Thursday, November 27, 2014

Scott Thomas Outer- Two Poems

On Down The Line 

So carry on down the line
all your crimes
are carried out through the night
                                      the sin
The Light
reflecting back wrong from right
                                      the same
The stain
mirror fades into dream            

So it all comes down the line
Karma’s time
to bring the scale into sign
                                      the stars
The fire
burning out all that’s sown
                                      to reap
so show me one damn return

The Urge 

That’s blood
That’s self created wound
That’s victim played by you
          and you alone
It’s the same old tired song

That’s enough
That pretty much says it all
That’s written on the walls
          for God to judge
It’s the same strong will to Love

That’s truth
That’s piercing through a soul
That’s the urge of all we know
          to evolve
It’s the same old dance and crawl

That’s fun
That’s the same sold circus clown
That’s the jester begging
          for his life
It’s the same old joke tonight

That’s train
That’s the wreck we all predict
That’s the same cynical snitch
          in the ditch
It’s the same old run off lines

Nancy May- Three Sweet Haiku

dolphin on seas
kingfisher wings unfold
on the cool air

ice on ice
moonlit sunset
in the Sahara

droplets of dew
butterfly sway
in air whispers

Gary Beck- Three Poems

When I was young
I asked myself
how the Founding Fathers
conceived the ideas
that created a nation
based on democracy.
Of course I knew even then
that all men weren't equal
and government of, by, for,
was only for some of us.
Yet now that I am old
I still ask myself
how those rebels
managed to produce
such noble documents,
and frequently wonder
why our recent leaders
are completely incapable
of exalted heights.
I try to be charitable
and remind myself
that film, tv, Youtube,
dilute the quality of expression
by constant bombardment
of visual information
reducing originality,
but am forced to conclude
we now breed lesser men.

Art Clips
Og painted bison on cave walls.
The Pre-Renaissancers depicted saints.
Van Eyck composed exquisite details.
De La Croix presented the heroic.
Then the Impressionists came along,
soft and shimmering,
made it difficult at first
for common folk to grasp,
but they finally caught up
just in time for Kandinsky
to divorce realism.
From that time on
critics intervened
between artist and viewer,
glibly explaining
what we're looking at.

The sun rises later,
sets earlier,
the days grow cooler.
I take in the patio furniture,
put up the storm windows,
restock the pantry
with cocoa and oatmeal,
get out the down quilt,
put away the t-shirts,
unpack the sweaters,
make sure there's enough firewood,
saddle soap leather boots,
grease the sled runners,
final check that all's ready
for the season of winter,
then sit back in comfy chair,
plug the IPad in the charger,
pick up weighty volume one
of the Decline and Fall
of the Roman Empire,
settle in, content
to await the coming of spring.
Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. He has 7 published chapbooks and 2 others accepted for publication. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press). Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways (Winter Goose Publishing). Perceptions and Displays will be published by Winter Goose Publishing. His novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press) Acts of Defiance (Artema Press). His short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City

John Grochalski- Three Poems

no snowcap

love you like a blackmail
one of the girls at the bus stop sings to the other

twelve years old and they’re both
in the tight pink pants that say juicy on the ass

i don’t know if you can call them lycra or spandex
…spanx, is what i think i’ve heard them called

but the patriarchy is alive and well this morning

the two girls are in each other’s face
fists to their lips like microphones

love you like a blackmail, baby
love you like a blackmail

girls looking decades older than the boys
who will one day decide what their daughters will wear

boys chasing girls chasing boys
standing right beside them singing pink and juicy

love you like a blackmail

boys pounding on video screens
and trying to push each other in the street

crafting the continued history of violence
in this fashion parade

i wonder what these girls
will be wearing in four years
at the ripe, old, overly sexualized age of sixteen

just what the mass marketing machine
will come up with next

like the two girls i just passed
twenty-two degrees this morning
with another winter of our discontent
breathing down our necks

sixteen year olds in thin jackets unzipped
with high-school PE t-shirts cut to mid-drift
like glorified bras

bearing, red, chapped stomachs

the one girl telling the other
that brandon is so cute
she might rape him tonight

rape like love
love you like a blackmail, baby

on a friday night
in digital camera supervised america

without a pair of gloves
and no snowcap on their heads.

the mentor

a wise man once told me
that every step in this life is a step forward

and through the pleasure
and the pain of this existence

the failed jobs and failed relationships
the failed cities and broken cars

all this sickness and death

i’ve held on to that
in some form or another

today i’m thinking it’s my turn
to be the wise man

to be the mentor

to the nineteen year old girl
who wants to discuss her future

a lost kid in college
who may be in over her head
or who might just need to blow off some steam

so we sit there face to face
her talking about the confusion of classes

me squatted like buddha
like the gray and grizzled sage i think i am

remembering nineteen

just waiting on the point in the conversation
where she finally makes her decision

finally sees the enlightened path that her life must take
with my guidance, of course

so that i can say
every step in this life is a step forward, kid

pat her on the shoulder and walk away
feeling good about myself for a change

because as you get older
i’ve learned that it gets harder to feel good about yourself

as the mistakes mount and the failures collect
like debt or old baseball cards in the closet

but we never get to that glorious conclusion

instead of feeling good about anything
the girl starts crying a slow, soundless wretched burn
that turns her eyes red and milky

she makes no sound
as she wipes and tries to look away from me

her plastic guru
her dim leading light

twenty-one years older than her
and none the wiser than whatever burden she’s got

the things she can’t discuss anymore

with someone burning down the road
in the same jack kerouac flannels
that he was baptized in before she was born

just another sagging old man
waiting until she’s finished crying
so that he can lean in and ask her

if she’s all right.

shadows of brooklyn
            --after richard hugo

it’s true here

that the shadows from clouds
don’t take the shape of boats
sailing in all of this concrete

and when the sky rolls away
white and blue in between the gray and mist
it’s most likely filled with soot and dirt

carcinogenics heading off toward the ocean

but there are shadows of buildings
that can kill the light for blocks on end

and in mornings, cold and warm
i walk them to escape the sun

my own moody blue-black oasis
where i can sink into the urban gloom
for as long as i want to

watching the shadows of cars
locked in morning gridlock duels
make the shadows of stalling snakes

their horns honking frustration
at all of this black

dodging dog-shit temples
cathedrals of up-ended garbage cans

the shadows of people like ants
trying to cross the street

waiting for buses in dull lines
checking cellphones and watches

a facsimile of the shadows
of the people who came before them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Stefanie Bennett- Three Poems

WINTER OFFENSIVE 2014          
It must be The Night
Of The Long Knives
For there’s
Fate’s arduous wolf
In the thicket –,
A hundredweight bone-chill
Half moon –,
Boot-heels fracturing
The desensitised dusk and
An obsidian Manticore
Sartrean shack
I’ve come upon that
Looks like
There is no train –.
There is no station –.
The stopping point
... It’s beyond recall.
Yet, there was a house.
A lamp. A window
Through which
The forest
A sky-rail
And tomorrow’s
Once there was a frown, acceptable
As a frown can be.
It never caught sight of itself;
It stopped cybernetics at their play;
It transgressed so well the maps
  Of the world rearranged them-
  Selves into globular rigidity.
The doctors operated on the maps
  Trying not to be apprehensive...
The village officialdom bought the idea
  Of tub-thumping maps,
  And squaring globes...
Once there was a frown, so the story
  Goes. It hasn’t
  An ending
It’s still not... acceptable.
Stefanie Bennett has published eighteen books of poetry and one novel. She has acted as a publishing editor and worked with Arts Action for Peace. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee], she was born in Queensland, Australia, in 1945. Her latest poetry title ‘The Vanishing’ is due at year’s end. Publisher, Walleah Press.

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Collateral Damage

For the entire office
a death like his
coming as it has
the day before
complicates the holiday
for everyone. It makes
things difficult
for all: the wake
the other matters.

Cockfight at the Bus Stop

As the snow swirls around them,
one old man in a wheelchair
uses sign language to tell
another old man standing 
at the bus stop, "Friend, 
you creak when you walk."

Neither one can hear any better 
than when they were classmates  
at a school for the deaf eons ago.
They learned to sign by writing 
in the air with fingers honed 
on the whetstone of banter.

Amiable as ever, the creaky man   
counters with fingers quicker than 
beaks in a Tijuana cockfight.
"Amigo, how can you tell 
that I creak when I walk?
Do my knees sign that well?"


Chauvinist's Manifesto

There's a football field between us.
I'm in one of the end zones bellowing
and you're in the other one bawling,
the cliffs of your cheekbones
streaked with mascara.

Betty Friedan is screaming. 
She says the problem is my fault.
Bella Abzug is cackling 
that she agrees.
Gloria Steinem
is at the microphone, 
ready to sentence me
to decades of marriage
with children by the score
though she didn't marry till 60.

These ladies must be right.
I'm just a man so I give up.
I accept all the blame.
Mountains have risen 
in the middle of the field.
I can no longer see you.
And if I can't see you
there's no reason for us
to get together again.
I have to be able to see you.
It's always been your hind
and never your mind 
that I favored.

We were having a wonderful time  
and all of a sudden you got serious
like all the others.
They wanted to get married, too.
Listen up. 
I'm going to announce 
the best solution
I want to be generous.
I hope you can hear me:
"You keep the ring.
I'll punt and go home."


Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Richard Schnap- A Poem


I passed a man today
Carrying an umbrella
Under a cloudless blue sky

While an old woman
With a thrift store coat
Posted a sign for her lost cat

As a grey-faced crowd
By the drug rehab center
Buried themselves in smoke

Next to a girl who sat strumming
An old battered guitar
That somehow stayed in tune

And it seemed like the world
Was filled with tightrope walkers
Negotiating a thin wire

Without ever knowing
That if they should fall
Someone would catch them

Rose Mary Boehm- Picture


Picture that inspired "Fish Talk" by Rose Mary Boehm

David L. Paxton- Three Poems

Foreign Terrain, Third Month

Buried behind rims of steamed glass lenses,
Breathing deep the smoke’s coffee aroma,
He balances with a book, a quota
Of figures from his bank account, creases

Accentuating his darkening hands
Scarring with frustration, the cold daybreak
Stressing his bones and joints.  He chose the shock
Of sitting stark naked inside the rounds

Of daylight misting through the window screen
Though the temperature froze guava trees
Orcharding the yard, his fingers tense, knees
Trembling, eyes dry, hair erect, and scalp thin.

The young man chooses his suffering well
Especially after the move, his flight
From standard home to new home.  To his right
A balance book, to his left a gray cell.

Kapoho Mongoose

Out of a whistle, a bolt of brown fur
Shot scampering for banyan safety roots,
Belly tight pulled by pain from a hunger

Screaming with infant tones.  Kukui nuts
And flowers struggle with satiating
Centuries of inherent grooming.  Plates

Of asphalt cracked and pushed by thick reaching
Roots the mongoose jetted for, leaf terrain
Where a coral or corn snake coil resting

In wait for a meal of its own, the sun
Filtering through red-brown bark arms, maybe
The mongoose might be able to sustain

The devilish hunger in its belly
Only to discover a scavenger
Built the same, no extinct snake, no treaty.

Springtime 2009, Sunning On the Deck 

The mountain and the ocean are neglected.
Flesh foams over lava rock. Brush webs over dead tree trunks.
Everything between these two is lauded.

From onset holiday seasons, men and women,
Groped over by necessity complexes,
Dispute which are real and which are fake by sign

Of a paid day off from work or day of rest – 
Pending they can stand family or solitude.

The gods don’t seem to stress their mood
Over these days even if they don’t exist.
But if they do, we would mean little more
Than blip jokes under their feet.
                                                    Our lives whore

Out for tasks that break us down; and once finished,
They hold insignificant reward and missed
Economic independence.  The mountain

And ocean rely on good looks as they strain
Their resources.  They pawn off their fish and chunk gold,
Divvy their innate nutrients to provide

For symbiotic lice fattened with pride.
After conceit fades, we shiver reflexes,
Considering shivering repels internal cold.
David L. Paxton (website has previously been published in Poetic Hours, The Flagler Review, Splizz, Purple Pig Lit and The Nocturnal Lyric, and received his Masters of Arts Administration from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2013. He currently resides in Middleburg, FL. working as an independent arts professional as a painter and poet, growing with various curating opportunities for exhibitions. His poetry deals primarily with situational location and reaction due to his travels across the United States from the East Coast to Hawaii.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Ralph Monday- Three Poems

The Gray Owl

Aberration, this owl, gray as a Scottish sky.
A Dark Wood Owl, the Spectral Owl,
twin sister, she hunts, like you, at dusk. Her keen
ears can hear prey stirring underneath
the snow, like your ears can hear the laughter
of your target at the bar sipping an icy drink.
She soars on silent wings, a gray ghost
dropping from a bombardier’s sights. Your wings
are a swishing dress, territorial call clicking heels,
soft voice like music slowly stirred. Her claim of space a
confident whooo-ooo-ooo-ooo in the boreal forest.
If the prey is small, swallowed whole. Larger
prey torn to pieces by talons sharp as the
laminate adorning your fingers.
She will take the kill to her nest, as will you.
Tonight, both will eat.

The Curse      

No rain can wash me clean. Water refuses any
baptism. It is the race so cursed by
imagination carrying us all along like bits
of wood caught in forever swirling eddies.
The dark, a murky sludge filled stream is the
challenge, one that has ridden us since
stories were sung around campfires heralding
the battle of light and dark the sun faced
each day as it sank into the underworld.
This fancy is the burden weighing down
our minds. We find it as scrys: in pots of
gold, empty grails, bars and homes,
cathedrals and bordellos, forest and matted
garden. No matter where we walk, the
underworld follows, laughing like some
vampiric clown after it swallowed the sun.
No answer heralds the dawn. No angel
comes with a protective sword. Only
monstrous myth sustains, a top hat filled
with pyrite. These stories we have narrated,
these choraled songs, women weeping by
the river—call of Calvary’s hill, or in
another time, Orpheus’ lyre—bring us respite
from an uncertain dawn.


The first tattoo was a death head stitched
into my left ass cheek after I had sex
in a graveyard.
Number two came after a binge a few years
later: Patsy Cline on my right forearm so I
could remember “Crazy,”
the lover who taught me about
needles and spoons, night that was more
than darkness, and later hate.
I mark myself so that I may forget—more
importantly remember when I need to know
what the crunch of broken glass in an alley
meant. Layer by layer over the years like
the phases of the moon, being inked became
graduation rituals to a new me
that I had to remember. The clich├ęd yin and yang
karmas the back of my neck, an Ouroboros,
slithered red, yellow, black, rings my navel
as I eternally return to my own self-creation,
eating myself on a banquet table of
colored skin.
My entire body now a tapestry of transitions,
color like a blazing autumn forest, my roots
drink deep the remembering of my markings.
But in marking, I am marked: strangers approach
like family and make comments about how beautiful,
how weird, how ugly my body is.
I realize that we all have been marked from the beginning,
in the garden, the inquisitor’s chamber, marriage bed—
marked by our sex, our desires, our patented roles.
These tattoos mere totems covering soft flesh like
a cherub’s husk, the others staring like a Cyclops,
we all walk within marked days.

Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 had a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, cc&d, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, Red River Review, Burningword  and Poetry Repairs. Featured Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising. Crack the Spine best of anthology and Down in the Dirt Magazine. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Houghton Mifflin’s “Best of” Anthologies, as well as other awards. A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014.