Saturday, March 29, 2014

Two Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

Dreams and Bed Covers

When we wake
I'll need your help
to build a wooden structure
around our hearts.


bad teeth and the soft lure of sand

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-Missouri, 100F Outside and other poems ( (Barometric Pressures -- A Kind of a Hurricane Press).  His work has appeared in The Cafe Review, American Letters and Commentary, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The 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).

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Two Poems by Ken L. Jones

For the Duchess of Stardust

Why must I store all that I remember in refrigerators
While I still dream shaking like a harp?
Until I wind up weeping Silent Night every Christmas
And New Year's Ever finds me making resolutions in the dark
And there are ashes of a dirge
In all these moaned memories
A total eclipse of my nightmare's surf
Whose neon has arrived far too late
And now there's nothing left
Just lonely cliffs made of yard sale Teletubbies
Too sad to comprehend or to try to explain
And a television that tells me to get my ass to Mars
And I will do it because I'm aging and damaged
And still devouring old comic books
From the last bloodsucker century that was ago
And what is all this about anyway?
As I listen to Bob Dylan sing Lady Lady Lay
Nothing lasts forever not even the identity of my first kiss
That was given to me by what's her name way back
Before I could ever take up pen and write down poems such as this.

A Walk Through a Thousand Kinds of Birds

There is wood smoke in the frost that creeps across this afternoon
And in the shadow of every word that trampolines off
Of the devoured blacktop is a silhouette of light
As askew I awaken and go down red stairs that lead me to a magic show
Where music only others can hear turns the street
In front of my house into a snifter of brandy
That smells like the nitrous oxide of Gertrude Stein and it
Briefly dismounts the transience upon which we all ride
And have long ridden since stillborn childhood first slumbered drunk in the park
And awoke to find itself an old white bearded Walt Whitman
Watching the rain from a tavern in the dark

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.  He is also publishing recently in the many fine anthology poetry books that Kind of a Hurricane Press is putting out.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Poem by Deborah L. Wymbs


Dog hairs and lover's laundry lint,
Two things not easily gotten rid of,
And a third, images of love making.

He is the words brick and testosterone;
I am the word confused --
He makes me take vacations from myself.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Two Poems by J.J. Campbell

i see the doctor tomorrow

i'd like to die
laughing in
my chair while
dressed in the
only suit i have
ever owned

freshly bathed
and shaved

a new tattoo on
my left arm with
the directions to
a key for a safe
deposit box that
isn't mine

maybe a riddle
on my right calf
for shits and

and a little heart
on each testicle
just because

all in body paint

an ode to the artist
i never became

my last poem
tucked inside
my suit

the perfect poem

the one only meant
for the worms in
the ground

right about then
you remember you
are being cremated

entirely too much bass

tripping into a
neon afterworld

drinking on a cloud
that bounces to the
beat of a demon that
enjoys entirely too
much bass in his
house music

i never thought i'd
enjoy wearing pink
pants and smoking
joints made of
crayola wrappers

kissing the lips
of the latest suicide
girl to get lost on
this side of the

this one is the one

i'm sure this time

can't you just see
us holding hands
on this yellow
brick road to

someone has
mistaken bliss
for reality

i was certain this
generation didn't
want to know
about sadness

J.J. Campbell (1976 - soon) lives and writes on a farm in Ohio.  He's been widely published over the years, most recently at This is Poetry Project, The Blind Vigil Revue, The Camel Saloon, ZYX, and Dead Snakes. His latest book, Sofisticated White Trash (Interior Noise Press, 2013) is available wherever people buy books these days.  You can find him most days bitching about something on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights (  

Friday, March 21, 2014

Three Poems by Diane Webster

Wedding Vision

Blue jay and robins
march us down
the evergreen tree aisle way
in sister-woman-sister love.
We hold hands on the edge of a mountain
with our valley future in panoramic views.
Should we jump?
Leap away from marriage,
we don't pledge
soul mates till death,
welded by wedding bands
for all to see or not to see,
love in the eye of the beholder?


Stand on the balcony with my love
and greet the crowd like a coronation
of a new royal spouse.
Stroll hand in hand in the park,
giggle in an elm tree's shade
and kiss so old couples pass
with "remember when" glances.
Receive parents' blessings
and have friends angry
because we can't see beyond
each other's eyes.
A consummation, an approval, joined
to share and meet the world
as one.

Soul Mates

On this crisp morning we walk
like children pretending to exhale
great plumes of cigarette smoke
or dragons blowing flames
to envelop the tiny knight
struggling to inject us with
the poisoned sword.
But this cold, oppressive day
your soul breathes momentarily
reaching for the clouds above . . .
when failing I feel
the whisper of your breath
like lilac in May.
We stop.
Breath, soul, fragrance
mingle, vaporize
in ever shortening gasps
until only a breath separates
our lips.
I inhale your exhale
you inhale my exhale
we breathe in visible

Diane Webster, like a cat, enjoys gazing out a window to watch squirrels spiral up and down weeping willow branches, to watch sparrows and finches push and shove for the choicest eating spot on the bird feeders while junco ground feeders peck at the spillage, and to watch nothing while she daydreams.  Diane's work has appeared in Conceit Magazine, Laughing Dog, Ken*Again and other literary magazines.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Poem by Paul Tristram

She Has A Body Like My Spirit

She has a body like my spirit
and a heart Welsh mountain sized.
Calm with a smiling tenderness
to quell the ferocity of my storm.
A tender nature ripe with giving.
A contented, caring gentle soul
Our emotions fit like puzzle pieces
the North and South sides of a whole.

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world.  He yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight.  This too may pass, yet.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Two Poems by Steve Klepetar

The Winter Shadow

on the wall
has no eyes but it sees
every grain of grit
pushed and anguished
by snow

it has hands like dark
webs shooting out
from thin wrists
it has legs like stilts
stalking a cold land

Tonight the shadow will shrink
to a frozen

which cold night
will swallow
the shadow is
not lost
but wandering far
in the moon's restless dream

Staff Meeting

The girl to my right is wearing three shirts,
gray over black over white.  Her nails are clear;
her friend's are painted black.  Each has driven

a thin spike through the flesh of her ear.
This room is cold.  Some people are eating
banana cake; white icing clings to yellow plates.

Wall clock lurches forward, one minute at a time.
Somewhere, green snakes wind their twisting way
beneath the blasts, deep through undulating earth.

Steve Klepetar's work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net.  Recent collections include Speaking to the Field Mice (Sweatshoppe Publications) and My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press).  His e-chapbook, Return of the Bride of Frankenstein, is forthcoming from Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Two Poems by Peter Dabbene


A quick swipe of fingernails --
digging vigorously, like dogs on the scent,

flaking skin from these legs, as if they could be sanded
to perfection, rosy and ruby-studded, from imperfect marble.

Blood erupts from volcanic scabs roused from dormancy
and collects in red rings above ankle-length socks

-- at least the carpet won't get stained.

"Leave it alone" sounds simple, but my body's not my own.

I inhabit, slave of impulse, a dog without a lampshade cuffed;
I am choking on my long leash.

scratching at an itch . . . 

and when the urge comes again, it's impossible to resist, it's inconceivable to resist --

taking it in, sucking it down, shooting it up, shooting it out, letting it wash over you, seeking satisfaction and hiding in the flawless moment because it's easier than waiting for life

to brush against you like poison ivy, or alight upon you like a mosquito, or find a way into 
your body like varicella zoster

this is easy . . .

easier than applying creams and third-rate folk remedies

easier than wondering if there's something under the skin that needs to be torn out

or if some missing key component could tie it all together

and make it work

the way it was supposed to

A lucid pause turns cloudy
and I crave clarity once more . . . 

Looking down at bleeding scabs and welts that will not heal,

my hand prepares to sin again.  I think to myself, just before it takes me:
there's so much more; this is only scratching the surface.

The Trials of Iphicles

There are no tales told of my battle
   with that cunning green-eyed demon
   who falls to no sword.

At eight months, the Fates spun and twined my course --
   falling short of tragedy, my ill luck to be the normal
   paired with the exceptional, the meek
   tied to the strong,
   inseparable in every way
   except those I wanted.

Even if they intended no harm,
   when scales raise one, the other
   must be diminished, by rule.
   Or is that not correct?

How not to hate when riddled by
   errant arrows of praise, which
   pierce one's best defenses, and
   leach poison to the body, and the mind?

How not to drown when torrents of admiration for kin become cascades?
   I insisted different was not inferior, but never believed it.

Cleaning stables by hand, at home, a short
   unglamorous life, having one wife,
   losing my own son's favor to his more exciting uncle.

His Trials mere tasks to be completed, my
   scourge accosts daily, legendary appetite
   unfilled.  This is my measure of heroism -- to
   suffer trials silently, with good humor and grace,
   taking solace that one day Thanatos will come, and the looms tear away to freedom.

Peter Dabbene's poetry has been published in many online and print literary journals, and collected in the book Optimism. His stories can be found online at,,,, and elsewhere, and his comic book work can be seen in the graphic novel Ark and the magazine Futurequake.  He has published two story collections, Prime Movements and Glossolalia, and a novel, Mister Dreyfus' Demons.  His latest book is the humor collection Spamming the Spammers (with Dieter P. Bieny).  He writes a monthly column for the Hamilton Post (viewable at and reviews for BlueInk Review and Forward Reviews.  His plays have been performed in New Jersey and Philadelphia venues.  His website is

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Poem by Marc Carver

Only in the Making
We drove past the roundabout
there was a big tree laying on its back
roots torn from earth
"Get up you lazy bastard."I said 
"No sleeping on the job."
Later,I thought how lucky he must of thought he was,
the road had come through there years ago,
all his brothers sacrificied for progress
but not him
he and two of his friends stayed in a sunny spot with only the punishment of watching cars all day long.
He was lucky
but today god told him his luck had run out.
A few days later I saw the men there who were cutting him up
no coffin for him
only in the making.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

A Poem by James Diaz

Fences Do Not Mend Each Other

said, sea needs
you, immediate light
or curved
to break like bread
in the insular atmosphere.
Lend me quarters-
spare me politics,
specify on the door
and your body
if I wasn't suppose to enter.
James Diaz was born in North Carolina and raised in various parts of the south. He currently resides in upstate New York. He is previously unpublished.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Poem by Robert Halleck


It was a day of blue sky a few clouds
showing a possible hint of snow on a
late November day of nothing to do, no
one to see, no one to love. A phone call
to a friend--no, an acquaintance for she
failed all those tests of friendship: the 4 am
call, money with no questions, and listening,
most of all listening for friends don't talk.
The arrangements were made quickly.
About an hour, please very casual, I
have one thing I want. Lunch after, fine,
nothing to do. We can linger long or be
on our way. She'll drive. Her friend (acquaintance)
makes her nervous running up on cars, 
braking suddenly, not looking. She dresses
quickly with the practiced movements of
one never interrupted. No need to search
for things moved by another. No need to
stop to answer a question irritatingly simple
and probably unneeded. She wanted perfection
and she had it. Long ago she began after a week
of retreat to live in the present the past a
long distance away. The future--well, that's
for the rest of her life. Today creeps or 
races at its own pace. So good. It would 
have been an hour for she was always 
on time but truth be known she was always
early. Waiting around the corner she checked
e-mail and five minutes later started driving.
Her friend (acquaintance) was waiting at
the curb. Small talk on the short drive to
Nordstrom's. No sharp edge to the conversation
just mindful catching up on mutual friends
who'd be glad to know nothing was said.
All is for the best. This is the best of all
possible worlds. Well, I just have the
one thing so a little browsing can't be 
bad. Then off to Point of View for what
I need. Together, sure, or we can divide
and conquer. Like a dream, a sound, a
consciousness of a sound, a tune "Someone
To Watch Over Me." Fast memory of a
movie while still talking but something
crowds out everything, a riff, a way
no way, no way, no way the thought comes.
Stopping she looks over to the escalator.
The piano is there. Her ex-husband is
there playing as only he can on that tune.
Her friend--now suddenly she is a friend--
notices her stopping. Wait, she tells her.
Wait a minute. I know that man and yes
he would be upset if I didn't say hello.
Her friend looks over and watches her.
approach. It is not a confident approach.
She looks back and then speaks. No, no
just here for a week for the gig. No, no
not drinking. Twenty years sober. No,
not married live alone three states away.
She goes back to her friend now curious.
No, just an old friend who had a problem.
A long time ago they had been close. Yes,
yes she is okay just a bit of a surprise.
Her friend walks ahead and misses the tear.
Tonight there will be many of them.
Nothing she will ever do will make today go away.
Robert Halleck is a retired banker living in Del Mar, CA with his wife Terry and 3 retired racing Greyhounds. He has been writing poetry for over 50 years. He published two collections of poems: IT'S NEVER TOO LATE and OTHER PLACES OTHER TIMES. Recent poems of his have appeared in The Boston Poetry Review, The Camel Saloon, San Diego Poetry Annual, The Scapegoat Review, Jellyfish Whispers, and other journals.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Poem by Joyce Kessel

The Permanence of Memory

The resonance of genius
Passed thru nature and nurture and words
and smoke
the mirrored lift of an eyebrow
the stretching of arms
palms upward
to accept smoke and words and dance
and savor meanings and nuance
rhythms and beat and drumming and the echoes
the layers of words and smoke
tangible still
restlessly moving
magicians with words and smoke
and reincarnation
all words still flesh

Joyce Kessel has published two chapbooks of poetry:  SECRET LIVES and DESCRIBING THE DARK (Saddle Road Press, 2013) and her work has appeared in The Healing Muse, WNY Poets Waging Words for Peace, cell2soul,, Nickel City Nights Anthology, and Kind of a Hurricane Press' antholgies:  Barbie and Point Mass.  An editing member of Earth's Daughter feminist arts periodical, she teaches literature, writing, and interdisciplinary courses at Villa Marie College.