Monday, December 29, 2014

Three Poems by Fain Rutherford

After Rendition

He wakes naked on the wet metal chair,
breathing inside the pillowcase hood,
wrists tied with her nonsense-colored scarves.

She wants him to say it.
She wants what she wants.
She wants it all.

He says nothing.

So she jerks off the hood, and he blinks in the light.
Her furrowed forehead concerned at his silence.
She'd rather not hurt him, but she will if she must.

She wants to hear it.
She wants what she wants.
She wants it right now.

Still nothing.

So she throws the switch on that voltaic smile
somehow hooked up to his limbic insides.
From scrotum to scalp his subdural wiring
twitches and hums.  Vision tunnels.  Belly cramps.

Then, in a sudden incontinent whoosh,
the gut-heated words spill out over his chest,
and puddle embarrassed on the floor.  Maybe now
she'll turn off that terrible grin.  Now that

She has what she wants.
She has it all.
She  has it forever.

The Lighthouse

All-seeing from an unseen spit,
it lights the cells for a bed check
every four point eight seconds.
No one has tunneled out.

As olfactory torture that leaves
no marks, it passes the squamous
gas of intertidal decay, boiled up
in the offal bucket of the bay
from the scaly remains of long dead lifers.

Based on reliable penal research,
it tunes an occasional cloacal drone
to the pitch proven best to rattle the teeth
and ruin the sleep of the newly convicted.

Resort Holiday

Down the dirt path to Housekeeping
she walks unequally like one leg's
too long, mandatory nametag
magnetized on the custodial blue
below her wide, new world smile.

Behind her, by imported palms,
holiday bikini banter floats on a layer of self-
assurance above the warm salt pool.  Pink
skin stretched and exposed like fresh-
flayed hide staked out to dry.

One arm seems longer too, hanging unjointed
from the tilted shoulder, ending in a shallow,
"flesh tone" bucket split in half, butt like,
by a divider handle.  It's the "flesh tone" of skin
after embalming--of skin under bikinis.

Thin-limbed, canvas-tanned women under
the ramada flutter the buffet for the third
time since breakfast.  They're "grazing"--
a recent innovation in calorie limitation.
With their saucer-sized shades,
they look like desert flies on cow flop.

The bucket is heavy with cleansers used on one-
per-cent porcelain after bucket-colored asses
have lifted off and left for classes called
"abs and glutes," "zen zumba" or "yin yoga."
The smooth whiteness cleaned enough for
the tanned women to graze from on their return.

The other shoulder rides up toward her ear,
arm encircling a drooping poinsettia, green-
potted with red foil and bow.  Too wilted now
to serve any longer as the arid resort's
tepid gesture of the season to confident guests.
Its exhaustion now potentially offensive.

So the tired token lurches away toward a day off
with toys-for-tots, donated clothes and
second-hand cans of cranberry and pumpkin,
to celebrate with the tamales and border radio,
the cushioned vowels and sun-cracked plastic,
and the happy, gritty wind.

Over the years, Fain Rutherford has worked as a soldier, lawyer, university lecturer, rock-climbing guide, survival instructor and at-home-dad.  He currently resides in the desert of central Washington State.  His recent poems appear or are scheduled to appear in Right Hand Pointing, Pyrokinection, Poetry Quarterly, Jellyfish Whispers, Halfway Down the Stairs, Furious Gazelle, Front Porch Review, Eunoia Review, Connotation Press, and Apeiron Review.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Poem by Jonel Abellanosa

           After the visual art Astronomy by Abstract Astronomy
This latest probe proves beyond any doubt
there’s a chunk of the universe in the brain’s
blackest region: clustered planets like ours
gathered from galaxies that string our destinies
in the microscope’s cloud metaphors
shaded in violets, whites and oranges.
What these mists are remain unclear, but
these minute orbs hold versions of
ourselves repeating dissimilar lives,
as we have long argued.
The next times you travel in dreams
or imagine the future unfold its myriad
possibilities, or think you’re recalling,
know that they’re real: you’re an observer
of your selves happening elsewhere,
whether you’re father, son, husband
or grandfather. 
Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines.  Remembering things that seem to never have happened, he thinks this life on Earth may not be his first.  He continues to search for more proof that ultimate hope is real.  Instead of relying on science, he approaches poetry like a pilgrim, prayerful in discerning the eternal other poets might have consciously or inadvertently left in their works; looking for universal hope expressing itself in different forms through stories of ordinary individuals. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Two Poems by Erren Geraud Kelly

The Death of Saturday Morning Cartoons

"For the first time in 50 years, there was no Saturday morning cartoons of any kind on any of the major networks. . ."
                                            -- from a yahoo article

No more mystery machine or mighty mouse
No more while e. coyote chasing the road runner
on Saturday Mornings
Though I never took him seriously
If the coyote always had the money to
Go to acme to buy materials to make
The trap and travel to chase the road runner
He couldn't saved himself the trouble
And bought himself a pizza
Johnny quest always looked mod
In a turtleneck sweater
daphne was the eye-candy, but
velma was the prototype for the
Feminist, the opinionated woman
Though she was a plain jane
But she had tig o bitties
velma was smart when being smart
Wasn't cool for girls

Saturday mornings, I ate big bowls of
Cereal, sometimes at mom's house
Sometimes, at dads
I thought my dad was smarter than
The average dad

Bugs bunny made being an anti-authority
Figure cool; he taught me all about life
With a queen's accent
The schoolhouse rocked when blossom dearie
The jazz diva, with the little girl voice
Explained how adjectives were used
In a sentence
Some Saturday morning, mom cooked breakfast
As a lowly bill explained his sisphyean quest
To become law; and succeeded against all odds

Godzilla was a tortured soul
But he always came out victorious

The villian would've gotten away with it, too
If it hadn't been for those meddling kids
And that dog
But shaggy was my favorite
Casey Kasem was his voice
When he wasn't counting down
Top 40 hits on pop radio
Or making long distance dedications

go go gadget, and a watch could
stop a bomb from smashing into earth
just a few weeks ago, apple introduced a watch
inspector gadget would love

c-bear was the teddy bear with soul
but I always preferred peanuts,
snoopy was the rock star beagle
but Charlie brown was my spiritual twin

I've always had a soft spot for underdogs. . .


When she moves, she lets the music
Tell her where to go
She's wearing a thrift store shroud
And playing with a dog
She's embarrassed about walking
Around in public in pajamas,

She moves like a feather
Around the coffeehouse
She's a tango dancer
And she always dances with
A different partner
She learns much about
People that way
I mistake her blue paisley shawl
For a countess'
She tells me about the mountains
In Canada
I tell her I'm headed that way

There are no accidents in life

I look at her as she's talking
She makes her own daylight
She deserves only good things
Real pearl earrings
Not the fake ones she's wearing
She deserves people who will
Make her life golden
I listen to her talk
As she covers her breasts
With her elegant shroud
Her breasts I would touch
As we danced
Everything about her
Is to be treasured

Erren Geraud Kelly's work has been featured in over 150 publications in print and online.  Kelly is the author of the chapbook "disturbing the peace," from night ballet press.  Kelly received his B.A. in English Creative Writing from Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  Kelly lives in Portland, Oregon.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Poem by David R. Mellor

Dating in a State


I’m hanging around on a dating
In a state
Keyboards covered in tobacco, crisps, sticky with beer
Telling someone I like to climb mountains,
I’m calm and sensitive and in control
But I’m typing.. words …I can’t ….see
And I’m starting to spill truths
“Divorced” “Kids”
“Oh “
I like betting, drinking, smoking ,doing most things to stop me thinking or feeling
Kids miles away, and I’m up in the air
Are you still there?
David R. Mellor was born in Liverpool England in 1964.  He left school with nothing, rummaging around dead end jobs, he then went to college and university.  In his 20's he first discovered poetry, and started writing and performing and has done so ever since.  He has live on the Wirral for the past 8 years.  His second book "Some Body" is officially launched and available on Kindle now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Poem by Brihintha Burggee

If The World Crumbles Down
You are not the wails of
despaired orphaned wombs
that have been shredded prematurely.
You are not the arms,
opened to nowhere in despair
that yearn the fieriness of their beloved.
You are not the torn flesh
of pristine fledglings –
the pregnant dove,
now splashed with bloody stains.
You are not the rubble
that opens its cracks after every blast,
to welcome death's darkness,
And yet!
You are the clamour
that can rouse the heedless;
You are the beam
that can lift a prayer to the heavens;
You are the united mass
that can lower heads,
out of lofty crowns and pride
and overthrow the canker,
out of hearts.

Aged 20, Brihintha Burggee is enjoying the experience of writing her first poems. She lives in a small paradise island called Mauritius in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Her works have been previously published by The Rainbow Rose, The Camel Saloon, Mad Swirl and Leaves of Ink.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Poem by Karla Linn Merrifield

Ménage à Trois
      for David Richter 
Once upon Rimbaud’s 1870s time
in a Left Bank gay quartier, as a man
fragmented, saturated, he first wrote,
first recited in public the 100-line poem
of a drunken boat, boat like himself,
drifting, sinking at sea, lost
in the shadowed arrondissement of loss.
Once upon his time, a century later, Richter lived
just around the corner, one steep flight up
at #4 Rue de Canivet, window shutters open
to Saint Sulpice at his back (in case of guilt),
Steinway facing south so he could play nocturnes
for the bronzed, muscled pagan statuary
in Luxumbourg’s lush garden of easy liaisons.
Once upon a time this summer in Paris,
just down the street, I stared at gaunt twin ghosts
haunting the worn cobblestone ways of doubt,
the narrow, shadowy paths from pain.
From nearby belfry rings the hour of need,
from apartment window sounds a coda-echo of desire
from marble wall etched with“Le Bâteau Ivre
I read in full— at long last write my Chanson d’ Amour
in reply—
An eight-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had some 400 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has ten books to her credit, the newest of which are Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (Mercury Heartlink) and Attaining Canopy: Amazon Poems (FootHills Publishing). Forthcoming from Salmon Poetry is Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems of the Far North. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (, a member of the board of directors of TallGrass Writers Guild and of Just Poets (Rochester, NY), and a member of the New Mexico State Poetry Society. Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at                    

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A Poem by Olivier B

Rock 'n' Roll

a grey sedan cruises
                    besides us
       on the freeway

on its side a sticker reads
                    women rock

as we glimpse
                  incredibly large
      in the backseat
our driver notes:
      "they can barely roll"

Born and raised in the small village of Gilly-sur-Isere in the French Alps, Olivier B recently migrated to Long Beach, CA, in order to join the local community of poets.  He has a B.A. and an M.A. in Literature in English from Stendhal University, France, and was granted the EAP Scholarship in order to spend his last year of undergraduate studies at UC San Diego.  He is currently part of the M.F.A. in Poetry at CSU Long Beach, blending lyricism and landscape poetry, his verses attempt to bridge the caustic gap between romanticism and imagism.  His poetry can be found in Cadence Collective, RipRap, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Remedial Art Class and Electric Windmill Press, and his critical works in DUMAS and The William Carlos Williams Review.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Poem by Kushal Poddar

Schrodinger's Shadow

One gray cat, alive and dead,
shoves the door with her soft head
to meet her shadow.

One leaf slips in.  Two leaves.  Three.
It seems both autumn and end
of summer outdoor.

We live all lives together.
They huddle and merge, and storms
part them again and more.

A native of Kolkata, India, Kushal Poddar writes poetry, scripts and prose and is published world wide.  He authored "All Our Fictional Dreams," published in several anthologies in the Continent and in America.  The forthcoming book is "A Place for Your Ghost Animals." Find more at

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Four Poems by Simon Perchik

You are pulled and the same darkness
lifts your arm around these stars
spreads out door to door
knocks so your fist can smell
from blood become your heart again
dragged ahead as if you belong
near distances, end to end
                        though this cemetery
has forgotten its dead
holds only the invisible hillsides
                        soaking in stone and narrow alleyways
passed along till they close
and what will be your tears
waits as lips, as the sky brought back
crumbling with not a light left on.
Even these laces, breathless
falling to the floor without you
and the wait for calm –they cope
by helping you undress
used to shoes that weigh too much
are lowered forever, caressed
and still you talk non-stop
dangle your bare feet
half overboard, half
the way these enormous clothes
lose hold, break apart, then nothing
to heap one on top the other.
Branching out and this hillside
bit by bit unraveling
the way your shadow keeps to itself
just by darkening, fed the dirt
you once could see through
as if nothing was there to hum
then swallow some old love song
that came into the world
facing the ground still trying
to leave you and night after night
you listen for these smaller
then smaller stones eating alone
as the cry forever struggling
from its harsh stranglehold
to keep up, side by side and stay.
At the end this sand coming by
covers you with soft flowers
that long ago dried as footsteps
still treading inside some shallow grave
smothered  as afterward and dust
–you loved her the way the Earth
keeps warm and between two suns
place to place what’s left
you walk without looking down
though your arms are closing
have grown together a single fingertip
touching these shells and pebbles.
Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, free e-books and his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at

Friday, December 5, 2014

Two Poems by Michael Lee Johnson

I Work My Mind like Planet Earth
I work my mind
inward into a corner of knots.
Depressed beneath brain bone
I work my words, they overwork me.
Fear is the spirit alone, away from God.
Hospital warriors shake pink pills,
rattle bottles of empty dreams.
I walk my ward down the daily highway;
I work the roadmap of spirit,
weed out false religions.
Only one God for so many
Twelve Step programs.
I wrap myself around support groups,
look for dependency within their problems.
I publish my poems, life works,
concerns on floor five, psych ward
I edit my redemption,
escape from the laundry room;
run around in circles like planet earth,
looking for my therapist
to seal my comfort.
When You Get Old
When you get old
you leave everything behind−
present tense past tense,
hangers on refusing to turn loose,
high school letter sweaters, varsity
woolen jackets, yearbooks 1965,
covers that quickly open, slam shut−
high school romances only faces
where they were then−
ice cubes frozen in time.
No more teary eyes,
striking flames,
moist match heads
igniting bedroom sheets
and teenage bedside rumors.
You leave wife, or wives
behind toss out your youthful affairs.
All single events were just encounters,
cardiac dry ice, ladies with crimson clover eyes.
No more strings tightened, broken bows,
heart dreams slit vows, melancholy violin romances. 
You continue leaving reading glasses, key chain, ATM card,
senior discount cards, footnotes are your history,
artificial sweeteners, doctor appointments daily,
keep touching those piano notes, phone numbers in sequence
in tattered address books, names attached to memories hidden behind.
Everything rhymes with plural thoughts and foggy memories.
Youth was a bullyboy club-
the older I get the less I'm battered−
trust me I got witnesses in between−
saviors of wings, fantasies,
tense has no grammatical corrector,
it always dances around the rim of red wine.
Life now fills with silver teaspoons
of empty senior moments−
blank shells of present, past tense,
and yank me back recalls.
Do you remember those 1st 25 years,
shrinking brain space remembers
dances of sporadic nighttime boogies,
sports, senior prom, Thomas's Drive-In,
Spin-It-Record Shop, Dick Biondi,
89 WLS Chicago top 100.
Remember the next 25 years,
high school reunions grow dimmer−
priest of the voodoo dolls punch in numbers
of once living and now dead−
time undresses all.
Rise forward from your medieval pews.
Wherever you now live,
do you remember these things−
prayer, ghosts deep in the
pockets of our former youth.
Old age waits patiently in the face
of a full moon−a new generation.
When you get old
you leave everything behind.
MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 27 countries, he edits 8 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 pages book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 70 poetry videos on YouTube.
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Poem by Martin Willitts, Jr.

God Visits Michelangelo at the Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo was painting on his back
God giving the spark of life
and intelligence to Eve.
God appeared next to him, lying on her back,
“they will never believe you, you know.”
I know, he admitted, applying apple cheeks
to Eve. “But I can see the truth
and I paint what I see.”
“They will persecute you,” God warned,
“you better paint me with a beard
and make Eve into Adam.
It is what they expect.”
“You could show yourself,”
Michelangelo suggested, “show them
they are wrong.”
“They would not believe me, not even
if I brought some plagues or turned salt
into wine. They would want some proof.
After seeing proof, they still would not believe.
And even if they did,
they would want to look up my skirt,
make sure I am a woman.”
After making the changes, he said,
“I guess you have to give them what they expect.”
Martin Willitts Jr is the winner of the 2012 Big River Poetry Review’s William K. Hathaway Award ; co-winner of the 2013 Bill Holm Witness Poetry Contest; winner of the 2013 “Trees” Poetry Contest; winner of the 2014 Broadsided award; winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Contest. He has 7 full-length collections including national award winner for “Searching for What You Cannot See” (Hiraeth Press, 2013), “Before Anything, There Was Mystery” (Flutter Press, 2014), and “Irises, the Lightning Conductor For Van Gogh's Illness” (Aldrich Press). He also has 28 chapbooks including 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), “The Constellations of Memory and Forgiveness” (Seven Circles Press, web book, 2014), “A Is For Aorta” (Kind of Hurricane Press, e-book, 2014), national chapbook contest winning “William Blake, Not Blessed Angel But Restless Man” (Red Ochre Press, 2014), and "Swimming in the Ladle of Stars" (Kattywompus Press, 2014).