Thursday, October 22, 2015

Three Poems by Taylor Graham

How She Does It

My dog leaps boulder to boulder,
perfect balance, not thinking where
she puts her feet.  Nose to the wind,

          she factors slant of sun
and shadow, updraft, eddy, convection
off hot granite, bacterial action
on particles of scent--

                    the missing boy passed
this way.  She performs tightrope
math in midair, works out fluid-dynamics,
meteorology, the smell of DNA.

                              I'm lost in her
universe of real-life hide-and-seek;
          I can only trust, and try to follow.

How does she doe it?  Instinct
to pursue, over any obstacle, one
unique scent in all the world of humans--

          answer to an equation
no computer has yet solved.
                              One lost child.

Full Moon Ripples

The boat ramp was hot enough
to cauterize a wound.
The missing lady's relations
had told their stories and disappeared
to shady spots, to wait for news.
Evocative of a murder mystery, but
they said it was just another
full-moon August evening on the lake.
A break in the surface, ripples,
a cooling hint of spray--nothing more.
Belated call for help.  In case
the missing woman reached shore,
we searched upslope; bed-
rock mortar where Indians ground
their acorns long ago; a pool
no bigger than a muddy cup of damp
where a golden rattlesnake coiled,
guardian of the dried-up creek.
We climbed the heat-
ladder to its top.  This is all
we know.  She disappeared like
ripples on a full-moon water.

Breed Wardens

If they're not here already
maybe they'll never come to snatch
my first-born, my chosen, telling me he's not
perfect.  My red-golden sable pup--

a color not in the breed standard.
He leaves offerings on the carpet, no matter
how I lead him like a partner in the dance--
out the door, chanting "do your"

Poo-poops, pup of mine!"  Mouth open
to praise Creation, he takes the world
in bright-sharp baby-teeth and shakes it,
tastes its spirit.  Cavalier suitor is he,

rhapsodizing on my ankle, my sleeve.
Let them take him if they can.
I'd sleep all night unwakened, unnuzzled,
in unencumbered peace, unloved.

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.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Two Poems by Linda M. Crate


3/4 of you was a haiku
the remaining 1/4
was distance
and silence
ruminating for more than 1/2
of our relationship,
and the despondence of my heart
was so easily magnified
by only 1/18th of your insincerity and treachery
you were a man of 1,000 faces;
none of them knowing the name of love
1000 histories
zero of them representing anything
of humanity
which leads me to believe that your essence
is wholly inhuman
you were dead before you were begun
living only mechanically to please
the 1/8th of your that actually
remembers how to breathe.

card game

riddle me this, riddle me that:
tell me why are you the mad hatter
if you have no interest in alice?
you should just let me take the role
because i am 3/4 absurd,
and i could drink the tea and dance with
the rabbit better than you could;
you're simply logic and reason without a dram
of imagination
it's why you can't go from point a to point b
without being anything less than predictable,
but i fall down rabbit holes
walk through labyrinths throw logic and caution to the wind--
i step out of sync
because i don't want what the world has
i am simply content in being me,
and i think that hat would look better on my head so why don't
you paint the roses red?
i'll flip the deck,
and burn all the wicked cards soon enough
so you may as well live before you're
clubbed by your own cruelty
king of clubs.

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville.  Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print.  Recently her two chapbooks A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press -- June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon -- January 2014) were published.  Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015.  Her novel Dragons & Magic is forthcoming through Ravenswood Publishing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Poem by Theresa A. Cancro


In the middle
of the night, I see
late running down the walls,
I crawl over, can't
lick it off,

know if it has peanut but-
ter or malt bits
it will stick to the roof
of my mouth,
jam things up.

Moth balls clog the hall
closet next to Mom's
muskrat coat, the one
she hoped looked enough
like mink to fool
the neighbors, a slick

joke, but the cloying
odor of naphthalene
stings my nose,
always there.

Theresa A. Cancro writes poetry and short fiction from Wilmington, Delaware.  Dozens of her poems have been published internationally in online and print journals, including Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, The Artistic Muse, Plum Tree Tavern, The Zen Space, Lost Paper, Brass Bell, The Heron's Nest, A Hundred Gourds, Chrysanthemum, Shamrock, Cattails, and Presence, among others.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Three Poems by John Pursch

Scrambled Newsprint Blues

Moisture arcs above in giant graceful paths of turbulent evacuation, stanching the flow of bloodless coups and revolving door cataclysms from tethered teapot Thermidor to toppled demagogue delusion sets to ergonomic capsule crews of worlds in frantic workflow cost erosion mesh.

A small explosion rips the hillsides, sending insecticide merchants into histrionic repair.  Covetous billboard watchers veer into oncoming traffic, taking out whole bridges of leering jumble-headed anti-intellectuals, unreal cessation tweakers, manned noumena, and chained phenomenal distraction police.  Teary-eyed roommates bid themselves intermittent adieu in candid sordid tiddlywink denouements of dialectic traction pairings, heaving switchback sidecar overtures at clovered turncoat passers by.

No one seems to come to in time for anything to be done, to dawn upon the Shetland poser's saddled soap, to bar the bottled termagant from opening another hamstrung conversation bauble, derailing Israeli unification for yet another conned piling's irreducible meltdown.

Cowering in steeping beanbag folio suffusion, bromide seeps from scratchy screenings to self-test ritual promenades, filling incessantly potable manicures with snail contusions, ripening octogenarians beneath cold kindergarten blanket bungalows.  Fodder follows from Marxian baseboards funnels in fusillades of oscillating kisses, flipping babies out the balky window, wrapped in lace and cheaply scrambled newsprint blues.

Downtown Watchingstoned, T.V.

Winter branches freckle the rocks with fallen leaves, tiny green spectators of gravity's relentless tubular embrace.  Gears fill the road, transporting trash, recycling worn-out wizened tourniquets of timed-out temptations, left stranded by buttered waves of formless idiosyncratic donut holes of consciousness impaired by frozen grapefruit partisans and croutons of our sad remains.

Echoing slowly into curvature's compelling fixative of lurid cavitation, potent thrills awaken in the hearts of nubile hitchhikers, merged from deep within our subtle memories of dime-store cavern discotheques and moonlight romance dream charades that some would say could never happen, never did, never will nor ever were so much as hinted at in tomes of silent pleasure plans of seekers, yearners, privateers on open seas in seizure of the finest hopes and sworn-off disillusioned sailboat liens in gunny sack dirigibles sold in ransomed truculent misery, known to everyman as simple lust, immovably intact for centuries, informs our every motive from the ground-up neural naval-stretching contents of intentional duress to far-flun motes in caricature of glad and luminescent tidings, to greet creation's delving representatives; a million days in retroactive travel.

Timed imagination cedes the interval to endpoint fallacies in limited congestion tunes of cough house probity taught nightly into dawdling onset peppercorns and soft redundant bells.  Hammers swing to coxswain calls around the coldcocked dumpster hives of shirkers, tee-shirt-wearing bone retardant feather binders, and frosted enfilade extrusion freaks, on curt cacophonous parade through downtown Watchingstoned, T.V.

Guano Factotum Grit

Bellyaching bellbottom clavicle crumpets fly from frozen thunder days of soaring peripheral horn contamination spume to closed enraptured piebald face plate limp petard feathers of our histrionic youth league sky puppet war zone, masquerading as peritioneal hiatus husks of shorn tabulation geeks gone sideways into shale.

Oafs caress each foolish crevice with tendons of looping clarity, hover into punctuated handball spies, and clasp enamored tartar sills with itchy biceps, plunking down haughty termite siege engorgement potions in lieu of tardy croupier flubs.  She knelt before the swollen hyena's plural bicycle nut, smelting corn gibberish into sexy imploded yams of slurping steeple filtration weeks, spanning coarse mentation's excruciatingly silent pistol.

Thereupon a scratch was waylaid by revolving hamster queens from stun time deterrent hands, moping into tertiary guano factotum grit within a singer's fallow nails.  Springs had sung of shoreline escapades, escapees drained a bald ten-footer from basal idiosyncratic cloven hauteur, and periodontal craftsmen spilled sebaceous beanery ingredients in tufts of highway junction mocha foci.

Chelated halitosis urns serrated yesteryear's pellucid pollywog with earshot undercarriage sips of crankcase solder soil impellor hog repeater combination frocks, sworn off and on in chesty beanbag locomotion sumps.

Far beside an itsy buxom fratricide inciter's hidebound cormorant expulsion paper, a measly stippled catamaran of punchy throne enhancement steed relief came wallowing down uptown crotch deportment stereotypes of teenage vital heifer region unguent chants in unison with stratified bumper cordials and flowery capsule air.

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.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Two Poems by Stefanie Bennett

Frontier Love Poem

When they zip-opened
Her chest
It was discovered
She had two

One for  the cut-out
One for
the "transient"



"For a person of Zen/no limit
exists" Muso Soseki . . . . . . . .

"Born Again?"
                "No," she says.
                "In the first place
I'm a single digit
Reading "The Farcical
Address Book
Of The Dead."

"And how,"
               she asks,
               "Are you

Stefanie Bennett has published several volumes of poetry and had poems appear with Dead Snakes, Poetry Pacific, Snow Monkey, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Boston Poetry Magazine, Mad Swirl, The Mind[less] Muse, and others.  Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee], she was born in Queensland, Australia, in 1945.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Three Poems by Michael H. Brownstein

A Need for More than Sleep

slinking, linking, drinking
blinking, blinking, blinking
four dollars more sleep to go
the headache lust in the mall
the headache
the headache does not know its place
          the headache, snug
the headache in two manglescripts
          one within reach
          the other wet and cold, outside the door in the snow
you make a miracle and nothing else comes of it
a puzzle and boulder
a bounty and pebbles
a rookery of root and rock
this knead of living on a tongue depressor and condom
the tree hid a dinosaur in its shape
the tread of hair and skin (her skin)
the disorder of distraction
nor will it be by one of the many gods belonging to anyone of us

After the Fact

It's time for me to retire, the dead man said.
Retire from what?
I don't know.  I can't catch the rain.

When the world comes to an end not by swamps of jellyfish
thriving in acid pools nor by one of many gods belonging to anyone of us
but late at night the moon whitewashed and gravy
the heart letting go of its last Nigerian beat
a shadow drum, a conch, a Burkina gita
each beat softer whispering softly
the brain pauses for a second and allows itself to turn itself off.

You do know you're dead?
I want to see yellow sweet clover one last time, the dead man answered.
And your world--, the other man said, your world is dead, too.

You Live the Life You Live and Then You Live the Life You Live

you live the kind of life you live
this from the gift of nails
this from the gift of corn
a psoriasis of snow
two windows
a king enters the space between panes of glass
and sees the walls beyond them
this is his kingdom of anticipation
when the wise man comes to the great room
he joins his king and looks into the middle
he too sees great walls, but he sees also a great door
two windows
a line of foundation
darkness lit only by a single bulb
a gift of shadow
the rust in the corner is rust in the corner.

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses.  His work has appeared in The Cafe 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 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), I Was a Teacher Once (Ten Page Press, 2011), Firestorm:  A Rendering of Torah (Camel Saloon Press, 2012) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100F Outside and Other Poems (Kind of a Hurricane Press, 2012).  He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).  Brownstein taught elementary school in Chicago's inner city (he is now retired), but he continues to study authentic African instruments, conducts grant-writing workshops for educators, designs websites and records performance and music pieces with grants from the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs, the Oppenheimer Foundation, BP Leadership Grants, and others.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Poem by Lance Sheridan

The Sugar-House

The puddling furnace for the pig iron T-rail
for the fat-cat, clean shaven
rail riders who wore silk shirts made in the
sugar-house. . . they adorned
shapely trimmed facade clothes and the
white jib to protect their
thumbs; sat at the stumpy bars drinking
bourbon cold with the
saw-ice . . . carried around daguerreotype
self-portraits, "O you robust
sacred reaping machines;" you ran the
sweat shop company stores
and handed out paper-mache script to
feed your caulked iron kettles . . .
goods sold to the unsuspecting paintbrush
public, whitewashed by the
'hook' . . . they wound up poor, fiddling like a
riddled old homeless person
on a tarnished spoon; winter's cold and coffins
filled, plaited into daisy fields.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

A Square of White

rag, inanimate
rat, was made to mimic my lack
of success.  A shrouded corpse,
a show, a failure, it drew laughter
and sneers.  I took off my hat.  My audience
married the dark, disappeared. 
I abandoned consciousness as well,
fainted into the filth of waiting
for seconds and chances.

War Is Back In My Inbox

The sents and the receiveds are fighting,
again, for equal rights or maybe just
eye time.  Attention is the gold-
bricked road to salvation in this digital world
of limited space and span.  You are
only as interesting as your subjective tag-
line and a key-trip, finger-flick
away from trash.

Looking Log 003:  Upside Right

I must have hit my head on the way
down, because this place reads
like a rave on a bad acid trip, all smiling
cats and giant androgynous blobs that
dress like caterpillars, but preen
like butterflies.  Jack[off] has yet
to show his fucked-up face
again (no surprise there), so I am
wandering around, a Barbie among
goblins, wondering why the Hell
they hadn’t already crowned me queen.

A.J. Huffman has published eleven 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), and Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications) are now available from their respective publishers.  She has two additional poetry collections forthcoming:  Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) and A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press).  She is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2300 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.

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Poem by BZ Niditch

Taking My Chances

Motioning my last poem
from my first sight read
green eyes open notes
played all night
huddled now
by shadows of grackles
in front of my doorway
on a bicycle ride
over my exercises
predicates a new existence
as my alto sax
turn the page
by the summer boats
of last night's attention
in soliciting jazz
as the sea wind opens up
though a window's voice
as an early flotilla goes by
in the home harbor
searching for lobsters.

BZ Niditch is a poet, playwright, fiction writer and teacher.  His work is widely published in journals and magazines throughout the world, including:  Columbia:  A Magazine of Poetry and Art, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Hawaii Review, Le Guepard (France), Kadmos (France), Prism International, Jejune (Czech Republic), Leopold Bloom (Budapest), Antioch Review, and Prairie Schooner, among others.  He lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

Witches and Queen

I love the walk on the isle
into your brain cells.

I'm rolling heart ache
in a lover's night.

I stand on solid ground.
You preach to me,
I find you there:
you scream out.
"I'm witches and queen."

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.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Three Poems by April Salzano

Advice from a Stranger

Sizzle at the wedding,
she said.  It's sweet talk and flora,
like three Junes & a monk
in mountains, but separate.
We are demons in a survivor's club,
a long way from either
home or redemption.  Broken
language is our harbor,
losing is our storm.

Dead Last & Counting

We are determined, clever girls
in red houses, running damage
control.  We are going dark,
riding on nothing but night
roads.  We are windows of quiet,
keepers of truth.

Following the Dog Star

My sister the moon will be hard-
going like desire.
There is a code.  It takes
eleven days and sixty-one dares
to reach no man's land by midnight.
A secret waits at the front door
& ghosts are at work like fractures
we are dying to seal.
I will tell the bees I am a basket
case, skinny dip in a dune.
South of blood is beach, old
women in a knitting circle are darning time
like socks, wearing death like shoes.

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 of Kind of a Hurricane Press (

Friday, June 26, 2015

A Poem by Rony Nair


the moon looks like the eyes
against the grain.
a nomad passing the buck,
she calls time
on the game.

the loony bin upturned;
draws a final breath,
between the first fire and the next,
plastered across the training school;
and the next young thing.

Redemption is charity.
A game.

the moon looks like the eyes
at the rain.
of you brooding over
the steps.

we began the climb.

While you called time,
on the game.

the cretins lie in
refuse bins crated.
the alligator bags
and the brocades that pass
for fashion.
for sport.
There's the small alley way
and the next
big thing

the moon looks like
your eyes-no way around it

while you called time;
on the game.

Rony Nair slogs as an oil and gas Risk Management "expert/director/Vice President/consultant" up on the greasy pole!  He's been 20 years in the industry since starting off as an Industrial engineer a long time ago.  Extensively traveled.  Dangers fronted often.  But that's his day job.  The one that pays for bread and bills.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Poem by Norman J. Olson

in the winter of oz there will be fewer flying monkeys

monkeys shake their fists
the movie screen
where 2014 is no longer playing.

yes there is a mystery here that
monkey brains cannot

monkey greed will destroy
what monkey ingenuity built

Norman J. Olson is an internationally published poet and artist.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Poem by Ken L. Jones


Once while swigging barefooted wine near an ancient cherry blossom temple
Where sea life played upon traditional instruments
Until in the tranquil gardens there I became a marathon of sensations
In its savory sauce where I've always returned for seconds
Whenever I can migrate away from my perch of electronic waste
To enjoy its harvest of liquid gold pelicans
Above the waterfront where I watched them soar
Through the palace of the trees as they carved out the history of over the hills
Then above dry lakes and salt marshes where they disappear
And then like the shepherds on a Bethlehem hillside
I sleep out in the open by the starlight of my TV screen dreaming of a lush birdsong garden
That spoils so quickly leaving behind only the aroma of ironwork courtyards
That gives me the redemption of being used by a higher authority
During my slices of sleeping alone on that beach of innumerable roses
That fell from the sky while sea nymphs drifted across the frame
Until I moved well beyond Betty or Veronica and became a Barry White ballad instead
That fractured into amber hues upon the surface of the moon

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.  

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Poem by John W. Sexton


squid gods
ink our dreams . . .
we wake thoughtless

          the nailing ships
          pierce the depths . . . holds full
          of mermeat

a nosebag of oats
his snuffled meal . . . the sky's beyond
clipped Pegasus

          the palimpsest house . . .
          our host swings a cat
          into many fornevers

telepath murderer . . .
who would
have thought it?

          the new range of
          omnivorous leather suites . . .

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 in 2007.  Also in 2007, he was awarded a Patrick and Katherine Kavanagh Fellowship in Poetry.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Poem by Cathleen Chambless

Pick a Card

We practice

with kisses beneath
the eclipsed
blood moon

and mouthfuls
of hieroglyphic
birthday cake
on the roof.

We painted the sky
with frosting
and that's why the clouds
are blue.

Let's play with

Let's brush
up on your
Pick a card,
but not
any card.
Pick the one
that pulls your fingertips
like the metal
of the bridle
in a horse's

Cathleen Chambless is a Miami native.  She is an MFA candidate in poetry at FIU, and also a visual artist and activist.  Her work has appeared in MPC's 10 Cent Journal, the anthology A Touch of Saccharine, and she was a poetry finalist for the Bellingham Review's 2014 Parallel Award for poetry.  She co-authors a queer/feminist zine called Phallacies.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Poem by Jeanetta Calhoun Mish



they say madness is the recognition
there is no one to recognize
the cure is homeopathic
one must become cognizant of the lack
make decenteredness a mantra
refuse all intimations of objective subjectivity

the dialogic model more satisfying than the dialectic


warning:  the surgeon general has determined
that a purely performative dialogic subjectivity
is harmful to those who love you

proceed with caution

objects in the mirror may appear . . .

Jeanetta Calhoun Mish is a poet, writer and literary scholar.  Mish has recently published poetry and essays in The Fiddleback, This Land, Naugatuck River Review, Concho River Review, LABOR:  Studies in Working Class History of the Americans, San Pedro River Review, Blast Furnace, Sugar Mule and, among others.  She is also editor of award-winning Mongrel Empire Press.  Dr. Mish is the Director of The Red Earth Creative Writing MFA program at Oklahoma City University where she also serves as a faculty mentor in literary magazine editing and the craft of poetry.  For more information, visit

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Poem by Shloka Shankar

Growing Up

i wonder
if i was birthed
as a cross-breed
between nostalgia
and oblivion;

fumbling thro
ugh childhood -
a rigmarole,
happenings, iso
lated moments
of happ
iness that

jostle between
becoming an adult
or remaining
an adolescent;

my foolhar
diness wears off
along with my masks.

Shloka Shankar is a freelance writer residing in India.  A contributing poet in over two dozen international anthologies, she has also seen her poems published in The Literary Yard, VerseWrights, Emanations, Ofi Press Mexico, Wicked Banshee Press, Otoliths, Calliope Magazine, Poetry WTF?!, Visual Verse, and Jaggery among numerous others.  She is the founder & editor of the literary and arts journal, Sonic Boom.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

In Stillness

This winter which is built mostly of stone and brine melts away
Soon toucans and tikis will rule it all but for now they hide beneath the bowler caps
Of vineyards near where my true love bathes herself in a tub of masks
That is near the cheap little taco stand where I first met her
Under skies so like a red velvet cloak draped over clouds of jellyfish
Even as she gave unto me all that was left of her ruby slippers
In the secluded minutes that were like a blur whose name I did not catch
As we flew under the data beyond all time with a brain in a bottle's swagger
And there were no shove off points for such as we
Buttermilk birds who were created by Hieronymus Bosch with a winepress of a golden hue
Whose silhouette was descending a staircase at the time
Just two migrating sea turtles who with a sigh became luminous sleepwalkers by and by

The Pain of a Puppet

The peppermint snowflakes dream of Bond Girls
And are a blue fossilized time machine
There is sea salt in the moonlight's barrage of data
As I go to visit a Picasso goddess on a contorted beach
Where all that crushes grapes is encouraged
To hide its identity from several horses with skull painted faces
Sent forth by that which is know as Pennywise
As I took a vow of incredible shrinking down
Through all the ticking decades that can communicate with ants
And are feather light in their brandied candles
Even as they unleash the shadowed baptism of the reptile clock at long last

The Mad Tea Party is Like Keith Haring Hallucinating Chocolate

Sleeping alone in unwanted bygone thoughts
Something blurry and staccato retyped the meat
A handful of theme songs collected all the scissored paintings
While Edgar Allan Poe blossomed into the Red Queen
And all of this of course took place nowhere else
But in the footsteps of my brain
While the White Rabbit talking on a police call box
Torn to shreds about how someone shot a Mexico City library in the head
Then was sliced to ribbons on a technicality
That throbbed like a cobra on the Headless Horseman frequency

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, April 14, 2015

A Poem by Joan McNerney

an executive

showed me in
i, shy
as an orphan

her charming face
thru sewing room
viewing beige cabinets
bolts of silk
tactical prints
her life in threads
swatches impressive

discerning glances
make me hurry
out the rear
but she invited
me only to see
her material things
& feel them

all handsome houses
have well guarded gardens
lush chrysanthemums
smothering me

Joan McNerney's poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circles Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Spectrum, and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of a Hurricane Press and Poppy Road anthologies.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net, Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013.  Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses and she has four ebook titles.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Two Poems by Susan Dale

Birthday Reflections

Eighteen years east of euphoria
And eight years north of ecstasy
I walk backwards through time
Pounds of prophecies
Lie heavy on my shoulders.
As I journey a somber odyssey
Across the roads of nostalgia
And hear those legions of librettos
I hear too ___ choruses of lullabies and lyres
And the alleluias and requiems
Of those many miles of melodies
That danced my feet
Or blew taps at Reveille.
Timeless music by which
I followed an eternal rhythm
To love, birth, sing, weep.
Leave, lose,
And find again.

Coming to a window etched with time.
I look through the panes
To see all misted over
Regrets frosted in coatings
On the winter pane of my life
        And all gilded over
        With layers of fools' gold.

A Basket of Brotherhood

Weave for me a basket of brotherhood.

For the frame chose a hardy bark of inclusiveness
Within the waters of redemption
Soak long the grasses and stalks
To strip racism from their barks
And to make pliable their fibers of intolerance.

From the promises of our fathers
Weave for me a basket of brotherhood
From the bounty of the human spirit
Web and waft a lattice-work of compassion

Border this basket of your endurance and my hopes
With a rim of unity.
And attach a strong handle
For a long odyssey
Into the trials and tears of our tomorrows

And now to fill the basket with generous portions of wisdom
And the joys that come with peace

And carry this basket I shall
Through the silent prayers
Of mankind's struggles through eternity
Through war torn countries
Through devastation and famine
And through the barren lands
Where naught but hate and greed
Flourish on its blood-stained soil.

Susan Dale's poems and fiction are on WestWard Quarterly, Kind of a Hurricane Press, Ken*Again, Penman Review, Inner Art Journal, Garbanzo, and Linden Avenue.  In 2007, she won the grand prize for poetry from Oneswan.  She has two published chapbooks on the internet:  Spaces Among Spaces by and Bending the Spaces of Time by Kind of a Hurricane Press (The Barometric Pressures Authors' Series).

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Two Poems by Judith Skillman


They said, and I did,
my body a pool of torpor,
there beside the sea.
On the branch,
Anna's hummingbird
grew quiet, no longer
flitting from flower
to flower.
They said it as an order,
as a conveyance, a way
to preserve energy
in the body as it dies
for want of youth, for loss
of elasticity.  I saw
with one eye, and my yes
was yes, and this night--
cold as Anaconda,
crevassed with the Andes--
this night I believed
could kill me if the word
did not.

The Small Worm from Which Cinnabar Comes

Adhered to my thoughts,
as if thought
were a mucous, a substance
gluey and tenacious,
an ugliness accorded
to the self.

A centipede
could burrow no farther
than this intense wish
to inhabit my fear and shock,
its hundred legs.

Get rid of the grub.
Go parent your ugly past.

There, balls of mercury
scatter, a glass thermometer's
broken by nothing more
than gravity
to fall in slow motion.

See that you ring up
the bell dead set
against winter, those dull afternoons
during illness.

The old rage
of the father, or God,
rolling like quicksilver.

Scattering roach like
across burnt umber floors.

Judith Skillman's new book is Angles of Separation, Glass Lyre Press 2014.  Her work has appeared in Tampa Review, Cimarron Review, Tar River Poetry, Prairie Schooner, FIELD, Seneca Review, The Iowa Review, Southern Review, Poetry, New Poets of the American West, and other journals and anthologies.  Skillman is the recipient of grants from the Academy of American Poets, Washington State Arts Commission, and King County Arts Commission.  She has taught at City University, Richard Hugo House, Yellow Wood Academy, and elsewhere.  Visit

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Poem by Sudha Srivatsan

The Desert Kitchen

I slacked through ghorouds,
Like chocolate twisting through waffle,
The dunes hold out invitation,
Their faces gently nod,
So I scale them, laughing,
Crumbling their sharp tops,
Like a cleaver slicing a lofty apple pie.

The climb tickles their ripples,
They hide their wavy lines,
To come up someplace different,
Like saffron threads lost,
And showing up in pastry batter,
They hum for me a sweet little song
Deja vu, I have heard it in dreams all along.

They drape in shades, ochre, long
In glass, aglint and oft golden
Like a crepe perfect neatly folded,
I behold their aroma slowly climbing,
The flavor of crepe, crisp through the air,
Changing shades quite so oft,
Like my crepe inconsistent each time.

Wriggling through them, my fingers feel light,
Like clawing through broken raw brown rice
Winds of rest,
As I savor in your crest
The completeness in your being,
Howbeit breathing lonely,
Like baking and melting through my own mindless being.

Sudha Srivatsan was born and raised in India.  A daughter, wife and sister, she has worked in the Middle East and London.  Sudha aspires to be known in the space of poetry as someone who weaves magic into language and combines unique design and strong color to her work of art.  Her work is due to appear in Commonline Journal, the Indiana Voice Journal April 2015 issue.  She has been a winner of poetry contests and was recently shortlisted for the Mary Charman Smith November 2014 Poetry Competition.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Poem by Joe Krausman

My Heart is an Onion

My heart is an onion, bitter.
In the onion is a little man
who bangs a sledgehammer against
the heart-gong whenever you appear.
With each bang a spring unwinds
gates pop ope, blood races in rivers.
The tortoise blood becomes a jaguar
racing through the river of time.
A slow man becomes passionate.
As wild as one stepping on
jagged glass with a bare foot.
My heart-clock once ticked for you
and tocked for another,
and then tick tocked for itself, alone.
Thanks for the jolt.
Death unwinds me.
My legacy is words.

Joe Krausman is a writer, poet, theater director and former senior research analyst with the New York State Assembly.  He was the MCA Fellow in Playwriting at Smith College.  His plays have been staged in NYC, Amherst MA, Iowa, Holyoke, Northampton.  Krausman received the Massachusetts Fiction Writing Fellowship from UMass where he obtained an MFA in Fiction Writing.  He has participated in many poetry readings and has published plays, short stories, non-fiction and poetry.  He taught theater at Grinnell College in Iowa, and English at UMass, Amherst.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Poem by Scott Thomas Outlar

Poetic Points

Point number twelve

When a trash can reaches (fetal position) its capacity, it is emptied (just born) out.
The garbage (birth) is done away with.

Point number thirteen

There is a fence (process of decision) in a field [ration], on either side is a side (follow).  Rules are put in place for the sake of discussion (argument?), stating:  One may not choose a side twice.  So?  What?  Does?  One?  Do?  Stands atop (leads).

Point number fourteen

To piece it together would be full.  The whole is empty of pieces.

Point number fifteen

Around this time, the Earth (center) began to shake (of confusion).  The galaxy (boundaries) ripped apart (dismissed).  The universal (one) concept became (god) a consciousness (electrical) of life (connection).

Point number sixteen

Music is a classical instrument.  Sounds are a melody of harmony.  Noise focuses reality into the sense of hearing.  (open) Upon inspection I (your) have come to the conclusion (ears).

Point number seventeen

There is a God.

Point number eighteen

The meaning of life (I've found) is the fruit of our (my) mind's findings.  (style of) The meaning of words is changing (soul) the structure.

Point number nineteen

Progression is the greatest theft (freely given) that can be taken (given to).  And then stole an idea (given three) of evolution.

Point number twenty

Aggression can be overcome (trust).
Regression can (believe) be opened wide.
The pace (in) slowed to understanding.
Understanding (yourself) speeds the mind.

Point number twenty-one

Absurdity at times (it feels) is the only way to find (my love) laughter to shatter (is life) the wall of seriousness.

Scott Thomas Outlar survived both the fire and the flood, now he dances in celebration while waiting on the next round of chaos to commence.  Otherwise, he lives a simple life, spending his days reading, walking, gazing at stars, laughing at life's existential problems, flowing and fluxing with the River Tao, and writing prose-fusion poetry dedicated to the Phoenix Generation.  His words have appeared recently in venues such as Dead Snakes, Underground Books, Medusa's Kitchen, Section 8 Magazine, The Screech Owl, Dissident Voice, and Black Mirror Magazine.  Scott can be reached at

Monday, March 16, 2015

Three Poems by Philip Byron Oakes

In Keeping

Immediately upon landing a letter in the script
conceding a voice allowing movies to mumble
laudanum dreams into the ear of an era on trial.
An often pleasurable incongruity of the lull into
thinking made thoughtful well beyond its final
resting place.  Steering the ungovernable to
shelter with a little sugar between the lines
launched to topple the chaos as the law takes
hold in the hinterlands of a salty day.  Just as
soon as lickety split in full possession of faculties
against their will to believe a favorite thought
behind as weight upon for ballast of the mind in
memoriam.  Rioting under the breath of a
confidante mumbling the better parts into
cohesion to more easily suppress the message
still seeping through by means of little birdies in
the protocol of hit and miss.  Putting the
commemorative at risk of oblivion in a blink at
stop signs of things to come screeching a step
ahead of their time.  Begrudgingly allowed to be
seen in certain versions of the light called one's
own for the occasion.  Put to rest wide awake
wielding but nonetheless frozen just as they
were in goading the larks into the choir of riff on
a raft of the aria's making.  More honestly
inexplicable as the traumas pass in an arc of
diminishing resonance over the goober fields
blossoming with assurances of tomorrow's
arrival.  No sooner than not then off on course
sounding as if without seeming approachable
from a distance maintained as conducive to the
room taken away from the picture at large.

Blind Spotting

A myopia in stages of seeing things that only
wish they were there to fade away.  A history
of the impetus settling into the routine for
the commute into fable, to fill a gap in the
fugue of the guru at the ready for the rain.
Grandiosity by omission performed in an
absence the mind seizes upon before there's
time to think.  To put it right where no one
knows it is.  The chrysalis pampered by myth,
surviving the loss of folkways through the
briars filling the gulf between father and child.
Nothing's grasp of what makes it just that and
little more than a name.  Akin but not of
persuasions pulled by mules to grand openings
of the shell in search of closure.  A frontier by
default made good.  Keeping ghosts afloat
through the scree of chickadee bones in the
song that bleeds the sky of twinkles in
the morning.

Speed Kills

Scrambling egged on to a hush
at the sound all around a hurry.
Bustle's bonnet in a headwind
blowing minds to sleep.  Serenity
as the savory in a sandwich of
time, killed eating the words
that make the machine go.
Filling balloons raising the
verbiage read as tea leaves,
binding the mumbles to clauses
in the will to live.  Keeping the
pace at bay to carve a breath
out of homecoming, into
the ho hum at the speed of light
lifting veils to reveal a pulse
lost looking, looking for the

Philip Byron Oakes is a poet living in Austin, Texas.  His work has appeared in Blackbox Manifold, E Ration, Cordite Poetry Review, among other journals.  His third volume of poetry, ptyx and stone, (white sky ebooks) was released in 2013.  http://phili[

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Three Poems by Karla Linn Merrifield

Now and Then

Dollar Store
            Woolworth's with goldfish
            turtles      hamsters

            Captain Kangaroo traded
            for Captain Kirk (and Paul McCartney)

            75 cents a pop

            Telstar and footsteps
            on virgin moon

NSA spies
            three assassinations
            on McCarthy's heels


global warming
             Interstate rest areas
             making America beautiful

Abstract "To Dave from Kar," 31 Years Before 9/11 Became 9/11

          for David Richter

Old Cloverside Court (, remember?)
miss my neighborhood (like ancient history)
some good times (tame, safe assessment)

School has started (i.e., clean slate)
a big senior? (former younger boyfriend in h.s.)
do anything and everything (I did, didn't I?)

Some such I'd write from that cool place,
creating a new world away from you,
fresh frosh in college beanie, done with you, rah, rah.

Out of the Locker

          for David Richter

weird dream
             toes curled
                          dead serious

(having another '68 flashback)

farewell the pleasures of the flash
              never do things halfway
                           an impulse every five seconds

(having absolutes, superlatives abundantly)

scorching around
             Zorba the Greek
                         Chopin the Hamster

(having a pet, petting)

a little incoherent
                         infinite faith

(having a lot to learn about boys)

beautiful within
            take an umbrella
                           it might be raining

(having had my torrent of teen tears)

a fake face
             a false effort
                          love is lost

(having had my tie-dyed passions)

love is gained
            love is never gone
                        variable factor

(I roll over, rolling with it once more)

An eight-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had some 500 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies.  She has ten books to her credit, the newest of which are Lithic Scatter and Other Poems (Mercury Heartlink) and Attaining Canopy:  Amazon Poems (FootHills Publishing).  Forthcoming from Salmon Poetry is Athabaskan Fractal and Other Poems to the Far North.  Her Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills) received the Eiseman Award for Poetry and she received the Dr. Sherwin Howard Award for the best poetry published in Weber -- The Contemporary West.  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

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Poem by Kieth Jaret

In Praise of the Sunshine

A wrathful thunder shouted across a peaceful eve
Screaming its warning of a lightless abyss ahead
The brilliant sun god archer draws back its bow
Releasing its bright arrows towards the east
Directly into the heart of a rust colored Kimono
The surreptitious shards of amber energy emerged
Attempting to sneak up upon the quiet shore
Only to be left soaked in somber clouds of destiny
The landscape lay buried in ashen solitude
Arcane darkness glowed from the eyes of death
From out of a skull of ancient days passed by
Trees stood by tall in carnal anticipation
Rainbows shivered in the back of the line
The smoke of anguished laughter rose out of sight
And daytime strutted down the red carpet
Absorbing the cheers of its legion of fans
The bright yellow master glowed white on the paths
Thank you for rising to endow us another day

Keith Jaret is a child of the sixties who is now a child in his sixties, spent a lifetime expressing himself through food as a successful chef.  After learning he could use a biodegrade medium to say what was on his mind he decided to go back to his original love, writing.  Presently Mr. Jaret is in constant search of new ways to express his inner thoughts before he loses his mind or forgets what he wants to say.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Two Poems by Joseph Robert

The All-Inclusive for Ostriches
Digging for cooler satisfaction
Under hot sands
l push my head further in
Not to hide, but because I can
Afford to own my own pet toucan
I love loving rainforests
But am what's comfortable
On designer beaches
That analogy was so good
It cracked its can
And painted the problem blue raspberry
In latex-based paint
So, once more, what you've been talking out
Is your self-minted analogies qua analogies
Which is analogous to painting with white-wash
The picket fences ringing the boundaries of your mind
That snarled rats nest of rusty barbed wire
Rat choice Rat choice Rat choice
Joseph Robert's poetry has appeared in Decanto, Unlikely Stories, Dead Snakes, The Journal, Mistress Quickly's Bed, Pyrokinection, The Commonline Journal, Mudjob, Spinozablue, Black Mirror, Message in a Bottle, Bluepepper, Eunoia Review, Inclement, Leaves of Ink, The Open Mouse, The Open End and The Insert Coin Here Anthology. His joint poetry chapbook with his poet wife Leilanie Stewart has been reviewed in Sabotage Magazine.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Two Poems by Laura Close

Cherubim & Seraphim

Mimics the cherubim and seraphim,
the long dry hot season for paper lace.
Armadillo cards fold out with a seam
like the mammal's armor keeping pace,
Linking hand to hand Valentines in a chorus,
finding their strange reality in pulp
Armament, a type of paper for us
to express ourselves outside of Hallmark,
Culprit confederations of change for
Jesus, reading Malachi for a lark,
Hopping alongside accountants for crumbs.
I admit to mine imagery poor.
Immunology is all green thumbs for
angels, when children fly up to heaven.

Beneath the Old Oak Tree

The old oak tree had been there twenty
Runes higher, keeping its secrets hidden.
On weekends, it waited for shepherds,
Nerds too.  The romance had been beaten
Courteously out of it.  Lovers
Accepted its shade as curtains taking
Retrospective glances back, not confused,
Entangling one another in ruses.

Laura Close was awarded the MFA degree in Creative Writing from George Mason University.  She is the author of the manuscript Sound and Sense of Leaves (2010) and T Party (2012), published by iUniverse.  Her poems have also appeared in Raga Zine and Jerry Jazz Musician.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Results of the 2014 Editor's Choice Contest are in!!!

And the Winner is . . .

Scavenger Hunt by Donna Barkman

2nd place goes to . . .

Visitation Tuesday by Denise Weuve

3rd place goes to . . .

Mathematics by Christopher Hivner

This year we had three Honorable Mentions.  They are . . .

The Traffic in Old Ladies by Mary Newell
this small rain by Alexis Rhone Fancher
Signs of the Apolcalypse by Terri Simon

To read the winning poems and to see the complete list of finalists go to Kind of a Hurricane's Editor's Choice Contest Site: 

Friday, February 27, 2015

A Poem by B.T. Joy

If I Close My Eyes I See White Gibbons

So now I'm a human being in the 21st century:
a strange, wild animal in a three-piece suit.

When I was  home we discussed Genghis Khan over wine,
how he couldn't give up women even for the monk

whose eyes were pink as the white rabbit's pounding
elixirs of life on the face of the moon.

Part of me remembers water and green growing things.
A shine on the pond where, wet with darkness, caimans slink,

as illiterate as a stone we glided down, hand
over hand, through a history of leaves.

Still now and again you catch it staring upward:
your gibbon-soul, grown tired of time.

Ready to ascend on the directest road it knows:
to drop the ground like a bad idea.

B.T. Joy is a British poet, short fiction writer and educator who is currently teaching English at high school level in Heilongjiang, China.  His poetry and prose has appeared in journals, magazines, anthologies, and podcasts worldwide including Uut Poetry, Yuan Yang, The Meadow, Toasted Cheese, Presence, Paper Wasp, Bottle Rockets, Mu, Frogpond, and The Newtowner, among many others.  He can be contacted through his website, B.T. Joy Poetry Online ( and he regurlarly posts both poetry and visual artwork on his tumblr blog, Turning To Visuals (

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

Life’s [Lack of] Revision

I close my eyes and wish my life
away.  I open them to find I have grown
white and tired as expected, but never gathered
by wind, whisked away in attempted regeneration. 
I am repulsive
weed, waiting for maintenance
blade to make me modern
Marie Antoinette.   

Midnight Butterfly

I bloom at stroke 12 in shapes
            of tears and torture.
Twisting through hours
human eyes should never see.  Me,
I breathe their suffocating
          Tock, the language
of the forgotten, follows my lips’
lead.  Under
rainbow roads, into the deep
                                               er brush.  The moon‘s
current nightmaring across the sky.

The Road to Conversation Road

should be two sided,
                                                though often is dominated
                                                by the side that believes
                                                it is right.
gets bumpy, is often
convoluted, disrupted
by irrelevant tangents.
                                                is an uphill journey, where
                                                minds and tires spin in place,
                                                get stuck
in redundancies thicker
than mud.
                                                is of the greatest intrinsic value
though, sadly, often ends
without solidified


A.J. Huffman has published eleven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her new poetry collection, Another Blood Jet, is now available from Eldritch Press.  She has two more poetry collections forthcoming:  A Few Bullets Short of Home, from mgv2>publishing and Degeneration, from Pink. Girl. Ink.  She is a multiple Pushcart Prize nominee, and has published over 2100 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.  

Monday, February 23, 2015

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Out Of Body Moment

My television is my only touch point with the world
Ablaze with visions all night like a mother’s heartbeat
And as I rest my ear upon her large and ample breasts
It offers warmth and comfort as it glows with a fleshly light
A cookie jar full of visions that pound with the sureness of ocean tides.

An Injection Of Solace

Sacrilegious winter is trapped upon alpine spider webs
Made of sleep deprived velvet
That is as devastating as Beethoven
In its deteriorating lament that shimmers across
The extension of the sand dunes
Leaving behind a pattern of dulcimers
That are bestowed upon us like snow flakes
Even as all of tonight becomes a labyrinth
Of worship that unbuttons like a game of chess
The red pill or the blue pill
What does it really matter
As all falls into beautiful slices
Of the tell tale rememberer
That rise up like wood smoke
And almost become a ballet as it leaves
Vanishing into November
With a soft sigh that is gently heaved.


Paper Dolls, Bologna Sandwiches And The Sound Of Rain

The delicacies of night are in the process of vanishing
As I scribble mantras in this ant colony that is on the edge of blurring
Sometimes we are lovers sometimes shipwrecks
Up until dawn listening to Zeppelin, The Who and The Stones’ sultry old firecrackers
On the original scratched vinyl that still has the power
To make the starlight’s colors jump in bundles in this city that has no last name.

For the past thirty-five years Ken L. Jones has been a professionally published author who has done everything from writing Donald Duck Comic books to creating things for Freddy Krueger to say in some of his movies.  In the last six years he has concentrated on his lifelong ambition of becoming a published poet and he has published widely in all genres of that discipline in books, online, in chapbooks and in several solo collections of poetry.  


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Poem by Michael H. Brownstein

4 AM


Almost a day before I have to go to work.
Where will I be in the realm of quiet?
You know and you know and you know.


4 AM: We did not hear the warning sirens.

5 AM: We did not hear the all clear.

6 AM: We did not hear.

7 AM  7 AM 7 AM 7 AM 7 AM

and three hours later,
the great walnut in the yard
broke itself from its bones, leaned
heavily into the building to the left.
The old barn was gone.


The foundation cracked into brickwork.
The foundation cracked into summary.


Three months earlier
the wind
no longer knew the way

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, February 7, 2015

A Poem by John W. Sexton

Wheezing an Ecstasy

another ossified cloud
China Town

          forelocked shut . . .
          the hundred-headed
          circular horse

wheezing an ecstasy . . .
the astronauts survey
an angel's flake of dust

          annihilated all that's made . . .
          they rest
          in existential beige

a soft knock of the hammer?
. . . inside the apricot
a strange gnarled house

          dropped a knife
          in the Nolichucky . . .
          the hills limp to a stop

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.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Three Poems by Kelley White

5 degree day

This boy in red shorts asks why the word genitals is always plural.  Has an angry scar on his back that he says is a razor cut when he was five years old and there are five children 14 13 12 11 10 8.  He is the twelve.  There are also burns.  Three.  He says a friend made them with a lighter.  One is shaped like a capital letter A.  I am still.  Coughing.  It is drowning stuff.  As a doctor and I am not popular.  How can I be so wrong?  Strong.  Never enough money.  I spend on toys and a bear.  Toy car.  Against scars.  How can I be a mother?  I resent everyone.  Those who show up and those who don't.  I think I am so good and I think I am so bad.  The boy wants a dog.  Perhaps a cat.  I am not fitting even to have a dog or a cat.  I can write a letter.  Therapy dog.  Oh snow.  Snowbanks cold.  I slip on ice.  Bleeding.  Outside the office.  Toy car.


All those dolls.  Toys.  Bears.  Huge debt.  And 60 pounds up.  No time to clean the house or walk.  Eating.  Everything costs money.  Flying.  Go.  I'd like to dip into what my mother has in that little victory account or trump or triumph account, whatever it's called but I don't want her to know that I've come to this.  I can't buy an acre of sheep for 10,000 or 1000.  I'd like to give to charity but it hasn't made me popular.  I can't afford to have somebody clean my house.  I am sorry to be so close to anger.  You.  I cannot help but see this as about the boy and not about your grandmother or me.  And about that man.  Him.  Me.  How spoiled you are.  How spoiled I am.  How angry I am that I spoiled you.  How angry I am that I am not the one who spoiled you.  How angry I am that I spoiled myself.  Oh.  That insurance policy.  Do I cash in that?  Be a pauper after death?


It will be herbs not bees.  The bees have to wait.  And I am fond of them.  But afraid.  Afraid of stoning that even now gives me that shiver that itching buzz.  I got frustrated with a girl today and all of it really the way her sister plucked at the walls pealed my stickiest my sticker wall decor.  Your son wants to know about this pile pied piper man and if he comes to Philadelphia.  Sell.  Why not.  New Hampshire.  Has my son seen pumping iron.  I saw that.  With Alex in the old theater that showed movies with a pipe organ playing.  But I don't Hank.  That went with the body builders.  Bills and pills theft was there was something gay perhaps about that.  I certainly did not find Arnold that attractive but and he did marry a Kennedy and I remembered those edgy gray gay body building magazines and soft porn and gun magazines I found babysitting behind the clean sheets and now my mother thinks that man is dying a few months after his wife who he treated badly and gave her love in the lateness of a marriage and does someone I won't name take care of me.  One couldn't shouldn't say but I told him son what you said after heaven has Heather has two.  Two mommies and he is.  Well he's an old man afraid of rape.  Odd to take him to a colonoscopy and they give sedation and they give sedation and amnesia analgesia.  Oh I do not like that idea.  A drug to forget the pain.  That humilation.  I did not have colonoscopy.  It was a barium enema.  And oh my father oh my son my son my son.  Are you?  Are you well?  Herbs not bees.

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.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

A Poem by John W. Sexton

Arriving at Platform 7

locked in the ground

             leaf-veins . . .
             Shiki perceives the folds
             for an origami universe

Lucifer climbs
the in-pipe . . . attaches
a gerund to is

             the Originals
             were burdened with souls and God . . .
             clones reclaim Eden

its thoughts light
its voices quickened
. . . the helium mind

              a storm arriving
              at platform 7 . . .
              we board the rain

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.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson


Single life is-tequila with lime,
shots of travelers, jacks, diamonds, and then spades,
holding back aces-
mocking jokers
paraplegic aged tumblers of the night trip.
Poltergeist define as another frame,
a dancer in the corner shadows.
Single lady don't eat the worm . . . beneath the belt, bashful, very loud, yet unspoken.
Your mind lacks verb, a traitor to your skin.

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.