Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Jonathan Butcher- Three Poems


This town, I have given everything and received
nothing, other than the recycled apologies not
worth the tongues they rolled out from.

During the bus journey through your borders,
a laugh from the couple behind evokes again 
that fear, the fear that after a while just became
a comfort, like a blanket secretly laced with poison.

The walls are now buffed of our markings, my
ankles still splintered from the nightly chases 
that made our evenings passable, and made 
the pulling of our roots that more possible. 

I gave all to these walls and roads, as my back 
still remains turned in right direction, as I stand 
beneath the blossom encrusted branches, that
paint shadows like broken fingers, and let the 
others pass once more, their smiles as fixed as

Practice Room

Another morning waking on that
dust filled two seater, the orange 
walls offering no real imprint on our 
dilated eyes, as the sun beams
that force themselves free through
the single glazed windows finally 
gatecrash our morning. 

And we are welcomed into this
tight skinned hour, that allows 
the memories of last nights 
misdemeanours slide back into
our heads like an over dripping
tap, a blast of iced air then sets
our breath into clouds, helping us
gain much needed clarity.

Last nights attempts at time travel
and immortality, lay strewn in broken
ashtrays and pissed in bottles, the guitar 
strings now hanging like torn out hair, on 
which no tune could ever be plucked. 

We then bid any farewells at the exit,
as those rusted gates that look so
enticing at 1.00am, lose their beckoning
persuasion at this hour, yet no reasoning
seems to register. 

We then turn over, each of us taking
our own sweet time, our hands now 
bound by empty pockets, and we then
promise ourselves once more, that in 
ten years time, this will all remain the

The Valley's Cradle

Drifting past the green, peeling railings 
that frame the old school house, caked 
in decades old soot that was rejected by 
the local's lungs, I search for comfort in the 
cracked pavements and wilted leaves.

And this road, that now trades in trinkets,
that only shine through the eyes of the
the ones on loan here, allows me to draw
breath, as slow as the pace of each person
here, their faces hung like moth eaten capes.

The sun light bends here, not of it's own accord,
but to the will that runs blindly through these 
bricks and gutters, and passes through the 
cemetery; the very spine of this road, that 
coughs up names far too noble for these times. 

The last few drinks are settled, that we sink with 
the most joy here, and at that last stop, the old
bar's wooden tables beckon, that before we leave, 
we watch slowly turn to dust. 

Jonathan Butcher has been writing poetry for around
five years. He has had work appear in various publications
including: Underground Voices, The Rusty Nail, Elbow Room
Dead Beats, Gutter Eloquence, Black-Listed Magazine, The
Weekenders, Electric Windmill Press ,and others. His forth coming
chapbook 'Concrete Cradle' is to be published by Fire Hazard Press. 

Dawnell Harrison- Three Poems

Cowboys and angels

Cowboys and angels
Fill the night

In this small Idaho town
In the middle of somewhere.

Tunes drift in waves
From the jukebox and the light

Of the moon filters down
Filament by filament.

I travel down the dirt-sodden
Path with you always married
To my eyes.

Dissected shadows

Dissected shadows linger
On the rock wall near

The sea’s edge.
The seagulls hover like

Grey kites.
Sparrows dissolve like

Rain under a dust of wings.
It feels like tomorrow will
Never arrive.

Red ruby fire

Out of your eyes I saw
The light slide and gather

In a burst of rays –
Red ruby fire glints

So unwavering,
So sure,

So unceremoniously as
If it were meant to be.

I hold this fire in my
Mind’s eye and hope

Your eyes will always
Glint in unwavering light,

Spark a fire in the dark,
Speak to me in the cold hours
Of the dawn.

Robert Demaree- haiku/senryu


Big Birds

Blackbird, grackle, crow,
Each one bigger than the last
On the finch feeder.


The loon’s mournful call,
Long descent into water:
Dinner on the pond.


Gray squirrels and chipmunks
Prowl beneath the bird feeder:
Leftovers for lunch


Hummingbird hovers,
Much energy expended:
One gulp of nectar.


Two male goldfinches,
Handsome but sloppy eaters:
Meaties on the ground.



Waiting for the bus,
Joey and I toss the ball:
Elderly tight end.

Second Career

Aging consultant
Continues to give advice,
No longer charges.

Birthday Card

Looking for a card:
Humorous, age seventy;
Not finding any.

Senior Members

Men I barely knew
At Kiwanis on walkers
And then not at all.

Address File

Cleaning up the e-mail list:
Deleting duplicates, the disaffected,
Those known in a previous life,
Those moved on to the next.

Robert Demaree is the author of four collections of poems, including Fathers and Teachers, April 2007, and  Mileposts, October 2009, both published by Beech River Books, and Things He Thought He Already Knew, published online in 2007 by Slow Trains. The winner of the 2007 Conway, N.H., Library Poetry Award, he is a retired school administrator with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, where he lives four months of the year. He has had over 600 poems published or accepted by 130 periodicals. For further information see http://www.demareepoetry.blogspot.com 

Linda M. Crate- Two Poems

the day the lilies died
the day the lilies died
you tucked my hair behind
my ear and your fingers
pranced daintily over my face -

you looked at me with such
intensity I thought I would 
surely drown in the ocean
of your blue green eyes;

you proceeded to then massage
my shoulders, my neck, my breasts -
my body quivered under your
touch, as sensitive as those lilies

whose lilt had been extinquished 
like the lantern of a dying star;
your lips crashed into mine
waves slamming into the shore -

you swallowed my tears and
all of my fears in a large
gulp, they disappeared as a
snow in a spring thaw -

you threaded your fingers with mine,
and took a clumsy girl and painted
her into a woman; you poured me a
glass of champagne and told me that

everything would be okay, in a constant
volley of change I knew not if I could 
trust those words, but I knew also
that it were not your aim to harm me;

you licked my wounds and deepest
hurts the best way you could; I 
never meant to worry you, but
I fell like a land stone in the river -

I had not the strength to save
myself so you pulled me from the 
muddy waters and washed away all
the miry clay of yesteryears past -

yet you wouldn't let me do the same;
you insisted on healing yourself, and 
I tried not to let that wound me -
I'd already shed too many petals.

lord of lies
stifling hot as the flames of hell
that's how hard your words cut -
copses of flesh lay littered in the room,
a slaughter house for hopeful hearts;
because all you do is shatter them,
and dance on the broken red glass for you
have no shame or pride only hateful eyes
colder than the glimpse of old man winter -
once you deceived me with your charisma for
you are your father's son, a lord of lies that
know no end of beginning they only consume
until your victim is nothing but ash, yet you
declined to take note that i'm an autumn
phoenix burning and such tactics will fail on me.

Paul Tristram- Three Poems

An Ode To Nothing

When the fear and pain
have fallen away.
Passions both good and bad
have extinguished themselves.
Hunger and thirst are sated.
Memories and experience dismissed.
The core,
hollow and still
and quiet
without yearning.
When want is unwanted.
Truth irrelevant.
Climate merely background.
And true seeing
involves more than just
the eyes.
you will find me.
my ode to nothing.

Brain Blisters
This impossible concentration is crazy
I feel like smashing my forehead
straight through a brick wall.
Sometimes writing gets like this,
too many ideas and images
racing around inside of me.
Shunting against each other angrily
fighting for the spotlight, I swear
there’s road rage going on upstairs.
I can’t eat or sleep or sit down
until I organize some of this chaos
and get one or two more of them out
birthed and alive upon the page.
I picked the wrong day to stop
smoking, drinking and sniffing glue.
But here is another one almost complete.
I can hear those engines rev louder again.
It is time for some more mental surgery
to lance one more blister upon my brain.


She is in the corner hotel
upstairs and rushing
from one window to the other
hoping to catch a glimpse of him
coming up the wet Glastonbury street.
He is 5 hours late already
and they would have found her note
by now and know that she has run away.
Her head suspects that something’s wrong,
that he’s changed his mind?
But her heart will not accept this!
She takes another swig of laudanum
whilst looking at his likeness
imprisoned inside a little wooden locket.
Then she is back to the windows
frantic once more.
And that is where we leave her
hanging upon desperate tenterhooks
as the afternoon dims into evening
waiting alone with her fate.

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories and sketches 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.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Alan Catlin- Two Poems

Season of the Witch
His idea of a fun that Winter was
jumping naked from a second story window,
into a six foot high snow bank outside the dorm
window, screaming at the top of his lungs as
he flew and threatening to do it again until,
“He got it right.”  A blanket, a few blasts
of cheap bong wine, and another stick of primo
Cambodian Red and he was flying right,
wrapped in some  blankets and seeing
the kind of flying monkeys who came for people
who didn’t live righteous lives; visions that,
obviously, had nothing to do with him.
Someone suggested taking a spin in his wheels,
the used hearse in the parking lot along with
all the others, “No man, it’s cursed. She put
a hex on it.”  She was the witch he’d been screwing
since he arrived on campus two years ago as
a second semester transfer freshman, with hair
down to his ass and the most dynamic
sound system in a way-beyond-it’s-useful-life,
rig. “Man, everyone has a hearse. It’s the 60’s.
Or a Beetle. But mine has a reel to reel.”
A game breaker for a witch who rode shot gun with
the devil, always in black, pentagram amulets and
wild gypsy hair, dead things in her crocheted
shoulder bag along with great weed, mystery powders,
and spell casting shit.  “That girl was wild, Man,
beautiful and a heart stopping body once you got
rid of all those clothes. I don’t even think she, like
owned, underwear. Only goes with guy’s who have
a hearse.  Says she dug the vibes.  And the music.
Man, I loved her but she blew me off. Said I was
dragging her down. Stole all my Donovan tapes.
‘Season of the Witch’; that’s her life story.”
It would have been funny if everyone hadn’t seen her
around, climbing in and out of those vehicles,
late at night and the sound of things dying inside
that could never have been misinterpreted as something else. 

 Jungle Rot

 "I'm one of the real old Vets from the Nam.
 People don't understand what we went through. 
 I wasn't exactly a kid when I enlisted. 
 It was a righteous thing.
 We were  going to kick some butt and come
 right back home.
 Didn't work out that way.
 I did two years over there in the escalation time.
 Got this spot on my cheek they said was jungle rot.
 Inside of a month, I had it from neck to my toes.
 Still, I was one of the lucky ones, my groin
 was spared.
 When I turned up at home, I was this twenty‑four
 year old warrior, smelling like a swamp, with this
 disease all over my body.
 I expected like a warm welcome from home,
 but all I got from my old man was,
"Jesus what the hell is that?"
 I said, "They told me if it doesn't go away
 in two weeks check into the VA."
 "Good Christ, no one who looks like that
 is sleeping in my house."
 Some welcome home after two years eating shit
 in a rain forest, dusting gooks.
 Everyone had it.
 The Rot. 
 Maybe that's how we lost the war.
 We slowly rotted away. 
 Back home, for sure, no one wanted to know us. 
 All I felt like doing was a case of beer
 and ripping the lungs out of anyone who stood
 in my way. 
 I was used to ripping people's lungs out
 and I was good at it.
 No one ever told me how to adjust Stateside.
 Two failed marriages and three kids later,
 I'm in line for a major job promotion.
 Still it's 2:30 in the morning and I can't sleep.
 In the Nam, I used to do strange things:
 kick up flares and shoot things for the hell of it. 
 You know what I mean?
 Kill things.
 How about another beer?"

Tim Laffey- A Poem

a separate thing

i wanted to tell you one true thing
when one sees a living thing
when all the assembled parts are working
watch it inch along to learn it
walnut wild cherry thorny locust
waiting for concupiscent celts
to reappear wanting to be wanted a
trunk and bark being again with
winged silver maple seeds or a black
trappist oak cowl shadowing my religious
sister wants to cut its gnarly limbs down
said this tree’s a devil oak passing
through the thin blue air
though within it nestle instructions
the worm knows well
that the tree will stop and
the topic will be ended

that precise point when its
treeness goes and the bird can’t use it
such that i am a hidden
sticky web of chemical words
some see tree and think devil
some see tree and think clear cut lumber
some see tree and think a world of
reds whites buttercup leaves green
that whole thing quivering there
persimmon from the bare ground up
talking in the rasping breezes one
sits on one limb and sings
one feels the air rush by
one does not become that air nor
one among a multitude of leaves
though without imagination
perceptions are not true or
real one is still one
so some
so to speak
see tree and think tree
so let it be tree for them

in twirls of unholy flight
it ends and begins in this devil oak
in appearance an enigma
it is and it isn’t what is seen
if i had a chicken bone to cast magic
i might be this bird tossed happily
in air or it me or i that tree
i regard here holding
high suzerainty with its shade

hatch one world! instead each part
has its own idea of
how to go along the way
from red flesh and white bones
from this looks like a tree’s leaf while
feathered birds nesting noisily
end abruptly when cats come
did not know one could be so dually
distinct from others of its kind
devilishly difficult to determine which
description is not suspect rarely
demanding proof checks or showing its
daily work in the margins of
current thought through twigged neurons
coming forth with green images
curling from seeds by small variations in
cells beneath it eyeing this devil oak
and in the air are many full grown oaks
are all of them devils when saplings
also or only when aged and gnarled
and if yes then fashion their image
and the difficulty lies in locating it
and it is this: i am and
am not distinct from my kind and
among them is a giant red devil oak
and feel all true things must end
and feel all false things will last forever and
across this acreage we occupy i am
a separate thing indeed

i would tell you one true thing
and it is this: i do not
know one

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Erik Moshe- Three Poems

"American Gods"

Show your true shaman
Show your polytheistic folklore dreamscape
as sun gods stand there with Aztec wigs
Mayan anagrams burnt into the wet film of their eyes

baby forgers in futile efforts
the modern battlefield a blood stained coffee field
while a headhunter poses, caffeine induced
clenching the severed head of a left wing right wing
center wing never wing posterboy in the afterthought
of a rigged election resent to polls –
but the farm is a pigsty and if they fly, so be it

Industrial awakening is still sleeping
its rickety psychological state held in a coma
on a deathbed made of crimson new beginnings
sheets the color of whetstone, covered in patterns
of classic baseball games, confederate gun smoke
Robert M. Gatekeeper confiding secrets
the rebirth of a dying species spawned paraplegic
if only gods do float -
leg room for the religious bandwagons
regarded as hogwash

politicians are pigs
who put bacon on their tables
that ultimately kill us via cholesterol
choirs spew vitriol sermons

Destiny is reinvented in elegantly earthy Virginian baskets
feeding on heavenly perceptions
the unawareness office never files complaints
though by all sanctimonious diatribes
we should know the truth is elusive by now

your forefathers were deities alright
every leader since dawnlight translates human swansong
to put more goldfish in their lakes
and magistrates in their castles, or steeds in their darkhorse stables
the images of windmills, blurry corn pastures,
Madison Square Garden undergoing geometric transformations
until the dustbowl that once was
melds into the distance, and civilians grieve
- the meridian sheds civil disobedience leaves


Keep yourselves alive
as sculptures in this aquamarine waiting room
Join the acromegaly brothers
the blue nosed parole officer
the old man with Beelzebub in his gut
the woman with arthritis in her vagina
Ooh, it hurts.
Sit there, twiddle your thumbs
Watch CNN as the anchor shoves
thumbtacks through your naked cornea
Hey, thanks
flip through a Woman’s Digest
and chuckle to yourself in silent remembrance
of your ex wife’s intestines in the backyard,
housing a mole right about now
a mole with a dozen children,
curled up in fuzzy paradise
Unlike a rotund middle aged woman
whose name is probably Priscilla
with synthetic blood sacs for children,
giving me weird looks in between youthful exploration
the innocent little bastar--
I know it’s my job to report on irrelevant matters
but can’t I be a ghosthunter in the hospice hall or something?
I know this city is a cesspool
We all know
and this hospital is an even more putrid swimming pool
of inner city underlings with a predator who’s been biding it’s time
Take your weight loss reality shows
Take your corporate boulevard Huxtable physique
baby rates dying rapidity facilities
and just let the human stone sit
let some toxic sun rays hit it, apply sun skeet
when you open your eyes the next morning,
I hope it’s like trying to open a stubborn cuttleflesh with a carpenter nail
or one of those spike-barbed bacteria cells
Saliva and raspberry jello and parking lot dirt
and janitor cigarette smoke
contract these lungs into a pathetic rising and falling
of imminence
I just need my blood drawn

“C.O.N.T.R.O.L’s Control Room”

Glorious mornings do not exist.

The hegemony classifies freewill as a disillusioned misfit…
I don’t contest this hypothesis.
I recognize that there are things
smaller than an amoeba’s most distant cousin’s best friend removed.

Religion is the catheter with which we channel and process liquid vitality.
We’re unable to classify what vitality is,
Because what’s of importance is an opinion.

Even the uncontrollable have tickets to the manikin orchestra.
They clap obediently.
Well, it’s less of a “clap”
and more like cacophony of thermoplastic flapping.

Control is a…
tridimensional comfort word
that violates and fulfills at least several thousand interchangeable charters
of an animalistic human pedigree.

All strings attached,
puppet masters strung,
victims coagulating in their various provincial prisons.

Using your third eye’s diopter,
one may pinpoint their maker’s intentions
But they’re all out of stock, I’m afraid 

Erik Moshe is an aircrew flight equipment technician for the U.S. Airforce who is originally from South Florida. His work has been seen floating around before in Gloom Cupboard, Spirit of the Stairway, Clutching at Straws, mad swirl, and The Bactrian Room. He's currently got his eye on a wizard's tower, waiting for a signal from the blackbirds.

Ali Znaidi- A Poem

Of Death & Equality
                                par excellence
                                in oblivion or
drowning in water
                         w/out any trace or
                   the golden fleece
                      in a Greek
an equal act,
                      though the performance
is totally different
Contributor’s Bio:
Ali Znaidi (b.1977) lives in Redeyef, Tunisia where he teaches English at Tunisian public secondary schools.  He writes poetry and has an interest in literature, languages, and literary translations. His work has appeared in The Camel Saloon, Otoliths, The Tower Journal, streetcake, The Rusty Nail, Yes,Poetry, Shot Glass Journal, Ink Sweat and Tears, Mad Swirl, Unlikely Stories: Episode IV, Red Fez, Carcinogenic Poetry, Stride Magazine, and other ezines. His debut poetry chapbook Experimental Ruminations was published in September 2012 by Fowlpox Press (Canada). He also writes flash fiction for the Six Sentence Social Network—http://sixsentences.ning.com/profile/AliZnaidi.

Ross Vassilev- A Poem

new red rose

I drink in the wine of black flower night
while Uncle Sam dances at the ends
of the rich man's strings
while the banks tear down foreclosed homes
and piss on the homeless
and the Black Bloc march through the streets
to be laughed at by the corporate media
there is sadness in the arsenic dawn
cuz the forces of evolution have failed us
the forces of revolution have failed us
the armies of greed rape the children and the sky
and all that's left is the smoldering ruins
from where a new red rose waits to be born.

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Why Not Do Away With Sundays

There are fewer believers now
than at any time in recent history
but they are still recruiting since 
lions no longer wait for them
in ancient coliseums.

Believers knock on doors,
seeking to convert folks who are 
dining, reading, maybe copulating, 
an interruption certain to disturb  
even those open to the message.

So why not do away with Sundays,
change to a six-day week
and make every day a work day.
If we do away with Sundays
believers may come to understand

folks on Earth are here to work, 
buy nice things, pay taxes 
and die at a reasonable age 
so other folks can have their jobs 
and not rely on unemployment, 

the way so many must today.
If we do away with Sundays
we can set believers straight 
even if we have to hire a lawyer
and take the case downtown.

If we lose the case, we'll appeal
and if we lose the appeal
we can take a jet to Washington 
and picket the Supremes.
In Washington, noise wins.

Donal Mahoney finds that sometimes a poem turns out to be a hybrid in that it says just the opposite of what he means while it also says precisely what he means.  And then, confusion reigns.

Gerald Bosacker- A Poem

Doctors condemn obesity
as diabetes plagues they assault,
but fat-fried foods taste best to me
when deluged with catsup and salt.
King sized portions of Cola I drink,
with true sugar, not that fake stuff
plus giant refills too, I think,
to really get myself enough.
Out with folks, dining in a café,
I harangue with insistent voice,.
for one with  an endless buffet,
but growing fat was not my choice.
Gerald Bosacker, Poet and tale teller lives in Arkansas, retired from the corporate world where he was successful although miscast as Vice President of a large chemical company. He now does penance for his sins against the environment with his anti-war activism and poetry.
Shiny red apples are so fun to chew
and taste so good and are good for you.
Be sure that you spit out all the seeds,
since internal trees, no body needs.

Tim Laffey- A Poem

     After many years in Texas, in the computer services industry designing mainframe systems and tuning their performance, I am now retired and back on a portion of the old family farm in west central Illinois. Early on I wrote poetry, all that formal richness waiting to be broken was just so enticing. As it will though, life veered in another direction and while following my profession, I took up painting and sculpture. I will continue to pursue them.
     But recently the urge to write has re-emerged.


a slow so long

and moved among the trees its
copies. its green efficiency
each aspect of a blade of grass
has remade earth’s face
hides its finest stratagems in the open.
in its budshoots, rolled or folded,
in its arrangement of the blade on
noded stem. it’s here
or there, hopped up, took flight
parts newly created slightly altered
since it appeared, roughly around
spreading their duplicates, or its seeding
the juncture of blade and sheath
the rhizomes, strong or weak, around
the time the dinosaurs died
wrapping around and clasping

time to change, it first appears.
and moves off in new directions.
as the environment whispers,
assortments of twists and braids, the
funnels and shoots, traps and catches,
ignore the ordered workings
in green fueled cells, the odd
life from atoms’ bonds.
now needing only minor modifications,
slight nudges to the rudder,
that limber proteins engineered to pump
this was work done long ago,

we hear around us, hear it in the air,
trees prattling to grass, grass to birds,
the fat field mice hide under? that
roiling boiling field of wind bent grass,
red-tail hawk riding the air above,
parts in balance. can we hear it,
just this much, no more? each
is certain to get its share.
can we hear that voice in the voices?
birds to the seeds and berries

a new protein bends differently
and a camel shuffles off, forested plains cover
and obviously look good doing it,
and thriving by new advantage.  
as they waltz, shrink and expand,
blackbirds as a million dusty days go by,
by their smaller, gracile cousins, the sloth
changes, adapts to the basin’s rise,
elk shrink down, great cats replaced
follow it in the larks and red-winged ones
give way to open grasslands,

ice advances and retreats, bulldozes
if you fail, you fail forever. time,
inevitably changing or not,
is coolly indifferent to the outcome,
is never rescinded. no going back. 
it’s offspring numerous as an
ocean’s basin. endless days go by.
of this game and wagers nothing
old mountains fall slowly
on those that think they’re victors
or run faster or jump higher,
pointing at different stars,
slowly, one step at a time
some leg grows longer,
swung around this variable star. slowly,
the five great lakes, pulverizes
the mammoths, come, then go, giant
time has the patience to wait things out,

the earth’s axis circling about
up and down, in and out
the sweeter success is
the irony of it is, if you succeed
it is because of change. you
from that you started as. as ever
change irrevocably away,
a slow so long.