Sunday, October 2, 2022

Three Poems by Wayne F. Burke

Stay up all night
and listen to the 
radio and
the dark in me
spreads on pages
as branches scratch
in calligraphic
on the window, and
the snow sifts
and wite-outs' the 

The sky is not sky
but lava
the birds swim through
at their own risk
and leisure, unlike
me, hurdling through
at 500 mph
in an aluminum tube
that incubates fright.

As the sun sets behind the 
ridge line, a truck driver
backs his truck
into a barroom's parking lot.
A girl, standing in front of the 
bar, puffs on a cigarette.
The barroom door swings open
and shut as
a pizza-delivery man
exits, and 
a bird, on a telephone line, dives
and disappears from
my sight--
all of which
has something to do with me
I am not quite

Wayne F. Burke's poetry has been widely published in print and online (including Kind of a Hurricane Press Anthology).  He is author of eight full-length published poetry collections -- most recently, Black Summer (Spartan Press, 2021). He lives in Vermont (USA).

A Poem by Susan Dale

A Prophesy of Earth's Final Hours

Comes the night that swallows our feeble lights
And the moonstruck girl who sleeps under a gypsy moon
There is one day and a hundred years
Of the slow death of life
When burns a brazen sun
And howl contemptuous winds
There is a sad boy who
Stands under a broken bridge
And sells his songs
For a sixpence and a memory
There are loves' contortions: fierce, false
Spawning along a boulevard of broken dreams
And rains, cold that sing one kind of song
The barren sands, another
There are mystic dreads pounding at the door of dark
Songs ringing with the skirling music
That transcends earth and time

And at the far edges of yesterday
On the seaward side of tomorrow
Lamplights are fading
And the heavy-lidded eyes of the moon
Are closing on a fate that dares to dream

Susan Dale's poems and fiction are on WestWard Quarterly, Mad Swirl, Penman Review, The Voices Project, and Jerry Jazz Musician.  In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan.  The Spaces Among Spaces from has been on the internet.  Bending the Spaces of Time from Barometric Pressures is on the internet now.  She has been nominated on Jerry Jazz Musician for the Pushcart Prize of 2022 with her poem: To Paul.

Three Poems by Suzette Bishop


Your name of prairie grasses,
of freezing months,
of winds carrying me off,
of blizzards making me lose myself,
of your gray coat turning to white,
of breath hanging in the air,
of sparks crackling from your just brushed tail,
of hooves making a sacred drumbeat against earth,
of smooth gait rivering toward ocean,
of mane's tendrils firing white,
of smoky dust rising after us.

Eclipse of the Moon

it leaves and returns
like you

feather laid against the moon
loosening into the profile

of a death horse
the moon her eye

of cloud signals

say don't feel afraid
the horse can see your envy

stomp it out
let it go like a feather

Dear Plexiglass Students

It's lovely to see your shiny selves again
after going online in March
and being off during the summer,
recovering from the screen,
from typing all day and into the early morning,
my eyes burning.

You are a sight for sore eyes,
so clear, see-through,
attentive and waiting,
seamless waves
rolling gently ashore--
     The live stream is lagging
     Press "Skip" to catch up--

Speaking through a coral mask
made at a bridal shop
makes me slow down,
pronounce every word carefully,
after months of rarely speaking.
I saw the usual things bout the syllabus.
your part, my part.

I didn't miss the sound of my voice,
or words in PowerPoints,
or textbooks,
or official emails,
or assessment reports,
or syllabi,
those word arrangements undertowing both of us,
wires ready to lasso us tightly,
finish pulling us under.

I've scribbled a few words on a pink Post-it note
I've placed in front of me:
Don't make it harder than it is,
Stay with me,
Focus on taking in the info
rather than putting out texts.

At the moment, that's all I have for us,
post it to yourself
and let it drop once it becomes a part of you
or no longer serves you.

Suzette Bishop has published three poetry books and two chapbooks, including her most recent chapbook, Jaguar's Book of the Dead.  Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies.  She lives with her husband and two cats in Laredo.

Three Poems by Anthony Ward


I'd thought my life settled,
Like sediment in a half full glass.
When all of a sudden,
My stomach's churning,
The sentiment swirling
Dissolving into a glass half empty.

Did I keep you like a tree?
Pruned to my liking,
So you wouldn't outgrow your confinement
And dredge the ground,
That would cause the foundations of my castle
To crack and come crumbling down.

Now you grow to your full potential.
Rising above the battlements
With your head in the sky,
Your memories clouded.


The picture on the wall
Hung for half their lives
Homely to the outside world.

Every now and then it would tilt,
And stay that way for months
Before anyone would straighten it.
Other times it would be straightened every day of the week.

The back had been temporarily Fixed with masking tape,
For years, nobody noticed.
Then one day it was placed in a brand-new frame,
Though the thought of a new frame had been hanging for some time.
And it remained in its new frame until it was old.

The picture didn't face a window,
There was never much light shed upon it.
It shone mostly in the shade,
In full view of its banishment.


The Sound of the sirens increased with the silence,
Whether because or despite of it, I don't know.
Was it always like this that you just didn't notice?
When the world was loud in concert-
The city crowd.
A cacophony of eyes, like frogspawn
Flooding in a pool of faces

My thoughts fight like a stopped clock,
Stuttering for time,
Outfoxed by memories I wish I had.
How abysmal the duration of the moment undergone,
The blank canvas of inspiration drowned by buoyancy.

Anthony Ward tends to fidget with this thoughts in the hope of laying them to rest.  He has managed to lay them in a number of establishments, including, Shot Glass Journal, Jerry Jazz Musician, Literary Yard, Ariel Chart, The Metaworker and New Note Poetry.

A Poem by H. Edgar Hix

Across the Street from the Wishing Well
(Phrases from Playmates)*

Privacy is not easy to find
she says, 
and writes poetry
to know a measure of isolation
at Beverly Hills

has acquired a year-round taste for 
Christianity and a modest lifestyle
however, her plans call for a trip to
somewhere between indignation and outrage.

I think crocodiles can jump
into womanhood
looking natural for the camera
just relaxing on the surf-soaked rocks.

Living with her mother,
a sample snap-shot or two of herself
first born in
a lens click

I want to be
a small house not far from
a full moon.

Most of her poems are about
her life in a remote Alaskan fishing village
wearing a hat -- and nothing else.

she was just a lens click
a dormant volcano
a professional poodle
our unenlightened past

here's our hope
to provide shelter from the storm
that I was able to define only later
As a child

Thank God she's a 
field with lots of mud
during the latter part of World War Two
with a knack for covert maneuvers.

she lived until four years ago
looking back, she wonders why

I feel very close to large animals,
leather bikinis
romantic poetry
and amusement park

in the desert
girls like to stew their beds
with the sun
and metaphysics
with ice in it

You should live through things rather than be
a bumblebee three years in a row
come face to face with
the line of pompom-wielding girls
even own a television set
Besides, there's always next summer.

woodland nymph likes
ashes of Chicago
all around

In Los Angeles money and sex are
giving her a woman's body from which to 
get married, have babies and watch television

With the ashes of Chicago
always in motion
through the crowd greeting people with a laugh and
I'm concerned, this is utopia.

hot fudge and footlights
that she might go after, just for fun,
and afterward settle down to raise a family.
"I never really pursued that dream," she says
I've learned how to be
on an assembly line

She lives in a small house not far from
World War Two, Korea and Vietnam
exercises and writes poetry.  Most of her poems are about
what the hell a Moon Pie is

my parents tell me I shouldn't get
a real religion
my family
couldn't even go to McDonald's

here I am, living the dream
to provide shelter from the storm
in big wardrobe racks
but if I continue to stay here I'm going to have to find a horse.

fabulously beautiful woman
paranoid about getting fat
writes poetry
obsessed with tall, emaciated girls

When the arrow went through the guy's chest
I went out and bought some books that explained how
Things seem to have a way of working out

you can be a phenom
get past the dogs
feel the vibe 
be the last character left alive

dreamed of becoming
an anonymous model
riding off into the spotlight

tall, emaciated girls
whose sentences have the force of

it's cold and you're naked
"I want to be the last character left alive
trying on hats in Ensenada

She steers clear of the fast lane
is always at the ready to flee
and confides that her secret ambition is to be
a promising threat

always been crazy about 
beautiful women
from popcorn peddler
She still lives in the thin air

the girl of your dreams
often screams at night
lives in a small house not far from
a brace of Dobermans and 
has "no desire to act,"

she likes to exercise her
nice breasts or
real religion
at random boutiques

busy making her mark in
lots and lots of hair spray
she said, "Wait a few years and then
I intend to study yoga and metaphysics

I've always wanted a Chihuahua
born in Jacksonville, Florida, and raised in
Christianity and a modest lifestyle

she smells like jasmine
in World War Two,
the hunted
not easy to find.

I believe very strongly in God.
But every so often I think, I sure hope he doesn't have a heart attack
to dramatize the dissenting viewpoint.

the line of pompom-wielding girls
Living in awesome beauty threatened by
a waitressing job
in Pittsburgh

the ocelot of often screams at night
Somewhere secluded, like
a beauty salon.

We discovered her at an exercise class
Not ready to go home and admit
the active pursuit of pleasure.
"I couldn't even go to McDonald's after class," she says.
but she likes to exercise her freedom
by not hanging up her clothes and not doing the dishes.

here's our hop for the future
as an anonymous
peach in June

For those unfamiliar with Boston,
happiness is what counts, and
leather bikinis, as small as the law permits
"Somehow, I think that's significant," she says.

four-wheeling in a field with lots of mud
she's been at it a year and a half now and 
During her spare time
she's dead serious about getting that ph.d.

She also has her sights set on
a rest after good sex
with the sun

I can't compose music,
But every so often I think,
bring on the violins
awash in daydreams

you're reading
romantic poetry
so ashamed of being skinny

it was so violent they had armed guards
across the street from
the wishing well

I want to be
little doubt Brittany
from the ocean
in touch with her inner wildcat

*Each verse/poem is made of single lines from Playmate profiles in Playboy magazine.  Each line is from a different Playmate.  They are not meant to be taken in their original context in the articles.

H. Edgar Hix, like his work, appears here and there, now and then, but generally stays home.  Do a duckduckgo search and you'll find a few pieces, mainly poetry and flash fiction.

Three Poems by Jeffrey Zable


You can't always bless what kills . . . 

"Why not?" asked the aardvark of the canary.

And just as the clock struck 7 the window opened
and the rain came pouring in, while I prayed it wouldn't
reach me in the tub, give me such shivers that I'd die
before I got the the towels on the shelf.

And with that I returned to my internal muttering
only to remember the time my neighbor banged on the door
while I was bathing.  "Let me in!" she yelled,
"I haven't a single lump of sugar and it's my last cup of coffee!"

"Mother isn't here!" I shouted back, and eventually she went away.

I rose from the tub, shook myself dry, and listened to the rain,
wondering if I'd make it through another day . . . 


Yes, it's raining Englishman and all I can say is that
I hope that one of them doesn't land on me, because
I completely forgot to put on some armor before leaving
the house, something I must remember to do as the world
has become such an unpredictable place that one must be 
ready for anything.  Speaking of which I was walking down
the street yesterday in a part of town that I'd never been before
when some guy stepped in front of me and said, "You've no
right to have all the money in the world when I have nothing.
Here I can't even buy a sliver of a corned beef sandwich while
you can buy the whole city if you wanted to!"  Telling him he's 
mistaken me for someone else -- maybe the guy who originally 
started that online bookstore -- I took out my coin purse and 
deposited all my change into his outstretched hand.  "That's more
like it!" he said in a voice that reminded me of my late father
who once commended me for reading the financial section
of the newspaper and reporting that I learned something new
which I'd one day be able to apply.  "Good to see that you're
taking the initiative!" he said with genuine enthusiasm 
before returning to the comics section of the newspaper . . . 

The Final Test

"No, mother, I would never put a chicken into a pot without plucking
it first!"

And as the world turns--mostly to dust--I recall that teacher who said
to our class, "Your identity will be 90% complete by the age of seven,
and for the rest of your days you will struggle to undo the trauma 
that beset you!"

With that, I asked, "Then why even bother living if that's all that one
has to look forward to?"

To which he smiled and replied, "That's entirely up to each of us to decide.
Now, are there any more questions before I hand out the final test?"

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher, conga/bongo drummer who plays for dance classes, rumbas, and Latin music gigs around the San Francisco Bay Area.  His poetry, flash fiction, and non-fiction has appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies, more recently in Locust Review, Once Upon a Crocodile Raw, Defuncted, Fleas on the Dog, Uppagus and many others . . .