Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Ross Liskov- A Poem

to-do list

street littered with bottle caps
maybe they fell from the soft grey clouds
you can roam the streets of small towns
all yr life and not get anywhere
but where is there to get to?
the parking meters never go anywhere
they seem happy enough
the clouds are going somewhere and nowhere
at the same time
so what difference does it make?
might as well sit on a green bench
and drink the nectar of yr own nothingness.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Robert Demaree- A Poem


Four generations have played this game,
Fifty summers on the pond,
Colored pegs into holes on a cardboard grid—
Five in a row wins,
A premium on discerning patterns
In a thick maze of yellow, red,
Black and teal—
Checkers without jumping.
I’ve searched for years,
Church fairs, eBay,
To replace the battered box,
Parker Brothers’ less fruitful venture.
Could we be the only players left?

My father taught me the secret
(Watch for three in a row),
Could still play
When he could not do other things.
But for years, until not long ago,
I was the acknowledged champ—
Shall we play another
Taught five grandchildren the game.
Philip won again this year,
But not by much.

Robert Demaree, a retired educator, is the author of four collections of poems, including Mileposts (2009), published by Beech River Books. He has had almost 600 poems published in 125 periodicals, including The Aurorean, Avocet, Cold Mountain Review, Dead Snakes, Foliate Oak, Louisiana Review, Louisville Review, miller’s pond, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Tipton Poetry Journal and in the 2008 and 2010 editions of The Poets’ Guide to New Hampshire. He lives in Wolfeboro, N.H., and Burlington, N.C.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Memory of James D. Quinton

these late night london streets, infectious
midnight draws
a breath
wonders and charms

roaming pavement
after pub and club
distant sirens
scream a melody:
in the darkness
there are
cries of danger
drama and delight

tower blocks loom
lights radiate
from the homes within

a glimpse of stars
the rumble of
an underground train
a hint of paradise:
the smiles
and joy of a
culturally diverse
band of brothers
and sisters making
for an all night party
a beat
box perched
on a shoulder
sounds blazing out

these late night
london streets,

we don’t say a word

tender kisses
harsh words
parting hands
last expressions
strangers now
shared life
treasured intimacy
sensual moments

to be forgotten

we made love
a thousand times
clinging passionately
all night

now I see you
walking towards me
on the opposite side
of the road
there’s no
eye contact

we don’t say
a word

James D Quinton was a British fiction and poetry writer.  He will be missed by many...

Monday, September 17, 2012

James Babbs- A Poem

Sometimes I Write Sad Poems

I write sad poems
I forget
how to put on a happy face
I can’t remember
what happiness means and
the darkness gets in
through the crack in
my broken heart and
I think too much about the past
I know
I drink more than I should
and sometimes
I pray for forgiveness
I feel guilty and
I keep trying to find
ways to help me make up for
the terrible things I’ve done

Neil Ellman- Two Poems

This Moment Now

Of a moment
I am
(you as well)
in split-second
trapped between
here & there
flesh & dust
“J’ & “L”
Venus & Jupiter
by the past
I am lost
too slow
to catch
the future tense—
if this is life
(yours too)
I am confined
heaven & hell.

Of Two Minds

I am of two minds
two brains
right hemisphere and left
one of logic
that sees you as you are
the other imagines
what I wish
two minds
engaged and disengaged
bored and interested
aroused, reposed
incapable of choice
confused by neurons
charging doubts
on your credit card—
it is you I want, I think,
but not just now.

Neil Ellman is a Best of the Net nominated poet living and writing in New Jersey.  His poetry appears in numerous print and online journals throughout the world, as well as in nine chapbooks, the most recent of which, Double-Takes, is available as a free PDF download at Fowlpox.tk.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Russell Streur- Three Poems


Trump card
Emergency contraception
Gift shop
Bill to nowhere
Private land
Maximum purity
Civilization of fear
Moral silence
A new low

“Things are bad,”
the man at the bank said.
“Even the camp isn’t safe anymore.”

Technical glitch
Endless descent


Sham vote
Mirror image
Disputed land
Windows shattered           
Normal republic
Flash mob
Line of attack
Personal ends

“There were puddles of blood,”
 the woman in the crowd said.
“The rest is all a bunch of noise”

New film
Paper gains.


Magic show
Eyes closed
Losing streak
Minimum risk
Blood sample
Map complete
Disconnected world
Noninvasive method
Poison needle

“We know there are victims,”
the representative said.
“Obviously this is not good news,”

False start
Closing price.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Michael H. Brownstein- A Poem

Tension remains beneath the skin
and most of us did not sleep well last night.
Rats are one of the few things not cruel here
and none of us will ever eat another’s pet.
This morning the sun boiled into a blue sky,
the temperature cool, a slight breeze sweeping
the sweat away from our skin. In the distance,
thick smoke from the factories, lines of trains,
and always sighs of anger. (We have learned
to silence our pain.) Every morning we look
for liberators, every afternoon we wonder
if anyone even knows we’re here. One day
we will escape from this place still able to forgive
because in forgiving we remain human
unlike the pretend men surrounding us,
men who know nothing of humanity.
I will tell my children it was a hard war
made harder for those of us unarmed,
for those of us who loved peace.
I will tell them when we were liberated,
everyplace I lived I left a room open for forgiveness,
but could never build a space large enough
for forgetting. We must be able to forgive
if we wish to remain human, but we must also
never forget—this too is a human trait.

Seamas Carraher- A Poem


These dancing mirrors confess
each other blindingly
in this unfamiliar room of our bodyparts,
all echoing to the silence
in its calamity of foghorns.
We are always this lost, among strangers.
The day limps by like an extraction,
these lousy passports, like
all wordlessness,
our credentials in conversations.
Still, i called you love,
in the dust of that
late afternoon, another song nailed
on the sleeve of your suffering, like
a rail ticket, or a plea.
There are no clouds now
in the bronze and breaking of my arms.
These beams could have build a house
for you,
my love, a house in
downtown Lebanon.
If you were, as you were,
sad like a sister,
fleet of foot in your shadows.
And i would be like a drunken builder, with
an eye to rebuilding the detail of continuity,
full of facades, among
your explosions,
both mask and despair of pretence:
a master craftsman in the art of destruction.

But now, at three in the afternoon,
you have become a diplomat-into-your-clothes,
a statesperson full of intrigue
with a heart embroiled in politics.
"Fuck it all", i said,
my parts uncommon in their citizenship,
in a world shattering
each other into movieparts
and glass splinters.
For the space of my arms, with my love
liquid in bloodvessels
and its meeting at the cleft of your
we can wave a peaceplan
at these military migs,
fuck each other into the lucidity of sight,
our world darkening in despair,
and hear small
animals whimper
in the spring of their caring.

But you had left.
And these dancing mirrors had invaded this
scream with
and i, crude in the genetics of my class,
and full of both shrapnel and words,
had left my armaments, outside.

Séamas Carraher was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1956. He lives and writes on the Ballyogan estate, in south County Dublin, at present.
Recent publications include poems in Dead Flowers, Pyrokinection, Dead Snakes, Carcinogenic Poetry, Naphalm & Novacain, The Camel Saloon, ditch, Bone Orchard Poetry, Istanbul Literary Review and Pemmican. Previously his work has been published in Left Curve (No. 13, 14 & 20), Compages, Poetry Ireland Review, the Anthology of Irish Poetry and the Irish Socialist (newspaper). 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Letter to Annie Far Away

Every evening, 
up in my rooom,
I try to finish a poem
but Chicago is hot
and it’s better outside,
strolling along the Lake 
or driving anywhere
with the windows down.
You sound good,
if undecided about things.
My life gets better 
no matter how hard I try 
to make it worse.
No medicine 
for a month now;
no poems, either.
I can’t recall my last
spontaneous erection.
I’d blame it all on the heat
but you’d know better.
Summer in Chicago
makes people accessible
and I’ve become chatty
in these later years.
I find that small talk 

with people oiled 
and stretched like tarps
on Pratt Avenue Beach
trumps any summer attempt
at revising a poem winter
revisions never made right.
We’ll see if my new affair
with society lasts. 
How long will I 
continue to meet strangers
who introduce me
to myself?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Shelby Stephenson- Poem/Memoir

Short bio:  Shelby Stephenson's Family Matters:  Homage to July, the Slave Girl won the 2008 Bellday Poetry Prize, Allen Grossman, judge.

from Country

I remember, also, Stuart Hamlen: never
met him, heard him sing a thousand times

“This Old House,” which brought Hamlen
the Writer into households world-wide: he

wrote “My Mary,” too, a song I like, plus the sacred
song, “Known Only to Him” and the beautiful

“Remember Me, I’m the One Who Loves
You”: International Ambassador for Country Music,

George Hamilton, IV: September 15, 2010,
Cricket’s at my heels, while a man dressed in white

(hot day) pedals his bike up Paul’s Hill
whose crest blurs into the buttocks of the

White Rider, a cool brush of air under Derek’s
Canopy driving Crick and me inside. Hamilton’s

from Winston-Salem; he’s a year older than I:
first time I remember knowing his name was 1956:

I was a freshman at UNC-Chapel Hill:
Jerry Johnson was a sophomore pharmacy

major and he was in a Hygiene class with this
guy, Jerry said, who’d pop up his hand often to

respond to the instructor’s queries: fifty-four years
ago: George Hamilton, IV, travels mostly now with

a fifth, his son, George Hamilton, V: what
brought George, IV, into some fame right away?

The song, “A Rose and a Baby Ruth,” written by
John D. Loudermilk from Durham, North Carolina:

my favorite lines: “I could have sent you
an orchid of some kind, but that’s all I had in

my jeans at the time, but when we grow up,
someday I’ll show up just to prove I was telling

the truth: I’ll kiss you too then I’ll hand to you
this rose and a Baby Ruth”: now that may be as

close to Beauty as Truth can cuddle, especially
during the teen years, when boys are boys and

girls are girls: Jerry Johnson lived across the
creek, Middle Creek, calling me when we got a

telephone, party-line, 1952, telling me to lay my
end of the cord, phone, too, in the trashcan

because, he said, “I want to blow the dust out
of the line”: for a second, split, I believed him,

and, by George – Hamilton − Josh, the Rangers’
star is serious, too, about his being an all-around

baseball player, leading the American League in
hitting average and in other ways, as his story of

addiction and success after graduating from
Athens Drive High School in Raleigh and going

on the road, not as a singer, but a swinger,
young, proud, full of fish and vineyards: I

want him to “succeed,” get his inner with
outer, just as I am helping myself by finding the

big picture for my non-career as a country music
singer and poet, wanting George Hamilton, IV, to

keep music in his life: his parents, like mine, let the
way find a way: look at an early picture of George

and you see a version of me, his eyes open as he
sings: when I sing I close mine: in one photo, he’s

wearing one of those narrow ties popular in the early
1950’s: he switched to American University in the D.C.

area, because he connected with Lizard Lick’s Connie B. Gay
who promoted the Jimmy Dean Show, inviting Hamilton

on it and encouraging him to appear on the other
shows of the time, including Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall.

Hamilton got his own program on ABC-TV,
always remembering his ABC’s of showmanship,

singing those songs straight ahead, doing the best
he could with what he had to work with,

his fifty years on the Opry a sign he might
someday be inducted into the Country Music

Hall of Fame: I love to hear him
backed by my old friend, Jimmy Capps, guitar picker,

from Benson: I guess George’s biggest other hit is
“Abilene”: “Abilene, Abilene, prettiest town I’ve ever

seen, folks down there don’t treat you mean, in Abilene,
my Abilene”: George Hamilton, IV, is more popular in

England than he is in Abilene or anywhere else in the
United States: I hope he’ll be in that Hall someday: I

never was asked to stand in the hall at school too often and
I felt sorry for those who had to. Yesterday Nin’s D

deepened and widened until I tried to communicate with
her by talking a zillion times louder than her zitherist’s

whisper: she worries about every phone call or ball of
dust a cleaner might see; she’s anxious about my exit as

editor of Pembroke Magazine. After I mailed
acceptances (accumulated) to the interim editor I

wondered if I should have used a clean, non-crumpled,
office-like – new − manila folder in the lightsome

style of the business-zooms. Anyhow, this morning
I’m looking out, the geese honking overhead heading North,

dragging their shadows again over Crick at my
feet, the sun dappling the terrace, Derek’s Awning a

glaring white, the yellow schoolbuses passing me on the
way to a new school called Cleveland near my old

Cleveland High, the new one a campus with acreage, criers,
hulks, hayseeds, honkers, hunks, hams, hummers, the way, I

expect, the vocal group The Hardens rose after The Browns
broke up: I’m talking heads up here, as a plan to capitalize

on a wave or wad of moneyed interests, followed by
more personal insecurity than hype may heap on

anyone who cares. The Browns (Maxine, Bonnie, Jim Ed)
stop their trio and the Harden Trio (Arleen, Robbie, Bobby)

climb on this shackly throne The Browns descended,
The Hardens, from England, Arkansas, the heart of the Ozarks,

stolid for success: well, it didn’t happen, even though
harmonicas played all over Arkansas back to

Benjamin Franklin’s invention of friction on glasses
filled with water or something like that, I’m sure,

putting the old glockenspiel to the mix: I never culled
reeds to hit with a hammer, though I have hefted

Greatgreatgrandpap George’s anvil to a place which
mattered, under that walnut tree, where I could hit

black walnuts − beats de-hulling with a truck
by running over them: what strong taste,

smell, between the anvil and the hammer my
whacking wrought at Pap George’s block in fall for

Mama to make one of those big, tall, layered
cakes full of black walnuts from our barnyard-tree.

I didn’t hear the word harmonica when I was
a boy; the word never quite fitted my mouth: I

called the thing a mouth-harp or breath-harp and
once or twice a French-harp, not knowing what I was

saying. Must have been in the 60’s, as I tried to
play “Oh! Susanna” or “Camptown Races,” my inhale

and exhale never right for my lack of talent: in short,
those small reeds inside that thin metal case with

“Hohner” embossed on the side never meant
more than frustration for me: I remain to this

day a Singer, inhaling and exhaling as instinct
finds me and leads me beside the Harmonicats

blowing and waffling their breaths on many a
country and western tune, like John Hartford whom

Nin and I have seen at many folk and bluegrass
fests in the 70’s up to the 90’s, John on an amplified

piece of plywood, tapping and shuffling his feet, John
on his steam boat Julia Belle Swain, piloting bends, motions,

John on his fiddle or mandolin, bowing, tickling, John
on his banjo, frailing, clawing, John, puffing his cheeks,

thumping them with his thumbs; well, you name the
instrument, he could play it from the time he was

born in New York City, mythologizing his Missouri
ancestry, his biggest hit, greater even than one he

wrote, “Gentle on My Mind”: to be a star you must
shine where you are. I could do something worse, upend

life to bear no points at all or make bad jokes no one
hears or cares about: I promise myself The Muse

works well, whether She and I converse together or
apart: I tried to eat a peach in my cereal this morning and

Nin said peaches are too expensive: oh, such a stranger.
I just heard a noise like a minor snort, a baby goose, out of

V-formation, lost, here, where I’m under Derek’s Awning
again, trying to re-find Kilroy: the sound I hear is

not a this-year’s cardinal either: like a little tongue it
slurps: there goes a red-tailed hawk swooping low

where the squirrel-proof feeder hangs between the
quince and the sasanqua at the corner of Kate’s room.

The nandina waves for October and prepares a face to
meet the hawk, maybe in a squat or standing tall for

me to see around the corner, myself in its place − but no
bird in sight; coming back to my chair, Cricket

snug against a rung, the birds fussing and carrying on
over the hawk’s presence, I look up at the picture window

to my study and there is an emerald, size of a medium-built
lapel pin, its shape outlined in gold piping and What it is

is a tree-frog hugging that window-glass for dear life: my
poem lies scattered in the crinkly poplar leaves on the ground,

the letter I wanted to hitch my muse to this morning in
pretty shambles shot, by virtue of my devotion to

Bess Lomax Hawes, daughter of John Lomax − oh, a
lover, Bess, of the old music, teacher (Idyllwild School of

Music and the Arts) and the writer of “The M.T.A. Song”
I heard the Kingston Trio perform in the early 60’s

at Duke University: bless be Bess as Universe − she
sang with the Almanac Singers husband Butch Hawes

helped start, a jump of bountiful amorphism, a form of
want, virtual, veritable, what with Burl Ives, Woody Guthrie, and

Pete Seeger coming by to sing September’s song,
what the birds and weeds do right here, in and around

Derek’s Awning: I can hardly stand it: the poem gets
loose for life and the writing teacher I became on my

day-job, like Jack Horner, goes to a corner and
sits on a stool and dreams of Hillbilly Heaven and

Who at my door is standing? Hawkshaw Hawkins!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Michael Estabrook- Three Poems

live large, live crazy

Have your beloved
Starbuck’s iced coffee
after dinner, go ahead,
even up to 8 at night.
Yes, the caffeine
may very well keep you up late,
later than you should be up,
so it will be difficult rising
for work early
in the AM, but tonight, tonight!
it is caution to the winds –
go ahead live large, live crazy,
as if tomorrow doesn’t matter,
as if tomorrow may never come.


And what am I doing with my time,
the limited time I have left
being alive on this planet
before I am thrust forever
into the eternal abyss? What?
I’m going to work, that’s what,
5 days a week, frittering away my time,
frittering away the only thing I have –
the limited time I have left
by performing a stupid, useless,
meaningless job for money,
trying to please
a bunch of mediocre,
lackluster nincompoops,
just to bring home a paycheck.
Seriously! Is that the best I can do?

So be it!

She almost began crying
when I said we’d have to sell
the house if she couldn’t
get her spending under control.
What’s wrong with me?

DAD: You’re simply not allowed
to make this woman cry ever
for any reason, ever,
do you hear?

Yes, Dad, I do hear.
You’re right and I’m sorry.

DAD: If you have to work until you’re 90
to keep this woman happy – so be it.
Do you hear? So be it!

Michael Estabrook is Marketing Communications Manager by day and a struggling poet by night who began getting his poetry published in the late 1980s. Over the years he has published 15 poetry chapbooks, his most recent entitled “When the Muse Speaks.” His interests include history, art, music, theatre, opera, and his wife who just happens to be the most beautiful woman he has ever known.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal- Two Poems


From dust he
became man
to find a
new dawn, a
rebirth, that
would launch him
like ash to

the strange sky.
He would sleep
in the morning
and burn.


I often wonder
how it would feel
to live in mute city,
where every word
falls on deaf ears
and lip reading is
a way of art.
They only voice
in mute city is
the wind and its
sound is foreign
to the human ear.
Only flowers and
birds understand it.
In mute city one
could get lost in
their own thoughts.
One could pretend
to understand
what the wind says.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Ali Znaidi- Two Poems

Cosmetics: An Exercise in Mythology
Tiny crystal white
pinches of shattered
glitz up in  her lips—a
a spackle for the
I can see the tiniest starlets
gesticulating in two red
skies fat with cherries
intersected by a rivulet.
She is moistening her
lips with her tongue.
Then multiple pouts
follow in succession.
Tiny starlets fall
from a state of a grace
into her glass
of red wine.
Socrates as a Pop Star
Oh, Socrates!
Your words top
the charts.
Your fans outnumber
the stars.
Your Facebook page
vomits comments.
Your posters
are stuck on
every wall.
Your news
are scoops
in tabloids.
Oh, Socrates!
Don’t be so greedy!
Oh, Socrates!
Please, leave a little
venue for
the lowbrows!

Contributor’s Bio:
Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia. He graduated with a BA in Anglo-American Studies in 2002. 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 Bamboo Forest, The Camel Saloon, phantom kangaroo, BoySlut, fortunates.org, Otoliths, Dead Snakes, Speech Therapy Poetry Zine, streetcake magazine, The Rusty Nail, Yes,Poetry, The South Townsville micro poetry journal, Shot Glass Journal, the fib review, Ink Sweat and Tears, and Mad Swirl, and is upcoming in other ezines. He also writes flash fiction for the Six Sentence Social Network—http://sixsentences.ning.com/profile/AliZnaidi.