Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, August 29, 2010


by jkdavies

I am too weak and
you are too tempting, please
leave like a stormcloud.

Storm tossed reeds bounce back,
"you are strong, independent,
she needs me," he pleads.

My needs ploughed under
dark soil so yours can grow, forced
to my fallow time.

No coffin for this
love killed by your thoughtlessness;
naked mouldering.

Repeated goodbyes
touched to fiery sparks, puddled
blisters left to heal.

My essence pools,
slows to mirrored ice, blue sheened
to reflect you back.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Love Letter of a Cultured Courtesan to his Smutty Suitor

by Jay Coral

Please do not Petrarch me
with your lovely words
i won't shovel cheaply empty lines
your dirty poems especially
to impress on my silky lingerie
and your decadent gifts
like the hard-on that you cannot sustain
let the roses wither
and chocolates goo into slime that you are
read me something tasteless
perhaps i might be blindsided
but please don't romanticize.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

I solace shun is what you make it

by Dan Wilterding

Though not often lonely
when I'm alone
the company of others I seek;
to share, for a while,
the lows and the highs
and the views that make us unique.

The crowd is alright
'til too crowded, or loud,
then loneliness sets in again.
I've got to retreat,
get to calm - get to neat,
get in touch with my own inner friend.

Though never so lonely
as when in a crowd
the company of others I seek;
to share for a while
the lows and the highs
and those things that make us unique.


by Michael H. Brownstein

Have little to do with my wife’s obsession with snakes.
She turns off the heat a few hours before bedtime waking me early with a tired rhythm
of cold blood.
Some mornings cold wipes the floor with Saran Wrap and she remains undercover till
Other times she unhinges herself from bed in a slow stretch of wills to let in the sun.
There is always enough stored here and there to fix everything broken, but there is also
school, a studio to make music, a need for a new boiler and a roof and my
promise to tuck point this summer.
When she finds her fingers are warm enough to bend, and her wrists, and her elbows, she
bends her long legs and tells me to add earthquake protection to our long list of
As frightened as she is of snakes, they are always around her—at the Katie Trail where
we walk, in the bushes near the restaurant where we eat, near the opening of our sub-basement.
Sometimes late at night, her warm body near, I know her heat as the grip of a constrictor.
She owns a python’s strength and sometimes a rattler’s sadness, and still she loves me
regardless of my teeth.
I try not to find myself in tooth loosening moments, but they find me, one loose tooth at a
See this missing tooth? That happened when a gang of teenagers with one or more
guns jumped one of my students.
He is still alive and for his life, I donated that tooth.
I can explain what happened to the rest, but it is only more of the same.
Have you ever seen someone allergic to cats? Then you know how the cat always
welcomes them into its household.
That is the way of snakes and my teeth, my wife and my outrage, how sacrifice really
does describe all of us.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Rain in L.A.

by Sean Pravica

a rain cloud over Los Angeles
brooded like a rebel
boasting a storm
and taunting the drivers
who are suddenly young children again
taking baby steps
not quite sure what to do
and a little scared
though they’d rather not admit that
except maybe to their mothers

depends on what kind of car they drive
what job they hold
and how much gas is in the tank of their gut
that is
how much of their lives
they can actually stomach
if we could run away forever
or drive on an endless highway
we might still fear we’d slip
and let up the ghost
of our vulnerability
before a sky that knows better
knows that already

in this hot place
a sun bright enough to illuminate the buildings
mirrors everywhere for smitten people
examining the objects of their affection
in passing glass surfaces
the sky can’t always hold back its tears
even though it’s tougher here
having seen the dreams lost
and others become
only to slip away
back into the reflective face of a bank
and lost
behind the fake marble
while the rain begins to fall
and drizzle along the sidewalk
the smell of the street rising
time to go home
and face the traffic

Tangled Locks

by Carmen Taggart

Tangled auburn locks shroud your face
Your shoulders collapse around you
Pain thick through the cabin

Delicate fingers trace invisible words across the page
Your face lites up as I offer you a rainbow assortment of pens
Quickly you withdraw back into your shell

Purple ink forms the curvy letters of girlhood
Words tumble with tears onto the page
Suffering between youth and adulthood rage

You rail of a double life one good, one bad
What could such a young girl have done so wrong
Sidelong I read it was sex

Memories unbidden march forth
remembering the longing to lie in my lover’s arms
remembering the shame and fear for having lain there

Unable to allow you to suffer alone I ask where you are traveling?
You say you are going to become an adult
I chuckle, oh honey I know so very few of those!

Voice choked you hand me the journal
Quietly I read then look deep in your eyes
I brake the taboos! I tell you we all have sex!

You clutch my hand hoping I am telling you the truth
Your eyes searching for validation
that you could yet be a good person

We talk of wanting to do it again
of the importance of seeking out protection
The mature thing is to be safe

I channel my mother and give you my email address
I tell you to please write if you need to talk
I will think of you often

We start off the plane
You turn and look at me through tangled auburn locks with tear filled eyes
We exclaim together

New beginnings!

For Michelle, Dead Now Three Years

by Glenn Cooper

In my dreams
you are still
heartbreakingly sick;
death and time
have not cured you.

I reach for you but my hand
passes through.

I caress
the empty space
that soon enough
shall caress us both.


by Michael H. Brownstein

my dance card is not full,
arson laced lady

outside the rain has stopped,
the fog lifting.

pumpkin pie
a la mode.

a soft lust to day

Do you not want to dance?

Sunday, August 15, 2010


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

The day is crowded with birdsong
from the valley to the sea.
I follow the songs on my travels.
Walking alone, but not lonely.

The expansive sky smiles down on
me. A silhouette moon peeks
out. The songs bring me comfort.
I do not feel alone today.

I thank the world for the gift
of song. I would feel sad
without birdsong. I whistle my
approval. I walk along the shore.

In the Closet

by Chris Butler

Broken skeleton;

The Bryan-Darrow Bible Controversy

by Suchoon Mo

for corrupting Eve
God punished the snake
to crawl on stomach since


how did the snake move before then
hopping around on tail?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Early August

by Cath Barton

The muggy days muddle me.
My mind and body drag
In sweaty discomfort.
Tomatoes droop their leaves,
Cats loll listlessly
And my skin prickles.

I stir, fetch water
From the butt
And revive the tomatoes.
The level is low,
Not enough
For many more waterings.

The swish of the traffic
Outside my window
Sounds like rain,
But we look for it in vain,
And away to the east
The harvested crops are dust.


by Robert Vaughan

Rubbing last night’s escapades
from half-baked eyes he
sits, waiting for nothing
as if it will appear

Thoughts thick like car
exhaust choke back
emotions from Kandahar
frozen memories

of severed experiences
The sun could calm
him normally but
today is dark, diffused

so starkly gray like
the insides of a
coal miner’s daughter
an uzi shot

heard round the
world this propaganda
in the form of one’s
dizzying dilemma


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

I awoke in a strange country.
The wing of a blackbird blacked out
the sun. The dim country left me
pensive, pale, and melancholy.
A primitive race of cannibals
wanted to consume my sadness.
There was a terrible beauty
in this world. The giant black crows
warred with the giant blackbirds.
This place made me long for my death.


by Chris Butler

amongst the bugs.

Even outnumbered
by the annoyance
of storming swarms,

their exoskeletons
crunch beneath
eclipsing sneakers

without much notice,

then I intentionally

dismantle ant hills
just to observe
how slavery rebuilds

under magnifying
glass eyes;

by cremating my

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bob Dylan is Dead

by Melanie Browne

He got tangled
in truth

Folk Angels
wearing pink
hot pants
hitch rides
across the desert

The fuchsia flowers
drip from
their hair

Dead rock gods
fly over
the night sky,

sad & blue

palm trees
& beat
their tambourines

Bob Dylan is dead

by Ross Vassilev

that was the rumor I heard
turned out it wasn't true
not yet anyway
Bob's one helluva true spirit
like Johnny Cash was
(he really is dead)
and John Lennon (him too)
I think we true spirits
(and there ain't many of us)
all end up in the same
starry psychedelic Buddha
dynamo where we'll crank out
the cotton candy poetry
of the Gods till the end of
time or we'll end up in Hell
(even more fun)
and we'll be the demons
tying bankers and other
war criminals
to barber shop poles
and we get to shoot at their
genitals with BB guns
O whatever it is
and where-ever it is
let it come let it come
just don't make me
spend eternity
with the Mormons.

Bob Dylan Is Dead Or Rage Into The Night Mr. Jones

by Catfish McDaris

I grew up in N.M. in
a small town noted
for musicians &
snooker hustlers

My best amigo was
a Dylan fanatic, he
studied his words,
guitar, & harmonica

Forget The Beatles,
Jimi, or The Doors
it was Minnesota
Zimmie 24/7

Wanting to put moves
on his beautiful
concrete blonde sister
after long pursuit we
consummated our infatuation

Their father came calling
& said I'd infested his
baby with fleas & ruined her

Deciding it might be time
to seek my fortune elsewhere
I took my hot sauce recipe
for Louisiana champagne east

Outside of Tucumcari I picked
up this dude that hummed
Ballad of a Thin Man for 3
states, when I got to Highway 61

He stepped in front of
a west bound semi full
of pigs, there wasn't
much left of him

I'm not sure if he was
Jewish or if going that
way was kosher, but at
least I hope he's knocking
on heaven's door.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


by Ross Vassilev

the Feds went after the hippies
cuz what good are young
Americans who
only want peace and love
instead of killing people
in Vietnam?

so they unleashed the FBI
pitbulls trained in state
terror, set them loose on
the flower children
and the pitbulls tore them
to shreds.

in the 70s the young people
were still getting stoned
but they didn’t care about
anything so it was OK.

in the 80s the citizens
were reduced to consumers
and if you were too stoned
to flip burgers at McDonald’s
they sent you off to prison
for 10 years, paroled
all the murderers and rapists
to make room for ya.

it’s been the same ever since
and the 60s will never happen
again. we’re just riding out
the spiral of America’s
broken wings.


by Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal

I was looking at my footprints.
I was looking at my shoes.
The footprints did not seem to match.
They might have belonged to a fish
or a flamingo, a minotaur,
or a three legged dog.

I gazed at a cricket jumping in
my footprints. It seemed to
be wearing a tux. My footprints
filled with rain and the tender
cricket fled. A scream from a
nearby bush altered my senses.

A cow with a pair of shoes walked
out of the bush. A cow with a
little girl’s voice walked in
my footprints. It was a mad cow.

Wet Tissue Through Wrinkled Fingers

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

There was a scream from the water
and everyone

A young child
in orange water wings
ran out of the water
and began to turn purple.

First the hand puffed up to three times
the size
and then the arms
below the elbow.

some man yelled
as the panicked swimmers
trampled one another
on their way to the shore
and an empty lifeguard chair
sat without comment.

Wet tissue through
wrinkled fingers
as concerned parents ran into the water
to save their floundering

and the world
turned purple as an eggplant


Al Gore Afterworld

by Chris Butler

In the year Twenty-Twelve,
our token topic of conversation
will still commence with the
appropriate weather tempering
our unemotional climate as

mother nature’s menstrual cycle causes

Eskimo igloos to extinguish the sun’s shine,
Great Plains tornadoes to evaporate trailer parks,
hurricanes to rain acid on an engulfed coast,
and earthquakes to shake water-birthed babies blue
in bloodied oil insoluble in inferno oceans;

as we breathe in an Al Gore afterworld.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Hotel Dusseldorf

by M.P. Powers

I feel like some lowly strip mall
with all
the windows barred up and half the lights
burnt out.


I feel normal
today is my last day
here, and tomorrow? My life will begin
to end
again. Or fail to begin again.

My fault, I know...

But either way
I wait,
listening to the beautiful German chambermaids
down the hallway.

Dreaming of the one that knocked on my door
with the long amazonian
and short powderblue

She gave me soap & towels
and smiled at me
suggestively (I thought)
and that was enough...

I open a little bottle of Jagermeister.

I hate Jager
but seeing it downstairs in the hotel vending machine
in all its coughsyrupy

I couldn't resist.
Especially after weinerschnitzel and four large steins
of the local
courtesy of my soon-to-be defunct

I take a sip.

Rip open the curtain...

There's a factory out there.
A highway.
The sky is completely overcast.


Feels like I'm in

Four Poems

by Suchoon Mo


a cat barks
a mouse farts

the sound of awakening

in silence
the buddha meditates


whenever she sings
she omits "g"
she sins


ever since she met david and married him
she has been stuttering at d

d-d-d-damn you!



together two women sing
one sings a serenade
the other sings an elegy
they sing a same song
they sing a requiem

Soul Effort

by Brenda Blakey

His was a fool’s dream
To wish for her requited love.
He had failed before but
This time he would succeed.
One last whisper in prayer then,
While his body slept on goose down,
His spirit hovered over her house;
He wrenched out his heart completely.
It salted over her sleeping form.
Now she would return his love.
But, unfortunately, he would no
Longer have the heart for it.

Light Up

by Morgen Streur
I struggle with my thoughts, there's so much runnin' through me
Transformer in disguise I wonder if you knew me in a past life
Are you, confused by the new me? [Music is my duty]
I can't force anything and everything is mine but I'm just not satisfied.

[Passerbys pass me by] Am I sent to pacify? Was I meant for this life?
Or am I trippin' skippin' parties thinkin' they won't miss me anyway? 
Every day I write new verses at work & then I come home but it doesn't feel so, 
Back to my workflows... guess I'm Gung-ho, International-no not even local 

Cuz I move too fast, my motives are loco, trained to be a locomotive
Leavin' trails of smoke wherever I go I'm solo [oh no I'm alone]
I been here before so much I almost prefer it
I use it as deterrence so I don't get close to anybody anymore

So I light up...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Three Haiku

by Dan Wilterding

Memories stirring,
each being a pearl once held.
Life is a necklace.

A stone, some water,
slight hesitation -- then throw.
A successful skip.

Dance to the season;
the dance becomes the purpose –
Shade, or what is real?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Nevertheless The Plan Was Not Implemented

by Peter Richter

Thomas Friedman was right when he said, “Much of this biodiversity in Indonesia is now under threat.”

It had been this way since gasoline became currency; I remember bartering with The Governance for the newest edition of The Guinness Book of World Records, which featured a scratch-and-sniff page of the world's worst smelling people. It starred Clint Eastwood. This explained the snarl of his face, as even he agreed at his disagreeable odor.

He is a hard-ass and I respect him for it. Being a hard-ass is what drew me to The Governance. She owns the police, a few million dollars in gasoline, and a jester. She is on her 15th jester.

This is all hearsay, but I believe the death of the first 14 jesters to be related to the illegal logging agreement The Governance made with westerners. I also believe the jesters now live in the most northern region of heaven. Like I said — it's all hearsay.

Thomas Friedman was right when he said “Indonesia exports raw labor, not brains.” The people had bad teeth and brown jeans. Things like lettermen jackets, cosmetics and votives didn't exist there.

I went to The Governance with luxury items and laid them at her feet. Kneeling, I said, “I made a mental note of how well traveled you could be and filed it away. I realize that the amount of gasoline you process does not weigh on your happiness. But Governance, have you ever smiled?”

She didn't answer but motioned for me to continue. I adjusted the volume on the ipod and played a clip from ER. I knew George Clooney could sell my argument; all salt-and-pepper and glaring into the part of the body that makes women love strangers.

She said, “I must have this.”

“But wait!” I said

I dimmed the lights, lit the votives and stripped her naked. I walked around her and bound her to a mink coat. She rubbed her cheek against her lush shoulder and purred.

“Governance. Have you ever felt so beautiful?”

She hadn't.

Thomas Friedman was right when he said, “Of course, a lot of people offer quick-fix plans for how to stem the tide of material degradation, but in countries like Indonesia, plans are rarely implemented as intended.”

It didn't take a week for the people of Indonesia to trade in their gasoline for portable DVD players, Lebron James jerseys and subwoofers.

Sitting on the corner of a dirt road was a child, homeless with an ipod. He tried to hunt with it, but he scared away the animals as distorted music played from the dangling earbuds. He tried to keep himself warm with it, but the tiny LCD screen only generated enough heat for one earlobe. Before it died he tried to cover himself from the rain with it. There were millions like him. And as the forests were purged for western greed, the true population of the tech-savvy-homeless left the naked woods and took to the streets.

I remember being a runaway in Patterson New Jersey. I remember my home made of tarps. The floor made of more tarps. In comparison I had it good. I remember smelling like Clint Eastwood. I remember finding a pocket knife and being amazed at its uses.

After a lunch rush, a restaurant dumped a bag full of clams out back. I sat on the pebbles and broken road and used the knife to pry open the clams.

That was the best lunch I ever had.

Thomas Friedman once said, “Imagine a world without coral.”

I visited The Governance. Her 15th jester had died from drinking the plasma leaking from the wall of TVs. The Governance was ill with worry and malnourished. She was pink and white. I came to her bed side. “Governance, the comprehensive strategy of technology is not just a one-off plan. We need to help them.”

She replied. “We need a million Noahs and a million arks.”

She passed away at that moment. I thought about how I had been drawn to her. I thought about the living energy inside of us, our unexplained machinery churning all the stuff that has sustained us all.

I looked up to the most eastern region of heaven and asked Thomas Friedman to allow me to redefine my relationship with the natural world.

He said, “Have you read Hot, Flat and Crowded? That is the whole point.”

Maybe The Governance had passed away from affixation from her obsession with gasoline. Maybe it was the forests and farms being purged by westerners. Maybe it was the pacifying media.

Nevertheless, inside me, it was all of these things swirling that led to my decision to burn her palace down.

As The Governance rose to the most medium region of purgatory, her palace fell. Most of society had ascended to various levels of heaven.

34% remained. I looked down on them and listened to their cheers as ascending melodies. Flat and crowded met hot and make it hotter, and that was the start of a whole new set of problems.