Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Poem by Shloka Shankar

Growing Up

i wonder
if i was birthed
as a cross-breed
between nostalgia
and oblivion;

fumbling thro
ugh childhood -
a rigmarole,
happenings, iso
lated moments
of happ
iness that

jostle between
becoming an adult
or remaining
an adolescent;

my foolhar
diness wears off
along with my masks.

Shloka Shankar is a freelance writer residing in India.  A contributing poet in over two dozen international anthologies, she has also seen her poems published in The Literary Yard, VerseWrights, Emanations, Ofi Press Mexico, Wicked Banshee Press, Otoliths, Calliope Magazine, Poetry WTF?!, Visual Verse, and Jaggery among numerous others.  She is the founder & editor of the literary and arts journal, Sonic Boom.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

In Stillness

This winter which is built mostly of stone and brine melts away
Soon toucans and tikis will rule it all but for now they hide beneath the bowler caps
Of vineyards near where my true love bathes herself in a tub of masks
That is near the cheap little taco stand where I first met her
Under skies so like a red velvet cloak draped over clouds of jellyfish
Even as she gave unto me all that was left of her ruby slippers
In the secluded minutes that were like a blur whose name I did not catch
As we flew under the data beyond all time with a brain in a bottle's swagger
And there were no shove off points for such as we
Buttermilk birds who were created by Hieronymus Bosch with a winepress of a golden hue
Whose silhouette was descending a staircase at the time
Just two migrating sea turtles who with a sigh became luminous sleepwalkers by and by

The Pain of a Puppet

The peppermint snowflakes dream of Bond Girls
And are a blue fossilized time machine
There is sea salt in the moonlight's barrage of data
As I go to visit a Picasso goddess on a contorted beach
Where all that crushes grapes is encouraged
To hide its identity from several horses with skull painted faces
Sent forth by that which is know as Pennywise
As I took a vow of incredible shrinking down
Through all the ticking decades that can communicate with ants
And are feather light in their brandied candles
Even as they unleash the shadowed baptism of the reptile clock at long last

The Mad Tea Party is Like Keith Haring Hallucinating Chocolate

Sleeping alone in unwanted bygone thoughts
Something blurry and staccato retyped the meat
A handful of theme songs collected all the scissored paintings
While Edgar Allan Poe blossomed into the Red Queen
And all of this of course took place nowhere else
But in the footsteps of my brain
While the White Rabbit talking on a police call box
Torn to shreds about how someone shot a Mexico City library in the head
Then was sliced to ribbons on a technicality
That throbbed like a cobra on the Headless Horseman frequency

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, April 14, 2015

A Poem by Joan McNerney

an executive

showed me in
i, shy
as an orphan

her charming face
thru sewing room
viewing beige cabinets
bolts of silk
tactical prints
her life in threads
swatches impressive

discerning glances
make me hurry
out the rear
but she invited
me only to see
her material things
& feel them

all handsome houses
have well guarded gardens
lush chrysanthemums
smothering me

Joan McNerney's poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circles Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of a Hurricane Press and Poppy Road anthologies.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net, Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013.  Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses and she has four ebook titles.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Two Poems by Susan Dale

Birthday Reflections

Eighteen years east of euphoria
And eight years north of ecstasy
I walk backwards through time
Pounds of prophecies
Lie heavy on my shoulders.
As I journey a somber odyssey
Across the roads of nostalgia
And hear those legions of librettos
I hear too ___ choruses of lullabies and lyres
And the alleluias and requiems
Of those many miles of melodies
That danced my feet
Or blew taps at Reveille.
Timeless music by which
I followed an eternal rhythm
To love, birth, sing, weep.
Leave, lose,
And find again.

Coming to a window etched with time.
I look through the panes
To see all misted over
Regrets frosted in coatings
On the winter pane of my life
        And all gilded over
        With layers of fools' gold.

A Basket of Brotherhood

Weave for me a basket of brotherhood.

For the frame chose a hardy bark of inclusiveness
Within the waters of redemption
Soak long the grasses and stalks
To strip racism from their barks
And to make pliable their fibers of intolerance.

From the promises of our fathers
Weave for me a basket of brotherhood
From the bounty of the human spirit
Web and waft a lattice-work of compassion

Border this basket of your endurance and my hopes
With a rim of unity.
And attach a strong handle
For a long odyssey
Into the trials and tears of our tomorrows

And now to fill the basket with generous portions of wisdom
And the joys that come with peace

And carry this basket I shall
Through the silent prayers
Of mankind's struggles through eternity
Through war torn countries
Through devastation and famine
And through the barren lands
Where naught but hate and greed
Flourish on its blood-stained soil.

Susan Dale's poems and fiction are on WestWard Quarterly, Kind of a Hurricane Press, Ken*Again, Penman Review, Inner Art Journal, Garbanzo, and Linden Avenue.  In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan.  She has two published chapbooks on the internet:  Spaces Among Spaces by and Bending the Spaces of Time by Kind of a Hurricane Press (The Barometric Pressures Authors' Series).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Two Poems by Judith Skillman


They said, and I did,
my body a pool of torpor,
there beside the sea.
On the branch,
Anna's hummingbird
grew quiet, no longer
flitting from flower
to flower.
They said it as an order,
as a conveyance, a way
to preserve energy
in the body as it dies
for want of youth, for loss
of elasticity.  I saw
with one eye, and my yes
was yes, and this night--
cold as Anaconda,
crevassed with the Andes--
this night I believed
could kill me if the word
did not.

The Small Worm from Which Cinnabar Comes

Adhered to my thoughts,
as if thought
were a mucous, a substance
gluey and tenacious,
an ugliness accorded
to the self.

A centipede
could burrow no farther
than this intense wish
to inhabit my fear and shock,
its hundred legs.

Get rid of the grub.
Go parent your ugly past.

There, balls of mercury
scatter, a glass thermometer's
broken by nothing more
than gravity
to fall in slow motion.

See that you ring up
the bell dead set
against winter, those dull afternoons
during illness.

The old rage
of the father, or God,
rolling like quicksilver.

Scattering roach like
across burnt umber floors.

Judith Skillman's new book is Angles of Separation, Glass Lyre Press 2014.  Her work has appeared in Tampa Review, Cimarron Review, Tar River Poetry, Prairie Schooner, FIELD, Seneca Review, The Iowa Review, Southern Review, Poetry, New Poets of the American West, and other journals and anthologies.  Skillman is the recipient of grants from the Academy of American Poets, Washington State Arts Commission, and King County Arts Commission.  She has taught at City University, Richard Hugo House, Yellow Wood Academy, and elsewhere.  Visit

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Poem by Sudha Srivatsan

The Desert Kitchen

I slacked through ghorouds,
Like chocolate twisting through waffle,
The dunes hold out invitation,
Their faces gently nod,
So I scale them, laughing,
Crumbling their sharp tops,
Like a cleaver slicing a lofty apple pie.

The climb tickles their ripples,
They hide their wavy lines,
To come up someplace different,
Like saffron threads lost,
And showing up in pastry batter,
They hum for me a sweet little song
Deja vu, I have heard it in dreams all along.

They drape in shades, ochre, long
In glass, aglint and oft golden
Like a crepe perfect neatly folded,
I behold their aroma slowly climbing,
The flavor of crepe, crisp through the air,
Changing shades quite so oft,
Like my crepe inconsistent each time.

Wriggling through them, my fingers feel light,
Like clawing through broken raw brown rice
Winds of rest,
As I savor in your crest
The completeness in your being,
Howbeit breathing lonely,
Like baking and melting through my own mindless being.

Sudha Srivatsan was born and raised in India.  A daughter, wife and sister, she has worked in the Middle East and London.  Sudha aspires to be known in the space of poetry as someone who weaves magic into language and combines unique design and strong color to her work of art.  Her work is due to appear in Commonline Journal, the Indiana Voice Journal April 2015 issue.  She has been a winner of poetry contests and was recently shortlisted for the Mary Charman Smith November 2014 Poetry Competition.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Poem by Joe Krausman

My Heart is an Onion

My heart is an onion, bitter.
In the onion is a little man
who bangs a sledgehammer against
the heart-gong whenever you appear.
With each bang a spring unwinds
gates pop ope, blood races in rivers.
The tortoise blood becomes a jaguar
racing through the river of time.
A slow man becomes passionate.
As wild as one stepping on
jagged glass with a bare foot.
My heart-clock once ticked for you
and tocked for another,
and then tick tocked for itself, alone.
Thanks for the jolt.
Death unwinds me.
My legacy is words.

Joe Krausman is a writer, poet, theater director and former senior research analyst with the New York State Assembly.  He was the MCA Fellow in Playwriting at Smith College.  His plays have been staged in NYC, Amherst MA, Iowa, Holyoke, Northampton.  Krausman received the Massachusetts Fiction Writing Fellowship from UMass where he obtained an MFA in Fiction Writing.  He has participated in many poetry readings and has published plays, short stories, non-fiction and poetry.  He taught theater at Grinnell College in Iowa, and English at UMass, Amherst.