Sunday, January 31, 2016

Two Poems by Bea Garth


Sunlight crumbles
drifts like snow
everywhere we look
it is white
--the air cracks
flashing lights
cameras poised
click at our
singed eyebrows
knock kneed
we hurry off
to wash our hands
lather elbows
teeth gummed
from a sweet caress
--everything must froth:

fingernails shine beneath
their white halos
reveal pink moons,
ears buzz
from hydrogen peroxide
waste baskets careen
while your smile floats
a brilliant ghost
stairs dribble hot wax
coat your back
as they carry you down
and away
--the cold hits hard,
my hand reaches,
the sunlight cracks,
emptiness remains.


I felt your voice
whisper to me
causing the down
on my neck to rise
chilled then warmed
with pleasure.

Now I stand alone
facing this massive bed
heavy white knotted
like a white capped sea
bobbing, twisting
under the moonlight
--I crawl under a corner
and fall asleep.

It is this persistent unreality
that hurts when I see you
--a thousand nuances
sink and fray
sea tossed
in this rough no-time.
You look at your watch
and I set my own.
Salt-water mists
swirls about our legs,
congeals, pulls us
like peanut brittle
a sudden slap--the door shut--
our hearts hardening
there is nothing we can do
but break

Bea Garth is known for creating visually rich narrative poetry as well as for her unique visual art.  Early on Bea was influenced by her grandfather and great aunt's love of poetry and Asian art plus her parents' early occupation as archeologists.  She has been an extemporaneous poetry and arts organizer and editor off and on for many years in the San Jose, California area as well as Eugene, Oregon.  Currently she is president of Quicksilver Artists, a San Jose art and poetry group.  She is often found painting and writing in her studio with her cat Keiko or renovating houses as a property manager.  She will have her manuscript of poetry and drawings called, Eating the Peach, published sometime this next year by Blue Bone Books.  She has previously had poems and artwork published in a variety of small press magazines including The Song Is, Synchronized Chaos, Lake City Poets, Alchemy, Poetic Space, Denali, Coyote's Dance, The Other Paper, Writing for Our Lives, Caesura, Fresh Hot Bread, Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts, Sheffield Phoenix Press (cover for Where The Wild Ox Roam) and the poetry anthologies Elegant Stew, Women's Dreams/Women's Visions and Song of Los Gatos.  You can find examples of Bea's artwork and poetry at

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

A Year Alone in Oz

Long Beach was a bowl of Chinese porridge
A storm of honeybees in my autumn parlor
Where my old quilt became a calligraphy brush
As I chased the seagulls and kissed her treasure right on its lips
And ours was indeed a most delicate merging
In the midst of those wispy one way streets
Back when there were still harps a'plenty
And more than enough angels to strum them
When 'ere they pleased
Until I looked for a summer that didn't yet exist as
I learned my own great expense
That eventually we all become artifacts
And that all of that happens much too fast
As decades crumble and cannon last
Till only chimera like memories of the past
Become a tunnel of love ride in a swan boat made for one
Smelling of stale dust motes and setting suns

Buyer's Remorse

Once long ago near the gilded splendor of secondhand book stores
The tide pools of Saturday night revealed blue steel waves
That were served up on toast and then sparkling without a map in hand
They settled on the deserted sunset thoroughfares of the origami like water
That was blooming with all that we didn't plan
Back when the pale moon hinted at free love
Back before I first became the shepherd of dinosaurs
Back when such darkness was but the prelude
That coiled in her "I will always love yous"
That eventually wilted since they were blurted out too freely
And therefore could not stand up to the price of purchase
Once they had been bought

A Tangle of Glances

The brambles and thorns of morning quivered like a koi fish
In that gentle dream of haystacks where she first made freckled love to me
That trembled like a painting of that dawning in the mirror of her hair
So like burnished gold and then while she gestured like a daguerreotype
Explaining how all this could not last because it was never meant to be
But still none of that matters anymore now that it's all devolved into summer repeats
But still I hear her voice so fetching in the secrets of its own dance moves
Where something struggled to make a baby that could never be
A 'borning because we had become imaginary in the acid rain much too soon

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.  

Friday, January 29, 2016

Three Poems by Paul Tristram

Her Heart is a Derelict Playground

Where the swings are now only used
by the ghosts of memory.
Who would have thought
that building a wall
would leave you feeling so
cold, lonely and vulnerable
to the real enemy . . . Yourself?
There's a boarded up candy shop close by,
the once bright colors are faded
to something resembling nicotine stains.
It's hard to view without wincing,
so wince she must,
which keeps the "cringing" company at least.
That "hurt" doesn't heal with isolation,
it merely festers into a soul shadow.
Dark thoughts multiply by the counting,
spite, meanness follows "not letting go"
and masochistic self-righteousness
is the sure way of keeping you
stuck and squirming inside that hole.

The One That Got Away . . . Can Stay Away!

To be genuinely happy to be who you are,
where you are and with whom you are with
at this very point in life is two fists full
of Luck & Chance, "straight as an arrow" Fate
and a thousand hurricanes of Magic
all focused in upon on exact point and principle.
You've reached the sumMIT of something important,
the woes and troubles that dogged your footsteps
were needed, you've faced down every struggle,
survived each enemy, learning and growing
stronger with each "hard knock" lesson.
Emerging scarred but magnificently Triumphant!
take a breather (You've Earned It!)
smile and feel proud of yourself,
you are on the right path at last
and exactly where you need to be.
The stepping stones are aligned and ready
for the next part of the journey, Soldier . . . Well done.

Closing Doors Behind You is the Way Forward

Unless you want to sit in a room alone,
drinking into the small hours
talking dumbly into the past?
You've lived in bedsits,
you've seen it time and time again.
Broken men and women . . . given up on life.
Remember that computer guy who lived upstairs?
Cried himself to sleep every night pathetically
like an eight year old girl for months,
six other rented rooms listening to him.
Come to terms with your past,
lay it to bed and walk on from it.
Learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself,
you're still breathing and that's all that counts.
Strike off in a new direction,
you'll do better this time, you're wiser now.
Baby steps and small potatoes . . .
just being up and moving is winning.
You don't need to be lost like they are,
open up those metaphoric curtains
and let the sun back into your life . . .
it's good to see you emerging out the other side.

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet.  Buy his books, Scribblings of a Madman (Lit Fest Press), Poetry from the Nearest Barstool at, and a split poetry book The Raven and the Vagabond Heart with Bethany W. Pope at  You can also read his poems and stories here!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

She Looked Like a Peony

By a lake that was like my childhood nursery
Where I contemplated the impossibility of my first love
Beneath a moon that seemed to me to be suffering
Slouching by dark trees like divided continents
Touched by patches of bandaged chilliness
Whose insufficient evidence and unverifiable agendas
Snatched me down into a descent into printed words
And a fame I came to love found on streets full of poets
As pretty as an opera house dancing to the pipes of a new year dawning
Sleeping on the mattress that imprisons us both
Dead birds now who are victims of a brutal winter
Gone for a long time because we loved someone too well
Crying in the bathtub and on a blue street corner
Whose youthful gait was like a nice catholic girl afraid of all she felt
Death haunted in my immortality
Melancholy in the sweet scraps of my own memorabilia
And clear eyed in my loneliness
Bereft and cooked over an open fire
Angelic for reasons beyond what is needed
To interact with a too rough muse
And in my own entire universe of exalted moments
As I walked across the land of
The one perfect woman that I never quite met
Amazing bebop in the flux of my chronic distortions
An error in the text of some Mesozoic forest
Intricately connected in a Sahara Desert of mask making blown into neutrons
A jagged riff in the oblivion thunder of the void
Swallowed up by vortexes vanishing
But always still always a believer in true love.

Yet to Be Titled

Back when a wine cask was a time machine
While hanging out on a beach of surrealistic bubbles
French kissing I didn't say a word about her gratuitous nudity
Because I was no stranger to jigsaw puzzles
We were like bees drinking orchid nectar
As we awakened journey deep in our fizzy drinks
Transformative like Doctor John Lilly inside his isolation tank
Shaded by the shadow of the Beatles
Cooled by the civil disobedience of a world slowly turning to ice
We became tremors that could never be replaced
A bell tower that collapsed
Locked in a love like Cleopatra and Marc Antony
That eventually gave way to a fallen upon sword by one's own hand
And a much too teased and ornery asp

Arranged Like a Pinwheel

The noonday sun was a sizzling cast-iron skillet
Its light through the trees sugar dusted sleeping dogs
Looking for comfort in the shadows and shade
While I spent the afternoon in the LA County Art Museum
Seduced by heavenly abstract paintings
Like elaborate mirrors made of the ice around champagne
That shimmered like your long blonde pigtailed hair
And your granny gown that twisted around your svelte young frame
Like a lavender turntable playing Jimi Hendrix's Purple Haze
In that series of interconnected rooms
Where though you ignored me you were well aware
Of exactly what I wanted as I stared
At what I thought at the time was the truest love I would ever feel
But how little did I know that the only one I would love forever
Was someone I didn't yet even know.

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.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

A Poem by John D. Robinson

I Miss Elizabeth

Throughout my life I have
always had few friends and
amongst the best was
work united us as friends, we
were both married with
children and then
simultaneously we found
ourselves temporarily
separated from our partners;
we began to socialize in
and out of work; Elizabeth was
an attractive veteran
dope smoker with
long blonde hair, a well shaped
body, long legs and a
wonderful sense and enjoyment
of life;
for about 18 months we
spent a great deal of time
with one another; one cold
November week we were
residents of Samye Ling
a Tibetan Buddhist monastery
in the wilderness of Scotland;
we went armed with a carrier-bag
of home-grown and an endless
supply of beer; it was a wild
fucking week with very
little meditation or
Elizabeth could take her drink
and with a playful glint in her yes,
whilst out drinking
would get me into some
difficult situations, she'd say
in a loud voice
something like "Why don't you
go over to that fat guy with all the
mouth at the bar and tell him to
shut the fuck up"
"I haven't drank enough yet"
I would say, "Let's move on"
With a fearless and adventurous
spirit, Elizabeth traveled alone to
India, smoked heroin with some
mountain people and brought
back some beautiful and exotic gifts for her friends;
shortly after we were both
reunited with our partners, her
husband was killed in an
accident in South America;
I watched on as Elizabeth gave
up on life; she took handfuls
of pills and steroids and drank
and smoked and she never
smiled, my friend Elizabeth
was always smiling;
whatever was in her heart was
no longer there and her
body and mind plunged into
a silent hospital coma for long
months on end;
the blonde hair now silver, the
eyes still staring blankly, her being
motionless and unresponsive;
I visited regularly and spoke to
her and held her dead-like hands
and told her of her sons that
would never visit; the pain was
too much for them and her
eyelids never fluttered but I
hoped, in some way that
she heard my voice;
just like I can hear hers
right now.

John D. Robinson was born in the UK in July 1963; began writing poetry aged 16 and published first poem a year later; over the years his poems have appeared in many small press magazines, journals and online publications; recent work has appeared in Bareback Lit, Red Fez, Underground Books, Dead Snakes, Pulsar.  He has published several small chapbooks of poetry, 2 short story collections, is married, has 1 daughter, 2 grandchildren, 4 cats and 1 dog; he has worked a variety of jobs since age 15 and continues to do and he enjoys wine and other pursuits that may not be considered healthy.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Two Poems by Changming Yuan

Last Meet with My First Love

meeting you face to face
you seem to hide yourself
behind a fog in another world

separated by the pacific in between
you often look like the flower
blooming on my window ledge

have a blue dream
and you will see a little cloud
drifting around like me
near that borderline

I have packed up your entire being tightly
into my backpack, the luggage
I cannot consign, or sent by mail
but carry it with me
close to my chest
for all the unknown years ahead

Valentine Gift


Changming Yuan, 8-time Pushcart nominee and author of 5 chapbooks (including Kinship [2015] and The Origin of Letters [2015], is the most widely published poetry author who speaks Chinese but writes English.  Growing up in a remote village, Changming began to learn the English alphabet at 19 and published monographs on translation before moving to Canada.  With a PhD in English, Changming currently co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver and, since mid-2005, has had poetry appearing in 1049 literary journals/anthologies across 34 countries, including Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cincinnati Review and Threepenny Review.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Three Poems by Joanna M. Weston

Hanging In

hanging by
          a cat's whisker
          this silence
hanging on
          to your hand
          a nail
hanging for
          this almost-murder
          stolen kisses
hanging in
          cold air
          blue words
hanging from
          my window
          your gift
hanging out
          at the pub
          with friends
hanging tough
          at a meeting
          and a quarrel
hanging up
          on this
          call to you

The Moment

find wallet
and keys

change my shoes

open the door

say "goodbye"

walk out
into rain

Burying Raspberry Tarts

I stood
box in hand
at the bakery door
watching incomers
others leaving
          watching people

and there he was
friend from long ago
coming in

I looked
the other way

Joanna M. Weston is married, has two cats, multiple spiders, a herd of deer, and two derelict hen-houses.  Her middle-reader, "Those Blue Shoes," published by Clarity House Press, and poetry "A Summer Father," published by Frontenac House of Calgary.  Her eBooks found at her blog:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

A Poem by Scott Thomas Outlar

Dirty Counter

I digested
our last argument
at the kitchen counter
with half a bottle of vodka
while smoking marijuana
from an aluminum foil tissue paper roll

after leaving you upstairs
in bed
sound asleep
in some
pure oblivion
I'm sure

Just rage righteous
like you always do
and then leave the mess
for someone else to tend

Scott Thomas Outlar survived the chaos of both the fire and the flood . . . barely.  Now he spends the hours trying to figure out how to survive himself.  His words have appeared recently in venues such as Dissident Voice, Calliope Magazine, Yellow Chair Review, Eunoia Review, and Snapping Twig.  More of his writing can be found on his blog at

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Three Poems by Kelley White

I Have Taken Back All The Post Cards

I ever sent you.  Why don't you ask me why
I don't want a mortgage instead of telling me
I need one.  Do I want to owe death?  Do I want
to leave my children with more debts than I
already owe them?  Sad mother, who wanted to be paid
with forgiveness.  Sad daughter, who wanted
acceptance.  The Dalai Lama might love
me, after all, I may be one with trees and clouds
and even that boat I brought my mother to see
each day in the summer, relying on its schedule
to count down, to scratch off another day.  the ice
is in now on the Lake, and she is denied even
the comfort of a cigarette, an unread book in her
hand, cards laid out for solitaire, and I have taken
back all the postcards I ever sent her.

If you, love, are my soul than who am I?

Listening to your breathing night by night by
night, whispering to your deafer ear love
can you hear me, pulling your arm around
me, hugging you always on your numbest
side?  Tonight I am alone, there is no
dent on your side of the bed, no warm spot
on your pillow just a whisper of what
ought to be your breathing.  Who drove you out?
And if you are gone, soul, am I thought and spirit?
Or dry flesh and hollow bone, sleeping alone?

My Interior Studio

is lit by the soft light of your snore
and rocked by the voice you speak
from your dream.  I try to find
a pencil to write your words into
the palm of my hand but they are always
rubbed out the moment of waking.

I hear you frying bacon, whipping eggs
in the kitchen and I try to remember
the poem you gave me while I
curled against your back.

You believe I inhabit your dream.
You believe I see your dreamworld.

I might remember your visions
even when you've unseen them
but if you feed me my hunger for darkness
breaks in the light of your eyes.

Pediatrician Kelley White worked in inner city Philadelphia and now works in rural New Hampshire.  Her poems have appeared in journals including Exquisite Corpse, Rattle and JAMA.  Her most recent books are Toxic Environment (Boston Poet Press) and Two Birds in Flame (Beech River Books).  She received a 2008 Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant.

Friday, January 22, 2016

A Poem by Linda M. Crate

fire and ice

perhaps we were doomed
from the start
romeo and juliet for the twenty-first century
you were every fang of winter,
and i burned with
the passion of a summer's sun;
sometimes opposites
help one another to shine and glisten--
we just tried to destroy one
but it wasn't always that way
i did love you once
even if you could never find it in your heart
to feel the same for me;
you tried to freeze
me into submissions like your blue lipped
angels buried in the sapphires of your
however, i rose, like a phoenix
from my ashes
burning brighter than any of the stars you had
seen before
and under my gaze you could not stand
so you crawled away
in an attempt for self-preservation--
fire and ice could never hope to live together for
summer could never understand the
heart of winter and winter
could never beat with summer's passionate soul.

Linda M. Crate is a Pennsylvanian 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.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Poem by Suvojit Banerjee


An old drunk man told me
Life was like water, if you pushed it too much
it flooded everything.
As I was lying down semiconscious,
moonlight flowed through the window, cleaved
by the glass--and in that glow
I saw two souls bleeding, fighting
transforming into demons.
"He won't remember anything"
the doctor said; but I did remember the wounds.
The pleasures were lost, but the pain remained
and I, Sisyphus-esque,
tried to reject the bright nights and love-filled worlds
only to fail, only to

Suvojit Banerjee has seen twenty seven summers, but he doesn't remember all of them; his existence is torn between the suburbs in West Bengal he grew up in, and the city called Kolkata he now lives in.  The city adorns many masks, and so does he, while roaming around its streets with the eyes as a journal and his soul as a pen.  He is searching for answers in this surreal yet slimy maze, but the questions keep on changing every time.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Two Poems by Don Staley

Love Leaving Lovers

Since I can but fold my quiet thoughts of you
Back into the crypt of a mind that
Cries to linger with restless memories
Of darkling dances, shuffles of love,
A hand creeping sensually around your waist,
Heads nestled in other's shoulder's warmth,
Then I'll curse the chop-logic of a world
Where toys and joys are formed and fallowed;
Where a growth of feeling becomes a cancer . . .
For the whys of a woman and man
Understate constantly--
Love leaving lovers is like a December Moon
When the nimbus gathers and snuffs light
Casting, not majestic whirls of winds, but
A crass winter-chill calm,
A death of nature, a halt too hurried to heal.

The Solitary Lover

(I am memory's unbidden ghost;
All the sortings of the other
In the now of the solitary lover)
This is a particular of forests known,
Early green shoots of, doubtless, flowers, persist;
A healing beauty falters through last autumn's leaves
A prodigal warmth; I, a ghost, am less
Than the jesting, major hand of a god yet
Past to him must be past.
Still the winter must-smell arises, taunting in fold
After fold of steadily wrinkling mind:
He stands, as I stood, in unphotographed recorded chill
Around the farewell promise of the white stone bench--
Time dopplers his voice--it wastes in the air,
Extended more than echo.
Grained and darker, the stone bench stands.
I grow in him new roses--to make whole
A man's new mind is the role of my mist.
We share a common pulse of spring;
I wonder if her skull screams
As, at times, does his heart.

Don Staley is a retired English teacher who took a 16 year hiatus from poetry writing to engage himself as a software tester for a large financial organization.  He is now retired completely, and recovering his long somnolent poems.  He won the North Carolina Young Poets Award 45 years ago, and the extent of his published work lies in journals at High Point College and East Carolina Young Poets Award 45 years ago, and the extent of his published work lies in journals at High Point College and East Carolina University.  He is, with the help of a local group of Wilmington poets, hoping to refine his craft.  He grew up in North Carolina, and now resides in Wilmington, Delaware.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Three Poems by Heath Brougher

Said Spoke

She said spoke of everything, in the past,
her accent aloft the breeze, fibers of May agleam--
a time when I was alive again, out from under the spell of the Brain Cyst,
living, feeling her trembling words and her skin--

no skin has since been so soft as hers;

said spoke of something real, full and real,
she lifted me up into the brilliant glistening
of the atmosphere, a place I hadn't been in ages;
we clasp hands and traded endorphins, truest endorphins
poured without being coaxed by intoxicants--

tulips were our flowers;

she said spoke that she couldn't find the right words
and I was left to guess at her intentions,
but that guessing uplifted me because I knew
by the twinkle in her eye that love was alive somewhere
even if she couldn't properly say speak it to me--

that May will forever burn in memory, bright,
as one of the peaks of my Existence;
her accent said spoke that she like me, that she missed me when I was not near,
and for a few months I existed in her arms
and she existed in mine,
saying speaking words in that beautiful language of hers.

The Vanishing Summer

None tonight; euphony drifted off
with summer; the streets are no longer strewn
with lanterns; no more
luciferin to flicker throughout the night;

our warm nightlights lost,
we are left only to howl
ourselves to sleep
in the nights growing colder
and more lonesome by the second.

Heath Brougher lives in York, PA and attended Temple University.  He has been writing his entire life but didn't begin to submit his work for publication until March of 2014, so he feels like he's got a lot of catching up to do.  He recently finished his first chapbook and has two more on the way as well as a full-length book of poetry.  His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Diverse Voices Quarterly, Bird's Thumb, MiPOesias, BlazeVOX, Of/With, *Star 82 Review, Otoliths, Van Gogh's Ear, experiential-experimental-literature, Five2One Magazine, Stray Branch, Carnival, Inscape Literary Journal, and elsewhere.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Listen to it on Repeat

Winter is a wrecking ball as tumbleweeds undulating over these simian mesas
Cause me to recall oh how she swirled with her temptations
My long ago love who was as startling to me as Poe's The Raven
And who in the few skeletal memories that the passing of time
And the medications of old age do allow me in my body's cage
Are sniffed at now like table scraps as
Oh I wish she was once again mussing up my hair most playfully
As I drifted off to nap upon her bare legs and slender lap
All lost to me now save anything but an image
Of some wrinkled and careworn woman turned into a stranger
By the passing of all these days and one I haven't seen in years
Except as I peeped at her computer page
And that day I once again became her clown
But one now toothless and with a proclivity for thinking of all that used to be out loud.


Once her hair was a dungeon from which I sought no escape
Back when she was the queen of all of my Pez dispensers
And now all of that gnaws at me daily like her lost caress
And now her tongue and lips which once were so like lace
Scream at me in her contorted face
Gone now the maiden I once craved
Banished by me into other arms
That she knew did wait
To take from me all that I never really had
And though the very thought of all that drives me mad
I am plagued by my lack of her
And charred by all this waiting
A trash heap all now ice
Now that our memories have become two different animals
that linger blue and rusted like a creakish swing set
On whose seats childhood apparitions now do ride

Burnt Edges

Once our togetherness was blinding and beautiful
Before the poison of you've heard it all set in
Back then the very avenues themselves opened up
As all of their brick houses shifted to bewitched
But now you sleep like a stop light
And must be the bride of Morpheus
Because you certainly aren't mine
And now when the daylight gets frozen in a carbonite chamber
And I have to find my own happy places
So old and weathered and mystified
That my staircase to it begins speaking like a pirate ship
Now that the scars of your seducing have become
Curdled dreams that take me back to bygone tearful places
Like some sumptuous violin piece whose abracadabra spills out into memories
That were never meant to be solved anymore than you can count every drop of rain

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.  

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Poem by Christopher S. Knodel

The Marrow Cracks

Hatred secretes a blackened ichor.
Severing young flesh satisfies
also, as the marrow cracks.
Love is my razor blade.
Rending from body,
crushing organs,
piercing eyes,
skinning . . .
man . . .

Christopher Knodel is an author, poet and ultra-distance runner in San Antonio, TX.  He is a freelance journalist and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column.  His poetry and short fiction have been featured in The Asses of Parnassus, Ealain (MPA Publishing), The Wolfian, The Write Place at the Write Time, The Zodiac Review, and Zombie Logic Review.  He can be easily spotted by his kilt, tattoos and six inch, flaming-red, Van Dyke goatee.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Poem by Phil Poyser

Nostalgia for Our Future

On the banks of the Guadalquivir,
where the murky waters rush,
hemmed into channels by mills which turn no more,
where Roman bridge joins mosque and tower,
she came towards me, as I lay,
flotsam washed up by another lunch.
Tall, with short-cropped hair, tanned and mystical
a presence from another world,
peering into the setting sun,
upon the parapet above, she

I gazed, admired, relished the fleeting glimpses
of our present through half-closed eyes,
drowsily devoured the fading visions of our future.
For us the gulf would not be bridged,
no lightning spark between our outstretched hands.
Like the otter's head--or water-rat's--
which broke the surface, bobbed and disappeared once more,
she clambered back, rejoined her man,
disgruntled, out-of-sorts, was playfully rejected,
embraced, and, like our still born future,

The element, carbon, has played a pivotal role in Phil Poyser's life.  He comes from a family of miners with its roots deep in the area around the Nottinghamshire coalfields and his natal village of Mansfield Woodhouse.  His university studies at South Kensington's Imperial College of Science and Technology led to a career in organic chemistry (the myriad compounds of carbon), whilst retirement from the pharmaceutical industry in 2007 saw a move to organic gardening and the flourishing of his lifelong love of poetry:  a primrose path from C-reactive protein to C-reative Writing, so to speak.  No coincident then that he's a member of Macclesfield Creative Writing Group and an active open-miker in and around the North-West.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Three Poems by A.J. Huffman

I Blew the Candle Out

because I did not want you
to find me.  I was more
comfortable with the cold
cave I had carved for myself
inside the darkness.  The comforting
sound of your footsteps echoing,
already so familiar with my space
was terrifying, a trespass
I had never imagined.  I was
desperate to erase my footprints,
shining like breadcrumbs set on fire.
You gathered them too eagerly,
your fingers seemingly immune to the burn.

I Wanted Wings

when I laid on the beach
just beyond the house that was still
too definitively yours.  I sank
my toes into the damp sand,
gave myself over to the sinking
feeling of being pulled under. 
The cloudless sky offered no reprieve
for my burning.  I had no doubt
I would be ashes soon,
and I imagined the kiss of evening’s
breeze lifting me—my charred darkness
blending seamlessly into a starless sky.
Higher and higher I would rise,
an arid wave, grateful
for a moment of effortless breathing
before the inevitable crash.

In the Fading Blue of Everything

Your shadow is too big.  I cannot find
the exit.  Door after door,
I knock.  My head against the frames
that cannot fill.  This space
is haunted by a hazel-eyed smile.
Shiny as Hell.  Turned off.
Or maybe against.  My view
stands:  Distorted.  I am
fumbling for nobs.  Though any
handhold will do.  In a sea of lost,
I am queen.  Of the damned?
Or the damnless?  Silver
salt holds the key to my crown.
But inside out is still inside.  And I miss
the light.  And the sight of the waves.
And even your back.

A.J. Huffman has published twelve solo chapbooks and one joint chapbook through various small presses.  Her new poetry collections, Another Blood Jet (Eldritch Press), A Few Bullets Short of Home (mgv2>publishing), Butchery of the Innocent (Scars Publications), Degeneration (Pink Girl Ink) and A Bizarre Burning of Bees (Transcendent Zero Press) are now available from their respective publishers and  She is a four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, a two-time Best of Net nominee, and has published over 2400 poems in various national and international journals, including Labletter, The James Dickey Review, Bone Orchard, EgoPHobia, and Kritya.  She is also the founding editor of Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

A Poem by Nancy Purcell

Ins and Outs

Love, coming in,
gives a kick to your engine,
a lift to your wings,
the heart takes flight,
emotion sings.

It's the salt on your lips
when a light ocean breeze
caresses your body and
cools down the tease.

It's the touch on your cheek,
the hand of your muse,
words like "mine" and "forever,"
strike the match, light the fuse.

Love, walking out,
quickly chokes off the steam,
reverses your course,
shuts down the engine,
leaves the heart in remorse.

It's division and longhand,
that is mine, this is yours,
sign your name on the dotted,
a stiff drink always cures.

It's words like "I'll never,"
harsh rain on your face,
black clouds above you,
"Get me out of this place."

Nancy Purcell served as a North Carolina Writers Network/Elizabeth Squire Daniels Writer-in-Residence, Peace College, Raleigh, NC, teaches Creative Writing in the Brevard College Community Education program, and mentors aspiring writers.  She was the County Representative for the NC Writers' Network-Netwest Writers for 6 years.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Two Poems by Dylan Sonderman

That Damn Green Bowl

Never again will I eat
diverse varieties of slop
from you
whether week-old leftovers
or freshly nuked creations
after thousands of rotations in the microwave
your plastic gut once held
terrible bean salad
decent chicken parm
ramen noodles
unthinkable amounts of ramen
Lipton pasta sides
Uncle Ben's rice
2% milk and Golden Grahams
oatmeal with apples and peanut butter
(which I liked to call "peasant soup")
chocolate pudding
vanilla pudding
cookies and cream pudding
so much amorphous matter
rested in your trough

I suppose we had some times
during one of those lonely stretches
you sat on my lap, in my efficiency apartment
while I watched my first Aronofsky film (Pi)
since I had no table, I balanced you as best I could on my legs
until I scalded my lap with hot soup
thanks to your flimsy green sides

And how many times did I break a sweat
scrubbing caked-on messes from your entrails
hunched over the tub, since my tiny apartment had no kitchen sink
the heat of the bathwater searing you and I
like some kind of Hell ritual
branding our joined flesh with soapy vows

But it wasn't all bad
I also served a romantic dinner in you
to a beautiful young woman
during our honeymoon phase
at least a dozen times, surely
I can just picture
your rough edges in the flickering candlelight
a glass of Pinot Noir at your side
the scraping sounds as the spoon hit your bottom
a sure sign my cooking was a hit

You followed me from my freshman-year dorm
to the cozy two-bedroom apartment
I shared with my fiance
until over a year after graduation day
when I moved out, when she broke things off with me
I left you behind
decaying in the sink

for a stupid, forgettable piece of plastic dishware
that I probably bought at WalMart or Target for three dollars
I can't help but seeing you as some half-baked symbol
death of my childhood, birth of cynicism
a lost relic of the transition period
spanning between 18 and 24
but ah . . . maybe that's too on-the-nose
you're gone now
and despite everything we had
I say
good riddance.

How a Keyboard Dies:

drizzling rain, Saturday,
November, maybe 7:00 pm
already dark out
no stars
and I stalk out of the apartment building
dragging this bulky thing behind me
yes, through the mud
preparing for the last performance
jagged asphalt by the dumpster:  12 tone concerto
I turn the volume on the Casio all the way up
set the voicings to layer piano and strings
turn on a cheesy jazz beat
from the pre-programmed library
and with both hands
lift the cheap synth over my head
drums build tension
in time with my heart rate
I'm tapping the Tempo + button
unstable crescendo
rhythm rising
to the moment

the keyboard against the ground
white keys, black keys
dead keys
natural and accidental notes cry
staccato bursts of pain
again and again my arms swing
imagine beating someone to death like this
I'm shrieking in harmony
alone in the parking lot
the dissonant wails are profound

To my pounding ears
this exorcism of my chromatic anguish
sounds better than any song
I ever played in serenade for her

I let go on the last swing
it clatters across the pavement, bleeding
I'm shaking, breath coming in gasps
but still I focus in
active-listening to the final gurgles
before discarding the battered corpse
of a fellow music maker
with the rest of the useless garbage
and then I go back inside, dry off
finish packing my shit
to leave this deaf place

Dylan Sonderman has contributed to Pyrokinection, The Burr, Crab Fat Literary Magazine, and Luna Negra.  When not reading or writing, he lives to play music and sing.  He currently writes for AltOhio.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Three Poems by Margaret Holbrook

Funny Valentine

The hearts
he'd given her one morning
each wrapped in shiny foil.
All varying shades
of pink and crimson.
She'd eaten on straight away,
while she was in bed.
He laughed.
It was what she always did with chocolate.
Later on she'd pull too hard on the wrapper.
The wrapper holding the hearts
and watch as they tumbled,
haphazardly over the floor.

Another morning, later;
they passed in the kitchen.
They didn't speak, except in elephant,
and shuffled as they went about the
"early morning" business of their lives.
She'd changed.
He laughed;
realizing it was over.
She'd pulled the strings once too often.
All they had left were broken hearts.

Loose Endings

Slowly, lazily, she eases
herself into the morning.
The light is jagged,
it cuts her eyes.
Her hand touches the space
beside her, it is warm.
Closing her eyes she listens
for the drone of his shaver.
In the silence it is pleasant
like a summer's day.

Later, mid-day approaches
wraps itself around her like a blanket.
The warmth holds her.
She touches the space that has gone cold
listens for the absent hum that
reminded her of summer,
tries to tie together loose ends,
make sense of goodbyes.

No Goodbye

The gulf between them was wider
than the distance that separated
them at the breakfast table.

He didn't speak anymore.  Never
good with words,
he couldn't find the right ones.

She had learned to despise.  It had
taken 23 years.  But now, here she was,
tongue tied by anxiety.

He caught her eye across the breakfast
carnage and smiled.  They'd talk tonight.
He'd sort the words out in his head.

She saw his smile and returned it.
He felt better.  Things would be ok.
He got up and left.

No goodbye.  No kiss.  No I love you.
10 minutes later,
she closed the door for the last time.

Margaret Holbrook is a writer of plays, poetry and fiction.  She lives in Cheshire, UK and has had her work published in several anthologies, most recently Schooldays published by Paper Swans Press, and in the following magazines, Orbis, SLQ, The Dawntreader, The Journal, The SHOp, Reflections, Areopagus, the caterpillar.  Her first poetry collection, Hobby Horses Will Dance, was published in 2014.  Margaret leads the Creative Writing Workshops for Chapel Arts in Chapel en le Frith, Derbyshire.

Monday, January 11, 2016

A Poem by Ryan Stone

Toro Nagashi

Your flame flickers briefly,
a parting wink,
while some trick of the river
mimics your laughter.

We stood apart at sunset,
lost in natsukashii;
came together in darkness,
to watch the dead pass on.

Your light has fallen now,
to shadow
beneath the bridge.

Ryan Stone is a freelance writer, guitarist and poet from Melbourne, Australia.  He shares his home in the Blue Dandenongs with his wife, two young sons and a German Shepherd.  On daily walks through his forest surrounds, he often peers down rabbit holes.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Poem by Ryan Stone


"It's gravity, baby,"

and that's how it started:
three whispered words
under the bleachers,
two bodies
pulled into orbit.

From tongues of flame,
halting caterwauls
before flicking faster into long, thirsty nights

of lying this close, seeking new worlds
and unexplored places;
the smoke on your breath promising
freedom and danger.

A nevermore season of quicksilver moments
beneath a peeping-tom moon
suddenly ended,
just like it started--

there's a point during free-fall
where you pause to consider
whether to brace or just to surrender.
For a second or two
you feel like you're floating,
then the ground rushes up
to show you how endings
can sound like beginnings
but that
is just gravity,

Ryan Stone is a freelance writer, guitarist and poet from Melbourne, Australia.  He shares his home in the blue Dondenongs with his wife, two young sons and a German Shepherd.  On daily walks through his forest surrounds, he often peers down rabbit holes.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Three Poems by Gary Priest

I Want to Destroy You

I want to destroy you.
I want to dismantle that smile from your mouth.
I want to end this construed nightmare.
You pollute my routine.
Each day your tongue pokes through my skin.
The pink flick of it teasing every time I get within range.
I feel that sentient breath on my neck as I sprawl contemptuously on the couch.
Your swiveled seduction, your corrupting content pulling at me, trying to finger a response from the dead weight of my worthless intellect.
I hate your carefree dissemination of details.
That "don't care who's watching as long as someone is" spiral.
I am watching.
I always am.
An insect in the information.
The data dung that you present feeds every wretched instinct that I have.
The thick client of jealousy strung between the spaces in your messages.
The windows of imagination filtered through a grey past.
I know your perverted operating procedures.
I see your malignant machinery as it grinds through another host.
If not destruction then details.
Break down the syntax of your betrayals into flirtation, fixation and fucking.
Those are the parameters that define you.
Scare those daily batch runs of secrets that re-engineer your needs.
The outdated programs that no longer fit your architecture, scrubbed through filters, discarded with tardy unresponsive system message.
The new prospects, ready for beta testing.
The old glitches that you cannot reject.
The ones that cause you problems, fracture the continuation of service, demanding memory and speed of reaction.
But your encrypted deceit is unbroken.
Hidden behind a glossy user interface.
I cannot destroy you.
I cannot devil the details from you.
All I can do is watch.
And wait.
And not participate.
Hoping for the courage to one day disconnect.

Love Can Be So Fucking Dumb

Love can be so fucking dumb
an insolent, temperamental triumph
of stupidity over sense
because here we are defenses down
and everything means something else
in this fucked up lexicon.

Love can be so fucking dumb
a drunken cocktail of want,
volatile elements of war
with juvenile delinquents
those envious, devious, carnivorous
little bastards.

Love can be so fucking dumb
it makes good judgment redundant
with the slapdash accelerant
of lust,
drenched like paraffin across the skin
logic and every other survival instinct
are reduced to ash one by one.

The Grammar of Goodbye

In the last week
everything felt like an ultimatum
or a bad joke.
Nothing felt like farewell.
No full stop.
Just endless commas,
lists of faults,
lists of wants,
And a few changes of tact;
with uncertain use of semi colons.
Both of us unsure of
the grammar of goodbye.

Gary Priest writes poetry and short fiction.  He lives at the end of a dead-end road, which may explain everything.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

She Imagines Comic Books

Signal Hill is now all blooming lilacs
Last night's infectious neon arias
Have all fluttered and alighted
Somewhere else as the day slows down
Like Darth Vader's heavy breathing above
The nearby pencil thin sea
In this era carved from reclaimed timber
While I feast well on the Maltese Falcon
On a dumpster dived for TV
Little realizing at that time
All that I once had back in that Sad Sack version
Of Omar Khayyam's Bagdad
By Terminal Island and the bay
Till decades later when I was miles and miles
From that place that I can never
Physically arrive at again
But can only re-cook in my brain pan's gravy
Like some chicken that Donna
In our kitchen now long bakes
And yet still I often go back there
In fading memory looking to see
What can still be retraced.

When the Circus Came to Town

I cannot forget the sound of her voice
Which takes me back once more again
to the shores of decades long ago
That still are mind stretching even yet
To where fiddlers and sad clowns
Provided my lyrics on those roof-less afternoons
When that white hot farmer's daughter
Who stood out even in that sea of super girls
That could shame a rainbow
Infected me with needs that set my very eyes ablaze
Until a fragment of a white dwarf star
Brought me back to earth again
And now when all the gas stations
Have started to blend together
In my licorice blue forever
Where Iowa will always shiver
Even when splintered by the other "Me"
Into a world that no longer exists
Except in the memory of her kiss
As by the last three chapters of my clock
I sculpt with words anything I wish.

A Book that Wrote Itself

There was a glow from afar about how everything
Swam in fold rock during that misjudged summer
That is now decades long ago
And yet its marinated poetry
Still brings upon me a grief as sharp as diamonds
As I reflect on way back when the salt breeze
Was her long and lingering hair
And my heart throbbed madly like wild swans upon the wing
While we ate Gummi Bears that were like a feast
As I played my funhouse of a guitar on those monolithic cliffs
That seemed to like it when I would sing.

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.  

Thursday, January 7, 2016

A Poem by Bradford Middleton

Memories of You*

All I see when I look around is you
You're everywhere and nowhere all at once
But as I sit here alone all I can see is memories
You and our brief little time together
That I wish I remember better
But whatever happened with you it was one hell of a ride

A ride that took us through infatuation
Desire, lust and the inevitable
The break-up came at a real bad time
I was up to my head in trouble

That was years ago now but still
You are here and I wish you'd never gone
But all you are now is a memory
A moment in time that is a bit hazy
Due to all the drink and drugs we took
But to move on I got to get you out of my head

I moved from the city to escape the places
I changed my life to be a better boy
No more Billy or Charlie for me I said
Just the plain old drink and pot of yore

Bradford Middleton lives on England's south-coast in Brighton.  He was born in London in 1971 but didn't start writing poetry until he was in his mid-30s and slowly, over time, began to uncover a flourishing underground scene.  Three months before his fortieth birthday he had his first poem accepted at The Mad Swirl.  Since then he has become a Contributing Poet there and also had notable work published at Empty Mirror, Zygote in My Coffee, PPIGPENN, Rolling Thunder Quarterly, Fuck Art Lets Dance, Word Riot, Electric Windmill, Dead Snakes, The Camel Saloon and The Weekenders.

*This poem was previously published on Dead Snakes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Poem by John Pursch

Memories of Lola

her sensibilities
of forged time led to
muttering down crumbled
fencepost lanes in summer rain.

John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona.  His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in many literary journals.  A collection of his poetry, Intunesia, is available in paperback at  His experimental lit-rap video is at htt:s://  He's @johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

A Poem by Cherise Wyneken

Washed Up

Magenta colored ripples
coat the lake at sunset
with a heavy film.
I take a breath
deep into the scent of pine
and feel the weight
of your good-bye.

Cherise Wyneken is a freelance writer.  Her articles, stories, and poems--adult and juvenile--have appeared in over two hundred publications, two collections of poetry, two poetry chapbooks, a memoir, a novel, a children's book, a children's audiocassette, and a collection of stories from her life.  She has written a poetry column at: and was nominated for the 2013 Pushcart Prize in poetry.  See also:

Monday, January 4, 2016

Three Poems by David Subacchi

Treated Like Water

Sorting old photographs your dark eyes
Looked up accusingly from the table
Still moving me after so long
I rescued you from a pile of family
Christmas snaps, party scenes,
Drunken nights in pubs and friends
Pulling stupid expressions
Holding you gently for a moment
Between finger and thumb
Then putting you to one side

I don't know why I did that
I had no plans for you
No folder in which to save
Your high cheek bones
And tight curls
No album or frame
For your portrait
But it wasn't easy
Just to throw you back
Into a jumbled box

Still that's what I did
All other options
Being unavailable
Or simply inappropriate
And the fault entirely mine
I dropped you once again
Into chaos and confusion
Trying hopelessly to shut out
The memory of your parting words

"I won't be treated like water."

Part Sicilian

She said she was part Sicilian
But the flashing eyes
Sharp as stilettos
Had already told me
And the short lived
Crimson blush
Meant I needed
No further convincing

When I spoke
Softly in Italian
Her lips opened slightly
As if to smile
Then curled gently
"I don't understand"
She breathed
Tugging roughly
At a strand of hair
Oh yes she was
Part Sicilian

Turning to leave
She moved
Leopard like
Of both power
And attraction
I heard neither purr
Nor warning growl
But felt the warm
Wake of her passing
Like summer breezes
Caressing a distant
Island shore.

Ormskirk Market

You drove me to Ormskirk
In your Austin Mini
Because I had no license
And wanted to look
For old records
In the weekly market

With my bag of dusty
Second hand discs
We wandered around
Until you gave me your
"Is that it?" look

I was eager to return
To Liverpool, to the cramped
Rented room we shared
Where the stylus waited
For new grooves to ride
But you were unimpressed

So we sat in a pub
Nursing half pints
Saying little
Then you looked away
With damp eyes
Saying you were also
In a hurry to return

Only when we
Reached the city lights
Did I realize that this
Was so you could
Spin me out of your life
As soon as possible.

David Subacchi was born in Wales (UK) of Italian roots and has published two collections of poems.  First Cut (2012) and Hiding in Shadows (2014).  He studied at the University of Liverpool and is a full time writer and poet.  He is increasingly well published internationally.  Blog:  You can find more of David's work online, including performance videos simply by searching David Subacchi + Poet

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Three Poems by Laura LeHew

Chaff v. Catalyst

lust creates its own demands          abrasive silences
move thru time          destined for more points of view
he's her hard drive         starting with yes ending always with no

she barely registers his existence          loves him uninterrupted or not at all
the wildness of his hair          a cheap Merlot lacking intensity
she is the space between his palm and her skin        re-making history

figuring it out          love comes with nothing
shadows of reality            you cannot know yourself
the cost of bullets          when we were broken

I Hate Your Maybe More

I would rototiller your cubic zirconia ass
slide rule your pancake until it was in tangles
barricade my tachometer from your strap-on armada
to poof past boulevard after boulevard of broken dreams
go ahead & warble away you egalitarian forgery
you slicked up, shellacked Sir Lancelot
natter natter obfuscate all that is the matter
I see a nice heavy Skee ball headed
directly at your snout

Like an RFID tattoo

etched into me
the rhythm of our discourse
buried memories
he changes my password--
Embrace Change
(names and places are fictional)
& weighted down by cats, sister
the house in the city he said he wanted too
but never really did
live in an enigma
rounding the angularities
of my oft-used change is good--
things happen for a reason mantra
as he lies in bed alone
in the middle of the night
& the rest is secret
what he is was disloyal
a ruthless quarantine
viewer discretion is advised
I have a cache of AK-47
selective fire rifles, intermediate cartridges
& detachable magazine clips

I ache to be the open bridge

Laura LeHew collections include Willingly Would I Burn, It's Always Night, It Always Rains and Beauty.  Laura edits her small press, Uttered Chaos, knows nothing of gardens or gardening but is well versed in the cultivation of cats.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

A Poem by Anna Habryn

No Melodrama

you said we'd have so many nights

don't count the nights
because for me time disappears with sunset
I count days
absences concealments
looks and thoughts I can only guess

I had to go as you were teaching me
the rules of melodrama


as a bear in a snare I've bitten off my paw
it hurts
the silent phone
the hungry letter-box
yet I am free
the reason holds my heart in its tight fist

no hard look will ever reach me
no unwanted word
no prospective blow
I did not give you time to create a hell
my own design for it is perfect

apart from this improper tear
I cannot help

Anna Habryn lives in Huntingdale, WA.  She has her poetry and short stories published locally and in Europe as she writes in two languages, Polish being her native tongue.  Apart from the five collections of poetry published so far, Anna writes for theater and had three of her plays successfully staged by various theater groups.