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

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gene McCormick- Art


                                                    Man With A Horn I

                                                    Man With A Horn II

Gene McCormick is a writer who paints without preference for either discipline.  His art is in private and commercial collections and he has illustrated a number of books.  He is the illustrator for

Ayaz Daryl Nielsen- Three Poems

Solar Beings                                                                                                

Solar beings, we circle again as 
the sun hisses ‘This is it!  Time 
doesn’t return what night winds 
sweep away, those dark winds 
never blow the same way twice - 
and, hidden!  Hidden is even the 
faintest murmurs of your inner 
magic!’  Our sun insists, ‘Sacred-
ness can always be recovered!  
Merge the known and the un-
known, the past and the future, 
into one solar presence without 
any neediness of claiming any-
thing other than chance from 
every sun-lit street corner’s 
zephyrs of celestial existence’


days of rain glide 
under our bridges
pluvial acolytes and 
disciples of rivers
an older us whom 
wonder embraces

Constant celebrants of
the boundless Mardi Gras
Thrumming our melodies
within echoes of footfalls
from each and all of us
Well, imagine that! 
Thrumming melodies
within echoes of footfalls
from each and all of us!

ayaz daryl nielsen, husband, father, veteran, x-roughneck (as on oil rigs)/hospice nurse, editor of bear creek haiku (25+ years/120+ issues), homes include Lilliput Review, Jellyfish Whispers, Writing the Whirlwind, Shamrock, and! (translates as joie de vivre)

Victor Henry- A Poem

A man leaning against the sky
Stumbles fool heartedly forward
Into the shallow abyss of his mind.
Lost in memory’s lament.
He hears the desperate cry of his heart.
Fading fast from a lack of light,
Becoming a muted muffle
in the cold, dark night,
his black hole, his soul lost.
He has nothing left to offer the world.
His hands crippled in age
Have less to hold on to now.
His love for her, in the absence of her,
A still life memory.  

Bio: Victor Henry’s work has appeared in various small press magazines and e-zines. He is a reference librarian, a Vietnam veteran, and a member of Veterans for Peace. His work has recently appeared in Dead Snakes.

Alan Britt- Three Poems


From the caves of Lascaux
to a Lantana Beach, Florida-room,
fat flies cling to salty gingham curtains.

Opaque claws from a feral priest
or the governor of a slave state
overseeing plantations, herding cotton angels
with heat lightning breasts of 13, 14 or 15 years.

The chimneys of southern mansions
coughing pestilence, helicopter insects
migrating corner to corporate corner,
according to the magic pipe.

Discipline . . . . . . . . . rape of culture,
homogenization of one solitary human
to another.

Evolution as it stands today
gives me a fucking headache.

Tomorrow, dementia, that arcane disease,
sometimes known as monetary transfiguration
(from the 13 ruling families to you and me)
but otherwise known as he who has possession
of the bomb.

Follow the bomb,
& you’ll find the money.


(For Charlie Watts)

Who knows what these poems might do;
they’re out there attacking the Diaspora
like a sponge on a freckled Formica counter
licking the coffeemaker’s chinchilla feet
disguised as a bitch in heat.

Who knows what the bitch might do?

Who knows?

Last I heard that bitch electrocuted her old
man for loitering the local Starbucks.

Meanwhile, hunkered low, in a flickering 
dank & dark Maryland basement, Gary’s
Terps snatch another one from Duke!


We’re the only two folks in the room
who know that a fart machine is tucked
beneath the cushions where a dozen people
converse about Italian soccer,
how Wallston’s Objective Correlative differs from Eliot’s,
why Goya was Lorca’s favorite,
or how a rising and falling spondee burps
one bubble of mud from its dry riverbed.

Then comes the inevitable lull in conversation,
allowing each a full three seconds
to collect his or her thoughts.

That’s when the farts erupt,
near the far end of the couch,
next to a table with an imitation Tiffany dragonfly lamp.

That’s when three females abruptly excuse themselves
and head for the kitchen.

On their way out they ask,
What’re you two laughing so damn hard about?

Pregnant pause precedes another explosion
below said couch,
already under suspicion.

Heads in unison rotate toward the CEO
of Primordial Realism himself,
dozing comfortably at 9:23 PM.

Prefering to "lean and loafe at [his] ease," Alan Britt is troubled by the corruption and ambivalence that permeates the Great Experiment, so politically speaking he has started the Commonsense Party, which ironically to some sounds radical. He believes the US should stop invading other countries to relieve them of their natural resources including tin, copper, bananas, diamonds and oil, that it’s time to eliminate corporate entitlements and reduce military spending in order to properly educate its citizenry, thereby reducing crime and strengthening the populace in the manner that Jefferson envisioned. He is quite fond of animals both wild and domestic and supports prosecuting animal abusers. As a member of PETA, he is disgusted by factory farming and decorative fur.

David Ross- A Poem

Fleeting Antidote
Grandma's first line of defense
for skinned knees through puberty
was for me to squat over the stool
backwards with elbows propped askew
atop the porcelain lid exposing myself
at an acute angle so she could dangle
a rubber pouch of warm soapy water
in her left hand while admonishing me
to relax my cheeks (not meaning face)
before releasing antitoxin with such force
with her right fist that it rattled my ears.
Then on one bass ackward day Grandma
summoned me to deliver her to see a doc
who found symptoms suspicious enough
to prescribe a specialist test ASAP
requiring her to prep herself by utilizing
a high tech brand called Fleet available
(over the counter) that very same evening
for an exam scheduled the next morning.
On the way home Grandma made it clear
she had not the least intention of inserting
any new fangled snake oil potion in her rear
(despite orders to the contrary) but agreed
to the next pre requisite step only if I would
consent to carrying out the awkward ritual
the same old fashioned way she taught me.
Bio: David Ross is a retired journalist/teacher/litmag editor in Rockford, IL who writes satirical poetry/prose because of their laxative value.

B.Z. Niditch- Three Poems


to explore 
all that's out there
with my Beat eyes,
playing riffs on my sax
at my first gig
wishing to be invisible
or a year younger
hearing no hissing
wordless voices 
in the crowds
making my way
as the punk band
opener closes his act,
my mind goes back
to the Beatles
first appearance
and Dylan Thomas
as he spun out
his lyrics and play
on both sides
of the pond
at first shy
then exploding my notes
in optimum visions.

A false lover's lane
on any country field 
in Toxicity City
can contain
I told a guy at my gig
who asked me 
where such love is
around here,
I told him
such love 
may be off the beaten track
or in unfriendly wood
where there are ticks
in the midst
of an August heat wave
or by the Cape's shore
on wet blankets
but you can ignore my advice
that we can guess
his neediness
that quickly turns a person
into poison ivy
if he is so aroused,
he was a dare devil
made his moves
and thought 
he met his mate
that night
but the next week
he had cooled off
but she left him
a hundred miles away.


On earth and sea
by mourning doves surfacing
on the resonate sky
the shore was more pristine
in my childhood
than we ever imagined now
in our memorable eye
and the metamorphoses
of nature
from our crouched bodies
looking back
over the ocean's tide
which once held us
in its secret language
over the wide space
carrying my memory today
by my freshly painted
orange kayak
with my binoculars
on gigantic wave ways
to travel amid the sound
of fish and bird
yet in the shadows
of summer's toxicity
amid noisome
flesh and blood
of uncaring human beings
who leave things behind
these local yokels 
or tourists
dropping items 
in the water
like slippery combs
or napkins, 
bottles disregarded
from fast food lunches
we are determined
to clean up 
what wastes our time,
to create lines and words
like the clear sunshine
as light overflows on us
in this season to remember
on a discolored Cape.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cristine A. Gruber- Two Poems


Upon Hearing the News of Mr. Williams’ Death
Monday, August 11, 2014, 4:20pm

He cut himself today,
just to watch himself bleed.

With each drop of crimson
splashing across the unspoiled tile,
he imagines a raging demon meeting
an untimely death, smashing headlong
against the pristine porcelain.

One by one he subdues his oppressors,
silencing them for yet another
day, their power drained
with each meticulous droplet
spreading across the pure stone.

Counting to twenty, he wipes
a rag across the inviolable ceramic,
pain cleansed away, no camouflage,
just flawless absorption, white cotton
defeating dark demons.  

Another slice, a new count,
twenty more down, cloth soaked,
but never to capacity, for however
many are released, just as many
are standing at the ready.  

The reins are tightened
before euphoria reigns, that elusive
place between pain and release.
Precision is key, never too deep;
privacy crucial, always hidden away.

The rag of ritual
dries hard as stone,
getting tossed out with
the evening trash, disposed of
completely, no reminder, no pain...

but in the very last moment
before closing the lid, he offers
a little prayer over the loss of life,
for the raging perdition throughout
is no less essential than the story within.

He cut himself today,
just to watch his story bleed.

Reflections on the Ice Bucket Challenge of Summer 2014

                                      Friday, August 22nd 11:57am

Streaming aquatic,
the very essence of life,
striking the pavement,
rushing downhill,

no roots to nourish,
no life to sustain,
mere waste and

sucked dry
by the sun
before reaching
the end of the street.

Yet another video gone
viral, one more group of
individuals dumping buckets
of cold water over their heads,

the baptized pavement
beneath their feet
heated to broiling by the
ever-present California sun.

Awareness is heightened
and many are grateful;
give to the cause,
an answer within reach.

But for those who can do so
without wasting resources,
the power is great,
the joy supreme.

With a tall glass of water
held firmly in my hand,
the life-giving liquid
defying the summer heat,

I shut off my computer
and walk outside, stand
in the shade and gaze
at my impoverished lawn.

Ordered by the city to turn
off my sprinklers, my once-
fertile land is now nothing
more than barren waste.  

Half the water I hold
in my hand is used to
nurture a lone geranium,
while the remainder is

relegated to nourish
a sole tomato plant.
Enduring by design,
amazingly resilient,

both provide
beauty and harvest
from nothing more than
a few ounces of water per day.

Many years from now,
when looking back on
this time, I won’t likely
remember who started

The Challenge,
nor will I recall
the amount
that was raised.

The memory retained
will be the view
from my window,
two more tomatoes

now ripe on the vine,
surviving the drought,
providing my lunch
this warm August day. 

Brief Bio:

Cristine A. Gruber has had work featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer’s Digest, Dead Snakes, The Endicott Review, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Miller’s Pond, The Penwood Review, Poem, Thema, The Tule Review, and Westward Quarterly. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from

Victoria Mineo- A Poem


Lovely little Lilly
Loved to laugh and play
Smiling ever sweetly
Vapid in her way

Not knowing of the world
Or the darkness hiding there
When evil finally found her
He caught her unaware

Through sex and love
And lust and sin
He lured her out
Her beast within

Now lovely little Lilly
No longer to be found
Now there stands Lilith
Her feet firmly on the ground

"Lilly" can all be found on a sight called Dark Poetry

Peter Bracking- Three Poems

 untitled 1

you wonder
behind the sound of your own voice
if there is any sense

your fingers slice incisive points
eyes might be held
but yours look beyond

the debate may now be yours
but you feel, sadly, your own idea
deflate like a freshly used prick

open letter to mr. moore

I grew up to the immediate north of one of the first economically ruined cities of the Upper Peninsula of your home state (GM ,GM, GM), which once upon a time (ago) was an integral part (because animals with furs still refuse to get passports) of two countries that did not exist that became two cities that no longer speak French, which turned out to be my childhood home (sans Grand Funk but avec Phil Esposito) that subsequently died a different but equally sad (steel, steel, steel) manufacturing death.

I do not buy the American Dream (that as a child I was happy enough to have beamed illegally to the our, first on the block, colour TV, over the wide cultural divide of the river) and I gleefully admit to strongly disapproving (having sadly, aged) the continually misguided (please provide me with a stronger adjective) sic foreign policy that has been espoused by idiots (read: elected officials) controlling your country and forced upon the world for the last century or so (as the clock tics); but you, the person and not necessarily your views however nasally presented, have ideas (thought from the other side of the river!) that, sadly, or foolishly, or sagely get ignored by the ignorant but which I, minor poet, enjoy.

If I had ten bucks (hey they are at par now, na na na na boo boo) I would send it to you to save the world (mine, please) or buy two bottles of beer or some vodka, ok, food, because I (like half the world) haven't worked for half a decade (more cities forced to collective skinned knees and into tight coffins in anticipation). But money slips (coins, through the spaces and the naturally occurring cracks) out of my fingers as easily as election promises (soothing untruths) slip out of politician's (or their handler's) minds (how oxymoronic, as morons go) but, but, I do offer (first rights refusal: read payment) this poem. And poems are only worth what they are printed upon and this one is printed upon the internet ether (read: nothing).

Luckily (unlike everything else in the caving world) I've got nothing but time.


given that black holes consume
pull together all the stars
gas dust random atoms
giant ice crystals that roam forever until

given that each black hole
sucks and sucks
never sated
sucking in all
stars light even
(the gravity of it

given that
questing minds thirst and burn to know
where exactly does it all go

Peter Bracking tells tall tales.  Earth point:  Vancouver, Canada. 

Words have been published by more than a dozen presses in four countries on two continents including: Maisonneuve; Merida Review; streetcake magazine; empty sink publishing; thrice fiction; Existere

The only occupation he regrets leaving is beach bum.  Peter is the artistic director of Utter Stories.

Self aggrandizement: