Sunday, September 14, 2014

Melanie Browne- Three Poems

At The Casino

a man comes up
to our table
and plops down
two angel pins & a
note about being
deaf, I know the drill so
we dig
in our wallets
for some money
but the slot machine
ate a lot of it,
I finally find some
and pay him for the
pins and I pin one
of them to my
newly purchased
'sin city' shirt,
an unconscious
mixture of
sin and virtue,
what every
gal needs
in Vegas

One Hundred and Thirty-Five Steps

I can't sleep in the dark,
my son tells me,
i search for a new
lightbulb but i can't
find one so just for
tonight he sleeps with
the overhead light on
and I think about
my dream from the
night before
about how I am driving
James Franco
down the Spanish steps
on my moped,
I am weaving in between
people going this
way and that
way and they
are freaking out
"are you nuts?"
but in Italian,
and James starts crying
"I can't sleep in the
dark," he tells me,
later I check
on my son and the
light is still on
but he is
sound asleep
so I leave
the light on
and contemplate
what the lack of
my shadow against
the wall might mean

Restless Ghost

We snuck a kiss
in the
teacher's lounge
which was just
a bunch of
vending machines
usually filled with
tired teachers,
your hair was combed
into some sort of
sad nuclear pompadour
and the kiss was deadly,
I became sicker than
a flower at chernobyl,
but found out later
it was only mono-
you ignored me
after that,
afraid of catching
the disease again,
I would hear your
boots stomping in
the halls,
a restless ghost with ADD

Douglas Polk- A Poem

The Sinners

     I talk out loud when I write, keeps the voices quiet, otherwise, my mind is a noisy   din- - - - the voices are polite, I have raised them right . . . .my son is like me, sits in his bedroom in the darkness, listening to the voices  . . .his darkened bedroom is his favorite place to be. . . . .  we have seen the doctors and now he is drugged, can no longer hear them talk, only sees them, little men, in top hats . . .lonesome . . I still hear them, thus feeling guilty, but that is just between you and me. . . . my son and I are reformed sinners, have recanted and repented, when we see another sinner, our eyes find the ground,  prayers said, hoping the pretense remains. . . . .sssh, we really have not recanted, and we are not reformed, but perception more important than reality, we want no more help, no more drugs . . . I will die when it is time to die, without doctor’s mind games and sadistic experiments.  . . . . . omelets are tasty, filled with ham, potatoes, onions and eggs, breakfast topped off with a smile from my son, so precious and rare, breakfast and dessert, I am ready for the day and  whatever it brings, well that is bullshit, no one is ever really ready, but  it doesn’t matter, I saw my son smile, and he was happy, at least for a moment. . . . .we are captives, though my son likes his captivity much better than me, too young to remember the freedom of other places, too brainwashed and scared to even      try, . . . to remember. He is what brought us here, was the bait, by which they bagged   me, . . . that was the beginning  . . .when we eventually were forced to recant. 
Death lurks beyond the city streets, leave and you shall die, I used to spit in their eye, and curse them with words learned in other places . . . uncouth words, taught on farm and ranch, where life is so much more real. . . But now, too weak and resigned, and when my son reads my angry thoughts, I see the fear fill his eyes, and quite quickly the anger dies, and I hope the thoughts only read by him. . . . . . . . .the hood of my pickup is wired down with # 9 bailing wire, the most useful wire in the world . . .rusted floor boards, you have to know where to put your feet, my son knows just how to place his feet, unless the demons begin to attack. . . . . my son many times refuses to go for rides, preferring his darkened room and the soothing voices of the  little people, he can no longer hear, just started a new drug. Sabril, it will battle the demons, but possibly leave him blind . . . the doctors with scalpels have already taken half of his sight. . . .a sort of payment in kind, for not trusting and being sinners, but both he and I have recanted. . . .We live in the city, don’t we? our days spent eluding the hunters, demons and men, but it is understood, everything is always in a state of constant flux, weeds, trees, buildings, streets, nothing is safe, unless deemed so, by these special, special people, in this special, special place, so we live our time trying to adapt, and keep convincing the people we have honestly and voluntarily recanted, and no longer believe what we once held true, no longer believe what the voices knew, and no longer to listen to voices, for their lies are easily seen through. . . . at least that is the mantra we repeat to the special people, of this special, special place.
       I, once, loved writing stories, but now can’t find my way, the writing isn’t hard, but the way back out, the challenge. . . . the voices once helped, looking for bread crumbs dropped along the way, now, I fear they pick up the crumbs as fast as I toss them down. Trust became an issue about the time I pretended to recant, . . .  already time for more pills, another dose to keep the demons at bay. . . .though it is heartbreaking to see and feel a glimpse of the sun, before the clock on the wall, and the voices start screaming for more pills. Sometimes I am left to wonder if God truly real.
        Silence the voices, silence the doubts, that is not what life is about. . . .education consists of the ability to cope . . . .I have waged the battle best I could, yet I knew the war was not to be won, that was a fact . . . . . and I and my son could hold out a little longer, if I would retreat, and admit defeat . . .which I did while the voices screamed, still angry, blaming me, . . . but they are not the ones who suffer when the punishment inflicted, no that is inflicted on I and my son. . . . the recanted sinners, afraid of the sun.

Simon Anton Diego Baena- 3 Poems

The Night

All the windows are open
In the city of molasses  

Where darkness inhabits 
Every inch of space

Of your dreams
And nightmares

In Burgos street
You may search for fragments

Of your precious memories
Inside the hourglass

There are no blooming flowers 
But only the hypnotic eyes 

Of owls in your room
Staring back at you

As the night blossoms
With poison

Every time you find
Yourself in ashes

In the hole
Of a rusty needle


A dilapidated house
with no portraits nor picture 
frames inundated with cigarettes
and a growing cancer called 


You never cease to enjoy: watching how those rain drops fall 
from the swaying leaves, listening to the shrieks of crows 
while dreaming of imaginary landscapes where the light never 
wanes, every time the ash colored sky is wracked by lightning 
and glass windows are shattered by the vibration of its screams 
out here in the garden of ruins as your heart writhes in agony.

Joan Colby- Three Poems


Just past the wire, the fabled filly
Undefeated, until now, by her own fragility.
The cannon bone cracks audibly
And three-legged she tries to keep
Momentum as the jockey vaults off
Seizing the cheek-strap of the bridle.
The crowd, bewildered, hushes.
A cloth shield blocks what’s going to happen.
She’s down struggling while the jockey
Holds her frantic head, eye rolling
As the trainer leaps the rail.
The audience sees nothing.
In solemn tones, the announcer says
The vets are evaluating her prospects
Though like everyone beyond that veil
He knows.They don’t shoot horses
Anymore. A needle full of sleep.
She goes down in the record books.
Best 3-year-old of her generation.
Buried maybe in the infield,
Heart and hooves at least.
Not like a cheap claimer
Dragged off to the boneyard.


Cliché of what can never be fixed,
A blemished masterpiece. Insignia of
Which came first. Unsolved mystery;
Loss of Eden. Serpent or Eve
Wiggling tracery of blame.

A sloppy dish of shattered suns
Spooned or heated into hillocks
Of an unstable motherland.
Shell of all desire,
Once white, oval as an all-seeing
Eye, sticks in resolute shards
To the golden ooze
You’ll never reassemble.
Eat, imagining somehow
You can be made whole.


Glass eye to the outer world
Exists to be broken. Anything thrown,
A child’s ball, an  enemy’s stone,
The rock a spinning tire expels,
Can do the job. Fangs of dismay
Score the room. A gunshot draws
A perfect hole. Once, taxes limited
Installation. The chilly
Dark abodes of the poor
Where there was nothing
To be broken. Live here
Without dodge or hope.

Jack Phillips Lowe- A Poem


There's an election today in Illinois.
For months, professional liars
have clogged the airwaves
with an invasion of ragged promises
to make our state A Better Place.
As far as I could see, they were
the same battle-scarred soldiers
mustered six years before.

There's an election today in Illinois.
This time, they gave us a new polling place.
It's easy to find, the politicos said.
They even sent helpful maps to every voter's mailbox.
My buddy Scott, map in hand, spent two hours one day
trying to track the locale down. He finally quit
when he found himself out near the area
in which God left his shoes.
"It's like they don't want us to find it,"
groused Scott, solving his own mystery.

There's an election today in Illinois.
While politicians across the Land of Lincoln
gathered like a clan of vampires
to suck another pint from our almost-dry state,
I spent the first mild morning of the Illinois spring
watching Wade, my neighbor,
ride his red roan quarter horse
up and down our country lane.
This, I felt, was a greater political statement
than any I could've made at the polls.

Jack Phillips Lowe has contributed poetry to Clark Street Review, The American Dissident and Nerve Cowboy, among other outlets. His most recent chapbook is Cold Case Cowboys (Middle Island Press, 2013). Lowe is a lifelong resident of Illinois---which isn't exactly like living in a Franz Kafka novel, but it's pretty damn close.  

Danny P. Barbare- Two Poems

Olives and Pickled Peaches

Sitting in their soupy water,
Floating olives and
Their pimentos
I use a spoon to finish off
Thanksgiving, and
Pickled peaches spiced
With cloves, as mother
Enjoyed my wife’s cooking
Sits back in the lounge
Chair, Gabriel, poodle, begged
The whole while, his life
Long mission, mother
Usually yelling at him for
Doing a Houdini disappearing
Act and peeing in the kitchen,
Meanwhile washing his
Diapers, drying on the
Damn patio furniture.
The moon half
Cocked in the kitchen
Window. My niece
Asking for oatmeal cookies
Good and crisp, I say.
The olives and pickled
Peaches seem to hit the
Spot every time in the
Middle of the leftover night.

Granddad’s and Grandmother’s

The screen door playing tag in summer
With all my cool cousins and young kin
Feet thumping, storage room, under bed,
In closets, running around the kitchen
Table, out the back by the oil tank,
Tripping over the faucet, over
The fence like an alley cat, times sweet
As a fig bush and a jar of candy, the sun
Down the hallway and the Atlanta Braves or
Football game on TV us lying on the bristly carpet
With poor big boy the Chihuahua waddling around
Granddad with an eye on the controls spitting
His mill baseball days of
Red Man in a Maxwell House coffee can
By grandmother’s Better Home’s magazine
Rack, dad taking her to Kash and Carry, uncles
And aunts in a stir of black coffee and cigarette
Smoke wind in the curtains, crickets singing the
Concrete steps to the narrow driveway.
The steps trudge up a thousand times
Happy as the ivy and hyacinths, the green
Painted porch and the cans of rocking beer
Overlooking the city on West Park Avenue,
One red light glowing on top of
The Daniel Building, a word here and there.
A caution light flashes one yellow light, Atwood
A bend in the road close to another road,
In the late 60s and early 70s.

Danny P. Barbare resides in the Upstate of the Carolinas. He has a deep Southern accent. Lived all his life in the South not having traveled far.

J.D. DeHart- Three Poems

Mortality Rates
I am sure somewhere there is a little man,
hard hat on, chalk in the hand
making computations
(this kind of chalk we used in school that spilled
copious amounts of white powder on us,
a sign of our ancient education, the kind of chalk
our teachers were adept at using, writing in their
wise cursive with brightly colored dresses on)
each scrawl mark tracing the path of an uncle
or a cousin, someone whom I have never met
connected to me in the universe, ready to be dispatched
“passing,” as they say, onto some “happy hunting ground”
Oh, the many idioms we invent for death.
There was a pure version of me, unfiltered
but I was boiled slowly by words
refined by a few cross-ways looks
beaten and pelted into place by sneers
We all used to be actors, actresses, true
Life Size Performers, but everyone tied us up,
dragged us back down to earth
like captured gods or fallen angels
We found our faces dirtied up, our teeth
a little chipped – one more step to empty
gaping mouths, so that our song has ended,
we barely sing, except in the car
when no one is watching us too closely.
The Statue’s Name is Henry
When I was small, I loved Edgar Allan Poe
and what I thought was a bust of Abe Lincoln.
Turns out, it was a cologne bottle but back then
I imagined it was a grand piece of history.
Once when I gathered a great fever, I visited
my aunt’s house to cool down
(my house had no air conditioning)
When I left, she gave the “bust” to me as a gift
which I promptly named Henry, ignoring
the truth on purpose, playing a kind of game,
then finding that the acquisition
was the worst part, throwing the latest object
into a pile of other pieces, then moving on
to obsess over a new item of little significance.

Jonathan Beale- A Poem

Makers of light

In Spinoza or…some other maker of the light

            For the first time and maybe only time
                        Will we recognise each other? 
                                    Are you as that Guitar playing troubadour
Or that formal professional man – whose poetry rises above the mechanical, the cell, or disease. Or is it just the mundane

            In the barbers
                        Red & white twisted
                                    Lines across
                                                The nation’s tongues

            Neon art deco
                        Soda pop - art
                                    Yeats, Cummings, Williams, & Borrough’s

The day now lives in the night.

Ag Synclair- A Poem

Another Pointless Ode to Bukowski

bukowski never wrote poems
about breakfast
on brick patios
three slices
of english muffin toast
the hale aftertaste
of organic strawberry jam
or a white, suburban morning
like a three-fingered mouse

Ag Synclair is an unapologetic pessimist, rule breaker, and rebel without a clue. When he isn’t editing The Montucky Review and serving on the editorial staff of The Bookends Review, he is drinking from glasses that are perpetually half empty and collaborating with his partner in crime, the artist and poet Heather Brager. Despite being extensively published around the globe, he flies under the radar. Deftly.

Subhankar Das- A Poem

caffè latte

I am Asian all right but
do not like to have
cockroaches in my coffee.

I thought of saying that to the waiter
as the woman sitting next to me found a
roach in her coffee
while she was sipping it
and took out the dead thing
stuck in her tongue.
She did not jump up though.
a brave woman.
Just made a face to her boyfriend
and turned away sticking her tongue out
Ah..ah..a..a..a..a..Oh my god..

Believe me I do not want
a roach in my morning coffee
even if it comes free.

The waiter looked at me the way
that nothing has happened
and went back to the counter
to get my black coffee.

I do hope roaches do not like black coffee.
That woman was having café latte
usually what they like to have.

Bio : Subhankar Das is a poet, bookstore owner, and publisher of Bangla experimental material. He produced six short films that have been honored at international film festivals, and has translated the works Allen Ginsberg and Charles Bukowski in Bengali.