Sunday, January 31, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

In the Throes of Missteps
(for Kurt Cobain)

He's been put upon the darkest of pedestals
Because he used his guitar sprawl as a paintbrush
Both lethal and revered
And the aftermath of his lyrics
Which were a storage locker full of recorded phone calls
Still speaks to us murkily after all these years
And after his flannel heroin is there anything left to be said
Except that he explained himself as both the lost and the found
Until a shotgun went off while a flicker machine spun
As all of that was lost to a seagull
Then he departed us led by black angels
Who reminded him of butterflies
To something more exquisite than the Emerald City
Where dreams of becoming is only the beginning.

Retractable Elegance

The ghosts who whistle within my copper teakettle
Are like vintage video games long ago played by my young sons
That I still remember like icy crow footprints
Now preserved until spring on this April day of winter rain
And now are only rose petals which when strewn
Take on the shape of the stars and moon.

The First of Many

This rain and gloom is like T.S. Eliot wrote it
The titillation of winter is now gone
Fished out of a sea of somewhat untraceable
Recollections that lets my curiosity become a
Waterfront whose dance metamorphs
Into all that is low lying on an island of museums
I once visited that was a purge of my image banks
Back when I was a young god of such innocence
Till I found a lost passport of tacos for lunch
And then in the spoken word sculptures that became my forte
I hitched a ride on mixed media collages
And quit forever the bands whose symphony halls
Where only their family's garages.

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, January 30, 2016

Two Poems by ayaz daryl nielsen

Solar Beings

Solar beings, we circle again as the
sun hisses "This is it!"  Time won't return
your inner sacredness, the sacredness
dark winds have swept away, and those
dark winds never blow the same way twice
Hidden are even the faintest murmurs
of your sacred inner magics  Our sun,
insisting, "What is sacred may be recovered.
Merge all your knowns with the unknown,
your past, with the future, all as one solar
presence, a presence without any
neediness of claiming anything other
than chance from every hometown
street corner's solar zephyr of
sacred celestial existence"


Within these hollow cities
the pallor of shallow nights
when sleep isn't enough
The loneliness of those
who were born to sing,
empty acolytes brave enough
to hear a seemingly whispered
presence, to wear a seemingly
invisible robe of gold
Those who have had time for
their mistakes and move on to
a grateful sense of sweetness,
the sweet embrace of the genuine,
because we are, after all, always
somehow someone that is needed.

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, January 28, 2016

A Poem by Denny E. Marshall


Not easy to lay still
In a big lonely world
Like butterflies above water
Find place hard to land
Wings turn like birds
Lost on long migration
Mountains magically appear
Block warm wind currents
Transform into clouds
Drifts never touch down

Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry & fiction published, rejected, and no responses to submissions at all, some recently.  Credits include Camel Saloon, Poetry Pacific, and Dead Snakes.  See more at

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Two Poems by Ken W. Simpson

Red Lights

A solitary solecism
Premonitions and superstitions
Withered hopes
Amorphous, insubstantial
Episodic swings
Digressions and detours
Changing lanes
Accelerating and overtaking
Inhibitions colliding.


yellow, pink and blue
bounce and change
with a relentless rhythm
probing faces bathed in gold
arms waving
wailing, accelerating
adrenaline pumping
surreal, orange skin
shining eyes, hypnotized.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Two Poems by Phil Poyser

Ten Things to Do with Your Lover in Your Studio on the Cote D'Azure When it Rains in April

1.  Look out at the dancing palm fronds.
     See hairy tarantulas dripping venom.

2.  Make a cup of tea.  Share a croissant.
     Talk of baguettes and petits pains.

3.  Write postcards home, one pen between two.
      I sign yours, you sign mine, one "X" each.

4.  Read books, Paris Match, Le Figaro,
     ("Baghdad est tombe"), paper bag, cereal box.

5.  Snooze and drift away on a tide
     of tangled reveries in the lapping swell.

6.  Count the unfamiliar coins into piles.
     Count again to be absolutely sure.

7.  Make more tea.  Eat banana.
     Talk of local strawberries' succulent flesh.

8.  Watch the raindrops, erratic as hamsters,
     scurry to their gravitational destinies.

9.  Reflect on previous trips, lives,
     Universes, everythings, nothings.

10.  Play "I spy," "Hangman," "Hide-and-Seek,"
       Find yourselves (at last) entwined.
       Coming, ready or not.

St. Elvis Presley Precisely:  The Ten Commandments

1.  Thou shalt have no other teddy bear but me.  Please, please, love me true, I beg of you.

2.  Thou shalt put a chain around my neck and lead me anywhere, but graven images--no way, as I don't have a wooden heart:  unless of course it was something in Jailhouse Rock (though keep in mind what happened to Jael with the nail).

3.  Thy Daddy's name is "Big Boots," but don't take that in vain.

4.  It's Saturday night and thou just got paid.  But remember the Sabbath and keep it cool.  Good Shep.  Old Shep--thou ain't nothin' but a hound dog.  You ain't never caught a rabbi and you ain't no friend of mine.

5.  Honolulu, baby.

6.  Thou shalt not kill, even in "GI Blues."

7.  With little sister, don't, though I guess that's incest rather than adultery.  Nor with the girl of thy best friend, though that's not really what I mean either.  Whatever.  For if thou dost, thou shalt be down at the end of lonely street until the third generation.  It's called Heartbreak Hotel.

8.  Thou mayst burn my house, steal my car, drink my liquor from the old fruit jar, as long as thou truly repenteth and asketh forgiveness, but thou shalt not step in my blue suede shoes.

9.  There ain't no such thing as those "little white lies."

10.  "Don't, don't.  Don't, don't."  That's what I say, each time I behold you this way.  This you can believe, I will never leave you, baby.  Just don't, that's all.  Just don't.

The element, carbon, has played a pivotal role in Phil Poyser's life.  He comes from a family of miners with its roots deep in the area around the Nottinghamshire coalfields and his natal village of Mansfield Woodhouse.  His university studies at South Kensington's Imperial College of Science and Technology let to a career in organic chemistry (the myriad compounds of carbon), whilst retirement from the pharmaceutical industry in 2007 saw a move to organic gardening and the flourishing of his lifelong love of poetry:  a primrose path from C-reactive protein to C-reative Writing, so to speak.  No coincidence then that he's a member of Macclesfield Creative Writing Group and an active open-miker in and around the North-West.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Two Poems by Christopher S. Knodel

The Coma

Months in a coma,
ended for him suddenly
--without an explanation.

His eyes opened wide,
to see a sterile white room
--a place he had never been.

A doctor rushed in
to see his patient awake
--an unexpected event.

He had been broken.
Many organs had ruptured.
--all damage had been severe.

What, then, had happened?
How had he come to be here?
--where were the answers he sought?

The doctor approached,
and injected a serum
--directly into his neck.

The patient expired,
as the doctor unfolded
the "Do Not Resuscitate."

A Crimson Silence

He heard the silenced shots.
Dull, moist impacts echoed through the silence.
To his right, his wife collapsed, as if made of melting wax.
To his front, crimson sprayed from his daughter's blond locks.

Then, receding footsteps.

He was alone, with nothing but the cooling bodies
of everyone he ever loved.

Christopher S. Knodel is an author, poet and ultra-distance runner in San Antonio, TX.  He is a freelance journalist and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column.  His poetry and short fiction have been featured in The Asses of Parnassus, Ealain (MPA Publishing), The Wolfian, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Zodiac Review and Zombie Logic Review.  He can be easily spotted by his kilt, tattoos and six inch, flaming-red, Van Dyke goatee.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Three Poems by Lana Bella

A Photograph

Warmth mingled in your breaths.
Inches from mine,
charged with unsealed joy or anticipation.
I turned my face to where
the shutters' noise from the camera clicked.
You became a blurred object in
my peripheral vision,
angled as it bunched at the edge,
yet, that glint of gold reflected in your eyes
was caught in the hurried lenses
of the photograph.
And for that one small instant,
our gaze clutched tight to a memory,
with my heat at the foreground,
and yours tilted at the nape of my neck--
unleasing a stillness that turned into a whisper
of a promise yet to be named.

A December Face

December and I were in a steady race
to see who would relent first--
where I went,
it followed;
I moseyed on by the roundabout way
over the ice-capped bridge through the park,
when December leapt from atop the pine
onto a vertigo of light
above the flophouse where mother
held the weight of disappointment just so
that I'd begun to sprout ulcers
within the entrails.

While the hours knitted moments
gathering in rhythmic tangos and half-
whispers clung to prayers,
how much time was left for me as I heaved
the pendulum of consternation
on my shoulders and over my back?

During which snowfall has planted
iced orchids upon wreaths of thorny crowns,
not one boulevard was left for my walking,
turned back,
giving a quiet nod of surrender toward
this long impasse with mortality,
peeling off the ripcord handle
from December's chute.
Reading to jump.

A Nameless Thing

there is a croak,
something shimmies
out of the ripples of the air that
I cannot help to bristle
my inked quill over
the papyrus,

at first, the sound
leaves a ghost of restlessness
loose on my fingertips,
the more I tug it,
the less it struggles,

drawing epithets with
shadows from the squiggly loops
of calligraphy, i cannot
exhaust the fuel of
this nameless thing that
touches the tip of my ennui,

its tail brushes
my bent wrist like a bird flitting
through a bridal-veiled sky,
quivering the pages
so faintly that I can almost see
the script on the other side--

A Pushcart nominee, Lana Bella has works of poetry and fiction published and forthcoming in over 150 journals, including a chapbook with Crisis Chronicles Press (Winter, 2016), Abyss & Apex, Chiron Review, Foundling Review, Fourth & Sycamore, Harbinger Asylum, Literary Orphans, Poetry Salzburg Review, Poetry Quarterly and elsewhere.  She divides her time between the US and the coastal town of Nha Trang, Vietnam, where she is a wife of a talking-wonder novelist and a mom of two far-too-clever-frolicsome imps.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Three Poems by Peter Magliocco

Searching for Your Doppelganger

The eyes stare into your breast's hollow
take back the night
from principles of asphodels.
Leaving us the bare minimum
of tricks to pull at midnight,
duping the unwise men in the alley
waiting for food scraps in dumpsters
to segue through foggy interstices,
focusing finally on the copulating essence
of darkness with dawn
drawing false curtains on the stage.
There natural scenery blurs into infinity
& the participle of the golden word crashes
against that flesh becoming us:
for we cannot act through simulations
of ourselves in the arms of our tyranny,
nor traipse idly through the dust fields
of those who must die for something
beyond their zombie selves

Dreams of the Social Media Soul Sister

Urban mushroom seeding sick desires
I can't stomach when preternaturally sober!
Lend us the visionary nutmeg instead
to fortify the national fiber gone slack:
language means nothing in the tyrant's gams
aping those verbose lyrics of hangmen
waiting for resurrection martyrs to ply
with injections of fey shock-serum.
What rapper Pharaoh whispers the obscene
message from a cracked brown bottle
into my ear's cluttered nexus beyond
sins of fathers mites bugger dust balls
forever burrowing into rapture
of tympanic whiskey-soaked dreams
beating the last rhythms of a dead echo

Two Wild & Crazy Guys in Sin City

Thick as once cloistered weeds
they bar-stumbled casino heavens,
& blowing simulated smog rings
I wondered who let the boys in.
Doggy-like with sepia smiles bewildered
by brandy droplets clinging in cuticles,
laughing gassed to their ginzo gills
cutting up the neon jungle with bad jokes
& retro-salty lyrics from forgotten songs,
they insisted happily I buy them a drink
while recounting ups-&-downs of marriage
tanking into the detritus of divorce courts.
It can't be as bad as brimstone hell here,
can it?  Yet there's no closing time
machines so wishy-washy with TILT!
or a long built-in losing mode
to stifle fervid gambling fantasies.
They couldn't be a couple of Connie Francis clones,
but in this age of surgical wonders,
what the hell, bring me the knife.

Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he's been active in small press circles both as editor and small press scribe.  His new poetry book is Poems for the Downtrodden Millennium, from the Medulla Review Publishing.  He has recent poetry in Dead Snakes, The Beatnik Cowboy and elsewhere.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Three Poems by Roger G. Singer

Open and Close

It was a crawl space for thoughts,
a window slight with opening, a moment
of memory cutting in at the head of the line,
full of intensity and color reminding us
of where we've been and the joy we achieved
once arriving.
It's a wall without a door.  A face without
a mouth.  We feel the motion but are unable to
give it a title or explain its worth.
It's a somewhere between open and close, that thin
line we step into without trying, rushing us
to a flavor place from the past; a fleeting
glimpse of our mechanical soul.


It was a disconnected light, un-renewed
and abandoned, laboring to produce
gray from cold morning shadows;
leafless branches stretch out, separating
earth from sky.

Songs of preparing and moving lift
from homes and streets.  A fresh start
blesses the soul in search of a brighter
path than what appears before them.

What gains befall us if we fail at the
challenge?  What mountains can be
climbed before we arise?

"My help comes from the Lord,
who made heaven and earth."


Mirrors spy on the eyes,
drawing them to the vortices of
reflection; celebrating the good,
condemning the faults.
Each glance a smile or frown,
changing the weather of
the heart into storms or sun;
the soul of self, shoulders up
to the day.
Like the surety of high winds
aloft the image we see is set;
mercy finds little hope where
time prevails.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Two Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

Full Moon

Beads of light
the sun god's veil:
I in the window breathe
the breast milk of God

Anti-Anti Drama

I am having a cloud infused teardown
tar paper and asphalt excrement.
The lips of the world not the lips of worms
nor the eyes of the world--but the eyes of snakes
blinded at the edge of their tongue.

What has been written when the night shade
hugs the grass fed stream, obsidian and pumice
pushing through surface gravel, the rich water
smooths itself after a rough patch
and settles down to a rainbow and a hum.

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published.  His latest works, Firestorm:  A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Books on Blogs) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside and other poems (Barometric Pressures -- A Kind of a Hurricane Press).  His work has appeared in The Cafe Review, American Letters and Commentary, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others.  In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005) and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011).  He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Barely a Portrait, Images, Transitions

You will find her here blowing soap bubbles,
chewing gum cigars, old time candy and toy ass radio player.
Sara is still a cheerleader in mind,
chest player beast bare in pink station wagon,
front seats laded back.
Everything exposed was pink in 1965, popular.
Everyone high up was chest player academically,
low-end checker players were at miniature golf,
beneath blankets at US 31 outdoor theaters.
High school is a status golden whore passing daily in the hallways.
Sara flute blower in narrow dark and stashed in lover's lane,
the Junior prom never ended, the Senior prom never began.
Shades off, make-up smeared past midnight, broken gold chains, class rings lost,
class sweaters returned to sender, address unknown,
sex a touch and feel, poetic review, times.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era.  he is a Canadian and US citizen.  Today he is a poet, a freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 880 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author's website:  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 83 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015:  Michael Lee Johnson has been nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry in 2015.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Two Poems by Sabahudin Hadzialic

Reality Filmed

Dismal image
of my own imprint in time
that's real
inside the vision that--isn't
is desperately in search for

. . .

Queen Elizabeth,
Catherine, Nikolajevna,
Princess Diana,
Disappear in front of the eyes
of wild hordes.

. . .

I remain alone
trembling with trepidation
trying to figure out
what is it that they want.

. . .

Virtual reality of a surreal film-world
is nothing more than
a treacherous impersonation of a real world
that deceives me
a Servile Servant!

. . .

She's gone!
Will she ever come back?
The question is swept by the wind.

. . .

I'll wait for the storm to calm
and try to catch the mistral wind to find a cove,
and search for the place where I met her.
Barefoot and naked.
Back in the day.
On the stage!

Strange Dream

Hands buried in sand

. . .

Blood stained hands.

. . .

I try to reach the bottom of the sand pit
digging deep,
feeling pain.

. . .

Two blue eyes
deep dive
towards you.

Blood shot eyes.

Carried on the wave of desperate tears,
I try to catch a glimpse of you,
you disappeared behind the horizon.

. . .


You drew near, furtively
and embraced
the World!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Two Poems by Will Burton

Once I Lost Myself, Now I think of You

You engage me as worthless
Harnessed by power locked in the depths of your shadow
Domineering I start my whimper
Soul destroyed
Upon that same action
Decisively you fill me with a love
The crucifixion process begins
Your majestic heart and corrupting smile albeit umblemished, nails me tight
Happiness chokes rendering space
Room for a pause
consciously you tease my insides
I watch you in moments for which I cherish
Times like these are mine and mine alone
My love
With welcoming crunch
I feel you ruminate
In public places fulfilling essential private needs
You're there
Sluggishly stealing this earthly duty
With matters set in fact
I feel for you
Eagerly I walk this road well traveled
As I make journey to drawer yet another breath
Wincing with a fluttered blink
You appear
So as I feel--not too bad
My focus becomes less sharp
Accepting surrender
I renounce even Martyrdom
As you invade further space
Of course--I must allow
Reaching from the self same bed you made at my blinkered eye
The unnerving splendor you know you own
That love
It or you
God knows
It or you tugs beyond my throat
Bearing no choice
I allow once more
You view these broken pieces that gave this heart function
Birthing nothing
No more no less
I forget
A wry smile, an unnoticeable expansion of the chest
A thought of you
Gifting I a present
The best gift one could hope for--being placed in any moment
Gratefully time did stop
That time I thought of you
It became worthless and so did love
I lost myself
I think of you

Dancing with Death

Watch the soul dance
Gyrating twists for a theatrical life
A gallery of fear
Eyes littered with disappointment
Yet somber blank

Relentless and sparing in appearance
Possessing a rigid stance
Standing somewhat tall
Shadowed by cumbersome endeavors
Enticing fear
Restricting friendship

The heavily placed arch journeys his back
Well earned
His own God -- A tree root
Control panel operative
Maneuvering a cathartic stare
A child's migration to the floor
Fatigued by existence
Burdened with failure
Aspirations and aims
No Encore No More

Will Burton is a young professional from the North of England, he writes and performs poetry regularly.  He is currently working on publishing his own book of poetry & prose and is hopeful about being published in 2016.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Poem by Heather Gelb

Solitary Running

Pounding of shoe against solid ground provides
Consistent background rhythm to
Symphony of thoughts
Dancing in random pairs.
Solitary running . . . . . . . . . moving forward,
Thoughts shift and break away into
A meditative space of
Only the present moment,
Moving with a gentle breeze filled with
Bird Song and the fragrance of
Fallen leaves merging with
Blooms of sunshine sprouting from the earth
Like rays of deep-rooted truth.
A mantra of moving forward,

Heather Gelb often feels like a gazelle leaping from hilltop to hilltop.  On one of these hills she recently published her memoir, a spiritual journey from the hills of one land to another:  One of her poems based on this book was featured in the fall edition of Poetica Magazine.  She has also published stories and poetry in other various publications like Deadsnakes Green Panda Press, Deronda Review, Jellyfish Whispers, Stepping Stones,IJN and Esra Magazine.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen

Within these hollow cities
the pallor of shallow nights
when sleep isn't enough
the loneliness of those
who were born to sing,
empty acolytes brave enough
to hear a seemingly whispered
presence, to wear a seemingly
invisible robe of gold, those
who have had the time to
make mistakes and move on to
the grateful sense of sweetness,
the sweet embrace of the genuine,
because we are, after all, always
somehow someone that is needed.

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.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Two Poems by Jay Frankston

In the Blink of an Eye

The family gathered around
the Thanksgiving table.
A golden brown turkey
mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce,
the clanging of silverware
and laughter all around.

The young mother
holding her newborn
and three young girls
sharing a rutabaga
on the hard soil
in the red African mud house.
The child cries.

The caregiver in her rumpled smock
hand feeding the old one
who lost his reality
when he lost his wife
and the life he had left
fell apart.

Blink and blink again
The reel of life
gives no explanation.


So the wheel turns
and the road bends
and time whizzes by
like the landscape
out the window of my life.
But the travel that takes place
is on the inside
and it's the coal that is shoveled
into the furnace of the locomotive
on the train I'm traveling on.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Three Poems by Chase Gagnon


When I was eight or nine
I started drinking
and smacking my pretend wife
when she came over to play,
me and my friends in the hood
would play cops and
serial killers
on the dark side streets
just north of Eight Mile
where the streetlights never came on
at night
where we never went back inside
to our parents, guardians,
or single mothers
who were strung out on meth
or puking up whiskey
after another man left.

My dad was always there for me though
he taught me how to love a woman
with my fist
and how to throw a bottle
through the window
then board it up
before the landlord started bitching.

But I don't know how to shave
change a tire
or what the difference is between a flathead
and a phillips
or even how to use a damned screwdriver
or wrench . . .
so tell me,
how am I supposed to fix myself
when I can't fix anything else?

Lip Rings and Barbed Wire

When I showed you my body
I put down my hair for you
removed the piercings
and let the studded bracelets drop
to the floor . . .
You, the only one to ever see me naked
of both my clothing and my walls
saw Stephen
and realized that Chase wasn't nearly as strong
as he looked.
You saw the slashing patterns in the scars
that I told you were from fights,
and you realized they were only from fights
with tired old demons . . .
you saw how my pale skin looks strange
and unnatural without the counterweight of darkness
achieved so easily with black shirts and bandannas.
I was your other half
your yin yang symbol
that disappeared
behind the white backdrop of the world
when the dark parts of me left--
I don't exist to you anymore,
and I don't think I care.

I have trouble sleeping now
not because I miss you
but because I don't wash my mohawk out anymore,
and it's hard to lay comfortably
with that row of hard black spikes
glued up six inches
from my pale scalp
like barbed wire around my prettiest dreams and thoughts
preventing them from ever escaping

Self Medicated

I swallow the anti depressant
with a big swig of wine,
the one that's bottle warns
"do not drink alcoholic beverages
while taking this medication"
But after a few glasses
the wine bottle begins to say
"do not swallow anti depressants
while drinking this medication"
I start laughing, hysterically at my own drunken humor
then shove my fingers down my throat
and puke up
what I hope is the pill,
and continue laughing
not because my puke is shaped like Texas.

Then, I remember a girl I dated
who lived in Texas
the one who got away,
so I drink a few more glasses
until I throw up some more
and the Texas looks like Alaska
or the pacific ocean.

Chase Gagnon is a poet from Detroit, who is addicted to drinking coffee in the night while reading Bukowski.  His poems have been published in places such as Otoliths, Bones, Modern Haiku, Teen Ink, Hedgerow, and Frogpond just to name a few.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Poem by Joan Colby

August 25 -- Heat

Grandiose with humidity
Leaves sag with absorption
Like a woman faced
With decisions.  The streets
Bleed, gunshots pepper a night
Of incensed temper.  Heat clouds immovable
Windows painted shut for centuries.
You understand why disease
Proliferates in such climates.
Missionaries on their knees
Tending the stricken.  Here it's simply
A phase of a season that ends
In crescendos.  In the cooled rooms,
Everything is dark and abnormal,
Oxygen flayed into ribbons.
What you breathe rankles
Like the heavy effusions
That still the trees
And silence the birds.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, The Spoon River Poetry Review, New York Quarterly, the new renaissance, Grand Street, Epoch, and Prairie Schooner.  Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, Rhino Poetry Award, the new renaissance Award for Poetry, and an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature.  She was a finalist in the GSU Poetry Contest (2007), Nimrod International Pablo Neruda Prize (2009, 2012), and received honorable mentions in the North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Contest (2008, 2010).  One of her poems is a winner of the 2014 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest.  She is the editor of Illinois Racing News, and lives on a small horse farm in Northern Illinois.  She has published 14 books including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press.  Selected Poems received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize.  Properties of Matter, Aldrich Press (Kelsay Books), Bittersweet (Main Street Rag Press), The Wingback Chair (FutureCycle Press).  She has two new chapbooks, Ah Clio from  Kattycompus Press and Pro Forma from Foothills Press as well as a full-length collection Ribcage from Glass Lyre Press.  Colby is also an associate editor of Kentucky Review and FutureCycle Press.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Portrait of the Tune of Her Beauty

Oh I hear a rhapsody of gulls
In mourning endlessly swelling
As they lament he who was lured to a reef
Like human drift wood
This creature lost in a sea of bitterness
His lust for the sea woman
Long was unfulfilled
And his shimmering departure
Teemed with lingering farewells
But all was forgotten in the laughing ocean
Like a haunting vision that has been displaced
Spawned by silken dreaming moments
As strangely silent as a coral reef.

Winged Rapture

In a place of seagulls in the sunshine
I became undone by a delicious
Burnt to a crisp remade woman
Almost dreamlike in her red lipped software programs
While I linger like an unintelligible Batmobile
In the Bit O Honey and gumball tulips
On the sea floor of a Les Paul guitar
Until I was bitten by a radioactive teddy bear
After which we ate a sequined and feathered
Casino buffet breakfast of Beatle songs
On the sun dappled red planet Mars
That our two hearts had brought into being
And one in which I have never wandered
Far from not even in my dreaming.

Only a Few Lines Long

Sea life is cresting on waves
That speak a peculiar language
Near where the sleeping seedlings
Echo frail and pale as the unmoored bones
Of a mysterious green carnival vanish
Into a spoonful of fade away
With all the rhythm of
A merry-go-round as it wails and sways
And which only now exists in my memories of other days.

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.  

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Poem by Bradford Middleton

Confused & Scared of Declaring Love

Her message landed late at night and I couldn't believe what I read
She missed me she wrote, she kept dreaming of us being together
In a bar that she can't remember us ever being in whilst
Her doomed relationship circled the drainpipe

I sat back and read it again
And suddenly a smile appeared across my face which
When dealing with the female of the species
Is a real rare treat for someone like me

Especially with this one, a ravishing beauty who spun me up in her web
But now, well I've got to think about what to say and how to say it
I need it to be downright perfect but something that shows my passion
Whilst maintaining a cool and calm exterior

Because what would I do if she said no
That I've misconstrued her words
To mean more than she could ever offer someone like me
Well then I'd be done, knowing happiness has at long last gone

Bradford Middleton lives on England's south-coast in Brighton.  He was born in London in 1971 but didn't start writing poetry until he was in his mid-30s and slowly, over time, began to uncover a flourishing underground scene.  Three months before his fortieth birthday he had his first poem accepted at The Mad Swirl.  Since then he has become a Contributing Poet there and also had notable work published at Empty Mirror, Zygote in My Coffee, PPIGPENN, Rolling Thunder Quarterly, Fuck Art Lets Dance, Word Riot, Electric Windmill, Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon and The Weekenders.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Poem by Dylan Sonderman

Simultaneous Resignation:

Union and solidarity
Inspired by vulnerable glances, intuition, and
Chanting road anthems in the break room

Before we hightail it, though,
My restless companion feels quite keen
On informing the boss man
Exactly where he can stuff it

Rejects cashier employment
For free rides to fairy tales and
Simple matter, career growth
Minimum earnings wage far too full

Tearing off our uniforms
Nude save our shoes
We scamper exposed from verdant streets
Toward wildwood groves

Two stride away from the brick, eyes ahead
His shoes muck the earth, determined
Mine crunch the gravel, but
Neither's hands claw corporate ladders

We vaguely believe in native sunlight
Worshipping in a heap under a faithful star
Piled in our leafy villa
As interstate trucks gun by

At last, we leave our shoes behind
To let our feet weep trails of blood
So that lost steps might someday
Carry us to home

Dylan Sonderman has contributed to the Burr, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, and Luna Negra.  When not reading or writing, he lives to play music and sing.  He currently writes for AltOhio.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Three Poems by Ajise Vincent

The Transaction

Tonight, I roam that hamlet--sodom
Where nemeses render testimonies,
Pay tithes of froths to fleshy pendulums
So they can become pillars of salt

That hamlet where dogs with grandiose appetites
Humble their loins; make transactions;
like monopolies, sometimes duopolies
Expecting profits of bones in the long run

These dogs are not chihuahuas, neither are they beagles
They are bulldogs, rottweilers; perhaps Alsatian
With swaying bulky mouths and dangling drums
That overflow with sugary sperm

These dogs are not pawns--subtle mesomorphies
For their reprisal to auctions are made by monetary snips
Snips which undress their emotions--au natural
Making them a curvature potent
That releases a feuding watery tsunami
To catalyze the bitter-sweet pang

After some iced champagne and chicken wings
And dreams of black angels--demonic delusions
Supplier receives cash; Equilibrium is attained

Dirge of a Fiance

tonight, I have come to declare my doubts
as a dirge, on that road where applause
mates with squiggling bones
to procreate embryos of foreverafter

that road where bald seers
count beads, chant incantations,
spit on sincere resolutions
just to ransack the past and peep into the offing

sincerely, I am being beaten by worry
I am also drowning in the ecstasy of confusion
for I don't know if the black water that screens
can still reflect the image of truth

you liken my love to a tamed python
that engulfs your conscience to bask in innocence
yet you still stare at Asabi* bulbous hips
that wriggle as she sashays

you said you have chewed off your past of infidelity
and spat it to the swaying dust
to convey it to oblivion
yet the white man rubber still dances in your pocket

I have watched you drink from the gourd of lust
and gesticulated in your drunkenness
throwing jibes at my commitment
which pierces every marrow of my fondness

listen, I am bleeding out pints of foul pains
which make my health an aura of indiraction
I doubt if my dwindling esteem can walk down the aisle
for you are just a drunken whoremonger

*One of select birth


"Fools" might measure your resistance to "lust"
through the ohmmeter of pride
They might see your conductance with solitude
As defiling "kohlrausch" law of concentration

Some might e'en call you the disgruntled husband,
Of Mr.s Malaprop
Whose cerebral elecrtolytes
Needs electrical brain stimulations

Ay! do not be weary
For life is an aberration from the law of physics
Here, like poles don't repel
And unlike poles ne'er conjugate

Ajise Vincent is an undergraduate of economics at a prestigious university in Nigeria who sees poetry as a medium to express both the tranquility and turmoil of the mind.  He hopes to use poetry as a tool to impact morals and bring back the good old days of propriety.

Friday, January 8, 2016

A Poem by Robert Halleck


Their fishbowls had
no curtains.  Gazing
at each other across
a quiet street they
could wave and smile.
The day came when a
hand gestured to the entrance.
It was too much to
resist and the fishbowl
across the way had curtains.

Robert Halleck is a hospice volunteer and retired banker who has published two collections of poetry.  His latest chapbook is available on Amazon.  In recent years his poems have appeared in places such as, The Camel Saloon, Scapegoat Review, Jellyfish Whispers, and the San Diego Poetry Anthologies for 2014 and 2015.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Three Poems by John Grey

Shooting the Messenger

Such a long time between letters,
I garroted three mailmen.
Now it's all about email.
When the missives don't pop into my box,
whose knuckles do I smash?
If the voice intones, "You have mail"
and it's only spam,
who is the intermediary
that needs their head scalped,
their liver removed?
Is there a programmer somewhere
in the world
who should be ingesting my poison?
I'm weary of those who
are just doing their job.
From now on, I will shoot every messenger
who comes within firing range.
If people I know won't take the time
then strangers must suffer the consequences.
I can't get at those who neglect me.
And I need to take it out on someone.
Of course, there's always myself.
But I already hear it from me.

Poem to the Others in this Coffee Shop

with work on the walls of their brother's cafe,
dress-code picturing their future,
cussing Draconian schools and family,
on the page, an ants' nest of scribble,
playing the petal game with sips of Java . . .
genius or not--genius or not--
recognizing their surrounds as theater,
parlaying the ubiquitous I--
I admonish you--
I deserve your attention--
I create new laws on flowers and bodies--

this look, this creation, is for you--
my patrons, my buyers, my historians--
all you futurists--
dance tributes on my grave--
exchange my rumpled locks,
my day-old beard,
red-lined eyes, scruffy clothes,
for a self-portrait in MOMA--

doubt in secret, skulking in attics,
their fleshy canvas no match
for the ravishing success beauty--


The smallest of herds, a buck, a doe, and one yearling,
nibbled the moist grass at the edge of the field.

The buck's head, heavy under antlers, still
knew enough to look in all directions,

the many ways from which danger could come,
the deer trail through the brush that promised safety.

I kept my distance, but close enough to witness
sunset bathing coats in deep resplendent colors:

first a sharp red, then a smoldering orange,
and finally a mottled blue to match the rising moon.

The world had more than enough reasons to move on:
the dark, my hunger, the inherent insecurity of wild things.

But it took a chance on my wonder, their exquisite trust.
The earth did turn but inward as I remember.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident.  Recently published in New Plains Review, Mudfish and Spindrift with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Sanskrit and Louisiana Literature.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Five Poems by Erren Geraud Kelly


a touch
awakens the
inner child
long years of
spin a web
out of your smile
to lure me in
again and again
we are diverse extremes
through soul

Mary Jane and Red Roses

she pictures the red roses
the diver sent to her house
only the roses are in metairie
and she's in new hampshire
her mama called and told her
they had arrived
even from 2000 miles away
her mama's voice is a slap
across the face
a finger wagging admonishment
but her mother knows the old
ways are dying
her mama sees mixed couples in
at the movies holding hands
emmett till would be proud
she knows if mary jane is not
she succumb to it like a disease
she tells mary jane about the roses
which are as red as blood
and tells her one last time.
"don't ever talk to that boy again!"
mary jane writes the diver a letter
tells him, it cannot be
maybe someday she won't be like
the rest
but for now, she's society's child
mary jane sprays the letter
with her scent, a rose scented perfume
which will be a stake in the diver's heart
she seals the letter, a final kiss off


Who is one of god's
Whose name is sweetness
In miles' muted
If you could catch the wind
She would be perfect
In her eyes lie


Even mozart would fail
to create a
Melody that personifies you;
under your red hat
is a head of spring,
though you speak winter, you
Linger in my thoughts,
like a ghost, long after you've gone
Your buttocks shapely
and luminous as a full moon

Like the Eyes of the Sun

Like the eye of the sun, you rise
And another day begins; the tide pulls its blanket back, and you
Yearn for the daylight, to give you wings; you blow
Lustily into your heavenly horn and the sound erupts like
A cry from your heart, you shake your jean-clad butt

Along with the heat-soaked beat; it is night now, this song is
Never ending; it can take you anywhere, from New York City to Rio to Mexico City, it
Gives you a tune and you will make it true
Urgently, you shake your body like a maraca
Long and fast, until you become the moment
Oh the pleasures, the curves you and your horn give;
As you play in the eye of the sun

Erren Geraud Kelly is a Pushcart nominated poet from Seattle, and has been writing for 25 years and has over 150 publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine (online), Ceremony, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, Poetry Salzburg and Other Publications.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Five Poems by Simon Perchik

As if this tie could slow your fall
--full blown and yet each sleeve
expects the helpless rollover and flames

though your heart knows so little
about how chancy it is to breathe
spewing smoke no longer sea-blue

or dry--all that's left in this shirt
is the surrounding valley
that carries you down--you need more sky

and side to side stretching out
for a rickety bridge--you jump holding on
to a single knot huddled in fog and off course.

This calendar gets its genes, stays put
as if its yellowing pages
have nothing to do with fall

--the paper has already begun to age
though you were a coat to bed
for those cell-to-cell signals

from dry wood taking hold, has the smell
frost makes when clearing the ground
to rest for awhile and your tired eyes

barely able, close to keep warm
no longer move just to move
--it's been years since you stopped

and each morning a grinding sound
disappears ahead, the sun
helplessly trying to melt

now that it's summer and the day-to-day cry
that begins in the Earth
all along reaching away from you.

You're new at this
though in front each window
your eyes close just so far

are not used to a rain
that comes right up against you
won't move even when you make room

once you learn where to look
for the sky, for the shoreline
half gone ahead, half

peeling off and your fingers
clamp on to its sharp turn
covered with sand and thirst and death

--you never know
but this rain is dangerous
has saved its memory for last

put all its strength
in how to circle you down
as days and nights together.

You were so sure!  the boxes
sealed and no one
getting a bead on you

--wherever you're moving
it would be by air--not the kind
that comes from runways

but cardboard, corrugated
where its turbulence is hidden
at least till high enough

safely under your arms
still closing the flaps
and though the wings are taped

they're already breaking apart
held the heading too long
--you thought this place

would last out the month
not burn to the floor
become winds and your emptiness.

There is no tunnel, you crawl
the way a turtle takes hold
and from the sidewalk a dry breeze

smelling from salt and two in the afternoon
--the crowd thinks the cup is for beggars
fill it so the air inside

will rise and you can breathe
one more time:  a tide
lets you survive in the open

though one cheek is dragged
over the other till your mouth
becomes a shell--all you can do

is drink from it
do what skies once did
filled with thirst and emptiness.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Osiris, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.  His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, free ebooks and his essay titled "Magic, Illusion and Other Realities" please visit his website at

Monday, January 4, 2016

A Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen

overnight rain
under the bridge
an older me whom
failures abandon
rain-fed acolyte
follower of rivers

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.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A Poem by David Subacchi


On the cafe walls sepia photographs
Of the old couple dominate
Dressed as if for Sunday mass
Their Italian name engraved in glass
Removed from the main door
Has been framed and is displayed
Alongside the family portraits
I catch my reflection in it
Imagine I can hear
Their whispered dialect
Categorizing each customer
A regular, a good tipper,
Likes extra toast, a nuisance,
Watch he doesn't run off
Without paying like last time,
A lovely family always in church
Every Sunday, every Sunday

Teas, ices, confectionery, cigarettes
They called it the Temperance Bar
Established in 1896
But it's all big breakfasts now
Another town center cafe
Hidden away down a side street

Wiping my plate clean
Of egg yolk and baked beans
I smile at Signor Marubbi
Looking down sternly
From an ornate frame
The ends of his mustache
Are impressively waxed
I get up and pay hurriedly
Returning my empty cup
As I leave
He seems to wink.

David Subacchi was born in Wales (UK) of Italian roots and has published two collections of poems.  First Cut (2012) and Hiding in Shadows (2014).  He studied at the University of Liverpool and is a full time writer and poet.  He is increasingly well published internationally.  Blog:  You can find more of David's work online, including performance videos simply by searching David Subacchi + Poet

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Three Poems by Ron Yazinski

Princess Balloons

Tied to the sagging banister of an old migrant worker's shack,
The only update to which is an air-conditioner in a side window,
Three Disney Princess balloons bobble at half-staff.

Yesterday, there was a birthday party here,
Celebrating the dreams of a five-year-old Hispanic girl,
Whose teenage sister had brought these balloons
Of Ariel and Snow White and Cinderella,
To let her see what her true soul was like;

Her kind sister, who sweeps up the Magic Kingdom for minimum wage,
And a discount on day-old balloons.

The Last Thing Adam Learned

The last thing Adam learned
Was forgiveness:

First, for the sun's intensity,
Wilting buds before they bloom;

For the moon's taunting,
Elongating the shadows of night;

For the spring wind
And its lingering scent of God's breath;

For the clumsy rains
Falling either too early or too late;

For the sandy soil
Which gives trees something to hold onto,
To bear fruit when he's gone;

For the birds that caw with anticipation
As the harvest nears;

For Sister Death, who is as bored as he is,
With the monotony of her task;

But mostly, for his Creator,
Who designed Adam to forgive Him,
After he forgave himself.

Raid at Lake Eola

At the heart of "The City Beautiful"
Police are shutting down the food trucks
And rounding up the Good Samaritans for feed the homeless,
In direct violation of Orlando's ordinance against it,
On the grounds that once they're fed, they'll stay,

Fouling the public restrooms;
Soiling the park benches at midday;
Frightening little boys and girls clinging to their father's hand,
By shouting their minds louder than a swan can trumpet:

That the black brothers won't always be kept down,
Humiliated at every turn,
Like that damn sign that forbids being horizontal in this park,
On either the benches or in the shrubs around them;

Someday the whites will be taught a lesson
About making laws telling a man where he can and cannot live,
Just so some cracker taxpayer can point out to his pale brats

The mute swans that swim here,
Or the black ones cuddling at the feet of a man

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.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Two Poems by A.J. Huffman

Cowboy Karaoke

wafts through the air just before midnight,
as my neighbor who is obviously well
past sober decides to ring in the New Year
as Garth Brooks, and I shake
my head in exasperation, hurry the dogs
into the house before they decide to howl
along with the next drunken refrain.
I know I am finally getting old,
a wine cooler and a few hours
of this generation’s Dick Clark
are my preferred partners for watching
the ball drop this year.  Maybe I will
make a resolution to go out next year,
but I doubt it.  My 4 a.m. homeward stumbles
and taxi-cabbed cookie tosses ended
years ago, and I realize I am glad
as the chime tolls a close on a dead year, and I
tuck myself into my comforter,
getting a head start on my decided promise
that this year I will get more


I Wrote a Poem at Midnight

this New Year’s Eve because I am superstitious
and I do not want to temp the fates that prophecy
what you are doing at midnight is what you will be
doing all year.  Friends and family laugh, kiss
and clink drinks around me as I scribble. 
The idea of a year without ink more terrifying
than an after-midnight car crash, and I am relieved
when the last stanza stands as scar
against the stark white of the page. 
The muse of this past year has followed me
through the twelve welcoming chimes of the new.

A.J. Huffman has published twelve solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her new poetry collections, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press), A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing), Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) and A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press) are now available from their respective publishers and  She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2400 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.