Thursday, January 30, 2014

Two Poems from Your Editor, A.J. Huffman

In Discernible Seclusion

You continue to hurt me.
With the sheer presence
of your [in]consistent absence.
I cannot stand the sight
of your memory.  I long too much
to hold the idea of you[r return].
I blink
and I am shattered again[st
your wall-like silence].  I imagine
your lips moving.  Their intentional
tones, not meant for me.  I look
farther back.  Behind your eyes.
I cannot see myself in their reflection.
And I remember.  You
never chose to let me inside.

Your Penis Made You Do It

You could not control it, you tried, but
it would not listen to reason, drained
all the blood from your head.  You blacked out,
woke with that blonde in your bed, had no idea
where she came from.  You think I should
understand, forgive you for its mistake.
I don’t.  I am not impressed
by you or it.  An erection is not monumental
in my eyes.  I do not mythologize it
the way you do, the way you want me
to.  I have no desire to build a temple around it,
flat out refuse to sacrifice my self
respect in its honor.  You continue
your misogynistic diatribe, hoping
to charm me into swallowing something,
maybe even my pride.  I eventually submit,
fall into resignation, finally accept all you have
to offer is the truth:  you are truly sorry
(though I prefer the term pathetic).  I slam
the door and my mind shut as I leave.  Thoughts
of you echo momentarily before fading
into the forgettable pile of my other past

A.J. Huffman has published seven solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  She is a Pushcart Prize nominee, and the winner of the 2012 Promise of Light Haiku Contest.  Her poetry, fiction, and haiku have appeared in hundreds of national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, Kritya, and Offerta Speciale, in which her work appeared in both English and Italian translation.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

A Poem by Nadine Waltman-Harmon

A Matter of Maturity
Mama hinted ‘bout salesmen,
     gigolos ‘n foreigners,
     but I was eighteen
     then an’ Mama never expected me
     to leave Washington County.
Mama had read ‘bout big
     city life an’ slick-talkin’,
     fast-movin’ city men.
     Maybe my Mama
     had met a few. But if Mama
     had seen that Galla salesman—
     fat, fawnin’ and fortyish—
     she’d have said, “Mercy!
     Lord! Protect my child!”
If Mama had seen his white Fiat
     and knew about his big
     city life she would
     have prayed harder for her child.
I wish Mama had told me there
     could be a no-good man
     who’d smile an’ sweet talk
     a woman while they
     were smilin’ an’ sweet talkin’
     some other women
     whose Mamas had never
     told them that once they got wise
     an’ kicked the bum out
     they’d spend nights wonderin’
     if the phone would ring
     an’ that no-good man
     would be on the line sayin’,
     “I still love you.”
It took me a year to see
     that he was a user, a no-good
     man that danced
     with and sweet-talked other women.
He was always wheelin’ an’ dealin’
     an’ tryin’ to get money
     from everybody.  Once,
     he asked a woman,
     who had more money
     than youth, for twenty thousand
     and, within five minutes,
     sweet talked her
     into bringin’ his sistah to America!
I packed his clothes, set
     them in the hall
     and, within the hour,
     he’d sweet-talked some woman
     and had an apartment and a car!
That night Mama came to me
     in a dream.  I heard
     my Mama say, “Lord,
     have Mercy on my child.
     That man’s a no-good
     piece of baggage, child,
     driftin’ on your shoreline,
     jus’ usin’ everyone, not sharin’
     real emotion, jes’ steppin’
     on people.  He’s jes’ a no-good
     salesman; a no-good gigolo.
     Forget him, child.”
That night I packed my bags
     an’ took off for Oregon
     and rented a flat
     without a telephone
     so I wouldn’t be listenin’
     for its ring and the sound
     of his voice sayin’,
     “I still love you.”
Nadine Waltman-Harmon is a retired teacher (42 years) who grew up in northeastern Oklahoma.  In the l960's she taught African teachers in Tanzania, East Africa Nadine lives in a log house in the  Pacific Northwest with her cat, Mama Chai.

Friday, January 24, 2014

A Poem by Theresa Darling

Another Departure
Only a week ago
the ice was melting
I was driving home
watching white ground slip
into black – mud everywhere
shining wet, black shimmer of crow
in motion and the slapping
sound of wings whipping
my speeding car, windows down
on the radio
someone was singing
mournfully long and slow
about love and letting go
along the road
dead deer were set free
winter – cold lover
holding tightly
forced to let go
only a moment
a week ago I thought
we were finally thawing.
Theresa Darling writes, creates pastels, and takes photographs in the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania. She lives quietly with her husband, Reg, and two spoiled cats. She is currently working on her first book of poetry, Secrets, Silence & Shadows: An Exploration of Rape & Marriage.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

A Poem by Ken L. Jones

Upside Down On A Drowsy Afternoon

We kissed beneath a chocolate Ferris wheel
As the sound of strange exotic
Interplanetary musical instruments wafted through the air
Two sets of lips met for the first time
And then the sky exploded
Into a Busby Berkley fever dream
Filtered thought the hot jazz of
The Fleischer Brothers
Riot of colors and starlight
In animated form

All of this beauty is slowly going away
Blown apart like a dandelion
As it meets a lawn mower blade
But remembered like the
Firework stands of the Fourth of July
But its all going fast
And I can only save fragments of it
And how long will that last?

I listen to the wind’s voice
And it sounds like it has had a stroke
And I realize how fast all of this
Can be brought to a halt
I decline in the sky like a bird
Vanishing into transparency
And my last thoughts tell me
Once again that you were
My weakest of moments
That you were like kryptonite to me
But would I do anything different
Funny you should ask
Though the whole thing crucified me
It was a tasty repast
And I deserved much of
What I got but not everything for sure
And what our flesh produced in merging
Brought forth frankincense and myrrh 
I know that you hate and love me too
And in my more pastoral moments
I feel the same about you
You deserve to have someone
More devoted to you than I
Someone who would have built
A whole universe around you
But I’m not that guy
I had things to do
That you never quite understood
And what I’ve left behind
Will last longer than petrified wood
And yet try to ignore it as I might
I remember the night
Oh my dear savior
I remember the night. 

Ken L. Jones has written everything from Donald Duck comic books to dialogue for the Freddy Krueger movies for the past thirty plus years.  In the last three years he has gained great notice for his vast publication of horror poetry which has appeared in many anthology books, blogs, magazines and websites and especially in his first solo book of poetry Bad Harvest and Other Poems.  He is also publishing recently in the many fine anthology poetry books that Kind of a Hurricane Press is putting out.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Two Poems from your Editor, April Salzano

If Love Can Be Put on a Shelf

hatred can line the pantry, spin
around on the lazy Susan like cans
of kidney beans, organ pebbles held
in aluminum captivity, dusty, waiting.
Jealousy can rage in the fridge,
barking at the plastic jug of milk,
that bloated breast of sustenance,
unnecessary, conspiratorial species'
potion that slides down throats
of our young, who believe they cannot
live without it.  Honesty can
be folded with the laundry, washed
clean, erased like a stain on fabric
that hides flaws, covers scars, cracked
open scabs on knees, flaking eczymatic
skin.  Trust can be swept under the rug,
crumbs, bits of bread and other garbage
no one believes in anymore.

It Should Have Been You

with your head under the front wheels
of my jeep instead of an innocent groundhog
who stopped under my vehicle out of fear.

It should have been you behind me as I ran,
mile after mile, going nowhere, getting there
slowly, arthritis wrapping its hand around my joints.

It should have been you sitting in the meeting
where our son's education was kneaded like bread dough,
twisted to fit some model everyone calls What's Best.

It should have been you the last hour of the day, worrying,
and the hour after that, awake in bed, worrying waking up
the next morning and worrying some more.

It should have been you who tucked our boys into bed
and told them why you left, how greener grass
had rooted on the opposite side of the fence.

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She recently finished her first collection of poetry, for which she is seeking a publisher and is working on a memoir on raising a child with autism. Her work has appeared in journals such as Poetry Salzburg, Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Montucky Review, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Two Poems by Jon Wesick

A Postindustrial Romance
…we live in a society that is both competitive and in which we are incessantly evaluated (school, university, performance as writer, poet or businessman or sportsman). The only place where you hope to stop that evaluation is in love.
                                                                                              Eva Illouz
Donna married my paycheck
on an unseasonably warm autumn day.
Bridesmaids in antebellum gowns fanned themselves
and congratulated her on her good catch.
I still have the postcard she sent
from their honeymoon in New Zealand.
I wanted them to be happy.
Even when pricing helium futures
at the zeppelin factory,
I’d set down my slide rule
and imagine her moaning with pleasure,
my paycheck between her thighs.
When the downsizing began,
she sat at my paycheck’s bedside
holding its hand     telling it not to give up.
At the funeral pallbearers had to restrain her.
In her grief she began to live for her job
staying at the office long after dark
and subsisting on frozen dinners.
To console her I explained that in today’s economy
love depends on the trade balance with China
as well as myriad decisions by executives
in large corporations.     Now she’s dating again.
If you’re interested, forward your resume
along with a copy of your tax return.
Monica Wanted to Be 2-D
She was okay as a centerfold.
Then she put on blue eye shadow and heels,
became a Cosmo cover.
I wanted to wrap her around books
art, philosophy, anything to add depth
but she became a crayon drawing
of a house and baby
yellow sun
lollipop trees.
I folded her into a paper airplane
and launched her into the sky.
She fluttered back as a credit card bill.
I took up origami
practiced cranes, butterflies, and elephants.
She countered with liquor ads and romance novels.
I thought a Mobius strip would satisfy both of us
but her feminist language critique cut my tongue
when I licked its adhesive edges.
Finally, she became a page from The Rules,
slipped under my door,
and skipped
pursued by the wind.
Host of the Gelato Poetry Series, instigator of the San Diego Poetry Un-Slam, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual, Jon Wesick has published nearly three hundred poems in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. He has also published over seventy short stories. Jon has a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest.