Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Poem by Sy Roth

John and Thomas

They spar
Sparing little of themselves
lightning rods ensnared
in the snap-crackly air.

Their thoughts bitter
dressed in blue velvet,
gold buckles
he in homespun cloth
draped in insouciant words
couched in aphorisms.

They beat each other with their silences
ancient heroes
ancient warriors,
drooling octogenarians
stiffly jousting with their words,
combating their own fearsome angles
devil's grappling,
locked in the battle of last moments
lost moments bent in the clutches of the living
an indolent history.

Brisk breaths breathed last
in lusty lungs-full.
One withheld
one bold
both wrapped in sweeping gestures of similitude.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A Poem by Inna Dulchevsky

To My Muse

                                  Words of poetry do not belong to people
                                  Or names
                                  They are the sanctuary of the soul
                                  At the physical plane

You take away my sleep
I neglect to cover my naked shoulders
Your voice pulls me closer
In tete-a-tete heartbeat
My plea escapes from your heart

Or     maybe
Your heart escapes from me with its plea

Scatter through many dimensions
Swell my recalls with the scent of yellow roses
Cure my hands from the stings of dark thorns
Clean my wounds
Reduce my pain     with more pain
To the threshold of numbness

Or     maybe
I lie to myself that this numbness exists

Meaningless words
Translated through senses
Detach from me and     floats away
Your voice ties my fragmented expressions in lament
My breath has no sound

Or     maybe
My heart is out of breath     when you speak


Inna Dulchevsky spent her early school years in Belarus.  She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.  She was awarded the First Prize 2014 David B. Silver Poetry Competition.  Inna's work has been published in numerous anthologies, books and journals, including Pyrokinection, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocain, Petals in the Pan Anthology, Element(ary) My Dear Anthology, Happy Holidays Anthology, book Lavender, The Cannon's Mouth, The Otter, New Poetry, Calliope Magazine, Calliope Magazine Anniversary Issue, Aquillrelle Anthology, 4th annual LUMMOX poetry anthology, KNOT Magazine, Antheon, and is forthcoming in Secrets and Dreams Anthology.  Her interests include metaphysics, philosophy, meditation and yoga.  The light and expansion of consciousness through the connection with inner-self and nature are essential in the writing of her poetry.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Poem by Christopher Hivner

Hi Fi

A song plays in my head
on a cheap, old
record player,
each pop and hiss
a ghost on my skin.
The opening of Rats in the Cellar
makes me twelve again
reading the liner notes
on the album jacket
while trying to understand
the lyrics,
each word
as big a mystery to me as
the girl in third period
I can't stop staring at.
My driving route
becomes grooves on a record,
I'm looping in circles
ever tighter,
skipping over warps
in the record,
moving closer to home.
The last song of the album
plays in my head
crackling from the tinny speakers
like a bonfire
warming my face
more than the girl
that sparkled in my eyes.
The song ends,
the needle lifts,
side one is over.
I sit in silence,
settle my eyes on row 4, seat 1
waiting for class to start.

Christopher Hivner writes from a small town in Pennsylvania surrounded by books and the echoes of music.  He has recently been published in Saudade, Syzygy, and Deadsnakes.  A chapbook of poems, "The Silence Brushes My Cheek Like Glass" was published by Scars Publications and another, "Adrift on a Cosmic Sea," was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press.  Website:, Facebook:  Christopher Hivner - Author, Twitter:  @Your_screams

Monday, March 28, 2016

A Poem by Diana Woodcock

Envisioning Mercy

     Mercy shall not be for man alone, but shall go beyond and embrace the whole world.

                                             -- Swami Vivekananda

The elephant with severe arthritis
is forced to perform,
its owner blind to her pain,
deaf to her moans.

Feel for a human pulse
within the phenomenal world's
workings.  Stand
at the still point of darkness:

observe EArth hanging
by a thread.  A wise man* once said
you can judge a society's morality
by how it treats its animals.

Once, I swayed for nearly half a day
on an elephant's shoulders.
Arrived sunset, Karen village
deep in Thailand's jungle.

When the harness was removed,
and I saw the raw groove
rubbed by the friction of it against hide,
I cried.  There were tears, as well,

in the old elephant's eyes.
Lying awake that night
on the floor of my host's hut,
I wondered what the elephant was up

to, tied just outside the door,
taken so many years before
from her family.  Lonely,

If I could have,
I would have taken her
into my arms and rocked her
all night long, wiping the tears

from her eyes, the ooze
from her weeping side's
wound.  If she was up to it,
I would have stolen her away,
ushered her back to the scene
of the crime, searched high and low
till we could find her family.
Feel for a human pulse.

Stand at the still point
of darkness.  Imagine
what lies beyond pain
and starkness.  Dare ask

the question yet again,
What will you gain,
though you rule the world,
if you lose your soul?

*Mahatma Gandhi

Diana Woodcock is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, most recently Under the Spell of a Persian Nightingale.  Her first book, Swaying on the Elephant's Shoulders, won the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux International Women's Poetry Prize.  Chapbooks include Beggar in the Everglades, Desert Ecology:  Lessons and Visions, Tamed by the Desert, In the Shade of the Sidra Tree, Mandala, and Travels of a Gwai Lo.  Widely published in literary journals and anthologies (including Best New Poets 2008), her poems have been nominated for the pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Award, as well as performed live onstage in Lincoln Park, San Francisco at Artists Embassy International's 21st Dancing Poetry Festival.  Several of her poems "toured Alaska" as part of the "Voices of the Wilderness" Traveling Art Exhibit, Alaska 2014-2015.  Prior to teaching in Qatar (since 2004), she worked for nearly eight years in Tibet, Macau and on the Thai/Cambodian border.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Three Poems by April Salzano

Of Moods and Mornings

I opened my eyes as the sun
fired a warning shot.
I broke my back on a moon
of my own making.
Where is the headlong happiness
I pledged myself in childhood?
I have only birds and cigarettes,
porches and promises.
Crows cry in unrelenting fog.
There are jackals in the driveway.
My bed is not a raft, but I am
drifting in the sea of another dark day.


These days are early.
I could still wake you.
Back when a nightmare
meant something, held meaning.
Your hands were a magic noose,
and I still sucked you,
and you still ate me.
My body was nearly new, birthless,
and your eyes told their squinting story,
refracted light as if for the first time.
The implication of laughter loomed
largest in our corners,
vined our rented walls.
Our floor was a mattress,
the windows, a metaphor for anything
but eyes.  We hung a mirror,
called it ours, rearranged the chairs,
took down all the curtains.
We outgrew that incubator,
walked surely into the mouth
of the moon, fingers unlaced
and all the furniture forgotten.
The whole house wept
to see us go.

My Body is Not a Chance

anyone is willing to take, save
the familiar men of nightmares
and domestic duty.  Aging,
I fatigue easily,
I am naked, worth less
than a decade ago, the blink
of two tired eyes.

April Salzano is the co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press and is currently working on a memoir about raising a child with autism, as well as several collections of poetry.  Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals such as The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.  Her chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is available from Dancing Girl Press.  Her poetry collection, Future Perfect,  is forthcoming from Pink. Girl. Ink.  More of her work can be read at

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Poem by Diana Raab

Wishing Well

I dropped a penny
in that deep orifice
of darkness
pleading for wellness.

Diana Raab is an award-winning poet, memoirist, blogger, transpersonal psychologist, and author of nine books.  She teaches writing for healing and transformation and has been widely published in national trade and literary magazines.  She has been writing since the age of 10 when her mother gave her her first journal to cope with her grandmother's suicide.  Her latest poetry collection is Lust.  She is a regular blogger for Psychology Today, Huff50 (The Huffington Post), BrainSpeak, and PsychAlive.  Her website is

Friday, March 25, 2016

A Poem by Joan Colby


Sheena, Queen of the Jungle,
Blonde, big-breasted amazon.
The train wheels clatter south.
My mother and aunts ahead
In plush seats cannot forbid
Spurious adventures.
Nightfall:  Nashville,
The Noel Hotel.  My bed,
Two chairs pushed together.
A matter of economy.  My cousin Clare
And I wander the streets.  A boy's
Eyes meet mine Hey Red.
I feel excited as Sheena
Swinging on vines.  Clare
Grabs my arm.  We have to go back.
The neon evening disperses.
Morning, we're at the mother-house
Where Clare's older sister is to be
A Bride of Christ.  Seven girls
In wedding gowns prostrate
Before the bishop in a
Mansion like Tara.  Clare's sister,
A novitiate, her veil white
With the purity of unconsummation.
I am tired of prayer.  Scan the crumpled
Pages of Sheena battling tigers
In the church of the jungle
The darkened streets glistening
With desperation and alarm
Where boys loiter smoking.

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review, etc.  Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature.  She has published 16 books including Selected Poems from FutureCycle Press which received the  2013 FutureCycle Prize and "Ribcage" from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize.  Colby is also a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Kentucky Review.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

A Poem by Guy Thorvaldsen

The Death of Freud

He was dropping to his death.
It was in a castle,
so the floor was stone.
Still, the fall took time,
a decidedly measured descent.
Meanwhile, I hovered
in the corner of the room.
Beneath me stretched
Freud's half-dressed wife.
First I tried using my hands,
then my probing penis
but was unable to penetrate
her thick leather knickers.
We gave up.
She wasn't into it.
But Freud was definitely dead.

Guy Thorvaldsen's poetry has appeared in Alembic, The Aurorean, Forge, Gulfstream, Zone 3, Poet Lore, and Verse Wisconsin.  He received his MFA from Vermont College and teaches English at Madison College in Madison, Wisconsin.  He is also a journeyman carpenter, husband, father, and contributing poet/essayist for public radio.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Poem by Sydney Peck

Gateshead Gate-Crash

These steep hills are part of me
Where I learned to ride a bike
And gazed over the industrial haze
And ice-dammed the steep melting streets
So the toy boat couldn't
Drift out of control downslope.

Now, like snow in June--
Uninvited, unwelcome, unmanageable,
Smothering crocuses and new flowers of spring--
A cold draught from
A half-opened door into this cozy room,
They burst like unwelcome guests
Into my dreams
Into my life of cheese and wine
And curtly demand fish and chips.

My inner party abruptly
Gate-crashed by Gateshead, my
Self-congratulatory speaches
Interrupted by raucous Geordie noise
From familial, understood, known,
Predictable, and long-forgotten
Relatives who turn up of a sudden
At a wedding and old fights reawaken;
Familiar like a cousin
Not always pleasant and warmed.

Steep hills and sudden
Gouged by ice, and water-formed--
This is no civilized landscape gentle
With demesne and orchard
And sun-kissed downland copses;
It is the terrain of warfare,
Of Northumbrian tearing at Scot
Of Hadrian walling off the terrifying Pict,
Where the sea is held by Marsden's cliffed face
And Cullercoats huddles in fear of a storm where
All my hull of well-rounded vowels comes adrift gaping,
And the keel of my flat northern burr is exposed;

And the long years of barnacle scraping
Have left only a superficial gloss of paint there.
The steep hills of Tyneside,
Green but not the hills of home:
Uninvited they come, like guests gate-crashing,
Spoiling the illusion of civilization
Overpainted onto a canvas
Woven in Gateshead from the strings
Of Hood Haggie's ropeworks.

Author's Notes:  Recently I have noticed that distant memories of childhood tend to return inexplicably, and unwanted.  I hated that dismal town of my childhood, yet I have long realized that the gloss of education and travel of a lifetime does little to disturb my established character, largely formed from that town's environment.

Gateshead=large dismal industrial town in the Tyneside region of northern England.
Geordie=anyone/anything from Tyneside.
Northumbria=an ancient kingdom in that region, frequently at war with Scotland.
Roman emperor Hadrian built a wall across England to keep out the Picts, 117 A.D.
Marsden=a seacoast district near Gateshead with 200 foot cliffs.
Cullercoats=fishing village on the coast near Marsden.
Hood Haggie's=a one-time very important rope industry in Gateshead.

Sydney Peck is a schoolteacher of thirty years' experience, and writes poetry and short stories in his spare time.  Also a singer and player of folk music.  Favorite things--cats and wildflowers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A Poem by Martin Willitts, Jr.

Planting After Being Told It Is Too Risky After Surgery

I have had one too many near misses,
one too many visits to the emergency room.
Too many near misses are not good for the heart.

The ground is still frozen now.  It would shatter
from icy sheets into cracked glass.  The urge
to plant another year is stronger than the need to rest.

Once again it was a false alarm.
Just like seeds might be dormant, hiding below
the surface, malingering, disease hides.

I say enough is enough.
Like the first soldier to rush towards the unknown,
all luck, all planting, all risks, are unknown.

Martin Willitts, Jr. is a retired librarian.  He has appeared in many of the Kind of a Hurricane Press anthologies.  Plus he has two ebooks on the site.  He has over 20 chapbooks, plus he has 11 full-length collections including, How to Be Silent (FutureCycle Press, 2016).  He recently won a large poetry grant in New York.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Poem by Michael Magee

Odysseus at the Mall

I am lost in the world
of American Eagle Outfitters
and Verizon Wireless
looking for a hall of mirrors,
or a Hallmark card to send
to Penelope and wonder
if she is a plus-size woman now
so I look in the window
of Torrid see a zebra stripe
and think:  maybe a sheepskin.

How moccasins would soothe
my aching feet, perhaps a pedicure
and like a second-hand carnie I stand
next to a booth near Cinnabon.
What about a Zale's diamond?
Instead I decide to buy a thermos
for coffee with a memento mermaid
of my trip across the Mediterranean
warm enough to hold to my cold lips.
Then I order an extra tall with foam.

Michael Magee's poems have appeared in Pennine Ink (Great Britain), Staxtes Greek Literary Journal, Avocet and Poetry/  He draws heavily from classical references in these poems, updating them in the modern vernacular, and using mythology as a way to express his own dreams.  He lives in Tacoma, Washington.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen

It Takes A Man

I give my wife
instructions on how
these things are done,
how they have
always been done.

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, March 18, 2016

A Poem by Norma Ketzis Bernstock

What He Did

He called her doll baby,
pussy cat, sweet pea of mine.

Called her hungry whore,
hell-bent, wild-eyed wench.

Called her baby doll delight,
honey comb caress.

She loved satin and pink
baby doll the best.

Hated black and blue
wild-eyed wench.

Norma Ketzis Bernstock's poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies including Connecticut River Review, Paterson Literary Review, Lips, Stillwater Review, Exit 13, Edison Review and the anthology, Paterson, the Poets' City.  Her chapbook, Don't Write a Poem About Me After I'm Dead, was published in 2011.  Her previous achievements include a Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts and recognition by the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Two Poems by Suzette Bishop

Video of My Nephew's Wedding

No audio.

Bridesmaids in black.

The grandmother
who will die
a few months later,
zips down the aisle
in her power chair.

The bride carries a prayer book
with white ribbons.

Shoes like a slide
for the foot's sole.

Her mother and father
give her away.

Her fully lifted breasts
face him as they mouth
the vows.

My mother wishes
she could have given
my sister and I
a wedding like this.

The long veil
covers the altar steps
as snow or a rippling
sheet of ice covers
a mountainside.


I saw my heart and all the lightning storms there
in watery sound waves, red electrical eruptions

showing the storm moving toward us
and nothing we can do to stop it.

Pumping under a static gray, gauze screen
sudden yellows, reds, purple-blues,

what I think of you and thought was hidden
inside my heart,

inside my rib cage,
inside my left breast under your palm.

Suzette Bishop teaches at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas.  She has published three books of poetry, Hive-Mind, Horse-Minded and She Took Off Her Wings and Shoes, and a chapbook, Cold Knife Surgery.  Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Jellyfish Whispers, Free State Review, New Texas, Borderlands, Concho River Review, Journal of Texas Women Writers, Aries, and in the anthologies The Four Season Anthology, Imagination & Place:  An Anthology, The Virago Book of Birth Poetry, and American Ghost:  Poets on Life after Industry.  Her poems have won the Spoon River Poetry Review Editors' Prize Contest and Honorable Mention in the Pen 2 Paper Contest sponsored by the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Poem by Donna Spector

Stratford from the Avon

     -- a photograph by Irene Miller

Fog on the river, ice below.
Black branches flare,
recede into mist.  Orange street
lamps light the lonely
woman in her red coat.  She has
nowhere to go, wanders
over rivers, back and forth,
the way I drive by
graveyards, calling greetings,
consolations, to people
I don't know.

Look!  A church steeple rises
faintly into a gray sky,
its spire, topped by a cross,
tries to touch some meaning,
something universal,
a greeting or a consolation.

Donna Spector is a playwright as well as a fiction writer and poet.  Her plays have appeared Off Broadway, regionally and in Canada, Ireland and Greece.  Her play Golden Ladder was published in Women Playwrights:  The Best Plays of 2002.  Winner of the Masters Poetry Prize and member of Dramatists Guild and Poets & Writers, she received two National Endowment for the Humanities grants to study in Greece.  A program of her aired on Australian national radio, and her poems, plays, stories and monologues have appeared in literary magazines and anthologies, including The Greensboro Review, Poet & Critic, Sycamore Review, Gaia, Notre Dame Review, Parabola, Rattle, The Connecticut River Review, The Pedestal Magazine, The Paterson Literary Review and American Life in Poetry.  The Woman Who Married Herself, a Sinclair Poetry Prize finalist, was published in 2010 by Evening Street Press, and she is now an associate editor of that press.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Poem by Steve Carter


he dwells within
of his own making

to walk
from window
looking out
to inward looking

carrying demons
in his feet

Steve Carter is a writer and jazz guitarist.  He taught music and English at Berkeley College of Music.  His first book of poems, Intermodulations, was recently published by Maat Publishing (  His poetry has appeared in many magazines, including Hanging Loose, Carolina Review, Stand, and Clackamas Literary Review.  He has 10 CDs of his music available on his independent record label, Frogstory Records (

Monday, March 14, 2016

A Poem by henry 7. reneau, jr.


these acts of water
flowing from where we come &
who we are & what we do
painting expletive syllables of subliminal graffiti
resonating the same signature
as the maddening shroud

of recollection
photo-shop edited by the recursive bravado
of ego
coloring loose narratives of the soul
that tumbleweed mechanically
crow-cawing a gravel-throat blues wail
what becomes within
an elastic heart of cindered empathy

like a lipstick letter scrawled across a vacant motel mirror
sifted through the sediment of childhood nostalgia

become bone
& panoramic heart
washing through ten thousand forms of fear
cover the sky
with carrion crows
where nothing beautiful is perfect unless it is destroyed

henry 7. reneau, jr. writes words in fire to wake the world ablaze:  free verse illuminated by courage that empathized with all the awful moments, launching a freight train warning that blazes from the heart, like a chambered bullet exploding inadvertently.  His poetry collection, freedomland blues (Transcendent Zero Press, 2014), was released in September of 2014.  He also has an e-chapbook entitled , physiography of the fittest (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2014), which was released in December of 2014.  Additionally, he has self-published a chapbook entitled 13hirteen Levels of Resistance, and is currently working on a book of connected short stories.  He is a Pushcart Prize Nominee.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

A Poem by Sam Barbee


Cacophony without orchestrations, first violins
compete to silence second chairs.
Blatant bickering between the shiny flutes.

You Mozart about, so busy before the pauper's grave.
The unflappable maestro, you score us with purest heart:
instruments shoulder to shoulder, shaping your magnum opus.

Ah, homely but we oblige enchantment.  All-call for an ovation
to the strum of a harp, but crescendo of iambic brass
trumps any heavenly solace.  Percusses with a rumble,

an overture to adore like a mist upon blue hills,
within a smear of forest, and, in the center,
a pond of muck crowned with lotus,

where a single croaking toad secretes a wart
of contentment amid thunder's token harmony,
its lullaby dying between each clap.

Sam Barbee's poems have appeared in Crucible, Asheville Poetry Review, The Southern Poetry Anthology VII:  North Carolina, Potato Eyes, Georgia Journal, St. Andrews Review, Main Street Rag, Iodine, and  Pembroke Magazine among others; plus online journals Vox Poetica and The Blue Hour.  His second collection, That Rain We Needed (Press 53), will be published in April of 2016.  He was awarded an "Emerging Artist's Grant" from the Winston-Salem Arts Council to publish his first collection Changes of Venue (Mount Olive Press); has been featured poet on the North Carolina Public Radio Station WFDD; received the 59th Poet Laureate Award from the North Carolina Poetry Society for his poem "The Blood Watch."  Sam lives in Winston-Salem with his wife and has two children, and is the current President of Winston-Salem Writers.  His day job for 31 years has been with the Winston-Salem Recreation Department.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

A Poem by Jennifer Circosta

When I Called Her Name

When I called her name,
Her breath-
           Lit up the face of night!
And a star,
          Sparked in her soul-
Turned her skin over
And saw life,
                                 --Through her bones.

And he,
He said,
The sky begins at your feet . . . 
And then he stole,
                      A glimpse-
                            Of her raw being

Jennifer Circosta is a truth seeker and artistic expressionist!  She is a poet at heart and author of life.  She is the published author of three books with a fourth one in development entitled, "Poems from Passion."  She has a degree in psychology and theater arts.  Jennifer serves the community as an emotional wellness coach, yoga instructor and energy therapist.  She offers innovative workshops in meditation, self-exploration, and healing for couples and individuals to support the greater development of their intimate, soulful-selves.  Currently, Jennifer is the creator and facilitator of, The Healing Project which is a community based support and learning initiative that focuses on two key aspects:  Self-Discover and Healing.

Friday, March 11, 2016

A Poem by Bill Brown

The Note

I leave this note on the kitchen table
                                                            like a plant of fruit,
sliced orange and cantaloupe,
                                                   covered to stay fresh.
so you can nibble
                                   through the day.
Like all writing
                             they contain seeds to be discarded,
or spat at the cat,
                               a police distraction from her nap.
Parts of the note
                              like orange are sweet and citrus clean,
but the cantaloupe tastes pungent,
                                                          earthy, fraught with
twisting vines and climbing tendrils.
                                                             You must attend
to any words so close to their source
                                                              that their meaning
appears muddled,
                                for these control what I wish to impart
but can't.  
                  Just know that the words, like the fruit
come from the sacred ground
                                                   on which you walk,
ground rich enough to
                                        make both the confusion
of the cantaloupe
                                and the sweetness of the orange.

Bill Brown is the author of nine poetry collections and a writing textbook.  His most recent titles are Elemental (3:  A Taos Press 2014), The News Inside (Iris Press 2010), and Late Winter (Iris Press 2008).  In 1999, Brown wrote and co-produced the Instructional Television Series, Student Centered Learning, for Nashville Public Television.  The National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts awarded him The Distinguished Teacher in the Arts.  He has been a Scholar in Poetry at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and a two-time recipient of Fellowships in poetry form the Tennessee Arts Commission.  Brown has published hundreds of poems and articles in college journals, magazines and anthologies.  The Tennessee Writers Alliance named Brown the 2011 Writer of the Year.  He lives with his wife, Suzanne, and a tribe of cats in the hills north of Nashville.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Three Poems by Brigitte Goetze


They are your neighbors, living across the street,
in a rambling house, at the edge of the forest,
an extended Chinese family
with strange customs and odd behaviors.

You see them now and then, coming and going,
overhear a mixture of English and Chinese,
and, occasionally catching a phrase, you ponder:
what was that about?

Getting curious, you initiate contact
and soon you share the bounty of each other's gardens,
they teach you the rules of Feng Shui and Chinese astrology
while you google for them the exact date of the next eclipse.

They offer you strange remedies of your bruises,
delight in your poems, (but did they understand them?)
only to frown on you the next time for--you know not what--infraction,
then seem unresponsive when you try to make amends.

And yet, they water your garden and feed your cat while you are on vacation,
bring their generator when the power goes out,
warn you about cougars or ghosts prowling at dusk,
which makes your hair stand up, though you can't see either.


The image came first:
an opened fan, emerging from a black dot,
origin as well as lynch pin to a triangle of frayed strips,
their originally joyous yellow, flaming red
dulled to a rusty orange by a warp of pewter threads,
tying them to the left, to a stiff flame of blue light
whose tip is straining away from both, the rust and the lead,
so preoccupied with its own urge towards liberation,
it hasn't yet sensed an enclosing circle
of interlacing pad locks.

Then the commentary:
Leaving an icy road, I followed a young man
of unclear affiliations with the green party
into a humongous bus, traveling the autobahn.
Only 11 km, he proclaimed, to Copenhagen,
that sane and civil place in the North--
with one of the highest suicide rates.

I followed the tenuous thread of this slight discomfort
which I didn't dare to voice--
wasn't I being helped?
Didn't I love there once, extravagantly?
And yet, my body knew, it didn't need more cool.

Though the other travelers, contently, face forward,
I need to get off the autobahn, leave my green knight,
so sure in his youthful chivalry,
listen instead to a tall, thin crone,
who, wearing her kayak, circumnavigated Lake Superior,
her solitary effort supported by a community of friends.

In her presence, I found--at last--
my own white charger,
inside my personal pouch,
that innocent energizer of my Nexus,
my still silent, black tablet, now able to connect
to a library of books, two already downloaded,
Mogli side by side with the family Robinson,
telling stories of the wildly blooming South.

The Phantom in My Opera

I have glimpsed him, now and then.
His sable cape can't hide
red gargoyle eyes burning
over a black-blue beard.

His silent glare insists that I follow
the old pattern, offer myself
like a delectable gingerbread house
to the ravenous tearing of every needy child.

He is the one who stirs
a host of bats into a frenzy,
whenever I dare to be
different from what's expected.

He still can tighten a chain
around my throat,
thus keeping me
from dwelling in my own body.

But I have drawn his picture.
Though badly distorted,
the enfolding circle holds.
The hunted has become the hunter.

Brigitte Goetze spins her yarns in Western Oregon.  An apprentice of Rumpelstiltskin, she is learning to transform the prickly straw of experience into the shining gold of awareness.  She has been published by Calyx, Women Artists Datebook 2011, Oregon Humanities, Four and Twenty, Outwardlink, New Verse News, Mused, Oudrant Journal and others.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Three Poems by Lyn Lifshin

Parma Dream of Violets

of sky the color of lilacs,
mauve liquid in an antique
mirrored cabinet, grappa,
honey, sugar and the
essence of violets.
Slopes of Parma violets.
Purple haze.  The same
violets Napoleon kept on
his desk that grew on
his wife's grave.  Its smell
on her fingers, skin.
Color his lover wore,
painted on plates, engraved
on calling cards, picture
frames, vases, fans
so the smell would always
be with him as the smell
of vanilla or hyacinth
keeps my ghosts

Barbaro's Dreams, Mid-August

lying half asleep
in timothy grass

grapes brightening.
Forgetting pain,

forgetting breaking.
Forks of light

past the ICU.  Does
he dream of the

push of promise,
the flaring wound in

black eyed susan
wind.  Painted daisies.

This dream of leaping
still wild as a

deer thru jade fields,

Another Barbaro Dream Mid-August

his body remembering
speed, longing to give

up pain, the shattered
fragments and become a

flaming arrow of fire
flung over the track

The wind, a horse whisperer
beckoning, moaning

hurry and darling

Lyn Lifshin has published over 130 books and chapbooks including 3 from Black Sparrow Press:  Cold Comfort, Before It's Light and  Another Woman Who Looks Like Me.  Before Secretariat:  The Red Freak, the Mircacle, Lifshin published her prize winning bookd about the short lived beautiful race horse Ruffian, The Licorice Daughter:  My Year With Ruffian and Barbara:  Beyond Brokenness.  Recent books include Ballroom, All the Poets Who Have Touched Me, Living and Dead, All True, Especially The Lies, Light At The End:  The Jesus Poems, Katrina, Mirrors, Persephone, Lost In The Fog, Knife Edge & Absinthe:  The Tango Poems.  NYQ books published A Girl Goes into the Woods.  Also just out:  For the Roses poems after Joni Mitchell and Hitchcock Hotel from Danse Macabre, Secretariat:  The Red Freak, The Miracle and Tangled as the Alphabet--The Istanbul Poems from Night Ballet Press.  Just released as well Malala, the dvd of Lyn Lifshin:  Not Made of Glass.  The Marilyn Poems was just released from Rubber Boots Press.  An update to her Gale Research Autobiography is out:  Lips, Blues, Blue Lace:  On the Outside.  Also just out is Femme Eterna and Moving Through Stained Glass:  the Maple Poems.  Also out from Sick Fly Tangerin Press is Paintings and Poems.  Forthcoming Degas Little Dancer and The Silk Road.  Her web:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

A Poem by Carl Palmer

less tar

us in the bus
carpool lane
riding past her
with cell phone
and cigarette
red BMW convertible
lane-locked in traffic
our eyes meet
reveal to each our dream
she the desire to move swiftly
me wanting to taste the nicotine
from her lips

Carl Palmer of Old Mill Road in Ridgeway VA now lives in University Place WA.  He has a 2015 contest winning poem riding buses somewhere in Seattle.  Carl is a Pushcart Prize and Micro Award nominee.  MOTTO:  Long Weekends Forever

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Poem by Carol Alena Aronoff

Of Demons and Darkening

Welcome the dark horse looming,
his mane of Moros tossed about
like stars on unknown winds.
If you have courage and surrender.
Let him carry you to nether worlds
where philosophers chew on
pomegranate seeds, convers
with queens.  Guard your limbs;
the unlit road will strip away
the very things--symbols, signs--
you've counted on to recognize

If you do not make the journey,
lay an extra setting at your oval
walnut table with your finest silver
goblets and gold-rimmed porcelain
dishes; let the demon take his place,
take his fill. Serve him honeyed
barley cakes, ambrosia on jewel-
encrusted platters; top his cup
with nectar and listen with naked
heart.  You'll discover you're related
but never ask his name.
The gift is in the recognition.

Carol Alena Aronoff, PhD is a psychologist, teacher and writer who co-founded SAGE, a psycho-spiritual program for elders, helped guide a Tibetan Buddhist Meditation center, taught Eastern spirituality and healing practices; imagery, meditation, and women's health at San Francisco State University.  She guided Heeling in Nature retreats in Hawaii and the southwest, and had a counseling practice in Marin County for many years.  She co-authored "Practical Buddhism:  The Kagyu Path" with Ole Nydahl in 1989 and edited five books and four meditation booklets on Tibetan Buddhism.  Dr. Aronoff published a textbook:  "Compassionate Healing:  Eastern Perspectives" in 1992.  Her poetry has been published in Comstock Review, Potpourri, Poetic Realm, Poetica, Mindprints, Dream Fantasy International, Beginnings, Hawaii Island Journal, In Our Own Words, Theater of the Mind, Animals in Poetry, From the Web, HeartLodge, Out of Line, Sendero, Buckle&, Iodine, Asphodel, Tiger's Eye, Nomad's Choir, Cyclamens & Swords, The New Verse News and Avocet.  She received a prize in the 1999/2000 Common Ground spiritual poetry contest, judged by Jane Hirshfield, and is a Pushcart Prize nominee.  She won the Tiger's eye contest on the writing life and has participated a number of times in Braided Lives, a collaboration of artists and poets as well as in SKEA's Art and Nature event, Ekphrasis:  Sacred Stories of the Southwest, and (A) Muses Poster Retrospective for the 2014 Taos Fall Arts Festival. She was judge for the 2008 Tiger's Eye Poetry contest.  A chapbook of Native American/Hawaiian poems, Cornsilk, was published by Indian Heritage Council in 2004, and her illustrated poetry book, The Nature of Music, was published by Pelican Pond in 2005.  An expanded, illustrated Cornsilk waas published in 2006, Her Soup Made the Moon Weep, in 2007 and Blessings from an Unseen World in 2013.  Currently, Dr. Aronoff resides in a rural area of Hawaii--working her land, meditating on nature and writing.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

A Poem by Laura Dennis


The Man Who Did Not Smile
touched me
where I was told
no one was supposed to

Death whispered my name
as the blood dripped back into my arm
he slipped away

Curled up in the hospital bed
teddy bear clutched tight
we listened to nighttime hospital noises

After there will be silence
this will not be discussed
I am 13 but I feel so old

Laura Dennis has been published in the anthologies Petals in the Pan from Kind of a Hurricane Press, Home and Away from House of Blue Skies and Love Notes from Vagabond Press.  She also has two self-published chapbooks entitled Wheels on the Bus and The Bookshelf.  She has been published in a number of online magazines.  She is one of the 2014 winners of Friends and the University Hospitals poetry contest and is a part of the Sidewalk Poetry  in Callingwood Park, both in her home of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

A Poem by Sarah Bloom

Leaning into a Phone Call

the plug of sound
the hiss
when oxygen leaves the body
in a white smoke visible
to the operator who asks
what is your emergency do you have
an emergency

if you live in the south your sister
will go on dates
your sister's going-on-dates
will pull air from your lower leg

if you live in the south
your mother is a nurse or a filer
of lawsuits
your mother has a broken hip
she does not visit you except to say

do you like the way my hip grinds your teeth

Sarah Bloom is a dreamer and a lover of dreaming.  She lives with her wife on a farm in southeast Arkansas; she teaches English at the University of Arkansas at Monticello.  Her poems have appeared in Phoebe and Dark Sky Magazine.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Three Poems by Erren Geraud Kelly

Coffeehouse Poem #85

she's back again
the girl who sat with me yesterday
whose hair screamed a
murder of crows
she was jazz in high
her skin was the cream in
my coffee
the rocket fuel i needed
to own the
she was here only a
and in a flash, she was

but a moment can last
for an

Route 40, Freemont Bus, Seattle

There is power in a woman's legs
The way they stretch long and
Lean like unscented candles
The way she crosses them
Like two roads, intersecting
She pulls a white cotton
Dress over them and it
Makes them more noticeable
To me, the way she
Sips her coffee ever so
She has the face of an
But her legs make me
Want to fall down at
Her feet
And gladly do her bidding
Her legs are searchlights
They are pathways to god
Sleek and delicate as
A sigh

A Catholic Girl

Dreams of her linger like whiskey in coffee
Ever lovely as the dawn, she rises like the
Sun, holding a son; her hair, the kind of fire, you never get
Inside a bottle, nor her spirit; she
Rocks her hips and you're glad she's not missing any meals
Equally at home, behind a desk or on a Harley

Give her a drink, she'll take it like a rose
Unless its diamonds and she becomes your new best friend
Ever lovely, the translucent light of her buttocks
Nudges the sun aside, rightfully, its all about her
Sundays, she prays forgiveness for Saturday's sins; given the
Chance, she'd commit them all over again, I'll
Hold her like the sun and the moon

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.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Three Poems by J.J. Campbell

no reason to walk on egg shells

there are no
words that do
any amount of
justice for

ugly always has
a way of finding
a home in the
hearts of anyone
caught in the
of life

cancer eats away
at everyone at
some point

and there is no
reason to walk
on egg shells

we are all going
to end up broken
one day

broken more than

by more than one

by hook or by crook

death always finds
a way to win

nothing but dirty water ahead

when life
gave me

i looked
for another
fruit to pick

then there
was a

i told life to
fuck off and
decided to go
swimming in
the river

one of these
days i'll come

his time in the war

a thousand yard
stare and screams
that haunt any
chance you get
to close your eyes

my father would
never talk to me
about his time in
the war

i figured he saw
enough misery
that he only knew
to take it out on

my mother once
told me that my
father hoped to
die over there

i can still picture
his hands around
my neck

i almost take the
time to wonder
what life could
have been like
if his wish would
have come true

there's no point
to it now

he's busy taking
up space in the

but the demons . . .

J.J. Campbell is old enough to know better.  He has been widely published over the years, most recently at Horror Sleaze Trash, Misfit Magazine, Mad Swirl, Dead Snakes and Your One Phone Call.  You can find J.J. most days waxing poetic about some nonsense at his highly entertaining blog, evil delights.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Three Poems by Milt Montague

life in the slow lane

weeks flow past in peaceful anonymity
no thoughts to disturb the serenity
I sit alone amidst my greenery
life pulses in the slow lane

surrounded by my green friends
the philodendrons and pothos
need but water and sunlight
in front of a large window

to wait and vegetate
slowly very slowly

one day an idle thought
intrudes most gently
becomes insistent
sound the alarm

a great new idea to explore
quick, to the computer
see if this evolves
into a poem
of worth

never yield**

the light dims slowly
but we all must fight on
continue our daily struggle
we cannot throw in the towel

our senses dulled
keep going forward
retreat not an option

continue the battle
until the I is no more
rage as we go forward

never yield to old age
the inevitable conqueror
when the sun drops below
the horizon the very last time

**with thanks to the master, Dylan Thomas

roses are red

bright red roses
with a whit of pink
to heighten the color

grown and groomed
for a brief appearance
buds ready for their debut

on the altar of love
smiling up at me
for a full week

heads bowed
in mournful silence

their service completed
they are a lovely memory
waiting . . . fate in the dustbin

how fleeting is this life
but a blink in eternal time
to bloom and be merry today
because tomorrow will never be

Milt Montague was raised in New York City, survived The Great Depression, the school system, and World War II.  after 20 years back at college he discovered poetry at 85.  Now at 90 plus he has 65 poems published in 20 different magazines.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Three Poems by Steve Klepetar

Last Time I Checked

you had flown away over the rooftops,
said goodbye to wind and trees.

I remember seeing a note somewhere,
half written, half printed, with hollow

balls dancing over the lowercase i's.
The ink burned red and I left it under

the sink.  Maybe it was a song you wrote
for me, or was it your will?  Your grandma

called seven times and I told her you
had driven out to Reno, to Fort Worth,

up to Montreal.  It was cold and I don't
remember what I said.  She sent me

a thank you note with five dollars
folded in the card.  I have it here with me,

carefully ironed and spread out on the table
where we ate peanut butter sandwiches for lunch

which left our throats dry and raw.  If I
pour a glass of milk, maybe you'll come back

with new stories to tell, with a torn coat,
with your soul throbbing, your beautiful hair aflame.

Li Bo Speaks to His Father's Ghost

Everything either is
or is not, Aristotle says
but what of your white-haired ghost
waiting at the road's dark mouth?
I see you
everywhere, shadow
bowed in moonlight.
Your hands speak, bobbing
like the heads
of birds.  Your eyes
take in all things, black holes
at whose edges time expands, spreads, slows and stops.

I beat my path towards you, burrowing
everwhen down
inside my own spacetime.
We have stopped rushing apart
from the point of my birth.
No longer galaxies spiraling ferocious
centers of rage, we stop spitting
gamma rays across the light years.
We curve toward one another.
My face has become your face.  I squint with your eyes,
sure of one sound alone: your blood pulsing loud in my veins.

Storm Warning

Thunder and rain, wild horses crashing through
black fists of cloud in terrified stampede.  Oceans

of wind, tunnels of air sweeping against bending
trees, houses hunched and braced beneath storm.

And you're home again with your glass of wine, handful
of salted nuts.  Last week you saw a whale breach in a leap

beyond the bay.  Your hands were delicate and calm.
While you watched that wonder, a strange appetite arose

as if your mother had come to call you in with sausages
and bread and a basket of white radishes to bring your

thirst to the edge of joy.  She was wrapped in plastic,
her mouth distorted as light danced through that transparent

veil.  Her dexterous fingers moved in little drumbeats,
typing out a message whose vibrations you could clearly read--

"Keep your head above the water, Schatz, and when great
waves break, say what you must to shrimp and shells and sand."

Steve Klepetar's work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse:  India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others.  Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015).  Recent collections include Speaking to the Field Mice (Sweatshoppe Publications, 2013, My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press, 2013), and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press).