Thursday, December 29, 2016

Donal Mahoney and the Xmas Big Bang by the Picketed Planned Parenthood and Willie, Tom, and Mabel

Big Bang for Little Billy

This was the first Christmas
Billy was old enough to speak
when he saw his gifts
under the sparkling tree.
His parents were waiting
to hear what he’d say.
Billy laughed and jumped
and clapped his hands.
With a big smile, he shouted
“Santa brought me these!”
Then Daddy picked Billy up,
bounced him on his knee
and whispered softly,
“There is no Santa, son.
There was a Big Bang
while you were asleep.
And all your gifts landed
under the tree.”

Ambulance Lights

Willie McKee works
second shift
gets home at midnight
makes hot cocoa
flops in his recliner

and counts the stars
through the blinds
nods to the moon
and every week or so
sees ambulance lights
pull up at Tom’s house
blink for an hour
while the crew goes in
and restarts him.

But on Christmas Eve
the ambulance lights
pull away in minutes
and a hearse pulls up
two men go in

bring out the gurney
as old Tom's wife
stands on the porch
and smokes
and Willie McKee
tells his wife
neighbors will never
hear Mabel curse
old Tom again.

Christmastime in America

You see the oddest things
at Christmastime in America.
The bigger the city,
the stranger the sights.
I was driving downtown
to buy gifts for the family
and enjoying bouquets
of beautiful people
bundled in big coats
and colorful scarves
clustered on corners,
shopping in good cheer
amid petals of snow
dancing in the sun.

One of them, however,
a beautiful young lady,
had stopped to take issue
with an old woman in a shawl
picketing Planned Parenthood.
The old woman was riding
on a motor scooter
designed for the elderly.
She held a sign bigger
than she was and kept
motoring back and forth
as resolute as my aunt
who had been renowned
for protesting any injustice.
Saving seals in the Antarctic
had been very important to her.

On this day, however,
the beautiful young lady
who had taken issue
with the old woman
was livid and screaming.
She marched behind
the motor scooter and
yelled at the old woman
who appeared oblivious
to all the commotion.
Maybe she was deaf,
I thought, like my aunt.
That can be an advantage
at a time like this.

The letters on the sign were huge
but I couldn't read them
so I drove around the block
and found a spot at the curb.

It turned out the sign said,
"What might have happened
if Mary of Nazareth
had been pro-choice?"
Now I understood
why the young lady
was ranting and raving
and why the old woman
kept motoring to and fro.
At Christmastime in America
people get excited,
more so than usual.

When I got home
I hid my packages
and told my wife at supper
what I had seen.
I also told her that if Mary
had chosen otherwise,
I wouldn't have had
to go shopping today.
That's obvious, she said.

Donal Mahoney has had work published in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his work can be found at http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Michael H. Brownstein Sighs Acid From Fingertips Knotting Chickenwire Barbs At The Foot of the Eroding Dolomite


How many lives have you touched
acid sighing from your finger tips,
or is it instead sodium hydroxide?

You with the liquid nitrogen heart,
cotton mouthed tongue,
sharpened canine teeth of an asp.

Everything about you
small enough to cuddle,
and then the redesigning begins...


Stress lines are not the stretch marks of love
the way a man is more notable on the outside
and I who have seen guns used in violence,
lift a knife, yes, to cut blood wrinkles
across outstretched hands. Geography
comes in handy sometimes, a history
of place names, semantics of color.
Chicken wire can be knotted into barbs;
barbs can be thrust into tender parts of skin,
wrapped around scrotums, around wrists,
the one point arteries open like clothing,
passion an anger we do not need to know,

a simplicity of milk, a pot boiling over.


the house facing the end of the road,
the pole dividing the path into fractions,
the thousand thousand crows clouding the sky,
the witch tree and the bewitched tree,
the time Sunday was the first day of the week,
the shadow of the suicide girl and the pickers
picking cans and other trash a week
before the first day of spring

and the line of light in the distance moved,
not the shadow,
not the twigs on the branches
perfect brown grass flaking green against the palisades,
sandy dolomite eroding in the heat of winter,
ice splinters: ice storms, a curvature of cloud,
the race against stain, thread, and conscienceless,

the way scar tissue feels against your tongue.

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, 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).

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Michael Lee Johnson Shoots Tequila While Solo Boxing at the Hermitage on a Pillow of Sand Awakened by the Metropolis

Little Desert Flower

Out of this poem
grows a little desert flower.
it is blue sorrow
it waits for your return.
You escape so you must from me
refuge, folded, wrapped in cool spring rain leaves-
avoiding July, August heat.
South wind hellfire burns memories within you,
branded I tattoo you, leave my mark,
in rose barren fields fueled with burned and desert stubble.
Yet I wait here, a loyal believer throat raw in thirst.
I wrest thunder gods gathering ritual-prayer rain.
It is lonely here grit, tears rub my eyes without relief.
Yet I catch myself loafing away in the wind waiting fate
to whisper those tiny messages
writer of this storm welded wings,
I go unnoticed but the burned eyes of red-tailed hawk
pinch of hope, sheltered by the doves.
I tip a toast to quench your thirst,
one shot of Tequila my little, purple, desert flower.

Solo Boxing

Solo boxing, past midnight,
tugging emotions out of memories embedded,
tossing dice, reliving vices, revisiting affairs,
playing solitaire-marathon night,
hopscotch player, toss the rock,
shots of Bourbon.

Alberta Bound (V2)

I own a gate to this prairie
that ends facing the Rocky Mountains.
They call it Alberta
trail of endless blue sky
asylum of endless winters,
hermitage of indolent retracted sun.
Deep freeze drips haphazardly into spring.
Drumheller, dinosaur badlands, dried bones,
ancient hoodoos sculpt high, prairie toadstools.
Alberta highway 2 opens the gateway of endless miles.
Travel weary I stop by roadsides, ears open to whispering pines.
In harmony North to South
Gordon Lightfoot pitches out
a tone
"Alberta Bound."
With independence in my veins,
I am long way from my home.

Hazy Arizona Sky (V4)

Sonoran Desert,
sleep, baby talk, dust covering my eyelids.
No need for covers, blankets,
sunscreen, sand is my pillow.
morning fireball
hurls into Arizona sky,
survival shifts gears,
momentum becomes a racecar driver
baking down on cracked,
crusted earth-
makes Prickly Pear cactus
open to visitors just a mirage,
cactus naked spit and slice
rubbery skull, glut open
dreams, flood dry.
Western cowboy wishes, whistles, and movies
valley one cup of cool, clear, fool's desert gold
dust refreshing poison of the valley.
Bring desert sunflowers, sand dunes, bandanas,
leave your cell phone at home.

Lion in my Heart (V2)

There is a heart embedded inside this male lion, I swear.
I eat leaves and underbrush, foliage of the forest, I belch.
Then I fall in love with birds, strangers and wild women.
Tears fall into the lush forest green below,
like Chinese crystal glass beads, shatter.
Then I realize it’s not the jungle, but I that am alone.
In the morning when the bed squeaks, both alarm clocks erupt,
I realize I’m alone in my jungle.
I hear the calls of the wild-
the streetcars, and the metro trains,
wake me in my sleep in my jungle alone,
let me belch in my belly with my Tums,
let me dream in my aloneness I swell.
There is a heart embedded inside this male lion,
I swear jungle man, lion lover, and city dweller.

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 915 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author's website http://poetryman.mysite.com/.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 103 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015:  https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos  Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL. nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015 & Best of the Net 2016.  Visit his Facebook Poetry Group and join https://www.facebook.com/groups/807679459328998/  He is also the editor/publisher of anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Michael Marrotti in the Paths of Identical Footsteps, the Cost-Efficiency of Poetry, Parasitic Chemicals, and the Possible Lies of Cyber Congratulations

'The Cleansing'

will pass on
like a spirit
to the

Playing with
myself to
nullify the
of touch

Using my arm
as an ashtray
wrapped up
in white sheets
that once held
your scent
now reek of
burning flesh

Playing fast
on this old
blue guitar
I'm three
songs away
from finishing
this set

Living my way
is a deserted
path of

After the
of filthy
parasitic drugs

This little
should be
easier than
a cam-girl
and clean
as a virgin

'F.D.A. Approved Poetry'

a book is
more cost
than attaining
the chemicals
needed to
conceive it

My bank account
has been rendered
insufficient by
the time it took
to publish this

I'm talking
cold sweats
in the summer
hot sweats
in the winter

An abundance
of time spent
waiting to get

A mind
on hiatus
when deprived
of the sustenance

Drugs sweat
and digital
went into
the making
of this poetry

My debut chapbook
that spanned
the time of
a life spent
for the better half
on a hedonistic journey

I was thinking
bigger than
my high
or stockpile
of orange bottles

Aiming for the sky
with the way
I was feeling
at the time
you couldn't
blame me

has been
by liking
the status
of my latest

These people
of digital entities
are always there
to hit the like button
as a courtesy
a cyber congratulations

That's great and all
but the last thing
I need is
a showmanship
of kindness
on my book entitled
F.D.A. Approved Poetry
that hasn't sold
more than five copies

'Orange Is The New White'

is the
new white
I'm much
to have
made your

I apply
like a

White residue
on my hands
the stabilization
of shaky fingers

Three strikes
down the


It says
to take one
every four
to six hours

I'm lonely as is
and terrible at
following directions

 Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh, using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When he's not writing, he's volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man's work, please check out his book, F.D.A. Approved Poetry, available at Amazon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Caleb Puckett Ducks the Wide Grandpa Scythe, Taunts the Mute Idols, and Knows the Apollo Placebo

Unacknowledged Legislators

In both letter and spirit,
how close to peon poem
seems of late.

Why’s advice:
Go with peony, then.

Paeon as paean—
Apollo on all fours—
doctoring the gods,
a placebo winning the day.

Yes, but dirt stains
your fingers either way.

Broken Ballad

If stable,

speech lacks labor.

Once bonny,
I had thought on love,
become feeble in finding
the approximation of.

I understood need,
yet would not change
my fear of want,
wanting too much, dearest X.

Did believe. The steps.
Did harm. The ascension.
None turned nonetheless.
Fall deepened.

Alone, a banished man, I traveled
through the great green-wood
with brow beaten
to reclaim nature’s succor.

My causeway crumbling,
a mockery built of shining rock.

Go on to the gone side, gypsy lord,
I cried.
So courteous behind it all.
The intent crystalline in supposition.

She. Anointed.
She. In case appointed.
A baron’s day took me footman.
Pretty little brogues with money
twinkling, she danced for Johnny.

She, likewise, must go.

Testify. Her eye passes wonder
Hair feathered with ash.

The joy of counsel to part
ever again.
Averring peace
in the burning plain between.
The whole span of hope collapsed.

Strange, still
I must believe in moon talk, that love,

no matter its twisted manner, blame, pain,
comes end-wise for salve or salvation.

Beside time in the bedside kneel,
the rainfall runs to ague.
Odd flash of steel blade. Promises beyond.

A lowland day,
an empty castle
and my wanton
lady drowned at sea-strand,
tangled in broken mast.

Inquire, understand and yet—

a gold ring
sorry for its finger.

Alone at last grasp, she and I.
Laws of memory twine
Darkened, sheets seem vines, anchors.
Prayers folded, shaped for windfall,
set for no man’s landfall.

A kiss captured for a moment’s glamor.
Good for once and only.
The art of haste.
Grief’s delighted maid
trampling the heather, rutting reunion’s field.

Cloak kept, will to sustain taken in spite.
Winter’s white blast sickens.

So now I switch a sexton’s head for a doctor’s,
dearest X.


Red moon city,
rat city,
city of reproaches
whispering mad omens
from solitary corner
to choked square.

Streets eat buildings
while buildings bite at the air.
The air is an armory waiting to blow.
The wind smelled of sugar, now sulfur.
The old carapace erodes.

Mute idols
and eyeless portraits dissolve
with fevered touches
as we seek vestiges of solace.
Behind the walls, the claws
of rats carve epitaphs
among heaps of black excrement.

Matchsticks for tinder,
promises to be kept,
we pace out the night captive
to the moon’s rasp.
Wrapped in sackcloth,
we repent of our injuries,
history, presence.
Too late to change the signs,
stay the wrath.

Red moon city,
rat city,
city bereft of stability.
The whole of tradition will collapse
with a single, distant gesture.
Our gates cannot be defended
against grave stars.
Look away, stranger.
Know us only by myth.


peonies doze
offhand beyond
the nutritious grids.
Grandpa scythes wide.
The agent plays doctor,
sewing the Bard’s lips shut
as he says, “Bread’s the thing.”
Shirts on the line drip red with dusk.
Ask not what your country can/ did for art.

Caleb Puckett lives in Kansas. His books include Tales from the Hinterland, Market Street Exit and Fate Lines/ Desire Lines. Along with writing, Puckett edits the literary journal Futures Trading.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thomas Zimmerman and Cleopatra's Dung Beetle, Fogged Bourgeois Mirrors, and a Radioactive Sexual Road-trip

Double Burn

I’ll burn the work. It’s just no good. “It creeps
me out to hear you talk like this”: your life
is drinking. I am deep in toxins. Sleep’s
a promontory gleaming, moon-steeled knife
to slice the seared but bloody muscle of
a dream. The smoke cleaves like a helmet, like
a halo. Tomb and womb. Aroma? Love
and loss, as usual. My muse won’t pysch
me out this time. The weak, the bad—I’ll cut.
And then the luck. Hemp strands of muddled lit.
I’ll braid it like a rope to hang us all.
The buzz? It’s ditch-weed bad. Time was, my gut
preached patience. Now, it screams, “What is this shit?!”
The dawn breaks chill and raw. Like spring. Or fall.

“Male secrecy and women’s need to know:
Remember Bluebeard.” So you say. I see
at least three meanings there. Who cares? Spring snow
and bitter blossoms. Burn that journal, free
the energy. Like masturbation? Worse.
In front of me, a half-full pint of stout,
and Monk is on the stereo, his curse
like mine, but darker, deeper. Primed, he’ll shout
his demons down, let Coltrane raise them up
again. Past lives come spooling out, from dung
beetle to Cleopatra. If I cup
a breast, I might remember verses sung
on burnished barges, drunk enough on life
to hail my exiled muse, make her my wife.


You rub the window clear, scratch your balls.
Coffee’s on. The sky can’t get off
the ground.

Maybe you’ve made a baby: one star swimmer
is all it takes.

Where’s the ibuprofen?
Where’s the calamine? Where’s that gal
of mine?

Asleep. Or lolling. Your bourgeois ease.
Your imported cheese.

Your newly manifested
wheeze. If you don’t try to help others, maybe
you will die.

Gauze blocks your thoughts. Painful,
all that thinking. High-school humping, that’s
the thing.
Crass new term: fuck buddy. You heard
your old friend John has one. Beautiful wife
left him. There’s another term: comfort
women. Bad history there, before your time.

You hear the water running, go back upstairs.
She’s in the shower. You grab your razor. Pause.
The mirror’s fogged.

Peach Fuzz

The harvest moon, my dear, is God’s ass when
we’re coming down from high or buzz with three-
day stubble. Call it love. Reactors’ glow:
your breasts. And I’m a toxic spill. But will
it last? You used to tell me I was closed,
my poetry was constipated: dry-
turd verse. I’ve tried so hard to loosen up,
bolts moaning, hinges whinging. Yes, it’s just
a vision that we’re whole. You’ve got a hole:
thank God for that. Let’s get back in the car
and gobble up more miles. “Play anything
but Dylan . . . . I was joking.” So you say.
We’re crossing borders that the money’s made:
past truck stops, peep shows, toll gates, cop blockades.
Our ever-reimagined love-song, “Life
Is Just a Slow Slow Death,” still radiates
above the interstate, breaks over us in waves.

Thomas Zimmerman teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits two literary magazines at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His poems have appeared recently in Dime Show Review, The Drunken Llama, and Sick Lit. Tom's website: http://thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Catfish McDaris Chronicles Inappropriate Gherkin Use, Route 66, a Komodo Dragon, Balzac, Mayhem in an Albuquerque Valley, and Prickly Pear Tuna

The Pamplona Blues

Sometimes you feel like you’ve
entered the Twilight Zone, I was in
this supermarket and I saw a
stone fox in the condiment aisle

She opened a bottle of catsup
and chugged it down, then
moved down to the pickles and
raised her brown leather skirt
and pulled her panties to

One side and started shoving
gherkins up her vagina, she
was moaning and groaning

Then she turned and looked at me
and said, “I bet you think I’m a sour puss”
 I left my basket and ran like
the bulls of Pamplona were after me.

Cocaine, Lizards and Balzac 

Years heaped like golden maple leaves in
Quebec or snowflakes on a Tucumcari
coyote moon night on Route 66

Sometimes the heart is nothing more than
 a clock measuring your minutes’ while
ticking and pumping in your chest

Life, death, earth, moon, sun all move in
circles, wise people live in circles, right
angles make you a square and box
you in like cattle not free buffalo

If you run a race against death, it always
gets a head start, unless you’re on the train
to nowhere or unless you can stab a flying
mosquito with an ice

When you sleep with a shotgun and machete
and wake with a bloody dog’s head and you
own no dog and your cocaine has been

And your bald-headed girlfriend you took fishing
with the long blonde hair that got
caught in the propeller is pointing a 357

At your huevos while holding your Komodo
dragon, Booboo and your copy of La
Comedie humaine by Honore de Balzac, it’s
time to quit this nightmare and make some strong black


Scarfing vagabond goulash
from Mexican sombrero
hub caps stolen from a
turquoise low rider short
in the valley of Albuquerque

Spanish yucca roots, flowers,
stems, and blanco corn tortillas
prickly pear tuna, serrano, pob-
lano, Copper Canyon sotol

Slow your cinnamon roll, mama
cooch, no need to gank the skank
let’s booty call tango fandango

Roots of the desert dagger are
full of saponins, a toxin that can
be used to stun fish without injury.

War Everyday Everywhere

Dedicated to the Australian movie Rabbit Proof Fence about atrocities perpetuated on the Aborigines and the Canadian folks that said America was lucky they let us land our  aircraft there after the 9/11 tragedy.

People hate Americans,
they hate McDonald’s,
they hate Kentucky Fried Chicken,
they hate Mickey Mouse,
they really hate our drones and nukes

But when they get in trouble
or need money, they all yell
for Uncle Sugar to come running,
they don’t worry about teeth getting
rotten and falling out or calluses on
their knees from begging for a handout

All the hawks and doves,
left wingers, right wingers, and righteous,
religion, oil, land, water, pride, and egos

Blood is always thinner than money,
gold is forever heavier than love

Some Americans go hungry,
we cry for our brave soldiers,
that die fighting other countries battles,
killing terrorists around the world

Don’t point your fingers and blame us
for your problems or for the freedom we’ve
created, don’t expect us to fill your stomachs

Catfish McDaris won the Thelonius Monk Award in 2015. He’s been active in the small press world for 25 years. He’s working in a wig shop in a high crime area of Milwaukee. His newest book is:

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Felino A. Soriano Achieves Momentum in Morning Expanse Littered with Postcard Sketches Syllabled with Erased Cliches for a Tranquilized Anthem

Of this Momentum Song (thirty-two)

    I see what the wonder
   —is the wonder what
     sees in the wander
    of the watching… we
  have been here before,
 the same tree swayed
   toward we in the
  hour’s music—
    hold the rhythm
  was, and is… the
      silence explains
   what absence is—
        heavy, a worded
    need the bark’s rough
  -ness feels like the hand
     of my leaving—
  stress the confines
 of it, the break
   from hope noted
     of it… on return
morning expanse
 finds in movement
the truth of it,
   a death perceives
  cultural sleek
 forward engage
   -ment, a slur
 light is the clarity
of intrinsic trust,
  posture of this
 light imbues the
 waiting within
 the body and
   branding it

    alive as more fractured
   than more so fraction
      of what we eventually
 comatose sleep lures
   and indents this
 music’s longhand
    hour… positioned
  near where we go
     in toward, a faucet
   turns on

     motive and the dance of it
   leaves the body

                    but unbroken—

      sustained devotion to life’s


Of this Momentum Song (thirty-three)
                        Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how                               one remembers it in order to recount it.
                                                          —Gabriel García Márquez

    Postcard sketches: land
   -scape theme, myriad
      sameness toward
  moment-capture sequence,
   an artistic hand
  -eye collaboration, theory—
                                              -ficial scale the
                                             early morning trumpet
                                                 expands and
                                              theme is totality, is
                                             theme of language or
                                                function of the mind’s
exploratory figments—
     experimental forays
  the body twists to
 adhere in the swell
                                            of removing past
                                           participation, to envelop
                                              what is new in these
  and acute paces
 hands play in the
   purge horns
  through the tunnel
 of which light
   pulses in the caus
  -ational pause re
 -begin pleasure
     body finds in nearing
    age of determined
  inheritance of the civilized
 permission… we’ve walked
    here and found what
   here shows our
     tired posture
 timid cycles
  readying our
upward anthems,
  play the “cling”
 and stays—



Of this Momentum Song (thirty-four)

 We wait in our walking,
 walk into what
wears this hour’s waiting
 of sound.
  with sound as knowing
 an echo is resultant
     Privilege.  Alive
 is the announcement
  each morning
 among tongue and
the hour rotates
 within choired
hands Song
 spins into splayed
ornaments this
understands as
 inversion looks
  to impulse,
to interact

entering.  Why the
 oval resonates
on itself and
  selves’ versions
 the numerical
     we’ve needed rest,
   examine the good
       honoring what has
  us.  The way
 these colors
   exist in opposite
 blends from the eyes
     erasing clichés,
 downtown voice
  pulses to live     away
from what
    connection to bone—
 a pivot exterior
   to night’s

                            prose and
 decomposing sections




Of this Momentum Song (thirty-five)

Blow with doing
    as does the
  premise:        called
 in all listeners,
    mobile meeting     (we keep moving)
  textured talk the
 rotates atop our
decisive tongues, petrichor,
  finds our lyric, we
 devote the body to
    speaking certainties,
  sporadic thinking
 what our horns
  compose, provide.
   is the catapult
  function we’ve
    known about.
exterior stride hands
 contain, lyrical mobility
we always confirmed.  We
  can piano here, should.
 be to the whole of what
  we’re going into, to-
   ward; and thus
to splay is to behave
  inward to the
 space needing
   no more optics
fade or asterisk
  performs in
 how the hands
     our language-
 s.  Tomorrow we
    can envelop a
 tranquilized anthem,
   the mode of it steers
 how the eye outlines,
 is neither whole nor
fractioned, the foray
  to become is to hold
 tacit reinventions
the body only
 sees within
  its organic

Of this Momentum Song (thirty-six)

   Tumult, we
  praise around it, as is said
    what we call
  music the crow
   renames water—
  in the pleasure
   sequences each
 mouth searches to-
  ward, in the
   of body to blend
 hanker with
     warmth of
 finding surfaces.
  what finds us (renaming)
 what searches to offer
   in the meaning
  of it.  Song
    knows us, knows
 of us; we’ve a buried
      harp in the way
  voices color the air’s between
   gold, gold as does
  the hand give into
    affection’s role
 invite.  Sway, the
  mission adheres
to the tongue of
   what holds us…
when we begin, from mothers
 holding the small
of cries, the smallness
  reveals then too,
 the deliberate need
to thread what is human
   human holds to ident-
 ify each portion of bone
     naming our
   intuitive meander.
    The unsayable
 says what died in voice.  Paused
  invention.  The water
          where the crow
 its premise, we’ve pulled
  the harp from where
our hands need flamed
    we continue, we
perform courage into
      what calls to
  praise in the hearing

         the halo awaiting—

    our Song is our going home…
home as where the body

             never bends to a


Felino A. Soriano’s poetry appears in CHURN, BlazeVOX, 3:AM Magazine, The National Poetry Review, Small Po[r]tions, and elsewhere.  His books of poetry include Vocal Apparitions: New & Selected Poems: 2012 – 2016 (2016), sparse anatomies of single antecedents (2015), Of isolated limning (2014), Pathos|particular invocation (2013), Of language|s| the rain speaks (2012), Intentions of Aligned Demarcations (2011), In Praise of Absolute Interpretation (2010), Construed Implications (2009), and Among the Interrogated (2008).  His collaborative collection Quintet Dialogues: translating introspection, which features visual art from David Allen Reed is forthcoming from Howling Dog Press.

He publishes the online journal Of/with, and is Multimedia Editor for Unlikely Stories Mark V, and is a contributing editor at Sugar Mule. 

Visit Of the poetry this jazz portends for more information.  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A.S. Coomer Reverberates, Looping the Eavesdropped Barstool Amidst Dew-Soaked Heatherdowns

Hootie’s Cave

There’s a cave
just up the road
from the house
where I grew up.
I used to go there
with my family
when I was a kid.
There are rocks
the size of cars
partially blocking
its entrance.
Rocks hard enough
to break yourself against.
Rocks beaten, slowly,
by time and wind and rain
into little grains that mushed
under the soles
of my dirty shoes.
I used to climb over the rocks,
drop just inside the opening
of the cave
and call out.
It didn’t matter what.
Not words or names or commands.
Just noise. Just the sound of being.
Just something to send out and hear echo
back a fraction of a second later,
already in the past, already over.
These days I’m sure I’m still stuck
just inside the mouth of a neighbor’s rockhouse,
spinning circles, splashing off spraypainted walls,
--in motion but trapped--
in that time loop reverberation.

Another Three Lonely Ones

“I don’t have a problem, Chelsea.”
I overheard him from across the nearly empty,
noontime bar. Sun, weak as stale tea,
filtered in hazily through cracked blinds & dusty windows.
The summer crowd had ceased thinning out
over a month ago. It had stopped entirely now.

“You said you did last night,” she persisted. “You said so yourself.”
A stool creaked in their direction.
“I was drunk when I said that.”

An awkward pause stretched out like the endless horizon of pale blue
--Lake Michigan not a stone’s throw from where I sat.
I could almost feel the little stings of pelting sand
off Sleeping Bear Dunes & the hanging mist
of the great lake’s spit haloed like a bad reputation not readily dealt with.
The barkeep--quite suddenly--found something that required
his immediate attention in the dark recesses of what I assumed was the kitchen.
The batwing doors beat an off-rhythm, doubling with each swing
as the rusty hinge screamed and squawked,
piercing the stagnant air like a quietus keen,
stabbing it, shooting it through like the period, a black hole slashing all,
serving as the end of sentence of whatever relationship had just ended.

I took a long pull from the bottle of beer. Ice beneath my fingers
slipped down the label and pooled on the waxed & shining wood,
the only thing aside from the beer that looked well kept in the place.
I peeled a corner of the label off the bottle & watched the little icebergs
flow south as gravity steered us towards our eventual endings,
collective and a part, together but alone, always alone really.

“You know what?” her voice was triumphant
in her bitter disappointment & resentment now.
“You are the problem, Josh.”

I heard the door shut behind her,
the beaten bells clanging their discordant knell,
a beck & call as much for the barkeep as for us all.
as I finished what was going to be my last beer of the afternoon.

The barkeep reemerged from the kitchen with a glass and a rag.
He took a quick glance in the direction of The Problem Josh
then set down the glass in front of me.
It was chipped & battered. There’d been a logo on it some years ago
but it was indecipherable now. A cryptic, vaguely female eye peeking out
of a wash of faded colors & jangled letters.

“Thought you might like a glass.”
We both looked down at my empty bottle & waited.
Oh, the weight of the wait.
I hadn’t asked for a glass with any of the four previous beers
nor had one been offered.

I smiled and slid another three lonely ones across the bar
just as the door closed a second time.

Little Platte Lake

There’s a thousand lives to live out here.
A thousand means of finding meaning.
I’ve stumbled onto one of them, I think.
Pine needles, knots of twining vine,
a vegetation nearly Northern Pacific in feeling;
the rain pattering sound on the dew-soaked heatherdowns
like gently muted toms or nearly forgotten, rustic spells.
Incantations of what you’ve lost but strive to find
but what can you retrieve from so much lost time?

I saw a mother and two cubs scamper across Saffron Road
in the post-rain haze of a late September day.
I’ve given myself over to substance use today:
intoxicated by a story I never lived, I translated it to music,
spent the time after in a pot-filled gauze,
a claustrophobic morning of clouds and sky and lake,
losing sense of where the reflection ended and the real began,
later a double IPA daze, watching the changing
leaves in the passing car’s suspended breeze
dance and twirl like the uncurling furls of the locks of your sanguine curls.

You get a sense that the land here is waiting, patiently biding its time,
the time just before the big white hands of winter sus out the sun,
wrap the heavy blanketed cloak around the starving pines,
granting everything under
the chance to hide & wait & sleep.

A.S. Coomer is a native Kentuckian serving out a purgatorial existence somewhere in the Midwest. His work has appeared in over thirty publications. He’s got a handful of novels that need good homes. You can find him at www.ascoomer.wordpress.com. He also runs a “record label” for poetry: www.lostlonggoneforgottenrecords.wordpress.com. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Steven Porter Would Rather Be A Dinosauric Iconoclast Amongst Blasphemies of An Anti-Theists

"I'd Rather Be"

I'd rather be a scarecrow on a farm, licking crows'
wounds, inhabited by a murdered farmer's ghost,
than lick the Italian leather asshole of a college
graduate with an overpriced sheet of paper
firing an inflamed hubris into his ear.

I'd rather be a spider in the Amazon rainforest
weaving a gossamer trap in a moist, hollow log,
brawling with my fellow Arachnid neighbors than
be a flighless bird staring into the sun and weeping
because the sky disowned me eons ago.

I'd rather be the mouse than the snake.

I'd rather be the scorpion than the shoe.

I'd rather be smudged makeup on a woman's face.

I'd rather be sweat dripping off a man's earlobe than be a man.

I'd rather be the poem than the poet.

I'd rather be a cigarette butt, than a brand
new cigarette, because then at least it's all over.

I guess I'd rather be dark matter, pushing
the universe further and further away
from the human species.

"Pride of the Serpent"

My stomach growls, I haven't eaten
since the last Solar Eclipse.
I killed a rattlesnake today.
I shot it in the head with a
pistol I stole from a friend.
He lies on my table, decapitated,
stripped of his flesh and pride that
came with deceiving Adam and Eve.
I put his head in a jar with formaldehyde
borrowed from work.
Its expression captured in
a final moment of defense,
like photographs of American
Soldiers storming Iwo Jima,
planting the flag as bullets whizzed
past them and explosives detonated.
(He may have been a part of Medusa?)
A folic-token thwarting warriors with two fangs.
What I can't finish, I wrap in cellophane
and store in my refrigerator; this
miniature-morgue, now a grave
for a dinosauric iconoclast.

"Birthday at 95-Years"

Today is the 95th-birthday for
a tribe's eldest member.

An empty chair at the head of the table
creaks as hurried guests pass by to take
their own seats. A birthday cake awaits.

A birthday cake laden with candles is
like a coffin built from cheap wood...
each has trouble carrying the weight of
nearly a century of suppressed despair.

The guest of honor takes his seat and hesitates to
blow out the burning candles, wax inundates the cake.
A hearse waits outside honking its horn.

"Confessions of an Anti-Theist"

This dream...snakes temporarily grow
arms, pluck out nuns' eyes and
tear their pious cemetery
garments from their flesh and
twist their areolas until they
screamed for God to come down
with lotion to lather their breasts.

Adam and Eve finger fuck in a cathedral
and pour holy water on each other's
genitals to wash off blood of the lamb.
Eve takes Adam's rib and deepthroats it.
Adam's petty, botanic cock can't do the job.

A whale nips Jonah's ass, but Jonah confesses
that he's already in a relationship with a plesiosaur
who promised to write his story and make it a Number
One bestseller on the Stars and Stripes Cro-Magnon hit list.

As Abraham leads his son Isaac to Moriah,
God descends with Satan and says "See, man,
I told you I could get him to murder his son."
"Alright, alright. I guess I owe you that 50 bucks
and the Southern Hemisphere?" responds Satan.
Abraham looks up at God and Satan and shouts,
"Hey! I didn't bring him here because you told me too,
I did it because that little bastard drank my last jug of wine!"

Steven Allan Porter was born February 5, 1992 in Coral Springs, FL to a Jewish mother and a German father. His influences include: Charles Bukowski, William S. Burroughs, Bob Kaufman, Steven Jesse Bernstein, Hunter S. Thompson, Charles Simic, and Louis-Ferdinand Celine. His work has appeared in Red Fez, Degenerate Literature, Wildflower Muse, Dead Snakes, UFO Gigolo, Dali's LoveChild, Blue Mountain Review, Beatnik Cowboy, Rasputin: A Poetry Thread, Peeking Cat Poetry, Horror, Sleaze and Trash, The Basil O' Flaherty, Saudade Magazine, and Syzygy Poetry Journal. He currently resides in Chino, CA.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Marianne Szlyk and the Battle Ground From the Basement to the Womb and the Twins Haunting Cities of Possible Parallel Lives

For My Ex-Husband’s Twin Sons (2)

Winter 1996/1997

That winter I stopped in Boston
on my way back to Indiana.
A friend told me my ex-husband,
your father,
had been all but evicted,
not packing until the last day
of his last month in our apartment
of several years.  But he wasn’t
homeless, she reassured me.

In retrospect, I am surprised that
he wasn’t living in her basement,
the place I had planned to be,
if I were still living in that city.

My friend was too old to be your mother.
Some other woman bore you.
She raised you both,
her last chance to have a child.
Fierce in red, her strong core
hiding her bump, she traveled down
the winter sidewalks alone.

Come summer,
she would push a borrowed stroller
past empty storefronts and dying trees.
She would push past my ex-husband
who, talking to himself, wouldn’t know
his own children or even her.

For My Ex-Husband’s Twin Sons (3)

Summer 1997

The next summer I believed in nothing.
Windows open, drinking icy Pepsi, with the fan off,
I lay awake upstairs, not reading Clarissa
while my friend the atheist slept
in the basement to escape the heat
while the man I liked slept
back in the city I’d left.

As I listened to the oldies from Battle Ground,
I thought nothing would change.   I had
been listening to these songs for years.
Levi Stubbs would always plead to Bernadette.
Dusty would always offer advice I’d never take.
Alone in bed, I would be reading
these thick books forever,
my life captured in small print
and amber-colored soda
drunk in some college town.
Like Clarissa, this life would continue
as long as I chose to turn the page.

This was the summer you two could have
been born, perhaps to a stringy-haired woman
who had traipsed in and out of our apartment,
perhaps to a fierce woman in red.
For her, whether or not she kept you,
whoever she once was,
everything would have changed.

I guess.  I’ll never know.

For My Ex-Husband’s Twin Sons (4)

Summer 2016

Somewhere else you exist with my own son
and the daughter my husband and I
adopted from Ethiopia before I died.
The two of you sit or don’t sit in class.
You roam the hallway, pace the aisles,
perch on bookshelves, listen to heavy metal
or rap or garage rock from the 60s.
You chatter constantly about video games.
You don’t know your father or mother.
To you, they are ghosts.

Like Emily Dickinson, each of you
dwell in possibility.  Unlike her,
you write nothing down.
You do not evolve
the way she did
over two thousand poems
written on the back of envelopes.

I see you in glimpses,
standing around Harvard Square
and the upscale mall it’s become,
as children riding the Orange Line
with your mother,
the fierce, stout woman
in red.  Now she has forgotten
your father’s name
but not his face.
She may even be friends
with the woman
who would have been my landlady
if I’d stayed in this city.
Maybe you have left it as well.

I must imagine what this life is like
for you who do not exist
in the real world
without children.

Marianne Szlyk is the editor of The Song Is... , an associate poetry editor at Potomac Review, and a professor of English at Montgomery College. She and her husband live with two cats, too many books and CDs, and no cars.  Her second chapbook, I Dream of Empathy, was published by Flutter Press.  Her poems have appeared in a variety of online and print venues, including Silver Birch Press, Cactifur, Of/with, bird's thumb, Truck, and Yellow Chair Review.  Her first chapbook is available through Kind of a Hurricane Press.  She hopes that you will consider sending work to her magazine. For more information about it, see this link: http://thesongis.blogspot.com/

Sunday, October 9, 2016

David P. Kozinski Amidst the Overwhelming Crescendo of Glistening Naiad Flesh, Pulsing Angry Lorries, and an Abattoir Sermon

The Giggling of  Naiads at the Check-out Counter on a Hot July Day

They laugh about the party
they’ve been shopping for while
I watch light shimmer from them,
rippling along bare legs and bellies;
sparks from the hair of their arms
in the bluish, cooled Acme air.

On the conveyor my petulant boxes of berries,
jar of olives, jar of capers, wedge of cheese
are plunked down, mute and inert.
I imagine a six pack of Rheingold
flowing along.

They bag their goodies
as a team, hands picking
and arms rotating above orbiting hips,
little pearls flicking from curves of shoulders
as they joke about showers,
about wedding nights; intimacies flipped
back and forth like hot
Red Bliss potatoes

and I’m remembering walks along the Brandywine;
honeybees abundant and deliberate,
a snake slipping into the water and whipping upstream;
the fever of early autumn leaves
that crept under my skin and overheated my brain;
stepping across hard, metallic white ice,
the trickle of water underneath a crescendo
that overwhelmed birdsongs
and the whistling, wayward breeze.

I’m still lining up tins and bottles
from my cart in regiments
as they pay, scoot for the door and the parking lot,
decades rolling out
ahead of them in waves.

As Promised, the Fire

In the heat I saw colors
no one else could or cared about.

In the fire we lost most
of the things I cared about.
The wills, birth certificates, passports
were lodged at the bank. The art
became smoke,
then a charcoal smudge.

In the fire I smelled apple and azalea,
cedar and hemlock,
mother and father;
what they worked for.

Far from any city
stars burned holes in the skin
of my dream time. Laughter, sirens
spun rings around the world.

I was offered in the fire
the hope of revolution and stasis.

I lost people I loved during the years
of occupation. Not dead, they were misplaced,
stuck away in cupboards, hidden
in lockers, in paperwork. I sought
and could not find them again.

I heard much in the darkness
you brought with you. Most
of the captured images came clear.

You lost people too.
You prayed for them.
They died, their lights went out
and others could be seen.
Everything burned, even things
you wouldn’t expect; rivers and harbors,
identities, principles many
boasted they’d die for.

I saw the colors of ideas, some
for just a moment, while others burned
into my palette. The more profound,
the duller the hues – matte-finished gun metal,
hospital green – while funny little concepts
rose like globes from a soap bubble pipe
and popped right out of existence.

From where we huddled
dying stars sounded
like the shrieks of toads when they jump
from embankment to water, gone in the ripples.

Even the thick doors of perception
shut bank-vault tight, tall
as cathedral spires, went up.
At the end, geysers erected
steam towers to sustain the sky,
to hold it back.
Some authorities told me about cold fire
that cuts through the hardest hearts,
arteries pulsing with angry lorries
and crazy cabs. I reminded them
the avenues and boulevards are also strolled
by hand-in-hand youth,
by skeptics as well as cynics.

There’s no shame in sweat, I told them,
even the kind that poisons
the very ground when flicked
over a garden wall.

I asked these magi for references
that might unlock my box of promises
where the bedeviling of man
is kept down, churning in mushroom dark.

I read to them as they lay in blindness,
fallen into adult beds with linen
as dirty as any hospital could make it,
infirmity our timekeeper.

Tripping Over Memorial Day, 1974

I never die in this dream.
I’ll be there in the morning
to greet the ass.

There is yet another story of a soldier’s
sacrifice and a botched
cover up by the brass.

Someone plucks at guitar strings
that elongate to the bathroom sink
while an oboe outlines the curves

of nostrils in the mirror, man.
The exposé is sometimes titled
“Ten Little Indians In Eighty Days”

and isn’t over when I return
to my seat in the bunker.
Resurrected by paperwork

the boy with a hook
in his sleeve spouts gratitude
misplaced as his shroud,

Old Glory pulled from the box
and refolded until the day
nightmares close his book.

It was swampy as Delaware
gets – dark, rubbery snakes
along the embankment, the river

backing up like a clogged drain,
birds restless in the dead air
under clouds that wouldn’t rain –
a sermon proper for an abattoir.

David P. Kozinski won the Delaware Literary Connection’s 2015 spring poetry contest, judged by B.J. Ward. He received the Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes. Publications include Apiary, Cheat River Review, Confrontation, Fox Chase Review, glimmertrain.com, Philadelphia Stories, Poetry Repairs, Margie, The Rathalla Review and Schuylkill Valley Journal. Kozinski was one of ten poets selected by Robert Bly for a workshop sponsored by the American Poetry Review. He is a board member of the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference and of the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center, where he has conducted a poetry workshop and read from his work on numerous occasions. Kozinski is Arts Editor of Schuylkill Valley Journal Online (www.svjlit.com). He has conducted poetry workshops for teens at the Montgomery County (PA) Youth Center, for Expressive Path, a non-profit organization that encourages youth participation in the arts. He has been a member of the Mad Poets Society for about twenty years. Still mad.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Bart Solarczyk Waiting For the Man, Passing the Five Day Intervals, and the Detritus of Stars

Some Saturday Haiku

Parked in the Target lot
sixty years old
waiting for the weed man


Puffs of morning green
the fog lifts
my path now clear


Fish thaw in fountain pool
dog & I
watch through thin ice


Roxy runs with half a whiffle ball
then drops it
to sniff a neighbor's ass

Another Five Days Gone

Shuffling through the weekend
he knows love
a woman feeds him

he drinks beer
& walks the dog
& talks back to his TV

a puff of smoke
a poem or two
a stone in his soft chair

another five days gone
done is done
let's not talk about it.

Why Ask Why

when we both know
dust to dust

once stars
now this

accept it.

Bart Solarczyk lives in Pittsburgh, PA. His newest chapbook, Right Direction, is scheduled for release this fall courtesy of Lilliput Review's Modest Proposal series. He is the author of eight previous chapbooks.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

John Sweet Is Lying On The Ocean Floor Figuring Where To Drive Home The Knife As A Stranger In A Stranger's Wilderness


says this says we
are in god’s field and holds
out her hands to feel the
falling snow but i’m
not so sure

i have seen the tire ruts
fill with blood

i have heard the crippled preach
have heard them claim there
is no bravery in slaying ghosts

have listened to the mothers of
weeping daughters as they
explained my failures

found myself
agreeing with them

found myself in this field
middle of december
storm approaching
and she says the trick is to
never go straight for the eyes

she says the trick is
to come up from behind

kisses the spot where the
knife would be driven home

man crawling on the ocean floor

sick of myself at 4 in the afternoon

ice on the shadowed sides
of sleeping factories


no news from god since
before i was born
and then the death of his only son
played out for cheap entertainment

this is the world you inherit
and then it becomes
the one you pass down

these are the dreams you dream
after your lover leaves

daughter was only three years old
was filled with cancer
and the sunlight was a lie

the moment approached and
then it passed and
the fear is what remains

nothing is revealed

nothing is given away


in the moment of truth
there is only silence

in silence
there is only the sound of rain

all distance matters until you
cross it and finally know
yourself to be lost

lullaby, for beth

or here in the wilderness where
the houses turn themselves inside out to
reveal animals fucking children on
                     garbage-strewn floors

where the sky has no color

where the roofs collapse and the
basements fill with water

a stranger’s house and so you
sleep in a stranger’s bed
and dream of escape

spend your money on poison

drive away finally on the coldest day of
                               the year and
when your car breaks down like
you knew it would you
continue into the west on foot naked and
                   blindfolded until you feel the
                    sun begin to warm your skin

if it makes you feel better

sing if it
keeps the past from rising up
to devour the future

call me when you finally grow
tired of christ’s neverending pain

John Sweet sends greeting from the rural wastelands of upstate New York.  He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the need to continuously search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest collections are A NATION OF ASSHOLES W/ GUNS (2015 Scars Publications) and  APPROXIMATE WILDERNESS (2016 Flutter Press).

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Julia Rose Lewis Explores the Ontology of Gummy Bears, Ethidium Bromide, De-Caterpillarization, and Unconditional Love

Lingering Question 

When life hands you lemon flavored gummy bears, then drive.  The dancing bear turned into the gold bear turned into the gummy bear.  The illusion of travel, the illusion of being a turtle in a Walmart parking lot, the stereotyped behavior of animals in the zoo.  The pineapple flavored gummy bears are clearer, sometimes, the grape flavor is colorless.  This sweet and squeezable candy can be organic and/or vegan when the gelatin is replaced with pectin.  What hallucination makes lemons taste yellower than pineapples?

ha you sign gnash un-

less ananas ne parlent pas 

plus airplanes bear fruit

I bring you bears and raspberries. 

only beet juice blood

not ethidium bromide 

pink-red dye cast bears 

Anatomy of a red gummy bear, if you think mashed raspberries resemble blood, then you have never seen blood, mammalian blood.  Nantucket red is the converse of hunting pinks.  Blood is neither magenta nor blue, it is brown as the water from the well at Hibid Farm.  The old bottom of the old gate was scalpel sharp aluminum, I think.  The iron-rich water we used to wash down the wash stall after the obsidian pony cut open her femoral artery.  It was red pear liquid everywhere and covering everyone standing there.  She did not die, but oh my blood!  

The Greening of the Bears

hay and strawberries 

someday, the stems, the hairy 

leaves gummy bears green

Not the red of beets or cranberries for these candies; anatomy of a strawberry gummy bear is liquid tsavorite garnets for organs.  Gummy bears and arabinose and ribose were all named for gum arabic, resin from the acacia tree.  Safer to extract the deoxyribonucleic acid from strawberries than make gummy bears at home.  The body of the problem is glucose.  My sister gave me a recipe for preparing strawberry DNA; her ingredients are frozen strawberries, shampoo, table salt, ethanol or isopropanol.  All the required equipment can be found in the kitchen: coffee-filter, funnel, sealable sandwich bags.  Like dissolves like when the whitish strands of DNA are extracted from strawberries, the liquid left behind is red.  

Ginger Bears with the Wifey

fire, corn, fire, foyer, 

fire, corn, fire, fruit, corn, fire, foyer, 

fire, corn, fire, foyer 

Of food and fire-pit, I peel and de-caterpillar the corn for the wifey.  We are celebrating our eleventh anniversary with corn and steel colored wool.  She makes me cry with wasabi; she makes me cry with laughter.  In honor of the painting we call big ass bun buns and fruit.  Always replace the word vegetable with festival; it is more knowable than ananas banane orangensaft.  

Is ginger root a festival?  She knows the week to buy me crystallized ginger root that has been dipped in dark chocolate.  We reimagine the orange gummy bear as ginger root instead of fruit.  

When she asks me how it feels to come out of the ginger paper bag, I reply that first is first and second is second with respect to the roundabouts.  Do you think they are going to come over and ask us to stop saying corn and fire?  

The Quaker Kind

If there were a blueberry gummy bear, it would be the color of the teeshirt she loved, part mother, partner in crime.  Unconditional love is a human construct like blueberry leather clogs.  There is something of the glass essay about us.  Acid loving bilberry plants are grown with manure compost on New Jersey farms.  Unconditional love is a human construct like a farm built one stall at a time.  I was always about to fall in love with the mare with a blueberry gummy bear in her eye.  

sour currant and sweet

blueberry pairs of gummy

bears are holding hands 

“This is vintage Julia” 

shit, diet pepsi

junior year pre-road kill, breast 

cancer, chemistry

Remember: she prefers violet syrup, and I prefer violet extract.  If gelatin is used in place of agar or pectin, a beef flavor may contaminate the gummy bears.  Neither black carrot juice nor grape juice concentrate may be able to cover up the beef flavor of the gelatin.  I am her grape, and she is my violet gummy bear.  She loves the intrigue of the painting of white eggplant surrounded by three apples.  The wind loves her breasts so she is a dangerous curve.  She does not back down up the hill, ever, we walk about in tropical storms and hurricanes.  Forever, we would prefer to share the beach with the wind and sand and rain in place, instead of man people.  We have devolved into affirmative sheep amongst the Jeep Wranglers.  

Cherries to Old Nantucket

Begin with a cube of sugar in an old fashioned glass, due to the humidity all sugar here is more or less regular cubes.  Hint, hint, nudge, nudge, insert holding pattern here.  Muddle the sugar with bitters as with lightship baskets woven in a month’s duty of boredom.  As with gummy bears, recipes disagree on the relative amounts of plain water and flavoring bitters.  The oval purses, otherwise known as friendship baskets are traditionally eight inches in size large enough to hold a man’s head.  Add ice cubes and rye whiskey to the glass.  I hold this bulk in the corner of my elbow, this old lightship basket, house sing a stolen head.  Garnish the drink with an orange or lemon twist.  Is a maraschino cherry, so much more cheery than a cherry gummy bear?

finish with the fog

rolling toward the wood deck and

late reservation 

Sand Woman, Sour Woman

granny smith apple

blown sugar green glass apple 

blowing glass essay 

Sweeping a carpet, like cleaning out a stall, everyday with broom and shovel and plastic pitchfork, the paddocks too.  Unconditional love is not natural and it is not what animals offer us; her horse is part magpie with bowling pin ears and four white hooves.  Sour apple, sour grapes, we sit on her mother’s uneven stone steps being aware our failures, we are all women here because mares are cheaper than geldings.  Sour apple, sour cherries, still blond, I hate her hair, I loved it so when it was auburn, my color, it was dyed then too, I was just young enough not to know.  What the sour orange! the sour gummy bear flavors are the same as the sweet.  They are covered with sour sand.  This was the summer that everyone told me to make peace with my mother before she died.  And I did, sort of, sew our failures together.

Julia Rose Lewis is working on her PhD in poetry at Cardiff University.  When not in school, she lives on Nantucket Island and is a member of the Moors Poetry Collective.  Her poems have appeared in their anthologies, 3am Magazine, Poetry Wales, and Missing Slate.  Her Chapbook, Zeroing Event, is forthcoming with Zarf Poetry this autumn.  

Friday, September 16, 2016

John Grey Surmounts the Bartering of Bars, Glistening Teardrops, Squirming Stomachs, and Gravity's Behest


I want no part of
the unity in all things,
the woman on the stool next to me
whispered close enough to my ear
to pick its pocket.

That is a real problem, I replied.
I could take you for a lover
but, to be honest,
you are better off right here
where you still exist
in your purest form.

Maybe if I let my hair fall loose,
she added
and I responded,
yes that would get you more on my side
but then you would only see
how vacuous I am.

We both agreed to ask the bartender
for his opinion.
He said, we're all plants
but how we choose to be watered
is our own business.

I then told her plainly
that I am cynical and contrary
and what could I possibly give you
that wouldn't feel like charity.

Yes, as the bartender explained it.
we all have a common origin.
But we learn to give a little or not to give it.
Then would you? she pleaded.
I said but your need is greater
and the trade would not be fair.

Being curious though,
I asked how much she charged.
She said, for an evening of light
and warmth and understanding.
one hundred.
For you, make that two.


The bones are jagged by rock
or buried in mud,
miles upstream.
Only blood makes it down this far.

A trickle at first
to match the glistening teardrops.
Then a swirl or two
for squirming stomachs.

A current mobilizes
a steady stream of crimson,
an opportunity
to truly witness grief.

And finally a flood,
breaking the banks of all resistance,
an offering of red water
to a bitter inland thirst.


The bird is flown. No point staring at the sky.
Man is stuck in man at gravity's behest.
The bird is out of here. So get on with it.
Seed, fertilize, tend, harvest...
it's your best chance. And yes, produce children.
The old home's falling down but the future
has a place. Not a wing in sight.
Just this willing pasture of the generations.
Besides, birds have such a meaningless ascendency.
And being grounded feels like flight in time.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Gargoyle and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.   

Monday, August 22, 2016

Milenko Županović In the Vapors of Ashes, Illuminated Silence, Silver Dust Upon Gallows, and Apparitional Fog


                                                of  lonely
                                                on the ashes
                                                the sleeping


                                       of apostles
                                       the gallows
                                       figure of betrayal
                                       in silver

                                   The verses

                                              in a fog


Milenko Županović was born in 1978 in Kotor (Montenegro). By profession he is a graduate marine engineer, but in his free time, he writes poetry and short stories. His stories and poems have been published by many magazines, blogs and websites, mostly in the Europe, U.S. and in Latin America.
 In 2010 he wrote and published his first book, a collection of stories, and he also written and published few collections of poems (ebooks).
 In 2015 he wrote and published his second book , a collection of stories and poetry.
 Milenko is an ethnic Croat and lives in the town of Kotor (Montenegro) with his wife and 3 sons.