Monday, December 30, 2013

A Poem by Bianca Davies-Mears

I Watch the Crows' Breath Fly Across Purple Ink Stained Sky

Jack Frost has kissed your cheeks and although I am a bit
jealous, I wish he'd do it a hundred more time because
I've never seen you look so beautiful.

There's a pressure on my chest and my breath is short,
but refreshing.

And though I would love to deny this familiar feeling,
seasons change, and now the snow is falling for you

Just like you,

It's cold, but beautiful.

Bianca Davies-Mears is a junior English Educator major at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois.  She hopes to become a high school English teacher and encourage more creative writing in her future students.  She spends her free time watching TV, reading books, and listening to music because she loves to take journeys through many different imaginary worlds.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Three Poems by Weldon Sandusky

I worked twenty years
At night, none the less.
A gas station.
A niteman. A cashier.
Coffee, Cigarettes,
Drive-offs, robbery.
Sleet, ice and snow.
I loved it. Free to laugh.
Free to cry. I could jump up and down.
I could yell.
Morning would roll around
My relief would show.
I’d go.
Coming again. Coming Again.
With managers who were thieves
And people all in a hurry.
“I can’t start my car. Would you call me a cab?”
Thank you, Come Again.
“I’ve lost my keys. Call the police!”
Thank you, Come Again
A neon world
Red, White and Blue.
A dark place
The price sticking high in the night.
Years flew by
When 11:00 AM one day
Then a card saying:
Thank you.
Get well. Come again.

1515 13th Street
When my father died
We moved to the Hill Country.
And when my aunt died
We moved to Lubbock.
Blue Northern from the Panhandle
Blinding dust storms out of the West.
My mother’s other sister
Was our keeper and provider and we
Were not unlike prisoners.
Me in high school.
My mother sick in bed.
The house was a two-story red brick
Rooming house with a Church of Christ
Behind and a funeral home cater-corner.
My aunt kept her deceased husband’s
Bible in a closet that like a refrigerator
Gave me a place to go
And look as though
There’d be something to see
Or someone I could maybe talk to.
Desperation leads me to
A new car make-ready. My wife
Sells them. I prep them.
Careful to vacuum, shine and chamois.
I’m in the basement.
The car dealership above.
Used Cars is across the street.
I deliver the cars with a fresh
Paper floor mat.
Courteous and proper.
Failure has greeted me
Like an cold friend
Hand outstretched and A Big Smile.
Divorce turns on a pinhead.
I sip coffee in the café
And try to appear to be a
College Graduate hopelessly empty
And wishful, however.
People laugh behind my back.
I come to suspect
They “test drive” my wife
Then sadistically bring the car in
For a good vacuum and a
Run through the car wash.
One day I find a spot
On the rear seat
And begin to whimper then cry.
I go home
And get the bus
To psychiatric emergency
At the County Hospital.
Weldon graduated from Texas Tech University in 1968-a B.A. in English. He then got an M.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree (J.D. l975) from the same school. Divorce followed as did commitment to , first, the private psychiatric hospital, Timberlawn, in Dallas, and , later, the State Mental Asylum in Terrell , Texas. Mr. Sandusky petitioned for habeas corpus claiming a conspiracy to unlawfully commit him existed in violation of his constitutional rights.  Upon release, Weldon got a job at Exxon/Mobil where he worked twenty years as a cashier-nightman. During August, 2005he underwent open heart surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital in Dallas and have since been declared totally disabled. He has coronary heart disease.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Poem by Austin McCarron

The Age of Aquarius

I sit by the grave of water,
drunker than fire,
burning my crops of sea.

I live on rain, with my skin
of dry diseases,
struggling with the inscription
on my map of death.

The sun drinks of my emptiness,
on my tongue of dry wells.
At night stars of dead companions
me like birds at the summit of lakes.

Austin's most recent work appeared in Robin Hood Anthology, Message in a Bottle, Decanto and others.  Star sign Aquarius.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Poem by Daniel N. Flanagan

Drive Home

&  what if our lives are nothing but a figment
Of someone else's imagination
Our individual lives are all another individual's dream

Everyone thinks they are unique though
Esoteric though

I wrote this at a red traffic light
& it turned green & the sports car honked at me
With fury!
He has yet to realize he is not real.

I drove past picketers with political picket signs
& they were passionate about a dream
& so I honked at them
Gave a thumbs up to support another man's dream

We are all dreaming
But not all of us are dreamers.

Daniel N. Flanagan is a Worcester, MA native; currently writing a novella, while taking a year off from college. His most recent short story, "Daddy's Girl", has been published in The Commonline Journal. He has two stories scheduled for publication in January '14, and one for February '14; "Dylan; & The Hooker Formerly Known As Tiffany" has been accepted by Beyond Imagination, "Bathroom Tale: 2" will appear in Danse Macabre du Jour and "To Paul, With Love" will be published in Yellow Mama. He has previously been featured in the publishing blog, Aberration Labyrinth for his poem "Writer". He also has three poems in Framingham State University's literary magazine The Onyx (Spring '12). Check him out at and follow him @DanielNFlanagan.

Friday, December 20, 2013

A Poem by Mantz Yorke

Black Hole
That was the moment of crushing,
lying sleepless in the cold
hour before dawn, afraid to ask
and yet not ask: you, curled
from my questioning touch,
Light bursting inward,
That was the beginning of it.
Now the shrivelling
winds rip
the last leaves from the trees, and frosts blacken
the dahlias in our garden: I see
the world engraved
with cold, and still
no snow to soften the ice-keen
talons of the merciless hawk.
And what of you, Orion,
stretched out across this wintry sky?
Is not your virility
a mere illusion?
Has not the sword
deep in your gut?
Like you, I am silent.
Somewhere in your frame,
the astronomers tell us,
atoms are falling
beyond the reach of comprehension,
their radiance hovering,
imprisoned by implosion.
This dark space is all that binds us.

I await new constellations:
will you, Leo,
in slow procession,
help me bear the pall
of Orion's springtime burial?
I circle this horizon, accelerating
inward, yet centrifugal:
a temporary equilibrium, this balance
point of crisis, this moment
when the wavering will
must make its choice -
or extinction.
Mantz Yorke is a former teacher living in Manchester, England.  His work has appeared in the series 'Best of Manchester Poets' and in various publications, including the anthology 'Of Sun and Sand'.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Poem by Theresa A. Cancro

The Mermaids Won't Tell

The mermaids won't tell
of the myriad dreams drifting out to sea
that you burnished with soft youth,
then abandoned once caustic questions posed
by grey-haired mere-men of dry bones, petrified ears
and glass houses filled your head.

Nightingales in oak trees won't retrieve
the secrets stuffed in knots on hot
summer nights, chock full of adventure,
blisters and sweet laughter, open to the constellations
granting all creatures the right of passage
when they listen, heed full passion.

Gnashing bears won't stop, stalk past you today,
'though in old guise they sniffed, relished
your air, stroked hard-packed earth where
bare feet hammered before diving
among ghee pools, faces slathered in voracious skies
marling innocence and carnal desire.

I would give you my broken basket filled with icons,
a reliquary of love pilgrims who never lost their aim,
but the maze you desire hobbles, blinds you --
you'll never reach the center
to find your way

Theresa A. Cancro (Wilmington, Delaware, USA) writes poetry and fiction.  Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming on several online sites and in print, including Three Line Poetry, Dead Snakes, Napalm and Novocain, Jellyfish Whispers,  Stormcloud Poets Anthology, A Handful of Stones, and A Hundred Gourds.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Two Poems by Dr. Smita Sriwastav

She wore a marigold in her hair

She wore a marigold in her hair
-the country bumpkin amongst flowers
its artless, summery grin
trying to add a sparkle
to her fickle pansy smiles.

Once she'd worn orchids
braided in those silken depths
in exotic swirls of perfumed poetry,
when herself a lyrical sigh gazing at life
with wide almond-eyed naiveté.

She is a fistful of words
that she sings in fractured lines,
her croon a stilted echo of the obsolete
its fragments glued by self-concocted phrases~
just to hear vestigial vocal cords
croak out strings of hollowed syllables.

Her existence bracketed between
grocery lists and petty dinner table woes,
whistled urgency of cooked meals
the only noise bursting into her daydreams,
she whispers comforting words
to herself just to fill the emptiness
that yawns betwixt
clothesline trysts in the sunshine
and sleepy lullabies crooned
to the howling crib at midnight,
while her fragile sleep is
oft lulled by snored indifference.

Love is like wallpaper
carefully chosen and then just existing~
a dried rose once treasured
within sepia pages of mottled reverie.

It is revived at times in echoed smiles
or a softly whispered peck on eroded cheeks-
a firefly kissing fate-lines on palm
before twilight loses
its transient grasp on acrylics
and night intervenes...

She murmured her angst to the silence…

Sorrow: found herself
a fistful of metaphors in ~ tempest smudged skies,
a deer in deserts chasing mirages,
a bruise staining an ache,
colors erased by twilight’s washcloth,
rain-withered rosebuds,
a festering cry of barren womb,
vacant eyes of orphaned innocence,
autumnal penury of deciduas,
tarnished December sunshine.

Sorrow: is the season
~ a lingering shadow; a fragile sigh
between russet autumn
and laughter of a summer cascade.
The murmur of a dream losing itself
in concentric ambiguities
of onion-skin slumber.
Sorrow: a whisper between
flimsy winter mists, its
gloomy syllables voiced by snowflakes,
falls in commissure between night and dawn
when even stars have dozed off
and the moon is fading away.

Sorrow : the grit left after joy slips away;
the sigh gasped when helium balloon
of transient bliss escapes~
a floating bubble bursting into soapy sprinkles—
just another face
of emptiness, loneliness, longing…

Dr. Smita Sriwastav is an M.B.B.S. doctor with a passion for poetry and literature.  She has always expressed her innermost thoughts and sentiments through the medium of poetry. A feeling of inner tranquility and bliss captures her soul whenever she pens her verse. Nature has been the most inspiring force in molding the shape of her writings. She has published two books and has published poems in journals like the Rusty Nail ( Rule of Survival)and Contemporary Literary Review India (spring lingers),four and twenty, Paradise Review, Literary Juice, Blast Furnace and many more and one of her poems “Unsaid Goodbyes” was published in an anthology called ‘Inspired by Tagore’ published by Sampad and British Council. She has written poetry all her life and aims to do so forever.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Empty Branch Trees
I am the purchaser of your life,
I walk in wild wind in late fall-
dream sweet, dream often,
empty branch trees and leaves
look for you there.
But you are an isolationist,
baron, desolate, stark naked
tan buttocks touching shrine
on a half moon night.
You are worn like moth wings,
infected flannel
with all ex-lovers
coming out of the covers and sheets
various men you have dated for over 30 years-
men that now are a dash, some dead in time.
Sweet body builder,
alpha female your evaluation
of self-goes up, then down,
yoyo clumsy, temperature,
verbal disbursements
inconsistent with morning
sunrise and sets.
You orchestrate your life
tossing dice in dark
alleyways on south side
Chicago predawn streets.
Of the wings I displayed
for you, doves speaking
expressions in time for you,
wings beat in lost melodies-
gone for all I account for,
nest to ruins,
egg to shell,
the love once displayed for you-
crow wings beat, blind my hindsight vision out.
Empty branches, memories gone,
highway emptied to hell.
MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Itasca, IL. poet.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 26 countries, he edits 7 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 pages book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 69 poetry videos on YouTube.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Poem by Changming Yuan

Directory of Destinies
            -Monday’s child is fair of face
Beginning of endless beginnings
When we start running between
Sun shine and electric light, caring
No more about the moon on moon’s day 
            -Tuesday’s child is full of grace
Under Tiw’s rule, every law is
Established to stage war upon
The unlucky, who keep setting
Fires to avoid miss fortunes
            -Wednesday’s child is full of woe
Right in the middle of laboring
Even god of mercury turns green
As it persists in fasting
Far beyond the hump
            -Thursday’s child has far to go
God of thunder, man of wonder
We will continue despite hunger
Until we cannot go any farther
Or uphold our spirits together
            -Friday’s child is loving and giving
POETS day, TGIF, Day of Venus
Unlucky for those trying to catch
A few fish in the open sea, but lucky 
For whoever is swimming ashore
            -Saturday’s child works hard for a living
Though confined to their earthy coffins
All vampires are eager to go hunting
Both within the nightmares of mad dogs
And outside the shrinking orbit of Saturn
            - The child that is born on the Sabbath day is bonny and blithe, and good and gay.
East or west
All for a rest
When wanderers doze off in the sky
Meditators wake up to a distant cry
Changming Yuan, 5-time Pushcart nominee and author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Landscaping (2013), grew up in rural China and currently works as an English tutor in Vancouver, where he co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan (Poetry subs welcome at Recently interviewed by PANK, Yuan has poetry appear in Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Exquisite Corpse, London Magazine, Threepenny Review and 739 others across 28 countries. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Poem by Cherise Wyneken

Reading the Signs

Ancients watched the night stars
spill from the sky
and wondered,
what changes do the gods divine?
“We’ll wean him
off the respirator –
less oxygen each day,”
the doctor says,
I watch him now, plugged into
machines, gasping for his life,
and wonder,
am I the one being weaned?
Cherise Wyneken’s individual articles, stories, and poems have appeared in a variety of publications, two full collections of her poetry, two chapbooks of her poems, a spiritual memoir, a novel, a children’s book, and a children’s audiocassette, plus her latest book, “STIR-FRIED MEMORIES,” stories about her life.   Cherise has also been writing a poetry column for the Oakland Examiner’s online issue at: and was nominated for the 2013 Poetry Pushcart Prize.

Monday, December 9, 2013

A Poem by Kristina England


Girl says she does not give a doodle
about sun, moon, or hemisphere.
Girl holds stuffed puppy dog, will not let go
as much as boy tries to coax her.
When pressed, she pauses, too thoughtful
for her age, says nothing could make monsters
as scary as parents, not even some zodiac
with symbols like fish or scorpions.
Little boy frowns, looks around corner.
Big feet stomp back and forth.
Man packs bags, woman paints nails.
It's the same old song and dance.
He turns to his sis-sis and whispers:
"They're the reason I need to believe."

Kristina England is a Virgo residing in Worcester, Massachusetts. Her poetry and fiction is published or forthcoming in Extract(s), Gargoyle, New Verse News, The Story Shack, The Quotable, Tipton Poetry Journal, and other magazines

Friday, December 6, 2013

A Poem by H. Edgar Hix


A kiss. Another.
A parting of cloth.
A parting of flesh.
Am I a Libra now?

H. Edgar Hix is a Virgo who lives in Minnesota, a long way away from his birthing nest in Oklahoma. He and his wife, Julie, are the neighborhood crazy cat lady with seven cats and one little bichon who holds his own with the rest. Hix has been publishing poetry for over 40 years.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Poem by R.K. Singh

Golden Reward
With sudden twists and turns
popping up each new day
life still awaits intrigues
through meandering pathways
I search the gold light
the rising Capricorn
held for a Sunday child
the labyrinths are dark
and scary but I know
the way in is the way out
I can't trip along the way
like others in blind alleys
the guardian angel 
leads me to golden reward
Ram Krishna Singh, born 31 Dec 1950 and a Capricornian Indian English poet, has been writing for over three decades. He has 14 volumes of poetry to his credit, including Sense and Silence: Collected Poems (2010) and New and Selected Poems Haiku and Tanka (2012). He teaches English language skills to students of earth and mineral sciences at Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, India. web:

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Poem by Ahab Hamza

Archers Lament
This isn't a night to stop
Moonlight, a shining sky
Points to a weeping heaven,
Those silver kisses falling
Soothe the earth like raindrops
And not a cloud to be seen,
Those grumpy old women
Frowning themselves to sleep
Evil eyes aglow, I couldn't care 
From within me, anything
Comes. From the flame
I fly, lovingly dazed
Your grace, scars exquisite
Beyond nature. They sing
To me and I've answered
The sweetest pain upon your back
Draws me inexplicably, stupidly
A pursuit tortuous, gratifying
Here we'll sit by the fire
My soul to rest, your heart to 
Upon thwarting death again
The banal forgotten
Worn out, my spirit would sleep
And yet I wouldn't change a thing
Promise us misery and adventure
Hold me and I'll kiss you always
Worship the altar of your angel's 
Ahab Hamza is a university student born in Birkenhead on 27th November 1993. He has been featured in The Recusant's The Robin Hood Book anthology, Forward Poetry's Animal Antics anthology of 2012 and the spring 2012 issue of Inclement Magazine. He was also short listed for the 2012 erbacce prize for poetry

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Two Poems by Colin Dodds

The Patron Saint of Transitions

The toothless man in a cowboy hat
collects the bottles off the tables.

“I’m tired kids,
I woke up before you were born,” he says.

He’ll tell you about when the year had 360 days.

The bartenders give him soda and quarters
for the pool table.

He gets an ideal spot to wait
for his luck to change.

Scary Silent Prayer

Above us patrons, lost in our devotions
to the blather, the stunt and the oily coast, 
a mood stitches the horizon down.

It is not dramatic, one more failure.

But it takes a thousand failures
to make a person, and a few billion people
to make us feel like this.

And god all muddy, here we are.

“What I do to entertain myself
is just that, what I do.
But all the while,
what I’ve really had in mind was…”
someone croons into the space
between jukebox songs.

Fraud our fodder,
give me something to say
to the man on my left, the woman by the door
and the bartender before me.

Anything except the scary silent prayer
that becomes the floors and doors
of this room.

Colin Dodds grew up in Massachusetts and completed his education in New York City.  He's the author of several novels, including The Last Bad Job, which the late Norman Mailer touted as showing "something that very few writers have; a species of inner talent that owes very little to other people."  Dodds' screenplay, Refreshment -- A Tragedy, was named a semi-finalist in 2010 American Zoetrope Contest.  His poetry has appeared in more than ninety publications, and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, Samantha.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Three poems by Felino A. Soriano

from antiphonies & spectrums

as when this mentions

each curl embeds a signature
erasing prior
           generational fantasies       from
figments and all aspects of
-imaginary spectrums

these curls are morning (pluralized among momentary resting)

inform the early-rising caws of
crows' separating curtain
                                                their wings revealing
splay as art as insignia's
contoured abstraction of sound
          rhythm's entrance onto
burgeon's reflectional
persuasion and
                                    realized recollection to                                 commence

Of an evening's version of sound

each aggregated evening
moments climb gates leading
into angled versions of light's
vocal insinuations

with legs of alabaster clarity
voices of gray and dusk's
wandering wardrobe
clothing absence in the
mobility of sound's
always moving reconstructed
rhythms --

these rhythms engage and enthrall and
redefine spontaneity's oval brand of
unsolicited becoming

this corner, then that -- paralleling faces

more than,                       more so than
forward-finding need to analyze an environment's
enabled tableaus

the faces
find their voices among braids of unsaid
the shine of tonal jewelry
enlisted onto physiognomy's imaginary
images, such in the facet of spreading jazz and
the wind's vocal cycles
                   onto these bodies and brand of
interactive leanings and prayer of prosaic curving
carving a hopeful mathematics into
equating collocated happenings, these

needed truancies from forming segregated
mobility among concerts of same-style

Felino A. Soriano is a member of The Southern Collective Experience.  His poetry finds its foundation in created coocurrences, predicated on his strong connection to various idioms of jazz music.  His poetry appears in various online and print publications, with recent poetry collections including Of these voices (whitesky ebooks, 2013) Pathos|paticular invocation (Fowlpox Press, 2013) Extolment in the praising exhalation of jazz (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2013) and Hinge Trio (La Alamedo Press, 2012). He lives in California with his wife and family and is the director of supported living and independent living programs providing supports to adults with developmental disabilities.  Links to his published and forthcoming poems, books, interviews, images, etc. can be found at 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Two Poems by Jack T. Marlowe

seize this
you have
met the
and it is
i, sneers
the tin
cock in
the mirror
the epi-
of your
fault line
about to
turn from
the glass
to licking
an almost
but when
brings its
you will
struggle to
whose ad-
vice it was
to seize
the day
you and
your little
fistful of
my left hand
dear parasite
your name
answer to
you do
a poor
from a
a near
my dear
an unwel-
at the
bar, a
ger of
fish, a
on, the
at my
arm, a
paw, a
of bitter
at war
from the  
Jack T. Marlowe is a gentleman rogue from Dallas, TX.  A writer of poetry and fiction and a veteran of the open mic, his work has appeared in Handful of Dust, Rusty Truck, Bone Orchard Poetry,  Napalm and Novocain, Zombie Logic, Tendril and many other zines (both online and in print). Jack is also the mad editor of Gutter Eloquence Magazine (

Friday, November 8, 2013

Two Poems by Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper

Thoughts about disappointments
rarely run away with purpose.
Wishes are only whims and head
droops in mocking silhouette
formed to placate the moment.
There's rhythm in time's passage
that's touched with the barest
of breeze to soothe taut nerves.
Lips taste curious excitement
and my strings shake
with calculated risk - desire a magnet.
     I tremble, I want, I need...

Sculpted Imagination
In that floating moment
before morning
when night turns
from the rising light,
dreams quiver
in a nauseous state.
I feel like -
I'm holding my breath,
waiting for tragedy
to bleed me of sap.
In the shiver of morning,
daylight knocks
and the dream winks
and closes its eyes
as mine pop open.
With throbbing pulse
the suffocating fear
washes away.

Sharon Rothenfluch Cooper’s poetry has appeared in numerous International, hard copy and internet magazines.  Her chapbook, ‘Reach Beyond’ was winner of a MAG Press, International Chapbook Competition  and she has two chapbooks, Mood Magic and A Slice of Life published by Tamafyhr Mountain Poetry.  Twenty-three of her poems were presented in the play, ‘Soldier’s Heart’ to Sold Out audiences and recorded on DVD. Her latest published pieces are 'featured' in the Summer issue of Poetry Quarterly and published in the October issue of Flutter.