Thursday, November 12, 2015

Two Poems by Walter Ruhlmann


It felt like the sky would freeze,
a single sneeze would fracture it,
blue glass shatters and falls all over the place--
translucent debris.

Eavesdropping on the heavens, we feel doomed
when no one here can handle the hum
coming from above--though shallow and dim
yet implacable.

The shelter in the shadow of the mountains
resembles any homes, absolves the sins
characteristic of the people around here--
insatiable loons.

Obfuscating Windows

Fog and drizzle invade this moss covered, rocky land,
they smash against the glazing, the lining, all parts of
these obfuscated windows, hiding unfathomable affairs

The swollen self takes over anything else again,
it swells up like a lump full of greenish pus
mixed with blood, rotten hematocrits,
an empyema, until it bursts and ejactulates
its disgusting plasma all over the place,
like popping a pimple between two fingers,
messing the immaculate looking glass in the bathroom.

Everything comes back to liquid, to fluidity,
grease and pump:  a heart panting, ready to explode.
The ocean, the carnival, the ponds are far away though,
remote in time, aloof on maps, but still flooding your memories,
lava erupting from a giant crater, opening wide under your feet,
engulfing anything, especially the faith, or the remains of it rather.
Erupting like the sperm the leprechaun wanted lately.

Cub-wolf was not a game, not a pass-time, not even a hole,
a booby-trap and it would have made everything go astray,
discordant, destructive, suicidal, deadly--decorative in a way.

Walter Ruhlmann works as an English teacher, edits mgversion2>datura and runs mgv2>publishing.  His latest collections are The Loss through Flutter Press, Twelve Times Thirteen through Kind of a Hurricane Press, and Crossing Puddles through Robocup Press, 2015.  His blogs and

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

A Poem by Bobbi Sinha-Morey


At sixteen I must leave my
childhood behind as I press
my hand in red powder and
put my handprint on the great
palace wall, wrapped in my red
and gold wedding sari in haste
for my husband's funeral pyre
who died only four days ago.
Married at the age of fourteen,
I treasured the nights we shared
at our balcony window feeding
each other sweet crumbly ladoos
and sticky jilebis, the look in his
eyes.  Now he is gone there is no
deluding the first furtive flame
and no escape.  I must face my
delicate skin burnt to the core,
my beauty erased.  Today I've no
will to look up at the sky, no feelings
for the staring heavens.  Allah does
not care for the young; let him die
in perdition for me and all the other
women he's witnessed perish in
flames.  There is no honor in letting
the innocent die, only the fear of
death you see in their eyes.  Soon
my heart will be a bed of fire;
I think of my head in my mother's
lap before I die.

Bobbi Sinha-Morey is a poet living in the peaceful city of Brookings, Oregon.  Her poetry can be seen in places such as Pirene's Fountain, Bellowing Ark, Plainsongs, The Path, Poeming Pigeons, and others.  Her books of poetry White Tail, The Glass Swan, and others are available at and  Her website is located at

Monday, November 9, 2015

Three Poems by J.K. Durick


At some point the battery went dead
And it stopped, quarter to twelve now
It could have been midnight or noon
A clock like this one never says, just
Holds out its arms pointing to numbers
Like a type of crossing guard in charge
Of the time we spend, but now it's frozen
Forever fifteen minutes shy of twelve
It holds us in place, never sure noon or
Night, time has run out, stomped and
Starved, nowhere left to go, to work or
To meet someone, either way too early
Or late, it's a matter of time standing still
Short one double A battery, bullet sized
But more powerful, it stops us in our tracks
Powerless, a battery away from twelve
We sit and wait for the hour to finally strike.


It's that mid-point, centered, a non-tipping point
A safe place where the ends counter each other
And we step out like the Flying Wallendas, ready
To cross the day, without a net, or like one of those
Eastern European gymnasts strutting confidently
Along a beam, cameras and audience and medals
On the line; it's a careful place where all accounts
Square up and we reach equilibrium, are confident
Steady, ready to set out and be that mild mannered
Man or woman we always wanted to be, were
Always supposed to be; at first, it seems like learning
To ride a bicycle, learning to stay up, to stay steady,
Even after they let go and expect us to go on and on,
But we wobble and weave; after all, some of us learn
To balance and then there's some of us that never do.


After it blew itself out, the mood lightened
Brightened enough, like the light rain it left
To go outside and walk in the gentle rain

It left, a reminder of sorts, as we pick up
The branches and what's left of yesterday
Sometimes cause and effect works like this.

J.K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor.  His recent poems have appeared in Camel Saloon, Black Mirror, Poetry Pacific, Eye on Life Magazine, and Leaves of Ink.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Three Poems by Peter Dabbene


My father died while I read a book
about stores of knowledge preserved by monks;
I missed my call to holy orders.

The shards and remnants of a meteoric life
spread wide and disparate on its elliptical return to earth;
voice mails retained and videos converted, I fight entropy,
doomed as regathering scattered ashes.

The fragments fell, formed pools and lakes and oceans,
surface sheen skimmed and saved while memories,
weighted by substance, sank to unrecoverable depths.
His presence disappeared, absorbed into the firmament,
omnipresent and inseparable and irretrievable.


Hands catch, release invisible motes
Out of ether, her tremors summon sound
Commanding the unseen, pulling notes
higher, then firmly pushing down

Calming with an upturned palm,
she feints again with fey aplomb

Like Tai Chi, smooth, precise; like Parkinson's, violent, harrowing
Like seizing a passing sparrow, squeezing just enough to make it sing
Against a background hum, coaxing music from the air
These are invoked ancient sounds of fear, the future, and of prayer

Aged closer to those mysteries,
she has reached her peak resolve
and sheds her painful histories
as the gathered notes dissolve

Eyes shut tight, she frowns as the wordless chanting slows
and wrinkles pinch once-perfect skin as her fingers pinch the close

The Magicians

The Magicians I knew always prized
the trick itself, more concerned with good
technique than dressy presentation
or the flourish of a waving hand

The practical over the sublime

Through short careers in vaudeville and
later, thrilling kids at birthdays,
their preferred routine never changed--
extracting coins from children's ears

For years, they always made the mortgage

With inflation, magic faltered
(bills don't have the weight or shine)
quietly vanishing
more perfectly than
anything they

Peter Dabbene's poetry has been published in many literary journals, and collected in the photo book Optimism.  He has published the graphic novels Ark and Robin Hood, the story collections Prime Movements and Glossolalia, and a novel, Mister Dreyfus' Demons.  His latest books are Spamming the Spammers and More Spamming the Spammers.  His website is

Monday, November 2, 2015

A Poem by Dustin Pickering


"Time is a game
played beautifully
by children."

          -- Heraclitus, Fragment 79

Jazz of my soul, kindly direct me
to the street
where children play without bruising

their seasons strong.
Stag.  Glorious drifter, and let my heart
wreck the gloom.

I waited in the horror, bent by curious wings:
o heart, stop, death is love's wakening.
Stop, kill me, and let the sin grow stronger.

Alas!  I am dead.
Mourn me with the violence of the altar:
through me, seek to yearn.

Ideas flood my valleys; my anchorage
keeps the miller content.
Carefully choosing my words,
passion kills 'til I cry.

Lift me now in the dying shroud.
Kiss me as You wouldn't before.
The lyrical dance, o mysterious soul,
will hurt less now.

Together we have played someone else's game.
Why do the readers care
if we love, unaware that depths are pouring out?

Shivers, dense and determined, will release my ecstasy.
Fire, break the pact.
Come nearer, Sasha--
touch me, let's not forget.

Dustin Pickering is founder of Transcendent Zero Press, a poetry publishing press out of Houston, Texas.  He was featured at Public Poetry in 2013, and was a Special Guest Poet for Austin International Poetry Festival that same year.  He is published at Seltzer, Lost Coast Review, The Artistic Muse, the virgin Muse for Women anthology, Vagabonds, and Dead Snakes.  He was selected for the Texas Poetry Calendar 2016.  In his spare time,  he plays guitar and flirts with younger women.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Two Poems by Tina Pocha


Matins -- Anticipation
I cannot sleep
for knowing
you'll be here
I am rested
I am awake
The window's dark
But I am light
Soon the rooftops
will emerge
from shadows
but first the birds
as if they see
what eye cannot
perched atop
the eucalyptus

Lauds -- Preparation
I make the tea
from memory
hands moving
in prayer
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you
Then I sit
and watch
the east
turn blue
from black

Prime -- Welcome
Come inside
paint the walls
lemon chiffon
Touch gently
the moonflower
she does not
wish to wake
Meet the floor
the tabletops
my lover's eyes
stir beneath
your gaze

Terce -- Climax
Take this peach
Break its skin
warm it
in your mouth
Taste the sunglow,
the amber
down your chin
Smell the heat
rising up
through your feet
Listen for the bees
as they open
their humnals


These are the stories that I was told
The softest petal draws the bee; the sturdy stem doesn't.

These are the stories that I was told
Beautiful night is silent; hush stars, the sun must sing.

These are the stories that I was told
Look at the river.  She bends and sways on her way home.

These are the stories that I was told
Write only the poetry of God; He will bless you.

These are the stories that I was told
Salmon makes her way upstream; she lays her eggs and dies.

These are the stories that I was told
I want you to devour my school-girl inhibitions

Tina Pocha was born and raised in Bombay, India.  She is a scientist by training and a writer by avocation.  She currently works as an academic in the field of language and literacy, but in the world of poetry, she is (mostly) unpublished and unfinished and savoring the ride!  She currently resides in Southern California.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Three Poems by Simon Perchik

On the way up this darkness
must sense it's more wax
letting the varnish take forever

though you count how high
a second time--these selves
aren't restless enough, here

for the fire all wood is sent for
--in every room! caskets
stacked as if from behind

the wall would reach around
smelling from bark, roots
and the uncontrollable embrace

heating your cheek the way rain
returns to lower its face on the dirt
that never moves these boards

kept open for a dry rag
all night rubbing your  forehead
darker and darker, almost there.


From just dampness, nourishment
and rust seals the bolt
in place--the carriage

already there and nearby, it rains
though you take hold a single spoke
as if the enchanted palace

stopped moving--why is it
a parent favors the weak one
and the crib early on

strengthened with blankets, around
and around the way they dance
in fairy tales scented with midnights

with a gate half iron, half
this wrench, its gardens, ponds
no longer coming apart.


Between two fingers
you expect a knot, the string
is used to breaking its fall

the way her shadow
still opens the Earth
for a last look

follows your every move
--even with the sun
you wrap this small box

are carried off
by an icy stream
tighter and tighter, the cover

beginning to close, first
as snow, years later
over your lips already distances

and mountain peaks taking hold
though the mist inside
is not the water you drink

lets you say something
in secret, close to the ground
emptied out in the open.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.  His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled "Magic, Illusion and Other Realities" please visit his website at