Thursday, March 10, 2016

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

Swimming in Yellow

Yellow swimsuit + ocean = sharkbite.
The strange man with an obvious death wish
on television could not have explained it
any better, and I thought, how unfortunate
that one of the most popular beach songs inspired
myself, and doubtlessly millions of other females
to buy yellow polka-dotted bikinis. 

I rush to my summer drawer immediately, yank
the suicidal fabric from its home, toss it
in the garage with the other bleached out suits
set aside for chlorinated water only.  I make a note
to pick up a new black suit or two, a color
the great white predators all but ignore. 
Then I make another note to pick
up a pair of camouflage swim trunks
to send to my ex for his birthday.  Underwater
predators confuse them for sea turtles, often
like to take a tiny bite
or two.

Color Fills the Universe

He flickers, a thick viscous light—
life-generating.  She is
kaleidoscopic cavern—
endless, formless, all-
consuming.  Their touch is
simple, studded with fierceness—
desire set ablaze.  The world burns
around them like a rainbow
whose sole purpose is to dissolve
their skin.

Tossed Salad

I hate you like a tossed salad.
A bowl full of healthy
diet-perpetuating rabbit food.
I pick at tasteless
leaves slathered in oil and vinegar. 
Fork over fork, I consume.
My inner carnivore growls
in protest.  Remains

A.J. Huffman has published twelve full-length poetry collections, thirteen solo poetry chapbooks and one joint poetry chapbook through various small presses.  Her most recent releases, Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink), A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press), and Familiar Illusions (Flutter Press) are now available from their respective publishers.  She is a five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2500 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, The Bookends Review, Bone Orchard, Corvus Review, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Three Poems by Linda M. Crate

you can't run

it played out like
an anime
the sort i didn't like
i was the first love
only so you could find a second one
at the same time,
but i was the one that was punished;
just like in the anime world you were never
punished for your sin
i was just scorched for loving you--
so hard i tried to get
you back,
but then you told me of her and how she completed
you and gave me the unapology of the year
full of false sincerity and lies
so i am not sorry that i hurt you with my letter
i hope that my words always carve
deep into every orifice of  your soul and i hope that
the universe punishes you with the ire
of a thousand angry unicorns--
and just like the animes i like to watch you're going
to have to face me again after all the hurt
you put me through
i wonder if you'll make it all about you
at her wdding or if you'll ignore me completely
or if we'll gaze at one another
like in an anime,
and you'll be shattered while i'll be fine.

burnt flesh

you were voldemort
leaving behind a thousand scars
as you shattered other's lives
you only hated me
because i stood up to you and i wouldn't
die just like harry,
and i promise you that you will
regret making me your
i will hex you into the most painful corner
of oblivion
if you thought severus or dumbledore were ones
to be reckoned with you ought to
see me when i'm
in a foul mood--
you always told me that i didn't have a temper,
but what would you know?
you're only a self-absorbed man who thinks
only of lust and revenge and one who runs
from his problems,
but you can't always run;
as intelligent as they say you are
you are quite a fool--
one day we will face one another again and i will
make sure you're the one that hurts
i'll be the one that scars you
so you can know what it feels like as i burn
through your skin.

just a fly

i know i should pity you
because you don't know how to feel
or what a heart is meant to
be used for,
but i cannot;
you broke me so thoroughly for the purpose
of nourishing only your own soul
that i just want to shatter you
i want the whole world
to see your
blackened heart and for them to see that your
charisma like tom riddle's
is only a farce--
those cold blue eyes remind me only of winter
sharp and jagged as the icicles you
thrust through my heart,
but like fawkes
i knew enough to rise from my ashes;
because i am a raven with the heart of a phoenix
i will reinvent myself to survive,
but you will perish
under a tide of self-loathing because you
crave change you're not brave
enough to seek--
i will smash you beneath oceans of success
make you see that i'm the writer and you're just the
fly who wishes he could hold a pen.

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvania native born in Pittsburgh yet raised in the rural town of Conneautville.  Her poetry, short stories, articles, and reviews have been published in a myriad of magazines both online and in print.  Recently her two chapbooks, A Mermaid Crashing Into Dawn (Fowlpox Press--June 2013) and Less Than A Man (The Camel Saloon--January 2014) were published.  Her fantasy novel Blood & Magic was published in March 2015.  Her novel Dragons & Magic was published in October 2015.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Three Poems by Bob Carlton

Love Poem Without the Word Heart

Set down
amid concrete and steel,
city streets and smells,
I am left
in silence and solitude
to fill with my emptiness
the erotic void of your absence.


stooped and bent
I appear
a human question mark
and you
my answer
proved false

For and To Make Seven

You do not exist
any more
for me.

Or any less
for that matter.
And matter it does
to me.

Bob Carlton lives and works in Leander, TX.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Three Poems by Amber Decker

The Better to Eat You With My Dear

Part of me is still the lonely girl
who waits for you
at the edge of the woods,
basket full of bread and wine,
red dress falling around her feet
like autumn leaves.
We can agree
that we learned to hunt
because we were hungry.
We learned to light fires
because we were afraid of the dark.
When we heard growls in the night,
we fed what climbed into bed with us
to keep it from swallowing us whole.
And you once scooped out a man's kneecaps
with shards of broken glass.
And you once tore open another man's belly,
and cast him into the river
with a belly full of stones.
It's a game, you said.
And everything was funny.
I loved your fingers, those same fingers
you put inside me until I was bloody
and screaming.  And what can you do
but turn back once you have come to the end
of the path, to the place where thorns
tangle and drag through the thin white sheet
of your skin like teeth?
You run.  You run like hell.
You keep running.


Voice you'd know anywhere,
you'd swear could pull you from the grave,
dirt curdling under your fingernails
as you clawed your way up and closer
to a ghost made of only a handful
of syllables and breath,

voice that wrestled you from the grip
of nightmares when you'd thrash in bed,
beat the pillow senseless,
twist yourself into a cocoon of blankets,
emerge shaken and raw into the womb
of the dark bed, a lovely
startled, just-born creature safe in an embrace
you were promised would survive
whatever raging hell you carried inside of you,

voice that murmured the softest words
when you woke, dazed, in the hospital bed,
forearms burning, fire leaping vein to vein
where a single shard of broken glass
had shredded skin into long, curling ribbons,
colored the bath water thick and red as merlot,

voice that swooped through your ribcage
while you made love, like a swallow
cut from black velvet, lured you
over ledges again and again until
you learned how to conquer the sky
on your own, and the moon hung
above you like a cat's crooked grin,

voice like a scalpel sliding
into the milky gray fetus of a stillborn pig,
a starless wish, unfinished,
undreamed, says without falter don't
call here again.

(I Swear) This is Not a Love Poem

My back has always hurt
since the night I was ten and chased
our gray house cat up and down
the upstairs hallway, slipped and landed
on my tailbone.  I have never walked quite right
since then, and I have a knack for falling
down stairs or in love, getting busted up.
We are all damaged.  In fact, I was once
convinced I had found my soul mate
in the cornflower blue eyes of a man
whose childhood was spent being
his father's ashtray, scars
from cigarettes like the thumbprints of the devil
on either side of his spine, the curve of his neck,
where he loved to be kissed,
where he tucked me when we laid side by side
in his sleeping bag down by the river.
He left me sleeping, to wake alone
with my fingers pressed into the red earth.
This is why I told you I wanted
something better this time,
because I believe we are more than bodies,
more than sacks of blood and meat
and stupid, godforsaken hearts that
shatter like brown bottles across
the hard corners of a lover's name.
On New Year's Eve, I tasted the possibility
of us in my throat like good whiskey.
You said you needed space, so I followed
the North Star across two states
and found only the frozen ground
at the end of a driveway that led
to a house bigger than my resolve
when I said fuck it, because I didn't need
to be loved by anyone, anyway.
I am thankful that I couldn't see my face
when the doctor told me in his soft voice that
there was permanent damage to my heart.
Someday, I will be dead, and this body will be
nothing but ashes and bone fragments and teeth.
The flakes of my skin will stay buried
in the woodwork of my house, in the basket
of unwashed clothing, the crevices of my
worn-out mattress.  Strands of my hair will
climb like ivy inside the walls of my shower.
I will live in the air and the water
and the pearl-gray shivers of moonlight
in tree branches, and even if my memory
is only good enough for a couple verses
in some half-written song, shitty lyrics
secreted away between the pages
of Mein Kampf, and you keep stumbling home
drunk off your ass at 4 a.m. with a rage under your tongue
that you can't bear, I would still come
to kiss and smooth the creases
from your forehead as you sleep
and wind myself around your legs like a black cat
until you wake, safe, still haunted by the things
you won't allow yourself to believe in,
or especially by those you will.

Amber Decker is a thirty-something poet and musician from West Virginia.  She was the recipient of Cultural Weekly's 2015 Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, and her work has been included in the groundbreaking literary ezine, Exquisite Corpse, as well as other hip venues for alternative writing:  Zygote in My Coffee, Phantom Kangaroo, Hobo Camp Review, decomP, Red Fez, and Black Heart Magazine, to name a few.  Amber is a lover of comic books, horror culture, good wine, better whiskey, tattoos, and rock and roll.  Her latest collection of poems, The Girl Who Left You, is available from California's notorious Six Ft. Swells Press.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Poem by Seamas Carraher


     for Teresa

This detonator-love-drug
that wakes us early and
breaks all the pieces,
coming like a slow train
into the station,
for always it's a Sunday morning
on the deserted platform here.

This terrorist bomb for
the visiting tourists,
though there are
no strangers left
in this strange land,
no map to make our way
among these unfamiliar faces.

So make your own way now,
even though it is not spring
nor summer
but some sad solitary season
another silent lament:

how, after we had fought
war after war
in the days of all the beating clocks
(the uncountable days of all
these drunken doctors)

the strangeness ended here,
on this deserted platform,
heart beating heart
in our shared forgetfulness.

That only in the passing
is our presence together
visited, my
and happy-ever-after,
sweetheart.  You

Seamas Carraher was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1956.  He survives on the Ballyogan estate, in Carrickmines, South County Dublin, at present.  His work has been published in various print and online journals.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Poem by Learnmore Edwin Zvada

Diary of a Maddened Woman

When I depart from these walls
My eyes will not see across the table
Behind which your image hung
The manner of your arrogance stinking like the rest of you
I will not hear your reprimanding voice that carried itself like a god
Terrorizing my ego, dressing me down to a faceless apparition
Making me feel less of an animal than the rest of them that you tamed
When dichotomy becomes of a vine upon the tongue,
Treacherous as it goes down on me
I will drink liquor the way a dam swallows up a river
Up to my hair and down to my feet
Till your face looks funny in my eyes
With my face looks funny in my eyes
With my face a safe distance from your fist
I will remember how to cry
Against the floor that leads to the loony house
And you, my husband, will laugh like a copulating hyena
Then I will remember how you broke me
Like one of your useless coffee cups
On that chair where I used to sit, like a dumb cat
Whilst you wove a dream for me
But all that won't be a part of the story
The one I will narrate before the real lunatics
Down at the loony house
No, to them I will be the mad woman
From sun rise to sun set, I will sing bush
Biting and beating the crap out of them all
There I will stay, till I am grey in the head
Someday I will hear about it from the man on the radio
That you maddened another one of your bimbos
Then I will laugh and laugh
Till all the lunatics join in my laughter
And the pedophiliac shrinik will throw in a remark,
"Holy cow!  The gawk is getting better!"
The Girl With Roses In Her Hair
The first time my heart was broken
UPon the heart of a dead wood, I dug myself a shallow grave
Then I met Molly abreast the tall-stalked loquat tree
She was the girl with roses involved in the strands of her hair
And the eye that was shy to my regard
She made me believe in sunsets
The slyly circumvention of stars shooting through the daytime sky
I slowly grew into this art
Fluently, I relinquished to such romance
So we strode into the dead of the wood
With us a shovel, a smile and suiting kiss
In a minute's lapse our sorrows we buried amongst the wood's dead
Twoscore years I remained at her bosom
Centring on an undulating rise in her form
Woman filled, a seasonal grade in the craft of perfection
Such arrogant sport for the libidinous eye
In her I happened as she gradually happened to me
But upon a cruel summer Molly shoved a knife through my heart
She left me to bleed all the love I had fed on for so long
There we were again, my shovel and I
Bound for the place where they bury wounded hearts
To this date, my journey is not ended
I'm still to find her among the loquats
Sowing herself onto some lad's collar
And if the galaxies orient us into the same milky way
I shall whisper this one thing in her ear
"I will love you to my grave"

Learnmore Edwin Zvada is a poet from Zimbabwe's Harare Province where he is currently studying towards a degree in engineering.  He fell in love with poetry at a tender age.  Some of his poems have appeared in locales such as, The Literary Yard, Tuck Magazine, Duane's PoeTree, POEBITA Poetry Magazine and Whispers.  At the present moment, he is working on his first poetry book.  Apart from poetry, Learnmore is an ardent lover of photograph and music.