Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Poem by Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll

I.  In June I Changed My Name 
It happened during my wedding, right at the very end,
    when I was being kissed. 
Then the two of us and our nine grandchildren
    clambered and scrambled
into the wagon and my son started the tractor,
    drove us by river and cove.
After eating cake we swam and sailed
    all sunny afternoon.
It’s so different this second time – different river, wagon, us.
II. Switchbacks
For our honeymoon we’re climbing a mountain—
    me with a pacemaker, him
arthritic knees.  It’s his first crack
    at this crest, my third,
each time lugging a different
    name.  At our trailhead
the forest is lovely, leafy.  But
    why didn’t we check
the forecast, memorize the maps, why did we choose
    this track of many stones?  Midway,
I’m thinking we’re drinking
    too much too quickly from our canteen; late,
we argue but cannot resolve:
    why is it all so steep?
III.  Precaution at the DMV
This is the third name I’ve driven
   and it feels
like I’m grinding my gears. 
   After the cake and tossing
of flowers, it only took a week
   for our first fight, “minor tiff”
his terminology, though I asked myself
   just what my name is anyway.
First time around I threw my birthname
   out without a second glance, rubbernecked
the new one like grass
   on the far side of a fence. 
This time maybe I should stow that old friend
   in the glove compartment—
keep it close
   just in case.
Wendy Elizabeth Ingersoll’s book Grace Only Follows won the 2010 National Federation of Press Women Contest and was a finalist for Drake University’s 2012 Emerging Writer Prize.  Her poems have appeared in Naugatuck River Review, Passager, Caesura, Controlled Burn, and received a Pushcart Prize nomination.  She’s a retired piano teacher.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Two Poems by Jonel Abellanosa

Metal madrigal for the masses,
Minute-by-minute maelstrom,
Engine croaking like alien nightingale,
Tooting from marketplace, plaza
To bus terminal, delivering the fat lady’s
Daily bread: soiled aprons, fruit, vegetable
Baskets, crabs, dried squid, towers
Of egg trays, daybreak truculence to her
Jobless partner, cellphone crazed helps. 
Seven of the itinerant’s assembled philomels  
Race from uptown, waiting sheds disgorging
The habitually tardy.  Ugly droning dissymmetry
As three students, a saleslady in apple-green
Uniform and a security guard climb in. 
Next driver in queue doesn’t have to yell
For passengers – four in the sidecar, one or two
Behind him on his creaking trike.  The bank’s
Loans officer offers 50 pesos for solo ride. 
Who hasn’t heard this cockcrow cacophony? 
Claustrophobic circuit of the drunk and the stoned. 
Free rides to the police station.  Fit in like sardines. 
Don’t open your umbrella.  Coins only, please. 
Passenger weight syncopate engine heavy metal music,
Tires skirting potholes en route to jeepneys
Like airy stomachs, the carless from bumpy ride
To bumpy ride.  When my turn comes
My heart will leap and sing.
Lucid Dream Fragment #3 with Julian Assange
The Australian with a new hairdo
On the balcony for free speech,
Holding a sheet of cadenced words,
His other hand guiding the symphony
In cheering hearts.  His villains are asleep,
Their twin pussies rioting from Sweden.
“Hand over the messenger,” the British said. 
The Ecuadoran juggles Milosz’s words: 
“Reluctantly, under unbearable duress and only
With the hope that good spirits, not evil ones,
Choose us for their instrument.  For our house
Is open, there are no keys in the doors.”
Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines.  His poetry is forthcoming in Anglican Theological Review, The Lyric, Ancient Paths, and has appeared in Windhover, PEN Peace Mindanao anthology, Star*Line, Liquid Imagination, Mobius Journal of Social Change, Inwood Indiana Press, Golden Lantern, Poetry Quarterly, New Verse News, Qarrtsiluni, Anak Sastra: Stories for Southeast Asia, Fox Chase Review, Burning Word, Barefoot Review, Red River Review, Philippines Free Press, Philippine Graphic.  He is working on his first poetry collection, Multiverse.

Friday, April 11, 2014

A Poem by Bill Jansen


One dachshund on its side
three remain standing by Washington Monument
which is being slowly pulled underground
by gap-toothed gophers.
That's what the cop wrote on the back
of my ticket.

A barely holding on bar in Sacramento.
Tonto heard the fundamental sound of a fender bender.

I left a quarter tip,
asked the bartender to remember me for ever
and ever and left.

A few modular days later I catch a ride into Eugene
where every one in the English Department
is barking and chasing a daffodil.

Leaned against a hard copy of Spring
aluminum ladders are smoking cigarettes
robins bring them like worms
pulled from the grave of some immortal fool.

Bill Jansen lives in Forest Grove, Oregon, less that 2 blocks from the gas station where he was born in 1946.  A poem, he has no memory of how it happened, said to be in queue to be published this year in Gap-toothed Madness.  Perhaps the title will down load anyway.  He also cannot explain how many other poems have appeared under his name in various ezines and journals.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Poem by Ben Rasnic

Urban Still Life

“A 23-year-old female was shot in the head tonight outside
of a flower and card shop. She died a short time later.”
Splashes of rain
tattoo neon pools
of pitted concrete.
Pulse of random gunfire
startles the quiet,
flashes revolving sirens
in wreathes
of splattered crimson
and shattered glass.
The 10 o’clock News
punctuates the day’s
events—violent and pointless;

irreconcilable episodes
between unbearable

Ben Rasnic is a native of Jonesville, a small rural town in Southwest Virginia with a population <1000.  A Pushcart Prize nominee in 2011, Rasnic still considers as his greatest literary achievement, electing to publish two short poems by Yusef Komunyakaa while serving as editor of his college literary magazine, Jimson Weed, in 1978—16 years before Komunyakaa received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  He is the author of two volumes of poetry, “Artifacts and Legends” (2012) and “Puppet” (2013), both available on Ben currently resides in Bowie, Maryland.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Three Poems by Alan Catlin

Blue Nudes

Not melting as stop watches do
in desert heat but as bodies do
as seen through half-filled
glasses; white wine and colored
water, attenuated edges aglow in
focused light, writhing as if in
anticipatory pain or pleasure;
these revelations, this nakedness
so dangerous they never touch.

Dawn on the Fringes: A Still Life with Piano
The piano is an emblem
suggesting creatures from
another world, metempsychoses
and partial hallucination, real
time measured by glowing busts
of Lenin rising from the keyboard
like poison mushrooms, death watch
beetles, spiders with hourglasses
painted on their carapaces; 
decaying body of a dead ass laid
to rest beneath the propped up lid
of a baby grand; the apotheosis
of Homer or the nostalgia of cannibals?
For the Angel Who Announces the End of Time
This could be the world after
End Time: the sea dissolved in
sunlight, hard baked into deserts,
exposed shells thick as colored glass
nothing is reflected in, the steel
plated arch to nowhere sightless
birds perched upon flexing their
bloated wings as if they were
bladders of sulfured tea. Once
punctured, a killing rain is released,
slowly descending like some primordial
ooze, challenging the laws of gravity,
on to the unprotected heads of those
lost and wandering below, sun struck
and amazed at the chemical hues,
sunsets that expand the view beyond
the limits of conventional sight.
Alan Catlin has been been publishing since the seventies earning him the  title Venerable Bard, not toe be confused with the Venerable Bede, an entirely different kind of writer.  He has published a number of chapbooks and full length book including a chapbook of surreal poems illustrated by collage artist Michael Shores titled, “The Insomniac’s Gift”, which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Book Award.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Two Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

Dreams and Bed Covers

When we wake
I'll need your help
to build a wooden structure
around our hearts.


bad teeth and the soft lure of sand

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published.  His latest works, Firestorm:  A Rendering of Torah ( (Camel Saloon Books on Blogs) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside and other poems ( (Barometric Pressures -- A Kind of a Hurricane Press).  His work has appeared in The Cafe Review, American Letters and Commentary, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others.  In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011:  He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two Poems by Ken L. Jones

For the Duchess of Stardust

Why must I store all that I remember in refrigerators
While I still dream shaking like a harp?
Until I wind up weeping Silent Night every Christmas
And New Year's Ever finds me making resolutions in the dark
And there are ashes of a dirge
In all these moaned memories
A total eclipse of my nightmare's surf
Whose neon has arrived far too late
And now there's nothing left
Just lonely cliffs made of yard sale Teletubbies
Too sad to comprehend or to try to explain
And a television that tells me to get my ass to Mars
And I will do it because I'm aging and damaged
And still devouring old comic books
From the last bloodsucker century that was ago
And what is all this about anyway?
As I listen to Bob Dylan sing Lady Lady Lay
Nothing lasts forever not even the identity of my first kiss
That was given to me by what's her name way back
Before I could ever take up pen and write down poems such as this.

A Walk Through a Thousand Kinds of Birds

There is wood smoke in the frost that creeps across this afternoon
And in the shadow of every word that trampolines off
Of the devoured blacktop is a silhouette of light
As askew I awaken and go down red stairs that lead me to a magic show
Where music only others can hear turns the street
In front of my house into a snifter of brandy
That smells like the nitrous oxide of Gertrude Stein and it
Briefly dismounts the transience upon which we all ride
And have long ridden since stillborn childhood first slumbered drunk in the park
And awoke to find itself an old white bearded Walt Whitman
Watching the rain from a tavern in the dark

Ken L. Jones has written everything from Donald Duck comic books to dialogue for the Freddy Krueger movies for the past thirty plus years. In the last three years he has gained great notice for his vast publication of horror poetry which has appeared in many anthology books, blogs, magazines and websites and especially in his first solo book of poetry Bad Harvest and Other poems.  He is also publishing recently in the many fine anthology poetry books that Kind of a Hurricane Press is putting out.