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.