Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Poem by Martin Cohen

Thesia is Sin -- A Poem for the New Year

(Written at 5 in the morning, New Year's Day, 2012)

Questionable lights fall across the land.  They soak into the ground, leaving a peppermint ooze.  Wandering carefully through, I notice a pink-smelling mist rising, surrounding me.  It tickles.

Once, twice I am lifted, as my shadow says howdy to the irreducibility of it all.  I, however, remain silent, keeping twice my usual distance from reality.

A hopeful sound approaches.  I place it into shadow position as we dance across the not-quite floor.  The comfort is reassuring.

Once again, the new year has forced itself upon us.  If only we could make it stumble, we could have a time without time, knowing that safety is not in numbers but in friends, and that the fragrant sound of touching shines sweetly over all.

Martin Cohen is a retired computer programmer who loves dancing (favorites are West Coast Swing, Waltz, Foxtrot, and Salsa), writing (but not revising) poems, and solving math problems.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Schizophrenia Night

      Devoted to John Nash, A Beautiful Mind Movie, 2001

I am a chalkboard computer brain.
I have updated drawn raw
images even the classroom
students cannot see, hear, nor understand.
They sit quietly in Disneyland
wondering about my eccentricities
I capture their stillness, then I speak.
I am the professor, special agent of government
dream tracer of crossroad puzzles.
Photographic memory in private rooms,
did I hear a critic, erase
destroy dissociation thoughts.
I walk out unsteady in disbelief.
Is there a shadow of storybooks following me?

I am a genius; I know who I am.
I spend the nights in formula construction
drawing full color images of my brain,
percentages of gray matter lost.

I stick my ego to the eagle of the sky.

When on a high on an airplane, self-love,
full bloom, I keep my enemies at bay.
I shelter the skeletons of thought.

I trust Jesus because His image is stable,
every group I have ever known says "The Lord's Prayer."
Even then, new members leave, disappear, I hear what they said.
I had an MRI to trace all my youthful abuses.
There were no images there but voices I remember.
I cast there shadows, audio, visual for show, in the background.
In time, they quiet their voices.  I walk beyond their images.
I pass on, they still screenplay.

You have to stretch lean, refer to sanity,
drink Asian tea, smooth out hallucinated sounds
before that stage, I took that Nobel prize,
even before, I forgave you.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 27 countries.  He edits 8 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freendom (136 page book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 70 poetry videos on YouTube.
Links:  http://poetryman.mysite.com/

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Poem by Sy Roth

Shrinking World

Espied a shrinking world
loath to participate on it
its circumference half-radii
so small I would eventually
find my feet entwined
around my head

Buttressed by air
Proximate distance from my body
A wordless composition--paper's thickness
Rustles close to the rank smells of being.

Pushing desires--
To push away from the others
Spring clean and shove it all onto plastic sheets,
shrink-wrap the flotsam
and leave them unprotected from winter winds
and a scalding summer sun.

Met myself in a zone of silence
Where it all shrank to a pencil nub
pink eraser the only monument plopped at its summit

an effervescent bubble pops mid-air
showering a nasal spray of dis-ease
smelly big toe waggles serpentine by my nose
curling up into the venomous air.

I with it--
Infectious weevil.

Sy Roth comes riding in and then canters out.  Oftentimes, head is bowed by reality; other times, he proud to have said something noteworthy.  Retired after forty-two years as teacher/school administrator, he now resides in Mount Sinai, far from Moses and the tablets.  This has led him to find words for solace.  He spends his time writing and playing his guitar.  He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre, Bitchin' Kitsch, Bong is Bard, Humber Pie, Poetry Super Highway, Penwood Review, Masque Publications, Foliate Oak, Miller's Pond Poetry, The Artistic Muse, Word Riot, Samizdat Literary Journal, Right Hand Pointing, The Screech Owl, Epiphany, Red Poppy Review, Big River, Poehemians, Nostrovia Poetry's Milk and Honey, Siren, Palimpset, Dead Snakes, Euphemism, Humanimalz Literary Journal, Ascent Aspirations, Fowl Feathered Review, Vayavya, Wilderness House Journal, Aberration Labyrinth, Mind[less] Muse, Em Dash and Kerouac's Dog.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Two Poems by April Salzano

Whose Ostrich Is This

with its head in my sand &
a mouth full of mitigation?
What distance is really
unreachable with a pocket
emptied like a flag in the wind?
Varied & clumsy, all the horses
are dragging their riders into a night
that wears a crown.  A thorny
crucifixion bothers to martyr
the unarmed.

I Will Be Damned

if I do not make amends with this body
full of blame.  The mirror
reflects nothing worth gazine.
Eyes tax the reflection,
both ways/both ways.
What one version says,
the other echoes.  I cannot
stop them from trying
to eat each other's hearts
through glass.  There is no love
in this room.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons.  She is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry.  Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.  Her first chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is forthcoming in spring, 2015, from Dancing Girl Press.  The author serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press (www.kindofahurricanepress.com)

Monday, November 10, 2014

A Poem by Kelley White

The Last Issue

I have something caught in my throat.
I can't speak or breathe so we pull on
my ears and off it comes.  I am breathing
better but I can't speak so we put it back
on.  It snaps on quite nicely the first two
or three tries.  I sing a verse or two, blow
up a balloon, but then it stays severed,
a neat line across the neck, no bleeding
at all, but the face is getting puffed out
like those people Gahan Wilson draws,
fat running down like wax in a bowl.  You
are working at the computer with your back
to me.  I plait my hair in a french braid,
easier with my head on my lap facing away.
The hair is red and thin like Queen Elizabeth
the First's.  I tie a pink ribbon and I want
to explain this to you, this idea I have about
myself but I can't speak to get  your attention
and my hands are tied in my red knots.

Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire.  Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA.  Her most recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books).  She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A Poem by Taylor Graham


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Poem by Martins Iyoboyi

Native War

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

      *   *   *

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

      *   *   *

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

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

      *   *   *

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

concerts of common roots.

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

      *   *   *

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

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

A Poem by John W. Sexton


Please state your full name?

          dark blisters

What is your country of origin?

          on the surface
          of the ocean

How long have you been domiciled at your current address?

          fishermen claim
          that they hear them
          beneath the waves

Have you been actively seeking employment?

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

Are you currently in receipt of welfare benefit?

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

          live for months
          the mundane lives
          of villagers

State the number and names of any dependents:

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

Failure to answer these questions truthfully may result in prosecution.

          moonlight leaves its signature equally on all

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