Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Three Poems by Linnea Harper


This potful of cactus
is a desert. It prickles
and blooms.
If you were here
you would be napping
in its shade,
covering your nose
with your sombrero.
Your fingers would be
picking perfect chords
the way they did
when you dozed off
and I ran four light
fingers down the full
length of your arm
and held them there
like strings
for you to play on.

While I’ve got you in this pot
I’d like to talk.
These indoor winds
are drying out my skin.
I feel the old scales falling
to the floor
and belly through them
limbering my cool reptilian

I leave a thinning trail
for you to follow when you
in case you’d care to strum
these desert bones.

A Grievance 

The heart stakes out its own metaphor:
Creaky timbers shore the entrance
to a shuttered mine.

The wood sings, it moans
as the delicate balance that has held
since the last seismic shift
slips, rips cell from cell
clean down the center lines
and the structure collapses.

This was the site of the portal
to a delicate rape:
You made false time.

I waited like the mine waits
for a shaft of light
and settled for the usual:
perfumed hair, silky smooth legs
and clean white sheets
that I twist in my sleep
into a shroud for anticipation.

Chilled, you say.  As in— somewhere between
five minutes in the fridge and packed in dry ice—
the right way to serve Chardonnay. Chilled, like
a gust of fog off  the ocean slapping you hard
at the edge of truth-- no hat, no mittens. As in,
I’m standing here wet and naked with no towel,
for Chrissake! Or, Keep that kidney on ice till we
land, doctor!  As in hung out, calmed down, or
frozen out of something you had hoped to warm to.
Chilled, you say, as if a personal climatological
data point could clarify as much as a good hard
swallow, or a cold crystal goblet whose wet lip
moans your song as my finger traces the rim.

Linnea Harper lives on a tidal slough on the Oregon coast, near the mouth of the Alsea River. Her poems have been published here and there, including in CALYX, and she has been a finalist for the Bunchgrass Prize. Before she was a poet, she was a social worker, and before she was a social worker, she was a poet.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Two Poems by J.K. Durick

There’s a message in your hesitancy,
That gap of time before you speak
That tells me more about the moment
Than any words you may come up with.

I have been studying all your silences
For many years now. I note each pause,
Its spacing, its timing and then its cause.
I have made a science of your silence.

I have become an expert on uncertainty,
A connoisseur of caution, a devotee of
All doubtfulness and your indecision,
The local authority on tentativeness.

And I have tried everything to stop it:
Fed you lines at times, kept talking over
Your pauses, or quickly looked away
As if distracted by what you might say.

And I have imitated you to you at times,
Used your gestures, opened that chasm
Between my speaking parts and filled it
With the nothing you’ve always shared

with me.
A Slip
It was something
so small
in the greater scheme
of things,
a bit of history
that can’t be fixed,
misplaced words,
a lapse in judgment
with consequences
as heavy as time
as heavy as silence.
Normally, we said
the expected
as if it mattered,
patterns we could
predict and tame,
routines we knew
were safe to say,
except that once
when I went on
to say what I said,
words, I still hear,
things, I should never
have said out loud,
but did.

J. K. Durick is presently a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Juice, Napalm and Novocain, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground Review.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Poem by Tendai R. Mwanaka


The last
      of the sun’s light-
      gilding the lone bird’s,
      flighty feathers.

      whirling before-
      an inner eye, heads thrown,
      in an ancient movement.

      across long-dead...
      faces, the mating dance,
      of African women

Like bees
      returning often-
      to their hives,
      our caves are still there.

And love
      can be a lonely-
      estate, of wounded seams,
      and tarnished dreams.

Tendai R. Mwanaka was born in Zimbabwe, in the remote eastern highlands district of Nyanga, in Mapfurira village. Left Nyanga for Chitungwiza city in 1994, and started exploring writing that year, when he was barely twenty. His first book to be published, Voices from exile, a collection of poetry on Zimbabwe’s political situation and exile in South Africa, by Lapwing publications, Ireland, 2010. KEYS IN THE RIVER: Notes from a Modern Chimurenga, a novel of interlinked stories that deals with life in modern day Zimbabwe was published by Savant books and publications, USA 2012, found here; http://www.savantbooksandpublications.com/9780985250621.php. A book of creative non-fiction pieces, THE BLAME GAME, will be published by Langaa RPCIG( Cameroon 2013), a novel entitled, A DARK ENERGY will be published by Aignos publishing company( USA). He was nominated for the Pushcart twice, 2008, 2010, commended for the Dalro prize 2008, he was nominated and attended Caine African writing workshop, 2012. Published over 250 pieces of short stories, essays, memoirs, poems and visual art in over 150 magazines, journals, and anthologies in the following countries, the USA , UK , Canada , South Africa, Zimbabwe, India , Mexico, Kenya, Cameroon, Italy , Ghana, Uganda, France , Zambia, Nigeria, Spain , Romania, Cyprus, Australia and New Zealand.

With messages
Written on the

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Poem by Colleen Colkitt


It took every red blood cell in me
To force my lips to form the words
To tell you to leave that night

It took all of the space between my lungs,
Bloody and dark,
To tame the taught tightness of my heartbeat

And it took each inch of the black heels
I was stumbling on
Not to fall back into your arms


Would you kiss the darkness between my ribs?
Would you gives names to every paper crane I strung from my ceiling?
Would you look in my closet and love
Each demon dangling from clothes hangers?

Sigh, roll your eyes, and rub your mouth.

You flex your calves
Flee into the night
Where you came from
Back to your mattress that rests on the floor
Back into the easy arms of
Those smiling smoking girls
Who answer when you call
Who leave their mark on your neck,
Claiming you,

But when you call me,
At three
in the morning

“Come over.”

I’m already shoving my black heels on
Tucking regretful red blood cells
Tightly between my lungs, and
Giving your name to a paper crane on my ceiling
Swinging like a pendulum
(Or a hanged man)
Ready to make a mark of my own.

Colleen Colkitt is a freelance writer of fiction and poetry. She lives in Buffalo, New York with her family. She will graduate from SUNY Brockport with degrees in Creative Writing and Communications. Her work has recently been published in Bare Hands Poetry, Muddy River Poetry Review, and Poetry Bulawayo. Look for Ms. Colkitt in Daily Love, as she was featured on the site in February.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Poem by Joop Bersee

Grown Tired

Of her feet and the fire
getting cold, the lightning speaking,

not interested in words.
Creation becomes a threat,

love falling into bushes,
thistles, nettles, round spiders,

hungry. When will the gate close?
Before or after mercy?

Before or after the thief
in the night, in the garden?

Not interested in words.

Joop Bersee was born in the Netherlands in 1958 in Aerdenhout. From 1989 to 1996 he lived in South Africa where he began writing poetry in English in 1991. His poetry has been published in South Africa, England, Wales, Canada, Brazil, India (in a translation),the United States and Ireland. In 2011 he was one of the winning poets of the Dalro Award in South Africa. Currently he works for the library of a museum in Amsterdam.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Two Poems by Anthony Ward

Rose Tinted

I’ve been pricked by many a rose.
Drawn by the petals that attract me,
Reaching to grab that which exalts my heart,
My thoughts redundant to the pain
I bring upon myself with such careless folly;
Causing my blood to flow and stain my flesh
With such blush of self conscious arousal,
Making me retract my initial advances
And simply admire her aesthetic frivolity.


Are you that girl
That passed me by on the gilded earth?
Gave me an attack of epistaxis?
Back then, when I’d resigned myself to a future
Where we’d never meet.

Are you that girl
I saw almost a lifetime ago,
In another age?

Or am I merely imagining that you are-
That girl who caught my eye and threw it back,
As if we’d found one another in an instant;
Falling in love for a moment.

Or did I just image it
As I imagine it now?

Anthony Ward tends to fidget with his thoughts in the hope of laying them to rest. He has managed to lay them in a number of literary magazines including The Faircloth Review, The Pygmy Giant, Jellyfish Whispers, Turbulence, Underground, The Bohemyth, Torrid Literature Journal and The Weekenders, amongst others.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Poem by John Grochalski

you keep the guilt alive

her last email to me reminded me
that i was amazing yet married
that i'd done nothing wrong to her
just that it was just too weird between us
and better for her not to keep in touch
best of luck and please don't take it personal, she said
her words burning me over and over again as i read
memorizing this fresh end like a shakespearian sonnet
thinking you keep the guilt alive doing it this way.

John Grochalski is the author of two books of poetry: The Noose Doesn't Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (2008, Six Gallery Press) and Glass City (2010, Low Ghost Press). He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, the part the tour buses avoid.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two Poems by Sarah Flint


You took a hammer
and a wedge made of
polished black oak
you had made earlier
but kept hidden from me
and struck the hammer
against the wedge
as it rested on my head.
It split my skull
and its point
sunk down into my belly
where it bled 3 am thoughts
into my carefully preserved veins.
It seeped guilt and doubt
that curdled with my righteous indignation
until it became a strangulated hernia
of right and wrong.
You blinked
and walked away.

Absence and Loss

It hung there
Invisible but palpable,
The bit missing.

The absence of a warm touch,
A glance, a thought spun out
And captured in our hands.

My thought. Your thought.
An imperceptible similarity
That knitted and knotted us together.

Now the thread hangs and swings
Empty, weightless and cold in the sea breeze.
The absence of your presence is like

Peter Pan’s cut off shadow against the cliff
But I need it sown back on
Like I need a hole in the head.

Sarah Flint has been trying to put words into good order for a while. She plays with poetry and flash fiction in the UK and is a regular contributor to various sites on the Web.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

A Poem by Tom Hatch

X Love 2012

Carved into a wooden bench overlooking
The pastoral view of forever lust could be into love
B+N in a heart “forever” 2012 fresh cut

The view unsustained telescopic souls
Scratched bold X bruised love
Through the middle of the heart
B+N did not make it into 2013

The morning young dew
Fills the shallow cut
It is the view that they
Are easily suckered into a carved
Tongued by small pocket knife
When she was mine she looked so good
In the country fairy light

Next morning on a Manhattan street
Leaning on the trash heap dog pissed
Stained discarded head board
Carved very deep and six inches
Large on the right side of the bed
IGNOR ME dug in with a bayonet
A solider of lost loves battlefield
The bloody sirens blare
Heard I'm sure by B+N somewhere

Tom Hatch paid his dues in the SoHo art scene in the 70s, 80s and 90s. He was awarded two NEA grants for sculpture back then. And taught at various colleges and universities in the NYC metro area in art. He is a regular at The Camel Saloon and BoySlut. He had recently published The Mind[less] Muse. He lives in CT with a few farms up and down the road works in Manhattan. His train ride to and from NYC is his solace, study and den where it all begins and ends.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Poem by Sandy Benitez

The Approaching Rain
I drew in the shutters
when I felt the first chill of Fall.
There were rooms in my heart
that had collapsed from an internal quake.
But that was a story for another day.
You'd like to think it was because of you
but that is not so.
Mother tends to worry but she will be fine
wrapped in her aubergine shawl
rocking by a fireplace with no wood.
Tomorrow I will collect the leaves
that piled up like heartaches
from my withering tree out back
and burn them with the letters
I never sent you,
the stamps I never licked.
I can smell the rain approaching,
my eyes becoming cloudier and grey.
Sandy Benitez is the founder and editor of Flutter Press and Poppy Road Review. She has authored a full-length collection of poetry, five chapbooks, and published in two anthologies. Sandy resides in California with her husband and their 2 children.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Two Poems by Shaquana Adams

A word of poetry, a touch of your cheek,
every syllable, a sensation,
I kiss you, and love has words,
Slipping. Truth. Boil.
I feel the scar on your face.
No. Stop. In past.
Straight hair, in my hands and everywhere,
Never. No more.
If we made love I might explode.
Slipping. Reach.... Remember.
Time. Slipping
In and out
In and out
In and out
In and out
of my mind...

Mourning Darien


One week, no two

How long has it been?

Oh yes,

One week, six days and 5 hours


I had to say goodbye

I had to.

It was not my choice

I would have fought

Until my heart stopped beating

But I would have fought

And lost

And my heart would still be beating

Too bad for me

I’m mourning Darien

The man I love is gone

That’s all that needs to be said

He’s gone from me

And I don’t know how to mourn.

Should I consider him dead?

And the man walking the earth is a copy

Should I consider him on vacation?

With no return trip

Should I consider him imaginary?

Aaladin after the movie ends

No one can tell me

I’ve asked everyone I know

They say I must move on

I know that’s what I have to do

But my question was,

How should I mourn Darien?
Shaquana Adams is a graduate of Francis Marion University. Adams has been writing poetry since she was 12. She enjoys reading, crocheting, and yoga in her spare time.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Poem by Rick Hartwell

Born in the dark only to die in the dark,
a certain amount of darkness is to be
expected in or in between our lifetimes.

I received an email late last night,
often a harbinger of acceptance or
rejection, only to learn she’d died.

It used to be that telegrams would
suffice for such, letting one weep for
or rejoice a life in peace and quietude.

Then the ubiquitous telephone
brought such news without the
luxury of considering a response.

Modern technology has given
back what had been taken away,
but has removed any spontaneity.

So when I received her sister’s
message and reread the meaning, I
realized I had to carefully respond.

What condolences should be used
when the fragility of emailed words
convey so little of oft-studied memories?

Recollections of dual loves long ago,
flowered in such youthful exuberance.
yet wilted by thoughtless replacement.

Careful words to her sister; but, for whom
am I sorry: the girlfriend who died? - or the
sister, the writer, replaced by her? – or me?

Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school (remember, the hormonally-challenged?) English teacher living in Moreno Valley, California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Three Poems by J.K. Durick


I have gone to great lengths to fill the room,
talked and flirted, moved furniture and touched
things up, but the hole in my day hasn’t gone away.
It is there, wide and tall, deep, dark, hollow, and all
I did, or can do, only makes it all seem more true.

Trial Separation

“Separation” sounds scientific, perhaps surgical
like conjoined twins leaving an O.R. on separate
gurneys; one thing ends, then two continue on
or parts of a space launch coming apart, one going
on, while the other, as expected, drops easily away.
“Trial” seems too tentative, like trial and error or
better, a test drive around a block or two to try
things out, like taking off the training wheels and
watching the children ride away from us, watch
them grow away from us, trying out their new
found separateness, or like a trial-size that comes
in the mail, but then grows larger, even family size
or like something with a thirty day guarantee and
if we aren’t satisfied we can send it back for a full
refund, minus postage and all this damn handling.
Fresh out
Cupboard bare, glass emptied all the way,
Tank bone dry, empty sleeve, empty socket,
A vacant lot, a blank stare, hollow, devoid,
Dismal, pointless, futile, aimless, drained,
Uninhabited, barren, worthless, exhausted,
And that’s just this morning.
J. K. Durick is presently a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Juice, Napalm and Novocain, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground Review.