Monday, August 31, 2015

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                                         "Carmel Naked Ladies"

Kelley White- Three Poems

would be to truly stop thinking
I need a man around
to be whole
When I am one hundred
I intend
to paint myself blue
and run out naked
into battle
Ai e Ai e Ai Ai Ai E EE
must have beings
that make music with
her rings
multi-armed Bodhisattvas
with five thousand mobile fingers
to make colors sing chords
and a thousand eyes that weep
for us who see and think
only ice

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Richard Schnap- A Poem


There are spirits in the wind
Carrying voices toward the sky
The prayers of those who suffer
In the hope they will be heard

And there are spirits in the sea
Touching shores with changing tides
That can bring some to salvation
And send others to their doom

And there are spirits in the earth
Feeling those who trod its skin
Who wander as if trying to find
A place they can call home

But all of them are subject
To a greater unseen god
With a plan that stays a mystery
And is yet to be revealed

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                                           "Geese on the beach"


Stefanie Bennett- Three Poems

Just as light dips its corona
My lodger, an echidna
By any other name,
Zigzags the curved terrace
To forage her banquet,
Leaving furrows
Between iris and sage.
Sighted, our eyes interlock.
I blink. Make hexagrams
From antiquated toil,
The Buddha’s been
A long time
Most likely I’d like
The rich
A little more
If they’d
Consent to pay
The poor
A somewhat better
I’ve touched wood.
You were
The tallest
Of trees
In such
A short paddock.
What’s more,
The facsimile
Of for-
... Right there
The once named
Of it –.

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                              "Kayakers at sunset in Moss Landing"

John Pursch- Three Poems

Memorized to Sawdust

O myriad resistive tendencies
that burble in the nightly wallet’s
sleeved infusion snow routine,
flecking Amelia’s green eyes
with South Sea landing patterns
of coral attributes attributed
to fading fuel gauge readouts
in dialed-to-dullards solipsism
of Nappy Knee flotilla feet
in barge line bughouse tugs
that labor in the haze of blue
subtropical relief to certain
block incarceration finitude
of raw decadal conquest!

Shelled empirical futility
objects in vain to steaming
Your Nuke coffee shop
in drizzling early morning
doldrums wade to county beach
house caravan of ants in teeny
probability collusion,
hoping for an angled tryst.

Floss still hangs
from ancient teeth
in gum line brawn
of chosen breaker
intercession on behalf
of all the favored numismatic
clipboard juggler cowling kids
of cooling periodical entrainment,
memorized to fine sawdust.

Punctuated Night

Ventured papillary butter
flies in hourly tour selection
grooves to arching daylight
sera scalar calibration owls,
spinning wires of thermos kludge
calypso patter’s sewn projectile
sentience for lapping bezel
salients of paddy surge
in ochre taste estates,
cocking gamete spleef rejoinder
floozies between fulminating
plasticity’s gapped centuries.

Why do periodic piecemeal
thunder clams equivocate
against electric starlings,
cropped to tuneless
punctuated night?

Who poses
for unanswerable
quotients of moaned
denominational domains
of webby patchwork role addenda,
seeking talon cap seclusion’s
tapped turmeric?

Double-dotted highwaymen
encounter clue reaction elegance
in trichinosis nemeses,
visibly coruscated
with scarce miter soap.

Cobbler Era Referenda

A clear liquid pours through me,
filling blood and bone and every living cell
with marginalia and margarine
from salad days gone far into the treetops
of misbegotten hamster tread mark
trapezoids of fueled erotic basements
and tangled pairwise incomplete
excisions of overtures to God.

Prayer ducts find their way
to fully matrimonial minutiae,
plodding in rocked window flecks
through certainty’s extended span,
held to countertop grain
by stolid pone of piloted yore,
slipped to prison fighters
by balmy barter days
of memorized ablutions,
hopping pinnacles of pyre behavior.

She might be sitting calmly
in loose café exuberance
of fairly free comparison
to tolling bel canto imitation
nylon submarine gun wombs,
shading a step toward center field,
pensively immune to
summer tides.

Paradoxically encrypted
fractional equations
elude solution mist,
spraying satin sheen veneer
on finely carved iconic hoots
of howling import polio,
serenely placing wooden species
of eight or twenty bounty tumblers,
safer than entrained police can fructify
a jellyfish to cobbler era referenda. 

John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona. His work has been nominated for Best of the Net and has appeared in many literary journals. A collection of his poetry, Intunesia, is available at Check out his experimental lit-rap video at He’s @johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                                              "Aloes and Bay"

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Anniversary Poem

She’s forgotten how great I am,
although I do my best to remind her
after all these years of marriage.

She knew how great I was on
our wedding day and honeymoon
and for some months thereafter.

But just the other day we were
stationed in our recliners
and I was trying to help her see

life as it is and not as she 
has always wished it to be.
And the woman yawned.

She’s different now but it’s better
than being married to a groupie.
Tomorrow I’ll try reason again.

Keeping His Dignity

A poor man comes to the door
after the storm last winter and

asks if he can have something 
to eat if he shovels the walk.

You say forget about the snow.
How about ham sandwiches

on rye bread and he says fine.
You ask if he wants mustard.

He says yes if it’s Grey Poupon,
the only mustard he eats.

Angels or the Fat Lady

It’s pretty simple, really. 
The world will end 
whether we believe 
the Bible is a myth or truth.

If the Bible is the truth,  
the world will end,
a monk told me, 
when the angels come
to sort the good folk 
from the bad and

toss the bad folk into 
fire that never ends 
with weeping and 
gnashing of teeth. 

But if the Bible is a myth, 
an atheist told me,
the world will end
with a final aria
atop Mt. Everest 
when the fat lady sings.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Glen Armstrong- Three Poems

Chicken Little Syndrome

There are certain lines
and buildings

too big to be trusted,
certain gifts too Trojan,

too equine.
My mind seems dignified

until I open it.
The western expansion is fraught

with many dangers.
The ancients teach in riddles:

wool is to milk
as silk is to semen.

Those who witness
my arrival are surprised

that I didn’t fall
from myself.

We all hang tight.
As above, soon below.

Trouble Every Day - L.

Another hill awaits another
            Boot another foot

The wholeness only
            Prosthetics can restore

We never speak of great
            And terrible deeds
            As we eat takeout

But I prime my face for arrows

The sparrows / jays / robins
            Morning doves / cardinals

            Attack the worm
            To warm their bellies

Beat each other down
            To attack the worm

The garden seems serene
            But if

            Plants could scream

The garden gnomes would crack
            Under their burden

We never hear the beak / talon
            Mandible / invasive species
            Choking off the sprout

I listen as the plastic

            Of their wholeness
            And resolve.

Figures / Figurines

Fan fiction is all about the proper nouns, a celebration of the individual, fictive fist. Each knuckle seems to progress with its own needs and history.

I remember each slight but forget the names of lovers.

A display shelf with odd figurines.

Consider Halloween as set in motion by baby boomers in a densely populated suburb circa 1962: porch lights document the ebb and flow of characters from popular culture and those that resonate with a sturdier sense of tradition.

A mouse takes its pants off. A princess sleeps in a tree.

Maybe a child gives the faceless wooden doll a name; maybe she adds tooth marks to its head.

I need to continue: no story, only sway.

Consider an elaborate fantasy world: nameless, curious figues press their faces and limbs from castles or forests for an adventure that reads like summer breeze.

Consider a lover who arrives naked with smudges of soot on her face and belly: (How she got here, I can't say.) In the morning, in her place, a basket of clean towels.

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has three new chapbooks: Set List (Bitchin Kitsch,) In Stone and The Most Awkward Silence of All (both Cruel Garters Press.) His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit and Cloudbank.


Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                                          "Moss Landing Sunset"

Douglas Polk- Two Poems


half the nation left behind,
paying taxes,
and dealing with crime,
while the president fiddles,
read of Rome,
and its collapse,
fools never learn the lessons,
history teaches,
ignorant of the past,
only parasites and leeches,
no borders,
no debt,
a burden to avoid,
a duty to shun,
instead disable the police,
and outlaw the guns,
trust the key,
the enemy,
in lockstep march to the future,
half the nation left behind.


if black lives are to matter,
then laws must not,
and consequence,
it does not matter,
break the law,
and show no respect,
black lives matter,
but not to other blacks,
without attention,
without any thought,
a phony scandal,
cynical the protest,
the truth hid,
along with the circumstances,
again and again.

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                                           "Carmel Sweet Shop"


Denny E. Marshall- A Poem

The Banks Of River Styx

Hope when I die
I go to heaven
Not so much that I deserve it
It is that I know
Citibank & Bank Of America
Have branches in hell
And Wells Fargo ATM’s
Are burning eternally with fees
I never want to deal
With them again
Let alone


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Scott Thomas Outlar- A Poem

Midnight Halo
details, details –
to a fine point…

to implosion
pulling back
unto itself…

to entropy
its last inhalation…

to a lapsing moment
as time expires
for evolution…

Angels with the voice
of midnight
bleed halo-shimmer songs
from out the shadows
of their dark tithe
spilling love
not riches
into the light

Demons with the curse
of doubt
filling their fallen minds
cry until they weep
wail and gnash their teeth
as golden light
their tomb

Scott Thomas Outlar swims adrift in the cosmic flow of the Tao River, singing songs to the heavens while waiting for inspiration to echo back from the muses. His goings-on can be followed at

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Maciej Walkowiak- Three Poems


Feeble minds lead and blind
war of vice and virtue, no end in sight,
walking a path against the current,
wind brings us down
rise again, or change your way
conformity in rest,
resistance is feudal they say,
industrial scale of thoughts,
how long can one fight?
or should we join the ranks of fright.

Humanity Gone Awry

There is beauty in this world
it lies between solidarity of men
pursuit of.....a better,
grasp above own a noble deed,
the love of other.
Yet you stand on shoulders of misery
to make yourself tall,
no bottom to your greed
on the edge of madness
you dance and pirouette,
while most toil for crumbs.

Cannibals & Co

Crooks in suits on the loose
steal at will from the youth
Law for sale if you please
all with say on your knees!
Kleptocratic business plan
take it all if you can.

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                                                "Berries & Mist"

Robert Lavett Smith- Three Poems


         i.m.: R. S. Thomas, 1913-2000

The poet photographed deplorably—
A stern old codger, country clergyman,
Stubbornly Welsh and fiercely Anglican—
In every portrait he scowls bitterly.
Oh, how he raged against modernity!
Refrigerators were decried in sermons;
Machines he saw as little more than vermin,
Distractions from our spirituality.
But the harsh music of the balding hills
Flowed freely, unencumbered, in his lines:
He caught the cadence of the health, the ills,
Of those who tilled the earth or delved the mines.
He moved among the stricken and the still,
Attuned to more celestial designs.


John Betjeman was the Poet Laureate
Of Britain in the nineteen seventies—
Tweedy, avuncular, known for his ease
With journalists, his flawless etiquette.
Perhaps at some point you’ll have heard his name,
But have no real feeling for his verse;
Widespread acclaim can often be a curse;
His genius was submerged beneath his fame.
I came across a gathering of songs,
Settings for words that he penned years ago:
So many haunting lines I didn’t know;
Each witticism right where it belongs.
His oeuvre resonates as few things can—
Enough to make me wish I’d met the man.


A storefront mission in the Tenderloin,
Whose battered sign proclaims “Cristo Viene,”
Exacts no tears. (Indeed, I have not any;
My soul cannot be purchased with that coin.)
Here, twilight’s perched uneasily between
This holiness of dubious repute
And gaggles of bedraggled prostitutes,
The oldest of them barely seventeen.
Then there’s a bundled figure in the doorway
So indistinct it’s neither man nor woman—
Although we recognize it must be human—
Once pliant flesh deformed by long decay.
The shuttle turns a corner, and the night
Engulfs for good this dreary scrap of light.

Raised in New Jersey, Robert Lavett Smith has lived since 1987 in San Francisco, where for the past sixteen years he has worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional. He has studied with Charles Simic and the late Galway Kinnell. He is the author of several chapbooks and three full-length poetry collections, the most recent of which is The Widower Considers Candles (Full Court Press, 2014). He has recently been working on an new collection of sonnets—his second foray into the form—which is entitled Sturgeon Moon, and which will hopefully be published by Full Court Press at the end of the year. 

John Swain- A Poem

Prophet’s Rock
The sun a horse recumbent
in the dust
red as prairie grass traveling
to a distant hill.
Flies and rattles line
the braided mane.
I broke from the road
to approach
the sky of bone, unknowing
the call of its hollow.
A doorway of rock
emanates the prophet’s song
where two rivers cross
the field of the wounded.
The dead arise to sky half-blind
in the sign of eclipse
as black hooves splinter flint
and then trample the corn.

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Least Bittern Books published his second collection, Under the Mountain Born.  

Bradley Williams- A Cartoon

See more cartoons at

Pijush Kanti Deb- Three Poems

The Company and Its Right Track
Everything is normal to mirror
yet to the new eyes of today
the company stands on the wrong track
causing traversing of sea-less clouds
in the sky
and on the land
transferring of driver’s seat
from the heaven-returned father
to the hell-returned son
provoking the son and his commercial magic
to set Thames on fire
in the very outset
commanding the following assistants
to run in the same groove
setting all confusions and hesitations
at rest from the secret path
linking Eldorado with the company’s treasury
for soliciting a big push
to welcome the company again to its right track
immersing the obsolete hymns
of ethics and humanity
to turn the walking profit into a galloping horse
and the barren cloud into the fertile one
rich in seas and oceans to bloom
a winning smile on the lips of the rough and tough son.

A Peace-loving Family Man
The open screen of a market
projects a scene of a wrangling-
almost ready to set in
but one of the rivals is seen
to show his back to his opponent
before putting two and two together
saying, ‘’ I don’t like fighting’’
and cutting both ways his image
to the disappointed on looking crowd-
interested in enjoying a dual free of cost,
who remark as per the ink in their pens,
‘’ He is gentleman’’ some opine
while other oppose,’’ No, he is a coward’’
but the returning rival mutters,
maybe, to himself or to someone else he likes,
‘’I’m no other than a peace-loving family man’’


A Lonely Body
The softness of heart feels pity
on its young but lonely body
witnessing its bed-tumbling
round and round in its deep slumber
saying to himself
‘’ It needs a partner with anti- tumbling device’’
and obtaining too
the comment of a poet living in it
‘’ Wow! What a sweet longing for salty sweating’’
but both start stammering
looking at its trembling pocket
with shrinking wallet
and beating hard their stony fate on the wall
causing the waking up of the body smiling
projecting a happy flash back
of the passionate love of his dream-girl
who comes daily in his dream
to make it enchanted
to its cause of bed-tumbling
and unmindful
to his compelled miseries and loneliness
and alive too without the sweet nectar of reality.
Pijush Kanti Deb is a new Indian poet with around 252 published or accepted poems and haiku in around 81 nos of national and international magazines and journals [,print and online] like Down in the dirt, Tajmahal Review, Pennine Ink, Hollow Publishing, Creativica Magazine, Muse India, Teeth Dream Magazine,Hermes Poetry Journal, Grey Borders, Dagda Publishing, Blognostic  Black Mirror Magazine, Dissident Voice Journal , Indiana Voice Journal and many more.
His best achievement so far is the publication of his first poetry collection,’’Beneath The Shadow Of A White Pigeon’’published by Hollow Publishing is available on AMAZON.

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                                    "Fishing boat off Point Lobos"

Melanie Browne- Two Poems

I Just Can't Decide

I'm the Good
smiling, full
of goodness,
I care
for the
paper dolls,
and make a
home for all
the rabbits,

other days I'm like
the Wicked Witch of
the East,
Dorothy's house
is already
crushing me,
my legs turn
to dust,
till there is
nothing left
but my pointy,
pointy shoes,

then the flowers
and all
the little
dance & sing


We American People,
dangling on
the end of the bunjee
fighting endless wars,
giving money overseas,
while our politicians
hop in and out of
our enemies beds,
a word search we
can't finish,
waiting for
the final

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                             "8 am at Carmel River Lagoon Beach"

Paul Tristram- Three Poems

Majestic Waves Of Wonder

Those feelings
sparked by
that caressing touch.
Like dungeon doors
bursting open,
deep in the
heart and soul.
It flows within,
wave after wave
of stuttering,
goose bumped love.
Emotional scales
and rebalancing.
Passion easily storming
the inner protective walls,
now useless
under this gentle
and caring attack.
Kisses picking locks
and the shuddering warmth
is like almost
touching freedom.
As you sheet-grip
like a cringing,
demented avalanche.
Knowing that both
release and surrender
are sometimes
the most beautiful
things to be done.

© Paul Tristram 2015


We were sat on a dinner break
and he picked up a bit of old rope
from the floor and made a noose.
A proper one just like the cowboy
films and the Highwaymen stories.
We were all intrigued and slightly
impressed so he pulled it apart
and made it all over again, slowly
so we could all mentally take note.

“You just loop this like this,
wrap that like that and then
do this…it’s really quite simple!”

We all smiled together like idiots.

“You learn something new every day!”
exclaimed one of my friends cheerfully.

“You never know when it’ll come in handy?”
said another friend with a chuckle.

They both put what they had learnt
that day into practice within five years,
one from a tree up in the woods
and the other in a shabby rented room
in a dosshouse in Neath Town Centre.

Of course, they probably would have
done it a different way anyway
but I’ll never teach that rope trick to anyone.

© Paul Tristram 2015

Taking Positivity To A Ridiculous Level

He walked in out of the rain
and stood at the end of the bar
sipping the head off the top
of the first drink of the day
next to the only other patron
in The Open Wrist Tavern.
“I must be the unluckiest man alive!”
he stated matter-of-factly,
in the general direction of the stranger,
whilst wiping the froth moustache
from his top lip with a shaking hand.
“My Missus left me for my Ex-Wife,
she took everything except the dog
and I hate that flea-ridden thing.
Ran out of electric two weeks later
because I was out on the lash
trying to get my head around it all.
Lit a candle and the house burnt down,
well half of it anyway, Jesus Christ,
I’m lucky to be alive the paramedics said
I told them they were taking the piss.
I’ve been sleeping under a bridge
down by the canal, just look at me,
I’m wearing painter & decorator
overalls I stole off a washing line,
and I’m a out of work bricklayer.
I tried hanging myself three nights ago
and the bloody rope snapped,
then threw myself in the river
but just drifted downstream so far
that I had blisters on top of blisters
walking miles to get back here again.
I’d weep but the last time I did that
they threw me out of the pub I was in.
I’d go home but I’m not allowed
because I’m a living, breathing
reminder to my parents why they
hate each other so God Damned much.
I got arrested for urinating in public
when I’d only pissed myself asleep,
they gave me a £60 fine, I can’t pay it
so they’re threatening me with 28 days
in jail instead, you can’t make this up?
I only have one enemy in the world,
bullied me relentlessly since nursery
and he’s in there running the prison.
I tried praying an hour before I got here,
I looked up to the sky and begged
for mercy…that’s why it started raining!”

“Never mind, it could be worse,
you might not have that gorgeous pint
in front of you and I saw you paying
with a tenner, that’s two more after that!”
spoke the stranger sagely in between tears
after belly laughing for a minute or so
then calling the barkeep back over said
“I was depressed so I came here
to try and cheer myself up a bit
and after listening to this poor guys woes
I feel lucky, privileged and ecstatic.
It’s hard not to take positivity
to a ridiculous level around him,
please, give him anything he wants, twice!”

© Paul Tristram 2015 

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
And also read his poems and stories here!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Reading Seamus Heaney

The Second Commandment
is pretty specific: Thou shalt not take 
the Name of the Lord Thy God in vain.
It’s one of the few commandments 
I seldom break but the other night 
I was reading Seamus Heaney
and was torn by the beauty 
ringing in my ears and “Jesus Christ!” 
slipped out of my mouth but I 
don’t think I said His Name in vain.
I spoke in high praise of a poet who 
has left behind a body of work that 
leaves me gasping for a respirator.

But the Second Commandment
is pretty specific so I plan to ask
Father Kelly if my "Jesus Christ!
while reading Seamus Heaney
was a mortal sin, and if he says yes, 
I’ll be careful reading Heaney again
because if I find better poems
and "Jesus Christ!" slips out again 
I might have a heart attack and die
pajama-clad in my old recliner.
I could wake up ablaze in Hell.
I'll have to be careful reading 
Seamus Heaney again.

Subway Sarah

Sarah works lunch in a Subway shop
building sandwiches for construction men 

putting up a skyscraper down the street.
The men pick their own bread and meat and let 

Sarah pick their cheese because instead of a cookie
with their lunch they’d prefer Sarah after work.

Every month or so the crew changes and Sarah picks 
the man who looks the best, says the nicest things 

and agrees to meet him for coffee later at Starbucks. 
If he passes muster over lattes, Sarah takes him home 

and finds herself an hour later staring at the ceiling while
he pulls on his boots, says he’ll call and goes home. 

None of the men has ever called or is seen again 
except at Subway where he now picks his own cheese. 

Old-Timer’s Disease

Under his pillow he keeps
a pistol not to shoot the man
coming through the window
with a bazooka at midnight
and waking the wife who later  
asks him why he shot the burglar 
instead of asking him what he wanted. 
It might have been something she 
planned to give to Goodwill anyway.
He keeps the pistol under his pillow

to take into dreams that wake him
every night in Cinemascope 
where he again is the lead actor 
in films 5years ago surrounded by 
lesser men in supporting roles
who drove him nuts when he was
young and handsome and now 
they’re back again because they heard 
he has Old-Timers Disease 
and they want to badger him 

about their wives who chased him 
all over Hollywood on Oscar Night.
They’re mopes, he tells his wife,
who never had a lead role, mopes
who would have been shot on set
if he hadn’t feared execution 
but now in his dreams every night 
these mopes had better duck. 
The worst sentence he can get is 
dreams for life without parole.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.