Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, December 18, 2014

THE SAME SPACE

by David Subacchi

Half a century within the same space
Inside medieval town walls
Long since demolished
Within sight of castle
And parish church
The sound of town clock bell

Pigs were once driven
Along this street to market
A chapel, undertaker
And print works
Have gradually given way
To residential units

A cobblers and gun shop
Are also no more
The rear yard of a hotel
Is a car park for shop workers
And those who visit the bookmaker
Cars only pass one way

Half a century within the same space
Raised voices at night
From emptying taverns
Wind blowing bottles
Along pavements and gutters
Sighing between the chimneys.

SOMETHING DIFFERENT

by Brenton Booth

Sunny summers day
laying in bed
at 9:13 am
the penguins drinking
lemonade through
straws while
the green hills
of Africa kick a
penalty goal
and my neighbours
have all gone to
work and
all I can hear
is the tiny famished
birds in the courtyard
the soft rain at
Machu Picchu
the planes flying
into space;
the garbage now empty
and clowns already
taken away
wide awake on a morning
that reminds me of what
could be
if things went as they should.

The Wolf Throws a BBQ

by Ed Werstein

The first two ran
to their brother’s
when their houses fell.

All three of them thought
they were safe inside.
Then it hit me
like a ton of---
Bricks!

This one was brick!
Just like Old MacDonald’s smokehouse.

I had straw--
a houseful,
and plenty of sticks
from the second one.

With these bellows-for-lungs
all I needed was a match and ...

Oh, brother!
I invited the whole pack over for the feast.

All the dogs in town came by to beg.
Every once in a while
we threw one of them an ear.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Totem Poles

by Will Monigold

Watching a drunken man cry
Flopping jellylike in a heap
Along a bad street
That smells like piss.
“They can spend
A billion dollars
On the moon” he says
“But they can’t make
A safe place to walk.”
He’d cut his finger
On a broken bottle.
“He’s Kwakiutal,”
The other man says
Like that explained everything.
“They can’t hold their liquor.”
He laughs a toothless laugh.
We help the Kwakiutal man
Onto the sidewalk.
Prop him up against a dumpster.
“I’m Makah” the other man says
“We don’t have that problem.”
He laughs again
Showing all of his empty mouth.
“He carves totem poles”
The Makah man says.
“He’s famous
Everyone knows him.”

Update

by Meghana Mysore

The TV stations come alive:
Finally they have something worthwhile to say.
“8.0 magnitude…shattering…”—
adjectives and descriptions galore.

But how did she die?
One night, before bed, she was routinely checking
 her phone for updates. She hungered for the updates;
they were a kind of sustenance.
She was ‘connected’ on various mediums—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest—
so she must’ve never been lonely.
Each night the updates would flood her screen, but she wasn’t
afraid of the flooding.
That night, she propped herself up on her pillow.
She’d lusted for more updates,
so she kept checking as the moon palled
and the rest of the world slept.
Refresh. Update. Likes? Favorites? Refresh. Update. Retweet? Retweet?

Retweet?

5:32 A.M. She checked again.
But this time, by accident, she deleted all her messages
And e-mails
And tweets
And Instagram photos
And Pinterest pins.
And the hurricane
swooped in like a preying hawk—
Amanda no longer liked her status,
Brad no longer favorited her tweet,
Emily no longer commented on her photo—

And it took
Every remnant
Of her being
Until there was nothing left.

Dei Profundis Waiting

by Sy Roth

So I hock a loogie,
A gray sticky mass
loosed  in disgust
profundity in name only--
instead a fear projectile.

Somewhere deep  congealed like muddy frozen ice--
Converts into a soul cleansing expectorant.
Perhaps to become a signal to extraterrestrial beings.

New sidewalk amoeba hurled at the earth--
News at 10.

How else to express disgust--
self-flagellation?
attention getting somewhen, but
cat-o-nine tails?
unappetizing.

You haven’t been at all attentive,
could care less about the  others
converted into looped Seinfeld episodes.

I’ll suck the loogie from the floor,
if forgiven their trespasses.

They trusted--
waited,
cheeks pulled in with bated breath
for an answer--
hollow-cheeked faces fear the ocean’s depth,
they see Jonah’s fate played out in
xylophonic rhythms.

Their sentries watch--
Wait,
ready their clarion call.

While I waited.
Dawn broke,
nothing from the earless entity,

time weighted eternities…

while the loogie rests curbside,
Penitential vestige.

Graveled voice
 Silenced.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tierra Del Fuego

by Todd Mercer

I.

Charles Darwin on the original Fuegians (1833): “…when pressed in winter by hunger they kill and devour their old women before they kill their dogs”

Captain Robert FitzRoy
of The Beagle, at sea,
12 September 1830:
“…under my command, four natives of Tierra Del Fuego:
York Minster, 26
Boat Memory, 20
James Button, 14
Fuegia Basket
     (a girl), 9”

Peter Nichols, in Evolution’s Captain (2003)
“…his experiment had been a total disaster because they had reverted to savaging; their civilisation had been a gloss.”

Dallas Murphy, in Rounding the Horn (2004): “Boat Memory’s real name was never recorded.”


II.

Benny’s Chevy Blazer taunted death. The mechanic favored euthanasia. Instead Benny sold it

to Guatemalan migrants. He asked a C-Note,
scrap price. Low enough to avoid guilt,
the proceeds covered burgers, beers,
a cultured excursion
to the nudie bar.

Six weeks later,
Benny then flat broke five weeks, his clap
lingering,

received mail, a snapshot
of said Guatemalans,
and the Blazer,
on southern-most blacktop.
It ran perfectly.

Benny arson-ated his building, snapped
a Polaroid of the flames, posted it
to Argentina. He was ten thousand miles
from his road’s end,

but there’s more than one
land of fire.


III.

Miles from the southernmost town, Ushuaia, Argentina to:

Buenos Aires—1473
New York—6584
London—8303
Beijing--11,381
Guatemala—4953

Google Maps sez: “Sorry, we could not calculate directions from 76 Auburn Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503 to Road’s End, Ruta Provincial J, Tierra Del Fuego, Argentina”

Average distance a Chevy Blazer lasts after Benny’s mechanic gave up hope, besides Benny’s: halfway to the gas station.

Distance between this barely fictionalized incident and the present: 23 years, 1 felony.

55° 58′ 48″ S, 67° 17′ 21″ W
-55.98, -67.289167

jack and the giant jukebox

by John Grochalski

jack can’t get the jukebox to play
goddamned digital….he says

people are laughing at him
because they’ve been laughing at him for years

i just want to play a little grateful dead

he says it
it sounds like begging

we watch jack and the giant jukebox
that takes up half the wall in this place

it turns into a camera
white light is flashing throughout the bar

on the screen there are pictures of a frustrated jack
trying to put dollar bills in the machine

pictures of him squinting
pictures of him in a half-curse
jack’s jack daniels hat cocked sideways
his fat, red winedrunk face illuminated

it’s a status update, hashtag bonanza

jack says, if i wanted this kind of abuse
i could’ve gone home to drink

a few of us look at the glass of white wine
that he left behind for what seems like days now
then go back to singing summer wind

jack puts another dollar in the jukebox
it spits it back out
plays a song from its archives

as the telling pictures fade from the screen
and turn back into images of half-naked pop stars
puckering up for all of us saturday evening drunks

i don’t get it, jack says
i worked in computers for twenty-five years
but this….

my wife gets off of her stool to help him

last week in the liquor store
i paid for the rest of jack’s bottle of white
because he didn’t have enough change on him

when we see him on the street
we laugh and point and say, there goes good old jack

my wife gets the jukebox to work

a little grateful dead, jack says
sitting back down like a twenty-first century master

he takes a pull on his white
begins drumming on the bar

i can’t tell if it’s a jerry song or one sung by bob weir

but things are suddenly looking up
for us in here tonight

as the bartender sets two shot glasses in front of us
and says, the next round is on me.

DIAMONDS

by Marc Carver

Some men are great
and some
have greatness thrust up their arse like a big tumour.
Some men believe themselves to be great
but don't even come close.

Some really believe it
when others say they are great
that is the most dangerous of times
because most people believe what they want to believe

But it is not in the so called greats
that there is much
it is the different people
that I look at
and see diamonds

GETTING OLD IS NOT FOR SISSIES

by Roy Dorman

He had fallen into the bushes
while reaching down
to turn off the outside faucet for the hose.
He now lay there on his back for a bit,
crushing some of his treasured,
just-watered perennials,
not knowing if he should laugh or cry.
He almost certainly would crush
a few more of the ferns and jack-in-the-pulpits
in the process of rolling over to get back up.
The longer he thought about it,
the more he was leaning toward laughter

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Hommage à Marcel Duchamp
(Joseph Cornell, construction)

by Neil Ellman

Gone now
there is only the nil and void
of an empty shadow box
once filled with objects
manufactured, re-invented
in his mind
he as ready-made as them
larger than their art
than any box can hold
steel- and porcelain-words
with no meaning
other than themselves
no reason
other than the tangible
nor of himself
Art, then, is himself
re-invented in his mind
a shadow in a box.

Daylight Savings Time

by Tom Hatch

I am on this train again the Monday morning
After the Sunday when daylight savings
Time is withdrawn from our daily account
So it is lighter this morning than last Monday
Looking out the window a chain link fence
Moves past at maybe 40 MPH
Gliding through the brick yard sort of Lego town
Cement mixers, bricks, flag stone and
Drainage pipes for a patio up north next spring
Opens onto the Norwalk river looking east
The crewing teams are practicing rowing slicing 5 inches
In the white parting water this is passed to the next
Station boarding more fellow commuters
Aw there she is amongst the sleep walkers
A beauty sailing up the isle
I have an empty seat next to me
She keeps walking as a look of cold across
Her face a snub to the empty seat out the window
A lighted sign on the side of a building "At Your Service"
With the "E" burnt out dark holes left cracks
in the cinder block then the chasing view opens
To Long Island Sound my eyes
Journey to the distant island
As an on coming train a brush stroke of
Blurring light blue and grey an exhale thinking
Of the beauty snubbed as we pass
Over the state line of months till
We deposit DLST in our daily account again.

ISOLATION

by Bradford Middleton

My only grip on anything sane has gone
And with my phone line goes my mind
As no more conversations with the outside world
Now it’s just me and this damn town
Where it appears I only know a few
And all of them are out of their minds

Out of their minds on isolation and solitude
Something I can really relate to now
Stuck at home with no company except my mind
And when that unravels it leaves me just wanting
A shoulder to cry on maybe
Or even just someone sane to talk to

But now the only thing I can get
Is more isolation and solitude as I
Struggle to raise the funds for any thing
Except a cheap happy hour drink and
An occasional toke on some medicine
To make me forget all the problems

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 10 December 1948 at Palais de Chaillot, Paris

Preamble

Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

Whereas disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which have outraged the conscience of mankind, and the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,

Whereas it is essential to promote the development of friendly relations between nations,

Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,

Whereas Member States have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with the United Nations, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms,

Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction.

Article 1

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty.

Article 3

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Article 5

No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Article 6

Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law.

Article 7

All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination.

Article 8

Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or by law.

Article 9

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.

Article 10

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Article 11

(1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence. (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

Article 12

No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.

Article 13

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country.

Article 14

(1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 15

(1) Everyone has the right to a nationality. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his nationality.

Article 16

(1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses. (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Article 17

(1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.

Article 18

Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

Article 19

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Article 20

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.

Article 21

(1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country. (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.

Article 22

Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and is entitled to realization, through national effort and international co-operation and in accordance with the organization and resources of each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable for his dignity and the free development of his personality.

Article 23

(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work. (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection. (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24

Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.

Article 25

(1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control. (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Article 26

(1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible to all on the basis of merit. (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace. (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children.

Article 27

(1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Article 28

Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29

(1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30

Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Iconographer’s Junction

by Todd Mercer        

The idiot boy, now a man,
mans the railway station bench
in vigilance. He’s fed up. He filled
a pillowcase with keepsakes
to take on the train which stopped
stopping eons back, the tracks themselves
pulled up for scrap in the Seventies.

The odds against the nine-fifteen express
pulling in to the depot
are astronomical but not
wholly impossible. This is the son
of one who monologues her particular
despairs to angels, and to her friend
the Virgin Mary icon on the
living-room’s door-facing wall.

Mary made it bearable, the burden,
raising such a sedentary runaway, on lucid prayer
and stories of the trains that used to pass. The mother
keeps immaculate, in case of The Rapture, saving
herself for a linked string of life events
that haven’t run this country route,

yet. There’s her aging boy-child
out on the departure platform,
choosing belief over facts, hearing
a steam whistle shrieking. Mother says,
“Tea kettle.” Mary
pours the boiling water
over leaves.

the good times are killing me

by John Grochalski

we wait for seth to say
time for vodka shots?
as if that’s the question of the hour

three beers deep
a bottle or so of wine at home to be consumed

forty years old and for some reason
i keep hanging on to all of this

when i want so hard to stop and let go

the good times are killing me
and seth and you and everyone who’s always in here
the stomach burns and the sides hurt
only what the doctors don’t know won’t hurt ‘em

cheers, seth says
he’s not trying to be ironic but…

we take the shots down and he says,
man, all i want is my girl back

even though she cracked his face a few times
and left him knee deep in family misery

but abandonment makes the heart grow fonder
or so i’ve been told

and when seth picks up our pints
for round four on the house
there’s no point in stopping him
because we know where the real joy comes from

so i slouch off the stool
to put two more greenbacks in the juke

hear seth talking to you
the same sad story over and over again

his redundancy as brilliant as ours

the american dream in full bloom here
this lonely afternoon.                                          

OVER AND OUT

by Nancy Scott McBride

Better than we
cell phones know

communication between us
is down.

We punch in numbers and are
sent straight to voice-mail.

We're on the road and
don't pick up or

we're in the shower and
cannot hear.

Machines receive our calls/cries and
record our sad/mad messages.

Our ears/hearts are not in service at this
crucial time or

have been temporarily
dis   connected.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Honeysuckle

by Nancy Soriano

Beta living in a wine glass. She stopped taking pictures her senior year. The vivid faces of her peers had retained their tones across the ages. These stills did them no justice. She kept them within her memory. Releasing them as the years dragged on without them. The last of her year. She had seen both World Wars. She had watched as her grandchildren died of pneumonia. Last week, she had witnessed a shooting in the local elementary school. The world was full of bees, wasps, and yellow jackets. Distinguishing between didn't get easier with age.

Hellogoodbye

by Madison Volz

He cut his feet on bladed grass
Sitting in our silenced nonsense
Watching beer bottle eyes
Drunk
Being young the illness
Symptoms based on stupidity

He was just a boy
To naïve to swallow the truths
She loved him
But not his father
The new guys were “just friends”

Exciting in a short time
He couldn’t know  
Drunks are attracted to light
A glowing beam of a Chevy
Caught his attention

Waking to breaking news
His mother never
Did look good
Dressed in black

Breathing Room

by David Klein

Death can come
and if I’m ready I’ll have him
under the sheets or on an asphalt
bed on a summer roof Rihanna
blasting to the max over street noise
a mongrel choir
fierce and clamoring
no psalm
no hymn rising
just What Is
Happening

On the Q train into Brooklyn
heading home from work
among the piled bodies on the Ferryman’s raft,
a life’s work
tallied on a MetroCard
we’ll shoulder ourselves breathing room
and do our thing, baby
just wail away
while the corpses dangle from handrails,
plugged into their music with its hackneyed ecstasies

I’ll give death a run for his money
kiss him on the mouth
blow breath into him
clasp legs hard around his waist
and past the end of time
we’ll dance

Closing of the Last Poolroom
In Downtown Huntington, West Virginia (1977)

by Philip Bartram

Two floors down at fourth
And tenth, I enter the warped
Wooden doors, losing
The wane in my body, taking
Some odd stalking form void
Of mind and blood and bone.
And then to the right, I
Sink slowly into the vinyl
Upholstery of a worn chair
Not wanting another occupant,
Content with its features
And solitude along the wall.
In the air before the wake,
Chestnut finished tables, each with
Diamond-honed slate and rams’
Horn legs, feel the subtle trembling
Of moist hands beneath the hooded
Pop-eyed lights swung above.
Curtis sweats the action, knows
The hand’s small trembling
That stiffens the arm,
But keep it coming on the snap,
Down hard on the nine, shoot the
Moon and win a zillion.
I rise and move within the room
In the intimate dance of locksmiths,
Each with bird’s eye maple and ebony
Pronged cues, each studying the invisible
Geometrical lines and isosceles triangles
That crisscrosses the tables.
Gray wisps of stogie smoke
Rise and hang forever, I watch the
Procession of odd marks escorted in turn
By Bottles, the thumb-less rack boy,
To the nearest open table from the door
And the solitary female beyond,
Waiting in split-thigh dress, stockings
And air-cracked rouge from lost sermons.
In the absence of misted perfume
And lipstick-stained cigarette butts, Bottles
Shuffles between the tables, removes
The dust covers and brushes
The short woolen felt.  In surgical order,
White cotton hand towels and blue
Cubed chalk are placed on the short
Hardwood rails.  At the head spot, the wooden
Triangle bemoans fifteen precise-cut spheres,
Each seeking its own space.
In the streaming of soft light,
A proposition becomes a breath that
Condenses on the cold concrete walls
Only to vaporize again.  The solid-six ball
Morphs, becomes the seven or black
Eight and the break.
Curtis, tapped out, becomes
A railbird.  A mark begins a low dull
Moan or a shunted prayer.  Whitey takes a kiss
And finds the side pocket.  On a corner table,
A masse twists in wild excitement around
A cluster of striped balls, kicks the twelve
Gently in the corner pocket, and comes to
Rest against the end rail.  With each
Windpipe-tight asphyxiating shot, each
Mark, each victim, in turn takes the complexion
Of a faded two ball with one last
Insufficient lung-filling gasp.
Where none shows his true speed,
Road men and stake-horse players
Loot on the lemon, taking caches of
Union wages or lost mortgages chipped by
Callused hands from coal-black seams
Deep underground.
Now, the ivory-ferrule scalpel
Makes one last delicate cut.
The mark supine on the hard
Italian slate closes his eyes
One time and forever.  I watch the
Discoloring of flesh and know it.
Again and again and again
In the cold and barren room,
Bottles lays out the stiffs,
Each his own slab, his own particular
Peace, none leaving a moist trace
Of hope on the small mirror.
As the last dust cover is replaced,
Curtis, Joe Smarts, and Preacher depart
By the back stairs leaving no memento
Of the Ecclesiastics behind.
Outside, the lone female smiles faintly,
Adjusts her blouse once and moves on.
In impassioned stiffness, the
Poolroom moves awkwardly into
Shadows, freed from the endless action
Of pupil-dilated moochers,
Strings and bank shots, and
The hand’s small trembling.
The sudden and final closing of
Warped doors go unnoticed in
The cracked redbrick streets above,
Where shoppers and jaded politicians
Mingle and talk of chance fortunes and
Bourbon-street salvation.
I walk south and then right
On sixth avenue.  A gentle wind blows
And the rain feels warm
On my face.  I fear turning to
Look back where I have been,
Fear the moment when the
Stare becomes permanent and
My salt-bone corpse begins to
Dissolve.  The Henry W. T. Mali
In my hand is out of place in
The non-Euclidean lines
Of traffic around me.

Zen 5

by Aashish Thakur

I ate your body
And slept happily
Hunger kills love.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Haida Dancer

by Craig Brandis

The Haida people live where the land
wants to end but can't quite.

Overturned by muscle,
I went there seeking new ways to see.

I found some of their daily wealth—
endless butter clams in the tide's outstretched arms.

On a linen nightstand for hungry daydreams,
I saw a longhouse fire in old Haida eyes peering back at me

with a stare that saw beyond the horizon
as an eagle dancer from a high-prowed war canoe.

VARIABLE CONTRASTS
for Tom Shapcott

by Stefanie Bennett

Now you've returned
From the Baltics
Hurling broken oars
At the Strait's
Dizzying
Shock-waves,
An irrepressible
Frontier
Beckons -:
                Klee's aspic
Renaissance and
Eluard's "The wind,
Undecided, rolls
A cigarette of air..."

Within the Charnel House
You're knee-high deep
                                   Again
... Hesitating.
It's not
Passe fanaticism that
Coagulates -,
But the knowledge
Of it.

Vintage

by Daniel De Santiago

Naturally, a dog's vision is in black and white. Choosing to see through their eyes, I relive the 60’s. This time, the leash takes me out for a walk while the clinking of the collar keeps me awake. Further down Memory Lane, voyeurists dressed in pinups and jumpers align themselves across Harley Avenue. Baked smells and barber shops. Volkswagen vans zoom by to the nearest cinema playing a film that is all too convenient. Looking farther into the distance, nociceptors kick at the back of my head. I shouldn’t peer past the rolling hills. Meaning that I should resign with the dog that is as blind as I am. The nearest park houses a bench for us to rest as the city welcomes me, and everyone else going for a walk, too.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

New York Babies At Night Time

by Rhyan Moncrief

Glowing storefronts illuminated 
both the skies and the stars with glistening undercoats
the streets were dense under urine and booze
spilled by boys who yelled at girls
happy to have their push up bras 
appreciated
it was that summer we read Catcher in the Rye
religiously
We overflowed with privilege 
and hated it

In June we graduated 
from middle school
you found out that your father was cheating
on the women he cheated on your
mother with
& in July, I kissed you for the first time
I let you feel me up a little
because I couldn't help getting uneasy
plus you said it was nothing
Most nights we couldn't contain ourselves
shouting ideas as fast as taxi cabs
we couldnt run
our still-growing bodies
into the ground
We were raging rebellions
against the red lights
Back then we thought we knew how life worked
like the palms of each others hands 
By September
our fingers were callused from the monkey bars
and twisting the caps off of beer bottles
I took a pill from my mom's drawer and still couldn't stop dreading the 
sleepiness beneath my skull
We inhaled marijuana that filled 
the tinted air
between the
skyscrapers

Too Big To Fake

by Donald Brandis

a story from an age of disbelief
of a lobster dancing with a porcupine, a badger with a crane
unlikely to the very border of impossible
we are suddenly much older
a teenage zombie morphed to a ragged camel
aged field-gray with a Hubble eye
watching Death approaching from the far side of the universe
as it has through all of the universe's life
not as a foreign agent but as a hidden intimate
like God whose necessary unknowns
like unstoried dark matter and dark energy
are most of what spin the visible universe

even in an age of disbelief
stories arise from the same necessity as God
not in detail but in being
strings of creative compromises of order with novelty
with no need to convince but only to entertain
settle back; we are not here to rule
we are only audience even to our own stories
a lobster dancing with a porcupine, a badger with a crane

A Death in the Family

by Donal Mahoney

Sometimes it helps to learn
a relative has died
a close relative you haven’t

seen in years and didn’t plan
to see again because
you haven’t talked in years

and wouldn’t talk again unless
you met in heaven or perhaps in hell
and God or Satan said

it’s too late now to harbor hate
why not shake hands--
and that may happen yet

if the two of you should soar
beyond the clouds or
plummet to the coals

and find yourselves together
in the same place forever.
The two of you always knew

where the other one would go
and too late now you both
may be surprised.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Envied like so Many Flamingos Missing Carotenoid

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

In contrast, yesterday’s enlivened “communication,”
Opened up politics which otherwise served warmongers,
Who envied like so many flamingos missing carotenoid.

Disputes that lasted for several laundry cycles,
In one corner of that sovereign homeland,
Perpetuated more regular instances of danger.

Again, tendencies toward sterility of thought,
Encouraged no dialogs among occupied persons,
Failed to balance proffered battle opportunities.

You see, authenticity’s yet iconicized in shiny things.
Unpleasantness still gets perpetuated on YouTube.
Civilization’s bunk, like elephant waste, remains destructive.

If only more frequent instances of safety,
More wholesome depictions of self (suited to esteem),
Got broadcast, we’d find peace among paupers.

Until such a span, reality, online, and in paper form,
Smirks at little children stuck on isles of limited serenity;
Enjoys sticking its tongue out at witnessed victimhood.

LInes

by Nancy May

winter horizon
broken branches
fallen snow

Leaving the High Country

by Craig Brandis

I saw satin knife blades sweeping the skin
from the carcass and returning  to their sheathes.

A herd of elk leaving the high country
swimming through a sea of blue stars.

The Predawn Hike

by Tom Hatch

We set out as we said the night before
Predawn off Tudor Road to Devils Den
The almost shadowless trees across the trail
The air being watched through eyes of Uncas
Or Magua they do not know us their arrows
And muskets pointed at the sound of our way
seen behind
Birch bark and pine I swear I smelled gunpowder
And heard Hurons
From my youth pop gun caps pop
Shredder red paper like blood on the ground
Pulling my son into the dry creek bed
Shimming elbows to trunks
We climbed up two different pines I
Hoping to see all the tomahawks and knives
Ready for our scalps
The dream of youth The Last of the Mohicans
High up in pine trees my son staring at me
Twenty feet off the reality of ground
Like what is this all about?
The sunrise shone embarrassed me of my
Youthful thoughts
Finished our hike covered in sap
Camouflaged with pine needles
Stuck to the view of the Saugatuck reservoir
A half mile away
the sun in control
The tiny sight with binoculars enlarged
Two Narragansett dismounts side stepping pacers inch
By inch into the water rippling blue (Danube)
In a waltz disappearing away from
The shore my youth
I stared into his youth he throwing rocks over the
High cliff of his days I sat and watched
As the two black horses extinct as my
Youth disappeared like the Dodo bird
That could not fly but walked away

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Gift Logic Can’t Buy

 by Donal Mahoney

My boss has a problem with God
or rather a problem with me
because I believe in God
and he doesn’t.
Or so we discover
while taking a break
at a big convention.
I hope I don’t lose my job.

We’re in a bar with Lady Gaga
pouring from the juke box.
My boss has a whiskey sour
and I’m nursing a Coke.
God help me.

He doesn’t believe
faith is a gift no one’s
guaranteed but knows
some folks have it
and others don’t.
Why is that, he asks,
finishing his sour,
signaling for another.

I tap into memories
from philosophy class
and recite the proofs
for the existence of God
some folks accept
and others deny.
My boss sees the logic
but still doesn’t believe.
So I sip my Coke and say
faith is a gift logic can't buy.

A few more drinks and he asks
what a man must do
if he wants to believe.
Ominous, I think, but here goes.
My wife, after all, has a job
with benefits.

I tell him to ask the God
he doesn’t believe in
to grant him faith.
Ask Him more than once
and if he receives it
he will be amazed
that someone
like me believes.

Hail Mary

by Al Ortolani

The sycamore is bone
white in winter, the few
straggling leaves like bats,
wings curled, hanging
loosely against the mottled sky.
The jay in the oak
complains of the gray squirrel,
bending limbs, leaping
like a ghost
to connect the branches.
The blue sky is brief. It separates
the clouds—a flotilla
scudding west. The sun
falls between the shadows
of the house. The sycamore
stretches across the walk—
one boney finger to the door,
one hand open to turn the knob.
We are home, plates in the sink,
the television flickering football.
My uncles are a reflection in the end zone,
the family face, the muscle,
the bone, the game clock
ticking through another Thanksgiving.
Johnny Unitas in black high tops
drops into the pocket
to heave a last-ditch prayer
into the lights.

Paul Repossessed

by Donald Brandis

the moon a slice of melon
a weak lantern over an unsettled sea
their boat wallowed like the pig it was
a sailor standing beside Paul fresh from a visit to Corinth
said then spat overboard
neither guide nor décor but random thought
senseless as the waves of this beachless life
he muttered to himself without passion
Paul heard, considered answering
out of the great shaking reordering he once endured
like a hanging, like a mugging on a dark street
a sunstoke fit lasting three long days and nights
raving and thrashing, spitting up bile
then woke up someone else he was no longer around to recognize
would not have if he was
citizen now of a far country few ever merely visit

'the whole human world is overdue for a good shaking
and it's not far off,' he answered in the same flat undertone
the sailor had used but seemed now not to hear
for just then a huge fish leaped straight up out of the water
shaking off spray and all but dancing on the sea surface
twisting side to side as if to throw off a lined hook
flashing silver blue-green in moonlight suddenly bright as bonfire
for a long moment it hung near the moon like a dark wish almost granted
then diving back into black water it vanished without sound or splash
'Satan?' the sailor asked in the same monotone
'Us,' Paul answered: the sailor nodded