Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Venus at the Drive-Thru'

by Stephanie D. Rogers

Her hand suspended
hung lazily from a
pearl pale arm

palm up
index out
not quite pointed
not quite crooked

disinterested
disengaged
detached

DeMilo's
lost appendage
awaiting tribute
or change

whichever
comes first

Drag Queen of Shady Shack

by Bobbie Troy

she was a big blonde
called Starr
with tits as big as
the grand canyon
and pursed lips
a la marilyn monroe
who silently
beckoned you
into her shady shack

but when she took off
her wig, heels, and make-up
she was plain ole’ Joe
accountant by day
seductress by night
and lonely in each disguise.

Ribbons & Pearls

by Brandy Clark

Whispers, snarls, cussing. Who the hell 
does he think he is? two elderly women spat out
as they passed, not bothering to keep
their voice at the polite levels people often do
when being critical. I slowed in my walk

down the aisle of the store to see a man,
a purse slung over one arm, a purposeful stride
carrying him through the women’s clothing section.
The man wearing red lipstick applied
with the greatest of care, white pearls

clinging to his neck (a decorative rope),
and a towering teased-up bouffant, dried
hairspray clinging to every strand of hair.
The man, now picking through the gaudy
ten-dollar blouses hanging on the racks,

harbored less confidence
than he’d shown moments before.
He cleared his throat, adjusted his purse,
leaned down to tug at the ecru pantyhose
clinging to his calves. I must admit, he had nice legs.

Our town, situated along the notches of the Bible Belt,
did not appreciate difference or those
unwilling to fit into unspoken ideals, expectations
no one could ever reach, or hope to reach.
His ideals meant selecting bright and colorful

outfits, and painting his fingernails a shade
that matched his lipstick. Fingers:  long,
slender, not meant to do a man’s work,
played with the pearls encircling his neck.
He must have felt someone staring, so he looked

in my direction. I nodded, smiled, gave
him a quick hello. He returned the greeting
before turning and walking away, away
from the people who chose to ridicule,
to shame him. He left before I had
the chance to say anything more.

Those pearls were beautiful.
I wanted to tell him that.

taking chances

by Linda M. Crate

after the movie
last night
in complete and utter silence
an epiphany dawned
her lit candle
over my mind, 
i was 
reflecting on life and i realized
this isn't where i want to be
i don't know what i need to do or what i need to change
but here isn't where i want nor need to be;
each of us wants immortality
to live after we die,
but it is more important to help others and live before
we die—
that thought rested heavy on my shoulders,
and so i'm going to be braver than i have ever been
make and take chances
i never would usually make because i'm sick
of playing it safe
i need to stretch out of my comfort zone
get these books published
and climb those mountains i always thought i ought,
conquer my fear of heights
sky dive and parasail and take a hot air balloon ride 
to take a chance and talk to that cute guy
my mind has convinced me i haven't a chance in hell with
because in the end 
it is true
you only do live once,
and while this is no excuse to be irresponsible and to forget 
every action has her consequence
it is encouraging me
that i need to be bolder, to break out of my shell
so the yolk of me spills a deeper yellow
that my star dust
shines brighter than the sun.

No Paper This Morning

by Donal Mahoney

Most days the newspaper hits
the lawn by four in the morning
but it's six already and I don't see it.

I'll have to pull on my pants
and go out to see if it's hiding
in my wife's flowers and bushes.

She keeps adding more plants
to the jungle she's created out there
with parrots and macaws on the way.

But instead of going out
I tell her it's a nice morning
and suggest she check on her roses.

In this heat, they may need water.
And while she's out there I suggest
she scan the garden for the paper

in case it's held hostage by the foliage.
After coffee she sails out the door
and returns with no paper but brings

an armful of roses, a bouquet
I welcome more than the poison ivy
I find every day in the paper.

a tuesday afternoon in july

by J.J. Campbell

blistering
heat

old
people
driving

four
hours
of sleep
and i'm
behind
the
wheel

what
could
possibly
go wrong

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Islamic Greens

by Steph Walker

Islamic Green trees
– sick mottled eucalypts
burn against International Klein Blue sky

where dark nights cry
upon snaggletoothed pillars, wrecked by movement
and wind-torn gestures

prolonging, a tint of the past
fear of future:
blazing bright colour with cool degrees of difference

as satellites drift
and beach waves beach, biting and fermenting
along limiting shores

rich rations ripen
with hands that turn cards

the greenest, tartest apples
fracture amongst voices

the whitest of noises
as gravel rests on grass
with cold dust and sand-smoothed glass, once sharp

water lashing warm faces
the high-pitched wail, the sound of soil-wrung hands
ringing themselves

only in footprints
of the past could we recall
the moments before:

fractures, steps of elevation, falls

steps over swollen beaten country
borders running courses, running
from one end of the atlas
to the other

as broad dusty hands
stretch

hands stretch – over cards and hips,
the way you think of wings, shoulders
and jaws
as broad and powerful

a diversity of fear
mottled, grafted, fused like vines
the strain of wrists and fingers

feel this: a flutter of wings meeting
torn torsos
warm hearts beating

clawing young stems with course leaves floating
rising to the sun

not for Islamic Green vines
but for gloveless,
dirty hands, wrenching
in fracturing caress

soil rung hands, draped and wrenched
and clawed down,
swollen beating – beatless

beach waves beach
and bleary eyed satellites drift away
from wind-torn jetties that remain
toothless, motionless, beneath
International Klein Blue
sky

after making love we sit by the lake

by Diane Sahms-Guarnieri

{everything around us resonates intimacy
kayak’s paddle dipping  fingertips into,
out-of an eastward flowing rippled current
where mounds of tall curling ends of

grass surround the lake and teasing breeze
gently dances through long strands of
cascading leaves blowing loveliness like a
woman’s hair over ground’s breasted nakedness;

there is love in strength of sun’s energized
rays like broad shoulders of a man’s aura
moving its force over earth’s entire body;
sweltering warm it enters, streaming its

ejaculation of life into the deep inward reaches
of the lake, illuminations of tadpoles swimming
then doe and deer grazing, dappled by
idleness of clouds caressing, drifting}

in sky’s aftermath.

On Deserted Farms

by Austin McCarron

On deserted farms
I find the wood on
which stars leap and
wild animals roam.
In darkness I shave
my head and the wind
sleeps and the leaves sing.
In green bush the fire
of my inner being roars.
I lie down to see and the
wolves shine in blindness
at my burning secrets.
Strangely, I drink the
worms in a scalding cup.
The night sky is like skin
of bruises, black as manes.
The morning sun wakes me
with strong and vivid mouth.
I starve my glutinous heart
with crusts of light and my
tongue sips at the blue faces
in the dancing wine.
First the blood on the branches
flows in silent waves and I smell
the suffering of pine, riddled with
spit of swollen glans.
Then the sea rises and covers me
with drunken fists, eternal kisses,
leaving me exposed to history,
the archaeologist of my own ruins.

Stretcher Case

by Paul Tristram

It is a contradiction completely,
when the thing sent to help you
is actually making you feel worse.
That awkward juttering and rocking
motion bringing seasickness to the land
that you are rapidly being carried over.
To the point where you are constantly
swallowing and trying not to breathe
to stop your soul (which has become
precarious like a goldfish in a bowl
that’s been temporarily forgotten
and balances on top of a moving car!)
from actually bursting out to freedom
from one of your clenched orifices.
The Riot is still in full swing
as everything shudders to an  halt
and the inside of an ambulance roof
comes sliding into view
and a calmer kind of movement
interferes and now takes its place.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Forecast

by April Salzano

Rain is washing earth with something
like pity falling
on my son’s rusty bicycle, training
wheels and all. He is almost nine. Autistic.
July is screaming, summer
is almost over, and third grade is coming
with its threat of tantrums and more
1:1 instruction.
The chicken coup does not have any
chickens and the fresh coat of paint will run
brown into green
grass. Thoughts intrude on my visual.
My friend’s son is going to die,
tubular sclerosis will claim his brain and all
I want to know is will there be a secret
sense of relief buried
in the sorrow, a tiny crack in the loss?
I wonder if night will breathe gratefulness
into lungs collapsed from mourning,
because she does not have to watch anymore
deterioration that lasted decades and spoke
words that no mother wants to hear
in the negative, words like hope
and cure, words like function and love.
And love and love and love.

Descent

by Stephanie D. Rogers

By seven, there will
Be fog.  Fog of the densest
Variety.  Fog
Through which none can navigate.
Fog not even you can cut.

Map

by J. K. Durick                 

Now we know the distances and begin
To measure the time we’ll spend;
This is the mother-lode, the raw
Materials of journeys, of visits, of
Getting away, of arriving there at last;

Its legend and lines, place names
And route numbers, the slight color
Variations to mark mountains and
Forests, various forms of water,
Rivers, lakes and the like, assure us,
Provide us with a plan to go on;

We unfold it, and then lay it out full
On the floor, on the kitchen table,
Draw a line with our eye, set up
The trip in our minds, imagine all
The turns and towns along the way,
The best places to stop for food, for
Gas, for just stretching, walking a bit;

Things like these can’t be left to chance,
We rarely just set out as if destinations
Didn’t matter, as if we were explorers
As if guidance wasn’t always available,

Instead we head out, catch 189, then 89
Heading east, call ahead for reservations,
Watch mile-markers and exit signs, and
Keep the map, folded just right, handy
Ready to consult, always ready to confirm
We are exactly where we need to be.

20 BEANSTORK

by Marc Carver

In the park
it said on a small plaque next to a tree
'20 the tree of heaven'
I had a good look at it
but it didn't look to heavenly to me
only later did i think
it may look different at the top
I should have climbed it

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

First By Color, Then By Size

by Nate Wilkerson

I found a family
of rocks in a river

and stuffed my pockets
before going home

to wash them,
scrub them

place in them in lines
first by color, then by size

I stared until two, three
then four in the morning

knowing inside
that one day

there would be no love
for this new family

on the edge of a bridge
I stood

throwing them
back to the river

when I close my eyes
all I see now are

rocks in lines
first by color, then by size

CITY OF LIGHTS

by Bradford Middleton

The city of lights is a stop-gap en route home
It never lasts as long as I would like
I only get to look out windows at the sights
Or loiter at train stations with nothing to do

Nothing to do but sit and smoke
Watching the beauty of the women all around
Drinking the ubiquitous mega latte as it’s
The only thing that’ll last long enough

Paris is the place to watch so
I sit outside a café near du Nord
A random businessman enters a sex shop
For his lunchtime fix of lust

I just sit back and ogle the bar-maid
A gorgeous young thing
Of African descent who got me a seat
With only the faintest of smiles

But then I got to dash after four roll-ups
And all that latte
To get my train
To take me home

Tonight

by Mary Annie A.V.

Tonight:
my sweat is scented different
it teases, you say
as you nestle between
my humor and my blade.

Nothing sweet scented,
loaded  with the wildest  longings
I carry within me.

I have gathered
the pressures  of the day
into my sweat
the toil of it
in my body, its aches.

You meditate upon,
pamper it with
your exquisitely crafted
maleness, the harshness
that gratifies and sustains.

Tonight
I do not push you away.

THIS IS THE STRANGEST SKY

by Michael H. Brownstein

so blue it highlights her eyes,
the white sun,
and grass in dire need of drink
This was the year winter did not come
and summer arrived before spring,
strong green and full of itself.
We cut the lawn for the first time in March,
watched a frenzy of honeybees in April
and harvested our first wild strawberries soon after.
By the time May arrived,
we had gone swimming in the pond outback,
the municipal swimming pool had opened,
and the first heat violence churned through the park.
The rivers of mud cracked,
its bank's knee dropped into crumbs
and the worst part of all of this was the lack of any comforting breeze.
We sat on the swinging chair in the shade of the porch
and waited for an east wind.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Frogs

by Joe Brennand

one frog
on one frog
roses in bloom

Your Black And White Photograph

by Suchoon Mo

thank you
for your photograph
a black and white photograph
of a young woman
you
in another time
another place

you are sitting by the kitchen table
in the light from the window
your are smiling

it is quiet here now
silent autumn morning

I am sitting by the kitchen table
in the light from the window
I am smiling

time is mute
so is space
in your black and white photograph

Farm Sale

by Robert Nisbet

The notice just gave details of acreage,
of arable and pasture. In The Journal’s later piece,
the interview, Owen’s phrases seemed to have halted
within him before they were written down. He simply said,
It wasn’t just a livelihood. He made some reference
to the obvious things, the shearing, branding,
calving, milking, the haymaking when cousins
and neighbours came, swigged brown ale from flagons
in the top of the barn as the heat built up.
But Owen did not mention, could not explain,
the one green image haunting him, those last few days:
the centuries’ clump of foliate oaks,
up by the main road, overhanging the milk stand,
the churns, the milk leaving for the creamery.

Find Him

by Donal Mahoney

Millie on crutches
in the day room
tells Fred on
his walker
to find him.
It's important
says Millie
even if you're old
and can't walk.
Hire someone
to push your
wheelchair
toward him.
If you can't
get out of bed,
hire two people
to wheel
your gurney
toward him.
It's too late
if you hire
ten men to
carry your coffin
toward him.
Now is the time,
and for many
that's a problem.
They have
too little time
to find him.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

MY PET BIRD

by Alan S. Kleiman

My cockatiel 'Feathers' sits in his cage
And listens to music
He watches TV
And reads books
Engages in dialectical conversations
Calls me in the office
And plays cards when not working
By working I mean
Eating seeds
Ignoring the dried fruit
The caviar, sushi
and fresh oysters on the half shell
Sometimes he can be picky.

INTERIOR OF GARAGE

by Bill Jansen

This morning I am in a garage
I assume is somewhere near Dartmouth.
Though there is also evidence
that I may be in the studio of Mario Fiorillo.
I mean the unfinished portrait
of his Welsh landlord against a bicycle.
However that may be, a 1946 purple Bugatti
dominates my surroundings, wherever I am.
One of those babies you have to be
wearing a black tie for it to start.
Also arguing against, though not refuting,
the notion that I am in Wales,
is the point guard of the Dartmouth
Women's basketball team,
hanging up tools in their chalk outlines.
In fact she is a chalk outline herself,
and would probably fit easily
into the chalk outline of Oona O'Neill,
who, as you may know, I was crazy about,
and if this is a garage there must be a front porch
somewhere not far off.
And if there is a front porch there is a newspaper
with a sports page.
I should at least find out who won.
Then I can talk about the game as if I was there,
and maybe there will be a story
about a local landlord who has gone missing.

one way streets

by Linda M. Crate

sometimes i'm wrong,
but you're not
always right
so sick and tired of
being taken granted
for and
overlooked
by people who supposedly
care;
give me an ocean
let me be
an island
grow my trees and happiness
in utter solitude—
where visitors
can come for a while then
go away,
and it'll be okay
because
i won't mind being alone
and we won't owe
each other anything;
so tired of
people
always wanting something
because i'm a giver
i give with all my heart and all
they ever want to do is rip
out every last moon beam of my
silver soul
i'm tired of these one way streets
they're all so very vexing.

In Wild Bush

by Austin McCarron

In wild bush,
on gold stones,
on steps of green
and yellow wood,
the lamb grazes with
flesh of sacred curls.

Imperial laughter
attends the meal of love.
The knife healing the
stricken bone is shining
with blazes and powerless
as kings is the
blood eaten of fiery wounds.
The sun, grown weary of
flames, reveals only mystery
and blindness, visions of time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Learning to touch

by Marilyn Hammick

I stand and watch, minding
that everything is very hot.
With oven gloved hands
Grandma slides the cake tin
onto the kitchen table.

There's two minutes to go
but this oven cooks quick
The top is like the inside
of my satchel, its edges
sneak from the metal.

Good sign, she tells me,
and sniffs, that's cooked,
but                   she takes
my middle finger in her hand,
hover, press, release

you’re not ringing a door bell,
or poking your brother’s arm.
The depression rises, the surface
levels, the sponge is ready
for the cooling rack.

Winter Tourist

by David Chorlton

The bars are open and every sand grain
on the beach is sparkling
in January light. Across the hotel courtyard
are yellow sunshades placed
beside the tables, blue towels on
the plastic chairs around the pool
and from the room a view of the Atlantic
at sunset, just before the evening buffet.
It is not enough. Even with an olive
in the cocktail and an avenue
lined with palm trees, it is too little
for someone who has spent a lifetime
preparing for this. Beneath all skies
he imagined the one now above him.
In every job he worked he promised
he’d make up for being used. He’d escape
the cities too, in which he lived, escape
and leave them far behind
without packing a coat in his suitcase.
When he arrived, nobody
was waiting to meet him. It is
an industry here to cater
to his every wish, but he is lost
with nothing to resist
as he walks to the shore in the winter
he carried with him always,
his hands in his pockets, his pockets
lined with ice.

Artefacts

by Robert Nisbet

Two quid, a full day’s earnings. Now,
the auction at the Market Hall.
He’s never been to one before,
just seen the sale ads in the Star.

He loves the café just outside:
these dealers, drivers, men in caps
and cords and aprons, women with
their tresses streaming, scarves and rings.

The hall. He browses. Loves Lot 12,
a copper kettle, tiny thing,
maybe eight inches high, odd bash,
but burnished to a sparkle. Then,
Lot 23, a miniature,
a girl with golden hair (she looked
just like his memories of his Mum).

The auctioneer stands second just
to God, he thinks, but suddenly,
descending like a royal flush,
the thought: Yes, I can bid. Lot 12.
Abruptly, 12, he gabbles, bids,
gets it for fifteen bob. And soon,
the miniature, for just a quid.

The hour following is chocked
and full with gazing on, with lots
and artefacts, before, his goods
brown-paper-wrapped, he stomps his way
to bus and home and bed and board.

THE SPIDER ON THE WALL

by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

Climbing up thus far
And no more
Meeting with the impenetrable
Stare of the stark wall
Beating hard with one’s six claws
One after the other
Making no significant mark,
Wearing out
Watching warily
The way up that is blocked,
Winding up a coil of passion
Hungry, thirsty, retired
The spider builds his home
At the dead end,
Holding no grudge
Against all odds.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Liberty Leading the People

Eugene Delacroix (1830)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Saul

by Michael D. Brown

surely my son not
my son in law, even if
I must hurl a javelin;
for what is the death
of one destined for my
crown, the end of
succession, my line
my heir, my son, my Jonathan;
surely one who killed ten thousand;
who skinned the foreskins;
who leveled Goliath,
needs no more honor,
no purple seat, or robe
but how to justify the
death of a hero,
a musician, a psalmist,
a would be future king
of Israel, a son in law.

Babymoon

by  Marianne Szlyk

The young celebrity,
whom neither Lila nor her daughter knows,
poses in her red and orange maxi.
She is on her babymoon
by the sun-dappled poolside
with real palm leaf cabanas,
banks of jasmine in bloom,
and lemon trees that cleanse
and sweeten the humid air.

Lila puts down the magazine.
She watches the pregnant receptionist|
waddle back to the restroom.
That girl is the only worker
wearing flat shoes,
but they do match her red
baby doll dress
and drop earrings.
And her blond bob is sharp
enough to cut through
the salty, overcast day outside.

Lila sympathizes with her.
She was pregnant once.

During the long hot summer that began in April,
five months
before Estelle finally was born,
Dave offered to drive her
to the Cape
or at least Castle Island
to cool off in the tepid sun and salt breeze
heavy with warm onion rings,
beer, and classic rock,
to escape the city’s stink
of garbage and perfume.

She turned him down.

When she was not at work,
she spent the summer upstairs watching
golf for the cool greens and water hazards.

blandest

by Ross Vassilev

wandering the streets after walking off the job

nothing to do and nowhere to go

I snuck into a movie theater
and don't even remember what I saw

lost along empty sidewalks

it felt both good and bad
to be alone as the wind sang
through the April sun

menaced by stuffed men
in white shirts and ties

I thought
all these losers who only know how to make money

at least I wasn't one of them.

ROLLING THE JOY

by Tapeshwar Prasad Yadav

Sphere the morning light
Rolling through the hills
And wheeling the fields
Horn the buzz, chirping
And twittering the sequel
Swaying live the delight
Leaning golden rocks
And ocean waves dear

Wiping the fading grief
All spotless and clean
There comes jolly joy
Full of golden gleams
Bursting and thrusting
Pattering the ground
Propelling life rhythm

Mingle universal fraternity
With harmony blend
Distancing the enmity
In a bag full of tinkling coins
And storey skyscraper
Feeding the belly
With a pot full of jelly
Rolling towering joy!