Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Donal Mahoney And The Flophouse Of The Circus Maximus

A Caseworker’s Nightmare

Two ancient men
named Ruben Kohn
by happenstance
had sleeping rooms
in the Ace Hotel for Men

a flophouse home
to mendicants and drunks,
the mentally impaired
and a few divorced men
paying child support.

When the government said
some mentally impaired folks
were well enough to live
among the general population,
the Ruben Kohns arrived

late one night and they
choked Thomas O’Leary,
divorced and drinking
in his room, who started
singing for all to hear,

“You Kohns are cuckoo!"
No one claimed O’Leary’s body,
and the Kohns were sent away
to different institutions
to live out their lives

far from the circus maximus
of the general population, never
again to hear a normal person
like tenor Thomas O’Leary sing
“You Kohns are cuckoo!”

Nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, Donal Mahoney has had work published in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com/.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Thomas Zimmerman And The Monsters Of Our Backyards


These woods behind the house are home
to a coyote
that I haven’t seen but heard.

It wakens sleepers in the brain,
that yip that’s not a dog’s.

The dusk is sifting down,
blue powder like a medicine,
or bane, that, either way, we take.
And I am out
with Scarlet on reconnaissance.

This turf is hers,
she thinks, but something feral’s in
the shadows, large and ratchet-
limbed. This world is mine,
I think, but something wild and dark’s
inside: it’s pulsing, burning, deeper
than my heart, a thing
that I will leave for now.

I pull the leash to get us safely home—
but know that I must circle back,

To the Absent

That big blue spruce that’s flailing in the breeze
is like a shaggy bear, like me drunk at
a wedding dance: the singer’s voice is flat,
the band is shot, and I’m down on my knees
to grab my glasses, which have fallen off.
Still learning how to write these poems alone.
Last song, when Dylan said the heat pipes cough,
I did believe him. Now I hear the groan
of water trying to boil. I’m making tea
for someone sick who’d rather have a beer.
And night is falling fast, no stars to see
in all this overcast, so bedtime’s near.
The book I’m reading, though, is dull and lined
with mirrors. Please come back. I loathe my mind.

Letting the Monster Get Us

You’re sliding down the mountainside, your pick
won’t help you grip. . . . the monster gets
you every time, and bites you into bits.
You can’t remember you forget you crave
it every time. You’re eaten. You’re inside.
You’re loved. Perspective shift is all it is.
A fish’s eye that’s drying on the beach.
A God’s eye that she made at camp for Mom.
A blind eye that they cannot turn. The weak
“I” that the author hides behind, the un-
reliable that none of us escapes
for long. I know he knows I lust for it.
Because he knows I know he knows, I’m his.

Thomas Zimmerman teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits two literary magazines at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His chapbook In Stereo: Thirteen Sonnets and Some Fire Music appeared from The Camel Saloon Books on Blog in 2012. Tom's website: http://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kyle Hemmings And The Reverse Harvest Of The Night Sky

Heroes of War # I

The nights remind me of old x-rays
of grandmother's arthritis. It was about
as intimate as she got during the late phases
of the war. When it rained, we prayed
to the sea anemones reciting chants in our ears.
Vladimir, with one arm in a sling, tapped
my shoulder & said to look up at the night sky.
He said it was a kind of reverse harvest.
We opened our hands. What fell were the things taken from us.

Heroes of War #2

Her face in the low-key of mist.
The tattoo on her shoulder reads
"Ark Begin Again." Her gun jams
& I signal her that I'm past perfect.
We share a bottle of anyone's soda.
We are one mile from the railway,
but the trains are stalling underwater.
We can hitch a ride on a stone, I joke.
Her eyes devour me.
The post-landscape is a variety
of breadcrumbs. Her belly growls
that she is tired of long needles
to put her to sleep.
She's tired of stick-figured rapists.

Heroes of War #3

After we heard our fathers and brothers had lost,
we were naked to the comets. There was the sound
of wind chimes imitating ruined choir girls.
Mother tried to face herself in clear broth.
My sister fabricated stories about eagles landing
on her bare arm. At midnight, we held hands,
hoping in some way to peck the eyes out of the night.
After mother died by slipping in her sleep, we exhaled
the souls of our old toys. The soldiers of Ark came
knocking on our doors. They said "You have company."

Kyle Hemmings lives and works in New Jersey. He has been published in Your Impossible Voice, Night Train, Toad, Matchbox and elsewhere.His latest ebook is Father Dunne's School for Wayward Boys at amazon.com. He blogs at http://upatberggasse19.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Jeffrey Zable's Money Seeds Will Not Save You From The Winter


     I took the money seeds and panted them in the ground.
Each day I watered them, and waited. To my surprise about
two weeks later I began to see the edges of bills coming up
from the soil. The first bill that was discernible was only a five,
but after that, tens, twenties, fifties. . . until finally hundreds
were sprouting everywhere.
     I knew I had to keep an eye on my crop in case the neighbors
found out, so I brought out a tent and slept beside my plants
day after day.
     When I was sure that the last bill had sprouted, I held my
revolver in one hand and did the picking with the other.
     All told, the crop was worth $14,780.
     I quickly went into the house and deposited the money into
my safe, picked up a handful of new seeds, and planted them,
all the while checking to see if anyone was watching.
     Returning to the safe I took out enough to buy a larger and
more powerful weapon, as I figured there was no such thing
as being too secure. . .
     I decided that once I amassed a fortune I would move some-
where else--maybe to an island where no one will find me—
which suits me just fine. . .


The dogshit on the sidewalk looks sad and lonely,
and the faces in the supermarket have lost their luster.
When I think of my past I have no idea how I got this far,
only that my hands are always cold
and someone is trying to call me
whose words never quite reach my ears.
I want to say something positive, but the reaper is always there
in the back of my head,
so I walk to the window and say something to the outside air:
Would you please give me a thousand more chances?
Would you please forgive me for all the wasted time?
Would you please put me out of my misery?
One by one the faces appear in front of me
telling me I’m beyond redemption,
that my position is final.
What is my position? I finally ask, and then there is silence.
I go back to bed and pull the covers over my head,
stay that way for the rest of the season.

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and percussionist who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music
for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. He's published
five chapbooks including Zable's Fables with an introduction by the late great Beat poet
Harold Norse. Present or upcoming writing in Clarion, Coe Review, Ishaan Literary Review,
Chaos Poetry Review (featured poet), Barbaric Yawp, Chrome Baby, Dreginald, Z-Composition,
Uppagus, On The Rusk, Snapping Twig, Purple Pig Lit, Pound Of Flash, and many others.