Friday, July 3, 2015

B.Z. Niditch- Three Poems


ON MEMORIAL DAY

After every war
we invent silence
even memory,
inside the quiet rooms
of our nerves
in the recall of him or her
will find us offering a prayer
when the sunlight appears
on Memorial Day
through windows of birds
who flutter up over our windows
covering May's cool heavenly air
hands outstretch to poppies 
is reflected in our mirrors
along the surf's breeze
knowing we exist as words
become our lives
in every whisper
and tiny gesture
we choose to pick flowers
as a poet's shadow
turns in the high tide
drowning a remembrance
as rainbows in the waters
rise by the sea's headstones
choosing to revere 
the silver thoughts
from our angel's occupation.



A POET'S REMEDY

When you are down
and cannot think
and everything seems 
to be wrong
drowning in words of ink
by broken mirrors of love
suffocating from the heat
we take a kayak
like Charon's oars
over the high sea
to enlighten us
in the cool sunlight
and breathe in ocean air
as once in the Adriatic
away from fields of wheat,
when a friend is in grief
open the doors to her
and offer Natalia a greeting
of daytime flowers,
give her no obstacles
in any dance of hours
for all miracles are welcome
in a luminous belief,
try to draw or paint
a number of pictures
as a bas relief,
when you were far 
from home
and needing a plumber
in Rome
by the marble carrara sink
was dripping
by your Trevi fountains art,
we choose transparency
to do my visible part
and drew Natalia in a flight
of angel bird-song above
the shimmering mountains,
when you need any remedy
drink from a parlance
to command your vocabulary
at a sunlight's window
outside the cape,
or call on the Parisian poets,
Baudelaire or Pierre Reverdy,
or give ear to saint Malachy;
when I try to exercise 
or play sax in the attic 
to maintain my wise balance
by the music's stands weight
and not be sycophantic.



THOMAS HARDY'S BIRTHDAY
June 2 
1840- 1928

Your novels and poems
leave us melancholy
to the accidents of fate
before we make decisions
we make alterations
from any rhyme of folly
and reach any probabilities
wrestling on words to wait
you reach our deepest layers
when abandoned by all,
here on this boat
of buried memory
reading you gives me
an expectation
even when losing
my passport, map and compass
that anything may happen
even when the sun comes up.
 
 

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal- Two Poems


SMOKE RISES
 
The sun bursts.
The emerald trees melt.
The smoke rises
up to the azure skies.
 
Spring heats up
as summer fires await
to huff and puff
across the drylands.
 
A fountain
spirit dreams of growing
like a giant shadow
to put out the flames.
 
 
 
WRITE INTO THE VOID
 
I’m the 99 percent
of the one percent
who no one reads
and no one knows.
 
I write into the void,
into the great abyss,
and I do not
expect riches.
 
People used to find it
interesting I wrote
poetry.  They
were curious.
 
Nowadays they just
make small talk, such as
“Do you still write?”
I could answer
 
yes or no and they
would not really care.
They would say, “That’s
nice" either way.
 
 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Paul Tristram- Three Poems


I Hated You Once

You couldn’t sit in a bar
everyone wanted to kill you.
You owed no one nothing
but still you were despised.


Now, look at you.
You elbow the dancer
from her pole
as you head for the Gents
as straight as the crow flies.
wrack up four lines
of expensive,
snort the largest,
cover the rest
with toilet roll (one sheet)
and leave.
Confident in yourself
that those who come behind you
are behind you.
Dear of you.


© Paul Tristram 2007

Published in In Between Hangovers, Issue #6, May / June 2007



Teabags, Biscuits And Sugar

She twated him
with her umbrella,
kicked, punched and screamed.
The crowd gathered,
a bloke who looked
like a farmer
booted him in the small
of the back
sending him curling
around a concrete plant pot
where he was kicked
skidding
into the next plant pot.
“What has he done?”
asked an old man
with a Tesco carrier bag
of teabags, biscuits and sugar.
“He said he wasn’t good enough
for this young girl!”
yelled a mother
of at least four.
“I wish I had a knife,
I’d cut his fucking feet off!”
shouted a grandmother.
The old man walked away
with his Tesco carrier bag
of teabags, biscuits and sugar,
shaking his head in disbelief
but not looking back once.


© Paul Tristram 2007

Published in In Between Hangovers, Issue #7, July / August 2008



Anarchy Symbol

It was our first date,
it was 2.30am,
we were heading
back to mine.
We took the short cut
under the viaduct.
(I’m romantic, I can’t help it!)
She stopped to make
a roll-up
and then from her pocket
produced and dabbed
the sachet of amphetamine,
then offered me the same.
(She was romantic too!)
I accepted, I’m a gentleman.
Put my special brew can
down upon the
seagull shit stained
tarmac.
Unzipped and urinated
up against a wooden
garden fence, in style.
I designed an anarchy sign
2 foot in size,
In one gush, eh!


“My God, how did you do that,
You’re amazing?”


“That’s nothing
You should see me dancing
on one foot
after snorting
the circumference
of a full moon!”


“Cool, I can’t Wait!”

But she did wait, for two whole weeks.

© Paul Tristram 2006   

Published in In Between Hangovers, Issue #3, December 2006


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.
 

Buy his book ‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036
And also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

 

Neil Fulwood- Three Poems


The City as Anti-Hero 
(after Weldon Kees)

The city as
cigarette-dimped chaise-longue
in a backstreet psychiatrist’s office:
lie back and tell me all about it
but pay in advance, cash in hand.
 
The city as
hooker with a heart of gold,
sympathetic to your variations
on a theme of my wife doesn’t
understand me. Her pimp not so.
 
The city as
broken-down pugilist, desperate
for the few bucks pay-off of that
dive-in-the-fifth agreement, wide
open to each blow to the conscience.
 
The city as
dirty cop, shakedowns and kickbacks
and favours and payoffs, throw-down
guns and planted evidence, a crick
in the neck from looking the other way.
 
The city as
barfly, as brawler, as pickpocket;
the city as gambler, as junkie,
as poet; the city as witness, as liar,
as gangster; the city as hypocrite.



Jack the Ripper Glimpses the Future

He sees his legacy ridicule itself
across a century or more
and reels back from the rift
in the damp smoky fabric 
of this evening, the knife-slash
through to the future
that granted him this glimpse.

The cinematographs are abysmal,
far-fetched concoctions 
of sound and colour. Unthinkable
in their length. The clumsiness
of their efforts to usurp the novel.

A song - worse than the silliest
music hall ditty. The caterwauling
of somesuch lord or other.
And the dreadful speculative tomes
that have him as royalty
or physician to royalty, hack
penmanship lapping up conspiracy
and missing the point. The simple,
beautiful scalpel-sharp point:

that some things are done
for the sheer love of blood 
and the blade. But not now. Not
if this is how history will serve him.

The letter gets no further than
"Dear Boss". Candle-flame burns back
the salutation. His leather apron,
folded, joins tools and mementoes
in a black bag that was always
an affectation, at best a red herring;
the lot of it propelled overarm
into a fetid stretch of the Thames.

Fog. Gas-lamps. A man trying
to blot out his mind. The pubs 
of Whitechapel are calling his name
like voices perfuming the shadows.



You Say “Grammar Nazi” Like It’s a Bad Thing
 
First we came for the Facebook users,
clamping down on their LOLs and OMGs,
their all-in-capitals status updates
or their lower case crimes against
the shift key, e.e. cummings mixing
vodka shots with an energy drink.
 
Then we came for Tumblr and Pinterest,
incensed by the visual given dominion
over grammar and syntax. We stamped down
on anything tagged or hashtagged.
We rounded up demotivational posters
and their misused apostrophes. We enforced
 
the Oxford comma and knew the difference
between simile and metaphor. Those
who professed to know nothing or know
better felt the brunt of our pedantry.
We came for the selfies. We came
for the smileys. We came for YOLO –
 
we proved it right. It did, in fact, only
live once. We came for clickbait and pictures
of cute animals. We didn’t give a shit
about when you see it you’ll shit bricks.
We frowned upon bricks misspelled
as B-R-I-X. That pissed us off royally.
 
We saw to it that social media
was disenfranchished. Then we came
for the corporations. Emails written
in non-speak: performance indicators,
benchmarking, going forward, peg
in the sand. SOPs, TLAs. Entire screeds
 
rammed into the subject line, the body
of the email an exercise in negative space.
Quality reports, corporate brochures,
press releases. Job descriptions, fine print,
zero hour contracts, secrecy clauses,
lawyers’ briefs. We came for the lawyers, too. 



Neil Fulwood is the author of film studies book The Films of Sam Peckinpah. His poetry has appeared in Butcher's Dog, Art Decades, The Screech Owl, Your One Phone Call and Medusa's Kitchen. He's married, holds down a day job and subsidizes several real ale pubs. 


Kate Garrett- Three Poems


Once you were midnight

once upon a time you were heaven sent
once you were latex & imitation leather
once you were midnight
           
midnight smelled of fast food
& French perfume, skin rubbed with lilies

midnight smelled of sex          
smeared on a front step
in a city where no one sees you anyway

stumbling down stairs             
to pub toilets
& your own
lemon-scented sick

stumbling down stairs into a rack                    

of imported pornography
& falling into men

who look at you
& flash pointed grins

who look at glossy twists
of tits, arms, legs

& it’s all the same –
it’s all the same if you spread & pout
or if you don’t

once upon a time you were midnight
once the sky was invisible                  

behind streetlights
& the bulb flickered

on
off
out



Cinders

The one thing he taught her
is that most things finish crumbled
up in the grate. She watched his mam
throw an old pair of shoes in once;
rubber smoke covered the room,
oily and black. But still they burned
and burned until only the soles
remained – misshapen, changed,
lumps of them cooling outside
in the ash pan the next morning.



In the woods

We’d been along this path twice
but missed the spot. Today we stumbled
over where they found you:
‘S – in loving memory’.

So we take in the faded roses; we
read the cracked memorial engraved
with a rhyme someone draped over
your mother – like a silk mac in a hailstorm.

I search for stories on deaths
in this wood: you were twenty five.
My youngest boy crouches down

tries to understand that a young man
is still someone’s child: a Peter Rabbit mug
you’d long outgrown, ‘we miss you, dear son’,
and your name on a stone.


Kate Garrett was born thirtysomething years ago in southwestern Ohio, but settled in the UK at the back end of the 20th century. She writes poetry and flash fiction, and edits other people's poetry and flash fiction. She lives in Sheffield, England with three smalls, a cat and a folkmusicianpoet. Visit her here: www.kategarrettwrites.co.uk

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Richard Schnap- Two Poems


EPISODE

These familiar streets
Remember me
Carrying a pizza

Home to the girl
Waiting for me
In a white nightgown

Whose bed we shared
For a brief time
Before she found

A new shadow
And our chapter ended
As I walked away

And never looked back
Wondering where
These streets would lead

As I felt the wind
Turn the page
Revealing the next face




HEARTS

Some are made
Of china
To be easily shattered

While some are made
Of steel
To be virtually unbreakable

And some are made
Of dust
To be scattered by the wind

While some are made
Of glass
To be invisible to the eye

And some are made
Of paper
To be home to a timeless story

While some are made
Of ink
To be the one that writes it

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems


An Old Nun’s Opinion

An old nun sitting 
on a bench in front of her convent
saying her beads was

interrupted by a young nun
coming home from school
to the convent for the night.

She asked the old nun if she had heard
about the Supreme Court passing 
the gay marriage law

and the old nun said she had.
The young nun seemed surprised. 
“Well, Sister, you don’t seem upset!

The old nun looked at her beads
and said, “This isn't Roe v. Wade.
This law won't kill anybody."



Homeless in Nome

I was beautiful once,
the homeless lady tells 
the young worker

who’s filling out forms
before assigning the lady
a bed for the night.

She’s been homeless 
for months since 
arriving from Dallas.

She's looking for a job
and maybe a husband
but hasn’t found either.

The worse thing, she says,
is the weather in Nome.
It’s nothing like Dallas. 

With snow in the winter 
and rain in the summer 
in Nome she needs 

something to crawl under. 
Often it’s a man, she says, 
with no home either.
 


Strike!

It’s a big book, a thousand pages,
a million words, a bestseller,
and the verbs are mad as hell
because the nouns get all the credit
even though the nouns go nowhere 
if the verbs don’t take them,
never mind the adjectives,
those leeches on the nouns,
getting the same free ride.

It’s reached the point where the verbs
have had enough and plan to quit 
the book and leave the pages blank 
unless they get $15.00 an hour
to keep on dragging nouns 
and adjectives from cover to cover
plus overtime tossed in 
for adverbs and prepositions
and a nice bonus for conjunctions. 


Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.
 

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems


no reason for your unkindness 
 
i am not a damsel in distress
can defend myself
nothing justifies
being cruel unless perhaps you
were being devoured by
a dragon,
but then i wonder 
what company you must keep
for all the dragons i've met
were good;
perhaps you deserved to be slain
for your wickedness—
i observed it once when 
you tore my pretty little red heart into
ribbons that you used to tear into
my ego,
and you held such glee when you pulled
my strings;
well, gepetto, you've handed me
scissors so i cut the strings
refuse to be your
marionette
anymore because i have my own hopes and
dreams calling to me.



i was wrong 
 
you cannot force my hand
mother said you
want to be friends again
simply because i've forgiven you
doesn't mean i want you in
my life again,
and i refuse to let you back in;
this door is closed for
a reason—
even evil dragons have shown me more
kindness than you have,
and so i will leave you out of the
story of my life
because you don't fit here;
my novel is one you wouldn't recognize
i was always taught not to judge
on appearances:
you always looked kind—
how very 
wrong i was.



stop chasing me
 
you are
mercury in retrograde
always looking
for an ego to dent in
spreading
negativity and confusion 
in your wake,
and i'm tired of the dragons
that follow you
chasing after me;
you were all the  darkest days
of my life
i am so glad they are over
our song is not the 
same,
and you don't deserve to sing
my name on your lips
so don't;
i prefer the silence—
you are not the person that i need
to comfort me
i am the flames and the ocean waves
wild and you only ever tried to
cage me and tame my 
ambitions,
but i am mean to shine bright;
so i fare thee well
you never understood me,
and i'm done trying to be nice
to someone i cannot
stand being around
i loathe your negativity and the way you
always tried to drown me in the canoe
of your broken dreams;
you were never brave enough to be you
don't judge me for being me
it's who i was meant to
be.
 
 

Christopher Hivner- Three Poems


Blades
 
I put my fingers
in between the still
fan blades
and wonder about
their power.
I could depress 
the on/off button
and find out quickly
or stare at the edges
and imagine.
 
I put my fingers
on her back,
tracing the shoulder blade
and wonder
how far I can go?
I could tempt
her on/off button
to see if she purrs
or scratches
but instead I
pull away.
 
My thumb against 
the serrated teeth
of the knife
draws chills to my skin.
I could press
and wait for the blood
or caress the metal
and live in the
what may come.
 
Some days I get to choose
between the blade
and the open spaces,
other days
the blade finds me
no matter 
where I hide.
 
 
 
Heart Beat
 
this night
like so many others
 
feels lost
 
I tried to give myself away
lost in the fable
of obedience
 
no sale
 
this night
feels the same
 
heart beat
empty space
heart beat
staring into the light
heart beat
waiting
 
lost
like so many others
 
 
 
Reunion
                                                            
Some were smiling
in the picture,
a few looked tired,
 
five former friends
at a party,
none knowing the others
would be there,
 
a forced congregation
at the
‘everybody smile’ altar.
 
Behind them,
balloons
reached for the ceiling,
 
searching for escape
from the room
with no oxygen.


bio: Christopher Hivner writes from a small town in Pennsylvania surrounded by books and the echoes of music. He has recently been published in Eye on Life Magazine and Black Mirror Magazine. A chapbook of poems, “The Silence Brushes My Cheek Like Glass” was published by Scars Publications and another, “Adrift on a Cosmic Sea”, was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press.

 

James Murphy- Three Poems


Salute to the Hammering Bastards

The sun rises on
rooftop Sherpas
scaling peaks
hauling bundles
of shingles
fearlessly effortlessly
climbing hammering
hollering cutting and
cursing.

They're never a
welcome sight
and the noise
drives the
neighborhood dogs
into a howling frenzy
but watch from the
kitchen window
and quietly applaud
the balance strength
agility and endurance
in the swampy heat
of early September.

Hours later savor
the burning beer
bubbles in the throat and
listen as the clatter fades
into quiet sunset
over the suburbs.

May the men
on the roofing gang
do the same.



Cosmetology

Beauty school girls in the supermarket
like white wine and cigarettes,
cupcakes and hard-cooked eggs,
hummus with roasted red pepper,
bagels and cinnamon chewing gum.

One wears fishnet stockings,
the kind with the backseams
that lead the eyes along a line
from the stiletto heels
to the back of the thigh
on up to the cheeks,
while the other sports
bare, bumpy legs
and teeny sneakers.

All of this is nourishment for
the combined cosmetology
curriculum: managing manicures,
the use of thickening tonic,
corrective coloring, the cultivation
of the artistry of artificial hair,
sanitation, sterilization, and
infection control, massage for
lymphatic drainage, and lash application.



Out

Nineteen years old
living at home
with mom and dad,

he'd head for the door.
"Where you going?"
"Out."

Of course
he was going out
for a walk

maybe talk with
a cross-town
girlfriend

on the payphone
by the gas station
buy a pack of butts
at the drug store

amble into the alley
for a shot, a dime tap
and a game of pool

listen to the rolling
riotous clash of pins,
balls, and wood

watch the weathered
bartender's puckered
cheeks suck a marlboro
in the corner of her mouth

and ponder the probability
of being with her at the end
of the night.

It would have to be her place, right?

Instead he'd walk
over to the playground
piss on the hopscotch
break bottles on the
foursquare court
and stumble home
before the cops
showed up.

He was miserable,
maybe even diseased,
and he enjoyed it

but he really just needed
to get out of that house
for a few hours

those quiet, tense, angry
evening hours when his
father wasn't at work
and wasn't yet sleeping
                                    or dead.


Bio: Murphy lives and writes in Lakewood, Ohio.