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. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Two Poems by Kushal Poddar

Am I Awake

During winter the shadows
awaken me.  I gasp, seek
the faithful glass holding fluid.
Outside some birds fly away
as if once they leave we'll have
a birdless world, inherit
numerous nests, cold, brittle.
Then I seek you and find you.
Why do I feel disheartened?
Do I want to stay alone
and crave for warmth, toil over
finding what I want and know,
I have right here?  I swing the shawl
around my shoulders and stand
not doing a thing, not
gathering my body and hauling
it back to sleep.

A Plumule On Water

Near the root, stem,
it remains stirred,
disheveled and
cockled from birth,
fringes wobbling
to directions
it will never
endeavor.  Near
the end the tuft
mocks and old sword
or a wick weakened
in wind and yet
holding the shape.
It twirls and falls
on the water.
Almost nothing
changes- the still
life of the things
wider than one life,
sad yolk of dusk
spreading away
into end of hues,
the obsessed eyes
looking these from
somewhere beyond,
a sudden faith
calling me to stroll
on the water
until I reach
the mid-river
and sink in belief.

A native of Kolkata, India, Kushal Poddar (1977-) writes poetry, scripts and prose and is published world wide.  He authored "All Our Fictional Dreams," published in several anthologies in the Continent and in America.  The forthcoming book is "A Place for Your Ghost Animals." Find more at

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Poem by Cristine A. Gruber


The structure remains,
weathered and beaten,
cracked at the base,
chipped around the edges.

The tour guide is vigilant,
including all pertinent
information, how many
were murdered, where the

bodies were buried.
Most in the group
assume he's embellishing,
study his deadpan face,

try to find a wry smile
in the darkened eyes.  It
doesn't matter whether
he's exaggerating or not.

Stale sweat stains
the molten windows;
beams and boards
still smell of blood.

Cristine A. Gruber has had worked featured in numerous magazines, including:  North American Review, Writer's Digest, Writers' Journal, Ascent Aspirations, California Quarterly, Dead Snakes Online Journal, The Endicott Review, Garbanzo Literary Journal, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Kind of a Hurricane Press:  Something's Brewing Anthology, Miller's Pond Poetry Magazine, The Penwood Review, Poem, Thema, The Tule Review, and Westward Quarterly.  Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Poems by J.J. Campbell

plan accordingly

my spirit is
starting to wilt
under all this

and i know
damn well i'm
the cliff

a sane man
would gather

take account of
the situation and
plan accordingly

the joy of not
being sane is i
get to actually

i suppose time
will tell

a spree of some kind

i never trust anyone
who whistles a happy
tune in a graveyard

i never seek advice
from anyone who
hasn't been fucked
over at some point
in their lives

the clueless and the
perfect are absolutely
useless to this world

not saying someone
should go on a spree
of some kind

but i can't imagine
it would hurt things
as they currently are

the crazy life

another empty

yet another
where you
left your keys

the crazy life

although i don't
think getting
drunk at your
parent's house
on scrabble night
counts as a night
that could be
dared to be
called epic

J.J. Campbell (1976-?) lives and writes on a farm in Ohio.  He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon, Pink Litter, Jellyfish Whispers, and Fuck Art, Let's Dance. His most recent book, Sofisticated White Trash (Interior Noise Press) is available wherever you happen to buy books these days.  You can find him most days on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights (