Thursday, December 1, 2016

Due to personal issues this project and all others associated with Kind of a Hurricane Press are closed indefinitely.  All work that has already been published will remain live on the site.  All work that was accepted but has not been published is now released back to the author.  All print copies and issues will remain available through their current sales channels.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Poem by Adam Levon Brown

Agoraphobic Anarchy

Catastrophic calamity
on a downward spiral

Obliterating the empty
bags of chicken Ramen

A whirlwind of decadence
at the foot of the stairs

Waiting to swallow me whole

Thousands of fire ants
scattering across
the skin on my legs

begging for scraps
in the abysmal prison
that my psyche created for me

No way out,
the door is sealed shut

No way in,
there is nothing but
a hollow ringing

I am left to teeter
on the brink of insatiable
appetites that have long
been out of my control

Adam Levon Brown is a poet, student, and activist residing in Eugene, Oregon.  He enjoys playing with cats and meeting new people.  He can be contacted via his website at, where he offers free poetry resources.

Monday, August 8, 2016

A Poem by Denny E. Marshall

K(no)w Free Verse

Editor only accepts free verse
Have no problem with that
Because am unfamiliar
With the form paid verse
Little confused when she
Sent check for five dollars
With contributor copy
And a note that said
Sorry payment so late
Check out website update

Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, & fiction published.  One recent credit is poetry in Illumen Spring 2016 issue.  See more at

Sunday, August 7, 2016

A Poem by Ridley Flock

Follow Me, I Will Follow You

This game we
play where I click,
you click,

we are digital lovers,
from afar,

wanting a screen
rather than a living being.

Ridley Flock is a new poet whose work is featured at Life in 10 and Dead Snakes.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Two Poems by Irsa Ruci



Shshshttt . . . Listen to the sparrows
Knitting plans behind the wings
And ask yourself
If the words are enough
To build a city of gossips
Under the sparrow's songs . . .


          Come now, return from pain
          That with courage you build it in days, and every day
          While it tears down like sandy castles
          In the nights
          When you shed in tears
          Freezes the hurricanes;
          But enough already:
          Even slavery is drunkenness!


Spy a little on the silence
While it is speaking
And tell me:
How many were killed by the despicable silence of hers
When none of us bothered
To look for answers?
Meaning takes form only in subconscious.


          A drop of liquor let's have today
          Till the end
          For the end of the two-facets
          That don't know end
          And let's sing together,
          Sing with us
          The sparrow's song . . . !

                             (Translated by Silva Daci)

He Rises the Time

He walked every day in the field that his mother labored
And ever time he glimpsed at the sun, he said his prayers
Looking into her eyes;
After, came his sister, while playing
With his brother's longing
Reciting to him childlike words
And the three of them laughed; . . . laughed
With the voice of time echoing
Their path
. . . A path filled with light!

He sat to take his mother's blessing
While felt the wrinkles of her hands
On the softened hair
On the manly forehead raised by her kisses . . .

He felt the scent of the earth just like his mother's
That's why he laid every evening under a tree
With the sun in his soul, singing to life . . .

                          (Translated by Silva Daci)

Irsa Ruci is an Albanian Writer, Speechwriter and Lecturer.  She was born in Tirana (Albania), in 1990.  Her books of poetry include "Trokas mbi ajer" (poems and essays), 2008, and "Peshtjellim" (poetry), 2010.  She has been published in anthologies:  Antologji, 2007; I kerkoj agimit versen, 2008; Antologji poetike "Kushtuar dashurise," 2014; Antologji poetike "Udha," 2014; Antologji poetike, 2014; "Malli dhe brenga nga distancat," 2014; Antologji poetike "Qyteti," 2014; Poeteca, 2015; and her works have appeared in a number of print and online national and international magazines, including Sling Magazine, Issue 5; Ann Arbor Review, Issue 15; Poeteca Magazine, Issue 35; Aquillrelle Anthology, 2015; Aquillrelle Anthology, 2016; Metaphor Magazine, Issue 5; The Commonline Journal, Issue 4/22; A New Ulster poetry anthology, April 2016; etc.  And among many awards, she has received the first prize in poetry, in competition "Anthology 2007," as the best poet in Albania.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Two Poems by Mike Roach


I.  Cadence

Woke up this mornin'
Feeling like Pete Seeger when he looked like Lizzie Borden
Folklore sold me a soul like Bonnie Parker and a grin like Clyde Barrow
And they drove me home with bullet holes whispering, nibbling van Gogh's earlobe
The sun and moon distracted her from the epilogue
Dusk and dawn were our rise and fall

The engine is writing letters and the rain is reading them aloud
Shouting, "The undertaker will be the last person to let you down!!"
And "We was then and this be now!"
Do we really want or need to see another soapbox episode?
All the little droplets dread the epilogue
As they sing the gospel of a rise and fall

Judas, in his lifelessness, lives out his loneliness
Hanging paintings in a cemetery museum
And on his tombstone when he buries his legacy alive
Is an epitaph that'll make you laugh and cry and laugh and cry and laugh and cry
They hired me to write his obituary and the epilogue
His life and death played out like a rise and fall

Saw her smoking dirt from a tin foil hat
She screamed bloody murder and she let me have it
Let her little light shine, raised her blade, said "Goodbye, Charley Patton"
And left my throat a gorgeous disaster
Now it's getting dark and I can't seem to read the epilogue
Crimson smudges taste like a rise and fall

II.  Memphis Died with Elvis

Sheriff's department shine runners
Running gypsy kind up into their treehouses
With their necktie nooses tied around branches
Pulling at threads and pulling with pliers
Razor-sharp teeth from the mouths of sheep
Poison ivy crowns resting on the heads of liars
Absconded by wolves in pelts of fleece
This is where the soul of a man comes to die

III.  This Machine Kills Free Thought

Forever picked a beautiful hill to die on
Buzzards circle the sunlight in anticipation
Waiting, salivating over someone else's prey
Remember tomorrow like it happened yesterday
And never present the gift of present tense
Innocence, in a sense
Bloody fingerprints on the piano keys
I pieced myself back together with pieces of you
But I took nothing you'll miss and I promise to
Return it all when I come back from the point of no return
You're sentimentally insane about watching me burn
You're the one who tied me to the stake
But I was able to walk away so
Don't give it another thought and
Forget yourself in something eternal so you'll never be forotten
Open the box and put on the pawn shop diamond ring
Hope my neck doesn't break so you can watch me swing

IV.  Needle in a Needlestack

Liver decaying, salvation fading, they drag me to the guillotine
Selling souvenir transcripts of the trial from the printing press death machine
And in my passing, the man says, "Good luck, but. . .
Dead stars are only ever so pretty in the dark.
Who do you think you are?"
"I am nobody.  How do you intend to kill a man with no body?"
"You'll pay with your head for what you did.
And we'll all breathe easy when your breathing ends."
His laugh is mad and he's made
As I moaned like a sinner on Revival Day
He cremated me and he's compensated
With $6 in quarters taken from the coin-operated stockade in town square
Grey clouds gather and rain on the solar-powered electric chair


I.  Living in a Van Down by the River

Faust found himself down and with a story to tell
Prostituting his truth to have a story to sell
And without a word sat beneath the tree
To write in pain his train track tragedy

Faust found himself down in Clarksdale
With Legba's hounds on his trail
A bargain on the run, bought for a broken song and sold
The highways tortured Faust's poor paid-for soul

Faust finally found his way up to Memphis
With a bottle and a book, coming back from New Orleans
Papa's rabid dogs ran him down
Into the dirt of the road

Faust found himself buried a few miles out of town
The sky was open any which way he looked around
His eyes rolled back and he knew the blues
When the old man with the crutch came to collect his due

II.  Sultana

2 a.m., April 27, eighteen-hundred-sixty-five
Eighteen-hundred dead by sunrise
Riverboat hauling prisoners of war
And news of the death of the commander-in-chief
Battle lines were drawn in the waves
Seven miles north of Memphis, Tennessee
When sweet Sultana went down to the riverbed, up in flames
Leaving men to freeze in the Mississippi or burn with the boat
The weakened soldiers clung to life and clung to one another
And clung to branches on the trees the river had risen over
Water filled their lungs to the point of bursting
And sent visceral shrapnel into their rib cages, heartbreaking

III.  Tributaries

If it keeps on raining, the levee's gonna break
The townspeople all pray to be saved
And the runoff drains into open graves
Levees kicked down by a foot of rain a day

The bars and brothels on Beale Street form a new bluff
Some run up north, some keep with whores and get drunk
Drowning in whiskey and watching the water rise
Looking their lovers in the eyes across the river, 60 miles wide

Holding onto grandma's wedding rings and a few old family photos
As the whole town drops to a watershed stroke
Bullets and a beans are traded for hooch, opium, and coke
Men carve felled trees into boats, bloated corpses float

Conducting an orchestra of deafening thunder and struggling cries
Settling electric sculptures against a soul-swallowing sky
Sitting on the roof of a farmhouse, watching fish and furniture pass by
Dipping toes in the water and singing hymns of the endtimes

IV.  Wife Gone on the Funeral Train Blues

I'm going crazy without you here
Bringing gods to their knees and stones to tears
Divert your attention, avert your eyes
I'd swim 2,000 miles of filthy water to meet you on the other side

An apparition presented, the mirror resented
The bride in the hearse, the logical poet demented
I'd do anything for you but I refused to die
I'm gonna go where you are and bring you back alive

Two parts courage and three parts trust
Don't look back, sometimes might be gaining on us
I walked with you until the very end
and turned around just in time to watch you disappear again

I sang the blues until my throat bled
My fingertips blistered and the wine went to my head
I broke into hell to undo what the vipers done
I can't love you in death, as I did in life
I'm losing my breath, but know I tried
Tread through fire to bring you back home

Mike Roach is a blues-symbolist poet from Memphis, Tennessee.  His work strives to "paint a picture of a Gothic south, an area of the country rich with history and tragedy."  Mike is also lyricist and bassist for Memphis-area noise-pop band blood like wine.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

A Poem by Akor Emmanuel Oche

Sailor Sail Home

We see the footprints of our childhood
stamped on this loess soil,
on this land whose trajectories we know,
on this savannah planes ariable for marching boots.
This mountain barricade, submounted by pointing riffles.
Along with this farlon body, is a dirge.
Sing it to the merriment of passers by.
We once sang the songs of neo-nomadic men
when the price of a sheep is a banquet for the host community.
Nostalgia serves you a flagon as you roll and row.
Sir!  Here, take a sip
of mud houses roofed with elephant grass.
Of marchets sounding the drumbeats of war,
of women bathing in the streams unclad,
of men whose valor touch the sky.
We see our footprints on this mystical floor.
We sail, you sail but never reach the corridors
of men politicing negritudes in spree.
Sailor sail home,
to the place where waters are dark rooms
and the sea a castle.
We see the footprints of our childhood
stamped on this loess soil,
on this land whose trajectories we know.

Akor Emmanuel Oche is a Nigerian poet, critic, essayist and thinker.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Poem by Carole Mertz

Conchalina, My Mystery

En boca cerrada no entran moscas*
                         (Spanish saying)

Antoinette of the mountains,
south and west,
sculpted a figurine
I cannot comprehend.

Done in brown and white
it's crafted of mud
from the clay of Santa Fe.
And there, on a visit, I bought her.

Little Pueblo figurine,
teach me, through your crafted eyes
and mouth,
the need for silence
or for speech.

She sits there, brown
and clean-white, with legs crossed
and holding a mobile phone.
Looking upward, (mocking perhaps)
her mouth is open,
always open.

Antoinette, the artist, (in the shop)
had explained the injunction
against speaking.  Yet here sits
Conchalina, her mouth open
wide.  (Someone should admonish her!)

When to be silent, when to speak--
easy to miscalculate.
Conchalina, my little sculpted model,
had I attended more closely.
I might have gained
your mystery.

*Flies don't enter a closed mouth

Poems by Carole Mertz appeared in Every Day Poems, Indiana Voice Journal, Lutheran Digest, Page & Spine, Rockford Review, WPWT, WestWard Quarterly, and in various anthologies.  Her poems placed first in several of Wilda Morris' Poetry Challenges.  Her poetry reviews are printed in Arc Poetry Magazine, Ascent Aspirations, Copperfield Review, CutBank, Mom Egg Review, and World Literature Today.  Carole enjoys teaching piano to young children in Parma, Ohio.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Three Poems by Steve Klepetar

Breakfast Star

At breakfast this morning, a star fell
in through the kitchen window.
It was the size of a snowball, but now
in April, all the snow had melted
and run off into the spring river
which churned south to the Twin Cities
with an attitude of arrogant abandon.

The star seemed lost, or out of place
among groceries and cabinets.
I offered to take its coat, but everyone
could see it was naked as a baby
bird squeaking in a high-built nest.
We turned away, afraid to offend
a visitor, one who might have come
to offer such salvation as we deserved.

My Folly and My Clumsiness

Before I get out of bed
my foot rips the web of dreams.
I stumble, glad that nobody sees
my folly and my clumsiness.

If the world were tiny
and enclosed in glass, we
could push our faces up against
the curved boundaries of our space.

From outside this universe, our
fingers would appear immense,
magnified by curving light,
and every line of our prints would
stand out like a dry riverbed.

I think about things like this each
morning before coffee, before day
rushes back into my blood, and breath
eases and slows.  I grip the table
for its hardness is my trembling hands.

Across the Yard

The neighbors are waving
and waving, all seven children
in their spring clothes
but not you,

because when you wave back,
they stare with eyes empty
as shadow, dark and cold
as December night.

Already your old hands
have turned to claws,
your voice a shower
of pebbles against glass.

Maybe the time has come
to shave your beard
or put on the black
clothes of a holy man.

Or you could sink in mud
until your face disappears,
your one free hand hurling
blessings to the fading world.

Steve Klepetar's work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse:  India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015).  Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press.

Monday, August 1, 2016

A Poem by John McKernan


Skiing across a tar pit
With a mosquito on your tongue

Stealing something like a penny
While you know
Your dad is watching

Thinking the ghost
In a dream is real
And wants
Your watch for a birthday present

Waving rusted needles
At the bottom
Of the sewer
Looking up the word high
In some poet's dictionary

John McKernan grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and is now a retired comma herder/Phonics Coach after teaching for 41 years at Marshall University.  He lives in West Virginia and Florida.  His most recent book is a selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust.  He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Journal, Antioch Review, Guernica, Field and many others.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Three Poems by Rose Mary Boehm

Cemetery in Southern Spain


From far we could see it, the long path,
cypress lined, planned for long
processions to contemplate
what lies ahead, coffin
or urn, locked up
forever behind grey stone.
We imagine yet another funeral,
yet another accepted loss
in a small community.


As God wills.
Clutching her rosary
a mother re-arranges
dark curls on a white silk
cushion,  She was only six,
holy father.


The old men sit in the square,
their black boinas shoved
to the back of their heads.
It's hot.  Walking sticks
between their knotty hands.
They know they soon won't
need them any longer.
The only question, Who'll be next?


Forty days of mourning.  The women
stay in black.  There are not enough
days without the dead to
dance the pasa doble in
flirtatious floral skirts.
Slowly their backs bend
to the will of their church.


I remember a time
when nothing could keep me from
floating, especially when I was in love.  I'd rise
easily into the clouds and rest
in their fluffiness.
Since then earth gravity
has increased.
Or, while I wasn't watching
I may have changed planet.
I fight the pressure
every day.
Getting out of bed
I seem to turn
into a heavy sack
of flesh and bones.  Every time
I get up from my chair I weigh more.
Climbing the steps
out of the pool
my specific weight
increases to that of iron.
Even my brain has shrunk
into itself, my will is defeated,
my powers of observation limp.
Spiders walk across my eyes,
bees buzz in my ear canal,
algae and dry moss fill
empty spaces
where only yesterday
my poems grew.
Mornings shiver me and
evenings leave me shriveled.
My steps are smaller now, hesitant,
and the heart is confused,
shaky and indecisive.

Do Oceans Have Underwater Borders?

Do mermaids speak
Indian or Atlantic?
How do the waters know where
to turn back?  How do turtles,
who don't take a blind bit of notice,
know where they are?

Perhaps there's a Pacific border police:
"No salmon allowed beyond
this point."  Can you make out the different
oceans from space?  What is Earth's name
for South China Sea?

As the whales breach from North to South
and back again, I imagine them
saying in deep whale-sized voices,
"Thank God, Hubert, they didn't ask
for our passports when we crossed
into the Arctic Sea."

A German-born UK national, Rose Mary Boehm lives and works in Lima, Peru.  Author of Tangents, a poetry collection published in the UK in 2010/2011, her work has been widely published in US poetry journals (online and print).  She was twice winner of the Goodreads monthly competition, and a new poetry collection is earmarked for publication in May/June in the US.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Four Poems by BZ Niditch

Whitman and I

On back roads
we remembered our hands
opening our letters
on landscapes of wind
visible except to dreams
of those who hold lamps
to itinerant poets
with an alembic alphabet
motionless as our body
in a new language hour,
nothing is foreign to us
Walt, but earthy to everyone
as trees, springs, shadows
cool off all hidden tongues.

Marathon Day

Rumors in the city
that a poet takes chances
in hours of days
barters for warmth
under his back pack
fixes on breathing in
enigmas and omens
unchained from words
in an absurd time
of a language
that feeds us on patience.

Those Sixties

When Warhol
opened his Factory
everyone wanted
his fifteen minutes
to get known,
but other realized
dreams would be uprooted
as entangled graffiti
on city walls
stars in films would fall out
bend and fade by morning
and Andy himself
in a self-portrait would be
a manifesto's assassin's target
within publicity's range
of a once familiar face.

Urban Recital

Taking a taxi
in a wintry snow
late for my sax gig
riffs of flakes
on the windshield
a flagon of vodka
and fried potatoes
next to me,
the scent of notes
full of whispering words
and probabilities
as the driver intimates
in Russian
he is not charging me
if will play a solo
my hands not knowing
any boundaries
as we crash
and barely escape through
a half opened door.

BZ Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher.  His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including Columbia:  A Magazine of Poetry and Art, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Hawaii Review, LeGuepard (France), Kadmos (France), Prism International, Jejune (Czech Republic), Leopold Bloom (Budapest), Antioch Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others.  His latest poetry collections are "Lorca at Sevilla," and "Captive Cities."  He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Friday, July 29, 2016

A Poem by Evie Ivy


It was some confusion that
Caused the rash, though you
Have always thought you could
Walk on half destroyed.
And you've dreamed that you
Stood still as your mind

Moved on to explode on distant
Roads you had to travel.
While you walked you worked
To understand him, as you saw
Him kick and be the one to cry.

Playing god you threw out
His words to start time new
Again, but he became his words
And walked toward obscurity.
You could still see his anger
Yet now can't hear him.

Now you move on and look
Toward the smiling world,
And keep the pillows fluffed
So you can wake-up and walk
Altogether in the morning.

Evie Ivy is a poet/dancer in the NYC poetry circuit.  She hosts one of the longest running poetry series in NYC, the Green Pavilion Poetry Event.  She has 3 chapbooks out, including "Selected Cinquains" (Grey Book Press).  She has a book out called "The First Woman Who Danced," poems based on her experiences as a dancer/dance instructor and her latest is "Living in 12-Tone . . . and other poetic forms."  Her work has also appeared in various anthologies and websites, including Luvure litteraire, Versewrights, First Literary Review-East, and others.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Ten Poems by Lyn Lifshin

It Wasn't Even Valentino But Tony Dexter, Made Up With Slick-Backed Hair, Eyes Of Soot

that stared thru me
at the Campus Theater
and made me always
choose men with dark
foreign looks, men
from Iran or Greece
or Turkey.  A glance
scorched, a tango and
I buckled.  At 11, I
dreamed I was Pola
Negri, a name as
exotic as the words I
imagined whispered
deep in the tent of
his skin.  I ached to be
his slave, his harem,
would grow clove
nipples, longer lean
thighs.  If he didn't talk,
no matter, I went for
quiet men, no blonds
I vowed, no Swedes.
Bad boys who would
not smile, strutting
boys, the hoods with
hooded eyes I'd write my
own subtitles for, my
hair, my words a veil I
could be whatever
I wanted to behind.
Blood lips, those
eyes behind dark glasses
let you imagine what
isn't as when Valentino
moved past the tent
flaps as if they were

That Woman Near The Graves

disappears behind granite
and is never heard from
again.  We don't quite
believe this.  She could
have gone to the museum
or called her girlfriend
to meet her for lunch
but instead took the
metro to the cemetery
as if to lie down with the
dead one who always said
her lips brought him
back to life.  It was a warm
day for December even
tho it was the day of
the least light.  She was
wearing the denim mini
I had in my closet,
her hair almost as long
and red as mine.  Some might
suppose I'm that woman,
it seems there are clues.
But listen, the buried
man was already dead to
me before he slept
under the grave in this
city and the me who would
have banged myself
raw on his metal
door had already grown
skin too thick to feel

The Child We Will Not Have

will be a boy.  Dean Michael
will go to law school and play
football.  I'll listen to September
get loud and then quieter,
sneak into the smallest room

to write S.O.S. notes in returnable soda
bottles, my belly crinkled as the toe nail
that falls off after a torturous summer
of pointe.  This child you always wanted
swims in my arms like that gone nail,

I talk to it with my mouth shut.  It teaches
you to sign, lip read my nipples.  In the movie
of September, some of the stills are missing.
I clutch the baby like someone at a crash site,

hear glass fall.  The child we will not have
is all we wanted, all that holds us together.

In Rexall's, Middlebury

the dark booth held us like a cove.
My mother put on high heels and lipstick.
Fruit parfait in glasses, a sweetness.
A comfort to eavesdrop on the others talking.

My mother put on high heels and lipstick.
My father never cared if we had a real house
where my sister and I wouldn't be ashamed to bring friends.
In the dark of the booth, I could imagine, someday, being a beauty.

My father never cared if we had a real house.
My mother never wanted to come back to this town she eloped to escape.
She went out with realtors for 15 years.
In her last weeks she said if she could go anywhere she would pick New York City.

My mother never wanted to come back to this town,
imagined the bustle of cities, the theater, the subway.
My father sat in the yellow chair, read the Wall Street Journal without talking.
My mother played gypsy music and Cab Calloway, "Raisins and Almonds"

I imagined the bustle of cities
where what happened mattered.
My father sat in the yellow chair, quiet as stones.
Bits of my mother's red lipstick swirled in fruit parfait.
The dark booth held us like a cove.

Late November

Today in Virginia, unseasonably cold,
               high only in the mid 30s.
I think of a night drive from Austerlitz
an hour north to bring in my plants, early September.
The sky tangerine, guava and teal.
My own house strangely quiet, my
cat at my mother's.

When I think of a night I drove from Austerlitz
to bring in the plants, my mother young enough
to swoop up suitcases, my cat,
I was looking for someone.  "Aren't you glad you
still have me?" my mother purred.  The cat I
got after that one, now going on 21,
the ice yesterday a warning.

I was looking for someone.  Each time I
left my mother's rooms, drove thru
Vermont leaves there was an ache becoming myself.
When the wind tore thru yesterday, on the stairs, a
shape that looked like lint with claws.
Later I tucked the geraniums in quilts
like putting a child under flannel or leaves.

That ache, a wind under my hair.

My mother tucked in the earth.
The headless fur shape with its pink claws
or feet, on its back, a mystery.
Today in Virginia, unseasonably cold.

Champlain, Branbury, The Lakes At Night

always women in the
dark on porches talking
as if in blackness their
secrets would be safe.
Cigarettes glowed like
Indian paintbrush.
Water slapped the
deck.  Night flowers
full of things with wings,
something you almost
feel like the fingers
of a boy moving, as if
by accident, under
sheer nylon and felt
in the dark movie house
as the chase gets louder,
there and not there,
something miscarried
that maybe never was.
The mothers whispered
about a knife, blood.
Then, they were laughing
the way you sail out of
a dark movie theater
into wild light as if no
thing that happened

Thirty Miles West of Chicago

paint chips slowly.
It's so still you
can almost hear it
pull from a porch.

Cold grass claws
like fingers in a
wolf moon.  A man
stands in corn bristles

listening, watching
as if something
could grow from
putting a dead child

in the ground.

The Daughter I Don't Have

won't see the moon
as fractured.  She won't
be drawn to what is broken,
men so shattered and cracked
nothing can keep them
together.  She won't seek
out lovers with pieces
gone or so damaged no one
can restore them.  The
daughter I don't have
won't pick men like land
scapes all color's seeped
from, pale as bleached bones,
men whose dreams of quiet
drift from --bodies that
fold themselves into a beer
daze by dawn.  No Vietnam
veteran who lives in flash
backs of his leg exploding
on the other side of the
road will tattoo "mine" on
her heart, remembering the
mine that got him.

The Daughter I Don't Have

would ride the horse
I was scared to ride
bareback.  She'd leap
over wild sorrel, taste
the lilac finches glide
through.  She won't hear
"a nice Jewish girl
wouldn't come in
shoes smelling of manure."
Her hair will smell
like the wind.  She'll
see what I hadn't in hill
sides before the light goes,
shapes in tall grass that
could be whatever she
makes them into,
magical animals, rainbows
in leaves.  She'll be one
with the horse, leaping,
feel each muscle tremble.
The daughter I don't have
would move with ease, not
wait on the sidelines
for someone to ask her
to dance but make her own
way thru shadows and
quiet, still as a woman
in an Edward Hopper
painting but with more
to look ahead to,
confident in darkness,
her own maple hair.

Edward Hopper

The thing about Sunday is
the light moving across
a two story red brick
building, shops on the
first floors, four dark
doorways and a barber
pole.  The shops are closed.
They'll stay closed all
day.  1930.  Sunday floating
in space, beating out
Saturday for quiet.  It's
an old neighborhood that
has known better days.  You
never ask what day it is.
Sunday feels like Sunday.
A Sunday kind of a love,
never on Sunday.  When Emily
Dickinson wrote "there's
a certain slant of light
that oppresses . . ." it must
have been Sunday, a day like
wide water without a sound.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Poem by Mark Zelman


I want heaven above shattered,
I want its scattered silver splinters
prickling my soles like leaves of grass
among soft clumps of green clover.
I want a taste of salt-in-the-wound sweetness.
From below I want hell's molten
madness searing my soles like hot
summer dunes above the bay.
Bring the heat of smoky Scotch, cool
burn of gin, kiss my sunburned skin.
I want it now.  I want to know
what I'll be missing.

Mark Zelman teaches biology and interdisciplinary studies at Aurora University.  His work has been published in The Cortland Review and regional journals such as The Aurorean.  When not teaching or tinkering in the lab, Mark hikes rocky trails and paddles cold waters of the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A Poem by Hillary Lyon

This Day You Are

this day
you are
a stream of snow melt
running cool and clear

this day
you are
the blinding spark
of sunshine on polished chrome

this day
you are
the bowstring
taut and ready for release

this day
you are
the star rising at dawn
the deepest breath yet drawn

Since 2000, Hillary Lyon has acted as editor for the small press poetry journals, The Laughing Dog and Veil:  Journal of Darker Musings.  She holds an MA in Literature from SMU.  The author of 21 chapbooks, her own poems have appeared in journals as varied as The Midwest Quarterly, Red Fez, Red River Review, Eternal Haunted Summer, and multiple anthologies.  She lives in Southern Arizona.

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Poem by Andrew M. Bowen

I Have Been a Slave in Babylon

I have been a slave in Babylon,
naked, tormented by the lash,
but now I sit and watch the rains
come from Indiana.
Soft they fall as I watch
Sir Falstaff trod the board for the nth time,
and I am the nth knave,
drunk on wine, enjoying lightning,
who has watched,
for in London's old smokes
men did watch, as drunk as I,
and when my children's children are dust,
in glowing fields of rainbow energy,
men, and not-men, will watch.

I have been a slave in Babylon,
aye, and a king who learned too late
that none command the wind and tide.
I have sent honors to the Wickerman
and burned for jealous priests.
I have lived long in obscure dust
and shone like midnight meteors.

I have been a slave in Babylon
and know each brother and sister
has felt the keen, cutting lash
and worn the jeweled crown.
My roots extend deep into earth
past hates of vermin and seeds of diamonds,
and roots of love and hate
touch each of my sisters and brothers.
Those I love, I will love again
and strive again with enemies;
rolling and tumbling we will seek
God and be one again.

Andrew M. Bowen works as an insurance salesman in Bloomington, IN.  He has published 75 poems and recently submitted his first poetry chapbook and his first two novels for publication.  He is also an actor who has appeared in eight independent films, seven stage productions, and two radio teleplays.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Poem by Barbara Bald

Under Catcher's Spell

Lying on the bedroom floor, my knees bent,
I stretch, unfold like a lazy morning.
When the cat climbs up to roost full-length
on my chest and belly,
the eleven pound heft of his body
hampers deep breaths, curtails yogic poses.
But I invited him up to rest his all-day pacing
from winter doldrums.  I asked him up
to hear his rhythmic purrs, relaxing
as ocean waves on their incoming journey,
as mesmerizing as the quiet hush inside a whelk
washed up on shore.
More than hear them, I longed to feel them,
wanted them to penetrate through muscle and bone
until core to core, all lines between us blurred,
leaving us as one species singing in sunlight.

Barbara Bald is a retired teacher, educational consultant and freelance writer.  Her poems have been published in a variety of anthologies and journals such as:  The Northern New England Review, Avocet, Off the Coast, and in multiple issues of The Poetry Society of New Hampshire's publication:  The Poets' Touchstone.  Her work has been recognized in both national and local contests.  Her full-length book is called Drive-Through Window and her chapbook is entitled, Running on Empty.  Barbara lives in Alton, NH with her cat, Catcher, and her two Siamese Fighting Fish.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Two Poems by Jo Simons

Joe Fonda, Jazz Bassist

The strings were at his mercy.
He tamed them,
whipped them,
crawled inside them,
ate them.

The bass was his lover
as it cried out
in pure ecstasy
at his caress.

We had never heard such sound.
It was delicious, x-rated jazz.

Just Add Water

I hope you don't mind--
I captured your essence
one day when you were
caught unawares.

Folded and shrink-wrapped it down
so it fit inside a pill box that I can easily
fit in a hip pocket to carry
around with me.

You are easily reconstituted
to full glory with a drop--
just one--of pure spring water
applied to your edge.

Such richness it adds to my life!
M soul resonates with your muse-ic--
poetry springs forth!
It's all I need.

And last time I saw the real-deal you,
I noticed you did not seem the least bit depleated,
despite my secret robbery.

This leads me to believe
that essences are infinite,
and there for anyone to partake of
whenever tranquility is needed.

Thank you for lending yours to me.
You can't have it back by the way.

Jo Simons teaches piano and music together in Madison.  She started writing poetry in 2011 when her father announced his life was over.  He's still here at 99!

Friday, July 22, 2016

A Poem by Karla Linn Merrifield

Peace Movements

This will not stop the tanks
in Iraq but bounces on wings
of early butterflies, dragonflies
off Army steel, olive, camel flanks
of decommissioned armored vehicles

come to an artificial halt
at Georgia's Memorial Veterans
State Park.  It does not deflect
the bombs into Andromeda from
surgical trajectories toward insurgent

strongholds near Baghdad, being
as it is of catbrier tendrils, spider
silk as it glides off the fuselage
of a B29 Superfortress parked
behind barbwire just beyond

twin howitzers my husband
was taught to repair during
the first war after the war
to end all wars of his boyhood.
It merely flutters, darts, twines,

spins away from commemorative
military grounds, battlegrounds
half a planet away, into the
longleaf pinewoods to stitch
tranquility into the morning after.

A nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had over 500 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies.  She has eleven books to her credit, the newest of which Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada (FootHills Publishing), a sequel to Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills Publishing), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry.  She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (, a member of the board of directors of Just Poets (Rochester, NY), and a member of the New Mexico State Poetry Society, the Florida State Poetry Society, and TallGrass Writers Guild.  Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at

Thursday, July 21, 2016

A Poem by Jennifer Fenn

Writing Poems with Kids Around

Between their questions,
a word.
Between catch games,
a phrase.
During naps,
a poem.

Jennifer Fenn has been writing poetry since high school.  She is published in fifteen different journals, including Song of the San Joaquin, The Homestead Review, Nomad's Choir, Time of Singing, and Tiger's Eye.  She self-published two chapbooks for church fund raisers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Poem by Bonnie Quan Symons

My Stargazer Lilies

               desymbolized my wedding day flower
               of two decades ago.

When my son told me that his Dad
had brought his mistress to Swiss Chalet,
to join him and his grandpa for dinner,

I was glad I spent the day with my love--

               YVR Fairmont Hotel for afternoon tea,
               dinner at his brother's home.

Despite my ex's insensitive behavior,
I focused on the positive.

As I medicated myself to sleep,
my lilies' scent infused the air.

Bonnie Quan Symons' poems have been published in Canada (Ricepaper Magazine and Vancouver Courier), United States (Four and Twenty, Resurrectionist Review, and Kind of a Hurricane Press), and Australia (Skive Magazine).  She is a member of Pandora's Collective, Poetric Justice, and Writers' International Network (WIN).  She works as an Administrative Assistant at the BC Teachers' Federation and lives in Vancouver, Canada.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Poem by David James

With Or Without Hope

Not a cloud in the sky, not a fish
in my bed.  It's a good day to be
alive, the kind of day that makes a terrorist

regret having a bomb strapped to his chest.
Officially, we're into fall but the leaves
remain, mostly green, and have not turned against

us yet.  They will.  Everything does.  No one
down here gets a free pass with the purchase
of a decent life.  Some days, even a blue sky hurts

as it spreads itself into oblivion.

David James' third book, My Torn Dance Card, was a finalist in the 2016 Next Generation Indie book award; his second book, She Dances Like Mussolini, won the 2010 Next Generation Indie book award.  He teaches at a community college in Michigan.

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Poem by Beth SKMorris

Let Me Down Easy

"Let Me Down Easy . . . 
We are broken by others but we mend ourselves"

                               -- Paulo Nutini

Yesterday, the Tooth Fairy left two dollars
under her pillow, payment for each space
in her mouth, the whooshing sound she makes

when she speaks.  Abigail showed me the baby
teeth she lost, saved in two boxes:  one for the top
tooth, the other for the bottom, and I thought--

wouldn't it be soothing to have a box or two
for my own useless losses; to close the lid,
bury them deep inside my dresser drawer

knowing that the Tooth Fairy could still
find them, exchange the dried-up regrets
for something joyous and surprising?

Yesterday, I took a picture of Abigail smiling
for the camera and realized, The Tooth Fairy's
done her job, for both of us

Beth SKMorris is the author of two books of poetry:  In Florida (2010) and Nowhere to be Found (2014).  Her poems have appeared in Atemis Journal, Avocet, Poetica, the PEN, and online in Screw Iowa! and Bridle Path Press, as well as in anthologies by White Oak Press, the International Library of Poetry, and Poets of the Palm Beaches among others.  Beth is a member of the Hudson Valley Writers Center in New York and a seven-year participant in the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, Delray Beach, Florida.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Poem by Sanjeev Sethi


I never received emotional citizenship
in dominion of nanny days.  Without
kedge of State sponsorship.  I swam
in whirlpools.  During my oceanic
phase you and I:  you as flotsam
I as me, stroked and stoked rough
weather.  In menu of our meeting
happiness was hazy.  I elected for
other amusements in an island of
my making.  Kelp, sea lion and seal
are natant as caret is incised over me.
Muse, its mysteries are caretakers.

Sanjeev Sethi has published three books of poetry.  This Summer and That Summer (Bloomsbury, 2015) is his latest work.  His poems have found a home in The London Magazine, The Fortnightly Review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, Amaryllis Poetry, Desiblitz, Gogyoshi Monthly, The Galeway Review, The Open Mouse, Otoliths, Literary Orphans, The Helios Mss, Anti-Heroin Chic, Right Hand Pointing, Futures Trading, The Aerogram, Thirteen Myna Birds, Random Poet Tree, and elsewhere.  Poems are forthcoming in The Bitchin' Kitsch, Chronogram, Yellow Chair Review, Postcolonial Text, A New Ulster, First Literary Review-East, Drunk Monkeys, Harbinger Asylum, The Corner Club Press, Of/With, Linden Avenue Literary Journal, and Cavalcade of Stars.  He lives in Mumbai, India.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Poem by Robert Nisbet

Men's Voices:  Miners

He lived in the capital for twenty years
but often, in a near-sleep dark,
recalled the men's pub voices,
family voices, confidential, cordial,
with their narratives of work and character.
He rarely heard the voices raised in anger
(as they must at times have been)
but would sometimes hear, distantly,
as on a hillside, rising to sky,
the voices, with the women's,
drawn, by funeral or simple impulse,
to four-part harmony.
Sometimes, hushed and husky voices,
shadowed by dust and time.

Robert Nisbet is a Welsh poet who has one chapbook, Merlin's Lane (Prolebooks, 2011) and has over 200 poems published in magazines in Britain and the USA, including Main Street Rag, San Pedro River Review, Red River Review and Illya's Honey.

Friday, July 15, 2016

A Poem by John McKernan

One Note on a Guitar

Can yank my skull
To outer space

Two notes on a violin
Can pour lava
Back inside the volcano

Three harp notes
Can bring
A friend back
From the grave

Sometimes I'll be listening
To a sheet of Heaven
When a friend will tell me
About Susan's return
To the Valley of Crack

You should hear me scream
Bang pots & kettles
In the kitchen
Beat my drums
With a crowbar
Set my guitar on fire

John McKernan grew up in Omaha Nebraska and recently retired from herding commas after teaching for many years at Marshall University.  He lives in Florida and West Virginia.  His most recent books i s a selected poems Resurrection of the Dust.  His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Paris Review, Field, and elsewhere.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Three Poems by Jeffrey Park

Deflationary Theory

Are the stars out tonight?
Oh, you know they are,
out and just a little bit angry
and headed your way
like white-hot raisins in
a fast collapsing cake.

As usual, your eyes are soft
and misty with romance,
but the unceremonious arrival
of a few trillion tons of
superheated plasma
should take care of that.

Long Drinks

A wavy line,
the shortest path between
two drinks.

Three parts arsenic,
one syrup of ipecac,
shake well and salt the rim,

try not to notice that
the olives
are watching you.

Why do they call it
a cocktail?  she asks,
oblivious to the little signs

that should be telling her
it's getting ready
to rip out her throat.


dancing on ivory
little French worms--


Cut myself shaving
must be the third time
this morning.

Jeffrey Park lives in Goettingen, Germany and is lecturer for Scientific English at the Georg-August-Universitaet.  Links to all of his published work can be found at

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

A Poem by Larry Jones

The Goddess of Creativity

The studio is empty.
Strasberg's in New York.
The Goddess of Creativity
stands on the balcony.

She wears a wide brimmed hat
a Salvation Army dress
with brown leather boots.

The Observer is invisible.
at first sight.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

A Poem by Natalie Crick

The Garden Outside the House

She was out there again that morning.
Talking, laughing, singing,
The garden filled with sweet birdsong
And the aroma of summer.

The sunset leaked red blood,
Annihilating him.
A love gift or a
Romantic invitation.

She had one eye, he had two.
He was waking from a fitful dream.
It soon became dark,
The sky full of storms.

He saw her solemn death dance,
Wet and electric,
An Autumn widow wearing grey.
It was starting to happen again.

Natalie Crick has found delight in writing all of her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl.  Her poetry is influenced by melancholic confessional Women's poetry.  Her poetry has been published in a range of journals and magazines including Cannons Mouth, Cyphers, Ariadne's Thread, Carillon and National Poetry Anthology 2013.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A Poem by Nancy L. Meyer

The Tongue Settles


We strew our animosities
in fistfuls, like fertilizer
flicking greenish swerves left
and right.  Word by word
each syllable a propeller
kicking dust.

Where is the berry pie,
whipped cream to cut the acidity?
Tongues check the corners:
no sweet quiet, no
let up of this wagging muscle.


Lips clamp.  Parched
clay in a court-
yard.  Sun scrubs anything
that moves.


From some untended gutter,
from a forgotten cranny
seepage through a crack
in the adobe--
damp inkblot we stand
and stare at,
each decipher
our own way.  Inhale
a hint of cool.


And our tongues
like puddles
in the soft gullies of our mouths.

Avid cyclist, grandmother of 5 and End of Life Counselor; Nancy L. Meyer lives in Portola Valley, CA.  Sitting with a blank page, she says, is her greatest thrill and terror.  Published in:  Colorado Review, Tupelo Quarterly 3, Bitterzoet Magazine, Poet's Touchstone, Wordland, Kneel Downe's Stolen Indie as well as five other anthologies.  Forthcoming in Bitterzoet webzine, Persimmon Tree, Indolent Press HIV project and Tupelo Press 30/30 chapbook.  Finalist in New Orleans Poetry Festival 2016.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A Poem by S.E. Ingraham

The Ghost Corps

It was the flood of the century, everyone said
And I felt foolish at first, worrying about the zoo
But the more I thought of the place
built on an island, and the waters rising
ever higher--the sicker I felt--
But it seemed like all was well, at least
it seemed that way until I heard about them.

Them, being the giraffes, the gangling goofy
big, lumbering, spotted, long-necked mammals
that have no distinctive sounds and ugly black
snake-like tongues.  They, it turns out, really
hate change, and aren't too fond of cold and wet.
Imagine, as I couldn't help doing, how these
almost domesticated ones must have felt,
locked in their pens, with no fresh water or food
appearing, for days and days--it ended up being
over a week--and no light at night, which they
were used to, no human voices or touch
which they were also used to . . .

I couldn't help picturing these gentle giants
with their long-lashed, doe-eyed faces
looking so perplexed-- and they can,
I've seen them--looking askance when
the male lions are upset and making
their grunting noises that can be heard
all over the zoo.  I'm betting there was lots
of that going on, amongst other perturbed
animal sounds.

Did you know there are many varieties
of giraffes in the world?  And all of them
endangered of becoming extinct?
Some can only be found inside the pseudo
protection of zoo enclosures
and many cannot be found anywhere at all
now, hunted or starved off the earth already.

In my dreams these long-legged ones
from the flood gallop silently as if racing
with eternity; they look peaceful.
I get the sense they think they're winning.

S.E. Ingraham continues to pen poems from Edmonton, Alberta.  Her work of late has tended toward that of poet of witness, and she is pleased to announce her poem, "The Inevitability of Light" appears online and in print with, Poets 4 Paris, plus several poems from her "Baby M" collection appear on the I Am Not a Silent Poet site.  Ingraham remains committed to honing her craft, and to that end completed the MOOC's The Art of Poetry, plus, Sharpened Visions, recently, and has been selected to attend the Home School Hudson this summer.  She will also remain a CTA with the ModPo MOOC out of University of Pennsylvania.  More of her work may be found here:

Saturday, July 9, 2016

A Poem by Evelyn Deshane

Wax/Wane (Meditation)

The journey is two sided:  looking back
& coming home.  The moon waxes and it wanes.
You are surrounded, then alone.
We dance like an acrobat walking the tightrope
when we don't know where we're going
forward or backwards.  Nothing or something.
But it is all the same.  I see the sun over
the horizon; the dawn, the daybreak.  I flex
my toes & dream a little, knowing there are
too many places still to go.

Evelyn Deshane has appeared in The Fieldstone Review, Black Treacle, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, and in The Human Echoes Podcast.  Evelyn received an MA from Trent University and is now attending Waterloo for a PhD.  For more information, please visit:

Friday, July 8, 2016

Two Poems from Eric Dodson

For Being Old

To be old
is to wonder
how much older
you would be.

To be very old
would see your
friends disappear
slowly from reality
into dreams.

To be very very old
could be like
a Tudor pot
appearing at an auction
unscathed and admired.

To be very very very old
is to be asked
for the recipe
for being old.



The word thumped him in the heart
cruised through the crises in his life
brushed shadows from the way ahead
and gave his earth the gravity of a moon.


He tiptoed an imaginary waltz
beamed grinning white teeth to the crowd
put money in a box, grasped hands,
developed an impetuous laugh.


Doctors rushed to explain
that although benign, the tumor--
its ultimate design . . . in that position . . .
but nowadays . . . possibly can . . .
comfortable . . .
for the few

Eric Dodson is retired in Tauranga New Zealand, a quiet backwater where things happen in a thriving poetic atmosphere.  His work has appeared in many NZ literary magazines.

Friday, July 1, 2016

A Poem by Henri Bensussen

The Problem of Heat

Pale puffs of fog
like smoke
from long-ago cigarettes
Luckies, Pall Malls

What's left when a cigarette
burns to nothing but a stub
red lipstick on thin paper
   a silver tray of ash.

Parked at the bluffs, window down
as far as it will go halfway and not enough
to sweep out heat trapped inside--
you wouldn't think that a problem
   on the foggy north coast

Ice-plant a thick smothering mat
spills down the sand headlands

Cold and foamy ocean gorges
on what's left, gnaws
tunnels and blowholes steady
waves of there-ness a reassurance--

To know even as the sea ebbs
its slam-back comes on schedule.

          Grateful for a steady truck
          even as its aging body shreds itself
          steel bumper rotting in sea air
          flaking rust, we together in this.

END the sign screwed to a thin pole
leaning away from its imminent fall
as if crawling up that eroded edge
to a wavering mirage of dates and camels.

Ocean churns below, bowled stones
grumbling, tumbled tight.

Shedding rounds of heat,
                    they settle into cold.

Henri Bensussen serves on the board of the Mendocino Coast Writers Conference, and manages its blog (, is a Colrain Conference survivor, and has a B.A. in Biology.  She writes humorous stories and tragic poetry that seems to turn out humorous anyway.  Her chapbook, "Earning Colors" was published this year by Finishing Line Press, is a collection of 21 poems whose subjects range from being lost in Chicago to the dark side of love affairs.  They are contemporary, and written from a place of truth.  Her poems have been published in So to Speak, Sinister Wisdom, Blue Mesa Review, and other journals.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Three Poems from Richard Schnap


A woman with a worn skirt
Conjures longing from a violin
Outside of a supermarket

A boy with a battered guitar
Strums adolescent sorrows
In front of a coffeehouse

A man sings blue ballads
Accompanied by a bruised keyboard
On a sidewalk by a bus stop

A girl whose lonesome voice
Fights against the noise of traffic
At a corner near a drug store

And each one places a container
A cup, a box, an old can
To collect the coins of strangers

That yield pennies and nickels
But sometimes only raindrops
Falling from a dark grey sky

On the Wings of Words

The stories we embrace
Are often the ones
Absent from our own lives

A wife who devours
Romantic novels
As her husband shares other beds

A boy who studies
Tales of other worlds
As his father makes his mother scream

A man who collects
Biographies of heroes
As he cowers every time the phone rings

And then there are those
Who write their own
As if then they could conquer fate

And maybe leave
Something behind
To ease someone else's burden


There are engraves names
Of once revered thinkers
Their philosophies belonging
To a long-forgotten past

And the humble chapel
For a beloved songwriter
Whose soul-stirring melodies
Only the dead still croon

And the school dedicated
To a man that gave his life
For children that now always
Seem to mispronounce his name

And a circle of candles
For an accident victim
That flicker for a moment
Till the wind snuffs them out

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  A two-time Best of the Net Nominee, his poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally, and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.  His debut chapbook, A Wind From Nowhere, is available from Flutter Press.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Three Poems by Linda M. Crate

dead men don't speak

you were a fool
fancied yourself a king
get your feet
away from my throne
for i am the king
of my own universe,
and i don't need your hands
sullying my dreams;
you always sought to control me
tame me and throw me away
in some gilded cage
but that is no way to treat someone
you would say is your equal--
truth is i was just a price you could
not afford,
and you always wanted me to take you off the
pedestal so i'll just knock you off it now
leave you for dead and the world
can make of you all they want when they see
your bloodied face and all thousand of your masks
fractured around you
like some alchemy or summoning gone wrong
broken by the same lies you forced down my throat;
i will issue no apology--
built you up but you let me down,
and so now i will take my thrown back and my crown
the same ones you would have shattered
in the crevices of your wolf grin;
dead men don't speak and so you are dead to me.

rotten apple

you'll face an army of me
for all the nasty
things you said and did
don't worry your pretty little head
over that
worry about cleansing that soul
of yours of all its blackness,
and isn't it embarrassing
that you cannot manage without want
because I would be ashamed
to be such a succubus?
you may be pretty on the outside
but inside you are the apple
with the most rot,
and the pomegranate bleeding the most
bitter of blood;
always insisting that you're strong
when you are the weakest
of worms
feeding off the dreams and souls of all those
whom you possess you seek to make
yourself strong through the weakness others succumb
to please you--
but i refuse to be your willing victim
i will let you fall prey to your own needs and hang
yourself on your own noose,
and drink my champagne when i see that your dreams
drowned beneath the flood of your own rage.

hanging yourself

i held my hand out to help you
only so you could
crucify it,
and so now when you need my help
i will let my scarred hands
remain at my side;
it kills me to be the villain,
but i remind myself of how many times you
let me drown
and somehow it doesn't seem so unreasonable
to be this angry--
you were a heavy heart to carry,
and so i had to drop
your bones in the river;
let them wash away and i cleansed myself
of all your need and your wrath
because you were always just a noose waiting for
the right moment to hang yourself.

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville.  Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print.  Recently her two chapbooks, A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press--June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon--January 2014) were published.  Her fantasy novel, Blood & Magic, was published in March 2015.  The second novel of this series, Dragons & Magic, was published in October 2015.  Her poetry collection, Sing Your Own Song, is forthcoming through Barometric Pressures Author Series.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Three Poems by William Doreski

Haystack Rock

You think that posing on the beach
places you in time and space,
Haystack Rock bulking behind you,
a landmark almost large enough
to see from the opposite coast.
The wet sand gleams a stainless gleam.
The few other beachgoers bob
in the distance, shy punctuations.
You expect me to count the teeth
in your smile, each a milestone
on the road from this life to that.
You expect the incoming tide
to honor your barefoot tracks
by enhancing them with foam
and bits of wrack for decor.
Your reasoning warps across time
and the ether to embalm me
in the muddle of rain that follows
every step forward or back
in the general rush of elements.
Did Einstein say anything useful
in the climate of your recurrence,
when you bend like time and touch
your toes in the cloudy light
brimming over the Pacific?
Did he claim that mass contracts
when bodies exert their gravities
in mutually comfortable orbits?
I think mass expands when subject
to your smile,
and the first tremor
of the earthquake that someday will trip
a tsunami fatal to this coast
shudders at the base of Haystack Rock
like a word kept under your tongue.

Money, the Original Sin

An oily bonfire in the street.
Someone's burning currency
in a whirlpool of kerosene.
Rubles, Euros, pesos, levs,
florins, rupees, pulas, yuans.
The stink almost topples me,
but I have to watch the curdle
of notes, their infinite suffering.

You would enjoy this spectacle,
would savor the char and flake
of honest money deflating.
Passersby dodge around the fire,
but some toss in a dollar or two,
their faces brimming with joy.
I wish I had the courage
to empty my wallet and sniff

the full savor of this arson.
You would probably add checkbook
and credit cards to the pyre.
At last a fire engine arrives.
Two firefighters tricked out in brave
yellow coats and helmets stare
into the flames, assessing
their brilliance, force and intention.

Let it burn, one says.  A nod,
and they're off.  Most of the money
has whirled into the ether,
leaving ash the color of bone.
You'd let it cool, then scoop it up
and save it for a future in which
money, the original sin,
barely lingers in memory.

Swan Killer

A Danish tourist choked a swan
by accident.  It dangles
in his panicked grip like a length
of emasculated firehose.
I read the whole story twice.
The onscreen photograph withers,
collapses in wasted pixels.

Thousands of miles away
and limpid with crossed horizons
this little disaster defines me
from the neck down, kinking itself
in my sorriest organs.  Crimes
like this fail to deter the stars
from their rush toward the farthest

edge of limitless nothing.
Like William Blake's crucifixion,
featuring a tree, not a cross,
the world exerts a cruelty
that from some angles looks like joy.
And you in your woolen distance
refuse to acknowledge the space

I've tried to occupy, a silence
peculiar to certain mountaintops
where the wind's too proud to blow.
Not that you would choke a swan
or even me, given the chance.
But when I phone, your voice fades
in a thousand shades of umber,

and not a single word coheres.
Somewhere a cat coughs up a shard
of mouse.  A child cries in sleep,
hopeless.  Police have questioned
the swan killer and gone away,
leaving the corpse on the lawn
where dogs will pick it apart.

William Doreski recently returned to Boston after years of teaching at Keene State College in New Hampshire.  His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013).  He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowell's Shifting Colors.  His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Three Poems by Patricia Walsh

Sociopath Blues

Looking back, a parody of what is mine
Burning fairy lights a course to savor.
Nothing matters now but you, a likely creature
Swinging from rafters for quality purposes.

Speaking at speed to detriment standing
It's a wonder how the words catch at all,
Condemned by close passions, an opportunity found
To sweeten the nemesis biting at speed.

Playing with human remains, joyfully macabre
Some psychosis, reined in, colors the gouges
Of a self-same cut, trickling with delight
Spiking at will, a floor's territory.

Reaching out to heat, a sleeping smoke
Sends you on your way to a darkened kip,
Metering overdue, underrated, a costly
Mission to the moon, it was always yours.

An overburdened angel settles matters.
Leading by the hand your stress-free lives,
Cutting across a law of possession
Hanging your jacket where nothing was intended.

Learning from mistakes more than successes.
You flower from experience at my expense
But not to worry, some red light flickers
Over your soul, sold like the world was.

(And with them) Persecutions

You want for food that rots on the table
A house crumbling as we speak.
Where thieves break in and steal
Where your treasure is, so is your heart.

Missed continuously on the infernal phone
Grappling for dear life on, sweating a bit
Weeping into beer a cause for celebration
Some sympathy flies in your face.

Still cold outside, brewing cigarettes, smoke
Leaving already, and me bereft.
Witnessed solo by self-same informers
Who never let a situation run dry.

Monoxide scribbles make up for lost time
Some poisonous experiment reaps dividends
Exclusively eaten, success in development
Singing professionally is a hard-won dream.

Playing comedian where none was intended.
Snapping into place a lexicon of spite
God knows you need the company, recognition
Of all falling before your, a fine gene to waste.

Wrecking your car has to be laughed at,
It cuts across tragedy where you need it most
Blowing the profit of a processed waste
Drinking success is all that is yours.

More Than an Apology

Connecting with excess, drink and a sorry existence
Biting heels for a scrap from the table
Form following function in an escape plan
Touching cufflinks forbidden in time.

No one wants to see me unhappy
No schadenfreude washes over my tears
A rabble of protection still guards me
From the poison of my words falling flat.

Measuring attention, keeping time
On what now means the world to me.
Some shallow soul jaundices association
Enough for you to slap me on the floor.

Still warm, enough for you to cut my losses
Relaying information in front of your aides
Sunk from view, fleeting familiarity
From all that is mine, resigned to the moon.

You got what you wanted.  Lessons learned
Forbid me from doing the same mistakes
Spitting poison to share my heart
A tirade suitable expressed by speakers.

Half-naked through sunlight, via the curtains
Another day rears its brightened head
Enough to reassure my incarceration is gone
Enough to kiss the last standing enemy.

Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Ireland, and was educated in University College Cork.  Previously she has published one collection of poetry, titled Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010, and has since been published in a variety of print and online journals.  These include:  The Fractured Nuance, Revival Magazine, Ink Sweat and Tears, Drunk Monkeys, Hesterglock Press, Linnet's Wing, Narrator International, and The Evening Echo, a local Cork newspaper with a wide circulation.  She was the featured artist for June 2015 in the Rain Party Disaster Journal.  In addition, she also published a novel, titled, The Quest for Lost Eire, in 2014.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Three Poems by JD DeHart


Let's go toading, someone
suggests, which I believe
is a game that involves
spotting the people in British
films that will turn out to be
lecherous heart-breakers.
Of course, I'm talking about
the polite productions
that draw on tattered novels.
I have grown in appreciation
for the British classics, with
their ever-present awareness
of the importance of manners
and wedding dresses.

Bald Eagle

Must be some kind
of heroic creature beneath
the hairless form in front
of me.  Which reminds me
of my brother losing his hair
and what may soon be
my fate.  So I should focus
on the salad bar, the static
television across the room,
rather than noting the aquiline
nature of the man sitting
opposite me, who one day
may be me looking back.

Real Looker

She's a real looker,
and you can tell because
all the old men have turned
She's a real looker,
I hear one of them say,
and I do not bother to turn,
instead imagining Emerson's
roving eye, a bouncing
ball of observation.
Now that would be a Real
Looker, certainly so.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  His chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Two Poems from ayaz daryl nielsen

She said she knows
about all of it by growing
up and going to school
in the City of New York
well, you can't fool me, I'm
from Kellogg, Minnesota.

a roommate returns from Mexico

an empty mescal bottle, white
worm gone with whoever had
the last shot--Jasmine, perhaps,
or Babs, lightly snoring as they
drowse upon a couch and a cot
the easy-going all-night acid,
tempered by our home-brew
lessens as first light enters
through open curtains, caressing
a carpet covered with full sleeping
bags and tired puppies, and I,
walking beside our nearby stream
eating a favorite tree's ripe plum,
face the rising sun, arms raised,
heart, psyche and soul embracing
blessings of friends, time and place
before I sleep, yes, before I sleep

ayaz daryl nielsen, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs)/hospice nurse, editor of bear creek haiku (25+ years/125+ issues), homes for poems include Lilliput Review, SCIFAIKUEST, Shemom, Shamrock, Kind of a Hurricane Press and online at bear creek haiku.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Two Poems by Ron Yazinski


From Taormina, I watch Mt. Etna spewing smoke and ash,
As it has for thousands of years.
The air tastes of soot;
And I can see my fingerprints on the table of the outside cafe.

And I think of Empedocles, the Greek
Who claimed a man like him
Who was a philosopher, a poet, a physician and a prince,
All wrapped into one,
Could only be reborn as a god.

Twenty-five hundred years ago,
To hasten his apotheosis,
He threw himself into the caldera of Mt. Etna,
Leaving only a sandal behind.

I stare again at the spreading clouds that block the sun,
And then return to my room
To wash his reincarnation off my hands.

Popular Delusions

While reading from a book of popular delusions,
Like that of teenagers parking on a lover's lane
Who barely escape a crazed one-handed man
Who leaves his hoot in the door handle as they speed off,
I consider the author's contention
That stories like that spread, because, at their heart,
They contain a caution about breaking societal norms;

Which makes me think of Joseph this Christmas,
And the lesson of taking a trophy bride,
Especially one already carrying another man's child,
A man he could never hope to compare with.

How he stands there amazed,
As shepherds and kings
Who all know of his predicament,
Ignore him,
Singing songs of how great her first lover is;
And he accepts it,
Because love has made him a fool.

A retired high school English teacher from Pennsylvania, Ron Yazinski is inspired by the personalities and energies of his new hometown, Winter Garden, Florida.  Initially enticed by the climate, 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.  He is also the author of the chapbook, Houses:  An American Zodiac, and two volumes of poetry, South of Scranton and Karamazov Poems.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Three poems by Ken L. Jones

I Regret

My tearfully exquisite mistress sounds just like when you were small
And standing by a melting fire place's slivers of echoes
Where those mandalas of fractured winter
In that unmoving autumn town
That too soon gave way to boulevards
That can feast on all that is impressive
And where Warhol's muse first brought down
And pierced his skull with all that embraces
And that came out of nowhere

Gone Too Soon

The afterbirth of Achilles' secrets is a moving porridge and
I am lost and I am calling in this galaxy of laughing gas
For I am but a sad clown made of diamonds
Glued to the most brutal of all televisions
That delicately sings that she was
Always all human boundaries broken
Even if it was far, far in the past

Split Logs

Once the secrets of the cosmos were in every bottle of milk
Till the Green Man bade me to follow the path
Of Art Spiegelman and other magicians like that
Away from the lazy quilt work of mandolins
And the lullabies that were the crabs
Back in that coldest winter of other people's bad trips
When the tears of a clown only hinted at our looks up wonderingly
At the night sky to that land that never was nor bothered to ask why
Where in a speck of fountain dancing once upon a time
Was watched ceaseless moments through the big keyhole of renunciation
That over shadows even yours and was like
Evangelists walking upon the airless moon
Not yet ready to disclose anything even soon
Until those gob smacked timelines formed a tapestry
Really, really immortal yet gone too soon
Where we became silver hitchhikers marooned
In the shadows of pumpkins like puppets dancing
As we set off upon a quest for unsung diamonds
To where all melodies of memories took their final rest
As we rode on melting into this transplanted century of cardboard launderomats
And clocks that most gingerly like surfer girls who fall and swim away
Tick tock on relentlessly through night and day
And yet there were kaleidoscopes of poetry that still serve me well
In this reaping of those summers and all they did foretell
That has fled though leaving a selfish wine behind
That glimmers like the midnight stardust of unremembered climes
That as I come back to consciousness in dawn's fractured light
Sends me quick to this pen where upon paper I confess once again
That all that attracts the bee still acts similarly on me
In the white light of so long as there is an ocean anywhere

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.