Monday, June 30, 2014

A Poem by Valeri Beers

Circus Love

I taste
sticky sweet
cotton candy

I smell

I see
lions lined up
I hear
trainer shouting
whip cracking

I sneak
at you,
and feel
the same
I see
the acrobats
fly so high

my heart has no net.

Valeri Beers is from Bangor, Maine. She has been writing all her life. She is inspired to write by listening to music and needing to remember things. Valeri has been published in a number of print and online literary magazines including Zest literary magazine, Far Away literary magazine, The Writer's Drawer and Kumquat Poetry. She has links to her poems on and on her own poetry site You can also connect with her on Facebook (Valeri Beers) and Twitter (@theval2000)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Poem by Alan Catlin

Sugar Cane
Tall poles of sugar cane grew in parallel
lines as far as a child's eye could see.
We played hide and seek there, running
through the rows, our feet rustling dull
grey husks, kicking up the soft, dark
island dirt as we ran.  The cane fields
were our magic forests where we dwelled
without secret, imaginary friends despite
those tall, forbidding shadows mother
cast upon our dreams.  I was called Alano
then, was a mystery man from another world
listening to you call me:"Alan, come here,
come here this instant.  I told you never
to play with those children ever again.
You'll fall down.  You'll get hurt.
Alan are you listening?  Alan‑‑‑"
She could hear us rustling between rows,
could see our shadows as we danced into night,
where the sugar cane stood up like
pointed stakes and the rats came running
through the fields, baring their thin,
white teeth.
Alan Catlin two most vivid memories form his childhood involve a year spent on The Virgin Island of St Croix and growing up near, and going to, Coney Island amusement park. His latest his a full length memoir with poetry, “Books of the Dead”.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Poem by Sarah Thursday

The first time you kissed me
I should have seen it coming
You were animal-starved
pawing hungry at my hips
You were hurricane-tongued
bracing me against your mouth
I pulled up fierce to match you
claw for claw around your neck
I could not hear us breathing
deafened by your torrent eyes
I did not recognize the beast
devouring my skin like victory
I wasn't your prey or your prize
bound to be death-squandered
I had waited beyond time for you
to lay yourself down at my feet
I had hoped for honey sweet
and slow to drench my lips
with tenderness. But I
I should have known
Sarah Thursday is a music obsessed, Long Beach poetry advocate, editor of, and teacher of 4th and 5th graders. She is honored to have forthcoming or been published in The Long Beach Union, The Atticus Review, East Jasmine Review, Ishaan Literary Review,Napalm and Novocain, Mind[less] Muse, Pyrokinection, Storm Cycle: Best of 2013, and Mayo Review. Her full length collection, All the Tiny Anchors, is in the works. Follow her at

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Poem by Amy Barry

Candy Colours
Sunset paints the room
pink, red, yellow and gold.
A pleasant numbness
settles in my bones.
It dances
inside my head.
You bring the same
to your seduction
as you do to your music.
Eyes shut,
I smell the leather
of your coat,
the cigarettes on your lips.
Almost fearful,
I kiss you
Risking my life
with that kiss.
Like a fool.
Like an animal-
Desperately in love.
by a current
of wild happiness
that is dangerous,
but strangely-
Amy Barry writes poems and short stories. She has worked in the media, hotel and Oil& Gas industries. Her poems have been published in anthologies, journals, and e-zines, in Ireland and abroad. Her poems have been read and shared over the radio in Australia, Canada and Ireland. Trips to India, Nepal, China, Bali, Paris, Berlin and Tramore-have all inspired her work. When not inspired to write, she plays Table Tennis.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Three Poems by J.P. Dancing Bear

All Souls’ Day
Here I shall lay a wreath
of sugar skulls
in hopes that a prayer can
release my dead.
The candle flame lunges back and forth
to a music only heard
between the breaths of the living.
In my quiet making,
the shrine rises up out of needful things
that miss their place in a hand
as a (dare I say this word:) possession.
Offerings of wine, of smoke, of favorites.
The morsels I forego
on this day of my dead.
How do I begin to say the words
of the tiniest remembrances
I have of them?
The shard that cannot
remake a complete image.
Yes, I too have a shimmery thing
within me, a body of water,
a fog that rolls in each morning
and out each afternoon—a thing I call my soul.
And who do I believe would pray for it
when I won't? Who do I think will
bother an offering on its behalf?
It will go back to the collective pool
of eternal waiting. Eventually forgetting
everything for the repetitive motion
of a ripple.
There is no one way to build a altar, like the many dead, each remains a life that was served individually. The ornate cloth of one altar attracts its intended while repulsing others. Each spirit makes its way. The candled pumpkin and marigold light the way. We summon these dead to us to embrace. Here all the words that bond one person to the next are offered on the altar. What was shared is reconnected again.
I do not know what happens after life. It does not even matter what I believe or cannot. The dead know but stay silent.  Good for them. I take this day to remember my dead and thank them.
If the naked soul travels
then let them see what is offered.
It is in their memory that I am here.
I leave all my words on the altar
beneath those things that made a life so memorable.

International Clown Day
Behind the big tent
where the sad elephants are lead
back to their cages, where the trainers
rest their whips
and smoke cigarettes
among the stogied
porcelain faces,
the grease paint creases
of old men who are too tired
to smile and thus
paint one on.
No one ever has the same markings—
such a lonely business
tearing down the circus
building it in a new town
never to see a familiar.
Never to mirror
a true love.
Among the hysterical babies
one bouquet of squirting flowers
is produced for a star-eyed
love. And for a moment
the candy red cheek
might evaporate with true blush.
By a dim lit mirror
the layers of sweat
and colors are wiped away.
The fright wig rests
on the blank head;
the television rolls horizontal lines
in the background
of his cramped trailer—
no news of the day
different from yesterday.
For most, it is not a world of tiny cars and teasing lion tamers, but a world of 2am laundromats and waiting for the spin cycle to remove the sticky sweet smudges of an unimpressed child's birthday party. Start 'em early, as the memory of countless crying babies in highchairs try desperately to get away. Older children complain of no Batman or Woody or Spiderman. And the life of a clown is a life of compromises and settlements played out before you in the acts of family dramas.
The life of a clown is to be the disappointment oft times punctuated in fear. A lost art no one cares about. Nary a true critic of the art is left. But as the old joke goes, at least you're not a mime.
No feature of face paint on the news.
The scent of witch hazel and a large jar
of clown white
beneath the blink of a dying
bulb at the edge
of a mirror is more of a mark
on the calendar
than this day which passes
as easily as a make-up pad
across a scarred cheek.

I just ate my feelings. They were equal to a sizable portion of cheesecake. -Dyana Bagby
What I saw in the cake was the silver reflection
the cold eye I hate the most about myself
calculating the cut and then adjusting for a selfish portion
that would slide down and disappear
like a collapsed star in my gut—
eventually pulling in everything, but not
at first, and not for a long time...
thousands of slices later, in fact.
All the while whatever was there that I saw
within myself, real or imagined, regenerated—
like something fresh from hell's oven.
I rode the pastry cart like one of the four horsemen.
Each new sweetness a misery, a pang,
a feeling I had forgotten, refused, denied;
until something escaped the gravity well within me,
something sparking, alive, and angry,
the little imp of self-improvement,
ready to phoenix me, right after I blazed down to ashes.

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Poem by JoyAnne O'Donnell


Honeycomb of lighted chambers
bee's our friend of high labors
that caress our smile
for a mile
with the sun's amber drip
into our day 
gentle love the sweetest ray.
JoyAnne O'Donnell is a poet living in Maryland, enjoys the art of poetry and musing. Also paints wildlife pictures.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Two Poems by Ralph Monday

Polonius, Hamlet, and Words Words Words

She said that words create reality.
I replied that reality creates words.
Not what Foucault, Derrida said.
Did orange and red create a sunset,
or a sunset gave voice to the hues
burning against a blemished sky?
Was violence and terror the offspring
of songs around a campfire, or the
name given to the aftermath of
Tiananmen Square?
Was rock and roll coined by Alan Freed,
or was it sex in the backseat turned into
an Elvis Dionysian performance that
started the 50s platters turning?
Did Hamlet create the words or Claudius
the poison?
The girl next door, white picket fences,
Mr. Rogers' cardigan sweaters, the bikini,
pearl necklaces, white gloves, TV dinners,
poodle skirts, drive-ins, Mamie van Doren,
green and blue and yellow and crimson,
raindrops and tears, muscle cars and muscle
men--did Plato pluck them from the ether
as concrete vibrations like strumming a cello?
What about love she said.
Or hate, pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed,
sloth, the night, the day, the stars, sun and moon,
global warming, ozone depletion, all the fairy
tales ever dreamed by ogres or trolls or witches--
do we only share skin or shed it off like a
snake sloughing away last year's growth?
What about love she said again.
Find love like a gleaming penny and the words
will come.

The Not So Secret Life of Human Insects

The most powerful human symbol is the
female body.
Their hourglass figures stare out at the
unwary in the checkout line.
Their breasts soft as ripe apples,
lips rouged for the bleeding,
hair like filaments in a widow's web,
no wonder that mantis is a Greek word
for prophet,
where smart women reading from their
bodily tarot,
smile knowingly at the male aching
in his reproductive gonads.
Hypnotized by the secret code of
The bar hopping toad before his belly
packs fat like sautéed ribs,
dense skull not yet a bare glacial
pack creeping like basement
secure in his immature power,
he has not yet lost his head
to the mantis' clavicles.
That will come.
And when the sharp pincers
have done their deed,
he, headless, can only stare
from the slick floor
with smeared eyeballs
She prepares the nest
with a sharp lipstick
taken from her purse
turned burrow.

Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN, where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses.  In fall 2013, he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Weekly Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry  Repairs.  In winter 2014, he had poems published in Dead Snakes.  Summer 2014 will see a poem in Contemporary Poetry:  An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems.  His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Pyrokinection, and Poetry Repairs.  His first book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.


Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

Because Battery

acid does not contain caffeine, I pour
Diet Coke down my throat every morning, hoping
to either jump start my body or finish it off.  I move
egg whites around my breakfast plate with true indifference
while awaiting some physical response.  I listen to the clock tick,
like the time bomb my body has become, visualize
the completely unappetizing corrosion dissolving
portions of my stomach as I continue to drink.

Life is Like a Bag of Cheetos

Full of hard pieces, devoured
without thought of consequences.  Potential
choking hazards that dissolve,
a mouthful of memories that stain
everything they touch.

Simulated Beach

Dripping with unprotected layers of coconut
scented oil, I surrender myself to electric
clamshell.  Stretched inside this closed coffin,
I force-feed sounds of imitation
wind and waves through twin earbuds, entwined
in hair that never moves.  I bake to a bubbling
350.  Tan, I emerge without lines or grainy
tracks across my skin.

A.J. Huffman’s poetry, fiction, haiku, and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, 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, June 2, 2014

A Poem by J.J. Campbell

open swing
a wonderful sunny
day spent indoors
trapped with the
sick and children
that just want to
go out and play
they couldn't
give two shits
that grandma's
on the verge of
not when there's
an open swing
right outside
the window
J.J. Campbell (1976 - soon) lives and writes on 80 acres in Ohio. He's been well published over the years, most recently at My Favorite Bullet, Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon, Nerve Cowboy, and ZYX. His first full length collection, Sofisticated White Trash (Interior Noise Press), is available wherever people buy books these days. You can find him most days bitching about life and sports on his blog evil delights (