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

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Three Poems by Jack e Lorts

Ephram Pratt Ponders the Silence of the North

Posing like a
wire coat hanger

preparing for sleep,
the length

of the movie
was measured

in slow motion,
in a dimension

known only to
Norse gods,

known in the mythology
of lightning,

of sounds heard

eternal silences,
caught in the same

slow motion.
Ponder such wonders

in the silence
of Valhalla,

try to know if

Norse silence.

Ephram Pratt Instructs the World of Light

Coarsened into silence
by approaching air,

heavy with a devilish liquid
stemming from

tankards of whispers
relayed through

tongues of fire
by the ghosts of light

lingering in the
softness of

acrylic gondolas,
adrift in errant

pools of light,
melting into

the broth of angels.
Tense your muscles

as you survey
the tactics used

by the shackaleers
weaving in and out

of variegated trees,
film-red and dying,

cleaving to a slow slumber,
ineligible for flight,

touched by silicon and
intangible as darkness.

Ephram Pratt Exhales the Bliss of Light

The bandage on the clock
fits tightly

like amnesia
leaking into

a dry pool of acid,
into a drift-wood

alabaster ingot
tasting the wares

of insulated daylight.
Crease your fingers

as if they were
on fire,

ignited by
crystals of joy

dripping onto the page
of mismatched

clustered in silence

around an enclosed
isothermal blot,

anchored in space
by practiced

and practical
insignias of light.

Jack e Lorts, a retired educator living in a small town in eastern Oregon has published widely, if infrequently, over the past 40+ years, in such magazines as Arizona Quarterly, Kansas Quarterly, English Hournal, Agnostic Lobster, Quantum Tao, High Desert Journal and elsewhere.  Author of several chapbooks, his most recent is "Dear Gilbert Sorrentino and Other Poems," from Finishing Line Press.  Active in local, state and national Democratic politics, he is currently Mayor of Fossil, OR (population 479).