Monday, August 31, 2015

Three Poems by J.J. Campbell

ghosts creeping in the back of your mind

turn on the sad songs
and remember the only
time she kissed your

another empty bottle
for the floor

saturday night alone


the lost souls raging
right until the sunset

ghosts creeping in
the back of your

surely one of them
must think you were
the one that got away

everyone laughs and
opens another bottle

and here you thought
women liked a good
sense of humor

these hands used to make you smile

lost in the deep
pools of regret

buried in the old
books of wise old
men smart enough
to find love and
squeeze it until
death greets them
one evening

i'd give anything
to hold you this

your dark hair
and soft skin
sending my

these hands used
to make you smile

perhaps one day
they can be of
service to you

two in the morning

wishful thinking
at two in the

your lips should
be somewhere
near mine right

instead they are
wrapped around
a cock not attached
to my body

i look at my bottle
of lotion with

how many pumps
until it starts to
feel like you

pour another glass
of something

and this time
add a few pills

J.J. Campbell has given up the farm life and is trapped in suburbia.  He's been widely published over the years, most notably at Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon and Horror Sleaze Trash.  His most recent collection, Sofisticated White Trash (Interior Noise Press), is available wherever you happen to buy books these days.  You can find J.J. most days bitching about things only he cares about on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights. (

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Three Poems by April Salzano

Days or Years Later

I travel the length of your name
down a driveway that is no longer
ours, my pace slower than it should be
in the middle of another winter.  Six feet
of snow has fallen between every yesterday
and tomorrow.  I might be walking
backwards, waking down.
The good thing about a prison
is its walls.  From down here, everything
looks the same as the day we left,
but those are someone else's
curtains, another family's blinds.
My kitchen is as empty
as the Pennsylvania sky.  I cannot find
any reasons for nostalgia, any cause
for such concern.  I would knock
on the door, but I still have the key.
I would only be returning
to the ghost of a dog, the bitch
of a moon, and neither worth howling at.

Body Parts

lay scattered across the autopsy of your page, exhumed
from memory's shallow grave to make metaphor.
Tiny breasts with brown candy nipples, yonic disrespect
under the guise of ode titled elegy.  Small doll-thighs
around misrepresented cock.  Everything but anything
of mine.  Not my skinny legs or stretch-marked stomach.
Not my inadequate hips or the freckles on my aging skin.
Not the curve of my heel as my feet considered
so many other directions in a decade of snow.  No
mention of the one pussy that tore open
to give you life.  Not once, but twice.

Why I Can't Eat Toast and Other Aversions

It's not the butter-side-up logic, all soft and melted,
laced with crunchy contradictions as it is, or the tongue-
to-roof-of-mouth freeing of what sticks there.  It's not
the crumbs in my hair.  Those shake out easy/enough.
It's not the crust-border-conundrum I face each time
I hold the loaf-dictated shape up and consider biting.
I can reconcile that.  I makes sense//It is something
about the way my ex-husband baked toast in the oven
for a year in London, where we found ourselves
toasterless and terrified.  My anxiety-infested mornings
and catastrophizing evenings could be sedated with
two slices and a cup of tea back then, my share
of the antidepressants swallowed on socialized
medicine's dime.  By today's standards I am just
as shaky, and I still refuse to clean the crumb-trap,
that secret door at the bottom where everything
that should be buttered and broken stays in waiting.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons.  She is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry.  Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, DeadSnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.  Her first chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is forthcoming in spring, 2015 from Dancing Girl Press.  The author serves as co-editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press (

Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Poem by Ralph Monday

That Vortex Vibe

The guy ran a better deal than
Barnum and Bailey.
It was once upon a time
stuff when we first met.
You know the deal
Flowers and chocolate,
long soul-bearing walks
in the woods,
sex like the opening scene
of a porno classic.
Then you were Marilyn Chambers
before Behind the Green Door,
still the Ivory soap girl,
Snow White, not Mary Magdalene,
beauty before he became the beast.
You got sucked in--like we all do--
into his black vortex.
You became his child, a stupid toy
thing, mannequin that he dressed at
will.  He controlled everything:
money, perspective,
made you feel dumb for not realizing
his genius, how right he was, how
wrong you were,
trophy on the mantle,
you started wondering what was
wrong with you, didn't you?
You wrote long texts explaining
how you feel,
that he ignored.
You did everything he asked
in an attempt to please.
All in vain.
He found another supply,
didn't he?
Left you spinning in
the hole.
Don't worry.
He'll be back.

Ralph Monday is Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN, and published in over 50 journals.  A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014.  A book, Lost Houses and American Renditions, is scheduled for publication, May 2015 by Aldrich Press.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Three Poems by S. Black

her song

i am found hiding
with her song
the breaking dawn
the latest colour
of her hair
and the sacred places
where the love
used to begin

maybe just maybe
time hasn't wasted its time on us

she farts again
i can't take it anymore

the new girlfriend

i heard it said
she wasn't all bad
and it is funny
in this light
there is a resemblance
but in another
she reminds me of her
in that wedding photo
the one they found
on the path
that follows the river

total recall

i burned all memory
there was nothing left
last night
2:30 a.m.
in the 24-hour supermarket
i saw a woman
she looked
nothing like her
it was uncanny

S. Black has been mining for a heart of gold since 1967, and lives in the UK.  Other writing may be found at the likes of Clutching at Straws, Gutter Eloquence, Red Fex, Tanka Undertow, and Deadsnakes.

S. Black - Mining for a heart of gold since 1967, lives in the UK. Other writing may be found at the likes of Clutching at Straws, Gutter Eloquence, Red Fez, Tanka Undertow and Deadsnakes.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Poem by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

13 uses for love

I love seeing cities
in rear view

and your morning smile opening
even before your eyes.

I'm moved by
the second movement;
I'm sure the cellist
will prove a good investment.

Grace today--
every traffic light
from the fire station to Oriental Bay
past the railway station
to the biscuit tin
turned green for me--
I felt like
President Kennedy.

I really admire your work
with the Palestinian Zapatistas

and I adore garlic prawns
cooked tails on, the Spanish way
soaking up olive oil
and crunchy bits of garlic and chili
with chunks of bread
and a cold pinot gris

I'm amazed at what you've done
with the bathroom, so original,

amusing and flippant
like Frank Zappa's music.

I'm hot for cool
blue clarinets

and passionate about
pomegranates and

I dissolve in Courtney
square hole Love
's music but not in her acting.

Somehow it's satisfying
that the Fairlane is longer
than the house is wide

and I'm happy that
Butch Cassidy
thought of going
to Australia
just before
he died.

Mercedes Webb-Pullman graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011.  Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online, in print and in her books Food 4 Thought, Numeralla Dreaming, After the Danse, Ono, Looking for Kerouac, Tasseography, Bravo Charlie Foxtrot and Collected Poems 2008-2014.  She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Poem by Karen Sylvia Rockwell

remembering love

remembering love    in flashes    as i move through traffic   //   i see your hands on the wheel    poised    as they were then   //   you turn towards me   and i see your face   smiling lovingly   as it did then   //   the light turns green   i accelerate   with a smile   remembering

melancholy seeps in slowly   as Little Texas and i   fill the air   with laments about   what might have been   and i recall   what used to be   //   turning left along Sunset    i study forms   with backpacks   slung casually over one shoulder   never finding you

my heart yearns   as my head rebels   offering every explanation   for why it is   all in the past   and why   it should remain that way   //  they both agree    that alone   is better    for always   says my head   with our memories   whispers my heart

bittersweet resignation   accompanies me along the drive   as the wipers   clear drizzle   from the pain   //   intermittently   //   interrupting   //   remembering

After her Ma passed away in 2008, Karen Sylvia Rockwell became fierce about writing, diving into workshops and readings.  She is celebrating the recognition her work is receiving, including being awarded 1st Place in Room Magazine's 2013 Poetry Contest.  Karen's work is featured in Room, Deep Water Literary Journal, The Saving Bannister, OffSIDE, Cranberry Tree Press's Happenstance, Ascent Aspirations' 2014 Bizarre Anthology, Womanspirit's In Our Own Voice, Vanessa Shields' Poetry ON Demand, vol. 2, and several anthologies of The Ontario Poetry Society and of Polar Expressions Publishing.  Karen lives in Belle River Ontario.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Three Poems by Alan Catlin

Making Love to Russian Music

"mantra-no one has been hurt,
no one has been killed"
                    -- C.D. Wright

"Asperity" he said,
the word stuck
between them as
they lay, not talking,
side by side on the bed,
naked as the lovers
they once were,
"Asperity contains us-
a bitter fruit of longing,"
he said, staring at
the cracked ceiling,
flecks of light on
the painted dark,
listening to the clock radio,
"An aching distilled from silence"
lying still as false hopes of elation,
joy, amassing as a passion,
drawn and quartered into
blunted notes, the mute
terror of their sudden
embracing, a fourth movement
of the Pathetique, their distressed
flesh swept together, prone above
a shattered bank.

The Edge

"Her bare

Feet seem to be saying:
We have come so far it is over."

                      -- Sylvia Plath

Lovers traced the white scars
on her body but knew better than
to ask how she acquired them.
Discarded torn black t-shirt
spelled her life to date in red
letters, "Born Poor and Brought
Up Hard."  If she had been pretty
once it had been beaten out of her
by professionals, masters of hurt
with broken knuckles and whipsaw
tongues they used on naked flesh
like razor blades to open wounds
they would not allow to heal.
Escape was a possibility she was
never allowed to entertain,
became a wildness in her that she
would learn to express with broken beer
bottles and homemade shivs that
found homes in vital organs inflicting
fatal wounds in those who had done
her harm.  On the street, years later,
the wildness in her remained,
as a wicked passion, insatiable and
expressive as pain, as violet as white
lightning in a cracking-along-the-edges
jars waiting to be partaken of, to be sipped,
where lips and fire meet.

Living the Dream

After Power Point presentation
in hotel lounge playing the macho
fool for the ladies, wedding ring impression
clearly visible to all who care to look,
jejune banter endless fascinating to
the all night, pay-as-you-go girls,
for whom all pick up lines are as fresh
as yesterday's beside-the-road-kill.
A couple of intimate drinks in low light
lounge, she looks like a goddess in
high heels, ready to rock and roll with
room service libations and pay per view
porn, so willing and available no price
mentioned or discussed, he thinks he is
the luckiest of God's creatures scoring big
on good looks and charm, one night away
from heaven on a half-shell, though his reality
has a stomach pump in it, an overdose
administered while he is in the head,
room ransacked by professionals, anything
of value long gone, not even the lingering
scent of hundred dollar an ounce perfume
left behind.

Alan Catlin has published over fifty chapbooks and full length books of poetry.  His next chapbook is Beautiful Mutants from Night Ballet Press.