Sunday, May 29, 2016

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

Good God Mother

I am a straightjacket girl in a ballroom world.  I have
forgotten how to follow the glitter-
brick road.  Mirrors come to paint me.  It tickles.
I laugh and break.  Their concentration
requires definition – mine.  I look myself up
and down seems to be the only probability.  I jump
on one foot in the middle of a rainstorm
hoping to strike right.  Wrong! 
Everything runs.  Back
to basic training I go.

Of Coffee

drip     pools
cup carries

Reverberations.  In Blue.

I am a broken hollow
filled with my own echo.  I haunt
myself with abandoned
desires designed to trick me
                                              out as “normal.”
It never works.  I am immune to the sound
of my own voice (not to mention
my truly pathetic sales pitch).  Still
I practice repeating retreating
repenting (occasionally)
even reinventing . . . harmony
is the definition
                          [of so much more than]

A.J. Huffman has published twelve 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), Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) and A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press) are now available from their respective publishers and  She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2400 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.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Three Poems by John W. Sexton

All Aboard

electric jellywhales
pulse opera . . . their myths
of shallower times

          immortality card:
          go straight to hale
          do not pass gone

technology keeps
us grounded . . . the
ant subterranean railway

          the bodies
          black foliage . . . artichoke-seals
          snout the silt-seas

bond with local life . . .
in lichen cloak and hood
your mind deepens to stone

          tunnel cities of
          the fretted terrain . . . existential damp
          seals us

the astromaggots . . .
all aboard the giant plum
for the fall to earth

          Mrs. Eyes
          is an innovator with leftovers . . .
          candied fly wings


her pubes of kelp
rich with nutrient . . . her larder full
of drowned seamen

          old granny ten-tits
          . . . the elepig
          squeals the sky in half

falls a paragraph of fog
. . . moon-silver
a dog barks in full-stops

          an innocent evil . . .
          the shadows slip
          from their puppets

three fine mice-men
the serval girls
purred you petrified

          oh that mad hairday . . .
          a lather befell
          the city

through a door
in your soul we entered . . .
we rifled your light

          from his cabinet
          of paralyzed faces . . . her lips creased
          for the everlasting time

my darling abalone
your mucous body slips
from its dress

          one kiss
          the frog prince turns
          into a glass summer

Those Innocent Days

his spine cracked . . .
Dick Shinnarry
is lost for words
          tethered to his winged goats
          . . . blue, the goatherd doesn't wake
          on the moon

travel by slime machine . . .
leave in disarray
arrive in a heap

          space krill
          were once called dark matter . . .
          those innocent days of science

the slush oceans a hint
of vanilla . . . narsharks
display their sweet tooth

          the mirror overcoat . . .
          we admire ourselves
          down his long back

the ant's chair . . .
yes, your arse
looks big in this

          expleting the crossword
          tussle . . . lost for swords
          nine down

all the truths
that ever were lost . . . and this is the ear
that Jack has

          violation a way of life . . .
          glove puppets
          accept the finger

Matryoshka fell
asunder . . . no custody
of her lesser selves

          a downpour of diamonds . . .
          the solid steel river

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 episode 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, May 5, 2016

A Poem by David Russell


Lurching, they bluster--ghouls into the chasm.

Fierce lava, blowing, nullifies their fall
And dissipates harsh gravity's concussion,
Forces a seething screen of phoenix cowardice,
Leaping to swell
Into a fresh, mendacious crust,
Tripping and throttling the led
Into a smear upon pure metamorphic beauty.

The skeleton's jaws yawn apart;
A stranded mountaineer was frozen
At his prime pinnacle,
Denied warm, compromised decay;
A calcium landmark now, but broken loose;
A boulder never neutral
To those in fear.

One gouged and bored--
New Sisyphus, with ever-sinking aspiration
For no stress, no fall--
For him the indefatigable light
Breathes limbo silicosis.

Can they combine?  Eternity transcends the cheap ideal
Of mutual obliteration.

A mountaineer trapped in a submarine,
A miner in a satellite,
A megalomaniac performing his own precious lobotomy
Hoping the abolished question mark
Can keep things safe and solid.

Purgation's smudged when bound to fire,
Denied release from fizzy process,
And even air can clog and sludge
The ultimate suction of life's syllables
Into fatuous pinprick stars,

No line can break full circle.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

A Poem by David C. Kopaska-Merkel

Eyes to See

The flavor of carrots is generated by 36 genes;
29 of these genes,
inserted just so in the human genome,
confer near immortality--
works on 11% of us.

Folks don't react well, knowing
the people next door are going on without them.
Disaster on this scale is a cultural tsunami.

Not content with their brief
day in the sun, many of the 89%
               burn, rend, scream, kill:
               embrace death,
               if only they can take some
               immortals with them
               to the vanishing point.
It's over.  No one speaks of that time.

After the Mayfly Wars we begin the Live:
               artworks on a grand scale,
               literature refined to pellucidity,
               but creative breakthroughs, not so much,
               that's a game of youth
               and there is so little of that.

Carrots, carrot genes,
everything tastes like carrots
               broccoli, corn, potatoes, carrots
               tomatoes, peas, raspberries, carrots
               filet mignon, even human flesh:
               carrots, all.

Then folks get desperate, but
nothing works
the taste is in us
not the foot
               potting soil
you can run, but, you know . . .

So I'm trying to remember that genetics shtick
and it's hard, oh so hard, after unnumbered years
of purposeless satiation,
but I'm teaching this kid,
and she's getting it, and I've never prayed so hard
               for eggs, potatoes, rosemary,
               onions, chicken, pepper, apples,
               chocolate, artichokes, mango, mustard,
but no carrots.

David C. Kopaska-Merkel lives in a hollowed-out gourd hanging from a red oak out behind a house occupied by a colony of artists far more accomplished than he is.  A leaf lacquerer by trade, he edits The Lacquered Leaf and dreams of a day when his gourd will be hung from a black walnut.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Poem from Brendan McBreen

when life gives you lemons

the grass is greener
keeping the doctor away
the mice will
make mountains
out of the frying pan
into a gift horse's mouth
but don't cry over
all the tea in China
because the bigger they are
in glass houses
the harder they fly a kite
without a paddle
until the cows come home
in sheep's clothing

measure twice
die by the sword

and when in doubt


Brendan McBreen is a poet and workshop facilitator with Striped Water Poets in Auburn Washington.  He is a humorist, a haiku writer, a student of Zen and Taoist philosophy and psychology, a collage artist, a sometimes cartoonist, a Gemini, and an event coordinator with the Auburn Days festival in August.  He is a former coordinator of the August Poetry Postcard Fest and in 2009 was awarded a residency at the Whiteley Center in Friday Harbor.  Brendan has been featured at various local venues and is published in many journals including  Raven Chronicles, Bellowing Ark, Crab Creek Review, bottle rockets, Leading Edge, Origami Condom, Circle Show, in the anthology In Tahoma's Shadow, and in the UK journal:  The Delinquent.