Saturday, June 30, 2018

Three Poems from Ken L. Jones

Secondhand Aria

The sparse facts of my revelations have a winter kind of silver light
out by this dreamy meandering hotel.
Where the smog, the dust the factory made rat-a-tat becomes
but the voices on the other end of a not too very well done pantomime
that leads to an eroded stairway to a thrift store.
Where unicorns and woodland nymphs are as common as koi fish.
Near where the grapevines of late autumn are the fairy godmother to a sea
that melts away into sheets of gold and trinket boxes made of half melted snow.

Luminous Exit

The seaside was impulsive and dreary.
Yet I felt strangely at home in the shadow of a dilapidated lisping castle
that loomed above me in the gold velvet steep hills
and though it was shattered it laughed like a child
as trade winds that once knew jade Atlantis scampered through it
and oh how that made the approaching darkness to become as numb as prehistoric stone
as it fell like Icarus yet never flinched for an instant even as it became one with the Irish coast.

Irish Farewell

I use to meet her in the late afternoon light
she whose long hair hung like Druid ruins.
On those days when the rain was half remarkable
and the breezes tickled the apple tree until it giggled like a child.
Back then my life lacked mucilage.
'Twas a low ceilinged room growing narrower everyday
until her lilting words that hinted of vaster universes
placed me on The Famine Ship and sent me on my way.

Ken L. Jones has been a professionally published writer for nearly forty years.  At the beginning of his career he became well-known as a cartoonist and had such work appear at Disney Studios and for the New Kids On The Block singing group.  In the last ten years he has concentrated heavily on writing poetry in various genres.  He has appeared in Kind Of A Hurricane Press' many anthologies and blogs.  His poems have also appeared in Phil Yeh's Uncle Jam Magazine, Dual Coast Magazine, Red Ochre Press, Poetry Quarterly, Circle of Light, and Tulip Tree Review.  His most recent achievement was a poetry chap book called Dreams of Somewhere Else published by Prolific Press.


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Three Poems from Judith Skillman

Can't Return

Firs rise in green skirts
before the window.
Can't go back, the wind
says in its all too human moan.

I feel the degenerate within
take more of what it owns--
this flesh house
where all winter I sheltered.

Can't return the little birds
skewered and gnashed,
nor the sun
burning away wisps of fog.

How green the green
on February grasses,
how bright the whites
of branches tipped with sun.

The shadow grew like a wing.
Can't return the sturdy log
of a toddler I swaddled,
its baby's breath dried to tinder.


The old scar remembers its sear,
hot poker there inside prodding
an organ.  The afflictions of the hip
lie stored away, a laundry list
so detailed all it takes is one wrong move.

She remembers being paralyzed,
feeling nothing from the waist
down.  Recalls the siren's wail
as they drove with the two-year old
sitting up--crying and alive.

And then the waiting.
An interminable number of years
since then, the word scoliosis
comes into her back, takes its place
alongside four bulging discs.


Hooded bird, come in,
convalesce, hold conversation
with the unknown speaker.
Me, me, me, chirps the sparrow
through an open window.

On railings other would-be wishers
of gladness gather.
Crow, you come too,
dominate with shadow
the tabula rasa of sickness.

Who gets sick?
The sick get sick.
Cloud, rag, turpentine,
chloroform, influenza--
a table set with a vase of fruit.

Orator, forehead of a Latin speaker
placed upside down--
lift the cloak of illness,
its spell begun in a home
called pig sty.

Judith Skillman's recent book is Kafka's Shadow, Deerbrook Editions, 2017.  She is the recipient of an Erick Mathieu King Fund Award from the Academy of American Poets, an Artist Trust GAP grant.  Her work has appeared in Shenandoah, Cimarron Review, The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals.  Visit,

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Poem from Bryan Damien Nichols


the right crest is what you want

it's when white crowns begin to crown
the azure water--
                        the vertical
                        the uplifting
                        the tug

            the curl--

                       its majesty--

                                   and forwardness throughout

thrusting seamlessly
             along azure crowned in white

                         like white crowned in azure

                                     and like

                                                 all the velocity that ever was

                                                              and like everything sublime

Sunday, June 24, 2018

A Poem from Ken Poyner

The Exploitation of the Gyndroid

She is
But she is not


In the modern models
Ones like her are assembled mostly
As a collection of
Primary flexible polymers.
Still, a little metal
Remains to mimic
The limitations of bone,
The popularly accepted range of joints,
The expected sense of unyielding interconnection,
And to give balance a reference.

The owner of this place
Rents her by the month from a
Utility services provider -- one
Of those middlemen
Who stock in bulk, and
Customize once the order is
Paid cold in advance
For the full time of the lease.

He uses a small sweat shop of
Bleeding edge programmers
To get the elan his customers
Will endure a premium for.  Each
Programmer draws code on flat screens
With dry fingers, exuding the excitement
Of accomplishment, not the maturity of

The music starts and the lights
Slink out of the way and in three
Layers of flimsy netting she
Steps onto the runway and begins
Her chilling cybernette dance.
Each bend and move is just a bit
Past believable, but short of
Absurd, and she engages the room
Like the mathematics of electric joy.

There is a hitch in the arc
Of the glass in your hand and
It stops just short.  You have
To lower your mouth to sip.
The liquid falls into place
Without resistance, hollowing.

One layer of netting is tossed at your
Feet and her barely veiled surfaces
Shimmer in prurient angles through
The layers that remain,
For now.  She looks back, over her
Directly at you as you appreciate how
She walks timelessly come-hither away.
Your fragile, wandering humanity tells you perhaps
In some circumstances
She is human

Ken Poyner's collections of short fiction, "Constant Animals" and "Avenging Cartography," and his latest collections of speculative poetry, "Victims of a Failed Civics" and "The Book of Robot," can be obtained from Barking Moose Press,  He serves as bewildering eye-candy at his wife's power lifting affairs, where she continues to set world raw powerlifting records.  His poetry lately has been sunning in Analog, Asimov's, Poet Lore; and his fiction has yowled in Spank the Carp, Red Truck, and Cafe

Friday, June 22, 2018

Two Poems from Miriam Sagan

dusk falls
wooden buddha
barely stirs

half moon
appears through snow clouds
winter afternoon
in the women's tub
i think i see you
or is it
just myself
in the hot spring mist

frozen waterfall
how music
becomes sculpture

lantern lit pathway
a white bed
to remember is somehow also
to forget

i thought it was
on the mountain side
in a long moment
it was snow

turning one more page
of the book
i have yet
to write

and the shadow of deer
and their reflections

the buddha
in a cold wayside shrine

neither a photograph
an apparition--
stepping stones

a dark mountain
my breath
its cage of bone

10,000 peaks?
more likely
10,000 flickers
of thought

a sliced apple
on a white plate
the moon
also sliced
in half
both her breasts
float in the water

when the goddess tara
becomes enlightened
only the most foolish
she should drop her body
for a man's

i could show you
one thing
also i could kiss
your eyelids
and both corners
of your mouth
at once

it was a small book
in which
i wrote
my memoir
of emptiness


The archer prince with his Turkish bow
And his Mongol hat aims an arrow

The white-breasted sun shot at solstice
Tumbles from the sky in a corona of feathers

Don't say I never loved you
Or failed to feed you dumplings

"Death to the Jews"
Spray painted on the uneven brick wall

"Russia for the Russians"
"Death to the Muslims"

Babushka holds a child
Overhead the roar of warplanes

Inside, crumbs of black bread
And a mouse called starvation

I'll never be at peace with the unrolled
Double helix of my chromosomes

Or how one matreshka doll
Fits inside another, and another, and so on

Miriam Sagan is the author of 30 published books, including the novel Black Rainbow (Sherman Asher, 2015) and Geographic:  A Memoir of Time and Space (Casa de Snapdragon), which won the 2016 Arizona/New Mexico Book Award in Poetry.  She founded and headed the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College until her retirement in 2016.  Her blog, Miriam's Well ( has 1500 daily readers.  She has been a writer in residence in four national parks, at Yaddo, MacDowell, Colorado Art Ranch, Andrew's Experimental Forest, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Iceland's Gulkistan Residency for creative people, and another dozen or so remote and unique places.  She is recently returned from Kura Studio, Itoshima, Japan, where she was working on text installations as part of the creative team "Maternal Mitochndria."  Her awards include the Santa Fe Mayor's award for Excellence in the Arts, the Poetry Gratitude Award from New Mexico Literary Arts, and a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Three Poems from Linda M. Crate

no place to hide

there are whispers
never said to me,
but of
i know they exist
but i pay them no mind
if you don't give
your soul
to the things you love
will consume you
but my fire was built
to destroy
monsters and all their many bones--
i know the masks
they hide behind
pretending they are human
when they are much worse
as humanity can be
they know themselves for what they truly are,
but these beasts cannot claim the same;
they say they are forces to be reckoned with
yet always run from their problems
and when provoked with
the unforgiving fury of truth
bury themselves beneath further lies
i will give them no place
to hide.

anxiety weighs me down

sewing together
tapestries of stars
i was born
of the moon and her sun

an immortal of the flame
so many have thought
to throw water
on me,

but the ocean is my sister
and together we
exact lyrics of the most
beautiful revenge

eroding away rocks who
think they will not fall;
i don't know why they seek
to destroy me

perhaps the vibrancy
of my life or light
terrifies them--
my intensity is a frequence

that most don't seem
capable of
fathoming or valuing,
but i don't waste my time

worrying anymore over them;
anxiety always weighs me down
their mountains aren't mine to climb
i have problems of my own.

flower seeking light

they want to play
with my fire
yet without the consequence
of getting burnt,
but that's not playing fair;
just because
life isn't always fair doesn't mean
that i will not be--
and i will burn down
the tongues
of all the nightmares that would
seek to shatter my dreams
too many times
i have been told i am too much
or not enough,
and i tire of all their petty games;
there is no clothing
of their oppression that i will
ever receive
because i am the reality of dreams
those flowers that bloom
and bloom and bloom every year
without dying
because i seek the light
they all deny

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.  She has five published chapbooks:  A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press -- June 2013), Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon -- January 2014), If Tomorrow Never Comes (Scars Publications, August 2016), My Wings Were Made to Fly (Flutter Press, September 2017), and splintered with terror (Scars Publications, January, 2018).

Monday, June 18, 2018

Three Poems from J.J. Campbell

how these cycles actually work

i think the children
of today actually
believe they are
above being

that's the joy of
not understanding
how these cycles
actually work

if they were actually
working to eliminate
the abuse

i'd be all for their
high and mighty

but like so many
generations before

it's easier to sweep
under a rug than
make a statement
on national television

i like to finish ever job

i'm in the process
of drinking myself
to death

the latest lab results
show some damage
to the liver

but all my other
numbers look

so, there's still
work to do

warping my little mind


the only time
i felt like i was

the bright colors
warping my little

i took acid one
night and saw
a woman that
looked like jesus
laugh at me for
thinking any of
this was real

her serpent like
tongue licked
me like a lost

i know i wasn't
high enough

i could remember
our dog eating its
own shit

J.J. Campbell (1976-?} is a dying flower wilting away in the suburbs of Ohio.  He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Midnight Lane Boutique, Synchronized Chaos, Duane's PoeTree, Yellow Mama and Horror Sleaze Trash.  You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Two Poems from Jonathan Hine

A Hard Journey

in the empty house


where old junk fills space

the moon's dead light
floats through

darkened rooms

in that place
was a flame

next to the

from the



The Buddha Wisely Advised

wholesale cosmic


flower image
dream machine


the gleam dimmed
lens cracked




the god of

lovable as uncontrolled fire

built this house

the beams
the dome

the whole

Jonathan Hine's work has appeared most recently in Hobo Camp Review, In Between Hangovers and Synchronized Chaos.  He has forthcoming poetry in Midnight Lane Boutique.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Three Poems from Rus Khomutoff

Nemesis Sky

A secret transmission
a noncoincidence found in
infinitization of otherness
the flame under the rubble
traversed unceasingly by the horizon
interdependence of a cosmic trigger
blossom quick synastry
sweet bitter officialdom
of the nemesis sky


Underneath the arches of these generalities
the past, present and future
of the eternal menagerie
like a bouquet of fire through the lyric
guilty pleasures that enter while you exit
cyan deserve claim
bestow kiss merge rot
speculate dragonfly
linked deletions and much more

Love parasite

The explicit nevermind
a burgeoning finality
lullabies and laments in zeroland quiver
behind the beautiful forevers
iconic dodges of the midnight salvage
chronic meanings outbraving time
Cheetah Chrome
much madness in divinest sense

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Two Poems from Erren Geraud Kelly

Coffeehouse Poem #282

The woman with the titanium
Leg waves at me from
Across the room, but
I don't really notice a
Prosthetic leg at all

It is long and sleek
"A souvenir from desert storm"
She jokes

She was a Victor, not a victim

It reminds me of a missile
When she walks, she cuts
A path like the blade runner
She told me she ran a
Marathon on her bullet leg
And I am dumbfounded
Though, she laughs like a
Song, when she admits
Sometimes, she is clumsy
When she's dancing

Tall Girl in a Black Dress

Moving like a lion in the serengeti
Like a jaguar automobile sleek down city streets
Like trees swaying to the melody
Of the wind
She's a poem that hasn't found
Someone's voice
If only all the world's problems
Could be solved
All the wars ended
And some man's dream came
Because of a tall girl in
A black dress

Erren Geraud Kelly is a two-time Pushcart nominated poet from Boston; has been writing for 28 years and has over 300 publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine (online), Ceremony, Cacti Fur, Bitterzoet, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, Poetry Salzburg and other publications; most recent publication was is Black Heart Literary Joural; has also been published in anthologies such as Fertile Ground, and Beyond the Frontier; work can also be seen on Youtube under the "Gallery Cabaret" links; also the author of the book, Disturbing the Peace, on Night Ballet Press.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Two Poems by Sydney Peck

October Thursday

One of those days when the morning
Is losing the struggle to be born,
Heavy cloud smothering each ray's attempt
To creep out of the hills,
The pale sun-disc already too exhausted
To glow in the ragged breaks in the cloud.

One of those days when the bus is late,
When the coffee machine has broken down,
And no one is bothered about fixing it.
This is not a day to meet anyone socially,
Just for staying indoors and doing my job,
Saying nothing as I slip down to the cafe
For a take-out large black, no sugar.

I still see it now, still smell the coffee.
She appeared as if from nowhere,
Pushed ahead of me in the queue,
Smiling at me to give herself permission.
The smile that woke up the day,
That woke up the whole month,
That woke up my whole life,
Startled my dormant heart,
And told me to marry her--
Fifty years ago come tomorrow.

Knife Heaven

At the end I was rusty, had lost my edge,
Handle had long ago come off.
I sensed it was the scrap heap for me as soon as
She found a new sharp blade for the kitchen.
Knives are not Buddhists--
We don't come back as ax heads,
Or machine parts, or paper clips.
We go to knife heaven where
Our blades are straightened and sharpened,
With a new handle added:
And we live in a celestial drawer of shiny cutlery
With angel choir knife music playing constantly.

Sydney Peck is a schoolteacher and ardent poet, and in his spare time enjoys singing and playing traditional folk music.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Two Poems by Robert Nisbet

Bullies and Blokes

Our Latin master, fifty years ago.
His sarcasms were like the edge
of a blade of grass, stinging so much
when drawn across a tenderness.

The football chairman of that time,
scorning the softies, fairy boys,
playing to baying public praise,
the adulation of the toadies.

I've seen both in their nursing homes
and was amazed to see them shrinking,
back into a cornered bitterness,
where no-one came to play the victim
and breezy nurses bustled through.

Now Wittsy, Tosser, Jinksy.  Blokes various,
had jobs, did things, now picking up the part
of local good old boys.  Standing
in a March sun by the Shop on the Green,
hooting mirth.  An inventory would show
arthritic joints, the odd bits here and there
not working as they should.  But they share
a pleasure in the sun, the day, the Green,
the coming of another, yet another spring.

Right Back

We recalled him well, big strong right back,
playing in local teams, on local pitches,
tall solid lad, hard in the tackle and defense,
not a dirty player, let's just say resolute.
It was odd to hear he later became a priest.

We thought back.  Yes, he was hard but fair,
maybe tackling just a shade too heavily
at times.  Maybe, running beside a winger,
he'd nudge his hip across.  He never argued,
never challenged refs.  As we said, hard but fair.

A further decade later, we learned that he
was now a missionary.  When he called once,
he told the barber of the African territory,
of building hospitals, of staffing schools,
of work with pain and poverty and loss.

We'd thought our fields, our local pitches,
a kind of permanence.  An enclave, a retreat.
But I can see him still, strong into the tackle,
coming away with the ball, booting upfield,
down with touchline, deep into opponents' half.

Robert Nisbet is a Welch poet who lives about 30 miles along the coast from Dylan Thomas's Boathouse.  He has published widely in Britain and the USA.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Three Poems by g emil reutter

They Come Even in a Storm

The third nor'easter of the year has arrived
winds agitate trees, whips rain against bricks
warm glow of lights reflect off macadam.  Snow
has yet to fall, yet in the middle of the block a
tow truck idles, radio crackles consumed in
the turbulent air.  Truck backs up to a 2017
Ford as the voice of a young woman rises in
a painful shrill, car is hooked, she wails as one
does at a wake.  She watches as the truck pulls
away into the now swirling snow, yellow strobe
lights of the repo truck fade into the darkness
of the storm.

Under the Pilings

Separating the homes of the neighborhood
was a swath of a field.  Just wide enough for
a football or baseball game.  In the middle of
the swath was a tall piling as a ladder to the sky.
Underneath we created makeshift diamonds in
the summer and grids in the autumn.  When the
day wore on and boredom hit we would climb
the ladder to the sky and while most only made
it up two stories, Jim and Tommy always made
it tot he top, stood with arms raised between
insulators and wires as if they were kings of the
sun.  So now an old man I return to the swath of
a field between the homes of my old stomping
grounds.  There are no ballfields under the piling
and no kids running around the field.  The ladder
to the sky now posted with no trespass signs, no
kids climbing most likely they are more cautious
than we were and probably smarter.

The Cat's Escape

Flowers uprooted from box, stomped
     upon sidewalk, ripped up photographs
          scattered across living room floor, dog
               hiding under the couch, cat hanging on
                    door knob seeking escape, yearbook torn
                         apart, thrown in trash just because you
                              didn't have one.

Glasses broken upon kitchen floor
     barefoot you ran over shards, through
          the house, your voice changed from high
               shrill to baritone, I did not know who you
                   were speaking with.

As your mind descended into dark places
     you grabbed a piece of plastic, tried to cut
          your wrists the wrong way, naked you burst
               through the front door ran down the street to
                    the park frolicked amongst the dandelions, screamed
                         at the sky, I grabbed a robe, retrieved you, returned to
                              entrapment of the coffin of a house.

You lay down upon the couch, spoke in a 
     normal voice as if nothing had happened, fell into
          a deep sleep.  I pulled the dog from under the couch
               sat on the front steps, held her as she licked paws, watched
                    the cat walk down the street.  I placed the dog into the house
                         she ran up the steps.  I looked at you on the couch, turned
                              opened the door, walked out and followed that cat away from
                                       this place.

g emil reutter is a writer of poems and stories.  Nine collections of his fiction and poetry have been published.  He can be found at:

Monday, June 4, 2018

Two Poems by Byron Hoot


The sanctuary of a bar
is something the right kind
of theologian would know . . .
how entering is stepping
over a threshold, how the conversations
are prayers, the libations
sacred elixir, the breaking
of bread an act of communion
made in-between laughter
and sighs, stories of joy
and sorrow
                   where the art
of forgetfulness--God's own
art--is practiced for awhile
and the liturgical response, "One more"
is absolution for all that can't
be absolved.
                      Like all things religious, however,
it can be taken too far
and sanctuary becomes bedlam
of heart and soul and body
and mind just like any other
sanctuary can become . . .
                                           though like all
theology "Last call" is but
a temporary closing of the doors.


How ludicrous to think
                                       "I am;"
How ludicrous not to--

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Three Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

A Familiarity with Strangers

we knew each other by the spotlight on wild flowers,
the bath of prairie sage and the colors blue and green
a glitter of light across the broad shape of grass near the blog
the swamp the busy muscles of mire and marshlands
a wave of thistle and a blockade of thorny rosebush

we knew each other by the spotlight on animal trails
the curvature of mud into earth stone into boulder
a crusade of pebbles across a breach shells to far from water
leaf imprints common deer tracks a sink of possum and skunk
the bend at the bluff taking us to the angle of palisade

we knew each other by the spotlight on birdsong
a thrust of wing and feather a storm of insects and then a quiet
the hurry of flying mammals and chimney sweeps rising
a whine a chirp a melody of temperament and hunger
the silence between refrain notes rests a pitch of light


I do not feel like spoiled meat
rancid heart
a register of dismay

An anger or an auger
an achor
metal rusting inside tissue

Echoes of ethos and ghosts
the ego of night
the boasting day

Seawalls breaking within tide
long streams of sand
a disconnect between rock and bone

Yet a mountain can roar
prairie grass flowers
hornets do not always sting

Saving the Light

her eyes blue cypress sky
taureen, squalene, Dorzolamide HCI
a tint of turquoise paper barked birch
prednisolone acetate, shark liver oil
the great heron indigo and pastel.

the First Cataract a series of pebbles,
small islands, a whiting of water
the Second larger and bolder
shallows and sediment
proteins with mass and shadows

vitamin C, a strength of zinc
a covering of wood and dead cherry blossoms
red peppers, bits of kale, pea protein
a purple scar and then a darker scar
glaucoma and finally a lack of light

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses.  His work has appeared in The Cafe Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review,, and others.  In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks including The Shooting Gallery (Samsidat Press, 1987), Poems from the Body Bag (Ommation Press, 1988), A Period of Trees (Snark Press, 2004), What Stone Is (Fractal Edge Press, 2005), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm:  A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012), The Possibility of Sky and Hell:  From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013), and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2013).  He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).