December 26, 2016 – January 1, 2017: Poetry from Russell Brickey and Robert Wynne

​Russell Brickey and Robert Wynne

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


​Russell Brickey
russell.brickey@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Russell Brickey (Boardman, Ohio) has collections out from Wild Leaf, Spuyten Duyvil, and Aldritch Book.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Russell Brickey and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

How Monstrous the Sunflowers

Bearded sun-eyes lunge at the garden.

How momentous the wind
Quaking in their fractured shoulders,
Yawing their monastic chaos.

The reign of white muddy feet
Anchors the kingdom.

 

What Time Means

There is no way the young bison
Will outmaneuver the wolves
Which scatter him from the herd.

For months I carried grit
From a playground brawl
Under the translucent skin of my palm.

Despite your best efforts,
The naked chick fallen from the bough
Dies parched under the cover
Of a Mayberry Bush.

A dragon wades to the sea shore.
No one will ever know.

Eventually the sea will win.
It must.
Its old enemy cannot withstand.

Meanwhile,

Glaciers calve hearts of ice
That turn the salt sweet.

Nothing beautiful, nothing terrible remains.
This is what the hours mean,

So familiar it frightens us both.

 

 


Robert Wynne
robert.wynne@sbcglobal.net

Bio (auto)

Robert Wynne sends greeting from the abstract wastelands of Endicott, New York. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the need to continuously search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest collections are Approximate Wilderness (2016 Flutter Press) and A Nation of Assholes With Guns (Scars Publications). All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing. Visit John’s blog here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Robert Wynne and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Cargo Shorts in Peril: The Button Speaks

 

The cheese is noticeably frowning
across the burger’s greasy horizon
in another sheepish victory for gravity

only the roof of your mouth
fails to acknowledge. This is how lunch begins:
with the quiet whimper of my brittle plastic

keening low at your waist, hot fat
sliding down fingers slick enough
to fumble that ironic Diet Coke

into a light brown puddle
next to the fries. Consequences
are never on the menu

but this is the meal that will finally
split the tiny threaded cross
at the heart of me, until I fall silently

like any sacrifice made to stave off
life’s perpetual parade of damage.
Today, the belt earns its keep

and I land face down near your shoe,
my broken back still arched
like Atlas, unburdened but so lost.

 

What walks down stairs, alone or in pairs?

 

Silver spring casts no shadow
descending methodically step by step
to plant a cold metal kiss

on the nose of the curious dog
as if she were the Queen herself.
More active than any pet rock

the coil stretches like a worm
escaping train tracks, tail whipping
up and away from each moment

into a future where Sea Monkeys
run the government, a Spirograph
explains how to read palms, and robots

face off red vs. blue, one always
failing to keep its head intact.
Dancing from one hand to another

it wears no shoes, kisses no frogs,
eats nothing at all – not even pie!
Only a hum, a ringing thrum emanates

as it slides smoothly away
like any wondrous thing
that’s already obsolete.

 

Running from Writer’s Block

 

But my shoes are mismatched:
a blue and white Nike Air

and a Marvin the Martian slipper.
My left knee is so swollen

I am no longer allowed to enter
Indonesia or Ukraine, for fear

that elective knee enlargements
will skyrocket. I rub dill on my joints

as I hobble forward, announcing
I’m now a seasoned sprinter

with a bad sense of humor.
I pass a yogurt shop in the midst of

a melting out of business sale.
I’m chasing the sun, so I can reach up

and squelch that hot, bright bulb
after coaxing smiles from the stern lot

that guards the Queen, particularly Brian
because he’s acting like the last man

in the dugout during a blowout win.
Pain can be the aftermath of choices

in favor of distance and new shoes,
or to use air hockey as a distraction

to avoid the inevitable. Words fail
when used to heat soup, or to open

another envelope with a Rejection.
The instructions are simple: run

until you can’t run any more, write
because in truth you can’t stop.

 

The Cosmic Eclipse Tomato

 

Indigo and dark green, impressionistic orb
filling an empty palm like proof

that creation myths are still being written.
Brad Gates breeds heirloom tomatoes

like a vegetable God, painting thin skin
with each new vision, giving life

to world after world: deep red and green
Berkeley Tie-Die Heart, yellow flickering

in a Solar Flare, orange speckles
dotting each Dark Galaxy. Sliced open

they flower into such sweet bruises,
all creation laid bare like an apology

to the salad sitting silent, stunned.

 

 

 

 


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December 19-25, 2016: Poetry from David Lucas and John Sweet

​David Lucas and John Sweet

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


​David Lucas
dalucas@ysu.edu

Bio (auto)

David Lucas is a poet/academic who lives in Youngstown, Ohio. He was an editor at the Penguin Review and a scriptwriter for the Youngstown Film Group. David has an MA in English from Youngstown State where he teaches composition and rhetoric.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​David Lucas and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


That Couch

There was this couch
Electric blue
A real 80’s-deco-sorta-thing
It used to hover in our living room
Mostly unacknowledged
Except when it was
Kissing our asses
Drinking our anxiety
Observing our 2 AM drunken fights
the incredulous stares
the bad sex
the good sex (though it can’t remember)
Listening to the shortstop sentences
the hysterical prayers to deaf Gods
Watching all the silent meals
spent looking away from one another

It felt us weep
Stole our remotes
Our glasses
Our dreams

And then later, I think,
We threw it out
Ejecting it from the bones of an old house
To the curb
Then to the dump
Where it sits
Wasting with other memories
Under the deep infinite canvas

 



John Sweet
bleedinghorse99@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

John Sweet sends greeting from the abstract wastelands of Endicott, New York. He is a firm believer in writing as catharsis, and in the need to continuously search for an unattainable and constantly evolving absolute truth. His latest collections are Approximate Wilderness (2016 Flutter Press) and A Nation of Assholes With Guns (Scars Publications). All pertinent facts about his life are buried somewhere in his writing. Visit John’s blog here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by John Sweet and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

cover yr ears & shade yr eyes

sunlit hills straight down to
the edge of the parking lot and the
parking lot empty

weeds pushing up through
cracks in the pavement

belief is what’s brought you
this far, and then what?

insurance will pay for the abortion

the coup will fail

twenty thousand dead in the
blinding summer heat and all of
the survivors starving, but no one likes
a crybaby so just shut your mouth
and write your fucking poems

learn to levitate

consider what any government has
ever achieved by
killing the artists and the children

all theories bleed themselves
dry in the here and now

 


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December 12-18, 2016: Poetry from Randolph Bridgeman and Douglas Richardson

​Randolph Bridgeman and Douglas Richardson

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


​Randolph Bridgeman
randolph.bridgeman@navy.mil

Bio (auto)

Randolph Bridgeman lives in Lexngton Park, Maryland, beside the Chesapeake Bay and graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and is the recipient of the Edward T. Lewis Poetry Prize. He was a Lannan Fellow for the Folgers Shakespearian Theater 04-05 poetry reading series. He teaches Poetry for 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students, enrolled in the 21st Century After School Program at Great Mills High School in Lexington Park MD. His poems have been published in numerous poetry reviews and anthologies. He has four books of poems, South of Everywhere 2005, Mechanic on Duty 2008, The Odd Testament 2013, and The Poet Laureate of Cracker Town 2015. His fifth book, Color Outside The Lines, is forthcoming in 2017.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Randolph Bridgeman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


stepfathers

joseph must have had the toughest
daddy issues not that every kid
doesn’t think their father is God
but what if he actually is
and when the holy ghosts
been in your woman
how do you stack up to that
most men would have dumped her
and no one would have blamed him
or my father who came home
from the war to a pregnant wife
but like joseph he wanted to
do the right thing too
and still it ate away at him
every argument my parents
had ended with my father saying
oh yeah well you fucked
the next door neighbor
and i wonder if it ate away
at joseph too
with the father
the son
the holy ghost
and marry too
he must have felt like a fifth wheel
like most of us stepfathers do
joseph with his honorable mention
and the rest of us with no
mention at all

 



Douglas Richardson
weakcreature@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Douglas Richardson is a poet, novelist, and editor who lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jen. He is also Winston, the Weak Creature Press bison. Visit him on the web here. See his books on Amazon here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Douglas Richardson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Mean and Nice

I’d like to roll Wes Anderson’s
windows down, so the bees can fly
in and around

I’d like to give Van Gogh
an audio tour
of the Musee d’Orsay

I’d like to thank Ed Ruscha
for undiscovering the country

I’d like to sit with Lady Di
and watch Amelie


The Street-Art Oil Painting

The street-art oil painting from Venice Beach, California,
contained a hidden image meant just for him,
told him he was a chosen one
from the western wall of his studio apartment,
seduced him, said he belonged among philosopher kings
or rock stars on late-night talk shows,
then turned on him, got him mocked in pretentious bars,
erased good, simple memories like the morning newspaper
on the porch of his childhood home;
so he shredded it with a box cutter
and scattered it across the street
with the neighbors watching.
Now he has humility, notoriety,
a wizard’s beard that whistles in the dark.


Bishop, California

I’d like to be in Bishop, California
In the Eastern Sierra Nevada
In the aisles of a hardware store
In the season of blue jeans and flannel
Buying tools for home improvement
Turning a nickel for a gumball on my way out the door

I’d like to be in a booth in a diner looking at the snowy mountains
My fingers through the ear of a cup of coffee
Green pines, hot breakfast, close family
Living the life of a builder and a fixer
New wrenches in the back of my truck
And not a thief for miles around


MIB

Men in black beanies sit in a Jack in the Box
where no one over the age of forty
has ever smiled. Ask them whether
the moon is new or full and they couldn’t say
because the sky no longer captivates them,
or perhaps it does hold them captive
and so the light they see might as well be
the light in this room, cool, even, anemic.
Moody devils, lonesome beauties,
if only I could lead them out the door
and into their ideal worlds.

 

 

 

 


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December 5-11, 2016: Poetry from ​Graham Fulton and Dan Hendrickson

​Graham Fulton and Dan Hendrickson

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


​Graham Fulton
hfulton32@btinternet.com

Bio (auto)

Graham Fulton lives in Paisley in Scotland. His 14 published books include Humouring the Iron Bar Man (Polygon), One Day in the Life of Jimmy Denisovich (Smokestack Books), Photographing Ghosts (Roncadora Press) and Pub Dogs of Glasgow (Freight Books). His poems
have been translated into several languages. His most
recent collections are Brian Wilson in Swansea Bus Station (Red Squirrel Press) and Paragraphs at the End of the World (Penniless Press). He runs Controlled Explosion Press.
www.grahamfulton-poetry.com

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Graham Fulton and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Raw

Sheridan Wyoming

I open a drawer in Sheridan Wyoming
and find a colourful book of porn
Men and women doing it for real
Men and women doing it for money
Making a living to be alive
Glossy ….stapled
Next to the Gideon
A sex gift left by a previous guest
He ….or she ….probably laughed
as they pictured our faces
goggling in awe
at prime American genital stars
Grand Canyon vulvas
Skyscraping knobs
Maybe it’s been there for years
Maybe it’s been there
since the days
of the pioneers
I turn
a few pages
Ignore the bible
Later
as we finally brave
the life-sapping heat
to sample slaughtered indigenous meat
I hide it in a spare plastic bag
push it into the quietest bin
The republic of flies
and thin crust pizza

We don’t want the ethnic cleaner to think
it was us
who sullied her frontier hotel
We don’t want her judgement
branding the backs
of our twisted Christian Caucasian skulls
We left the porn in the drawer

 



Dan Hendrickson
dan1812@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

Dan Hendrickson lives in Minneapolis. He is a middle-aged poet, with a blizzard gray beard. He’s sedate, but a reflective fellow, one prone to introspection. About life, Hendrickson will only say, "Over time, our borders are erased."

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Dan Hendrickson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Los Angeles Plays Itself

The Los Angeles River
runs through my chest.
Most of it has been diced up,
altered and diverted into
makeshift concrete channels.
But there’s a very small section
of it that’s still fairly pristine,
where the waters flow peacefully
and mostly true.
If you could see that portion,
you’d probably think, ‘This is how
all of it must have been, once.’

And you might even be right
about that.
I’m the wrong person
to ask.
That guy’s long gone.
I’m all that’s left.

 

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November 28 – December 4, 2016: Poetry from Maria A. Arana and Thom Young

​Maria A. Arana and Thom Young

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


​Maria A. Arana

Bio (auto)

Maria A. Arana is a teacher, writer, and poet from the Los Angeles area. Her work has been published in Spectrum, Work to a Calm, the Altadena Poetry Review, vox poetica, and others. You can find her at https://rainingvoices.blogspot.com and on Twitter here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Maria A. Arana and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Preparation

………..spring from bed
out of shower
………..close the door
get some paper
…………. ……….pencil
eraser
…………. ……….sit down
start
don’t stop now
if only I could
…………. ……….remember
…………. ……….what to write
I’d be done
I’d be done

 



Thom Young
bjm319@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Thom Young is a writer from Texas. His work has been in Poetry Quarterly, The Commonline Journal, 3am magazine, Crack the Spine, Word Riot, 48th Street Press, and many other places. A 2016 Pushcart Prize Nominee. He is one of Amazon’s most popular poets hitting #1 in Poetry Anthologies and Short Stories and his latest A Little Black Dress Called Madness hit #1 Poetry in Germany. See his other titles here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Thom Young and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Walk

I go on long walks everyday
hoping to get hit by a car
or die
either one can cost you everything
i wave at the old ladies by the pool
"there goes the writer."
they say
"he seems like such a nice young man."
they say
and
i smile
lock your doors
the wild hearted son
is back


Purple Onion

as I write another poem
3 gun shots kill something
or
someone
maybe it’s the old guy
two houses down with the laughing
Bulldog
he finally had enough
no more purple onions
at 2am
on Rye with yellow mustard
he cried as his old lady pulled the trigger
that’s the end
and ch. 5 is showing a re-play
of the Rose Bowl parade
and they don’t look happy
again.

 

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November 21-27, 2016: Poetry from Linda Leedy Schneider and Akshaya Pawaskar

​Linda Leedy Schneider and Akshaya Pawaskar

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


​Linda Leedy Schneider
loschneide@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Linda Leedy Schneider, winner of the 2012 Contemporary American Poetry Prize, is a political activist, poetry and writing mentor, psychotherapist in private practice, and former faculty member at Aquinas College and Kendall College of Art and Design. Her poetry received a Readers’ Choice Award from Pedestal Magazine and has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. Linda facilitates workshops nationally including The Manhattan Writing Workshop which she founded and has led since 2008. Published in hundreds of literary magazines including The Pedestal Magazine, Rattle, The Sow’s Ear and the Journal of American Poetry, Linda has written six collections of poetry including Some Days: Poetry of a Psychotherapist (Plain View Press) and has edited two collections of poetry written by poets whom she has mentored: Mentor’s Bouquet (Finishing Line Press) and Poems From 84th Street (Pudding House Publications). Linda lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and believes a regular writing ritual leads to discovery, authenticity, personal growth and even JOY.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Linda Leedy Schneider and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Memories of My Daughter’s Wedding

A thunderstorm brought the ceremony out of the garden
into the sunroom where candles glowed.
Two flower girls scattered yellow and pink petals.
Vows were spoken that have passed through generations
like ivy following a wall, brick by brick.
The kiss at the altar was long and real.
The bride danced with her father, wiped his tears.
Her grandmother, pink and blue scarf carefully knotted
over her blue suit, smiled and called her by name.

But three days later when I visited assisted living and said,
“Wasn’t it a wonderful wedding, Mother?”
Her grandmother raised her head like a horse from the hay
and asked, “Was I there?”

Previously published in Peninsular Poets

 



Akshaya Pawaskar
akshaya.pawaskar@outlook.com

Bio (auto)

Akshaya Pawaskar is a doctor practicing in Goa, India, dabbling in poetry in her spare time. She has been published in Efiction India, writer’s ezine and few anthologies by Lost Tower Publications.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Akshaya Pawaskar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Fisherman’s wharf

Pier juts tongued in the mouth
Of fisherman’s wharf, madding
Crowd away, at the waterfront
She sits like a painting splaying
Legs under the Azure carpeted
San Francisco bay.

Bikers are strolling for a change
Swimmers, fishes with full body
suits dripping ruddy out of water
She sunbathes oblivious to bruit
And dogs navigating their loyals
As they whiff astray.

Serene daylight sits lightly over
All anatomies even spotlighting
The ancient land of penitentiary
Salt eroded. For in that moment
She is the Spaniard who named
La Isla de Alcatraz.

Once perhaps the land swooped
With pelicans but not one extant
as the air leaves no winged trails
Except the whiskers of sea lions
Project like periscopes and a tiny
head follows suit.

Between the floppy calm flippers
Clapping, enfolding fatty blubber
And history weighing heavy with
lighthouse Illuminating its purlieu
And once ruthless criminals held
Insular in the cells.

She feels Ghirardelli square’s ice
Cream headache, grating yet light
spirit of pinniped species staring
sans wink pervades ambivalence
In her being. She waits for a cure,
A sea lion’s kiss.

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November 14-20, 2016: Poetry from Diane Elayne Dees and Jeanie Greensfelder

​Diane Elayne Dees and Jeanie Greensfelder

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 also publishes Women Who Serve, which provides commentary on women’s professional tennis throughout the world.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Diane Elayne Dees and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Fashion Statement

In a closet in Chatauqua
hangs an elegant unworn pantsuit,
its silky fabric woven
to withstand the chilly weather
and the ravages of time.
Elsewhere, as the daylight dims,
everything unravels.

 



Jeanie Greensfelder
geniegreensfelder@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Jeanie Greensfelder grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. A psychologist and poet, she seeks to understand herself and others on this shared journey, filled, as Joseph Campbell wrote, with sorrowful joys and joyful sorrows. She now lives in San Luis Obispo, CA with her husband Andy. She is the author of Biting the Apple (Penciled In, 2012), and Marriage and Other Leaps of Faith (Penciled In, 2015). Her poems have been published at Writer’s Almanac and American Life in Poetry; in anthologies and in multiple journals. Visit Jeanie on the web: jeaniegreensfelder.com and jeaniegreensfelder.blogspot.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Jeanie Greensfelder and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


What We Knew In 1947

We knew about George Washington,
the axe, the tree: to never tell a lie.
In second grade we didn’t know much, but
we knew Bobby’s dad never got to third grade;
we knew to stay away from Hank Parker
who had lice; we knew men in cars would honk
and offer rides, but to just keep walking; we knew
to fend for ourselves after school;
we knew kids from the Hebrew Home
had been left there by their parents; we knew
the neighbor man who touched girls
and asked Does that feel good? We knew
to run past the domed insane asylum;
we knew Jamie had fits and fell on the floor—
we knew not to look, but we did; we knew
Joey stole candy from Mr. Wolff’s store;
we knew Nick Bell got a beating most nights; and
we knew not to tell grownups what we knew.


(from Biting the Apple, Penciled In, 2012)

 

 


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November 7-13, 2016: Poetry from Marie C Lecrivain and Terez Peipins

​Marie C Lecrivain and Terez Peipins

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


​Marie C Lecrivain
mariel671@gmail.com

Bio

Marie C Lecrivain (Los Angeles, CA), is the editor-publisher of poeticdiversity: the litzine of Los Angeles, a Pushcart Prize nominee, and writer-in-residence in her apartment. She’s the author of several works of poetry and fiction, including The Virtual Tablet of Irma Tre (© 2014 Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House), Grimm Conversations (© 2015 Sybaritic Press), and Philemon’s Gambit:Sonnets and Photographs (© 2016 International Word Bank Press).

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Marie C Lecrivain and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


NLP: A Success Story

Birth control starts in childhood
with the admonition,

You’re going to end up
just like her…

one of the family malcontents,
who, in the old days,
would’ve marked time
by the passage of the sun
through a grimy window
while chained in the attic

Decades of this mantra
migrate through the bloodstream,
become fused to the bone,
and are scrawled across uterine walls
in bloody script. What new life
wants to spend nine moons
in an oubliette like that?

I’ve navigated my life
by this phrase. Now,
I look back on
what I’ve missed,
who I’ve dismissed,
and what I might’ve been,
and though I’m alone,
I’m strangely proud
these words will never
pass my lips to harm
the ones I could’ve loved.

 

 



Terez Peipins
tspeipins@yahoo.com

Bio

The poetry, fiction, and essays of Terez Peipins have appeared in publications both in the United States and abroad including Anak Sastra, Barcelona Ink, The Barcelona Review, The Buffalo News, Conte, The Kentucky Review, Melusine, and Pedestal, among many others. She is the author of three chapbooks of poetry. Her novel, The Shadow of Silver Birch is published by Black Rose Writing. She won the 2016 Natasha Trethewey Prize in poetry from the Atlanta Writers Club. Visit Terez on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Terez Peipins and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Return to New York

Midnight July fifteenth
off the airport bus,
past Port Authority,
dragging luggage,
I return to a new America,
a new Times Square.
Street souls no longer
spill out of corners,
nor beggars
rattling coins
in cups,
straight out
of Damon Runyon.

TKTS recall a golden age.
Dancers in boas, kick
us back to a 50’s trance.

Past erased
in a new millennium empire.
Billboards rise over
emporiums,
product names
burnt in our brains.

Tourists in sneakers, shorts,
push past me
A sidewalk gorged
with pink fed flesh.

Consumption is bliss.
Tokyo descends
on New York,
now just as clean.

No longer the generator
of tales,
of the young stripper
at the Metropole,
of the bum prying
a shoe loose from
an art installation.

New York memories
flicker and fade
like the Nasdaq quotes.

 

 



 

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October 31 – November 4, 2016: Poetry from Latorial D. W. Faison and Ali Liebegott

​Latorial D. W. Faison and Ali Liebegott

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


​Latorial D. W. Faison
faisons3@aol.com

Bio

Poet, author, educator, and military spouse, Latorial D. W. Faison, was born and raised in rural Southampton County, Virginia. She studied English Literature at the University of Virginia and completed graduate studies at VA TECH. Faison is the author of I Am Woman, flesh, Love Poems, Immaculate Perceptions, Secrets of My Soul, 28 Days of Poetry Celebrating Black History (Volumes 1-3), The Marriage Bed, and children’s book Kendall’s Golf Lesson. Faison’s poetry has appeared in Deep South Magazine, Obsidian, Blackberry Magazine, About Place Journal, Southern Women’s Review, Kalyani Magazine, Mandala Journal, Chickenbones, The Chattahoochee Review, Electronic Corpse: poems from a digital salon, and elsewhere. Faison currently resides in Woodbridge, Virginia with her husband and sons. While Faison has presence on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, her official website is www.latorialfaison.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Latorial D. W. Faison and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Last Day

This twisting of esophageal matters
this forceful overseeing of lambs
this coat of unnecessary colors,
this abandonment of green pastures
this anatomy of chaos,
this politics of a Judas kiss
this second death without a second coming
his temple money-changers have built anew.


A Haiku: America c. 2016

There’s so much hell here
Black tears, Black lives, Black matters
White falling from sky

 

 



Ali Liebegott
friendofducks@gmail.com

Bio

Ali Liebegott has published three books: The Beautifully Worthless, The IHOP Papers, and Cha-Ching! She is the recipient of two Lambda Literary Awards and a Ferro-Grumley Award. She has read and performed her work throughout the United States and Canada with the legendary queer literary tour Sister Spit. In collaboration with Michelle Tea and Elizabeth Pickens she created The RADAR LAB, a free queer writer’s retreat from 2009-2013. in 2010 she took a train trip across America to interview poets for a project called The Heart has many Doors–. She currently lives in Los Angeles and writes for the Emmy Award-winning show Transparent.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Ali Liebegott and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


After Richard Avedon’s Show at the SF MOMA
or Tell the Donor Family a Little Bit About Yourself

A few weeks after my third knee surgery
I found a pamphlet and preaddressed envelope
with suggestions on how to thank the donor family
for my cadaver graft if I chose to.
 
I’d forgotten a piece of someone dead was inside me.
 
Tell the donor family a little bit about yourself,
the pamphlet instructed.
 
I never considered telling them the truth.
Since youth I’ve practiced evaporating
and now it’s routine like a magic trick
or second language I slip in and out of.
 
I put my life in a flour sifter and banged it twice
into the kitchen counter to try and write my letter.
 
Extracted, a single fact
from at least ten lives ago:
I played soccer.
 
I left out that I was queer and a poet
and a forty-year-old depressed cashier
and deliberated before I checked the box
that said YES
I wouldn’t mind if the donor family
contacted me on receipt of my letter. 
 
Loss makes people crazy.
What if they stalk me
missing their loved one,
I thought, crazily?
 
Until I know if the operation was successful
the only good to come out of it
is a temporary disabled placard that lets me
park for free in front of the SF MOMA.
 
It’s our anniversary but I wander away from you.
I like to think in museums,
feel myself changed by the pieces before me.
 
I start writing a poem with the line
What can I do with my small life but offer it to you?
 
You’re across the room looking into Malcolm X’s eyes.
 
The only portrait of Avedon’s wife
is crammed in a corner.  I try to study
her face but my eyes keep returning
to her thin, gold wedding band.
 
After the museum can we limp to a pawn shop
and I’ll buy you a ring like hers?
You don’t give a shit about jewelry
that tells the world one person owns another.
 
I wander into the American Midwest Room
and stare at a portrait of a woman with heavy eyelids
and deep lines across her forehead.
It’s the room of  people who’ve seen shit—
unrecognizable names and titles:
drifter, carny, unemployed field hand, rattlesnake skinner.
No one’s smiling, especially the drifter.
 
Disappointment changes a face.
The eyes relax into a hostile glare,
the hitchhiker’s lips—
pursed into a permanent fuck you.
 
Avedon was a hunter crouched in a tree
ready to snap up disgust and despair, I think.
Then I learn he had a makeup man
smearing dust across the miner’s cheek.
 
There’s no Janis Joplin or Carson McCullers
in the American Midwest Room—
no Beckett grimacing through a wall of snowflakes.
 
I find you in front of Warhol after he’d been shot,
faceless with a black turtleneck and shiny leather jacket.
Some people are so famous you know them from their torsos.
I study the winding road of puckered scars
on Warhol’s chest as I do my heel lifts. 
Up on my toes and then down again,
the cadaver pieces help to build muscles
around the knee that’s been shitty for twenty five years. 
The surgeon called my bad leg my chicken leg
and it made me love him.
 
I try to take in Warhol’s Factory shot
through the cloud of inane chatter about Candy Darling.
In the room the idiots come and go talking of Warhol’s transsexual.
 
In the last room, portraits taken in the final year of Avedon’s life:
Bjork, and then a triptych of self-portraits.
Avedon looks everywhere but the camera. 
I can’t tell if he knows his own death is near.
I’m looking at his body for signs of it packing its bags.
 
His pants are dirty, like he’s spilled oatmeal on them.
And that’s how we leave this world I guess–
looking down with some kind of food spilled on our pants.

 

 



 

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October 24-30, 2016: Poetry from Jon Wesick and Steve Klepetar

​Jon Wesick and Steve Klepetar

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


​Jon Wesick
jwesick@sbcglobal.net

Bio

Host of San Diego’s Gelato Poetry Series, author of the poetry collection Words of Power Dances of Freedom, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published over three hundred poems in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. He has also published nearly a hundred short stories. One was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. One of his poems won the Editor’s Choice Award in the 2016 Spirit First Contest. Another won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest. One had a link on the Car Talk website. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. Visit Jon on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Jon Wesick and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Last Day

As each vacation’s end approaches,
I’m once again a boy on Sunday night
just hours from my dreaded return to junior high.
I make the best of the time left.

Serendipity! The Portland Corgi Walk
hundreds of stubby-legged dogs, eyes shining,
ears tall as microwave towers

A sunny afternoon on Brussels’ Grand Place
cobblestones, guild halls,
Neo Gothic house of Hapsburg kings.
European TV all night
Weather reports from Turkey. Turkey!
Belgian ale and Arab pastries for breakfast
– pistachio, honey, rose water

Dublin throws me a going-away party
with a musical in my hotel – man and woman
singing about the death of their love.
Yeat’s ghost leads me around the corner
to his Abbey Theatre. A cabby
shows me his hurling stick at the airport.

Feeling like an old Asia hand after five weeks,
I climb the ramp to a 747. The boy in front asks,
“How many years you been here?
I’ve been for three.”

Hong Kong, a typhoon buys me an extra day.
“Would you like some green tea, sir?”
the valet turns down my bedspread.
“Why yes! Yes, I would!”

 



Steve Klepetar
sfklepetar@stcloudstate.edu

Bio

Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where he taught literature and creative writing at Saint Cloud State University. Klepetar’s work has appeared worldwide, in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Deep Water, Expound, The Muse: India, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including three in 2015). He has also done several collaborations with composer Richard Lavenda of Rice University in Houston, including a one-act opera, Barricades, for which he wrote the libretto. Klepetar is the author of ten poetry collections and chapbooks, the most recent of which include The Li Bo Poems (Flutter Press, 2016) and Family Reunion (forthcoming from Big Table Publishing). Download his free chapbook "Return of the Bride of Frankenstein" here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Steve Klepetar and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


No Time

We had no time to fling ourselves into air,
or ride warm currents above sea cliffs.
If we had it to do over again, we might
have changed bodies with the Storm Petrel,
that flew only at night, skimming moonlight
shimmering on the surface of the bay.
But we were hurried and harried into earth
where our fingers grew to enormous size
and our eyesight shrank to a blurry frame.
We found caves and learned to listen in the dark.
We coaxed fire from stones, rubbed ourselves
with clay and ash. We smelled fungi growing
in the rock seams, and there we invented God,
who had scratched us from dirt, and towered
in our dreams like a great crow with golden eyes.


Midnight Sky

It was never about the broken
branch dangling from the last
unmarked elm. It wasn’t the arm

swinging uselessly at my side;
not lightning strikes in a late
summer storm, or the burnt

out light above the porch door.
It had nothing to do
with the copper-headed bird

pinging against window glass
again and again until I shooed
her away with a broom and tore

down her nest with merciless
hands. It might have been the heat,
I don’t know, or the fact

that my shadow pooled around
my shoes, a dark circle squeezing
head through knees. That

and the bright hole in midnight sky
through which I leapt, a silver fish
straining toward ancestral breeding grounds.


The Cowgirl Who Freed the Moon

I know a cowgirl who owns a dozen horses
out in the country not far from a small
town on the Minnesota plains. She owns
a lawnmower and a stove and goes riding
when the moon is full. Sometimes she rides
up into the stars. Coyotes watch warily,
judging distance by the angle of her ascent.
They fear the bullets in her eyes.
She rebuilds engines, strips washing machines,
changes hoses and belts, votes
for women who aren’t afraid to lose
or wear their hair in braids down to their hips.
I saw her in the mirror once, looking past
my shoulder, face like a stone angel
in streetlight glare. I offered her my gloves.
Her thin fingers seemed to stretch
as they caught the light. It was colder then,
windows thick with ice where the wind crept in.
We sat in her kitchen drinking milk she brought
from a nearby farm. It was delicious, thick
with cream. Once she brought me a cake
plastered with icing and my name stitched
in pink. I ate a piece, but it made my molars ache.
Next day we woke to see a lake in her yard,
but by afternoon it had drained to a small pond.
Late that night we looked out to see the gibbous
moon stuck fast in its frozen heart.
We had to chip for hours, almost until dawn.
Then she backed her truck out of the garage,
hooked the winch around one narrow end to set it free.

 

 



 

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October 17-23, 2016: Poetry from Jennifer Bradpiece, Jo Angela Edwins, and Luisa A. Igloria

This week presenting the winners of the 2016 (19th annual)
Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest:

Jennifer Bradpiece, Jo Angela Edwins and Luisa A. Igloria

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


Jennifer Bradpiece
crystallil@hotmail.com

Bio

Jennifer Bradpiece won first place in the 2016 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest

I was born and raised in the multifaceted muse, Los Angeles, where I still reside. I have my Bachelors in Creative Writing from Antioch University. When I’m not rescuing Pit Bulls, I try to remain active in the Los Angeles writing and art scene: I’ve interned at Beyond Baroque and I often collaborate with multi-media artists on projects. My poetry has been published in various journals and online zines, including The Nervous Breakdown, 491 Magazine, Mas Tequila Review, and The Common Ground Review. I have poetry forthcoming in Degenerate Literature Review and NeosAlexandria: The Dark Ones Anthology among others.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Jennifer Bradpiece and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Biography

My mother is a hospital bed.

My mother is a glamorous 5’10
in her long cut slacks.

My mother is steel and metal plowing cold linoleum.

My mother is a hand model at 16 in New York.

My mother is a POW inside her skin.

My mother is a text book editor in her 30s.

My mother is hemorrhaging morphine metaphors at the mouth.

My mother is a cross-word Sudoku queen.

My mother swears she’s been probed by aliens;
they watch us now, and wait.

My mother is all perfumed in her cigarette plums, anointed in sweet
white wine, and lit by a Hawaiian sunset.

My mother hisses at the well-dressed palliative care doctor
every time she walks in her room.

My mother calls her the “Angel of Death.”

My mother whispers to me and giggles about toe-faeries as i massage her feet.

My mother is a Japanese wood cutting.

My mother’s voice is not my mother’s voice.

My mother was called communist by a small town cop
because she wore black and read beat poetry.

My mother is all Xrays and radioactive dyes.

My mother loses her love: impaled in a trap in Vietnam.

My mother contains a PICC line to another dimension.

My mother marries her high school boyfriend to move to London.

My mother is shrinking like dry sands in high tide.

My mother sees her aunt in flames on a movie screen
the day a lit cigarette eats the bed.

My mother dreams the death of another in an early morning news radio headline.

My mother marries her divorce attorney.

My mother is the recoil left behind a fired gun.

My mother adopts all my friends and lovers while i orphan myself for years.

My mother and i recognize each other the night her arm grows four times its size.

My mother nearly drowns as a child.

My mother sees her body underwater from a tree branch above.

My mother reads Runes to us every New Years Day.

My mother is an octopus, her translucent tentacles all inked out.

My mother wears falls, dresses like Twiggy, looks like a young Catherine Denueve.

My mother is a pharaoh, tugging the tubes in her sarcophagus,
wild eyed,
summoning us all to follow.

 

(First published in Riprap Journal 37)

 

 


Jo Angela Edwins
JEdwins@FMARION.EDU

Bio

Dr. Jo Angela Edwins won second place in the 2016 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest.

She teaches poetry writing, American literature, general literature, and composition at Francis Marion University in St. Florence, California. She received her Ph.D. in English with a focus on contemporary American literature at the University of Tennessee. She has published articles and book reviews on contemporary American poetry and has also published poems in various journals and magazines, including Calyx, Naugatuck River Review, New South, and Sojourn. She is the 2014 Carrie McCray Nickens Fellowship award winner in poetry from the South Carolina Academy of Authors. Her first chapbook Play was released by Finishing Line Press in May, 2016.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Luisa Igloria and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

This Year

The brothers at the fraternity house decided
to smear a blow-up doll with scarlet paint
and leave it in the yard, head bowed, legs splayed,
a cheap Halloween decoration.

Four women were found murdered in this small city
in three months. A grandmother who sang in church,
hunched in a ditch. Two women, cousins,
sunken in shallow graves behind
their killers’ ramshackle house.
Another woman, shrouded in an urban field
overgrown with kudzu. Workers cleaning
the wide lot smelled what they thought was a dead
stray dog for days and said nothing, only hacked
with greater care the nearer they came to the corner
that hid what made them afraid. In another
county, a woman, home from communion,
discovered her pug, a puppy, her first pet,
roasted in an oven, the door wedged shut
with her grandmother’s parson’s chair.

And people wonder still
why we tell sad women’s stories.
We listen to such questions. We light candles.
Put on a pot of tea. Pull dark bread
from the cupboards. Ask the people to sit down



Luisa A. Igloria
luisa.igloria61@gmail.com

Bio

Luisa A. Iglora won third place in the 2016 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest.

Originally from Baguio City in the Philippines, Luisa A. Igloria is the author of 13 books of poetry and 1 chapbook. She has four daughters and now makes her home in Virginia with most of her family. She is a Professor of Creative Writing and English, and from 2009-2015 was Director of the MFA Creative Writing Program at Old Dominion University. Her work has appeared or been accepted in numerous anthologies and journals including New England Review, The Common, Poetry, Crab Orchard Review, The Missouri Review, Indiana Review, Poetry East, Umbrella, Sweet, qarrtsiluni, poemeleon, Smartish Pace, Rattle, The North American Review, Bellingham Review, Shearsman (UK), PRISM International (Canada), Poetry Salzburg Review (Austria), The Asian Pacific American Journal, and TriQuarterly.Vist her on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Luisa Igloria and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Only let the body find the chime

In the country,
we save all the bits

of leftover string, the fat
that drips from the sides

of rusted nails. Waste not,
sings the crooked bird

in the clock that tells
the time a hundred ways—

or waste away.
In the afternoons,

when the sun begins to drop
through the thin atmosphere,

we sit on the porch
and begin our real work:

someone has to do it,
someone has to find the hollow

reeds through which the wind,
strafing through, might make

a different kind of sound
from the ones we know.

 


 

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October 10-16, 2016: Poetry from Louie Crew Clay and Austin Davis

​Louie Crew Clay and Austin Davis

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


​Louie Crew Clay
louie.clay@comcast.net

Bio (auto)

Queer poet Louie Crew Clay, 79½, an Alabama native and an emeritus professor at Rutgers, lives in East Orange, NJ, with his husband Ernest Clay. Editors have published 2,612 of Louie Clay’s poems and essays, including Letters from Samaria: The Prose and Poetry of Louie Crew Clay, NYC: Seabury Press, November 2015. Louie’s latest book Letters from Samaria: The Prose and Poetry of Louie Crew Clay (November 2015) is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle. See Louie’s Wikipedia page here. The University of Michigan collects Clay’s papers.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Louie Crew Clay and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Lost half the day

Lost half the day on lust,
with binoculars
and movies.

Then washed clothes.

 



Austin Davis
austin.davis@cox.net

Bio (auto)

Austin Davis is a poet from Mesa, Arizona. His first collection of poetry titled "A Drizzle At Dawn" has been published and is currently being sold on Amazon.com and in Barnes and Noble. Poetry from this collection has been published in literary magazines, most recently in Sleet Magazine and Minds Eye.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Austin Davis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Harder to Kill

She lathers her skin with Dove
and cooks her meals
at home every night.
She likes to watch the pictures
retract in and expand out
in the slide show
like her rhythmic breathing,
and the usual beating of her heart
against her chest.
A soft confusion,
an enlightening breath
she sits at her desk
and thinks about why
it is harder to kill our people
when we read their poetry.

 

 



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October 3-9, 2016: Poetry from John Reinhart and Lisa Stice

​John Reinhart and ​Lisa Stice

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


​John Reinhart
johnreinhart@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

An arsonist by trade, John Reinhart spends his spare time gluing things together. He lives on an urban farmlette in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, with his wife, three children, dog, cat, duck, goats, chickens, pigeons, and undoubtedly mice. He is a Frequent Contributor at the Songs of Eretz Poetry Review and his chapbook, "encircled," is available from Prolific Press. You may find more of his poetry and links to yet more at http://www.patreon.com/johnreinhart. You can also connect with him at https://www.facebook.com/JohnReinhartPoet.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​John Reinhart and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Jennifer Worries

Jennifer worries what her neighbors will
think since the door panel fell off her
car not to mention the car itself, not the
latest model though highly reliable.
She worries about her children
eating dirt, eating worms, eating well
and about their social life without a
passenger door panel. The Joneses
don’t even live on her block and no one
sees them around anyway, yet the
bedtime myth abounds and though the
cold war ended, consumer armament
rages in overgrown boxes, buzzing like
new packages of bees at the post office,
waiting for freedom. She just quit her
job because life is too short and her
kids are still young and now she worries
about life with four chickens, two
children, one income, and a reliable
car with no passenger side door panel.

(First published in The Vocabula Review)

 



​Lisa Stice
houlistice@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Lisa Stice received a BA in English literature from Mesa State College (now Colorado Mesa University) and an MFA in creative writing and literary arts from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She is a military wife who lives in Hampstead, North Carolina with her husband, daughter and dog. She is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Uniform (Aldrich Press, 2016). You can find out more about her and her publications at lisastice.wordpress.com and facebook.com/LisaSticePoet.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Lisa Stice and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Backyard Play

this was different
from where they came
so they built defenses

walled cities
of empty shoe boxes
the piling up of pine cones

they went into a corner
talked about it together—
this strange place

as she petted his back
as he turned to lick her cheek
they forgot to be frightened

*some words borrowed from “Chapter VII in which
Kanga and Baby Roo Come to the Forest, and Piglet
Has a Bath” Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne (“Nobody
seemed to know where they came from, but they were
in
the Forest,” “went into a corner,” “forgot to be frightened”)
and from “Attacks by Stratagem” The Art of War by Sun Tzu
(“walled cities,” “the piling up of mounds”)


Because Everything Else Is Quite Unequal

The goats push begging noses
through chain link
…………………………you ration
out alfalfa pellets
…………………………let them
receive their fair shares
from your upturned palms.

*part of the title is borrowed from “Attacks by Stratagem”
The Art of War by Sun Tzu (“quite unequal”)

 

 



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September 26 – October 2, 2016: Poetry from Elizabeth Alford and J.I. Kleinberg

​Elizabeth Alford and ​J.I. Kleinberg​

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


​Elizabeth Alford
rivenliether@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Elizabeth Alford (Hayward, California) is a magna cum laude graduate of California State University, East Bay (B.A. English, 2014). She currently lives in Hayward, California, is an amateur photographer, and spends most of her time writing Japanese short forms. Her work has recently appeared at Cultured Vultures, Silver Birch Press, Hedgerow, and Failed Haiku. Follow her poetry adventures @ http://www.facebook.com/ElizabethAlfordPoetry

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Elizabeth Alford and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Poetry is a Verb

…………."… Poetry is a verb, not a noun." – Jane Hirshfield

When canyons rise to meet the cliffs
and the rivers all run dry;
when the air we need is hard to breathe,
come poetry with me.

For the sea itself is drowning
and the deserts cry for rain.
The bread we eat has tainted grain;
come poetry with me.

While the roads we take are crumbling
and our sidewalks fall apart,
a drifting leaf is no sign of peace;
come poetry with me.

When ancient trees are paved away,
stillbirthing barren land,
and the life we know has given way
once Fate has dealt our hand;

we’ll watch the stars above implode,
believing we’re still free.
When the world is gone, you’ll understand.
Come poetry with me.

 



​J.I. Kleinberg​
jikleinberg@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

A Pushcart nominee, J.I. Kleinberg is co-editor of Noisy Water: Poetry from Whatcom County, Washington (Other Mind Press 2015). Her poetry has appeared recently in One, Diagram, PoemMemoirStory, Clover: A Literary Rag, The Precise Dimension of Light (Leaf Press, 2016) and elsewhere. She lives in Bellingham, Washington, and blogs most days at chocolateisaverb.wordpress.com and thepoetrydepartment.wordpress.com.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​J.I. Kleinberg​ and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


January morning

I imagined a bear
lumbering black hump
in the back by the bin
when I looked out the window
this morning but no bear
was there just the green bin
steady and square
and the dark road
and leafless limbs
swaying in November
wind that should have denned
but wanders instead
the alleys of January


on this coast

you can always reach land
by heading north
he says
but now
 
stilled
 
afloat in fog
 
colorless
sea-scented cocoon
 
blind
I grasp
at slippery rails
turn from air’s chill bite
toward any warmth
squint for shadows
mountains
shore
a lighthouse beam
a drift of kelp
 
listen
for gull or goose
wave or whale
motor
voice
a buoy’s moan
a warning bell
 
waiting
listening
ebb tide in my veins
pulled to the horizon

 

 



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September 19-25, 2016: Poetry from John L. Stanizzi and M. A. Istvan Jr.

​John L. Stanizzi and M. A. Istvan Jr.

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


​John L. Stanizzi
jnc4251@aol.com

Bio (auto)

John L. Stanizzi, of Coventry, Connecticut, is the author of Ecstasy Among Ghosts, Sleepwalking, Dance Against the Wall (www.antrimhousebooks.com), and After the Bell, and Hallelujah Time! (www.bigtablepublishing.com). His poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, The New York Quarterly, American Life In Poetry, Chiron Review, Tar River Poetry, Rattle, Passages North, The Spoon River Quarterly, Poet Lore, The Connecticut River Review, Freshwater, Boston Literary Review, and many other publications. He has new work forthcoming in Raintown Review, Off the Coast, and LIPS. John has read at many venues throughout Connecticut, including The Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, RJ Julia Booksellers, and the Arts Café Mystic, and his work has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. He is currently an adjunct professor of English at Manchester Community College. He lives with his wife, Carol. Visit John on the web here: http://www.johnlstanizzi.com/

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​John L. Stanizzi and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)

………….for my students at Manchester Community College

My student from Nam speaks hardly any
English, and yet here she is trying hard
to comprehend the nonsense of John Donne
attempting to con a girl with some jive
about a flea. And my boy from Haiti
rolls his eyes with disgust when I bring up
Daddy and Plath and ovens and babies.
I have students from the Dominican,
Ukraine, Puerto Rico, and the good old
U.S. of A, all of them chasing what
they heard was the pot of gold they’d find here.
And I’m sure I see the traces of smiles
when I say that if Jamiaca Kinkaid
can rise up from the ashes, so can you.

 



M. A. Istvan Jr.
maistvanjr@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

M. A. Istvan Jr., an animal dealer based out of Austin TX, has spearheaded a campaign to display zoo creatures in “unnatural” settings. According to Istvan, displaying animals in unnatural settings brings the animal itself into stark relief. “We go to zoos to see animals,” Istvan says. “The problem is that, when placed in replicas of their natural habitat, animals have a tendency to fade into the background—sometimes in the most literal sense. But the days of kids wondering where the lion is are numbered.” Istvan thinks that his new approach will help stimulate a zoo industry whose dwindling over the last decade has meant dwindling resources for animal conservation. “I do not call for a return of the bear back to the cramped cage of the Victorian menagerie,” Istvan insists against detractors. “I envision walruses, for example, in replicas of office mailrooms. Minimal adornment on the animal itself. Perhaps only a bowtie in the case of the walrus.”

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by M. A. Istvan Jr. and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


My Neighbor’s Passing

1
 
It was calm outside my window
two days ago. No ambulance
like today. No weeping, hugging,
like now. No lady at my door
informing me, reluctant to open
with morning breath: “Cancer.
It came back. He wouldn’t sleep.
He gave in just now. It was time.
The kids got to kiss him goodbye.”
 
It was calm outside my window
two days ago. My son, dimpled
with defiance, rolled his ball down
to the road. My neighbor, masked
for oxygen in the truck I knew
him to drive, creaked and groaned
back from bingo with his old lady.
 
Passing us that peach afternoon
(just after my dash for the ball),
the man gave full-armed waves
behind the glass with tired eyes.
In a tone opposite my frustration,
I said, “Give a wave!” My son
disregarded the ball and stared
dimpleless, dirt-digging fingers
bobbing. Neither wanted it to end,
it seemed. Neither wanted to be
snapped from the snuggle across
distances. And the garage door
descended with slow drama.
 
2
 
I think because this might be
what I would do too, I wonder
if he fixated upon this image
of my son in peach. I wonder
if the image of my staring son
backgrounded even close faces:
wife, kids, grandkids. I wonder
if it glowed through the rucking
of garments nightlong, refusal
to sleep from fear of never
waking (each nodding off
a dropping down a black hole,
the voices and the fan buzz
cutting out each time). I wonder
if it stood through complaints
by grandkids at daybreak: “Mom,
I didn’t want cheese!” “Mom,
today’s the sleepover!” I wonder
if it thrust forth through concern
about the unsaid and the undone,
as he lied in that bed of recall,
eyes more aware than anyone
could know, than soft breaths
and glassiness let on. I wonder
if it reposed through­­ the gurgles,
through their desired decreasing
in frequency and violence,
through the giving in to rest,
the slip of the last breath. I hope
that it gave him comfort if this
happened to be the case. I worry
that it would haunt me to the end.

 



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September 12-18, 2016: Poetry from Jonathan Hayes and Don Kingfisher Campbell

​Jonathan Hayes and Don Kingfisher Campbell

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


​Jonathan Hayes
jsh619@earthlink.net

Bio (auto)

Jonathan Hayes lives in Santa Cruz, California and is the editor / publisher of the long-running small press mag, "Over the Transom."

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Jonathan Hayes and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Way Some Poets Roll

I rec’d a submission letter today, so I thought,
to my humble magazine, Over the Transom

The poet had no poems in his letter
just a cover letter and a business card

The business card said, "A Moment in Infinity”

His cover letter stated he had been locked up
with Ginsberg for 24 hours during an anti-war protest

And that I should go to his web-site
and select some poems

A “Moment in Infinity”

I repeat to myself

 



Don Kingfisher Campbell
kingfisher1031@charter.net

Bio (auto)

Don Kingfisher Campbell, MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles, has been a coach and judge for California Poetry Out Loud, a
performing poet/teacher for Red Hen Press Youth Writing Workshops, Los
Angeles Area Coordinator and Board Member of California Poets In The
Schools, poetry editor of Angel City Review, publisher of Spectrum and the
San Gabriel Valley Poetry Quarterly, leader of the Emerging Urban Poets
writing and Deep Critique workshops, organizer of the San Gabriel Valley
Poetry Festival, and host of the Saturday Afternoon Poetry reading series in
Pasadena, California. For awards, features, and publication credits, please
go to: http://dkc1031.blogspot.com

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Don Kingfisher Campbell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Rectangular Man

Opens his almond eyes
Waking to strips of light from blinds
Reaches over to the bedside table

To grope for his glasses
Shaped like SUV’s
Sees an office building outside the window

Gets up from his bed
Looks around at four corners
Bookcases, tables, chairs, printer

Heads to the bathroom
Aims into the oval
Moseys over to the kitchen

To shake a cereal box
Pour milk from a carton
Scoops irregular flakes with a spoon

Then he grabs the charged cellphone
Switches on the living room television
Plops onto the long sofa to eat

Later brushes his teeth with a stick
Drinks from a cup
Spits into the sink

Marches to the front door
Swings it out to walk the walkway
Down steps

To the carport
Opens driver door
Descends into seat

Rolls along driveway to the gate
Turns onto the street
Glances at sidewalk trees

Pulls into parking lot
Slowly searches for a space
Parks between white lines

 



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August 29 – September 4, 2016: Poetry from M.J. Mellor and John Schulte

​M.J. Mellor and John Schulte

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


​M.J. Mellor
m.j.mellor@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

M.J. Mellor is a writer and poet who lives in London. His upbringing in Mid-Wales and struggles with his mental health influence much of his work, as does his quest to feed and fill an open mind. He writes to understand the human condition and to make sense of his own. He is currently working on his first collection of poetry and his first novel.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​M.J. Mellor and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Sonder

Thursday morning, 9.20am.
Hectares of cars –
metal in motion.
Streets lined with shoes.
Faces,
bodies,
all somewhere,
all something.
Roads meet, roads lead
we’ll never take.
Always somewhere,
always something.
Every sole glued to the earth,
all moving, knowing, being, doing.
Yet all nothing, all nowhere,
all no one to me and I will
always be no one.

 

 



John Schulte
johnschulte@me.com

Bio (auto)

John Schulte is a San Juan Capistrano, California writer and developer of animation, toys, books, and entertainment properties. He served on the development team for the wildly popular, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He studied poetry at the University of Oklahoma during the visiting professorships of Pulitzer Prize winner Maya Angelou and celebrated East Indian poet, Shiv K. Kumar. He is the author of the poetry collection Blue Muse Rising: Poetic Dust That Connects US. He also studied film writing with his Czech mentor, Arnost Lustig. Schulte co-wrote and co-produced a pilot for Garry Marshall, called Four Stars. He co-produced a teenage novel series with his brother, called Time Capsule Murders. Schulte also edited books by Edgar Award-winning authoress, Barbara Brooks Wallace. He is a member of the Authors Guild and a member of the Academy of American Poets. His poetic work has appeared in sundry anthologies, literary journals, and magazines. Visit John on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by John Schulte and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


He was a Lenin Grad

In the Shostakovich of my mind
drab grey factory stacks
spew green mercury
into young lung sacs
while the red flag unfurls the star
reigning atop the hammer and sickle
revolting against the tsar

Grotesque Mahlerian marches
chromatically kicking against the Great Purge
surge into harmonies cacophonous
coarse contrapuntal chords
billow and bellow brazenly to stifle the venom
mocking hymns of victory play counterpoint
to a myriad of celluloid chintz and banality
bombastically blasting forth to over-score action

In the Shostakovich of my mind
a frustrating frenzy of fiery fretting
and soaring strenuous strains of duress
are caressed by tremulous timpani
as tumultuous storms parade
into the Kremlin — the Soviet cerebellum
the Shostakovich of my mind
where there is no rest in disingenuous triumph

The triumvirate of Stalin, Churchill, and Roosevelt
could not cease the siege upon spirits
until finally a concert swelled out encircling the city,
bloated like starving bellies kept alive by boiled belts
once around their waists, now waifish and weathered
a ragtag band of performers, a skeleton orchestra
playing a calamitous composition of culture and courage
brash Brucknerian brassy and boisterous
a tumultuous testimony of terror
an inquisition for blood
an invasion of slow and ruthless torture
blaring from the bassoons
crying from the clarinets
singing from the strings
dying from the drums
a psychological Squall as shells shot
skyward then downward bombarding back the enemy
premature Nazis champagne-toasted at the Astoria
900 days ended with half a million burials
as six notes descended to resurrect a city’s soul

 



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August 22-28, 2016: Nick Abanavas and Keith Moul

​Nick Abanavas and Keith Moul

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


​Nick Abanavas
nabanavas@nyc.rr.com

Bio (auto)

Nick Abanavas is a born and raised New Yorker and a second generation artist. He has lived in New York City, Kansas City and San Francisco and now resides in Kips Bay, Manhattan.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Nick Abanavas and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Last Annual Hum-A-Long

Rap-tappa-tap
tappa-tap-tappa-tap-tappa
ratty-at-dat-rappa-tat
tappa-rat

The whiz-bang of heavy semi’s
rolling on wooden wheels
throttles across West Broadway
herding toward the light called…TUNNEL.

Between tides
the river stutters
drip dripping leaky faucets
as Frank n’ Stein sizzles, tapping
a third rails source
that the monster might live.

At home
no vacancy summons interest
for stale, half-empty shelves.

Eat Out!

 

 



Keith Moul
moulpoemsphotos@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Keith Moul’s poems and photos are published widely. Finishing Line Press released a chap called The Future as a Picnic Lunch in 2015. Aldrich Press published Naked Among Possibilities in July, 2016. He has lived comfortably in Port Angeles, Washington for about 2 years.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Keith Moul and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


At an All Night Movie

sBy this time, it’s hard to tell
why the Russian mouth eating
English (Oscar Homulka)
consented to say its lines.
The director must have lost
his ear or failed to review
the film, or, perhaps, fallen
asleep like these movie fans,
and snored.
……………….I see the second
feature for the third time.  I
will not sleep.  I will not die
into the motion of that mouth,
the chewing of this language,
the slumped silence in these seats.
 
Outside fog clings to street lights,
silver calyxes of flowers
used to cold and fast growing
beneath the civic headstones
of night.
……………All of us–the man
wish a diseased cough, the man
who throughout six shows and three
intermissions has not moved
from his broken seat, the man
with a mouth like Homulka
who hasn’t said a word, and
perhaps hasn’t eaten–all
view the picture from behind
rows of headstones, until morning,
like some director, orders
the flowers cut and printed
and all things covered in fog.
 


Originally published in "The Lamp in the Spine,"
No. 3, Winter, 1972, pp. 70-71.

 



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August 15-21, 2016: Poetry from Yin Xiaoyuan and James Babbs

​Yin Xiaoyuan and James Babbs

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


​Yin Xiaoyuan
catherineink@163.com

Bio (auto)

Yin Xiaoyuan (Yīn Xiǎoyuán, “殷晓媛” in Chinese) is an avant-garde, crossover epic poet as well as a trans-genre & multilingual writer, founder of Encyclopedic Poetry School (in the year of 2007), initiator of hermaphroditic writing movement and chief drafter of Declaration of Hermaphroditic Writing. She is author of 18 encyclopaedic epics (add up to a total of 70 thousand lines) and 24 series of short poems with themes varying from physics, chemistry, biology, geography, geology, psychology, calligraphy, photography, musicology, geometry, atmospheric science to information sciences. She has gained membership of Translators Association of China, the Poetry Institute of China and of Beijing Writers’ Association. Her works in Chinese, English, Japanese, German and French were widely published home and abroad in U.S.A.,Canada, Japan, Germany, Australian and Thailand, etc. 7 books written by her have been published so far.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Yin Xiaoyuan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Alternating Current, either Turbulent or Serene

On the beach, you asked the man in grayish windbreaker:
 ‘How do you define ‘The Will’?’
He drew a sine-wave with his finger in the sand, then wiped it away
With waves at his command. A capful of vinegar, and seething calories of vegetables
In your stomach, turning and burning, gave you the illusion
Of snakes slithering away somewhere behind. Last night on your way home,
 
There was a repeat of the scene, in which she refused to allow you
To touch her rain-drenched violin. ‘Keep your distance, am I clear?
Only one of the strings is the zero line, you just can’t tell which!’ She smiled weirdly
And ran upstairs. The string which snapped during the performance
Dragged along behind her, was as thick as a towrope. Confused, standing still there,
 
You tossed a coin into the air, and heard it
Droning fast, with strong and weak beats, alternating,
A downpour and a flood – overflowing in different directions.
Fourteen days are needed to dry your nets, and clear
All water-level data. Landforms, temperature, light from above
 
And your masculinity, will be turned inside out like a coat
On the other side of the globe.

 



James Babbs
j.babbs@mchsi.com

Bio (auto)

James Babbs is a writer, a dreamer, a three-time loser and an all-around nice guy who just wants to be left alone. He lives in the small town of Stanford, Illinois, population 700 and holding. James is the author of Disturbing The Light (2013), The Weight of Invisible Things (2013), Another Beautiful Night (2010) & Dictionary of Chaos, and has hundreds of poems and a few short stories scattered all over the internet.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by James Babbs and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


So There

so there we were
the two of us
you and me
and our love
was a bird with broken wings
the bird couldn’t fly
but the bird would sing
in the evenings
after the light had died
and the songs it sang
were songs full of sadness
songs of madness
songs about forgotten dreams
and all of the songs the bird sang
sounded so beautiful
and we listened to them
we knew what the songs were for
but we never danced
we just sat there
across from each other
the two of us
you and me


Big Fat Moon

big fat moon
stained red in the sky
late night hours and
I’m driving back home
remembering
the angry words we exchanged
while trying to navigate
the dark curves of the road
up ahead
deer caught momentarily
in the glare of my headlights
I slam on the brakes
holding my breath
before the sudden movement
when the deer disappears
into the darkness again
so what is it about this
that reminds me of love

 



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August 1-7, 2016: Poetry from David Spicer and Domenic J. Scopa

​David Spicer and Domenic J. Scopa

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


​David Spicer
earwinxus@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

David Spicer has had poems in Yellow Mama, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The Laughing Dog, In Between Hangovers, The American Poetry Review, Easy Street, Ploughshares, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, is the author of one full-length collection of poems and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​David Spicer and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

If Interested, Call 634-5683

Since kindergarten communion I’ve
swallowed revelations that fell
into my clutches, held baggage that
chose to bump my belly, and straggled
to the archives of the library
in my psyche, hibernating like books
crowding a deserted dresser. When ready
to accept the crystal thinking of the Greeks,
a loudmouth newscaster’s votives
to hallucinogens, or plump research
about Mao over intercoms, I surrendered,
unlocking prophecies in recovered cantos
of Pound and Emily the Martyr. Now,
I eat rhubarb pie with milk the color
of bored snow, or radishes garnishing
duck flattened to my specifications.
I haven’t unlocked the furnace under the bare
light bulb of my crumbling basement in years,
but if you visit, whistle Dixie and I’ll drop
the water pump I’m fixing, open the rusty door
with welcoming, palsied arms, and prepare
the bathwater to soothe bruises you and I
have endured, like every other clipped body
in this sad, random world of lost idiots.

 



Domenic J. Scopa
djscopa@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Domenic Scopa is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the 2014 recipient of the Robert K. Johnson Poetry Prize and Garvin Tate Merit Scholarship. He holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His poetry and translations have been featured in Poetry Quarterly, Reed Magazine, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Reunion: The Dallas Review, Belleville Park Pages, and many others. He is currently an adjunct professor for the Changing Lives Through Literature program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is also a copyeditor for The Tishman Review and a manuscript reader for Hunger Mountain.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Domenic J. Scopa and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


In the Land of Fields

The final time my babysitter sinned
was when he mapped a way,
and made forgiveness possible
for how his hips slammed into me.
If I could do it, he might also,
someday, wherever he strayed,
be so humble to forgive himself.
 
*
 
Wanting solitude,
longing for the simple loneliness of travel,
I said farewell and flew to Poland.
Descending, I looked down
at snow powdering fields,
and small towns,
each house with a steeple roof-
Then the scowling tarmac,
thump of touchdown…
Then nothing…
Still he followed,
and every woman I held close
felt like my captive.
Run away. Or don’t.
Most of my decisions have seemed wrong.
 
*
 
Once, at dusk, I strolled
the foggy streets of Warsaw,
the pavement puddled,
…………and reflecting,
and at that hour, alone,
I stopped hearing the sigh of traffic,
discussions, the racket
of winter wind lifting leaves
high above the sidewalk lamps.
 
When I heard my nephew was born,
I thought, how noisy
this world must be for him,
…………how mortal.
That night, to spite a missing person,
I refused to listen
to the sound of cathedral bells…
to spite a missing person…
To be honest, I was still attached.
My babysitter died and I was still attached.
It seems so strange to say it
…………quite like that-
But how else can I say it?
 
*
 
When I wake up,
I confront the mirror,
press the safety razor to my skin.
I uproot a breath.
My body craves to hold,
…………and be held.
Because there are faces
I may never see again,
…………I must say
there are two things about darkness
and what it does to us-
Her bright, hooker eyes
when I flicked the light switch off,
how the pupils constricted
as if in blind faith,
 
and my babysitter closing
…………the closet door,
shadowed and speechless. 

 



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July 25-31, 2016: Poetry from Nate Maye and Melissa Watt

​Nate Maye and Melissa Watt

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


​Nate Maye
natemaye3@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Nate Maye is a poet originally from and currently living in Austin, Texas

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Nate Maye and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Moonlit

along this path
with no lights
we live in an ancient time

when the power
goes out
we are reminded
of the real odor our
humanity carries

the real sounds
of scraping
all around us.


Constant

she says she is
constant
even wears it as a name

but she’s inconsistent
a sentence started
but never finished

a sound began
then falling off, a cascading
person, sliding away.

 

 

 

 

 



Melissa Watt

Bio (auto)

Melissa Watt holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College. Her poems are featured or forthcoming in The Breakwater Review, Ohio Edit, and Lunch Ticket. If she’s not writing, she’s probably singing karaoke with a live band or catching spiders and taking them outside as a favor to her loved ones.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Melissa Watt and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Insomniac

Count down from a hundred
to escape the waking
dread but it happens again.
Over five of them this time

crouch near the nightlight:
Centenarian ghosts in your home.
Downstairs, you find one
hunkered in the pantry with the Ritz.

Stare down his manacle-eyes’
dribble and glitter. Then sit
quietly in the den as one
by one, they come together

to take apart your coffee table.
Don’t ask why. Finally
Paul’s old harmonica shines
in moonlight. Close your eyes—

let the tremolo of old
sweep you clean, drift
over sleeping lapwings
until the world shakes alive.


Sponge Poem

Boil sponges in a pot but weigh them down or they will rise
like Jesus or absorbent swiss cheesed rebels.
You want them to stay below the surface for a purpose:

so that when you dish soap your pink plates, your glorified
macaroon holders, your delicate daisy glasses, when you scrub
mugs hard in the morning because a friend sent a picture text

of her freshly ornamented finger with the question,
“guess what?!” and you’re lost for words that aren’t jaded
or homicidal, when you just need to do something with your hands —

you want your tools to be unsullied, not architecture for bacteria,
perpetuators of chaos. You want peace when you stand
at the sink with a mindful drizzle of Dawn after working a double

at the Applebee’s or when you’ve just walked home from your lover’s
at 2am because you’re hoarse from forcing disparate lives to overlap
or sync, so the least you can do is have immaculate sponges.


Dreamwake

My dream lives in a soft spot of my skull- faded, creeping.
It is Jesus in your grilled cheese: the holy ordinary, mysterious

as our hunk of sun, gilded but binding us to the earth.
Sometimes I feel the burning borders of my heart give way

as we enact the obligatory predation of the workweek.
The dreaming sleeps. We: a gallery of mimics behind

our tablets on the verge of forgetting love as a way of life.
Our bodies were not put here to ignore the ability to embrace,

to droan, hangdog, under fluorescents, up and down the same
hallway for a bathroom break- a minute to breathe.

What brio is left,after thirteen years spent underused in offices, derogated
through coffee making? In the evening, suddenly, I, too, own a burning

pair of wings. A noise bleeds through my breathing- the treble of violets.
Here is our inheritance of light: God’s leonine burnishing.

 

 

 



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July 18-24, 2016: poetry from M. Brett Gaffney, Helen Townsend and Trish Hopkinson

M. Brett Gaffney, Helen Townsend and Trish Hopkinson

(the judges of the 2016 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest)

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


M. Brett Gaffney
mbrettgaffney@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

M. Brett Gaffney, originally from Houston, Texas, holds an MFA in Poetry from Southern Illinois University and edits art and poetry for Gingerbread House. Her poems have appeared in Exit 7, Penduline, Permafrost, Devilfish Review, Still: the Journal, Fruita Pulp, museum of americana, BlazeVOX, and Zone 3, among others. Her chapbook, Feeding the Dead, is forthcoming in 2016 from Porkbelly Press. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her partner and their dog, Ava, and works across the river in northern Kentucky as a library associate, promoting poetry whenever she can.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by M. Brett Gaffney and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Hellhound, Lost

Wandering pup—devil dog, heart full of smoke,
digs up gardens, little graves,
…………sheds a coat of gunpowder across this city.
Shreds of souls hang from his jowls like tired trash.

Beast of reckoning, of judgment, rests at the crossroads
of alleyway and back road, cries to a moon
………………………………that has forgotten his name.

Red-eyed stray trots in the rain, looks into houses,
through cracked doors, windowsills, these barriers
between light and dark, watches families
with warm laughs, sitting around the fireplace.

He whines,
…………soaked with longing,
and a Labrador lifts her head, barks, as if to say
…………………………………………………there is death. I see him
………………………………………………………and he is like me.

Some day he hopes a pair of hands
like this mother’s with her soft crochet,
will fold over his face, smooth past
…………the licks of flame and flea to find
…………the hound with cracked paws,
………………………………………..sleepy teeth.

One day, he thinks, they will wash the blood
from my bones, bring me a bed full of raven feathers,
feed me animals I have not killed,
…………………………………………chickens maybe,
……………………whose wings were never made for flight.



…………(previously published by BlazeVOC)

 

Six Flags

The steel and wooden
monsters lie in scraps,
limbs and teeth, tiny screws
scattered at the bottom of a dumpster,
termites burrowing into grains,
marrow of rollercoaster bones.

The ground remembers
the sweat and spit and beer
that seeped through concrete,
the screams to clockwork clicks,
the hurried breath
and before the spiraling
down, a chance encounter
of your hand between her legs.

Our knuckles worn white on rusty
handlebars, legs dangled,
grackles on curved flight,
cotton candy like static hair,
fingers in the mouth.

This field seems too small
for all our summers,
when we pressed each
other into the jaws
of mechanized youth
and came out blushing
with hair in our face,
soda cans dripping sugar
from our sun burnt lips.

After you left in October
someone died here.
His belt slithered loose and he fell.
There was yellow tape for weeks.

Afterwards the lights
still pulsed over
the highway at night—
the moon was at my feet,
her scream was in the wind,
and we were weightless without you.



…………(previously published by Zone 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 


Helen Townsend
prsgrlks@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Helen Townsend grew up in Fort Scott, Kansas, has lived in different spots around the world, and now finds herself in Indianapolis. If she were independently wealthy, she would spend her days hopping planes, practicing yoga, writing poetry, going for runs, and saving all the animals in the world. Because she is not independently wealthy, and has a short attention span, Helen has done many things over the years—taught English to speakers of other languages, taught high school English, taught yoga, coordinated the Indiana State Refugee Health Program, to name a few. Currently, she is a TB Nurse Case Manager.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Helen Townsend and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Forgiving the Enemy

The walnut must have just fallen
unseen until the center of her foot
landed on it, then rolled off
along with a ligament and a piece of bone.
A year of runs full stopped.
If only she were a superhero, she could fix it
spin time back and miss the thing
now lying with its outer softness cracked
or a yogi and go further still
to want to patch it, reattach it
hang it, green and perfect, back in its tree.

 

Your First Red Carpet Gig

He is beautiful.
He is articulate.
He compares the wrinkles
on his character’s face
to the Nazca lines of Peru.
What put them there
he never gets to as you
prod his smile, his eyes
his ab swag, his chest hair.

He says archeologists use
brooms not shovels “like so”
and begins his impression
of Emmett Kelly sweeping
the spotlight onto your toe
Then he smiles like your big
brother’s best friend you chased
and kissed once on the elbow.

 

The Decay of Before

Analog tape can only hold onto sound for so long.
Music rolls from reel to reel until the glued on notes
start falling off in little flakes of iron oxide.
It takes twenty or thirty years
but eventually the tape fades
from brown to clear
as surprising as if with each press
of my fingers playing Hanon piano scales
the notations fall off the page
and lay in a pile on the keyboard.

We become instructionless.

Then it’s like a tennis game
we can play with words like love.
Each volley—you.
Seen for the first time.
Brand new spin and the perfect place
to land in the net of my hands, a place
I didn’t even know existed until just this now.

 

 

 

 



Trish Hopkinson
trishntyler@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Trish Hopkinson has always loved words—in fact, her mother tells everyone she was born with a pen in her hand. She has two chapbooks Emissions and Pieced Into Treetops and has been published in several anthologies and journals, including Stirring, Chagrin River Review, and The Found Poetry Review. Hopkinson is co-founder of a local poetry group, Rock Canyon Poets. She is a product director by profession and resides in Utah with her handsome husband and their two outstanding children. You can follow her poetry adventures at http://trishhopkinson.com/.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Trish Hopkinson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

 

Wouldn’t a flyswatter be easier

Bare legs stuck to the vinyl seats
like flies on flypaper,
windows rolled down,
hands swooping in the wind,
barely grown-in buck teeth
beneath summer grins

on our way to Pioneer Drive-in.
Mom paid five dollars for the whole
station wagon load, tires grinding
their way across gravel
to a dusky spot near the screen.
Moths had already started to school

like silver fish in projector light
and a familiar cotton candy and
popcorn butter breath radiated
from the rickety refreshments stand.
We climbed atop the oxidized roof,
tossing up a few old quilts

and stained pillows to cushion our ribs
from the luggage rack rails.
My best friend and I had said goodbye
to 6th grade and helllooo to Ralph Macchio.
Hormones swooned into high-pitched
palpitations as he appeared

on the whitewashed boards—
all awkward and Karate-Kid-like.
Mr. Miyagi meant to make him a man.
We meant for him to make us women,
to capture us in his arms—gently,
like a fly in chopsticks.

We dreamt of maturity and sophistication,
the kind that would know
just what to say when we met . . .
The crackle of sun-scorched speaker,
a tinny soundtrack revelation,
and a little brother moonboot

thumping the ceiling from inside
shouting to share the Red Vines
abruptly brought us back—alarm clock style.
We hit snooze and wondered into a world
of Hollywood infamy and young love
where boys and girls held hands

and teens danced in the moonlight.
A world soon rushed away by
windshield wipers in Autumn rain.


originally published in Drunk Monkeys
August 2015


South Side

Suburban, but where
100 year-old homes creak
poor kids from their seams,

flaky paint facades and weedy
yards wait for stapled food stamps
to drop into the mailbox.

There should be religion here—
with a steeple on every corner
alongside a dime bag or a beggar.

Gospel is a thick fog, but only
spawns boredom in young people,
no matter how loud the sermon,

no matter how low parents set
the thermostat or how long they make
the bread and milk last,

it won’t be enough to keep
a teen from looking elsewhere
for something that feels

whiskey in your belly good,
warm hand on your thigh good.
Something to squelch envy,

to take notice, to be different.
It’s easy to sneak out
like lean gray mice

squeezing through a crevice,
pressing against the night—
go car-hopping, steal beer

and cigarettes from C-stores,
find glue or paint thinner or
gasoline to huff,

easy to coax a ride from
a mullet on a bullet bike,
easy to wrap legs around

a boy in the vacant lot,
easy enough that no other body
flinches when the kid

who lived in the mint-green
house on the south side
chokes on his tongue

and dies in his attic room
from a brain tumor.
Most of us knew him.

Some of us expect
to go the same way.

 

…………originally published in Stirring:A Literary Collection
…………Volume 18, Edition 4:April 2016

 

 

 

 



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July 11-17, 2016: Poetry from Taylor Graham and Mike Finley

​Taylor Graham and Mike Finley

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


​Taylor Graham
poetspiper@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler living outside Placerville, CA with a husband, three German Shepherds, and four Rhode Island Reds. She’s just been selected as inaugural poet laureate of El Dorado County. Her poems appear in California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present, The Iowa Review, Medusa’s Kitchen, New York Quarterly, Southern Humanities Review, and elsewhere. Her latest collection is Uplift (Cold River Press, 2016).

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Taylor Graham and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Shadow Theory, Spring

Redbrown rocks have heaped/heaved themselves
over eons, a blocky maze, an anklebreaker.
The black pup sits watching TV, the universe
in terms of π. Don’t lead those pups pied-pipering
over the rocks, they’re too young to anchor
their shadows.
I knew a dog named Pi whose feats
were circumscribed by nothing, the constant π.
Let’s go. Pups follow, ships on a geologic ocean
tiding slower than the mind of man. A crux of this
fractured world, the conviction of Can’t. –
Of course you can.
They’re safe as any babe
on this side of an abyss. Brave hearts adventuring
the universe.
Balanced on boulders, waggling
ears to tail, sailing arcs over rock-heap laughing
with every puppy-tooth. My lie, the π of truth.


Maneuvers

Up Marshall Grade I’m behind an old rig
plastered with bumper stickers, the most legible,
Protected by 2nd Amendment Security.
Voice of the Divide. We’re headed up-country.
Is it safe to pass? Meanwhile, my security
is asleep in the back of my truck. Soon
he’ll be trotting – more likely loping, that’s his
style – leading me into the unknown of
middle-school on a Saturday, looking for the
neighbor girl. She’s hiding
for him to find. I lighten at the way he brightens
when he’s getting close to his target.
He loves this game of search and rescue, not
destroy. He loves it better than dinner
(kibble on the deck), pursuing an ancient
instinct to follow, to find, to lick his quarry
in the face, his joy.

 

 

 

 

 



Mike Finley
mfinley98@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Mike Finley is a Pushcart Winner (not a nominee). He has published many books of poems, and poetry videos. He has collaborated on projects with master bread bake Danny Klecko. He lives in St. Paul.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Mike Finley and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


I Am Goya

With less than a day’s notice, the KGB gave Siberian poet Andrej Vosnesenski
a visa to fly to Minnesota. There was no time to promote the event.

A handful of writers and scholars and a few Soviet emigrés cluster
in the front rows of the roped off Northrop Auditorium,
a mere 50 people dotting the 5,000 seats while, standing like a speck
upon the giant stage, the poet groans and lifts his fist
like a guillotine blade, poised to come down hard.

He reads his famous poem about Goya, the Spanish painter
of the post-Napoleonic years, regarded by many
as the last of the old masters and the first of the moderns,
assailing power for its crushing offenses.

An English actor translates Voznesenski, but no one listens to that blow-dried fop.

All eyes are on the pumping hand, all ears attuned to Vosnesenski’s
condemnation of tyrants.
No one understands, and yet everyone understands.
And as he moves into action, one word thunders through the auditorium – GOYA!

GOYA reanimates the frozen corpses of the field.
GOYA daubs you with the blood of your victims.
The dashed, the dead, the unblinking eyes.
GOYA accosts you with your gruesome crimes.
GOYA wields the hammer that cracks the rock.
GOYA swings the scythe that mows down grain.

Even when all the words against you are shredded …
Even when the books have made a roaring fire …
The lies that murdered millions come back on you
GOYA is implacable in the face of every rifle
GOYA sees who you are … GOYA stabs and stabs with his truth …
GOYA announces that the day is over.
The whited dead cry out for justice You mighty leaders have not prevailed
You are vanquished by your deeds Your generations are sown with lime.
You have not won, you are dead and just don’t know.
GOYA!

Afterward the reading breaks up and the poets and professors drive
through the snow and ice to Chester Anderson’s to boast and jostle and drink .
Voznesenski alone at the end of the couch with a shy puzzled frown on his face.
Several beers later, I take to the bathroom,
where Chester’s golden retriever lies on a pink poof rug.
I step over the dog to pee. Behind me, Voznesenski creeps into the room
and kneels by the dog on the pink poof rug,
a foot from the stream splashing against the porcelain lip.
He scratches the dogs ears and smiles seraphically.
His two eyes closed, his face held out, the dew alighting
like communion from the dead Christ on his face,
as if finally,
finally
free.

 



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July 4-10, 2016: Poetry from Jane Ellen Glasser and Angele Ellis

​Jane Ellen Glasser and Angele Ellis

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


​Jane Ellen Glasser
jegpoet@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Jane Ellen Glasser’s poetry has appeared in journals, such as Hudson Review, Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Georgia Review. In the past she reviewed poetry books for the Virginian-Pilot, edited poetry for the Ghent Quarterly and Lady Jane’s Miscellany, and co-founded the nonprofit arts organization and journal New Virginia Review. A first collection of her poetry, Naming the Darkness, with an introduction by W. D. Snodgrass, was issued by Road Publishers in 1991. She won the Tampa Review Prize for Poetry 2005 for Light Persists and The Long Life won the Poetica Publishing Company Chapbook Contest in 2011. The Red Coat, published in 2013, is available from FutureCycle Press, which also published the chapbook Cracks in 2015. Her full-length poetry collection “In the Shadow of Paradise” has been accepted by FutureCycle Press and will be available in 2017. Her work may be previewed on her website: www.janeellenglasser.com

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Jane Ellen Glasser and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

One Apple

Why claim the whole orchard
or even one tree bowed
with fruit, at its base
a devil of bees feasting?

One is enough for a treatise
on beauty, sin, and death.
What else could tell us
so much about ourselves,

we who were schooled by Eve,
a queen pandering poison,
the worm. Just one granted
access to the Elysian Fields,
slammed Eden’s Gates.

Cezanne swore he’d astonish
Paris with an apple, and he did.


How to Ripen

Picked green, sour, odorless, hard,

place Bartlett pears
in a brown paper bag, seal tight;

submerge mangoes
in a copious container of rice;

infiltrate one ripe kiwifruit
in a bowl of green plums;

like a Cezanne painting, lay peaches
on a clean linen towel, cover with another;

let a banana and avocado on the counter
quicken with touch;

in a straw basket, watch passion
fruit make love to honeydew.

Oh, what propinquity and climacteric
hormones produce!

 

 

 

 

 



Angele Ellis
angeleelli@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Angele Ellis lives in Friendship, both a Pittsburgh neighborhood and a state of mind. Her poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in over fifty publications and ten anthologies. She is author of Arab on Radar (Six Gallery Press), Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors’ Choice Chapbook), and a forthcoming collection of poetry and flash fiction inspired by her adopted city.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by Angele Ellis and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Heart of Glass

All that blighted August, I cursed the mugger heat of Philadelphia,
city of brotherly love. To groove with this highflown phrase, recall
the melodious roar of a SEPTA conductor, in Barry White baritone—
Cit-tee of Bruthah-lee LOOVE. My last pair of Summer L’Eggs
shredded to bits in the office bathroom. Back in the retrosexual,
women wore pantyhose to work even as the thermometer spurted—
bare shins were indecent, marking you as a bag lady or a slut
with no time to change after a tearing night of booze and fun.

My legs were slick from a slog to McSorley’s—landmark bar loved
by Harry, long with the Irish shades. McSorley’s, where I saw
baseball great Pete Rose up close and too personal—manhandling
a blonde not his wife, gobbling fries like Moe Howard on steroids.
My madeleine a stale block of peanut butter, Mary Jane candies
piled like bricks at the antique register. No beer. I looked like a kid,
and (unlike my coworkers) I never drank until after five, when
martinis shook under the yardarm. Fuck the clock, stuck at two.

Back to the quotidian grind. I was a tech writer or doc specialist,
forking thick pages of verbage—near rhyme with garbage—
into the maws of disdainful programmers. Just out of college,
I was earning—in today’s devalued dollars—60K. In my soul,
I was a poet or painter or Jules Feiffer dancer—like Franny & Sherry,
in black leotards and batik skirts swaying over shoeless (stockinged) feet.
Pure trouble, those posers—not even making a pretense of work.
Harry thought they gave our computer-driven office an artsy ambiance.

So young, but I rarely felt it, stopping after work on South 13th Street
for peppers and tomatoes at the Asian produce stand. Too hot
for a soft pretzel, and if I ate anything on the sidewalk, blow-dried
jerks with Jersey plates, cruising for hookers, would shout out,
Hey baby, suck my dick. I never had the nerve to yell, Get your pal to do it.
That year, all the streetwalkers looked like Debbie Harry, silently crooning
“Call Me.” Beautiful barely clad gay men strolled hand in hand
in serene self-absorption. That was the summer I saw my first nipple ring,

on a chest like a lost Greek statue. Remember: all this happened
before…before There died a myriad / And of the best, among them…
Inside The Lenox, our sad doorman, a mocha bruise on his temple,
greeted me as Miss. I combed my mail from its brass hive, punched
the elevator to 13, gears grinding to my studio, Triskaidekaphobia Tower.
I collapsed on my sofa bed, staring slantwise at the silverdust Delaware
as the sun pulsed onward like a stained glass heart, and the death rattle
of the air conditioner raised goosebumps on my still-downy knees.

 



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June 27 – July 3, 2016: Poetry from Ken Allan Dronsfield and Howie Good

​Ken Allan Dronsfield and ⁣Howie Good

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


​Ken Allan Dronsfield
kadfield@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Ken Allan Dronsfield is a Published Poet and Author originally from Hampton New Hampshire, now residing in Seminole Oklahoma. He enjoys thunderstorms, walking in the woods at night, playing guitar and spending time with his cats Merlin and Willa. He is the Co-Editor of the new Poetry Anthology titled, "Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze" available at Amazon.com. His published work can be found in Journals, Magazines and Blogs throughout the Web including: Indiana Voice Journal, Belle Reve Journal, Peeking Cat Magazine, Dead Snakes, UFO Gigolo, Bewildering Stories and many others.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Ken Allan Dronsfield and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Adjunct

Radiation box
ramen boiling
fear my warped
conscience as
a brain shrivels
speed dancing
to a Slow Ride
Christmas lights
still flash in June,
timed lightning
strikes on this
angry of nights
raindrops fall
like full sacks
of wet mice
sleep tight.

 

 

 

 



⁣Howie Good
goodh51@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Howie Good is the author of Danger Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ⁣Howie Good and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Broken Flowers

The daffodils had been open
for only a day when the winds came
and knocked
most of them over.
I brought the ones with bent
or broken stems in the house
and put them in a tall blue vase
and put the vase on the table.
This is what life is like after 60.
While your friends are having babies,
mine are having heart attacks.

 



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June 20-26, 2016: Poetry from Shelly Blankman and Erren Kelly

​Shelly Blankman and ⁣Erren Kelly

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


​Shelly Blankman
jonbshellb@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Shelly Blankman’s poetry has appeared in Silver Birch Press, Ekphrastic, and Verse-Virtual. This author has been writing poetry for many years, but professionally has focused mostly on public relations and journalism. Her news releases and feature news articles have appeared in national newspapers and magazines. After working many years as copy editor, she now spends her time enjoying scrapbooking, cardmaking, refereeing four cats, and of course, writing. She resides in Columbia, Maryland with her husband Jon and is the proud mom of two sons, Joshua, 29, who lives in Texas, and Richard, 31, who lives in New York.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Shelly Blankman and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

My Father’s Typewriter

You never knew, did you,
how your typing lulled me
to sleep, saved me
from starless nights,
when I lay in bed, afraid
the sun would never rise?

You never knew, did you,
how much I laughed inside,
watching you hunt and peck
faster than others who’d been taught
the proper way?

You never knew how I loved the smell
of carbon ribbon or how I hated
the “c” so faded it had to be
pounded to show on paper,
those thin yellow sheets that ripped
if you pulled just a little too hard
from the carriage.

I wrote my first paper on that typewriter
and your grandsons used it, too,
long after science slew the dinosaur
and left the typewriter in its wake
a useless fossil.
The typewriter is silent;
two years now, you’ve been gone.
It’s caked with dust, the “c” still broken,
but it doesn’t matter anymore.

I can still hear you tapping,
smell the carbon, see the paper,
and remember how all those
years ago, you and your typewriter
saved me from starless nights.

 

 

 

 



⁣Erren Kelly
errenkelly76@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Erren Kelly is a a Pushcart nominated poet from Los Angeles. He has been writing for 25 years and hasover 150 publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine (online), Ceremony, Cactus Heart, Similar Peaks, Gloom Cupboard, Poetry Salzburg and other publications. He has also been published in anthologies such as " Fertile Ground," and Beyond The Frontier.” My work can also been seen on Youtube under the "Gallery Cabaret" links. Erren is the author of the book, "Disturbing The Peace" on Night Ballet Press and the chapbook, "The Rah Rah Girl," Forthcoming from Barometric Press. Erren recieved his B.A. in English-Creative Writing from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He also loves to read and to travel, having visited 45 states and Canada and Europe. The themes in Erren’s writings vary, but he always has a soft spot for subjects and people who are not in the mainstream. But he never limits himself to anything. He always tries to keep an open mind.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ⁣Erren Kelly and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Flower Lady Of Echo Park

Rumor has it
She once tried out for
The Miss America pageant
In ’76
And narrowly missed the preliminaries
Some say she was once married
To a guy
Who worked with Donald Trump
But she just changes the subject
Whenever she’s asked

Her flower stand is in
Front of
Walgreens
Sometimes, I say hi to her as i’m
Going to a bookstore across the
Street

You can never read too
Much

Latinos
Outnumber whites in L.A.
Yet are killed more than
Whites
Mexican girls pretend to
"No habla.ingles," when they
Don’t want to be
Bothered
Condos are quickly replacing
The old school houses
Here

A Chicano poet
Thanks me for showing up
At a poetry reading on LaBrea Drive
Otherwise, he would’ve been
The only colored person there

I watch a white girl
Doing stand up
Wearing an NWA. t-shirt
She does an impersonation
Of a Mexican
cheech. and chong.
Would appreciate.

I joke with her
Telling her, "she does mexican
Well."

Donald Trump is obscenely
Popular and no one
Laughs at the thought
He could be president

Mexican girls look like
Kate Upton
And white girls pay hundreds
Of dollars
For a tan
some blacks and chicanas
Hate

I give the flower lady a
Five dollar bill
She tries to give
Me a bouquet
But I refuse

I know now the dirtiest
Word in the English language
Isn’t the words
I hear hipster girls use
As they talk over
Coffee

The dirtiest word is
Change.

 



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June 13-19, 2016: Poetry from Suzanne O’Connell and Ed Ahern

​Suzanne O’Connell and ⁣Ed Ahern

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’s recently published work can be found in Forge, Atlanta Review, Crack The Spine, The Louisville Review, Found Poetry Review, Chiron Review, The Hollins Critic, and Burningword Literary Journal among others. She lives in Los Angeles. O’Connell was nominated for The Pushcart Prize and for a Best Of The Net Award in 2015. Her first poetry collection, “A Prayer For Torn Stockings,” was published by Garden Oak Press in May, 2016. Visit her on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Suzanne O’Connell and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Freeway Messenger

It must have been done at night.
From what I remember, there was a full moon.
It would have shone on him like a searchlight
as he leaned over the railing of the freeway bridge,
spray can in hand. Maybe a friend held his ankles.

The traffic continued under him in both directions.
Cars merged onto the 10 freeway or exited from it.
Did the passengers look up and wonder
if the guy on the bridge was about to jump?
Or did they keep driving,
turn the radio up,
forget about him?

I understand the freeway messenger.
I have messages to send too,
but I wouldn’t risk my life to send them.
I once read that Adolph Wolfli,
in a mental institution, made paper airplanes
out of his writing and flew them
out the window to pedestrians below.

Our tagger risked his life to send us his message.
It took time and two colors of spray paint.
LIFE IS FULL OF B_ _ _ _ , he wrote.
The last word was shaky.
Maybe he was tired, or dizzy from spray fumes.
Maybe he heard a police siren coming.
We will never know if he wanted to tell us:
Life is Full Of Bumps, or Burps, or Bombs, or Bums.


The Science Lesson

Last night, my grandson explained
that gravitational waves exist,
an extra ocean up above.
I didn’t understand him.

As he spoke, I pictured
my ankles in the ocean,
waves rippling around them
like waves might flow
around the black holes.

Our transparent nature
is but a skinny voice,
a wisp of wire that connects us
to the universe.

My grandson,
my teacher,
my miracle,
I don’t understand him either.

He pastes his used contact lenses
to the bedroom wall,
creating a new universe,
an ocean of tiny sparkling mirrors.

 

 

 

 



⁣Ed Ahern
Salmonier@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Ed Ahern resumed writing after forty odd years in foreign intelligence and international sales. He has his original wife, but advises that after forty eight years they are both out of warranty. Ed’s had over a hundred twenty poems and stories published so far, and two books. Ed lives in Fairfield, Connecticut.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ⁣Ed Ahern and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Digger

We called him Digger
because when he wasn’t too drunk
he dug graves.

We called him Digger
because he thought poorly
and a dog’s name seemed apt.

We called him Digger
because we needed to isolate
his sickness from our own.

We called him Digger
because he smiled as
his addiction betrayed him.

We called him Digger
because our help
failed each time.

We called him Digger
because when he went missing
we didn’t remember his name.

 



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June 6-12, 2016: Poetry from Joan Colby and Tomás Sánchez Hidalgo

​Joan Colby and ⁣Tomás Sánchez Hidalgo

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


​Joan Colby
JoanMC@aol.com

Bio (auto)

Joan Colby has published widely in journals such as Poetry, Atlanta Review, South Dakota Review,etc. Awards include two Illinois Arts Council Literary Awards, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Literature. She has published 16 books including Selected Poems” from FutureCycle Press which received the 2013 FutureCycle Prize and “Ribcage” from Glass Lyre Press which has been awarded the 2015 Kithara Book Prize.Colby is also a senior editor of FutureCycle Press and an associate editor of Kentucky Review. Visit Joan on the web here. See her books on Amazon here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Joan Colby and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Finger of Birth Strangled Babe

Macbeth

Cord twisted on the throat.
Blue and bloated, not
The child they’d hoped
Would absolve them,
Divine the split between
Desire and abnegation.

The sonogram providing
No cautionary film
Of what might occur,
They discard. That coiled
Shape, that promise,
A tiny finger discernible,
How it clutched
At their hearts, turning
Them face to face.

Now they face
A crib of ashes, pellets
Of finger bone, carried off
In a soft blanket, a stranger
Who will never know them.

 

 

 



⁣Tomás Sánchez Hidalgo
tsanchez3@hotmail.com

Bio (auto)

TS Hidalgo (43 of Madrid, Spain) holds a BBA (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), a MBA (IE Business School), a Master in Creative Writing (Hotel Kafka) and a Certificate in Management and the Arts (New York University). His works have been published in magazines like, among others, Otoliths, By&By, Poems-For-All, Clementine, The Unrorean, Alien Mouth, Haggard&Halloo, Trascendent Zero and Crack the Spine, and has been winner of prizes like Criaturas feroces (Editorial Destino) and Pandora Magazine in short story or finalist at Festival Eñe in novel. He has developed his career in finance and stock-market.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ⁣Tomás Sánchez Hidalgo and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Ladders in Spain

First,
check the ladder´s closure,
next, place it firmly against the tree;
when you get to the top,
never look fixed face to the sun,
nor the clouds neither
(or you get dizzy).
Now, you simply look into the distance,
had you seen them before?,
builders!:
yes, they are builders!:
they seem today a worn book of hymns.
Obviously, someone has tampered
the ladder´s closure
(and 23 forgotten monuments
of a country that no longer exists
and seem to come from the future).

 



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May 30 – June 5, 2016: Poetry from Jack e Lorts and Chelsey van der Munnik

​Jack e Lorts and ⁣Chelsey van der Munnik

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


​Jack e Lorts
jclorts@centurytel.net

Bio (auto)

A retired educator living in Fossil, a small isolated town in eastern Oregon, Jack e Lorts served as both school superintendent (retiring in 2004) and as mayor for six years. His poems has appeared widely, if infrequently, over the past 50+ years in such places as Arizona Quarterly, Kansas Quarterly, English Journal, Arsenic Lobster and many other ephemeral journals. He is author of three chapbook, most recently “Dear Gilbert Sorrentino and Other Poems.” “Ephram Pratt Reads Numbers in the Sky” appeared in Clackamas Literary Review 2012.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Jack e Lorts and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Poem for a Friend of Richard Brautigan

My daughter’s
ex-father-in-law
was Richard Brautigan’s
best friend in high school
Richard actually
lived with them.

I understand Pete,
who’s about 80 now,
taught him
how to trout fish.
Pete’s a good man.
He’s been a
Disciples of Christ pastor
for fifty years,
a Diamond with Amway.
Richard knew he was
a good man, too.

I wonder if Brautigan
attended
the San Francisco
First Christian Church?
I doubt it;
maybe Glide Memorial.

 

 

 



⁣Chelsey van der Munnik
clvm306@gmail.com

Bio (auto)

Chelsey van der Munnik is a poet and university student studying psychology and writing in Plattsburgh, NY. Her work has been previously published in Broad!, Crack the Spine, and ZPlatt. She received the Hassler Award and the Robert Frost Poetry Prize from SUNY Plattsburgh.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ⁣Chelsey van der Munnik and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


Pool

I wear my pool skin
playing with you
I’ll hold you as you’re
floating eyes catch mine
Look at us

your pool skin on mine
gliding swimsuit
sticking between our
small bodies

we’re three feet deep
in each other’s blood
shot eyes
I knew then

my front crawl
your back stroke
could make one whole
pair of women

 



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May 23-29, 2016: Poetry from Richard Rensberry and Darren C. Demaree

​Richard Rensberry and ⁣Darren C. Demaree

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


​Richard Rensberry
richardrensberry@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

Richard Rensberry is the author of the recently published poetry book; The Wolf Pack Moon. This is his first book of poetry since 1992, at which time he exited the writing field to delve into other pursuits. Upon his return to writing in 2012 Richard has also authored several children’s books as author at QuickTurtle Books®. Richard’s home is in Fairview, Michigan. His writing blog can be found at richardrensberry.com

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ​Richard Rensberry and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Mother and Father

If I were the rain,
I would be less begrudging.
I’d teach Heaven how to beat
a rhythmical drum. I would
speak fluent and decisive electricity. I‘d strike up
a conversation with the wind
and babble with the trees and roofs. If I were the rain,
I’d hammer away as if I could play
the piano like Jerry Lee.
I’d fill large buckets. I’d gorge the streams.
I’d purge the skies with claps of thunder
If I were the rain. I’d be anxious to please.
I’d be the crescendo in a symphony choir.
I’d be mother and father to the land and seas.


The Rock

If I were a rock,
I’d be el capitan. I’d dominate
the landscape with a stone face
and intimidation. I could
hurl men like sacks into submission. I could
catch your breath and push you to the edge
of adrenalin. If I were a rock,
I’d scrape the sky in Philadelphia. I’d echo
the proclamations of Benjamin Franklin,
Thomas Paine and the constitution. I’d raise a monument
to common sense and confine the Fed
to a dank cell in Alcatraz prison. If I were a rock,
I’d fit in your pocket, I’d be smooth in your hand
and fly in abundance when the socialists come
with teargas, bullets and handcuffs. If I were a rock,
I’d tumble from the walls of the fortresses built
too big to fail, and crumble
to dust.


Dirty Words

If I were a toothbrush,
I’d know my way
around your tongue.
I’d have knowledge
of how to avoid its deceit
and all your trash-
talking ways. I’d know
the ups and downs
of your teeth, how
their vulgar bite
involves your own
misdeeds. I’d seethe
and find reasons
for your obscenities with girls.
I’d remember how
to get my bristles up.
I wouldn’t hide in the drawer
or idle around the sink.
If I were a toothbrush, I’d leap
off the counter and clean
your bleeping teeth.


The Big House

If I were San Quentin,
I would hold the key
to everything evil.
My heart would beat
with the tattooed fists
of men sentenced
into my keep, boys gone
crazy as their crimes.
I’d feel like guilt
most of the time. I’d be a maze
of whispers and lies. Truth,
if it existed at all, would arrive
in shackles, whimper and fold
on death row.
I’d have rats for eyes.
I would hold you close
and gnaw on your will. Time
would stagger, stumble and fall
still as their victims.
If I were San Quentin,
I’d have an IQ
of ten. I’d clatter and clank
the whole night through.
I’d hone my shank
and lower my pants.
I’d show you the sorriest
crack of an ass
if I were San Quentin.

 

 

 



⁣Darren C. Demaree
darrencdemaree@yahoo.com

Bio (auto)

My poems have appeared, or are scheduled to appear in numerous magazines/journals, including the South Dakota Review, Meridian, The Louisville Review, Diagram, and the Colorado Review. I am the author of "As We Refer To Our Bodies" (2013, 8th House), "Temporary Champions" (2014, Main Street Rag), "The Pony Governor" (2015, After the Pause Press), and "Not For Art Nor Prayer"(2015, 8th House). I am the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology. I am currently living and writing in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and children. Visit him on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2016, and owned by ⁣Darren C. Demaree and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


A Letter to Auguste Rodin
About Other Parts of Ohio

There are so many needs
filled

with this structure
of waterways

& blind-drawer
selections

of artistic want
& if we could level

the fields to watch
your son watch us back,

I think, maybe,
he would roll

his shoulders
behind his chest

& lead the rest of us
for one fallow season.


A Letter to Auguste Rodin About
Cold Drinks in Cold Weather

A full bottle groans
& the idea of the season
cracks before

the explosion
& the shards land
again where shards land

when a gradient
& a frozen man
are left to gravity’s will

& wonderfully
terrible wind
from the lake

that first thought
of giving alcohol
to a scarred statue.

 



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