Thursday, November 29, 2018

Shawn Yager Presides Over The Airplane Graveyard Trailer Park Childhood, the Ennui Of Progress, Living High On The Landfill, And The Boy In The Plastic Bubble

Ballad of the Sad Trailer Park

Like that airplane graveyard in Tucson,
Here’s a place for mobile homes to die.
As they crumble, residents patch holes with old plywood,
Tarps, or plastic sheeting.

One trailer stands apart, abandoned,
Full of holes, a side caved in,
No windows, no plumbing—
Slanted floor,
A rusty shell.
Given up on.

The horde of kids living in these immobilized homes,
Wheelchairs with flat tires,
They haven’t given up on it.
They love that old broken down metal shack,
Made it their own.

It serves as a pressure relief valve--
When things get out of hand, they go there.
When Mom and Dad are fighting,
When Dad and Uncle Pete are drunk and the guns are out,
When Mom’s boyfriend comes over and they need alone time,
When the police come over to talk to Daddy about where he was last night,

The place actually helped raise these kids.

It is also a lab--
What kids witness at home, at school, on TV,
They try out here.
“Got some beer from my brother!”
“Stole cigarettes from my mom!”
“Let’s play house!”
“Ouch!  Stop that.”

The residents of this park
Could never afford a house in town,
Snuggled up close to its neighbors,
Down the street from the pizza place,
The library, the school, the police station.
They could not even afford the rent on an apartment
Over the general store.

(Besides, none of the families would fit, they tend to be large and unruly.)

Looking Out the Glass Door of the Last Subway Car on the Way to O’Hare

The rails move closer together
As they get further away

They touch the silhouette formed by downtown buildings--
A giant black crown.

You made it this far,
But you still haven’t left.
The car has you hostage.

You’ve gotten accustomed to your cell.

Your past is visible in the present

Your future is known—
Will you get off at the last stop,
Or will you choose to return to your origin,

Seeing the same thing
In reverse.

But the world rotates around the sun, and

Everything is in constant motion.
--So, even if you’re moving backward
` The things you revisit will be different.
Technically, then, you’ll be seeing things for the first time.

Does forward exist?
Does backward exist?
Is there such a thing as progress?

I AM NOT A GOD (But I play one on TV)

From my shack high on the landfill,
I see ships floating on the water.
The big ones bully the little ones,
The little ones call out to me for help.

Filled with sudden senses of purposes,
I, grunting like my cousin the ape,
Heave a cracked toilet seat into the air,
But the injustice continues.
I realize I must do more.

I grab a rope and some wax,
Run downhill as fast as I can,
Through sleazy waterfront neighborhoods,
To reach the harbor--

I am too late!  All the little ships are gone.
Victims of hate
Victims of philistinism
Victims of carpe diems.

I throw my rope and wax into the oily waters, and
Glare at the supertanker, smug in its berth.

Letter to Friends on Vacation in Florida
March, 2004

Hello, pioneers in the melding
of High and Low, alchemists,
Friends of long-standing duration.
Hope you're doing all right in
The land of strangeness and Geritol.
Hope you make it back with
Your insanity intact.
And your kitty cat.

The days of your absence are cold
And empty.

Return, renew, and replenish us,
With your absorbed, radiant warmth,
And stories of weirdnesses,
And all of that which is only dreamed of,
Talked about, up here.

Up here, where it is gray,
And cold and inward and
Hurry back,

And maybe we can rip the wrapping off this bitch,
Introduce some contaminants.
I'm sick of this Boy-in-the-Plastic-Bubble shit.

Shawn feels that writing is an act of discovery.  While he has had
seven short stories published online or in print, this marks the first
time that any of his poetry has been published.  He currently teaches English
to at-risk students in southwestern NH.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Matt Borczon Returns To Discuss Bones In Duffel Bags, A Three-Legged Horse, Tipping The Ferryman, Chem Trails, And A Messianic Sailor


is a
ghost town
it's a
duffel bag
full of
human bones
it's moths
drinking tears
from the
eyes of
birds while
they sleep

today is
afraid to
come forward
it's drunk
and horny
it's a
tire fire
out of
control and
a coal
mine long

today is
hung over
on a
park bench
it's reading
my mail
it's a
rusted out
VW bus
left in
a forest
of bare
trees and
it's turning
water into
wine in

today is
walking a
3 legged
horse into
oncoming traffic
it's fighting
dogs in
it's paying
its taxes
on time
it's demanding
our attention
and robbing
our sleep
and breaking
promises as
it wipes
the dust
off of
the moon.

Mother Angelica pray for me

 Tip the
your waitress
the dealer
before you
leave the
table exit
the restaurant
sail quietly
into the
hell you
made of
your life
smile and
hope you
get lost
along the

stare at
chem trails
like white
across ink
black skies
pray for
a star
to guide

and remember
that Jesus
was a
when he
on the

Matthew Borczon is a poet from Erie, Pa he has written seven books of poetry so far. His new book Code 3 the prison blues is now available from Alien Buddha press. When he is not writing he is a nurse for developmentally disabled adults.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Stefanie Bennett Holds Her Cain Renegade Neutrons During The Trepidation Lid Or Not


In my Mother’s House
A deceptive land,
An impulse
Waxes lyric...

While un-encumbered
The axe-head
And wood-block lie – seen
Only from
 The bi-fold window.

There, time steps through
The filaments’
Grasping squall, and
It’s found

How I am – now, twice
As able
As once
Was Cain.


Renegade neutrons
Fall apart
On the front lawn, yet
You, with
Your cold
Hand them
A clean
Of health. Seems

Strange how
A ‘for real’
Shooting star’s
Never around
You want one.


So much to answer for.
No-one to answer to.
Maybe add

An arthropod
With intent
And put a lid
On it.

Stefanie Bennett, ex-blues singer & musician has published several books of poetry, a novel, & a libretto & works with No Nukes, Arts Action For Peace as well as Equality. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee], she was born in Queensland, Australia.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Ian Gannasi Loses His Sneaker's In A Yearbook Dream, Ponders Egrets AND Regrets, And Buying The Middle Of Nowhere A Coke


Indispensable figments of my imagination.

Becky beckons.

Whichever direction I go it’s the wrong way.

She was a nurse
With a sexy voice
And nothing to say.

What does it mean to have lost one’s sneakers in a dream?

Old high school yearbooks don’t amount to much.

What kind of a guy
Are you and I?

Despite all his faults he really was an idiot.

A vice when successful is called virtue.

In my father’s high school yearbook:
“From a drip to a dope.”

Pictures of an exhibitionist.

A blow with a word strikes deeper than a blow with a sword.

I got cars you got cars all god’s children got cars.

Well-wrapped in his defense mechanisms,
He got trapped in the bathroom.


Like trying to plug the holes in a sieve,

It could have been worse, but not by much.

A bowling buddy?
A driver of last resort?

“Home, Hives!”
“Unsend, Unsend,” “Abort, Abort.”
We have wasted our lives.

Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
Were an indelible part of the show.

They were completely right, and wrong in part.

I guess you’re as much you as you can be.
So am I, but we’re playing in different keys.

“I don’t know what I’m going to play,” he repeated.

Egrets from the train window.
(Not to mention regrets.)

It is posed and it is posed,
What in nature merely grows.

“Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing!”

Blue moon, blue cheese,
And whatever else she wanted to sing.

Funny how I didn’t see that coming. I did see it going however.
The executioner took his time as he fondled the lever.

Taking a long time to come to bad decisions:
At the hanging the criminal’s head popped off
Due to someone’s miscalculation.


Accused of a crime I was considered to have considered,
I preferred to stay in bed.

“You’ve beaten and you’ve been beaten”
Was the theme of The Lost Weekend.

Me no like.

The thought or speech balloon
Gets halfway there and then deflates.

The anonymity of glamour, the glamour of anonymity,
Dark glasses in the middle of the night.

I’ve about had it.

It depends at what depth one focuses the lens,
At what power of magnification.

Shocking where he got off,
On the platform in what seemed
The middle of nowhere.

I’d like to buy the world a Coke.

All the various offerings are worth a hill of beans.

The best defense against germs is to ignore them.

She had a vivid orange in her tortoise shell pattern.

My paraphrase can’t compete with the original.

Prestidigitation, misdirection,
Valentine cards and mourning doves ...

But no satisfying explanation of the snake
That crawled out of Anchises’s tomb.

Ian Ganassi’s poetry, prose and translations have appeared in more than 100 literary journals. Poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in New American Writing, The Yale Review, 2Bridges Review, American Journal of Poetry and Clockwise Cat, among many others. His poetry collection Mean Numbers was published in 2016, and is available on Amazon. His new collection of poetry, True for the Moment, will be published in the fall of 2019 by MadHat Press. Selections from an ongoing collage collaboration with a painter can be found at www.thecorpses.com.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

John D. Robinson Going Straight For The Throat


I heard him crying
one night, alone,
I crept downstairs
from my bedroom
into the lounge,
he wasn’t aware of
my presence:
I crouched down
and watched my
father weep, drunk,
confused and
for several minutes
I remained silent
and then I
returned to my
bedroom and wept,
I didn’t know why
except that
I had to.


He hurt with
his punches
and he hurt
with his words
yet walking away
to go live
 with some
fucking pill-head
and die at the
 age of 43
is a wound
still fresh
three decades


Write something down that’ll
kick-hard between the world’s
legs, let it know you’re
around and that you’re not
fucking-around for applause
or pages in books:
write something down that’ll
seize readers by the throat
and will force the heart to
beat faster, to take away a
breath, to leave a scar, give
no mercy and fuck the
write something down,
scribe the truth
and don’t be afraid.

John D Robinson is a published poet from the UK: hundreds of his poems have appeared in print and online: his latest chapbook publications are: 'Hitting Home' (Iron Lung Press)  'The Pursuit Of Shadows' (Analog Submission Press) 'Echoes Of Diablo' (Concrete Meat Press) and just unleashed is 'Too Many Drinks Ago' Paper & Ink Zine publications.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Dick Bentley Observes The Peach Sunset, A Carpathian Psychoanalysis, The Buddha In The Bronx, And The Sizzling Arrival Of A Starchild


I was welcomed here.
This room, clear, golden
And dark as a medieval chamber,
Is love on an autumn night.
The fresh perfume of some lotion,
The dark hair and pale and
Hardly visible face,
And the lace of reflected street lamps
Across the ceiling
Scored by window frames
And the folds of curtains.
The perfect unburdening of disappointment
Into tenderness. The perfect response
Of one body answering the other,
And the slow journey
Toward that captivation of our senses,
Into that country
Whose mountains seem alien and overwhelming
Tinted peach at sunset
Vast presences seen and unseen.
And then,
Sweet sleep.


There are countries of the spirit,
Where the villages are lit by torches
And the bears weigh 700 pounds.
The clocks are sad
And strike the wrong hours
While park benches are as empty as the sky.
The tyrannical government
Lies about the weather,
Lies about the sun, moon, stars,
Sex and the mists off the river. The
streets are named Liberation Avenue,
Redemption Boulevard, and Square of
The Sixteenth of January.
This is the world we ran to from the world
While storms of cursing exiles fled the other way
And a father loomed above us all—
Loomed like a mountain range.
A Carpathian father ready to drink the blood of humans.
Seeking counsel I ask,
“Can my father really
Be mastered through
The interpretation of dreams?”
The therapist replies,
“According to Cornell Medical School’s
Malaise Inventory, someone who is disturbed
May also have a genuine complaint.”
The doctor has a pleasant if inexpressive face
And a disarming manner.
You can see
A fine lucid intelligence in his eyes.
“You must be very confused,” the doctor says.
You nod.
“How lonely it must be having your condition.
How baffling and troublesome and unfair.”

You bow your head silently in acknowledgment.
Like most educated people,
You are conversant with the basic
Tenets of the therapeutic relationship,
Issues of transference and countertransference
And so forth,
So you do not wish to acknowledge
The fact that you wish with all your heart
To embrace the man, to clamber up
The cliffs of his soaring Carpathian lap,
And remain there


Wind peels waves off the river
and heaps them against the pilings.
Gulls cry and dip low,
then shoot straight up again.
We wonder, why don’t doormen
ever go to sea? Why don’t nuns
pray before the great stone Buddha
up in the Bronx?

“Deliver us from the heavenly
beauty of the sunrise over Queens,”

Our hearts are armored
with booze and grass,
and we ask the prayerful nuns
to intercede,
“Spare them the knowledge
of where they are going
when the bridge they cross
disappears in a thick rain.”

New Child

From the teeming sky he falls
Sizzling past the spacemen.
This infant is a house on fire,
Burning into our spirits.

We close our eyes and hear the blaze rage,
Catch the rooftop’s crackle.
Soon he’ll lift his empty spoon
To catch the embers.

He came from far away, trillions of light years,
Before he came hurtling into our kitchen like a comet.
Eternity is endless even in a universe as young
As our newborn.

Until you are healed.

Dick Bentley’s books, Post-Freudian Dreaming, A General Theory of Desire, and All Rise are available on Amazon.  He won the Paris Writers/Paris Review’s International Fiction Award and has published over 260 works of fiction, poetry, and memoir in the US, the UK, France, Canada, and Brazil.  He served on the Board of the Modern Poetry Association and has taught at the University of Massachusetts.  Check his website, www.dickbentley.com.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Michael H. Brownstein Brings a Missive from Cassandra, a Painful Latin Hallway, and Mascara with Knife


My dear Cassandra, I must punish you. From this day on you will only speak the truth, but no one will ever believe you.
          —Apollo to Cassandra after she broke one precept or another

My name is Cassandra,
But you believe me to be someone else,
And, yes, I am a woman.
Listen! My eyes are green,
My hair is black,
Greeks do hide in the belly of the horse.
I live here, behind that wall,
My bedding, that corner.
I need not latch my door
Nor do I need clothing during sleep.
Legs gapped open, I wait for you.



One morning you roll over and wake to a stranger,
your body splintering into hard time.
Suddenly fingers do not remember how to lift a fork,
feet need a rhythm to climb the stairs,
even hair refuses the demands of a comb.
At the hospital, they make a study in mistakes,
the hard gurney bending too much into the wrong shape,
doctors arriving to play doctor, tests made, blood drawn.
They check your ears, look long into your eyes,
move you from one room to another, tell you to go home.
Sometimes there is nothing more anyone can do.
They send you away with prescriptions for pain and swelling,
directions you can barely see, your eyes so full of fire,
the skin surrounding them sulfur yellow and rotting eggs.
So it goes. All of your life this is your body.
It did its work and brought comfort to you.
Tonight you try to walk a straight line down the hallway.

Even in bright light, shadows are instruments of pain.


Night is the perfect mascara
Every bump, every turn, every pothole,
Crack, fissure, splinter, snap,
Fracture, rupture, splatter, break,
Slit, slash, scratch, split, every tear.
And lipstick? A beacon. A breeze.

How someone connects to a knife.

Michael H. Brownstein has been widely published throughout the small and literary presses. His work has appeared in The Café Review, American Letters and Commentary, Rasputin, Skidrow Penthouse, Xavier Review, Hotel Amerika, Free Lunch, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, The Pacific Review, Poetrysuperhighway.com 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), The Possibility of Sky and Hell: From My Suicide Book (White Knuckle Press, 2013) and The Katy Trail, Mid-Missouri, 100 Degrees Outside and Other Poems (Kind of Hurricane Press, 2013). He is the editor of First Poems from Viet Nam (2011).