Sunday, May 31, 2015

Two Poems by Ken L. Jones

Ice Cold Hallelujah

An enchanted evening of autumn leaves wants to hold your hand
As I dry martini channel surf to golden swooning
And as I pretend continues to thrive there's witchcraft
In its songs that just whittles down all fallen angels that are yet to be born
I don't know the direction of lost
I'm beheaded by my sad poignant television
Of a poem that struggles to connect half the dots
Bringing forth a feast of blurred lines
That continues to linger even as it lets the lovely wash over you
In the forever missteps that are in its glittering boughs
Down by a seaward bay where the echoes of tumbling fiddles
In this dog-eared light freeze all apples on their trees
And is even in the veins of seeds that tick like sea blown clocks
In the midnight thistle that grows so wild in the plague of blood red gardens
Where deliciously the moon is covered in seaweed as summer's singing birds
Become my shrunken anthill until rose gold like a tiger's eye
I become disembodied in a gallery of Picassos
Where I drink away my fading as smudges of train whistles
Turn into raw cathedral bells every time

Once the Gremlins are Loosed

The owl in the sea sand is a song
You can't quit playing
Not even now that the sunlight is in ruins as
The bones of a storm rolling across
The milky twilight of the desert
Becomes an nocturnum silver sequined
And there is a spinning wheel
In the leaves that form the autumn's
Turrets that rise up above the pole stars of an ocean
That is thoughtful beyond all paintings
And torn and fragile its toy box wings
Do beat across grape sugar vineyards
That pale the centuries where the nightingales
Put on a gilded minstrel show
Near where the chill waves melt
Like the adoration of a fine boned blond
Naked in the bearded tides
While the galloping thunderbolts
Above pastures made of blood
Become her petticoats of moonlight

For the past thirty-five years Ken L. Jones has been a professionally published author who has done everything from writing Donald Duck Comic books to creating things for Freddy Krueger to say in some of his movies.  In the last six years he has concentrated on his lifelong ambition of becoming a published poet and he has published widely in all genres of that discipline in books, online, in chapbooks and in several solo collections of poetry.  

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Two Poems by Jessica Lindsley

Cannibal Ballet

Grotesque circus of humanity:  cannibals all, we eye
Each other, sizing the meat of the buttocks, the fat

The sweep of muscle in the leg, the shoulder roast,
Rib meat, hocks, delicate cheek cutlets,

Knowing we are the worst carnivores,
All appetite, boundless vast bellies


Physical Liberty

The demands of the body
Have been shelved

Those desires have been
relegated to the basement

Among the etiquettes, out-of-date cartographies
And expired geographies

Filed in the Dewey Decimal system under
"Things That No Longer Matter"

Its card pulled from the catalog,
waiting to be discarded.

Until somehow I notice this man's smile,
those perfect imperfect teeth.

My library is wholly unshelved, books tumbling
Pages turning, open

Fanned by wind tinged with gasoline,
All the things I locked away.

Jessica Lindsley grew up in North Dakota before the oil boom.  Her work has been published in the Smoking Poet, Blackwood Press, Thirteen Myna Birds and other publications.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Poem by Ally Malinenko


I did a count.
From diagnosis
to now 4 months later
I figure about 50 strangers
have seen my tits
since this whole thing started.

This number could top out at 75 before year's end.

In the beginning I was shy
like all girls are in the beginning
slowly taking off my shirt
folding it neatly on the chair.
Unhooking my bra
tucking it under my shirt
Modest.  Chaste.

I would suck in my stomach as
they laid me back on the table.
A virgin for sure.
Be gentle, I would think.
Be kind.

But now, I've changed.
I whip that thing off,
toss it on the floor with my bra
like it was my own bedroom.
I usually have my tits out before
the doctor has even warmed his hands,
hop up on the table.  Flash him a smile.

Or when that one time
during radiation when I was afraid
there was something wrong
I had the right tit out of that gown
before he even had the office door shut.

I'm a total slut now.

I do it so much it's a wonder I don't do it all the time.
On the subway, reading poetry
at the grocery store
topless checking the cantaloupes against my own.

It's actually nice.
I get why guys like it being shirtless.
I've started walking around the house this way
past the open windows.
My tits happy and free
enjoying the cool air that floats in
the chatter of teenagers on the street.

I don't even wonder anymore if they can see me.
I don't even care.

Being topless, whenever,
this is something that women
have categorically missed out on.

We should fix this.
Men should not get all the topless time.

I think about the boys of my youth
when we used to go to the lake
how they would all raise their arms
in a salute to the sun and in sync
lift their shirt
drop it to the floor
they're slender bodies,
the way their shorts hung on them
the muscles of their shoulders flexing
like they were remembering
something primal
something free
something sexual
that had been buried far too long inside.

Ally Malinenko has been writing poems and stories for awhile now.  Occasionally she gets things published.  She is the author of The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press), the children's novel, Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books), and This is Sarah, forthcoming from Bookfish Books.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Three Poems by Joanna M. Weston


I'm watchful at dawn when
mother-in-law picks nails
from the skirting the last
owl flirts on the eaves
so I turn sideways to watch
pistons seize without oil
on their bushings cars
drop carburetors through
rails on bent bridges
I turn turn see roses
sculpted on the headboard
gearstick sketched over
patterned velvet try to
catch spiders under bowls
always distracted by mice
marching down stair-wells
where collars ties hang
to catch morning's
metallic carcass

Looking In

the mirror takes me
loses me in wide spaces
narrow vacancies

stretches its mouth round my face
speaks and swallows words
I haven't said
and won't until tomorrow

the mirror grasps my hair
twists it about my neck
and leads me out of the frame
to a room I've never seen before

The Building

windfalls of hammers
from roof and walls
ravage the sky
hang tiles from
tree top mountain

drifts of nails
through skull and cloud
drumming un-syncopated
beat against pipe
scaffolding car
welding clink to clank
through my battered days

Joanna M. Weston is married, has two cats, multiple spiders, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen houses.  Her middle reader, Those Blue Shoes, was published by Clarity House Press, and her poetry collection, A Summer Father, was published by Frontenac House of Calgary.  Her eBooks can be found at her blog:  http://www.1960willowtree.wordp

Friday, May 22, 2015

A Poem by Laura Madeline Wiseman

Monstrous Past

You asked me what's the scariest monster I've ever seen, but I don't know.  Cartoon monsters aren't scary, not animated ones or those in B films.  Blockbuster monsters are usually misunderstood males for kids to love in the end.  Come on. you say around a malty mouthful, your eyebrow ring glinting.  You trot back to the kitchen for another, never bothered that you're drinking alone.  What about serial killers or men who rape women? you say, eyes soft, glassy, vocal cords loose, mouth easy, ready to grin.  You've got to have a scariest?  What about death?  I shake my head, shrug.  I say, I think we read Grendel in school.  He was a monster.  He had a bad mom, or maybe it was a bad sister.  I pinch the bridge of my nose and start to answer truthfully, but you're nodding off as you sip, the bottle loose in your calloused hands.  I know I could tell you anything, any bright, delicious, mercurial lie.  I could say I've ridden in death's cart where the mountainous sky is big and golden.  I could say death is my sister, a woman who rules a darkness of rough men.  I could say monsters aren't real, but instead, I tug your hand and lead you from the couch to sleep on my spare.  Streetlight falls across your thighs, your punk tee shirt.  The nightlight turns your face green.  You squeeze my hands and say, I love you, even though we've just met.

Laura Madeline Wiseman is the author of Some Fatal Effects of Curiosity and Disobedience (Lavender Ink, 2014), Queen of the Platform (Anaphora Literary Press, 2013), Sprung (San Francisco Bay Press, 2010), and the collaborative book Intimates and Fools (Les Femmes Folles Books, 2014) with artist Sally Deskins, as well as two letterpress books, and eight chapbooks, including Spindrift (Dancing Girl Press, 2014).  She is the editor of Women Write Resistance:  Poets Resist Gender Violence (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2013).  Wiseman has a doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  She has received an Academy of American Poets Award, the Wurlitzer Foundation Fellowship, and her work has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, Margie, and Feminist Studies.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Two Poems by Laura L. Snyder


Past the traffic of crowds, past the sidewalks,
the dream races.  I take both hands, lay them
on the studded door, warm and rough brown,
inhale and drop my gravity.  On my exhale, I push,

move forward, and something begins to itch
beneath the skin of my shoulder.  It is not
the feet of crow who shadows me; a greeting
of leaves hangs over the door.  The door

I push becomes a bridge, the earth rushes like
a boiling river.  The way is clear.  The hand
open before me has the verdigris of trees,
their rough patina thick like powdered bronze,

dappled from years of light and shadow.
I choose to know living green of chlorophyll,
my end and my beginning.  Looking down,
this navel begins a branch.


Let go of familiar
outlines.  Turn your feathers
into the ruffles of an evergreen,

you'll blend in.  Sometimes
it's in the way
you set your jaw.  Poise

can be everything.  Let the moon
silver the ridges, the valleys
will care for themselves.

Then, before you blink,
let the hook of beak open the way
to the furnace of certainty.  Not everyone

can do this.  Trust the hot red blood
to charge you, the gizzard stones
to grist the last hard word.

Laura L. Snyder uses a slanted profile to scratch out words in hard-back journals from rainy Seattle.  Find her latest writing in Windfall, Labletter, Switched on Gutenberg, The New Verse News, and in anthologies:  Switch (the Difference), From Glory to Glory:  Anthology by Poetry in the Cathedral, Manifest West:  Eccentricities of Geography, and in Poets of the American West.  Laura was nominated for a Pushcart, and for Dzanc's "Best of the Web 2010."  Winged came out from Flutter Press in 2012, and a second chapbook, Witness, won the Willit Press Prize for 2012.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Two Poems by Douglas Cole

A Child's Nightmare

Inside a hurricane wind
I saw the white sun iris
and the small dark spot that is
the center of the storm's eye.
I entered the vast dream,
a loose cell smaller than
a lost jewel in a far field,
and beheld a bloom of angels
descending in a body of smoke
near a blood-red stream.

I emerged among warped
white bodies of Chirico
statues on a chessboard plain,
Captain William grinning
as he cut the scalp of a dog.
"This is my game," he said,
"a little croquet with the queen."
Then he pulled the fresh brain free,
and dropped it to his teeth.

Lured by a jeering voice,
I wandered in an orchard maze
through a violet haze of heat
and joined a long procession
entering a vine-draped cave
where arms of wind arose
from a black suburnal stream
deep flowing fast and falling
into a wide blind mouth.

A lively spirit dancing down
took me through the twisted
roots descending in the vault.
"Beginnings bear the seed,"
she said in a blue volt voice,
"of everything to come."
And she cast me in the deep,
where I fell and reached,
and held to a ragged web
above the gulf of an abyss,
staring into the fiery heart,
a child before its maker.

The Swing

Smoke from a passing truck curls
over the hedgerow as I watch
the girl in perpetual motion
swing back and forth beneath
the elm tree behind her house.
With their shades always drawn
and wind ticking int he screens,
I wonder what she sees
inside, nightly, an only child
with parents who won't allow
her to return my wave, who
shuttle her in the back of a van
and keep her bound by invisible hands
wrapped around their corner lot.

I imagine inside her home
a mother and father with advantages
but no luck, looking on with fault-
finding eyes gone cold by a grinding
sense of the shortage of money,
the living room a grim echo
of their unspoken thoughts,
a mantle clock scything away,
rows of mysterious ancestors stone
still in photographs on the walls.
Her room is perfect, and she checks
her chores on a weekly list.
She will not speak unless bid to.
Never have I seen a friend come over,
never has she gone to the nearby field.

She climbs instead upon her swing,
nudged into movement by the wind,
riding with her legs stretched
out in the surge of her body's power,
hands gripped into the braids of rope,
some urge drawing her higher
and higher and her face turns to sky.
She pushes from her tethered arc
up through the arms of the elm,
and the neighbor's dog runs after her,
the whisper of a house falling back
as she ascends through pale leaves
in waves of individual flames.

And I see her free above the city,
beyond all luck in a wild current,
riding a storm that rips the clouds
and plunges all homes into darkness.
Nightly she rises, parents wandering,
calling through the trees, but never
looking up to see her high overhead,
turning in a lathe of stars.

Douglas Cole has had work in The Chicago Quarterly Review, Red Rock Review, and Midwest Quarterly.  He has more work available online in The Adirondack Review, Salt River Review, and Avatar Review, as well as recorded stories in Bound Off and The Baltimore Review.  He has published two poetry collections, Interstate, through Night Ballet Press and Western Dream, with Finishing Line Press, as well as a novella called Ghost with Blue Cubicle Press.  He has received several awards, including the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry; the Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House; First Prize in the "Picture Worth 500 Words" from Tattoo Highway; as well as an honorable mention from Glimmer Train.  He was also recently the featured poet in Poetry Quarterly.  He is currently on the faculty at Seattle Central College.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Poem by Alan Catlin

Hellcat on Wheels

In her twenties, prime vocations
of record were:  folk singing, poetry
and practicing blonde babe.  Idle
hours were spent admiring herself
in mirrors, still bodies of clear water.
Success in all fields gradually eluding
her, relationships ended, time performing
now spent on padding her resume with
an excess of pounds.  Arts abandoned
for an unfulfilling dead end job,
one night stands, occasional weekend
sleepovers slowly remaking her into
the kind of woman who had the moxie
and the body to sincerely say,
"I gave up poetry for Roller Derby."
Joined a team called the Hellcats,
made the road squad as Badass Bertha,
a rogue elbow and a forearm smash away
from  an Ode to Immortality.

Alan Catlin has published a number of books in several genres.  His most recent poetry book is, Alien Nation, a compilation of four thematically related chapbooks.  His latest chapbook is Beautiful Mutants from Night Ballet Press.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Poem by Ron Yazinski


Bessie Smith still died here in Clarksdale,
Regardless if the white doctor helped or not.
But the story of a bastard, spiteful white man fits the blues,
And so lives here at the junction of Highways 61 and 49;

Just like Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil to play the guitar,
The instrument Satan stole from heaven when he was cast out.
But it's all a lie.
It was Tommy Johnson, another blues singer, who bragged about selling his soul.

Robert Johnson stole that story,
Like he stole his tunes about snakes, and other men's women,
And so deserved the poisoned whisky that he drank.
And Son House said he probably stole that too,

And that Johnson's soul wasn't worth more than a proper tuning.
But what does it matter how these stories got here?
Only the blues matter, for in the end,
The truth is pain.

So these shrines of sorts are built.
The Ground Zero, recreated like a 1930's bucket of blood juke joint,
So that white tourists can get goose flesh
Drinking whiskey from clean glasses,

Wishing they had brought their Swiss Army knives along
To carve their names into the bar;
And next door at the Delta Blues Museum,
Where the same tourists can stand in Muddy Waters' shot-gun shack

And forget that they too would
Have abandoned Bessie Smith if the chance had been theirs;
That they wouldn't have made such a profitable deal with the devil.
For a moment they feel at one with the sharecroppers of the Blues,

Whose dreams were bent on a guitar string;
Whose love was sucked out through a harp as if it was snake venom through a bite.
They step inside that life for awhile
And confiscate their reasons for being so sad.

After all, pain is truth.

After dividing the last four years between his native Pennsylvania and Florida, Ron Yazinski and his wife Jeanne have recently become permanent residents of Winter Garden.  A retired high school English teacher, Ron is inspired by the personalities and energies of his new hometown.  Initially enticed by the climate of central Florida, he finds the hospitality and openness of the people who live in this marvelous little town, refreshing and rejuvenating.  Ron's poems have appeared in many journals, including Strong Verse, The Edison Literary Review, Chantarelle's Notebook, Centrifugal Eye, and Pulsar.  His is also the author of the chapbook Houses:  An American Zodiac, and two volumes of poetry, South of Scranton and Karamazov Poems.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Poem by Roger G. Singer

Half Open

The door of us remains mostly open.
One side with me, the other you;
I glimpse us as part shadow, part
sometimes real.

Fingertip distance separates the
breath of us; miles of words build
the bridges we burned.
I stand full of thought.  A cultured pearl
is jealous of your face.  The altar of
life bears witness of our faith.
Hope is bathed to the end.
The jackets of our skin save
us from cold days and rain.
Songs know us.  Days fondly see us
into night.  I am the word to
open wide the door.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Three Poems by Alan Catlin

In the City of Pianos

the houses have no roofs
but the stars, no floors
but the dirt that engenders
snakes, pregnant with dreams
of embryonic life, of a martyred
saint whose blood is used
to paint the walls a color
like adobe during rainy seasons
when the wattle-daub
constructions lose their texture
and flee on the wings of fire flies
that carry them away like sheets
of handwritten music.

Rembrandt Departing by Limo 10/92

     after Stan Rice

He's seen it all now:
the falling towers and the statue,
railyard switchbacks and empty
boxcars, the rusted oil drums
with their force-fed-fires homeless
armies of the night cluster by along with
random heat seekers and subway detainees
chased from the depths of the tunnels
white as albino myths:  the engorged
alligators, sewer trolls, dung beetle
eating rats; seen the Hell's Kitchen
refugees, window washing fools,
donate or be damned, the paper
pushers and speed demons hyping
the flesh crawling canons of death;
seen the garbage strikers, play actors
dressed as Kabuki killers, mummers
and mimes exorcising hollowed ground;
seen the dark smeared like excrement
and blood on bullet proof glass; seen
the livery driver cursing the midtown
Manhattan traffic crawl, seen all the faces
devoid of life on the sidewalks and
beyond, seen the future and the past,
seen it all as a criminal sees himself,
leaving the scene.

Guerrilla Penetrated by Projectile Clown 2/95

"One should not think 'about' the painting
             but 'of the painting.'"
                                  -- Stan Rice

Once the Surrealists have rediscovered
war nothing is out of bounds:  not
the peasant woman holding her wrapped-
in-swaddling starving child amid a court-
yard of severed body parts, not the dis-
placed made homeless by search and
destroy missionaries, not the too-white
clouds tainted by seedlings dropped as
frozen pellets to produce acid rain, not
bearded killers for hire wrapped in
bandoleers, bullets for broadcasting
messages of peace and the lighter side
of war; clowns as missiles, props for
Punch and Judy battlefield performance
Art, new dead removed by hand puppeteers,
three burial rings making a circuit where
the circus tents should be.

Alan Catlin has published a number of chapbooks and full-length collections under the working title of Extreme Art including Self-Portrait as the Artist Afraid of His Self-Portrait.

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Poem by Patricia L. Goodman

Letter to My Daughter, Unsent

It's Monday, the day I drive
your son to his flute lesson,
come back for dinner.

I had my widowed mother
to dinner every week, too.  I knew
it wasn't enough.  I let children,

horses, gardens prevent more.
Tonight I arrive with your son.
You meet me in the driveway,

I just got home, Mom, a late meeting.
I'm exhausted.  Dinner won't work tonight.
Sorry, Mom, I'm really sorry.

I lie, tell you it's okay.  You give me
a quick hug, walk from my car,
the porch light casting you

in sharp silhouette.  I drive home,
blindsided by generations
of loneliness.

Patricia L. Goodman is a widowed mother and grandmother, a graduate of Wells College with a degree in Biology and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  Her career involved breeding and training horses with her orthodontist husband on their farm in Chadds Ford, PA.  She has had poems published in the likes of Aries, The Broadkill Review, Sugar Mule, Requiem Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers, Fox Chase Review, Mistletoe Madness, Storm Cycle, Poised in Flight (All from Kind of a Hurricane Press), On Our Own (Silver Boomer Books) and The Widow's Handbook.  Her first book, Closer to the Ground, was a finalist in the 2014 Dogfish Head Poetry Competition and she has twice won the Delaware Press Association Communications Award in poetry.  She lives on the banks of the Red Clay Creek in Delaware, where she is surrounded by the natural world she loves.