Sunday, March 30, 2014

Jack Phillips Lowe- Two Poems


It’s Saturday morning and Buchman’s working
the Returns and Exchanges counter
at the Pricemaster Department store.

By 11AM, Buchman tires of the bullshit storm
and stops fully listening to customers’ complaints.
Instead, he just stares at each patron,
inventing a backstory for him or her
based on their looks and demeanor.

“To hell with your two-week return policy!”
shouts an old man holding a vaporizer.
“Two weeks was up just yesterday!
I’ve been shopping here since 1982. . .”
Buchman studies the senior closely.
He’s a little bastard, no more than 5’5”.
His white, neatly-combed hair is thinning.
He’s got a large pointed nose and wide brown eyes.
Buchman decides the old man resembles Dustin Hoffman.

“This is an outrageous violation of my customer’s rights!”
snarls the old man. “My cousin is a lawyer. . .”
Buchman decides the old man isn’t Dustin Hoffman.
He’s actually Benjamin Braddock, the character
Hoffman played in that movie, The Graduate. 
The idea puts a slight smile on Buchman’s face.

“You think this is funny? You snotty brat!” the old man barks, pointing.
“You won’t be laughing when I sue this dump for six figures!”
Buchman chalks Ben’s anger up to frustration.
The plastics company Ben spent the last 47 years
slaving for put him on permanent layoff
just as he was ready to retire---
totally screwing Ben out of his pension.

The old man pulls out a pocket notebook and a pen.
“I want your name, smartass!” he growls.
“Your company president’s going to hear of this!”
Buchman figures Ben is still smarting over Elaine’s
coming out as a lesbian and divorcing him 20 years ago.
Or maybe it’s because Mrs. Robinson, still spry
at age 85, refuses to ‘friend’ Ben on Facebook.
“Smartass!” bellows the old man. “I want your name!”

“No,” replies Buchman, emerging from his reverie.
“I never liked what you did to Mrs. Robinson.”


By his fourth month of unemployment,
former magazine fact-checker Lon Colfax
had discovered a most pertinent truth---
just because you’ve left the job
doesn’t mean the job has left you.

For example, details remained important to him.
Over the course of a week, watching daytime TV,
Lon spied the same brunette actress
in three widely divergent roles:
a lonely widow kidnapped by a bunch
of orphaned boys needing a mother on Wagon Train;
the super-villainess Blaze on Batman;
and an accused murderer, seemingly doomed,
but vindicated at the last minute on Perry Mason.
The actress’s name: Myrna Fahey.

Lon found himself intrigued by
Ms. Fahey’s Elizabeth Taylor-like beauty
and hands-off-horndog sense of self-worth.
One day in the public library, instead of job-hunting online,
Lon immersed himself in the actress’s backstory.
Myrna Fahey, Bing informed him,
was a small-town girl who worked constantly,
but was always a step shy of stardom.
Still, she rose to featured roles
in nearly every notable TV show of the 1960s.
Her suitors included George Hamilton and Joe DiMaggio.
Lon smiled as he read that
a favorite hobby of hers was playing the stock market.
His research though, like his subject’s career,
came to an abrupt and sad end:
Myrna Fahey died of cancer, at age 40, in 1973.

It was this sadness that impelled Lon,
trailing a white helium balloon on a string,
into a nearby park at noon the next day.
Folded twice and tied to the end of the string
was a newspaper page of stock market results.
Written on that page in red marker:
“Godspeed, Myrna. Love, Lon.”

Lon paused for a second, then released the balloon.
He stood, shading his eyes and watching,
until the balloon vanished into the clouds.
Then he said, quite aloud, to himself:
“Lon old boy, you’ve got to find a new job.”

The bio you requested: Jack Phillips Lowe is a native Chicagoan. His latest chapbook is Cold Case Cowboys (Middle Island Press, 2013). And yes, we think Lowe watches too much TV, too. 

Carl Papa Palmer- Three Poems

 cordially yours

sitting on her couch
she has forgotten who I am
greets me like a stranger
treats this stranger better
than she ever treated me

I yearn for her glower
that glint of disgust
the biting sneer
refusal to say anything
nice to me at all

methodist makeover

the huge pile of clothes donated to our church
rummage sale by the war widow her departed
husband a young man just forty four his taste
ran fairly medium along with his size 34 X 32
trousers brown blue tan gray and black dockers
16 ½ X 34 button down shirts and knit pullovers
to keep the wives away from the pile of clothes
my size the rumor emerges these clothes were
salvaged from a state funeral home taken off
dead men after their viewing everyone knows
the body is always buried naked all my size I

won’t try on a single piece of my new wardrobe

Mommy, come see

yelling, excited, out of breath,
bouncing into the room,
his polished ebony eyes
dull to chalky slate

as mother says, In a bit.
Never shifting her attention
from the television showing
favorite summer reruns.

Maybe later.  
After awhile.
After this.
We’ll see.
Not now.

Mommy’s summer reruns

Carl "Papa" Palmer, retired Army, retired FAA, now just plain retired, lives in University Place, WA. He has seven chapbooks and the contest winning poem riding a bus somewhere in Seattle.   MOTTO: Long Weekends Forever

Sue Ann Simar- Two Poems


a word is not an outcome
a word in the mouth of a dying child

the brightness of a daughter, a first-born son
their same skin reeks of outcome

to inhale and become a repeating form
a body in the midst of many bodies

to witness is to victimize
moments when you are already dead

you're already dead if you look at these bodies and
aren't anchored by tears


the dense black tangle of a dream.
A man without shadow prophesying fire,
a layering of atoms, a need for an ark.
There is a hole in the center of his heart
where a spark glows, but no one knows if
it hurts or not, if it is sacred or not,
or what to do.

Sue Ann Simar does not know what to do about greed, hunger, and suffering.
"I don't think anyone knows what to do about it. When I write a poem about someone else's despair, I wonder if I am also victimizing that person. I try to cope by treating the people I know fairly and without cruelty."
Simar lives in West Virginia--a state with a high poverty rate and low ratings for education. Simar most recently published in Backbone and The Montucky Review. She participates in The Madwomen in the Attic writing program affiliated with Carlow University.

Pijush Kanti Deb- Three Poems

Coffee and my Mother- in- law
My mother-in-law,
frequently invited and ever-welcomed
yet likes to trespass my family every now and then,
draws ugly wrinkles on
the plain canvas of my fate,
nevertheless, I pay a welcome smile to her.

My busy commercial schedule-
ever- active to make me rich
but too poor to awake
my consciousness regarding my family schedule,
tongue-less to babbling tongues as a consequence
and washed up thoroughly without any detergent.

Alas! Coal never leaves its colour,
trend-wise ill-fated I was again
to be unmindful to the cordial invitation,
a personal request of my awesome  mother-in- law
and a sufferer from an oral storm very soon.
''Oh God, save me please''!
an importunity came out of my timid heart.

As expected she appeared in the next morning,
swept me top to bottom with her verbal broom
in a collaboration with my wife too.
Chilled morning that was,
her voice was quivering in cold
added by her own aggressive emotion.
My all attempts to cool her surrendered
and led me to kitchen to hide,
I was fortunate to be blessed by God
as my eyes fell on the packet of chocolate coffee,
a smile was bloomed on my lips
and a cup of hot chocolate coffee was prompt
to reach below the nose of mother-in-law
with its enchanting magical flavour,
started extinguishing her fire of emotion
with her each and every sip step by step
and I thanked God and coffee both for a hot rescue.

 Non-Violent Ventilators
Scolding, abusing, cursing and weeping-
the effective ventilators for cooling a compelled life,
captive in a handicapped body
with chained hands and feet.
Let's look at the spears of fire-
cast by the selfish catapults-
powered by the evils of
society, profession, politics and spirituality
towards a poor life and the only amulet-
made of tolerance and patience is penetrated

and the helpless life starts groaning in pain and irritation.
Mind is free and brave,
so prompt for a retaliation
but the body is too handicap to participate.
A hot and roaring wave of
humiliation and anger is added to the groaning
making the body to swell up in destructive emotion
up to a blasting point.
Thank God, the ventilators start working on time
one by one as per the need of life and time
and the body is spontaneous to use the magic of
scolding, abusing and cursing-
all against the merciless catapult
and at last weeping too to cool down
the burning body mind and soul
in a very non-violent way of saving a life from the fire of anger.

Painters and Paintings
The paintings are to be kissed or spitted,
used in embellishing the drawing room
or thrown in dustbin to injure the environment.
A sensitive painter is careful
in centralizing all of his
skills, experiences and virtues
on the top of his brush
and skillful to compel the clean canvas
to conceive a painting-
beautiful and useful too,
with each and every passionate touch of his brush on it.

Blood turns into hot sweat,
sheds on the stainless canvas
and a magnificent painting is born,
compelling claps, kisses, rewards and awards
to be generous to drop on it
from the blissful eyes and the perceived hearts.
Maybe, a bunch of blessings are also bestowed
By blissful and watchful aerial eyes
and a course of curses are booked
for those careless  painters
who give their paintings just the beginning,
leaving the finishing to money and machine,
produce some so-called paintings-
lacking color and scent of humanity.
Dump them in the slums of garbage
and pollute the cleanliness of the environment
where the stainless paintings are still picking the flowers up
thrown gratefully by the blissful eyes and the peaceful hearts.

Joseph Goosey- Two Poems

Those with tattoos of cupcakes need not apply
and also if you’ve “been keeping busy” 
please go home,  go home 
and stay there. I don’t mean to be smarmy 
considering my penchant for disease
which is likely to cause an outburst at the upcoming Seder.
A thousand lotions in my day was nothing
I bark, handing my phone to a ten year old,
so he can dial the number of the dog transport service
driving ahead of us on 15-501.
We suspect it's really a rape van.
Nobody answers. Pretty difficult
to simultaneously rape, drive, and use up minutes.
For concern of squelching what little faith Nicole maintained
I pretend indifference or a breathless fish.
There is a Nutrigrain bar in my heart
and a retrospective in the toilet.
Any changes to your document
will be lost. I fear
like I fear a triceratops:
Anything could burst through the floor. 

I got into standup comedy
in an attempt to get out
of just about everything else

including that which I’ve tried so hard to enter

Meaning the angular distance of your cornea
was noted for the first time a little over nine months ago
and the baby is late
probably because of you've been stuffing that hole you bore in my skull
with taco filling

difficult for a baby

to swim through so much taco filling

or say my womb head is the kitchen drain

I haven’t washed a dish in two months
so the weight of the pile in my sink
is probably greater than that which a baby is able to lift
So nail me in the crawl space
and not in the hot way 

bio thing: Joseph Goosey is in Southern Pines, North Carolina where he reads court records in exchange for capital. His work has appeared in some number of places. 

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal- 3 Poems


I know I should be sleeping
But the spring birds
Won't stop singing
And I have to get up
And go to work now

I am feeling so tired
Still I hear the birds
Of spring filled with
So much vigor
I would give so much

To be one of them
Singing without a
Care in the world
Early in the
Morning they sing

I know I should be sleeping
Hey there, spring birds
Let’s trade places
I will sing and
You will feel tired


Touched by beauty
There's a glow about you
Even as mist fills your eye
The beauty is ripe and tangible

I can't forget you
The day dogs me and falls
Heartache rolls inside me
I tumble off the edge

I curse the world
I watch you walk off
Taking your beauty and
Most of my broken heart


Another day
With the albatross
Weighing me down
It does not stop
Putting its heft on
My daily life

It takes me days
To recover and
It comes back as
Soon as I am
Feeling like the worst
Is over, but

It comes back like
A fiend…

Willie Smith- A Poem


Because I don’t get it,
don’t get out
while the getting is good,
I get it in the heart.
Slumped over spaghetti,
just outside Gettysburg,
thinking of Paul Getty,
still I can’t
get it out of my heart.
The waitress tweaks the thorn,
jiggling past with ketchup.
The roses in her face
replace thoughts of Getty.
The Gettysburg dead all
rise at her passing breast.
Again my heart gets it.
I just don’t get it –
why the hurt of beauty
gets my heart.
She gets away and I
get the spaghetti past
my teeth into the gut.
The dead are mustered back
into the grave, Getty
gets the world by the tail
and I get this tale of
the rose, the thorn, the heart.    

Khaloud Al-Muttalibi- Two Poems

Snakes and Ladders

I breathed him in and there was no way out
The gust of longing from the east fills my lungs
It sends me rolling down the mountain of nostalgia
A few seconds it took
There I was squatting upon the ground
playing Snakes and Ladders
My stiff hands
Searching for a fresh start
Yet on the tattered board
The slithering worm erases my steps
My feet slip on the rungs
I cannot free my poems, trapped beneath the rocks
Or reassemble my dismantled thoughts 
Wet mouths drizzle
A crowd of fangs unfurl
Turning on the button of death
The mother snake takes over my body
The victor of the hour distributes her lavish gifts
Of pain and sorrow
From within her body
I stare


Gagged and shackled
To the wall of the world
The remains of her thoughts
Lie frozen on the desolate sea
Their wreckage bore the scars
Of intrepid battles,
She had once fought
Before her shadow fell
In the ghastly ditch of sorrow
Pallid words left
  The last gasp
Of a battered soul

A brief biography of the poet
Khaloud Al-Muttalibi is a poet and translator. She resides in the United Kingdom.
Much of her work has been translated into various languages. Her poetry has been published in a vast array of worldwide literary magazines and journals, both in print and online. She has appeared in several books and anthologies. Her published works include Psalms under a London Sky, Under an Icy Sky, A Portrait of Uruk, and The Contemporary Iraqi Poetry Movement.

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems


I'd never steal a poem 
or any of its shining facets 
but I'd take the mood 

a poem is born in 
if the poem is smiling. 
A lot of poems smile

but lately mine 
can only scowl.
So when I read
a poem written  
in the daylight by 
a soul who's 

painting clouds 
against a brilliant sky
as if the clouds 

were butterflies
too lovely to let go
and fly away,

that's the mood 
I want with me 
every midnight 

in the basement
when I feed the ghosts 
I can't allow upstairs.

When Men Had to Marry

In 1956 April told Henry
her mother had told her
there's a time and a place
for that and the time 

for that was certainly 
not now but soon  
after the ceremony
after the reception 

on their honeymoon
at Niagara Falls.
April hoped Henry
would like it for she 

would be his as long 
as his freckles  
danced the cha-cha
all over his nose.

After Listening to World News Tonight

When the next emperor dies 
and arrives in Hades 
there will be great applause 

from the other emperors who  
arrived there before him. 
They will drop pitchforks, 

kneel in bonfire and bow 
to their newest colleague, 
the one for whom Satan 

now rises and offers 
his throne so the new man 
can reign in glory as 

Emperor of Hades until 
someone more evil arrives, 
someone whose glee for war 

harmed even more people, 
people with little to lose 
except for their lives.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Tim Gardiner- Three Haiku

Frost pockets
shallow depressions
scars of war

Such vivid poppies
flower in the fields of eternity
under tombstone skies

On Lammas Day
a bath in the River Somme
blood stains remain
Brief bio:
Tim Gardiner has haiku published in Country-Side, Dead Snakes, Haiku Journal, Poetry Nook, Three Line Poetry and 50 Haikus. His first collection of full-length poetry 'Wilderness' is due to be published by Brambleby Books in 2014. He is also an ecologist who has published numerous scientific papers and several books on natural history.

Richard Schnap- A Poem


I used to dream of flames,
In broken bars under rust-colored skies,
Where women with cocaine smiles
And heroin eyes would be waiting
For someone to release them from themselves.

But now the fire has been smothered,
And the bars have become caffeine memories,
While the lost girls have either died
Or left town, or learned to forget
Whatever it was they didn’t want to know.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

David S. Pointer- Two Poems

Understanding The
Very Unequal Now

America was where
a backward greedy
system tricked most
of its people into
thinking it was a
progressive country
then it became very
powerful mopping up
in WWII also having
a historical fluke in
FDR who equalized
some for the continued
success of this system
then he died, greed didn’t.

     Off Set Exile

One day, my grandpa’s
niece’s husband Lloyd
Foreman of the Grapes
over Sisquoc Ranch
came to me because
Marshal Matt Dillon
had picked up a new
gig as Uncle Zeb, and
was coming to hunt
wild boar with his
entourage under the
name James Arness,
and nobody wanted
a damned kid running
around the hot forest
with his BB gun, and
that’s How The West
Was Won that morning
in the 1970s without me

About the Author: David S. Pointer has recent work in “Main Street Rag,” “Gutter Eloquence,” and elsewhere. His latest horror poetry book with Spanish translations will soon be available at “Blurb Books” online.

Shelby Stephenson- A Poem


At least I called them moccasins − water
Moccasins – I’d go down into the pit –
Under the gradin-room – hole – its ladder
Shackly, rickety, shaky – me, too − it
Was where we “ordered” tobacco – loiter?
No way for a boy fourteen and unfit
To assimilate the snakes on tier-poles
Which held cured tobacco Mama would spray.
The brittle leaves came in order; their souls
Would appear, right before my eyes; I’d pray
In dim dark one-bulb-dom down there to bold
Heavens not to lay my hand on the cold
Back of any crooked, muscularly flesh,
My heart bumping for the light above – yes!

Short bio:  Shelby Stephenson's The Hunger of Freedom (2014) is available from Red Dashboard at

Tom Hatch- A Poem

What do I have to do for her love?
What do I have to do
Become an Acapulco cliff diver
To make you happy
Climbing up to the top is hard enough
Then the courage even to look
Down drives me to drink
And you expect me to have it too (the courage or maybe the drink too)
My youthful colleagues don't have a problem
They dive like they have rucksacks
Full of money
Currency spending spent pouring, pouring
Out of their sacks into the sea below
This is the way they dive fearless
Off the cliffs all the money in the world
One after another they fly
Maybe I should have started at the edge of the pool
Worked my way up to a diving board at least
Then maybe…
I slouch as I approach the ledge
The smell of the smashing breakers
Way down below the sound of swish
Makes me intoxicated invigorated
Standing tall my toes are curled
Over the verge 
I look good in my diving suit
It's tightness and the fresh air
Causes a thorough hardness
I'm on that cliff hard and huge
Isn't this enough?
But my gigantic enormousness gives me
A giant hit of confidence spreading
My arms stretching out like the angel of death
I lean forward I can see the largeness very bold
I lean farther toward the open air 
That will fly me to the sea oh the smell
Panting racing heart
O graciousness no turning back
It's time for my Titanic to set sail
I hit the water just as the breaker has filled
The grotto to its fullest ever...ever
Does this make you happy? Oh yes it does.

Tom paid his dues in the SoHo art scene way back when. He was awarded two NEA grants for sculpture back then. And taught at various colleges and universities in the NYC metro area in art (including Princeton and U of Penn. in Philly). He is a regular at The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes and BoySlut. He has published at The Mind[less] Muse, Jellyfish Whispers, Napalm and Novocain, Rusty Truck and Pyrokinection among others. He lives in CT with a few farms up and down the road works in Manhattan. His train ride to and from NYC is his solace, study and den where it all begins.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Jennifer Lagier- Two Poems & Photo

Punitive Loss
Orders came for a Cape Flattery lifeboat station:
had 48 hours to make arrangements, then move.
Traded my Mustang for a station wagon and cash.
Put down money on a small mobile home.
My husband was 21, just home from Nam.
I was 19, two months pregnant, stressed.
That night contractions began.
By morning, our baby was gone.
We loaded what little we had left, followed
semi and trailer house onto the ferry.
Drove for hours in pouring rain
on a dirt road to the Makah Reservation.
Three years of isolated duty
as punishment for my anti-war protest.
He was military; I was civilian.
We both served the sentence.
Do not let the thorny leaves of the artichoke discourage you. Within this member of the thistle family lies a treasure for the palate and a boon to the body.
At the Farmers’ Market, edible flowers,
Castroville artichokes piled
in a jaunty green jumble.
Barbed globes conceal
tender hearts, translucent petals
inside their tough armor.
Pointy leaves range in color from brown
to black, purple, pale yellow.
One slip and sharp thorns will
sink fangs, leave painful scars
on an innocent finger.
I think of you, deceptively civil,
remember to maintain a safe distance,
exercise caution.
Your smooth words seduce,
then sadistically cut to the core,
like a thistle, sting for days after.