Friday, May 25, 2018

Three Poems by Karla Linn Merrifield

From Underground

My self-identity mashed
like rutabaga pulp
in the serving bowl of being.

I spoon globs of once-was lumps
and will-be puree onto my daily
plate of hours, sample

a tramp vamping, tramping, trampolining
the globe between intellect and impulse
wither I go goes the root vegetable

as alter ego.

Pi Day 2018

          in memoriam Stephen Hawking

subauroral ion drift
subauroral ion drift
subauroral ion drift

ion rivers
hot dense rivers flow
in streams of charged particles
strewing narrow ribbons of light

named proton arc
named Aurorasaurus
named an unusual borealis artifact:
Steve--of colorful shimmer
whose mysterious heart
glows purple
spouts unstable greens

something new in our skies


Somebody said
you don't have to forgive everything

Somebody else said
you is an act of resistance

another Somebody said
linearity is always a problem

Somebody or other said
the form forms us

some Somebody said
move beyond facts       commune with an object

the last Somebody said to them all
I'm not supposed to be here    but I am

Karla Linn Merryfield, a nine-time Pushcart Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, has had 600+ poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies.  She has 12 books to her credit, the newest of which is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry.  Forthcoming this fall is Psyche's Scroll, a full-length poem, published by The Poetry Box Selects.  She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye.  Visit her blog, Vagabond Poe Redux, at  Google her name to learn more; Tweet @LinnMerrifield; https:/

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Two Poems by Robert Halleck

Rental Dog

The beach house had ordinary views
of the sea, dunes, and sea oats.  Inside

were sandy floors, blankets that smelled
funny, and the usual pots of dead Geraniums.

The old New Yorkers had parts 1&3
of a 3 part John McPhee series.

There was rain on planned beach
days and always the sound of waves.

There was a dog.

Every morning brought the
Shepherd mix they called Pismo.

His giant tail swept the sand
and grit from the screened porch

as he begged for leftovers
and kibble from WaWa.

Than a short nap, a bark
at the door and gone.

The Box

My wife found it in the attic
after her father's funeral.

A dusty, ribbon-tied box
stored and forgotten.

She held a corsage pressed
in a dance card from a prom

as she read a love note scrawled
by the drunken thief of her virginity.

Robert Halleck is a retired banker living in Del Mar, California with his muse Della Janis.  He has been writing poetry for over 50 years and has published three collections of his work.  He has appeared in a number of Kind of a Hurricane Press publications.  His recent work has appeared or will appear in The San Diego Poetry Annual, The Patterson Review, Third Wednesday, Chiron, Halcyon Days, and Rusty Truck.  He has a weakness for open mics and loves to race Thor, his old but sturdy Porsche.  He will be attending Kenyon College's summer program for the second year during the July session.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Three Poems by JD DeHart

Confessions of the Ice Beast

It's tough being
on the outs with the whole
world, but doable.

It's even tougher being
a creature of ice
because all eventually melts.

Social media and surface
relationships with past lives
offer little solace.

A striking resemblance to
seasonal claymation characters
is the only saving grace.

One has to get through the
holidays somehow, after all.


Taking the uniqueness
of the universe, language
racks on descriptors
in a series of watered down

I saw the walls
on the faces of the young
when they encountered
something new, long
before any election.

Long before any demogogue
or pundit returned
to options for exclusion.
We are good at small
and even large spaces
to provide distance.

From the Bone

From the bone
of one person, another,
from an organic seed,
a universe.

One word spirals
into a sea we call
a novel, one kiss
slaps onto another
like sloppy building
blocks.  Soon, there's
an emotion.

One step multiples
into a plan we try to
work out in minds
bleary with midnight.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He publishes book reviews at

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Three Poems by Jo Simons


A busy airport, microcosm of our country,
reveals who we are.

The sea of faces, all mixed together
is a beautiful multi-layered work of art.

Our creator, whoever she is,
has a sense of humor with artistic flair.

She wants her "palette" filled with many shades
representing all corners of her earth.

Blacks and browns, sprinkled with hints of yellows and reds
contrast gratefully with the colorless ones that we call white.

Each "tint" brings with it a rich and different experience
that we can absorb, research and celebrate.

How uninteresting our lives would be without the uniqueness
of other-colored people blending and bringing new hues into us.

We are a many-faceted puzzle of blessed cultural diverseness;
music, food, dance, song and art from far and wide.

How tragically misguided, the thought to make America great (white) again.
We're just learning how love really works!

Acceptance, inclusion, waltzing out of our tired comfort zone.
America, you're beautiful just the way you are.

Let's not fuck it up.

Breaking Fast

toss flavorful words together--
scramble them

let them sniff each other--
get familiar

simmer over a low flame
until the aroma wafts

the hungry reader
who eats poetry
for breakfast.

Love Is


it can also


love is best

into it

Jo Simons is a piano and Music Together teacher in Madison, WI.  She is also a first-time author of a biography of her musical parents, My Father Wakes Up Laughing.  She started writing poetry in 2011 when her 94-year-old father announced his life was over.  He's still here and the oldest orchestra conductor in the world.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Three Poems by Michael Keshigian


They did what they desired,
pursued a dream until it evaporated,
relinquishing then
to the arduous commerce of acquisition,
allowing sorted perspectives
and temperaments of trophy representations
to infiltrate an idyllic affection
that long ago dwindled
behind the guise of co-existence.
And now, they are here,
at a table of ruin,
years of routine impossible to amend.
Dinner is served,
the baked salmon drowns
in the clear glass lake of the plate,
the wine's bouquet has wilted.
It has been decided,
the present has its promise,
it yields a blessing,
no expectation, no loss,
yet a place to go,
vague reasons to remain.
Creature comforts have
no hearts to break.

Home Again

Abandoned house, are there
only spiders and rodents
residing amid your rooms?
I see my distorted image
upon the fogged glass
of the old storm door,
and feel like a prowler,
appraising the value of items
upon your walls
or tucked in your corners,
when, in truth, I seek
to rekindle precious memories
and reconstruct pictures
the recent days
have begun to obscure,
events the rain of years
are washing away,
trickling indiscernibly
through the pitted window
of my mind's eye
as I rap my fist
against the glass,
hoping the ghosts will answer.

Hoarding Life

His home was full of collectibles,
paintings, books, crafts,
possessing various degrees
of monetary worth and desirability,
yet what he cherished most
were items of menial worth
but considerable sentimentality,
items that pulled him back in time,
a large coffee can
he painted green
for his three-year-old son gathering rocks,
elementary songbooks,
a dilapidated grandfather's rocking chair,
springs so rusty
they would snap if weighted upon,
the old Doberman's chew toy,
his father's tools.
All buildup
from previous generations
he hopes his children
will have the courage to discard
as he did, devoid of thought,
with his mother-in-law's mementos
when his wife
was lost in remembrance,
grasping old photographs
and birthday cards
she once sent with their children's
infant signatures attached.

Michael Keshigian, from New Hampshire, had his twelfth poetry collection, Into the Light, released in April 2017 by Flutter Press.  He has been published in numerous national and international journals including Oyez Review, Red River Review, Sierra Nevada College Review, Oklahoma Review, Chiron Review and has appeared as feature writer in over a twenty publications with 6 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best of the Net nominations.  (

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

A Poem by Edgar Davis

That is

Love her not for her flesh-
but for her spirit.
Protect and preserve
her soul,
keep her in line
to receive the
grace of promises . . .

The cat that is.

Edgar Davis is a semi retired bloak who lives happily with his wife in Boise, ID.  His work has appeared in numerous online publications to include Leaves of Ink, Gold Dust, Poydras Review, Scarlet Leaf Review, The Pennwood Review and other websites.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Three Poems by John Grey

Perfect Guy

He seemed like the perfect guy
but then he got angry over nothing,
slapped you across the face,
damn near broke your jaw.
He said sorry a thousand time.
He didn't know what came over him.

He bought you a cute little puppy
and then shot it with a BB gun.
He asked for your forgiveness,
blamed in on his medication.

So attentive, so caring,
but he stole the money
out of your dresser drawer,
lost it at the track.
He claimed a gambling addiction.
And he agreed with you
that it needed taking care of.

And then he met someone else
and walked out of your life.
His apology arrived via his voice
on your answering machine.
He closed it out by saying
that you were much too good for him.

He was the perfect guy all right.
To be who ho was,
he couldn't have done better.

No More Chance

Streets are empty
but for empty people.
Weather's cold.
None of them need to be
formally introduced
to the chill in the air.
It's winter everywhere
but it's more than winter here.
I lift my head, risk a glance.
Their stares are as icy as the river.

Cop car rolls by.
So how much futility
do you need to feel
before it's a crime?
And what about the likes of me
who's just passing through?
Does sympathy give me a pass
or get me arrested?

There's people out here
who've forgotten their own narrative.
They've got nothing
they can put their signature to.
They go by the names
that other people give them.
Their memories are tied up
in some long-running family court.

I don't need reminding
that the world is broken.
But I get the picture anyhow.
It's rough-haired, red-eyed
and huddled in a ragged coat
handed down from a trashcan.
I leave them some of my uselessness
to go with their hopelessness.
Maybe they can appreciate it.
I don't.

Congratulations, Your Village is Next

villagers trudging through tall grass--
mosquitoes gather
always faceless
slither like the wind

that blows this way
detailed with carcasses
and their kind--
dirty deeds and dirty water

soldiers on their way,
chest high in swamp
dragging artillery
aiming for higher ground

mortar and shell--
the world is old enough
corrupt enough
for dissolution

villagers halfway up a hill
strain their eyes to see
where the next few hours
are coming from

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident, recently published in Examined Life Journal, Studio One and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Leading Edge, Poetry East and Midwest Quarterly.