Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Three Poems by Grant Tarbard

The Song of the Mean Eyed Cat and the One Eyed Fox
Cat was a gypsy of his street,
a loose tooth vagabond
with nimble ballerina feet.
The neighbours wouldn't know this
due to his sagging old linen belly
woven threadbare from the loom,
tattered but strong and ready.

Cat was the one on the fence
eyeing you with suspicion-
a ready claw, a ready purr
hinging on his disposition.

Fox was an old soldier
medals clung to his chest
along with dirt, leaves and all the rest.

He may of had a folding limp
when the air was hung with damp
but when the sun shone fiercely
he was an acrobat.

Fox was the eyes you felt
on your back from within the trees,
he was the uneasy chill
that made you pick up speed.
Cat, the one claw killer
(perfected over time)
of the starling napping 
on the washing line.
A giver of gifts left behind
on doorsteps cold at 5 am,
the prize winning fish-
a dissected corpse with a dangling eye.
Fox, the seventh cub of a seventh cub
intimate between the mists,
hands shook with comeuppance,
just another ration over chewed.
Dashing in red beret,
captain of those midnight raids
on dustbins laden with enemy supplies
destined for the home stomach.
Both roamed the bi-ways of the town
and had a paw in all things devious,
for the work of the Devil lies
not just in idle hands
but in all clean clawed creatures.

Below the Feather
Cuckoo agrees that
the guts of a pig
would make fine compost
in the garden of
Eden. His blatant
attempts to deflect
the butchering hoe
of Adam didn't work, 
cuckoo's hot bowels 
would be plucked below
the feather and placed
reverently on
the flush leaf mold, his
blush blood would be sprayed
as fertiliser.

Luka and the Spider
Luka was a poet and the Spider ate him.
He traveled through his innards with a box of swans
That he would open to go and fetch light.
Spider was an aching willows branch spindling downward,
Spider was black as a wordless night,
Spider was always moving about the terraces of the gardens.
Luka had pepper in his pocket, he always kept it there for he had lost the salt.
He clambered up to Spider's sinuses and blew the pepper,
With a hand of fine powder he sent out urgent letters of help, sequinned on the dewdrops thread.
Spider was sickly, he would scrape the paint off of saintly statues and serve it as medicine,
Spider used icons as godparents for his seven thousand children,
Spider watched the pontiff from the alcove murmuring funeral rites.
Luka had set up home in the spider's spleen,
He looked up from these rooms of wayward moments 
And uttered; "We all are just layers of masks". 
Spider was quite content with his lot, he bought his suits from a well respected tailors,
Spider was quite content with his full belly, nothing wriggled to trouble him,
Spider was quite content with his lot, he played the fiddle to entertain the children.
Luka opened the box of swans and tied their beaks together;
"Sometimes I miss where I am from".
He unleashed the entangled arrow of beaks into the sputtering inside of Spider's scented bare chest.
Spider's sacred heart pierced and broke up the day of the giants onlooking.
Spider's bewailing woke up the beak-less swans and they flew out of his chest, four and twenty.
Spider whimpered; "Oh pity! Cry for me when the tide comes". 
Luka was spat out of a storm of granite from Spider's gullet,
He looked back at his foe with his legs curled, jigging with St. Vitus' dance and the death twitch
And felt a great pity for a creature so powerful that it could swallow whole a poet of his fame.
Luka had been low down in the blue dark for such a time he couldn't remember the swells of colour,
He had to be weaned of the murk a blink at a time for the sky was anchored by a titanic golden chain.
The other poets had no faces now and Luka spent his time around the arachnid enclosure of London Zoo.
Grant Tarbard has worked as a journalist, a contributor to magazines, an editor, a reviewer and an interviewer. He is now the editor of The Screech Owl and co-founder of Resurgant Press with Bethany W. Pope.  His work can be seen in such magazines as The Rialto, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Bone Orchard Poetry, BLAZE, The Journal, Southlight, Sarasvati, Earth Love, Mood Swing, Puff Puff Prose Poetry & Prose, Postcards Poetry and Prose, Playerist 2, Lake City Lights, Medusa's Kitchen, The Open Mouse, Weyfarers, Miracle, Poetry Cornwall, I-70, South Florida Review, Stare's Nest, Zymbol, Synchronized Chaos, BLUEPEPPER, Every Day Poetry, Tribe, Verse-Virtual and Decanto.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Poem by Ken L. Jones

Cease To Be Human

Returned from the dead for very little reason
And wanted to go back again
To that sunny haunted island of old dreams
Moon star dreams of a drowsy silver rider
Near faded orange streets that snake out
Like a golden lasso
Into wintery alleyways full of smoke that make me
Wish that my dreams were a railroad
But they are just a ruined trumpet
That only I can get to play
And the notes that I am able to coax out of it  
Quickly dissipate like snowflakes
As soon as they touch the last light on a waterfall
That only has half a face

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, November 18, 2014

A Poem by Martin Cohen

Thesia is Sin -- A Poem for the New Year

(Written at 5 in the morning, New Year's Day, 2012)

Questionable lights fall across the land.  They soak into the ground, leaving a peppermint ooze.  Wandering carefully through, I notice a pink-smelling mist rising, surrounding me.  It tickles.

Once, twice I am lifted, as my shadow says howdy to the irreducibility of it all.  I, however, remain silent, keeping twice my usual distance from reality.

A hopeful sound approaches.  I place it into shadow position as we dance across the not-quite floor.  The comfort is reassuring.

Once again, the new year has forced itself upon us.  If only we could make it stumble, we could have a time without time, knowing that safety is not in numbers but in friends, and that the fragrant sound of touching shines sweetly over all.

Martin Cohen is a retired computer programmer who loves dancing (favorites are West Coast Swing, Waltz, Foxtrot, and Salsa), writing (but not revising) poems, and solving math problems.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Schizophrenia Night

      Devoted to John Nash, A Beautiful Mind Movie, 2001

I am a chalkboard computer brain.
I have updated drawn raw
images even the classroom
students cannot see, hear, nor understand.
They sit quietly in Disneyland
wondering about my eccentricities
I capture their stillness, then I speak.
I am the professor, special agent of government
dream tracer of crossroad puzzles.
Photographic memory in private rooms,
did I hear a critic, erase
destroy dissociation thoughts.
I walk out unsteady in disbelief.
Is there a shadow of storybooks following me?

I am a genius; I know who I am.
I spend the nights in formula construction
drawing full color images of my brain,
percentages of gray matter lost.

I stick my ego to the eagle of the sky.

When on a high on an airplane, self-love,
full bloom, I keep my enemies at bay.
I shelter the skeletons of thought.

I trust Jesus because His image is stable,
every group I have ever known says "The Lord's Prayer."
Even then, new members leave, disappear, I hear what they said.
I had an MRI to trace all my youthful abuses.
There were no images there but voices I remember.
I cast there shadows, audio, visual for show, in the background.
In time, they quiet their voices.  I walk beyond their images.
I pass on, they still screenplay.

You have to stretch lean, refer to sanity,
drink Asian tea, smooth out hallucinated sounds
before that stage, I took that Nobel prize,
even before, I forgave you.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 27 countries.  He edits 8 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freendom (136 page book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 70 poetry videos on YouTube.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Poem by Sy Roth

Shrinking World

Espied a shrinking world
loath to participate on it
its circumference half-radii
so small I would eventually
find my feet entwined
around my head

Buttressed by air
Proximate distance from my body
A wordless composition--paper's thickness
Rustles close to the rank smells of being.

Pushing desires--
To push away from the others
Spring clean and shove it all onto plastic sheets,
shrink-wrap the flotsam
and leave them unprotected from winter winds
and a scalding summer sun.

Met myself in a zone of silence
Where it all shrank to a pencil nub
pink eraser the only monument plopped at its summit

an effervescent bubble pops mid-air
showering a nasal spray of dis-ease
smelly big toe waggles serpentine by my nose
curling up into the venomous air.

I with it--
Infectious weevil.

Sy Roth comes riding in and then canters out.  Oftentimes, head is bowed by reality; other times, he proud to have said something noteworthy.  Retired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, he now resides in Mount Sinai, far from Moses and the tablets.  This has led him to find words for solace.  He spends his time writing and playing his guitar.  He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre, Bitchin' Kitsch, Bong is Bard, Humber Pie, Poetry Super Highway, Penwood Review, Masque Publications, Foliate Oak, Miller's Pond Poetry, The Artistic Muse, Word Riot, Samizdat Literary Journal, Right Hand Pointing, The Screech Owl, Epiphany, Red Poppy Review, Big River, Poehemians, Nostrovia Poetry's Milk and Honey, Siren, Palimpset, Dead Snakes, Euphemism, Humanimalz Literary Journal, Ascent Aspirations, Fowl Feathered Review, Vayavya, Wilderness House Journal, Aberration Labyrinth, Mind[less] Muse, Em Dash and Kerouac's Dog.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Two Poems by April Salzano

Whose Ostrich Is This

with its head in my sand &
a mouth full of mitigation?
What distance is really
unreachable with a pocket
emptied like a flag in the wind?
Varied & clumsy, all the horses
are dragging their riders into a night
that wears a crown.  A thorny
crucifixion bothers to martyr
the unarmed.

I Will Be Damned

if I do not make amends with this body
full of blame.  The mirror
reflects nothing worth gazine.
Eyes tax the reflection,
both ways/both ways.
What one version says,
the other echoes.  I cannot
stop them from trying
to eat each other's hearts
through glass.  There is no love
in this room.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons.  She is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry.  Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.  Her first chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is forthcoming in spring, 2015, from Dancing Girl Press.  The author serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press (

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Poem by Kelley White

The Last Issue

I have something caught in my throat.
I can't speak or breathe so we pull on
my ears and off it comes.  I am breathing
better but I can't speak so we put it back
on.  It snaps on quite nicely the first two
or three tries.  I sing a verse or two, blow
up a balloon, but then it stays severed,
a neat line across the neck, no bleeding
at all, but the face is getting puffed out
like those people Gahan Wilson draws,
fat running down like wax in a bowl.  You
are working at the computer with your back
to me.  I plait my hair in a french braid,
easier with my head on my lap facing away.
The hair is red and thin like Queen Elizabeth
the First's.  I tie a pink ribbon and I want
to explain this to you, this idea I have about
myself but I can't speak to get  your attention
and my hands are tied in my red knots.

Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire.  Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA.  Her most recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books).  She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.