Monday, September 1, 2014

Rebecca Pierre- Three Poems

Say the word,
and daffodils suddenly uncurl
yellow horns, fighting to be first,
with forsythia a close second. Wisteria
will have its way, as will hyacinth and iris.
All the flowers, in their turns, turn out.
Even indoors, the Easter cactus buds
after ten years of stubbornness.
This, too, is spring.
In this season of greening, your voice
becomes thin as reeds. Reeds promise
cattails. The marsh promises tadpoles,
songs of chorus frogs. Ibis bring
spring to Battery Island in the V
of their flight morning and evening.
I think of deer beside the roadway at night,
eyes shining in headlights. And of the dead one,
body broken in half, head cocked back
as if in agony. Yours will not be agony.
Only each day, less and less of you.
I will bring you daffodils, you will whisper
They are perfect. We will never say goodbye,
we will only say, I love you.

Published in: the cancer poetry project 2001

     When I was young, colors flamed
     Bright greens and yellow – gold!
     Now they glow in muted hues,
     Deepen as I grow old.
Today I pass on the magic,
watch as my lover’s child,
dark head bent in concentration,
presses her slim brown fingers
into the bowl of the spoon
she rubs on the slick side
of waxed paper that rests
on the Sunday funnies.
Her brown eyes – so different
from my green ones -
entranced as colors appear.
I remember my father,
his thick fingers pressed
into the bowl of the spoon
when he taught us this trick.
How my sister, watching,
head bowed, her halo
of red curls glowing, forgot
the brown birthmark she wears
like a cape on the nape
of her neck, how she scrubbed
trying to rub it off the way
all the colors have been erased
from my father’s memory
as if by some phantom
transference to waxed paper.

Published in: PINESONG AWARDS 2000 (NC Poetry Society –Second Place, Thomas H. McDill Award)

          (for Martha)
Daddy collected us
from various aunts and uncles,
more sober than I’d seen him
in a year, saying we were going
to the beach. My brothers
piled in the back of the pickup,
breathed the air of freedom
from tobacco rows, as the broken
line measured miles.
Wind snatched their songs,
thrust them through the open window
of the cab where I sat quietly
caressing the worn seat beside me.
I thought of mama’s tangle of red hair,
the soft comfort of her body,
her voice crooning lullabies
like wind in the long leaf pines.
An ocean of children surged
toward the fence as we
stopped in front of the orphanage.
With the tips of his fingers,
daddy floated a box of animal crackers
gently across the seat.

Published in Wellspring Number Eight, 1998

Fred Pollack- Two Poems

The Austerity Principle

A bugle, absurd but traditional, and
we’re up and being counted, then
marched some distance from our ragged tents
to form a ragged line.  He reviews,
and I’ve no idea how
he does it – for one guy a
joke at the expense
of everything, for another
insults, for me the appearance
of reason; but we’re all, for the moment, primed.

Behind him are tree stumps, towns that are
no longer even places,
dead earth.  Yet the line
of horizons and hills makes me think
This was a pretty country, I should have come here
before or instead of
the war.


Two years in a cult leave
him tentative.  People
say he should be proud:
he got out.  He isn’t.
Only a little slow to fun
or anger, his main concern
whether his boss is

Married, divorced.  A daughter
marries a cult of one.
Eventually he stops phoning; wonders,

Searches his old textbooks.

In What Is Literature? Sartre states
that the usual opening of a story
ends it:
it says a story is about to happen.

 Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press.  Has appeared in Hudson Review, Salmagundi, Poetry Salzburg Review, Die Gazette (Munich), The Fish Anthology (Ireland), Representations, Magma (UK), Bateau, Fulcrum, Chiron Review, etc.  Online, poems have appeared in Big Bridge, Hamilton Stone Review, Diagram, BlazeVox, The New Hampshire  Review, Mudlark, Dead Snakes, etc.  Recent Web publications in Occupoetry, Faircloth Review, Camel Saloon, Kalkion, Gap Toothed Madness. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.

Ben Graham- Two Poems

For Lou Reed
It is the season of rain
I remember
They spoke of the rain
They never said
The sun would always shine
If they had
We would not have believed
They never said
That we would never die
They spoke of death
With every line
And yet they lived
Like desperate Pirandellos
Painted, artificial
But so god damn real
And so we willed
They’d stay forever young

Is anybody still so real?
Now the days are getting
Are we
Selling ourselves
As we embrace irrelevance
The door
Is always

The Past is Hungry

The past is hungry
Fat as fuck yet faster than
A fleeting thought it swallows everything
Before it and I’m running
Keeping just
A step ahead
Not even a step but just
A breath, a whisper
The last fading cadence of
A laugh drawn by a joke
Already gone
The future that once infinite resource now seems
Significantly smaller with each second swallowed up
By history
The second being the currency paid ever back
Like third world debt the famine stricken future
Must constantly tithe towards
The rapacious ever-growing empire of
The past, annexing yet another territory
To its name
The monstrous supermarket chain of yesterday
Is opening another store
With everything you ever wanted neatly ranged upon its shelves
Processed, packaged, easily
Consumed, unreal
Tomorrow is that tiny corner shop
You stared into its great wide window wide-eyed as a child
Subject now to early closing, soon it will be gone
And everything will belong to
The past, it’s eaten everything and still wants more
Howling insatiable for you and I, the heroin hits of
Eternity, and yet when the end comes
The past as well will be devoured
As memory itself just disappears
And all you’re left with is the shrinking
Present moment

Bio: Ben Graham lives in Brighton, England where he regularly reads his work on the thriving local poetry scene. He is also a music journalist (The Quietus, Stool,Pigeon, The Fly, Shindig! etc.) and is currently completing a history of Texan psychedelia for Zero Books.

Bradford Middleton- A Poem


Last week a girl I know frowned at me
Just because I told I her I am not an alcoholic
I’m a drunk and there is a world of difference
An alcoholic needs to drink every single moment
Of every single day whilst a drunk
Well, a drunk just likes to get drunk
It’s not necessary to be drunk all the time
Just those occasions when I decide to go for a drink

Ryan Hardgrove- Two Poems

The Good One’s

there’s so much to say
and I don’t know how to say it
or who would listen
or if I want anybody to listen

it all connects somehow
all these thoughts
and this place
and these people
and these words and worlds

it’s way too massive
we don’t stand a chance
and we know this

so we hide

we hide within
each other
and we are safe
the love makes us safe

until the love runs dry
until they dam up your river
and irrigate the rest of the world
with your soul

we can’t win


we can’t lose either

we are already beaten
we lost the day
we were born

but still
we hold it all together
we go on everyday
that tomorrow
brings us one day closer to the end

and we hold it all
up on our shoulders
and straddle
sadness and sickness
and pain and anger

we hold it all together
not for ourselves
but for each other

and when it falls apart
we’ll laugh at the world
we tried
and that’s all
we can do

I’m a Hypocrite, but so are you
But wait
there’s more to say
or so I think every time
I finish a thought
or a cigarette
or an argument
or find myself alone
stuck under a roof
with nobody to talk to
except those four walls
that stare back at me
with the listless gaze
that’s painted onto
the millions of faces
sitting on couches
in living rooms

those four walls
always the same
and you see
it’s these thoughts
that keep erupting
keep breaking out
across my consciousness
like a rash
they revolve around my
like finicky little electrons
waiting for the appropriate stimuli
to excite them
into a chaotic churn of energy
and all those thoughts
circumnavigate my brain-soul
perpetuating this neuro-turbine of cognition

or sometimes
I smoke grass
and eat ice cream on the couch
while watching nature programs
fondling my belly hair
between spoonfuls

and then
there’s not much to say

Ryan Hardgrove is currently wading his way through his late twenties as a sloppy bartender and responsible father.  He is also a writer and a musician, but mostly he is a human being.  He lives in PIttsburgh, Pa with his beautiful common law wife and their son.

Subhankar Das- A Poem

Sending a cake virtually

I thought of baking a cake
for my friend and his old lady
with hash and pumpkin.
We had been talking and laughing
about this for days
and exchanging messages
about the amount of hash I should put
to make it kicking
and oscillating between present and future.

After making that cake
I took a bite
and saw the ants joining me in the party
freaking out jerking off their dreams
all over the table.
And soon I had nothing left to send
to that other planet where my friend lives.
Except those memories
of oscillation between
past present future
future present past.

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/

Paul Tristram- Three Poems

Written On A Train

As the chugging minutes
push the growing miles
of distance between us,
to a nice comfortable size.
I finally breathe freely
for the first time
in many a disoriented day.
The knot of frustration
at the base of my neck
eases and unwinds, slightly.
I have four Hobgoblin beers
in my small backpack
along with a battered copy
of Louis-Ferdinand Celine’s
‘Journey to the End of the Night’
I smile widely to myself
for that is exactly what this is
and Dawn is fast approaching.
My weary feet will never
again tread those Mountain
streets and lanes of Resolven.
I am done with you, finally
and all the schizophrenic fury
which veins your twisted soul
and masters over you, completely.

© Paul Tristram 2014

Vagabond Valentine

“It’s the 14th of February once again.
My oh my but they seem to come around so quickly!”
she whispers quietly and reflectively to herself
as she finishes writing the card to her Daniel
and takes it over to her bookcase.
She takes down the smugglers hollow book effect box
all covered in anchors, mermaids and roses
which she bought especially for these occasions.
Then opens it up carefully and places the new card
in with the others blowing kisses in a OCD fashion
both inside and out as she closes and returns
the book shaped box back to its resting place.
“That’s 16 cards waiting for him, he’ll feel spoilt
when he finally finishes work and comes back to me!”
she mumbles as she starts to slip into daydream.
She had met her Daniel 16 years ago
in ‘The Welsh Harp’ public house on Dan Y Bryn road.
He was an American Sailor in the Merchant Navy.
He had looked so handsome in his uniform
and greased back hair with a Camel cigarette
dangling out of the corner of his mouth
just like Bogart or Cagney in a gangster flick.
They had spent that entire weekend together
from dinnertime on the Friday when they had met
right through to 6am on the Monday when he boarded.
Those few days had changed her completely.
She had opened up emotionally like a flower,
they were soul mates she had realized this instantly.
Not one postcard or letter had she received from him
but he had warned her that he wasn’t good at writing.
Yet, still she did have her memories to keep her going.
He had an elderly mother living somewhere in Brooklyn
where he stayed when on American home shore leave.
She had searched for photos of American apartments
in books and magazines at the local library
so she could try to picture it inside her mind,
she thinks that she probably has it down fairly well.
She walks over to the mantelpiece and picks up
the matchstick framed sepia portrait photograph
that they had paid 4/6 to have taken in Porthcawl
at the Fun Fair on the Sunday of their special weekend.
Wishing his image ‘A Happy Valentine’s Day’
and kissing his face 12 times in a quick row
she then holds the precious picture close to her chest
and even though it is still not yet lunchtime
she walks slowly through to the bedroom
and after undressing she slips dreamily into her bed.

© Paul Tristram 2014

Sand In My Shoes

I was often quite quirky as a child,
I liked the beach very much indeed
but didn’t like laying down sunbathing.
Or building sandcastles like other kids
because they had to be perfect or else
they look horrible and that’s very hard
for a 7 year old to cope with, trust me.
Kicking or throwing a ball back and fore
to someone else over there who’s just
kicking or throwing a ball back and fore
back to you is even more boring in reality
than I have just now made it sound.
Then the sandwiches would come out,
I would hate it and cringe in discomfort
‘That’s why they’re called sandwiches’
a mouthful of bread and sand ain’t fun,
I’d turn and bury mine out of sight,
trying desperately not to get sticky jam
upon my fingers doing so, because That
would be a nightmare I don’t think
I would ever be able to recover from.
After surviving that near fatal disaster
I would take off like a bottle-rocket,
not to the sea like everyone else did
but sideways over to the rock pools.
I would happily spend a couple of hours
there searching and learning as I went
‘shrimps, starfish, gobies, penny-winkles,
different coloured seaweeds and anemone’s
but my favourite were the hermit crabs’
There is something rather appealing about
those comical and secretive little fellows.
Then when I had finished up in there,
I would sit upon the rocks thoughtfully
and stare out to sea and say to myself
“Pirate or not, I’ll sail them bloody seas
one day asking no ones permission either!”
Then my name would be called coarsely
and I would wander back to the same
“Where’ve you been all this bloody time,
this was supposed to be a family day out?
Here put your cowing shoes on, boy!”
This would be the worst part of the day,
I loved the feeling of sand on my bare feet
but hated to feel it stuck inside my shoes.
I would have to sit trapped inside that car
crammed full of people all the way home
feeling the sand scratch and irritate my feet
whilst listening to their voices and laughter
scratching and irritating my confined soul.
But I would survive the ordeal by planning!
As soon as the car stopped I’d jump out,
take my shoes off in the back garden and
stick my feet (one at a time) in the baby bath
I was using to keep my frogs and newts in.
Then slip into my nice dry converse trainers
that I had already wisely stashed in the shed.
Before they had time to unpack their stuff
and know any different I’d be off running
up the street and through ‘Ann The Farm’s’
garden down to the ‘Bank’ where a gang
armed with penknives and catapult’s waited
eagerly for my return so I could once again
lead them all into misadventure and trouble.
We’d head for ‘The Tip’ first, taking a few
greenhouse panes out as we passed on by,
hollering and cheering as we ran full pelt
up to the caves of ‘Drummau Mountain’
where I had assured my gang of 8 boys
and 6 girls that there would indeed be plenty
of ‘German Soldiers’ hiding there, C’mon!

© 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.

Richard Schnap- Three Poems


On one corner is the supermarket
With its robot self-service lines
That have probably put a dozen
Of loyal cashiers out of work

On one corner is the liquor store
With its rows of spirits and wines
Where some purchase bottles to celebrate
While others buy flasks to forget

On one corner is the pizza shop
Where the disabled used to convene
To spend their last dollars on six-packs
To drink up their dead afternoons

And on one corner is the coffeehouse
Where Internet service is free
So that students can predict the future
Before it becomes the past


A shadow passes over my heart
When I think of her on New Years Eve
Alone with a bottle of merlot

A shadow passes over my heart
When I think of her burying a beloved cat
While chanting for its reincarnation

A shadow passes over my heart
When I think of her sending free samples
Because she can’t afford to buy gifts

And a shadow passes over my heart
When I think of her locked in a nursing home
As her mind slowly fades away


He looked at the world
Through a skewed lens
Like a pinball machine
Forever on tilt
Where men sold their souls
For bullets and beer
To silence the enemy
Reflected in their mirrors

But sometimes his vision
Became crystal clear
Like a veil was lifted
And a new realm revealed
Where men raised their eyes
To wish upon stars
As if they were children
Whose hearts still believed

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Tim Gardiner- Edge to Edge Haiku Sequence

Froggatt Edge

Froggatt Edge is a very popular gritstone escarpment for rock climbing situated in the Dark Peak area of the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, England. Gritstone is hard, coarse-grained sandstone used for building materials. Froggatt Edge was a source of millstones and a number of half-completed stones can be found at the bottom of the slopes. The escarpment is the northernmost of the three main ridges in the area, Curbar and Baslow Edges being a mile or so to the south. The heather moorland, a purple haze in summer, is managed by burning.

a millstone round the climber’s neck no place to fall

from disorder the phoenix rises

the bleak tor God’s own rock

Curbar Edge

A mile or so to the south of Froggatt Edge is the equally impressive Curbar Edge which allows spectacular views across the Derwent Valley. The following haiku were mostly conceived on a ginko walk on 7th June 2014 accompanied by fellow poet Judy Kendall. A storm had just passed through and we stood on the precipice of the escarpment in mist and low cloud. The clouds then cleared opening up magnificent views. We watched as the storm clouds made a hurried retreat across the open moorland.

on the edge a stone tumbles into the abyss

gritstone heather thriving against all odds

chameleon sky a marriage of joy and despair

Baslow Edge

The escarpment of Baslow Edge is the last significant exposure of gritstone to the south of Curbar Edge from which it is separated by Curbar Gap. Baslow Edge has two impressive landmarks: the Eagle Stone (also known as the Witches’ Stone) and Wellington’s Monument. It is said in local custom that men had to climb the Eagle Stone to prove their worth before they could be eligible to marry!

a man stands atop the witches’ stone soon shackled

white dog wallowing in cotton-grass happiness again

I sit on the mossy hummock with just my thoughts

Gardom’s Edge

To the south-east of Baslow Edge is Gardom’s Edge. The escarpment has the most well-known archaeological feature in the area, this being a cup-and-ring marked stone (also known as a petroglyph) from the prehistoric era. The uniquely carved stone was discovered in the 1940s and has been buried under a replica to protect it from weathering and damage. The other significant landmark of the Edge is the seasonal sundial stone. In 2012, Daniel Brown et al. postulated that the standing stone could be a gnomon of a seasonal sundial (indicating the change of season as through the winter the north facing side is in permanent shadow) possibly from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age period (2500–1500 BC).

a depression of cup marks prehistoric echoes

down Gardom’s Edge green ribbons pour

sundial shadow the season shifts

Birchen Edge

Nelson’s Monument can be found on Birchen Edge, an iconic gritstone column with a ball on top. It was erected in 1810 by a local businessman to honour Lord Nelson. Three nearby boulders are carved with the names of Nelson’s ships: HMS Victory, Defiance and Royal Sovereign - spelled Soverin. Birchen Edge is renowned for easy climbs for the novice, two of the most notable being Orpheus Descent and Stoker’s Wall.

Stoker’s Wall a bat dances in moonlight

Orpheus descent lover lost in a glance

three gritstone ships Nelson’s pride anchored in a dry dock

Melanie Browne- Three Poems

Cause I ain't in no hurry at all....

men with sleeve tattoos
wait in line for barbecue and beer,
we eat fried pies and feel like
young women with
babies on their hips
pull out fresh cigarettes,
confederate soldiers
wear grooves in their
trench, the past
and present a mosaic
in the burning Vicksburg sky

Ignatius Doesn't live here anymore

In N'awlins we buy 
vintage rock t-shirts
and voodoo dolls,
I practice poking the pins
into my dolly,
she is supposed to
give you nice dreams,
I hear snippets of conversation,
a woman sitting on some steps
is talking with her hands,
"She reached around and 
grabbed his dick like this,"
she stands up to demonstrate,
but we are rushing back to the
car, the humidity 
and the Everclear
already taking their toll,
I kiss New Orleans goodbye and
head back into the heat
a strange new energy
buzzing in my head

Savannah Ghosts get a little bit thirsty

they wander in circles under
the soft green moss,
one hand holding a drink,
the ice melts and drips
from the sides of their Venetian
glass, the other hand holds a
cigarette with blue tinged smoke,
Savannah ghosts get a little thirsty,
it's the humidity and their terrible
memories, the buildings that
light up at night like ancient
shipwrecks, the skulls of
sea-captains, the jazz
that drifts out from
the orange angry sky,
Savannah ghosts walk
in circles under the
soft green moss,
it drips from their hair on
to the soft, soft ground