Monday, August 25, 2014

Cristine A. Gruber- Two Poems


Upon Hearing the News of Mr. Williams’ Death
Monday, August 11, 2014, 4:20pm

He cut himself today,
just to watch himself bleed.

With each drop of crimson
splashing across the unspoiled tile,
he imagines a raging demon meeting
an untimely death, smashing headlong
against the pristine porcelain.

One by one he subdues his oppressors,
silencing them for yet another
day, their power drained
with each meticulous droplet
spreading across the pure stone.

Counting to twenty, he wipes
a rag across the inviolable ceramic,
pain cleansed away, no camouflage,
just flawless absorption, white cotton
defeating dark demons.  

Another slice, a new count,
twenty more down, cloth soaked,
but never to capacity, for however
many are released, just as many
are standing at the ready.  

The reins are tightened
before euphoria reigns, that elusive
place between pain and release.
Precision is key, never too deep;
privacy crucial, always hidden away.

The rag of ritual
dries hard as stone,
getting tossed out with
the evening trash, disposed of
completely, no reminder, no pain...

but in the very last moment
before closing the lid, he offers
a little prayer over the loss of life,
for the raging perdition throughout
is no less essential than the story within.

He cut himself today,
just to watch his story bleed.

Reflections on the Ice Bucket Challenge of Summer 2014

                                      Friday, August 22nd 11:57am

Streaming aquatic,
the very essence of life,
striking the pavement,
rushing downhill,

no roots to nourish,
no life to sustain,
mere waste and

sucked dry
by the sun
before reaching
the end of the street.

Yet another video gone
viral, one more group of
individuals dumping buckets
of cold water over their heads,

the baptized pavement
beneath their feet
heated to broiling by the
ever-present California sun.

Awareness is heightened
and many are grateful;
give to the cause,
an answer within reach.

But for those who can do so
without wasting resources,
the power is great,
the joy supreme.

With a tall glass of water
held firmly in my hand,
the life-giving liquid
defying the summer heat,

I shut off my computer
and walk outside, stand
in the shade and gaze
at my impoverished lawn.

Ordered by the city to turn
off my sprinklers, my once-
fertile land is now nothing
more than barren waste.  

Half the water I hold
in my hand is used to
nurture a lone geranium,
while the remainder is

relegated to nourish
a sole tomato plant.
Enduring by design,
amazingly resilient,

both provide
beauty and harvest
from nothing more than
a few ounces of water per day.

Many years from now,
when looking back on
this time, I won’t likely
remember who started

The Challenge,
nor will I recall
the amount
that was raised.

The memory retained
will be the view
from my window,
two more tomatoes

now ripe on the vine,
surviving the drought,
providing my lunch
this warm August day. 

Brief Bio:

Cristine A. Gruber has had work featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer’s Digest, Dead Snakes, The Endicott Review, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Miller’s Pond, The Penwood Review, Poem, Thema, The Tule Review, and Westward Quarterly. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from

Victoria Mineo- A Poem


Lovely little Lilly
Loved to laugh and play
Smiling ever sweetly
Vapid in her way

Not knowing of the world
Or the darkness hiding there
When evil finally found her
He caught her unaware

Through sex and love
And lust and sin
He lured her out
Her beast within

Now lovely little Lilly
No longer to be found
Now there stands Lilith
Her feet firmly on the ground

"Lilly" can all be found on a sight called Dark Poetry

Peter Bracking- Three Poems

 untitled 1

you wonder
behind the sound of your own voice
if there is any sense

your fingers slice incisive points
eyes might be held
but yours look beyond

the debate may now be yours
but you feel, sadly, your own idea
deflate like a freshly used prick

open letter to mr. moore

I grew up to the immediate north of one of the first economically ruined cities of the Upper Peninsula of your home state (GM ,GM, GM), which once upon a time (ago) was an integral part (because animals with furs still refuse to get passports) of two countries that did not exist that became two cities that no longer speak French, which turned out to be my childhood home (sans Grand Funk but avec Phil Esposito) that subsequently died a different but equally sad (steel, steel, steel) manufacturing death.

I do not buy the American Dream (that as a child I was happy enough to have beamed illegally to the our, first on the block, colour TV, over the wide cultural divide of the river) and I gleefully admit to strongly disapproving (having sadly, aged) the continually misguided (please provide me with a stronger adjective) sic foreign policy that has been espoused by idiots (read: elected officials) controlling your country and forced upon the world for the last century or so (as the clock tics); but you, the person and not necessarily your views however nasally presented, have ideas (thought from the other side of the river!) that, sadly, or foolishly, or sagely get ignored by the ignorant but which I, minor poet, enjoy.

If I had ten bucks (hey they are at par now, na na na na boo boo) I would send it to you to save the world (mine, please) or buy two bottles of beer or some vodka, ok, food, because I (like half the world) haven't worked for half a decade (more cities forced to collective skinned knees and into tight coffins in anticipation). But money slips (coins, through the spaces and the naturally occurring cracks) out of my fingers as easily as election promises (soothing untruths) slip out of politician's (or their handler's) minds (how oxymoronic, as morons go) but, but, I do offer (first rights refusal: read payment) this poem. And poems are only worth what they are printed upon and this one is printed upon the internet ether (read: nothing).

Luckily (unlike everything else in the caving world) I've got nothing but time.


given that black holes consume
pull together all the stars
gas dust random atoms
giant ice crystals that roam forever until

given that each black hole
sucks and sucks
never sated
sucking in all
stars light even
(the gravity of it

given that
questing minds thirst and burn to know
where exactly does it all go

Peter Bracking tells tall tales.  Earth point:  Vancouver, Canada. 

Words have been published by more than a dozen presses in four countries on two continents including: Maisonneuve; Merida Review; streetcake magazine; empty sink publishing; thrice fiction; Existere

The only occupation he regrets leaving is beach bum.  Peter is the artistic director of Utter Stories.

Self aggrandizement:

Jason Constantine Ford- A Poem

Telepathic Clones

A central machine is feeding clones with a message
That they can relate to each other without a word
As newly created commands make the passage
From one clone to the next regarding what is inferred.
Through portal of a microchip, clones communicate
To one another without words as fate’s hands designate
Tasks to sleeper cells with deadly desires driven.

Intellects are being fed with the objective
Of releasing the flu and disguising its features
As an outbreak of cholera most infective
Unto a state of blindness among many creatures.
An enhanced microchip creates a vital link
Between different clones who begin to think
As one regarding a task already given. 

In the early morn, a virus infects each database
Which tracks the identities of ones with the flue
And removes its existence without a trace
To be replaced with cholera nobody knew.
As governments try to fight cholera non-existent,
Signals between clones become more persistent
In the form of a command to obtain a final goal.

Through telepathic channels that remain unknown
To other forms of life, the clones are able to devise
A strategy of polluting water in every zone
Of human beings destined for their own demise.
On a night when cholera is thought to be spreading,
Allotted agents of death are slowly treading
Through a dam with defences cut by a gaping hole.

Jason Constantine Ford, Telepathic Clones, posted on June 10, 2014 for the June 2014 edition of The Rain, Party and Disaster Society, , June, 2014.

Biographical Note: Jason Constantine Ford is from Perth in Australia. He writes for the love of writing. His major influences poetry and fiction are Edgar Alan Poe, William Blake and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Most of his poetry is rhyming poetry as he is dedicated to it. He also writes fiction. His main influences for fiction are Edgar Alan Poe and Phillip K. Dick. Jason is interested in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror.

Jon Bennett- Three Poems


Waiting in line at the EDD
I see a man out the window
retrieve a safety razor
and a bar of soap
from one of the disused
newspaper machines
He comes inside
and the security guard
lets him in the bathroom
When he comes out
he notices me watching
looks me up and down
“So it begins,” he says
Or so it ends.

Carrie’s Teeth

The money’s gone
the friends are gone
and all that’s left is meth
“Hi Jon!” she says,
trying not to smile
Stalactites of teeth
eroded needles
the first thing
to disappear.

Heroes and Zeros
Every couple of years a certain ex of mine
calls to tell me she’s fine
Her kids are good and her husband is awesome
and she asks how I am and I say
“It’s OK.”
This time when she called she said,
“You were there when my dad died,
and I was thinking…”
Her brother had died.  He’d been working
as an enforcer for a bookie running
fantasy football bets.
It seems ironic
to have your legs broken
for making fantasy football bets,
but my mom is the one dying now
so I tell her,
“It’s not OK.”
She tells me it is, or at least it will be
but she’s wrong.
This is what happens when you get older
the strongest grow weak
and the weakest go down.

Jon Bennett writes poems, novels and music in San Francisco's Chinatown.  His sci-fi book "The Unfat," and his second cd, "Submarine" (which he realizes has some problems), are on sale at Amazon.  Conjoin with him on Facebook at

Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena- 3 Poems


is the color of the urn, and the rain  
kills herself in each drop of her tears 
in this sepia landscape of minarets
and spires where life is a cocoon 
of regrets. As we wait to become 
somebody else, the absurdities 
of the world multiply a hundred 
times in the yawn of the drunkard
every time he spits curses. That is 
how life works my friend. Our tragic, 
yet heroic failure to keep everything 
from disintegrating into ashes 
of irrelevance, for we are left 
with nothing but only our caffeinated 
kisses in a dull sunset, tattooed 
across the earth. While the phantom 
of your father forever lingers 
in the corners of your home, 
all you can ever do is smile 
and be still. So listen to the sighs 
of the river, for our gangrene wounds 
continue their endless parade in the church.

After the Storm

Find the torso of your father beneath 
the rubble. Hidden in the labyrinth 
of wreckage are the hopes of the dead, 
buried three days ago. The weeping 
multitude reminds us of their sunsets 
and rainbows lost, forever. Now 
grief is magnified like the image 
of a decomposing limb, protruding 
out in the open, as if to say, 
We are merely pebbles of flesh
to be offered to the earth— 

My friend, do you see 
a flock of gulls gliding above 
the indigo waters of the Pacific?



Every night, there are rainbows
and funerals that heighten the magnitude
of grief in the aftertaste of loss.
And the harbor will always be empty
in our island of tears: a still life of rust 
that gnaws at the bituminous heart


As the gulls glide through the nimbus
clouds, the silence of the mangroves
is haunting, such beauty of rapture
and sadness; the sight of the sea
beneath the moon, the rolling waves—


But nothing will remain here,
here only the ashes of the echo
of our song, buried,
in the wreckage
of the future.  

—Simon Anton Nino Diego Baena
Some of his works have already been published in Red River Review,
Philippines Free Press, Philippines Graphic magazine, Eastlit, 
Dagmay, and Kabisdak

Dylan Weir- Three Poems

Father Brown

The family priest, clerical collar
worn always, married my mom and dad and all dad’s 8 siblings,
baptized 26 of my cousins and
I always took pride in the fact that you did mine
over the cliffs of Ireland
You must have said a thousand services for us.
when my sister first showed signs of being a heathen
announcing proudly she wouldn’t attend
granny slapped her across the face
while you stood silent
with that smiling

The Morning After

forgive me father
for I am sin
last night I was a werewolf howlin’
moonshine in the wind

I am sin when the sun sets west
I reach not for what’s right but
whatever’s left. that western loneliness
manifest; fate in my chest
it’s emptiness
it’s necessity
I need and I need and
I’m necessity
I’m greed and it’s
fate filling up
my chest cavity

last night I was the bathtub sin
pissing moonshine in the wind
see, I was born on a leash
set free by the night
to fight fuck and flee
anywhere, everywhere
you see father, it’s manifest

forgive me

Weekly Washing

They told me to pray
for you
one day I’ll learn forgiveness
and we can start
on my knees, my hardwood floor
our pew
I bite my lips just like I did
with you

Dylan Weir is a Chicago poet, writer and perpetual student. He works for Young Chicago Authors, was chosen as a semifinalist for the 2014 Gwendolyn Brooks Open Mic Award and is currently getting his M.A. in English at DePaul University.

Brenton Booth- Three Poems


You want to scream
but you can’t
you want to cry
but your ability has gone
you want to kill
but that would make you
just like them.


You get these poets
that imagine writing
to be a courageous and
brilliant thing
that their words are
essential for the world
to hear
that they are great gods
forged by the heavens
to make things right;
which really sounds
quite ridiculous—
but no more ridiculous
than most the things we
accept as truths:
and far less destructive.


It started pouring down thick
sheets of water and it was
8:09pm on Boxing Day 2010
and both my feet had calluses
and I’d just finished a 50 hour
week and would begin another
one tomorrow and I looked at
my Christmas present
it was a Randy Couture figure
I then thought of when I went
to Las Vegas and trained at his
sparring in his cage and doing
reasonably well—
though we all have our victories,
most smaller than we’d like
though big enough to allow
us to keep them out of the reach
of others
and tonight like everyone else
I know another year will be gone
in a week
and I hold on to whatever I can
to keep me going.

Bio: Brenton Booth lives in Sydney, Australia. Poetry and fiction of his has appeared in a variety of publications.

Robert Demaree- Two Poems


The trouble with making
New friends at
Golden Pines
Is they occupy the homes of
Friends deceased.
Yes, her mother’s cupboard was over there.
Persian rugs, threadbare, noble.
Lay atop beige carpeting.
Voices mingle, blur.
In time, of course,
On the staff at Golden Pines
One generation of caregivers
Will succeed another.


Afternoon in Nicaea,
Convention town near the Black Sea.
The delegates are tired,
Days of haggling,
Abstruse concepts in conflict,
Separated by a single letter.
One side seems to have the upper hand.
Let’s go ahead and vote,
Someone says;
I have a ship to catch.

Robert Demaree is the author of three book-length collections of poems, including After Labor Day, published in April 2014 by Beech River Books.  In 2013 his poems received first place in competitions sponsored by the Poetry Society of New Hampshire and the Burlington Writers Club He is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, where he lives four months of the year. He has had over 700 poems published or accepted by 150 periodicals. For further information see