Sunday, February 28, 2016

Three Poems by April Salzano

Spoke too, Gone too

soon.  Decubitus.  Succubus.
Fuck you, bitch.  Trapped
between two worlds, one all goddamnit &
other polite and subtle as a hemorroid.
Excuse me.  The disease
of powerful seething, driving
to distraction.
Phone on hold.
Hold the phone.
Stop the fingers
on screens they aren't really
touching.  A book
on Auschwitz.  Life
on fire.  Death at the door.

I Know Where My Hands Have Been

They find things in the dark,
proud tongues talking, taking
signs away from languages and cupboards,
cupping the moon and casting it
aside in favor of brighter light.
How bare their intention,
how wrinkled their skin.

Let Every Sound Be

anything but familiar, all excuses,
original as origami
animals and balloon breasts stuffed
high in shirts that are too
small.  Let anyone who can,
do, and those who can't, crawl
on fours across floors
made of water.
Let the sun go out.
Keep the moon on hold.
Dictate the way the cards will
fall, and sweep them under hand-
loomed rugs and quilts of clay.

April Salzano is the co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press and is currently working on a memoir about raising a child with autism, as well as several collections of poetry.  Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals such as The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.  Her chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is available from Dancing Girl Press.  Her poetry collection, Future Perfect,  is forthcoming from Pink. Girl. Ink.  More of her work can be read at

Friday, February 26, 2016

Three Poems by Joanna M. Weston

The Depth of Cold

a wedge of rime on the sky
this glacial sheet of stars

where tossed paper napkins
and a footprint coin snow

pigeons lost in hoar-frost
are speared by fallen icicles

an apron of milk spilt
the gelid end of solstice

in a river of ice-floes
shards of arctic moons


     -- 1st line from Sylvia Plath's "Years"

they enter as animals from the outer
rim of countries stretched by hunger

stealing comfort from the night
fleshed bones gnawed to the pith

incoming nightmare spectres
spiders weave old catastrophes

each broken promise spells our past
these strained smiles glisten

a paralysis of searchlight fear
marooned in focused high beams

horror's welcome plastered on skin
time disables our emotional centres

faith blankets all uncertainty
disbelief burned at every stake

These Nights

     -- 1st line from Thomas James' Love Song

love, the gold mouth has broken open
silver tongues spill on creased sheets

an arm fingers cradle moonlit words
the night's shadows waver over skin

a movement of dream in curled limbs
whispers of sweat speak wild roses

what questions can be asked of love?
lips caress night's hand and breast

the tide falls and sleep moves in
mouths close on raptured speech

Joanna M. Weston is married, has two cats, multiple spiders, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses.  She has a middle-reader, "Frame and the McGuire," published by Tradewind Books, and poetry, "A Summer Father," published by Frontenac House of Calgary.  Her eBooks found at her blog:

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Three Poems by Mark Young

Satisfying the Mittag-Leffler Condition

If grandma gets a bedsore the best thing
to put on it is a discernible cluster of
shamanic metaphysical teaching
features--an enclosure of plinths in a cube,

Frobenius extensions of rings via centralizers,
endomorphism towers locked in position
at the base of the pole, or people from the

settling basin of the Palo Verde Irrigation
District who like to make use of the "boys
& motors" obsession.  The final depth
of the mulch should be three to four inches.

A Line from Dante Alighieri

A narrow stone stairway
leads down to a cave cut
into the rock.  Worms are
passive creatures unless

they're part of a zombie story
set in a secluded area of the
Tasmanian rainforest.  The same
stuff that cleans your toilets

or bleaches your hair travels
through to the upper nasal
& oral cavities & lights up
your next dinner party.

Lychee Lodge sits within a
dark wood.  A Jungian analyst
mentors single men & women.
This website feels right for you.


Minoan civilization
is an artificial wave
in the hair.  Diacritics
dreadlocked in instead
of beads.  Genetic markers,
carrier codes.  Meaning
imparted by their up-
braided placement.  The

color has already been
bred in, an aposematic
act, an unsubtle warning
to the traveler that not
everything is what it
seems to be.  Metabolism
abounds.  Bulls pace the
mazes of the royal palace.

Mark Young's most recent books are Bandicoot habitat & lithic typology, both from gradient books of Finland.  An ebook, For the Witches of Romania is due out from Beard of Bees.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Rising in the East

Now that I am so very old
I often think about being young
A baby sometimes but mostly earlier
And what it felt like to be in that liquid room
Where a heartbeat was my metronome
And I and she were as one
Something I did not understand
Until I too was but a small part
Of repeating all of that

For Those Who Love Black and White

The candle's wobbles splinter the glory days
Oddly moving and big time unexpectedly poignant
Santa Lucia in a flying Barca Lounger
That whips you back to live long and prosper's psychedelic rock
That I once heard in the Huntington Botanical Gardens
That had all the stunning beauty of after it rains
Where I remembered reading Ant-Man in a used car of great wonderments
Near my favorite pizza place that was an Oz all of its own
Back when every Christmas was a necromancy
An aluminum foil that was molded into the cherry orchard's great coats
Back before I became chained to the oars of the glaciers
That still slowly advance over the red clay roads
Towards a certain long closed barber shop
Where as always my heart lies in repose

For the Snow

There is a seasonal cool that is settling in on the dry cornfields
That are near her secondhand shop so like a dark wood ruby
And later there will be a disco ball in each glass of wine
That we will drink near downtown tribal streets
That are milled out of all that has been recovered
From the frenetic duck and cover that is constantly tinkering
With winter's thinly sliced silhouette until it becomes
But a Lego set of all that we have lost

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, February 23, 2016

A Poem by Pamela Ahlen

Night Life

A dark and diazepam night,
when wake-time's saxatile,
crawling out from under the rock
and roll of an old picture show.
I read from Dali's secret life,
the childhood part about bestial women,
as manically absurd
as a re-run of badgers roaring matriarchal,
gnawing on the bones of my obedience.
Yes, the babushkas,
a clutch of beet-boiling dumpling-beaters,
their sauerkraut sweat and fruitcake disapproval,
serving shame, my every tick watched, stopped,
congealed like stinky cheese in the clockarium of my brain,
beasts whose DNA I bear, whose garnets I wear--
the persistence of memory
preying on my pillow like a mantis alive and busy.

Pamela Ahlen is currently program coordinator for Bookstock (Woodstock, Vermont), one of three Vermont literary festivals.  She organizes literary readings for Osher (Lifelong Education at Dartmouth).  Pam received an MFA in creative writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts.  Her poems have most recently appeared in About (Black Earth Institute), Bohemia, The Sow's Ear, and The Comstock Review.  She is the author of the chapbook, Gather Every Little Thing (Finishing Line Press).

Sunday, February 21, 2016

A Poem by Ruth Bavetta

Last of the Summer Wine

The silver bracelet around my wrist
was forged from snakes and desert air.
All around me figs and honey
gathered moths with crayoned wings.
As the colors flowed and fused,

I ran to join the festival.
There, among the rhymes that failed,
I drank champagne and laughed and sang
without a thought of coins or shoes
or where the other guests had gone.

When the tide swarmed through the door
and the lanterns sizzled out, I was left
to burn my fingernails for light.
The sea was dark and deep and cold,
but as I sank below the waves,
I held my ten small lamps aloft
and birds flew down to kiss the flames

Ruth Bavetta is an artist and poet whose poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, Spillway, and Poetry New Zealand, and many others.  Her work is included in four anthologies.  She has published two books, Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press) and Fugitive Pigments (FutureCycle Press).  Two more books, No Longer at this Address (Tebot Back) and Flour, Water, Salt (FutureCycle Press) are forthcoming.  She loves the light on November afternoons, the smell of the ocean, a warm back to curl against in bed.  She hates pretense, fundamentalism and sauerkraut.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A Poem by Arturo Desimone

Despite My Best Efforts at Arriving Late to Every Meeting, There it Persists, A Fetal Clock Nascent in Me

My hands like leaves,
my 2 gentle hands:  husband and wife

I want to pull husband from wife
child from mother
master past his managers
politician past stage managers
they have misunderstood unity
and reunion is not in the air-conditioning
It is at the frontier of death
and the lovers are many

the winter kills the beggar saints
who could pay radius
the winter kills micro-organisms, but the demons
will awaken, with or without the pagan carnival
that allows the stupid country-folk to remain animate
and survive the demons, mocking them in the anonymity
of the act of wooden masked mating.

The solitudes can be lovers
and never partners, and never
house-bound, for that is
the heart's death
preferred to its wings set
on inexterminable fire:
my only race was concealment.

Arturo Desimone's poems and short fiction pieces have previously appeared in Counterpunch, New Orleans Review and The Missing Slate.  A recent artistic collaboration with the Netherlands-based Iranian film-maker, Atousa Bandeh, brought his poetry into the video art film The Apology Triptych.  Arturo was born and raised on the island Aruba, in the Dutch Caribbean, and is currently based between Buenos Aires and the Netherlands.

Friday, February 19, 2016

A Poem by Inna Dulchevsky


Long slim fingers
Of willow that weeps
Clicks dry-bone knuckles
Extends thirsty branches
Crooks hungry figure
Over my comatose posture

            "weep!  weep!"

Shelters me under my fear
Into my dreary presence
Into pulsation of old rotten flesh
That surrogates my heartbeat

Swills from me
As if      she rejoices
Over the body of water

Green silent lake
  White stormy ocean
      Running wild river
           Stinking swamp

  Dry salt

White Lotus flower

Inna Dulchevsky spent her early school years in Belarus.  She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.  She was awarded the Frist Prize 2014 David B. Silver Poetry Competition.  Inna's work has been published in numerous anthologies, books and journals including Pyrokinection, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocain, Petals in the Pan Anthology, Element(ary) My Dear Anthology, Happy Holidays! Anthology, book Lavender, The Cannon's Mouth, The Otter, New Poetry, Calliope Magazine, Calliope Magazine Anniversary Issue, Aquillrelle Anthology 4th annual Lummox Poetry Anthology, KNOT Magazine, Antheon, and is forthcoming in Secrets and Dreams Anthology.  Her interests include metaphysics, philosophy, meditation and yoga.  The light and expansion of consciousness through the connection with inner-self and nature are essential in the writing of her poetry.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

A Poem by Scott Wozniak

A Steady Diet of Incendiary Devices

Last night
I found myself
shotgun shells
and drinking

The shells
sent buckshot
through thoughts
piercing holes
in my mind.

The gasoline
set a fire
in my gut
it became
a lantern
lit with instinct.

In my heart
the two mixed
and I exploded
like your typical
white trash
Fourth of July

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Poem by Ellen Webre

Gumdrop Spices

Chocolate cakes and strawberry jam
live in the many refrigerators of the snow prince.
He's decked his halls with boughs of icicles,
woven spirals glinting crystalline in the setting sun.
Skinned animals spread on the floor,
but my lips are still blue as the roses littering
my wake.  The dog purrs in my lap,
the cat wags her tail and begs for a piece
of the gluten-free darkness in my hand.
Peaches roll on the floor, quickly smashed
and sweet beneath frosty boots.
My liege sits beside me with a glass of plum wine.
I curl beside him and hands braid my hair
into sheets of diamonds.
It's okay to feed them, he says,
Chocolate has never been so poisonous as you.
A golden tub fills and I am warm again,
melting into steaming music,
disembodied fingers sliding softly
into my flaccid womb
where now only stalactites grow.

Ellen Webre is a senior Screenwriting major at Chapman University, and is minoring with Anthropology and Asian Studies.  She is a dream-wrought poetess who has featured at the Ugly Mug, Coffee Cartel, and Mosaic poetry readings.  Bitterzoet magazine has published a mini chapbook collection of her work called Bound By Red String.  When not reading magical realism, she can be found trying new recipes or photographing strangers.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Poem by Keith Moul

Rending Mouths

The agitator rises before God
and the audience, performs
his cleansing without strings,
woodwinds or Brillo
and topples the house.

Upstaged, the comic, accustomed
to doing nothing, launches
off his edge profane missiles,
incendiary tracers, scatter-shot,
aiming to rend the trigger mouth
and other mouths to gurgle blood.

Eyes divert from the stage to train
on the blessed show back and forth.
Eyes tear in elation.
Voices scream "thumbs down!"
House spots dart at dark figures
like light sabers.

Keith Moul's poems and photos are published widely.  Finishing Line Press released a chap called The Future as a Picnic Lunch in 2015.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Poem by Nava Fader


Formation in corners a long-
forgotten membranous vis-

cosity hardened detritus
sleep's willing or unwilling

roaming fluttergirl your
fat ass goldtooth indicator

rot cheeses in bottles over-
ripe vinegars a failed Below this temperature, honey can be either in a metastable state,

meaning that it will not crystallize until a seed crystal is added, or, more often, it is in a "labile" state, being saturated with enough sugars to crystallize spontaneously.

domestic fligh spirits
genie in the jar wishes

amber rock prop windows rock
salt Modern uses

health applications health
hazards religious

significance Gallery see
also but listen if not

savor:  bees can take honeydew, the sweet secretions of aphids or other plant sap-sucking insects.  Honeydew honey is very dark brown in color, with a rich fragrance of stewed fruit or fig jam.

Nava Fader received her masters' from UB Poetics Program, writing her thesis on Adrienne Rich.  She is the author of All the Jawing Jackdaw (BlazeVox), Hitching Post (BlazeVox) and several chapbooks.  Recent projects include a manuscript of fake translations from Dante's Inferno, poems from Garcia Lorca, and work with Wikipedia.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A Poem by Karla Linn Merrifield

Another Ars Poetica

It started with Picasso's La poete mirroring her bad acid-trip

A Baudelairian butterfly sipped from folds in the gray fleurs du mal--
set to acquiescence, heart beaten to Chopin's funeral march in Opus 35,
succumbed; but she learned junkets to Cuba don't make a Cubist of a spongy
She ends up back in Miami in mixed media, content to imitate art, whatever.

A nine-time Pushcart Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had over 500 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies.  She has eleven books to her credit, the newest of which Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada (FootHills Publishing), a sequel to Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry.  She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (, a member of the board of directors of Just Poets (Rochester, NY), and a member of the New Mexico State Poetry Society, the Florida State Poetry Society, and TallGrass Writers Guild.  Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet,

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Poem by Sheikha A.


My spirit is the name of horcrux --
a bait on a curved needle --

things that haunt haven't a home
other than things like us;

it isn't easy to watch stars grow bones;

their faces have carved into odd designs
from having sampled one too many; I would know

from having watched pieces fall off
my face, like a discoloring on seepaged walls

a thousand ways to see
a thousand ways to feast

to get visited on the wall by the beds,
an axe lifted for assault,

but the eyes too hollow for reading,
and especially when the intent is bound

in muslin meant for burying
fates -- if one of the components used

was a tooth from a hairless mammal,
and a bark sharper than the blade of the axe's --

the hooded haunt holding my body down
must want something else.

Sheikha A. hails from Pakistan and United Arab Emirates.  With over 60 publications in various print/online publications such as Red Fex, Ygdrasil, A New Ulster, The Penmen Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, Poetry Pacific, Mad Swirl to name a few, and many anthologies.  She has also authored a short poetry collection titled, Spaced (Hammer and Anvil Books, 2013) available on kindle.  Her poems have also been recited at two separate poetry reading events held in Greece.  She edits poetry for eFiction India.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Poem by John W. Sexton

The Complete Box of Heaven

The Complete Box of Heaven arrived in the post.
On every single side of the parcel were the words:


The parcel was slightly crushed on one side.
On the removal of the brown parcel-paper I found
a single box that could be opened on any side.
On each side was a large number, the same
on ever single side:


"It's got six written all over it," I told my mother.
"No," she said.  "That's the number nine.  You're
looking at it upside down.  Nine is a sacred number."

Inside the box were nine other boxes.
"See," said my mother.  "I told you it was the number
nine.  Nine is the number that Heaven adds up to."

Once outside of their box, the nine boxes
appeared much bigger than the box they'd arrived in.
Along with the boxes was a sheet of instructions.
The instructions explained that the individual boxes
each contained a different aspect of Heaven.

Box one contained the Void.  Box two contained the Word.
Box three contained the Waters.  Box four contained the Angels.
Box five contained the Firmament.  Box six contained the Dome.
Box seven contained the Days.  Box eight contained the Nights.
Box nine contained the Mystery.

The instructions were very specific.  Do not open box one
before box three.  Do not open box six before box five.
Do not open box four before box six.  Do not open box eight
before box seven.  Do not open box seven before box six.
Do not open box six before box four.  Do not open box four
before box three.  Do not open box three before box seven.
Do not open box seven before box one.  Do not open box one
before box eight.  And under no circumstances whatsoever
open box nine until all the other boxes are opened.

"What box should I open first," I asked my mother.
"Any box really," she said, "just as long as it isn't the box
that you shouldn't open before the box
you shouldn't open it before."

"Mother, that's not helping," I said.
"Just listen," she said.

"I can't hear anything," I said.
"That's exactly what you're listening for," she said.

We sat there in silence, all of Heaven before us.
But we were no closer to it then
than we were before it had arrived in the post.

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.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Three Poems by Vernon Frazer

Dressed to Collect

  rent vapor a mirage
doubling razors caught
                     while calypso circuits
                   blend into facet glands

narrative flares flashing pineal
mirrors whitewash the malediction
            that hints collateral witness
     shared half-time swallowers bereft
        flume dimension bandits
        haunt the formal apron corners

            (testaments to radio bluster)

        recumbent declaratives waking
                          homely phenomena tokens

maple rung declaratives
transform polarities before mop gestures

      dispensing subterfuge
      walk vortical across a wood eponym

no lining, no listing, sly lacing
       applicable to historic intervals

           in leather tempo gadget swagger

Delivering the Music

the postmark that got away
replied no sending firm attached
or matter
               to the subway
     stationed             at last roll
            blithely to oblivion


aiming at the train stop
no message              detached
ambeince in card charade

    patio affirmation      a reflux insurgent
no aromatic emblem           attacked
                                     the gastric epitome


no disincentive     urgently packing
                      to stay

              a                  while
        packet               surges
        ahead                destroying
          the track
                        least afforded


reaching digestive entropy
the rage in the gut dispersing

lettered pages
                 of leather intention

     silver studs
     left there for the beating to dry
                   the hand played
the frayed cuffs
      melody               cleverly left
                  as origin

              and destination

Solo Camaraderie

delirium as its sub-glottal potentate
portends the viper's grim ascent
through hitching catacomb securities
no crack too small to writhe though
and deliver the fangs of awareness
when throttled gorges prove munificent
beyond spectral revolution pudding
clarified as butter in a milkstorm fog
attenuated leaflet foliage autumnal
in the nominative plural of its craggiest
rocks turn to pilfer sonata seepage
derelicts at roadside fumigation stands
their twisted enmity a baleful glance
turned hay under the reaper's path
no delaying the transformation deluge
or beluga dreams shelled a casing
the weeping carnage left bedeviled
circuits to enter the contrary demotic
for emblematic weeping as muttered
under the swelling casement seal
humidity posing under its strong suit
veiled the kelp fractures a wall away
from the shore-worn port of entity
where no shopping intruders allow
an affair among ruins to fester long
in the aftermath treaty of harelips
gone hunting tainted vesicle rumors
that launched the greater velvet trial
verbose as its aged seekers claim
re-presents the pastime glory back
from the day it never happened
that way no respite from the nattering
stored for playing poker-faced stud
drawn with a half-stacked deck in hand
or clip as chosen or preferred to ride
shotgun as a native pellet sunning
chronic pellet arrears as bullets
when the hedges slow their lyric
trudge against the beveled wind
revised under begrudging trials
that later falsified their intrusion
proclamations abound irrational
pudding lepers seek hands out
to the presently stretched as limits
will go farther when never tested
the clipper's glide an afterthought
pledged as a blind sequel dotage
offered androgynous surface dwellers
a handout where the tunnel meets
excessive heat residual mouthwash
in a darkened preference setting
sea mambo escalades to banish
all nocturnal menu supplements
rutting with a renewed disposal
dial all the chattering party callers
to burst their lineage circuitry
before the next apartment drone
defrays the cost of empty protocol
wipers left their unseemly surging
under a cry for curious drivel claims
renewed evocative misunderstanding
in cults that waver by definition
for shark indulgence pamphlets
gone the way of dividend rehearsals
whisper their sloppy matrix buttons
hammer the new rehearsal fabric
smithing the iron to its dungeon core
while dissidents stammer vacation
breezes residential duct wipes home
to pass the vantage past fried nights
to comb a vestige over its last run
hiding old futures in the gene cleft
trying new gospels though fruition
seeds she old bones with tuna
scenes weathering the clipboard
sergeants circling the motor pool
to view the diorama speaking true
tire legends when they brag of rubber
from solitary recreation days in port

Vernon Frazer's most recent books of poetry include Selected IMPROVISATIONS, T(exto)-V(isual) Poetry and Unsettled Music.  Enigmatic Ink has published Frazer's new novel, Field Reporting.  Frazer's website is  Bellicose Warbling, the blog that updates his web page, can be read at  His work, including the longpoem, IMPROVISATIONS, may also be viewed at  In addition to writing poetry and fiction, Frazer also performs his poetry, incorporating text and recitation with animation and musical accompaniment on YouTube.  Frazer is married.