Sunday, February 28, 2016

Three Poems by Charles Heathcote

The Post

Her silence told me there would be
no more late night conversations
about sparkling vampires and rosy apples,
no more shared books sent via Royal Mail
with the pocket money we squirreled away.

I had made the mistake,
my indiscretion our introduction to summer.
She did not forgive me as I had forgiven her,
asked me for time whilst she went to California for three months
and I stayed home to babysit grandmothers, cousins and children.
She saw the coast and long lost relatives
on a cruise to celebrate the end of her exams.

The silence began when she returned,
our words no longer filled with the lemonade fizz of enthusiasm.
She treated me with courtesy and I asked where I could return her books--
an address in York--she would cross the country for university
though we barely found time for each other.

I sent the books,
recorded delivery.

Sweet Store

and he offered this, his lollipop,
saccharine sweet, candy-striped,
said that after one taste I would be hooked
that the aftertaste would linger in my memory
like Starburst or Haribo or Hubba-Bubba gum,
always swallowing though they called it bad for you

but I had my fill of jelly men,
a younger me would bite their feet off first,
save precious attention for the head,
press it between my fingers and watch it oozed
now I ate them whole,
refused to acknowledge their similar faces

now he offered this, his lollipop,
when I wished for more than sweets
when I craved the one who held them.

Be Still

You put a smile on my face
when you whispered all your lies,
when you told me I was beautiful
with my reflection in your eyes;
it'd only been three hours
yet I'd never felt more alive

we sat and drank till two a.m.
shared our nonsense and our fears;
your calluses along my palm,
breaths brushed against my ear
and you held my hand like someone
who knew what they had planned;
guess you worked too hard at being kind
for us to just be friends.

I let you in,
didn't mean I had to let you in.

I am not a challenge,
a puzzle you can't figure out
think you only crave somebody
who says they won't make a sound.

You said that I could say no
you wouldn't make demands
but you were holding me down
before we'd even held hands;
you had me up against a wall
but I had to turn my back:
I know that I am beautiful,
you're a coward, not a man

and I let you in,
didn't mean I had to let you in.
And I chose to let you go
and if that means you leave me
I won't follow you.

Charles Heathcote has always lived in Macclesfield and very rarely leaves.  Since 2011, he has been secretary to the Macclesfield Creative Writing Group.  In 2013, he graduated from MMU Cheshire with a BA in Creative Writing.  He released his first collection of monologues, Our Doris, in 2015.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Three Poems by Janet Trenchard

Self Reflection in a Wine Cooler

Think of your life.
I begin, sipping a wine cooler,
as a herd of wildebeest, and your husband
as the weakest link in the herd,
and Jodi, the lioness, that must by nature's law,
bring down that weakest link . . . No.
Think of your husband
as something thick and sticky like rubber cement
and Jodi is pulling him off you, freeing you
. . . No.  He's something dry and rigid,
brittle and ossified and she's
a jackhammer, breaking it up,
and you just want to float away
on a piece of broken patio . . .
I pour myself another wine cooler.
Think of Jodi as a fly, I begin again,
you live for years with your husband drinking
wine coolers that you don't even like
when all along she's in the house,
checking out wallpaper,
measuring windows
and just circling.

Prickly Pear

She knew now that what she needed was all this pale sand,
so cleansing and elemental, gently abrasive.
She set down the small paper bag
containing the prickly pear, wondering how
anyone ever got at the sweet fruit.
Wondering that anyone tried.
The old man next door had handed her the brown bag, saying
"So delicious.  You just have to be careful.
Use a pliers."
Maybe she should just dig a deep hole
and drop it in.  Then no one would get hurt.
But infinite as the sand appears
the tides have the power to sweep back
vast curtains of it, and there it would be;
A dangerous fruit bleeding into the sand,
thorns threatening furiously.
No.  She'd keep it.
She  had a pliers.
And she had to taste it.

Cracked Patio

There's always a bottle of wine
on the table
and a glass in my hand,
I open the book,
there's always a book,
there's always a whale poster,
over a clawfoot tub,
there's always Nina Simone on the stereo,
and a floor heater to dance around,
there's always bamboo by the shed
for the kids to jump into from the roof,
there's always a wedgewood stove,
a pile of laundry, a pot of beans,
and dishes to do,
there's always a cracked patio out the kitchen door,
and when you stood there looking up,
a cigarette in your hand,
there was always a hole in the sky
with light raining down.

Janet Trenchard paints and writes poetry.  Often as not she is channeling the Pink Curler Headed Ones.  She has tried to stop but she keeps catching them passing through the doors of her mind.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A Poem by Dave Schwartz

She Left With No Kissing

She left with no kissing
But thankfully no singing
She will be missing

Dave Schwartz is the former President of Seed House, an online interfaith community forum.  He has also published three books, A Jewish Appraisal of Dialogue (1994), Midrash and Working Out of the book (2004), and most recently Shards and Stanzas (2011).

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

A Garden Full of Serpents

I remember how you grew into a stranger
In the lonely midnight that turned to morning
Where you gathered flowers more numerous
Than the babies you would never have by me
While the rolling endless clouds danced at your command
Until nothing but my dreams remained
On that day born from a guitar
Made of butterflies that only Orpheus could play
By a singing seashore that we once rode like a seesaw
Where I tarry not now that all those painted summers are gone
And disappeared into an ungentle bay of cruel waves
Near the sweet milk of a forest where acorns
Crown the snow of days now grown so short
Recalling how the rusty roles
We once played became broken mirrors during the saddest hours
Which any human has ever chosen to report.

Continues to Blur

The night before the atomic age became timeless
Back when heartbreak was a brand new bag
Back when she was as pretty as an arcade video game
'Neath the Chinese lanterns in the notebooks of the fluid decades
That were such an autumn feast
Back before her soul wept only pirate anthems
That dangle like my favorite novel's passages now in front of me
But then I always knew that I would be awkward in heaven
Back then just after my rare and antique childhood evaporated in front of me
As she hung it up like garlands of when she was a little girl
Back before we became two fearful strangers
Rubbed raw by over forty year's turmoil

Faintly Narcotic

I wake up in heartbreak at the tip of an island
That is like a black widow spider's kiss
To a sound of waves that are like melted chocolate chips
But all of its spectacular unspoiled beauty has at its center a heart of coal
For she is forever and long denied me
And gone except in thoughts that I can no longer control

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, February 18, 2016

Three Poems by J.J. Campbell

patiently waiting

i pick up the phone
but i never hit any

i know no matter
what i could say

you have moved

and it's not that i
lost some amazing
chance at the
woman of my

it's that you never
took the time to
realize what was
patiently waiting
for you on the
other end of the

star crossed
and lost

oh my beautiful

what could have

the sad realization

whispers behind
long bangs and
wild eyes

suddenly the sad
realization that
i'm not cool
enough anymore
for whispers

the pretty girls
only chuckle
as you get older

sweet lips and my broken heart

old memories of
your sweet lips
and my broken

the sad thoughts
of telling the love
of my life goodbye

these old bones
still wish it could
have been different

but i'm sure deep
down i know it
wasn't meant to

that doesn't make
up for all these lost
years of loneliness

the nights of driving
by all our old places
and thinking what
woman are you with

haunted by the
cruelty of reality


fuck you

J.J. Campbell is old enough to know better.  He's currently trapped in suburbia, slowly going insane.  He's been widely published over the last 20 years, most recently at Dead Snakes, Horror Sleaze Trash, Yellow Mama, Mad Swirl, and Your One Phone Call.  You can find him most days waxing poetic at his highly entertaining blog, evil delights.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

A Poem by Inna Dulchevsky

After Snow Fall

Snowflakes hug tree branches
with its restful sleep
may freeze my veins
                         you are not here
I will be gone
as if late winter's ice
touched by the sun's smile
leaves nothing but a vapor
ghost no one perceives

I fly on the flames of your tongue
you see nothing   but
stunning sparks
you feel nothing but
unbounded desire
like a playful child
who plays with fire
and burns my wings

                           my soul sings
starling in the spring
flying free in an
infinite presence
on the limitless air

vapor covers flame's ashes
molten snow floods the earth
streams all pain in nowhere
dries in the gust of butterfly wings
burns green leaves on tree
drinks the flower's nectar

Inna Dulchevsky spent her early school years in Belarus.  She currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.  She was awarded the Frist Prize 2014 David B. Silver Poetry Competition.  Inna's work has been published in numerous anthologies, books and journals including Pyrokinection, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocain, Petals in the Pan Anthology, Element(ary) My Dear Anthology, Happy Holidays! Anthology, book Lavender, The Cannon's Mouth, The Otter, New Poetry, Calliope Magazine, Calliope Magazine Anniversary Issue, Aquillrelle Anthology 4th annual Lummox Poetry Anthology, KNOT Magazine, Antheon, and is forthcoming in Secrets and Dreams Anthology.  Her interests include metaphysics, philosophy, meditation and yoga.  The light and expansion of consciousness through the connection with inner-self and nature are essential in the writing of her poetry.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Three Poems by April Salzano

Everyone But You

was in that room, in dream
or in form, counting
blessings like prayers.  The ghost
of a son, shadow of a childhood
spent flapping and blocking sounds,
each one the new worst offender.
I waited a lifetime for one
acknowledgement of fault.  None
was made or implied, though all eyes spoke
what you could not find strength to say.

You Took Me Years

to undo.  I never thought you would
be something I could say
I survived.  In truth,
I miss loving you less
than I miss loving who I was when we were
young, empty, full
of nothing but ideas
about who we would become.
That was certainty, those clear
days without nostalgia, before
we had anything to look back on,
before you ate our children whole,
licked your fingers.
Before you emptied
the picnic blanket
of crumbs, killed all the ants,
and blocked out what was
left of the sun.

What Happens When We

outgrow our old metaphors,
when they deconstruct,
return to original meanings
like they are naked,
standing, waiting to be clothed
by someone else?

April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons.  She is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry.  Her work has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Award and has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.  Her first chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is available from Dancing Girl Press.  The author serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A Poem by Bryan Crumpley

Where Rivers Flow

The ocean's waves rage and crash at their feet
The weather is cool, the wind is soft, and there are stars
The night reveals nebulas and sleeping giants
He questions the effects of stars on souls
She chews her nails

Love is stingy, like the placement of rainclouds
Between them there is desert
"Like California, I am dry," He says to her, shrugging, empty.
"Unlike California you have hoses and oceans and rivers and rain," She says.

The blood moon is here and the waves rise leaving nothing in tide pools
"Salvation is so deep down, I know I'll drown."
"You can swim."
"The undertow is too strong."
"So you will merely stand by the shore?"
He shrugs, "I am destined a desert."

"But look at Mars where rivers flow!" She says.
"In little streams and tributaries, barely visible!" He says.
"But there they are, patient and waiting, slowly eroding stone!"
The two stare into the heavens.

He has felt without rivers for longer than he can remember.
"Sometimes things just end, without purpose, without reason."
"And sometimes there's water on Mars, just waiting."

Bryan Crumpley is a Chicago writer and human person.  He is the cofounder and editor of Dali's Lovechild Literary Magazine.  Bryan likes stars and sunshine.  Bryan has been recently published in Crack the Spine and Johnny America.  More of his work can be found at

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Three Poems by J.J. Campbell

playing in these fields

i can still remember
sitting on the porch

holding hands

sharing a cigarette


talking about our
children one day
playing in these

the only time
in my life that
a future felt
like it was
even possible

you are married
to another woman

and any kids are
left in the towel
on the floor

not exactly the
future i thought
of on that old

the kisses taste
somewhat bitter
in hindsight

come over and play house

sometimes the hate
bubbles up inside
of me

i look for your
beautiful face
to calm me down

but you left years
ago and i'm pretty
sure that means
you're not coming

walking alone in
a grocery store

wondering if any
of these lonely
women want to
come over and
play house

the demon always
looks for streaks
in the hair and
yoga pants

i tend to look for
stunning eyes and
a sophisticated brain

i would compromise
and settle for the
middle but

there is no
with the evil
inside of me

slowly going to hell

the last time
i kissed your
lips the world
was broken
and slowly
going to

it's almost
like time
has stood
still ever

J.J. Campbell is stuck in suburbia slowly going insane.  He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Dead Snakes, Mad Swirl, Your One Phone Call, Horror Sleaze Trash and Misfit Magazine.  On most days, you can find J.J. bitching and moaning about things only he cares about on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights.

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Poem by Jimmy Pappas

Last Words

The message was brief:  She's dying.  She wants to see you.
In twenty years of marriage, nothing was ever that simple.
Even the divorce we both wanted turned into a thousand-
piece jigsaw puzzle.  Curiosity trumped all other feelings,
so I made the trip.  Her relatives greeted me with affection.
No one wanted to ruin the final wish of a dying woman.
They led me into the room where she had been propped up
on pillows while she waited for my arrival.  She looked like
Skeletor, a Masters of the Universe character our son
played with before he went through a windshield searching
for the dryad in the tree.  With all the guards having fled,
her skull planned its escape from prison.  It did its best Edward G.
Robinson imitation.  Nyaaah, try and stop me now ya lousy screw,
nyaaah.  Then she gave me one of her patented cliche smiles.
What the hell,.  I smiled back.  The others left so we could be
alone.  I sat down by her bedside, held her hand, and bent over
to whisper in her ear, I am going to piss on your grave.

Jimmy Pappas received an MA in English Literature from Rivier University.  His poems have been published  in such journals as Atticus Review, Dead Snakes, Kentucky Review, Cha:  An Asian Literary Journal, Off the Coast, Boston Literary Magazine, and War Literature and the Arts.  He is a recent first-prize winner of the Poetry Society of New Hampshire's National Contest.