Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, November 29, 2012

All Alone

by Chris Butler

All alone,
off on my own.
All alone,
a hobo in my home.
All alone,
flying higher than solo drones.
All alone,
under a mossy stone.
All alone,
buried with a dead dog’s bone.
All alone,
lost in this limitless limbo.
All alone,
roaming down ghost town roads.
All alone,
out into the great unknown.

Austere Lights

by Ali Znaidi

No moon tonight. Instead, only bits of
golden fleece adumbrated by mist.
The light faded away bit by bit
to the rhythm of the lunar eclipse—
something akin to distant lights of a plane
swallowed by a hungry sky’s mouth.
Thunder. Lightning. & a cigarette
between two frigid fingers—
I was beginning to wonder if
these lights would hold;
if I would hold.
I wonder if light tonight was
administered to fit into
the austerity measures.

Time Lines

by Ed Markowski

On  the  moonlit  edge  of  a  New  York  Minute.
We  met  in  line  at  the  express  checkout.
Her  soft  lady  fingers  were  wrapped  around  a  jar  of  Nescafe  Instant.
My  calloused  pocket  aces  juggled  two  decks  of  Flash  Cash  lottery  tickets.
She  scanned  me  I  scanned  her.
She  said  Let’s  go  I  said  Let’s  go.
Five  seconds  later  we’re  flying  down  Owens  Road  in  her  Mercury  Comet.
Ten  seconds  post  Comet  we  stood  on  her  front  porch.
Fifteen  seconds  past  her  porch  we  were  panting  on  her  bedroom  floor.
Twenty  seconds  above  her  bedroom  floor  we  were  two  stars  rising  and  falling  in  a  ceiling  mirror.
Ten  seconds  after  the  flood  two  sparks  begat  a  wildfire.
At  three – thirty  on  that  fifth  day  of  May  we  saw  each  other  for  the  last  time.
Five  years  later  to  the  day  today  I  received  an  eleven  word  note  from  Missoula  Montana.
There’s  a  boy  named  Jake  here  crying  to  meet  his  daddy
On  rainy  days  like  today  I  think  about  them  from  daylight  to  dark.
And  every  day  I  hate  myself  at  the  dawn  of  my  death.


by Joanna M. Weston

I lost what I was looking for
whatever it was
shoe    light switch
bridle    life-jacket

if I could peer
round that building
over that hedge
I’d find     hang onto
if I knew what it was

flat tire     scarf
tree where we picnicked
anchor    cry of actors

oh the frustration
of catching that glimpse
as it flicks out of sight
        a rattling echo
        of something or other

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


by Raphaelle O'Neil


Lovely lips;
Lusciously vivid& livid,
Licentious lips
Lying like a serpent lisps,

Sipping Wines
Slipping Lines like
“You’re SO fine,
BABY, Won’t you, please, PLEASE! be mine?”

Laughing loudly,
Lusting lazily
Longingly lingering
Lovingly flickering
 Lips that trip on the tip of the tongue
Lips that whisper and whip, to some poor fortunate one,
Lips that twists words with wit
Spinning and spitting ‘em,
Until they are split
Lipstick lips that stick to a butt of a cig,
Or a dick,
Or a lollipop stick;
Lips that are sick for the wish to be dripped in your kiss…


illness assumed

by Douglas Polk

master manipulator,
impossible not to believe,
reality not a state of being,
but a resource to exploit,
fears played,
a deck of cards,
or chess pieces on a board,
until forced into corners,
doing as they want,
defeated once again.

behind the clouds

by J.J. Campbell

a blood red moon
fades behind the

broken promises
and fleeting desires
fills the space
between us

how does a fairy
tale become a
horror story

and more

which one of us
is the one seeking


by Will Monigold

It will come
I can feel it
It’s standing right behind me
Your tears will be quiet
But I know they will make
The deepest pool
There is a tree
I can see from my window
I keep wondering if it will fall
When there is a good blow
It’s in line with my trailer
And just one of its branches
Would crush this thing
What is it about death
That freaks everyone out
I sit in my chair
And wait for the storm

Sunday, November 25, 2012


by Joanna M. Weston
wide grey cloak quivers
        in a stiff wind
slow feet bring solidity
to the lake
while her sharp nose leers
from the eaves
and the window becomes a portrait
painted by her breath

every time the door opens
a boney toe touches the heater
and a cold voice
shrouds my face

black child

by Ayeni Tolulope

The blood of the deep,
hoisted from darkness,  
drank by monsters,
each drop a curse,
where it touches death yields,
in fields of sorrow,
our seas boil with its curse,
our hearts darkened; a gold-lined purse,
still it courses out in rivers,
each drop fuelling an inferno,
in the end it'd drain,
and the deep would be our end.

Questioning the Body

by Tracy Koretsky

When she told me that Feldenkries was something like
the torah, questions answered by questions
except that they are asked of your body,
I asked if my body would tell the truth or not.
She said, “It doesn't always know the answers.
You have to give your body to your mind

to see inside with what they call the mind's
eye.”  An architect, I’ve heard it called, something like
a handsome stranger who wittily supplies all the answers,
a fairy godmother with the gift of three questions
instead of wishes and you feel gypped.  This is not
the story.  In that story, my body

runs through the long singing grasses, my laughing body
tour jetes against the blue spring sky, and my mind
feels no need to wander inside, not
to probe nor to ponder, more something like
keeping your eye on the ball, your only questions
your teammates eyes, their winks in answer.

Why should you expect more of an answer?
In the end, there is just this: your body
and the same old tired questions.
It might not be a good diversion for the mind,
long strokes on your body, but they are something like
a movie of yourself in your mind, and not

an indy-edgey either. Why not
the feel good movie of the year?  All the answers
tidied by the last big number, something like
tides or long strokes on your body.
(And you remember what you’ve read about “no mind”
but you can’t stop your mind from asking questions.)

For what is your mind for if not for questions?
And what is your body for if not
to be?  Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind
and all that, well, that is part of every answer.
And suffering too, by the way, is the job of the body
who offers itself up something like

a beggar for change, just his presence forcing questions:
Could someday that be you?  Though you’d like to believe not
you have very few if any answers and like him, just one body.


by Bryan Murphy

The morning light forces its way through threadbare curtains. It startles me awake. Where am I? Roll over. No, the bed is too damned narrow, the narrowest bed I can remember. Not a hotel, then. A prison? No, the room itself is too large, too home-like. Got it! It’s the flat I’ve just rented. Home from home for the next three months. A two-room apartment in a run-down leafy suburb in a major East European city. Why? What on earth am I doing here? I don’t know anyone. I don’t speak the language. I’m not even running away from anything. Not really. Just a sore coccyx that forced me to change jobs, get out of that anti-ergonomic study and back to something I could do standing up, namely teaching. Or, in this case, consultancy, for a small dollar salary they say will go far here, and a fat euro-cheque that will fly me to Asia at the end of it. It certainly won’t kill me. OK, let’s have some action: leap out of bed, see how that coffee machine works, have a bash at the neighbourhood market, try and make a phone call. After all, this is my party piece: starting from zero.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Letters to America from Akwa Ibom, Nigeria

by Kufre Udeme

Letter Number 1

If you aren't seeing it, you're blind
If you aren't saying it, you're dumb
That tower of power is about to crumble
If you aren't hearing the cracking sound, you're deaf
If you aren't running away, you're a cripple
America is about to fall!

I saw it in my dream
I woke up and it stared me in the face
Echoes of sorrows rings in my ears
Vision of tomorrow bursts in my head
United States of America, you'll be destroy!

Your sin has become unbearable
You coated the world with white paint
But suddenly you deface it with charcoal
Your wickedness has run over the Almighty's cup of mercy
The flood of your abominations will sweep you like sandy!

Letter Number 2

Mene tekel peres
United States of America
Like the days of corn in the farm
So are your days numbered with finger tips
No matter how wild a candle glows
Mene tekel peres
The wick and wax will come to naught

Weighed on heavenly scale
You have not measure up to God's standard
Mene tekel peres
Prepare, you city of abominations
Your reign is coming to an end

Or soak yourself in ashes
Perhaps the Creator will show mercy
Mene tekel peres
Your time of rule is limited, Western Nineveh
The wind of the Almighty's wrath is coming after you, repent!

Kings and Queens on Mount Everest
Are you greater than Nebuchadnezzar?
Babylon of the present, be not as foolish as a calf
Who thought himself mightier than a lion
Mene tekel peres
Like Sodom and Gomorrah
The Creator will destroy you.

Letter Number 3

America, mind your step
Watch it closer than time
Watch it since you must

America, listen to me
No heart thinks of you like mine
O, what whisper of love!

America, here I come
To loosen your cruel grip
Break the spell of dirty influence
You've casted upon holy people

America, stage of hell
'Despise not sons of gods'
'Insanity mustn't be here alone,' you protest

America swallow your menacing policy
Of no amity for souls not in your crazy order.

America, O America of Christopher Columbus
User of men, war-like, power-hunger

America, mind your step
Watch it closer than time
Watch it since you must
Lest another titanic will sink!

Haiku Triptych

by David S. Pointer

camel sushi
romps away over sand
soldiers hungry

robotic Santa
leaked oil on naughty list
presents for all

turkey axe
displayed center cage
bird land museum

no, I don't support the troops...

by Ross Vassilev

if you mean the American troops in Afghanistan
cuz all they're doing is
killing women and children.
if you wanna show me some troops I can support
gimme the Viet Cong fighting in the jungle
outnumbered 10 to 1
running from the enemy's choppers
and B-52's
gimme the Soviet soldier
dying by the millions in the mud of Belarus
or in the streets of Stalingrad
fighting the Nazis
Red Star shining from every cap
gimme Fidel and his band of brothers
ambushing the enemy with their machetes
in the heat of the Sierra Maestra
gimme any of them and all of them
but don't call what the G.I.'s are doing
in Afghanistan
cuz it's a fucking debasement of the word.

Mabel and Walt

by Donal Mahoney

Mabel and Walt were lovers lying down,
but standing up or sitting around,
they hated each other
even when both were sober.
The kids will vouch for that
provided you can find them
these many decades later.
I saw those kids 30 years ago,

on a gray Thanksgiving Day,
scattering like wasps from a hive
blown from an eave by a storm.
They ran in different directions
far from their ancient trailer.
Wherever they went
no one seems to know.
But now they'll turn up,

you can bet on that,
once they find out Mabel
shot Walt and then herself.
The Will startled all the locals.
Quite a bit of money,
according to the town lawyer.
He's offering a big reward
to anyone who finds the kids.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Folk Remedies for Blue Throat

by Tracy Koretsky

Grasp tongue in clean handkerchief
for four fingers’ breadth; press
a rock against your fish border:
these, they say, will all cure
Blue Throat. Some hold the belief
that mud is responsible, so to kiss the eye
is beneficial. It will, they say, make
it pulse red so that the blue might
surprise into purple. Upon this point,
there is important wavering by our venerated authorities
whose sharp and public disagreements
also include whether swinging a bag
of frogs might help.  Obviously, to hug
a dog will free the epiglottis,
but should no dog happen along
it is best to dream of the perfect curve
of the waning moon and the song she might
whisper if she sang only for you.


by Joanna M. Weston

a rim of colour
tips the lake
with faint sparks

orange and scarlet
embers set
about the far island
opposite my tent

I lie quiescent
as earth greenly dark
waits the burst

of morning
that will light

A Declaration At The Dawn Of Old Age

by Ed Markowski

During  the  years  that  spanned  the  gap  stretching  from  Cathy’s  Clown  to  Me  and  Mrs.  Jones,

I  believed  peace  on  Earth  was  entirely  possible  and  mostly  a  small  matter  of  blind  men  growing

into  wise  men  nurtured,  groomed,  and  nourished  by  the  wise  council  of  the  alien  daughters  and

sons  they  nurtured,  groomed,  and  nourished. I  believed  the  midnight  sky,  its  moon,  and  every

star  stitched  on  its  surface,  to  be  equivalent  shades  of  celestial  enlightenment,

I  believed  soul,  the  blues,  jazz,  hillbilly  honky  tonk,  swing,  folk,  and  rock  and  roll  were  God’s

sweet  gifts  of  jubilation,  celebration,  unification,  and  God’s  way  of  restoring  the  brilliant   red,

white,  brown,  black,  yellow,  and  blue  luster  to  our  flag  planted  in  the  flesh  dust,  and  flying

olive  drab  on  the  billowing  cap  of  a  mushroom  cloud.  I  believed  the  Angel  Gabriel  returned,

traded  his  trumpet  for  a  Homer  Marine Band  mouth  harp,  and  pointed  the  way  across  a

dead  white  desert  of  iron  and  fire,

I  believed  love  minus  lunacy  was  a  girl  of  solid  gold  good  with  salvation  slick  eyes  that

beckoned  and  pulled  me  up  from  the  shafts  of  my  coal  mind,  and  brushed  the  coal  dust

off  my  eyes  with  a  first  kiss  that  would  never  end.  I  believed  hell’s  expressway  was  paved

with  Jerusalem  gold  marble  tiles  that  began  long  before  Galileo,  and  ended  at  the  base  of

a  fools  gold  chalice  set  upon  an  altar  of  bone,  set  upon  the  shadow  of  an  emaciated  murder

victim  twisted  on  a  stick  above  three  priests  and  a  football  coach  tasting  a  just  baked  batch

of  peanut  butter  altar  boys,  who  invited  me  to  the  party,

And  standing  in  that  lie  I  didn’t  believe  in,  I  knew  the  paths  to  the  city  of  gold  though

littered  with  asses,  addicts,  sex,  sorrow,  slop,  rifles,  ribbons,  queens,  quacks,  frauds,  freaks,  fools,

ghouls,  geeks,  and  us  begin  in  the  alleys  and  end  in  the  alleys  that  run  behind  every  church

from  Bramblewood,  Missouri  to  Beijing.

Zero Grav

by John Pursch

Groupies understand mired cannibals, rowing for liftoff, nagging the blockhouse contenders with anthem regard, ticking till repulsion tests an impish frosting. Starkly smitten croakers feed a mastiff walrus treats, merging into Danish columns, washing duodenal alcoves with swerving salamanders. Potted flan acquits reposing barbers, shipping careworn tunics to alabaster napes, yearning for spurned boathooks. Sewn emergent steno pools rip aging whine valve seams, dressed in olive bandoliers and fruitful Pentecostal airs, spooling off an empty cordon’s crude Masonic chore. Hair absorbs the boomtown flutes, stoking an orchestral bumbler’s moxie-driven float machine, crimped from unfurled raisin moats. Dimes strip clowns of ghoulish ashtrays, whiffing in menorah dances, boarding hired trikes for the nearest stepping sun’s bulbous playground ark. Shame propellers snag egregious wavelength karma moods, exciting duped clucks to mash emphatic pleas in curable sedition. Two slurping venerators enjoin the onset to quibble under rayon twilight, overtly esteemed. Periodicals shed opulence at ivory coronations, fixing atavistic fairy trolls with caked-up swoons and needle clogs, hexing a corridor’s mute dandelion. If lobster racquets call Gouda grails to heal a pouting footfall blurt, how might thimble couriers soil sebaceous seizures, plugging emblazoned harpies with newly ported worship? Lined finery, pooled in pestles of diatonic steam, enfolds a chary caste’s spinnaker, spiraling up wardroom wormholes to munched cardigan bliss, mumbling buttoned chestnuts. After portly howlers hunt internal wailing floats, litigious embolisms race for homing jeeps, splitting treasonous dodos with apparent knaves. Slurred atonal actuaries pump cute camels for drone stochastics, charted by henpecked underwear, bowling till drowned correction champs refloat the tribal flounder’s lamprey chute. Gravel sheets implore unpolished fens to crease a contoured goat with Ferris whales, spending chaste treadmill notes on bungee codas. Hovering ponds eject the desperado’s futile hair retractor, splitting gabled dawns with canned intrusion’s placid sighs. A dollhouse stoolie’s vapid idioms polish nabbed belly dancers, minding scored yogurt for agoraphobia’s censured grottos. Interns cobble snowy catheters from looming starter gum, heaping Gordian trotters upon a graying Airedale’s tournament glance. Sonatas regale effulgent bridal flares with dowser wands, snapping hurtled porpoise shale to stitched tureens of lukewarm plenitude. Knots gore foaming senators with crowns of mortal oomph, peddling effluent. Sodden easements cave in funerary paws, basing astral porn rejection’s misshapen pounce on radial comeuppance. Shaven blows evaporate to sunlit mold, waxing municipal shirtsleeves in the lurching hourly craze. Believing shakes before dosage doom, trusting wordless murals in lieu of humbled sots, we cartwheel, thump, and pickle upward, drooling in zero grav.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Three Hundred

after Self-Immolations in Tibet,
International Campaign for Tibet,
by Al Ortolani

Three hundred were taken
away in the night
from the monastery in Ngaba.
Twenty year old Tibetan monk
Phuntsog walked into
the center of the street
and lit his gasoline soaked robes.
Chinese police
beat him with clubs
while he burned. One claimed
they were beating
the flames into submission.
Phuntsog, taken to the
local hospital, was later
kidnapped by a gang of monks
said another official.
His death was duly recorded.
Three hundred were taken
away in the night, whereabouts


by Ayeni Tolulope

shadowy lies,
drawn across the skies,
a darkened temptest,
brewing on for miles,
the threat of an out-pour,
the air; still yet charged,
our herds, look on longingly,
children scamper for safety,
we hope, pray, then beg all gods,
a few drops, the earth groans,
the shrill cry of our shaman,
joy, rejoicing; finally rain,
lightening draws from the heavens, our ancient groove struck,
songs stolen in second stanza; speechless,
the rain trickles then stops,
sighs..... moans....... sobs,
the drought never ends.

God Took Sunday Off

by Frank Larnerd

Standing in the checkout line
I glance at magazines
Pretty people on the covers
Living out their dreams

Snooki’s got a beach house
Lord, she’s doing fine
Lady Gaga’s got some brand new shoes
Paris is high on weed and wine

They’re living free and easy
While I’m working like a slave
I’m buying toilet plungers
While Lindsay’s sins are all forgave

I’ve got four cinder blocks
A shovel and a rake
Jumbo box of kitty litter
And some stuff for birthday cake

Lord, I thank you kindly
For doing all you’ve done
But had you worked just one more shift
I’d be out there having fun

Perhaps dancing with the stars
Or on a yacht way out in Cannes
And everybody run to read
‘bout my brand new diet plan

‘stead I’ve got a buggy full of chores
And a baby with a cough
My life could use repairing
Since God took Sunday off

Thursday, November 15, 2012


by Alyssa Nickerson

The dogma of derelicts is divulged in delicate
dialects, a dialtone drama seen through dire lens,
as with a sense of the obscene or failed future tense.

We met beneath Spanish moss and wild oak, spoke
of the irrelevance of masterpiece as plaster peeled
from cabin walls and cold cracked the calcite
hulls of plantation columns, a sultry puzzle
scattered under stars. Far from home, the vast
unknowns of southern culture showed through
champagne haze and the rosy glaze cast upon lost
lovers by memory, a fallacy of time and mind.

The flights of fancy once ascribed to poetry have
dissolved in fits of filtered light. You find your frail
calling behind the shadows of a mirrored
hall with the grit and gall of borderline heroes
(long since fallen and reduced to ash).

Match these shattered glyphs with pride,
with lines the shade of your sleeping
sighs and shifting eyes (beside me in chicago
morning). Some brands of longing will not
be denied. Consider this fair warning.

Adam Smith Nosebleed

by M.N. O'Brien

See that mountain?
See that bump
In the carpet of the Earth?

Revenge is subtle: not me,
Nor divine isolation, spins
The web of grandest design.

Enough artificial saints!
Halo-headed saints!

You and your artificial “wildernesses!”
Is that even a word?

I've already seen your favorite car commercial.
It's nothing out of the ordinary, nor original.
Ordinarily. Enough!

I've bared too many “We Buy Gold!” pawn shops
Sold at a higher price just to see a Satan cursed
To shed that snake-guy-in-the-grass skin of his!

Why can't people worship Satan in peace and love?
“God-as-a-Dictator” jokes are off-limits?
Why is your throat not dry for the newest game on a cell phone?

I couldn't control the journey of numbers.
How many times do you think Jesus
showed up to a championship event?

I'll tell you the truth:
The Sun takes it with him.

Timeline Soup

by John Pursch

Fitting a cape with codfish undercoats, whereabouts ascend to hijinks, swirling bronze goddesses in geodesic domes, fueling accordions with seedy troughs. Handset mumblers peck away at packaged eels, swarm the deli, and peer through mannequin eggs, scaling the watercress to hubris unknown, popping minor chords from margarine flues and chimp kneepads, interring subway Tennysons in ember gleams of wrought-iron haystack ploys. Unwashed grammar feeds an air-conditioned mime, emptying the sunlight of sworn legions. Garbled outrage claims to decompose in trashbag bliss, crying out for handmade steel. Carvings grate with pickled laughter, lunching on spoken heat, grinding up a roadie’s parried hint. Crammed into sliding odors, mired beneath giblets of moth, patricians reheat the party fakers, faxing alluvial entrails, crusting dislocated soldiers with kindergarten naps. Nautical anthropoids wheel and careen, from darkest past to Kong’s dead calm, vainly antiseptic in their fleeting autonomic blues, severing the whole grain texture, grieving under wadded cauliflower’s stooped embrace. Pinging octets cast away a noble federation, stalking Pyrex heirlooms for rutabaga leash batons, fishing fabled wino chalk from checkered anklet firs. Gentle cafeteria lumps despoil a handy morsel’s cadence crime, vitiating pollen memes with liposuction dregs. Howitzers drag an itsy spittle’s rotund commotion crank, spurting lacquered commas, blinding pale noshers with salient shoehorn spears. Licentious sycophants marble ateliers with Swiss moccasins, vetting undulations till frottage calms the comely ewer. Spelling bans employ addicted crates, ratcheting feared oysters in porcine plaster gowns, groping ordinary welshers. Crepe endives inquire at cached oliphant troughs, quoting acquisition bleats to stenciled silence, filtering fruition’s hurdle. Havens rupture tollhouse crackers, grazing a steed’s primeval oomph with cornrow mallets. Blankets toss a sailing ship above beheaded stories, cashing timeline soup for breadbox gore, sacking helipad symbols for spray-can treaties. Plywood trains encircle tufa liners, marching to a faucet’s sand. Windows blister and peel, striping enchiladas with dollops of merchant news. Stormy trousers flit across the dunes, gamboling legless, flaring into campsite fires, centering pastel giraffes in rational pleats. Population contrails waft below a fluent river’s phonemes, sprinkling commotion with turgid ice disease.

insignificant man

by Linda M. Crate

you throw your weight around as if you're a god
but you are just an insignificant man dreaming
of being something more than his lowly post you
order me around as if I'm your slave like I must do
everything you say; I have dreams and aspirations
that you've tried to crush beneath your fist I am
no longer going to stand for this madness instead
I will leave you here in the wake of destruction so
you can gaze upon yourself in the mirror and see what
the truth surely is; that you're just a glittering insect.

twenty – two below

by Ed Markowski







Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Star Wars

by George Moore

When the galaxy was far away,
the idea of self emerged from the mirror stage
and found itself a self apart, not so much
clay, as a product of the earth.

Under the hand of Vishnu, Creation
continued.  In one, the conch shell
that sounds of the sea, its great Om
the volcanic rumble of the earth in transition.

A disc in his other hand (one of them),
the galaxy, itself spinning into a new complexity,
where eventually the film gives away the ends
of this same universe in dark auditoriums.

Time warped becomes a sense of self
trying to get back to those first things.
But the club in his last hand shows us
the splitting of the atom, the chain reaction.

Life coming out as darkness peels back
the cover of darkness again.  The figure
rides through the sky on a bird that cannot
hear or speak, that cannot trust its own dream.

And in the last reel, when the gods gather
and look like men in their nether state,
in the in-between somewhere where death is not
quite real, the serpent raises its sleepy head

and bites its tail, and the madness
begins again, forming the perfect circle
of desires that taint the world, out of which
we have come, and out of which we are made.

Old Romeo Puts His Bible Down

by Donal Mahoney

Almost toothless now,
old Romeo puts his Bible down,
relaxes in his rocker,
pours brandy in his snifter
and scribbles in his ledger
memories of Mary,
dead some 40 years now.

When Romeo was young
and dark and dashing, Mary
was the perfect foil.
He can see her dancing
and hear her laugh, a note
no mockingbird would try.
He tells his chauffeur,

"Bring the car around.
I need to buy a diving board
for the swimming pool.
The doctor says I'm terminal.
Six months, he says.
I want to dive in Mary's eyes
tonight and drown."


by Alyssa Nickerson

Henry, I had only wished for your
body made mine in twilight, some
heat beside me. The scattered factors

crammed in your theses were made
moot by moon and Southern midnight.

In the youngest moments of a year, performed
twice, your thin limbs (scraggly as mountain pine)
caught mine; and, draped over wrought balustrade,
I could see Venus through your kiss. And if, boy,

I saw your lines draped across Carolina
skies, I might subscribe to novel alphabets
of bliss. But even so, you are not missed.

King is dead

by Subhankar Das

God was living with me in disguise
and I did not realize it for
eleven long years
and when he created that void
and left I understood
that I did not deserve that love
that purity.

My King is dead. Simba the King.
‘Bring him back’ – she said
‘Put him back where he was’.
I tried you know, I tried
all those medicines, injections, mantras, vibrations,
fights were never enough.

‘But Alex is still around’ – he said.
Yes I know that
but this is more than fiction
this reality of life.

My King is dead.
‘I am sorry baby.
Hugs little boy’ – she said.
But I need kisses too
and specially there
you know where.
She never replied back
but turned her face
on top of her long long neck.
Long necks always reminds me
of dicks.
And you must blame Man Ray’s
Necklace for that.

My new red silk lungi,
few candles and flowers and incense sticks
and an empty plastic water bottle
was all to accompany him in his last rites
and maybe a few drops of tears
and howls that managed to escape
from our civilized self’s.

He loved to play with an empty plastic bottle
for I never remembered
to buy him balls to play with
so he adjusted
and never complained.
My King.
My King is dead.
Simba the King.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


by M.N. O'Brien

The cracked staircase
drips down the window
echoing in puddles, rippling through
a reflection of The Blue Boy. I know nothing,
not even Socrates or my mother's migraines.

I must laugh at the serial
numbers when the season comes
to an end. From the start we know the sun
as green, and the trees are paying
homage, reaching up as plywood stairs.


by Marilyn Braendeholm

She felt it in her bones, a pronged ache –
Stretched before her feet the long road
through Bleak months.
She was falling,
out of summer. Autumn
already tickling
and teasing
light summer days from her hair,
and with every step through crisp
rusty leaves, clouds
of dried dust
settled on her white summer shoes.
It was time
for lace-ups
and those
bleak shoes.

Translucent Backwash

by John Pursch

Pondering atolls from low orbit, motives slide to plywood gumption, revolve in slurry stoles, and grace a limbic chambermaid, peddling gators to a streetcar gland. Sheltered windows peck impulsive skewers of peeping flan, cubing lopped-off implications, fielding inklings by the bucket. Tribal ruses stalk bulldozers in steeping trees, separating chutney from chimp caresses. Elongated gristle fools an airborne tremor, bifurcating oily beats, stashing silt downstream. Virile sandstorms hum blowguns in crazed alarm. Brilliant sentries pinch a sleeve, startling cork horses, deftly perspiring down crawlspace tubes, paneling the sky with skinny palates. Sightless in perfection’s swollen rift, offal claims aphasic quibble, hammering out a metronomic well. Dice cascade through turnstile locks, bulging at a trapdoor check, mothering an aging wheelbarrow’s foolish charade. Simperings of a trolley’s bluesy onset, arrayed in dormant years, break blonde atria with delicate aplomb, extricating burnt gyrations. Vernal crates shop for gravitic tundra, hoovering spent soul food into worn-out myths, creasing thematic nebulae with gusto’s easy penance. Filching a few survivors from shimmering doorsteps, shambles convert the gazing crust to cheesecake whiz, phased across an algebraic credo. Functionaries plead through breadboards, stifling earwig dock suffusion, racing indicated paste. Gargoyles greet the seal’s cycloptic owner, feeding regal ghosts inhaled pneumatic wax, clarified with backwash haze. Dawning pixels glide across a chiral faucet, seeping out of transit mist. Snow retreats to trusted noses, laughing in slowly scanned rhapsodic ale. Epigrams defer to implants, thoracic limits preach of pliant want, and inseams counter treasured stoats. Plover pines for stuttered windward markings, spilling vases of miasma, longing for blue countryside. Needles gown a boxcar phantom’s plushly bodied scalar blurts, shedding translucent ease, prying travesty grains from stationary torts. The carnival’s tombstone nadir, now radiant, accepts a jumpy egg. Timing long-forgotten names, troglodytes scan a fibrous vestibule, paying for an engine quaffer’s graceful disregard. Lightly coiled bones surprise epaulette detainees, shouldering mosaics of a tweaker’s iron tide. Only thus denuded, stump by glorious rump, in the pleasure suit of every ivory innocent, we gear for harder hills and dipsy dales of heartland burn and amicable antacid heat. A fleeting tribute to booty shores, on many furtive dusty knees, graven into sandy troves of unseen woolen coins.

Sensory Overload

by Audra Ralls

Tradition of madness
    September State Fair
Come one and all
            Carnies entice

    Scents of secret comfort food
            funnel cakes  turkey legs
                      sno-cone delight    indian taco

Sun sears  tank top
shoulders          Sweat    d
  a trail of droplets wishing for
            a gust of wind

Lovers link fingers    oblivious to others
  a roller coaster of hormones
        screams      thrills
arms wave              fingers grip

Ferris Wheel shadows
        the fantasy land
promising a view of      carnival
      crazines          carousel of kids

Money leaking        from
          limited sources caving to the
    begging and bantering
                  games    tickets    rides
                      I need more

Joints jerk and ache
  pushing through      lines of
strangers    going the wrong way

                        h  r  s
                          u  t

Hours of memories
stored within    Sensory overload
          Now where'd we                          park the car


by Ed Markowski


Pre-Christmas Colors

by Amit Parmessur

When I stop my bicycle in
the swirling dust and watch the
old woman’s lush garden I feel
like a roasted turkey on two wheels.
Once at the library the textures
and tastes of the books transform
me into a blue world map and
then flatten me into an ancient page.
The frantic bazaar decolorizes me
and I become invisible. I still
owe the egg seller a few coins.
Forgetfulness you see.
When I stop again and see the
sun stealing water from the
municipality fountain I feel eager
to serve others. I’m the type who
feels timeless when I hear the big
town clock. Yet, I fail to be proud
of my people as I see almost
everyone whizzing past with musical
corks in their ears nowadays.
I feel like pointing a gun at those
who throw cigarette butts on the
ground too. They have a head
of cauliflower instead of a brain!
I just hope Christ never quits me
and we ban selling unborn chicks
or else I shall keep buying eggs for free
and hatch them into life and
fill my street with merry cackling.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Self Immolation

from The Voice of America

Two more Tibetans have set themselves afire to protest Chinese policies in Tibet, raising the total of self-immolation protests to six in the past two days.

Word of the new protests came as China opened its 18th Party Congress in Beijing for a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

On Thursday 18-year-old Kalsang Jinpa died after setting himself on fire in Rongwo town in Rebkong, eastern Tibet (called Qinghai Province in Chinese).

Witnesses say the former monk raised a white banner calling for the Dalai Lama’s return to Tibet. They also say the protest drew a large crowd and the situation there remains tense.

Rebkong has now seen five self-immolation protests since March, including Wednesday's fatal protest by a 23-year-old single mother, Tamding Tso.

Tibetan exiles also confirmed Thursday that another man set himself on fire a day earlier in Driru, in Nagchu Prefecture in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

On Wednesday, three teenage monks from the Ngoshul Monastery in Goman Township set themselves afire. One of them died on the scene.

The new self-immolations bring the total number to at least 69 since February of 2009. In 54 cases, the protesters have died.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

victim of sorrow

by Linda M. Crate

brine clings to the contours of your face eroding
away every chance of a smile - you've forgotten
the topography of joy and depression settles in
with all her weary wings; she is a lover that you can't
push away and it kills me to see you struggling
if I had nine livers your sorrow would have
drowned them all, you are a whisper in the
wind today but tomorrow I will teach you
to fly again with your clipped wings and show
the world a new shade of you you've never known.

Modern Poem from an Old Fashioned Man

by Jim Ethridge

I think,
      through the years it
            may not seem true,
     The extent with which
I love you.

More than baseball, I love you.
     More than watermelon, I love you.
More than fishing, I love you.
          More than my birddog, I love you.

I think even more than football,
            I love you.

I think
     I love you.

Elvis and Jayne hit the highway searching for the last Injun tribe

by Jay Levon

If I looked like Elvis
and you Jayne Mansfield
then together we could
drive this tall-finned
straight off the rails,
out past the new territories
and into the shadow southlands
where the Red Man will still
scalp a motherfucker
for looking at his lady with
anything more than a
"pardon me ma'am,"
look in his eyes.

Out there men
are unencumbered
the stock market,
fast food,
or any of what passes
for progress.

I'm hoping my black hair
and dark complexion
will gain me their acceptance,
and being accompanied
by your Jayne Mansfield
double-D's and ass built for
sex-fuck-sin can't hurt either.

Read me some Sartre baby,
it's time to take this hi-way
by force.

Two Bottles

by Marc Carver
I drove down the road
smiling and waving my hand out the window
at people walking and driving by.
'Hi ya.'
Maybe it is those two bottles of wine i drunk last night
or maybe i am happy to be alive.
There is only one way to find out.
Drink another two tonight.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Morning Dew

by Amit Parmessur

I know you stare at the pregnant
dewdrops mourning on the leaf
and feel like Atargatis, ready to
transform yourself into a mermaid
for unwillingly killing my love for you.

I know you wonder where
these dewdrops were born.
Yes, right from my heart.

A more careful look will
reveal they are not mourning.
They are half-bird femme fatales
whose enchanting voices
want to draw you to me again.

These dewdrops have stopped
and hope to avoid a dark plunge.
You must move before my legs
fuse together and I forget my name
one stormy night
invaded by guitar music.
Mistakes happen and
rainbows do break into dust.
In every dewdrop there is a Utopia.
In every man there is a woman.

I’ll forgive.

Or else, one day you might keep
asking “Is my King alive?” and count
the dewdrops on every blade of grass.

North Dakota

by Ed Markowski


Still Life

by Robert Nisbet

Foreground, the pop lorry reached our street
on Tuesdays around tea time.
There were dandelion & burdock
and that hoosh of air and excitement
as the little cradle of wires
snapped back off the top of the bottle.

Deeper, a sunshine soaked the street
and we were safe in the centuries around us.

Author’s Note: I’ve just realized what a “British” poem this is. So to explain: in the 1950s and 60s, lemonade (usually called “pop”) was sold in Britain from lorries (trucks?) which drove around the houses. The bottles were sealed by quite neat little cradles of wires at their necks.

Reasons Why I Sing

by Audra Ralls

I have no pitch, nor musical ear.
In fact, my voice is something to fear.

And yet I sing . . . .

    I sing for
        coffee, good grades, sleeping late.
    Crowing about
        smiles, cash, even a first date.

I don’t know the words to many songs,
so I happily repeat them tragically wrong.

And yet I sing . . .

    I sing for
        babies, cake, a sparkling clean house.
    Crowing about
        football, phones, leaving that louse.

I embarrass my son with my tone deaf voice,
but hey, he’s my kid so he hasn’t much choice.

And yet I sing . . .

    I sing for
        family, Jesus, good hair days.
    Crowing about
        my son, snow, a job that pays.

I’m not Celine, Madonna, nor the Backstreet Boys.
I’m just an ordinary mom making a joyful noise.

And yet I sing . . .

    I sing for
        hotels, rainbows, our dog without ticks.
    Crowing about
        dominoes, nachos, good lottery picks.

I sing in my car; it’s my personal stage.
I’ll keep my song, you keep your road rage.

LalaLalalala  LaLa lelelalalal La La Leeeeee Lala lalala LA!

Last Vote

by Sy Roth

His liver conspired against him,
then the State.
His liver consumed by cancer cells;
his vote by rules.

Relentless cancer chomped and ate
It left one morsel he could digest,
his one rule
duty must prevail.

Before cancer switched off the lights
last act of a living man drove him.
Vote, make choices
despite fading light  and speech.

He did, then died
but the law proclaimed it null
nixed because he died--

Last vote hangs from a tree in limbo.
No matter his service his reality expunged.
Rules trumped
his last human act.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Not Just A Name

by Vinodkumar Edachery

It is not just a name
A passion, a synonym for resistance
Against oppression
It seethes once again
With utter rage
Shouting fiery slogans-
Always proud of its brave sons
You, the last of martyrs
True inheritor of the spirit
No lesser than an idol
Posed a menace to the corrupt
Never compromised with principles
Sacrificed all  prospects for the ideal
Throughout your life
They followed you like cowards
Under cover of darkness
To inflict 51 gashes on the face
In a calculated move
Giving no chance even to scream

Oh! Brave Martyr
They really feared you
Your idealism, steadfastness
Integrity, compassion, commitment
And the indomitable will
You inspired the crowd with frenzy
You were riding a bike, they, an Innova
That shows the difference, true
You wanted them to correct their ways
To stick to the ideals
Like true Marxists
For you felt they had gone too far
From its fundamental tenets
But it was hard for them-
A going back to fundamentals.
So they took the easiest way
They decided to eliminate you
With brutal barbarity
You were hacked to death
There were 51 stabs on your lovely face.

You were not ready to relent a bit
They too….
You will not deviate from tenets
They, from rashness
You could attract the crowd from their fold
Like a magnet
Mingled with laymen like old comrades
Came to their help in all their needs
No matter whether wedding, feast or funeral
Shared their joys and their woes
Like one of them, you were a brother to them all

They began to lose parliament seats
The party had to bow its head
All arrogance gone
You reminded what they had forgotten
A going back was hard for them
So there was no other way
They did just what they could.

You couldn’t forgive their deviation
They couldn’t forgive your fervour
Your death created a furore
You grew in stature, bigger than ever
Ready to devour them all
It exposed the wicked, the selfish
The vested interests
The betrayal with a wedding letter
How your name turned a hymn of hope for all
Deemed more dangerous than the bourgoise
The common enemy of all Communists-
Racked none their brains to analyse
They tried  hard to deceive the cops
And blindfold the eyes of Truth
With all wiles, like the sticker ‘Masha Allah’
To  shade it all a communal hue
Maligning air with blatant lies
Sieging courts for trying convicts
Blocking normal life with hartals
Snubbing  martyrs as renegades-
Sheer gimmicks to calm the sheepish ranks
How vile it’s all, what a shame!
That you were called a renegade, how perverse!
Fie upon them! They are incorrigible.

They unleashed terror to destroy you
Disfigured your face with 51 stabs
Which really disfigured their own faces
True, it is they who really lost their face.

I always wondered at your power
Listened to the speeches in amazement
Anxious to see how you challenge a Titan
A David against Goliath
You started soon the mending work
When they derailed from the tenets
Still you could do more than Hercules did
Who had really inspired you
But who can trust they will mend their ways
As Hercules did?
No, they can not.
You said to them, ‘this is not the way’
Certainly, you had the right
You were in their fold from your teens
You were well-versed in Marxism
Instructed the rank and file about true path
They cut you into pieces in your 51st year
When you turned a rebel
You were the true son of Onchiyam
So you could not compromise like others
They were aware of your prowess
Feared the welcome you enjoyed
They in jeopardy found their ways
When you formed a new outfit
And people flocked round the pen
Seeking shelter under the roof
And saw a saviour in your words
Then they came to win you over
With a lot of allurements
But you stood adamant
Refused to make adjustments
To you, ideals were more important
Than anything else.

That night I couldn’t sleep
For several nights sleep didn’t come to stay
The evil had the victory-heart throbbed
It is as if they plucked the Sun from the day
Moon from the night
You knew the murderers were after you
Still you took no caution
They came in a group with weapons
You travelled alone, armless
Riding a bike, that made things easy for them
The whole state was terrified
Everyone deplored the act in severe terms
The mighty tree was felled
But your death was not in vain
It exposed the real culprits
Brought their ugly faces to light
The fire it instilled in raging hearts
It will take time to extinguish
You became a martyr
Like a true comrade of Onchiyam
The land of martyrs
For denouncing corruption in strong words
You lashed at the vices
From toe to crown
They tried to make you look like them
A ploy that didn’t work, like Masha Allah
They didn’t think that you are invincible
That you had no death-your ideals
That you had a charmed life
Like Caesar you proved stronger in death
You are not just a name
A symbol, a stone, a stubbornness.