Friday, December 19, 2014

Craig Brandis- Two Poems

Getting Ready For Eternity
I see your height, I feel your weight
And watch you sew, to hew the new.
Laid in my tomb, without a comb,
This awful rouge would I gouge --
In hubris is debris. 

Tell Me

Tell me I’m late.
Tell me the house isn’t burning down.
Tell me again how selfish I am.

Clouds carry rivers across the sky.
Marines carry home their dead. Always.
Do you carry more than a hat and gloves?
Craig Brandis is a singer-songwriter and is the author of the poetry chapbook Altitude. His poems have been published in the New Verse News, the Friends of William Stafford Newsletter and The Camel Saloon.

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Veterans Cemetery

Families come
on Memorial Day
depending on the weather;
otherwise the Fourth of July, 
if it’s not too hot.

You can hear them coming,
adults in the rear,
reminiscing and talking,
children who can read
announcing the names
on the stones until they 
discover the right one. 
Then they shout.

Adults bring flowers, 
placing them softly
in front of the stones 
near our heads.
Children stick little 
flags from parades
in our waistlines.

Some ladies bring towels
and wipe down the stones;
others towelettes to remove
gunk from the lettering. 

All mean well and we 
appreciate the visit and wish 
we could say something.
It’s a thrill to hear voices.
Otherwise it's lawn mowers,
leaf blowers, snow plows 
the rest of the year.

Chicken and Noodles

During a long marriage
Wally told Millie 
over and over
time after time
chicken and noodles
never again.

He also told Millie
chicken and dumplings
were welcome
twice a week but 
chicken and noodles
never again.

No one knows why
Millie kept making
chicken and noodles
over and over
time after time.
She’s single again.

Ambulance Lights

Willie McKee works 
second shift
gets home at midnight
makes hot cocoa 
flops in his recliner

and counts the stars
through the blinds
nods to the moon
and every week or so 
sees ambulance lights 
pull up at Tom’s house
blink for an hour 
while the crew goes in
and restarts him.

But on Christmas Eve 
the ambulance lights
pull away in minutes
and a hearse pulls up
two men go in

bring out the gurney
as old Tom's wife 
stands on the porch
and smokes
and Willie McKee
tells his wife 
neighbors will never
hear Mabel curse
old Tom again.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Richard Schnap- A Poem


I have known death
To arrive in black leather
With a smear of lipstick
And a menthol cigarette

And I have known death
To arrive battle-scarred
With a golden voice
That electrified the night

And I have known death
To arrive with a hole
In the center of his heart
He eventually jumped into

And I will know death
The faceless horseman
Who will come to lead me
To the land of no return

Cristine A. Gruber- Three Poems


One rarely knows
the exact moment
when shifts take place,
when one goes from being
tentative to certain,
from hesitant to sure,
from cautious to open,
completely convinced
of knowing another
as well as one knows oneself. 

An empty bottle removed,
a full one to take its place. 
A jacket retrieved,
a hat handed over. 
Which side to sit on,
who will hold the remote.

Familiarity grows,
day by day,
into full understanding
of what another is thinking,
complete comprehension
of what another needs,
moving along assuredly
without word or doubt...

…until that critical moment,
when misjudgment takes place.


The aroma
of oatmeal cookies
always produced
memories of his mama,
just as the sight
of chewing tobacco
instantly caused him
to recall his daddy.

And the fragrance
of Avon cologne
made him think of her,
though he’d never known
the name of the perfume
in the yellow bottle,
never asked.   

Just as a scent
can bring back
an old memory,
or an image
can flood the heart
with sentiment
thought long-forgotten,
so too a word or phrase,
significantly placed,
can transport one
back to that moment in time
when all the earth quaked,
trembling to its very core.   

A tight hand grips the bottle,
no space between skin and label,
no light between clenched fingers,
knuckles white, nails blue,
scars prominent across weathered skin,
failings exposed for all to see.

The amber liquid burns as fire,
scorching body and soul
with its pervading fever,
rotting limbs, searing spirit... 

but the fervor of the whiskey
remains but a flicker
to the dominance
of the inferno blazing within,
sense and sagacity
mere blackened coals. 

Reason grows still,
discernment distant,
judgment dormant,
yet the battle rages on
inside his head. 

Closing his eyes,
he tips the bottle,
drinks hard,
drowns heart.  

Cristine A. Gruber, a Southern California native, is a registered caregiver as well as a widely-published poet. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer’s Digest, California Quarterly, The Endicott Review, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Leaves of Ink, Miller’s Pond, Napalm and Novocain, The Penwood Review, The Poet’s Haven, Pound of Flash, Pyrokinection, Red River Review, The Tule Review, Wilderness House Literary Review, and The Write Place at the Write Time. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, is available from More of Cristine's work can be found and enjoyed at

Arif Ahmad- A Poem

children will be children 
Peshawar, Thar, Newtown

How do we tell children apart?
Our children from those less privileged?
Our children from those of a terrorist?
Hungry children from sick children?
Pretending to play dead children, from dead children?

How in the hell do they tell?
Which one to let live, which one to kill?

Reactive governance, absent strategy?
Politics of war, political warring?
Failing diplomacy, content apathy?
In a burden we all share
This child play is for real
There, here, elsewhere, anywhere
Children will be children, they are dying everywhere

Paying the price, laying their lives
Crying out loud then going quiet
Our past, our present, haunting our future
Children are children, they are dying everywhere

Is there something wrong with this picture?
How is this not our mutual shame?
How is this not our shared failure?
Children our children, are dying everywhere

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Kapil Muni Tiwary- Three Poems

You My Poem
Come to me
When light is low, not quite out,
And be with me
When darkness thickens
And night descends overwhelmingly.

Sing to me 
In floral tones;
In simple rhymes
of light and life and love;
of whatever is in short supply on earth. 

You owe it to me.
You are my poem
In gossamer veil
A piece of my being on wings:
An indigent prayer,
A meagre offering; a cri de coeur; unheard 
Heavenwards winging.
you are innocent, humility and inexorable solitude.
You are my poem.
Lonely by nature,
Lonelier in a crowd,
Indifferent to sacred shrines
I meet you at the crossroads of culture
Prone to pray at penumbral places,
Scared by the glare of marketplaces,
At dead of night I worship
At bare open spaces,
Darkness and light commingling,
At the crossroads of culture.

On a Birthday
Older than my earliest memories;
Younger than my last night's dream;
You come.
Eternal, yet recurrent, you come
Indifferent to one.
Pregnant with possibilities,
Loaded with promises
You are welcome to all.

You add to my age 
What you take from my life away:
One plus one plus one each year,
Gifting debris from the past in your wake
Promises revoked, possibilities dispersed
I celebrate you nevertheless,
And wait for you nevertheless.

Looking backward and forward
Straight and across my life,
Dreading the day I'll not
Be waiting for you to come,
Will not be waking for you at all,
Early or late, then or ever.

Coda: A Meta-poem
A poem lives briefly,
As a sequence of phones
But dies, quite quickly, on the wind.

Survives as a system of sense,
proposing a personal range of pleasure and pain:
Purely personal, scaringly intense,
Sometimes the one, sometimes the other,
Sometimes blending the two in equal measure,
Fugitive feelings animating the whole
Waking a swell of wild desires,
Licking the heart with tongues of five,
Articulating structures of impersonal passions.

A poem is a funny thing,
If you feel into it, you are changed by it,
But if you don't, you are not,
A funny thing when you come to think. 

Bio: Kapil Muni Tiwary did his MA and PhD in Linguistics from University of Pennsylvania and worked as professor of Linguistics and English Literature in India, Iraq and the Republic of Yemen. He has carried out research on languages like English, Bhojpuri, Hindi, Sanskrit and Arabic and several of his articles have been published in well known journals. These include The Echo-word Construction in Bhojpuri and Tuneful Weeping: A Mode of Communication. He is also the author of Panini's Description of Sanskrit Nominal Compounds and Language Deprivation and the Socially Disadvantaged: With special Reference to Bihar. At present he lives at Patna, India. Of late he has started using poetry as a mode of his expression. 

Behlor Santi- Two Poems

It’s not winter anymore, boy,
summer sweats out the truth.
Summer is not a pop song, no,
heat is the cold unvarnished truth.
I don’t eat key lime pie because of you.
Matthew, I am telling the truth.
Don’t fall in lust on psych wards.
Like black and white, this is oedipal truth.
I feel so Zionist right now. The
Holy Land, the Bible. Telling the truth?
Miss Behlor Bernice, enjoy the heat.
Apologize without desire. You know
the truth.

For E.
My left knee aches, stiffens, numbs up
in the grip of summer storms.
I remember the Charles River,
you shirtless, unbuttoning me --
the devil you’ll always be.
At a New York City kiosk, I
glance at a trashy celebrity mag.
Watch the editors gloat
over 135 gluttonous pounds.
I smile.
I write by the East River.
I’m housed by a place
that’ll never be a home.
I kiss fantasy lips,
soaking in your multitudes
of virtues and vices,
vices and virtues.
Like Whitman and Hughes,
my soul is deep, like rivers.
I sing.

Behlor Santi has recently published fiction and poetry at Eunoia Review and The Birds We Piled Loosely. She curently lives on an island between Manhattan, The Bronx, and Queens. Contact her at

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Paul Tristram- Three Poems


I have fallen into quite a few in my time
but none of them remotely come even close
to that stinking, disgusting snake-pit of nonsense and bullshit
that you have the cheek to call a soul.

© Paul Tristram 2014


He considered The Seven Deadly Sins
merely work tools to manipulate.
Other’s displeasure and discomfort
his very own addictive pleasure.
Lies and deception were his forte,
he mentally tortured and made victims
of all of his confused acquaintances.
Laughed heartily, deep inside
at every single welcomed funeral.
Viewing heart attacks and cancer
as personal triumphs of glory.
Yet, all his cunning ruthlessness
proved useless one early evening
sat greasy-faced at the dinning table
as he choked upon a fishbone.
Purple of face and punching chest
he looked searchingly at his wife
who sat smiling in his direction.
Already happily window-shopping
the vast, crooked inheritance
with a new younger and dumber lad
upon her victorious Widow’s arm.

© Paul Tristram 2014

The Humiliation And Ruin Of A Narcissistic Karaoke Singer

“I’m gonna be a Star, Rich and Famous.
Make David Beckham leave his family
and marry me instead, you just watch.
I was born Special and I’ll come back
to this little pub in this insignificant town
and show you all, so you can Adore Me!”
She explained hurriedly and excitedly
in-between Her two predictable song choices
of Whitney Houston and Celine Dion.
It was an arrogant laugh through the sudden
rise of insults and abuse that made Her first
realize- that as perfect as She believed Herself
to be- that She had in fact made a mistake.
Revealed too much of Her Master Plan
to the common, ordinary people and it was
obviously just too much for their little,
simple minds to take in, in just one sitting.
It wasn’t Her fault Obviously but theirs,
even God made mistakes didn’t he, I mean
he invented ugly people and uglier clothing.
He had also Birthed Her into a family
without any money, power or influence
and that was a mistake almost unforgivable.
The first missile to hit Her was a large
blue, oblong, plastic ‘Fosters Beer’ ashtray,
made of the very same material as Her
black, piss-stain shallow excuse for a soul.
The second was a spinning wooden barstool
which struck Her in the chest right where
Her heart, compassion and empathy should be.
The third was a half pint of frothy urine
that one of the punk boys had concocted
at the back of the room and discharged
expertly hitting Her squarely with a fantastical
‘Smack, Bang, Wallop’ right in the kisser.
After recovering from the initial shock of it all
Her sycophantic family immediately rushed
to the rescue, taking but not giving blows,
until they managed to get Her out of a side door
and into the comfortable four door vehicle
they had previously borrowed and not returned.
They arrived home exactly three and a half
minutes later, where they closed the front patio
curtains upon the Unjust World and decided
unanimously with Her to try the National Lottery
one more time on Wednesday, even though
She was a Martyr to it each time She lost
and it took them two days to stop Her crying.
And if that did not work, they would move
further down County and start all over again.
Hopefully amongst generous, decent people
who would be supportive and give Her
all the Narcissistic Fuel that She Needed
whilst getting back nothing but Horribleness,
Coldness, Meanness and Ugliness in return.

© Paul Tristram 2014

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight, this too may pass, yet.

You can read his poems and stories here!

Scott Thomas Outlar- Three Poems

The Waiting Game
Waiting for the buzz to hit,
wanting it,
needing it,
losing patience,
looking around, twiddling thumbs,
tapping feet, watching the clock,
taking another sip of wine,
getting fed up –
ah, fuck it,
I’ll do this sober…
Putting the pen to paper,
raising the ink to heaven,
crashing it back to earth,
standing at the edge,
gazing out over the abyss,
diving in,
going somewhere, anywhere,
seeking something, anything,
wanting, needing,
getting…nothing –
oh, fuck it,
I’ll wait for the buzz…

Which Came First, the Murder or the Fuck
I used to think
that eggs bought
at supermarkets
to be fried sunny side up
or scrambled
were from little baby chicken fetuses
that we humans were aborting
in our pan
before shoveling them into our stomachs.
An ex-girlfriend corrected my ignorance
one day, putting me on
the straight and narrow path
to realize
that an egg
is just an egg –
there was no seed,
it is not murder.
Later, I gave my seed
unto my girl,
but the pill sure as hell
aborted that.

How Low Can You Go
The world died
when she did
when he did
when they did
when you did
when I did
when we died together
in Apocalyptic rapture
Remorse came
but was
quickly shoved away
by glad-handling
coffin salesmen
of the worst kind
lower than a lawyer
lower than a used car
lower than a liar
lowest of them all
sucking on your pain
profit while you’re grieving
Hand on your back
eyes cast low
such a solemn occasion
in their office
with all the ornamentation
and fancy furniture
Funeral parlor
makes you feel small
when at the most vulnerable
A wake of vultures
feasting on the flesh
before it’s lowered into the ground

     Scott Thomas Outlar lives simply, spending his time reading, researching, walking, and writing prose-fusion works dedicated to the Phoenix Generation.  He has appeared in Dissident Voice, Jellyfish Whispers, Aphelion, Loose Change Magazine, Fuck Fuction, The Fanzine, and various other venues.  Scott can be reached at