Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DB Cox- Three Poems

                ---“ On October 12, 2002, Heshu Yones, a sixteen-year old
Iraqi Kurd who was planning to run away from her family home in London had
her throat cut by her father, because he believed she was dating a
non-Muslim and had become too westernized” --- from Harper’s Magazine

& when he had slaughtered
his wayward daughter
the one he could not comprehend
him crazy-out of control
like some blind & willful beast
when his anger was spent
& the silent room began
to whisper its accusations
what then--
did he scream out her name
did he bend
to touch her perfect face
& gaze into staring black eyes
did his bloodstained fingers
trace the dark waterfall
of her hair to where it flowed
into the crimson river
just below her throat
did he now in utter despair
turn the blade on himself
& write a fitting end
to this twisted one-act play
or did he coldly lay the knife
on the killing floor
place a call
& wait

cisco sits bleeding

felony face
cuts down the alley
like a cold breeze
police sirens
sing the same name
as last night
darkness covers
the bloody footprints
of a young desperado
as he stumbles
inside the gentleman’s
john--defunct exxon
new address
for the dispossessed
a spider-cracked mirror
hides out-of-luck eyes
hard as roman nails--
bony back to the wall
he slips to the floor
at nothing at all
shaky tones falling
into a full-blown hack
bell-cracked saxophone
death-rattle tones
round & round
the obscene sanctuary
top floor of hell
that smells
like a waiting room
for the cemetery

the eight-mile bridge
--- For A.T.

most nights he slept in the silent space
between freights that rolled overhead
like a storm
rocking concrete pillars
planted along hidden fault lines
under the eight-mile bridge

where gods spoke through broken wine bottles
& drunken-tongued stumble bums
coughed up old tales
that colored the air blue
haunted faces
tallying old mistakes
under the eight-mile bridge

his mind was gone
when they brought him
back to the county home
where he lies under nights-too quiet
staring up restless & confused
wondering what happened
to the thunder under the eight-mile bridge

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems

no more ghosts

i used to be haunted by the past
let it cripple my future
all too consumed
by the mistakes
i made,
but you taught me
that sometimes you have to let go
in order to gain;
it was only when i succumbed to the thought
you were gone that i found
happiness again
my novel was published,
and i don't know if i would have pushed myself
half as hard as i did
if i kept chasing after the carrots you hung
so minute and small;
doesn't mean that you were right in what you did
or i'll ever condone it
but i forgive it because it had to happen
so i could grow—
doesn't mean that sometimes i still don't hate you
for it, that sometimes i would love to knock
your teeth down your throat
for profaning the name of love with lust;
but i'm a bigger person than that
so i go my way
happy to be free of your gilded cage and your tortured
soul so egocentric and cruel.

the perfect prescription

you're a liar
and a fool,
but one day you'll get your
comeuppance for all the
flowers you stole;
one day you'll dance on the daggers
edge you shoved me through
and she'll leave you bleeding
the way you did me
maybe then your laughter will die before
it reaches your throat—
you're a parasite,
and i thought no medication would cure
me of all your ills;
but it seems the perfect prescription
was found in sunshine, driving hard to follow my dreams,
and in letting go.

you're not strong

when i was poor
you left me laying on the ground
when i was starving
you offered no food,
but when i had my flowers
you had no problem
without hesitation you took them all;
it's not something i can get back,
and i know you think
i'm still mournful of my one-sided unrequited love
that you only ever returned to me in lust;
but i am older and wiser now—
i will not be vulnerable to you twice
should you come around here
i will feed you with every morsel of glass you
shoved down my throat, with every
illusion you insisted was truth;
with all the ambrosia i coughed up for the gods
because it was untrue
all of this will be your glory—
i had to rise from my ashes once more
to die to who i was and become a stronger flame
it's only fair that you should have to do
the same,
but something tells me you're not strong

Gene McCormick- Poem & Art

Escape Route

To the side of the restaurant foyer, left
and down a plush carpeted dim-lit corridor
lined with reproduction German Expressionist paintings,
past an alcove housing gentlemen’s and ladies rooms,
beyond banquet room number one, turning right
into banquet room number two and then, to the far side,
there is a locked storage room, empty,
that has an exit to the rear parking lot.
It is a small room, about 10’ x 12’,
walls and floor painted industrial grey,
with no windows or shelving, no paintings on the walls,
no telephone, not even a fire extinguisher.

The maĆ®tre ‘d shuts the entry door, opens the exit door
to the parking lot a crack and pulls a soft pack of Camels
from his side tux pocket. It is unopened,
and he firmly tamps the pack against the palm of his hand,
pulling the gold tab around the pack but leaving
the cellophane covering on for protection.
He has limited time but takes care to lift the foil
with his fingernail, tearing just enough of the
top edge for a couple cigarettes to show.
He never refers to them by any derivative name
nor by their brand name. They are cigarettes.
The front portion of foil is removed, crumpled,
but the silver that wraps around the cigarettes in the pack
is retained for freshness and armor against the hazards
in his jacket pocket. A soft pack is susceptible
to damages but has a feel, touch and history
that a hard pack lacks. The cellophane feels refreshing
to his uncallused palm as he runs his fingers around
the Camels, tapping out a cigarette, hoping they
never change the design of the camel in profile,
pyramids and palm trees in the background.
A flaring wooden match from a vintage
Diamond match box lights the tip, smoke
immediately drifting toward the exterior door.

The spent cigarette arcs into the rain-soaked parking lot
like a lone firework, a moment’s pleasure. Back to work. 

Brief Bio: Gene McCormick has smooth but macho hands,
does not smoke but occasionally smolders.

Michael Keshigian- Three Poems

Michael Keshigian’s tenth poetry collection, Beyond was released May, 2015 by Black Poppy.  He has been widely published in numerous national and international journals most recently including Poesy,The Chiron Review, California Quarterly, and has appeared as feature writer in over a dozen publications with 5 Pushcart Prize and 2 Best Of The Net nominations. (michaelkeshigian.com)

On a quiet night
I saw a dying star
streak to its demise
behind a moonlit hill
bordering the horizon.
A wolf immediately began to howl
a lugubrious taps
and the universe stopped twinkling
for a moment of darkness
in honor of the fallen comrade.

Midnight and he walked
the narrow trail away from the lake,
becoming aware of night’s blackness,
isolation and mystery
surrounded him upon the winding path
as the breeze followed, its breath chilling,
sending a shudder to his core.
He gazed up, implored the stars for comfort,
but was astonished at their minuteness
within the immensity of ceiling.
Life is more meaningful
when he ponders beneath the leaves
of the great oak in his yard,
his children enhancing gaiety
instead of the smallness
that now invades his being,
this infinitesimal, singular particle
meandering in the dark,
lost in the complexity of an explanation.
There have been times,
under the same set of stars,
when his eyes widened
and the folds of his brain absorbed
those blinking messages from the universe
that transformed him into the nature
of all things, belonging
to an existence much larger than himself,
a child of the cosmos, his mind
a tiny compression of space dust
that saw beyond the veil of all things
without a need for explanation.
But indeed, on this night,
the invisible hand has dropped the curtain.
He is afraid to float, perhaps drown
in this sea of black without notice.
He searches for the moon or a guiding light
for passage, perhaps the sun will arrive early
to show him the way.

After all these years,
through all these nights, 
dank and dim,
moonlit and starry,
it happened,
a new star was born,
another bright light appeared
and he witnessed its inception,
a potion, a power, ignited
in the midnight sky.
He glanced upward
through the window of his room
to see the distant candle flare
as it illuminated his surroundings,
fantasies dancing upon his pillow,
around his head,
warm breaths of possibility
enraptured his bed.
Even this late,
his heart buried deep,
exploded and the evening’s black mesh
blazed into joy. 

John Pursch- A Poem

John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona. Twice nominated for Best of the Net, his work has appeared in many literary journals. A collection of his poetry, Intunesia, is available at http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/whiteskybooks. Check out his experimental lit-rap video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l33aUs7obVc. He’s @johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.

Clockwork Dogs

It turned out to be dogs coughing, all this time, these eons. They were patiently, steadfastly, marking the minutes as a sort of public service, keeping time for humankind. A best friend, not so easily replaced by wristwatch after all! How fortunate that bark was far more accurate than bite. The dilatory canine phlegm fixation, day by hidden hour, by translucent sunrise silhouette, by carefully shepherded human trundle into pewter fasting, hobbled by irregular rhythmic groans and mottled cream in cobbled cacophonous dialects of interspecies interface, relying on denormalized unitary lurches of penny-ante lorries, waxing wagon wheels, turpentine evaporating in midday sun. Meanwhile, way out west, random bipeds were slinging lead at a thousand feet per second, staggering from dry deserted ghastly wooden towns to rivers full of foolish pyrite wishing wells, pressing fat of hand to iron butt of cigarette polonium, speckling the years with flecks of splintered wood, bleaching bones, quiet horses, and the vast uncounted dispossessed of canyon, plain, and forest; shrouded wanderers who calmly went the way of coughing clockwork dogs.

David J. Thompson- A Photo

                                                              "Window, Kansas"

Scott Thomas Outlar- Two Poems

Shattered Moments
Numb stoned silence of paradise –
everything gray and perfect and peaceful,
no worries, no confusion, no need
for anything other than the entropic void.
Under the Buddha Tree in Eden’s Garden
earning a double dose of mythological ramifications
straight from the archetypal source
into my well weathered consciousness –
some might call it a soul,
but it’s all wavelength frequencies
of embedded DNA data points in the form of vibrations
humming across the electrical tendrils
of a synchronized, interconnected web of infinite light.
The spiritual physics of the matter
explain the manifest totality of the illusion.
A revelation, an epiphany, an A-ha moment
gets shredded by an unkind angle of perception
as my peripheral vision catches movement
from outside the holy triangulated circle –
I see color pulsing inward,
I see Order breaking down,
I see Chaos gearing up for the next war,
I see gene swarm in the primordial soup,
I see fire raging from the underbelly,
I see storms flowing from wasted skyline,
I see dog eat dog in the cage fight,
I see evolution pressing forward at all coasts,
I feel the intensity of pressure mounting…
and then my dream is shattered
as the shutters of reality are released –
the poison of the Beast World
floods my synapses and veins,
polluting the core of what I thought possible
and slamming me with a hard dose of reality.
There is no escape from the biting lashes
of truth’s harsh winds –
we came from the dirt, the ash, the mud,
the clay…we are created from out
this firmament…and so, too, shall
we stay here, live here, die here –
from the cradle of the crescent river
to the yawning grave where the worms wait –
all that was, is, or ever will be.

 - Originally appeared in Novelmasters

Seeking (in Vain) for the Answer
Is it the guns?
If so, there will always
still be knives.

Is it the “holy” texts?
If so, there will always
still be misguided interpretations of God.

Is it the consequences of Imperialism?
If so, there will always
still be control freaks and strange laws.

Is it the effects of human tribalism?
Is it the results of ancient conflicts?

Is it the strings pulled by corrupt regimes?
Is it the money funneled by war profiteers?
Is it the celebratory spotlight shined by mass media?
Is it the blueprints orchestrated
by divide-and-conquer conspirators?

Is it nature?
Is it nurture?
Is it a product of original sin?
Is it ideology taught by man?

Is it lone wolves?
Is it organized terror campaigns?

Is it part of a divine plan?
Is it hell being manifested upon the earth?

Is there a path out of the madness at this point?
Is there ever going to come a cessation of the suffering?

- Originally appeared in Dissident Voice

Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published work can be found. His chapbook "Songs of a Dissident" is forthcoming in January of 2016 through Transcendent Zero Press.

Ananya S. Guha- A Poem

'' We Grow Outside Time''
In disdain blood strays
not shoulder to shoulder
but it stains some, twists a neck
then looks up at skies spotted
there are no stains, only color
color of myopia, short sighted
faraway. Outside, houses are runaway
skirting terror. Gun shots shriek.
Someone or thing babbles. Hammock.
Night cradles a stinging lullaby.
Crack and explosion. Horse rides.
Outside lentils grow.
We grow, outside time.

Heather Gelb- Two Poems

Fragrant Garden of Melancholy

I was always the one who
Pleaded for all moods to
Smile for the camera while I
Handed out cheery dispositions
With my collection of
Rose-colored glasses.
I completely identified with the
Perky persistence of Joy
In the movie "Inside Out".

But one day I found a friend
Who wore her disposition for gloom and doom
Like a brooding character from a Burton film or
A line from one of Keats’s Odes.
When I looked at her I saw
Smudgy rings around the moon,
And turned my head to the sun
While offering her my rosy lenses.
She absolutely  refused to smile through the tears. Instead,
She cared enough to gently refuse the glasses and
To invite me to visit sadness  seated
On the cloudy charm of melancholy.
I hesitated, tried to armor myself
With fragrances of joy and sunny mornings,
Then finally took the plunge into her inner world.
I felt immense awe and respect walking through the
Fragrant garden of melancholy,
Open to the mingling scents of
wistfulness, reflection, and windowsills sprinkled with
Wilted roses and tears.

And I finally  understood that it really is ok
To experience sadness fully
In order to feel authentic and
Just get on with life.


Scent of Rosemary

The piney scent of rosemary
Lingered on her fingers
As she adjusted her hat and
Set up her easel to
Paint a memory that I have
Never seen from my window.
Even her choice of
Lines and colors reflected a reality
That some college campuses would 
Confine to a Designated Safe Area.
Spiders crawled nearby with
Enough poison to bring down
Dozens of pink elephants, and
Snakes slithered though the thorns
Clutching cameras in their toothy mouths
Ready to photoshop another story to
Spread to the masses.

But still that artist with
The  floppy hat comes to paint
Her truth, leaving behind the
               Scent of rosemary.

Brief Bio: I often feel like a gazelle as I leap from hilltop to hilltop.
On one of these hills I recently publish my memoir, my spiritual journey from the hills of one land to another:  http://www.amazon.com/From-Hilltop-Path-Rwanda-Israel/dp/1937623076
One of my poems based on this book was  featured in the fall edition of Poetica Magazine.
I have also published stories and poetry in other various publications like Green Panda Press, Deronda Review, Jellyfish Whispers, Stepping Stones, IJN and Esra Magazine.

Victor Clevenger- A Poem

I’m a Writer, not a Fighter
 And on the nights when
my busted lips
    tint the ice cubes red,
  and she sits there for an hour
letting the melted water
        run down
her soft cold fingers,
 I tell her,
  "Even superheroes take a few
  good punches darling,
nobody can dodge them all."
She always laughs kindly,
then reminds me,
"Sweetheart, I have yet to see
             you dodge one."