Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Three Poems by Linda M. Crate


you reduce me to
harpy cries
shrieking fury and revenge
for you know
nothing of love which
you claimed you had for me,
and i hope you
the fire of my eyes as you
lay with her;
hope you
remember the way i smiled,
and the fragrance of my
once a cheat
always a cheat because
you're not sincere
enough to make a change
you only want
comes easily
and one day you'll see
you were wrong
about me;
i know you think you had
the best of me,
but that's yet to come
don't think like caroline because
your crap does smell;
and your body
is not the ancient adonis
beautiful and maintained
you're just a fallen
whose forgotten his warmth
simply to manufacture
a carbon copy of the
word into being--
you are a
holding yourself erect so
proudly and you
claim your love for God,
but it is false
as evidenced by the
way you treat people and
the way you treated
tell me little, liar,
was i ever beautiful to you
or would any girl
have done?
but what does it matter now
all these winters
in the end you will
get yours and that
shallow love you gave me
will fuck you over
nothing is left
but a broken heart, a shard of a soul.

no little red

one day
i'm the dish, the doll you
you want and a week later you
stop returning my
i was fine before you walked into
my life
why did you have to play with
my heart and toy with my
i don't have time for little boys
and their games
i have places to go and dreams to
follow, and if i have to walk
without you that's
fine by me just don't act like you
love me or you care when
you don't;
because i'm beyond furious
with you--
told me you weren't fake but i should have known
better if you weren't then why would you
have to tell me?
won't waste another thought on you
because i have a life to live
so go play,
because i'm no little red riding hood.


they told me one day you'd
severing my heart into a thousand
painful galaxies
of flames
that took forever to reunite again
as one,
but i don't know if i believe them
for you to regret anything
you'd have to care
you obviously didn't;
not when you lost me so easily--
wish i could just drop
these memories of you in the trash
like i did all the things you
gave me,
but my mind is a pandora's box
pricking me on pins and
needles and all the thorns that
sing your name;
i don't know how men like you live with
yourselves so false and fake and
gave you my first flowers
and that's not something i can get back,
but you didn't even care
so i hope one day the flames which you used
to tear my pretty little red heart
apart burn you instead
until nothing
remains not even a memory.

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvania native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Cnneautville.  She currently resides in Meadville.  Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print.  Recently her two chapbooks, A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press - June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon -- January 2014), were published.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Poem by James Mirarchi


Laptop in the dark
A digital ogre
Breathing out snow white data
Freezing everything
With its soulless intellect

Chalky and nude
In computer's moonlight
Two men on futon
Writhe like thick pythons
Knotted erotically - and adversarially

They are randy pinball machines
(A plunger-spring here - a flashing target there)
Empty readouts flicker
Across their drunken faces

These lovers devour
Into each other's numb circuits
TRYING to find an emotional buzz within flesh
But to no avail

They eventually "shut down"
(sigh like steam-emitting engines)
And make each other a wee hour breakfast
Some espresso
Gives them the high
They were previously searching for

Farewell comes
When these two men
Go their separate ways
Folding each other up
Just like their handy laptops
But, they are, alas, HUMAN

James Mirarchi grew up in Queens, New York.  In addition to his poetry collections, Venison and Dervish, he has written and directed short films which have played festivals.  His poems have appeared in several independent literary journals.  Links to his work can be found at

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Poem by Michael Lee Johnson


I have seen your eyes roam
over me so many times,
I don't even bother to feel
them anymore.
One can speak with the eyes,
you know--
and you've been silent
for so long
it doesn't even hurt anymore
to see you staring at me--
and not uttering a word.

MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era:  now known as the Illinois poet, from Itasca, IL.  Today he is a poet, freelance writer, photographer who experiments with poetography (blending poetry with photography), and small business owner in Itasca, Illinois, who has been published in more than 750 small press magazines in 27 countries, he edits 8 poetry sites.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 pages book), several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 70 poetry videos on YouTube.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Poem by Paul Bernstein


Daybreak.  Turning
in bed I reach out
to emptiness.  Every day
begins in darkness.
Every night in dreams
I open up to you
too late and wilt
and wake up twisted,
a broken flower
searching in vain
for the morning sun.

Paul Bernstein, in previous lives, was a graduate student in medieval history, library worker/antiwar activist/weekend hippie/aspiring poet, radical journalist, medical editor, and managing editor of a medical journal.  He resumed writing poetry some fifteen years ago.  Recent work has appeared in Big River Poetry Journal, River Poets Review, Poetry Quarterly, Front Porch Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Magic Lantern and elsewhere.  He currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he participates regularly in open mic readings.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A Poem by Paul Tristram

Cast Adrift Upon A Sea Of Unrequited Love

They paddle around mournfully
with Martyr bones for oars
upon rafts of broken dreams and wishes.
Shades of what they really could be,
almost ghosts, still alive and breathing.
Watching, watching, forever watching
that which is not meant to be theirs!
Faithful and dedicated always
in their tunnel-visioned suffering.
Self anointed outcasts
of Love’s bright kingdom.
Dooming themselves with fists of rage,
souls barren now of all but envy.
The twisting and the torture
and the murder in their eyes,
sucking colourful rainbows
out of the skies and screaming
them back out as storm clouds.
The ridiculous, unnecessary,
self corruption becomes the entire
point of each vengeful day.
Do not pity them, these foul vultures
who selfishly slammed the open door
tight on all other offers
of Springtime which came their way.

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight, this too may pass, yet.  You can read his poems and stories here!


Monday, December 22, 2014

Two Poems by Ralph Monday

Distant Smoke

This is where we are now--agents of smoke
curling about each other, filtering away
thoughts, obscuring moment's meaning
like sand hiding the riddle of the Sphinx.
I don't know how we got here.  There was
no plan, no war battalions set in motion
by seedy politicians.
Just thoughts, words, deeds, I suppose.
Is this the nature of a man, a woman?
Unable, unwilling, or unaware
that the crisis is not Ophelia's,
nor the rising conflict in a soap?
Rising action begins in a look, a touch,
fingertips stroking long, auburn hair,
the day settling over like frost on an
autumn apple orchard.
Climax that moment, that cold instant
when you no longer look at me the same.
Your thoughts turned elsewhere
to some momentary mirage in the distance,
some fantasy played in the mind,
some actor performing a role for you
that will last only for a short time,
an off off non-Broadway play
without substance, empty theme--social
pantomimes engaged in capital gain
for the pursuer, inflated flesh currency
that devalues human meaning into
commodity of the instant--like
toothpaste, or toilet paper, or fast food,
an end where the beginning
cannot be regained.
Denouement on that stage where
moment's present actor voices
scripted lines--exits stage left through
artificial smoke made by fog machines.

In Praise of Indifference

No balance now, you tilt toward indifference,
irrelevance to those that once mattered.
            You stand on that pier unnecessary to
walk upon, clouds so dark they hide the sea,
soothing, healing waters that refused to pass
your lips.

There is some hope in the box in the nether
world woven by secret choices.
              If you knew wisdom you would know
that for those possessing logic praises may be still
sung for a time--those instances where memory
overcomes desire.

These electrical thoughts bestowing tender
mercies, a rationale that cannot be explained
               save only through remembering:
how you wore a black dress now turned into
shroud.  How winter is surely your season,
snow falling through autumn's leaves--

where graces lie absent on the quiet ground,
and you walk like a thin shadow, feet
               bare in the cold, blue thoughts footstep
by footstep defining your two dimensions--
proneness to whim and linear fragment,
therefore desire without disciplined temperament.

A Gris painting, grim, cubed portraiture measures
the uneven lines, a cello's October notes baritones
               out that day's makeup, so that you
live a life of refused grace.  Your kind born
crippled, remaining so by choice, cherubims
chased away by refusal to know the difference.

Praise could easily be won by bowed concession
that a mosque, a cathedral, an ancient pagan temple,
               is but mortared earth, brick and stone.
The house that you build with your hands fall
through fancied folly, so walk this desert

illuminated by a cold, pearl moon,
searching for water in bare rock--
               your baptism immersal
by Faustian priest, saving communion wafer
spit out through ragged teeth in
praise of indifference.

Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN, where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses.  In fall 2013, he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs.  In winter 2014, he had poems published in Dead Snakes.  Summer 2014, he had a poem in Contemporary Poetry:  An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems.  His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, cc&d, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, Red River Review, Burningword, and Poetry Repairs.  Featured Poet of the week May, 2014, Poetry Super Highway.  Forthcoming poems in Blood Moon Rising, Crack the Spine Best Of Anthology and Down in the Dirt Magazine.  His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Houghton Mifflin's "Best Of" Anthologies, as well as other awards.  A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014.  A book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Poem by Scott Thomas Outlar

Pumping Organ Vibrations
Hearing your voice again is vile and poisonous,
like weathered, withered red vines of soured wine left to rot
out in the rain from January until March
as the tides crash to and fro in heavy doses of intoxication.
Lost my stomach for the illuminated halo crown
while aimlessly wandering the city streets and listening to cascades
of mumbled silent decadent half dreams
brought forth from the inspiration of reclusive hermits
living in the wilderness as a sacramental ritual unto the old gods.
The baker of a dozen pathological liars
leads the thieves along a broken trail with a million to one odds
of ever finding the karmic scales that tip left and right before crashing.
They will surely never find the center where the shape holds
her angles in perpetuity like perfect angel wing delight
aloft in the skyline symmetry of an occulted geometric spectrum of light
built by an architectural denizen of a coming new day and age.
Science could never figure out the radicalized epiphany of enlightenment.
Triad, quadrupled, triangulated,
circled in the cosmic synchronistic spin,
rhyming to the rhythm of daylight sunshine found within
before bursting out to thank the Heavens with a hearty laugh of madness.
Hell was not a fire, thank you very much,
yet somehow my flesh was roasted by tired demon beasts.
The jagged rock hard belligerence of ten infinite eternal feasts
celebrates the rage and wrath of decadent disease
while carrying off atoms from a stellar nebular eclipse
as stars weakly whine with whispered hollow blips,
blinking bleakly at a hollow point sky
as the horizontal plane of contact loses all grip,
slipping from the wet tongue on tongue taste
that gets missed the most when saying Grace.
He lies slowly, methodically, into his grave
as the funeral songs of Mecca are played.
Scott Thomas Outlar burst forth from the womb of primordial ooze with thoughts of Renaissance, Revolution and Revelation dancing and careening across the neuron synapses of his consciousness. He came to Earth with both a sword and a rose; with love for all that which is good, and hatred for all that which is evil. He spends most of his time trying to discern the difference between the two polar extremes. When not caught up in such spiritual fervor and rapture, he likes to chill out and write. Poetry, essays, rants, ravings, screeds - basically whatever happens to flow at any given time. Examples of his work can be seen in journals such as Dissident Voice, Ascent Aspirations, Loose Change Magazine, The Fanzine, and Oracular Tree. Scott can be reached at