Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween -- A Poem from your Editor -- A.J. Huffman

Dead Bodies Make Good Bedspreads

Evening chill has always been more
than a minor annoyance in his life, fighting
to remain under layers of thin fabric, hoping
to hold cold winds at bay.  The best offense
for generating heat:  skin against skin.
This thought echoed among bedroom walls
as he carefully stitched pieces together.  Slowly,
the quilted comforter began to take form
in ombred tones of flesh, pale carefully flanking
tan.  Blonde tendrils of hair, individually chosen,
fringed the masterpiece, complete.  Sliding
beneath this new human shield, his contentment
and temperature quickly rise as his own body
sinks into slumber.

A.J. Huffman has published six solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the winner of the 2012 Promise of Light Haiku Contest.  Her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Monday, October 28, 2013

A Poem by Joseph James Cawein

Drunk cuz o' sunshine,
see that clover?
Pick it and tell 'im 
he's pretty.
Men like to be told
they're pretty 
joseph james cawein is a young poet from southeastern Pennsylvania.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Poem by Ally Malinenko

The Car Accident, 1995
Yes, there was the scraping of metal
against asphalt
and the heavy low thunk of the Ford
lilting and tipping no longer bound to gravity
and then dropping with the combined weight
of all of our teenage futures.
But in stories I make it sound like it took so long
when in fact, it didn’t.
The car was turned over in a fraction of a second,
sooner than any of us even had time to think about
and in reality I turned my head
to see my first love,
twisted and hanging,
limp against his seatbelt
his long hair over his face,
And I thought how young he looked.
How young we all are.
How young and bent and maybe dead.
Then I crawled on all fours out the busted window
like a sinner
away from the wreckage before anyone could speak.
Ally Malinenko has been writing stories and poems and novels for awhile now. Possibly too long. Occasionally she gets them published. Her first book of poems entitled The Wanting Bone was published by Six Gallery 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:

Friday, October 25, 2013

Two Poems by Changming Yuan

The Chinese Painter And the Viewer
between your brush tip
            and mountain top
you seek eternity in the blank
            while i am lost
    among thick patches of ink 

Snow Beginning to Fall Outside
While he tries to draw a mountain
With an ink-dripping brush
On a wide sheet of rice paper
It begins to snow outside
Paints the whole city with winter white
Dotting his work like a leopard, roaming
Looming along the borderline
Between the city and the season
His strokes getting blurry among falling flakes
All the trees become frozen, retreating to the horizon
Except a black bird still beating its wings
Against the mountain range in front of his eyes
Against the snowfall outside of his home
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. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Poem by Ruth Hill

'Round Round Rodin

Rodin carves curves round,
no angle, no anger, angel and human, one.
Besides the bulk of greater importance,
there is the delicate inference:
either the ether is real, or the real ethereal.
Who has he chosen to carve?
And what subject?
You and I are in his dream;
do not object to being his object.
Though cast you are not cast,
though duplicated you are not duplicated,
though modeled in a negative mold,
he models nothing negative.
Myths transcending our transgressions,
he sees all truth, but chooses which truth to tell.
When making us out of clay, he tells the truth.
When making us out of bronze, he tells the truth,
when making us out of higher thoughts,
he tells the truth if we wish to see it.
Elan Vital sculpts with élan and vitality.
Donatello donated, Rilke pilfered,
Rose posed.  Knowing full well the passion
he spent on her was now spent on others;
she sank in shadows of shades and young Camille,
like Despair and the Falling Man.
When you were young, you needed her rose;
when you were old, you needed your youth.
The sweet delicious art models were.
Did he dally with Dalou, too?
Dante the Poet was his thinker.
My grandfather was named August, loved mortar;
but, mortified, he would exclude de nude.
How French was the Poor Mouth-ed hero of Calais,
looking the same as any other French DP
strafed or exiled by the Germans,
like so many of my French post-war neighbors.
How familiar that pose!
Incensed by your sense, essence,
Ecole des Beaux Arts: your bad, you're bad, your loss.
The boss:  Auguste.  That beard
by Bourdelle is bordello weird.
But in your gift, a rift: why is war a girl?
Are girls not the war inside yourself?
War is mainly man's domain.

Ruth Hill was born and educated in upstate New York, and traveled North America extensively.  She is a Certified Design Engineer, lifelong dedicated tutor, and enjoys spoken word.  She has won 1st prizes in: Gulf Coast Ethnic & Jazz Poetry, Heart Poetry, Lucidity, Poetry for Human Rights, and Writers Rising Up! 200 of her poems have won awards or publication.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A Poem by Mantz Yorke

Little Lagoon, Denham
A silvery swirl of fish as the descending four-by-four
sweeps its beams across the sea-filled pan.  On the shore,
the street-glow and the red lights on the turbines
above the town are out of sight.  We look up
at a planisphere, trying to recognise constellations,
but our seeing is compromised by torchlight and a half-moon
bright enough to lay us flat.  We can identify only Canopus,
the Southern Cross, and the Centaur’s brightest stars.
With our binoculars, we cannot see the whirls of nebulae
or the cosmic anomalies that hint at universes beyond
our own: anyway, our galactic Santa Maria is far too slow
to shatter the crystal sphere of what we know.  When, alone,
we sail across the meridian that differentiates life from dark,
will we learn at last the origin of the cosmos, or merely find
at the edge of our celestial dome – as Truman Burbank did –
steps leading up, and EXIT labelling a flush-fitting door?
*inspired by the film ‘The Truman Show’ Denham is a small town on the coast of Western Australia: the nearby ‘lagoon’ occupied a bowl out of sight of the town, and was ideal for observing the night sky.
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’.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Two Poems by Darren C. Demarree


for Phil Stutzman

Youth and elsewhere,
we were born on
the gravel of Lamb

Park, the scuttled
bearing  of un-
clean dirt, where our

knees first learned blood
would come with each
flight in the field.


for the manager at the Kroger’s

Yes, I saw, in fact I read it
out-loud to my daughter that we
we’re not supposed to ride inside

the cart, but with my son sitting
under buckle, we had no choice,
but to chance that she might, at some

point, stand up to reach for pancake
mix.  The running and singing was
my fault.  We were having such fun.

Darren C. Demaree is living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.  He is the author of "As We Refer to Our Bodies (September 29, 2013) and Not For Art Nor Prayer (2014), both are forthcoming from 8th House Publishing.  He is the recipient of two Pushcart Prize nominations and a Best of the Net nomination.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Poem by Ryan Hardgrove

The Cathartic Tree
tiptoeing around bodies
that feign sleep
on a damp summer carpet
near dawn
it is rare
to find myself
     the closest to sane
amongst the LSD children
napping fitfully
after the storm
as the sun cracks slow
somewhere outside and somehow sudden
sunflower yellow and fire-water pink
last night
she led me away from the firelight faces
across the fresh verdant yard
towards the wise old tree
nobody knew the species of
I spoke gently but with fervor
as she listened only to the syntax
for the gnarled branches above
spoke to the smoking indigo moon
and her seamless tranquility balanced
     my frantic romanticism
now morning
the night vacuum sealed
in poignant memory
my boots still resting beneath
the cathartic tree
white fluffs of sock
growing up out of them
like sweat laced cat-tails
I try talking to the tree again
but it has nothing to say this time
for the branches now house
an assemblage of birds
that vaporize
every premature thought in my head
with beautiful morning songs
of a day begun
and my mind
is hushed
into a blissful silence
Ryan Hardgrove is a published poet.  His consciousness has grown and meandered like a weed throughout his 27 years crawling upon this rock.  He now lives in a small apartment along the Ohio River, just two miles north of Pittsburgh, PA.  When he is not writing, he is tending bar downtown or pacing on his fire escape smoking cigarettes.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Two Poems by Shobhana Kumar

vacuum cleaner
suddenly i see dirt
in freshly mopped rooms,
and crevices they have wandered to
a million times before.
dust settles  
discretely along tiled borders,
gossamer fine cobwebs
cling to ceiling corners,
and baby pigeon feathers
find snug homes amidst
netted windows.
all this time
i took pride
in keeping a squeaky clean home.
and lived
in the delusion
of carrying an unsullied heart.
the gods’ vacuum cleaners
must be laughing loud.
Rosetta stone

raise a palm in
half-hearted helplessness,
as better humans in better lives
hurry past,
sheltering their young
from these ungodly sights
of half-clothed old,
beggared beings
who will never belong.
a long ago memory surfaces
when this very life
walked past,
hiding its young
from similar sights.
the tears refuse to fall
because they don’t know how to. 
Shobhana Kumar’s first volume of poetry, ‘The Voices Never Stop,’ was published by Writers Workshop, Calcutta in 2012. Her work is also featured in ‘The Dance of the Peacock—An Anthology of English Poetry from India’ edited by Dr. Vivekanand Jha and in online journals including The Brown Critique , The Literary Yard, Writers Asylum, Muse India and Kritya Journal of Poetry. She has authored four books of non-fiction. Her short stories are featured in New Asian Writing and will be part of the 2013 anthology. When not writing, she works as an advertising consultant, corporate trainer and story teller.