Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Shine Ballard Owns Phobos, Reveals the Misanthrope, and Gives the Mien to the Strangerface


Phobos was not beckoned, though He is mine

We struggle, unwilling to relinquish—

Dismay, oft below, remains at my side

I feign control, though I could be His

We struggle, unwilling to relinquish—

Tug of war for the soul, spirit, and mind.

I feign control, though I could be His

When one owns the day, the other will sigh

Tug of war for the soul, spirit, and mind

The vibrating always persists

When one owns the day, the other will sigh

I cannot discern : to whom, whom is?

The vibrating always persists

Dismay, oft below, remains at my side

I cannot discern : to whom, whom is?

Phobos was not beckoned, though—

He is mine.


           a soured soul : illtempered pessimist

          malignantly bound by a putrid xanthous lanyard—

          the indissoluble rope of loathing.


when i face my confront in the mirror,

i sight the see of a stranger—


a strangerface

          like when a word spoke so often,

               such as awkward,

         it begins to fail its sense

         as if both subconscious

               and intuition

               have somehow slighted

i might, now, mean something i cannot comprehend—

         i may have lost all mien


Shine Ballard, the dégagédabbler, currently creates & resides on this plane(t).

Monday, October 18, 2021

Joe Balaz Presents The Egghead Tsunami, Jeffrey Spearfishing, And Opening a Crab Like A Locket


I need some donuts.

How can I keep my opinions up

witout my half dozen donuts?

Virtually impossible.

To keep pace

I need wun sugar fix to fix da fix.

Yes, I’m responding

to da latest gossip around town.

Watevah it is

it needs addressing

cause deah’s new stuff

every adah day.

Da tsunami of comments

is ovahloading da ovahload.

From da idiot to da egghead

all kine viewpoints 

are going around

and I going add to everyting too.

Eh, I love to contribute,

cause I stay community oriented.

Wen all da stories circulate

sometimes up is down 

and down is up.

Consequently speaking

dis temporary rant is up too—

Dat is

until I visit da bakery

and finish my half dozen donuts.


If you saw Jeffrey

as wun young teenager wit his spear

at first you would wonder

wat he wuz doing.

He wuz wun tall skinny kid

walking around and looking down 

in all da cracks

of da rock formations

dat lined da beach at Papailoa

between da sand and da sea.

Da single head spear dat he wen use

had wun barb on top

and if he wen nail someting

most likely 

da ting wuzn’t going get away.

Jeffrey wuz searching

foa da many black island crabs

scurrying around

and hiding out

inside da cracks.

If you tink about it

dats not wun easy ting foa do

to catch crabs li’dat.

You figure every once awhile

you would hit someting

and maybe da ting 

would stay on your spear

but if you kept watching Jeffrey

you would notice

dat he wuz scoring moa often den not

wit each thrust among da rocks.

Da fact dat he wuz doing dat

since he wuz five years old

wuz probably da reason 

he wen perfect his special skill.

Jeffrey prided himself

in da payoff.

Wen da family got home

aftah spending da day at da beach

his maddah would take

da small bucket full of crabs

and she would wash ‘um 

in da kitchen sink.

Den wit her thumb

wit each crab 

she would flick open da top

like she wuz opening 

wun locket

foa put some salt inside.

Fast food Hawaiian style

wuz right deah

aftah Jeffrey’s maddah

wen get wun bowl of poi

from da refrigerator.

Just watching her eat

wit full on enjoyment

in da small kine luau

made Jeffrey’s 

crab hunting efforts

all da moa worth it.

luau     Hawaiian feast.

poi       Staple pudding-like food made from taro.

Joe Balaz writes in Hawaiian Islands Pidgin (Hawai’i Creole English)

and American English.  He is the author of Pidgin Eye, a book of poetry.

In July, 2020, Balaz was given the Elliot Cades Award for Literature as an Established Writer.  It is the most prestigious literary award given in

Hawai’i.  Balaz presently lives in Cleveland, Ohio.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Howie Good And Frida Kahlo's Bland Indifference Punctuated By Private Audie Murphy's Baby Face


Frida Kahlo, in a loose robe that allows for a glimpse of her breasts, poses against a background of fussy flowered wallpaper. In a further incongruity, she wears enticingly low on her hips the sort of cartridge belt a Mexican bandit would wear in a Hollywood Western and holds a six-shooter with both hands, the barrel of the gun pointing down like an arrow at her etcetera. The expression on her face is one of bland indifference, but her eyes are huge and round and stare darkly back at the viewer with justifiable suspicion.


 The movie was called To Hell and Back. He played himself, Pvt. Audie Murphy, the most decorated soldier of World War II. On the screen, he single-handedly stormed blockhouses and machine-gun nests while lesser men cringed in foxholes or got hit by bullets and crumpled. I was only 8 when I saw the movie, but I remember it was in black and white, and that he was slight in build and had a baby face, making his battlefield exploits seem all the more heroic. Years would pass before I realized the guy sitting behind me who kept crossing and recrossing his legs and kicking the back of my seat would, in one fashion or another, always be there.

Howie Good is the author most recently of the poetry collection Gunmetal Sky (Thirty West Publishing).

Tuesday, October 5, 2021

J.D. Nelson With New Shoes For The Moon, Neil Armstrong Nomenclature, And The Coal-fired Goose Of The Warm Hark

sloak now

that lost angler west of the dream

why is there a lion in the clean air, floating?

we reshoed the moon that afternoon

a phantom sound

the milk was pink

the same earth bones

to sing the frog wind of the window

the creature needing the salt for the first time

to make a simple why

it was a cold box of the corn

the alien bread

a crawling crumb

one of those winning hands from the poker game

there exists a second moon

were you in the dust, rusting?

a slithering hush

not a real turtle, but a machine

the open earth opera

the sun was a friend of the other stars

the burd makes his home in the rocks

that faster “yes” from across the room

we named it after neil armstrong

the midnight yodel of yo-dell the decca (the right to warm a tortoise)

the hamlet of pigging

the plate of snouts

the coal-fired goose of the warm hark

now a blustery hum

a special effort to clone up

a non-pathetic choice of vegetable

a living being sporting the nacho pants

your gold luck was too good for the ghost

J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. His poetry has appeared in many small press publications, worldwide, since 2002. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Cinderella City (The Red Ceilings Press, 2012). His poem, “to mask a little bird” was nominated for Best of the Net in 2021. Visit http://MadVerse.com for more information and links to his published work. Nelson lives in Colorado.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Mark Young Returns With A Cryptic Coffin Shoe, Noomi Rapace And Anna Akhmatova Fragments, The Performance Enigma, And An Altac In A Gulag

A line from Michelangelo

A new state of the art skate

park has more than forty

houses of worship within its

precincts, but still remains

monochromatic in its mourn-

ings. Weavers of flax mats sing

dirges, miners of peat wail

under incoherent light. That lamp

has burned for some time now. To

remind us that the foot is more

noble than its coverings, a single

shoe is placed on the coffin lid. 

A line from Noomi Rapace

I watch couples practice modern

dance. Even in their reflection

in a nearby window it is obvious

there is a hierarchy, & strict gender

roles. I find myself endlessly re-

playing situations in which I wish

I'd performed differently. It's a

bit of an enigma as to why I do it

because I really don't know which

hand is which, & that's how you

get bruised no matter what the out-

come. Another scenario involves a cat.

A line from Anna Akhmatova

I had to look up what alt-

ac meant, & even then

wasn't sure that it applied

to me. True, I worked out-

side of academia, yet had no

home to return to. The past

several months have been

agonizingly lonely. I was an

accidental guest in a place

where guest houses didn't

exist. Only gulags, & even

they didn't seem to want me.

Mark Young was born in New Zealand but now lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia. He has been publishing poetry for over sixty years, & is the author of around sixty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, creative non-fiction, & art history. His most recent book is The Sasquatch Walks Among Us, from sandy press, & available through Amazon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Heller Levinson Revels in the Burlesque Avante, the Backfired Transparency, and the Nightglue Luster Lure

Negative Dancer

aplomb-ing          ring-a-lev-i-

o bowl burlesque avant toe

derrière port de bras dip dolphin drizzle

porpoise slick

bear brigade



Calliope calypso antédiluvien liquesce



turbinate jounce ramp radical gravity decline



unbridle legere legacy leap sus-

pend float ar-tic-




dart diminish dispirit draw




the suitors wore trucks.


. backfired

bareback provides superior


      illustrious of alien is the cuttlefish.

           not too close not too far

  forthright furthermore

won’t you at the right moment

plume array cross junction superlative

permutations enliven sitting cross-legged

pleurisy in all its forms

companionship wears thin


lure in salubrious slumber

inundate disrobe scatter shutdown

      simmer swell


slur,       slide parade




bounty stellar gloam nuzzle gussied slumber sartorial

calamitous dethrone repose respite


gleam sonorous nightglue luster lure of asynchronous spur

bipedal loiter

nugget psalm




 The originator of Hinge Theory, Heller Levinson lives in the lower Hudson Valley.  His most recent book is Lurk (Black Widow Press, 2021). His upcoming Lure is scheduled for a Spring 2022 release (also BWP).

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Joshua Martin Ensorcelled In Mad Mandibles, Stopgap Mansions, A Removed Cowlick, Panther Strikes, Pig's Feet, And Spasms Galore

Cannibal sun

Cannibal sun

     look! look! look!

an oil rig

     a sheet of disasters


stammering verse until

greener earthquakes ensue

          mad mandible

          maverick staircase


            &             all the

       other catastrophic


once a laser thin operation

     away! away! away!

          an army of

          medieval mummified


the size of a carpet sample

            awake to invoke

            stadium seating

                      visible snake charming

                      folding under like a shirt

in limping tattoo

overpass of a


           skull lessened

                grouped together

                according to

                guttural sounds

      dropping                    a


never made sock puppets

into heroes

         or stakes

         into ornaments

    or                          brides into

fathomless                               lashes

brimming to fill

                       stopgap mansions

then through storms

beach covered speedo

skipping to beating

tornado puddle

                     saddled w/

                            debt trampolines

         forthcoming dimensions

         spear themselves

                                 soiled enough to be


                                                  wasteful in


speeches                yonder                     wonder

                  taken                 as a

                     given                   as                      a



worm kissed

worm kissed scrawny tongue

and collapse beside a stove

w/o pipes a grimace shivers

the flight it takes to sign a membership

          last enhance

          against a fence

          posted chalkboard

          headless promenade

                      whether running

                       in place of division

                       intervention could

                       spell constant

                       foiled zone of

                       multiplied rejection

                       mattered less than

                       horizontal symbols

                       used to spell

                       a dear john letter

                       pasted to an

                       apple core

then this did

to an unto to

an enormous hawk

wingless as contrarian delight

famous injunction

against a train conductor

of the spirit engulfing

cowardice like a stone


to be the cowlick

once removed

                                      fatty fatty fatty

                     advanced state

                                           of disrepair

decomposing teeth

to meet a formal dress

                         a tire attired

                         in the latest



clever enough to will a motorcycle

to sleep

          for a limb is a cellular


          for a branch snapped

                                    a diamond

                                                  full title

                                                  left un-


spasms galore

spasms galore


sinking ships masterful

zoned out to a zonk!

buried enough spare feathers

to contemplate a swing set

through letterbox deception

the panther strikes at


help! there’s


        GOETHE in my

                   SOUP! &

i don’t know

what to do about it!

the healing power of

sulking                  the dripping

         perfume of

pig’s feet &

                 for the cost of

    a corner

                    you could

get a dime

                       for the sake of a

             priest                  you could

get              a


Joshua Martin is a Philadelphia based writer and filmmaker, who currently works in a library. He is the author of the book Vagabond fragments of a hole (Schism Neuronics). He has had pieces previously published in Prolit, E-ratio, Nauseated Drive, Fixator Press, The Vital Sparks, and Breakwater Review among others. Check out Joshua's blog at https://joshuamartinwriting.blogspot.com/