Saturday, January 30, 2016

Three Poems by Christopher S. Knodel

Parasite's Host

                           Silent.  Hidden.
           Feasting.  Reproducing.  Excreting.
Strengthened.  Buttressed.  Exhausted.  Weakened.
                 Fading.  Strangling.  Dying.
                       Skeletal.  Bloated.


The Drink

      Some people say I have
      a drinking problem.  I am
      merely living life the way
    I know how.  Each morning.
    I'll have a snifter of brandy.
    At lunch, I'll enjoy a couple
      of beers with the boys.  Is
        that so wrong?  It does
              not affect my
                 work or
         I think I'd know
        If I had a problem.


Lady Death

   She smiles, and passes him a pinot noir.
      He sips his, admiring her boudoir.
            He hasn't known her long,
                 felt her siren song,
                    and followed
                      her back
                       her lair.
                    Her dark hair
                and lashes frame a
           face so stunning, it masks
       her cunning.  He gags then, from
 the arsenic.  The black widow kills again.


Christopher S. Knodel is an author, poet and ultra-distance runner in San Antonio, TX.  He is a freelance journalist and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column.  His poetry and short fiction have been featured in The Asses of Parnassus, Ealain (MPA Publishing), The Wolfian, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Zodiac Review and Zombie Logic Review.  He can be easily spotted by his kilt, tattoos and six inch, flaming-red, Van Dyke goatee.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

A Poem by Bill Jansen

The Reunion

O infinite virtue, com'st thou smiling from the world's great snare 

                                                -- Anthony & Cleopatra

Here and there an interesting fact.
Facts like Viagra-sniffing dogs
jumping up on people at my 50th High School Reunion.
The rose-gray eyes of a part Apache girl
you could have asked to girl friend
but the density of your 17 year old mind
would stop the armor piercing shell of a Panzer tank.

But I am probably already sinning against the facts.
A mask of Phaedra was not passed around.
No one I heard was discussing concussion syndrome.
The reunion was comfortable.
The venue fluid, relaxed on wide masonic lawns.
Only a total squirt would have transferred
this gathering of gentle, forgiving souls
to a drive-in movie playing without sound,
their giant selves making love on the screen.
There was nothing remarkable about my name tag.
There was no aversion to the painful eternal words:
vere et tu ex illis es.

Maybe that's my problem.
There is no problem:  just facts.

And while I'm in the mood
I might as well confess there were no surreal madrigal gum
stuck like the periods at the end of our lives
to the underside of picnic tables
about which my aged classmates sit forever
making factual conversation.

Bill Jansen lives in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Three Poems by Karla Linn Merrifield

Where in the world am I without °?
No other notation measures up
to my °, superscript hero.
° gives me latitude and longitude:
N43°.37”         W78°.08”—
° coordinates the geography of home.
I’m not lost.
° adorns numerals to indicate
the angle of afternoon repose: 45°.
I’m napping.
°, of 360°, perfects the circle;
° denotes Mandela circumferences.
I’m not straight; ° rounds me out.
° warms me up with space-heater BTUs:
85°F. Toasty. Mmmm.
The clear-nighted ° of autumn chills
my bones to 5.555555555555555°C.
C-c-cold to my skin. Brrr.
But ° blankets me.
How cool is that?
Clever Lintner-° of enzymatic activity,
clever Lovibond-° transparency, I swoon.
° is my precise seducer.
                                    for Michael G. Smith

a version
prompted to social justice
poverty        prison
divided once again
just or not
divided                  different
contrast this
triumphalist rendering
chosen               righteous
one view
familiar     patriotic
elegance     grace
a new age
breaking of the chains of slavery
          honoring the

Spot On
immodesty whimsy
universal constants
of mythical nymphs
beauty is the beast
stolen lost forever
transferred violently
gray curls fall haphazardly
blues do charmlessly
not fatal but final
the virgin-hag’s scars

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 is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry.  Her poem "See:  Love" was a finalist for the 2015 Pangaea Prize.  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, at

Monday, January 18, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

If You Find Yourself Anywhere Near Real

The luminous sparkle of what endless hour
When the red diamond stars became a silent flute
With all the strength and endurance of smoke on the water
That was borne of the whip cream institute and
Now while I call forth the tatters of your kingdom by name
I find that I will still remain beckoned by all of this
That is empty and will soon be forever blotted away

Like a Spiritualist without Oxygen

The gate of morning opened to a garden full of light
Where my youth spoke in birdlike greetings
To the fruits and flowers there
Back when the highest wisdom was the sun
As it was seen on that tangle of a river
Still oh so fondly remembered
In the train wreck of this my final winter
And yet I still long to gorge myself
On the absinthe of the lingerie
Once worn by specters of the warmest colors
Born and bred to beauty
Who have no hung up their wings
Leaving me alone in these years like Oz
While she kept working on her spiced rum time machine
That can never carry her back to anything
And in her hot yellow fervor was released the reaper
As I awoke an elderly old gentleman much too soon
And though her intent was that she was poised to leave me
She left behind instead this beautiful tune

The White Rabbit has Gypsy Secrets

Burnt sienna late summer dances through Crayola lilies
That are as ajar as van Gogh ever was
The nectar of the morning breeze is a mobile scented cocoon
Like some Egyptian mummy gleaming like a firstborn sunburst in bloom
Lightly into the wings that enshroud her long and raven hair
That will always be daylight savings by that shriveled butterfly of a sea
Now that summer melts me down and recasts me into the creaking body
That lately is my jail as I am haunted by visions
Of when the scent of alchemy dissipated dreams have become my only bedfellows
As I watch on my bedroom screen for the two thousandth time
Little Ricky Ricardo's birthday party which has aged like the finest of wines

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.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Seek and Find

The telltale red plasma
Subway cars still linger
In the echo of the dance of
The whiff of earlier days
While a lithe standup bass
Purrs haven't we lived this moment before
Or is it just one strand of many
That contains the multitudes
Of all that sadness has to say
The air smells of wet drywall and woodchips
As my memories as mysterious
As a pair of prehensile needle nose pliers
Pry open some alternate reality
That peels away like the layers of an onion
To where mewling dreams are illuminated
And only become grimmer
As the summer moon sheds tears of motor oil
In the finely spun rain
And I find myself damaged
Bewildered and forgotten
An ever rolling explosion
Of backward splicing in zero gravity
A black velvet painting of
An exploding computer mainframe
An Area 51 who is now merely
Zombie guitar strumming
And you won't like me when I get angry
For I am all that is buried deep in a dreamer
I am the one that the Ouija board foretold
And I must indeed warn you
Do not stand in my way
As I transmute from lead into gold.

Travel to Awaken

In the daredevil imbalance where insomniacs make origami
Out of the rigged chess match that is waking life
I try to contemplate all that I have known
In my centuries old frontal lobes
Corroded by too much of the diet Dr. Pepper
Which helps get me through each day somewhat alive
The night weaves tapestries out of human blood
Distinctive amber pods of Johnny Mercer's Jeepers Creepers
Howl like telepathic werewolves
In the no heart beat of the elegant silver phases of the moon
The Swiss cheesy total sleeplessness
I have known for years
Reminds me of Karlheinz Stockhausen
Who had the curiosity of a magpie
And I remember listening to his symphonies
While strange snowflakes that had all the mutability of a chameleon
Piled up on the ground in a slow dance
That was like my love shedding her white satin pajamas
For only me to wonder at
It was all torn from the surf of splendid Grateful Dead album covers
That spoke to me in a tongue that was like Zap Comix
Before a gloom that was darker than any inkpot
Transformed my zodiac animal the lion
Into a foaming at the mouth pitbull
And on this muggy night that is like Green Lantern's power ring
Traversing the depths of space as it carries him to Oa
Against the beautiful hand cut color of these mountains
I realize and acknowledge that I am trapped forever and always
In what's going on in the upside down.

Arrived Perfect

There is the shiver of empty highways
In the dirt and bones of my visionary states
Where dried corn voices dance in the sand
Swaying to the strains of waning daylight as it takes command
Twinkling in the wasted blood
Of bleached white ghost creatures
Who strayed in from the soft beautiful voices
Of the albino wilderness of forever
Drowning us in the formaldehyde of their tattered glances
That engulfed us like a rushing river
While she ran her fingers through the new moon's rising
As we were caught up in the undertow of spinning away
On the waves of a beach that never spoke any given language
Entwined in the regrets of our identical dreams
That luckily for us ran in tributary streams.

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.  

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen

And maybe a cat

is two.

Two placemats,
two pillows,
two sides
of the bed.

Two closets,
one hers, the
other hers, too.

Two moans in
the bedroom
two tear tracks
in living rooms.

A lid on raises,
and the other,

Two towels
hanging from
two towel racks.

is two.

ayaz daryl nielsen, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs)/hospice nurse, editor of bear creek haiku (25+ years/125+ issues), homes for poems include Lilliput Review, SCIFAIKUEST, Shemom, Shamrock, Kind of a Hurricane Press and online at bear creek haiku.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Three Poems by Johannes S.H. Bjerg


The thread of hearing


from the sound of falling buildings our bones are made
from the hardening of our bones envelops are made
from envelops the flight of swallows comes
the swallows leaving it behind
like threads that make up the weave of grief
from grief comes holes and blind fish
from blind fish gods spring
from blind gods descend the stairs we walk
when it's raining
from our walk is born the far end of dirt roads
from the rain is made windows and pain
and from windows bells manifest thus ending that line
from pain circular movement is made
from the sense of sight the color blue comes
and the sound of the flute
from the sound of flutes comes clouds
from clouds come time and feet
from feet comes sunsets
from sunsets come the mandrake plant
from the mandrake root comes screaming
and so does trees that grow when no one's watching

nothing of this is not sacred


from the moth-and-flame connection stones and rocks come forth
from rocks and stones four-winged insects
from four-winged insects the concept of future
and soft shoes and the tangible offspring
from soft shoes hope is made
and from tangible offspring the need to hold oneself
in the dark
what springs from the concept of future no one knows
from the need to hold oneself in the dark
cities spring
from cities loneliness is made
and round fruits
(here endeth the line of loneliness)
from round fruits comes the sense of warmth
from the sense of warmth comes the birds named swan and sparrow
from swans and sparrow come prayer
from prayer comes the awareness of the other
from the other comes keys, keyholes and silk
with key and keyholes creation pauses

all is one
all has come


from silk comes green grasses and sweat
from green grasses come hills
from sweat comes penguins and the weight of absence
from hills spring forth that place where the hip and the thigh meet
and from there white roses come
from penguins come vending machines and from the weight of absence
poetry comes
from white roses comes dances and stringed instruments
and from poetry comes the fluff that will make dandelions
from dandelions come invincibility
from invincibility comes dances and stringed instruments comes hinges
from thence sugar and lizards
from sugar comes a high that's fun
from lizards comes the desire for power
from the desire for power comes the sound of falling buildings

and then it starts over

thus ends the first breath
and the thread of sound

nothing of this is not sacred


The thread of seeing


from the sight of flames comes oak trees
from oak trees come tinned beans and fingernails
from fingernails come, as the Edda says, ships
and from tinned beans come the obsession with lost love
thus endeth the lineage of tinned beans

from ships comes the four winds and their intercourse
from the intercourse of the winds come the ability
to remember songs
from the ability to remember songs horses are made
from horses come the sense of direction
from the sense of direction our brains are made
and from our brains slugs come
from slugs come paper
from paper comes nothingness and there it is

we are one
we have come


from the sight of waves our fingers are made
from our fingers clay is made
from clay is made bars and in bars plans are made
from plans come plains by fermentation
and from plains come loss
from loss comes maps and globes and string
and from maps and globes and string come cake
cake gives birth to rulers that don't smudge the drawing ink
and from rulers are born the loss of memory
from the loss of memory refrigerators are made
and from refrigerators camels spring
from camels speed
and from speed forgetfulness

[the reader will now cough]

nothing of this is not sacred


from the sight of burning eyes whales come
from whales screws and nails are born and all metallic things
that can go into walls
from screws and nails rivers are born and their unquenchable appetite
from rivers and their unquenched appetite the color yellow comes
and from the color yellow the wish for being somewhere else
from the wish of being somewhere else
flamingos are born

from flamingos sprouts things that go upwards
from things that go upward comes farmhouses and heavy chairs
from farmhouses comes long Sundays
but heavy chairs remain barren
from long Sundays comes eyebrows and hairs that grow in odd places
and they produce every name that begins with an A
which in turns gives rise to confusion
from confusion comes the beetle called a scarab
and from scarabs springs warm night
from warm night comes rail road tracks and all who follow them
and here resteth the lineage of the sight of whales

nothing of this is everything


The thread of smell


from the smelling of bumblebees' warm backs come our femurs
from our femurs come the names that begin with an I
from the names that begin with an I spring squirrels
and from thence machines that cut bread into even-sized slices
and from machines that cut bread into even-sized slices comes
transportation sickness
and from transportation sickness comes reeds
from reeds comes the need to be secure
and it in turn gives rise to bunions on our feet
from the bunions of our feet comes printing ink
and from printing ink comes crows
from crows come the notion that the horizon is where the world ends
and from thence comes chili
chili gives rise to things that go bump in the night
and from things that go bump in the night comes instant coffee
and that was a mistake

here we rest with our feet up


from smelling the whining sound in the right ear comes back pockets
from back pockets the need to explore space comes
and from thence paper clips
from paper clips the urge to scratch your scrotum (if you have one) arise
from the urge to scratch your scrotum (if you have one) comes hip-hop
and broken elastic bands
which remain barren
from hip-hop comes the need to settle on distant mountain tops
and from thence nail clipping devices
from nail clipping devices come the planets you cannot see
and from the planets you cannot see come photo-booths
from photo-booths comes acne
from acne to top of clouds come
and from the top of clouds we get our liver
from our liver the need to revise the signs of the zodiac comes
and from thence lemon squeezers
and from the spaces between tiles various mental disorders
now we breath
now we don't nothing of this is not sacred


from smelling various mental disorders we get strawberry licorice
from strawberry licorice we get the urge to talk to stones and household appliances
from thence we get the hair on our heads
from the hair on our heads we get bridges
and from bridges come nostalgia
from nostalgia comes 35 mm film (now a rarity)
and from 35 mm film comes the animal called giraffe
from giraffes come the ability to be obedient by choice
and that in turn gives rise to twined rope
from twined rope comes the idea of Paradise
and from the idea of Paradise comes ice-cream
from ice-cream comes the old dance called the Galliard
and from thence comes tight trousers
from tight trousers we get the plant called Aloe
and from Aloe springs typographical symbols of pauses
from typographical symbols of pauses we get the muscles of our thighs
and from them spring the population of amphibian animals

if there's coffee drink it
if you have a favorite song sing it

nothing of this is secret

Johannes S.H. Bjerg was born in 1957, and writes mainly haiku and related forms.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Three Poems by Jack e Lorts

Ephram Pratt Basks in Silver Moonlight

Disembark immediately
on the advice of

a winged serpent
lying dormant

in a cavern aswil
with anxiety, bile

and a nightshade
swimming in silence.

Let august lanterns
slip indecisively

into oblivion,
basking in moonlight

while dangers
slip into deep seated

anger and dissonance.
Is it because

of the juices
filling the veins

of high flying votives,
eager to enter

into agreements with
soft boiled eggs,

grasped firmly
by velvet hands?

No one knows!
Only the fairy handlers.

Ephram Pratt Sings of the Solid Air

A miraculous virginity
struggled across

a lonely open space,
like wilted lettuce

lingering in a cold sobriety,
fenced in and spacious,

while deftly delivering
verbal molasses

across tightly guarded
borders of solid air.

He winced as
he drove slowly

into downtown darkness,
like an elephantine

scream, witnessed
by jailors and jurors

as they sang
unknown Bach cantatas

with vacant voices,
into the silence

of shackaleers
reciting a voiceless poem.

Ephram Pratt Paints the Granite Eyelids

The fence posts rowing
discreetly into wheat fields

define insanity
with soft strokes

of rosemary, lining
the gossamer wings

of angry seraphim,
sleeping under bridges

and along the arid roads
of eastern Oregon.

They deliver soft pillows
of incense and joy

to the sand painters,
weeping openly

while they plant
their eyelids firmly

on bracken, gold chains,
large enough to

remove granite pedestals
from sink holes

found in small cities
lining the Great River

as it meanders
slowly to the sea.

Jack e Lorts is a retired educator living in a small remote town in eastern Oregon.  His poems, particularly his recent Ephram Pratt poems, have appeared widely in print or online in such places as Haggard and Halloo, Elohi Gadugi, Clackamas Literary Review, Fault Lines and elsewhere.  His earlier work from the late 50's through the early 2000's was published widely if infrequently in such places as Arizona Quarterly, Kansas Quarterly, English Journal, Abbey, Agnostic Lobster, Oregon East, High Desert Journal, etc.  His most recent chapbook is "Dear Gilbert Sorrentino and Other Poems" is from Finishing Line Press.  Active in Democratic politics at the local and state level, he served as mayor of Fossil, Oregon (population 479) for many years.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Dragonfly Words that I Once Swallowed

How does one fathom a dream
When all of my females were merely Cliff's Notes
In the Cafe De Seahorse where I recalled my youth
Which was like a Disney sonnet
Whose rose petals nodded at me
As oh so bone white they sighed
Heaving and sad and like a spinning wheel
While the fog held a seance to communicate with my dreams
That dissolved like some Cocteau film
As it pulsed from the Painted Desert
To Alpha Centauri and beyond
And then morning tore my ticket into a stub
While a rusting symphony of the frogs in the trees
Turned all this into a bewitched womb
That tilted and quivered like a playground swing
Near and freshly plowed fields that like pendulum clocks
Led me to the midway of the black b irds
Where gold fish swam in its carnival light
And where with the benediction of the clouds
Summer boarded up for winter in front of me with a sound most loud.

A Tarnished Whirlpool

Driving along in my father's speeding pickup
A thousand times I dreamt of flinging open the door
On my side and repelling out of it
My legs tucked under me cannonball style
Sure that I would magnificently fly before I died
When gravity finally did an Icarus on me
Many times I tested the door handle on my side
Wanting so badly to do it my mouth and throat gone dry
My blood pressure throbbing inside of me like a trip hammer a'pounding
Only to abandon such thoughts at the very last sweaty palmed moment
Then back to the pile of funny books I always carried
In the canvas overnight bag with me to day camp and everywhere
It always smelled pungently of peanut butter and jelly and suntan lotion
And bubble gum and of the four-colored comics it had made to bleed
I haven't thought of any of that in years without number
Then this morning it swam up from the depths to me
While I listened to Tchaikovsky's Russian sadness
Which was still engulfing me like some forgotten summer.

As Comes Snow

Goodbye is not gone as long as it floats you
To those few hours when she was an imposing beacon to me
And made me first believe in the portents
That turned her ginger cat into an old lion or so I believed
And as long as I was cloistered in those irrepressible footsteps now long gone
I trod on a ship's deck of different rhythms and envied
Those who dug in the soil that could play a violin if it so chose
My thoughts as surrounding and comforting as childhood jammies
While I made a wish as I sat down on the rooftops of those red lipsticked mansions
As the pink light rubbed a magic lantern that quivered through
The windswept catwalks of the somewhat eternal seaside's rocks.

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, January 12, 2016

Three Poems by Heath Brougher

Grunge Poem Get Well Card

Sleep precious my pretty pneumonia;
my rag-doll of bloodstream; you can
cough on me anytime you want
ever since I heard the life-rattle of the flu
in your bronchi;          the hospital
is spilling out with       patients like over-poured milk;

may your ribs not be razed by your incessant coughing;
may dusk work its way into this epidemic;
may the medical community invent a flu shot
that is strong enough to overpower this current string;
but most importantly, my pretty little pneumonia,
may you please wake up from your current state,
stretch your arms out wide, sigh a morning sigh,
and begin to feel like rain, that is, right as.

Burning Leaves

Something else after the fact rolled down
the sleeve unlike a raindrop or ball; more square
and untrustable than misshapen lies . . . this weaving path
leads nowhere, you may as well just let go now . . .
pig's vomit at the rainbow's end, the slaughtered leprechaun
(they're evil anyway), so we euthanize
their poor green goldless suits so flammable; feed them
dopamine and set them ablaze with flambeaus;
voids and vacuums and empty spaces are primary
to us today; the here and now is discombobulated
and confuses the senses, the sinus reaches through dense blockages,
for clarity, anything goes and nothing is right and relieved
and unveiled, the insane things . . . the sodas we shake and throw
into the air to explode and take off like rockets into power-lines
leaving them dripping sticky as we walk back inside
across the gluey ground
beneath our shoes.  Anything; anything at all to turn off this tedium,
anything so I don't just nod off . . . nod off . . . nod off . . .
nod off and gone forever.

A Nightmare in Purple

Down hollowest hill
a path twisted; born in the palm
of frigid gale, she wore a dress
that flowed through the fingers;
hard and high in the violets,
her face was a snapped-out-of-a-dream;
petite legs walking to the threshold
of a frightened wake.

Heath Brougher lives in York, PA and attended Temple University.  He has been writing his entire life but didn't begin to submit his work for publication until March of 2014, so he feels like he's got a lot of catching up to do.  He recently finished his first chapbook and has two more on the way as well as a full-length book of poetry.  His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Diverse Voices Quarterly, Mobius, MiPOesias, BlazeVOX, *Star 82 Review, Otoliths, Of/With, experiential-experimental-literature, Van Gogh's Ear, 521 Magazine, Stray Branch, Carnival, Indigo Rising, Inscape Literary Journal of Washburn University, and elsewhere.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Three Poems by Sanjeev Sethi

Summer Song

Plurality isn't enough to tickle you pink.
I've shared magical, misty evenings
with endless seekers via somatic unguents
but not unlimited with the one I wanted,
certainly not when I was a louse in love, when
all of me was a photocopy of priapic rush,
when monosemy of skiving left me with
a jack-o-lantern smile.  Numbers never woo.
It kvells to be in sync with one who soothes.
Per contra those consumed by tenderesse
on another day may thirst for other thighs.


The otherworldliness of poetry annexes
parts of me, urging me to inhale it.  True
to type, I acquiesce to its essence till the
terminus a quo of cadence and its sweep.
Words are my warriors.  No-one can nix
the urge to imbricate.  What has to must
spume.  It can be scrubbed or reshaped.


Dossier of your doings is in the ashcan of
my interiority.  Smoking you was deleterious
to self-image.  I strolled to and fro in my mind,
alighted from staircase of fuzzy connections.
Fanfaronade is fine but dictums can't live it.
The rowing of ravens is shut off by soundproof
oriels.  How does one seal these anechoic squeals?

Sanjeev Sethi's poems have found a home in The London Magazine, The Fortnightly Review, Allegro Poetry Magazine, Solstice Literary Magazine, Off the Coast Literary Journal, Synesthesia Literary Journal, Oddball Magazine, Hamilton Stone Review, Dead Snakes, Literary Orphans, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Otoliths and elsewhere.  Poems are forthcoming in Sentinel Literary Quarterly Magazine, Ink Sweat & Tears, The Bitchin' Kitsch.  He lives in Mumbai, India.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

Strength and Growth Rings

She called herself nice nasty
Dion of Hendrix's "Purple Haze."
She told of the growth rings of trees
And how they grow within our bones
Changing our network of outer appearance
Decade on the decade, nuances
Lean or thick, threadlike or rope.

Some days she would rise to the wind,
Let Janis know her overdose was recognized,
And other days she hopped beyond clouds
Into the throat of a melody loud and abrasive.
She told how the rings in our bones
Wrapped themselves around the marrow
Decade after decade--years of stress and change

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published.  His latest works, Firestorm:  A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Books on Blogs) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside and other poems (Barometric Pressures -- A Kind of a Hurricane Press).  His work has appeared in The Cafe Review, American Letters and Commentary, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, 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) and I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011).  He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

You Killed My Speaker

Without hesitation, your mind
brought immediate demise.
Fanatically final.  Though, in
your defense, she is often
bloodied and bare
-ly breathing.  Buried. 
Under some viscous liquid. 
Battling, cavorting, even wooing
some darker insanity.  Inside
(and outside) the frame
of lines such as these.
Yet somehow your betrayal
is worse than hers.  So dismissive
in its dissidence.  Maybe you were
trying to concede her silence.
(Or echo mine?)  The differentiation
is uncertain.  And certainly uncanny
in its noble pursuit of conclusivity.
If only my eyes wore such shades
of black and white.  Alas, it is
divisibility that continues
to flow.  In red and gray streams.
Rushing my mind, her robes,
and your puddled opinions. 
What a strange wave
we leave.  All shaved, shined,
but still lost.  Just outside

the idea[l] of communality.

Of Tissue


Seeing ADD

Legal pads filled with partially
formed thoughts
laden table, floor.  Not
abandoned, just asided in attempt
to make                                     space
for next muse-forced
minding.  They flow past midnight,
into dawn, fumble
                              about meals,
in frantic        forage for pen.        A long drive,
nightmare of paused
          pull-overs, safe
                                    attempts to salvage brilliant bits of
verse.  Days, weeks, months, later,
words found, retraced. 
                                       Fresh eyes finding
conjoinment of several parts.  Finally,
                    a whole is formed.

A.J. Huffman has published twelve 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), Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) and A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press) are now available from their respective publishers and  She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2400 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.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Poem by ayaz daryl nielsen

Tell Us a Poem

your poem
a favorite poem
or sing us your song
Jesus Loves Me,
or, Roadhouse Blues:
"I woke up this morning
and got myself a beer"
just tell us your poem,
sing us your song,
or tell us a favorite story,
dance your dance
from the inside out
or will you whistle
The Heart Sutra, or Om Nabashi Bayu
Little Boy Blue, or The Internationale,
whatever is your favorite
through your puckered lips

I can only whistle on the in-breath,
have yet to learn how to whistle out
and I would whistle my
favorite melody for us, the
one about a little tea pot
surviving the war
of lost causes--

but my pucker is dry--
I'll pause here--

and begin again.

Tell us a poem
a favorite poem
of yours
or sing us your song . . .

ayaz daryl nielsen, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs)/hospice nurse, editor of bear creek haiku (25+ years/125+ issues), homes for poems include Lilliput Review, SCIFAIKUEST, Shemom, Shamrock, Kind of a Hurricane Press and online at bear creek haiku.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Three Poems by Mark Young

geographies:  London's East End

The helmet hairdo
is a minimally
edited cut & paste

of an email exchange
on the masculine
nature of the werewolf
in the arena of literature

between the loving
fans of Justin Bieber
& a more-than-modest
amount of tequila.

It is full of images of
luxury objects as trash,
but doesn't quite have
the same buzz as the

Congressional comb-
over with its loose
Lacanian metaphors.

A Line from Julius Caesar

In a breakaway from the
current, flawed model
there is a plan to close by
stealth the science that

depends upon necessary
conclusions being put in
place.  It is the first true
continental datum.  You

won't find mirrors or smoke--
the work is a paradigm of
proper reporting & stylistic
clarity.  All successful app-

licants will be assigned a
female pilot mentor.  All
points in time (including
erroneous statements)  will

continue to persist in some
way.  No single measure
can make it all happen.
MSG is toxic to the brain.


It was a
temporal re-
from which
he returned
singing the

between mouth-
fuls of a curried
egg & lettuce
sandwich.  Arch-
ival footage

shows there
were times
when he had
all four feet
off the

Born in Hokitika, New Zealand & is now living in North Queensland in Australia, Mark Young has been publishing poetry for more than fifty-five years.  His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages.  He is the author of over twenty-five books, primarily poetry but also including speculative fiction & art history.  His most recent books are a chapbook of visual poems, Arachnid Nebula, from Luna Bisonte Prods, Hotus Potus, from Meritage Press in California & the ebook, A Small Compendium of Bats, from Swirl Press in Sweden.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Fingers Like Birdsong

There are strands of sunflowers on the tempestuous cliffs
And the music of the rain is on every vine
As I look out this chocolate box's window
Towards the heartbeat of the headless ocean
While random pictures hopscotch across
My paper-mache TV screen as I slowly
Become a forgotten library that shimmers even as it tingles
And as my backyard which has a most dry throat
Becomes enveloped in cigarette smoke
That smells like meat and dooms us all with its flickers
That bloom like remembrance
Of the day the earth stood still like a time machine
As it prepared me for Naked Lunch after being shown the way
By Dangerous Dan McGrew and teh beanstalk
And the Hound of the House of Usher
All of them kaleidoscopes that bred like flocks of birds
Above a blur of ocean waves leading me to dream adrift
About things that can't be plundered and were never carried on any ship.

Someone in a Dream

The birdsong in the cloying heat
Reverted into a catatonic state
As stroboscopic as the quickening dusk
Near where the sea splashes in the harbor
As faint as an epileptic fit
I want to remain sane
So turn off these machines
That are the footprints
Of some alien visitation
Where even the most beautiful of ants
Are eventually revealed to be gray hallucinations.

Becalmed Ballad

Glass after glass of vertigo becomes my distant shore
Where awakened remembrances that slither and slide
Most subterranean through the smuggled dreams
Of an old alleyway in the ebon circuitry
Of the midnight hour where all is one step beyond
All airlocks down where the lily pads that
Breed and breed until they become but mutilated
Broadcast signals near the frigid bones of a disfigured sea that drools
On my antennas bringing forth surrealistic tapestries
In the ruins of my hallucinations where my former feast of visions
Becomes the needle flesh of a dirty bed cloaked in toadstools
And blips of shadows wherein the breakneck torrent of my meat grief
I am left adrift in your fingertips in the silk of all that is forgotten
And all that once occurred in the Haunted Mansion ride in Disneyland
Comes into a dream orbit of my ancient thoughts and plants seeds
Most wintry and mysterious while interplanetary seagulls call above
The rainy farmlands so like solar systems seen through the dwindling Martian rain.

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.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

Three Poems by Chris Wood

Handed Down

She was trained to be that way
I didn't know
I thought it was choice
Wild yet stoic
Her silence was not a contemplation
She was conditioned and resigned
in the lukewarm shadow
of the fighting feeding hand
Fear has matured into indignation
informs now her resentment
toward all bodies in synonym
The modern enigmatic flower
The bright future and stern face
Breaks from her loose dim chains
to serve a new master
absent of apparent identity
I pray she keep care
in the cast of her arms
lest she force the seed
in the breaking of light


cascading shimmer
shadowed being
carving history into quiet night
deafening to the touch
hard pressed to solidify
hold me to these silent times
take the mystery away from the living
show me a star
that I might know myself
hang me a new hunger
over the jaws of success
fear not the peace of death
shackled to moonshine
sequestered only from self
crying out for want of true laughter
stuttering starlight starved for the lark
tie me to the beams you envy


to sleep
an independent
an alien
self appointed
lone Master
of one and none
harbor of the unseen
a beacon
for the betrayed

Chris Wood is 35 years old, and lives in Tacoma, WA.  Originally from Dallas, TX, and attending high school in Northern California, he relocated to Pacific Northwest in 2010.  His poetry is inspired by his perception and reflections of both the personal and shared human condition in the modern world.  He holds the freedom of individual expression as well as interpretation in the highest regard.