Thursday, May 30, 2013

Three Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan


It’s memory, they say,
the brain cap secure and work///ing
seven armadillos in momma’s bottled cats[up]
the charm of a Frisco trolley.

It’s memory on the cheap,
neurons for sale
look there –
don’t you see it?

memory    memory    memory

I (re)member the tiny scampering universe
child prostitutes taking it in the rump
on Taiwanese beaches

look –
more memories…

you can catch them
if you’re fast.

no memories for me.

>>>Laying here
in the dark
in green socks.

My brain stem
like a l-o-n-g and hungry

Cry Me N

          **Slippery little tadpole
of a thing
through my hands
                    sure as winter
candy apple sticky
       a tiny )))Oppenheimer
on the end:

            women to right of me
            women to left of me

            women all ‘round

my slippery little
   into a giant frog
of t-h-r-o-b-b-i-n-g
          each time you walk
in the room          

sprite as any field

A Gathering of Many Whiskered

               Crusaders and ginger snaps -
all things brought to grief yellow;
       superintendents whistling down lonely halls
beige overalls over the shoulders of professional mountains
high    high    high
                     rejoicing in candelabra
                     rejoicing in Milan
    rejoice      rejoice
in the frozen windpipes of suckled thunder,
                                 watch parsnips dance in bony pawnshop windows
                park benches stripped of their wooded fire
rejoice      rejoice      rejoice
there are clean glasses in the cupboard
                     and much wine to drink
and we have come together
to drink it                    
               like big cats
              >round the watering

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a wheezing asthmatic who loves short walks on the beach.  He lives deep in the Canadian Shield with his toaster over and his muse.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Two Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

In the dormitory of perfect birds there lives a passion for perfect violence
and you go into old age with all of your lies,
reminiscing by the telling of these lies
until every lie you know
is a lie you own
But everything is OK—
I will leave this place and let my life live out somewhere else.
On the way home this evening, I died.
It’s rather interesting, this dying.
Color fades into dyes
And a two and a four appear on the die
Nothing makes sense for a moment, dying,
Dyes, the roll of the die
But here it is, you’re dead, so you died
Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, and others. In addition, he has nine poetry chapbooks includingThe 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).

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Three Poems by Bill Jansen

Votive Candles

soft tom toms in car radios--
music interrupted
important news
about suspicious figs...

the President laughs

night traffic
stopped for miles,

votive candles
in the sky

like a pride of luminous
leaving the savannah

without permission.

Guide to Albanian Grammar

I sat at a vintage picnic table
in front of the Pizza Schmizza.
Christmas has been painted on the windows
using a dragon's tail.

Lediana and Platformsoles
strolled by with the seven muses on a leash
(on their way to the lagoons of Venice)?

A waitress practiced seduction.

The chatter of teenage girls
like the reasoning of angels. 

Delicate Moment in the Void

though stars got there first and wreaked the white hill
the nights are not disappointing

we think of Eisenhower in a jeep in London
but the new constellation turns out to be
a cosmic taco wrapped in a Jiffy Lube coupon

a fellow townsman drew us a map to this place
based on our credit card numbers

if you keep flipping through your high school yearbook
the dead Latin teachers warned us
you will end up racing hares

in Armani sackcloth for days into the redwood forest
now one of us must leave the safety of the group...

the cubic fog of evolution
invites our sleeping bags to grow wings
and leave us in the past.

Bill Jansen lives in Forest Grove, Oregon. His most recent work has appeared in Asinine Poetry and Hypothetical Review.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Two Poems by J.K. Durick

First there's door sounds
Opening      in the distance
the whoosh of closure

the silence holds your breath

the steps' sound

slow sidesteps or tiptoe
just touching on a threat
or a rush at you

even a voice calling a name
any name at all

a bell could ring

anything to complete this sequence

How It Should Be
I should be able to arrange these things, set them in predictable motion and just sit back and await the results. I should be able to sit down at this keyboard, and the words should come like sheep to their shepherd, bees to their keeper, fish to their fisherman. I should be able to sit down at this keyboard, and the words should line up like the homeless at a soup kitchen, like teenagers at a movie or rock concert, line up like depositors at a bank, like mourners at a wake. They should be pounding on the door like police with a warrant, like a landlord with questions about a bad check, like firemen at a burning house. I should be able to sit down, and the words should call up, ring me up like telemarketers, political survey takers, credit card collectors, ring up like an old friend in town for the day who remembers me and thinks I’m still home, the friend who sat with me drinking and smoking half the night saying things we hardly believed. The words should pile up on the lawn like leaves, like litter, or junk cars, pile up like debts and regrets, like all the things I meant to do, should have said. They should pile up like snow does, drift up to the door, enough for snowballs and shoveling, enough for Christmas and snowmen and angels. They should wrap themselves in useable images, memories worth the record, phrases and lines that work and matter, that summarize and save, that take on a life of their own, call me, demand I sit at this keyboard ready to get them all down, down here where they all belonged in the first place.
J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Northern New England Review, Napalm and Novocaine, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground Review.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Poem by Nathan J.D.L. Rowark

Junkie Clusterfuck Jesus
Over thirsty drug addict hallucinates over water whilst tripping, as society writes him a useful epitaph with a future.
Needle field, seeping flames from yesterday's hit.
Rubbing arm, arteries sore, future past and nevermore.
Do you wanna dream about giant fucking octopuses in screaming pink elevators?
Neither do I, why should I care. I gave me a chance; I swear.
No bother, no good. I'm out in the wild fields again, amongst the dead poppies and the swaying soldiers.
It's a war, that's what it is, it's my uncle fucking Sullivan all over again, but I'm not sure.
Not sure if I want what you have, not sure that it hasn't depreciated as you've gotten fat.
Another fat hit's what I need, so take your shot, reaper, and let me crawl back in your ocean to swim with your skeletal fishes and your overblown vile walrus full of vials of the stuff I like.
I probably don't make sense to you or I, those people, I'm neither; or that guy.
I'm the living proof that dying in your mind is an acceptable profession for your mind to live and your body... to die.
No, I got it wrong. That's not right. I don't want that, that's fishy, a convoluted, overbloated ink penned conspiracy.
Who's writing this thing, it's supposed to be my say? Do I know you and why are you perving over my misery? It's mine, go away.
I need some piece and quiet, some me time, while I figure out how to fix the tourniquet, stop looking, or I'll feed you to the fishes.
God, I'm thirsty, salivating with expectation, watching my tongue tears bounce on the floor, rolling like me when I first started, shedding like my fears to splash against the door.
Too warm this summer for too many layers, I'm not an onion. Time to shed my skin, to join my brothers.
Time to meet my maker beneath the (sings) b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l b-r-i-n-y s-e-a, I don't care at all, and as for you... s-o-c-i-e-t-y; put your pen DOWN!
We'll see who's still here at the end, when the bombs have fallen... and suburbia’s fallen.
I'll still be sleeping with the fishes, to crawl out of the water once you're all asleep and start you all up again... PEN!
Nathan J.D.L. Rowark is a horror writer, and editor of Horrified Press.  He lives in the UK with his partner Lilla. Nathan first started writing poems and stories when he was six years old, and has always been a huge fan of fictionally macabre.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Three Poems by Matthew Sharos


        but we plead
                                  We tell them we love him
                                   in this body
They wash it
dry it
                    take commemorative scans
                    explain clots as iridescent bulbs
                    I feel an exponential increase
                    Alternating current
                    Sockets stuffed with insulation
                   Cords plugged into my once     mouth
                                                    A beating dot
                                                Black Black Black
This is not my father
                                 My father flirts
                                 & changes channels
He’s not a ghost
He’s discontinuing to atmosphere spiraling
                                                    into rain
                                         caught on my shoe
           a stain
           on my ankle


           alphabet center
is a six-foot-three human
                   He’s given
            fonts & sounds
          & every word that begins with the letter
      I’m his ink
     & I’m not
                  There’s no surface
                     where my shape
                                  to me
          The soil
          of a tobacco field
    has a memory of each
                                 There is
               a migration of smoke
    exhaled back
    to the origin
every harvest holds


My sisters invaded the bathroom
                   with a video camera
                   while I was pooping
                   They weren’t recording
                   Now I always lock the doors

I’m never sure what side to stand on
                   in sandwich shops

I didn’t hold her hand as we walked

                   In school
                   we always
                   I wasn’t
                   & neither
                   was he
                   so we held
                   our cocks
                   with occasional beeps
                   from the automatic flush

                   This is how I feel about saying

Matthew Sharos is both a MFA Poetry student and a first-year writing teacher at Columbia College Chicago. His work has appeared in The Bakery, Columbia Poetry Review, Eratio, and Eunoia Review.

Friday, May 10, 2013

A Poem by John Kross

We have a cat named Ben who doesn’t wear a collar
so he stays indoors.
I know a saint named Ben whose picture's on a medal
that I wear outdoors.

I wear it for the safety, a bigger one we hang above the door
for superstitious reasons like a black cat crossing our path
that isn't ours, Ben is ours but Ben is brown not black and
Ben won't wear a collar so he stays indoors.

   St Benedict of Nursia the patron saint of lots of things,
   of remedies for poisoning, of evil witchcraft, suffering,
   a patron saint of lots of things, of aggies, engineers,
   spelunkers and those with fever near the gates of death.

   He is the patron saint of gall stones but not kidney stones
   if so his medal would have saved me from significant pain,
   but still I wear his medal when I go out to keep myself
   protected from whatever it is he protects us against.

   before he became a good luck charm, before he was a
   he lived in a cave in Italy in the year 400 a.d. where for
   three years the townsfolk brought him food to eat and
   talked him into coming out. No, not that kind of coming
   he wasn’t gay, he was a priestly hermit who was celibate.

   They put him in charge of a monastery when no one else
   wanted the job, but when he made the rules that still stick
   they didn’t want to listen so they tried to poison him twice
   both unsuccessful. This is where he gets the nod for

   Divine intervention saved the day, a raven stole the
   poisoned bread and a spasm smashed the poisoned cup.
   if they wanted him to go away they could have asked him
   but I guess they needed a saint, someone to martyr, so
   he went back to his cave and was promptly forgotten

   until the Connecticut witch trials of 1647 when a captured
   witch confessed that her powers were contained by a
   conspicuous medal that she’d never seen before mounted
   over doorways, and she heard the whispers of the
   townsfolk say
   the medal was the medal of a saint they called St.

I can personally attest that the medal is quite unique with
Latin inscriptions on both the front and the back. On one side
of the medal he stands and holds the holy rules, at his feet
a raven and a broken cup. An inscription on the medal reads:

          “May we at our death be fortified by his presence”

Flip it over and you’ll see:

          C S S
      N D S M D
          P M B

“May the holy cross be my light”
          “Let not the dragon be my overlord”
                     “This is the cross of Father Benedict”
                             “yadda yadda yadda”

Along the outer edge it looks like this, strangely similar
to a Ouija board.

                   B                V
               V                       R
             I                              S
               L                       N
                  Q                 S
                     M          V

PAX for Peace

The rest is this:
“Begone Satan yadda yadda yadda
        for evil is what you prefer yadda yadda
            so drink your own poison yadda”

350 some years since its inception and the medals popularity
still flourishes. I reach down and finger the medal beneath
my t-shirt and I realize what the strangeness feels like.

It feels like witchcraft.

I guess I’ll wait and see if anything happens
before I pass judgment.

I hang it near our bed at night and while
we sleep

our brown cat Ben likes to bat it around.

John Kross is an aspiring poet working and living in Dallas,Texas. He has been published here several times before in 2012 and 2013 including the 2012 best of antholgy "Storm Cycle". You can read more from him under the pen name "V" at

Monday, May 6, 2013

A Poem by Erik Moshe


Playing parkour
with the souls in the street
the ghost of Musashi coasting
on an azure hydroplane-mirage


Sunbathing sabertooths
hot bean paste cement
guacamole hair gel sorbet

My heart skips like stones
in a valley where bootleg orchards
bloom ransom notes
boast photosynthetic immunity

dry earth tangerine rust sponge
a sky whose black death
is renewed periwinkle

Chupacabras rest, serenading

Hotel Red Pepper is the only monastery for miles.

Erik Moshe was born and raised in South Florida. He has been around the world, from France to Iraq and Afghanistan. His work has been published in Gloom Cupboard, the Broward College Pan'Ku , Spirit of the Stairway, Clutching at Straws, mad swirl, The Bactrian Room, DEAD SNAKES, and he has poems forthcoming in Poetry.Pacific and The Camel Saloon. He enjoys microwaveable organics and conversations about DARPA uncertainties.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Three Poems by Delia Lantini Taylor

The Trip

The book lays open.
The story can be read.
Showers of black petals.
Rivers of dreams ended
on discarded syringes.
A sudden explosion in the mind
blows the conscious plane
into millions of fragments.
Perhaps, trying to recall
and fix with superglue.
‘Wake me reality,
slide in my head’.
Reaching to see that face. Too late. Stone dead.
Hour between Dog and Wolf
Now, at this moment
the blood-red sky is spiked
by a long-toothed comb;
each lock of light is
falling on the water
forming a liquid mass
of scintillating strands.
Then the tame dog –
subdued by the wild wolf –
curls up to sleep
on the horizon
until tomorrow.
Gradients of the Heart
Run run
On rails undone
Grind the grit into fine dust
Drag the dross and dull the pain
Words like whips hang in a frame
Brittle branches lay across an empty grave
Crowds, conundrums, finding lifelessness in a life
Cringing, crawling, giving, testing and ever toiling; yet
In the end it’s a long journey, ill equipped, without the knowing.
For fast emotions slow you down; they gather strength leaving you to weep
On silent screams suppressed on this long trip.
Born in Rome, Italy, Delia Lantini Taylor came to the UK at the age of sixteen but also lived in Germany for two years, where she was awarded first prize for poetry in the national competition. She has been writing poetry since the age of seven with some success and publication on various magazines, anthologies and winning the Silver Cup in the International Poetry Competition in USA.  Busy with a hectic life for many years she finally completed her education in 2004 and graduated with Merit at Glasgow University. The same year her autobiography was published, and she went on writing a novella and other works that she has now self-published on Amazon. She is currently writing a new novel.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Poem by Steve Hood


Bake a pie in a cracked kiln,
stare at the bright glory hole.
Arizona asphalt, sizzling hot,
vacation in Pakistan.

Pay the ferryman’s toll to cross
toxic river Styx.
Desert cities run dry as
cactus thirst in fine sand and
jellyfish numbers explode.

Spherical drought planet turn,
smoke billows in wind.
Crayons melt in a parked car,
in a new record-breaking heat.

Phytoplankton dies rapidly,
as sea levels rise, splash.
Solar panels lie unpacked,
crops fail in the South,
oceans fall silent, acidified.

As all life goes extinct,
steamy ruins of skyscrapers.
Leaky boils of a chemical burn,
sulfuric acid rainy day.

As skin wrapped in ambulance
bandages, priceless art removed
from museums to safer locations.
Scream in fiery lava bright,
pitchforks push us down.

Steve Hood is an attorney and political activist living in Bellingham, WA. His work has appeared in Waterhouse Review, Crime Poetry Weekly, Tenement Block Review, Windfall, Washington Free Press, and Whatcom Watch. He has published a chapbook entitled From Here To Astronomy, from Pudding House. One of the poems in his chapbook won an award from the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association.