Monday, October 20, 2014

A Poem by Karen Berry

Disassembly Required

It was an unbuilding,
more deliberate than a demolition
a deconstruction accomplished over time
a plank-by-plank denuding
of our most basic structure
as patient, planned, and organized
as the original architecture.

Remember, this was a decision,
this prizing-out of driven nails,
this breaking away of all supports,
these careful taps to dislodge mortar
from every dusted brick.  Lifting the planks,
pulling down the ceiling, unhangin the doors,
the windows not shattered, but closed, latched,
then unshimmed, unsashed, uninstalled.
You did it all on purpose.

The house is down.  I hardly remember
what it looked like, standing.
It's been counted, divided, shared-out.
But now you stand between the stacks
with a list, gesturing here and there,
along among the beams and braces,
the shingles, fittings, screws and steps,
smiling your encouragement,
speaking words of salvage.

Karen Berry lives and works in Portland, Oregon.  Her poetry has been published in Goblin Fruit, Fireweed, Seek It, Prairie Poetry, and many more journals and anthologies.  Her poem "Ceres" was nominated for the Dwarf Star Poetry Prize, and her piece "Caught" was a runner-up in The Binnacle's ultra-short fiction competition.  Her first novel, Love and Mahem at Francie June Memorial Trailer Park, was published in June of 2014.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

Hollows That Bleed

I draw a heart
across the page.
But it stays empty.
My love, it seems, is hollow.
I try to force in letters
to make sense.
But they always come up:
That’s me.
And future?
Wipe the stage.
Try again.
This time I will go deeper.
Set this latest stain.
In blood.


Shots fired over lines I never knew you set,
and me on a stool in their center.
I know this war.
I have lost it again and again.
If I breathe, if I move,
it is over.
I would prefer to just swallow
the shells.

Daily Mail

I am an addict, lying
naked in the gravel.  I am dying
for your words, for a word,
for a sign that I am
still in your thoughts
as I watch you lick
the stamp that will level me
faster than four tires.  I wait,
in a bag of unnecessity,
for the final page
to turn my breath

A.J. Huffman has published nine solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  She also has two new full-length poetry collections forthcoming: Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press) and A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing).  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and her poetry, fiction, haiku and photography have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Two Poems by Margery Hauser


We lay together
I twined around you like ivy on oak.
Warm and dark
a soft blanket of silence
comforted and carried us
together into a single dream.

          Morning came
          dreams dissolved.
          Light shone in the space
          between you and my idea of you.

We faced each other
you a wall against which
I flung myself.
Silence cold and gray
froze and shattered
strewing the ground with
fractured passion.

          no I wish no I can't
          no I meant no I should
          no but you no you wouldn't
          no you didn't no you never

          Shards of us pierced my soul
          desire catalyzed memory
          memory blurred and grew
          soft at the edges.

I sit alone in silence.
Our last words hang
in the empty air.
I breathe them in
like toxic fog
and my heart

You said you were an open book

but you were written in a language
I could not decipher.

I did not know the grammar to translate your soul
parse the syntax of your heart.

Lost in a maze of modifiers
and descriptives,
confused by indecipherable
diacritical marks,
cryptic conjugations and declensions,

we spoke at
not with each other
ashamed to admit
we'd failed to understand --
each believing the failure
was ours alone.

Margery Hauser is a New York City poet whose work has appeared in Point Mass, Poetica Magazine, Umbrella, The Jewish Women's Literary Annual, Mobius, and other journals, both print and online.  She is the author of Fairyland Mail (NoNet Press, 2013) and a member of the Parkside Poets Collective.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Three Poems by Cristine A. Gruber

Within an Empty Email

Reading the ill-timed
message yet again,
I brush my thumb
across the screen,
the derision
in your words
through the pores
of my skin.
My written
is logical
and sound,
to further
bury the pain.
In the final
before sleep claims
the remains of the day,
I swear
I can hear God laughing
at the futility of the human spirit.


This moment as I think of the declaration
from that safe place we both harbor,
I know where the importance lies.

From the scaffolding of a bridge
built over a constantly changing landscape,
I weigh the consequences of such a pronouncement,
such an all-encompassing oversight of being.

I'm caught in the wake of the changing tide,
the weight of the decision pressing down on my chest,
with mere moments to respire before surfacing
to a made-to-scale model of life.

Re-attaching as with pre-cut puzzle pieces,
essentials are fitted back together,
precisely, and yet so precariously.


The headboard
has a crack in it, five inches
from the top, nine inches across.

I've no idea
how it happened, nor
any clue how long it's been there.

When the movers
arrive to pack up the house,
one of them notices the fissure

in the marital bed,
asking how long it's
been damaged in that way.

I'd say, though I'm
sure he means no harm.

I shrug
and say I've no idea
when the split first occurred,

but it's
clearly grown
to unbearable dimensions.

I pack the rest
of my things, then call
the Salvation Army to pick up the bed.

Cristine A. Gruber has had worked featured in numerous magazines, including:  North American Review, Writer's Digest, Writers' Journal, Ascent Aspirations, California Quarterly, Dead Snakes Online Journal, The Endicott Review, Garbanzo Literary Journal, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Kind of a Hurricane Press:  Something's Brewing Anthology, Miller's Pond Poetry Magazine, The Penwood Review, Poem, Thema, The Tule Review, and Westward Quarterly.  Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Poems by J.J. Campbell

dripping from your lips

whispering sweet
nothings to sleeping
angels on a lonely
saturday night

it must be years now
that i have chased
after this ghost
called love

a myth

a story told by
the elders

yet i can close my
eyes and see it
dripping from
your lips

and how i long for
those to be placed
right in the middle
of my soul

longing isn't the
right word anymore

this kind of desperation
usually ends up with
terms used by the police

the same lucky stars

wish upon the
same lucky stars
you saw the first
time you looked
in her eyes

a wise man is
laughing about
the most beautiful
dream and the
nightmares that

i haven't been
in love in so
long that i truly
don't know
what to do

in a sense, i
am freed from
those restrictions

although, it's
rather hard to
convince a cynic
that his next step
won't be into a
fresh pile of shit

dance in the glory

press your voodoo
lips upon my bloody
tears underneath the
last full moon either
one of us will ever
get to see

may we close our
eyes and dance in
the glory of the
drugs that brought
us here

acid rain dripping
off of the leaves
that refuse to change colors

my nightmares
are the only things
that ever have a
chance of coming

i catch the sparkle
of fading stars in
the corner of your

this must be the
hell my mother
warned me about

J.J. Campbell (1976-?) lives and writes on a farm in Ohio.  He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon, Pink Litter, Jellyfish Whispers, and Fuck Art, Let's Dance. His most recent book, Sofisticated White Trash (Interior Noise Press) is available wherever you happen to buy books these days.  You can find him most days on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights (

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Poem by Mikel K

Because of Her

Because of her,
he bit his nail so hard
that his finger started bleeding.

The pain surprised him.
He wanted to cry.
Not because of his fingernail,
but because of her.

Poetry by Mikel K has appeared in:  Subtle Tea, drown in my own fears, poetic diversity, Zygote in My Coffee, The Blue Lake Review, Swimming with Elephants, The Georgia Review, The Reeve Report, Lowlife Magazine, The Political Dogma, World Wide, Open Salon, and Beagle Bugle.  He was a music columnist for a Constitution.  He has been voted best poet in Atlanta for the last two years by readers of Creative Loafing, Atlanta's weekly newspaper.  You can buy a book by K at

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Two Poems by Miki Byrne

I Could if I Wanted to

On the day my final decree flopped on the doormat,
dead, flat as the marriage it ended, I went to Plymouth.
Spent four hours chicketty-chacking on a rocking train.
Heard mumble-voiced announcement of Cheltenham Spa,
Bristol Temple Meads.  Exeter St. David's.
Gathered old friends on arrival.  Roared in glorious freedom
round The Hoe, Barbican, dockside pubs.
Collected stray Marines on drink-soaked skirmishing leave,
delighted to join forces.  We dangled our feet over a stone jetty.
Spaced man, woman, man, woman like starlings on a ridge tile.
Watched waves wash in.  Saw one of the lads puke,
wipe his mouth with a hand's back.  Yell for more beer.
I eyed the talent.  Allowed wine soaked lust to bubble, ferment
in reckless bonhomie.  Felt the weight of years lift.
Fixed my eye on the handsome quiet one.
Enjoyed the knowledge that I could, if I wanted.


After he left, followed his own dreams,
the narrow-boat changed.  Became hers alone.
It's comfort doubled.  Wrapped around her.
Became a haven of solitude set in miles of green.
A moat on one side, on the other,
a drawbridge raised at will.
Lap of water against hull soothed.
Fires roar comforted.
The cabins steel-sided strength bled into her.
No-one could intrude.  Peace was a strong arm
about her shoulders.  Healing, holding her upright.
Thoughts loosened from the screaming knots
they had twisted into.  Spread out in ripples
like the shining green water.
Untangled, floated ahead--in a new path.
Enticing to follow.

Miki Byrne has written three poetry collections, had work included in over 120 poetry magazines and anthologies and won prizes for her poetry.  She has read on both Radio and TV, judged poetry competitions and was a finalist for Poet Laureate of Gloucestershire.  Her latest collection, Flying Through Houses, is available now from Indigo Dreams Publishing.  Miki is disabled and lives near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, UK.