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.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

A Poem by Ken L. Jones

Shadows Grown in a Nursery

The music of autumn is a stag's head full of slumber
Creeping like a weird Dutch Ferris wheel
That makes King Kong do your bidding
Even as the rib cage of a harmonica
Leads us to a honeyed atonement
That is blinding orange in its brightness
Oh Kathy I still remember the thrill
Of touching your skin which would never be mine
And how that made a pirate of me
Taking what I willed of an island divine
And even now that I've tasted more permanent delights
In the dark with Miss Donna who is forever mine
Still the echoes of what we once had torment me
And reverberate throughout my memories
Wish such a force that they smite, oh how they smite.

For the past thirty-five years Ken L. Jones has been a professionally published author who has done everything from writing Donald Duck Comic books to creating things for Freddy Krueger to say in some of his movies.  In the last six years he has concentrated on his lifelong ambition of becoming a published poet and he has published widely in all genres of that discipline in books, online, in chapbooks and in several solo collections of poetry.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Two Poems by Nina Bennett

After He Leaves

I pull the sheets taut,
straighten the down comforter,
settle into the center of what is,
once again, my bed.

Fantasy Island

She spends the weekend emptying
her dresser, nightstand, bookcase, her
drawers from the shared desk.  No place
now to store legal papers, courtesy
copy of his divorce petition, list
of premarital property that in two days
he will remove.
Earrings, hand lotion, lipstick
jumbled in boxes retrieved from the attic,
clothes in piles on the pale green rug
she chose for serenity, books stacked
in towers like the ones her granddaughter
builds with brightly colored wooden blocks.
The highest setting
on the vacuum cleaner can't pull up
the four circles where thick legs
of the antique oak table settled
for nineteen years.
She covers the crushed
carpet with turrets of books,
traces the faint outline of the absent
Oriental rug with walls of boxes.
While he plays house on fantasy
island, she climbs over a palisade
of sweaters, sits inside
her cardboard castle, watches
news of a commuter plane crash
near Buffalo, fifty dead,
possible pilot error.  She clutches
a stuffed dragon bought on a birthday
trip to London, wonders if it's feasible
to emerge from the wreckage intact.

Delaware native Nina Bennett is the author of Sound Effects (2013, Broadkill Press Key Poetry Series chapbook #4).  Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies such as Kansas City Voices, Big River Poetry Review, Shark Reef, Bryant Literary Review, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, Philadelphia Stories, and The Broadkill Review.  Nina was a 2012 Best of the Net nominee.

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Poem by Emer Davis


In the folds
Of her cloak,
The white foam
Leaves behind
Its mark.
Her feet wedged into the sand,
She remembers his hand
Sliding down her back.
Silver waves
Cleansing away
Secrets from the past.

Emer Davis, a poet and writer, was born in Dublin and grew up on Achill Island off the west coast of Ireland.  She has lived in London, Dublin, Drogheda and Abu Dhabi.  She has one book of poems published, Kill Your Television, and two eBooks published -- Name Tag and To Tear Your Breath Away.  She organized a monthly open mic poetry session and a poetry group the Viaduct Bards in Ireland.  Several of her poems and short stories have been published in Ireland, Mexico, UK, USA and the UAE.  She was a regular performer at Rooftops Rhythms in Abu Dhabi until July 2014 and read at the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair in 2013.  Having recently returned to Ireland in 2014, she is currently working on a non-fiction book and a new collection of poems.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Poem by Lynn Hoffman

afternoon light

there, can you see it?
the mercurial the way she conjures the color
of light in middle afternoon
a greenish-blue along her hip
near orange down her leg.
i swear i see the dancing halo
as the wind shakes the treeshadow
along her spine, around her ass.
it is nipple-pink and fuzzy brown, that light
not dry, not roman, not farsighted,
it's venetian and it's blind.
it's in the shadow of damp red sheets
it tastes like salted flesh,
it moans at me, like pain, that light
and it smells a bit like love.


i'm your 87th lover,
you're my 61st
and still we wonder
at the russet
in the dusk.


this great sex is killing us
we never talk i don't know
which team you root for
you don't know which root
i teem with.

why just the other night,
we damn near died:
i refused to come so that
i could watch your face
one more time and you
you squeezed yourself around me
and one of us forgot to breathe
and all the air turned into fire
and we woke up later covered
in ashes and cinders,
smile-smothered and dopey-drowned.

this great sex is killing us
we can each barely stand the sight
of the other dressed, untouched
vertical and composed.

we went to dinner and with the soup
you were telling me about the history
of guatemala and i was imagining
the consummation of the consumption
of this consummate you.

this great sex is killing us
you are losing faith in the faith
of many lovers.  i have become
indifferent to my professed indifference.

this great sex is killing us.
i know because we fall asleep
with flesh impressed with flesh
a little, a lust alive
a little like a blissful death.

Lynn Hoffman has been merchant seaman, teacher, chef and cab driver.  He's published three novels:  The Bachelor's Cat, Philadelphia Personal and bang-BANG.  He's also written The New Short Course in Wine and The Short Course in Beer.  Skyhorse Books just published a second, expanded edition of the beer book.  A few years ago, he started writing poetry.  In 2011, his poem, The Would-be Lepidopterist was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  His memoir of a funny year with cancer, Radiation Days will be published in March 2014.  Most of the time he just loafs and fishes.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

A Poem by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

flashback flash forward

laying there
in the dark
makes it
ten times

yanked from
dreamfree calm
bedhair peace
no cute kitten
platitude posters
Bobby Flay brunches

just the dark
flash forwards
and you

Wanda Morrow Clevenger lives in Hettick, IL -- population 200 give or take.  She has published over 300 pieces of work in 114 print and electronic publications over the past seven years.  Her debut book, This Same Small Town in Each of Us, published in 2011 (Edgar & Lenore's Publishing House).  She maintains a magazine-style blog of published work and book purchase link called "It's All Just Telling Tales Out of School:  A full length poetry manuscript is currently searching for a publisher.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Poem by Brihintha Burggee

Ruhi (My Soul)

You're only a blurred image,
Of smiles, affection and piety
A fragile mirage,
I breathe in every moment.
You are the whisper of every prayer,
From a heart whose longing has left it barren.

My ruhi, my qalbi --
Every night you sneak into my bed,
Thrusting a map from my heart to yours,
Tracing away ancient grief with your fingers,
One detour at a time until dawn breaks in,
And you point to your chest, "This is your home,"

I am lost to handful of mornings,
Jealous of the silence of wakefulness that pulls you away,
Like the ocean teasing the shore only to leave it parched.

*Ruhi:  Soul
Qalbi:  Heart

Age 20, Brihintha Burggee is enjoying the experience of writing her first poems.  She lives in a small paradise island called Mauritius in the middle of the Indian Ocean.  Her works have been previously published by The Rainbow Rose, The Camel Saloon, Mad Swirl, Leaves of Ink, Black Mirror Magazine, and Pyrokinection.