Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


by jkdavies

Stone dykes and stone grykes,
soil disappears down the cracks
along with the grey rain.
Plants scramble to get a hold
before the water trickles away;
running deep down the inside of the hills
and reappearing in lakes and turloughs
miles away, palely reflective.

A human sized landscape, it is barren
only from a distance, up close it is rich.
Turf patches, handfuls of sweet earth.
Men have been here a long time,
they take the stone and make stone things,
tombs, dolmens, crosses, walls and forts;
and yes, shelters for contemplative priests.

The seminarian contemplates, up here alone
he can imagine the sloughing off of sin,
an oyster being rinsed by the rain,
gnarled outside, with a wet pearly interior.

Thoughts of disappearing down the cracks;
a strange fish swimming underground
through the darkened pewter flow
and sudden silvery streams, brief sunlight
on a karst spring, then back down
into a dark sinkhole.

Swimming ahead of the strange salmon
that has eaten the hazelnuts, Father Dermot
had warned them against the burden
of knowledge that the flesh carries.
Oh, flesh, how could he not have tasted it,
tasted hers, ripe and freckled when the sun
danced the lake water to exuberant sparkles?

He swims with sinuous strokes,
racing the salmon, twisting and spiralling,
grey mercurial water and the Atlantic awaits.
He thinks of the water cycle, imagines
himself rising as droplets of moisture
to rain again on the stark hills.

Rain on him, contemplating, contemplating.
Father told him he should be here for weeks,
and that a priest who has never fallen
into temptation is a priest out of touch with the flock.
He thinks he could stay here, forever, thinking
on the bare bones of the world.

[Barkeeper's note:  please view jkdavies' photograph of the Burren here:]

Names from Another War

by Barry Basden

For three days, the Traveling Wall--
half maybe three-quarter size--
stands on a windy hill
in a far corner of the fort,
away from the bustle of the main post.

Families of a certain age
and old-timers in boonie hats
file past shiny black panels
and leave medals, faded photos, flowers
beneath remembered names.

So many names. Choked-up weeping.
A few salutes. Silence.
Nothing else but the wind
and, in the distance,
the dust of young soldiers preparing.

Water Spouts

by Morgen Streur
Why do conversations evaporate so easily?
Is it because we’re made of water that words & ideas float so freely, 
on top of ear drums and off of tongue tips?
Are we affected so deeply by the current of our own thought-streams, 
that dreams, with friends and loved ones, cease to matter in the long run?
The strongest swimmers survive
Through tsunamis and in rip-tides, I know that I’ll be fine…. 
But are you wrapped up in that vortex?  
Are you numb from all the pretense?
To sensation I say “Good riddance,” I’m severing this poem at my cortex. 

Reality 101

by Lynne Hayes

Today’s post is real. The names are not changed because these people are, well, I’ll let you decide for yourself.


I had a rather stressful day yesterday, so decided to visit with a friend who is a marvelous cheerer-upper. She knows I do not date, has been on me for a year to date and I keep telling her no. I will date when I find someone worth dating. Her bright idea was to see what is out there in the sea of men for our area. These are the excerpts from the dashing single men looking for a girlfriend. (Taken from a dating website)

tampadawg :
searching for a good hot woman
looking for a LADY with brains, personality, loyality,and a good body.
(This man had a picture of himself in a ripped t-shirt and mirror shades and he puts the emphasis on LADY)

red captain
searching for a good hot woman
looking for a LADY with brains, personality, loyality,and a good body
(Ole Red wants a “hot” woman..sizzling..but first Red needs to learn how to use spell check)

I don't care much for shopping, watching a lot of TV.I am chiseled ,like to ride bmx bicycles log distance
(another spell check non-user. A couch potato, yes, my kind of guy, or we can ride bikes your grand kids ride for fun)

for good person&happy
(Jesus, all caps. He already scares me. I bet he’s like a hyper Chihuahua dog)

Looking for good heardted woman
Time permitting, I am up for most any activity that does not include something dangerous or reckless
(What, don’t want to make bombs or kill anyone? Nope, gotta move on)
Looking fir some one to have fun with
I am old fashion guy who enjoys having fun, hanging out talking. I'm up for dinner and conversation. Been married for 27 years, but got a dear John letter a while back so now separated
Work is all I know-I have a big empty spot in my soul that is about to burst because I've been packing love and lust there. I love the heavier side of Rock-n-Roll but keep a open ear to the New stuff
(Oh good grief, a Dear John letter after 27 yrs? Hello??The light bulb is not too bright here)

Will fill this in later. Will fill this in later. Will fill this in later. Will fill this in later. Will fill this in later. Will fill this in later. Will fill this in later. Will fill this in late
(Mister, you are dry as a bone in the humor dept..)
Various Headlines :

Clyde seeking Bonnie (Never too late to go to jail)
Are you ready for some football??????? (As a matter of fact, no, I am not)
Headline coming soon (I’m on the edge of my seat with suspense)
seeking woman who knows she is beautiful (huh?)
wanted a good looking pritty lean woman (Is pritty lean sort of like purty leen?)
I am told I tend to be a bit anal about certain things (we all have our peeves, right?) (Uh, no!!!)
My name is Dewayne Walker and I am 48 years old. I have 4 daughters by the names of Jennifer, Jessica, Melissa, and Julia. I also have 5 grandchildren by the names of Amber, Shanna, Davarian, Loren, a  Lakeland Florida (Damn dude, ever heard of Identity theft. Nope, scratch. Next)

So dear bloggers, I will remain as I have been these past months. Single, sane and so not looking up any of these fine fellows.

But then again, Tampadawg is a snazzy name.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


by John Grey

The bell was ringing loudly
when Bill and Eva scrambled up the
hillside path toward the church.
They were the very tail
of the throng pouring in.
Ahead of them were glances this way, that way,
quick summations of just how good
was everybody's else's Sunday best.
He was still tucking in his shirt front.
She was already panicked that
her petticoat would show.
Sure, they had to keep their date with God
but it didn't do to arrive dressed for the devil.
They sat just as chatter turned to prayer,
and the preacher climbed the dais
to his waiting Bible.
Beyond the window, pigeons cooed
to the sermon drone
or waddled clear of boisterous singing.
And then the bells rang once more,
and people left in various stages
of comfort with their judgment day.
Bill and Eve led the pack this time,
he still fidgeting with his shirt,
she glancing down as if a stray
lace seam was a doorway into hell.
What a sight they made,
the couple, then the crowd
and, at the rear, the preacher
closing the church door.
An hour before, religion inhaled.
Now, it exhaled.

Tropical Dangers [jaguar 1, whiteman 0]

by Devin Streur
Things that eat whiteman

Things that whiteman eats

Things that leave whiteman alone

Meadow Madness

by Cheryl Zovich

It's genetic, this madness
and addiction to color,
to textures. Lusting for the
precise arrangement of

height and hue, I toil
to restrain nature, struggle
with forcing chaos to
conform to my idea

of beauty. But the meadow
presses in, unfettered by
limitations. No balance or
arrangement by color chips of

perfection, no agenda, conundrum
or rules. It doesn't waste
precious time wishing
portulaca might be blue.

No Lifeboat

by Lynne Hayes

How is there not enough room for one more?
Signals of promise float in and around space,
Yet depart with the echo of your footsteps
As you slide out of my ever open door.

Have I not left a watermark upon your chest,
Welded my fingers onto your form deep enough
to matter to you?
I need no silence and fear that my heart will eventually rest.

Counting to ten every time I hear your name,
I must remember
To take the falls, one at a time.
One minute I swear never to listen to that song ever again,

Next, I am kissing your departed shadows

Approbations 579

(after Esbjörn Svensson Trio’s Ballad for the Unborn)
by Felino Soriano

I miss you now
the breath of your scent
                                                has yet
to tug
at the curled hairs
of my nose’s quiet openness.  The memory of you
            soon, physical reenactment
will devour assumption of memory, thus

                        tomorrow’s tonal reconstruction

and the now of my loneliness
                                                            will develop
softened wings, dissipate into
wild night orchestration

near the song of my unheard squalls

for the one I shall


Friday, July 23, 2010


by Howie Good

a black-

limo driver

to go,

with eyes

the back



by Melanie Browne

He sweeps his porch in the morning,
hoping to catch a breeze from
the east.
he knows about the foreign winds.
the suestado,the etesian.
He points to the places
on his plastic globe and they sip
hot chocolate, even though she scalds the milk.
He sweeps the leaves in a circular pattern,
leaving them in a little pile which
scatters again
in the afternoon.


by John Grey

Mr D. Always Mr D. We ate him with the roast
on Sundays. His shadow tucked us in.
Our every breath was at the bequest of his oxygen.

We were remarkable in no way. We caught
frequent colds, whined obsessively some said,
and cussed when pencils broke and dogs barked.

We were like iron filings brushed up by
the magnet of his name, his latest doings.
He was soon bigger than the sum of us.

He was the house we lived in, the gardens,
the lawn, the streets, the neighbors
We'd see a movie and he'd be everyone in it.

We'd pick up a newspaper, read nothing
but his stories. What ever happened to him?
May as well ask how did the moon

bloom up in the sky like an apple
hanging from its invisible bough -
his apple, his apple ripe and ready

to pluck and eat when we are on
our death-beds, our bodies mushy,
almost gravy, about to be sopped up

by the sheets and he's still massive
and muscular and handsome with a reach
and a dazzle to mix it with the stars.

We were just coffee stains on his shirt anyhow,
the nails he clipped that would have been
swept under the sofa or out the door

if we did not resist a little
by living these ordinary lives.
What did happen to him?

How could they have broken up so long ago?
Say his name now and her head shakes.
And it's not even his neck that does the shaking.

On Listening to Epic45 Travelling North

by Andrew Taylor

Tunnels differ out there
radio masts listen
for imminent threat

brickwork darkened through
years of northbound traffic

Birds gather on electricity
cables it’s heading towards
that time of night

the copse is settling down
the harvester has done its work

shorn and given over an active
continuity bales stacked in semi-
derelict barns green signal
on branch line            shines

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wounded and in need of protection you stumbled into my garden

by Carmen Taggart

Wounded and in need of protection you stumbled into my garden.
Your wounds raw and in need of healing.
I tended to them and watched as you grew stronger day by day.
I outwardly asked for nothing in return.

I dreamed a thousand dreams for you.
I learned to read your moods, your growls, and your eyes.
I watched as you stumbled and got back up again.
I resolved to let you dream your own dreams.

Wounded and in need of protection you returned to my garden.
Your wounds once again raw and in need of healing.
I tended to them and watched as you grew stronger day by day.
Still I asked for nothing in return.

You gave me love, support and friendship.
You gave me laughter when all I had were tears.
You gave me . . .

I dream a thousand dreams for you.
You dream of a road I cannot see.
I resolve to let you dream your own dreams.


by Mark Reep

The bus was almost empty, just me and an Asian girl who’d cleaned up some since I’d seen her. She was wearing a too-big T-shirt that said Freakuccino and writing in a notebook. If she remembered me she didn’t say so I didn’t either. Everybody sheds some skin. At the Green Street stop two cops were waiting. One said something to the driver and pointed down the aisle but not at me. She looked up and said, Me? What’d I do? The older cop beckoned. She got up and got off with them. Before the bus pulled away they’d handcuffed her. I wondered who she’d pissed off, who’d made the call.


by Joan McNerney

Fat azaleas red pink purple
azaleas shaking in morning sun
as children call children to play.
Oozing from thick bushes delicately
perfumed azaleas fat azaleas
bees spinning spinning spinning.
Children singing out names while
chameleons crawl in shining grass
lustrous azaleas bright satin.
Azaleas fat azaleas starlings slip
from branch to branch gliding to
bushes stretching red pink purple.


by A.J. Kaufmann

You thought that vapor
turns towards song
in the end
a pulling dance of man to boy
moonlight land of heart
thought that world could slip
as we performed
another number
peeling our ears

Laughter lays on abandoned
years, progress inexistent
those who knew a wonder
better than song
had flowers ship steered
from it, blows and fear
towards their
fingers falling
life sights blowing a trumpet
after midnight

Headlong into love
flashing with tears
bright brings song of stillness
ocean-wards and rosy
still swelling nights
keep slapping the treasure
no-one feels united
in a monstrous all-seeing eye
no one feels rewarded
dying in sterile sorrows

Sunday, July 18, 2010


by Lynne Hayes
Hey you? 

Looking for something perhaps,
to erase the fears or by chance can
help you launch face first into my
Sweet Oblivion.

Nights become days become nothing,
but a Wicked spiral of ins, outs
Sideways, slide ways of messiness.

Trade me your usefulness 
and I will return to you a bounty of sloth 
then let me Rape your smile 
and replace it with a line on the horizon. 

Allow me to assist in your flat line of Vitality.
Please, keep taking from my claw the 
sweet poisons of eternal voids 
and I will offer the demise you so 
Unconsciously Crave.

Retreating into the abyss 
without ropes, tethers or any ground beneath
your feet I can ensnare the future you
so willingly offer for my economies.

Hey you? 
Let me assist in the Remains of your day. 

Spun gold

by Cath Barton

All our minds
have fizzing corners,
synapses  spluttering,
casting out in faith
like spiders
spinning their invisible

Keep alert,
for there’s gold
in the web
of your memories,
and you could be caught
by its shine.


by Morgen Streur

I'm afraid to show you how deep my feeling goes
How soon is too soon?
For a heart overflowing will spill eventually
Over levees manmade or natural
'Be patient' I tell myself
But these sandbags might prevent me from unleashing the greatest flood Heaven's ever sent me...
Swept away in a rush of liquid courage
I would drown to save you one sip of what I'm stirring
One glimpse above the water
a rip-tide so endearing
Enduring til the last moment
A moment ever-nearing

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

From 8 Equations

6. Sonnets to Symmetry
by J. R. Pearson

There are things beyond rationality
& the warm pull of gravity. Scale models
of pyramids that keep steel razors sharp for centuries. How an owl's
wings silent as yellow smoke
in a valley of wormwood drift
over your sleeping eye. How every civilization finds people
in the sky. Hard to believe the face on a nickel. Believe flash-drunk
blindness & a homeless man's need for possession. Believe retractable fangs

coiled & sun-spent in heat's best swing of the hips.
Believe eyes full of sweat-stained shade
on the sheet's underside & blister resin
left white until it fills with starlight. Believe flesh waltzing the fine line
between live-wired to spinning wattage & cold-spit dead ends.

Let's unrehearse the facts. We've all slept in beds made before we're born,
headboard names & dates, predictable "plate-glass sheets"
& dreams of a miracle that slit your throat. Truth is they carry sniper rifles
& plant your prints on murder weapons. Pose as witnesses. Said I heard it all.
Said it was suicide. Toe fingering the trigger.
Said you never listened. There was something out there, salvation
with your name on it. Another second chance. Last minute misplacement
of I. O. U.'s. Truth is every morning we dig fingernails into flesh
under running water to get clean. Again. Try to leave behind thoughts

we thought were buried deep enough to forget.
The sight of our faces, throttled splayed to the earth.
Finally a toast: here's to symmetry!
Here's to falling face first into wet cement.
Here's not to death per se just a rational failure to exhale.

Looking for Lovers?

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

There is a guy
who stands at the corner of my street
each morning,
picking his nose
for the better part of an hour.

I stand by the window
and watch him
in morbid fascination
while he greets his neighbours
as they head off to work.

Dressed in nothing
but his housecoat and slippers,
the guy
who stands at the corner of my street
each morning
picking his nose
for the better part of an hour
has a cup of coffee,
but he does not drink it.

He just splashes it out
over the side of the curb
in small increments
until the hour is up
and he is done picking
his nose.

He then heads back into the house.
Lowering the automatic garage door
behind him
before peering out of his own
front window
moments later.

We usually ignore the intrusive presence
of one another
but sometimes exchange the odd wave
or awkward nod

as we both watch the guy
up in the tree
five houses down
who feeds the birds sunflower seeds
as he uses his binoculars
to peer through the bedroom window
of his ex-wife.

for lovers,

I’d imagine.

Forgetting the Words to Her Clichéd Phrase

by Chris Butler

Laying within her
during the denouement
of our one night stand,
I repeat inside of my
rapidly depleted head
the clichéd phrase
scarred into the
skin of her right

but apparently not
enough times
to remember
those words,
so this poem
could not have
a more clever

The Blade

by Anna Donovan

You call and I sit
unsteady on a hard bar stool,
stare at your back
and hear your words tempered
by grinding sounds
steady on a whetstone.

"I have something for you,"
you say,
and the glint of steel
speaks of gliding on soft flesh,
pliable and nude.

You slice sweet peppers,
hold each deliberate sliver
to my lips
and I know the taut ease
of fingers round
a blue Lace Agate handle.

"I got them from a client
with a baby Grand piano,"
you say, as my blood gathers
in a gush of silence,
"he grows them in a solarium."

And in a glass room I
seize a blind knowledge:

I want the smooth silk dance
on the blade's beveled surface,
the tongue taunting premonitions
gilded and heavy over sharp metal.


by Michael H. Brownstein

I have run away from money
every penny jumping from me
through open windows like a scream.
Some things are that intense:
A hole in my back grows larger,
blistered pink, its edges raw with redness
I cannot purchase at a store.
When all of your blood leaks from your wrist
—and it only takes six minutes in warm water—
all of the blood money, greed money,
easy living money, slippery and greasy money,
slides away, a gasp of air above the water,
everything filling with something else.

Short Timepieces

by Ben Nardolilli

The old and young are their age,
Bent over and crawling,
They do not play at those roles,
The body gives them the foundation
With little needed to build upon,
The middle-aged, and the teenaged
Are simply confused,
With new hair for the first time,
Taking up smoking and herbal remedies,
Learning to be identified by a car seat,
We, the liberated and still young,
We act out our age, often
With the ages of ages past,
Taking up hippie disco punk funk
Textile characters to parade in,
Remembering to hang the clothes up
Before passing out to worry
How we will starve
And in what style, tomorrow


by A.J. Kaufmann

Lazy fly
my ugliest side
nights azure
down in the dumps
steps to nimble bore
up patina trees
fretful in the snow
never feeling this
roughly in the steppes
tides assembled grief
mantles of your psyche
vigils on their ridge
done, forever strange
was her music’s touch
skeleton placentas
rode around the stars
aged lands unending
hope that life proceeds
into territories
vast of answered birds


by Alan Britt

The ironic handkerchief,
Desdemona’s or Othello’s?

Whose irony is it, anyway?

That handkerchief on marionette strings
like some wobbly Saturday morning marionette
with googly eyes and freckles,
possibly of Irish descent?

That handkerchief
was the axis
on which his play revolved.

They didn’t have Renaissance festivals
in Shakespeare’s day.

So, he invented his own diversions,
like handkerchiefs
scented by impossible love
falling from grace.

David Letterman in Korea

by Jeffrey Miller

My first night in Korea—
fourteen hours from Chicago
halfway around the world.
It’s tomorrow, but it still
feels like yesterday.

My luggage never made it.
It’s somewhere between
Seoul and Chicago.

I’ve been wearing
the same underwear
for two days.

Outside it’s cool and
foggy that adds a bit of
mystique to the adventure
I’ve embarked upon.

Loaded up in a van
and taken to my apartment—
just down the street
from Olympic Stadium.

It’s a western-style apartment
furnished and the refrigerator
stocked with Coca Cola, eggs,
and Digestive Crackers—these
Graham Cracker-looking cookies
coated with chocolate.
Gee, I hope so.

I turn on the TV—
David Letterman is aglow
courtesy of Armed Forces
Radio and Television.
Just in time for his nightly
Top Ten List.

Although jet-lagged
I’m too pumped up to sleep
and instead watch Dave,
drink some Coke
have some of those
Digestive Crackers
and wonder
if I am going to like it here.

Sparrows recite

by Joan McNerney

Sparrows recite
litanies in wood. Trees
greener every rainfall
their leaves growing longer.
April evening covering
swiftly swiftly scented
crepe myrtle.
Suspended this moment
between light and dark.
Clouds rush over horizon.
Sun dropping from sky.
Movement of white flowers
blowing over hillsides.

Ghost of the Ace Face

by Andrew Taylor

“Bring me back a pebble” “I will though
I have only seen sand so far” and a burnt
down pier

sky blue ‘Brighton Rock’ breath streams
matches exhaust along the front

the world seems flat and over there
somewhere you take your time to sleep

If I crane my neck I can see the sea
from my window

room lights and other people’s lives
illuminate the courtyard and filter
through the net curtains

as slowly the codeine washes over me
like the coldness from the sea


by RC Miller


My arms
Outgrown by a window

Back and forth flowers the dark

The moonlight
In a pool awed by it

Even in my robe

There's no time to describe the riot


Life knocks out

I ink trees
Until they've made more wine

The lone mango
Burns my clothes

Downriver manages an empty bed

Thoughts of me
A few feet froze

A thin dew barely risen


Tiny drops of ducks
In deluge green

Countless stars
Come and go without mourning

Blue mirrored wind


The tar reddens
I go without warning
To make my home
Against the ark
The weeds are ripe
The sunflowers constellations
That sail over the brook and
Carry age to clouds


I can't compare
The burning moon
The people gone
The birds fallen

I think I'll sit
On a dry dock
Until the oceans fry up
A skull aboard a shattering egg


by John Grey

There's an annoyance
to its whistle,
the grind of its engine.
the rattle of its wheels,
that it has to come through here.
Why can't the coasts be closer
it seems to shriek,
as gray and sleek,
it slips by one more corn field,
one more silo, one more farm-house.
Just from the sound of it,
you can tell
it would prefer the
the tough grade over
the mountains to this.
Better the circling
back onto itself,
ten miles of track
for one mile of progress
than these long prairie stretches
where time and distance
parallel each other
until they drift off into a nothingness
as bleak, as blind, as any night.
This train can't see
you puttering in your garden,
can't feel the blush of your cheek.
It doesn't hear the birds beckon
or the horses whinny
or the ebb and flow of crying winds.
It cannot feel the thighs burn
or the sheets ignite,
or a head get the good news
from a wildly thumping heart.
Instead, the train roars off
toward the sinking sun
in the mistaken belief
that whoever it's not taking somewhere
is left behind nowhere.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hermes' Dream

by Christina Murphy

Hermes was a clever baby god stealing his brother Apollo’s cattle and
     hiding them in an Arcadian cave
Apollo seeking revenge took Hermes before Zeus for judgment, but Hermes
     even so young placated
He offered a tortoise shell and leather strips as a lyre to Apollo who
     recognized the music within 
Apollo the Sun God and Hermes the infant god created music from a theft
     and a deception
Hermes understood and Apollo agreed that the earth was the place for song
     so filled with promise and sorrows
So they asked Iris, daughter of Electra and creature of celestial energy, to create 
     the rainbow and fill the clouds with light
Iris, running with the wind, knew in her heart that the stars and the earth were
     one with the music of the lyre
So she placed the rainbow in the sky above the earthly broken dreams
     of humankind— 
The rainbow to split the clouds and free the songs of the heavens as 
     rain fell and rose from the earth
In appreciation for the gift of the lyre, Apollo gave Hermes a golden rod,
     the sign of the peace maker
Asleep in his cradle in a cave on Mount Cyllene, Hermes dreamed the
     dream of rainbows and stars
As Iris, the night for her companion, kept watch in the heavens, filling
     the sky with light before the dawn 

Maybe Preston in the Spring

by Andrew Taylor

If I listen to The House of Love
in front of kit I hear Saturday
afternoon Radio 1 when it was good

rather like winter giving way to spring
Sunday TV music programmes
videotape at the ready

above the Launderette
smell of the docks daffodils
beginning to flower on the roundabout

Do you know? It sounds as fresh today
as it did in 1989

Our Attic Apartment

by Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt

Because the sides of this house are inclined,
stucco and angled to gables, we find

an acute lack of space. We tend to place
beds, records, books & harsh looks at close range,

in cornices that furnish short order.
We push our pans into shallow cupboards;

our bathroom towels hang low, while we walk
tenuously with our heads down. The stark

lack of mirrors and pictures cleans the site
itself: the parlor, free of all but white,

sloping walls that keep quickened steps deterred;
the master bedroom that would echo were

this an upright room, the close ceiling.

The silence. The alabaster feeling.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Thieves Never Drink Water

by Catfish McDaris

It was my last bottle
of wine and the fly was
sitting on the open rim

I wanted to kill it
I craved to squash its
fucking body out of my life

Not wanting to waste
one drop of vino I
pulled out my pistol

The fly made several lazy
circles around the room
then landed on the barrel

Juanita burst into the room
looked at the gun, me, the fly
she chugged all the wine
except one drop

The fly drank that, she
put on a Freddy Fender
record while I decided

If I could kill the fly and blow
off her chile bean nipple
with one shot.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

A garden in Wales

by Cath Barton

In this, the year of my becoming,
we have summer,
days and days of summer.

In the cool of early morn
the roses in the garden hold their breath
against the coming heat.
The stamens of the evening primrose flowers
and I listen to the incipient buzz of the day.

A bird beats its wings,
frogs plop into the pond,
and a rose petal twirls
on an invisible thread.

Each tiny sound is amplified
and significant
in the garden

I am not a constant gardener,
but, though forgetful, remiss
and often idle,
I thrill in growth when it comes,
and smile at the antics of the insects
who cut patterns in the leaves
of the roses,
and the young newts
who wriggle in the net
with which I fish fairy moss
from the pond.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Of Shooting Stars and Fireflies

by Rebecca Gaffron

I said shooting star, but you said firefly because the stars were invisible — engrossed in a game of hide and seek behind mounds of inky clouds. You laughed and attributed my vision to tequila, while pouring me another.

On the walk home, I saw something glowing golden in the grass. I said shooting star and you smiled and followed me inside, to the comfort of strong lights and company. But the darkness pulled us back. There, a brilliant spark pulsed, a miniscule sun in a distant galaxy. I pointed, named it shooting star. "No," you said, "fireflies. Two. Entwined."

And suddenly we were. You, like some mischarged magnet, both attracted and repulsed, kissed with tender fury, then held me at arm’s length. You asked what I really wanted. And I, aware of your fingers on my back, willed the fabric of my shirt to dissolve. I safely answered,"I don’t know." But what I meant was, we should be utterly entwined and luminous. And we should set the sky alight.

Gingerbread Lady

by Michael Lee Johnson

Gingerbread lady,
no sugar or cinnamon spice;
years ago arthritis and senility took their toll.
Crippled mind moves in then out, like an old sexual adventure
blurred in an imagination of fingertip thoughts.
Who remembers the characters?
There was George, her lover, near the bridge at the Chicago River:
she missed his funeral; her friends were there.
She always made feather-light of people dwelling on death,
but black and white she remembers well.
The past is the present; the present is forgotten.
Who remembers Gingerbread Lady?
Sometimes lazy-time tea with a twist of lime,
sometimes drunken-time screwdriver twist with clarity.
She walks in scandals.
Her live-in maid smirked as Gingerbread Lady gummed her food,
false teeth forgotten in a custom-imprinted cup
with water, vinegar, and ginger.
Years ago, arthritis and senility took their toll.
Ginger forgot to rise out of bed;
no sugar, or cinnamon toast.


by G. Tod Slone

Everywhere I go
phoneheads appear
as if out of nowhere.

“What was the number?”
says a phonehead.
“Who knows and who cares?”
I respond.
"What was the number again?”
he says.
“Who gives a shit what it was!”
I say. “Move your goddamn
conversation away from me!
I don’t need it; I don’t want it!”
He looks over at me, snickers,
then actually moves the yap
down the aisle of the bookstore
for someone else to enjoy.

Phoneheads everywhere I go,
I can’t defeat them,
they’re all over the goddamn place.
Jabber, jabber, and more jabber.

Friday, July 9, 2010


by Chris Butler

The busy bee,
dizzy from
the day’s
work of
of her earth,

gets buzzed
from the love
he receives
in the webbed
bed of a
black widow,

neglecting to
notice his


by Alan Britt

Bob Dylan,
a unique genre,
so American,
so adrift.

Almost like Whitman lounging,
today, in Central Park.

Or Emily Dickinson
juggling metaphors like torches
on the Tonight Show.

The greatest balladeer of his generation
sent Joey: It always seemed
he got caught between the mob and the man in blue,
into the streets of Little Italy.

Weaving the lives of Hurricane Carter and Hattie Carroll
into a tapestry of impossible retreat.

Giving us hope and leopard-skin pillbox hats
just when we needed them the most.

So, how about this balladeer of ours,
stumbling past a cracked saffron mirror,
through squeaky saloon doors,
fashionably late for his showdown with God?

Fate And Fortune

by April A.
This northern city with headlights-eyes
Has buried me in its cold and gloom;
You'll see this place in a dreadful guise
And once sweet home will seem a tomb
Once you're aware there's no way out,
Once dreams of youth say goodbye and grin.
It goes farther and makes me doubt
In all the things I have ever seen.
Its blood has turned into ice and snow -
It's endless winter in every heart.
The winds of grief never cease to blow,
The art of grief is the greatest art.
And once in this cradle of dirt and despair
A wandering stranger demanded my mind.
He asked me about this damned northern air
I'd better not breathe - I would leave it behind. 
He said: "I'm in love with this misery, miss.
Destruction is right what we need to create.
True art is in grief, I've been dreaming of this.
My yesterday's fortune's tomorrow's fate.
I know all secrets my destiny knows,
So this boring dwelling won't be a surprise".
I thought: "He's my twin, and it clearly shows".
That evening he opened my widely shut eyes.
A perfect stranger has built a wall
To be a shield from this gloom and lies,
From endless rains of this city's gall 
That falls on me from the shattered skies. 
The wave of feelings can warm the days
Of dull existence in Bitterland
And melt the ice in this rotten place,
In every heart that it's due to mend.
This northern city with headlights-eyes
Has turned us down in its nasty voice
And... brought together. We've paid the price
Of fate to fortune. We've made the choice. 


by A.J. Kaufmann

No reparation – you countermand
these mountains, hold another height…
follow his mind
enough of hierarchy waves
implore and sacrifice, twilights outwearing
stop signs, with sluggish bells bawling
of broken sunshine, nipple-studded
summer graves

Life’s too long, defend it now… swinging
up and beaming thru speechless seas
on heaven’s footsteps, swift and wild on the wing
till moon appears a reflection of feathers
tired cerulean arteries
kneel at humbling walls
and hundred hands of night
embrace you

Wildflowers bobbing

by Joan McNerney

Wildflowers bobbing
in open fields. Two fabulous
daffodils sprout from
your eyes. Falling dizzy in
love as o so lackadaisical
breeze tugs at shirt sleeves.
Again we are flushed in
warm love caress. Solar
energy orbiting billions of
grass blades. Hum hum
hummingbirds hurry hurry
pass us tripping giddy
in love.

Wearing Plaid

by Janet Yung

Norman found the blue plaid polyester pants of a previous decade to be the perfect article of clothing -- nearly indestructible fabric suited for any season with an elastic beltline designed to accommodate an expanding waist. He had no desire to rid them from his wardrobe, although that appeared to be his daughter Allison’s goal.

“Dad, tell me you don’t wear these things in public.” She dangled the tired looking trousers over the pile marked “trash”, helping him sort out the household her parents had shared until her mother’s death the previous spring.

Now, Norman was moving into a retirement community where he could be with people “his own age,” the way Allison described the occupants of the building converted from convent to apartments with older tenants in mind. The segment of the population largely avoided and ignored by everyone else, lest old age be contagious -- Norman‘s take on the situation, but a lot of what Allison said made sense, sounding more like her ever practical mother.

“Your mother bought those for me,” he said softly.

And, with that revelation, she folded them neatly, adding them to the “keep” pile, imploring, “Please don’t wear them outside your room.”

Don’t Ask

by Patrick Trotti

They issue me a gun; a license to kill.

I’ve been poked and prodded and trained to become a finely-oiled machine. My days are long and strictly regimented and my feelings have become detached and departmentalized.

They said I would enter a boy and leave "Army Strong." I wonder if that still applies if they knew I didn’t have a wife and kid waiting for me at home. I don’t want to know the answer because I'm afraid it would somehow undermine my valor.

I’d like to think it wouldn’t make a difference; that courage and honor are more important than labels.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chrome Nights in Heavenly Hills

by Christina Murphy

Every town once had a place like this. A lover’s lane, overlooking a vista of city lights and bright stars. Perhaps there are mountains laced with streams or hillsides radiantly green. Perhaps it is winter or summer. It doesn’t matter. The music, sweet music, unites the moment. In the distance a car radio is playing songs of love lost. The notes move through the night like the wings of migratory birds, marking the paths of endless searches. Somewhere, someone must hear that song and remember the tender lies that made a love affair possible.

It is the era of large-finned cars sleek in the night, challenging the wind for speed and the stars for brilliance. Chrome, like a fierce and cold brightness in the hills, glittering in even the darkest of nights as the moon calls out to the stars: behold—nothing is lost. Chrome, like a phantom, haunting the hills—so right for songs of love lost and love found, of broken hearts and hearts just taking flight.

The heavenly hills with stars aflame made escape possible. It was a search for perfection—like the beauty of ocean to sky in azure light unbroken. The music could lift hearts as passion freed or broke them. The songs were seas in which hearts could swim to unknown shores—looking behind, waving to the past, seeing it all in one flash—chrome, brilliant like heaven, and love, soft as the nascent green of springtime hills. How many loves were found or lost in cars on hillsides as songs played the hopes and heartbreaks of life? Do you remember lover’s lane? Like Narcissus, in images of time’s creative making, can you see your own reflection in the chrome?


by Chris Butler

My stomach aches.

I’m so hungry
but I just ate.

A symphony within my belly
bellows a medley of melodic cacophony.

Breakfast consists of chirping
regurgitation of last night’s dinner,

unless I chew on alphabet cereal and bran
before bed to produce morning poetry.

Thunderous rumbles quake my
underworld core,
spreading dysentery out from
the sanitary sanctuary

of a constipated king upon
his bottomless throne,
crowning a fecal fetal heir,
to be regarded as a future
queen too clichéd
to eat cake.

Counting callous calories
by the ounce as if it counts.

Disgruntled digestion
of a bag of rubber bands
self-induces gastric bypasses.

Fifty-five years engulfed in
fits of hiccups, I watch my skin
slowly expose over two
hundred bones as skeleton chic.

Attempting to swallow saliva
and lubricate dry heaving spasms,
to prevent the chafing of my
sandpaper esophagus.

Boiling gold fish bowl
bubbles bile, forcing five months
of fasting into a weakening
Friday fish fry.

Double-bagging every trash
can in case my cheeks burst.

Two fingers merge,
converging upon the apex
of the throat’s gag reflex;
succumbing to a purging urge.

Nourishment culminates
as spoonfuls of mush
forced by gorging
through a tube’s

Yards of skeletal refuse discover
refuge within the unfulfilled holes
inside my calcium fortified fences.

Diagnosed by the scientific minds
and poet laureates of my kind with an

eating disorder not otherwise specified.

Kitchen Scene

by Katherine Mercurio Gotthardt

Thick wrists cinching fingers
by which the slow pestle turns,
the girl tries to grimace away
that old woman poking her piety
at the girl’s resistant arm, murmuring
into her still youthful ear,
“You may always be poor,
so you might just as well get good
at it, girl.”

Still, the girl pounds spice into dust,
black iris eyes tearing at careless fate,
staring into the darkened room, away
from the table before her:

black bowl of dead fish, rigid with their living eyes,
matching plate of shelled and shiny boiled eggs,
a painting of Jesus and servile women hanging in front of it all,
somehow reflected in the ancient mirror behind her,
and the little she can add with what she serves from stone,
piling up like sand from an anthill.

Were she of a different class, she might
ask why she has been sent here. Were she
of a different time, she might rebuke her bonnet.

Had she the constitution and not that flushed-faced paralysis
of the young, she might just rip the seams of her sackcloth
wrappings and cast them into the bewildered fire,

eyes of the old woman roiling towards the heavens
as she asks what has become of the world.

On The Last Tube Train To Tibet

by P.A. Levy

Let the barbed wire whistle
laments of breezes caught on CCTV;
phantasmic fluttering plastic

and a song bird tapping a beat
on a window twenty floors high;
caught in the wink in a daisy’s eye
from downhearted-lands, concrete lands,
where crushed diamonte of broken bottles
twinkle in the star-shine of Telstar’s offspring.
On the other side of the pane
speed queen Susi never shuts up.
Six stone six of jaw and bone
rolls over, pants, begs for wraps
pouts in a tea stained T-shirt
and moody Nike trackie bottoms
she nicked from Roman Road market.

Bass rhythms. Base rhythms.
Resonates in the hungry cries
of her cunt spew brat;
a free gift that came with a drunken fuck,
but she loves her little SMA junkie to bits,
sings lullabies of far away places
where twilight swoons
with nightingale voices
instead of sirens wailing
and the undulating rumble of another tube train
heading east
beyond Barking.
Skunk farms. M25 raves. Pirates rule
underground air waves.
Worshipping at the twin deck altar
DJ MDMA plays wicked tunes for his
faithless bong children.

Loved-up Susi
looking for someone
searches the acid house attic, looking
for someone in laser lights, someone
to hold, euphorically hold
in drum vibrations,
riding vibrations,
riding the last tube train to Tibet.


by Alan Britt

As I sit here today
I cannot say
if the east side
gets better sun
than the maple-infested west side
of my brain.

As I sit here today
I cannot say
whether or not
your closest confidant
is Iago
or someone
resembling him.

We should never forget Beethoven’s violins
complaining in his deaf quartets.

Ludwig hammered those strings
until they bled all over his music sheets.

And as Ludwig sits here today,
he cannot say
if Easter egg hunts are yet permitted
in the Count’s courtyard.

Still, the sun blazes like a snail
across our twin foreheads.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

On Hips and Angelfish

by Rebecca Anne Renner
I hate my hips,
the mere joints of them.

I want to be a mermaid
from the waist down,

they say,

from the waist up would be better:

to have all
the pleasure and none

of the pain.
To just think
about sex

and food,
and swimming

and not being eaten.

If women
are mermaids,

then men are not
sailors, but

these: with brains of fish

easily lured
to earrings and legs

so (spread) open
to the unknown.

Night in the tropics

by Sara Fitzpatrick Comito

Powerline horizons
mark a growing distance
from a rising moon,
slack tambourine
for a listless player.

Yellow beacons
of apartment windows
crochet a comic street
noir against a gesso
of date palms.

Dead fronds slap
barkless trunks like rakes,
shaking out the day.

A dog runs toward traffic
and unseen neighbors
all die together.
An extra second
is added to the clock.

High rises spring up
like teeth - as we
finally inhale -
false mountains
and a moon drips
off the page.

From 8 Equations

8. Pi Burned Alphabetics
Atomic Snowstorms in Left Handed Corners of the Mind
Circumference of Infinity & Where it Has Gotten Us

by J. R. Pearson

It's our winning way at losing that brings us here.
Things that survive a nuclear winter?
Cockroaches, twinkies & infinity

In time, rifles blossom in the dark

& water pounds voices from roofs.
Shadows would crawl into rocks
if the galaxy opened a wave in the night's lung
& we would think of nothing except time

not existing in the cursive call of violins

except your mother speaking thru background radiation
except the white noise of a whimper
except the music of lost charts
& blind notes scrawled on your hand in the rain
hum your lips numb as bleached sandstone

unfound in KOFA turn-around canyons
sing the sight of an octave stretched out beyond the eye
there's no word to suck the poison from a snakebit leg
no sound for destruction put in abeyance
we need more than threnody
& colored ice stirred into starshine
more than ribs curved back to the bow in wings
more than a sliver of saliva lipped to a figure 8
on cold palms warmed to a cheeks heat

when you touch me
my eyes pound with night like a bruise

your voice shifts with an oiled flame
my heart pushes night thru missing limbs
& your breath beats like an owl
I'm all climacteric in this one & done flesh calculus
boiled down to it's bare beginnings
of a bright tone tuned to a galactic string's risen voice

Sunset over Shit Lawn

by G. Tod Slone

The mob inside pushed me outside—
the Hispanics wheeling their carts
bellowing in Spanish as if in Mexico.
A lawn of wrappers and shit lay before me,
where I sit on a bench seat in front of
Walmart in Salem, New Hampshire,
soaking in the last sun rays of the day.
Obese people waddle around the lot
with backwoods air and voices.
A large six-foot long snow and ice turd,
blackened with crap and wrappers,
lies to the right of me, winter’s end
surrounded by melt water, butts, straws,
plastic pieces, bubblegum hockers,
papers, and even a few pinecones.
When you’re my age, if you don’t
have a crew cut and wear a suit
they inevitably say, hey you look like
that guy in Back to the Future.
The sun shoots at me horizontally,
very pleasant warmth and light,
straight over the roof of Wendy’s
on to this stretch of shit lawn.
Cars, cars, I wonder if these people
even contemplate the universe.
Behind me is shit woods also strewn
with wrappers, plastic strawers, boxes,
bags, empty bottles, and crushed cans.
J arrives wheeling a basket full of stuff,
says she’s going to have the girls over,
so bought all kinds of nuts and shit.


by Kenneth Pobo

When Tom says,
You’re a dick!
and I get huffy,
he says nobody means anything
by it, I’m too sensitive.

I claim that I’m not
a dick,
that I’m a warm wool blanket
of a man. I say he’s
too sensitive. Red

as toaster coils, he says
You really are a bitch,
spits the word out
like bitter coffee. If

a word could be a gun,
he’d load it, fire it
directly in my face.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Junkies of Gethsemane

by Kyle Hemmings

The night air is thick with Tiger Bloom and heavy tropes.
Past the trimmed gardens, the clumps of Honeybells
or Blueangels, they crawl singlefile: The Frog Kings
and the Green Goo miesters, salt on their tongues,
the fingers like tubers, the breach of faith,
and now the impossible chasm between them and their
one time supplier of oyster suitcases and barnacle
clippers--Cyrthanthus. One of the betrayers, a man
wishing to be a woman who wishes to be a child, rises,
and says in low falsetto, "Master, where you've been?
You promised to teach us the miracle of The Sacred Hue."
Slowly, Cyrthanthus turns, his beard full of bees,
dried petals from old lovers, and replies, "Why do you
deceive me? Have I not the elephant ears of an old woman
waiting for her son's return from the sand wars? Did I
not feed you when your ponds went dry or your pastel
children went seeking sweet asylum in the oriental night?
Did I not command the oceans to give up their ruby queens
and imperial dwarfs for you? And this is how you repay me?
By giving my true name to the Dogs of Double Bounty?"And
with that each of the followers bow their heads and kneel,
while the flowers around them turn to Maneaters
and the only sounds for miles are the shuffling
of a woman's feet, one who is carrying jugs
into town, and inside one, the cackle of an apple green
calyx that was once a human heart.