Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Poem by Thomas Piekarski

Fished Out                                                                     
In the twilight of her Irish eyes                                                           
she smiles, unfurled at last,                                                               
fished from river Oblivion.
Famine remains a thing of the past,
and yet she’s gaunt, forlorn and longing,
lacking spirit, with nary a soul in sight.
How a load of fresh potatoes
might surreptitiously spark
her brightest epiphany ever.
Thomas Piekarski is a former editor of the California State Poetry Quarterly. His theater and restaurant reviews have been published in various newspapers, with poetry and interviews appearing in numerous national journals, among them Portland Review, Main Street Rag, Kestrel, Scarlet Literary Magazine, Cream City Review, Nimrod, Penny Ante Feud, New Plains Review, Poetry Quarterly, The Muse-an International Journal of Poetry, and Clockhouse Review. He has published a travel guide, Best Choices In Northern California, and Time Lines, a book of poems. He lives in Marina, California.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Two Poems by Taylor Graham

Puppy Horde
What's that, behind the computer?
Just Loki, into everything 
she shouldn't.
A pile of important papers
on the floor. The box
of old cables & connections, misc 
hardware we don't use 
but it might come in handy some-
day. Now she's
off down the hall, leaping 
on the bed - rummaging the bedding -
What's this? Her raw-
hide bone tucked between our 
pillows. She drops it
on a stack of floppy-disks, out-
dated software, not-quite-
And from the pile
of Very Important Papers
she carefully extracts
the single glove she loves
to chew.
Bad dog? A hoarder, 
just like we are. 
Except, she knows exactly
where she left each 
treasure, and
where and how to find it.
How Things Work
This house of many mysteries
where we live - secret cubby-holes 
and water-lines that don't show 
on the plans - it puzzles every 
handyman who comes to fix us.

And now this puppy has chewed 
a peep-hole in the wall, exposing 
what's not up to code; 
excavating faulty cable that might 
disconnect us.
She's showing us what's beyond
our ken - the too-long hidden, 
the broken and the whole -
things we didn't even know
we have a need to see.
Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada. She's included in the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman's Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present. Her book What the Wind Says, poems about living with her canine search partners, is due out later this year.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Poem by Craig Kurtz

I don't fear the sun
now I feel your pull. Stronger than
clouds, you have cool metabolic
moisture exiguous as rings of
Neptune. You're fibrous, I never
I don't fear the sun anymore
since you started sparkling like
geodesic ice. You are soothing ether
of clairvoyance, the milk of
I don't fear the sun because
your nuzzling roots inhabit
timid breaths of balm. You have
the assurance of shade, the sway
of sea.
I don't fear the sun since you
are gelid crystal calming argent
combustion. You have diaphanous
mist & empyrean mien in
treasure glass.
Craig Kurtz lives at Twin Oaks Intentional Community where he writes poetry while simultaneously handcrafting hammocks. Recent work appears in Out of Our, Randomly Accessed Poetics, Penny Ante Feud, The Bitchin’ Kitsch and others. His first record, The Philosophic Collage, 1981, was reissued by BDR in 2012. He has been a staff writer for Perfect Sound Forever since 2003.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Three Poems by J.J. Campbell

slice of utopia
the end of days dance
in your head as your
only child buries your
feet in the white sands
of a tropical beach
this slice of utopia is
your personal hell
a nightmare you never
envisioned or cared to
think would ever exist
you can't help but think
this is some form of
slavery and you can't
understand where the
happiness comes from
ill-equipped and never
prepared the demons
understand what must
be done
you son laughs as the
water rushes over his 
tears stream from the
corner of your eyes
when does a nightmare
ever have a happy ending
the princess myth
choking on the memories
of the princess myth and
other little girl fantasies
that somehow got twisted
in the minds of dirty old
one day it's the end of the
world and you're seeking
revenge for nearly 40
years of being shit on
the next you are begging
for forgiveness and
wondering what all the 
fuss was about
so whatever makes it
work in your mind
i'm an asshole
a hypocrite
some fake fuck that is
a one trick pony and a
rather worthless human
you never want to upset
the crazy bitch that thinks
she's on the right path
to whatever she believes
better is
don't feed the animals folks
certain creatures simply
belong in the zoo
behind glass
amusement for kids
on a field trip
bleed out rainbows
tattoo your mantra
on your hands and
take those fists and
knock down all the 
walls holding us
let the blood drip
on a blank canvas
and call it art
there's bound to be
some snob willing
to put the comma
in the right place
especially if you 
bleed out rainbows
and the fairytale
of a happy ending
whatever the fuck
that is anymore
J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) lives and writes on a farm in Brookville, Ohio. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, ART:Mag, Zygote in My Coffee, and Gutter Eloquence Magazine. His first full length collection of poems, Sofisticated White Trash, was recently published by Interior Noise Press. you can find J.J. most days on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights (

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Poem by Elysabeth Faslund

Cleopatra's Victory
This Nile goes on forever. Before, beyond gods.
The gods gaze once. I am almost gone.
Sipping this chaliced Nile would make me eternal sand.
Sands of eternity are forever.
I will be in forever.

Who was Isis, beyond salvation for her brother, Osiris.
Who was I, beyond sarcophagus for Ptolemy.
Only lotuses ask, swarming banks of this Nile.
Only lotuses answer lavender voices.
I will be in forever.

Raise this chalice to my lips, then. Antony is dead.
Raise this Nile to flood legend over the world.
Lay my head up to see gods' turned backs.
Lay Roman legions under my feet.
I am forever.
Elysabeth Faslund lives in Theriot, La.  International, professional poet, changing with the times, but not the place.  25 miles from the Gulf of Mexico is not a place to be for the beginning of hurricane season!  See ya'll around FEMA way!  Send salami, as there'll be no place to spend money!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Three Poems by Tony Yeykal

                                      Rise and look around you....
                                                                ON A CLEAR DAY
                                                                                        Alan Jay Lerner
It was as if by flipping a lens
I witnessed the world in that phoropter -
clear as baby skin and crisp at the edges.
Like the veins in leaves were mountain streams.
Like a pubic hair was a tall pine.
Later we stood in the alley behind his shop,
smoking and smelling Chinese food,
with me trying to describe what happened -
the bestowal of a mystical gift
on an unworthy without forewarning.
Being a paid devotee of science, of course,
he would have nothing to do with numinosity.
I almost completely understood,
having been there myself before the exam.
Yet there were spirits all around
in perfectly pressed tuxedos, ballroom gowns.
The iris of a cat was an obsidian ring.
An orphaned hubcap a full autumn moon.
Jimmy has ballooned behind bars,
minnow to blowfish,
and frankly it suits him.
The kid's been hard schooled
by the pack of tattooed Darwinians
suspended inside this aquarium
holding disinfected handsets
while searching the besieged eyes
of mothers and wives and girlfriends
weary of upending their hearts
twice a week for thirty minutes
to shake what remains back into the tank.
Slices of Jimmy's ear and nose
were first to go. Then his wristwatch
and gold chain. Then his t.v.
He's seen heads split on cinderblock
and vanish down toilets.
So the weight really does become him.
He's learning to cover his ass.
Enlarging not to perish in these depths.
I congratulate him on the phone.
What else can I do?
Reel him in for a seafood buffet?
He marked the unpaid candles
he lit at the side altars
of the musty old cathedral
in a little spiral notebook
his buried mother
had kept in her big purse
for reminders and grocery lists.
If he got answers
the saints would get their due.
It otherwise remained on the books.
So far he'd lined through
a court-halted eviction notice
and forgiven utility bill.
Eight successful plasma donations.   
Ten quarters went into the slot.
Winter showed no mercy.
He mixed grain alcohol with orange juice.
Scraped the bottoms and sides of jars.
Slept in jeans and gray sweatshirts.
Late mornings he laid a taper
on the black wick of another sorrowful statue
before finding a carrel in the library
to carefully record his entry
while unthawing the ice in his bones.
Tony Yeykal's poems have appeared in Art World Quarterly, Blackheart Magazine, decomP Magazine and Emprise Review. He is a part-time distributor of medical goods to India, and has periodically granted himself long stretches of time to read, write, reflect and idle away the days. Two poets he holds in esteem are Joseph Brodsky and Robert Creeley.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Two Poems by Denny E. Marshall

Litter Bug

Words can (shake
Spear) into the skin
And play
Right on to (thee
Ate her) books
Dance to music
Call out pages
While all (litter
Sure) has a place


Loneliness is like a pillow
A short…
distance is fine
Still from fifty…

It won’t protect you
Sometimes I wish I were really alone
And the chiffon demons would leave
There not mine anyway
Too, have cupid’s arrow-smiths
And the other one
Exit my sub–conscience mist

Denny E. Marshall has had poetry recently published and rejected.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Poem by Steve Klepetar

Mongolian Grill

He eats lunch here almost every day, stands in a long
line contemplating: peanut oil or hot sesame or something 

squeezed from black mushroom or root?  He rubs
his hands. Today he offers up his suit to grill, blue fibers

hissing in the wok, foaming to a glaze with bok choy,
pea pods and ears of miniature corn.  He adds a hank

of graying hair, a handful of teeth from his jaunty grin. 
All around the day darkens; pigeons gather on windowsills.

His mind is filled with memories and salt. Women
dance for him in a trail of limbs.  A waterman, he finds

himself locked in this continent of ice. The rhythms
he feels have frozen in his blood and his hot breath

rises, forced from a dangerous mine.  All the canaries
have died, the white mules rebellious and strange,

their red eyes aflame with fear.  He smiles
and his greeting confirms emptiness and his childless

arms.  Who are these wives he loves still, broken
fragments of some great entanglement?  Whose dog

has he chased through a cluster of wild, white birds? 
He thinks his home might lie in another country,

where blossoms have a different taste and every word,
mispronounced, is carved into the cavern of his open mouth. 

Steve Klepetar teaches literature and creative writing at Saint Cloud State University.  His work has appeared all over the U.S., as well as in Canada, England, Northern Ireland, France, Australia and India.  His latest collection is Speaking to the Field Mice, recently released by Sweatshoppe Publications.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Two Poems by Martin Willitts, Jr.

            (Pimpinella anisum)
Canopies of while umbrellas with licorice taste,
where are the dreams you promised?
Dreams have secret meanings until they are broken.
My wife suggests that I am foolish,
you are for menstrual cramps. No wonder wishes lead
to nothing. No wonder rain rises from earth to sky.
Nothing is what I thought it was. My wishes are wrong,
tasting of black-licorice rain.
Three unripe persimmons are yesterday
not wasting words
with the nothing it has forgotten
telling one secret
generation to generation
Martin Willitts Jr has four full length poetry collections and over 20 chapbooks including recently, “Late All Night Sessions with Charlie “the Bird” Parker and the Members of Birdland, in Take-Three” (A Kind Of a Hurricane Press, ebook, 2013). His forthcoming poetry books include “Waiting For The Day To Open Its Wings” (UNBOUND Content, 2013), “Art Is the Impression of an Artist” (Edgar and Lenore's Publishing House, 2013), “City Of Tents” (Crisis Chronicles Press, 2013), "A Is for Aorta" (Seven Circles Press, e-book, 2013), "Swimming In the Ladle of Stars" (Kattywompus Press, 2013),  and he is the winner of the inaugural Wild Earth Poetry Contest for his full length collection “Searching For What Is Not There” (Hiraeth Press, 2013).

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Poem by Lance Sheridan

and in her eyes

delinquent children skip rope in a street,
steal moments of sanity

fire hydrant water washes away the dirt,
the remains of a previous day

bare feet feel the pull,
the weak suffer

hot black top city pavement,
taxi tires melt

in place

meters ticking,

one fifth of a mile comes out
of knock off


preacher in a church laughs a
hallowed laugh,

abscond with holy water,
abscond with collection

plate change

does the steepled fingers before
inserting a key in a benz

police officer taps on window car
glass for a slice

of a holy pie

sandlot slide zone in an empty lot,
once, a building,

once, families lived
now watch 

sandlotters play, know of caliber
handguns hidden under


plans of shooting the messenger
shooting the landlord


but, hands still cold from 
winter frost

on glass

vagrants kick stones through brittle,
crisp mornings;

on a damp sidewalk, collar up to
be inconspicuous, 

i perchanced,
looked up 

at a solitary Victorian window,

she, with black lace on hands,
with black lace covering

a beautiful look,

i climbed into her eyes,
became a part

of an expression,

she handed me a deep silence,
had a story

held it up on written paper,

black ink dripping onto Victorian
rug, words 

formed in a small, dark puddle,

crept through fibers into 
cracks in a planked,

uneven floor,

resident below placed them neatly 
in a dirty mason jar,

closed with a rusted, uneven lid;

i invited myself up,

she opened a door, slowly,
somewhat reluctantly

i asked to read what was left 
on parchment

a life like a prow in still waters,
yet waves broke

broke her spirit,

i sympathized,
she kissed me

with blue delicate eyes;

on her finger, mark of a 
wedding band

the husband, an undercover cop,
found dead in an

abandoned factory,
birds nest in 

broken window frames

she cried, eyes now hollow
like potholes in 

waxed tabletops,

"i cannot possibly fit myself into
this world any longer,"

she turned away and gestured 
for me to leave,

beyond her look, beyond her veil,
she stood by a lonely



for her love to return...

Lance Sheridan—
Published writer—Bits and Pieces to Ponder/Self-Help/2002 
Published poet—Poet Interview on November 8, 2012 by a Salisbury University Journalism Major/Salisbury, MD; poem 'Night into Day/Goodnight Till the Morning Sun'/11-12/napalmandnovocain.blogspot; poem 'Night into Day/Goodnight Till the Morning Sun' has been accepted for inclusion in the 2012 Best of Anthology, Storm Cycle
blog—; has received over 75,000 views since June 2012. One poet on my work, "Whoa … ur writing is incredible." April Pardocchi

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Three Poems by Christopher Kenneth Hanson

Soon Lit Doves
Void, where my heart lay bare
to the disconsolate sea- 
Vacant still weeping- 
By bridges made in sill, 
Or yonder:
By the night 
by the soon lit doves
in void where traffic utters 
of staunch fray- 
The callous vapidity-
ergo as stoned jive:
keeps some here muttering, intangibly-
seeking clouds of better debate 
Now void, the night by the soon lit doves. 
Bare to, the disconsolate hipsters- 
Vacant here weeping by bridges made of sill
So still to cry, the soon lit doves.
A Cemetery Of Daisies
A limestone statue of a vagabond saint; 
The Pacific Ocean breaks across shaded dunes- 
Lift gentle lips and pull through to tide 
Now, a stem of this tall tulip training With the candied orange tongue, 
And the fire engine red petal-of gleaming hues.
Rows of fresh picked daisies line her copper pockets as Karen runs to shore, her small feet slushing in the wet blanketed sand. I have seen her briefly And in her brilliance she would save
many of the dearest, Though too many here, have been laid to rest.
A Wayfarer, Cursory
Spence, sprawled at dawn- his pillow case, 
a bed of leaves Stuffed animals line much of this, 
{his open space}
One animal, Spence calls Tycoz, the tiger. 
He pets the frothy mane of Tycoz and exclaims- 
What a polite and precious lady cat.
Now- Spence may look up after a spell, 
And address a few other pets by his kind words-
     But what he could really use is some change.
Christopher Kenneth Hanson (ckhanson81)

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Two Poems by Judy Hall

Open Fire
I first noticed his ears
Which were too large for his head
And seemed to hear whispers
His hair was trimmed closely around
These olive ears, olive skin
So unpale against my freckled blueness
Dark where I am light
I get these passing fancies  
Obsessed with dusky collarbones
My mind going somewhere
Into some experimental fire
My carnal world is a rich inferno
Embroiling my bare skin
Setting alight my sugary heart, an
Erotic crème brulee
My own world is in conflict with the world without
My lascivious nature is what the psalms warn men of
Women like me have always cause consternation
Chastised for salaciousness –
Edicts are made about women like me
I will not be possessed;
Absolutely feline in nature, no one can discern my name
Only my lover knows how to entice me back home,
Both content with my humors,
My desire to be petted and then left alone.
So call me what you will as I take in the oliveman
Take him in as I please –
My body is my own;
My lover knows my mind and loves
The fullness of my flame.
A Poem from the Editors
Dear Ms. ___________________
Thank you for your story.
We aren’t saying that it sucks
We are just saying that it doesn’t fit with our vision.
At this time.
We know spent hours on this story.
It’s obvious that you craft your stories well.
But George didn’t like the father, and we think it may be that he has
Daddy issues himself, but we won’t say that,
And Rachel thought you needed more scenes
With less dialogue and more description of the
Hospital room because we just couldn’t see it, you know?
When you say that the tubing hung around him like slithering snakes ready to strike
Are you implying that the juxtaposition of the snake to his head was like the birth of Christ?
Because we didn’t see that.
Please send us your work again,
Please use our online submission machine
Please don’t worry if you don’t hear from us for a year
There’re only us and two grad students here.
Yours truly,
The Editors
Judy Hall is a teacher of English both at the high school and college level.  She has a Masters in Literature from Rutgers and is an MFA candidate at William Paterson.  She's been previously published in Outsider Ink.  She lives in New Jersey with her husband, three children, a very stupid cat named Vladimir and an evil cat named Tonks and a number of unnamed fish.