Monday, October 20, 2014

A Poem by Seamas Carraher


The Spoon in My Eye

     for Cesar Vallejo

"I want to be free no matter what sacrifices I must make.  In being free, I sometimes feel
surrounded by the most frightening ridicule,
like a child who mistakenly lifts his spoon up to his nose."

                                                    -- Cesar Vallejo
                                                   EPISTOLARIO GENERAL

The spoon in my eye
now sparkling with sense, i reverse!
daywards, weeping worlds
with their shoulders
that stutter into storms.
My morning all mist
raises these walls to my head.
In this dull space i have been abolished.
In this dull space i come back again.
Unfreeing my debts i call out.
Such sorrow to be human
to beg in our being, cramped
into thin air
like a world blank.
In this place words eat themselves
with my hunger.
Permanent, cyclical, my unruling
now in its bones and syntheses.
Here, dialogically, and written in economies,
ripped to shreds and savaged by lovers
our growing with abundance and
convulsing in riots,
here, erased in my vomiting and wounded
by weather
i throw the dog, my last friend in the temporary,
on my shoulders,
and enter the rain.

Rooms fill in my beautiful abolition.
"i have not been here," they say,
(like the end of a vendetta, or a civil war.)
"I have not seen him," she grieves, solemnly.
(Her eyes black with the daylight.)
In here life limps in wires and personalities.
There is no one home to collect my longing.
i am not, yet.  In lungs filled to choking.
In fingers whose funerals are wreathed
in cigarette smoke.
In armies denouncing the rights of man.
In shovels heaping their criticism with friendliness.
This spoon shakes my eye
in its instinct to be born.
My walls fall in their clocks and calendars.
Such war!
in my disarming, mouth disembodied,
my meaning now matters!

This child is my little man, stunning in escapes.
He eats, with solitude, the wind
of my whistling.
We are stilling the day to cement our dead.
My debts pile up, in courtcases and laws.
In waiting and endlessness.
We are dying by radio, in newspapers,
in secrets
struggling
to cross the universe of our feet,
red and raw with their agitating.
Our secret history and its life full of louts!
i call out, to the spoon in my eye,
let me go.  Let me go!
(in this war filled with skeletons).
Only the dog
shows me his nose in my crippled friendships.
i cannot eat the silence.
i am shouting at my self, as large as an abattoir.
In this way, with coffee and cigarette, with
all the dead
dancing on my tongue,
and the living littering my life with their dying,
i denounce my friends crippled with icepicks,
i denounce all enemies with the price of my hate.

i see him born rolling in an unceasing complexity
and in all my grim abolitions,
my denouncements,
and intrigues,
in all this whipping weather, and
the depth of my dog in depressions,
in all these governments and juntas,
and my funerals in bed,
(in all these lithe women with their masks made up with air)
and in this spring of a new year,
and with the spoon in my eye, loosening its syllables,
in all our fleeing, among reflections,
in our history, their hunting, and our shapelessness,
my daylight calls out its mourning:

now here is his incorporation in chestfulls,
witness like a resurrection, all
springtime to my easters,
my exploding corpses.  Both self, and you,
and our othering.




Seamas Carraher was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1956.  He lives on the Ballyogan estate, in South County Dublin, Ireland, at present.  Kind of a Hurricane Press published his chapbook South Dakota Suite online, in July 2014.   http://www.seamascarraher.blogspot.ie/




Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman


Your Brain Came Out

to play with mine.  They frolicked
together for hours, building worlds
out of words and woefully incomplete ideas.
Discovering they were polar
opposites, they began to push and pull
each other like magnets.  Soon they were
standing at reflective ends of a united pool
of brilliance.  Looking down, they realized

it burned with shadows of both our names.



Electric Ruby

Semi-precious, amplified.  Current
conductivity, pushed beyond
the red.  Zone:  Over the Rainbow.  Static
interference falls like rain.  Accumulation
of negative ions stick like glue
to shoes that transform smokin’ legs
to just plain smoke.



I Wish I Had a Donut

to sing me to sleep tonight.  I have been
a good girl, making friends with celery
and carrots, really annoying vegetable sticks.
Sadly, I find them standard issue.  They bore me
with their mocking selflessness.  I would prefer the indulgent
sound of jelly dripping through over-sugared dough to tuck
me in, to lay itself beneath my head, a perfect pillow
to foster sweet dreams filled with visions of a dietless life,
a world where a crunchless bite doesn’t echo with regret.



A.J. Huffman has published nine solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses. She also has two new full-length poetry collections forthcoming, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press) and A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing).  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, haiku and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.   She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.  www.kindofahurricanepress.com



Saturday, October 4, 2014

Two Poems by Michael Lee Johnson



Jesus Walks

Jesus lives
in a tent
not a temple
coated with blue
velvet sugar,
He dances within the freedom
of His salvation
with the night and all
days bearing down with sin.
He has billions of ears
hanging from his head
dangling by seashores
listening to incoming prayers.
Sometimes busy hours drive him
near crazy with buzzing sounds.
He walks near desert bushes
and hears wind tunnels
pushed by pine stinging nettles.
Here in His sacred voice
a whisper and Pentecostal mind--
confused by hints of
Catholicism and prayers to Mary--
He heals himself in sacred
ponds tossing holy water
over himself--
touching nothing,
but humanity, He recoils
and finishes his desert
walk somewhat estranged.



Berenika

Do what I tell you to do
your face is like flour dough
your nose like a slant directionally
unknown like an adverb--
tossed into space.
Your hat is like an angel
wedding gown draped
over vodka body
like a Christ shield
protecting you in innocence.
It is here I kiss your lips as a total stranger;
bring myself closely to your eyes;
camp out on your narrow lips
and wait for the morning
before I slide like a sled
deep snow, away.



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 26 countries, he edits 7 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 pages), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 69 poetry videos on YouTube.  
Links:  http://poetryman.mysite.com/  http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/promamanusa
https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos
http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000058168/The-Lost-American.aspx
http://www.amazon.com/The-Lost-American-Exile-Freedom/dp/0595460917



Friday, October 3, 2014

Three Poems by Ralph Monday


Moon Woman

vivid dream making love to the moon woman after she
told the village children women moon stories pulled me
into her silvery sex warm cold like icy tales told by old
women no pots pans kitchen apparatus sewing needles
just earth rock tree mouths lips thighs woman song ancient
as moss marking hair pressed breasts nourished the world
where I was safe was home was eternal journey on finite
end females in perfect accord perfect understanding of
moon mystery under old old sky cloud talking us each
month by mouth by letter by phone by car and road and
asphalt and skyscraper and cave and stone and eyelids
of morning of evening of afternoon and ocean and sky
and nocturnal owl and katydid cry and neap tides eclipse
blood moon blue moon autumn moon winter moon woman
moon animal moon heaven moon hell moon all the laughing
crying lunas dancing in our eyes fingertips lips thighs smooth
smooth sex where we taste the woman taste know the hunger
that will always be unsatisfied for mother maiden crone



Seeing

mythic cleansing

god gelded castration began with augustine constantine
            took up the cross sent heaven to the sky beheaded satyrs
sylphs bottled in wine casks dropped in the wine dark sea
            zeus and jove and diana and artemis and dionysus and
hera and juno and aphrodite and venus and aries and mars
            and all other male/female divines stripped of golden girdles
sent tumbling to dante's dark vision all the popes and priests
            and bishops laughed at nature's veil made opaque where
angels now invaded the air with swords and blessed wings
            taken from birds that whirled in air crying out dissent
bloodied wings bloodied thought bloody hands desert soaking
            up as oil to anoint all slippery things to come with ethereal
come pumped in by disciples dreaming three magicians playing out
            of tune palms garland for the crown

medieval mulligans

everyman now has the day and castles and cathedrals pie in the sky
             and ibrahim's kaaba house to target the towers later after
the last prophet slept in the cave from its womb fathered by gabriel
             caustic castration continued and the word set the world on
fire where streaming red and black ants horse mounted met to decide
             word of god still undecided but feast of olives figs dates pomegranates
succulent as that in the garden for people of the book marching toward
              land holy to make afterwards unholy looking for woman marks
moles pimples birthmarks devil's etchings set free by mythic cleansing
              on time's straight arrow where season's cycles must alpha and
omega for woman cry is naught but unseen desert night birds to be
              plucked eaten veiled tossed away unless hands needed to
knead bread borrowed wombs ruined by children's cries becoming
              determined autumn red dark ants still marching

postmodern towers

babbling towers covering the world two old faiths old flesh dissected
              by mammon and the great war here these twin dichotomies
beacon for newworldorder wait as slumbering elephants contained
              within planet's diversity all peoples all skins all colors all
tongues wagging not knowing metal angels carrying death's message
               gyre toward screens and steel and brokers of lives and flesh
and blood mornings evenings midday breaks love affairs broken
               marriages broken children debts like boulders concerned about
who shot jr and lawns and condos and pools marguerites sipped
               lethe's liquids not knowing medieval mulligans made the
great war made this crossing of waters forged saudi schemes
              that will make the bush burn as these plummeting turrets
make the sky dark at noon choked on the ash of forgotten centuries
              on tiny screens all over the world the seeing goes on



Limbs like Dark Branches

That morning your tongue turned to leaves
articulating changing seasons where you
walked with green moss, tangled vine
as hair.  In the evening a waning moon 
became your pupils, your laugh sound
of an owl among treetops.

By the witching hour your body's heat
forced all the insects absent, a skin-fed
fire that made me turn my eyes away
where it consumed your dress and left 
you naked, smooth brown skin belonging
to a Mayan priestess.

At dawn your kiss left forest traces on 
my tongue.  I knew the stuff of streams
running to the sea.  Your limbs, like
dark branches, carried you away to
mate with life.  No solace in your passage--
I would not see your kind again.



Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN, where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses.  In fall 2013, he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs.  In winter 2014, he had poems published in Dead Snakes.  Summer 2014 will see a poem in Contemporary Poetry:  An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems.   His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Pyrokinection and Poetry Repairs.  His first book, Empty Houses and American Renditions  will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.




Thursday, October 2, 2014

Two Poems by Judith Skillman


Thinking of Limes in the North

The man's changed again, suddenly, fuse
lit by a scent come into a leaf
so succulent he must've wanted
to eat it whole, and go from there
into the center of the bush, pulling
underripe fruit with his teeth

Hearing the sound a lime makes
when it comes off its sprocket
above a canyon marked by interstates
crossing and recrossing what was once
the floor of a great ocean.

Ever since she saw the number of green citrus
held like tennis balls, bound to thick stems
in a yard so foreign it might as well
have been the moon, she can't abide
her marriage.

She would prefer to bake in the oven
of sun, to step on a rattlesnake,
a scorpion--treading the path toward
the hills that surround their arena.

There a million sadness's plague
the landscape, and firs blossom upward
in flames for nothing more than
a chaste wind, an errant match head,
the forked tongue of lightning.



Kafka's Tuberculosis

It's only a bit of blood
on a handkerchief.
No need to go off
(the heavy black boots)
toward that island where the swans
sun themselves in winter light.
Nor to keep a little quiet
for the coughing--fits
come and go, the wind
rises around Gregor's room,
and he, no doubt
will not come forth.  Why
exit this new skin
worn so close to the body
it has no memory of itself?
Why venture down fretful avenues
where one's privacy--
even that--becomes
the intruder?  It's only a bit
of bright red, the swans
sit in silence, all is well
in the great city
within the Fatherland.
Pater sleeps in his chair,
the swans skim and preen,
whether a stone falls to the bottom
or a coin is tossed
for luck it's as my absent mother
sang to herself
while waiting for borscht
to cool:  que sera sera.




Judith Skillman is the author of fourteen collections of poetry.  She holds an MA in English Literature from the University of Maryland.  Her poems and collaborative translations have appeared in Poetry, FIELD, Seneca Review, The Iowa Review, Southern Review, BEACONS, Ezra, and other journals and anthologies.  Skillman is the recipient of an Eric Mathieu Kind Fund Award from the Academy of American Poets for Storm, Blue Begonia Press.  She has taught at City University, University of Phoenix, Richard Hugo House, and elsewhere.  Angles of Separation, her new book, is available from Glass Lyre Press:  www.glasslyrepress.com or visit www.judithskillman.com



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Three Poems by Jack e Lorts


Ephram Pratt Ponders the Silence of the North

Posing like a
wire coat hanger

preparing for sleep,
the length

of the movie
was measured

in slow motion,
in a dimension

known only to
Norse gods,

known in the mythology
of lightning,

of sounds heard
between

eternal silences,
caught in the same

slow motion.
Ponder such wonders

in the silence
of Valhalla,

try to know if
Shackaleers

understand
Norse silence.



Ephram Pratt Instructs the World of Light

Coarsened into silence
by approaching air,

heavy with a devilish liquid
stemming from

tankards of whispers
relayed through

tongues of fire
by the ghosts of light

lingering in the
softness of

acrylic gondolas,
adrift in errant

pools of light,
melting into

the broth of angels.
Tense your muscles

as you survey
the tactics used

by the shackaleers
weaving in and out

of variegated trees,
film-red and dying,

cleaving to a slow slumber,
ineligible for flight,

touched by silicon and
intangible as darkness.



Ephram Pratt Exhales the Bliss of Light

The bandage on the clock
fits tightly

like amnesia
leaking into

a dry pool of acid,
into a drift-wood

alabaster ingot
tasting the wares

of insulated daylight.
Crease your fingers

as if they were
on fire,

ignited by
crystals of joy

dripping onto the page
of mismatched

mandalas
clustered in silence

around an enclosed
isothermal blot,

anchored in space
by practiced

and practical
insignias of light.



Jack e Lorts, a retired educator living in a small town in eastern Oregon has published widely, if infrequently, over the past 40+ years, in such magazines as Arizona Quarterly, Kansas Quarterly, English Hournal, Agnostic Lobster, Quantum Tao, High Desert Journal and elsewhere.  Author of several chapbooks, his most recent is "Dear Gilbert Sorrentino and Other Poems," from Finishing Line Press.  Active in local, state and national Democratic politics, he is currently Mayor of Fossil, OR (population 479).




Friday, September 26, 2014

Two Poems by Stefanie Bennett


Myrrh and Misdemeanor

Outside the roadside chapel
The gaggle
Of constellations
In the lap
Of the chair
With three bowed legs
Is a hard-wired
On-the-money
Talking point for

The intrepid
Holy Ghost.

The wonky
Bi-focals.

The snowed upon
Newspapers

. . . And all.



Sharps -- Literalized

I call it my work!  Shelve your damnable
Generic compromise--
The shrinking metathesis
That morphs
The L.c.d.'s  *
WhatsAByte
Inauguration . . .

If there was a picket line
In think
I'd join it --

Wearing the boots of
A fisherwoman
I'd swear

The disposition of man
Is a god-fraught
                                     Killing maching
Aimed at
Machu Picchu.

I call it . . . my work.
This
          Aftershock.
This pale
Horse
Passing.



* lowest common denominator





Stefanie Bennett has published eighteen books of poetry and one novel.  Of mixed ancestry (Italian, Irish, Paugussett-Shawnee) she was born in Townsville, Queensland, Australia in 1945.  Stefanie's latest poetry title 'The Vanishing' is due at year's end.  Publisher, Walleah Press.