturally, I stopped.
"Oh if only I could have gone full throttle with her!"
But I had for a moment forgot about mother always in the backseat.
She had been screaming in the back of my mind for decades
then and now.
"Never open the door to strangers, never! never!"
Nevertheless, I touched the handle and the door almost opened.
"Never open the door to strangers, never! never!"
Thus shrieked my daydream destroying mom.
My foot obediently pressed the pedal,
and wet dream lady quickly shrunk back into a dot,
every time I veer onto a road's soft shoulder.
With mom in back there can be no rest stop on a soft shoulder
as I pass all these mileposts,
almost but never quite throwing mother out of the car.

Counting Passing Blue Cars

He claimed it was his greatest poem.
He said he wrote it twenty years ago
and never again wrote its equal.
While he recited his once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece,
I counted blue cars passing by the cafe window.
I counted five.
I've never written a greatest poem or even a great one,
and never will.
I just keep writing the same poem over and over,
a hundred different ways.
How many ways in total, really?
Don't know, I lost actual count years ago,
far more than five though.
But he already wrote his greatest poem.
Poor soul what a disaster for him.
As for my greatest poem destined to be forever unequaled,
I must avoid it at all costs
for thereafter I'll be left with sipping stale coffee turned cold,
and staring out a cafe window counting passing blue cars.

Stranded on Optimist Freeways

Rancho Grande Estates, lower middle class dream.
But in a Nevada desert?  Who could sell such shacks?  And how?
Don't-worry-rest-assured TV pitchment pointing to glossy, slick photos
of factories, picket fence houses, shops, schools, facsimiles of decent paychecks--
and most of all by unabashedly vowing that all who signed on the dotted line
will never again be month-behind-the-rent tenants of landlords lording it all over them.
You, they were talking to you, and you.
Supposed big investors were backing your dreams with their millions.
But your dollars were also needed, your dollars and yours, and the dollars of all
who sit on threadbare couches watching those ads on already outdated TVs.
And roads were promised of course, asphalt ribbons binding together the like minded,
that were to exuberantly branch off the main road called Optimist Freeway.
That's what the promoters proudly named it, proclaiming--
America on the upswing, a rosy road to a two bedroom richer living--
before those pickpockets of trust were handcuffed and driven away in police vans,
claiming, of course, to be innocents being railroaded to jail.
Yet Optimist Freeways do exist--on ever map of the world,
well-paved tenth-of-a-mile tempting starts,
with convincing road signs pointing "this way to blue collar El Dorado,"
and then turning into bumpy gravel roads petering out into an anywhere Nevada desert,
where hopeful pilgrims both brash and wary are stranded in the sand,
at dead ends of bone-dry tumbleweeds, bristling cacti, and desiccated desecrated dreams.

Richard Fein was a finalist in The 2004 New York Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition.  A Chapbook of his poems was published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He has been published in many web and print journals such as Cordite, Cortland Review, Kind of a Hurricane Press, Reed, Southern Review, Roanoke Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Paris/atlantic, Canadian Dimension, Black Swan Review, Exquisite Corpse, Foliate Oak, Morpo Review, Ken*Again, Oregon East, Southern Humanities Review, Morpo, Skyline, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain, Aroostook Review, Compass Rose, Whiskey Island Review, Bad Penny Review, Constellations, The Kentucky Review, and many others.

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen

The Long Strokes of Oars Beating

In the ethnological section, threaded
within all weeping and laughter since
our world began are rivers made for
those who row in fog, in fog and mud,
rowing almost without noticing the
supreme repose cloaked in this
journey of life, the supreme embrace
of eternal emptiness all stars of light
travel through on their way home.

ayaz daryl nielsen, husband, father, veteran, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs), hospice nurse, editor of bear creek haiku (25+ years/120+ issues), homes include Lilliput Review, Jellyfish Whispers, Writing the Whirlwind, Shamrock, and (translates as joie de vivre).

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

from Ripples this Reflection

My wrist flicks.  Stone            skips                three
times before  
disappearing into black oblivion of water’s registry.
I make a mental note of its passing, its lack of need
for pretentious ceremony.  I wait a moment longer to see
if wind or wing will rise to offer eulogy,
but the world has chosen this moment
to hold its breath.  The eloquence of silence
stands as tombstone, resonating louder than lightning,

an audience rising in applause.

My Brain is Dead

and I am suffocating
on the smell of sympathy
lilies.  White as ghosts,
they stand in defiance to my own
breath, as if the rest of me has suddenly become
a coffin carrying the corpses of thought
into a purgatory of mindless motion,
an afterlife of light bulbs burnt out.

Toes in the Wind

Baby girl waits for greyhounds to emerge,
feet swinging over railing as she holds on
to supportive hands holding her.  She giggles
excitedly as the eight graceful gallopers are paraded
before the crowd, waves her arms in support
of her fast and furious friends.  She knows
nothing of protests or controversy of animals
raised to race as sport.  Her eight-month-old eyes
only see freedom found by four paws pacing four more,
running, streamline away from the sun.

A.J. Huffman has published nine solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  She also has two new full-length poetry collections forthcoming: Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press) and A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing).  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, haiku and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.