Friday, June 29, 2012

A Poem by April Salzano


You, my words, my thoughts, my language. This
is the hell I visit on my way to catharsis. Here
is my reach for understanding,
the deeper meaning you think I am seeking
among your thoughts, the ghosts of your lost
arguments and failed attempts at discourse. I will give
you the fight you think I am picking, the scabs
you think I am ripping open. There is a change,
that much is true. I want to reach
one other soul and learn what
each of us lacks.
I want complete connection, to fit
together inside
the way your nose fits perfectly
against my forehead.
We were meant to lie
side by side, face to face, a circle
closed against time and space. If I could, I would erase

the lurking shadow of my past. I would take
all the intimacies and their antitheses and feed them through
your paper shredder, six sheets at a time,
cross cut into something fit
to line a hamster cage.
Let’s watch my past turn to ash, burn too quickly to catch
me, a blank greeting card, good for any occasion. Fill me
in with any stock phrase, any simple
explanation or retractable statement that holds no duplicity,
no metaphor. For you

I would stop my mind from doing its silly little dance
that turns bad into worse before I can
begin to throw stones at my own
house, one pebble at a time
until I am hurling boulders, dodging broken
memories where bits and pieces knot
my mane and mirrors deceive
even the most skillful of navigators. I am
lost in my head, my dialogue, my justifications. I am
tangled in my own speech. Metaphorical
and literal become indistinguishable. Don’t bother
pretending to understand. Meaning is subjective.

This is the place I bring us like a vacation
home, where we overstay our own
welcome, but don’t pack our things to go. The intensity
here will make the return to normalcy
and all its boredom feel beautiful again. Escape
is called that for a reason. When I am locked
in this house, trying each window and door
with precision before I fail, is that you I see
as still as a decoy dangling the key
from your mouth, but pretending to search
for a means to my release?
Your arms are outstretched but empty.

You want out. I’ll set you free.
You need pain. Let me play sadist.
You want to hide. Here, crawl inside.
I will give you a haven from which you will never come
home. I am your metaphor. I am your poem. Recite me.
I am your scar, your recurrent dream.
What I will take with me when I go is nothing
less than your soul, ripped wide open and ready
to embrace the void that will become
the nothing you have spent your life building.

April Salzano teaches writing at Westminster College. She has published poetry in several online and print journals and is currently working on her first collection of poems and an autobiographical novel on raising a son with Autism, if the beauty and pain allow articulation.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

A Sample from the Editor, A.J. Huffman

Hell or Herpes

whichever claims you first. These are my wishes

for you

for all your bullshit chatter

for all your poor me’s for all your no one understands
me (but you and your substandard appearance) not good enough
to date you tried
but just couldn’t stomach all the romantic link[ing] I required

for your adamant unapology for having fun for making me your substitute
wife while still trying to fuck every pair of tits in town for telling me
I should just accept it as another fact like how I should be
grateful for the time you granted me

for saying that even if I had a perfect body we both know I don’t I would
only ever be average

for expecting me to want to be
friends and let you rely on me for emotional support
when the new anonymous fool filling your bed gets pissed
because you want to sleep with her best friend or the coke
addict who teaches you “dance” once a week

for expecting me to believe that it’s really your hair that attracts
these . . . females you can’t help it not
the now-overdrawn gold card that buys complacency
boats and presents for bastard children at random

for begging
me to confirm that you are a good person and it’s the rest
of the world that is at fault for your abandonment that it’s your honesty
not your superficial callousness that throws people
off for your whining no one wants the truth anymore for your sobbing
over your “herbalized” coffee for not even ever entertaining
the notion that it might be your semi-intentional sledge-hammer
delivery of the same that sends all your five-minute friends heading for the hills
with whatever of your belongings they can carry away

for destroying every potentially positive memory I might have
ferreted from the ashes of our “non-relationship”

for making me love you

for making me hate you

for making me


A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published four collections of poetry: The Difference Between Shadows and Stars, Carrying Yesterday, Cognitive Distortion, and . . . And Other Such Nonsense. She has also published her work in national and international literary journals such as Avon Literary Intelligencer, Writer's Gazette, and The Penwood Review. Find more about A.J. Huffman, including additional information and links to her work at and!/poetess222.