Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Three Poems from Richard Schnap


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

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

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

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

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

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

On the Wings of Words

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Three Poems by Linda M. Crate

dead men don't speak

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

rotten apple

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

hanging yourself

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

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

Three Poems by William Doreski

Haystack Rock

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

Money, the Original Sin

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

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

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

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

Swan Killer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Three Poems by Patricia Walsh

Sociopath Blues

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

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

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

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

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

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

(And with them) Persecutions

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

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

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

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

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

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

More Than an Apology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Three Poems by JD DeHart


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

Bald Eagle

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

Real Looker

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

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

Friday, June 24, 2016

Two Poems from ayaz daryl nielsen

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

a roommate returns from Mexico

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

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

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Two Poems by Ron Yazinski


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

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

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

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

Popular Delusions

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Three poems by Ken L. Jones

I Regret

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

Gone Too Soon

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

Split Logs

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

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Poem by Rose Mary Boehm


Bagua.  Peru.  2009.
The government of Peru's intended implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (zoning 72% of the Peruvian Amazon for development and exploration) between Peru and the US led to violent repression of peaceful protests at Bagua.

Bodies float in rivers.
Women are sacrificing their lives
for the Amazon jungle they call home.
Women are mourning
their men and their children.

Oil wells and rainforests,
uneasy bedfellows
in each other's tricksy embrace,
with profit the sole measure of progress.

Killed in the streets,
guardians of the green roofs;
their crime
concern for their earth.

There's always the official line:
terrorist organizations
duped thousands
of these stupid women,
brainless farmers
and other indigenous low-life
into opposing progress.

The locals won for now.
We owe them.

They protest
their displacement
in the interests of the bottom line,

while US Congress is pushing a new model plan
that looks remarkably like the old one.

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

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Poem by Alan Catlin

Night of Shattered Glass

After six months
of silence

following tropical island


spent with five year old

totally isolated
staring out

at what moved
on the night

mother screams once
punches bathroom

mirror-sees herself
as a mix

of shattered glass
and blood

cast adrift
no escape


Alan Catlin has been publishing since the 70's.  His most recent full-length books are Last Man Standing from Lummox Press and American Odyssey from Future Cycle.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Four Poems from Lyn Lifshin

When Glass Can't Stay Glass

and tea cups shatter
as birds swoop and tear
a school girl's glasses.
When you can't see
thru cracked glass
any more with an
eye that's only a socket.
When a woman enters
a local bar with huge
glass windows where
a drunk lounges at
one end of the bar
and a bird expert
sneers birds don't
have enough intelligence
to have an attack as
another suggests
humans take up guns
and wipe birds off
the face of the earth,
scavengers mostly,
you know you're not
in Kansas anymore

The Woman Who Talked to Hitchcock's Birds

she said she could
take to them, they knew
she could understand.
She said they'd been
patient but they had
issues, they'd waited,
they just wanted
freedom.  But they had
had enough, they
wanted revenge, they
wanted justice.  She
was bird like in her own
way, a beak of a nose,
panicky motions like
a scared bird.  They
related to her, not to
those who stole their
feathers for hats,
shot them down.  One
said her mate had been
shot down, cooked
and eaten.  Some were
plucked for pillows
and coats, the trim on
designer dresses.
Enough was enough.
And what of the birds
in cages, cooed over
but never allowed
a free life?  They'd
been given warning:  a
rush of feathers
down a chimney, a
sea gull swooping down
for a peck.  It wasn't
enough.  It was hardly
noticed.  People flock
to the country, slash down
trees we nest in.  Do
they care about a trail of
eggshells, the smog and
wires our radar can't work
in?  And they call a few
smashed windows, a few
shattered cups terror and chaos?


      Eva Hesse

shells of something are hanging
What there is, what's
left is withering thin
could dissolve or shatter
won't hold up

or last   you can't
take it in your arms
or bite down on it

it's like a tooth of
spun sugar underwater,
something sliding out of a body
toward black holes in October

somewhere, dreams of teeth
that fall out, clot
in your mouth
wake you up coughing

gagging on what
is like a cat that won't
come in or stay out
prefers rubbing against the
door frame

ease is the mole the
cat falls asleep
clutching in its paws
or inches away on the

it seems dead then
like the way you feel.
Something twitches
you see red    claws at
what's escaping

For Much of the Morning, December 18, 2014, Paris

faces peered from open
windows above the empty street.
School was cancelled, some
would not be able to reach class
anyway.  The streets outside
the apartment remained
blockaded while dozens of
forensic investigators
in full body suits and blue
booties picked up the debris.
The street in front of the house
was covered in shattered glass.
Bloody carnage resembling
part of the police dog killed by
the suspects of the raid
lay in the street

Lyn Lifshin has published over 140 books and chapbooks and edited three anthologies of women's writing including Tangled Vines that stayed in print 20 years, And Ariadne's Thread from HBJ, and Unsealed Lips, from Capra Press.  She has several books from Black Sparrow books:  Cold Comfort, Before It's Light, Another Woman Who Looks Like Me.  Her web site,, shows the variety of her work from the equine books, The Licorice Daughter:  My Year with Ruffian and Barbara:  Beyond Brokenness, to the most recent book:  Secretariat:  The Red Freak, The Miracle, all from Texas Review Press and on Amazon, as all her other books are.  Recent books about dance include:  Ballroom, Knife Edge and Absinthe:  The Tango Poems.  Other new books include:  For the Roses, poems for Joni Mitchell, All the Poets Who Touched Me, Living and Dead All True, Especially the Lies.  Most recently:  Girl Goes Into the Woods from New York Quarterly Books; Malala, from Poetic Matix; Tangled as the Alphabet:  The Istanbul Poems from NightBallet, and out most recently from Glass Lyre Press:  Femme Eterna:  Enheducanna, Scheherazade and Nefertiti.  Forthcoming books include Degas' Little Dancer, Through Stained Glass, and Maple.  She has given readings and workshops around the country and has had fellowships to Yaddo, Millay Colony and MacDowell colony.  She is the recipient of many awards including Bread Loaf scholarships, The Kerouac Prize and a New York State Caps grant, etc.  

Saturday, June 18, 2016

A Poem by Sy Roth


Most everyone does
Plays life on a chess board--
rooks risking baby steps
expendable in a black and red world,
castles straight-lining, yee and haw,
bishops gallivanting in slippery els.

Engorged by justification,
life simply ends in making choices
effective/ineffective choices
they matter not
our baptism,
immersion in forever minutia.

Playful obsession,
need to carry on, cavort,
one follows another,
builds a hierarchy.
Tower of Babel
eating/catching the art of eating
diverting/dodging the flotsam of men,
all mired in various grades and globs of shit,
final photograph of be-smattered headstones.

Polonius grabs the gold ring,
dies behind the arras glib fool--

All is merely a merry-go-round--
pick your horse or whirligig,
spinning and rising and lowering
beneath the crests of ocean waves
to find ways to numb souls.

It's reality that sucks.

Friday, June 17, 2016

A Poem by Ken Allan Dronsfield

The Elemental

The oak branch danced
to a serenaded minuet;
neither wind now music
were heard as I listened
intently to my throbbing
heart beating a drum roll.
A dark Elemental inhales
and the shadows bend
on the high mossy wall
whilst the castle keep
wipes sweat from brow;
a murder of crows send
"meet and greets" as the
black tea steeps and
cream creeps into a
sip from my silver spoon.
The Elemental exhales;
dark shadows bend again
whilst long wailing screams
drift and echo contrite as
twilight retreats and joins
this haunted, starry night.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet and author originally from New Hampshire, not residing in Oklahoma.  He has been writing for many years and enjoys hiking, playing guitar and spending time with his cats Merlin and Willa.  His published work can be found in journals, magazines, and blogs throughout the web.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

A Poem from Jeffrey Zable

The Warning

     -- after a painting by Hieronymus Bosh

Unfortunately that is me after a thirty day fast
ambivalent with regard to the lecherous pig
that wants to make bacon.  And the insect knight
is spitting at us both as a sign of disapproval.
My last will and testament is draped across my leg
to insure that all my worldly possessions, consisting
of 7 wooden spoons, 11 slippers for a right foot,
and the skeletal remains of my aunt Cornelia
goes to the church to do with as they please.
And the man in the corner hanging upside down
is most certainly dead, murdered by the townspeople
who warned him never to bring that pig into the alehouse.

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area.   His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of magazines and anthologies from the mid-70's to the present, most recently in Serving House Journal, The Vein, Weirderary, Futures Trading, Mocking Heart Review, Bookends Review, Unscooped Bagel, Grief Diaries, Houseboat (featured poet), 2015 Rhysling Anthology, Poetry Pacific, Third Wednesday, Flint Hills Review and many others . . . 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Poem from Connie K Walle

It is Coming

like smoke it moves,
weaves its way between cracks

so delicate

holds memories in its hands
names buried in ash
splashes of light

warmth wraps around

chills of forgetfulness
words pushed aside
spilling over

no way to see what's next

no music to lead the way
no hand to hold through the darkness
no remembrance of being invited

Connie K Walle received Tacoma's 2015 AMOCAT award for her vision, dedication and action in creating a lively literary arts community.  She is president of the 25 year old Puget Sound Poetry Connection.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Poem by James Diaz

Southern Hostility

The crooked angle of shadow from your father's house
why won't the past
stay as it was
15 shanty lane
2 dogs
run down car
3 girlfriends
a closed down laundromat
and a problem with the needle,
the law,
the general lay of the land

how much you got on you?
not as good as you coulda been
but your kin destined your blood
and spitting it out don't change its color
you're what you are
through and through

"it gets worse 'fore it gets worse"
your cousin Linda says
her husband has a tire iron in his right hand
and a bottle of his early grave in the other
from this distance you can't tell the barkin' dogs
apart from the six kids,
and the hot sticky hay smell
is makin' you sick

as you're driving home
you pull off to puke along the side of the same highway
your granddad was shot to death on
by his second wife,
his last wife,
his abused for far too long and tired of takin' his shit wife
shadows of the past can make you so sick inside
you'd rather die on the spot
than cry it out.

Next best thing is to just puke till your guts level out.
On a much deeper level your guts never do level out.

James Diaz lives in upstate New York.  He is the founding editor of the literary arts journal, Anti-Heroin Chic.  His work has most recently appeared in HIV Here & Now, Foliate Oak, Indiana Voice Journal, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc, The Atrocity Exhibition, and These Fragile Lilacs.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Laura Demelza Bosma

Home is Where the Wasteland

Far from fragile minds in a bandage
far from their city in ruins of dreams
a tortoise white as sand white as tortoise
in its day in a skin crawling over skin.

Open bay for the sea to float in
the skyline it's prayer hums
the same deep sound as everything.

Free from the broken fragile minds
tearing open each other's bodies
with contrary dreams.  Will we ever be

fulfilled in the unseen?  That close
to nothing, the horizon holds the glow
of sunset.  Before it gets dark a mother
pours her love down into her nameless
future daughter.

Life pours her self into no self
for tomorrow's blooming.


We go out in the child's eye that just woke.
We go out in the awakened eye.
It's brightness makes it hard to recognize
whether we are fine or drowning.
There seems to be no border here between this
and the other side, no time before gasping to breathe.

You take me into something
of this universe of timelessness.
Into the clear pond of our eye,
life's child.

Universe Dentist

I am a decanter in the shape of a woman.
The water is the same water
as is given to the whales as ocean,
wincing with life.

I am in the treatment room of the dentist.
Children point to the moonfish in my belly.
I am the moonfish in my belly.
Am the children.
The dead tooth of the mother.
The dentist filing it away.

Roots go deep into the gums like oceanic corals.
On the x-ray her skull lovably smiles a tunnel to palate.

There they fly:
microscopic little angels.

Laura Demelza Bosma won a  few Dutch poetry-prizes as a teenager.  This resulted in the publication of her own poetry volume, Zo vliegen de walvissen (Thus the Whales Fly), by Uitqeverij Holland in 2007.  In 2009, she finished Writing for Performance at the HKU art academy with a graduation script on surreal theater writing.  Laura has written for children's and music theater guided writing workshops and has been performing her poetry not only in spoken word but also as songs.  Since 2010, she lives in Austria where she became a mother, doula, and illustrates work for her partner's Taoist Poetry and her children's book about home birth.  This year, her first collection of English poetry, Deciduous Woman, will be published by Tandava Press.  For updates you can go to

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Three Poems by Jonathan Beale

To a Blind Poet


Containment of bones
He is as blind
As the other side
Of the door
Wondering across
the Nevada desert

The tempests
Trip over some
Memory of
A once better time

The night dogs
Howl & spit
To the moon
This four dimensional
Dream compressed
In some
Dark & dank
Blind woody


Sculpting the effigies
Of a not too
Distant past
The flames of the
Seek air & fuel


The tigers trawl through
The savannah
Of snow and ice
In the slums of
raw & orange days
identifies the
cause and calumny


The tattooist draws
Blood while swapping
For ink & design
The markings cover
And identify


Gargoyles Stony glaze from the outside wall
Watching, waiting, listening for the fall

Low Mood Months

The eyes slowly sag
With the expiring October
The day of the day brings
a new opening:  a new gate
into another garden, most
would rather not enter.
The leaves red fire
Cannot fire a passion
In these low mood months
The expiring light
Chased away by the
Freezing cold wind--
Hides behind the blankets
And the wood fires
Cinders breathe some
Hope, some life, some light . . . 

Every New Rome

In this new Rome.
This just minted
This absolute &
This eternal city.
Glowing on
Into the deep long night
Take your chance
Grab a handful
Drink & eat, drink and eat.
Until you are satisfied.

Jonathan Beale has 400 plus poems published in such journals as Decanto, Penwood Review, The Screech Owl, Danse Macabre, Danse Macabre du Jour, Poetic Diversity, Voices of Israel in English, Miracle E-zine, Voices of Hellenism Literary Journal, The Journal, Ink Sweat & Tears, Down in the Dirt, The English Chicago Review, Mad Swirl, Poetry Cornwall, Leaves of Ink, Ariadne's Thread, Bijou Poetry Review, Calvary Cross, Dead Snakes Review, The Bitchin Kitsch, Poetry by Birkbeck alumnus, The Dawntreader, I am not a Silent Poet, Pyrokinection, Festival of Language, Festivalwriter, Don't Be Afraid:  An Anthology of Seamus Heaney, Ygdrasil, The Four Seasons Anthology, The Seventh Quarry, Van Gogh's Ear Anthology, The Curly Mind, The Beatnik Cowboy, and Dali's Love Child.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Two Poems by Rose Mary Boehm

Apple Crumble with Love

I didn't know about grown-up desperation
then.  Had gotten used to carrots, potatoes and water.
Didn't mind porridge made with wheat ground in mum's lap
with our old coffee grinder.  Had no idea what coffee was.
I knew whey, not milk.  Butter was a foreign word.
There was something nice in a slice of dark bread
with a layer of mashed potatoes.  Sometimes
I brought home an egg, stolen, still warm,
from under one of Mrs. Keller's hens.

For my birthday mum made an apple crumble
with flower, water, and a few apples which
had overwintered--wrapped in a newspaper--
in a drawer.  At the time I didn't understand
why mum was crying when she tried to
prize the beautiful apple crumble from
the baking tray with a hammer and a chisel.


I stood naked, reflected
in your eyes, dark as storm clouds.
On the edge of that cheap
hotel bed you, beast of prey,
ready to go for the kill.

Through the breaking, slatted
blinds the viscous southern sun played
on our bodies.  A cockroach with wings
watched from the ripped jute
that once covered the wall.

After the boat had taken us back
across the lake you kissed my forehead,
left me there.  Had to visit your mother.
A brass band began to play.
I didn't watch you go.

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

Friday, June 10, 2016

Three Poems by Ralph Monday

Libraries of the Mute

The seasons wave around like American
flags.  I turn with them feeling the mechanisms
                                      beneath the cogs that
                                      turn our bodies.

I return, not for an annulled revenge--but to
speak of the things I have seen.  I could have
                                      remained as a cosmos hub,
                                      black hole at the center,

but I come again as a decoder ring
because I know the virtuous hell that is lost.
                                      I will show you how to
                                     dream again as I dream

so that you might see how blue women stalked
the earth behind stone walls built by
                                     I will give you a dream

of herons, not babies flying through your legs,
of green hornets that know your blood,
                                    so that you too, like I,
                                    realize that you are the matriarch

of mammoths; with your breasts shape molten
steel into the stuff of ancient arms, of authority now.

Pull away the fogbank.  Alexander's library is
burning.  Know that you are born between
                                    feces and urine,
                                    that you are the pallbearer

of the maple, oak, pear, that your syllables have been
silenced by no more than leaves in an angry
                                    wind by those who look on
                                    love like a maggot's dream.

Silk tuxedoed hawks are your mates, sparrow nests
your wombs.  No stalemated superstitions can
                                    stop you, when you awake
                                    and realize that you, like I,

bare-footed walked the earth before Edison's recording,
before the Night of the Long Knives (Nacht der langen Messer),
                                    before the Andrews Sisters,
                                    before Peggy Hill,

before Ida Lupino, before Dolores Moran on bongos,
before the Beatles and the Stones.
                                    Then you will know
                                    Ragnorok, twilight of the gods

where in your death is birth.  Milk will flow from your
mouths, your hair turn to honey, your lips laugh
                                    at all the believed illusions--
                                    you will find your way home.

This Morning's Mirror

That rainy morning you said that you were
unhappy, your hair a steel-wool bouquet.
            Not surprising, your conjugal moods
            honed to mastery, this was no new
            opened ground.

One may as well expound on a theory of
heaven as find you happy, receptive, each
            morning a gauntlet where I would
            cast the bread upon the waters
            faster than light

in the hope that perhaps this day your
camera angles would be different, a
morning of sun and mirror and Milky Way
vision, a death-birth anointed by

that you would be the beauty in an Italian
postcard after World War II, sleek, bikini
             tanned on Mediterranean
             sands, affected by new reflection,
             like the beauty of silver-breasted

birches knocking in the wind.
No longer would you be a velvet vagabond, the
land would turn to praise,
loveliness would take root upon
the sky's moist floor.

But no, you could not be bribed to enter
a mausoleum of refusal--a rock for a
             pedestal, the black mirror
             cast shadowed skull trees
             wearing a necklace of bones.

The branches of the mind took you
to a living crypt, eternity slaughtered
             through Freudian plays,
             epaulettes of silence, and your
             thin, creosoted smile.

We Spoke

          I relit the fire from last night's
coals, the same way my grandmother
would precede everyone on cold mornings
in the mountains and make the house warm.

          Coffee made, we sat in the hot tub and
watched the falling snow mixed with sleet.
We talked under those lead skies, spoke through
the hot steam rising from the cups.

          We spoke of how human life is frailty
waiting for the last moment.

          We spoke of how when we were kids between
one Christmas and the next was an eternity
Now, the Christmas show begins at WalMart
almost as soon as it ended.

          We spoke of how when we were kids
at school there were only fist fights, girls
pulling hair.

          We spoke of holding on to pieces of the past
like knitting together a patchwork quilt,
waiting for the future.

          We spoke of time passing like a hand wave
from a train that would not stop.

          We spoke of coco cola costing a nickel and
pulled cold from the ice chest at the neighborhood

          We spoke of Moon pies, Mars bars thick around as a
baseball handle, fifty cent gas, the smiling store

          We spoke of how books formed us like a mold when
we were kids.

          We spoke of how there didn't used to be conspiracy

          We spoke of how there only used to be only three TV
channels, the story was objective, not entertainment,
the channels switched off at midnight with the national

          We spoke of when gentlemen and ladies were

          We spoke of when god was actual and church was
not a sacred social club.

          We spoke of not having much time left, to hoard
each second like a dragon guarding gold.

          We spoke of high school proms, weddings, divorces,

          We spoke of how the presidency used to be

          We spoke of mixing tapes where ever song told
our special story.

          We spoke of how now the stories are not the

          We spoke of holding on to everything that could
not be held.

          We spoke of remembering things past not as they
were, but how we wanted them to be.

          Then there was nothing but quiet, the snow
sifting through cedars where we looked at
each other and without speaking still spoke.

Ralph Monday is Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN, and has published hundreds of poems in over 100 journals.  A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2004.  A book, Empty Houses and American Renditions, was published May 2015 by Aldrich Press.  A Kindle chapbook, Narcissus the Sorcerer, was published June 2015 by Odin Hill Press.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Four Poems from Ken Allan Dronsfield

Insomnia Haunts My Attic

Longish days of tiring eyre
trudge upon the worn paths.
Seek the peace of feted rest;
of a dead sleep so desired.

Sunset of orange lazily falls;
twilight faeries of dew appear
on a toadstool, fluttering wings;
my comfy bed beckoningly calls.

Hours gone by, sun sleeps sound.
Close my eyes, but they soon open
to a cat's meow, a creaking board,
even my heartbeat won't calm down.

Cruising the halls in wretched panic;
wandering finds me climbing upstairs,
by the window I sit, watching stars,
as woeful insomnia haunts my attic.

Gum Shoe

Walking the city streets
a lost story looking to
answer queries for cash.
Is she here, or there, or
perhaps at the local bar
with her new beau in tow.
Is he at the no tell motel
where rooms by the hour,
rent with soiled linens but
precious time spent in lust.
Cheapen the thrill, but pack
the church beg forgiveness
for non pious entertainment.
The gum shoe walks, stalks
dark corners of the rancid
ally's and watering holes,
perhaps out there tonight
on the hunt, watching you!

Lingerinly Yours

An evening of fire, brimstone and desire;
walking with a torch to the Pulpit of Dark.
Book in hand, followers unite and stand;
preaching torrents by the burning sparks.

Mumbling to the moon; a diabolical belief;
the devil reaches out to devour the devout.
Breathe into a cauldron, exhale in shadows;
crucible burns long gnarly twisted fingers.

Raise high to your deity; sky or far below.
A dark spirit rises, a tempted Watcher lingers
in an anointed dance of homicidal tendancy,
lost within ethereal dreams of moon flowers.

Pity a bluish pig dancing in a velveteen sky;
praise the virtuous ones of a secreted piety.
My skin is ice as the clock strikes midnight,
now racing away lingeringly yours, gratified.


I laughed in their faces
as I committed to flight
within the dimmed night
of a vast swirling haze
sprinkled with delights.
Awaken a spirited grin
from a darkling gaze;
a chalice of warm gin
and unicorns danced.
We all recited a ditty,
"Race your dragonfly;
Grasp a shooting star;
Whisper to the moon;
Dance with the fairy."
Your devil warms up
on the summer's grill.
I forgot the bugle call
whilst dipping my quill
as I committed to flight;
a soulless zombied bite,
in the eve of a raucous,
contemptuous icy night.

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a published poet and author originally from New Hampshire, now residing in Oklahoma.  He enjoys the outdoors, playing guitar and spending time with his cats Merlin and Willa.  He is the co-editor of the new poetry anthology titled, "Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze" available on  His published work can be found in journals, magazines and blogs throughout the web, including Indiana Voice Journal, Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, Belle Reve Journal, Peeking Cat Magazine, Dead Snakes, Bewildering Stories, and many others.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Lyrical Amalgamation

Max Ernst horses are everywhere
As I pull off the highway at Technicolor
And they edit my DNA until it has a musty old book smell
While ten speed bicycles stamp their feet
And nobody ever notices the tone of fresh picked wonder
That is in every garden shed no matter however dark
As they become cowboys in the attic of an Easter Sunday
That will eventually become a faded and chipped sign
That leads to a dead man's Comic Con

Dirge for Prince

Galaxy sprawling afternoon has now passed
Yet his many decades' drum stomps
Are still topped with creme de come-hither gasps
And the lit incense of a starfish that will forever last
This character in a yellow ruffled video game
Who was tapped into merging with all that is forbidden
While hearing the melodies in a ping-pong match
Attended as always by razor fenced unattainable women
In the emerging technologies that were all in the radius of his blast
As he taught us to touch one another while insisting on catnip
And was so overcome with the emotion of that
That  he turned the Bat Cave into wax paper with his too much pepper guitar solos
All of this now only scrapbook pages oh so windowless
Which once through a combination of treats and affection
Reached the highest level of abstraction
Before becoming as melted and smooth as crying doves
Remembered now in these down hours that are sylph like
For opening the Pandora's Box of what is gone is gone
Leaving behind only the scent of his dragon fly wings
That will live forever in his songs

Poetry is Just

Daylight gives way to unquiet dark with great ceremony
As my mistress of away and gone speaks to me
With a watery voice that rejoices like charcoal
Calling unto me that we both become shadow puppets
Forever in the sweet bye and bye
And with each crimson breath that she took
Volcano light illumed her demask cloak
As each new word became a circus freight train
Speeding past that twitched
With the fatigue of one hundred year old oaks

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, June 7, 2016

Two Poems by Scott Wozniak

A Sorry Excuse for Suicide

I've always
too scared
to pull
the trigger.

That's why
I prefer
my gun
to have
a needle

Money Back Guarantee

is finding out
the girl
you've been
too afraid
to talk to
is a woman
of the night.

Scott Wozniak is a poet and short story writer.  His works can be found both online and in print.  His latest project is a graphic book of poetry titled, "clawing the wind," which he hopes will find a publisher soon.  To see more of his work or to contact him visit

Monday, June 6, 2016

A Poem by Ryan Stone


A shrill yap, cut short; a thud
reverberates from car wheel
to the padlocked room at his core
where once he cowered from the beating
of his childhood heart, as shadows raged outside.

Now a father's blows are replaced by blood,
pounding a drum in his ears; a mother's wails
replaced by a dog's dying yowls.

Howls turn to pants,
turn to silence
and he finds himself driving--
one more mangled wreck
fading behind.

Ryan Stone is a freelance writer from Melbourne, Australia.  He shares his home in the blue Dandenongs with his wife, two young sons and a German Shepherd.  On daily walks through his forest surrounds, he often peers down rabbit holes.  His poetry has recently appeared in Writers' Forum Magazine, Black Poppy Review, Napalm and Novocain and Poppy Road Review.  A selection of Ryan's writing and art can be found on his blog

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Three Poems by J.J. Campbell

much like the weather

listening to
the rain hit
the metal

i can close
my eyes
many nights
like that on
the farm

can get
at times

much like
the weather

in the basement of his mother's house

i look like the
kind of guy
that carries
a flask inside
of his jacket

has probably
been arrested
a few times
and accused
even more

the kind of guy
that has secrets
and possibly
bodies buried
in the basement
of his mother's

the kind of guy
that has devious
eyes and cruel

the quiet type
that everyone
should be

the day it all changes

it's an
and live
like you
is the day
it all changes

pray like
the spirit
is inside
of you
and truly
be proud
of fooling

J.J. Campbell is currently trapped in suburbia, going insane.  He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Horror Sleaze Trash, Mad Swirl, BoySlut, Napalm and Novocain, and Dead Snakes.  You can find J.J. most days on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Poem by Victor Clevenger


because it
rains in Hell too;

we can grow
and sell
roses to all

the lovers like
us, on these
hot tar streets

for eternity.

Selected pieces of Victor Clevenger's work have appeared at, or are forthcoming in, Chiron Review; The Beatnik Cowboy; Dead Snakes; Blink Ink; Zombie Logic Review; Rat's Ass Review; Lady Chaos Press; Your One Phone Call; Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc.; Horror Sleaze Trash; UFO Gigolo, among several others.  His latest collection is titled, In All These Naked Pictures Of Us.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Three poems by Michael Keshigian

Honeycomb Blues

This is how it used to be
with him and his lover,
she taught him
a new song
every morning,
a different line,
with her face
in the pillow,
tracing her finger
up the stairway
of his spine
with a weightless melody
until it filled his brain
and he sang
as he rolled over
to lock his lips
around hers
so she might sugar his mouth
with more honey,
her tongue tipping sweet melodies
backwards in his throat.
The day was longing
after mornings like that,
sunlight a lonely companion,
though the song droned
like bees in the hive
all day in his head.


I watched them gig
in the pit
playing funky jazz licks
in modal timbres
made me squirm.

I thought,
I'll blow this place
when this babe be-bopped from behind
hands in my hair
said we can really groove.

I danced through the night
till light
cut a ray
through her ceramic face

cracking beauty
into puzzle fragments.
she started to sing
the blues.

First Night

Someone cuddles close
with blond mane
and wide eyed stare,
upon my skin
her body floats
and holds on
lest we both drift.
Which one plays,
which one thinks,
both engaged
yet entangled
with questions.

Michael Keshigian's tenth poetry collection, Beyond, was released in May 2015 by Black Poppy.  Other published books and chapbooks:  Dark Edges, Eagle's Perch, Wildflowers, Jazz Face, Warm Summer Memories, Silent Poems, Seeking Solace, Dwindling Knight, Translucent View.  Published in numerous national and international journals, he is a 6-time Pushcart Prize and 2-time Best of the Net nominee.  His poetry cycle, Lunar Images, set for Clarinet, Piano, Narrator, was premiered at Del Mar College in Texas.  Subsequent performances occurred in Boston (Berklee College) and Moleto, Italy.  Winter Moon, a poem set for Soprano and Piano, premiered in Boston.  ( 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Five Poems by Simon Perchik

Though the one you had your eye on
is rising north to south
the small star you thought died off

moves side to side slowly behind
the way an ancient blessing
still warns the absent moon

against those dark corners
all marble rubs across
becomes a single stone

that divides itself in two, here
an empty breast, there
the child is already dead

--you dress for this
bring the new scarf, new gloves
for what was evening once

was lullaby :the dirt
east to west, clumps
shining all around a place

already freed from the Earth
--new boots, new coat :a constellation
never here before, still cold.

This flag, as the saying goes
smacks from the sun
so you salute, can use the shade

though by the time the parade cools
your fingers ache from holding up
a lovingly carved radio that once

was a woman whose voluptuous breasts
still feed you music from the forties
--love songs for common prayer

as if July, too heavy to bear
spreads out on every lawn
and by the 4th day you are listening

the way loneliness is fed, the Earth
turning you slowly on course
corrects for winds and nourishment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Without any flowers
you are still breathing
--without a throat

still eating the warm air
though what's left from the sun
is no longer blue

hides the way your grave
is covered with stones
and still hungry

--you could use more stones
a heaviness to become your arms
one for working harder

the other invisible
leaving your heart
lifts from the dirt

your mouth, your eyes
and the sky letting go the Earth
as if you weigh too much.

As if it finished its last meal this long
sits back, waits inside for the stove
the way ashes roll over and all around you

trees are burning on rivers
that came from the first fire
still settling down as thirst

and the heady smoke flames leave behind
to be remembered by--from day one
their slow climbing turns, at first

threatening to gut the place and now
you can't live without them though your fingers
after so many years have become airborne

safe from the dangerous shadows all night
dripping between each breath and your mouth
left open--you pour in wood

to get death started :an arriving flame
surrounded by the Earth and tiny holes
--it's the only way you know how.

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Poem by John Horvath, Jr.

Where the Tree Bent Under Snow

I survived unexpected winter days
when one inch hoar ice grew inside windows
against which the winds out of the north like
broken teeth chattered.  The village orphans
who'd denounce for a loaf wicked parents thanked
their executioners for swift sentence--
nobody left to stoke the night's embers,
not under eiderdown quilts mother warms
child; life without shelter; nobody
to stoke the embers of night; Nobody.

I dreamed that I walk upon a desert
drown in a sea where my skin is burnt off
my bones; when I wake the darkness of night
wraps me and I am blind and I am cold.
A spark from the fire has burnt my heel
and the blister is frozen, a wafer
below my ankle.  I pray for fire,
the curtains aflame against the night.
Prayers I dare not whisper to another.
Another reports the state enemy.

With no one to stoke the embers of night,
children at school will learn of past evil;
but, in such days I had lived free to move,
free to desire, free to curse the cold.
Today the frozen land promises thaw
and after the thaw will come the flooding;
after the flood, the harvest of plenty.
But here and now while it is wintry
at the lake skaters vanish under ice.
Quietly into such small hidden places

One hundred years, a century, will creep.

John Horvath, Jr. lives in Mississippi where he has been publishing internationally since the 1960s.  With degrees from Vanderbilt and Florida State Universities, "Doc" Horvath taught at historically black colleges.  In 1997, John Horvath began editing, a zine dedicated contemporary international poets (  John is a disabled U.S. Army veteran.