Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Poem by Afzal Moolla


A Time Before This

Night creeps slowly in, easing through melted walls,
where random trysts quiver under a silver moon.
Numberless promises, oaths taken,
vows made only to be shattered,
into slivers of trust,
with each sliver swirling down,
into gutters filled with unheard cries.
Keeping your eyes open, wishing you were less pliant,
knowing that history rests on the other side,
where emotions are weapons,
where words are knives,
and soft caresses can wound,
where kisses can suffocate, where every dark shadow conjures up a melody woefully out of tune.
A life in limbo,
walking forward into a past of regrets,
fleeing the now while sipping on a bruised lip, draining foul images,
wiping away lingering doubts,
as you try to shriek,
hearing all nostalgia being snuffed out,
rattled by an exhausted love,
no longer tender whispers, more often than not vile disfiguring shouts.
Enough of self-pity,
to hell with introspection,
be gone idle moments,
mute nights,
tear-stained pillows, banishing it all to the other side,
while reclaiming what you once were deep inside, innocent and true,
naïve as ever,
when starry-eyed you listened,
believed,
all his promises that love would last forever.
Remember who that was, that brave question,
that sure answer,
remember that wide-eyed traveller,
that willing listener,
remember the smiling reflection in the mirror,
once free of pain,
of gloom.
Remember who you were,
to become who you must be,
and avert an imminent fast-approaching doom
 
Afzal Moolla was born in Delhi, India while his South African parents were in exile, engaged in the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa.  He travelled wherever his parent's work took them.  Afzal now works and lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and shares his literary musings with his most strident critic -- his 14 year old cat.
 
 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Poem by Loretta Oleck


Loving Now
 
you were my past and future
but mostly you were my now
 
wild hair gypsy eyed mad man
dancing between sunlight and midnight
carrying the rain in your arms
rain that sang out cool jazz
rain that never
never
stopped pulsing
on the windowpane
above your bed
 
your neck is what got me the most-
it still does
it’s a man’s neck-
 
a cowboy neck
a searching neck
a neck that wouldn’t wear a tie
couldn’t be told where to turn
an adrenaline proud hard neck of the jungle
with no past and no future
a neck of now
 
we lived off the grid in our own time
that had nothing to do with clocks
tides or seasons
 
you’d pile wood into the furnace mouth
more wood than the furnace could swallow
as the fire crackled sounding like a language-
a fire language
a higher language
a love tongue rough like a cat’s tongue language
licking away at the years that spun us
like two suns
 
muses too dizzy
 
crazy blue fire flames
like fingers strumming
 
when you played guitar I knew
you were content and sometimes dark
 
either way
your voice and tune were better than you thought
 
I craved you like a honeyed pecan
 
I still do
 
even though
you don’t crave me
not that way
hardly that way
anymore
 
you always took such good care of your bushy ferns
putting them in the stall shower to quench their thirst
pruning the dried edged leaves
hanging them in the sunniest windows
around your house
 
I wish I was a fern
 
instead I am a river stone
you think I don’t need you to quench my thirst
you think the river water does that job for me
 
you think I am done
 
but I was never done
 
I am
 
just lost
 
tracking your shift from one foot to the other
as you inch backwards
and my spinning lasso no longer reaches your gaze
 
when you loved me
really loved me
our past were our roots
our future was our bloom
our now was our home
 
 
 
Loretta Oleck’s poetry has been published or is forthcoming in High Coupe, Black Lawrence Press, Word Riot, The Westchester Review, Feminist Studies, The Mom Egg, among numerous others. More recently her work has been read at The Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art. She holds a Masters degree in Creative Writing from New York University.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones


Epiphany In A Cage

The stars I count in the sky are like bluegrass music
As my isolated farm takes on lizard like hues
Until all is plunged into darkness’s plumage
Which is the continent where she came from
And still oh so gracefully she sways there in my memories
Like the rueful resonances of the black bird’s lament
Where within its incendiary irresistible birdcalls
I become torn apart by a blur of all the things
Which once made me content
And now caught up in the dark undertow
Of the silvering leaves I become devoured
By something as subtle as a ticking clock
In the velvet jewelry pouch that has become all these rushing decades
That I could never figure out how to slow down or stop

 

Found Footage

I’ve long since stopped caring
What any particular flock of flying monkeys
Happens to think of me
As I wonder about far more important things
Like what would it be like to hear her voice once again
So like melting glaciers of rough emerald
Back in the unwinnable hours that now can but say
The same words over and over
Till they rake and scratch my mind
Like jungle drum palpitations
Antiquated yet still unhinged
Like her bare feet in the fallen acorns
Like the fetus that never did I make in her belly to grow
But still which like Kurt Cobain’s graduation recital
Is still as forceful as harpsichord music
In the fallen snow of an old man’s ruminations
And which always fail to console me 
Especially on this golden box filled with coins
Of a sleepless night when I try not to think at all of such things
But still they sneak up on me and backstab me as I gasp “Et tu life”
 
  

That Which We Are Destroying

When I think of all the times you’ve hurt me
I wonder why I still love you
But without you my life would have no meaning
I’d rather have a little of your time than none of you
My reason tells me quick to flee
But this feeling has me in this hold
So I will be your sad alchemist
And try to turn your stone heart to gold.

On a empty beach I faced the sunset
As sea gulls fled a coming storm
I turned my collar and huddled
My jacket up around me
But my desolation prevented warmth
Oh Kathy I called your name
As darkness surrounded me
Like an empty womb
Oh Kathy I called your name
And woke up hung over
In a disheveled room

I know that I will never go
I’ll wind up groveling at your feet
If this masochism keeps on growing
I’ll soon be begging to be beat
All that I once knew as self-respect
I pawned to buy trinkets for your amusement
My emotions dart along jagged nerve ends
Leaving me a monument to nothing but death and confusion.



Ken L. Jones has written everything from Donald Duck comic books to dialogue for the Freddy Krueger movies for the past thirty plus years.  In the last three years he has gained great notice for his vast publication of horror poetry which has appeared in many anthology books, blogs, magazines and websites and especially in his first solo book of poetry, Bad Harvest and Other Poems.  He is also publishing recently in the many fine anthology poetry books that Kind of a Hurricane Press is putting out.

 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Poem by Marianne Szlyk


Thursday Night Is Date Night
 
On one side of a plate glass window
in Chinatown,
the tourists glance
at the chef who rolls out noodles
while upside down corpses
of ducks and rabbits watch.
Their glassy eyes see everything
and nothing.
 
Rats dart across the alley.
They emerge
from behind boxes and trashcans
and enter unlucky kitchens.
Their beady eyes see anything
and everything.
 
On the other side of a plate glass window
a waiter serves
slippery black and white noodles
to couples celebrating
Thursday night, Date night.
 
Alone again,
she studies the Chinese zodiac.
Her year is the Rabbit’s.
Her husband’s is the Rat’s.

To her, this explains
everything
and nothing.
 
 
 
Marianne Szlyk is an associate professor at Montgomery College, Rockville, and a member of the D.C. Poetry Project.  Her poems have appeared in Of Sun and Sand, [Insert Coin Here], What's Your Sign?, and Something's Brewing.  Other poems have appeared in Jellyfish Whispers, Aberration Labyrinth, Linden Avenue Poetry Review, The Foliate Oak Literary Journal, and Walking Is Still Honest.  This April she will be among the performers at DC's Performetry: Old Poems, New Poems, Your Poems.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Poem by Ben Rasnic


Stalemate
 
In Junior High School,
I loved her from afar,
spent entire evenings
scripting for chance conversations.
 
Yet every opportunity
that availed itself
was never the right moment,
 
hand poised
like flypaper
over a chess board.
 
 
 
Ben Rasnic is a native of Jonesville, a small rural town in Southwest Virginia with a population <1000.  A Pushcart Prize nominee in 2011, Rasnic still considers as his greatest literary achievement, electing to publish two short poems by Yusef Komunyakaa while serving as editor of his college literary magazine, Jimson Weed, in 1978—16 years before Komunyakaa received the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.  He is the author of two volumes of poetry, “Artifacts and Legends” (2012) and “Puppet” (2013), both available on amazon.com.. Ben currently resides in Bowie, Maryland.
 
 
 
 

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Poem by Alan Catlin


Light through

a cracked window

All the things
we once loved

lie broken
on the floor;

only the bed
still standing



Alan Catlin's latest full length book is "Alien Nation" a collection of four thematically related chapbooks of poetry.



Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Poem by Ken L. Jones

Picture Painted Upon An Exploding Canvass That Had Ripped Its Chest Open

I do not expect to be happy on this earth ever again
I have a slow blue Miles Davis trumpet solo
That echoes in my very blood
I have broken every heart that I ever cared if they beat
And now I am all aches and pains and overcome with grief
Consumed at every turn by a world that will not leave me alone
No place to turn no help to phone
And wanting only a death that never seems to come
But is more and more desired with the rising of every newborn sun.



Ken L. Jones has written everything from Donald Duck comic books to dialogue for the Freddy Krueger movies for the past thirty years.  In the last three years he has gained great notice for his vast publication of horror poetry which has appeared in many anthology books, blogs, magazines and websites and especially in his first solo book of poetry Bad Harvest and Other Poems.  He is also publishing recently in the many fine anthology poetry books that Kind of a Hurricane Press is putting out.