Thursday, January 30, 2014

Two Poems from Your Editor, A.J. Huffman

The Squirrel

that lives in our backyard has an attitude
problem, it does not seem to understand
that I paid for my dogs to have the right to run,
to roam, to play in the fenced-in expanse
above which it has built its home.  Every morning
it streaks for the tree or fence, barely escaping
tiny teeth that may or may not think this is all
just a game.  Then it chitters down its tireless tirade
of disgust at them, rapidly pacing branch or beam.
I used to feel sorry for it, for its lack of understanding
of property rights, mortgage claims, eminent domain.
I used to feel sorry for it, until it dropped an acorn

on my head.  I swear I heard it laugh.

My Brain Delivered

the right thought at the right moment.
Just dropped it right in the appropriated
slot, all sealed and stamped in pristine
white #10 envelope.  It never waivered.
Honored soldier weathered elemental
slices of synthesized digital snow, rain,
and heat to land smack
dab in the gloom of my nightly
tirade.   It came out on the other
side, anointed in valored grace at having
sated appointed need with non-regurgitated
words that flew on cohesive wing, to raise
ballad of hope that consciousness still held
breath, somewhere in the cavernous alcoves
behind the blue-dyed madness of my eyes.

A.J. Huffman has published seven 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.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Poem by Wayne Russell


Pink hues bleed
into the atmosphere
yellow orb flickering
in pale windows of
angel hearts enraptured.

Colors gallop across the
melting skyline
only to combust within
sheer spontaneity.

Soaring birds make way for
shards of red and orange
while upon a baby blue canvas
the inevitable unfolds.

This kaleidoscope of confusion
is born beneath calm heavens
a new day has dawned . . .


Wayne Russell hails from Tampa, Florida and has been doing creative writing since he was five years old.  Wayne has been published in various zines over the years, including The Cannon's Mouth Quarterly, The Rolling Thunder Press, and Poets Espresso.  His first flash fiction story "Breaking Point," has recently been published at Greek Literary Review via their "English Wednesdays" internet zine.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Two Poems by Nadine Waltman-Harmon

The Wolf's Trail

"Come home. Come home to the Cookson Hills,"
Mother's old Cherokee friend wrote. "I will show you where
Sumacs redden and pokeberries ripen purple-black within
Shadows of the great oaks."

There was never time for things we wanted to do. Instead, we
Sat in mixed company on straight-backed wooden chairs
Talking about mundane matters, catching up on years of
Living between visits.

"What's the name of that man you married?" Golda asked,
Acting like my mother who had already gone ahead to sit
Beside the Wolf's Trail, waiting for her old friend, Golda.

Golda never waited for my answer. She wanted to walk the long,
Dusty road to the mailbox. While the persimmon-red
Oklahoma sun bled into dust, scorching my feet, Golda kept at me.

Words, like arrows, pierced my conscience.
"Next time you come home . . . take me to town.
I want you to buy me new clothes." Promises were made going down
Dusty road and back; solemn promises never meant to be broken;
Promises impossible to keep.

Ninety-two, as supple as the slender branches of the
Wahoo tree growing in her front yard.
"They were everywhere when I was young," she said.
"Now it's the only one around here."

She squatted before her old bookcase,
Searching for The Advocate so I could catch up on all the
Happenings in The Nation since I'd been away. Finding one
She jumped to her feet, a young girl again.

I wanted Golda to be 'Spirit' in a diaphanous gown of mist to
Rise above the Cookson Hills, soar high to Sky and disappear like
Eagle, but ninety-two winters made her host to the great worm and
She went to sit with the Ancient Ones beside The Wolf's Trail.

Through the boughs of Ponderosas surrounding me
Comes my mother's voice, joining that of her old Cherokee friend, Golda.
They call with the wind.
"When are you coming home?" they ask.
"Come soon. We'll show you where to find good
Huckleberries on the slopes and where sumac reddens and
Purple-black pokeberries grow within shadows of the great oaks."

 An Old Man's Tale

                       (How the Amharas come to power 
                                            f rom one Oromo's Point of View)

Eh-Hey! Come, old man, tell our story
While fiery young men sneak away
To begin their own history by moon's light.
"There . . . at the foot of those mountains, stretched from horizon to horizoon
Are the ripe teff fields where the Oromo gathered to harvest by daylight
And, when the sun died, our fathers rested, laughed, and told of our beginnings.
Eh-Hey! There were rolling hills above deep valleys of lush grasses
Sweetened with clover where all the Tolesas and Kumsas pushed cattle
While fathers slept or argued on ledges above.
There . . . from the hilltop at sundown the father of Tolesas
Shouted to the father of Kumsa.
Eh-Hey! "My son has returned to our tukul and here is the black cow
with two white feet.This is the cow of Beyecha.
Come, Beyecha, cross our mountain.
Come, drink tala with me. Come, sleep near my tukul.
Come, Beyecha, we respect your cow.
We respect all that belongs to Beyecha."
Then, too soon, the Amhara came . . .
Too soon Teshale came
Many Amharas came to the valley of the Oromo.
Locusts attack wheat fields.
Thieves butcher fat cattle. So Teshale came . . .
The Amhara . . . Teshale came
As bees linger over red blossoms
And bridegrooms take possession
The Amharas, too, spoke softly and made promises.
Teshale's fingertips came to Bedaso's lips
Teshale's lips suckled the nipple of Bedaso
The bee enters the flower . . . and a honeycomb for the Amhara begins.
Eh-Hey! Empty-handed Teshale came
Fingers to lips . . . lips to nipple . . . Teshale is family now.
Eh-Hey! Bedaso, you are my father. I need fields to harvest.
I need cattle to herd. Even now I have lain on the ground
With your daughter. A father must give to his son.
Eh-Hey! Beyecha is restless. Winter rains beat through the tukul's roof
Where Beyecha lies sleepless, thinking of the Amharas.
Will Teshale's voice thunder across the mountains when the grass is tall and sweet
And foolish boys mix cattle?
Will Teshale return the restless black cow with the two white feet?
Can the bee replace the honey it steals from the flower?
Can the bridegroom make woman a virgin again?
--------------------------------------------------teff--grain, tukul----house, tala-----beer

Nadine Waltman-Harmon is a retired teacher (42 years) who grew up in northeastern Oklahoma.  In the l960's she taught African teachers in Tanzania, East Africa Nadine lives in a log house in the  Pacific Northwest with her cat, Mama Chai.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Two Poems from your Editor, April Salzano

Wrecked-Home Wreckers
The home they came to undo was already undone.
I was hiding from the Repo-man at the corner
of foreclosure and bankruptcy while everything had about it
the suggestion of exaggeration and emergency those two years
I lived alone: the worn brake pads, the busted
hot water heater, the euthanized dog, the ground too
frozen to bury her in, my father’s death, the electrician
I thought I loved, his common law marriage, helped
with none of it. John. Everything about him, average.
Women came and went in your life from all corners
of the world made small by high
speed internet connections, strung
together by the common thread
of their ridiculous names. Maybe
that’s how they found you, creeping, but you would like to
believe in fanfare or fate. The first was missing an s
at the ending of her name, which should have rightly had it
pronounced “eesa” instead of “essa,” but the British
have their own language. Wisconsin dragged one in,
the y right in the middle
of her name facing you like spread legs
you had to crawl between. Long before her
was one missing what should have been a y,
but her mother, who had always wanted to visit Paris
in the spring, stuck an i in its place, added a couple e’s
at the end. Without the accent mark, it rightly should have
had a long vowel sound, a name that trailed off
like a childish shriek. That was nothing
like what she had anticipated for her blue-eyed blond
with the big round bottom, but you were not what she wanted
for her either. News of our marriage left her
in the snow-covered driveway unconscious. Or so
the story goes. You had your share
of commonplace’s too, I’m sure,
bar bitches from your small town who didn’t do the trick,
who all lacked the je ne sais quoi of real love.

Referential Mania
            Everything is hideously symbolic
                                    Dorianne Laux, “Abschied Symphony”

The ashtray hanging above the no-smoking sign, its one eye hole
daring and inviting someone at the County Assistance Office
of Mental Health (And Retardation, both) to extinguish
a butt before entering by way of code punched
into an archaic phone pad, speaks to me. It says I should
quit smoking before I die of cancer.
It says time is running out. Life contains a code
I have yet to crack.
The book of poetry that showed up in my mailbox
says my name in it, right there in the text. This is no coincidence,
even though my name is a month and that is probably what
the poet meant. The songs on the radio,
their metallic complaint of whining electric
guitar speak to me, talking of skin graphs and war
and making peace before we all die. Before we all cease.
The approach of autumn. My dying
petunias and hibiscus. These things say to me
it is time to do something great. But I do not know what
that something is. So I light another cigarette, let its smell roll
up in waves around my hair, consume me with its aura,
look for following fire.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher and is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Mechanical Interviews With My Cerebellum

Probing long finger nails
Of late December
Whisper through old cigar smoke
Some nights I feel a thin connection
To the earth
And I get that Hank Williams
Ghostly feeling
Like I’m slowly dissolving
I live in such a world of nonsense
And that’s what I like best about this place
I deal in visions
I put them down as they come to me
They float in the air
Like the tendril branches
Of my giant pine tree
Where I espy the withering rattle
Of a face that skulls out into
A death most beautiful
Its all there already
All you have to do
Is to be fast enough to catch it
Like the long blobby lines that flow out of
The end of my paint brush
And land on the paper beneath them
Going where they will
And then heavy spurts
Of night eyes take me on a thrilling ride
Above the human condition
Until I wake up on a bus bench
Unzipping my personality
Moaning as I am impaled
On the coming of the dawn
Which looks like it was
Laid out long ago
By Carl Barks in the moon’s lesser gravity
The night has dissolved
In a muscular blur
And has left me alone
In this city of millions.

Foot Up The Chimney Of A Music Box Playing Backwards
Cut and paste streets
Lead me to an
Obsidian thrift store
Where I am reminded once again
Of my first love
She was like a wildflower
Cool and dark
She was the living personification
Of view master slides
And comic book spinner racks
She was a husky voiced blond
With Cleopatra eyes
With a body like an apple pie
Cooling on an ledge
That I just had to hobo steal
I couldn’t help myself
As I was drawn deeper into
The darkness for which she stood
Where she nibbled on my words and images
As if they were a shrunken head
On a Popsicle stick
As the gills in our throats
Scattered glue and pictures everywhere
Until they stretched out like Silly Putty
Across the summer sky
Nothing left now of any of this
But the petrified remains
Of this poem fermenting and decomposing 
In the lower intestine
A debriefing room that has all the velocity of
A jack-o-lantern hurtled by Brom Bones.
An Apron Full Of Seeds
The interplanetary bones of night
Are aflutter with the concrete and dust
Of barb wired pollution
Delicious mandolins played by unknown fingers
Echoing through the venomous meowing twilit moonbeams
As they become a super voluptuous mystery
Dipped in a cocktail sauce
That blows up into a throb of humid disco balls
The side streets turn into purpled rivers
That slice right through my mouth watering skin
Another day will soon come
When I will scrounge through the trash
That is half the battle of writing poetry
But until then I will be a starship daddy
Who never exactly stopped exploding like
An lonesome bottle rocket high over Max Yasgur’s farm
Ken L. Jones has written everything from Donald Duck comic books to dialogue for the Freddy Krueger movies for the past thirty plus years.  In the last three years he has gained great notice for his vast publication of horror poetry which has appeared in many anthology books, blogs, magazines and websites and especially in his first solo book of poetry Bad Harvest and Other Poems.  His is also publishing recently in the many fine anthology poetry books that Kind of a Hurricane Press is putting out.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

Participles of Speech

midnight in the old saloon
and we're tired and we're upset,
the world's growing old
and we're tired and we're upset.

wounded healer as shaman,
the shade is the man,
climb the valley,
sink into the mountain

a good death rises
from one spot of imperfection,
blood-gates open:
in the wind, the pull of backfire.

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published. His latest works, Firestorm: A Rendering of Torah ( (Camel Saloon Books on Blogs) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missori, 100F Outside and other poems ( (Barometric Pressures--A Kind of Hurricane Press). The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside And Other PoemsHis work has appeared in The CafĂ© ReviewAmerican Letters and Commentary, Xavier ReviewHotel AmerikaMeridian Anthology of Contemporary PoetryThe Pacific Review, and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011: ( He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Two Poems by Brandon C. Spalletta


Twilight fell like silent rain,
memories felt hallucinogenic and beautiful,
popping into existence like lightning
thrown through a lifeless sky,

visions of familiar children laughing
and tire swinging in an open yard,
the Potomac's peaceful power, a one-eyed
Tiger still hunting for love,
broken bones and friendship,

but we have become a screaming corpse
waltzing and pirouetting our way through
forgotten fractions that once comprised
a legitimately perfect equation.

We have come to rest in this residual realm
of remembrance, a place that no longer produces
any form of pleasure or protection,
much like a weeping willow earning its moniker
through a storm, a place
that like these barren days is passing
and that's alright because let's face it,

this world,

our world,

was never paradise.

Unwritten Letters
For Ashley

In the letters that I only wrote to you
in my head, those years that you became
the angelic voice I had prayed for,
we sat on the edge of waterfalls
and you had a yellow flower
in your fiery hair.
We chattered like children in the sun,
twenty-something years young,
engulfed in smiles and lost
more blissfully than the mist
spraying over the edge.
I held your hand and I profess my madness now,
but I felt your hand on mine from afar,
the warmth of your skin,
saw forever in your loving eyes
and into the future
in a few unwritten letters.

Brandon C. Spalletta is a poet from Herndon, Virginia who lives with his beautiful wife and best friend.  He is currently a substitute teacher for Fairfax County in Northern VirginiaHis poetry has appeared in Pyrokinection, Jellyfish Whispers, and in the anthologies These Human Shores, Volumes 1 & 2.  He invites all to check out his homepage at and would love to hear from you!

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Poem by Michael Ray Perkins

Gooseberry Pie
the green kind
grew by
my great grandmother’s shed
the one that was falling down
her  modest yard of tawny bushes
was yearly the subject
of much joy and
and we would go over
me with my grandfather
to view them
when they came on
after his mother called
to spread the tidings 
lots of sugar
was required
to make the comfort food
of those most tart berries
so sour you spit them out raw otherwise
I think they made
just a pie or two
but here we are
still talking about them
still talking of them
all these years gone by
even though I
never found
a taste for gooseberry pie
I savor the memory
Michael Ray Perkins was born in Harrisburg, Missouri, in 1956, the son and grandson of country people.  Both sides of his family have lived in Missouri for more than 150 years - longer than it has been a state.  He worked on a ranch before serving as an Army medic and then a Navy corpsman with the Marines.  He studied history and political science and earned an MSW in social work.  He lives in mid-Missouri with his wife and the youngest two of his four children.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

A Poem by Daniel N. Flanagan


No, not literary literature
There are few hidden meanings.
For why make you work further,
You're already reading to escape
From your ordinary life, to my, object
I do not feel the need to cup breasts and fondle flamingos in order to analyze intelligence
Re-read and scrutinize me, for you will find nothing
In the recessed gardens of this straight forward, muddied mind


Beaver dam thoughts of a
Burst dam and
A man who is not
Still hiding in


The notorious shadow of his former
A man who
need not remain nameless
For he is in front of you
Throughout me, 26 letters eating me.

Daniel N. Flanagan is a Worcester, MA native; currently writing a novella, while taking a year off from college. He is the author of the short story "Daddy's Girl", located in The Commonline Journal, and four poems, featured in Aberration Labyrinth and The Onyx. He has three stories and two poem scheduled for publication between December '13 and February '14 in the following literary journals; Beyond Imagination, Danse Macabre du Jour, Yellow Mama, Pyrokinection and Leaves of Ink. Check him out at and follow him @DanielNFlanagan.