Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Poem by Erren Geraud Kelly

The Queen of Old Orchard Beach Maine

every summer, she comes here
between tours
the emo kids mixing in
perfectly with the baby

she rests on the beach, with a
shadow of a ferris wheel
in the background
every summer, she comes
just when the lobster boats
are holding sway, far off into the

she'll take off her top
and the sun will make love
to her body

she always wears wayfarers,
though the shopkeepers say
her blue eyes pierce like

I have been brave enough to
walk over to her a few times,
and say "hello,"
once, pretending my beach
ball went over by

she just smiled in that way
people who are affluent do,

it was a miracle!

on her right leg,
were the names of her
nieces and nephews, she

an older couple sitting not
far from us, says
the government should do
a better job of guarding its

blonde hair covers her face,
like a shaggy dog;
she brushes it back
I react as if
I've seen an epiphany
she asks me who's better
miles davis or john coltrane?
I don't immediately answer

i'm transfixed by the
tattoo on her right arm
the one of the French flag
with the term under it that reads
liberte, egalite, fraternite

Erren Geraud Kelly is a pushcart nominated poet based in Los Angeles, has been writing for 25 years and has over 100 publication 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.  Most recently, Erren was in "In Our Own Words," a Generation X poetry anthology, and has also been published in other anthologies such as "Fertile Ground," "Beyond the Frontier," and others.  Erren's work can also be seen on YouTube under the "Gallery Cabaret" links.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Three Poems by James Tierney

Moving On

Safe from comments
That found their way
To the thinnest parts
Of his skin
He enjoyed the fresh start
That comes with a new city
A leaf turned on his past
A space in an improbable
For men like him
Blown off course
By the storm of progress
Like the rebuilding
Of a blackened ruin
A new but not flawless
Version of himself
And undemonstrative
Wary of the demons
That waited for him
Like the skeletons
That hung inside his closet

Understanding the Appeal

Drawn to opposites
He struggled
To connect
Their differences
Her temper
Red like her hair
The shoes she wore
Out of step
Not trying to fit in
In the middle of winter
She looked like spring
As true of torture
As it is of relationships
What attracted her
Was repellent to him
Like conversations
That led to conflict
In love they spoke
Their different languages

A Red Rag to Picasso's Bull

He could with his good looks
Have done anything he wanted
At home on stage the centre
Of attention he followed
In his father's footsteps
Taking the risks
He had already
Learned to live with
Cheered on by the crowd
He raised his sword
Like he raised his sons
At his mercy it was beautiful
All powerful it was God almighty

Then a change of pose
A change of mood
In that heat in that noise
Sweat ran like rainwater
Down the forehead
Of a once younger matador
Neither ready to submit
It was consolation
To a once younger bull
To be slaughtered by a master
Who knew at the age of five
What he wanted to do
With the rest of his life

Born in Northumberland (United Kingdom), James Tierney now lives and works in Itay.  Working at the University of Milan, he specialized in the area of Business Administration.  Publications in both the UK and the USA include:  The Oracle Fine Arts Review (2016), Horrified Press, Pyrokinection and others.  In 2015, the writer was awarded first prize in the International Pendle War Poetry Competition.  In addition, he is also actively involved with public readings given at the British Councel, Milan and is currently working on the translation into English of script of a full-length independent Italian movie.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Two Poems by Lily Tierney

A Room

Awakening from dream
on the surface
present is occurring.

The room occupies
the past writing it
down in a diary.


A moment flees
down an alleyway
where thoughts
are kept in bags
for recycling.

Lily Tierney is originally from NYC but now lives is Florida.  She has poems published in Dead Snakes, Calvary, and Section 8.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Three Poems by Richard Schnap

In the Checkout Line

I see it in the eyes
Of supermarket cashiers
The reflections of
A thousand faces

That all seem the same
Pilgrims in search
Of something to save
Them from themselves

While hidden voices
From an out of date past
Speak of products
Not made any more

Blending into old songs
Transporting them back
To a time when they
Once made them dance


When I watch the clouds darken
I think of my father's expression
As his rage would rise to possess him

And when I see a stab of lightning
I think of my mother burning
Our dinner because she was drunk

And when I hear a roar of thunder
I think of my sister's madness
For the lovers that always strayed

And when I feel the raindrops falling
I think of the tears they'd be shedding
Alone in their shadow-stained nights

Things My Father Said

Don't run down the stairs like that
You're liable to break down the house

Don't push that shopping cart so fast
You could ruin somebody's shoes

No I don't like that music
Take it off right away

I don't care if he hurt you
He's never done anything to me

If you want to go into business
You'll have to get an M.B.A.

I know what will happen to you
You're going to join a cult

You have to get it together
I'm planning to retire soon

For all of my life I have worried
What others have thought of me

Richard Schnap is a poet, songwriter and collagist living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  His poems have most recently appeared locally, nationally and overseas in a variety of print and online publications.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Three Poems by Natasha Ganes

Before the Bough Breaks

If I see him above me
testing the strength of a young willow,
fingers tapping the length of its tender lines,
I can catch him when he falls.

If I know the moment
popping leaves warn him to stop,
their veins stuffed with his weight,
I will hear his silence.

If I chase that tree first
and climb up before him,
to build a nest in its silver dripping branches,
I might find the place where he left me.

You Don't Have to Go Home Man, But You Can't Stay Here

Another day:
someone pays for words I want
them to read while you do
whatever you're designed to do,
I haven't decided what that is yet--
we never really got there,
too stuck digging darts out of the wall.

Right now:
I spin silver saucers of orange grease
that spill over the sides
onto my clean apron while you
tap your toes at the bar
waiting for the end of a shift that just started,
sucking strawberry margaritas through a straw.

a company will pay for words
I could care less about writing,
but what the hell it's a good job--a start--
only you will never congratulate me
because you didn't hear the oh-so-original
manager when he shouted:  last call

Intermittent Invasion

The toddler at table two who watches me
weaving through bodies, throwing down drinks,
squeals in delight when I rush by.
Funny, he doesn't usually take to strangers.

Avoiding his eyes because I can't shake
the idea they'll become ones I've seen before,
his chubby arms reach out to grab me.
Adam, leave her alone sweetie, she's busy.

A ridiculous coincidence, that same name,
but I must stop to stare into those drops
of blue I know too well.  He gurgles in greeting.
Oh look, he really seems to like you.

Half moon imprints draw blood from my palm
as I stagger off toward the next table.
Nice trick, the kid's cute but you left me first
and I don't believe in reincarnation.

Natasha Ganes is a cofounder of TreeHouse:  An Exhibition of the Arts.  She is a graduate of Chapman University in Southern California, where she received her MFA in Creative Writing and MA in English Literature.  She received her BA in English/Journalism from Madonna University in Michigan.  Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Poetry Pacific, Muddy River Poetry Review,
quarter after, Elephant Tree, and Every Writer's Resource.  Her nonfiction has appeared all over the place.  Visit her amazon author page at

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Three Poems by Neil Ellman

Office in a Small City

     after the painting by Edward Hopper

There are no tall buildings
that scrape the sky
to build a monument
to eternity;
everything is so small
in this little town
and so too me
as I watch the clouds
for signs of life.

New York Corner

     after the painting by Edward Hopper

They who stand
without a dream
gather purposeless
without the hope
of moving beyond
their confluence
of despairs
this their home
at the corner
of winter's chill
and no where else to go.

Night Windows

     after the painting by Edward Hopper

The woman in the window
has no name
no reason to show her face
to passersby
and yet I watch
enthralled by whom she was
and is
and might become.

Neil Ellman is a poet from New Jersey who has published more than 1200 poems in print and online journals, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world.  His latest chapbook, Mind Over Matta (Flutter Press, 2015) is based on the paintings of the Chilean abstract/surrealist, Robert Matta Echuarren.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Three Poems by Dana Yost

Voodoo Blue

Dogs and cats,
chickens and bone.
Everything is coming up blue,
except the yard lights going out
all across farmland,
smothered from disuse,
victims of a plague,
fed to the bulldozer.

The dark side of the moon,
this sea of fertility.
Keep your eyes
on the road,
your hands upon
the throat.
Now:  give me
seven of those honky-tonk
chords on a tack piano, fast, like rain
escaping jail,
then a harmonica
and its feral-cat thing,
uh-huh, that's it:
madhouse blues.

Cross your heart
and try not to bleed.
This is not a prayer.
Eat a bone,
pet the dog.
Remember?  Her name
was Trixie.  She was
your grandfather's
and they buried her
in the hole
within the grove.
Nose wet and cold,
            how she lapped
at the silver-tin water bucket,
think tail wagging like a bone
in a voodoo woman's paw.
I don't want to live in the past,
but the past keeps trying to live in me.

Here's a field stone:  black, streaked
with chalk-like white, weight
of an anvil.  Heave it
upon your back.  It says:
turn cold against
the world if you want
to survive it.

My Best Shoes

My best shoes
are already by the front door,
toes pointed forward so all
I'd need to do is step into the brown
leather and walk away.
Should I?
Or should I
ask how the shoes
got to where they'd gotten?

Was I running away
at last, eloping alone
out of this stiff, arid
town of drawn-tight shades,
dead-still streets,
where no one dances unless
it's for money,
where a laugh in a public place
doesn't get you stared at,
but psychoanalyzed over
venison steak and warm ramekins
of bread pudding?

If I wasn't, I ought to be.
A stillness now,
a certainty, the world deep-breathing
and gathering muscle,
and it says do this,
tie the laces
and see what
you become.

The Watching

I watched you watching
him:  the man checking out
at the dollar store, struggling
with his two bags of disparate items.
He wore a tie-dyed shirt with chaotic red,
blue, yellow swirls:
it looked like he'd spilled the ink,
he looked like a human lollipop.
His half-hunched back, the way he dragged
his left foot behind the right, ball cap
pulled on so many times the bill had gone flat.
When someone held the door open
and he halted as he pushed the cart
to say "thank you, man," you saw
he was without front teeth, upper or lower.

Did you mumble to yourself?
Back up a step,
protecting your highly mightiness?
I think
you did.
But do not think
others do not watch you
the way you watched him.
Watch your laborious pecking and poking
through the aisles of this same store,
watch you reach over the head
of a brown-haired girl,
nab the loaf of bread
she was reaching for,
pivot, and toss it into your cart.

Watch as you check out,
someone else holding open
the door, waiting
for you to leave.

Dana Yost is an author of four books and a chapbook, and currently is working on a major history about America in 1940.  Yost's poems have appeared in a variety of magazines and journals, as well as several Kind of a Hurricane Press anthologies.  Yost is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Three Poems by Karla Linn Merrifield


must be
gothic flashback
complete with the bats
of poignant angst, black cats
to scratch the psyche's acne:
Hormone-haunted adolescence;
behind closet doors, libido ghosts

Manuscript Koans

no spacing
open font
open size

ad infinitum


page break

ad infinitum


Tap Find
Go to 6
Scroll down
highlight how
keyboard n for now

Delete dedication


Scroll down to 7
Search "Locker Room"
Copy poem
Go to 7
Insert text
Insert break


Scroll up
Copy title
go to 2
Paste title
Go to 8

Repeat Reductio
ad absurdum

World's Next Superheroine

             for George Wolff

Florida woman steals Osterizer, sticking
it in her sweat pants.  But officer,
I had some poetry to puree,
she told Lee County's Finest idiot.

Florida woman tokes at dining table
during family Thanksgiving troughing,
later adds a syncopated line to one stanza:
Eat my crotch, bitch-sissssster-in-law.

Florida woman accused of cutting
premature poems' couplets clean off.
Come on, pal, it's just the customary
circumcision of macho sonnets.

Florida woman causes Everglades mayhem
by igniting her Muse's pyre
on the Pah-hay-okee overlook.
Don't you guys know anything about symbolism?

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 is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry.  Her poem "See:  Love" was a finalist for the 2015 Pangaea Prize.  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, February 18, 2016

Two Poems by Erren Geraud Kelly

The Child with the Saxophone

the child with the saxophone
picks it up
and blows out god's voice
she reads eudora welty
until the pages are dog-eared
she knows that you don't
just play jazz you feel jazz
"you're a fool" she tells him
"you watch too much t.v.
angels don't dance on the head
of a bobby pin
and angels don't have wings
the garbage man could be
your angel"
she waits outside with her tongue
out happily on overcast days
because she knows god is rain

Moving a Piano

Me and my co-worker
Only got as far as the fifth floor
Flight of stairs
He slipped and
It got away from us
As the piano careened joyfully
Down the stairs
I heard flashes of Liberace's
Shameless peacock
Or maybe it was
Billy Joel's
Effortless way with a melody
The piano tumbled end over end as it
Went down and I swore
Elton John was looking for
His yellow brick
Black and white keys
Spilled on the stairwell
The musical ingredients
That made up
Tori Amos would've loved it
An old upright Yamaha
It landed at
The bottom of the
With an atonal crash
Keith Jarrett or John Cage
Would've loved

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.  The most recent publication was in The Rain Party and Disaster Society.  Also has been published in anthologies such as Fertile Ground and Beyond the Frontier.  Work can also be seen on YouTube under the "Gallery Cabaret" links.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Two Poems by Roger G. Singer

Moving On

A song of devil dare forced a crazy going,
pushing back while hammering out a day swollen
with clouds and wind.

A broken night rumbled like passing trains
thundering through, heavy with rusted metal,
beating a rhythm without equal.

Lightening streaked, slamming the sky,
sawing the air with bold power,
blinding quickly and then gone,
moving on.

Night Quiet

A quiet horizon slowly absorbs
a flat bronze evening sky,
its edges melting into a dusky mist.

There were no low rumbles
or gusts of wind or clouds
forming and reforming;
a weighted silence pressed down
onto a solemn ground.

It was a moment of looking up,
wondering what would be next.
Preparing for change.  Waiting.

Soon, the bronze sky faded.
Silence continued.  Dusk yielded
into night, painting everything black.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Pretty Much Never

Overcome by fractured thoughts
I think back to when ours was a chance encounter
In the wonderland of aluminum nomad guitar music's awesome din
On that day when with a voice like a honeycomb
Paul McCarthy brought forth never before seen artwork
From the haiku of the flowers that bloomed in the dark
And ever stranger who walked by the circles of ink
That were my vegetable garden which was like some old computer
To most eyes until I retreated to my house to enjoy
A glass of the old scars of bygone eras and days gone by
Beneath the sprawling dreamy waterfall
That was my most oft' listened to symphony
Oh so achingly beautiful as we weaved and swayed as one
In our lurid and unauthorized cuddles
Until we imploded inside of all our lived out dreams
Back in those days when I was still some kind of superhuman
Who was excited about everything

Worlds of Coincidence

With the unbridled dreams of an abandoned child
That had all the utter silence of that dream
Of a night when I first opened doorways
Into other states of being
Past all boundaries and all soarings
Where I first learned to create milk chocolate conceptual art
Back when every rainstorm was unreachable fruit
Back when my cotton candy was still a pair of rubber scissors
In our plastic swimming pool that was so full of "b" sides by The Who
Where in her swooning gown I found
My own personal photo booth and all became

Oceanic Requiem

Since her music box sounded like a fuzz tone guitar
I decided to write this song
This stripped down confessional
About how my third eye was shipwrecked
And submerged in my morphing sorrow
Despite the testament of the tides
On that paint ball splatter of an island
Where the coming of the neon
Was a kind of judgment that melted into the sparrows
Who were building a snowman that looked just like Brian Jones

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, February 15, 2016

Two Poems by Robert Halleck

Rental Dog

The Bethany house came as expected:
views of the sea over dunes and grass,
sand throughout, blankets with strange smells,
porch pots with dead geraniums "please replace,"
New Yorkers of past years with Parts 1 and 3
of a 3 part series by John McPhee,
the sound of waves, gulls, and children,
rain on days of planned beach volleyball,
and a dog.

Mornings brought the Shepard mix we
named Pismo.  Waiting on the porch with
his giant tail sweeping sand and grit
from the boards, he begged for last
night's leftovers and kibble from Wawa.
Food, a nap, and then a departure to
unknown places.  Following him would
have broken the karma.  We didn't
know where he want but we know it
didn't matter.  He shared with us what
he wanted and his departure left a
void we could not fill.


Just when sleep should come
she shows up with her
haunting face and a voice
soft as cobwebs in the night.

A name wrapped in mistakes.
Hurt, pain, and some joy.
Perhaps another dream
will change things.

Robert Halleck is a hospice volunteer who plays bad golf in his spare time.  He has written poetry fro over 50 years.  Recent poems have appeared in the San Diego Poetry Anthology for 2014-2015, Blue Pepper, and Word Soup.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Two Poems by Ajise Vincent


We cohabit in a world of banes,
Saturn's twin luminary,
where pollutants
from profit belching colosseums
slowly kills the gladiators of our adaptability.

Here, the sky is raped
with carbon monoxides,
the waters fed with sewage--toxic.
No iota of solace.

This world is now plagued
with the disease of cataclysm.
Lo!  It needs a panacea to extirpate this malady
that is about to rendezvous at extinction.

For the virginal ambience
of its ancestry
has been defilled by excretas from innocation
and natural disasters
now erase maxims of geomorphology.

it needs detox.

Our Outcry
(for elephants in central Africa)

They, poachers,
slaughter us--the large ones.
They put us in a basket
and herald nomenclatures of zest.

We are a generation
sold to the partial god of greed;

A sacrifice to appease
his famished progeny, extinction.

For blisters of woes
have been tattooed
on the nucleus of our dynasty.

And the fetus of our grace
has kicked the bucket
in the infirmary of salvation.
Help us.  Please.

Ajise Vincent is a Nigerian poet.  His poem "Song of a Progency" was a shortlisted poem at the Korea-Nigeria Poetry feast, 2015.  His works have been published in London grip magazine, Kalahari Review, Sakonfa literary magazine, African Writer, I am not a silent poet, Poetry Pacific, Commonline Journal, Novel Afrique, Black Boy Review, Tuck Magazine, and various anthologies.  He is currently finishing up a major in Economics at a prestigious university in Nigeria.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Poem by Ken Allan Dronsfield


Pink shadow patterns of
elaborate faceless tries.
Sonnets of tasteless lust
are a virtuous surprise.
Colored dreamy piety as
Sinful Saturdays beget;
regret filled Sundays,
a weekend totally spent,
within dutiful lists of
timeless treasured gifts.
A bleve of hated fate
in the levy of the envisioned,
while pink shadow patterns
swim upstream just a bit too late.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet/author/digital artist originally from Hampton New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma.  He has been writing for many years and enjoys spending time hiking, playing guitar and spending time with his cats Merlin and Willa.  His published work can be found at numerous print venues:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Four Poems by Denis Robillard

Fear Moves in My Mouth


Fear moves in my mouth
My gut, my trembling need.


Like a plant, fear rooted
Moving along in dark ways, spreading its dark wants.


The way obsidian moves in dreams.


Fear has its mouth agape, gasps and waits.
Like a scar, in time only leaving of its own accord.


Fear breaks the mother board.
Leaves me broken, brother bound.
I try to escape this nightmare, grasping for air.


At the edge of glass.  I am death's quarry pursued
in a houndless night.

Old Songs on the Radio

You have trouble
managing the static
of an old love song
in a far away radio.

Its frequency unreachable
by human hands.

You can still feel
some mellowed out riffs there
with tears drenched
in the background.
The muted notes of poetry
still stuck in ancient wires.

89 megahurts of nostalgia
vibrating the rusty wires
inside your chest.

is all about shadows
moonlight preparations.

Then you lift up
the sonic veil to reveal
one hell
of a Hallelujah maze
dripping through your boneheaded
bardic vibrations-
like syrupy voices
caught in ether
floating forlorn above this place-

-hook lines
like tiny knives cutting
up background noise
while old scars
welt to the heterodyne surface.

Your fingers itch
to close
the and-gate
of an old memory.

What remains
is deadlock and busted key
rain spiraling down
from the trees.
You want to capture
the singing beneath the beams
of your bloodline
one more time.

It's how we patch up holes.
How we navigate the loss.
How we dare move on.
It's how we get our feet
back on the ground.

The old music coloring
the outlines of a lost life
while we bleed ourselves
back into our limbs
the faint signals
always calling us home.

God Death and Triangles

I told her I couldn't sleep anymore.
There was something in my undormant
I'm receiving messages through the wall.
But she was skeptical.  Come on honey
I can hear them faintly in the wallpaper
like a chorus of baby mouths mumbling
over their saliva.

What else can you see there?  she said.
--cancerous meat
--cups of semen, bird blood and bees
--a two headed calf in a field of lighter fluid.

With such raw confessions
my desire is all but dead.
Desire stifled into obeisance.

The malignant tree suffers the rot.
Summer ends with an abused sky.
Tonight I cling to my own morbidity.

I see the shadow of a macerated man.
The candle inside my head is going hot.
The moon, a stray bullet buzzing at me.
A terrific tension rents the air.
The room crashes into
a discordant whirl of colors.

I can feel a bird's strobic flutter over me.
Your hands over me like palpitating wings.

There is an unlocked door but I can't move.

Snakes and birds
and bees crawl out of the woodwork.

I keep thinking of God and death and triangles.

The Painter's Studio

Let's put on a few operatic pieces first.
Then you can disrobe quietly
behind the screen.

Why don't you tease out
that luxurious golden hair just a bit.
Like that.

I'll prop my sketch book up.
It is quiet here in the front room.
Not even a cat to stir these pages.

There is a horn book here too
with your initials on it.

I will start with something soft
to amuse you.  Would you like
portrait style or full frontal?

What angle of repose best suits
your delicate hands?  Hold it.

We must hurry before the ink dries.
Only one chance to get it right.
Keep this as a dream rest.
A book mark for your eyes.
An endless reverie caught
by the smoke of the muse.
A Galatea held in perpetuity
by Dali.
You are Arvida Dollars
caught in my priceless palindrome.

Denis Robillard hails from Windsor, Ontario.  His poems have appeared in small presses and magazines across Canada, USA and England.  Publications include:  Rattle, Rampike, Word Riot, Nashwaak Review, Cliff Soundings (Michigan), Orange Room Review and Dusty Owl.  Since 2011 Robillard has been published in The Windsor Review, Jellyfish Whispers, The Mind[less] Muse, and  Dead Snakes.  In 2013 his poems were featured in a Black Moss Press war of 1812 Anthology called An Unfinished War.  To date Robillard has had over 190 poems published nationwide.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Three Poems by Leland Seese

In My Almost Dead Caprice

The Tremeloes come on the radio
to send us looking back, the way we alwasy do.
We have pulled up to a snowbank
near the lakeside boulevard, walking
with a love, with a love that's oh so fine,
watching ducks crash land on lake ice shining
in the February sun.

Our mechanic's knuckles are perpetually gashed
to let hydraulic fluid fill his bloodstream,
mixed with coolant, vapors, gasoline,
as he goes about his business,
never to be mine, checks a tire's pressure,
wipes a Volvo's windows clean.

When I turn on the engine
heat like cat's tongues licks our faces dry
as I try to understand the cloud bank
now descended on your mood.
It occurs to me my feet,
two slabs of meat latched onto clutch and brake,
hang but a firewall away from hoses cracked
and leaking molten sludge.  Tiny shards of metal
eat the cylinders, no matter how I try-
aye-aye-aye-aye-aye-aye-aye.  Our mechanic says
it's time to say Goodbye.

Mother and Son

Maybe he was asking for a loan
Maybe if she'd listen he could just explain
Maybe he could quit at any time

They had pulled up next to me
at the guardrail by the street end
overlooking derelicts

a trawler and a factory ship
a tug
a decommissioned ferry now a dance hall by the pier

I had my windows up
the ball game on
and couldn't hear a word they said

But I could see his posture
see him close the gap between them
leaning in

Maybe five feet tall she was craning
at his shaven head
his lips as plump as segments

from a blood orange
whiskers like a field of dragon's teeth
on his unshaven cheeks and chin

Her shield was the covenant
between some mothers and their sons
Something still aflame behind her eyes

His shoulders sagged
the slightest bit
a movement such as only flies on walls detect

He turned and slumped back in
behind the wheel of their battered
Grand Marquis

She stood at the rail and eyes the derelicts
daring one to fire back to life
or failing that to list a little more

The Skagit River Tour Boat

Every twelve-year-old on planet earth should wear a badge of dark brown dirt
between their ankle bone and heel to mark their barefoot summers

August afternoon and stranded sprawled across the lawn of someone's
lakefront Craftsman with temperamental fuel pump given out

My swim coach and his friends came back from Vietnam to scavenge parts
while others did their damnedest to evade the draft

Two-hundred bucks in cash plus a Triumph TR 4 in trade for an
Elco flat-top cruiser built in 1929 christened with can of Rainier beer

The Skagit River Tour Boat

Sitting with our fishing poles in hopes of catching sockeyes
breathing dieselalgaefishsmell anchored near the river mouth

Half a mile away my dad in suit and tie enduring ordered repetition at the Boeing plant

Toss me a beer and I won't tell even though I'm only twelve
Happy under blue sky sun when daylight lasts till after ten pm

Girlfriends through summer game as anyone to heave the flywheel till the motor coughs to life chunk-
chunking echoes off the shore

One guy's mother yelling from their dock
Your manager is on the phone and mad as hell!  Have you forgotten all about your shift?

Early morning swim team workout dads drop off their kids while on their way to work
My coach calls out the starts IMs on 1:30  Ready.  Go!  Ready.  Go!

My dad stays and makes a paddle motion with his hands to say Kick harder boy!
then leans once more toward the mother of the little kid her hand rests on his forearm as she laughs at
something he is saying showing off her pretty teeth

Coach hits me on my shoulder tells me I'm a little shit and says I should get ready
We're going on the boat today at two

Dozing on The Skagit River Tour Boat's decaying deck as they pass around a joint though not to me and talk
about pollution Richard Nixon and the war

I am listening to every word they say these older guys
and scratching at the dark brown dirt around the hollow of my ankle bone and heel

Leland Seese does several things with great passion:  parenting foster/adopted/bio children with his wife, Lisa Konick; pastoring a kooky, wonderful congregation of progressive Christians; and writing poetry as a means of holding body, soul, mind, and heart together.  The latter has led to publication in several journals, including Pyrokinection, and a nomination for a Pushcart Prize from the kind editors of the same.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Scars Like Catnip

Cloud fragments lift their dress
Of the sea green that I still remember
The branches of my tree are like the sprawl
Of your shy kisses and all that they foretold
The sun comes down like fallen apples
And is called forth to do so by underwater gods
Still alive but forsaken long ago
Night is real cream preserved in wild cherries
And is as purple as my glass is now
That it is empty of all save ice
The water front is glittering
Like a half moon sighing
And can be felt as if by the touch
Like reading in Braille
And is crisp in a blindfold's
Sun ripened hinges and telepathic
In its beauty in all that it rhymes
The city is now less than the dust in its streets
As it attempts to feed the impatient neon beast
Its pimpled face skid row goes through countless costume changes
Then is beaten to an enchanted bloody pulp
Like Lovecraftian tic-tac-toe frozen in 3D in many places
An unconscious rhapsody is dragged through its gutters
Full of strange miracles remembered like
The song of songs that my heart still sings
Reminding me that I am still the firebird
Like Stravinsky's Petruska reborn am I
In its own ashes like all simple things.

Portrait of Mary Shelley in a Coney Island Arcade

Like an eerie dance of drowned bodies
In the other worldly Mad Hatter depths
That are painted in the abandoned cat and mouse
Whose reliable flesh are the large tunnels of my own dreams
I find myself moving into outer space like R. Buckminster Fuller
Where gravity will no longer be a crown of thorns to me
And once past the screen door whose voices are still shouting
I will reconnect the shiny delicate wires
To a Kodachrome rainbow that I once knew
And in the butterfly float of morphing and shifting
I will become infinity's Mr. Toad.

Just Like a Real Baby

A coastal rainstorm like dribbled ice cream
As her kisses stunned my brain hotel
With a sun blast of shivers
That bled into my broodings
Candlelit and heaven bound
Like a dog long dead
Thanks for nothing
Go put under the microscope
For playing a red, green, and gold harmonica
On the outskirts of the dark side of the moon
Where the fingerprints of Jayne Mansfield
Were still everywhere and in every grinning
And jiggling girly mag that lay like shipwrecks
In the ragged edges of the rhythms
Of the dust storms that jerked and twitched
Like white chocolate land mines exploding.

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.  


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Three Poems by JD DeHart


We discussed death this
afternoon and it was consuming.
Then we spent some time
considering genealogy.
The same story was known
to be heard at least three times.
Now I rest, my mind cycles,
like the tide nearby, and all
I can do is roll my way through
these conversations in my mind
again and again, ebb and flow.


I think, I love
there is a synaptic firing
in my brain known
as what I remember about
As one wise woman
once put it, when the brain
stops, where does
the knowledge go?
Does it escape like
a fine vapor
or just sink into the earth?


He began as a solid
figure, immovable--
or so it seemed.
Slowly, the fingers
began to smudge
at their very tips, then
the toes.  Then the
arms were blurry.
We saw (or did not)
see him three weeks
later when, finally, a word
or image or thought
could pass right through.

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

Monday, February 8, 2016

Two Poems by Michael Lee Johnson


Single life is-tequila with lime,
shots of travelers, jacks, diamonds, and then spades,
holding back aces-
mocking jokers
paraplegic aged tumblers of the night trip.
Poltergeist define as another frame,
a dancer in the corner shadows.
Single lady don't eat the worm. . .
beneath the belt, bashful, very loud, yet unspoken.
Your man lacks verb, a traitor to your skin.

Jesus in a Nighttime City

Jesus walks
Southwest side
Chicago nighttime city
in bulletproof vest
stores closed,
blasted windows,
mink fur stolen,
a few diamonds for glitter-
old parks, metal detectors, quarters, nickels, dimes,
coins in the pocket of thieves, black children
on Merry go rounds, Maywood, IL,
danger children run in danger
in spirit, testimony,
red velvet outdates Jesus' robe.

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.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Poem by Alan Catlin

Post Card to Church from Block Island Oct. 2012

Hey Churchman,
          Still think of you every time we
come here.  Rhode Island was your state,
Man, Providence, your home.
          I'm sitting on a bench overlooking
the Old Harbor, as usual, when I write.
The ferry has been and gone.  No one much
comes here this far off-season, anyway.
Only fishermen, painters and old poets,
like us, and their wives.
          Warm, clear blue, cloudless sky.
A great day to be alive.  I wish you were
still with us.  I really wish you were here.


Alan Catlin has been publishing for decades now.  Some days he feels like The Ancient of Days, other days, like The Old Man and the Sea.  His latest anticipated collection of poetry is Last Man Standing from Lummox sometime in 2015.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Three Poems by Patricia Walsh

Mauvaise Foi

So much for camaraderie.  Sorting your fix
by the bandwagon, take no notice
of what lies behind, samey, repetitive
cliche rears its grubby feet.

The blind man navigates the tables and chairs
compensated in senses for lacking sight
nothing is sacrilegious to my burning eyes
rotting through insomnia, coffee overload.

Too wired to function, condemned to be free
at a tight end, trademarks always suffice.
Consumer culture invades our privacey
hackers in the background make fools of us all.

Not sleeping, not eating, a ticket to a mess
of someone's making, not just my own
growing tastebuds to deal with the situation
sprouting aggressively to hold up pretense.

A void in the cityscape cries out,
editing out typos to heart's content.
Navigating through a mess to stay afloat
references to failure finally going amiss.

Not posh, not eternal blue sky, am I,
but sprawled on the hard drive for evermore,
a song for the dispossessed soul, a lost and found
not exiting in glory but through spite.

False Detective

A benevolent informant, a world of persecution
skulks in corners awaiting doom.
A twelve-year's old life is interesting now.

A dictionary of anger, biography of outrage.
She'll hang you out to dry, no mistake.
What crime fits the punishment I'll never know.

Staring out windows, a multiplication
salves all curiosities save depression.
Attention sought and delivered in time.

Freedom for discos is out of the question.
Social life unimportant, toxic at best
paving ways towards derision, if you're lucky.

Healing the brain is another question entirely.
Inside the upstairs will keep you sweet
an illusion of studying for ever more.

Letters to friends go censored.
Phone calls go through silent screenings
to glean some excitement, an innocuous scandal.

Every move I make is known, for my own good
paranoia becomes me, a constant glare in the corner
watch my back for the reporters, fleeting as they are.

A rod for my back, repeatedly every day
around surreptitious corners, looking with intent
on my latest design, however chaste


It pays to be a total bitch sometimes,
guarding your heart against transience.
Hoarding wedding rings against circumstance
hoping for an eternity of surmise.

Some unbound paper trail follows you home.
A missive attack on my fleeting person
exposed between sheets of rancid bedtimes
pages of desire not lost on annoyance.

Stale perfume, holding close, dependence
the promise of a future with me runs riot
my watery applause does not dissuade you
not marriage proposals promise night.

Asking for derision never rang so true.
Courtship by letter engenders a fear
paper dolls hem me in, marauding creatures
death and defeat are our only options.

Meanwhile, the tarot cards change, you, bold fiancee
push away your honor, out of sight
never wake again, in joyous sleep
suicide by duvet is your only answer.

I did not attend, nor entertains such paperwork
nor produce an armalite from a paperclip
appropriate as it would, in your pulped arsenal
laying down your pen in gracious defeat

Patricia Walsh was born and raised in the small parish of Mourneabbey, Co Cork, Republic of Ireland and now lives in Cork City.  She has previously published one collection of poetry, Continuity Errors, with Lapwing Publications in 2010.  She has also published in various journals such as Revival Magazine, The Snapping Twig, and Rain Party Disaster Society.  In the latter publication, she is to be featured as guest poet of the month.

Friday, February 5, 2016

A Poem by Jay Frankston

Pregnant Words

Pregnant words
hanging from the line
waiting to be picked,
sorted and arranged,
sentenced and given meaning.

Pregnant words
like ripe red grapes
hanging from the vine,
picked, crushed, fermented
and encased in a barrel
of premium quality wine
to be swirled in a glass
making you giddy,
absent minded and inebriated.

Pregnant words
squeezed into
a light headed poem.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Three Poems by Gary Beck

Chill Out

The day before the first freeze
city dwellers mostly sheltered
by urban comforts,
ignore changing conditions
considering the weather
an inconvenience
to normal routines,
only interrupted
by occasional storms, snow,
paralyzing blackout,
frigid temperatures
an opportunity
for displays of finery
by the fashion conscious,
a reason for complaint
from the disaffected,
all forgetting discomfort
when warm winds start to blow.

Urban Oddity

Time and again
a store or restaurant
opens for business
near a store or restaurant
that sells the exact same thing.
Survival depends
on customer loyalty,
convenience, better service,
more appealing product,
all the tangibles
that allow success
in a trade war
that no one understands
why it happened
on the same street.

Obedience Training

Presidential proclamations
fall on deaf ears in Congress
where special interests supplant
agendas that help the needy.
Many ignorant voters
never seem to understand
the purchaser's of legislators
expect them to do as ordered,
regardless of any harm
to the American people.

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn't make a living in theater.  He has 11 published chapbooks.  His poetry collections include:  Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press).   Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing).  Perceptions, Displays, Fault Lines and Tremors will be published by Winter Goose Publishing.  Conditional Response will be published by Nazar Looks.  His novels include:  Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Acts of Defiance (Artema Press).  Flawed Connections has been accepted for publication (Black Rose Writing).  His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications).  His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway.  His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines.  He currently lives in New York City.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Three Poems by Randall Karlen Rogers

The Hair Starts Growing Upwards on the Neck (and therefore it should be shaved)

The beard grooming specialist
said if you don't have a well
trimmed beard it means you
just don't care.
Exactly, I said.

Death, The Final Frontier

I tired to remember
to forget.

Do the things we can
not think about.   Exist?
Only in infinity
and imaginations
and melatonin driven
outside the Universe,
Though it is said
by some, for eternity
to be real, any
combination or singularity
of thought is possible
and may have a possibility
of being reality,
if it can be thought.
And, if endless infinity
does hold sway,
since as it has
been said,
"The [present] Universe
is far stranger than
we can imagine" (Issac Asimov).
Unless, of course,
we consider eons
into the future,
when our Sun eventually
blows up/burns out/stops shining
and we have not transferred
to artificial intelligence
indestructible, non-aging,
self-rejuvenating some
type of organic or not
rather like
we are now,
but healing
much longer lasting
than we currently are, or
in a final analysis,
of course, if we are
mute-silent, and
very much
stone cold Dead.
Though even when expired
live as much-motion
atoms, nuclei, quarks.
It then appears,
if life, as well
as Death, we are
so gloriously
and persistently,
Recycling all the time.

The Morals of Nature

"[Words] cannot cover the dimensions of what is in truth."

                                       -- Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The morals of nature,
are in question.
in the extreme.
killing plants, I suppose,
by herbivores and
omnivores, is not
a violation of
"thou shall not kill."

Randall Karlen Rogers is fifty-three and resides in Rapid City, South Dakota.  Last published in "The Camel Saloon" and "Dead Snakes."

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Poem by David Chorlton

Sunday Drive on Interstate 10

Dark clouds over pale mountains;
the sun breaks through
and shadows in the sky
shift back.
            Sparrows perch
along a power line, a horse
drinks from a trough,
a vulture rises from the dry
              The desert shopping
outlet stands in silence
without even a security guard
to protect its vacancy.
trees that withered in the sun
stand grey on a grey
   Before and after
the San Diego turnoff
are billboards for the expensive resort;
for boots; for the adult boutique; and one
saying how to give up cigarettes
with another telling where
to buy them.
                 A cattle train
has stalled sixty wagons
long with a moan contained
in slatted steel,
                     while three
bold letters painted in white
on faded red say Vote for Van
for the Senate, although
there is no election
                          and nobody
knows Van.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Poem by Yi Wu


The slow moment
you turned away
casting the slender long shadow
still smoldering with the Sun's
remnant warmth that brings back
memories of how it used to singe
where the two of us touched and
how we parted ways screaming in
flaming agony on the surface
of our epidermal spaces,

still smoldering, until your shadow
utterly blocked away even the morning star
and when H2O huddled together in cold
to be your unwitting messenger,
seeping through linen rags I put on to
clothe my mind to send a chilling reminder
that reverberated onto wherever blood flowed
da, da, weeeeeeeeeeeeeh
da, da, weeeeeeeeeeeeeh
shaking each of my moving part
to get its acts together, lest
I break apart into soaked debris,
each piece still physically repelling water
before the time would come for me to freeze

into tombstone,
and rain to slowly etch out the name and epitaph
you made for me

Yi Wu writes poetry and essays in Brooklyn, New York