Friday, December 26, 2014

A Poem by Ag Synclair

Commuter Parking

/soccer mom/          /sales rep/                   /call home/
/beats her/              /slumped to/               /less than/
/furious fists/          /his left, dead/            /an hour/
/on the wheel/        /or wishing he was/    /chill me a glass/

From the safety of his boring suburban New Hampshire condo, Ag Synclair publishes The Montucky Review and edits poetry forThe Bookends Review. Widely published in the small presses, he manages to fly under the radar. Deftly.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Three Poems by Xanadu

Night View (Night show while sleeping among dwarfs of towering concrete)

lines to edges of roofs of pavilions . . . horizontals . . .
lights lit to high-rises at shores . . . verticals . . .

as dim the perimeters as busy the ads
as silent the rooftops as pulsing the towers
as simple the pavilions as complex the city

as mysterious the lake as overt the town

as square the houses as straight the highway.

Bountiful Harvest


Girl rising up like Philippines to take a papaya
as from center of the universe if not cosmos
wherefrom sixteen branches reach out to their leaves
larger than papaya in darkish and light green
painting a near geometrical firmament under brownish brown
of modernist Trinity after and beyond Michelangelo
depicting God possibly in moderately long white beard
and monk clothes shared by two women who stretch out lengthy
in a straight horizon to utmost leftist and righteous
beyond the breadth of God's crucified arms and hands
spiritually and supernaturally without any trace of nails anymore
echoing both Noli Me Tangere and eradicate images and visions of the Holy Spirit.

Colors stay within boundaries of black and white
exemplifying earthy and natural green brown and yellow
and only some blue and gray to delineate sky and clouds
strongly stylized as with help of Art Nouveau curvilinear repetitive lines
(like hatching in a Galo Ocampo sketch)
strongly condensed as by lack of a perspectival background
in a tale without horizon or vanishing point
but the center of the universe itself in the bountiful harvest
of the horn of plenty of bananas pineapples corns squash
and foremost papaya--favorite signature of Bolong--

Renaissance vision in modernist techniques.


Rising like the Philippines in high thighs
and without any sign of feet or shoes
like a force of nature--an extension of natures giant powers

as rooted in traditional colors of rural work and manufacture--
Five stylized nymphs engaging in rural work
of making food plucking nuts preparing rice
five women and two men--one carrying bananas through the women
another waiting in a carriage cum karabaw of rice pals--

Conservative brown of ecclesiastical furniture
in S. Agustin Church from moldave to narra
nevertheless compact like a vision before and beyond nature
and naturalism to evoke a new reality
where also God emerges like an earthy natural power
though spiritual in details.

One More In-Between

Nearly erased paintings
showing some sinuses only
beyond black and white
demonstrating smears of yellow
into brown unto blue;
airy ink and silky paper
reduced to earthly connotation
beyond painting and sculpture
transparence and opacity
deterioration of materials
unto essence of elements;
in between matter and minerals
                accidents and chemicals
                coincidence and structure
                nature and culture
                who and what
                where and when
                why and nil
falls art--
stating duration of marble
as blurrings oppose consistency
of this very presence moment
when soil signs time like a seal
beyond every precious second
for it is just what you see and bear
right now right here rightly how.

Xanadu lives in Iv, Space of Infinite Imagination, Public's Home 0.  It consists in publications, performances and exhibits in poetry and art contexts.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Poem by Darren C. Demaree


fruit, we have
arrived in
stages, we
have entered
with a
without sound,
without regret
for the
thwack of our
        We have
no existence
until we
the width of
our own
        We have
no existence
until we
reassemble the
great path
that crumpled
to deliver us.                       
       We are
stopping, as
in our hearts
can stop at
any moment,
and this is
why we are so
desperate to
prove that we
have existed
at all.                       
       If you
trip near the
edge of this
problem, shed
your weight,
and it could
be flight you
have found.

Darren C. Demaree's poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, The Louisville Review, Grist, and the Colorado Review. He is the author of "As We Refer To Our Bodies" (2013, 8th House), "Temporary Champions" (2014, Main Street Rag), and "Not For Art Nor Prayer" (2015, 8th House).  He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology. Darren currently lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children. 

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.
uka 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.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Poem by Taylor Graham


Mini-cougar in domestic guise,
the cat assumes his Crescent Moon pose,

a motionless dance.  You hardly notice
how he segues into Extended Sphinx:

claws retracted, energy uncharted.  Never
mistake it for giving up the more than possible,

though he radiates indifference, a mime
of Consciousness Exhaust.  Now

the dog, who's journeyed farther with you
from the wild, lies down facing him.

Palms reaching.  Dog touches finger-tips
with Cat.  Silence gaze-to-gaze.

Do you dare lie down with them,
speak to them as friends--

you with your load of expectations
in a language they don't share?

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada.  She's included in the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman's Library, 2012) and California Poetry:  From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University, 2004).  Her book, The Downstairs Dance Floor, was awarded the Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize.  Her latest book is What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013), poems about living and working with her canine search partners over the past 40 years.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Poem by Martins Iyoboyi

Native War

Beat your butterfly
wings on the
leaves of my heart,
and suck sweet sun lights
that bend their rays
in mornings of luscious delights.

      *   *   *

eyes wild-opened
to gaze
new dreams from fresh
                                     moans of
nearby brooks,
               many scriptures are
in love's pining wings,
spread effulgence from
delightful gospel,
                          rash ruptures
that greeted
                   former scions of
are banished forever in the heart.

      *   *   *

I see innocence
    where darkness
in labyrinths of voices
and prosaic forms,
        long withered of warmth,
               true spirits
                                 of the

and canvas immaculate
            spreads, inviting my
brush to caress
            a love long longed for.

      *   *   *

after looking
many a
                       many a
mirror where
                       shimmers wooed
                       calls of shuddering
embraces, a prodigal
                       mien swept
clean toxins of
                       former ways,
            that separate
                      scions of saplings

concerts of common roots.

Your babblings
hot knife through butter,
                         carry the
                        of ancestry,
and remembering
the throbs,
the drumbeats of spirits
                         the many sons of the soil
the splendid squares
                        of former days of love.

      *   *   *

native aroma greets the
native strength resumes her place
had once a monarch assumed.
heart, but now when I
                  on the
past, wasted past.

Poet, dramatist and author, Martins Iyoboyi was born in Nigeria.  His published poems have been published by Zone, Bending Spoons, Flask Review, 63 Channels, International Zeitschift, Contemporary Rhyme, Munyori Poetry Journal, Rhythm, Tenemos, MotherVerse, Poetry Cemetery, Boyne Writers Group, Chiron Review, The New Verse News, Collective Fallout, and Hat.

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Poem by John W. Sexton


Please state your full name?

          dark blisters

What is your country of origin?

          on the surface
          of the ocean

How long have you been domiciled at your current address?

          fishermen claim
          that they hear them
          beneath the waves

Have you been actively seeking employment?

          that they lounge
          on the shoreline rocks
          for hours under the sun
          until daylight burns them
          into new shapes

Are you currently in receipt of welfare benefit?

          and then rising
          as plump men or women
          in leather coats
          will wade ashore

          live for months
          the mundane lives
          of villagers

State the number and names of any dependents:

          then take
          to the waters again
          having sired or conceived
          half-human pups
          in their sojourning
          amongst us

Failure to answer these questions truthfully may result in prosecution.

          moonlight leaves its signature equally on all

John W. Sexton lives in the Republic of Ireland and is the author of five poetry collections, the most recent being The Offspring of the Moon, (Salmon Poetry, 2013).  He also created and wrote The Ivory Tower for RTE radio, which ran to over one hundred half-hour episodes from 1999 to 2002.  Two novels based on the characters from this series have been published by the O'Brien Press:  The Johnny Coffin Diaries and Johnny Coffin School-Dazed, which have been translated into both Italian and Serbian.  He is a past nominee for The Hennessy Literary Award and his poem "The Green Owl" won the Listowel Poetry Prize 2007.  Also in 2007 he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Three Poems by Mark Young

Alcathoe's Bat

Two manuscripts by the
renowned Argentinian writer
Jorge Luis Borges have
vanished.  US Vice President

Joe Biden suffered electrical
problems when he heard the
news.  Still, he let me take
a photo of him as a barking

polyester & cotton blend tree
frog.  Only at night though,
& only if he was wearing hip
waders.  To further capture

these special candid moments I
am now having someone create
twin bedding for me.  Some items
cannot be returned for a refund.


I end up
anime at
four in the
morning.  Cow-

boy Bebop.
There is a
jazz sound-
track but for
some reason

Sinatra is
singing 'when
I was seven-
teen' inside
my head.  It

is raining.
It is always
raining in
anime.  Out-
side & in.


A simple numeric.  Trees have grown up to hide the passing trains.  He hesitated before using the word aura.  Cane thrash or cane trash?  The avenues run on an east/west alignment.  The smell of last week's fumigation was still strong, especially under the house.  What there are in the way of shops close early.  Everybody was being diverted away from the scene of the fatal accident.  He wondered if it was inspection or introspection that had brought him here.  An evening burning.  At least there was highway noise.

The Delta Music Store.  Maybe a month before the mangoes ripen.  In a crossword puzzle the street would be the down columns.  Poltergeists lived in the walls of the room in his mind called memory.  The sound of lawnmowers.  Solar panels.  What is the opposite of furious?  He lay on a daybed trying to find connections between words that sounded similar but had no overlapping meaning.  The smell of diesel engines is not masked by the trees.  Proust.

Mark Young's most recent books are the ebook Asemic Colon from The Red Ceilings Press; The Codicils, a 600-page selection of poems written between 2009 & 2012, out from Otoliths & the eclectic world from gradient books of Finland.  Recent work has appeared in gobbet, Unlikely Stories, E*ratio, & Sein und Werden amongst other places.  He lives in North Queensland in Australia.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Three Poems by James Diaz

Mountain Never in the Gutter Belly

you are
spread like an animal
small talk

composition of seriousness
below the primal want

wed to painting
mother mouth
mourning in a time of laughter

day or sea
lit from the inner flower
bowing to lover
in Arabic

the nearness
of the invisible dead
falling asleep under
the door.

Here;  I threw myself-
I took the Occident
under my tongue
and bowled out the earth
from which the wound name
pouring blessing
into the honey lung of hell.


the double olive

pin prick

under a skirt
where the law cracks

to pieces
inside you.

Moth of Monad Brittle

quick and painless whole variety as possible
misrepresentation of e

spelling orbicular in the sand

its not Maybe this or that

pulling prairie lake wool
off the blind spots of the skin

a blessing gone deep
under fickle mountain
slept the blue stained H

an animal in the wrong yard

a yard in the wrong animal

bearing juniper trudging toward

and from there

deposited in a print that signals someone else's land.

Willow and Wanting

Let me buy you

pleasant sweat  stood  startled could she
god me.

knew I  Red.  I knew red always  unlike the  fermented  trinkets

rib cage

I want some cotton

clothes yesterday
I ate the other half of the city.

I was not happy about it.

Some steward of the lord came round
fasting and environmentally
self righteous
I told him certain mysteries were hiding
at the county store.

It was mutually beneficial that this be so.

James Diaz lives in New York.  His poems can be found in Pismire, Epigraph, Negative Suck, Abramelin, and My Favorite Bullet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Poem by John Pursch

Regrigerated Lunacy

You lick your chops at the thought of nothing in particular, perhaps the quintessential generality, the coffee cup's soft landing, the naked wooden leg's smooth blonde skin, caressed into the early morning gurgle of backyard fountain.

One cat remains unscathed by Monday's commuter crisis, calmly cleaning herself on cool travertine, stretching lazily across the ragged edge from sneeze to acrobatic twist, to sip from roaring water bowl at last.

And so to survey kitchen shadows through shining orbs of personality's persistent inquisition, of illusion etched in memories of far-flung South Pacific island dreams, softest sand lagoons, and daybreak's silent communion with patient limpid souls, reflected full moon setting just beyond the glyphs of endless merchant crews, misbegotten whalers, and restive luminescent surf.

High tide comes and goes without command, protecting frozen coconut concoctions brewed to boiling's pointed midday acumen of sidling sky, cumuli in vapor trails, and flown outriggers balancing on wave crest froth amid the white noise denouement to daily urchin junket bag of traveled coastline whereabouts, topical juridical relationships, and tertiary petrodollar sanctity, forged luminous and steamy-eyed in glowing admiration's lost elusive overwhelm.

You purr, meow, and stretch to signify the mysteries of all the star-crushed satisfaction any sailor might imagine, now that night's refrigerated lunacy has passed.

John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona.  His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in many literary journals.  A collection of his poetry, Intunesia, is available in paperback at  His experimental lit-rap video is at  He's @johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.

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
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.

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.

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.


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.  

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


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: or visit