Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Because Silence

by A.J. Huffman

descends with anvilled chime
of midnight, I lock my self
in a room as afraid of the light as I.
It provides temporary shelter
for my ears, embracing inability
to decipher purpose from perceived
persecution.  I tremble in emulation
of the ticking I know should be there,
compose an internal prayer that will never be
answered by any fa[u]cet
of sleep.

Like Father Like

by Donal Mahoney

Strapped to his bed
in the nursing home,
he tells every nurse
who comes in
and tightens his straps
his trouble started

in first grade when
he'd make a mistake
reciting the alphabet
in the kitchen for Mother
while Father in the parlor
waited for an error

and then dragged him
down the basement
and made him stand
in a tub of hot coals
plucked from the furnace
until he was able

to recite his letters
without error and then
Father would take him
upstairs to Mother who
put salve on his feet
so he could recite

his letters all over again,
this time without mistake
which Father pointed out,
decades later in the same
nursing home, was proof
his boy had learned a lesson.


by Audrey Isabella

Young child gone down the coast,
walking along the beach.
The wind of winter hit her, harsh and bitter,
spiting she had not come in summer.
She sat down on the sand,
the water rushed up and down
dunes bringing shells and seaweed,
tokens of Amphitrite, to meet her.

The gods are with me today.
Was it here that Aphrodite was born? 
The foam in the swell, the shells,
this is how I imagined it.

She looked out and saw the truth
the madness of the raging seas,
and the Sky who sends wind and lightning
and screams her rage in thunder
to any unworthy man who dared tame the sea,
her beloved bride Ondine, mother
of beautiful naiad queens commanding water
and  all its beasts.

The gods are everything and nothing 
as I thought them to be.
They are my dreams and my nightmares, they are everything
I fear and want/to be.

Fantastical mermaids enslaving hearts
of men with song taught to them by grandmother, Cetacea.
Whale-woman leading her children,
and children of children through the depths
to achieve their dreams.

And so it was and so it shall be:
to live amongst your dreams
cast yourself into the sea, 
forsake your island life,
know the cost, 
learn the truth of your fantasy.

Young child went down the coast and lay down in the tide,
waiting to be carried away to another world, another life.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Bat Box

by David Chorlton

There’s a rustle at dusk in the box
held high on a pole in the yard
with a backdrop of oak, rock
and sycamore, where the resident bats
prepare for the dark
with its fur textured touch and the wool
lining the voice of an owl.
The first one comes out

as a tremble
that takes form and flies; the second
resembles applause
with two hands set free of their sleeves;
the third and fourth take opposite
directions, and ten minutes pass
between the fifth and the last,
by which time the fox

is alert in the grass, while the trees
in the forest step back
for the bear who means no harm
to pass through.

Weather Vanes

by Gwen Monohan

Weather vanes,
designed in rooster form
and found above the barn,
show wind direction
in case we aren’t aware
a cold front’s approaching.
And serious storms too.

But then we see true birds.
Juncos in clusters,
making snow predictions
by feeding longer.
Their tiny, feather vanes
later lodged in snow
like black darts, targeted.


by Neil Leadbeater

Not often a dolphin stands you a drink.
My shout, he says,
and downs his glass in a oner.
Open-eyed you feel obliged
to offer him another
for he has the odour of river brine
running off his breath
but the dolphin insists it’s always his turn
that this one’s on the house.

The barman seems at ease.
He knows he’s a regular
who can hold down drink
without any trouble at all
but when it comes to paying up
the usual thing occurs -
he turns his flippers inside out
in a feigned search for money
exclaims he’s left his wallet
adrift in his canoe
so the stranger pays
with hard-earned cash
shocked at the price of liquor
and follows the dolphin
down to the bank
because the dolphin insists
he’ll pay in the end
though everyone knows
he won’t.


by Donald Brandis   

a coil of ribbon muddy green uncoiling
haphazard as a neglected lawn
will in a few moments be un-looped lying limp
against themselves, each loop a different size
and shape from having been nearly identical
if the coils had been cut apart like a cored apple
twice by a long knife making both cuts at once
opposite each other, it would take careful measurement
to reconstruct the coils
or it would take unnatural perception

so is the day unwinding on the homeward commute
she lets it go to the ruin it will be
tomorrow unmanaged, a mess she will finesse
but for this evening the openings between loops
widen until the loops vanish
with a delicious, unexpected release
the ribbons are bits of company history
trends large and small, smaller, very small
wrapped in each other like a ball of rubber bands

she turns her cell off, a small rebellion
and goes into the spaces where loops have been
where there is no telling
at home she pours a glass of wine
and looks at a familiar framed photo
a reflecting pool at Versailles
a lazy afternoon of bicyclists
and shells with rowers moving like long-legged insects
well away down the surface of the pool
their number indistinct

in late afternoon the light has begun its decline
the scene is mostly sky indifferent to light
and to darkness the trees around the pond
have begun to pull on like a winter coat
the big mirroring pond is also indifferent
to all but sky she is entering
first as a thought-bird whose vision is just larger
than galaxies, just larger than dust particles
then as the sky itself, everywhere clarity and delight

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Kentucky Palisades

by John Swain

Below the cedars
on the palisade face
one white tree
grew from the creek
cascading slate terraces
to the flood river.
Ferns and antlers
emerged from the thaw
green to the spring
catching the new light
to become pure
as a girl in the sun.
I age in the weathering
as the river and falls
fill the gorge
one day forever
before she tires
of the bell sound.

The ATCV-1 Virus

by Rick Mitchell

They finally found it!
Researchers—that is—found
the virus that accounts for
something lost to me now about
where my swimming trunks ended
up after the midnight
dip into Henderson’s pond.

A virus that “impairs
cognitive ability” lurks in
the green slime I mashed
in my brother’s face and tried to
smoke after drying in the sun.

The stuff that makes all those ducks
so stupid also slows us down, becomes
our pot, our meth, our two martini
one night stand.

But they don’t know how it
travels, how someone gets
it and someone else escapes.
It may creep through an open
sore or worse, swim up some
open passageway, or worse yet be
on the tail end of the splash my brother
sloshed in my eyes before I forgot
to hold his head under water just
a little longer.

No certain answers, not yet,
so now we study 10% slower
 than normal, to make sure we’re not
being fooled by some camouflaged
Chinese bug that sucks on rocks
 in the hole under the bridge, planted
to turn our brains to mush,
our hopes to vibrant
green fantasies.

The Citrus Variations

by Neil Fulwood

     Here comes a candle
     to light you to bed
     and here comes a chopper
     to chop off your head
            – ‘ORANGES AND LEMONS’ (trad.)

Here comes a whetstone
to kiss the blade’s edge
and here comes a finger
held against it to check

Here comes a swear word
at the clean deep cut
and here comes a dressing
as the blood wells up

Here’s the sharp sulphur smell
of a match struck on stone,
here’s the candle’s nub
and the flame’s blue cone

Here’s the hot drip of wax
on a bare patch of skin,
here’s the light guttering out
at a sudden cough of wind

Here’s the house in darkness
and its clutter of things
that account for stubbed toes
and the scraping of shins

Here’s where the dropped matchbox
is left unretrieved,
here’s the shadowy staircase
and its symphony of creaks

Here’s a long slow ascent
as your hand grips the rail,
here’s a door like a tombstone
and your nerve starts to fail

and a shape in the moonlight
slides from under your bed
and here comes a chopper
and there goes your head

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Poem for Nancy Isenhour

by Michael Ceraolo

She was one of 196 frosh
who entered High Point College
in High Point, North Carolina
in the fall of 1941,
a number that would dwindle,
with fifty-seven entering the military
and almost a hundred others leaving
for reasons not documented by history,
to a graduating class of 46

Her accomplishment was listed
below her yearbook photo as though
it were no more interesting or
of more historical import than to which
fraternity or sorority one belonged,
she was given her historical due
in a different section of the book

She would later describe herself as
having played every sport available,
withe the shortage of people on campus
she was invited to play one
not generally available then or now
to those like her:
                          boys' varsity basketball


by Umm-e-Aiman Vejlani

Humans chase prophecies;

they pretend to be brave,
speak in loud tones,

swear by names of ancestors’,
calling upon the scry,

paying in heaps of wealth
borrowed or loaned,

only for a peek into the future.

Yet, they chase away crows
from their windows

at noon, calling their sounds
hauntings of stray souls, ghosts

deprived of proper burial rites.
Humans chase superstitions,

just the way the crow selects
its window for breaking news to;

I watch it open its beak

to make me a prediction
but eats its voice in its throat

before belching, as it watches
from its peripheral vision

my approaching menacing shadow.

Without turning its head,
vision fixed on me, it hops off

leaving me chasing empty
myths, the crow may have

endorsed – probably right
from the horse’s mouth –

message from the future,
about my today.


by David Subacchi

I confess that I cannot
Tell one flower from another
Except for: Roses
Grown by my grandmother
Daffodils the symbol
Of my adopted nation
Bluebells that grew
In woods behind my school
Dandelions in the park
That I was forbidden
To pick on pain
Of awful consequences
Violets after cheap sweets
In paper wrappings
Tulips because they
Came from Amsterdam
Carnations from weddings
Primroses from the river bank
Near where I fished
Something pink called
Our Lady's Slipper
That my mother loved
Snow drops for some
Long forgotten reason
And water lilies

Portrait in Charcoal

by Ben Rasnic

The assignment was to peel the onion—
tobacco smoke beard glistening
silver fish darting among reeds, dark
pond brown with trout.

Face drawn and furrowed
from time ravaged
plow blades of stress
and abuse.

All these years
seemed so little had changed,
merely the permutations
of forwarding address

out of touch, the
ultimate stranger stealing time
with friends, even family,
except for few

illuminated loved ones, can
count them on cartoon fingers.
Serenity was merely
a few vodka shots away

until dreams became illusions,
left coyote
falling off cliffs,

Sunday, March 22, 2015

(after Warren Zevon)

by Neil Fulwood

Not heroin but whisky, and Echo Park
is removed from Bestwood Park
by more than a Greyhound ticket
or ten cold hours in a boxcar

but sometimes a place is arrived at
where everything is worn down
to the coarse grain
of what was always going to happen

and the only difference
is whether the song was playing on a radio
scratchy with static in a hotel room
or a museum-piece jukebox in a bar

that serves one brand of beer,
where the few notes
you pawned your iPad for
will cover this drink and maybe the next.

Martha’s Vineyard

by Nancy Scott McBride

This land, too,
once belonged to Indians.
I know, because some of the
places have Indian names
and in Menemsha, there’s a
shop that sells beads and

he's not worth it

by Linda M. Crate

the tupperware sits on the table. a monument to her once love. the macaroni stains still present months later. she tried many moons to forget him. sitting on my couch with a bottle of whiskey, i just let her drown. there are no words i can say to make this all right. i've tried. so i helplessly watch her sink further into despair. when she's not looking i throw away the tupperware bowl. one less thing to remember him by. he isn't even worth the whiskey, but she won't see it that way. i cannot wait until tomorrow. maybe then i can convince her the sun will shine again. now i just listen. reassure her that she's done nothing wrong and he's just a jerk. she says some men are, but so are some women. i keep the latter part of that sentence to myself. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015


by Marc Carver 

I looked down at the pavement
saw a small snail on the ground.
I got worried about him
so I picked him up
put him by the wall where he would be safer
maybe I had changed his fate
or maybe I had changed my own.

The Day Her Majesty’s Prison Officers Birched My Father
…They Lost And We All Became Stronger!

by Paul Tristram

It was up at the Notorious house on Penlan Road,
at the bottom of the mountain in Skewen.
We were all still children not yet teenagers,
when he stood up by the stone fireplace
and pulled down his black corduroy Levi 501’s
to show us the stripy scars all down his right thigh.
“Bastards!” I hissed and spat in an astray
as he scanned our faces closely and slowly,
nodding at me-the oldest-just like he always did.
Then he picked up that bottle of ‘Old England’
Medium Sherry and put it to his lips
for the first time in days and started in on thinking
serious about things, the past and life, once again.
We all left him to it, went down to 1 of the 3 cellars,
armed ourselves with empty beer bottles, bricks
and stolen bits of firewood and crawling through
the bolthole in the bottom of the wire fence.
Attacked the back section of Mettoy’s Toy Factory
situated in the middle of the private property
factory complex which lay just across the road.


by Robert E. Petras

It was about the time the Pledge and
Catechism turned into a glissando of
Sound, colors, that after school during the
Greening of my backyard, I
Would take my baseball mitt, the new
 Leather smelling as brisk as
Aftershave, but as intractable as
A cowlick, like the one
 I kept trying to flatten with
 Brylcreem, wax, even butter, and
Even butter wax and Brylcreem I
Applied generously to make a soft
 Pocket to snag baseballs one-
 Handed.  I’d ride over my mitt with
My bicycle, back and forth, forth and
Back.  I was going to soften it break it
In one way or another.  Another
Was to pound a hardball in the
Pocket, machine-gunning a two-
Foot speed ball, stinging my
Hand, the cowhide, eventually, finally, surrendering,
Father and I stood across the lawn
From each other like gunfighters
Armed with baseballs and mitts.
Father had just mowed the cow- licked lawn,
The scent of new grass overwhelming new leather.
Father threw first and I snagged the ball
Right in that Brylcreem-wax-butter-softened pocket.
“Use two hands,” Father said.  “Use two hands.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Invasion

by Savannah Stuitje

In the 1990’s television was introduced to a small island in Fiji, Viti Levu
And I wonder, was it like Columbus stepping off his boat
telling the native women to cover their breasts
While his soldiers slipped swords between their legs and planted flags of patriotism deep in the fertile soil in the name of a king?
Was it like the neatly folded blankets presented by army officers to the Mandan Indians in Philadelphia?
Held at arms length
The tightly woven fibers ripe with disease
Leaving their people so warm they fled their pock marked bodies in the night
And were buried in the cool earth til nearly everyone was gone
When the brown cardboard boxes were unloaded and the smell of new plastic filled the room as each machine sputtered to life at the cautious touch of young girls
Their delicate flesh reflected on bulbous television glass as they crowded closer until they could only see the rounded geography of their thighs
Like land waiting to be tamed and quartered for money
Was it like the good intentions of missionaries sent to Africa to introduce their children to the face of God so they might be worthy of salvation from hands that shackled them together
hiding them from the light of day ‘til they forgot their faith
When the girls of Vita Levu pressed their hands to the screen like a cherished religious icon and were met with a crackle of electricity that raised the hairs on their brown arms
Did they feel rebuked?
When did the hills and valleys of their bodies come to feel foreign to the flat of their palms?
Ground to be cultivated and tilled under the firm grip of spinning blades
Ripping the weeds from their soil and sprinkled with pesticides that burn the eyes
When did the voices of their mothers asking them to come to dinner fade away under the opening notes of Beverly Hills?
Were they like the dodo bird
So content to be grounded in paradise that they forgot how to fly away?
Driven to extinction for pure sport by the Portuguese
By the Dutch who carelessly left rats, monkeys, and pigs
that made short work of the dodo
Justice for the girls of Vita Levu who turned their own bodies against themselves
Vomiting up the sins of others who told them beauty is to be achieved
In a series of steps
Because the hands around their necks in the name of perfection
Took away their appetites
And told them strength was going to bed hungry

can’t play pictures out here

by Mike Foldes

jorge focused on taking the same photographs over and over. different people who all looked the same. mangold said “we can't keep writing the same poem, painting the same picture, shooting the same photo…. you must get out and away and come back with fresh flowers and wet sand.

i think there’s some down that alley.” jorge went to search for wet sand and fresh flowers. mangold never saw him again. when he returned, jorge was a different person, unrecognizable. his work was different, too. he’d taken up guitar and composed music for it that turned rivers green, the sky red and mountains mauve. when he put away his instrument, the world he played in went dark. mangold said, “let’s go inside. you can’t play pictures out here.”

Religion at First Sight

by Mark Blaeuer

Our catcher lofts a magic souvenir
down the right field line. Stinging my
hands, his globe fashioned of antique horsehide
with (miniscule in sweet spot, India ink)
an eephus entitled “Rube”—To live in such a place
is something. To work every day at something
is something more, and to love baseball is something
else. High-driven sphere upon our sanctified

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Desert Survival Guide: Honeybees

by Elisha Holt

Wild honey can be useful when stranded
intoxicating, electric

feral bees in the smoke of mesquite wood
will gorge themselves on it

their stings, common

the meat
of the comb
best tasted mingled
with stings
to the lips and the inside

of the mouth
or, if preferable, a single sting to the middle
of the forehead

your eyes swell
like Sonoran toads croaking

into the vision of
our bodies rising
to the sun
manic as the cactus
needles screaming
to be touched.


by Marc Carver

I walked into the Indian shop for beer.
Grabbed some beer and went up to the counter.
Gave him some change.
He looked at it for a long time
checking all the coins.
Then he stopped and looked at me.
"This is a foreign coin."
"Yea but it is probably worth more." I said.
"I am not wanting it." He said.
I gave him another and he kept the penny change.
I guess he thought I owed him that.


by Anuradha Bhattacharyya

Of all urgent calls,
The penultimate call
Is the call of nature
Before which Dadu
And the rest of humanity
Has to bend
Every morning.

This bending before
The god of man,
His clayey discharge
In a stoop over the hot seat
Taxes Dadu’s stiffened back.

He has been told to keep
The door unlatched
For help to arrive as soon as
Need arises.

He often disobeys this norm.

He often shrieks with his
Shaking shanks,
Rubs his benumbed knees
While doing his most common job
In the morning
When the mind is still at rest and the body
Refuses to act fast.
This penultimate call
Denies him relief
As he clambers forth
To use the tap.

Several times
He has messed up
And would not take the maid
For support
Ashamed of his undone masculinity.

He curses this call,
Curses further
As he thinks
The ultimate call of nature
Would be eternal sleep.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

City Market

by Sheri Vandermolen

An extended power outage
forces foot-pedaled delivery trucks
to trace, by rote,
the dreamcatcher’s weave
of kohl-shrouded streets
encircling KR Market.

Inside, a handful of generators
run single incandescent bulbs
that vaguely punctuate the darkness,
allowing vendors to set up shop,
begin threading marigolds
into meter upon meter
of yellow-orange-yellow garlands
they’ll have young boys spool
about the main selling floor.

Tucked between man-high bags
of rosebuds, lotuses, and mums,
women reposition their knees
and barefoot feet, to accommodate
babies still asleep in their laps,
while stitching jasmine strands
to festoon ponytails and temple doors.

Upstairs, homeless men
lie in Black Dog slumber
or arise, in aching stupor,
to find and chew the day’s first betel,
barely able to stagger out of the way
of fast feet transporting trays
of kumkum pyramids —
saffron, scarlet, crimson.

As the first strains of daylight appear,
buy-in-bulk customers
flood the basement, watching carefully
as quick merchant hands
dump cupfuls of nipped flower buds
onto the worn trays of biased iron scales
that will weigh the goods,
decide their still-negotiable value.

Full sunrise brings vegetable hawkers
to the building’s perimeter,
which will soon be overgrown
with head-carried baskets of lemons, gourds,
beans, and spiraled paan leaves,
burlap-wrapped piles of palak, bay leaf, and coriander.

Along side lanes, Chia-trucks
(wheels barely visible, for the teeming greenery)
lumber down rows
thick with banana leaves and coconuts,
then begrudgingly halt,
to drop off neem leaves, foxtail and asparagus ferns.

By 8 a.m., the entire vortex
has spiraled counterclockwise, into silence.
Laborers sweep away the debris and red spittle,
leaving only sidewalk stains
and a handful of missed weeping stems
to prove the existence of this erratic Eden.

Watching Over the Tribe

by Ryan Hardgrove

Crawling into the small hours
of morn
my son strapped
doused in sweet baby piss
dried Elmer’s glue vomit-paste
lacquered into the zipper track
on his onesie

Riding the coat tails
of my 7 month old
and his screaming purity
deep into the night
he validates
foolish nights spent floating
near the void

Or so my selfish
Ego whispers to
My helpless conscience

cigarettes on the porch
smoked blind
street lights pulse
behind blood violet eyelids
warm quiet explosions
between the ears
my slumped sag of a posture
warns passer-by’s
not to waste time
on gestures
or notions

back inside
my son purrs
warm golden snores
while blue nightlights
shimmer in the outlets
glowing little fireflies
in cold old January


by Marc Carver

As i walk around the shopping centre
two young girls start to sing
from behind the pretzel stand.
"What are you waiting for."
Then they start laughing.
I can't help but think they are singing to me.
Everything in life means something
even the things that truly mean nothing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Letter Between Dimensions

by Todd Mercer

I became lonely, with you gone
on social tour. Didn’t maintain                                  
the level, spiraled
into secondary complications, sleepful wakefulness.
Learning how to let go—the perfect plan
for holding on. You solve riddles
extemporaneously, faster
than I can record solutions.
These gaps in the bubble
teach how to wave goodbye
with savoir-faire, to detach
when detachment is imminent. You
do me a favor, slant-ways. The bubble
will reform at reunion, the level
is achievable. All this is truth,
but I get lonely. I’m not made of stone.

Avoided Morning

by Jonathan Butcher

Those all too sweet morsels from the back of the fridge
and the cupboards that stand bare and dust free. The cold
tiled floor that clings to the bare soles of my feet like burning
white ice.

So easy to blinker my eyes completely, like a myth believer
confronting an atom. The half pill and vodka serve well,
offering a lift just high enough to offer me a birds eye view,
but without the burden of vertigo.

Those mornings, when even the trees stood bare with pride,
and the sun mocked with the knowing of my indolence till
noon. I would fall back into bed, satisfied in the illogical fear
I'd adopted.

Only later would I venture outside, the drivers and shop keepers
I encounter all seem perpetually exhausted. However, I was
excluded, boredom was a luxury I was unwilling to auction off
at any price.

Returning to my travels, I would gloat to any ear willing to listen;
no stress had passed through this body, no strain of headache
on my forehead. And again I would collapse, once again beaten
by this game.

First Visit After The Divorce

by Len Kuntz

Reasons for living
never come cheap
is what my daughter tells me in the car
on the way home from the airport,
her fidgeting and
smelling of incense.
When I ask if she smoked on the plane
she calls me ridiculous,
dropping an F bomb.
I angle the rearview to
steal glances.
She’s as thin as rain
wearing a nose ring
and dreadlocks that look like
coils of dingy pillow stuffing.
I’ve missed her,
but now that she’s here I realize I’ve missed the daughter I had before,
the one who hugged my knees and called me Daddy,
who asked to be read a story or poem,
asked a million questions about anything and everything.
This young woman beside me seems a stranger,
an interloper.
She’s silent for a spell,
then tells me she changed,
changed for the better,
that she’s never going back
and I’d better get used to it.
At the restaurant she pushes lettuce leafs back and forth
across her plate, making windshield wiper motions.
She only eats a sprig of parsley.
She says she wants to see her mother now.
She says I should stop pretending to be somebody I’m not
and that it would be best for everyone involved if I
burned in hell.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

International Women's Day

Readers are cordially invited to click on the image above to view
the Saloon's special issue celebrating International Women's Day.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Pecking Order

by Donal Mahoney

We hung suet out
on the deck today
hoping the wrens
would come
and stay the winter,
nest in the yard
and next summer
fill the air with song.

In an hour or so
the wrens arrived
but minutes later
the beak of a flicker
hammered at them
and they flew away.

The flicker had time
for a snack before
a blue jay brusque
as the weather came
and took over.

The jay as well
had a snack before
a squadron of starlings
landed to feast
and Fuzzy the cat
rolled over the fence
eager to leap.

With the starlings gone
the cat lost interest
and moseyed around
for a minute or two
and then dove back
over the fence.

With no one around
and the suet deserted
the wrens came back
and ate some more
until the jay came back
and took over again.

Any minute now
we expect to see
the starlings return
and take over the suet
for a raucous dessert.

Lost in Bitter Gaze

by Sy Roth

Ovid’s disambiguation rests on his face.
Their lies overwhelm him.

Behind his cheerful masque
He finds another face to hide behind.

He prances for them,
A jester in motley.

They obfuscate
with their vacant, guffawing unrealities.

His eyes wine-sparkled
Dart hither and yon in their sockets.

They sweep the masses into their choking cloud,
Shoo them away into their respective corners.

His eyes crinkle, lids droop downward
To dim their radiance.

Their lips rumba
A jumble of consonants, rumbled in assonance.

He hides in their lingua franca,
muffled, chattering tongues.

They huff and puff
prevarications  ride afloat on flaccid waves.

He gets caught in the glow of their untruths,
Beneath klieg lights and their chicanery.

They metamorphose into a void
Replete with a lapel of prideful pins.

Behind them the flags flap noisily.
Before him, the hordes flap in his breeze,

Lost in a bitter gaze at them,
They ignore his omissions.

Time to Go

by Wayne Scheer

Like a performer
whose act runs long,
Mr. Winter needs to be given
the old-fashioned hook.

There was a time,
back when Ms. Summer
sizzled, when too much of a good thing
seemed too much,
and I looked forward
to a cooler performance.

But Mr. Winter has gone
from cool to cold. We've seen
enough of his act;
it's time to give the child Spring
her chance to shine.

So if anyone is really in charge here,
I pray of you:
cue the music, drop the curtain;
it's time for a scenery change.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Global Warning

by Nancy Gauquier

Mother Nature is mad,
The Goddess is roaring,
Kali is dancing in a whirlwind,
the Furies are spinning
storm clouds of incredulity
at the stubbornness of narrow
mechanical minds possessed
by some mythical bottom line.

Apathetic billionaires are caught
up in their game, as they mock
people with poverty, stick them
with shards of broken dreams,
and complain with pockets full
of fool's gold, cook their waffles
in crude oil, and toss in nightmare
beds full of the hungry and homeless
human collateral of their markets.

Mother Nature is mad.
She is gathering her forces.
The Goddess knows the devastation
of the human heart,
Kali wanders among the war dead,
the uncounted children,
victims of the drones.

Insatiable corporations
pump out their poisons,
spinning shrouds of dark clouds,
as the mercury is rising,
the ice caps are sinking,
and the polar bears drown
in a dying sea.

404 Error

by Todd Mercer

I can’t get amnesia when it would mean relief,
but it sure sets in while driving, or when it’s time
to reassemble a six-cylinder engine, a lawn tractor,
sewing machine, gas furnace, computer in reverse of the order
it was confidently broken down. Good luck
forgetting the few items currently preventing
this stay on earth from being a slow summer idyll.
A memory has its own neurotic ticks.
It isn’t much at co-operation. I’m the dummy
with eyeglasses perched on the forehead,
tearing up the domicile to find them. I don’t mind
to waste an hour I’ll never have back
hunting for car keys while clutching
said keys in my non-searching hand.
I had wisdom to share on amnesia,
but I’m drawing blanks since you’re asking.
It’s here, give me a minute. Where is my coffee?


by Michael Friedman

And his name is scorn with a “k”
for branding. The caraway seed lodged
between incisor and cuspid, squeezed
and ever present
Schizophrenic Redrum twists
around every thought
harangues with targeted malice.
Unshakable, relentless throb winks
on and off as it ticks time
a hot engine cooling in summer swelter.

All work in the hand of a beggar
bargains for lost lunch money
from the bully’s breast,
change rattling on the tile
blood drips from buzzing nose
and no play. Every tune rasps
dry and forlorn, he searches for
the family who is not there
to defend and pick up pieces
of eight, the loosening of
reality so real it cuts vision.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy St David's Day

Patron of Wales, poets and vegetarians

What We Are

by Amy Soricelli

If I screamed down some tunnel - hollow air;
like marbles, like pearls -
the slippery spiteful tongue would get caught like lettuce in the spaces in between -

I would not love you still.
The air would squeeze my heart into dust.

If I stepped on some glass - slivers sharp edges like broken promises
sawed off wheels in the snow - the thorny rims would pierce my toes -
they'd slip aside one another/teasing tiny drops of blood into place like grammar.
I hold the pain to my heart like cotton.

I would not want you still.
The sound of fear would choke me like a restless snake.

I have hated the sounds a bad marriage makes on trains -
on line buying milk.
How the still air gets crowded with black cloud wings - how the
rain bolts down a thousand hungry chains - their spoiled disappointment
groans like poverty - then settles like fleas on a dog you cross the street from.

I shut my hand against you like a black jellybean -
the screen door buzzes a thousand lonely bees..

We live like this now, you and I.
A rough terrain of rocky spots; land that catches in our
throats like a dare.
We are a map.

You are Here - it says.
This is you.

not worth it

by Linda M. Crate

"it's not worth it," you said
you're right,
but how do i get out of this fog?
does anyone really want to work at a
sub shop?
i need to pay my bills
but i've never felt so dismayed
all my dreams are anywhere but here;
i love my family,
but this place has always been bad for me
i'm always happier elsewhere—
can't take all the isolation of being buried in snow
and all these painful memories,
i know everyone has hell to go through
but these flames hurt so badly
i can scarcely focus on anything else but the pain;
just want to know that all this suffering
was worth it—
they tell me love is the only healing magic in this world
i have always loved only to be left behind
certainly could use someone's love
to sew me back together
and i'm an emotional wreck over the stupidest things
right now;
just want to breathe but find that i cannot—
wish i could be so brave as you to just quit but i'd have
nowhere to go and the bills would still need paid
i'd get evicted from my apartment
and the government wouldn't let me live freely again
tell me,
does anyone deserve to suffer?
all i want to do is close my eyes, and when i open them
for all the misery to have washed away

Mailboxes Tipped like Cows in a Field

by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

The horn is tooted,
yours or someone

and from that moment on
there is no going back
(and no wanting

the mailboxes tipped
like cows
in a field

never had a chance

as the grey gosling

and three fingers
pretend to be