Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, September 30, 2012

In the Beach Café, 1962

by Robert Nisbet
 
Exactly fifty years ago, this showery
August, we sat in a Broad Haven beach café
as rain rolled solemnly down the windows.
Those two boys, sickle-keen, their futures
carved in hope, into influence and mighty
good. The girl, long raven-haired,
our archetype, she played guitar for us,
smiling down vistas of love and socialism.
I’ve seen none of them again, in half a
century. I’ve seen no revolutions, carousels
of love and brotherhood. I simply hope
those boys never sold trash for easy greed,
polluted neither minds nor beaches,
that they’ll have taught, administered,
constructed decencies. And she, maybe
she worked on good and generous things,
maybe wrote songs. Maybe her children too
reached eighteen years of age
with hope and earnestness unhurt.

Between Beats

by Grace Raji
 
I’ve begun to feel,
To hear the rest,
The echo between notes faint growing;
Like the pause in your heart,
Between beats in the chest,
The empty river is forever flowing.
 
Graze over old wounds,
Hard and healed fast,
The futile razorblade is thine.
For only the moment,
Do the sharp pains last,
But the numbness lingers a lifetime…
 
Dare me to bleed
And cry frozen tears,
To no avail grasp the hollow abyss.
You are your shadow,
That to the blind eye appears,
The presence I can’t sense or miss.

Smokedate

by Omar Azam

The mirror holds
5 lamps,

but I can see
no reflection,

only the smell
of
sick
aged
tobacco
smoke.

*

1:15.
I wait,
writing, bored
brooding for the nightclub
to close.

The crowd
hasn't come,
it's only gotten quieter,
the music has stopped.

The crowd
never came,
only the music remained,
the sound of a party
with no human company.

*

O! To suck, to hold
between the lips
rolled paper and a light
creating rings and patterns
of hazy blue.

To take deep
the burning,
slow burning of your soul.

To take the life
of a rod
one breath at a time,

as it tolerates
sits idly by,
in fact helps

and takes
your life
in turn.

As the red
turns orange
turns brown

as the wafer
watches itself
fade to black

the smell of
burnt flesh replaces
sweet living blue.

the whole ball of wax

by Larry Jones

call me a racist
call me a homophobe
call me a misogynist
call me a republican
call me a redneck
say what you will
about an old
white
straight
conservative
american
male
i prefer
you call me
god.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ben’s Rock

by A.J. Huffman

Silhouetted against a sea’s st[r]ained dawn,
this devil dares his signature stand.  In attempt
to deter this diminutive cliff
‘s calling to the sun?  Beveled
arms upend.  [A would-be conqueror]  You are
a modern-day Icarus.  You desire to fly
in reverse.  The wind holds
its breath, your form:
stable.
Only your shadow falls . . .

This is how energy is made.

Elegy for James Eagan Holmes

by Jordan Jamison
 
Look at you, Television Monkey, with your Vicodin jive and orange hair, shocking as Bukowski is shocking-violence is cool, fast, and mildly tragic;
Less than two weeks of fame-one day for each soul-they are calling you Bozo in the bars as they eat their peanuts and pretzels.
Downstairs, my dad has been watching TV for hours, every few minutes slurring words of misguided hate, "JUST KILL THA FUCKER AWREADY!"
Don't mind him; another member of the Middle American lynch mob. He's drunk.
Aurora was always in you, lurking; Freud’s greasy cocaine fingers would have a field day poking around there, stroking fragments of gray matter, Id, Ego, Super-ego; how many psychologists sofas have you sat on in the past year, trembling like a trapped animal, sure your plans would be discovered by the probe?
Forget it. You don’t have to answer that.

We’re from the same neighborhood of San Diego-Torrey Highlands-you graduated from my brother’s rival school, you lived down the street from me.
Do you remember that little taco shop called Rodrigo’s near the 7-Eleven, the place that never gave credit and the dusty old TV played Telemundo all day?
Did you eat there, did your mother ever pick up carne asada and burritos and chips there on Fridays for you, and would you smile? Do you smile? Have you ever smiled?
Forget it. You don’t have to answer that.

Last Resort

by Bradford Middleton

Brighton was the last resort after London city
And now Im trapped in this town of ill-repute
In the hotel of Last Resort

A place where the partying neighbours, random drunks
And the incessant wailing of the fire alarm do their best
To ensure the impossibility of a good nights sleep

This is driving me inextricably to the madhouse yet
I dont understand why I love it so much and it feels like home
More than any other place Ive lived alone

A place I can watch the dust blow forward and the dust
Blow back a place I call home throughout which
We end up getting savagely attacked by the wind

Such a savage storm would have some proclaiming
I wander lonely as a cloud but all I can say is
Like fuck I do all I want is to be at home

Extinguisher
After Giuseppe Sanmartino's “Veiled Christ”

by M.N. O'Brien

The girl was out of breath,
covered by a marble veil.

The teary eyes of a vacuum yawn
forgave her with an eternal answer

that waits to this day to be fulfilled,
so tomorrow can be as the day after and we can relax

in the freedom of death, deflated.
All of this made to extinguish a fire

that we asked to be apologized for
after we became tired of the burn.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

happiness for someone else

by J.J. Campbell

empty

you feel it every day

that gnawing feeling
eating your soul

sad truths beating
you at the end of
every night

you close your eyes
and know no woman
has ever told you
i love you and
meant it

the better half of
your life is gone

fleeting memories
of happiness for
someone else

father time chooses
to never relent or
cut you any slack

and as you search
for the key to the
gun closet

you scramble to
remember the lessons
you learned as a child
about making a choice
and living with the
consequences

one long last drink

you were always
good at accepting
fate

Internet beatniks

by Santosh Kalwar

Don’t stare.
       World’s is ending.
Don’t shout.
       Everybody is screaming.
Don’t scream
       Everybody is listening.
Don’t listen.
       Everybody is writing.

All the stuff are keeping us in vain
Suffocation and beautiful pain

They are saying,
Fifteen minutes of:
       Name and fame

Except these
       Random beatniks,

       That are running
All over and over
Time, and again

Angels’ Wings

by Chris Butler

Angels
in three piece
suits,

don’t need
to spread their
wings

to fly
into the
sky,

away
from the peace
of clouds

paved with concrete,

as the
rest of us
are left

with skyscrapers’ skeletal remains.

In Dreams I Do Not Sleep

by Steven Clifford

“Ticks” and “Tocks” gently stream against black nothingness.
Fluxing shades evolve with ever complexity. 
Faces
deform into
bazar figures.
(Tick
tock)
“Nothing is there,” he assures me, his arms around me.
(Tick
 tock)

“Jimmy!”
The opaque window shudders as a truck rumbles through conception.
(Tick tock) Mutters speak over whispers beneath silent screams (Tick
tocks) and his silhouette holds me (Tick tocks)
like a gypsy told me at a sculpting site (Tick tocks)
still in development. (Tick tocks)

Walls swell nearer, (Tick tocks)
the boundaries warp, lucidness melts, (Tick tocks) and
elusions gel with the shadowy room. (Tick tocks)

Psyche hive (Tick tocks) a swarming hiss
that (Tick tocks) recoils at my touch. (Tick tocks)
I have (Tick tocks) delved too deep, organically.

Is the father clock just faulty? (Tick tocks)

I remember darkness (Tick tocks)
is just like (Tick

tocks) shutting my (t.i.c.k..s…) eyes.
[(                   ) I think anyway…]

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Newark

by M.N. O'Brien

I know about scarcity, I know
the dreamy truths that fact cannot pervade
on both wings. Man is left to fly and think.
The television is American
and eccentric. I must be on my guard.

Standing on the fringe of contradiction,
a quiet life bellows at a funeral. The weather never says
a thing. It says hello and asks about your condition without
caring, expecting good and nothing more.

The crumbs of concrete
lie on the side of the road, lost in thought,
resisting the automatic life. Shopping carts, faded signs,
hotels, shadows, and the hot car seat
presses back into yourself.

I was in Newark long enough
to know the color dark blue and the comparison
of white light and yellow light, and the rumors
that white light can only be felt. I have heard
more serious charges in my lifetime of watching.

I was in Newark long enough
to know clouds behind a neon light,
funeral homes, police cars, trains,
discount fires, and believe
little boys still love
spikes and explosions.

I was in Newark long enough
to know the planes fly low, shaking
all the buildings down and throwing
the garbage in the air like a child celebration,
to know how the people walk dry mouthed
and await the opening of fire hydrants.

Political Scholars

by Taufiq bin Abdul Khalid

Political party of scholars
Who cry out for the Islamic State,
Are in truth, crying out for power,
Since they consider themselves
Most worthy to speak
On behalf of God.

That, dear sirs,
Entitles me to treat you
Like any other dodgy vote-grubbing
Baby-kissing politician,
And question you,
And critique you.

However sacred you think
The ballot box maybe…

Smouldering

by Anthony Ward

She used to be smoking
Smouldering upon the screen
Her image burnt into my thoughts
Scorched upon my memories

Her bespoke beauty
Tailored to my tastes
In perpetual defiance of age
The brightness of her countenance
Shining down at me in lunar splendour

Dazzling my vision from the fissures
That would come to resemble bark
In later years
Stubbed out on my mind.

The House by the City Auditorium

by Douglas Polk

stain glass windows,
in the front door,
ornate and beautiful,
the scroll work on the gables,
but the floorboards of the porch,
rotted and broken,
vacant and abandoned,
the house stands alone,
the old lady finally died,
when I still a boy,
the house,
once a home,
now a place,
for ghost stories,
and teenage boys,
smoking and drinking,
wonder if the old lady knows,
in her grave so cold,
her heart aching,
the wind weeping in the dark night,
outside my bedroom window.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Before the Frost
For James D. Quinton

by g emil reutter

I work the back garden, drag bags of mulch to the edge
to prepare for the coming winter. Hydrangea leaves are
yellowing, wilted heads of Black- Eyed Susans hang from
limp stems. I work around Azaleas, Rhododendrons
building small mounds around their base. The sky is gray
clouds turning dark, thunder booms from the distance. I
continue to work toward the annuals. Begonias, Impatiens
already ceding to the weathers’ changes, await the last
deadly frost. I think of covering them over, but prop them
up in the dark wet bark.

We will never have that promised beer or read a poem
in the stale air of a tap room. I will not read that new poem
or story, the ones you left on the tip of a pen. You ceded
yourself before the frost, leaving words full of life, love and
loneliness that like perennials live for another season. Though
I never met you; I knew you from our common bound of
words flowing back and forth across the Atlantic. I work the
garden the way I work a poem, adjusting, crafting it just right.
I think of words, of your words as sadness lingers about me.
I finish the garden as the sky opens, whimpers sheds tears
until the hard early autumn rain drenches me so that no one
can see I am crying with the rain.

Seek

by Steven Clifford

Waves manipulate him, and he submerges hard,  
foam encapsulating him, trying…

…“to find
the one true creation,” a distant radio announces.  
And fuzzy interference projects over raspy voices. 
“They say it can’t be found.” “No one knows what it is.”  “It will answer all secrets.” 
"Its out there”…

…somewhere, in the ocean: blues, reds and purples
blur and blend, and every spec flickers so.

He inhales oxygen with no gills.

Tremulous waters pulls him to high skies. Winds quake molecules berserkly.   
His face winces, and his squinting eyes withhold a

faded gold dessert of dunes of various heights of

millions of rough lines,
the vanishing points eased. Loose sand blows through the wide reaches of a
nonexistent horizon. By a change of heart,
he unearths the ocean bottom.
His hand ascends, guck in balm which he digs through.

He discovers a string of seaweed curved like a smile
and an off-centered stone.

White ceiling.

Girls Night Out

by Rebecca Miller

Why we dance like empty headed souls
at bars filled with drunkards.
Our self worth heightened by their lack of humanity.
Screaming at low paid musicians,
and foul-looking single men who paid five dollars at the door
for a night filled of free hard-ons.
It's only fair;
if we taunt them in glitter, cleavage and saucy perfume.
We are women that spoken for,
but whiskey evokes primal rages that diamonds could stop.
Dim lights hide imperfections,
that are hard to look past
when your personailty is being projectile vomited
from every movement made on that putrid floor.
Pushing the limits,
acting single and we know our night is done.

LISTENING

by Alan S. Kleiman

Nobody looks at my body
Nobody sees my face
Nothing about me is apparent
I am hidden
Not by myself
But by my observers
Who see through me
Like glass, like water
Transparent and empty
Missing the moisturizing
Nourishment
That comes like rain
Making the grass grow
Even at night

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Lolita and Bonnie

by Kait McIntyre

When the gold gets in
your eyes, hearing
wedding bands crack
that left third
knuckle swallowing
in grey linen
pocket dark,

Brush and swivel
your ankle over his
argyle. Leather
covered Benjamins whispering
like moss under your fingertips.

With tape binding
my chest and plastic
protruding from my crotch, I am
the prodigal son. In a cocktail dress,
I am the way-
ward daughter.

But rolling in
my father’s cash in your bed
I am nothing
but human and fevered
from your touch.

Apples

by Donal Mahoney

One thing
we all have
in common is
we're ripening
for the harvest.

Donald Trump
and Pee-wee Herman,
Bill Gates
and Eliot Spitzer,
Warren Buffett
and Anthony Weiner

are different
in many respects
but like the rest of us,
they, too, are ripening
for the harvest.

They hang with us
from the same branch,
apples, big and small,
ripening in summer,
withering in fall,
waiting for winter
to conduct its harvest.

Some of us hang
from that branch
and wonder
what in the name
of God is next.
Others just hang.
They appear
not to care.

Woodshed

by Richard Hartwell

Mossy wooden shingles on a peaked roof,
naked and exposed on the underside with
no ceiling, concrete slab for a floor, probably
poured in the late forties or early fifties,
about the same time as the eight car garage.

Chipped, weathered forest green exterior,
long, narrow, and the moodily dark interior.

This woodshed, east of the upscale house,
home of black widows and tarantulas; a
place of creation and repairs, seduction,
molestation of memories, and misery; a
place of reconsideration of nightmares.

            *     *     *
She used to tame the tarantulas,
teaching them to climb her arms,
to transfer hand over hand,
fascinating me, transfixed
by her dexterity and calm.

Once she also sawed and carved,
then whittled a toy sailboat for me,
with brass eye connections for
mast and boom, shrouds and stays,
all manner of tackle, and cloth sails.

Those were the days of creation,
days of a joyous youth spent there.

The days of seduction, molestation, and
misery, were days when only she was
there to receive what she could not
combat, too young to refuse or refute
a frequenter to the shed for discipline.

The cliché of a spanking in a woodshed
was all too real for her, but carried too
far by a father, her adoptive father, who
went from slaps behind to caresses before;
who went from correction to her despair.

She never spoke of this sin against her,
she did not need to, for her clothes and
glum demeanor disavowed summer; I,
though much younger than she, could see
beyond dead tarantulas and broken spars.

Tortured toys, stabbed spiders, and reconsideration of nightmares,
ended by open beams, her avenue of escape from hurt and shame.

I'll be the one laughing...

by Ross Vassilev

two idiots screaming at each other
in a small apartment

I'd go to my room
and stare at the walls

there was always a fly buzzing the room

a fly sent by the laughing devil

the same devil who created this
so-called “family”

to have survived so many years of horror
is unbelievable

to have survived is a miracle

a flock of angels in the garden

a victory even sweeter than the fall
of this piece-of-shit empire

called America.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

WOODEN SONGS

by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

The wooden owl
opens its beak
and sings
wooden songs.
I can’t tell you
how well it sings.
The trees
like the songs.
The trees bleed sap
like blood and tears.
The owl
bleeds as well.

The wooden owl
smiles and opens
its beak
and sings for

the bleeding trees
who gave birth to
the owl
long ago.

Scream

by Christi K. Caceres

So things are wacky today
And the strangest is the font
Getting bigger with each line I write.
SCREAM

Grief

by Matthew Laffrade

waking grief elixir
fader turncoat tomcat
amongst stooges with
slights of hands
descended veils
of harmony with
women of feign glory
thrust upon my mirror
forced upward swirling
skyward and sunken
unforgiving and lost
benign multiplier
forgotten sonnets
forgotten vows of
mercy upon my soul
to those to whom the
truth sets in crackled
in mixed message messiahs
auditory bombardment
in sweet goose down
dreams of yesterday
pale parlour piranhas
living in my head to
eat me alive you win

Orphan of Autumn

by Amelia-Rose Tighe

Hoglet lay swaddled in a knitted sweater,
His eyes swimming in maggots never opened,
His skin littered with ticks; death was for the better,
I found his body forlorn, his corpse broken.

I carried him home not repulsed but grievous,
I removed his ticks, I bathed his eyes,
Save the orphaned hoglet, I must, I must.
I will never unhear the creatures cries.

The maggots infiltrated his feeble anatomy,
They consumed him from the inside out,
His screams grew louder, yet euthanasia was imfamy,
Each cry hollowed my heart, refilling with distress and doubt.

I watched him till his breaths grew shorter, his death was no shock.
He lays in his cardboard kingdom now, his resting place marked with a rock.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

With You on Rainy Days

by Shenan Prestwich

With you on rainy days, I always think
of Alstadt-Lehel in September.
Just like that, I feel its slick stones
like I still feel the summer’s swamp upon my eyelids these days
when they close beneath your shadow in July.
Still hear the buzzing of the air
filtration motor, like a swarm of flies.

Though it’s never repeated
its incredible feat, its coup de grace,
not a single pass of your palms over my hips
from June to August goes without stirring
in me how I saw my head split open,
crown to nose, and felt myself burst from it,
floating in the still blue without a sound
except the distant buzzing of the flies
from miles below me somewhere.

But when with you on rainy days,
I think of Alstadt-Lehel in September.
I make a point to think of it.
 
Because someday when the rain has shepherded us in
by plinking on the windows and the air
conditioning like mallets on a xylophone,
tinny and uneven,
and your hands are tired and my eyes are tireder
because the kitchen’s sat there darkened, dumb
for three days because we haven’t changed the bulb,

I’ll feel my right arm spattered damp,
my unprotected side opposite the one
beneath the shelter of your rib,
our shared umbrella.

I’ll look upon our house as one of sustenance,
cultivated and consumed with every day,
like full, fat pumpkins, like tomatoes,
like the bierhauses—Weissen, Hacker,
Fischer Vroni—we waded into then,
floored by warmth, by the embrace
of ancient tender arms.

By the ache and creak of wood, the sting of salt on lips.
The sweat of wheat and water curving
down the belly of the glass and pooling
in the wet feathers of napkins.

Science Experiment

by Kait McIntyre

Every scalpel has a silver lining
and I take it sterilized
with vodka and a blue lighter.
Glass rings grin from your oak
counter. Nothing counts.
Not even your tender.

A woman serves me and I take it
on the rocks, on the house,
on a wink and a whim
to explore a man-
like woman.

I swallow, not spit
her juice, knowing
it will curdle by morning.

Romantics, My Ass!

by Doug Draime

 Byron drilled him as he was
 coming in the door
 of Mary’s Bar,
 with his colt 44.

 The bullet hit Shelly
 just under the collarbone,
 and went through
 his silk blouse,
 coming out his right
 shoulder blade

 Then it hit Keats’
 cell phone, as he was calling
 the cops on his
 crazy-drunk friends, and he
 started thinking -  as parts
 of his phone flew all over
 the bar - that maybe
 these fuckers might just be
 revolutionaries, after all.

Zero Glue

by John Pursch

Wild thoughts encumber mint widgets, spanning trellis fluorescence, whisking carnal enterprise into circular onset shoes, silting up his optical intakes with packaged noise. Emotional birds flicker android musings in clef corn canneries, sluiced with sawed-off electoral lard patrols, rolling smiles and eerie Oreos to gowned guttural creperies. Awnings relapse into mustachioed caprice, flaunting Terran idolatry for idly recumbent flares, feigning dust control. Hammered Teflon wardrooms, malleable as tidal semigroups, void a ballast endive, entering lunge employers via time grass stupas, piloted by elves. Wheels disintegrate, lopping off encyclicals, punting shod ringlets of siren jetty jeans, glowering in plastic air. Searching shadows march in latchkey shoulder slop, earning rippled faucet tears, handsome in another cobweb’s scrutinized mirror. Laughter suits imposing box kite mangers, started into shelved dignity by reason sheets, despite endemic caterpillar shock. Hardcopy harridans immolate impending interruptions, sweeping mites from temporary recluse pits, lodging concentrated bezels in facets of zero glue. Even so, countless feral interludes freak the thread, quashing his concave buzz, wishing heedless crammers were said to be impassive. Cruft carts mend asymptotic lucid wells, founding abstract jabber, inching toroidal commands above a searing fracas. Calmly casting sheltered stockings, seeping nacho factories prime astringent number pumps for duodecimal stamens, roping in quotidian cannibals for toon-town cerebration. Lexical watchmen jimmy closed foamy blue dusk, peering out of cardinal ligand, spying for rupee collapse. Primal arguments simmer occasion struts, gild spawned architects, and coat spurned contactees with cloture counter residue. Fractionated whittlers eradicate extraneous saliva, ogling the pausers, dawdling in a trace of hysteresis. Tree line fleas can’t disavow an inline burble’s mutant snowfall, steering guarded analysts to randomize a vocal skirmish of Molotov slang.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sage

by Amy Ekins

There are licks of green about your face.
I see long grass threaded into your hair,
smudges of leaves against your lips,
and acorns threaded then hung from your ears.

I long to look these licks close up,
to touch them with my tongue and tell you how they taste –
like soil, and iron, and cold clarts, no doubt. Maybe a slip
of sage, just at the edge, from where we tumbled into the herb patch?

Unlikely. You bristle when I near you, oak become pine,
smoking like woodbine with tension at the mention
I may want to speak with you. You stopper your mouth
with twigs, and run, leaving mossy footprints in your wake.

Old Child

by Kufre Udeme
   
Go shave off that weed, boy
Keep your jaw as smooth as the bottle of an Eva Wine
You have no licence to rear them so
Go bury the insult in a saloon
Keep it as low as a football field
Or mould an egg shell from it
Young man, don't rub shoulder with your father
While his salt kisses your lips from daybreak to moonlight
Go wash yourself into the child you are.

And know this also, my friend
Breast, for a child, is food not pleasure
And you are no longer a sucking child
So don't look at that girl next door and lick your lips
She's got no milk to fill your hunger
That thirst has grown beyond human milk
Go look for Supreme Bite and Blue Band
Not laps to rest your head
Not anymore while your father's roof is your umbrella.

And hear this too, old child
You are expected not to understand money
So don't go formulate strategies to tap those wads from Daddy's wallet
Put on the shoes and clothes he bought you from the Kiddies' shop
Put them on with a smile - a child is like a beggar, he's got no choice

And when spank for misbehaving, or is it your ears that are yank
Cry it off your heart that instance, cry like a child you are
Let the back of your palms dry your tears without a frown
If you think Mum and Dad shouldn't descend their voices on you
Grab your jeans, your T-shirt and basketball cap, that's the door, leave!
Or stay back and keep mute, no murmuring, no complain, you're a beggar
That's why you need to brush those turfs off your chin
It's an insult to grow beards while in your father's house
Wipe off those moustache and be a child
Or get out into the street and be a man.

I Will Sing

by Sarah Hartman

he will come to me
and lift scars from
my battered body
my calcified heart
my war-torn mind
there will be no more tears
I will shed not another
he will trace poetry
on my skin with his fingertips
track the lines of times
that were once unkind
and re-frame the maimed
with his gentle kisses

I will sing as angels do in heaven
of my freedom from chains
and the bowels and trenches
of once begotten pain
I will be set free
and I will sing
float through the skies and greet
each star with a kiss
press my lips against each one
and then sing, I will sing

and when I return to him
he will embrace me with his
poetic prophecy and insatiable glory
a lifetime of ecstasy set to fire
for I am all that he desires
and for my lover
for him I will sing

Basketball Scene
March 8, 2008

by Michael Ceraolo

                        The previous evening,
                                                         a Friday,
the snow had started and wouldn't stop
until well into the next day,
when about two feet had fallen
Most roads in the area were impassable
because the snowplow crews couldn't clear the snow
as fast as it was falling,
                                    though
somehow I was able to make to work this day
(At the time,
I had an essential occupation,
firefighter/paramedic,
                               so
staying away from the job wasn't an option,
                                                               nor,
                                                                      once there,
could there be such a thing as an impassable road)

Cleveland State's men basketball tea,m
was playing in the Horizon League Tournament's
semi-final round that day;
they had gone to the site (Indianapolis)
a day or two earlier,
                              so
they had not been affected by the storm
The pep band,
                      however,
was scheduled to bus there the day of the game
Because of the extreme snowfall
the band never made it to their destination,
didn't even attempt to get there,
content to stay safe and warm at school
and watch the game on television
                                                    Except
for a lone enterprising trumpet player
who hopped in his car and slogged through the snow
to the game at the famed Hinkle Fieldhouse,
five hours away on a good day
                                               And
he gave the announcers calling the game
a great human-interest story,
                                            and
was rewarded with far more TV time
than he ever would have gotten
playing as part of the band
I don't remember the score of the game,
though I know Cleveland State lost,
                                                     nor
do I recall if the lone trumpet player
actually played any songs solo;
I just remember the fact of the lone trumpet player,
the stuff legends are made of-------

Sunday, September 9, 2012

All

by Joshua Tilling

To the ones that move 
as I move, 
I think you are wrong. The streets silence in my name, stars disappear behind the grand façade, moss falls from the tree, but still, continually I tell you straight - eye to eye - you're wrong. Cry; cry to 
my face - whine through
 your words, 
I wish to hear your plea. Ah, make me laugh, make me smile, make my head tilt - humor me. Have no idea why you are wrong, please, the better. 
For this happened to myself, once in the past, once now. To the ones that move 
as I move, 
I think you are wrong.

Local Man Running For Governor

by Doug Draime

 Someone
 remarked
 that he
 looked
 a lot
 like
 Hugh
 Hefner.
 But to me
 he
 looked
 a lot
 like
 Bank of
 America
 with a
 white
 sheet
 over
 his head
 burning
 down the
 local
 food
 bank.

Whiskey On the Table

by James Babbs

I’ve got whiskey on the table and
the bottle catches the light
I watch it dance on the wall
on the opposite side of the room
twelve cans of Coke
in the fridge getting cold and
tonight I’m alone
but it’s okay
sometimes
I like it this way
no one getting upset
because
I don’t want to do anything
but sit on the couch and
watch TV
have a few drinks and
get drunk
if I want to
without someone screaming at me
I’ve already had enough
none of that tonight
oh no and
I won’t have to fight
for my share of the blankets
plenty of room in the bed
the room spinning
when I close my eyes and
I’ll hold the pillow next to my body
hoping
I’m drunk enough to sleep

Lola

by John Pursch

Humans debark at chock-a-chap clips, flexing anklet braces in serried lunges, uniformed flanks merging into hellway aisles, mumbling coughs, metallic lockstep jargon breathe oozing down empathic corridors, flooding the Tubal Trapdoor’s vaulted region of the Unit Disc. Analytic continuation is granted to all seekers, unconditioned passage to JFK-18’s quixotic boxcar realm of latter gratis uberstereo, kinder-wonder-doughy body of migratory minions, given under handedness to torqued matadors in arboreal dungeons, crabs not included.

Her belt’s barking mules a minuet, in time with Baited Oven symphonics: “Kirov, Lola; Deputy Commodore, Untied States; Lost Animals, Two Days Ago.”

Entry whir, whizzer of oblivion, deflecting cordoned consciousness, grafting pseudopod to worn hamstring juicer: “Came on, came on, Kirov 55748, cleared Lost Annulus, ship to silence.”

Sequestered science fuels in floating floors of florid quotations, empathizing with every nude arrival, deriving all known and future well-wisher’s myriad dreams, contained in simple vials of nutrient, carefully spilled over the anointed forelocks of even the most meager. Warm, clear drops of simulated grain’s lifeblood, lifted from undersea chasms, scepters of gravy toil, cisterns of long-abandoned digs in the plains of dustiest Campania; merging with wayward corpuscular collage, a million viscid traces, fledgling pride’s filched canister. Anterior totems wing above the heads of bobbing converts, filling lungs with aerosol belief, spawning generational tactics, guaranteeing futile allegiance to the world’s laborious creed. 

Down tactile cramps, in textured crimson rows, deftly switched from tourists to inductees, elbowing whey from lactose seams, skillfully shunted to proving grunts and scolding taunts, flashed back into the very same transport on which they’d arrived, flown by the likewise slaked and lubed Lola Kirov, now ascending, intercontinental drift profile, heading whirl zone contrail underflow, livery chest a stable luft aweigh.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mother Africa

by Amy Ekins

I’m moving to a place of closely weaved harmonies
and wide vowels, where the sun is always yellow as the earth,
and the rhythms are beaten out on trees
and stones
and the heads of small children with large smiles.

I’m carrying myself there with the off-rhythm taps
I make beneath my desk with Toms.
I’m taking off my cardigan, and tying up my hair,
and picturing myself wrapped in fabrics with hand-pressed patterns.

I’m shifting one shoulder up and down as the radio dances,
kicking up dust behind me, and planning out the injections.
And then?

And then I’m pricked with a paperclip realisation that the dust is not
the radio come to life, but the cleaner behind me.

The sun is gone, and the space is grey anew.

Do It Your Way

by Kufre Udeme

I've come to you with an heavy heart
I'm knocking on the only door that I have
Will you get me in or cast me off?
Will you give me tears or make me laugh?

They crafted it all and went away
To stay behind the mountains and get the news
That I, your child, is lost in misery
That she, my mother, has gone to the grave

Will you sit up there and watch me cry
Watch them nod and toast for my sorrows?
Or will you spark another glory for your name
As i'll sing and dance in testimony of your goodness?

Ode to Lynette Woodard

by Michael Ceraolo

She was a legend back in the day,
a day
when almost no one saw her play,
a day
before games were routinely televised,
before they were written about in the sporty pages,
before there were professional possibilities
available in her native land

                                           And
so she moved on,
                           establishing
a new non-sports-related career
                                                with
the same excellence she expressed on the court
                                                                           Until . . .

Until
a professional league was created
                                                     and
the siren song of competition
was too strong for her to resist

                                                And
so she tore herself away
from her non-playing career
to test herself against players
little more than half her age,
                                           and
what could bring that about
other than love of the game

                                            But
time had eroded,
                          though
not worn away completely,
her once-considerable skills,
                                           leaving
the audience thankful
                                 for the occasional glimpse
                                                                         of her past greatness,
                                                                                                          yet
at the same time sad,
sad that no record remained of her prime,
a prime that had been played
behind the gender line-----

Fixing Cars

by Shenan Prestwich

Inside the flimsy faux-wood paneled walls
that boxed the overflow of students from
the hallways of the high school—Mr. Wheeler’s
second period psychology—
was where we learned the differences between
the ways in which a woman and a man
communicate: while women like to see
each other’s eyes, and read each wrinkle, smirk,
or facial twitch, be read head-on as well,
a man will occupy his hands and sight
with things like basketball or fixing cars,
or tend to conversate while driving, palms
pressed firmly to the wheel and gaze set steely
on the road, where any thoughts he wants
to speak can flow out unobtrusively
across the scenery like soundtracks.

I’ve often wished that I had any sort
of knowledge or proclivity towards fixing
cars. It always seemed the perfect means
of getting that complex and often awkward
labor—talking to another human being,
sans a script or graceful, flawless blocking—
done: you crank a wrench, “That’s why I’ve always
thought my marriage fell apart; I don’t
want you to make the same mistakes.” You pull
the jumper cables, clamp them down, clip red
to positive, and black to negative,
“I want to let you know, you’ve always been
a decent, honest human being; that’s something
to be goddamn proud of.” Turn the key.
“I’ve always loved you, in my way.”

Whatever words gum up inside our mouths
in any other situation flow
in seamless syncopation with the music
of mechanics, fill the empty bars
between the grinding and the clanks. The metal-
scraping-metal clamor and the low,
accelerating rumble of the engine
are percussion for the lyrics spun
atop them. What we say becomes just more
two-steps and arabesques in our routine
of movement, in our dance of pull and push,
of yank and bend and reach and turn
and slam of hood.
It’s why we feel the need
to meet for drinks, and why the dinner table’s
always been a centerpiece for groups
to eat collectively. The food and drink
are an excuse for being there, as if
to talk requires pretense. We are fools
to speak our minds spontaneously, but
it all seems poignant, never
trite or over-sentimental, in
the context of a fan belt or filet of fish.

I may be lacking of a certain chromosome
that usually compels the handing down
of secrets as to what an alternator
or a spark plug does, and how to read
a vacuum gauge. But man, if I could fix
a car, I’d fix a car all day, and every
Phillips head would resonate with all
the tenderness I’d shown while turning it,
and every spark plug—whatever the hell it is—
would roar to life with all my passions, all
my “Life is hard sometimes, inevitably”s,
all my “You are not alone”s, and all
my “You have changed me”s. And the hood would bend
its rusty knees and shut each time, entrap
and swallow all it's overheard and burn
it up for fuel, and fly on asphalt lanes
outstretched like forceful rivulets
or open arms below its treads for miles.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Own Worst Enemy

by Sarah Hartman

i.

I fuck all the wrong boys
and slither from beneath their sheets
while quietly they do sleep
in sickening satisfaction

I down bottle of pills and vodka for relief
just a twist and a splash of juice
to sweeten the esophageal erosion
oh how it stifles the internal implosions

so that I may find a new boy
one that's perfectly wrong
which makes him so perfectly right
to play chicken with my flight or fight

I am my own worst enemy


ii.

don't hate me
but how dare you
try to
love me

don't walk away from me
but how dare you
even attempt to
stay with me

don't let me go
but how dare you
think for one second
that you could contain me

I am my own worst enemy


iii.

I circumvent the most honest of men
castrate their efforts in mere moments
leaving them hanging
by feeble threads

for hell hath no fury
like a woman scorned
yet I easily scorn myself
threefold

'suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not,
for of such is the Kingdom of God'
only it is I who have locked myself out
and scheduled my own burning

I am my own worst enemy

You Have the Saddest Eyes

by Emma Ambos

counter-weight
to be-rosed thought
cooled lookouts
like gourds they
bored lidded-
turnkey and giggle
like maracas

decalcified and darkended
the winding bottom on an Atoll
where the eels slide-
eyed and the fish shiver

with winding halfsight
into a peninsula of mind
conical formed
a fearless bundle of his

to shut them
would make you

cadaverous

Eleven Years Older Than Me

by James Babbs

I was still a teenager
when he died
when the police arrived
in the middle of the night
telling us about the accident
they stood in the doorway
between the kitchen and
the living room
my parents at the kitchen table
me sitting alone
at the bottom of the stairs
their words not really making any sense
but I kept listening to them
anyway
hearing something about my brother and
his car being in a wreck
somewhere near the candy factory
the dark curve in the road
later on
I learned about other things
the consumption of alcohol and
losing control
but none of it
made any difference
it didn’t change anything
I knew
my brother was still dead and
he wasn’t coming home

The Straight Truth

by Stephen Jarrell Williams

I don't drink.
I don't smoke.
I don't do drugs.
I don't chase women.

I've just loved
my wife
all these years,
but she has changed,
and to her I haven't
changed enough.

She wants
a man of God
as she believes
a man of God should be.

I'm not God.
I'm not Jesus.
I'm not a preacher.

I'm just a man
trying to tip the scales
in the right direction.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mood Contrails

by John Pursch

Hearty spools of walking canticles flirt with threaded mollification, steering sinusoidal oldies for tentacles of triadic coupes. Leaves implode in data mill worry courts, leaping auxiliary crouton reviewers, residual but tightly renewed. Double landlock spurts at tweed helpings of groping mule carafes, roughing up gleeful entrée parsers for the pardoned cruncher’s tapered flap. Exiting with stogie breath, cubist ballerinas set sail for outlet gale fanatics, loping from sawdust gin joints to bubble-dusted pride cleavers, gorging their newborn appurtenances on gaffer’s filth. Sikhs address a warmed-up gown, erratic and defanged by snoring pupae, stiffly galvanic in ostracized quoit charades. When cobbled neophytes undress the lithosphere’s plump statute, who’ll be left to riff on crumbling gorgonzola wheels, humming to a spaceport’s tawny breastplate? Whether wrongly embalmed municipal fractions meant to garble the lone piano’s hectare with antipodal beef, weed semantics still pertain to bruiser spackle, furiously snuggling with a tire iron’s stormy snail. Wacky vitals can’t endow unrecorded swine, despite androgynous oxide melts. Hydroponic lifters appraise soldered beanstalks, cracking up at civil cordons, blown merrily in pawning craters. Freed electives, harshly panned by reticular donors, grouse at spinal mood contrails, citing dwell times often brandished by munificent coral kazoos. Starched impresarios predate gurney serration by orthotic fortnights, sweetening eustachian boats with crusader tomb infectant, jousting for swanky hulks. Listerine Jell-O fritters wager bile in tiddlywink cremation twill, etching nurtured chain gondolas into a tertiary cider bin. Cursory blandishments emerge from providential fleet coulisse, sounding off for tutelage in brie canards. Gypsies huddle, weeping over choral voles, emitting ashen finger standards before cetacean bolides go blonde. Reptiles haunt emotive twangs, subverting fettered octopi with pilloried talc, exogenous and scantly singed.

between narcissistic and self-loathing

by Ross Leese

dressing in front of the mirror
and understanding fully
just how the women
of my
past

tired quickly of my fattening
greying
self

as the checked shirt flits
duty-bound over my
ageing
torso

thus
saving my embarrassed
and futile
grace

one more
time.

Nocturnal Dream

by Ali Znaidi

Nocturnal dream is as rich as bee-bread.
Sweet sensations go through my head.
A “drunken boat”sailing a ravine—
enchanting moments, so serene.

Fathomless like an ocean or desert sands.
A wild horse that freely runs to remote lands.
A panacea for the agitated troubled mind.
Without a dream, life is but hell for the blind.

Nocturnal dream moistens my memory, so dry
It’s like a refreshing rain in the heat of July.
Like smouldering embers in the somber night
nocturnal dream glows and radiates to my delight.

It just tenderly and softly hugs my Muse.
Light, hope, and waterfalls of inspiration fuse.
Though storms submerge the boat of my dream,
Lights in the heart always shine and beam.

Oblivion

by Tyler Bigney

I like the way the Asian girl
at Tim Horton’s prepares my
frozen raspberry smoothie, always
an extra shot of syrup. Something
to look forward to, a reason to get
out of bed in the morning, a reason not to
kill myself. Nights I am stirred
awake by lecherous sadness,
listening to the lady below me
coughing up blood, dying of cancer.
We never speak, but it’s become
part of my routine that
when I hear her come home,
I go outside to hold the door
open, help her with her bags,
help her up the stairs. Laying there,
I try to think other things, but
I’m often too tired to think, and
where I once could shake the
sadness, I can no longer. My
dreams drowning in oblivion.
Two mornings ago I stumbled
into the bathroom, following my
heavy heart, standing in front
of the mirror. I stared myself
down like they do in the old
western movies, to see what,
if anything, was left – I whispered
for myself to come up with
one good reason, just one. I held a razor
up to the light, angling it
so that it shined. The lady below
coughed once, twice, three times,
then spit the blood into the
yellow bowl beside her bed.
I put the razor back under the sink.
I flicked off the light, and walked
back to bed, knowing tomorrow
she’d need someone to hold the door open.