Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Envied like so Many Flamingos Missing Carotenoid

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

In contrast, yesterday’s enlivened “communication,”
Opened up politics which otherwise served warmongers,
Who envied like so many flamingos missing carotenoid.

Disputes that lasted for several laundry cycles,
In one corner of that sovereign homeland,
Perpetuated more regular instances of danger.

Again, tendencies toward sterility of thought,
Encouraged no dialogs among occupied persons,
Failed to balance proffered battle opportunities.

You see, authenticity’s yet iconicized in shiny things.
Unpleasantness still gets perpetuated on YouTube.
Civilization’s bunk, like elephant waste, remains destructive.

If only more frequent instances of safety,
More wholesome depictions of self (suited to esteem),
Got broadcast, we’d find peace among paupers.

Until such a span, reality, online, and in paper form,
Smirks at little children stuck on isles of limited serenity;
Enjoys sticking its tongue out at witnessed victimhood.


by Nancy May

winter horizon
broken branches
fallen snow

Leaving the High Country

by Craig Brandis

I saw satin knife blades sweeping the skin
from the carcass and returning  to their sheathes.

A herd of elk leaving the high country
swimming through a sea of blue stars.

The Predawn Hike

by Tom Hatch

We set out as we said the night before
Predawn off Tudor Road to Devils Den
The almost shadowless trees across the trail
The air being watched through eyes of Uncas
Or Magua they do not know us their arrows
And muskets pointed at the sound of our way
seen behind
Birch bark and pine I swear I smelled gunpowder
And heard Hurons
From my youth pop gun caps pop
Shredder red paper like blood on the ground
Pulling my son into the dry creek bed
Shimming elbows to trunks
We climbed up two different pines I
Hoping to see all the tomahawks and knives
Ready for our scalps
The dream of youth The Last of the Mohicans
High up in pine trees my son staring at me
Twenty feet off the reality of ground
Like what is this all about?
The sunrise shone embarrassed me of my
Youthful thoughts
Finished our hike covered in sap
Camouflaged with pine needles
Stuck to the view of the Saugatuck reservoir
A half mile away
the sun in control
The tiny sight with binoculars enlarged
Two Narragansett dismounts side stepping pacers inch
By inch into the water rippling blue (Danube)
In a waltz disappearing away from
The shore my youth
I stared into his youth he throwing rocks over the
High cliff of his days I sat and watched
As the two black horses extinct as my
Youth disappeared like the Dodo bird
That could not fly but walked away

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A Gift Logic Can’t Buy

 by Donal Mahoney

My boss has a problem with God
or rather a problem with me
because I believe in God
and he doesn’t.
Or so we discover
while taking a break
at a big convention.
I hope I don’t lose my job.

We’re in a bar with Lady Gaga
pouring from the juke box.
My boss has a whiskey sour
and I’m nursing a Coke.
God help me.

He doesn’t believe
faith is a gift no one’s
guaranteed but knows
some folks have it
and others don’t.
Why is that, he asks,
finishing his sour,
signaling for another.

I tap into memories
from philosophy class
and recite the proofs
for the existence of God
some folks accept
and others deny.
My boss sees the logic
but still doesn’t believe.
So I sip my Coke and say
faith is a gift logic can't buy.

A few more drinks and he asks
what a man must do
if he wants to believe.
Ominous, I think, but here goes.
My wife, after all, has a job
with benefits.

I tell him to ask the God
he doesn’t believe in
to grant him faith.
Ask Him more than once
and if he receives it
he will be amazed
that someone
like me believes.

Hail Mary

by Al Ortolani

The sycamore is bone
white in winter, the few
straggling leaves like bats,
wings curled, hanging
loosely against the mottled sky.
The jay in the oak
complains of the gray squirrel,
bending limbs, leaping
like a ghost
to connect the branches.
The blue sky is brief. It separates
the clouds—a flotilla
scudding west. The sun
falls between the shadows
of the house. The sycamore
stretches across the walk—
one boney finger to the door,
one hand open to turn the knob.
We are home, plates in the sink,
the television flickering football.
My uncles are a reflection in the end zone,
the family face, the muscle,
the bone, the game clock
ticking through another Thanksgiving.
Johnny Unitas in black high tops
drops into the pocket
to heave a last-ditch prayer
into the lights.

Paul Repossessed

by Donald Brandis

the moon a slice of melon
a weak lantern over an unsettled sea
their boat wallowed like the pig it was
a sailor standing beside Paul fresh from a visit to Corinth
said then spat overboard
neither guide nor décor but random thought
senseless as the waves of this beachless life
he muttered to himself without passion
Paul heard, considered answering
out of the great shaking reordering he once endured
like a hanging, like a mugging on a dark street
a sunstoke fit lasting three long days and nights
raving and thrashing, spitting up bile
then woke up someone else he was no longer around to recognize
would not have if he was
citizen now of a far country few ever merely visit

'the whole human world is overdue for a good shaking
and it's not far off,' he answered in the same flat undertone
the sailor had used but seemed now not to hear
for just then a huge fish leaped straight up out of the water
shaking off spray and all but dancing on the sea surface
twisting side to side as if to throw off a lined hook
flashing silver blue-green in moonlight suddenly bright as bonfire
for a long moment it hung near the moon like a dark wish almost granted
then diving back into black water it vanished without sound or splash
'Satan?' the sailor asked in the same monotone
'Us,' Paul answered: the sailor nodded


by Marc Carver

"You want to believe in the magic of life
but practacities hold you back
you want to jump
but can't push yourself over the edge
you want chance but like comfort also.
You are waiting but don't know what for.
You don't want fame or fortune
people bending at your knees
but you know you want something
that is always away from your grasp
stretching fingertips.
You will never find it my friend
until you are prepared
to let yourself fall."

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

December Journal: Friday, December 6, 2013

by Don Mager

With a Wren’s persistence at a patch
of dry grass, the sun pecks doggedly
at the undersides of ice frozen
on chandalier limbs. In clandestine
caves of starless dark, sleet of evening’s
drive-time rain froze solid.  Half a day
away, ice clings undaunted by the
glaring sun’s affronts and its brazen
onslaughts.  Persistence hails its triumph.
Outbreaks of glee loosen ice chunks to
slip off.  Their silver clatters down to
bare grass’s midday patch, glistering
like the blast from a shattered windshield.
Ice shards drop.  Sun licks.   Ice drops.  Sun licks.


by Marc Carver

Today I had a desire to live
on a roundabout.
Initially I  thought about it
while looking at a small roundabout
then I started to fantazise about bigger ones.
Get a little tent
face one way one day
then sleep another way the next.

Watch cars and people all day long
as they go to work
go to places
have to drive
and I would have my own estate
my free land
I could walk around my island without the sea
and dream forever.
King of the manor.


by Corey Cook

cardinal preaches
from the church steeple -
dust-covered pews

…And The Bottle Is Empty

by Paul Tristram

The forehead of the bone Full Moon
frowns down big, fat and oppressive,
keeping slightly out of punch range.
As a knot of frustration entangles
my mood giving solitude Chinese burns.
There is a stench of death adrift
upon the crippling Winter wind
yet it is almost certainly not bodily.
The Town Clock behind to the right
neurotically tolls another bleak 2am
as I lift my stiff carcass up off this coffin
smooth park bench and walk unsteadily
in an antisocial fashion across to where
the streetlights adamantly refuse to go.
Then with collar up and jaw fixed
I step onto the dusty old Dram Road
to pilgrim into the night alone just like
my Father and Grandfathers before me.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jack of All Trades Drives Irene to the Hospital

by Al Ortolani

At midnight, Jack robs the lawn mower
for extra gas, drains the tank, tilts the red can
into the garage light. Wearing

his best flannel shirt for the introduction to come—
he and Irene drive country roads
for fifty miles in the beat up Ford—
past the drag strip, the massage parlor, the state line liquor.
He stops at Chubb’s for water.

They run the garden hose into the radiator
and let it fill. Chubb waves good luck, then
more bean fields, more closed signs—
The streets in Joplin are empty, the traffic lights
down Maiden Lane—blink in syncopated yellow.

Jack pats the hood in the parking lot
at Freeman Hospital—the engine block
seeps oil, pings, smokes as it cools.
Wild geese or ducks, he can’t tell which,
honk towards Shoal Creek in low clouds.

By dawn, nothing
looks the same; the Missouri oaks
drop leaves like messages.
Only change is permanent.

Irene resting, daughter in pink.

He celebrates with pancakes
and an oil change—
daydreams about a new wood stove
and a rick of hot popping hedge.

Theogonies—a Dithyramb

by Robert Gross

The power of air
            in the thicket of a shrouded thought
the redemption of the world
                        through water and forgetting
the oven has gone out
the ashcan has fallen

The power of a coin
            in the street—a godlike boulder
the redemption of the world
            through stain and stupefaction

the key chain snaps
the small talk scatters

At the start it was all
            teapots and doilies
                        the proper parson’s parlor
all potpourri
                        and phillipians
the kettle wheezed
                        and it ruptured
            shattering the wedgewood
                                    driving the flock
                        gibbering into jivey dialectics

The power of sleaze
            in the scramble up the stairs
the redemption of the world
            through rock crystal and rot
the mutation of alien thoughts
            in bed and boardroom

What is the dance for
            dry rot and distance
                        the wordless weeping wobble
all chainlink
                        and charleston
the jeté freezes
            at the jolt of a jeremiad
the blindfolded danseur caught
            between barre and backroom
                                    in sharp-ribbed panic

The power of grief
            in the remaking of manifestos
the redemption of the world
            through whirlwind and wisecrack
the tea cosy is split
            the thoroughfare has become a thicket

Freaky Frog King

by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Freaky, grotesque, malformed frog,
Upon your slimy stool,
Why promote such warty ways,
Your bayou place, your rule?

You liege of dirt, decrepit, foul,
You fetid beast of earth,
Monarch ‘or tainted bowels,
Sullied passages of firth.

No untarnished throne of gold,
No robe of flowers fair,
No sun-covered royal aides,
Attend your dank, dark lair.

Yours remains an ailing land,
Sewage, tar, smoke, plus pox,
Your dais sits on caving sand,
Your kingdom’s silt and rocks.

However, your odd, speckled skin
Hides a cure most rare,
Thus, homage piles up near your feet
If only for a share.

Wonders of the wider world,
Hide in shocking pots,
Thorny or toxic jugs,
Tend to ferry lots.

Judgments based on airs, it seems,
Weigh by foolish coin,
Breed life’s greatest fears,
But leave answers yet stillborn.

I’d rather kiss a goat, a ram,
Than seek your putrid healing,
Nonetheless, in most things grand,
Aspect’s not revealing.

So, amidst the mire, the muck,
I search your ectothermic pleasure
I kowtow your fossorial might,
I beseech your marine leisure.

Yield your poison juice to me.
Caress my digits nimbly.
Noxious serum’ll set me free,
Venom will discharge me duly.


by D.L. Tricarico

I know all about death
And how when the sun is tame
And the wind is warm
It can be a kind of torture if
The pain still sings in your heart.
I know all about death.
I am intimately familiar with
loss and loneliness
which are really only two
sides of the same coin.
I've heard all about how death comes.
I’ve been told how a music
Plays at the end
That only you can hear
Heavy on power chords, basslines,
and regret. I know it comes
when you need something else
altogether. A new client,
a phone call from your children.
 A tune from The Beatles, maybe.
But then, There it is, in front of you,
staring at you like it does.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Long Distance

by Bill Jansen

32nd cousin twice removed (3.47 ERA)
of Earl Skruggs I get jumped
at karaoke sea-lion cave in Forest Grove,
(across from Periscope used book store)
late, but I make it
to 1000th Grand Opening of Bi-Mart,
(across from Ace Hardware).
None of the vehicles in parking lot
are later than 1952.
There is a persistent rain
that smells of Old Spice
but the truth and the ground
and every other bastard thing is dry.
Lucky Strike model in cocktail dress
lifts me out of my 94 Mazda pickup
and abandons me: a baby smoking a cigarette.
I crawl happily toward the store entrance.
1946 in a cottage near a clover leaf
in New Jersey, the cocktail waitress
has her dress snagged on barb wire
a gallant rapist is holding down with an umbrella.
In the cottage a phone is ringing off the hook.
Will someone please pick up the phone,
unavoidably delayed by a storm
in the path of their migration
the dead are calling collect.

Doll Burning Ceremony

by Tammy T. Stone

a morning just
before rain,
under a swelling grey sky
an incense dome enfolding
hands brushing dreams to face
monks in procession in a
world of honour and
not forgetting

chanting, the souls of
the sweet dead and discarded
my bursting heart
listens to a mournful
purple elegy
little beings piling up below
on the pyre
readying for ascent


by Marc Carver

A group of men come into the pub in Mornington crescent.
They are old,
but looking back on glory days.
It is like watching the carriages of a train
still in and in they come.
I go upstairs to the toilet
it is one of those victorian staircases,
only big enough for one.
I meet one of the gang that just came in,
he is big.
"I think we may struggle here mate." I say.
"I will go back up." He says.
As I pass him I say.
"I am getting a bit portly."
"Are you taking the piss?" He says.
"No I wouldn't  do that." I tell him.
But neither of us
believe that.


by D.L. Tricarico

you have to have patience
for it all
the illness
the death
the supermarket lines where other
humans murder your time
with their stories
and other acts
of routine mundanity.
you have to have patience
for the burdens and the setbacks,
the broken dish,
the stalled cars, the once pure
that have grown rotten
and corrupt, the pressing "1" for
“English,” and
the endless rain and snow.
you have to
have patience for
the difficult child, the late plane,
the loading app,
the keyboard key that sticks
and changes your entire message.
you have to have patience
for it all,
until you see
how it’s slowly killing you
and only then
do you realize
that you have to have
patience with yourself,
hoping all of those you love
survive once you finally snap.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014


 by Leila A. Fortier

In the great tradition of Rabiʿa al-Basri, who as an eight century Sufi mystic and poet is regarded as the first female saint of Sufism, setting forth the doctrine of Divine Love, the poems in Numinous seem to arise from the deepest memories of humankind and a communion with the spirit.

The Camel gives it Four Hooves Up.  That's as in Buy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

totem animal

by Joe Milford

as a child told of beasts
as a boy reading of beasts
as a boy being a beast
as a man killer of beasts
as a man eater of beasts
as a man maker of beasts
as a beast afraid of men
as a beast masked as a man
as a beast killed to mask beasts
as a beast becoming a man
as a man recalling ancient beasts
as a man a dying beast
as a man an archive of beasts
as a beast shedding a man’s skin
inside this skin a beast and a man
inside this skin the child taught by beasts
who exited the womb with those masks

Jacaranda Tree Bar

by Tim Tipton

The five o'clock whistle wheels.
It is nearly dusk.  Darkness surrounds
a perfect sunset.
All the men are coming home.
Wives run out to meet them.
It's a clear clean night.
But the only thing my father wants
is waiting for him in a magic circle
within the best bar in town.
As daylight begins to slowly fade,
my father is torn. Between his
responsibility to my mother,
to   his minimum wage
job as a roust-about in the oil field
and the pull he feels
toward jacaranda tree
bar at the corner
from our house.


by Jim Bennett

over to the east  the moon is rising
full as a fruit bursting with light

burning through high cirrus clouds
its sunlight with a halo of ice

it is not be that way or any other
just because you say it is

tomorrow will not shine like a diamond
no matter how much you polish it

a stain is growing weeping further
down the wall   a grey ghost passing

I see nothing in your eyes now
sunglasses are so bright

strange dreams

by Linda M. Crate

with laughter in his lips
she sips
preying upon all my fears
telling me
every heart ache i wished i'd never
had to hear,
strangers lie in my bed where sweet
dreams used to sing;
i don't know where these nightmares
got their confluence over me
but they exude
a confidence
that evades me when the night strangles
out every last whisper of
light from moon beam or distant star—
now all my dreams are strange
whether good or bad,
and nothing is every what it seems
in these dreams
one face morphs into another
enemies become friends and friends enemies
and family turns both into angels and
monsters to attack me
when my back
is turned;
like love lust
this unrequited strangeness between night and
day stings,
and i pause because i don't know how
to color in these strange lines
so i color outside them

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Burning Bush

by Ralph Monday

I do not know your god filtered
through you, speaking tongues,
where you sit like a broken Roman
statue reciting Etruscan.
How can I know this spirit language
that is plucked from thought’s burning
bush? Ask, and I will give you a god,
a great Grecian urn, cracked, singed
black by the fires of dead dialects
that does not speak language of the
living. Run your tongue over its fissures,
taste the waters pooled in dry desert
oasis. Fill it with all the dross of your
years: anger toward mother, father, husband’s
suicide, intoxicated philosophies only you
can decipher, days of cum and roses, black
spots on the heart singed from a welder’s torch.
Mix it all together like a spell in a witch’s
cauldron, write that ink on a granite wall,
let the god tongue split you open through
an aria’s incantations. You will be no more
whole than the butchered underbelly of a sow.
All the gods long ago retreated to the sky
when they could no longer replace the faces
of women shivered by their dark tongues.
Words do not fill emptiness. Words make
the empty, the infinite void spoke into
being before the tongues came through you.

At the Mall

by James Babbs

he walks with a limp
hair as white as snow
shuffles over and
sits himself down
on the bench next to me
keeps adjusting his leg
until he’s comfortable
looks at me and grins
what’s a young guy like you
sitting down for
he asks
I grin right back
tell him
I’m not that young
and I like to come here
and watch people
I hear him chuckle
but his face
doesn’t seem to change
me too he says
but when you get to be my age
you’ve pretty much seen it all


by Amit Parmessur

On her way to the scarred cliff she
smelled the burning sunflowers again.
She saw a wheelchaired centenarian,
his head hanging with warm snow;
he gave her a rope and a sword.

Once there, she quickly rubbed
her hands in the dust before choking,
slitting and dumping dexterously
her dead heart into the wild wind
for play, pleasure and peace.

Her eyes did not drip.
She sacrificed many more body
parts as grey smoke from nearby
camp fires wreathed slowly up.
She relished the struggle for breath.

Till, renewed, everything crept back
rolling like shiny drums to tell her
that life isn’t a sacred book,
or a scared feather.
She dug a lush grave
for her tears and became a
spectacle for the white clouds.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Petal Stuck in Dictionary

by Joe Milford

Mélange collage barrage pantheon
Serpent sylvan cistern sylph symposium
Organ xanthium tundran sap gum arboretum
Skywatch rover-monitor satellite videodrome
Interpolitician scalpel gyration in ammodium
Destitute-tron on terrible track no stopping fuel
I wish you would make me a flower, that’s all
Pantheon serpent tundra sap-mouth abuser
Sky merchant lying to the destitute for drones
A symposium of those who know to break you is $
Gyrations in the auditoriums as the welcomed
Stars burn down upon the concrete with their steps
I rove in and amongst the best and worst and say
I wish you would make me into a flower; that’s not impossible

middle school blues

by J.J. Campbell

a sixth grade
student got up
from her lunch
table with all
her friends and
walked to the
restroom on the
other side of the
school and hung

she was found
later in the day
by another

there was no note
left and weeks later
the whole community
is still dumbfounded

i'm sure it'll come
out that there were
drugs involved
or the mean girls
started calling her
a whore
or her parents
disciplined her for
not getting straight

none of that matters
to me

all i can think about
is how i would've
never had the guts
to do that when i
was that age

i guess girls do
mature faster than

The End of the Frontier

by Michael Ceraolo

The history books told us
(and maybe they still do,
I don't know)
the frontier was closed in 1890,
                                              an event
trumpeted with great fanfare by the Census Bureau,
                                                                           an event
posited as an important development
by a famous historian,
no longer able to play cowboys and Indians for real
changed the country somehow,
the exploitation and despoliation
just moved overseas

To a lesser degree,
has been posited as a second closing:
the year when, for the first time,
more Americans lived in urban than rural areas
(the definition of "urban area"
makes this questionable as well)

I offer a third alternative,
unremarked upon at the time,
almost unremarked upon now:
the frontier ended in 1956,
on a day and date unknown,
for the first time in the country's history
more people worked for someone else
than worked for themselves

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Teasing Mielina

by Amit Parmessur

If spring has another face, it’s yours;
on each thread of your holy head
there’s a golden drop of honey.
There are flaming swords always
busy carrying beauty
from one pink lip to another.
And in the honeycomb of your
brown eyes dwells a child,
buzzing with stingy questions,
while adoring divine idols
more than her own saintly soul.
As solid as your chair,
as parliamentary as owls
sits a queen who knows
honey isn’t far from the sting.
Your voice cuts
my morning blues and urges
my scars to commit suicide like
drones crashing into hard clouds.
Like you, the future promised
to last forever and
when you play in the rain
to whet your moles made from
two million flowers
I always go
tell the bees of you;
your dream isn’t to spy on
the moon and honey making
wild love on their honeymoon;
it’s to hear me hum your name
before I enter the ocean.


by Roy Dorman

Driving a narrow country road on an overcast winter day,
I pass a large woods
And can see more than half way into it.

Bare trees and equally bare underbrush,
The floor a foot or more of snow;
Nothing much going on in there.

Passing that woods in summer,
I wouldn’t be able to see
More than ten feet from the road into the woods.

I know during the summer
There’s a lot going on in there;
All sorts of flora and fauna activity.

These and similar concerns
I’ve registered complaints about over the years
Continue to go unanswered.


by Marc Carver

 A man walked past my window by the park
then I saw his dog.
I started to whistle,
that famous dog whistle.
The dog started to look around
as the man walked on looking into
the world which was his mobile phone.

I kept whistling as he kept walking.
All of a sudden
the dog sprinted off in the other direction
as if he had just heard the gun in the 100 metres sprint.

After a while the man started to shout for him
but in the end he gave up
and walked back the other way.
He has not come back,
so you could say
the dog was taking the man for a walk.

Yellow Crop Duster

by James Babbs

I hear the roar before I see it
and the sun brightens the color
against the blue of the sky
the plane makes a sharp turn
before swooping down again
coming in low over the corn
the pesticide like smoke
billowing from the rear
so close
I can see the pilot’s face
and I try to imagine
my own self up there
flying above the green fields
holding it straight
before suddenly pulling up
at the last possible moment
soaring into the light

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spring Eternal

by Reena Prasad

Under the clear water, my toes explored
smooth, brown pebbles
while a white thorth swung like a hammock between us
Little fish darted about in our white pool
unaware of its cottony limits
till we let them go free into the
filtered sunlight dancing on the pebbles
Beautiful in her red pavada and blouse
and a kumkum spot between her brows
I admired her wordlessly-
silver anklets, long black hair, apples everywhere
and a crinkly smile.

I met her yesterday -
this lovely sister of mine. Still smiling
but with wrinkles where a dimple once lived
with broken toe nails, sparse, grey
a dried apricot- her beauty all squeezed out
Then I saw her daughter
and found the reservoir intact again

thorth- thin,cotton towel
pavada- long, flowing skirt common in Kerala
kumkum- turmeric/saffron with slaked lime( bright red powder)

October Death

by Ralph Monday

October in Tennessee, the fields
speckled with wildflowers like
pennies shook from a piggy bank:
goldenrod, swamp thistle, ironweed.

Frost will soon take them, crusted
white like sea salt, dying seeds
scattered by the wind fretfully
finding root for hoped resurrection.

You are dead to me. I cannot grow you.
Your leaves crumpled, sickly brown
forest rot spread over black tree roots,
perished stone, abandoned, dry, insect husks.

You do not bloom for an artist’s love.
Yours is the Judas season.
The quiescent center spat upon,
Nothing can bloom from your tangled roots.


by John Porter

The day train clanks
hungover through
birch, bog, sepia dacha
back to Moscow from Petersburg's white nights.
Somewhere on the curve of Stalin's finger
we share corridor counterfeit Marlboros
with a one eyed steel toothed chatterer
recounting his daring in battles from a war
he was too young to have fought in,
suddenly he grasps my elbow,
points and whispers,
"That's the field, right there, that's where the mines went off
and I was the only one left",
and we all stare at the still grass of the flatlands,
unending and unguarded in the yolky afternoon sun.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


by Paul Tristram

It has taken the fourteen year old boy
less than six hours to realize
that these stinking, merciless streets
are in fact paved with shit not gold.
After narrowly avoiding the offers
of a warm meal, a safe place to sleep,
friendship, trust and understanding.
From the vampiric paedophile clergy
hanging around the greasy-spoon cafes
of Euston Station wearing smiling
old man faces hiding the vultures inside.
He was abruptly robbed of his last £3:50
and beaten black and blue somewhere
upon the cold, unforgiving underground
by a gang of older homeless boys.
After recovering for 20 minutes or so
in the cold recess of a Bank side door
he lucked it and managed to cadge £2
off a very nice Salvation Army lady
(who reminded him of what he thought
an Aunty should sort of look like?)
selling poppies outside of a subway.
He bought himself sausage and batter
and chips and devoured them hungrily,
even sucking the warm dampness out
of the Styrofoam tray and newspaper.
Afterwards he went over to Hyde Park
where he felt better for a little while
(even noticed his own breathing again)
until the rain fell down like retribution
soaking him completely to the very bone.
Now it’s 2 hours after dark and he’s
climbed a boundary wall and is hidden,
curled up on a doorstep at the back
of a church singing quietly to himself
the only song that he still remembers
from childhood ‘Show me the way
to go home, I’m tired and I want to go
to bed. I had a little drink about an hour
ago and it’s gone right to my head’
All the while knowing that there is no
home only survival, there is no future
only today, there is no hope for anything
wider than his next warm meal and the
cleverness needed to problem solve this.


by Claudia Rey

Buy a new mobile
set calendar, time and date
and feel sooo clever

autumn wonder

by Linda M. Crate

i love autumn and all
her colors
splashing life in a
too oft devoid of
light and laughter,
her chorus of leaves will
dance with me
in the wings of the
and she never scaled me
in judgment like summer
of freezes me
in winter's coldest
of buries me beneath
flowers that make me feel
she is perfect
in all her laughter
a season
of apples, pumpkins,
and explosion
of giggles
psalmed in the
limbs of
she kissed me
with wonder
and draws me out
into the woods—
i find only animals
but there are
times i find pieces of
myself that i forgot
when the world ridiculed
me years ago.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Camel

by Amit Parmessur

The very first dune in sight,
he threw himself at my back
when he experienced
those emotional deserts.
Despite the cold night
my shamed heart felt dry
when he gave me those callow
and dull looks.

The weight of his calumny
made me feel like a cactus
trying to caress a fragile fish.

And as the moonless wind
blew from the oasis I realized
that it’s not a straw that breaks
the threads of sincerity; it is the
strain of a husband’s wrong words.

But when we reached
the burnt tree I heard him kneel
under the scurrying clouds of guilt.
I grunted with desperate joy.
He never wanted me;
he always wanted my ride.

Wish the dark could
scare the ego off his hooves
and teach him the right balance.

As we crossed the last mound
the stars told me that
I showed him my back
could be overloaded that’s why
he disrespected me and
dribbled the cud of his mistakes
over my rough skin
to call himself perfect.

Let’s hope God catches him
when he falls from the hostile
humps of life’s clamorous circus.

Meanwhile, the walk continues.


by Nancy Scott McBride

raising our cabin-
under the stacks of lumber
mice building their nest

speaking from experience

by J.J. Campbell

there was
a local news
story that
caught my
attention the
other day

the police
arrested an
eight year
old child
that used
crayons to
write out a
bomb threat

i see that
schools still
don't know
what to do
with the

Sunday, November 2, 2014


by Michael Friedman

See the language on the sign
yield to its meaning and be blind
in momentary air, flying fish chased
by ravenous thugs out into the open.
Sailing, slapping, flapping
across the spit-shined floor. The one
you cannot cross without permission from management.

Cause effect the correlative pejorative.
Dare ye be devil among the chosen idea
wrongheaded in tow-away zone
Tire boot clasps your goat
pecked by popular demands in fish school
turn as one dart as another sea within a sea
among reefs clean picked by God knows what
caused warming globe cannot deny
or be in the company of Jesus or Homo erectus,
splattered dung from tongues beatified.
Stand alone and eyes removed one at a time
so you can watch the other go. Warning to those
who defy the even flow, the school weaving the reef,
the mode stands out from the mean. When tools and application
trump investigation. When immediacy is all that matters
and further study boarded up as we’re through here.
Quikrete half used and solidified in the bag
buried at the construction site.
Look into the sun and see what happens.
Pick at scabs and watch the pink tender skin heal
just the same. Lock step, quicksand, narrow purpose
razor thick


by Marc Carver

I looked at the tree,
it was dead,
grey bark
no leaves, in its outstretched hands,
but still it stood tall.

No one, could ever knock down
a tree like that
even in death.

Then I saw,
it was holding
to its last breath.
The job that it had to do,
and I remembered,
what was behind the tree,
the old church
and before that,
the cemetery.
The tree was a warning,
as the dead bodies, creeped into his trunk.

Only one thing was for sure
I would not be coming past there at night.


by Bradford Middleton

This time tomorrow I’ll be speeding my way home, away from this town that keeps me down
A whole week to escape, relax and wash off the effects of living this kind of life
A whole week where the streets will be different to those I’m bored of walking around
A whole week when I’ll have a sane conversationalist with whom to inter-act

Home is many miles from here; in a different country in fact
Where a different language, currency and way of life persuade
Me into thinking that something has gone terribly wrong
England’s a mess and only getting worse with not enough space or enough jobs

I’m just grateful that my time here is running out
And a big house in the middle of nowhere will someday be mine
Which if I sold I couldn’t even afford a one-bed flat in London
As if I’d ever want to return to that place then

So the next week at home will be a time to cherish
A time to escape the insanity of this life
In a wonderful village in the middle of nowhere France
Where the place feels old and the life is great