Thursday, January 31, 2013

Two Poems by Steve Klepetar

I fool around with a penny I find heads up in the springtime mud

Lincoln's lugubrious profile stamped in copper (or what used to be copper) D 2011
it's raining I rub off the mud with my thumb then scrape the hard bits with my nail
dirt crusting beneath the cloudy crescent like a small bulb of blood I press the coin
to my palm I try to spin it on my desk but it fall over every time it smells like
metal and sweat and mud I remember kicking penny field goals through my buddies' joined
index fingers in Junior High watching the penny hit a chair on the way down
to the floor, rolling on one edge until we were all sent to the principal's office for what
was then a major disturbance (oh if they only knew how lucky they were) I wonder
what it would feel like on my eyes that little weight pressing down the tender eyelid almost
aching at the pressure the worrying eye cowering beneath its little blanket of flesh


Sitting Pretty on the Day Shift


Despite the headache tunneling through your skull,
despite the boredom and the dust

you can laugh with the best of them. We woke
you up an hour ago and since then almost nothing

broke, caught fire or got meshed up in the gears.
Listen to the music pouring through speakers

from every side – such a howl of violins and horns!
When the ladies dance in their fur caps

even the foreman taps his heels. That could be a dance
of joy but for the little hop of pain every third beat.

"Don’t quote me on this,” the river man says,
"but I’ve been told there’s legislation
in the works." "Never watch the news,” you say,
“not since Huntley and Brinkley got divorced.

“So what do you do for laughs?” he asks,
a snarl nailed to his dry lips. “That’s why I work here
my love,” you say and kiss him softly on the
forehead, right where the third eye is rooted to his brain.

Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Flutter Press has recently published his chapbooks “My Father Teaches Me a Magic Word,” and “My Father Had Another Eye.”

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Poem by Amber Logan

Ridiculous Woman

Credulous woman, take back discretion!
Do not hurl yourself imprudently,
into the arms of the crooked.
Flesh and fantasy; a passing elation,
may quench your salacious greed,
but what will come to be- afterwards,
when the thrill has lost its affluence,
and he is nowhere to be found?

Susceptible woman, take back awareness!
Do not open yourself incautiously,
to some man who does not respect you.
Spoken endearment; a charming illusion,
may appear to be unquestionable,
but what will become of you-thereafter,
when the golden dream has lost its brilliance,
and he has forged ahead, leaving you behind?

Incompetent woman, take back strength!
Do not squander your time impulsively,
on those who will take you for granted.
Though you swear up and down,
to some magnetic allurement;
what will supervene-thereon,
when loneliness recommences,
and he still hasn''t bothered to call?

Amber Logan is a 32 year old female poet (but prefers not to label herself) who has been gorging her thoughts onto paper, ever since she was 8 years old. Born and raised in Canada, Amber has been published several times in various calendars, journals, and has been featured poet on twice on Moontowncafe's popular website. Amber has often claimed that writing was a necessary outlet growing up; a tool to cope with the ongoing misery of adolescence. A fan of cynicism, Amber's work is often bathed in sarcasm, but also beautiful dark. Finding time to sit down and write these days is often a strugle for her, Amber hopes to publish a book of her work in the near future.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Poem by Kate LaDew


when no one and nothing paid attention to me
when I was a little girl drawing in a corner alone
watching adults do important things
live the life they really wanted
and forget for awhile what I took from them,
the right to be careless, the right to be young
you crossed your legs beside me
drew dragons and butterflies
taught me how to write my name
spoke to me and looked in my eyes
and that was enough for me to love you forever
and even though you’re gone
and my father keeps your photographs in boxes
forgets for awhile you were there when he was little too
I remember you happened
I remember

I still write my name in your handwriting

Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Poem by Richard Fein


How can a trilobite be rebuked for wallowing in sand
or the scorpion scorned for its first deadly sting.
How can a hungry Velociraptor fall from grace
for pouncing on a fledgling Apatosaurus?
And how can the newly emerged butterfly
be blessed for merely being a butterfly
or the debutante doe for its graceful gait
or the dawn bird for its sunrise song?
Which creature could be condemned or exalted
when none could call their creator by name
or even knew such a miracle had a name.
A heaven of one, a hell of none, and a soulless earth,
that bored judge of judges presided over an empty court,
twiddling thumbs till they were callused.
But finally the soul evolved within human flesh,
and the apple was chomped to rinds and pits,
Then the nameless one called out his own name
which the wayward twosome overheard─
and thus became sui juris.
At last, a time to don black robes and pound the gavel.
Finally the first stern sentences were meted out
to defendant Adam and defendant Eve.
But soon after the caseload exploded,
with dockets full of pleading sinners
who also called out the name, Yaweh
with ear-numbing persistence.
And Yaweh also pined for what was lost,
those idyllic days of doodling clouds on a blue sky canvas,
and the Eden he and that first human pair
with half-learned knowledge and freshman arrogance threw away.

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: Reed, Southern Review, Roanoke Review, Skyline Magazine, Birmingham Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Paris/atlantic, Canadian Dimension and many others

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Two Poems by Ally Malinenko

Two Hundred Years to Die
~For Rob

You guys need to go, huh? he asks,
and I look from my husband to my empty tea cup
and back to him. I nod.
We haven’t seen each other in years,
enough time for me to unpack a life,
a whole marriage.

But now that I’m back in town
we made time to meet in this new coffee shop
to be the loudest people here,
down the block from the old coffee shop that closed up
after I graduated college and now sells cell phones
to boys and girls who seem far too young to be all alone.

I watch time bend and weave down Forbes Avenue,
a parade of different lives.
It arches around the globe, away from me.

We get up.
I’m sad now that this is really the end, he says
almost to himself, but I feel it down to my core.

When we hug goodbye, I feel suddenly lost.
The grass is spreading out below my feet too quickly.
Packs of students walk around us. We are just ghosts.
I look up at the Cathedral, and back down at my hands.

We agree to write.
We agree to get together again
when I’m back in this city that now seems so far from Brooklyn
that I might need a spaceship just to return.

I want to tell him that I’m sorry Colorado didn’t work out.
I’m sorry his friend died.
I want to tell him sometimes the dead come to visit.
Do not be afraid,
but I don’t.
Instead I look forward and from the corner of my eye
I can see every choice I’ve ever made blow away from me like dead leaves.

Somewhere a whole universe has begun.

We hug and he leaves and I don’t look back.
My husband slips his hand into mine,
together we glance at the bus stop by the library
where we used to talk when we were young and scared
and slowly falling in love.

Somewhere a whole universe is ending.

Certain trees live for six hundred years.
Two hundred to be born,
two hundred to exist
and another two hundred to die.

Somewhere else this has all just taken root.
There, it is only the beginning and not the end.
Photograph, Age Eleven
In the photograph
the girl
wears a hard look
wound tight
standing by her bike
gripping the handlebars,
nearly eleven
about to peel her childhood off
like a wet bathing suit.
Her face says what she does not.
She is cautious
when the neighborhood boys call to her
to show her the fish they caught
in the lake. It circles and circles in the bucket.
When he places it on the board
and swings the hammer down
she jumps and learns how easy killing is.
The air is thick with chlorine and wet leaves
and she stares at the grass
stuck to his leg,
the hair on it turning dark, darker toward the thigh.
She tries not to look at the space between his legs.
It scares her as much as the now dead fish.
To think this creature just alive
now dead
its mouth still open
almost calling to her.
Inside, her heart beats
she can feel it with every inch of her
but inside the fish, it is dreadfully still
and that difference is all she can think about
while she stands there, transfixed
doing nothing but trembling in her years.
Ally Malinenko has been writing stories and poems and novels for awhile now. Possibly too long. Occasionally she gets them published. Her second book of poems entitled Crashing to Earth is forthcoming from Tainted Coffee Press and her first novel for children, Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb, was recently published by Antenna Books. She can be found blathering here:

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Poem by John Grochalski


steve kept two tadpoles in a large red bucket

in his old man’s work garage

when i came over to visit

he would take the bucket out

and we’d watch the tadpoles swim around

after that we went off swinging bats at that summer’s locusts

or building our fort of twigs and thorn bushes

in the woods behind his house

i was new to the neighborhood

and steve had become my first friend

seeing those tadpoles every day kept me going

after two moves in two years

two new schools in two new years

i liked watching them swim around

the knowledge that they would soon grow into frogs

i also liked the lava soap

that steve’s dad had resting on his sink

the way the deep red color contrasted

with the gray light filtering through the garage

after looking at the tadpoles

steve and i would wash our hands

and he would tell me that once they reached maturity

he’d release them near the creek where he found them

then it became bittersweet looking at those tadpoles

watching them go from black sperm

into gray-green slugs

with coal eyes and small legs and long tails

those tadpoles were growing up

and steve was losing interest in them almost daily

he was more concerned with building our fort in the woods

our jail he started calling it

i could tell that he only pulled the tadpole bucket out

for me to see them

it was one day that i went down to steve’s house

and there was yelling from inside

steve and his old man

but i knocked anyway

and steve came to the front door red-eyed

he told me to meet him around the back

when i got there

he had our tadpole bucket sitting out in the sun

along with a block of wood

a hammer and nails and a can of silver spray paint

without saying anything to me

steve took one of the tadpoles out of the bucket

and set it on the wooden block

while it squirmed

he grabbed the hammer and nails and went to town

impaling the first tadpole onto the wood

when it stopped breathing

he sprayed it with the silver spray paint

do you want to do the next one? he asked me

i shook my head

and ran into the garage

i went over to the sink and started washing my hands

with the lava soap

that red octagon building up a pink lather in my hands

when i shut off the water

steve’s old man was standing there looking at me

and my red, raw flesh

that soap costs money, he said

before pounding back up the basement steps

when i found steve

he had both tadpoles nailed and spray painted

to the block of wood

they were sitting out in the hot summer sun

their carcasses waiting to fry

just like jesus christ at a disco, steve said to me

the hammer still in his hands

then he went over to the bucket and dumped the water

it made a black splash

that rushed toward me and the sacrificial tadpoles

before getting caught in a small drain

all of that life water swirling down into the ground

like it never existed at all.
John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), and the forthcoming The Sun Causes Cancer. Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, where he constantly worries about the high cost of everything.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Poem by David S. Pointer

Caloric Burn

Snakeskin lingerie magnified by
Tesla/Westinghouse light bulbs
nuclear powered lipstick tubes
crated aboard burning pirate
racing to explode/// before///
///historical^+)*/expiration date
in Chicago 1919
in Hindenburg’s///// New Jersey
as mini-fire extinguisher daymare
as BBQ bodies fall from aviator’s
Sky*bloated angel hors d’oeuvres

David S. Pointer has recent acceptances for “Main Street Rag,” “Mad Rush,” and others. He writes from Murfreesboro, TN.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Two Poems by Heller Levinson

arguably there are ways better more conciliatory less corrosive carcinogenic carapace snickering suggest mannerisms-eke advantageous sprout lead wakening(s) catarrh scuppered salubrious niches rub ruby rub niche fireside franchise departures dismissals on the wane forced removals displeasing brotherhood congregational comeuppance coerce cum-u-la-tive aggregates – arch locomotion exercises capsize carnivore – embrace ferocity mass pecuniary punch numb plumbing meandering a privilege postless teeming

altogether there is hardly a difference radiate articulate mollusk vertebrate between averages & percentages harborage beaver cutaways opting for a finer adjustment furrier precision parades plants a parasol provokes parochial salutes salutations stilt-laden soluble no longer irksome langoustines lungy large on the tongue curvature breakwater one of a kind salutes backwater slum gardens achievement oriented blazers badges   bludgeon collapse under backbeat furfuraceous carnassial ferocity pedals

Heller Levinson lives in NYC where he studies animal behavior.  He has published in over a hundred journals and magazines.  His publication, Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press, 2008), was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Griffin Prize.  Black Widow Press published his from stone this running in 2012. Additionally, he is the originator of Hinge Theory. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Poem by Sy Roth

When Visions Collide
dreams collide in his fevered brain
with the beasts who
issue from the mists;
these beasts from the maelstrom
trundle the grimy streets
burdened with their passionless reveries.
he senses them through their fears
smells their trepidations.
blesses them with a rood crudely drawn,
hands shifting the steamy-cold air
cracking the frozen wall of air and hearing
it fall to the ground in syllabic tinkles.
lariat encicling air
forms a bond with the
man languishing in its silent whorls.
it swirls in the roundabout where he dwells.
dust breezes lift the corners of his crimson hair
in undulating wavelets at no one in particular.
"Oremus," he squeaks from the tinkling silence.
they rush by him, heads rock like landslide-boulders
shifting awkwardly on their shoulders.
his fingers stab at the air.
he gurgles, "Oremus" through parched lips, but
supplications do not come in the world of colliding dreams.
"Amen," he mumbles at their passing buttocks.
the gray-dust of a dying sun slices his face
into a bifurcated Greek-theater mask.
dust settles on him as they pass.
Sy Roth retired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, he now resides in Mount Sinai , far from Moses and the tablets. This has led him to find words for solace. He spends his time writing and playing his guitar. He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre, Bitchin’ Kitch, Bong is Bard, Humber Pie, Poetry Super Highway, Penwood Review, Masque Publications, Foliate Oak, Miller’s Pond Poetry, The Artistic Muse, Word Riot, Samizdat Literary Journal, Right Hand Pointing, The Screech Owl, Epiphany, Red Poppy Review, Big River, Poehemians, Nostrovia Poetry’s Milk and Honey, Siren, Palimpsest, Dead Snakes, Euphemism, Humanimalz Literary Journal, Ascent Aspirations, Fowl Feathered Review, Vayavya and Kerouac’s Dog.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Poem by Laura Eppinger


Muti, you said. Medicine.
“Witchcraft,” you named every strand of my hair
discovered in the scruff of your beard.

You found them when I slept in your arms and even
when I didn’t, when I’d been away
for days.

There could be only one explanation, you insisted,
for a head of hair the color of chocolate,
for wisps that stick on you for days,
for eyes that sparkle green in a good mood, and turn
brown in an foul one.

It’s been three months since I’ve been touched
by the Southern Hemisphere’s sun
and finally I believe you.

From now on I’ll say:
the love potion dried up
and my muti stopped working
so I got hopped on my broom
and flew away.

Laura Eppinger graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, USA in 2008 with a degree in Journalism, and she's been
writing creatively ever since. Her laptop screen got cracked during a
year in Cape Town, South Africa, but it never stopped her from

Her full publications list can be seen here:

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Poem by Sherry Steiner


He non-linguistically defiled the nouns stacked miles high without permission. Formal aspects of the human condition shuddered a collective sigh, Zola's memory rang out. It was 5 AM and Etienne was accused of being a modern theatre: a reverse burlesque in the red square. He insisted it was blue as he recited Murphy's law and the Miranda rights in tandem. It was apparent that the Russians would be short on patience so he blinked back to 1833 and the smell of coffee permeated his boardinghouse room where once again the reductio ad absurdum went stage left. Two streams flowed into one - mockingbirds wore crutches - and Alabama was just a notion. Needless to say everyone wore confusion. It was fortunate that the weight of the trains on the roof was only a bisecting attempt to be graphically unreal as Etienne threw the switch. Lens distortion, promotional stills, story boarding on green grass. Static horizontals fade in and fade out - a vague roller coaster - a golden lens of delight. In Italy a sober eye is the harbinger of the hobbyist grinning with color in that black and white kind of way while spatial relationships enter the Japanese film playing in Harlem and upon hearing that Etienne mutters politely 'Oh I doubt that'
Sherry Steiner
Housatonic MA

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Three Poems by Philip Dacey


                "It was by laying on the golden handcuffs
                      that Germany set itself free."
                                          Timothy Garton Ash

Your hands together
could be at prayer,
an amen of brilliant circles.

Or what weighs your wrists
is jewelry
from the tombs of kings,
all you need to wear
as you approach your lover,
the days of your life.

Each cuff is as light
as an act of will,
the word no.

The click of closure
echoes down through the years.

The golden handcuffs
are a season,
a moment.
You must handcuff yourself
again and again.

The key to unlock
the golden handcuffs
is simulated gold
and will be offered by your enemy
to ensnare you into a false

As your hands master
the art of doing it
to themselves,
you realize Houdini
took the easy way.

You fly best
not by flapping your arms at your side
but by holding them close to your chest,
the two become a single
perfectly aerodynamic


Hands blown off
at the touch of skin to skin.
The heart’s streets
flooded with revolutionaries
headed for the palace.

Apollo trying to reason it all out,
calculating with pen and paper,
getting it all wrong,
as Mathew Brady arranges the bodies
of the scattered pairs of lovers

and photographs the carnage.
At night, the anarchists
enter a bedroom and spread
their maps and diagrams all across
the covers of the sleeping couple.

The heart in a backpack ticks, ticks.
Tall Aphrodite, naked except
for a swathe of diaphanous cloth,
strolls through the crowded marketplace,
leaving in her wake overturned

carts, oranges and melons
rolling in the dirt,
a rioting populace.
To sow anarchy or love—
what is the difference?

                  THEME AND VARIATIONS

    “The rain drizzled its effects over the whole scene.”
                                            from a letter

Her eyes drizzled their effects all over my day.
The President drizzles his effects all over the nation.
Mothers drizzle their effects over their children.
The lie drizzled its effects over the marriage.

Fortuna drizzles her effects upon her favorites.
Money drizzles its effects over love
when love isn’t drizzling its effects over money.
History drizzles its effects over the present.

The present drizzles its effects over memory.
The billy club drizzled its effects on the marcher’s head.
The priest drizzled his effects on the congregation.
The bow drizzled its effects on the violin.

Language drizzles its effects over everything.
Beginnings drizzle their effects over endings.

Philip Dacey is the winner of three Pushcart Prizes and author of eleven books, most recently Mosquito Operas: New and Selected Short Poems (Rain Mountain Press, 2010) and Vertebrae Rosaries: 50 Sonnets (Red Dragonfly Press, 2008) as well as whole collections about Gerard Manley Hopkins, Thomas Eakins, and New York City.  His twelth book, Gimme Five, won the Blue Light Press 2012 Book Award and will appear in 2013.  He recently moved from Manhattan’s Upper West Side to Minneapolis.

Monday, January 7, 2013

A Poem by John Kross

Purple Fog Nothingness
I continue in darkness while
supposed light shines distant;

distant and unattainable
beyond a purple fog on its hands and knees
feeling its way through the night
like an angel of death.

Where is the light so many refer to?

I’ve died a thousand deaths but only seen
the purple fog nothingness creeping like
a rising river

tumbling over sand bags.

I have not seen light.

John Kross is an aspiring poet living and working in Dallas,Texas.
he has been published here several times at "Napalm and Novocaine"
August 2012 and at "The Mind(less) Muse" August 2012.
You can read most of John's work and interact with him
as himself at

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Poem by Heller Levinson

Corner of Abscess & Silk

                                                        (for Amy Huffman

slippage pour munitions wind

-- the wound of demonstration –

                                 :  bunch fibrillatives
                                    fibrillatives bunching

bejeweling the lumber of still life

-- avalanche vortex

clairvoyance shreds substance

cornering the altitudes of omnipresent delay

Heller Levinson lives in NYC where he studies animal behavior.  He has published in over a hundred journals and magazines.  His publication, Smelling Mary (Howling Dog Press, 2008), was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Griffin Prize.  Black Widow Press published his from stone this running in 2012.  Additionally, he is the originator of Hinge Theory.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Two poems by Janet Doggett


He stands in the small corner yard

in a carpet of mown-over clover

like a guardsman among her things

packed tightly in cardboard cages,

watching her go.

His eyes damp, a bent smile –

She stands on the sidewalk

on a black grungy crack

Turning to go,

her long red hair a vixen’s flame,

She looks back over her shoulder

Her green eyes are flint that strike sparks

And light a fire in the sky.

Film Noir

Lightning strikes and an old oak splits in two.

Mother stops ironing; hovers above a badly

wrinkled landscape. Dad bangs in the door bringing

with him the sweet smell of gardenias.

Crosses the den in three long steps.

Picks up the screaming phone that is tethered

to the wall with a spiral cord. Caroline,

with her ebony hair and Snow White face, is dead.

Extracted from a pile of twisted metal and broken glass;

she survived for two short December days.

A Christmas Eve funeral. Ice encapsulates

Every rose falling from her casket.

That night and for the next 29 years,

she speaks to me in dreams. Always sitting in a green-painted,

wooden chair. The room, plain and dark, she turns to me:

Her face becomes a movie reel, shows details of a life I didn’t know

all that well: tent camping on white-sand beaches in France, dancing ballet

with grace and fluidity, a tender first time making love, and a rape

last year on the Country Club’s freshly mowed lawn.

She turns to me and plays for me a Christmas

Special: “Things Worse Than Death

The hot, naked paunch of a filthy man

suspended over you. The sweat from

his hair falling in your eyes, his

fluid tacky, pooling on your stomach

and inside your ripped underwear,

the cool, slick edge of a sharp knife

meeting the thin skin at your neck so that you

swallow all screams
Janet Doggett has a master’s degree in creative writing from Texas Tech University and has had many creative nonfiction essays published in journals, most notably, So-to-Speak and Tangent. Also, she has published essays on websites such as and The New England Writer’s Society. A poem, Death, Maybe? recently was published (#20) in Drown In My Own Fears. Three poems are to be published through scar publications in Down in the Dirt magazine in March 13, April 13 and May 13. In 2003, I won the best writing award as a graduate student at the Albuquerque Pop Culture Conference. I live in Massachusetts.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A Poem by Sherry Steiner

This Very Day...

Since the world began
by private contract
he does not mince matters
To throw open the door
to put one's trouser's on
we often see her of a morning.
Put the box in front of the mirror.
According to expert advice
O, in leisure moments
it does not become you to speak…
Versed in verse
he doesn't speak French and
she writes better than she speaks.
At arms length
she fell in love at first sight -
With his hat on
he speaks to me and
it is of no matter.
There's something not quite right…
in the French style
I tried to speak Italian
this very day this very day.
Sherry Steiner
Housatonic ma