August 16-22, 2010: Darren J Akerman and Jan Oskar Hansen

Darren J Akerman
darren.akerman@gmail.com
 

 

Bio (auto)

Raised in the suburb of Blauvelt, New York until the age of twelve, I moved to New York City I taught gymnastics for several years and directed documentary and independent films at the New School for Social Research I moved to Maine 27 years ago and work in the field of education with an emphasis on 21st century digital learning I hold a B.S , M.S Ed , and a C.A.S in Educational Leadership I have been a teacher in grades one, five, and nine, school principal, and am currently employed as a Principal and Gifted and Talented Coordinator As a classical pianist and adjunct professor at the University of New England, I am a proponent of the arts and Universal Design for LearningFirst publications include North Atlantic Review (1994, No 6) for ‘Cocktails’, the prototype for my first unpublished novel, FABLES OF THE FATHERLAND, Rosebud (1997, Issue 11) for ‘Odd Job’, the first in a series of stories from a collection published primarily in on-line e-zines entitled, WHY EARLY HARVEST BRINGS THE SICKLE MOON, as well as poetry.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Darren J Akerman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


 

Visions in Blackstone Valley

O ivory-flanked Fleetwood w/tailfins circa 1966, leviathan surivor of slow
lanes, Floridian quests & neon motorcourts of yore, guided by plastic dashboard
madonna & Sinatra showtunes, widower accountant returning to Sage, Wyoming

O jellybean-green Kia w/Free Tibet bumpersticker & rearview mirror New Age
macrame dreamcatcher, roaming gamin in pink Lycra boobtube & bluetooth affixed
to ear, bopping to Black-Eyed Peas hip hop en route to Nashua, New Hampshire

O eggplant-hued Volvo w/windshield visors & roof-racked banana-yellow kayack
dropping back from lane-jumping fish truck, goateed professor in Oakley sunglasses
deterred by fear of ballooning airbags before Gulf Coast Hemingway adventures

O pale-skinned tan Minivan hatchback, rear seats aglow w/Disney cartoon flicks
& assorted handheld video games by passle of 3rd generation Pakistani kids,
MIT engineer Pop glued to cellphone, MD wife pecking @ laptop, seeking Euclid, Ohio

O eighteen-wheeler Mack truck, downshifting on descent w/80 MPH hot tub canvass
airbrushed on frame, Garcia y Vega cigarillo & radio bluegrass spilling
from driver’s window, still 1200 miles from San Francisco

O bug-eyed maroon Volkswagon w/Sapphic dowager couple in thrilling antique
expedition along Taconic State Parkway, planning stop @ Edna St Millay’s preserved residence, a glass of Bordeaux w/dinner, then 35th reunion at Bryn Mawr

O battered brown Impala w/sideswipe gash & Kurt Cobain doppleganger @ wheel
bogarting resinous roach, tie-dyed backseat passengers howling at swerve
into fast lane w/rubber-burning squeal, immortal stooges of youth gone too far

O sable-sheened Hummer w/silver trim, roaring from rear, iron-pumped shaved
head pilot w/stud in eyebrow & aviator goggles fixed on sealing real estate deal
in Hartford to meet pals for paintball attack & jello shots in local Lowell biker’s bar

O pint-sized strawberry-red Capri, delicate jewel of Belmont, bouffant soccer mom
veering for moral detour w/internet lover Raphael @ Whispering Pines Motel,
feels diamond facets of wedding ring & reconsiders husband, Tom

O Chariots of Adventure!
O Models of Defeat!
O Passengers of Destiny!
O Drivers of Deceit!

Bright sale pennons flutter & snap @ Charleton rest stop in winds of Democracy!

Coming to a Theater Near You

Your children are vanishing, one by one Empty swingsets creak in suburban backyards “Where’s Timmy?” his Mom shrieks to a cell phone,
touching her dragon tattoo with a chill From cornfields, city streets, or willow tendrils
where they once played, the children are gone Fathers in backward caps and pirate earrings
shout from the sterns of hot tubs near and far It’s just the chirp of crickets they’re hearing
at dusk when the children are disappearing
Aunt Kate fears the worst—alien abductions running the tip of her pierced tongue across
Goth-red lips, she calls the police “They’re lost,”
she cries, but the robot voice instructions
tell her, “Please hold.” Is it something viral?
Uncle Billy slams his remote control
on the coffee table and snaps, “Vampires!”
Still, the children are nowhere to be found Weeds strangle sandlots Wind wipes pitchermounds
to dust Come home children We’re so tired.

Looking for the Boss

Ok, doll It was an inside job,
slick as January rain on Chicago
blacktop Smoother than Ben
Webster kissing a saxophone
solo goodbye One cool move See, they didn’t just take him That would’ve been too easy They knew we wouldn’t miss
him with a goon like Ouspensky
at the wheel Doc Leary worked
him over with truth serum Then the French kingpins,
that wall-eyed rat, Jean-Paul,
a mastermind like Focault,
and Camus, the undercover
man, provided facts to explain
his disappearance Add a whiff
of patchouli, a Reike crystal
to divert attention—and bang!
It’s no surprise they pulled it off Listen, I won’t lie to you He had his shot and the muscle
to make it stick But he backed
down, laid low when the time
came to show them who was boss Yeah, it’s tough to know he let
the deal fall through It’s bad
enough that a greasy punk
like Osteen was the best
he could do, running numbers,
shaking down widows and all
those poor suckers who thought
he’d deliver sooner or later Hey, c’mon now, angel Tears
don’t wash for an investigation Don’t trip up on that yellow
police tape in those stilettos It may be a crime scene,
but we’ve got a job to do I’m calling forensics and a pal
at the archdiocese downtown “Hello, Hal?”

 

 

_______________________________

Jan Oskar Hansen

 

oskar.hansen@sapo.pt

 

 

Bio (auto)

Jan Oskar Hansen lives in Portugal.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Jan Oskar Hansen and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

 

I’m Sailing….

The sea is dark, chunky and calm today it only undulates slowly, turns white where

the bow ploughs a long furrow that stretches for miles, few gulls still follow us,

shrikes and wait for the cook to throw left over into the sea Tomorrow they will

be gone; they like to keep near the coast I fiddle with the radio in the galley I get

in a good station and hear “What A wonderful worlds” sung by Luis Armstrong.”

Yes, it is on a day like this The tune also saddens me it was my brother’s favourite

song together with“ I’m sailing” by Rod Stewart My brother found life very difficult.

We left Antwerp 24 hours ago, long nights, bars and blaring music In the drunken

haze there was a nucleus of sobriety longing for something else We are bound for

New Orleans, I like that place, so much real music and I know of places where few

sailors go I have a long day ahead of me Dinner to cook, bread to bake and pans

to clean but I feel secure in my little domain, where even the captain fears to enter.

“I’m sailing across the seas.” Yes I’m, it is good to be alive caressed and safe in

the old ladies bosom

 

 

 

August 9-15, 2010: Joe Blanda and A.J Huffman

Joe Blanda
jblanda@att.net

 

Bio (auto)

Joe Blanda lives in Austin, Texas, where he makes his living editing technical stuff and playing music He also writes poetry and songs.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Joe Blanda and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Falling Woman

Fuck with her,
she’ll kick
your ass
on the
way
down.

_______________________________

A.J Huffman
poetess222@live.com

Bio (auto)

I am a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida I have previously published my work in literary journals, in the U.K as well as America, such as Avon Literary Intelligencer, Eastern Rainbow, Medicinal Purposes Literary Review, The Intercultural Writer’s Review, Icon, Writer’s Gazette, and The Penwood Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by A.J Huffman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Caught In an Alternative Mainstream

The edges of her box
burned black
when he stepped from the frame Leaving her Naked Like a butterfly In love
with the kiss
of her filthy cocoon.

August 2-8, 2010: Howie Good and Nick Petrone

Howie Good
goodh@newpaltz.edu

 

Bio (auto)

Howie Good (Highland, New York) is the author of 21 print and digital poetry chapbooks and a full-length collection, Lovesick, published by Press Americana.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Howie Good and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Fable

A messenger arrived
from a country

colonized by magpies I have two sons, he said,

one whose name
means wolf,

one whose name
means laughter.

It felt like rain,
what’s called

a baby’s ear moon,
false angel wing.

They hanged him
in a cornfield.

The world is made
of tiny struggling things.


Rumble Strip

1
You’re gathering the baby’s things, disturbed all day by
your previous night’s dream You remember someone pursuing
you down crooked streets You wish you could remember who You ask a relative stranger what it means Start from the
premise that everything is broken.

2
Alone with your thoughts, open windows can be hazardous Orphaned parents dozing in wheelchairs along the boardwalk
turn like sunflowers to face the sun, the silence at fault
and the remaining light oppressed by the presence of what
can’t be mended.

3
The hammer falls on an empty chamber, the lethal injection
misses the vein Nothing comes easy after dark Although
the body heals, memory never recovers Pieces of the
gallows sold for a dollar a pound Until we know why, we
won’t know what happened The man in the window insists
that truth is a moving target The bird on his chest is
bleeding, too

 

_______________________________

Nick Petrone
nickpetrone13@hotmail.com

 

Bio (auto)

Nick Petrone is a an American history teacher and professor in Syracuse, NY The themes that appear most often in his poems are his children, the extraordinary nature of the mundane and the ephemeral nature of life He is currently working to publish a manuscript for a fictional novel entitled Bong Hits for Nietzsche along with developing historical and pedagogical theories for future publication

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Nick Petrone and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

An Ode to Eric, I Think”

Ordinary life –
a Gregory Corso connection
– I thought I saw Eric at a rest stop
on the New York State Thruway that same day my son had his surgery

it might have been him for all I know
.I never saw him lifeless –
.believe in his death
.like my mother believes in the Saints

he wasn’t my best friend
hell
had hardly known him long
.just a guy that roomed with my high school buddy near the South Campus
of a college I didn’t go to –

we used to listen to Dylan bootlegs,
drink the next-up-from-cheapest beer
(probably something Canadian)
all winter long
.and wonder
.why we never got laid

wasn’t that much to my life
.not my wife giving birth
.not my boy in the back seat still loopy from the anesthesia
.not a great teacher who made me a poet or a bum

but when you travel cross-country with a guy,
.row a boat somebody left
.near a lake in Kansas
with a tennis racquet
& a bottle of harsh Whiskey till that puddle in the center of the continent is all there is
& the reeds
& the radio

and the radio is running out of batteries
melting The Who
.but the moon is whiskey-warmed,
.no one is almost out of cigarettes surprisingly
.and what the fuck are you doing in a lake in Kansas

-it killed Eric to play citizen I think

or else that fall from grace
.a drunken night
.just a few years later

Extraordinary life
a Gregory Corso connection
I thought I saw Eric
holding hands with a woman
as they passed the sunglasses stand.

July 26-August 1, 2010: Janice Pariat and Bradley Mason Hamlin

Janice Pariat
janicepariat@gmail.com

 

Bio (auto)

Janice Pariat is a freelance writer currently based in her hometown Shillong, India after many years of being away in Delhi and elsewhere She is inspired by her mixed Portuguese, British and Khasi ancestry, literature, Shillong’s troubled history, her childhood in Assam, travel Her writing has been published in Soundzine, Tongues of the Ocean, The Smoking Poet, Barnwood International Poetry Mag, Poetry Friends, Tehelka, The Caravan, Art India, Ultra Violet and Literati among others Janice has been awarded a 2011 Swiss Arts Council grant to work on a short graphic novel in Lucerne and she is founder-editor of “Pyrta”, a journal of poetry, prose, photo essays and sketches
Visit Janice on the web here:
www.janicepariat.blogspot.com
www.pyrtajournal.com

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Janice Pariat and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


colony kids

they burst past my window,
summer storms – swift,
sudden and noiseful back
from swimming at the old
water tank, bird-hunting
in the Risa forest (which
they say is haunted by puris;
nobody ventures after dark),
or stealing sohlia, still sour
and unripe, from someone’s
garden, probably mine.

all afternoon, they play their
own version of seven stones,
different from the one I know bored found shuttlecock pitched
against bat for a game of mock
cricket then excitement at some
thing found on the ground –
an insect, marble, money I cannot see.

as the sun goes down they
clamber up trees, long, thin
silhouettes against the sky
and check if day is done twilight offers little by way
of entertainment, lines of fate
and hopscotch erased war-torn
soldiers, they drag their tired
fairy-tales back home, and I turn
back to my empty pages to begin mine.

a war of worlds

he made guns,
my grandfather,
in a workshop
slammed
against a dirty wall
in the rough part
of the city –
next to the Chinese
dentist with fake
plastic flowers in
his waiting room.

all day, he buffed,
shaved and sharpened
on a table of creased
unknowable wood hands – lined deep
with grease and grainy
gunpowder – picked
at dog pins, rivets
and friction springs,
names as harsh as the
machines he conjured
to kill the wild.

I don’t know when
he had time for poetry.

how he heard the music
of nature while
hammering magazine
caps, saw the world
anew while settling
viewfinders gone askew.

perhaps when evening
settled and the dentist’s
droning drill was silenced;
with lantern lit and pool
of light hid hammer
chisel and knife,

he was inspired,
to place word
after word
onto paper,
in a line of carefully
polished bullets.

the silence of cinema

I am trying
to remember
the last time
we were happy Before the talk
of Truffaut and
Buñuel Of
French New Wave
and Italian
Neorealism It was simple then I loved you You loved me And things
like cinema
didn’t matter I am trying
to remember.

Perhaps a movie
can show me how.


poem for a climate

I passed the love of my life
in Pondicherry He was sitting on a bench
by the sea, framed
against a wall
of Mediterranean
yellow You know
the kind, where ivy
and bougainvillea
like to tumble down
in wild abandon He was in jeans
and a blue tee –
Rimbaud without
the madness I don’t think he saw me
though, absorbed in The
Collected Poems of
Wallace Stevens.

Pink and white carnations –- one desires
So much more than that.

His eyes crinkled,
the corner of his mouth
lifted into a smile Yes, I wanted to shout,
I love that line too Yet I didn’t, and as I
walked on, he turned
a page There was no one
else around on this
warm, salty afternoon Only the sea, which
watched with bated
breath, and then, when
nothing happened,
rolled gently onto shore.


song of departure

he wants to die in a room in vienna
while i wander the streets of this
treacherous town he wants to swallow the thousands
of voices,
haunting the palace after sundown.

i look in at windows on lost,
lonely people,
filling their hours with blossoming ale he creeps into concerts in a hall
in Vienna,
he reaches for magic,
the lights on the stage.

i cannot help feeling i’ve lost him
to opera,
as i sit on the sidewalk counting
pennies and shoes he leaves with a diva, who smiles
like the summer,
and they waltz in the twilight
to birdsong and blues.

so i make my way to the deep,
darkening water,
which quenches my sorrow
and mirrors my tears i leap to its arms as it whispers
a promise,
of blissful tomorrows and
vanishing fears.

he lifts her hand in a room in Vienna,
her lips are like wine,
spilled onto his coat i wander the streets,
no one can see me,
people pass by me
like shimmering ghosts.

_______________________________

Bradley Mason Hamlin
brad@mysteryisland.net

 

Bio (auto)

Bradley Mason Hamlin lives in Sacramento, California His short stories, articles/essays, and poems have appeared in several independent press books, magazines, and newspapers in print and online Brad works for Mystery Island Publications, a venue for pop culture and controversies located at: http://www.mysteryisland.net/

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Bradley Mason Hamlin and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Thing That Swallowed It All

Fat lady
with a romance paperback
wedged inside her chubby hand
waddles up to the register
as the clerk
stands there
in the chump change
secret society operation
of working in a bookstore
for information gathering
tax write off
and identity protection
anyway,
she says,

“We’re bombing ”
“Of course we are,” he tells her “Afghanistan,” she says,
searching through the impulse candy
“That’ll be $5.38 ”
Nervously, she rumbles through her purse
“It’s war,” she says “All right Take it easy,” he tells her
She looks
suspiciously into his dark glasses
and says, “Thank you ”

He gives her
as much of a smile as he’s got
in the morning
and she walks away
with Fabio,
a chocolate bar
and all those bombs
written
on the sidewalk of her ass.

Conversation with 2010 Poetry Contest Judges

Listen in to our conversation with the 2010 Poetry Contest Judges to learn what they look for when they are scoring your contest entry poems. Rick Lupert was on hand filling in the details regarding how the contest is run, the rules, the entry guidelines etc. If you’re considering entering the contest, this is a great opportunity for you to learn directly from the contest judges valuable insights to help you do well in the contest!

July 19-25, 2010: Brenda Levy Tate, Jim Knowles and Sian Lindsey

This week presenting the judges of the 2010 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest: Brenda Levy Tate, Jim Knowles and Sian Lindsey

_______________________________

Brenda Levy Tate
faranya@gmail.com
 

 

Bio (auto)

Brenda Levy Tate lives in southwest Nova Scotia just up the road from the Tusket Falls power dam Because she especially loves her camera, motley assortment of books and unwieldy fossil collection, Brenda’s house is slowly collapsing under boxes and shelves crammed with photos, flea-market hardcovers and rocks Her work has appeared in numerous print publications and anthologies, most recently Lilith and Postcards from Eve (Fortunate Childe Publications, 2009 & 2010 respectively) She is a current Pushcart nominee for one of the poems included in Lilith She is also a contributor to online journals, including Soundzine (June 2009) and Contemporary American Voices (August 2009 & June 2010) and was a featured poet with Triggerfish Critical Review (December 2009) Her books include Cleansing (Rising Tide 2003) and the chapbook Beeline (Lopside Press 2007) Brenda may also be heard reading her poetry and singing on YouTube under the username Silharima In her former life, she taught senior high school in Yarmouth, NS
Watch Brenda reading a couple of her poems on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyEiL4uSfDQ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tc2X4ueqfvQ

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Brenda Levy Tate and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

I, Raptor

You feed me river rocks, oak bark logged with rain,
a braid of fence wire (grandfather-bone-thin), its barbs
worn to knots For you, I swallow green bottle stems

the sea has thrown up, blond baleen hair, antler points My guts bracket your conglomerate: blood iron, hardwood
ash, pith Keratin dull as barn windows Fish-scale mica
These are the last castings of desire, tossed at night like horns
off some buckdevil A pockled egg rises from stomach to throat I wet it with your laugh, one final drink for you, then hack

a hawk-man pellet Pwckk! Its heavy oval sinks like a cone
into pine needles I fly light, easy You make a rare bolus,
my compacted love What stranger’s hand will break you?


Ushabti

While you dream, I rise from my copper rest
to meet your every need No tile is left
unwashed, no drawer unopened for a whisk

against your crumbs of happy appetite But you, my quiet love, stretch flanneled legs
toward the constant fire I – colder, here

above its heat – must insulate myself
and carefully direct my withered arm
to flick dust till no flameskin ash remains
I am your guardian, of course You’ve ordered me
created at your whim, a perfect shape
to please whatever man is prisoner

behind your ribs, (their slow beat winding down,
a sundial that you carry even now,
when winter locks the river) Still, I cleanse

without complaint, until I am assigned
elsewhere A feather descends, oh my lord,
onto the balance that will measure you
I am incomplete, though you acknowledge
some gratitude for my obedience A cotton comforter curves over me –

March sea of lapis and malachite-edged
with lace brighter than foam I, mummiform,
lie weeping Faience-glazed Never reborn.


Biopsy

They leap on the blade, water droplets
in hot oil The scrub nurse jars them away,
bloody as John the Baptist’s head,
holy and terrifying I imagine wet strands,
skeins and webs of myself, light
poured through knots.

Maroon, gold, black-cells smeared
sticky as a crucifixion Glass without sin Slowly they vangogh into nebulae –
crab children, sired by some clawed angel Stronger than he who created them Colder
than any starry night.

Chanukah, 1943

for Hélène Berr-b Paris 1921; d Bergen-Belsen 1945

Another Chanukah begins-though I,
an ashen ghost for more than sixty years,
must linger on its edge, remembering
the light, always the light, a windowpane
where faces gleam against the winter sky,
my love’s warm hand at nape of my neck,
the cool wineglass stem Mazel tov! he says,
and toasts the room, where we are pretending
that all is calm and bright-an alien song
with little meaning in our festival
The neighbours’ doors are bolted against us –
Samaritans who look the other way

Mazel tov! as if we own our luck,
direct our destinies from these shadows
On high, Orion strides with thoughtless joy;
he does not march for us A thousand shall
fall at thy side, ten thousand at thy right
hand; but it shall not come nigh thee The Lord
has placed us here, we argue with ourselves
His watchfires crown our secret Chanukia

One star-my only star-is burning me
with yellow cloth, rough-fastened to my breast

 

_______________________________

Jim Knowles

jimk_arts@yahoo.com

 

Bio (auto)

Jim Knowles is a poet, engineer, and artist from Andover, Mass His work has appeared places like Mipoesias Best of Cafe Cafe, From East to West, Durable Goods,  and “The Ranfury Review” He was a finalist in the 2008 Poetry Superhighway Contest, first in the 2009 PSH Contest, and won honorable mention (2nd) in the 2010 Inkwell Poetry Competition He likes to explore as a reader, and to be surprised.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Jim Knowles and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Gesso

It’s darker every day,
outside my window.

When will the first lasting snow come,
cover drab duns and grays, wipe the canvas
white for another new year?

When will the air swing a razor,
slice the scent of home from clothes,
cut shimmer and haze from the sky,
so the stars are steady overhead,
so the moon makes your face a statue?

When will the midnight birches glow,
like legs reaching up from the earth,
where two tracks meet
in the middle of the forest?

When will the steam from our mouths
stop, and swirl down from our noses,
lungs like bellows, blowing fire
on lips and bodies?

Red will be the first color
on the gesso.


(Appeared in Mipoesia’s
“Best of Cafe Cafe”, 2007)

Groupie

I wish I made you
that flustered.

It was the way you
stammered
the stoner poet’s name
when you dedicated
your video,

the way you miscued
twice on the singer’s voice
on your record player,
the way you rolled your eyes
in embarassment How stricken you were.

I wish you were on
a secret windowshade,
a picture I could
pull down at night,
to look into those eyes
looking into me,
so I could feel the vertigo
of their rolling and batting.

That act’s gone now,
but it’s not all gone You closed the fruit stand,
but I snuck away with a seed
in the undeserving dirt
of my memory.

Sometimes I can close my eyes
and watch yours open.

_______________________________

Sian Lindsey
nachtjenevel@gmail.com

 

Bio (auto)

Sian Lindsey is a poet who recently retired from the US Air Force and is now in the final course of her MFA in Creative Writing She has three children (two grown and a nine-year-old at home), two cats, and a husband who deploys to Afghanistan every other year In those years Sian and her youngest son spend their time at home in County Donegal, Ireland, where life is beautiful, slow, and happy In the intervening years she is captive in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she remains a slave to the air conditioner between April and October Sian finds inspiration for her poetry in the wild green of Ireland, in the separation from her husband every other year, and in the constant chaos of moving from place to place, trying to bring and keep her family together She is 44 years old and loves gadgets, technology, travelling, reading, writing, and being outdoors (when it’s 70F or less)

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Sian Lindsey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

 

Cerridwen’s Secret

She hushes a thin finger over his chin, slides one sharp nail
down the line of his neck and opens a collar of delicate skin,
exposing the buttery flesh beneath He barely notices the slices
or the way she holds her breath as the curve of her thumb
entices, slides under the perfect, round chestnut pit Gently she pushes, releases it, leaving a brown-tinged velvet void
to mark the spot She turns away, cups the prize in her hands
and swallows it quickly, fingernails click-click-clicking
in the rush to get it down It gestates
while she waits and keeps her secrets
When it is time she whispers to it, soft and low,
then chokes it on the cold, black stone.

She squats, leaning back on her haunches and pokes like an old Norse witch
at the smouldering bones The flames in her glass eyes hint at others—
tiny rune-bones of the dead one’s brothers The mother-witch rocks
on her haunches and runs all ten fingers through her wild, brown hair She kneels at the fire and asks nothing, nor offers The bones pop and split,
charred delicate things She makes little mounds of them, bone pyramids
aligned north to south on the grate When the fire has cooled she scoops the ash and the bits
with her hands, and she stands not wanting to hear
what the rune-bones say
They whisper in a voice she knows She drops them on the cold black stone.

Killing Men

When you lay light on your little cot, breathless
beneath your dark star-cloak and close your eyes
against the icy, sunlit solitude of eastern skies
do you hear what cries from the arms of death less?

And if, when you wake in your dusty hut
and choke on the morning with lesser grace
than befits an old god with a new god’s face,
you set your swollen feet on the tattered rug

is it justified to dream of tenderness again?
Do you brush aside delicate silver webs
left by hopeful weavers on spindly legs
to seek your fortune with those killing men?

When you lay light on your little cot, hushed
amid the whorl of mountains beyond the sea
that keep you subjugated and away from me,
do you sail into your dreams, or are you pushed?

You Came To My Garden That Morning Prepared

You came to my garden that morning prepared,
with a rowan sapling, three feet tall I held an umbrella over your head
while you pushed with your shoe
on the edge of the spade When that broke
I gave you mine When you’d deemed the hole deep enough
you picked up the sapling, ever so gently
turned it in your hands, tugged it free
from its little wet pot, and set it
like a newborn in the soft, cool earth You patted the fresh soil down with your foot,
and we ran back inside for some piping tea My little silver pot spilled over
to fill your cup.

The Wake

At fifty three they laid her out
on the bed in her little whitewashed
house One window at the front,
web-covered milk eye blind
to the greying sky, propped shut
with a rotting two-by-four,
the other buck-toothed, cracked
enough to let the drizzly shiver in By ten they’d brought the whiskey,
passed around the cigarettes;
the garden was a parking lot
of mud and muffled tones At midnight someone lit a fire
and tossed a scrawny piece of turf
into the wake-house flames When morning broke the company
departed; milk eye turned away,
the other kept watch faithfully
beside the ashes, breathing open-mouthed At fifty three they buried her
between McNelis and O’Garra
in the Catholic churchyard
at the centre of the glen The men stayed out all night
to toast her fifty three good years
and drink to not being found face down,
stone cold beside a barren hearth

Priest

If I opened my eyes I would see you, priest,
long hair flying to meet the sea, arms raised
to draw the rain from the sky I am clean,
clean as the picked-over, river-washed bones
and I want you, priest, high on the altar
stones, wild in the rain, naked with need
Mine is the lust that answers your greed,
the tongue you deny, the temple you worship
behind the lie I crawl in the shadows along
the cracked stone like a whimpering dog
to a holy bone Say what you will, priest –
I’ve heard you moan.

In Cavan Upper

Tentative spring trees sigh over the melting river,
concealing in their silence the most benevolent
of gifts In the warming winter earth I keep
my stony eyes tight shut against the strains
of bud-birth in this sunless, sodden cradle
Nothing in the waxing world looks down

I looked back, once, into the dazzling bright
to see you walking in the purple heather,
long hair wild behind you framed against
the patchwork glen In our bed that night
we hardly slept, the moon lit up each corner,
chasing shadows of its own.

The snowdrops must be everywhere in Ireland
by now, the daffodils and crocus peeping through
the vibrant green In Cavan Upper starry saxifrage
will bloom this June without us.

Eating Mussels in Killybegs

My eight-year-old digs through a graveyard
of mussels, pries open each yawning casket
in turn, turns over the dark, empty ovals
and stacks them, a crowded black fleet
in his gleaming white bowl
From the shadow of each recess shines
a slack peg, a fleshy white tooth,
tiny cigarette end of a gravestone
Over the road along four long quays
eight rows of ships berthed beam to beam
fill their ballast tanks to increase their draught
before sailing away from the glistening crèches
of tightly shut shells on the wharf.


The Game

The hockey game was wild at first, the poor puck
violently slapped across the unforgiving ice
by any stick that wished a turn Some small respite
it found cupped lightly in the goalie’s glove,
less often in the net, a symbol of his shame
Sometimes the players fought, threw pads and helmets
and right hooks and uppercuts and then sat sulking
in the perspex timeout box I grew quite bored
until I turned and saw the goalie, also bored,
balls to the ice, dog facing up, and then a perfect split

Ice Queen

The frost has gone, and all the jagged ice receded
that the burly coast guard cutters moved about
to clear the way for freighters plying in and out,
yet spring was not the warming sentiment I needed In the tepid, sunlit, blue-blushed morning skies
clouds reel across the open and unhurried glass
uncluttered, and unfettered in their silence pass
beyond the pane of notice and my shuttered eyes Despite the greening world and loud flirtatious birds
who find delight in shouting out the morning worms
I pull the covers thickly overhead and dream of storms
that thunder their cacophony of dark, expressive words The frost has gone, but wily winter drives a bargain
holding onto nooks and crannies in a desperate bid–
or maybe it’s my heart that clings for life to it
to keep the thaw at bay until you’re home again.

Albatross

I flipped it over my shoulder, wore it, white feathers draped
down the small of my back against my skin ’til it was me In time they stopped staring, sailed over the high tide of
dying-to-ask and were comfortable with my second skin
It gave me great power, defences against the dark arts,
lapidescence I needed in battle and war I wore it commando
eventually, foregoing extraneous accoutrements,
it’s silky light bond a cocoon of impenetrability The chink in the armour I found, so to speak, was the only
square inch you exploited with such a spectacular stroke
of finesse that I didn’t quite notice its absence until
it had flown and you’d draped yourself over my shoulder
and settled down into the small of my back.

 

 

June 28-July 4, 2010: Zola Hjelm and Richard Cody

Zola Hjelm
zolaghjelm@ymail.com

Bio (auto)

Zola is a poet She lives in San Francisco.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Zola Hjelm and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


He’s Just Lucky

washing cut fingers in salt water
bruised leg, bent back
unraveling the sheets warmed
from between her crotch
the quilt ma made
stained by brewed coffee
poured by his personal waitress
patched with bed bug motel scenes
and rocky drives when they were
young, yearning for each other’s
love they called it
when time was hung
beat bitterly till battered bruises became brilliance
dreams came like the car’s red light
halting for hitchhikers
hillbilly county
riders and where sunshine
never hit under
platinum babes’ fried died hair and signs still read no travelers
but they were no gypsies
the town tried gypping
fruitless pockets and lines came dry
ends of ruby running faces
that rubbing alcohol
stinging metal stench
sterilizing emotion
she was
the beauty at burlesque
bright with dizzy lights
black liner took the curve round her eye
she was worshipped
she was god
she was holy
golden statue well advised to stay but left
with him
him lifting salty cut fingers
candying her served rim

 

_______________________________

Richard Cody
rtcody@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Richard Cody, born and living still in San Jose, California, has been known to write poetry, fiction, and shopping lists His work, mainly the poetry and fiction, has appeared in many print and virtual publications, most recently Eclectic Flash, Weirdyear, Daily Love, The Dark Fiction Underground, eFiction Magazine, Unheard Magazine, Gloom Cupboard, and Censored Poets.He has fiction forthcoming in Kaleidotrope and who knows where else!? His books can be found at Amazon and Lulu.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Richard Cody and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Everyday I Fool Them All

Sitting in my human skin
at the back of the bus
no one pays me any mind;
they think: “He’s one of us.”

June 21-27, 2010: Diane Elayne Dees and Kate Rebecca Charles

Diane Elayne Dees
dianedees@charter.net

 

Bio (auto)

Diane Elayne Dees lives in Louisiana Her poetry has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, and has been read on national radio programs Diane also publishes Women Who Serve, a blog about women’s professional tennis Visit her on the web here: http://womenwhoserve.blogspot.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Diane Elayne Dees and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


The Great Hayward and Obama Spills
(found poetry)

What the hell did we do to deserve this?
The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean;
the environmental impact of this disaster
is likely to be very, very modest I don’t think my job is on the line;
we’re sorry for the massive disruption it’s caused I would like my life back
.I made a hurtful and thoughtless comment Where legitimate claims are made,
we will be good for them

I have not spoken to him directly;
when you talk to a guy like a BP CEO,
he’s going to say all the right things to me I would love to vent,
I would love to just shout and holler,
.I’m thinking about this day in and day out,
But my main job is to solve the problem.

_______________________________

Kate Rebecca Charles
katerebeccacharles@hotmail.com

 

Bio (auto)

Kate Rebecca Charles is twenty-three and has roots in Oxford, Brighton, Foligno, and Edinburgh; where she recently graduated with a Creative Writing Masters Her poetic and arts review blog is titled ‘bright-young-writing-thing.blogspot.org’ She is interested in and has worked extensively in live art and performance Her poetry and reviews have been published in a number of sources including Podapoda, Textualities, Duo, Leaf, Action Hero, and the Aesthetica International Creative Works Annual Kate will be at Edinburgh festival with Badac Theatre this summer, and will then be in China, in search of new poetry Her PhD will be at Sussex University.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Kate Rebecca Charles and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

 

Tent

We hurled our shapes off rocks like gulls stoned
Pebbles knocked with the run
Silhouettes stun dark against sky
The sun staring on
On the flight out like loving kids linking limbs beyond sense
Only we were older
Screwing, half-hating,
A couple in the next tent,
Yelling keep it down
The next morning too and the next
You were pulling me down
That air-bed
Easy give and awkward swell
Rubber and night skin smell
In the airtight, hot lycra shine
I had not swum in so long
Bared my body to the public
So nervous of my manifesto
My proof self-evident
They would say as I waded
That is her
Every nook
But that week in a different skin
Sea cliff snake all dry grass and flicker
I’d shed back to one I’d thought former
But coming from the water wet, sunkissed.

June 14-20, 2010: John Tzikas and Julia Klatt-Singer with Alex Stolis

John Tzikas
jtzikas3@yahoo.com

 

Bio (auto)

My work should not be pinned down to one theme or an assortment of images, but to keen observations of people and my environment With every stroke of my pen, I learn more about people and myself in the process I make references to current and past events and pop culture I enjoy the works of Eliot, Frost and Blake as well as have undying gratitude to songwriters like Lennon, Jagger, Morrison and their ilk I have had poems published in Canada in Quills 2009 and Author’s Magazine 1995.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by John Tzikas and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


State Your Mind State Your Case

Safe when sound
Tales that tell
All ears now
Eat my words

Young when wild
Out of date
Urge that knows
Right to say

Mask the truth
If not when
Nice when slow
Drop the hints

Speak so free
Trap the lying
Ask the times
Tease to please
Ears on phones

Yearn when proud
Out on date
Use a fork
Rode to scribes

Close the deal
All the way
See the scars
Eons of talk

Time to Kill

Watched the film
23 times
Still no hill of beans
I have a big problem
With the gin in my joints

Time to kill
Thanks for obsessing
As time goes by

Walking under the umbrella
Of complete togetherness
Cleanse away the loss
Cleansed by everything that’s lost

Time to kill
Hoping and possessing
All that’s mine

Maybe I’ll never
Have to play that song again
I’ll walk out
Like Bogart left Bergman
Behind
And revel in memories
When time goes by

Time to kill
Wishing and pretending

Time to kill
Smooth sailing
On the African Queen
With a mutineer

 

_______________________________

Julia Klatt-Singer
with Alex Stolis
baudelairious@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Julia Klatt-Singer and Alex Stolis live in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by Julia Klatt-Singer and Alex Stolis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

First confession

The space between my thoughts unravel and words fail,
tumble to the floor For you, I need a new alphabet,
a new conjunction to fill the gap between what is said

and what we know to be true I wish we could return
each tarnished word, each false truth, take each honest
lie and toss them into the Mississippi , to become clean

and drift away, never to be uttered again The words left
behind are dry and brittle in my hands, I wish you could
take them, place each, one by one, on my tongue, let me

swallow them, whole I want to learn the language of you,
want your hands to guide me into the lonely spaces
between your thoughts.

June 7-13, 2010: B.E. Kahn and KJ Hannah Greenberg

B.E Kahn
bekahn36@gmail.com

 

Bio (auto)

B.E Kahn is a recipient of Pennsylvania Council of the Arts and Pew Grants, along with other awards and prizes Her poems have appeared in Harrisburg Review, Philadelphia Poets, Bridges A Jewish Feminist Journal, Mad Poets Review, Schuylkill Valley Journal and The Tupelo Press Online Poetry Project among other publications A retired speech therapist, she lives in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania and has taught poetry to intergenerational, interfaith groups Her chapbook, Spring Apples Silver Birch was published October, 2008 by Greenleaf Press Another— Landscapes of Light is forthcoming in 2009 by Poets Wear Prada Press Visit B.E on the web here: http://www.bekahn.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by B.E Kahn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

At the Kotel, Second Day

Those prayers I sent into the cracks
of light-soaked stone

are sailing somewhere in a sea
of wished-for things Whitecaps

buffet or caress I don’t know which The wind’s voice presents its favors
I am grateful for the wind’s
keening high and lilting low.

_______________________________

KJ Hannah Greenberg
drkarenjoy@yahoo.com


Bio (auto)

A 2009 nominee, in poetry, for the Pushcart Prize, KJ Hannah Greenberg has been fortunate to have her Judaica appear in numerous venues, including in : Fallopian Falafel, Horizons, Mishpacha Magazine,  Scribblers on the Roof,  The Blue New Yorker, The Jerusalem Post, The Jewish Woman, and The New Vilna Review Beyond actively producing her own short stories, poems and essays and regularly being called on to critique or to write reviews about the short works of other authors, Hannah writes books Look for her Oblivious to the Obvious: Wishfully Mindful Parenting, by French Creek Press, spring 2010.

The following work is Copyright © 2010, and owned by KJ Hannah Greenberg and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

A Response to a Potential Olah:
Foo-Foo Ain’t Worth Squat
When it Comes to Kavanah

If not the rarified air of the sandstone hills,
Then the rosemary grown to shrubbery
If not the gates of Mattesdorf locking in Shabbot,
Then the tallit on our flag
If not the Arab’s five times daily reminder,
Then the aide memoire of Esau’s bells
Our forests yield deer for the native Our roads provide reminders for the family Our deserts churn salt beneath the slaughtered
Foo-foo ain’t worth squat when it comes to kavanah Only nudniks value yichus; it’s
Middot that reach us toward Shemyim
The coin to the hand,
A loaf for the lady loaded with bags and craziness,
Visits to Bichor Cholim strangers,
Readily giving the pregnant a seat,
Leading chevrusot through posukim,
Hugging a sibling Those merit
Your children can not be the same Should not be the same Bring them home.