December 29, 2014 – January 4, 2015: Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois and Richard Lynch

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois and Richard Lynch

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois
grabmitch@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois has had over six hundred of his poems and fictions appear in literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad, including POETRY SUPER HIGHWAY. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize for work published in 2012, 2013, and 2014. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work as a clinical psychologist in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and Nook, or as a print edition. He lives in Denver.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Delvinal

I want you to know that
Delvinal Sodium
in therapeutic doses
is a safe sedative and hypnotic
with a moderate duration of action

That’s all I’ll say
other than you’ll suffer
no pathologic tissue changes

I won’t give you a list
of disclaimers
and warnings about side effects

That’s just the way life works
You get something
you give something else up
This is 1940
Everyone knows that

So take it
or don’t take it
It’s all the same to me


Amber Alert

I was arranging a bachelor party
for my brother
something booze-driven and raunchy
that he would remember
long after he’d settled
into boring married life

Setting it up
I met a stripper
named Amber Alert
That was her professional name
Her real name was something ridiculously Jewish

We ended up having a kid
I converted to Judaism
When my parents died in a car crash
I needed it

My brother still remembers his bachelor party
but it’s just as well that he was too drunk
to realize
that the woman who became my wife
was stripping that night
under the stage name
Amber Alert


Desiderata (Abridged)

There’s a gentle rain falling from your nose
that waters the daffodils
and wets the sidewalks

You’re okay just as you are
a sappy sentiment
that almost no one
believes

 


Richard Lynch
richard@thebookdoc.com

Bio (auto)

Richard Lynch (Platja de Gandia, Spain) had beaten a drum as a boy before karma reclaimed the episodes, and beat him back. He wasn’t impressed, swallowed three toads, saying "oh, crap" only after the third, when he realized it was frogs he’d wanted, and his throat swelled him to the hospital. Some people count almonds to be sure there are enough in the bag…Richard only almonds when it counts. In recent years he has let his camera help him discover grotesque things, foods that lurk in the ice tables of fish mongers when he fails at fishing, and the sight of a woman so incredibly perfect that he was once consumed by the flames of a group of young boys she passed when they spontaneously combusted. Having risen from those ashes as well, he found people jealous of his nimbus, which he named Bob and taught various card tricks, and lives with his medusa, looking at her only through mirrors. When Bob turned to Three Card Monty, all bets were off, and so was the nimbus, creating a paradox so complex, Schrodinger’s cat begged for mercy loudly enough that you could hear it behind the door, and Bob (sometimes known as Three Card) was forced into slave labor at a repair shop called Quantum Mechanics where cars were fixed by putting them in a box and thinking. There are times when Richard’s antics become uncles. He hopes to have the opportunity to explain his life the right way, when it is over, again.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Richard Lynch and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Woman Who Would Only Sing

Bats flipped
in patterns
over the playa,
sweeping dust
from the hair
of a woman
who sat
on a bench
singing

She sang
to her friend about
the toast made
this morning
which was just as she liked it
though the jam was disappointing.
Her improvised tune
in kind, words
trailing.

Her leashed chihuahua
barked at me,
as I passed
slowly by —
the singing womans
toes crammed
into her sandals
to stack like
packaged hotdogs

She sang to the dog
to be calm,
and it was.

I saw her again
in the food store
where she sang to her friend
about prunes
comparing them
to her husband
who sometimes
helped with things.
As her friend laughed
she sang about
the wheels on her cart
and the hight
of the basket
which defined tragedy
by making her bend
to put things in,
and take them out.

She sang on the train
about graffiti
and at the Tobacco store
about her cigarettes
and how they would kill her.

I imagined her singing
in the kitchen
to her pots and pans
styling verse to tell each
what they were doing wrong.

On the playa
her song
came through my open window
happy for the
beautiful sunset,
but missing her bicycle
that she liked to ride
as the sun went down

In the post office
she sang an address
to the clerk,
after crooning
an appology
that her fingers
didn’t work well,
nearly yodeling
–Alemania
where the package
would find her daughter.
The woman
handed her purse
to the clerk
in a song
about how change was
so small and uncooperative.
And she continued
the song
to a conclusion of "thanks"
taking back her purse.

The man next to me
in line
saw me smile.
I asked him
"Does she always sing?"
he shrugged and said
"eh…she likes to sing…"

 


 

December 22-28, 2014: Dina Khan and Dave Migman

Dina Khan and Dave Migman

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Dina Khan
belle.deena@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Dina Khan is, a Ukrainian born, artist living in Paris, France since 2008. She explores different mediums of self-expression from photography, video editing and painting to writing and performing arts. Her web-page: http://dinakhanfr.tumblr.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Dina Khan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Motherland

the whirls of wind
lick bare bones of the road
like a tongue kisses dry lips.

broken and dreamy,
the body of earth spreads over horizon.

the black soil patches, the stone pits,
bruises and wounds
run aimlessly into
the future.

a curious land I hardly know
expands over horizon,
this is the Motherland.

the motionless body that brought me to life.
the mother, an unknown stranger,
the land I never walked.
torn apart by poverty…
God is here alone.

I crawl like an animal
and think –
of me, of love,
of insane luck that spared my life.

 


Dave Migman
davemigman@yahoo.co.uk

Bio (auto)

Dave Migman is a stone carver and writer living in Edinburgh. his work has appeared in Neon Highway, Camel Saloon, The Rialto and a novel The Wolf Stepped Out is available through Doghorn Publishing.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Dave Migman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Stilted

i heard your hollow laugh
i remember now
in the clarity of flashback
that my mouth no longer worked
as the rain hissed in the drains
i staggered back home
looking for a battle I never found
(didn’t I curse your dead mothers?)
cackling down the phone
bottle getting lighter
as I passed necropolis and toasted
the living tombstones
of flickering lights
to return to the cavern
kicking off my boots
she stirred in the bed
growled
and turned
out the lights

 


 

December 15-21, 2015: Diane Elayne Dees and Robert Wynne

Diane Elayne Dees and Robert Wynne

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Diane Elayne Dees
dianeedees@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Diane Elayne Dees is a writer and psychotherapist in Covington, Louisiana. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Diane publishes Women Who Serve, a blog about women’s professional tennis.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Diane Elayne Dees and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Gardening Made Easy

Stare at the blank space where violet
salvia once swayed against tall grids.
Let yourself cry for the giant pink
lilies that used to mark your homecoming.
Surrender to the army of young lubbers
that will devour every amaryllis
in sight, and feast on desserts of daylilies.
Stop deadheading; the bees won’t miss you.

Come to terms with the myth:
Weeding, pruning, feeding, watering,
dibbling, and spraying are not therapeutic.
Your back hurts. You’re on your own;
the other person doesn’t notice,
doesn’t care, how growth gets strangled
from neglect. He doesn’t see how
the landscape has gradually changed
because he never knew its beauty.

Hire a a landscaper and a divorce lawyer.
Invite your friends to dig your plants.
They won’t take enough–no worries,
the landscape man will run a bush hog
right through your yard. Narcissus, gingers,
agapanthus will vanish in a blue
and yellow flash. The giant rose that
threatens your house will be cut down
just in time to dig the sewerage line
because your very existence is backed
up to a time you no longer recall.

Make a practice of not looking.
When you least expect it, elephant ears
mysteriously seed themselves in your
back yard. A pot of lantana, never
watered, lays pats of butter
across your driveway. A lone rain lily
stands defiantly pink where
the miniature rose bed used to be.
You don’t offer food, you cannot
provide care. Something will live
or it will die. You are not God;
you are not even a gardener.

 

 


Robert Wynne
robert.wynne@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

Robert Wynne earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. A former co-editor of Cider Press Review, he has published 6 chapbooks, and 3 full-length books of poetry, the most recent being “Self-Portrait as Odysseus,” published in 2011 by Tebot Bach Press. He’s won numerous prizes, and his poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies throughout North America. He lives in Burleson, TX with his wife and 2 rambunctious dogs.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Robert Wynne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Commercial Revelation

“The story of the happening / Becomes the happening”
……………..– Charles Ardinger

Consider the gift shop, sculpted unceremoniously into
Every museum like an afterthought. A Starry Night bookmark
Lazes languidly next to coasters featuring The David.
Each collection of commemorative thimbles is alphabetized:
Braque preceding Picasso, Pissarro following Monet,
Rembrandt far from Botticelli, and lonely Van Gogh
Almost always last. Hold the Dali thimble close
To your ear and you can hear ants carrying drops of water
Into a desert in which the torsos of naked women
Neatly comprise an oasis. How much would you pay to
Give irony a permanent home? This price tag is an Ansel Adams

And that’s why the moon rises just above the dollar sign
Mercifully. Most of the books are quietly dancing about
Architecture, while cash registers ring their approval.
Language sulks, because it’s relegated primarily to
Giving warnings about what not to touch, or
Asking for donations to restore another piece of art
Meant to dwarf the few words on the wall next to it.
At least the cashiers seem well read, offering
The day’s first customer her change and
Exclaiming “I will show you five in a handful of ones.”
Discounts are available in the poetry section.

Idolatry is an understatement.
No fewer than 42 products feature some version of Matisse’s
Dance I: posters, t-shirts, coffee mugs, lighters, and ink pens
In which clothes adorn the revelers until the pen is tilted to
Slowly undress the circle of women. There is a life-size
Punching bag based on Munch’s “The Scream”
Enhanced to include a piercing howl with each hit (batteries
Not included). Last Supper action figures. An Icarus Yo-Yo.
Salt and pepper shakers shaped like haystacks, water lilies,
Irises and Campbell’s Soup cans. CD’s of music for
Blue guitar. Sunday Afternoon play set complete with
La Grande Jatte and working parasol. A shower curtain
Emblazoned with the Mona Lisa’s coy smile.

A woman hurries toward the exit, sack swaying
Neatly as a Currier & Ives snow globe suffers
The blizzard of 1864 all over again. Her receipt flutters
Innocently down to the floor, another reminder
That a body in motion tends to spend money.
Her auburn hair brushes the tops of her shoulders as she
Emerges into daylight, unaware that you are following
So you can return the thin strip of thermal paper to her.
Even when she drives off in her Mercedes Benz, you
Still pursue her, receipt tucked under the hula dancer

Languishing on your cracked dashboard. On the radio,
Origami enthusiasts are folding dollar bills carefully into
Quarter-sized bundles, each pyramid’s lone eye staring
Up. The host says it’s crucial to place them face down
Any time you want to sleep, or they will begin
Colluding against you. Your quarry makes a right
Into a Starbuck’s drive-thru. Since you don’t drink
Overpriced coffee, you ask for the time. Confused cashier
Ursula charges you 50 cents, gives you 5 dimes change,
Says to have a great day! You continue south.

Antiquarian booksellers flood the crosswalk
Near Meadowlake Road, wielding first editions of
Elinor Wylie’s Nets to Catch the Wind, which
Came out a year prior to The Waste Land, but is in far less
Demand. A bargain, you imagine, as you make a right
Onto the highway, wondering where in the world
This road will lead. In the rearview mirror, an angry
Editor cuts down a banner that says “Reading is for.…”
Some sentences never end. A billboard on the left

Lets everyone know that Fritos were the only snack food
In Plato’s Cave. In fact, a light has been installed to allow
Nightly viewings of the great corn chip’s shadow.
God, the word, is only once removed from God,
Entity casting no shadow, as the recently added graffiti
Reminds you. Philosophy, like religion, continues to creep
Into everything, as evidenced by the radio ad for
New “Archetype-O’s” cereal, each tiny complex of oats
Generously frosted, and with a piece of Collectible

Unconscious hidden in every box. Even the stripes
Neatly dividing lanes feature bright sponsor logos:
Icy Hot, Jiffy Pop Tarts, Goodyear and an XBox game called
Need for Speed: Catch my Drift, from their sarcasm collection.
The Six Flags 10 miles ahead offers discounted prices for kids
Except on Saturdays, and based on the group pictured they have a
Really good selection. Still, you don’t have time to start a family
Right now, especially since the lady in the Mercedes is exiting.
Usually you fill-up at Chomsky’s, because of what gas
Purports to signify, but you follow her to the Shell station.
Taking the receipt off the dashboard, you trail her as she
Enters the Subway which doubles as a convenience store which
Doubles (or is that Triples?) as the publishing office for

Subscription Literary Review – that’ll be twenty dollars please.
Currently all counter clerks are line-editing pieces for the issue on
Rumi parodies, so you tuck your submissions away and browse.
Every package of Hostess Ho-Ho’s comes with a free
Autographed pocket edition of this year’s Ikea catalog,
Making you question the Ding Dongs in your clutches
In addition to the very origin of cream filling itself.
Never underestimate the power of snack cakes
Given the right circumstances. You pay for your fuel,

Stash the combination receipt/rejection letter to be
Used in next year’s taxes, and roll the windows down.
Fluttering between the tips of your fingers, her receipt
Floats on the breeze as you watch for her to exit
Into an afternoon so beautiful you’re strangely
Certain you’ll see it featured in an ad somewhere soon.
In another minute, she finally emerges, still
Efficiently drying her hands on what must be
New 3-Ply Bounty. You approach cautiously, tell her
That she dropped this back at the museum, awkwardly
Liken your pursuit to something from Lord of the Rings.
You hand her the slip of paper, and are turning to leave when

She asks, without guile, if this is some sort of joke. She holds
The receipt up and you see a thermal image of a beatific,
Ruggedly-bearded man. “Jesus Christ!” you exclaim.
In your mind, you review the facts: that picture
Didn’t exist when you picked-up the errant scrap of paper.
Entropy’s stock is rising. A cloud blows by looking a lot like
Neruda in swim trunks, or maybe that’s just your imagination.
Taking a moment to collect herself, the woman thanks you
Laconically and speeds away. With nothing better to do
You shrug and head back inside for a package of Ho-Ho’s.

Gary, your childhood Sunday School teacher, calls to ask if you’ve
Accepted Capitalism into your heart. You say “Yes” because you
Really don’t want to disappoint Him again. An errant rainbow
Nefariously beautifies the sky, until a plane’s trailing banner
Eclipses it with an ad for a strip club called Let My Peephole Go.
Refusing to give into temptation, you head home to watch a show
In which people flip houses for a living. All the characters have
Nicer cars than you, so you conclude that you must
Go buy a run-down home and transform it from a Dali to

A Wyeth. You’re certain that wheat will wave in the wind
The moment escrow closes, but you didn’t account for
The pocketwatch puddles, crutches in place of retaining walls,
Elephants, long shadows stretching from stilted legs,
Never expecting the destination to even be related
To the journey. And the newspapers, dating all the way back
Into the 1920’s, fill every room in leaning stacks, smugly
Offering predictions in bold type of flying cars, jetpacks,
Newfangled ways to remove hair from unwanted places.

Eventually, you’re so engrossed in the newspaper
Articles you just let foreclosure run its course. The bank
Really likes the way you’re taking it, so they offer to
Negate your penalties if you’ll appear in a TV spot for them.
Exactly how you end up dressed as a dollar sign remains a
Special mystery, but at least you’re able to pick up
The dance steps in no time. Afterward, you decide to begin
Liquidating your assets. Since you don’t own any stocks,
You start with old photos. Several frame manufacturers offer

Relatively small sums, but then a nasty bidding war
Ensues for your family photo from 30 years ago in which
Pantsuits feature prominently, all fabric festooned
Liberally with paisley. You confirm the frame will be tasteful
And finalize the deal, just in time to collect all the
Compact discs from every shelf and head to the liquor store.
It turns out, 1 CD is worth 12 oz. of anything, so you
Nearly fill the whole car up, but have nothing to listen to
Going back home. Your closet of As Seen on TV items

Clears more than you originally paid, since many are
Only available in pharmacies now, and often a prescription is
Needed. The animated Titanic Chia Pet, which plays a synth
Version of My Heart Will Go On, fetched the highest price
Even though it can’t be turned off, since the Clapper in it
Needs replacing. Last to go is your mustard yellow
Toyota Corolla, the first car in which you ever got a ticket.
Instead of driving away, you jaywalk to the donut shop
On the corner and steal the aromas of sugar and yeast.
Next you wander to the playground, spin the merry go round
As fast as possible while perched on its edge, and then
Lie back and watch the world spin a green and blue blur.

As the earth slows, you have a thought: what if the idea of God
Resisted people’s urges to use it like a Garden Weasel? What if
Given faith, everyone just kept it to themselves? Belief is pretty
Useless as a method of judgment. A grey felt fedora rests
Mysteriously on a park bench, perhaps abandoned by someone
Experimenting with loss. An ice cream vendor pushes his cart
Near a family’s picnic, offering promises of Popsicles tingeing
Tongues many colors. Desire remains our downfall.
Suppose you were satisfied enough that you didn’t dream.

Picture a night uninterrupted by flights that end in a heap
On the ground, no more regrets playing out in archetypes
Embodied by Freud or Jung. What if fear wasn’t
The most lucrative emotion? An umbrella salesman
Interrupts the reverie of some ducks with his rain dance.
Clouds yawn above, having none of it. You stand back up
And head east toward the closed Beanie Babies™ outlet,
Leaving behind the empty swing set and teeter-totter,
Letting wind wash over those remnants of childhood.
You turn north, head toward the YMCA, friendly acronym

Pretending to forget its origins – no one ever baptizes
Random members during swim lessons (that you know of).
Only when you’re in the whirlpool do you realize
Faith is the bubbles breaking against your bare chest,
Faith is what happens without asking, without
Even needing belief. In fact, belief is a red-faced bully
Reprimanding all who question him, demanding
Everyone agree that the moon is just a hole in the sky,
Draining each night to reveal the next morning. Belief

Proselytizes its position to the point that nothing else
Holds sway, and then faith is just a memo line
Itemized on each check piled in the collection plate.
Learning to swim took longer than it should, didn’t it?
On the surface of the water, your limbs grew heavy.
Somehow you had to learn to hold yourself up with
Only the spaces between your fingers and toes.
Perhaps you spent too long staring at your shadow
Hovering on the bottom of the pool, wondering
If you are truly original, if the flickering image below
Could have adorned the wall of Plato’s cave.
At least you accepted the magnitude of breathing,
Letting air make its quiet argument in favor of life.
Lingering in the shower, you remember
Your first job: working nights and weekends

Expressly to earn enough for a new book, baseball cards,
X-ray specs, whatever had caught your attention
That week. But everything surrendered to entropy.
Ragged corners and frayed edges gathered dust.
Even Hot Wheels™ broke down, lost tires driving
Miraculously into the future. And before that you scoured
Each coin return, scrounging for nickels and dimes
Like a gumball addict yearning to turn that silver knob
Yet anxious to discover the color and flavor of destiny.

Itemized receipts for everything you’ve ever bought
Need to be provided to get you past the velvet rope
Downstairs, and into the Kingdom of Heaven, a club
Underneath the YMCA that is so exclusive not even
Salvador Dali can get in, and he’s dead. You sneak
Through the throng, cup an origami dollar bill in your
Right palm and approach the entrance. Shaking hands
Is a welcome distraction for the doorman, so as he
Ogles the folded green item, you slip past him into
Unnerving darkness. When you emerge into the light
Suddenly everything has wings – the door handles frozen

In mid-flight, end tables poised for takeoff, chandeliers
Nervously turning toward the floor. A Thomas Kinkade
Explication of the crucifixion hangs above the fireplace.
Feathers pirouette down from above, and music
Furiously thrums like a hummingbird’s heartbeat.
Astonishingly, though, no one else is there.
Beside the dance floor is another gift shop, this one
Looking like a murder of cherubs – price tags
Yellowing on each winged thing. You slyly pocket

A refrigerator magnet with the Sistine Chapel ceiling
Reproduced in miniature. You slip into Nike’s shoes,
Drop a few bills on the counter, and head for the back door.
In the alley, the streetlight flickers and goes out.
Nearby, a few strains of jazz saxophone argue with the night.
Given enough time, everywhere is walking distance, so you
Emerge onto the empty street and head due east, away from
Retail angels with their worn wings and empty promises.

 


 

December 1-7, 2014: Fred Pollack and Bill Yarrow

Fred Pollack and Bill Yarrow

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Fred Pollack
fpollack@comcast.net

Bio (auto)

Fred Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press. A collection of shorter poems, A POVERTY OF WORDS,is forthcoming in 2015 from Prolific Press. He has had work appear in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), Iota (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, etc. His online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire Review, Mudlark, Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Triggerfish, etc. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University. He lives in Washington, DC.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Fred Pollack and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Thing Is

I’d love, I reply (meaning the term
in its strictest, sweatiest sense),
to accept your invite. To a patio
beneath Cinzano awnings from the Fifties,
surveying the Berkshires with half our hearts
at the latest openings and concerts.
The sun in our drinks; tolerance
effervescing beyond the norm, acceptance
of whatever age art marriage history bring –
what could be bad? But my familiars

are and make me poor company.
They aren’t the vampires and zombies
who share the affections of the masses. Rather,
outgrowths of a meme
that never quite caught on: the malign toy,
child-doll, or child. Same sing-song treble,
same creaking wink of the blood-drenched eye.
They tell me shit about myself.
They float about, or lie in heaps,
strings cut. In bed, one grows out of my back
and wails. I know that the oppressed
face worse (and we’d discuss them, wouldn’t we?);
and I could bear my demons,
if only they’d stop sending invitations.

 


Bill Yarrow
bill.yarrow@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Bill Yarrow is the author of The Lice of Christ (MadHat Press, 2014), Incompetent Translations and Inept Haiku (Červená Barva Press, 2013), and Pointed Sentences (BlazeVOX, 2012). His poems have appeared in Poetry International, RHINO, Contrary, DIAGRAM, Gargoyle, Uno Kudo, Confrontation, and PANK. He is a Professor of English at Joliet Junior College and lives in Lincolnwood, Illinois.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Bill Yarrow and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Cranshaw on a Boat

We are floating on the Chain of Lakes
eating Rice Crispies out of a bucket.
The sun is a soft lozenge medicating
a bright red sky. Water skiers hold
onto their slackening ropes like love
itself. On Party Island, the icy drunks
have seized control. Cranshaw has
his hand inside Margaret. No one
is shocked; he was born brazen.
But when he starts in on the Jews,
Arnie gets mad and pushes him
over the side. We let him tread water,
then swing around to pick him up.
Justice? No, Margaret wants him back.

Originally appeared in the
print magazine RHINO 2012.


What the Hell Am I Doing?

My daughter is a therapist. She’s started reading my
poems. She’s noticed something curious: in each of them
the same thing happens: nothing. In one she tells me
a woman in bad car accident just stares at her hands.
In another a man travels three thousand miles looking
for a key he refuses to use. In another a bald man sits
in a plaid chair and watches a blank screen. There’s another
where a boy boards a bus and stares out the window
at darkness. A man standing on a foothill bleeds into his boots.
An atheist gets stung by a bee and watches his hand swell up.
A son returns home to a deranged parent. A college boy
watches his grandmother die. A despairing writer sees
acorns fall from a tree. A man with a blonde mustache
loiters by rusting monkey bars. An exile learns his mother
died in a suspicious fire. A tourist strolls past a hotel
famous because a suicide happened there. Some things
of course do happen she notices. Someone is slapped.
Someone takes a cruise. Someone fakes incontinence.
Someone swims in the ocean. Someone gambles at a casino.
After a beautiful dream someone wakes up crying.
These are alternative nothings she tells me. “Is that a
technical term?” I ask, wondering what the criterion is
not to be nothing. “You want me to write about something?
Is that it?” No, not necessarily. But I don’t like to see you
write about nothing.
“Why? Johnson said you need something
to fill up ‘the vacuity of life.’” And you choose nothing with which
to fill life’s empty bucket?
“Well maybe nothing just picked me.”
I find you curious, Dad. “That’s not something either, Sweetie.”

Originally appeared in the
print magazine Gargoyle 61.


 

November 24-30, 2014: Daniel Chacón and John Grey

Daniel Chacón and John Grey

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Daniel Chacón
soychacon@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Daniel Chacón lives in El Paso, TX, where he teaches in the MFA program at the University of Texas. His past books, all prose, have won The Hudson Prize, The Pen Oakland Award, and the American Book Award.Visit Daniel on the web here. Check out his books on Amazon here.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Daniel Chacón and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Amsterdam

“I’m bored.
I’m chairman of the board.”
…………….Iggy Pop

May seem like ennui, but after four
Heine pints and all the Febo
I can eat I’m bored. I’m slimy bored,
sick of my kicks. I’m a stoned mystic
in Rembrandtplein looking at seven trees
and the painter’s bronze body.
And when the city wants to lead me
into red streets that bend and grind
into positions I’m no longer
bent on entering now that I’m sick
of my kicks I just go on ignoring the dead
 
and the living who don’t want to die.
I’m chairman of the bored.
What mason’s wall? What cat in the window?
Yaba Yam is open again. Once
 
on a walk through Madrid at three am
Neruda and Lorca lured me into Argüelles.
Head this way, mi’jo. Because dead poets
think I’m the tabula rasa of la raza.
always trying to show me something.
But who follows me here?
 
Vincent and van Rijn? Why
do the greats always want you,
arrogant artist? What about Rudy?
Who does his ghost follow?
Remember his Madonna air-bush
in her Like a Virgin days? So sexy, such raw
talent. Now he’s head cook at Denny’s
downtown Fresno. Amsterdam. Buenos Aires
I’m bored.  I’m chairman of the bored.
 
I ate a box of Wok to Walk three times
in a week. Like Pablo I wanted to box a nun’s
Ears.
If Centruum had a Taco Bell I’d eat there
until I’d te kosten bean soup all over the aprons
of workers who take trains in and out of the city
barf up all that mystic shit onto Jimmy Choo
shoes and ankle butterflies, because I’m bored.
 
I think I’m in love with being
 
bored. I’m chairman of the bored.

 


John Grey
JGrey10233@aol.com

Bio (auto)

John Grey is an Australian born poet who resides in Providence RI. Recently published in Oyez Review, Rockhurst Review and Spindrift with work upcoming in New Plains Review, Leading Edge and Louisiana Literature.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by John Grey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Sale of Contents

The auctioneer’s voice
stabs my brow
but won’t burst out the other side.
How much am I bid
for these thoughts, these sorrows, these memories.
Let strangers hold up our best china to the light.
I’m feeling a price to my cerebellum,
my ventricles, my pons.
How much for my language, my calculation,
my sensory input, my control of movement.
He’s at the microphone,
speaking in tongues,
a Mick Jagger for the Sotheby’s set,
a preacher with mammon in mind.
What about this dining room furniture,
this water color, this kitchen table?
Still, no one can take away the fact
that hands touched, eyes saw,
bodies slept and sat.
Take the tintypes, steal the trumpet,
stow the images in your trunks.
But the years are not on offer,
the love is not for sale.
Going once, going twice, going, going,
he shouts about all the things that stay.


Melody

October is not a month.
It is a reminder.
Despite these charming colors,
the enemy is in the leaves.
She paints over the cracks in her face,
dons a dress to match the foliage,
steps out into the ghostly pallor of a sun,
the wind that won’t let go her hair,
prevents it from dropping to her shoulders.

October won’t keep to its place in the calendar.
It pickles the flesh.
It reddens the eyes.
With needling chill, it previews the grave
for the slumping blood.
Even the heart is more leapt upon than leaping.

It is a month of change
though never for the better.
It’s when everybody says, “How lovely.”
But then the voices fall out, one by one,
until it’s only winter saying it.


 

November 17-23, 2014: David Flynn and Victoria Elizabeth Ruwi

David Flynn and Victoria Elizabeth Ruwi

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


David Flynn
flynn636@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

David Flynn was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, TN. His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor and university teacher. He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist currently on the roster. His literary publications total more than one hundred and fifty. Among the eight writing residencies he has been awarded are five at the Wurlitzer Foundation in Taos, NM, and stays in Ireland and Israel. He spent a year in Japan as a member of the Japan Exchange and Teaching program, and recently won the Kintetsu Essay Award. He lives in Nashville, TN, and for three years was president of the Music City Blues Society. He is married and has one daughter. David Flynn’s writing blog, where he posts a new story and poem every month, is at http://writing-flynn.blogspot.com/ .

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by David Flynn and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The tired poem

The tired poem.

Here it is.
There it was.
Now it’s over.

I am so tired I’m still asleep though walking.
When I speak I snore.
When I look I look inward.
There stands a man I knew twenty years ago,
holding a marmot.
Vegamite.
Weeguns.
Pupoles.
The mind connects where it wants to connect.
I am so tired I can’t finish this poem.

Let it be endless.
After I die, you keep adding lines,
and your son/daughter
grandson/granddaughter
greatgrandson/greatgranddaughter
greatgreatgrandson/greatgreatgranddaughter
greatgreatgreatgrandson/greatgreatgreatgrandaughter
greatgreatgreatgreat
greatgreatgreatgreatgreat

 


Victoria Elizabeth Ruwi
eyewhispers@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Victoria Elizabeth Ruwi lives in San Diego, California. She received a MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University. She has been published in numerous journals across the county. Her most recent publications are in the Chiron Review, Birmingham Arts Journal, South Carolina Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. Her first book of poetry, Eye Whispers, is forthcoming.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Victoria Elizabeth Ruwi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Sister in Chains

Chains skitter
between six male
bodies in blue
cotton uniforms.
They walk in line,
to front row seats
in the jury box,
while my sister
chained to
other women
enters to sit
in the second row.
I want to wave
or nod my head,
but restrained
I look at her
dressed in county
blue shirt and pants;
look at her face,
its lines lightened
by the eight days
of sobriety
jail has given her.
Signs warn:
Gesturing
to prisoners
is illegal.

I stare at her
wrists bound in chains.


Couples Skate

His arm enveloped my gawky freckled frame
even before Couples Only was announced:
Around and round and round we went forever
seeing the faces of other seventh-grade girls
who had to stay off the ice unless some boy,
any boy asked them to skate. But I had Ben,
the boy I met at the dance last week–a boy
two inches taller and two grades above me.
Ben, unzipped jacket flaring, canine teeth
slightly longer than his other teeth, smiling
as our blades swirled ice past fearful
faces of seventh- and eighth-grade boys
staring at the sidelined girls waiting for them.
We watched our separate breathing
mingle in the space between our bodies
where our arms were swinging,
where our fingers locked together,
where we wished we could be.
He rewrapped his arm around me,
his hand finding its way through the layers
of ski jacket, wool sweater and cotton
turtleneck to squeeze my warm bared waist.
Coupleless skaters returned to the ice
as Ben led me behind the soda machine,
leaned all of his taut body and mouth
into me, giving me my first taste
of testosterone driven tongue.


 

November 10-16, 2014: Emily Strauss and Tony Magistrale

Emily Strauss and Tony Magistrale

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Emily Strauss
emily_strauss@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Nearly 200 of her poems appear in over 100 online venues and in anthologies. The natural world is generally her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity, using concrete images to illuminate the loss of meaning between them. She is a semi-retired teacher living in Sunnyvale, California.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Emily Strauss and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Closing the House

I closed up your house tight—
I won’t return for awhile
checked the screens and shades
noticed the musty smell already
collecting in the half-light
old bedspreads covering the bulky
stuffed chairs, checked the table
for food scraps.

I should step out in reverse, leave
a light on, the carpets with worn
holes from too many years of feet
the red and black pattern almost
obliterated.

Can I leave it so dirty, unfinished?
But it’s not my place, not my lamp
I’m only helping you
I will bolt and seal the door
peer through floating dust
step out
into nothing.

 


Tony Magistrale
Anthony.Magistrale@uvm.edu

Bio (auto)

Tony Magistrale (Burlington, Vermont) is Professor of English at the University of Vermont. He is the author of three books of poetry: What She Says About Love (Bordighera Press 2008), The Last Soldiers of Love (Literary Laundry 2012), and the most recently published Entanglements (Fomite 2013).

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Tony Magistrale and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Westchester Pastoral

The bright true-colored suburbs of white
middle-aged marrieds residing in expansive houses
where a light is always lit,
their children off at boarding school or
under the vigilant eye of the Swedish au pair. 
Such duplicitous comfort in those first paragraphs
as they linger on corners of gauzy summer twilights—
always a weekend, women in floral party dresses
and high heels, Sunday poolside hangovers, sprinklers clicking
a fine mist syncopation across a republic of green,
the thick scent of barbequed flesh
drifting from some backyard a block away.

Westchester pastoral,
an envelope where a sheaf of American time
folds neatly inside, like old love letters secreted in an attic.
A housewife, not a little drunk, distracted
by her own reflection in a hallway mirror,
discerns a college girl ghost with long blond hair
and muses every day brings another little funeral.
Her husband bears the weight of his masculinity
like a second mortgage; at night he lifts off their bed
remembering the distant conquests of women
whose faces are now impossible for him to detail.

On a street named Shady Hill Lane,
among the tangled roots of broken promises
in the troubled undergrowth,
a little man wearing his hair cropped short
impeccably dressed in bow tie and suit coat
points to some roses in his neighbor’s front yard
and notes the pedals dropping off
one by one.)

 

What We Learn from Playing Sports

On Saturdays
after our football team
reached the collective realization
deep into the fourth quarter
that the competitive part
of the afternoon was now over
and the ride on the bus back to school
would be utterly silent
except for Coach Timer’s
spectacular displays of sportsmanship
in sporadic rants about the dishonor
of defeat which supported his conviction
the only thing better than winning
was a good bowel movement,
the reasons I continued to lean
into his half-hearted huddles
instead of lighting out
into what remained of soft Pennsylvania
October afternoons just beginning to chill,
was the dim premonition
someday, somewhere
I might want to write about this,
and the fact that
that bus was my only way home.

 

Vegas

The last year that he lived
I told my father I wished to take him on a trip

Anywhere in the world he wanted to go,
One last family vacation reduced

To the two of us.  And of all the places—
He picked Vegas.  Perhaps the city

Reminded him of better days
When he was young and cancer-free;

I think he longed for one more chance
To roll the dice mindlessly,

Put a stack of chips on six or eight,
Lose himself in the math required to hit

Twenty one.  Maybe he just wanted to see again
A pretty girl dressed as a chandelier.

The lights and sounds of Vegas
Were supposed to provide a distraction,

But each night he was asleep by 7 p.m.
Leaving me to wander up and down

The concrete length of The Strip
Searching for something not for sale.


November 3-9, 2014: Lucile Barker and R. Bremner

Lucile Barker and R. Bremner

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Lucile Barker
lambarker@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Lucile Barker is a Toronto poet, writer and activist. Since 1994, she has been the co-ordinator of the Joy of Writing, a weekly poetry and fiction workshop at the Ralph Thornton Centre. Poetry and prose publications include poems in The Big Scarborough Art Book, Linden Avenue, and Decades Review. Her poetry has appeared on posters and in the 2013 Digging to the Roots Calendar. Her recent fiction has been published in The Quotable, Memewar, Mixitini Matrix and Green Briar Review. Work has appeared in Paper Plates, Mixitini Matrix, Subterranean Blue Review, Commonline Review, The Art of Being Human, and Black Cat Lit. It Matters blog radio recently broadcast her story “My Stinky Valentine.”

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Lucile Barker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Casual

This temp job comes and goes,
mostly gone.
The night shift lets us watch the sky
changing to the north.
Small planes and helicopters can be seen,
too far south for the big airport,
too far north for the one on the island.
They dot the sky, punctuate clouds,
make us dream of giving up this semi-jail sentence here,
to flee into the darkening evening.
The church steeple across the street is being restored,
it is a widow with a green veil.
Sometimes we see workers, human gargoyles,
climbing amidst the pale green copper roofs,
waving to each other, unaware we are watching.
None of us remember what kind of building
used to be directly north of us,
a construction site for three years.
Now there is a wobbly crane with concrete counterweights
that swing and during the day,
only sway and cast threatening shadows
in the gloomy winter evening.


Eclipse

I would like to see my shadow on the moon,
to be so large that I would block the light,
to inspire fear by raising finger to point to darkness.
I would like to see my shadow on the sun,
an unscientific sunspot in its yellow fire,
making you bow so I could return the heat.
I would like you. to think I am magic,
that I can pull the tides,
make trees bloom,
but you will not believe in me;
you already confuse me with my shadow.

 


R. Bremner
rongnan3@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

R. Bremner of Glen Ridge, NJ, has worked as a cab driver, a truck unloader, a computer programmer, and a vice-president at Citibank. He is widely published, including International Poetry Review, PoetsOnline.org, and the Passaic Review, and ten ebooks. Bremner regularly reads at the Paterson (NJ) Poetry Center, and the William Carlos Williams center in Williams’ hometown, and (when he can get on!) on the Poetry Super Highway live radio show. R. Bremner, his lovely sociologist wife Francesca, their son Raymond Sathyan, and their puppy Ariel (for Sylvia Plath) cordially invite all writers to the Write Group’s Free Write sessions at Montclair NJ library every Saturday morning at 10:15 am. Please visit him at the Poets & Writers Directory or at http://www.writers.net/writers/110743

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by R. Bremner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Crossing of the Red Sea

The sky is a red sea,
The moon is a smooth stone.
Dark cloud eroding islands
Shade deep-hung cliffs.

Washed in by such an evening tide:
Revolutions gasp in bartered currents;
Romance erodes in dullish sweat;
Creation skims and dips away.

But in the cleaven sea, something
bright excites the iris.
And the cool, round moon echoes
with remembered melodies.
And in the dark island caves
lurking, hiding,
waiting to be discovered,
lives…what promise?
what fate?

These are reasons;
fair enough,
as reasons go.
No less real
than any abstract.
No less false
than any trust.

The sky is a red sea,
The moon is a smooth stone.
Dark cloud ferry steamers
Pledge to carry me home.


(originally published in Passaic Review,
Vol. 1, No. 1, Summer 1979)

 


 

October 27 – November 2, 2014: Stephen Kopel and Ana Thessing

Stephen Kopel and Ana Thessing

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Stephen Kopel
stephen.kopel@live.com

Bio (auto)

Stephen Kopel from San Francisco is, in manner, modest, well-spoken, a gentleman, hardly mad-cappian. His poetic mind, however, seems to be an attic abuzz with scintillating static, generating verses of a nature zesty complete with unexpected
twists of meaning. This author – Spritz, Tender Absurdities and Picnic Poetry, contributor to over 340 journals worldwide – gives readers expertly crafted humorous portions of a language lasangna with a pinch of punnery packed with
funnery in a congenial package for their reading/listening pleasure!

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Stephen Kopel and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

After Graduation

it seemed like earth tilted a few (advanced) degrees

making an educated guess, a freshman class of
European tits settled under eaves

student union’s bowling alley declared a strike

public address system, eschewing dresses, began
wearing Lee’s jeans and leather boots

elements in chemistry’s lab figured they’d polish
periodic tables

Keg partied with Lager and Ale over the county line

grass, left uncut, made for a smelly smoke

flower beds changed all sheets..pillow cases
ending up in a lawyer’s brief

spirit of knowledge imparted bemoans the multitude
of empty classrooms

student records are mailed out in vinyl format
complete with sleeve and button cuff

 


Ana Thessing
annejoellenstaunton@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Ana Thessing is a basic dilitante trying to be a serious poet.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Ana Thessing and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Relic

They do have a life of their own
feeding off the past,
living in empty spaces.
They’re like those relics or icons
that we worship–
the hair left on the pillow
the semen on the mattress cover–
they grow in value.
For instance, the ticket stubs
I guard in my wallet
for that movie we saw
that I’m still unable to admit
wasn’t very good.


Vacuum

And it was just my luck
I ran into you
when I did.
Oh and those
synaptic effects–
not what I was expecting
although it now seems
obvious once the old skirmishes
were out of the way
that everything would change.
The system reordered itself and
became what it was meant to be.
Hope rose in a vacuum
and sweeping across
my own set of dilemmas,
a new reality–
me with you
pumped the air
back into the room.

 


 

October 20-26, 2014: Lisette Alonso, Richard Widerkehr and Amber Decker

This week presenting the winners of the
2014 (17th annual) Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest:

Lisette Alonso, Richard Widerkehr and Amber Decker


BECOME A POET OF THE WEEK
 click here for submission guidelines.


Lisette Alonso
mrsbear@bellsouth.net

Bio (auto)

Lisette Alonso won first place in the 2014 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. She also won 2nd place in the 2012 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. She is a stay-at-home mother of three and a native South Floridian. She tries to find time to write between loads of laundry and her children’s pleas for attention. Her work has appeared online at susurrusmagazine.com and verbsap.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Lisette Alonso and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Missed Apocalypse

On the day Armageddon rolls in,
the kids are waist deep in the internet,
little eyes askance like domesticated
goats, their entire world out of focus.
They had long ago given up on outdoor
play, hating the scent of ozone in their hair,
the way the mosquitoes bled their shoulders.

On the day the world ends, of course the sky
rains fire, first a drizzle then fat drops
that burst into sparks as they collide
with the asphalt, a million tossed cigarettes,
a billion orange contrails.

On that day a tsunami rises out of the Pacific
like a monster claw that drags all of the west
coast to the sea floor. In central Florida, the earth
yawns and swallows an entire town—street lamps,
abandoned theater, the laundry where they wash,
dry, & fold by the pound. A belt of volcanoes
sneeze fire all along the equator, birthing lava
islands, bringing the oceans to a slow boil.

Armageddon comes on the day it was
foretold, except nobody truly expected it,
assuming it was just another fundamentalist
hoax or the media’s attempt to boost ratings
and the sale of asbestos umbrellas.

By the time people notice, apocalypse is only
another event in a series, a point of reference
in their collective memories. They talk of going off
to work in cars whose tires had melted, not even
realizing the highways turned to ash. How just
for a moment the kids had glanced up to see
a tangerine sky, their mouths loose, their small
fingers twitching as of someone dreaming.


Richard Widerkehr
fordwid@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Richard Widerkehr won second place in the 2014 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. He also won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan and received his M.A. from Columbia University, which he attended on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Two book-length collections of his poems were published in 2011: The Way Home (Plain View Press) and Her Story of Fire (Egress Studio Press). Tarragon Books published his novel, Sedimental Journey, about a geologist. He won first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference and several awards for poems published in The Bridge. His work has appeared in Passages North, Chariton Review, and Rattle. He lives in Bellingham, Washington.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Richard Widerkehr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Saying the Mourner’s Kaddish

for my father

Perhaps, there’s a place where songs,
as they’re sung, come true–
where leaves in the elms

that once held themselves steady
sway under a streetlight,
dazed by the heat of summer.

Or there’s a living room
where the thrust and parry of his talk–
where the air, choked by the smoke

of his Chesterfields, hangs heavy,
where his armchair, his chessboard,
his Wall Street Journal receive their blessing,

the same way the minyan
stands when we say Kaddish,
as if blessing were both call

and answer–streetlight, elm;
armchair, star–till the chess pieces
say they’re through.


Amber Decker
foxfire0002@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Amber Decker won third place in the 2014 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest. (Not to mention 1st place in the 2012 Poetry Super Highway Poetry contest!) She was born in 1982 and has been many things besides a poet– a sales girl, a rodeo princess, a security guard, and a warehouse worker to name just a few. These days, Amber lives in West Virginia and spends her free time reading fantasy novels, playing video games, traveling and attending college. She does the “poet thing” semi-regularly on her blog: http://roughverse.wordpress.com

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Amber Decker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Planting Season

Mid-April, all the hollows had
gone green with springtime.
Small storms blustered by in the evenings,
quick, wild bursts of rain and wind and thunder
that made the hogs squeal and shift, uneasy
in their pens as I sneaked from the house,
through the sodden pasture to get to the river
where I waited for him, watched
as the sun sank down, down
into the cupped hands of the black hills.
I could smell him coming, even before
he crossed the river, like a doe can smell
a buck in rut from miles away and trembles
with the knowledge of that hard hunger
closing in, so fascinating and terrifying all at once.
Frogs startled and leapt into the water,
kicked up mud dark as the eyes of that farmboy
when he, lost inside the squall of his own heavy desire,
pulled me to him under that hazy orange moon
while the trees towered over us
like the steeple of an old church
and blackbirds rustled
in the branches above,
huddled together,
their little hearts
hammering away at the night.

 


October 13-19, 2014: Catfish McDaris and Jill Dalenberg Thompson

Catfish McDaris and Jill Dalenberg Thompson

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Catfish McDaris
Mcdar3@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Catfish McDaris’ most infamous chapbook is Prying with Jack Micheline and Charles Bukowski. His best readings were in Paris at the Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore and with Jimmy"the ghost of Hendrix"Spencer in NYC on 42nd St. He’s done over 20 chaps in the last 25 years. He’s been in the New York Quarterly, Slipstream, Pearl, Main St. Rag, Café Review, Chiron Review, Zen Tattoo, Wormwood Review, Great Weather For Media, Silver Birch Press, and Graffiti and been nominated for 15 Pushcarts, Best of Net in 2010 and 2013, he won the Uprising Award in 1999, and won the Flash Fiction Contest judged by the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2009. Catfish McDaris has been published widely. In The Louisiana Review, George Mason Univ.Press, and New Coin from Rhodes Univ. in South Africa. He’s recently been translated into French, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Bengali, Tagalog, and Esperanto. His 25 years of published material is in the Special Archives Collection at Marquette Univ. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin..

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Suzanne O’Connell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Bird House Poet

My pal, Tony died in March
he was 95, a master carpenter,
boxer, husband, father, usher
at church, a World War II Vet.

His son, Roy rode a Harley, last
week he laid down his hog and
didn’t get back up, he wasn’t old

They are survived by Lorraine, a
forlorn sweetheart, we visit often,
she said someone was ringing her
doorbell, but was gone real soon

I thought of all the birdhouses I
helped Tony build to give away,
no two alike, they were his poems

I told Lorraine about the finches,
hummingbirds, nuthatches, robins,
cardinals, and sparrows and that I
thought Tony was now a bird

Watching over her to keep her safe.


Dreaming of Paris

Intense sheer walls painted
hyacinth and saffron with
brushstrokes of scarlet sulfur

Searching for silver spoon to
make sotol and datura for sun
tea and going on a magic trip

Dangerous peacocks in a raspberry
sky, green sleeping ducks by the
cattail forest and melodic stream

Rainbow cutthroat trout leaping
for the gnat hatch, fat frogs burping,
loons and cranes on stilts hunting

Thinking about the dancer at the
Crazy Horse in Paris and how I’d
stolen her a Gauguin, she asked me
my name and I said, Scaramouche.

 


Jill Dalenberg Thompson
jillthom@centurylink.net

Bio (auto)

Jill Dalenberg Thompson is an aspiring writer living in Gaylord, Michigan. She graduated from the University of Illinois in 1980, with a BS in Actuarial Science. After fifteen years as a consultant, she obtained a MA in Education from Michigan State University and moved to northern Michigan to teach mathematics. Her 2006 research on assessing mathematical reasoning made its way through the public domain, where it can still be found with enough diligence. In 2014, she retired from teaching and completed UC Berkeley Extension’s certificate program in Writing. She is presently working on a book about teaching.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Jill Dalenberg Thompson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Lost

I have no coffee shop,
no park, no Walden woods.
I’ve lost inspiration’s postal address.

Sometimes I stare at empty paper,
as if the words will appear.

Sometimes I type them
but they can’t survive my edits.
Like Easter Eggs with two pinholes
in the ends where I blew out the insides –
brightly painted and empty.

Sometimes I seek them
in the air –
toss of a lilac branch,
fluttering leaf,
slant of sun on a flower.
When I pick up my pen
they are gone.

Something tells me
I’m looking in all the wrong places.

I hid them once
inside myself,
away from discord
and disapproval.
I thought I was keeping them safe –
a secret in skin
one thing on the outside
but not on the inside,
trying to be everything
succeeding in being nothing at all.

Now they’ve disappeared.

Perhaps they ran out
the bottom of my feet
when I wasn’t paying attention.

It’s easy to blame the place.
I find no beauty here,
except in trees
and things that do not speak.

I stood yesterday
on the yellow line,
staring at flaking paint
and crumbling asphalt,
wishing a car would come –
screaming tires,
a last-minute dash,
a rush of adrenaline
telling me I’m still alive.

I waited a long time
but nobody came.
I waited until the clouds
crept over the trees
and it started to rain.

 


 

October 6-12, 2014: Suzanne O’Connell and Brian Wood

Suzanne O’Connell and Brian Wood

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Suzanne O’Connell
suzanneoconnell@ca.rr.com

Bio (auto)

Suzanne O’Connell lives in Los Angeles where she is a poet and a clinical social worker. Her work can be found in Forge, Atlanta Review, Blue Lake Review, G.W. Review, Reed Magazine, Permafrost, Mas Tequila Review, The Round, The Griffin, Sanskrit, Foliate Oak, Talking River, Organs of Vision and Speech Literary Magazine, Willow Review, The Tower Journal, Thin Air Magazine, Fre&d, The Manhattanville Review, poeticdiversity, The Evansville Review, Serving House Journal, Silver Birch Press, Schuylkill Valley Journal, and Licking River Review. She was a recipient of Willow Review’s annual award for 2014 for the poem Purple Summers. She is a member of Jack Grapes’ L.A. Poets and Writers Collective.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Suzanne O’Connell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Awaiting Takeoff

His mind was as cramped as a cough
in a symphony orchestra.
Since Sylvia died, he avoided leaving his house.
Danger seemed to be crouching
behind every building and inside every person.
Flying was at the top of his danger list.
Mechanical problems, shoe bombers,
the forced landing in the Hudson River…
If it wasn’t for his mother’s broken hip,
he would not sitting here
in row 27, seat B,
on his way to New Jersey.

Worry twisted in his brain.
The plane was sitting far too long on the tarmac.
His palms were sweating and his
stomach was filled with swamp gas
from the airport tuna sandwich.

He opened the Hemispheres magazine,
turning to the diagram
of the evacuation slide
and the instructions for using
the life vest (under his seat)
and the oxygen mask (in the ceiling over his head.)
He slid the magazine back in the seat pocket.

He closed his eyes and practiced
the slow breathing his hypnotist had taught him.
Slow breath in. Hold. Forceful breath out.

He tried to imagine himself as a tree,
a big sturdy one, with thick bark
and long roots.
He imagined the long roots reaching
down from the plane,
traveling across the tarmac,
turning left down Imperial Blvd.,
turning the corner at Jefferson by the train,
and going straight up Fairfax
to his house.
There the roots would open the front door,
and go down the hall lined with photos of
he and Sylvia over the years.
In the bedroom.
the roots would crawl into his bed,
the one he and Sylvia shared,
pull the comforter over his rooty head,
and feel safe again.


The Rain Vacation

The language of water isn’t spoken in these parts anymore.

The girl dreamed of what she had never seen—
drops falling from the sky,
trickles running down windowpanes,
beads hanging from branches like silver ornaments.
She dreamed of puddles,
and splashing in them in high boots.
She dreamed of water in gutters
and even of cars floating down the street.
She wanted to wear a raincoat and dreamed
of what she had seen in movies,
like Singing In the Rain, starring Gene Kelley.

Her parents remembered the rain
and wanted her to know it too.
So they took a rain vacation at a theme park:
Yellow slickers,
High boots,
Deep puddles,
Misting of water,
The Hurricane ride,
Salt water taffy,
The Soaker.
Water bagels.

The adults felt sad as they walked around the park.
Something they had taken for granted when they grew up,
something as ordinary as rain,
had vanished.
As they walked around the artificial place,
where you bought a ticket
for the tanks, hoses, and faucets,
they kept their sadness to themselves
because the children were squealing
and petting the water
like it was an extinct animal.


This is a Poem Holding Its Breath

This is my foot on Billy’s floor.
This is the rosemary sprig I stole from the bush
because smelling it prevents Alzheimers.
This is the poem I tried to find on the train.

This is Lloyd’s nose on my pants
and this is the smudge he leaves.
This is a picture of dad and me in Maui.
I’m wearing a black bathing suit
and Dad is wearing a straw hat.
This is Spongebob on TV.
This is Liverpool kicking the ball across the grass.
This is cheese and crackers on a plate I remember.
This is sliced tomatoes from the yard.
This is a blank where I forget the words.
This is me smelling the rosemary again.

What happened to dad’s straw hat?
What happened to it when we cleaned out his house?
I hope someone is wearing it in Maui,
watching the sunset like we used to do.
Or maybe someone
will find his hat when they clean out my house?

 

 

 


Brian Wood
brianjwood@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Brian Wood was born in 1970 and attended the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto, receiving a Master’s degree in English in 1994 after putting his professors through hell. After graduating he moved to Vancouver where he worked for Coles and then Indigo. In 2006, he became a literary agent, representing such people as Bob McKenzie, Al Strachan, Brian Kilrea, and James Duthie. He married his publicist, Rachel Sentes, in July 2013. His first book of poems, Winter Walk, was published by Sakura Publishing in November, 2013.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Brian Wood and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tongues on Fire

Hotter than it should be in May, the air
Just not circulating today, here, on
Sunday morning, around 11. So
When our pastor announces he’s asked Jack
To turn the fans on, there is much relief.
A little later, he says “I’d like you
To stand with me, please, & sing O For A
Thousand Tongues. Number 46." It takes
A few seconds for us to stand up, look
For the hymnals, find the page & wait for
 
The cue. His wife, also the organist,
Flips towards the very end of her much
Bigger hymnal, nods, & we begin. Some 
Of us can sing & some of us can’t, but
In a group so close, who cares? We have been
Through this hymn so many times the words, though
They should shock, do not. “He breaks the power
Of cancell’d sin, he sets the prisoner free.”
When we finish, before our pastor can
Even say “Please be seated,” one of us
 
Over in the fourth row, not sitting down
Yet, begins to speak aloud, urgently,
Words tumbling, spilling out, a warning. For
Half a minute, in a message we can’t
Quite make out, he tells of an upcoming
Judgement, a doom we won’t escape, the weight
Of our sin is that heavy. After he
Speaks a long, strained silence.  And then from a
Few rows away, someone else cannot stop
Himself: “O my people. O my people.
 
How you have sinned. How you have broken my
Heart. I came for you, died for you. You do
Not seek my face. You love the dark.  A great,
Terrible fire is coming & you will
Not be spared. Seek my face. O my people.”
No one dares to cough or find that second  
Piece of gum.  For all of us now, hell is
No dreamer’s abstraction, but a real place
We’d chosen; & then we’d finally see
What divine & perfect justice looked like.
  
Did we hear a living, breathing God that
Day?—Or were we just talking to ourselves?
Was there prophecy that morning, or was
It just drama, by people who knew their
Parts? Was there a case it didn’t matter?
Man has made hells Lucifer could only
Stagger at. And there are some who live in
Heaven, saved or no, since for them each day
Means another chance to serve, to help, to
Work, to bring light where before there was none.
 
After the service, it’s much different
Out in the foyer, as we catch up on
Our news & light gossip. He who spoke in
Tongues now smiling, laughing with his friend, &
He who interpreted setting up a
Golf game for later in the week. These were
Good people I was lucky to know. So
Who was the real man? The one inside, who’d
Been set ablaze by the holy ghost, tears
Not stopping? Or the one who shook my hand
 
Outside, near the trees on the lot, kindly
Smiled at my inane jokes, & told me how
Gorgeous it was today, nothing better
Than halfway through spring? Could you ever get
A good empirical answer to that
Question? Each to each. Certainly it was
True that Ottawa in May felt like a
Heaven below, & staring at those skies,
You might wonder if just to be alive
Should have you forever leaping for joy.

 


 

September 29 – October 5, 2014: Dah and Ying Wu

Dah and Ying Wu

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Dah
dahlusion@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Dah’s poetry has appeared, most recently, in The Sandy River Review, Stone Voices Magazine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Orion headless, River & South Review, Miracle Magazine, and The Muse, and is forthcoming in The Cape Rock, Eunoia Review, Perfume River Review, Literature Today, Poetry Pacific, Zygote in my Coffee, Red Wolf Journal, Deep Tissue Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers, Dead Snakes Journal, and Rose Red Review. The author of two collections of poetry from Stillpoint Books, Dah lives in Berkeley, California where he teaches Chakra Four Yoga to children and adults while working on the manuscript for his fourth book.
He is waiting on the publication of his third book from Stillpoint Books.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Dah and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Sun

The certainty of always,
sun,
its limitless clamor.

Under the sky it magnifies
blood-warmth, landscapes,
the beauty of loneliness.

Primal energy, unleashed
and realized,
it built its temple, set its tempo,
and most life is drawn to it,
mixed by it, baked by it.

Glory, praise, sun, circle of gold,
deadly impurities, fury, irritation,
inflamed brew.

Glory, praise, hot mouth, swollen
fire-tongue, vast inferno,
supreme and immense within
this quivering space that pulled
it together
and lifted it into place and hung it
like a bare bulb from a naked electric wire.

 


Ying Wu
yingchoon@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Ying Wu lives on a sailing vessel moored in the San Diego Bay on the coast of southern California. She is a researcher at the Institute of Neural Computation of UC San Diego, where she studies EEG brain dynamics mediating learning and communication. She seeks to draw connections between the arts and sciences. For instance, how can writers and artists capitalize on ever-expanding research revealing how we encode, comprehend, and remember? How can poetry and art enhance brain research? Her scientific work has appeared in journals including PLoS One, Brain and Language, and Psychophysiology. Her creative work has been featured in Poetry in Motion and Teacup Magazine. She is a recipient of a fellowship from the Oregon Institute of Literary Arts.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Ying Wu and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Stepdaughter

You glance my way between texting.
 The napkins have this starchy feel.
 Your dad wants something meatless.
 You don’t like olives, parmesan, or beans.
 You stumble over words like
…..funghetti and cacciatore.
 A c before a high front vowel
…..becomes an affricate, I say.
 You roll your eyes.
 The waiter leaves.
 
You were twelve when I first met you –
…..freckles, dimples, golden hair.
You turned a cartwheel on the carpet.
…..I clapped; you looked away.

I tried buying things you asked for –
a caramel cheesecake sundae
(which you left half eaten in the car),
or purple clogs with sheepskin trim
(which you wore only once ‘cause they chafed your toes).

 We rode Splash Mountain’s Hydroplunge;
you bragged about your mom’s new pool.
 Complained our water tasted thick.
Complained we served grilled cheese,
…..and not panini.
Remarked your dad and I
…..weren’t married in a church.
And spun this tale about the balance beam –
…..how you won first place.
The regionals would be in Salem.
 “You should come!”
 You were fourteen then.
You’d long since quit gymnastics.
 
The napkins aren’t quite white –
…..more like ivory or eggshell.
You made varsity, you say.
Your elbow hurts.
You wrecked your car.
Your mom drove straight from work,
…..held the ice pack in the ER.
You need running pants.
You won’t have time for us tomorrow.

I’m eating pasta tossed with seafood now –
…..bits of scallop, bits of clam.    
The napkins have an almond tinge. 
Your dad and I have jobs in Sacramento.
I’m passing you the butter.
It’s been three years
…..since we saw you last.
I’m asking how you like the bread.

 


 

September 22-28: Mary L. Westcott and Chloe Smith

Mary L. Westcott and Chloe Smith

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Mary L. Westcott
mwaquarian@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Mary L. Westcott began writing poetry 20 years ago and has been published in a number of literary journals. She is working on a memoir in poetry. She holds a doctorate in social psychology from the University of Maryland, and an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. She is retired from the National Institutes of Health and lives in The Villages, Florida with her two cats, DiDi and Rocky Rio.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Grant Mason and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

First Memories

I remember Howdy Doody on the small
TV in the dark 1950’s living room in Wheaton,
Maryland, and the single bed in the little
bedroom, being frightened of something
under the bed, or maybe on it, and Santa
Claus sightings by my brother who insisted
he saw him in the night sky Christmas Eve
when I was six, and the song from summer
camp found a peanut, found a peanut, found
a peanut just now,
how sad the song seemed
to me even then, and walking to church
and summer camp on Viers Mill Road, finding
treasures by the roadside for my secret box—
a marble, a trinket, a piece of jewelry.
I recall chocolate milk and not ever sleeping
at naptime in kindergarten. I loved
Tarzan and Pinky Lee, not multiplication
tables. I recall the attention
my toddler sister got when she broke
her glasses, and cutting my hand
in the dining room, a scar remains.
I don’t remember my parents much—
if I didn’t have pictures, I wouldn’t
know that they existed at all.

 


Chloe Smith
beautyofliving11@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Chloe Smith is an an artist, musician and writer from San Luis Obispo, CA. She has been writing poetry for about 10 years or so but has not shared much of it with other people. It has been very healing for her to write and she looks forward to what will arise within her next. Perhaps she will write a short story or novel. Either way, she’d like to share more of herself in any creative way possible. She is not a schooled writer but is all for free form and is on the path to learning.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Chloe Smith and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Poem #2

I’m eating my feelings or
maybe I’m eating the ceiling?
Catastrophic mind on the brink of table scraps
taking all I can en route to find the maps
that guide me perpetually along the path I’m stealing
from the guy I read just last.
I know it all
Here amongst the southern sprawl I long to take a bath.
I can recall a moment I saw these words scribbled in my death.
there, I said it
I took a second to let it out.
sounds of laughter from the hounds of disaster
I fed with the meat of doubt.
let me…
let me sink so I can reach the top
and growl because I couldn’t settle the stew in my stomach
and the fire came out my mouth
pow pow

 


 

September 15-21, 2014: Grant Mason and Jonel Abellanosa

Grant Mason and Jonel Abellanosa

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Grant Mason
grantmas90@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Grant Mason is an unemployed construction worker from South Dakota, though currently living in Denver, where he gawks in museums and pretends to be a handyman to pay the bills. He has been published in Nefarious Ballerina, Admit2, Chopper, and the Rapid City Journal.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Grant Mason and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

untitled

I have got to stop passing out drunk with gum in my mouth..
I’m going to suffocate one of these days­­­-
wake up into utter darkness, choking,
my last moments confused and terrified,
helpless.

my room mates will find my body,
shake it,
slap my face,
call
the cops
or an ambulance.

yes, I think I would rather die in the sun,
slowly, so I’d have some time to think.
let the light bathe me, glorious as though in battle.
I would stare hideously, unflinchingly into the face of death.
rage! into the caverns of sadness,
memories, the weight of the brain
impaled on my spine;
raging into he night! hatred
until
slowly, slowly
accepting
death. . .

we would sit as friends across the chess board.
I would make my final move.
I would slip away.

 


Jonel Abellanosa
magbabalak@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Jonel Abellanosa resides in Cebu City, the Philippines. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including Windhover, Poetry Quarterly, Star*Line, Fox Chase Review and Burning Word, recently in Pedestal Magazine and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, and forthcoming in Anglican Theological Review and Mystic Nebula. His chapbook, Pictures of the Floating World, has been published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. He is working on his first full-length collection, Multiverse.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Jonel Abellanosa and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tablet

How does it draw the forefinger,
This tempter taking a bite off my heart,
Inviting me to touch, offering me
Candy Crush Saga, Pyramid Solitaire Saga?
My world regrows like skin. Hell conspired
With heaven to invent this mesmerist slab
Of digital colors, sharpest images, sounds,
Hypnotic slide shows. This new addiction
Predicts my responses, eyes me each second,
Snapshots to show it owns my memories.
I’ll have much to say to friends, I’ll belong,
Liked, listening to heavy metal and classical
Music as if my room were domed, its
Notes a pit for maturing poems hissing
For my devotion, my mind its plaything.


To the Ants

These leftovers for you,
Your patterned minutiae
Drawing me, Lilliputian
Structuring surrender
To instincts. Rely on my
Crumbs and magnify for me
Nature as self-multiplier.
The equivalent of miles from
Your kingdom: to save
You the climb up the table
I put these on the floor.
When I return for dinner
I expect to see no traces
Of your hardships
But feel our communion,
Morsels of our touch
Changed by parts of us
We leave in contact.
I’ll fill night’s pages with
Lyrics of our shared struggles.

 


 


 

September 8-14, 2014: Mike Jurkovic and Maya Richard-Craven

Mike Jurkovic and Maya Richard-Craven

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Mike Jurkovic
mjpj55@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Mike Jurkovic (Wallkill, NY) hates bios. He feels they add undue stress upon him to live up to the hype, a task he’s not always up for. Poems and music criticism have appeared everywhere but generate no reportable income. His latest chapbook, Eve’s Venom, (Post Traumatic Press) 2014. First chapbook, Purgatory Road (Pudding House Press) 2010. Anthologies: WaterWrites & Riverine (Codhill Press) 2009, 2007; Will Work For Peace (Zeropanik) 1999. Co-director of Calling All Poets in Beacon, NY. Producer of CAPSCAST, live readings from the Calling All Poets Series, available on www.callingallpoets.net. and itunes. CD reviews and regional music features appear in Elmore Magazine, Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange & the Van Wyck Gazzette. He loves Emily most of all. Visit Mike on the web here: www.mikejurkovic.com

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Mike Jurkovic and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Tell Them, My Love

If they ask, my dear
tell them I died behind the wheel
waiting for the light to turn,

Waiting for the ass ahead of me
to discover his left foot from his right.

Tell them, my love, I died simpering
while the road crew widened thoroughfares
smoothed the finish of my blackened heart.

Tell them, my love, should any be inclined to query
of my well-being, that I’m buried with the odometer,
the universal gear.

Tell them I withered in the heat.
The stewing froth of motion and mediocrity,
Prey to the rush and clatter,
the zooming zoom zoom of death.

Tell them, my love, I died in love.
With you, with them,
despite the miles between us

wishing I was home.

 


Maya Richard-Craven
mrichardcraven@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Maya Richard-Craven is a junior at the University of Southern California. She is originally from Pasadena, but lives on campus during the year. She studies Creative Writing and Genocide Resistance, but spends most of her time writing as an Opinion Columnist for Neon Tommy, and serving on the editorial board for the FBOMB, a feminist magazine that was created by students at Columbia University in New York. She currently writes a column titled “Shameless” which focuses on themes and issues that prompt feelings of shame amongst Millennials. This June the National Society of Newspaper Columnists will award Maya with an 1,000$ scholarship, an all expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. and the prestigious Jeff Zaslow College Journalism Award for her controversial, “You’re Pretty, For A Black Girl” series. Because Maya enjoys public speaking, she is frequently asked to perform her own spoken word and poetry. Last November, she opened for renowned Poet, Dana Gioia, at the USC Vision’s and Voices event, the Poet’s Voice. She also recited her own lyric essay before the USC Board of Trustees in March. Her poem “My Sister- and Me” was published in the Altar Collective Volume IV this past April, and is available on Amazon.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Maya Richard-Craven and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Life is a Chasm

Of pots,
And pans.
Squalor
Squalor
Said they
In the sands
And then turned
The clocks
And then shook
The chimes.
Life is a chasm
So it said
in the rhymes
squalor squalor
Made the squawks
Against the wind
And so did
the squeaking
and the
squishing
of the aging webs of mallard ducks
between the dirt and dust
of old algae’s bed
true squalor!
Across the land
Filth of natural sorts
A foul, intrinsic cleanse
That slouched and sloshed
And shimmied and swayed
down gold encrusted riverbeds
And white shaved teeth of rich white men
What squalor!
What squalor!
It must have been
To never know
A chasmic life
To never fear
Some consequence
To have lived for
tomorrow
To have never feared

The End.


 


 

September 1-7, 2014: Denise R. Weuve and Richard Widerkehr

Denise R. Weuve and Richard Widerkehr

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Denise R. Weuve
deniserweuve@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Denise R. Weuve is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has most recently appeared in Bop Dead City, Genre, San Pedro River Review, and South Coast Poetry Journal. September will see her first collection of poems published, The Truck Driver’s Daughter, (ELJ Publications). Currently she lives in Long Beach, California, is a MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte, and forces high school students to learn British Literature and love Creative Writing Monday – Friday. Feel free to friend her on FB and visit her website Deniserweuve.com

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Denise R. Weuve and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

In a Museum

When losing your lover
between surrealist and impressionist
you begin searching for him
in the pastel dabs of the French,
angry primary stokes of the Germans,
flowing romantic layering of the Italians,
knowing he is with none of them.
More likely to be found
in the volumetry Botero figures
gazing in a myriad of color
and life
or
with cubist
studying the angular lines
of Braque dividing his violins from candlesticks
than the pop art of an American
with bubblegum colors
and plastic shine.
If he is fortunate
he will have been trapped
by an art maven, who took
both Art 101 and Art History.
She’ll explain that the lack of frame
In Torres’s piece was intentional,
meant not to draw away
from the amber
and chocolate edges
saturating the canvas
to express the copper orb looking towards
a world that conserves the natural wealth
of the environment,
while you stand lost in the indigo night
mesmerized by Vallejo’s
Dream Freefall
never knowing why.

 


Richard Widerkehr
fordwid@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Richard Widerkehr (Bellingham, Washington) won two Hopwood first prizes for poetry at the University of Michigan and received his M.A. from Columbia University, which he attended on a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship. Two book-length collections of his poems were published in 2011: The Way Home (Plain View Press) and Her Story of Fire (Egress Studio Press). Tarragon Books published his novel, Sedimental Journey, about a geologist. He won first prize for a short story at the Pacific Northwest Writers Conference and several awards for poems published in The Bridge. His work has appeared in Passages North, Chariton Review, and is forthcoming in Rattle.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Richard Widerkehr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Pulling the Stopper

What my doctor didn’t tell me was the day after surgery, when the opiates were starting to wear off, some other man in a white coat would waltz into my hospital room at six a.m., turn on the fluorescent lights, and ask, “How are we doing?” With a confident smile, he warned me, “This is gonna hurt, but it’s got to happen.”With one pull, lickety-split, like a weight lifter doing a clean jerk, he plucked a bulb out of my side, as if ripping a blood-soaked stopper from a tub. Apparently, a bladder or balloon had been inserted in the left side of my abdomen to soak up blood. Yesterday, I’d been swimming under anesthesia, and I felt joy when I woke and saw Linda’s face. Now, so I could see what happened, a stranger tore some second heart out of my side, just to show me my first one could go on beating.

 


 

August 24-31, 2014: Simon Perchik and Kate McLeod

Simon Perchik and Kate McLeod

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Simon Perchik
simon@hamptons.com

Bio (auto)

Simon Perchik (East Hampton, New York) is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is Almost Rain (Grey Sparrow Press) available from Amazon. Visit Simon on the web here: www.simonperchik.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Simon Perchik and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

untitled

The glare this plate thins out
eats the way each star
tells you it’s still alone

though rim to rim you bring
a rain smelling from a narrow road
holding down the Earth

till everything is dirt and she
is sitting at a table, asks you
to hold her hand, childlike, fill it

lets you swallow the afternoon
even she will remember, your lips
circling down in flames and hunger.

 


Kate McLeod
kathleenmcleod@comcast.net

Bio (auto)

Kate McLeod is from Lansing, Michigan and recently retired from a long massage career. She now spends her time tending her garden, writing and searching for more truth.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Kate McLeod and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Saturday Mornings

Tucked in our corner
warm thick mugs
welcome bitter aroma.
He rambles on about his old cars
but I can’t hang on.
This perfect moment will pass
and I won’t remember.

 


 

August 18-24, 2014: Sarah Lilius and Erik Noonan

Sarah Lilius and Erik Noonan

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Sarah Lilius
sarah@lilius.com

Bio (auto)

Sarah Lilius lives in Arlington, VA. She is a stay at home mother and poet. Originally from the Midwest, Sarah graduated from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. Some of the journals where her work can be found are: BlazeVOX, Bluestem, The Denver Quarterly, and Court Green. Her website is sarahlilius.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Sarah Lilius and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

You Can’t Call The Dead

My father used to fire up the stove with a long match
only to boil water for spaghetti night.
My parents would joke around, throw the long noodles
at the wall to see if they’d stick, like a memory—something
to be eaten, consumed by all of us with no reserve.
Arms on the table, those moments taken for granted.


Triglycerides

The yellowish spot under my eye
is a sign of my sickness.
A genetic tamed sun.

When the woman takes my blood,
I am easy, I am happy with her
vampire ease of the needle.

The vial fills with the unknown,
mysterious map of the blood,
a waiting game in plastic.

The doctor delivers the bad news
not in a white coat and not with
a smile but with a resilient reserve.

She prescribes the medicine
my father was on
when a fatal stroke took to his brain.

I sit on the bed thinking of him,
also in his 30s, hearing the bad news.
His heart, still a machine.

 


Erik Noonan
eriknoonan@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Erik Noonan is the author of Stances (Bird & Beckett, 2012) and Haiku d’Etat (Omerta, 2013). He lives in San Francisco with his family.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Erik Noonan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Soft Sell

Unbeknownst to him
he got involved
in the ultimate
buyout
stakes higher
than ever before
his client was The
Establishment boss
and all
their target
acquisition
would oversee
an annual budget
of trillions
super committees
underwrote the deal
everything
about it rocked
that is
right up until
he felt
spread across
his nerves
like the scuttle
of many
robo spiders
the bad news
no one had let him in on
not how the item
was him
nor even how
nobody
checking him out
fainted from sticker shock
but how he himself
qua commodity
was nothing more
than pure shelf life
a mothball
amid the ivy league
turtlenecks
in the party cloak room
no haze
that palmy evening
he powered down early
climbed into
the compound
aerie
gazed out its embrasure
watched offshore
accounts accrue interest
as the sun set
on an era of legalized
fraud
and over nightcap
opioids
he sighed
for bygone days
when you could
break away
on your Gordon Gekko
trip
without any care
why a pissed off
electorate
might not go for
being addressed
as if they were
delivering prunes and paté
to the boardroom
he wept
pink ticker tape
he saw red
worms uncoil
under the real
rain
it purpled
his organless body
the deep blue walls
of his skull
turned bottle green

 


 

August 11-17, 2014: David Chorlton and Patrick Theron Erickson

David Chorlton and Patrick Theron Erickson

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


David Chorlton
rdchorlton@netzero.net

Bio (auto)

David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and went to live for several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix, where he still lives, in 1978. Arizona’s landscapes and wildlife have become increasingly important to him and a significant part of his poetry. His most recent collection is The Devil’s Sonata from FutureCycle Press. The shadow side of Vienna provides the core of The Taste of Fog, a work of fiction published by Rain Mountain Press

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by David Chorlton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Central Avenue

On the way downtown
a black cross-dresser wearing a blonde wig
whispers Yes or No
as I pass, and I can’t help glancing back
for a second look. We’re all
in this city together, walking along from one moment

to the next, somewhere to be
or not. The man huddled into a corner
next to the Channel Twelve building
isn’t moving from the cup
he’s set down on the pavement; he just stares

past the streetside screen showing
what’s on right now,
broadcasting a game show voice
asking Do you stay with twenty thousand
or try for twenty more?
as if money
were a stage prop. Two dollars

is a fare for the bus
if you can cross the road in time
when the lights change
although it only waits
as a tease, then pulls away
from a passenger reaching out from the crosswalk

but it’s a pleasant day to wait
for the next one along, in the sun with a view
of a waste lot
where a grackle is an inkstroke on the air

brushed from the widest point
on the tail and defining the elegant shape
that tapers to the fine tip of the beak. .


Yard Meditation

Cloud light on the winter grass, stillness
in the palms, and slow
growing weeds in the cracks
along the concrete driveway: it’s a warm day

in the cool season
winding down to the hour the towhees
come with their tails cocked
to the dry patch
where the back lawn used to be,

scratching earth and fallen leaves.
The snakes have disappeared
that used to surface here, green and red, leaving

their skins on a stone years ago
when they went underground
forever, back to the Hohokam who walked
away and kept going

past Nineteenth Avenue where
it crosses Grand, with the end of their world

shining on the horizon.

 


Patrick Theron Erickson
patricktheron4@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Patrick lives in Garland, Texas—Garland, TX to Van Nuys, CA. He used to live in Uvalde, Texas, less than a mile north of the intersection of the two longest highways in the United States—Highway 83 from Mexico to Canada and Highway 90 from the East to the West Coast. With this submission Patrick’s avocation goes without saying. As for vocation, he is a parish pastor, a shepherd of sheep, a small flock with no sheep dog and no hang-dog expression. Or he is the sheep dog, a small dog, with the hang-dog expression. Secretariat is his mentor, though he has never been an over-achiever and has never gained on the competition. He resonates to a friend’s definition of change: change coming at us a lot faster because you can punch a whole lot more, a whole lot faster down digital broadband "glass" fiber than an old copper co-axial landline cable. Of late Patrick’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Assisi; Calliope Poets; A Clean, Well-Lighted Place; Poetry Super Highway; Wilderness House Literary Review; Prairie Wolf Press Review; Poetry Quarterly; Breakwater Review; Cobalt Review.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Patrick Theron Erickson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Boston Common

It’s not a commons
but what if it were?

a pasture for sheep and goats
the crossroads and common ground
for pilgrims and their progress

a soapbox for those
inclined to get up on one
who get up on the wrong side of the bed
one fine morning
and blow their brains out
the next

a common mall
common stocks
and a pillory

(a not so common stock-in-trade)

a public garden
with trees
a lake
and swans

a place to lull
and not to loiter

and not be mugged
or mauled

a commonwealth for common sense
for the common good
all too uncommon!

It’s not a commons
but what if it were?

What then?

 


 

August 3-9, 2014: Marc Vincenz and J. K. Durick

Marc Vincenz and J. K. Durick

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Marc Vincenz
marc.l.vincenz@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Marc Vincenz is Swiss-British, was born in Hong Kong, and currently lives in Zurich, Switzerland. His poetry collections are: Gods of a Ransacked Century, Mao’s Mole, Behind the Wall at the Sugar Works, Additional Breathing Exercises, Beautiful Rush and This Wasted Land and its Chymical Illuminations (with Tom Bradley), forthcoming from Lavender Ink. Marc is Executive Editor of MadHat Annual (Mad Hatters’ Review), MadHat Press, Coeditor-in-Chief of Fulcrum: An Anthology of Poetry and Aesthetics, and a director of Evolution Arts, Inc.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Marc Vincenz and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

She Thinks I Look Like Lenin

My secret girlfriend asked me in a Beijing KFC:
Do you think that Marx would have liked Coca-Cola?

I imagined his face in place of Colonel Saunders.
And laughed, thinking of P F C: Proletariat Fried Chicken.

Do you know why Mao loved Marx so much? she asked.
Why, it was the beard, of course. He couldn’t grow one.

And she went on nibbling her wing.


Happy Hour at the Surrogate Bar & Grill

Shanghai, Saturday, 6:00 p.m., January 13, 1989

Mitsue tells me everywhere there are powerful vortices,
traps, pitfalls, invisible to the human eye,

perceptible to only the most intuitive souls.
These rifts have the ability to transform

Hitlers into Einsteins,
de Sades into Wittgensteins.

But she possesses a device she calls her VFP,
the Vortex Field Paralyzer, which, she says, helps her

sense ley lines, that she may tread
a single-minded path to a sensible end-goal.

She tells me it’s no coincidence she was born an heiress
and that her natural curiosity for the unexpected

is a gift from a long line of ancient Okinawan ancestors.
After many years of scouring hidden places,

the jungles of Brazil, tin traps of Africa,
great mountain ranges of unknown lands,

over the great plains of Siberia,
she finally found the man, who by virtue

of his third eye and his fifth and eighteenth life,
gave her the key to build her VFP.

And with her millions and her legacy of intuition,
she has thrived well into middle age.

Mitsue flags down the bartender, orders another
round, then tells me under no uncertain circumstances

should I walk home alone tonight.
In Japanese, she says, Mitsue means Branch of Light.

 


J. K. Durick
jdurick2001@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

J. K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal, Black Mirror, Third Wednesday, Shot Glass Journal, and Orange Room.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by J. K. Durick and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

In the Late Innings

As time wore on all our things began to blur:
The ball, that wasn’t all that white in early innings
Became a shadow rushing at us; swinging a bat
Was almost defensive, a hit became a sound to
To track; a fly ball, a grounder, or a simple throw
To a baseman needed shouted words, names to
Sort them out of the dimming light. As the sun
Set, the game became a mystery as mysterious as
Our motivation for going on playing as the day
Was closing around us, but sometimes as it set
The light would make us glow, put a spotlight
On a play, a hit, a throw; for the briefest moment
We were the stars moving through our small
Heaven, the dimming light made us seem to shine;
The late innings were the reason for the game.


Denial

How did it happen? I was there – the place,
The time were, of course, wrong for me and
Everyone else involved, and, as I’ve plainly said
Over and over, I had little to no control over
Circumstances or perceptions of those circumstances,
And little, if anything, to do with the outcome.

We live, as I said, where things just happen
And we are, at most, minor players with bit parts
And some of us are only, curious spectators,
Like a matinee crowd in balcony seats, present
But passive, so responsibility would be hard
To assign in most cases.

So I am saying that if I was there, and I’m not
Saying that I was, I didn’t do anything
To cause things to happen, and the witnesses, at best,
Are mistaken, or at worse have it in for me for reasons
That aren’t worth mentioning right now or ever.

So this will be all I have to say. Any more questions
Will have to be addressed to my lawyer, who will be
Out of town for the foreseeable future.

 


 

July 28 – August 3, 2014: Joe Love and Heather Awad

Joe Love and Heather Awad

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Joe Love
joelove1961@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Joe Love is an artist, a musician, and a poet and teaches writing and literature in St. Louis on both sides of the arch. His work has appeared in or is forthcoming from The Oddville Press, Crack the Spine, Bangalore Review, From the Depths, Drunk Monkeys, Bellowing Ark, and other journals.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Joe Love and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Jaded Sparrow

A little sparrow told me he was bored.
He could only fly up to the feeder, pick up a
seed, and fly away to eat it so many times
before a dread ennui took hold of his soul.

I asked him if life had always been this way for
him or had he recently lost his taste for
eating, and he said when he was younger he
didn’t need to go to the feeder.

Once upon a time there was food in abundance
but now there was human detritus. I apologized
for my race (or species) and suggested we go to
Galapagos, but he just yawned.


In Search of a Lost Cat

We looked everywhere for the cat
in every room and closet and nook
in the attic with the boxes from the last century
in the basement with the papers we would never read again
in the yard beneath the tree where a blue jay had died
in the tree where the leaves died to celebrate the winter
under the covers of all of the beds
under the beds of all of the family

We looked in the pantry where the dry food hides
under the sink where the wet food rots
inside all the clothes hanging and lying and folded and strewn
up on the shelves where no one could reach
out in the trash where bones and wrappers mingled enfolded

We looked where we looked when we first began looking
and looked once again until we remembered
the cat who was lost had died long ago

 


Heather Awad
Heather.Awad@dfa.state.ny.us

Bio (auto)

My name is Heather Awad, I live in Endicott, which is in Upstate NY. I have been writing poetry for a long time but just now wanting to submit my work for publishing. My poem Burdened was recently chosen as poem of the week on Oz Poetic Society’s website, to be published in the next few weeks.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Heather Awad and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Getting it Right

I didn’t know
we were saying
I still love you
and I’ve missed you
only when we’re drunk.
My bad, I was sober,
when I said it the next day.


Good News

I remember waiting
in the examining room.
The doctor would be
right in. Quiet, pouring
outside, I’m trying to
remember where
I put my umbrella.
The nurse laughs when
the thermometer doesn’t work.
Seems like it happens often.
The doctor smiles, charms
lightens up the room.
I wonder if he’s married.
Since my visit to
the emergency room
I’ve been on edge.
He’s talking now
and suddenly
I’m on a cloud,
drifting, grinning.
He says No surgery.
I’m thinking again
about if he has a wife
and how lucky she is
to have him look at her
like he’s looking at me
right now: teeth gleaming
blue eyes soft and wide,
all smiles. I rush to the
check-out window to
schedule my next appointment.

 


 

July 21-27, 2014: Aaron Gardner, Douglas Richardson and Hannah Dow

Aaron Gardner, Douglas Richardson and Hannah Dow

(the judges of the 2014 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest)

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Aaron Gardner
mistergardner@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Aaron Gardner lives in Ojai, California and is a poet, educator, and father of two phenomenal children. He has been heavily involved in the spoken word scene since 1999, and was the Oakland Grand Slam Champion in 2010. He has been published in journals and online publications such as Ibid, Rivertalk, Cult 456, and Poetry Superhighway. Aaron continues his work locally with young poets to help them discover their voices and the power contained therein.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Aaron Gardner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Begetter

You first found him under the bed at age 12.
Too seasoned to be scared by boogeymen,
you watched him watch you with dust-mote
eyes and a vacant smile. He dissappeared
like sunspots every time you looked, so you
trained your sight to slacken and unfocus.
Awash in grey, your childhood became pixelated.

He grew bold as you aged, moving to your
pocket with the lint and worry-stones, biting
your nails as you reached for subway change,
for the keys to your first apartment, for the familiar
dented curves of a Zippo lighter. People noticed your fingers,
bitten to the quick, and commented on hygiene
and dirty habits. "We all have them," You said –
yours just seemed a little more absolute.

He sat on your shoulder during the wedding,
teeth like broken fifths of gin clacking in your
ear as you spoke your own vows.
His talons left bruises that looked like rings
on the rise of your shoulders, and you cringed
with every clink of every champagne flute.

When you cried flower petal tears
at the birth of your daughter, he
climbed into your throat. There,
he took up residence in your vocal
chords, playing them with crooked claws;
a master harpist. Everyone says you
sounded Just Like Him sometimes.

You tried burning him out, leaving
filterless Malboro Light cigarettes
smoldering on your tongue while you slept,
your bedroom smoke detector became
a lullaby, and you slept through your own funeral.

For someone who never believed in Heaven,
you sure looked nice next to those constellations.
Dressed head to toe in white, you shone like a
proud moon, hung against the suffocating darkness.
Draped in silence, where the voice inside you can
finally speak with its own timbre, echoing from the
stars like a soft rain.


City Kids at Upper Lake Tahoe

The snow fell sudden and strange
that June, we bundled up
in whatever could be found; wore
socks on hands, wrapped
t-shirts around our heads.

City children with grins like
springtime, we wrestled and
dug with numb fingers, our
impressions in the fallen white
some new kind of magic.

Later, around a fire,
cheeks and lips raw, we told
stories of things that can’t be
and won’t be. Our throats
alembics, distilling rime
from razorwire and concrete.


Youth Group

1.
I’ve never seen him without
sunglasses, he wears snakebite piercings
and insolent swagger like manganese steel,
his smile twists sarcastic at the corners
of lips designed for raillery; he jokes
like someone who’s never seen the
inside of concrete cages; he revels
like his veins are clean.

Seventeen with a backpack full of
vodka, headphones sprout from his
ears, a wall – twin parapets for keeping
it all out, for piece of mind. He’s been
in four times now, a knife, a bottle,
the pills,
the pills,
the pills.
He wears his time like an expensive watch,
though now, when the corners of his mouth
fall, ever so slightly, and the lights
reflected in his aviators travel down and
get caught in his throat, I think
he might be wishing for wormholes,
he might believe time means something
completely different when it’s in his hand.

2.
She has been used by so many men
she no longer wears her own skin.
It hangs like a winter coat in the closet,
pockets full of mothballs and loose change,

When her mother went to prison,
she borrowed that skin –
wears it with a grown woman’s
swish and sway, hides the wrinkles
under layers of eyeshadow like
false sunsets. She goes out, armed
only with her mother’s expired
drivers license and an empty keychain
spray bottle of mace.

She drinks and she drinks and
She forgets how to spell the word no,
detaches, hides behind the bars
of her own ribcage, whispers
to herself like a heartbeat.

At home, when no one looks,
she drapes her own skin back
over her shoulders, she looks in the
mirror and she sees nothing
but sky and sky and sky

3.
He learned to pronounce
diacetylmorphine and methadone
before his fifteenth birthday,
he liked the way the words rolled
and clinked in his mouth like
the butterscotch candies
his grandmother kept on the
coffee table.

In rehab he learned a new language
the crunch of distortion, dented microphones
staccato machine gun snare hits.
He imagines the songs are
poppies, opening in a field.

Some days he wakes up with the
taste of butterscotch on his tongue
and can barely contain himself.

Some days the floor is his only
friend, a cool hand on a burning
brow, it reminds him that there is a
bottom to this.

4.
These kids, who come
and write and laugh and
cry and speak

always have small voices,
at first, almost like they forgot what words
sound like when somebody is listening,
but that is fleeting,
and when a voice ripens
it’s not always gradual
sometimes it comes ripping
from the throat with serrated
teeth and iron claws,
sometimes it brings the heart
with it, pulsing and spraying
anyone near enough to hear.

When this happens,
every word spoken before
that moment is cleared of
the dust and shit that
has collected from so many
years of swallowing before
speaking. Every word
is a bear trap, taught
and gleaming. Every word
shouts its own name.


 


Douglas Richardson
weakcreature@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Douglas Richardson is a novelist and poet who resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Jen. He has had fiction and poetry published in literary journals, such as The Nervous Breakdown, Straight Forward Poetry, Misfits’ Miscellany, and Aesthetica (UK), as well as in the anthologies The Night Goes On All Night and Ekphrastia Gone Wild. For more information, please visit Douglas’s Kirkus Pro Connect page, at https://www.kirkusreviews.com/author/douglas-richardson/

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Douglas Richardson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Siberian Summer

you check in
at the wooden gate
the lake beyond
has thawed
the sunlight upon it
seems to speak
it says
the burden is gone


Transient Triptych

1.
there are fountains in the statue garden
but a guard dog keeps you out
you worry about trees in the winter
you worry about yourself in the winter

2.
a Shell station on the corner
in the new century
same architecture as the last century
but not the next

3.
there are twenty-six beds
in the mattress showroom
you can sleep there tonight
until they see you in the light


At the Starting Line

From our vantage point at the starting line, we can see how the coastline shapes the bay. The race official points across the water to a mountain on the faraway shore and announces that we will run until we collapse into the arms of the Virgen de Guadalupe.


Medicine Cabinet

in the bathroom
you open the medicine cabinet
and watch your face multiply
as one mirror closes in on the other
losing your friends
and the park outside


A Lucid Afternoon

On a lucid afternoon you sit at the kitchen table writing a letter that details every essential memory of your life—eating lemons, watching game shows, and so on and so forth for forty-five pages. You put it in an envelope and walk to the post office. You feel different now, lighter. Your back has stopped aching. You pass by the used car lot. The cars have olive branches for antennas. Your dinner and meds await back home, a photo of your wife on the fridge.


Scent of the Ocean

scent of the ocean
in the middle of the room
and
all the accompanying colors
turns out your religion was true
all along

 


Hannah Dow
hannahedow@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Hannah Dow is a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University’s English M.A. program. She is now pursuing her Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing at the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Writers in Hattiesburg. Her work has been featured in Poetry Super Highway, as well as in journals such as Literary Laundry and Contrary Magazine. She is honored to be judging this year’s contest.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Hannah Dow and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Disinterred

The tar pits were a false heaven luring thirsty animals to their black-gold surfaces. Not pools, traps. So many animals died there. The paleontologists think the animals were stupid to fall for the trick, which is why they have gathered their bones and put them on display in Natural History Museums, as if to say—“See how stupid the animals were? We are so much smarter.”

Last month, the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology met in Los Angeles to discuss the latest fossil findings from Rancho La Brea. They spoke clinically. With close attention to detail. They spoke about the markings on cougar, hyena, cheetah, lion teeth. They showed maps of hunting injuries—a wolf kicked in the skull by his prey, a sabre-tooth tiger dragging his twisted spine.

Every day, I am lured to a false heaven. Every day, I am hoping no one notices or finds out I have been stupid enough to fall for another trick. Every day that I am alive, I am hoping no paleontologist looks at me like I’m a cloth bag full of bones he can open and read and find out what I ate and who I chased and whether I have ever been kicked in the head.

This is what scares me: They have let the tar pits go unpunished. In fact, the city of Los Angeles has worshipped them, has risen around them. What scares me is that after so much death, the people have come together to celebrate what they have found. What they have found is Massacre. Carnage. Extermination. Genocide. They are excited by massacre. By death. Death is exciting to them.

“Have you been there?” my friend asks me in a letter.
My response is no. No, I am not excited by death. Death is not exciting to me.

If I had said otherwise, he would think I had fallen for the tar pits. He would try to dig me out. He would find only my bones.


Eclipse Parcial de Sol

After Ron Padgett

1.
Today, the sun looks like a piece of Babybel cheese with a bite taken out, without teeth marks. I’m inside, looking out the window when I realize I’m sitting in a high chair. There is a girl next to me, tearing off pieces of cheese and putting them on my tray, and alternatively, putting them in her mouth. I scratch at my neck, recalling antipathy for bibs.
2.
She asks me if I would like some bread to go with my cheese, but when I try to respond the words garble, as if someone were trying to scramble eggs inside my mouth, as if that is what the cheese is for. I try cocking my head to the left, thinking if I can just break all of the eggs, then maybe I will earn myself some time before the cook comes back with a new dozen.
3.
This does not work, and so I begin to cry.
4.
In times of frustration, I turn to exercise. Last year, I purchased an elliptical machine for my basement. I invited my friends over to try it. I used it every day until people started noticing. “You look good, have you been using your elliptical machine?” they asked.
“Yes, I have.”
Then a French exchange student moved into my basement and started using the elliptical machine as a drying rack.
5.
Last night, there was a missing cat and I was in charge of finding it. My brain was in Saturday, but the cat was in Sunday. I tried explaining this to the cat’s owner, but he told me I had two options: I could search for the cat, or I could explain to his child that the cat was missing. I took a walk down the street and wondered how far I could go before someone noticed I was missing.

6.
I come to a mental clearing resembling the sidewalk. The girl sitting next to me asks if I would like to go for a walk, and of course I do. I want to bring things with me on the walk, for example, my pocket knife. When I reach for my pocket I find instead a rubber giraffe and I start to cry again, wanting to know where my knife went and if the person who has it is going to kill me, and if all I will have to defend myself is this rubber giraffe. The girl thinks I’m crying for a different reason, and so she tries to lift me up. I don’t know her, so I swing my arms and legs in protest. I am not trying to be difficult; I would tell her this if only I did not have scrambled eggs for words and if only it was dark today, for I am beginning to think the sun is the one to blame.


Continuous Cities

After Italo Calvino

As he enters the city of Araceli, the traveler feels that he is being watched, and he is. To get to the city, he must first pass through a long tunnel of mirrors. There are few places to stop along his journey into the city, but when he does stop, it is so that his horse can sip what looks like mercury out of small streams gushing from the mirrored walls.

At the city’s gate, the traveler is greeted by two twin frowning men, with foreheads wrinkled from ages of squinting their eyes against the mirrored glare. The twin men hand him a stamped ticket, and the traveler realizes that the city is in fact a museum. Some citizens of Araceli reside in glass cases. There are families dressed in tiger skins, chewing the carcasses of antelopes. Others have their faces painted gold and they wield scepters and staves. The less fortunate citizens of Araceli live in closer quarters, each family relegated to one large picture frame. Beggars and prostitutes have had their shirts pinned to the wall of a large, blank room. The most dangerous criminals of Araceli, however, must lie very still, so that passersby can read the crimes etched into their hairless backs. Meanwhile, the rulers of Araceli are always patrolling the museum, flashing their badges and enforcing quietude and sweeping the floor when necessary. They make sure the tiger families have been fed and that the criminals are lying very still.

Once inside the city of Araceli, the traveler notes the importance of mirrors, of remembering the way he looked atop a moving horse.


July 7-20, 2014: Rosalind J. Lee and Russ Cope

Rosalind J. Lee and Russ Cope

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Rosalind J. Lee
rossum8@yahoo.co.uk

Bio (auto)

Rosalind J. Lee is a self published author and poet, who writes in Mattishall, which is the largest village in the county of Norfolk, United Kingdom.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Rosalind J. Lee and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Wave Length Grass…

It’s not funny how easy it is to murder without sound,
an easy victim. Watch how they never comprehend –
the slightest whim, the musical clues, see how they dream.
.
The night romantic, the cobweb trees, the wave length grass,
a perfect night for a long wished end. News of the war:
over an old wound. When the moon rises, the Screech Owl
.
leaves the mast of the ship rises in seas of wind, his wings a curtain
closed, open, closed, his heart mirrors mine, each beat unsought.
"Are you mine?" He calls, to the clothed rat below, "Mine, Mine?"
.
It isn’t love, this perfect end. Far simpler than that, a continuation;
a meal caught alive. The rat reaches up and snaps, "No. I’m not!"
Too late, his squeak too high for the Owl’s ears, simply dies.
.
The Owl caught in exploration of ties, and laces, and buttons:
almost cries, frustration in spite curled claws, "Meals should not be wrapped!"
Leaves the bones, bent. His motion spent, he spirals to the Tao stream.
.
Thunder by: thunder by; the night races and threads the stars, in dainty glaze.
The air moves, the light bends, refracts, expands, widens and splays
as a woman does, in coitus, to the man she loves.


Ants…

Ants abound
born under ground
caught mid action
pro-active in a cola can.


 


Russ Cope
rpoetcope@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Russ Cope is a new poet from Bluefield, West Virginia.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Russ Cope and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Kin

That woman over there
Squatting behind the truck
is not my skin
not mine, I swear
even though she calls my
name and even though
we look alike
we are not related
Pardon me as I get in
the truck with her.


Java

grinding early morning smell full of energy gives me hope helps me remember
who I am and when I drink too much everyone knows about it I talk about my
favorite tv shows and how they feature antiheroes and tell stories about God and
balloons and parades


This Is Not Mama

I know she looks like mama
smells like mama
but the cooking’s off
something bad is in the oven.


 


June 30 – July 6, 2014: Ellen Reich and Inez Andrucyk

Ellen Reich and Inez Andrucyk

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Ellen Reich
easgr@charter.net

Bio (auto)

Ellen lives and teaches creative writing in Malibu for the Emeritus division of Santa Monica College. Her poems have been published in Los Angeles Times, Slant, Slipstream, ACM, Coe Review and others. She has won awards from DA Center for Arts, Blue Unicorn, Cape Cod Times etc. A chapbook, Reverse Kiss, was editor’s choice and published by Main Street Rag in 2005. Her book, The Gynecic Papers, deals primarily with women’s issues. A recent chapbook was published by Finishing Line Press, entitled Sleeping Guardian. Her next poetry book is forthcoming from Tebot Bach, entitled Sacrifices Have To Be Human.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Ellen Reich and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

You Can Tell It’s a Girl Because
of Her Frilly Sleeves

The teen holds an off-white
balloon as she images an infant
her own
given away when she was sixteen

The infant
like a laughing Buddha
carved from cherry-wood
rubbed and rubbed

until oils from fingers penetrate
dark inner circles
that tell the age of things
She gave her baby away

to the old woman
who spends the rest of her life
feeling righteous
about raising the child

The baby lives in the mind
of the girl
who cradles balloons in her bed
in her kitchen, in her backyard

swings balloons until they fly away
into the neighbor’s yard
They pop and die
lie like puddles on the grass

until the compulsive neighbor
scoops them up and drops them in the dumpster
He is especially concerned
about what lurks in the deflated rubber sacks

The girl gave her baby away
her baby in frilly sleeves
The sixteen year old
gave her baby girl away

 


Inez Andrucyk
inez.andr@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Inez Andrucyk has been a closet poet and writer during her outward existence as a visual artist. She has exhibited her artwork at The Hudson River Museum, The Jacob Burns Film Center, The Katonah Museum, The Arts Exchange, various galleries, colleges and universities, and was a guest speaker at The National Museum in Malta and Rutgers University. Murals are located in New York City (featured on Channel 11 News) and Port Chester, NY. Photos of her work have been featured in The New York Times, and in Crimes of the Beats and Unbearables. Her Community Mural was listed in ON THE WALL: COMMUNITY MURALS by Janet Braun-Reinitz and Jane Weissman Inez enjoys teaching art to adults, children, youth and at risk populations. Visit Inez on the web here: www.andinez.com

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Inez Andrucyk and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

New

So! They said.
Art should be new
As “new and improved”
Much like gadgets, aps, toothpaste, cars and women.
Thinking in fresh and pristine ways.
Cleaned and bleached out.
Toss out the old.
Junkyards for
disposable diapers, sanitary napkins, cars,
and ladies with wrinkles or men in low paying jobs,
and used needles, nuclear waste,
Just dump it. Just heave it.
Some can be recycled
Through neo or retro
Or pulled from other people’s garbage.
such as appropriations
or certain kinds of pictures, movies, or fairytales.
Old roots sink deep. No idea is parentless.
Thoughts copulate in aesthetic orgasms
creating new beings
from ancestors continuously forming
so new is a flower is a life is a gimmick.
Slick advertising /Art exhibitions
Smart slogans are born, they live, and die
Only to rise up again. To roam in apparitional fogs
visible only to those who believe
in the complexity of it all.

 


June 23-29, 2014: Chloe Viner and Shirley Bell

Chloe Viner and Shirley Bell

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Chloe Viner
vinerchloe25@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Chloe Viner’s chapbook Naked Under an Umbrella was published by Finishing Line Press in 2011. She currently lives in South Royalton, Vermont with her husband, Shane and their rescue cat, Milo.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Chloe Viner and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Own Worst Enemy

Plaster on the wall
covers up the spot where we used to aim
all of our cigarette smoke
as we plucked feathers from the couch cushions
and listened to Football
on the TV we got at the dump
rescued from a life in a landfill
like us.

Playing tic tac toe
on an old phone book
while a mouse eases its’ way towards the coffee table
Wanting to know
what happens next?

We curl into the fetal position and
try to remember what it felt like
to lust or love
or engage.

I pick up the old rusty trophy on the cobweb ridden mantel
and try to recall the foreign taste of ambition
you pick up your sneakers from the carpet
and toss them into the tub
so the mud won’t get everywhere
but both of us know
that dirt clings to this apartment the way
that failure clings
to us.

We paste photos on the walls
and pretend they are windows into
our futures
nothing comes to change us
so we stay
immobile and crumble
with the walls
of this place.

 


Shirley Bell
maab30@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Shirley Bell lives near Boston, Lincolnshire in the English fens. Substantial selections of her poetry were published by Faber and Faber in Poetry Introduction 6, in Six, the Versewagon Poetry Manual, and in Anvil New Poets. Her work also appeared in a pamphlet published by The Wide Skirt and in magazines including Ambit, Poetry Review, The London Magazine, The Spectator and many others, most recently The Rialto and The North. In 2013 a pamphlet, ‘behind the glass’, was published as part of her MA in Creative Writing at the University of Lincoln and she has also collected together a selection of poems from her blog, dealing with her husband’s wait for heart surgery, in Poetry of Hospitals and Waiting Rooms (sold in aid of the British Heart foundation), both published by Lulu for her own redplantpress. Visit Shirley on the web here: http://shirleybellblog.wordpress.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Shirley Bell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Daughter Says That When I’m Dead
She’ll Show Her Kids This Picture and They’ll Know Me.

I’m encased in ivory faille, high necked, long sleeved, severe.
It’s a kind of armour to protect me from the fear of falling, failing,
or of you failing to appear. I thought it would be less than this.
Dried flowers, witnesses pulled in from their everydays to ours,
a registrar, looking at his watch. Unfortunately your mum wants
more. Late born, her twinned afterthought, she has standards
for you but my dad’s dead and it’s we who foot this bill.

We’re ruthless and we cull the relatives: cheerfully eliminating
aunties, cousins, children under three, which went down
well. I hire the dress; that’s cheap. I dress my bridesmaids up
in nighties.(Long, quite pretty, sprigged with flowers on navy blue
and I don’t think that they knew). Practical, you always are, you
wear an ordinary suit. For everyday. The gale has flung my veil
across my face, daffodils are lurching, the dress and I are hurtling

to the porch. The choir is singing just for us. Later I learn your mum
has spent the journey down spotting crematoria and graveyards.
Over chicken, your dad gives me the gift of how much
he had disliked me when we met, but now I am OK. I’m not that
grateful. In this photograph I’m back in normal clothes again.
I’m looking at you with a minxy grin.We’re off to Paris. Hah! Later
I Photoshop my auntie out and my son says that it is rather Stalinist.

 


June 16-22, 2014: Howard Brown and Matthew Abuelo

Howard Brown and Matthew Abuelo

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Howard Brown
brownwh1943@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Howard Brown is a retired attorney who lives on Lookout Mountain, TN, and who has also published poetry in Old Hickory Review and short fiction in Louisiana Literature. He spends his time writing, teaching yoga, biking, swimming and making every single day count.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Howard Brown and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Better Days

Watching him
through the window of the car
on this cold December Sunday,
I remember better days.

Days when his eyes
had the spark of the sun
on moving water.

Days when his hands
would flutter before his face
as he spoke,
like a covey of rising quail.

But now
he is nothing more
than a tired old man,

Who stands beside
a clap-board house,
chopping kindling
in the drizzling rain.

 


Matthew Abuelo
maab30@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Matthew Abuelo is a writer, professional blogger and award winning poet who works our of the Upper West Side of New York City. He has three books out, Last American Roar and Organic Hotels, His third book "The News Factory" has just been released by Plain view Press, the first two can be found at lulu.com.
He is a former journalist for the online news site Examiner and he most recently worked for the Times Square Chronicles as a housing rights journalist and political commentator.
Matthew has performed around Manhattan including at the forum The Poetry Project’s marathon, which also featured, Pattie Smith Susan Vega, Lenny K, Steve Earle and many other icons.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Matthew Abuelo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Gray Dust

1

Did you know our lungs
Yours and mine
sit as otherwise empty vessels
where the air has been evicted
replaced by the gray exhaust and fluid
of staying too long?
It was as if they (our lungs) were vacant rooms
taken over by someone who was just visiting.
In midtown
Forget the medicine
you still have to breathe the air
with its unforgiving skin and metallic weight
that moves across the tongue as I cough up
what the bridge and tunnel crowd leave behind.
How can you make a natural home in the emergency room
after all our fortunes have been spent
and there are no more deals to cheat the gravity that draws us from wasted hours at the movies
where we watch as spectators
who sit silently under drawn shades of the darkened theater
to witness the brutality of a projected life
which ends every two hours
only to start over
until
the next show
when all the mistakes sit as an ever present threat
and the end seems so uncertain
and has curdled?
But when the lights come back on
and the thoughts of the body reform
we lose ourselves in the barracks of our clothing
Which we give no thought when picking out each morning
disappearing all those features of ruin
and freely giving ourselves over to the glare of the silent snow.

2

I will never pass as a ghost into the gray dawn’s early light
Only to return in the afternoon and wait on 8th Ave
For a taxi that never stops.
Nor will my voice only exist in the exhaust of idling cars
but my name will give the gray ash that was your body
the moisture of a life you cried for before you reached
the end of your line
that fateful morning
and the mold that has formed around my tub
will claim a piece my last breath.
Something you should know
My breath is not modern
It is a relic which I keep on a shelf in my bedroom by the air conditioner
Where it is allowed to flow
And form the shape of words
You will never hear.

 


June 9-15, 2014: Jim Benton and Sy Roth

Jim Benton and Sy Roth

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Jim Benton
jimbenton@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

Jim Benton taught teenagers in Texas to see and write poetry for twenty years, leading five-day "experiments in living like poets" in Santa Fe. His students won poetry awards, but he shared his own poetry mostly with them until his "12 blues in 3-line time" appeared in MiPOesias, January, 2013. Jim lives and writes in Ft. Worth, Texas.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Jim Benton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Jesus Vacations in Santa Fe

Jesus, restless in heaven,
slipped away alone, clean-shaven,
for a quiet vacation. Unknown
and unrecognized, he treated himself
to a pedicure, soaked in a spa at sunset
with a bottle of local red. The thought of blood
never occurred to him. Next day he went shopping,
dressed himself up in gaudy drag,
donned a flashing electric tiara,
AAA batteries entwined in a bejeweled weave.
He dyed his hair a soft and lovely
auburn, danced alone an inch
above sandal-worn adobe floors,
dined on Northern New Mexican
Cuisine, sat for hours amid juniper
and sage in the crisp evening
air. A Canyon Road crafter
tried to sell him a pair of hand-sewn
white kid gloves with sterling silver
stigmata medallions, inlaid turquoise, red leather tassels,
and one-of-a-kind ceramic drop-weight
beads, at a Semana Santa Sale price.
Jesus wept.
Silently, he slipped away,
scrubbed his hands in adobe dust,
sat down for a sopapilla
and a soda. At Chimayo,
Jesus tasted his first brisket taco
with a pinch of fresh cilantro and lime
on a hand-formed corn tortilla,
and fell in love. A gentle Pueblo abuela
shared the secret of her green chile stew—
fresh corn grilled on an open pinon fire.
The pixilated cascade of golden aspen
took his breath, and no apple ever tasted so sweet
as the one he picked right off the tree
without so much as a moment’s thought
of Eden. It was just the quiet vacation
Jesus needed. Peace on Earth
and great tacos.


Sy Roth
sydad@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Sy Roth comes riding in and then canters out. He resides in Mount Sinai, New York, far from Moses and the tablets. This has led him to find words for solace. He spends his time writing and playing his guitar. He has published in many online publications. One of his poems, Forsaken Man, was selected for Best of 2012 poems in Storm Cycle. Twice selected Poet of the Month in Poetry Super Highway. He was named Poet of the Month for the month of February in BlogNostics. Included in Poised in Flight anthology. A Murder of Crows named Poem of the Week in Toucan.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Sy Roth and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Not Yet Arrived

leisure moves in to sleep on my sofa
like a homeless, long-lost cousin.
days stretch out in indolence and divested timepieces.
refrigerator beckons me to move
in a lethargic, ass-scratching stretch
to conduct an archeological dig through its
slimy ham, hardened bread, and moldy cheese.

today I move some dirt
from a patch looking askew
spied out of the corner of my eye–
then rerouted the edging,
replaced stakes,
weeded the small plot
and swept the refuse into a black garbage bag.
thirty minutes of diversion.

pungent, earthy smells follow me into the house.
later took up where I left off in my novel
the assassin within transported me there.
no longer feeling manipulated by authors,
I journey with them.

Will I transport today?
my head becomes a wrecking ball,
weebling and wobbling
stabbing at my chest.
train-wrecking snores awaken me.
the sun rips a crimson streak across my left cheek.

my Madeleine,
dried cookies and sounds of imagined, tapping keys
fellow travelers in my somnambulism.
the overused delete button
leaves a trail of death of incoherent words
and a discordant rhapsody in a jumbled day–
twelve hours to go.

I move along with it in monosyllabic fits and starts–
perhaps time to kill some ants
back there in the garden.
polymorphic words haven’t yet arrived.

 


June 2-8, 2014: Cynthia Passmore and A.D. Winans

Cynthia Passmore and A.D. Winans

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Cynthia Passmore
cindypassmore@outlook.com

Bio (auto)

Cynthia Passmore was born in New England and spent many of her growing up years on Block Island, R.I., she currently resides in St. Petersburg, FL. She has participated in the St. Petersburg Times festival of reading as an invited poet, and at the University of South Florida performing with Full Contact Poets. She has also preformed her work at the annual First Night events in the city of St. Petersburg. Her work has been published in Maelstrom magazine, Hard Row to Hoe and Poetry Conspiracy.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Cynthia Passmore and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Seeing the Wind on Salisbury Hill

The wind leans against tall blades of grass
while cornflowers struggle in blue hue
to touch the sky.
They grasp at air as it skirts the tips of yellowed hay
that lick at clouds.
Stone walls fastened hard to ground
by grapevine run long,
brushing boundary lines that separate
field from meadow
while roofs of barns punch holes in the landscape
wind bent, and salted gray.
Soft sanded foot paths
where grass fights hard against soles
curl back against themselves,
trying to heal the invasion of time
that has slipped through, even here
where it is possible to see the wind.


A.D. Winans
slowdancer2006@netzero.com

Bio (auto)

A.D. Winans is an award winning native San Francisco poet and writer. He edited and published Second Coming for 17 years, and worked as an editor at the San Francisco Art Commision from 1975 to 1980. He is the author of sixty books and chapbooks of poetry and prose. In 2002, a song poem of his was performed at Alice Tully Hall in NYC. In 2006 he won a PEN Josephine Miles Award for excellence in literature. In 2009, PEN Oakland presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. NYQ Press just released his new book of poems, On My Way To Becoming A Man, which can be purchased on Amazon or through SPD (Small Press Distribution).Visit Barry on the web here: http://www.winansfansite.blogspot.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by A.D. Winans and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Early Birthday Poem

sitting here fifteen days
before my seventy-eighth birthday
I drink my morning coffee in solitude
wear the early chill of morning
like a quilt of stitched memories
my mind a nosy intruder
plots the course of my life

the moon a graveyard
shines its eyes down on me
surely that is not me
I see in the mirror

the months the years
revolving doors
like the trick mirrors
at the Funhouse
at Playland at the Beach

friends fewer in number
wait for me in my dreams
like ducks in a blind
left with a cup of morning coffee
a spoon that stirs memories
of young women
the pleasure of warm flesh
on fresh linen sheets
hot as an iron pressed
to a a singed garment
turned to bones that rattle
in the graveyard of my dreams
the conversations that lasted
into the early morning hours
turned to idle chatter
with ghosts from the past

 


May 26 – June 1, 2014: Ralph Monday and Giuseppi Martino Buonaiuto

Ralph Monday and Giuseppi Martino Buonaiuto

Send us your poetry for POET OF THE WEEK consideration. Click here for submission guidelines.


Ralph Monday
mondayrw@comcast.net

Bio (auto)

Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 will see a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Pyrokinection, and Poetry Repairs. His first book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Ralph Monday and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Nostalgia

I would name you Nostalgia,
paint you in Rockwell tones
imagine that your heart reverberated
a 50s image of you at a sock hop in pony tails or
on roller skates serving real milk shakes
to greased back Fonzie dudes in shark fin convertibles.
I would write a narrative where as a high school senior
necking in the back seat at the drive in, kisses sepia,
your cheers rang out for the oppressed in Twelve Angry Men.
The poodle skirt an aria negating future permission,
Betty Boop merely misunderstood.
A Super 8 millimeter etching intuitive faculties
in black and white timbres, and you were June Cleaver
serving up TV dinners in pearls, a dress, high heels,
not yet knowing what you would eat.
Instead, deconstruction, Foucault, Steinem, Eva Morales,
epileptic  pronouncements in ambient streams, like
a supplicant voicing the sibyl, you have become that
which you do not know, memory and tradition given way
to innovated hissings, muted tongue aimless within a
buried hieroglyphic.


Giuseppi Martino Buonaiuto
jmbuonaiuto@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Giuseppi Martino Buonaiuto is the pen name of Joseph M. Buonaiuto who lives in one of those gated, golf-coursed, over-55 lunatic asylums in southern California. He is a former U.S. Coast Guard officer, politician and teacher and holds three graduate degrees including a Masters from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

The following work is Copyright © 2014, and owned by Giuseppi Martino Buonaiuto and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

JFK: 50 YEARS DEAD

Jack: as so many of us yearned to know him,
Still knocking down 90% approval ratings,
50 years dead: we still approve.
Dallas recognizing the event . . .
Cue Etta James: “At laaaaaaaaaaaaaaast . . .
“ The City of Big D,
Dallas in the Sixties,
Still wide open,
Still Wild-Wild West Wild,
Still string ties & Stetsons.
Hizzoner/Da Mayer–Now,
Recognizing the venue, at last.
Finally, it was time
To take ownership of the Crime scene.

Non-stop memorial coverage,
On CNN and MSN, of course.
Fox, meanwhile,
Doing agribusiness updates;
This year’s Carolina turkey crop &
Wuzzup in the cranberry bogs?