Sunday, September 27, 2015

Three Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

A Need for More than Sleep

slinking, linking, drinking
blinking, blinking, blinking
four dollars more sleep to go
the headache lust in the mall
the headache
the headache does not know its place
          the headache, snug
the headache in two manglescripts
          one within reach
          the other wet and cold, outside the door in the snow
you make a miracle and nothing else comes of it
a puzzle and boulder
a bounty and pebbles
a rookery of root and rock
this knead of living on a tongue depressor and condom
the tree hid a dinosaur in its shape
the tread of hair and skin (her skin)
the disorder of distraction
nor will it be by one of the many gods belonging to anyone of us

After the Fact

It's time for me to retire, the dead man said.
Retire from what?
I don't know.  I can't catch the rain.

When the world comes to an end not by swamps of jellyfish
thriving in acid pools nor by one of many gods belonging to anyone of us
but late at night the moon whitewashed and gravy
the heart letting go of its last Nigerian beat
a shadow drum, a conch, a Burkina gita
each beat softer whispering softly
the brain pauses for a second and allows itself to turn itself off.

You do know you're dead?
I want to see yellow sweet clover one last time, the dead man answered.
And your world--, the other man said, your world is dead, too.

You Live the Life You Live and Then You Live the Life You Live

you live the kind of life you live
this from the gift of nails
this from the gift of corn
a psoriasis of snow
two windows
a king enters the space between panes of glass
and sees the walls beyond them
this is his kingdom of anticipation
when the wise man comes to the great room
he joins his king and looks into the middle
he too sees great walls, but he sees also a great door
two windows
a line of foundation
darkness lit only by a single bulb
a gift of shadow
the rust in the corner is rust in the corner.

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 (Samidat 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) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside and Other Poems (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2012).  He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).  Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago's inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators, designs websites and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Poem by Lance Sheridan

The Sugar-House

The puddling furnace for the pig iron T-rail
for the fat-cat, clean shaven
rail riders who wore silk shirts made in the
sugar-house. . . they adorned
shapely trimmed facade clothes and the
white jib to protect their
thumbs; sat at the stumpy bars drinking
bourbon cold with the
saw-ice . . . carried around daguerreotype
self-portraits, "O you robust
sacred reaping machines;" you ran the
sweat shop company stores
and handed out paper-mache script to
feed your caulked iron kettles . . .
goods sold to the unsuspecting paintbrush
public, whitewashed by the
'hook' . . . they wound up poor, fiddling like a
riddled old homeless person
on a tarnished spoon; winter's cold and coffins
filled, plaited into daisy fields.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

A Square of White

rag, inanimate
rat, was made to mimic my lack
of success.  A shrouded corpse,
a show, a failure, it drew laughter
and sneers.  I took off my hat.  My audience
married the dark, disappeared. 
I abandoned consciousness as well,
fainted into the filth of waiting
for seconds and chances.

War Is Back In My Inbox

The sents and the receiveds are fighting,
again, for equal rights or maybe just
eye time.  Attention is the gold-
bricked road to salvation in this digital world
of limited space and span.  You are
only as interesting as your subjective tag-
line and a key-trip, finger-flick
away from trash.

Looking Log 003:  Upside Right

I must have hit my head on the way
down, because this place reads
like a rave on a bad acid trip, all smiling
cats and giant androgynous blobs that
dress like caterpillars, but preen
like butterflies.  Jack[off] has yet
to show his fucked-up face
again (no surprise there), so I am
wandering around, a Barbie among
goblins, wondering why the Hell
they hadn’t already crowned me queen.

A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  her new poetry collections, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press), A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing), and Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications) are now available from their respective publishers.  She has two additional poetry collections forthcoming:  Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) and A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press).  She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2300 poems in various 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.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Poem by BZ Niditch

Taking My Chances

Motioning my last poem
from my first sight read
green eyes open notes
played all night
huddled now
by shadows of grackles
in front of my doorway
on a bicycle ride
over my exercises
predicates a new existence
as my alto sax
turn the page
by the summer boats
of last night's attention
in soliciting jazz
as the sea wind opens up
though a window's voice
as an early flotilla goes by
in the home harbor
searching for lobsters.

BZ Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher.  His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including:  Columbia:  A Magazine of Poetry and Art, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Hawaii Review, Le Guepard (France), Kadmos (France), Prism International, Jejune (Czech Republic), Leopold Bloom (Budapest), Antioch Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others.  He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Witches and Queen

I love the walk on the isle
into your brain cells.

I'm rolling heart ache
in a lover's night.

I stand on solid ground.
You preach to me,
I find you there:
you scream out.
"I'm witches and queen."

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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Three Poems by April Salzano

Advice from a Stranger

Sizzle at the wedding,
she said.  It's sweet talk and flora,
like three Junes & a monk
in mountains, but separate.
We are demons in a survivor's club,
a long way from either
home or redemption.  Broken
language is our harbor,
losing is our storm.

Dead Last & Counting

We are determined, clever girls
in red houses, running damage
control.  We are going dark,
riding on nothing but night
roads.  We are windows of quiet,
keepers of truth.

Following the Dog Star

My sister the moon will be hard-
going like desire.
There is a code.  It takes
eleven days and sixty-one dares
to reach no man's land by midnight.
A secret waits at the front door
& ghosts are at work like fractures
we are dying to seal.
I will tell the bees I am a basket
case, skinny dip in a dune.
South of blood is beach, old
women in a knitting circle are darning time
like socks, wearing death like shoes.

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 of Kind of a Hurricane Press (

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Poem by Rony Nair


the moon looks like the eyes
against the grain.
a nomad passing the buck,
she calls time
on the game.

the loony bin upturned;
draws a final breath,
between the first fire and the next,
plastered across the training school;
and the next young thing.

Redemption is charity.
A game.

the moon looks like the eyes
at the rain.
of you brooding over
the steps.

we began the climb.

While you called time,
on the game.

the cretins lie in
refuse bins crated.
the alligator bags
and the brocades that pass
for fashion.
for sport.
There's the small alley way
and the next
big thing

the moon looks like
your eyes-no way around it

while you called time;
on the game.

Rony Nair slogs as an oil and gas Risk Management "expert/director/Vice President/consultant" up on the greasy pole!  He's been 20 years in the industry since starting off as an Industrial engineer a long time ago.  Extensively traveled.  Dangers fronted often.  But that's his day job.  The one that pays for bread and bills.