Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Thousand

by Sarah Hartman

stretched between myself
a thousand ways within and without
a twisting contortion that blooms
iridescent in your sight
with a thousand heartbeats inside of my chest
flutters of moments and seconds
crescendos of life and atoms smashing
together in perfected sequential order
I give way under the
weight of your thousand stares
lost somewhere in your eyes and
traversing an elliptical ring around
your misplaced dreams
take hold of me and we can
live and make love in ecstasy
a collision of senses and sensations
just you and I
and the heartbeats beneath our chests
for a thousand years before we die

THE END OF THE BEGINNING

by Brenton Booth

on the final page
the cars dim the headlights
the Tasmanian devils scream
the oyster eats the pearl

on the final page
the speakers play Delius
the forward kicks the winning field goal
the past is left behind

on the final page
the sun shines
the mail box is empty
the ambition has been replaced

on the final page
the seagulls walk the plank
the radiator sings hallelujah
the sentence is like the finest jewel

on the final page
the fools flee the cities of the wise
the Nobel Prize goes to the best book
the Academy Awards cease

on the final page
the equipment is worn
the keyboard brilliant
the alien asks the human for advice

on the final page
the love is gone
the hate is gone
the fear is gone

on the final page
the machines are silent
the ammunition rots in storage
the economy is no longer important

on the final page
we all look the same
and what we saw before
is very childish to us now
the gods have been recognised
as a mistake
and the only way is forward:
away
from            here.

Porous Lovers

by John Pursch

Double doors swing lanterns, checking for qualified mockeries, tendering a yawning celebration for sterile gazelle trim. Painting aluminum umpires a glowing lavender speckle, potpourri colonels order smoothies to tolerate an even longer relay paste, smearing dental easels with wiggling lucidity. Touring parties strip musing autocrats of their basting criteria, helping a warlord’s latent vestige to shorn, preemptive numerals. Nominations clear the barcode’s glamorous hive, easing a stately nook container into tambourine chapels, heaving hoarse cauliflower earrings to fulminating cries of dry, denuded despair. Biplanes break apart, dashing cold-cream delays on mossy quail nests, pinning crooked farces against a thespian’s frail linkage. Open-toed swabs toss a landfill agent’s ceiling patter, glimpsing nether egos in borrowed beaches of a parking lot’s mealy formaldehyde crown. If only they propped down to mate in moldy and docile themes; how exuberant the cloven stone might seem, luxuriating over porous lovers.

The train journey

by Jagannath Rao Adukuri

Together we need a respite from howling
In the inner depths of the train’s night,
Clackety clackety, inside, full with feeling
I stir along with the train and thought.
She the train better stop thinking violent
Not puffing like her coal-eater ancestor
While mind walks slowly like the blue bird
That went up and down on the telephone wire.

Train-fans stir cold wind and winter air
Shaking shadows of several recently fed men
Bringing out ugly sounds from sleep’s depths.
Dreams spoil fun through monster bridges
And dark tunnels in mountain’s green wombs.
She writes her history on two parallel lines
In the black parchment all the while erasing it;
I collect exquisite shadows of night’s silence. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Out Look

by M.R. Phillips

It’s a life
Of thrift
Store-bought boots
Broken bottles
Sore knees
And out of tune guitars

All this badness rolled up into a ball
Above,
Looks like weather

Horizon,
Once, we were friends

But this life has got
In our way

Disillusioned
Some day soon, we’ll meet again.

Taking the LIRR In Rough Shape

by Lucas Stensland

gathering
dark clouds
she hands me bad news

the married woman
saying she loves me
repeated words
by definition
never change

the length
of the platform
half a smile

always
an hour away
Babylon

my empty beer cans
bouncing on the train seat
damn city girl

train bathroom
my hand silences
one wall

one stop
too far
Islip

perfume
from the seat
behind
another train station
not my own

the fanciest
wine bar in Patchogue
free Ruffles

they
weren’t kidding
Village Idiot Pub
out i stumble
and down i go

she's always
a sure thing –
drinks with the moon

Meditative Thoughts While Shaving

by Peter Franklin                                          

I thought of you
While shaving my legs today -
Rather unusual I admit.
I really try not to think of anything…
Or anyone, for that matter…while
Holding a finely-stropped weapon
In my hand.  And not just because I’m new at
This.  I’m not a big fan of giving blood.
Carefully lathered, took a deep
Breath.  Really? Cyclists do this?
I now feel so relevant…though
I’d rather be writing some sort
Of offbeat love poem, a safer territory
For me, but having grown weary of the
Hirsute legs I am plagued with,
Off it goes.
I remember once how you said you
Thought of me while shaving your legs
(which is totally normal for you…the shaving part,
Not thinking of me) –
So here I am returning the favor.
Of course, I’m bleeding…
Rivulets of crimson ego trickling
From the nick just below my knee.
But my heart also bleeds a bit knowing that
You’ll soon be into another life chapter.
It’s time.
It’s normal.
It’s expected.
The nest has outgrown its purpose,
And all metaphors aside, its
Time for you to make your own tracks.
Hey.
That’s what you say.
Hey.
That’s my response.
Hey.
Don’t forget to write.
Hey.
I can’t imagine having to do this again.

a couple of burdens

by J.J. Campbell

a pregnant woman and
her three year old daughter
were killed while crossing
a street the other night

the car that hit them
was going 70 mph in
a residential zone

the mother/grandmother
of the victims told the
local news crew that she
holds no ill will towards
the occupants of the car

accidents happen

as i listened to this
story i looked over at
my mother and said it
sounds like someone
is relieved to be free
of a couple of burdens

she said no shit and
said it in a way that
made me believe she
wouldn't mind being
relieved of hers

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Some People

by David Raffenaud

while some people
sit and wonder what to wear to the ball
some other folks
don’t have anything to wear at all

if some people
point and ponder
as they have another bite
some other folks
can’t afford to have an appetite

     don’t tell me that
     you deserve
     everything you’ve got

     if everyone
     got what they deserved
     we might lose a lot

did you ever wonder
like i do
who chose the teams
who made the rules

     don’t tell me that
     you deserve
     everything you’ve got

     if everyone
     got what they deserved
     we might gain a lot

Fancy Vocabulary

by Jordyn Coats

If only words crept up
through the cracks in my one bedroom mineshaft,
like a score does my ill stricken organ,
would you forgive my lack of fancy vocabulary.
Thinking I’m D.H.L. or Keats
with my head softly tilted
on dulled blades of grass – oh, who am I kidding?
I see the same stars, the same moon glistening.
Even though their words took ages to hear,
nevertheless, they were heard.
I can send mine in mere seconds,
but twelve point Times New Roman doesn’t help me much.

U

by Chris Butler

My favorite letter
in the English
alphabet is
w,
because more of
you
is always better.

ANGELS & COYOTES

by Kallima Hamilton

Leonid meteors pepper the western sky
where eagle chicks hide in the belly of pine.
Smoke signs gone, I'm
confused by the strong shaman dust
of old peyote buttons and broken bones.
The pain
of lonely cloud whisperers
is echoing their silence with arrows of forever.
Here, along tear-stained trails,
angels & coyotes
dance hungrily
high on the ridge, moon-drunk, howling.
Vision quest, shape shift,
our minds luminous from fasting,
we see through vast canyons of stars,
straight to the heart of Earth Mother
who lives on this dangerous rim.
Some strange ghost glitters
at the far edge of lodge pole, skims
sage, speaks vaguely about rain
for blue corn. Caught between
flesh and earth, we shudder under
shadows of loose feather and stone.

For Misti

by Brian Rosenberger

She once wrote “words will kill me because I will eat them and that is not
what they were meant for”

Dear Misti,
What else are we to do but consume them like entrées at a buffet or drink them down like shots on a Saturday night, in celebration or desperation, good times and bad, and all moments in between.
We taste them, savor them, sometimes consume them entirely to fast, overcome
with desire and anticipation for the next and the next and….
We are sustained and maybe inspired.
Some of us are dumb/lonely/brave enough to share our words with others.
We offer of ourselves, a communion even I can believe in.
Flesh of my flesh, blood of my blood. Our gospel. Our words.
Thanks for the meal.
The next one is on me.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Forbidden Feet

by Bill Wolak

Respectable Roman women
always kept their feet concealed
wearing a long toga called a strola,
which was weighted at the bottom
to drag slightly along the ground
like a mist around her sandals.
Only a prostitute celebrating
some erotic festival like the Bacchanalia
dared display her bare feet in public
while dancing half-naked in the streets
and offering herself to any strangers
who happened to pass by
for as long as drinking continued
and the ecstatic music echoed
through temple courtyards.

Fashion as a Still Life

by M.N. O'Brien
                     
I see you looking
perverse, a beige scarf weighing down
the collar of your petticoat and the trivial
way your fingertips move your hair behind your ears.

At some point, I was afraid of this,
as if The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa was more
embarrassing than beautiful.
I guess, like today’s scholars,
it is because of my age.

We’re still so young, and it’s not fair
being questioned all the time, when no one gave us any answers.
I think that’s the crux of the matter, like your boots,
and how your pant legs go over them.
Are you hiding something,
or do you disagree with the color blue and one dollar bills?

Your answer won’t turn me away,
but that assumption could end a chance
dancing in the air.

Boston, Friday, February 18th

by Allen Finn

Over salted pretzels and stale piss.
     a woman with 5 distinct coils
     of tarnished silver poking from her chins,
     discussing— one personality to another—
     who fed the cats and if the condensed milk was left on the stove.
A baby in a backpack narrowly avoids the jaws of the Red Line.

Drakkar Noir, Pine Sol, menthols.
     a cab driver drifts between
     his Bluetooth conversation,
     cleaning fingerprints with a spit-soaked handkerchief
     and nearly killing passengers with an ill-timed merge onto Mass. Ave.
A shop that deals only in houndstooth hats is having a sale.

Ocean-air, whiskey, and crab rangoon.
     the Seaport Hotel at 1 Seaport Way
     offers views of the harbor,
     a pillow library,
     and room service until 12:30 a.m. (on Fridays and Saturdays).
We browse magazines and laugh and Boston looks beautiful from the 14th floor.

Trivial

by Jagannath Rao Adukuri

It all seems to be a made up cause
As you perform your age as age says
The body ceases to think like mind
In art of picture making, a light box
To catch a hibiscus in its deep red
To understand the nature of things
Or the art of word making from night
A factory of words, from early sun
A sun making gold leaves of clouds
A skin rising to a goose of cold wind
Just making light of things and airy.

It is not all that important the game
Mothers have devised to keep alive
The babies bawling from their lungs
Not important to hold heads high
On sliding beauty glasses of smiles
On noses softly oozing labor drops
Not important for hands to clap air
Making noises, as if of noses feeling
A sudden gush of water from above.

This word making is a trivial thing
Like babies bawling, mothers crying
To the hem of sarees, in a dusk light
Like mothers crying near the phones
As of recent head colds, their noses
Making many trivial running sounds
About absences of sons in the hall.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Settlers

by Douglas Polk

pioneers surviving day to day,
making it to nightfall,
and rest,
the ultimate goal,
and warm in their beds,
a strong roof over their heads,
settlers in the wilderness of 2012.

THIS DAY AGAIN

by Robert E. Petras

That’s how I am going to feel—beginning retirement—
like fifth grade when school let out for summer vacation
and Tim Maple and I that morning played wiffle ball
on tar-graveled Howard Street above his house,
a day we both topped Roger Maris’s home run record
of 61 in a single game.
I noticed maple trees shaded his family’s yard and wished
my family had a tree named after us.
I scanned above the rippling treetops
and gazed at the mellow clouds surrounded in blue.

I dropped the ball.

I learned later, much later,
Petras means rock cutter and when I leave
from work that final day for endless summer vacation
I am going to lay flowers on Tim’s grave
and take some solace a rock cutter hewed his headstone;
then I am going to stare at the sky
and see whether the clouds have moved.

Lost and Found

by Chris Butler

Every time my heart breaks, a few pieces go missing:
between the couch cushions, under the oriental rug, cuddling a dust bunny in the vacuum’s belly, inside of my shoe’s soul, hiding in my other pocket, locked in the vegetable crisper, buried beneath the egg shells and coffee grounds in the trash and around the lost and found.
Every time my heart breaks, I can’t find them all.

Midnight Anthem (Chicago)

by Donal Mahoney

Sunday evening. Drunk
and strolling home.

Roscoe's on his way,
block by block,

whistling as he goes
despite the lurching.

Weekend’s gone,
Monday’s turning.

Along the way
his fingers find

parking meter posts
are an endless xylophone

that only he can play
for the world to hear

the midnight anthem
of a life misspent.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Motorboat Skeet

by John Pursch

Quota blur mechanics speak of pedaling teachers, handing over a crude penchant for rubber trousers. Cataract earrings splice wounded carriers into airborne seals, auguring for wedged puppy tracts in Ecuadorian breakfast treats. Orthotic gremlins cache windy tins of static, rehearsing tensile drone retorts for plural motorboat skeet, keen on trance rotors. Fairies embalm a teething gym’s lantern patrol, engaging trillions of ghoulish petticoat stands, stammering in spring confusion. Thermal paper shoots its renal underpinnings over crested bonfire glutes, singeing a hearty lioness, urging tollhouse cronies to heap our cruisers into shuttlecock rafts. Dental hatches careen through closeted pleasure fonts, racing childhood grease to the pulpit for wrestling martyr noise. Sandwich pylons crease intended birthright nudes, flexing hillocks of crosstown plaintiffs, snapping off a lollipop. Dueling cat tobacco feet launder blue Sunday emetics, rinsing a yawn with term limit wobbles, squeezing left-handed rugs, cracking up a knuckler.

Blue Dragon
after artist Gajain Fujiuta

by Jennifer Lemming

Blue dragon who is body-looped, tire-ridges scales
    are spiraling blue fire, hot tailpipe heat
    on the side of some yellow brick garage.

Blue dragon, riding on top of eternal waves of internal combustion coils,
     energy supports orthographic script - maybe Japanese,
    maybe your own language,
    on top of your own language,

on the side of a garage in east Los Angles.

Go tell it on the treetops

by Annmarie Lockhart

Loud as if they were in
the room with me, the birds
tell out the equinox.
Robins, jays, sparrows
(I know them better as Fig,
Martin, Jacqueline), sing
treble half-step rounds
laissez les bon temps roulez.
The sun turns and I watch,
hoping its reflection doesn't
lure the birds smack into
the dining room window.

THE TEST

by Marc Carver

I have slept for three days
now the life wants me awake at the deadness of day.
Thoughts are crystal time
they linger like mist above a swamp.
You can't argue with them
or question them
that is the key to life
don't question anything
accept everything.
easier to say than do
but that is the way life is.
Not a puzzle
but a test.

Wrong

by Subhankar Das

Sometimes you need to be wrong to save
your ass from bondage.
It is so boring to be always right
to be a letter of alphabet
whose character is always same for a thousand years.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The royal palace in Hyderabad

by Jagannath Rao Adukuri

The palace was luminously wet reaching out to sky
In its shadow lay the kings and their faceless women
Whose fine drapery interrupted their noses and eyes
Under many big-vaulting domes and resounding halls.

Their noises went up to ceiling to return empty
Like their noses and eyes lost from their faces.
They were not lost really but had never been there.
When the silks arrived they forgot w omen’s faces.
The women sat there gossiping about other women,
Other women in the harem and their fine draperies.

Their men’s bloated egos did not show on the faces;
Their man’s egos showed on the woman’s stomachs,
On the little heirs to the throne who came from there.
A fine bangle, a glittering necklace and some pearls
Hushed talk about the latest addition to the harem
And the scraps of conversation went on as it rained.

They had no faces for the evening conversation,
Only bodies fully draped in the finest gilded silks.
In the beginning they sat on the ground huddled.
Later the West grew on them in white man’s land
They sat on sofas and high backed chairs presiding
Tea ceremonies just like the sophisticated women.
They still did not have their noses on their faces.

Ninnies For Nembutal

 by John Pursch

Trembling hands disintegrate, smearing tracks of railyard brew with freezing flames of heifer creeds, enduring worn ousters for a crouton’s coup d’etat. Nether spans collapse beneath abridged motel bibles, spelling interred subterranean caramel, left tasty to the tailored sidecar’s perennial noontime gaze. Whoever beats stationary oglers to the crass empirical pate will shore up endothermic hopscotch for quartile pummeling clues. Everlasting bailiffs anodize contemporary weeds, polling choice musical felons for broken dreamboat laughter, speckled in spates of neural goo. Harkening to aging thematic tundra pence, a sagging ruler spins dynamic prodders to seize a chartered mastermind’s proper verbal cruncher, sticking sworn mastiffs with problematic necks. Wholistic petrochemical Romans eat their frugal measure of oath cartoons and prison yeast, casting ninnies for Nembutal. Sectarian yellers preen till jesters mingle in a gaseous act of wilting plunder, grafting durable clatter to crow carnage. Bills imply swank estuary heat, chilling her monastic sandbags, crusty and overlooked. It only took two sidebars to case the cordoned endive’s feral barge, sending analytic bobby socks to bat for pledged technocrats on the lambasting chute’s proven semaphore, glimpsing terrier myths in a microscopic pinch. Even so, cabbies begin the year with gravel-given greatcoats, speaking in statutory airs, charging halting time for any glutamine freak’s glass eyepiece.

Brother Raven

by Jennifer Lemming

I met you at the Pow Wow, your hair not afro’d
but in long braids and your soft spoken words
telling me of your families coming together.

Later that day I see four ravens in a tree,
waiting for a sunset, moonrise or a breeze.

I ask them “what are your signs?”
A mouse , a lizard, a worm, a pecan.

I watch them taking flight,
with the stars of the Milky Way
reflecting off their black.

Buggers and bastards and bedbugs

by Joe Farley

watch’em grab,
watch’em take,
watch them lie,
they’ll find a way
to throw the blame
on someone else.

they have no shame.
watch them cut
and watch them drill,
watch them turn
your parks to oil spills,
watch them move
your job over seas,
and make your water
kill the trees.

watch them laugh,
watch them brag,
watch them buy
state senators
and congressmen.
watch them toast
champagne on yachts
while the poor
and displaced
trade their blood
for shots.

WHAT HE FINDS

by Mather Schneider

First came the men
who carved figures in rocks
on the hills in the
desert.
Eons later the art teachers came
like lizards slinking
from the sea.
The teachers soon dominated the land.
Their philosophy:
the soul is a spring
you have to pay them to drink from.
They couldn't understand
how anything had survived
so long without their
instruction
and they institutionalized art
so that it would never slip
from their sticky
paws.
They brought it all inside
the safety of the yellowed walls
and stuck stiff
to the single agenda:
preservation of the status quo.
Every once
in a great while
a student will summon the courage
to walk away to the
desert
and fend for
himself.
What he finds
out is how
strong those first
men were,
how small one feels
alone under
the stars, and how hard
that rock is.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dancing on a Pin

by Neil Ellman

So many angels can spin
on the head of a pin
a
thin
pin
swirling their petticoats
round and round
the eye of a pin
in dizzying circles
never falling off
or losing feathers
as they spin
their curvish dervish dance
skin to skin
sans
skin
sans
sin
spinning on the head
of a pin
can’t stop
not knowing
where they’ve been
or why they dance
on the head of pin.

Of language|s| the rain speaks
Three Selections

by Felino A. Soriano

32.

above at genesis
            or
attaining geography of mirrors’
oscillating spectrums
            a
                        delicateness of
                        rearranging feeling as does
                        multiple tongues gauge of
spoken

retentions:

                                    alone a light
                                    sings as does a spider’s isolated hanging
creating silken
diligence
                                                moving within a toward rendition of
transparent
            articulation


33.

as if hand
drawn
                                    away
                                                                        from
rotating scream of thunder’s muscular echo

                        a trace of transcendent mathematics aches
arches
becoming
self in the self-way

minutes return, unnoticed


34.

opened collocations

connecting

of searing hands who’ve
become a broken window’s certain
misrepresentation:

                                    within the skull’s elongated circles
a bulge of fog expands into sedentary squat, skirting
            edged hope for clarity of nuanced behavior, each
hour of social promiscuity
containing touch of turquoise leaves
                        against
stalled roam of their shadow’s noon awakening—

each an encore of prior solace among rise of
verbal demeanor

Euros and Pesetas

by Annmarie Lockhart

Spain played the beautiful game
speaking Catalan and Spanish,
the face of Iker Casillas made
women and men forget the burst
bubbles and easy euros devoured
like candy and gin the night before war.
But to me, Spain still tastes like
flamenco, Jerez, the Alhambra,
Sevilla, salt crystals, elephantine
prawns, tiger cubs, Serrano ham,
white towns, red wine, bubble water,
olives, Prince, matadors, churros y
chocolate, topless beaches, tiger
cubs, siestas, pesetas,
and expats
always speaking flawless
Spanglish.

By All Counts

by Joan McNerney

Proper and improper fractions
have distinctive differences

Proper fractions study at
prestigious universities.   They
attend cultural events and play
at least one musical instrument.
Proper fractions step aside
for ladies patronizing only
haute couture shops.

Improper fractions are hooligans.
Each one guzzles cheap beer,
crunching potato chips while
screaming at wrestling matches.
Improper fractions knock over
seniors to reach clearance racks.

Beware of mixed figures.  These
hybrids can not decide what they are.
Medication might help them plus
talking therapy so popular today.  Never
allow children to associate with them.

Negative numerals should be avoided.
Those will only subtract from your life
flinging freezing rain in your face.
Conversely, positive numerals are
delightful handing us glowing statistics
and bright bouquets of fragrant daisies.

Never take integers for granted.  Do not
allow yourself to be divided but let
all quotients be fruitful and multiply
until that day when your number is up.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

All Of You

by Kufre Udeme

All of you speakers of truth
Beaten and hated with passion
Casted out into the hungry storm
Without a shield over your bleeding heads;

All of you sowers of true seed
Sent into jungles of pagans
Attacked by cannibal monsters
Without an eagle to swoop down for your rescue;

All of you figures of laughter
Noahs of today's century
Stoned like Stephen of old
Without the council to appeal for your sake;

All of you lambs among woves
Steadfast in the warfronts with evil
Yet charged for holding your swords
Without trial, impede and cut short like John the Baptist;

Continue in diligent while you sow the goodnews
In my father's house you'll have eternal rest
Your present agony shall never stand against your joy
And your crown shall surpass His Excellency of White House.

The Bridge

by Joe Farley

“The whole world is a narrow bridge,
and the main thing is not to be
consumed with fear.”
Rebbe Nachuman of Bratslav


In our late teens or early twenties
my friends and I went hiking
in the woods near Mau Chunk,
Pennsylvania.

We came upon a trestle bridge
that crossed a river a hundred feet
below where we stood.
We stared at the drop,
but decided to cross.

There were gaps between
the railroad ties,
empty air
stretching down
to the river below.

The tallest had no problem,
long strides
easily covering the distance.
The rest had a harder time
grappling with squat legs
and the fear of falling.

One trip,
one frightening moment
and the stragglers
refused
to go another step
except backwards.

“There is no turning back”
said the one
who was farthest from
our starting point.

No one else agreed.
He wound up crossing alone.
We watched his figure
disappear on the far shore
and wondered
if we would see him again.

It took less than three days,
but he returned,
angry, not triumphant,
bitter at having to cross
the bridge twice
all on his own,
curbing the exhilaration
of his hike.

I have crossed
one bridge alone
to reach this shore
and must prepare
to cross another
without companions.

I feel the bitterness
that he felt
and the fear
I felt then
and he may have concealed.

Smoking

by Subhankar Das

It is so boring to brush your teeth
the moment you get up in the morning.
Better to smoke 2 cigarettes one after the other
at least you can hide the stink when you kiss.
You always smell of tobacco but I am used to it
(actually it is sexy).
I smile and press her lips wider.

TUCSON SOLICITUDE

by Mather Schneider

is the luck
of the heat-beat.

Monsoon claustrophobia
stuffs wet rags down our throats
while the nights become
our spit-on respite.

Television weathermen
are strung up at noon, radios
shot-gunned.

Every drugged-up drama queen
throws a tantrum for dignity
and a glorious life
without struggle.

The sun shimmers
like orange marmalade

and even the music
melts.

A night long ago

by Jay Levon

how about we make a scene
tonight?

get dressed up
and head to the bar.

start out with shots,
then mixed drinks
for you,
and Mexican beer
for me.

we'll dance like lovers
to old Motown songs.

we'll dance like children
to Cheap Trick
midwestern rock.

i can whisper in your ear
as you use your hand
to get me hard
under the table.

we can fuck
in the parking lot
then throw a prayer
to the ghost of
Hank Williams,

may he somehow
lead us home.

and you can hurt me
tomorrow
and you can hate me
tomorrow
and you can curse me
tomorrow
and we can resume
our miserable lives
tomorrow,

but
baby,
how about we make a scene
tonight?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It has come to this

by Jagannath Rao Adukuri

Mother , I see now you are grieving.
There is no compulsion for grieving
A son lost and frozen on to an ice slab
With eyes screwed on a whirring fan.
He had just shown you and the girls
All the stars he could of the dark night.

A pain in the temple rises like the wind
Only to come down like in winnowing
As grain goes into your eyes, an oldness
Disappears in a turban of orange light

A woman of no winnowing consequence
Turns instrument of fiddling and turning
Machine power to harvest wind, to a few
Shadows playing under a giant banyan,
Vignettes of see, not all grand spectacles

At dusk the grain flies , orange sun flies
And the banyan flies, and the pain flies
As much has risen and fallen in temple

Mum

by Marc Carver

My mother used to reuse
The teabag
As much as she could
Get ten cups of tea out of that teabag
If she could.

She used to steal toilet paper
From the toilets
then she would roll them
onto the rolls at home
So they would not turn around
When you were trying to get the paper off.
The best days of her life
Were when
She would find a five pound note on the floor.

Now she puts the phone down on me
And hardly can string a sentence together
But I still love her no less
Then when I was a child
as  we used to laugh together
until it hurt.

We Are Super Women

by Rebecca Miller

The little lover bug is sick.
Labored breathing and barking cough
haven't slowed her down.
She runs like an Olympic medalist, she
takes barbies serious.

We blow bird-shaped water whistles
and gazillion bubbles at midnight.
We advance in therapeutic medicine,
we are super women taking flight.

As a toddler you have little time,
for medicine, nebulizers, hydration.
Reviewing sesame street and
snuggling with Mommy takes priority.

She has given up her fight.
She sleeps as I study her chest movements,
her wheeze makes my heart beats faster.
I carry her, Bear-Bear, and blankets to bed.

When morning wakes her, she cries
While sleep overtook her, she was stuffed to the brim.
Tissues are meaningless when you cannot blow your nose.
"No boogey-sucker!" she screams in terror.

She tries, she ends up spitting-
no snot will come out.
Tired, frustrated, and congested she says:
"Mommy I'm not super anymore."

Raffle Prize

by Joan McNerney

I bumped into my neighbor.
She slipped me some posters
to put up. There’s going to be a
craft fair. Everybody can come.
Proceeds go for a good cause.

Red X marked my calendar.
Gosh, I couldn’t even tell you
how many friends of mine
gathered at long rows of tables.

For sale were fleece jackets, woolen
scarves, feathered hats, fancy tees.
Plus rings, necklaces, earrings,
glitter pins, bracelets.  Wow!

So I took a chance and bought some
raffle tickets...all for a good cause.
But truth be known, I was eyeing
three wonderful bracelets.

Three amazing amulets colored like
three cups of coffee.  Dark roasted java,
frothy white crème, crystal sugar cubes.
Stretch jewelry made from stones in
all shapes, ovals, squares, hexagons.

Later that afternoon came a knock on
my door. I won the three bracelets!
How fantastic and they fit me perfect.
I love running my fingers over these
cool gems all contours, all sizes.

Aloe vera lotion and cocoa butter are
slathered all over my hands now so
I can show off my raffle prize tomorrow.
Everyone will find out I’m a winner.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Goats

by John Swain

After the goats
wandered the forest
in the moon pooled
all luminous
on the sick girl.
I scraped her neck
with a dog fang
and dusted her face
with clay powder.
Then her spirit
turned
like a cure
and I drove a peg
into the ground.
She only came back
to go away.

Your name was always my favorite word

by Jay Levon

Remember that cheap Moscato
we used to drink, the one with
the little bare feet
on the bottle?

Tonight I drink alone.
Moscato still,
but a different brand
which is fitting I suppose.

The house is empty,
and there isn't much
I want to do, so I
search for meaning

in my illegible handwriting
while listening to Lou Reed
sing about his
Coney Island Baby.

And I drink,
and drink,
and
drink.

Behind the Skyscape

by Ali Znaidi

Behind the skyscape
I saw
comets with
no terminus,
clocks with
broken hands,
crows darker
than darkness,
& bottles of glue
not sticky
helping a skilled
designer
to weave a coffin
for a merciless
Time.

Jesse’s Homeless Face

by Michael Lee Johnson

Someday Jesse wants to go home.
I see his world,
all it’s hidden concepts
embedded in Jesse’s aging face-
life has whispered by leaving
memory trails-
wrinkled forehead,
deep as river bed ruts
dried with years, weather-beaten,
just above his bushy eyebrows
that are gray and twisted-
much like life drawing memories
across his empty face.
Jesse has a long oblique
Jewish nose with dark
blue opal eyes,
that would pierce
even the pain
of his own crucifixion.
Life tears flow though
a whole new ghoulish
apparition, a vision
of homelessness plastered
east of Dearborn Bridge,
near Lower Wacker Drive,
downtown Chicago-
where affluent citizens
seldom go unless inebriated;
puke-stained, or in a taxicab.

Jesse’s hair sprouts skyward,
groomed like an abandoned
dove nest in wild Chicago
meandering winds.
Puffed eye bags of weariness
sag likes sandbags,
one slightly heavier than the other.
Weeks of breaded growth
contour his chin in color blends
of white and black.
Over one shoulder drapes
a grungy gray blanket found
in Lilly Mae’s garbage can,
the other shoulder,
naked, but tanned,
bears itself to the elements.

Jesse panhandles during the day.
At night and early Sunday mornings,
you can find him behind
a local McDonalds,
near Cracker Creek,
sharing leftover burgers
and sugar candy
with river rats-
Jesse considers it an act of religious charity;
age 69, someday soon,
Jesse wants to go home.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi

by Jagannath Rao Adukuri

These people have come here
To solve existence problems
On the river that washed sins,
Human bodies and buffaloes.
They came from a far off river land
Where sins are equally washed.
They are wearing dark glasses
And their lungis above kneecaps.
They speak an ancient tongue
And eat mounds of liquid rice
But when their boat reaches
Within sight of Manikarnika ghat
They are deeply afraid in their eyes
Like you,me and our ancestors. 

God Gives, God Takes

by Kufre Udeme

God gives, God takes
You are nothing but what he makes
So who are you to question Him?

Your prayers are too much a demand
Why must you give God such a command
When all you want is never the best?

Listen, no one knows what he truely need
Our desire is like a weed
Creeping at the threshold of God's throne

So stop forcing Him to do your wish
Your plate will be well pleased in serving His fish
Than in any delicious dish you may force Him to cook

I Started Drinking in the Afternoon

by James Babbs

I started drinking in the afternoon
when the sun felt warm
touching my face and
I didn’t have any place to go
I was alone
so I put a Dylan record
on the stereo and
turned the volume up loud
I went and got me
another can of beer
started thinking about her
because
I wanted to see her again
naked
in the soft light of my room
the sun like love
hot
pouring through the window
but when I walked outside
madness was falling from the sky
so I ran for cover
looking for a place to hide
but madness flooded the streets
madness
dripped from the trees
and splashed into my eyes
I stumbled around
without knowing where to go
and when I awoke
years had passed
I was older
but inside
I still felt the same
so I went back home
and gathered up the empties
then took off all my clothes
and crawled into bed

Rothko chapel one

by Marc Carver

1

I did not need to write any words about it
all those different colors and shapes
could probably come to  life 
if you let them.
 They were like
looking into darkened lakes.
The harder you looked
the more you saw.
They have no end 
no bottom.
You could almost step straight into them 
and leave this world 
far far behind.

2

You
could look into them all day
and see new things 
shapes
monsters and gods
offers and faces cast away
hiding.
There is no time here
it does not matter.
time paused never elapsing.
One man's name married to god.


When i walked in
all i saw was black paintings
and i waited for something to happen
Then i noticed the museum lighting change
they were making it brighter 
and then lighter.
The pictures began to dance a little
giving a glimpse of figures.
Crosses and totem poles and ladies in waiting.
I realized it was not fake light but
natural light being pushed onto the pictures
making new colors.
washing them.
Changing those new colors again
into even newer ones.
Now i know the secret of those paintings.
They are not 14 black paintings filling space
they are space
and a window to 
that other place.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Big Block Heart (for my Dad)

by Jay Levon

I watch an old truck go down the highway.
It's strapped to a shaky flatbead trailer,
an old Chevy, maybe a '49 or '50.
Is it heading to a restorers garage
to be lovingly tweaked and massaged?
Will it be pushed until it reaches potential?

I am filled with envy.
I wish someone would save me from the crusher,
and scrape away my rust and faded paint.
Give me new purpose and pride,
and take me cruising on a Saturday night.

I could be a steel sculpture
on rubber wheels
(sleek, shiny, and mean)
with a big block heart.

You win

by Marc Carver

I told the Indian
man at the gas station
that you cannot go against the will of god.
He did not understand until
i pointed to the sky.
Some days it does not matter
what you do
you ain't going
to beat god.

Not to Nourish the Delusion

by Michael Dwayne Smith

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe” 
  --Albert Einstein

Downstairs, shrieks, too much Tequila and beer,
everything bumps and laughter. The night is icing over,
the talking’s just begun.

Whoever knows a book best leads the discussion.
I listen to the radiator tick in my room, exhale its
breath of fire.  Someone chatters about acorns to

squirrels, someone else about Thoreau to rapturous,
half-drunk grad school girls.

All of us small in our rooms, but think we’ll add up
to something, later. An outpouring of stars seems certain.
Against sand, and black density.

Out the apartment window, it’s a blue night dome.
Dogs skirt around a throw of pure halogen light.

The writer worries about freedom.  Squirrels avoid
counting the calories in their nuts. I think about
my brother, sleeping it off in a Salvation Army shelter.

Our havens recede the faster we drink and sleep,
the faster the weather gets cold, and slow.
I’m shaking as hard as I can without being noticed.

I’m dancing like the other shoe is dropping, to save us all.
Nothingness feels clean. Stars, like the monolith of home.

These books make discussion.  The Mothers of Invention
made records. My words make a ceiling I keep revising,
and raising, or I’ll never get closer. Close enough for

a sleeping star to drink me, drunk enough to be frozen,
screaming laughter through to its stellar core.

When Oil is Gold

by jan oskar hansen

Sea mist came rolling obscuring the sad sight of stranded
cars, no oil, no gas buy a Cadillac for a song; buses are
still on the road, long queues and fistfights and electric
scooters are now too expensive for the ordinary punter.
A man upland is now rich selling mules and donkeys,
when he started out ten years ago people laughed, what
a silly man; his brother, who used to be a cook, sells hand
drawn carts. The army, the president and his merry men,
all experienced riders, have confiscated all the horses.
Hollywood has stopped making cowboy and Indian movies.
This brittle western economy, we saw it coming,
but we continued to dance on the roof of SUV's.
In the mist I can just make out a clan of Gypsies
making their ponderous way across town,
carts drawn by tiny horses with elegant
legs, dogs and laughing children, for them our collapse
means nothing they have always been poor, now they are
less so.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Staff Celebrates
the Second Anniversary
of The Camel Saloon
May 3, 2012

Comedy

by Jagannath Rao Adukuri

This comedy thing plays out clearly
In the down of your throat, the way
You walk and talk in fits in yourself
Flies abuzz, your red scarf waving.

This morning we walked briskly
Explaining these things to ourselves
Our hands quickly went up in the air.
Our throats cleared in anticipation.
Nothing came save a guttural sound.

Since nobody laughed at our joke-
A two rupees joke on cell- phone-
We sat deeply on the foundation,
As our legs dangled in deep space
To the waving grass of the breeze
Showing bits of sunrise in the hill.

Red Lights Blinking

by James Babbs

I stood in the dark kitchen
looking out the window
past my own backyard
past the grape vines and
the cherry tree
past the bean field
that last year was corn
past the houses and
the flatlands
going on for miles and
the red lights blinking
the wind farm in the distance
I stood there
contemplating
how I wasn’t getting any younger and
maybe
it was time for me
to start thinking about
what it was I wanted to do
with the rest of my life

Train Station

by Marc Carver

Couples kiss to departure.
Eyes search for names of towns.
Businessmen carry silent partners of commerce.
Booted ladies
show excitement for a day out
in the only way that ladies can.

Ticket machines ask no questions
Answer none either
But save jobs though.

All in all
it is a place to place
Kinda place.

Challenging the Wind

by John Pursch

Shuffled hearts turn and fuel the hinterland’s echoing dale, spelling a cackler’s baffling barnyard call, typecasting our menial oaths of plangent seaborne lace. Pages mingle, overturn a lasting regal tart, and disinter a palatial parasite’s altered dunes, showering the rippling delta with splintered toads. Reading wet threads of screwball tractor meal, the chief arrests dozens in a swath, swiping ancillary legatees with turbaned wooden creeps, habitually bent. Blemished oncologists consider ripping cloture from a trinket of pasty, involved ligature; expanding diction’s few heuristic tries with pterodactyl glyphs, plugging the sarcophagi with wheeled profiles. Raising bylaws to mete out dusty sand pits, leap years erect a fool’s gold lamprey trap, shopping for lifted hackles in a tasty crab pinion. Now that hocked lakeshore cabins have kicked back and stripped their nuked launches, reflecting drool candidly treats traveling shirkers to fluid plops, asserting enervating glue. Periodic troves infatuate romantic sisters, leaving pieces of puzzle retractors to haunt abandoned sawmills, scattering grainy photographs, challenging the wind.

Mermaids and Goats

by jan oskar hansen

The tide was leaving, damp sand by the winter
shore and I feared sharks that kept guard and
wouldn’t let me set sail. Gulls flew overhead
waited for me to look up so they could peck
and blind me if I looked up to the heaven and
spoke of my sorrow.
Gleeful mermaids, dressed in sealskin coats
sat on tourmaline stones and knitted a crown
of seaweed for Neptune while chanting a song
that made fun of him in a language he didn’t’
get as he sat picking sea stars and tiny crabs
off his beard.
Walked along a dusty road flanked by goats
with yellow eyes but they scared me not only
sharks do, till I came to a wooden gate where
an Arab mare asked to be set from her coral.
I opened the gate door and she flew to the sea
and soon harmonized with the rolling mist.

vicious

by Linda M. Crate

scarred me with your words
until my heart shattered like glass,
and the blood ran down my spine -
you told me pretty little lies that
tasted so sweet I could not resist
the nectar; it killed my heart piece
by piece and infected my very soul,
I coughed up pieces of your brackish waves -
my body was disconnected from me,
and you reveled in my confusion;
my hurt fed your soul, you reveled in
a love unrequited and I realized
it only too late; I'll stab you hard
with the daggers of truth and love
which would rescind you into ash.

A Myth of Evolution of Creation

by Michael Dwayne Smith

The steamy, naked bun jungle is my home.
I run rain forest with the monkey. Nights we swat
fat moths away with his tail, by day compose

stories in clay at the slow-drying mud hole
down in Twin Bush gulch. I’ve become a cowboy.
The monkey won’t touch my spurs. We woke

in this desert all head-achey, staring at cactus spiders.
The sky dry heaved what was left of heaven
into the monkey’s lap. It’s a wicked hallucinogen.

Not much of it left after all these Indian chants we’ve
sung to tarantulas, but death is valiant enough for
monkey and me. We take the heat, and we pack it, too.

Sleep with Amazonian stars in our stomachs. And it’s
Good Night, Suckers, when monkey rolls his bare ass up
in a grimy poncho, and cuts the jalapeño cheese.

born under a southern moon

by Jay Levon

i was born
on the edge of midnight
on the outskirts
of a junkyard
under a heat wave
southern moon
to a dead woman
and an
invisible man
and there
were no angels watching
I can promise you that
not on the edge of midnight
not on the outskirts
of a junkyard

i like to imagine
a shotgun serenade
and a coyote symphony
welcomed me
into this world
but that's just
poetic bullshit
i was a bloody stump
of skin cells
and mashed up
molecules, the same
as any one else

my momma mixed
whiskey with
her breast milk
my daddy cut off
my foreskin
with a rusty blade
and fed the scrap
to a stray mutt
my cock still
barks at the moon

i was born
on the edge of midnight
on the outskirts
of a junkyard
under a heat wave
southern moon

You in that Gown

by Donal Mahoney

I sit on the Water Tower waiting
chapped hands in a visor over my eyes
looking toward Durham

hoping I see
you in that gossamer gown
on the road to Chicago.

I don't care if you stop
by Confederate streams
to pick phallic rocks

so long as you rise
release all your hair
and float on to Chicago.

No more will I sit
on the Water Tower waiting.
I'd rather go blind

than see through the sun
you in that gown
ascend in the air

pirouette in the wind
giggle again and
float back to Durham.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Remembering a Summer

by jan oskar hansen

In the backyard of the house that had never
been painted and had so many people living
inside that it looked like it was ready to burst,
the sun flooded- high summer- as bluebottles
circled the rubbish bin where a big rat sat and
catlike cleaned its face using a piece of broken
glass as a mirror. I patted the rodent on its head
it smiled showing healthy teeth and sank them
into my hand before running down a hole.
My dad used the last of his whisky to clean
The wound, mother was glad for that.

my dragonfly

by Linda M. Crate

you dance like a dragonfly over my waters,
stained glass windows whir your soul
reflected upon the grasses of my muddy shores -
your wings brush against the sinew of my
flesh and goose bumbs that have nothing
to do with the cold sing upon my mind;
always stay by the ocean of me anytime
and remain here always; never refrain from
mudding my luminscent moon soul.

Brick Pillow

by Joplin Rice

you’re gonna get a
brick pillow
go to college
can’t get a job
that’s ok
you’ll just wake up
on a
concrete bed
in somebody’s doorway
feeding on the heat that
seeps through the cracks
closing your eyes
on a
brick pillow
damp wind blanket
over a musty
concrete bed

stay alone or
get a woman
who makes good
money money money
and buy the
soft feathery stuff
hand-embroidered finery

but one day
you’ll say
I remember back when
I got a
brick pillow

and I never slept
so well
in my life

97 SOUTH
(Sad song near Omak)

by Will Monigold
 
The trucks on 97
Pass dangerously close
It’s about midnight
Escaping is all I can do
When I saw you kiss him
The blood in my heart
Ruined my head
I’ve tried to eat
But nothing tastes like you
I’ve tried to sleep
But my eyes 
Are too red to close
I’ve danced to this tune before
 
Brave men have tried to kill me
Iron bars have hidden me from the sun
Drink has left me dry
When I Iost you
Everything diminished
 
The moon has set
I can make out Orion
Sage is the bouquet
That sweetens the night
When a car finally stops
It’s full of drunks
There’s no room for my stuff
I’ll show up anywhere
with twenty bucks