Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sy Roth- A Poem

The Photographer at Oswiecim

Interminable clickety-clack of train,

shorn like sheep,

bags piled miles high into an empty grave,

hunger and thirst soften resolve to live,

they sit for the photographer.

Desolate faces gaze blankly at him,

the thousands who will take the gas,

become puffs of smoke.

He records them with his photos.

They like to record, to museum victims

to hear Wagner in the primal scream of the innocent,

in their last photographs.

The photographer sees the pyre of Faces,

their engraved wavy expressions of fear.

He poses them to imprint their humanity--

skinny women in their oversized striped costumes, rakish caps he designs,

bald, naked women prepared to meet Mengele, their unmaker,

hollow-cheeked men clip-clopping in their ill-fitting wooden clogs,

trusting children who laugh uneasily at his jocular faces.

They all sit for his camera to record having been.

Their pictures keep the photographer alive--

extra pieces of bread,

meat occasionally thrown into the broth,

and shots of schnapps to bring on forgetfulness.

Testaments, he refuses to destroy when ordered.

Forgotten, guiltless faces peering back at him.

The camera burned his hands,

black and white pictures seared and left a hollow place.

No beauty in them,

but he could not destroy them.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Amit Parmessur- A Poem

let me be a sacred child

I’m gonna say it again! Let me be
a sacred child. It’s gonna rain

pure, yellow bliss in my heart if you
people treat me like any other child.

Let me stay in innocence despite
my harsh experience. Let me

talk and dream of what’s sweet.
Let me joke like a mad, red clown. Let

me play, hide and seek. Let me be the
perfect blue boy or pink girl, who

will root firmly in the violent wild,
the one to blossom beautifully in

times of grief. Let me be
a sacred child. Let me give my mind

to my soul so that I can shine like
the orange sun. If you help my violet

ship I shall smash the toughest icebergs.
My past will never matter as long

as I am cherished. Let’s respect
each other, folks. I’m gonna say

it again! Let me be a sacred child!
I’m not scared, or a green ugly alien.

I wish to be like the indigo in the bow—
wise, wise, and only wise.

BIOGRAPHY: Born in 1983, Amit Parmessur has been published in over 100 literary magazines, like Ann Arbor Review, Salt, Hobo Camp Review, Misfits' Miscellany, Jellyfish Whispers, Kalkion and Red Fez. His book on blog Lord Shiva and other poems has also been published by The Camel Saloon. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Award and Best of the Web Anthology. He lives in Quatre-Bornes, in Mark Twains paradise island Mauritius, with his cat and three dogs.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Linda M. Crate- A Poem

I'm the scattered petals of a rose
I'll never go back together yet
you saw beauty in my brokenness -
and it was because of you that I was
sewn back together with a smile;
the scars remain and yet they do not
hinder me and you told me once that it 
would take more than a couple scars 
to robe me of my beauty, you are
the one that makes my heart sing.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Devlin De La Chapa- A Poem

Sucker Punched!

It was another Friday night, and
she’s whispering sensually in his ear,
the intoxication of her high-end
perfume stirs his senses, warms his beer;

Johnny Cash is playing off the jukebox,
the slab’s atmosphere is grazed by smoke
and mindless chatter, some decent,
others indecent, remnants of his past linger;

his eyes study the eloquent of her expression
when she boasts about herself in the present,
in the past, and how she quietly shies down
when he compliments her outlook; and

he fantasizes about her perfect glossed lips
suckling his kisses each time
a laugh escapes her;

he fantasizes about the soft of her hands
strumming his body each time
she picks up her beer glass;

he fantasizes about her lustrous cherry tinted hair
fanning out over his vacant pillows each time
she curled a loose curl behind her ear;
he thought about waking up with her tomorrow when
the sun was at its highest, perhaps another night?
but even he knew she was just one of many trophies to him,
but he liked the idea of her not sitting on his shelf;

he walks into the men’s room, coins in one hand, a beer
in the other, his thoughts marooned on more than her sex,
the rare novelty machine barely clinging to the wall
toys and taunts with him because he’s bought them all before:

      Pleasure Condoms, Paradise Condoms,
Fantasy Condoms, Inspiral Condoms;

      Micro-Thin Condoms, Durable Condoms,
Sensitive Condoms, Extra Lubricant Condoms;

      Glow-In-The-Dark Condoms, Flavored Condoms,
Scented Condoms, Tri-Colored Condoms;

feeling jaded, less fervent, he steps to the mirror and realizes
time in-a-fine-line was posing more of an insignificance to him
rather than an importance, and beneath era 31, the absolute of his
desires had been tending to seize at the slip of a coin all along;

so he shoves the loose change back into his pocket,
downs the rest of his warm beer, as he strolls past the
novelty machine he gives it a stern sucker punch- a sign
that it was time for him to dust off his trophy shelf


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Robert Demaree- Two Poems


As with golf or tennis,
I got started on Greek too late.
Our legendary professor
Peered out from under a green visor
And held that mastery of the rough breathings
Was a key to life.
They said he’d been a croupier,
That he once drove a bus.
The text he chose,
The writings of Lysias, I think,
Had little to recommend them
Beyond a certain intermediate ease.
I’ve forgotten how the rough breathings work.
What has somehow stuck
In memory’s craw
Are lines he must have liked
From a courtroom speech:
The man was in the room,
And the woman was corrupted in time.


after hearing a lecture by Dr. Robert Goodby of Franklin Pierce University

It is our n’dakina, our homeland.
We were the people from the East,
Here long before you came,
With your famous ships,
White chapels, village greens,
Your right to pray as you supposed
And insist that you were right.
You thought we vanished
Except for the names of places.
We were not Gypsies, the dark French
In your demented plan
To cleanse the stock.
Traces of our lives still
Linger in the rocky New England soil
And other places you do not know to look,
We are still here. We never left.

“Abenaki Lament” appeared in a slightly different form inThe Aurorean Spring/Summer 2010

Robert Demaree is the author of four collections of poems, including Fathers and Teachers (2007) and Mileposts (2009), both published by Beech River Books. 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 in the eastern U.S. He has had over 600 poems published or accepted by 125 periodicals in the U.S., Canada and U.K., including Cold Mountain Review, Red Wheelbarrow, Miller’s Pond, MediaVirus, Bolts of Silk, Louisville Review and Paris/Atlantic, and in four anthologies including the 2008 and 2010 editions of Poet’s Guide to New Hampshire and Celebrating Poets over 70.. For further information see 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

The Lettuce Workers
Somewhere in California
a midnight one-eyed bus shoots
lettuce farm past lettuce farm
to abutment and a kiss.
Now the morning papers cry
15 sleeping Mexicans
glowed an hour or more.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Ali Znaidi- A Poem

It is Time for a Nap
Trains leave,
& nothing remains only
their echoes splitting
the tracks of the ears.
Birds fly by,
& nothing remains only
some of their feathers
falling on the bedroom
of the eyes.
Scented women pass by,
& nothing remains only
some fragrance travelling
in the tubes
of the noses.
They were all here.
But nothing remains only
sighs & blurry scenes.
Now it is really time
for a nap.
Contributor’s Bio:
Ali Znaidi lives in Redeyef, Tunisia where he teaches English at Tunisian public secondary school. His work has appeared in The Camel Saloon, phantom kangaroo, BoySlut, The Rusty Nail, Yes,Poetry, the fib review, Ink Sweat and Tears, Mad Swirl, Red Fez, & 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—

Friday, October 12, 2012

James Mirarchi- A Poem

euphoric from concert
whose aural leftovers
rock my insides with guitar tremors
i sit in storm-battered cab
head reclined
nostrils packed with leather seat/tobacco scent
passing through centuries of possibilities
the road home is squiggled with prophetic headlights
a rain-smeared tablet of hieroglyphs
that confers with chanting billboards
as black sky closes down like waffle iron
turning me into breakfast for the gods
i (suddenly slathered in buttery sunrise)
am divinely digested
which sums up my typical post-concert state


James Mirarchi grew up in Queens, New York.

In addition to his poetry collections, "Venison" and "Dervish," he has written and directed short films, which have played at festivals. His poems have appeared in Crack the Spine Literary Magazine, Poydras Review, gobbet, Boyslut, The Houston Literary Review, and Subliminal Interiors Magazine. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Frank Praeger- A Poem


Their braids, their cuffs;
bandy legged,
Icy marble stoops
like so much else
out of context.
Restless legs twitching,
night a loss, a bracketed gap,
a thrumming, a twang, 
a pottable plant hung
far from any long held blame;
to get on home
ignoring dust or guilt.
Some say badgered;
crepe-soled, crept
where walk once did.
Tripped up, spent,
a lessened me
no tale can scotch,
past glory, the slightest shocked.
What can comparisons tell - 
grasshoppers hopping, 
trees, too, shaken?
Scrambing in the offing.
No plant need not be broken.
Not to be caught
off-center, the unnatural balked.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Big Meeting at the Corporate Office

When a young woman like that
sails into the conference room, 
all masts billowing, 
there's nothing the men 
around the table can do 
except take a breath 

and wait for her 
to settle in her chair, 
open her laptop 
and fuss for a moment 
with some errant hair 

before she fixes her stare 
on the podium to wait
for the chairman to arrive 
and take it from there

if he possibly can. 
The chairman won't know 
the young woman has said
everything his men 
will remember tomorrow
without saying a word.

Monday, October 8, 2012

David S. Pointer- A Poem

Before Food Processed with
Ionizing Radiation was Fab

Back when trees were
cowboy ranch décor or
sacred Indian grounds, and
over and under economics
were bringing in smoky
asphalt urbanization where
child laborers had to fight
over spoiled Mastodon milk
and spark plug sandwiches
then someone stood up on
the bottom-side of an over
turned ash bucket, and saw
the rich were way too busy
cooking the books to ever
feed the multitudes of poor

Bio: David S. Pointer is the author of “Sinister Splashplay” from “Virgogray Press” available through, and “Sundrenched Nanosilver” coming from “Brian Wrixon Books in Canada through “Blurb.”

James Babbs- Three Poems

I Found A Picture of You

I found a picture of you
between the pages of this book
I don’t remember
putting it in there
but I opened it up
there it was
you were laughing at
somebody must have said
sitting on the orange sofa
in my parents’ living room
immediately I knew
exactly when it was taken
what we’d been doing that day
the promises we made to
one another
but never meant to keep

If You Came Over Tonight

I felt like
I needed to write this
I wanted to tell you
about the darkness
how it sneaks in
on its quiet little feet
coming right up next to me
before I even know it’s there and
you won’t understand this
but it’s okay
I want to tell you
the way it hovers above me and
follows me around
like a ghost
drifting through every room and
no one else sees it
but I know it’s there
I can feel it
in my bed at night
the weight of it
pushing against me and
I guess
I must have been a teenager
the first time it found me and
I was thinking
if you came over tonight
instead of getting drunk
you could just hold me
close enough
so there wouldn’t be
any space left
for the darkness to crawl inside

The Last of Five

when I was growing up
I sometimes wished my
parents were younger like
some of the other kids’
parents were but I
was the last of five
children and there were
sixteen years between my
oldest sister and me
when I was born
my father was already past forty
my mother nearly thirty-six
they were middle-aged and
the initial excitement
of parenthood had faded
by the time I came along
but I guess they wanted
one last chance before
they were finished and
if they hadn’t then I
wouldn’t be here writing this

I have published hundreds of poems over the last several years in print journals and online.  I live in the same small town where I grew up.  I work for the government but don’t like to talk about it.  I have a cherry tree and two grapevines in my back yard and several pesky rabbits.  My full length collection Disturbing the Light is coming soon from Interior Noise Press.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

John Grochalski- Three Poems


marty comes walking back into the office
like he’s king of the world

he retired last month
talks about how great it’s going

but he’s already back for a visit
so how great can it really be?

they swarm him like he’s a rock star
everybody wanting a taste of the good life
which marty is happy to give to them

talking about his plans for a vacation to dublin
the jazz festival he played a week ago

he shows everyone the concert t-shirt
with his name on the back

says i finally found some fame at sixty-four

they fawn over him like he’s a greek god
even though not three months ago they were
stalking around the building
talking about how lazy marty is

wondering when he’s going to retire
and get out of their hair for good

absence makes the heart grow fonder, i’m told
from a jack to a king and other clichés

they laugh and joke with marty
love him now because they don’t have to see him every day

i stay away from the man

i didn’t like him then
and i’m not going to pretend to like him now

he sent some of my poems to human resources
trying to get me fired

accused me of being an anti-semite because i’m polish
and my head is shaved

so why pretend to be best buddies
because it’s the common thing to do

from my point of view
marty wasted twenty-seven years of his life in this place
with nothing to show for it
but one divorce and a row of yellow teeth

he looks like a wasted old prune whose life is on the clock

i envy him nothing
but the time he’ll have now

only because i know he’ll squander it on stupid shit
when i could turn it into magic

he’ll keep coming back to this place on a weekly basis
shooting his breeze
telling everyone how good he has it

and they’ll listen less and less
complain about how good old marty is always showing up
right at lunchtime

check their watches
and hope that he’s found something better to do
this thursday afternoon

than come waltzing into this place

the scene at cookie’s clubhouse

we were both tired of being white

tired of punk rock
tattooed white idiots screaming into microphones

tired of summer nights in pittsburgh

we wandered down penn avenue
down to the black bar

because the music emanating from the place
was something that we both loved

and inside it was packed with bodies
jostling to music or just standing around

there were no white faces in the joint
just purple neon and joy

and this pleased us
so we went inside with our petty little fears

only it wasn’t like the movies

the music didn’t screech to a halt
no one turned our way
there were no rows of angry, suspecting faces
mad at us for killing their buzz, their good time
as we made our way toward the bar

just people singing along to d’angelo
and then tony toni tone

not an ounce of flaccid punk rock bravado in the joint
tattooed jackoffs screaming into microphones

no import beer
just budweiser in cold cans
which we drank at the bar
as nervous as two white boys in a black bar could be

but there was really nothing to be nervous about

just music and dancing
and conversation about another wasted pirates season
talk of the end of summer
talk of football

and we stood there decidedly white
decidedly not punk

when these two girls and a guy took pity on us
had us play darts with them

as tony toni tone morphed into blackstreet
morphed into johnny gill

and we looked at each other with wide eyes
because some bar was finally playing all of the music
that we listened to
in our white heads on black nights in the city

and the guy kept calling me ace ventura

his girlfriend said that he thought that i looked like jim carrey

maybe i did

jim carrey was a fine thing to be on a summer night
playing darts and drinking beer in cookie’s clubhouse

jim carrey probably got a lot of pussy
without the perils of color and punk rock

and i remembered you turned to me and smiled
whispered how much you’d like to date the other girl

if only

if only what? i said back

forgetting what city we were in
what time and place

which is forever that time and place
in america.


my wife and i
watch a bad movie about shakespeare

we give it a half hour
before we shut it off

my wife is a fan of shakespeare
but i could give or take him

the movie we were watching
theorized that big willy never wrote his plays

that they were instead
written by the earl of oxford

that shakespeare never wrote his plays
is an old argument that scholars
and action film directors will keep having

until absolutely no one cares

what struck me was how this earl of oxford
could get away with it

at least in the bits that i saw, he did

how great it must’ve been to have lived
in total creative anonymity back then
without the internet to expose and scandalize

the people i work with looked me up
before i even started my job

they had me pegged and boxed
without my having said one word

and they’d been reading my poems for a year
before i found out

they still read my poems
only with not as much gusto as before

especially when people show up in the verse
who may or may not be them
then they get pissed at me and create drama
try and send my shit to human resources

i guess i miss being anonymous on the job
even on this small and petty scale

not having to dissect each bit of writing
so as not to offend

i miss coming in and being nothing but a worker for the day
going home and doing my writing
having no one be the wiser

even if it was only just an illusion to begin with

i suppose i could use a pseudonym
or stop writing about the job

but what would be the point now?

would if i could
i’d want to be like the earl of oxford

sit in my regal little box at the globe
and let some fucking actor take all of the credit
for my work

while i and i alone

knew who was really
getting the words down.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Melanie Browne- Three Poems

Love Story 
we will bump elbows at a  party,
I will be  holding a bowl of
fruit on my head like Carmen Miranda,
and you will be dressed like Steve Mcqueen
or perhaps Tarzan, depending on my mood
the atmosphere will sizzle,
it will be like we found sanctuary
after running for centuries
in worn out off-brand tennis shoes,
you will grab a banana from my bowl
and make obscene gestures with it
and I will laugh like a hyena in heat,
I will write about our affair when I
am old and drinking wine
at my Italian Estate,
I will be able to write in Italian by then,
so everything will be that much more romantic

How to eat rocks
My seven year old asks me
if you can eat rocks,
I tell him I don't think 
that's such a good idea,
I tell him it could get stuck
inside your tummy,
he moves on to talking about
who he sits next to on the bus,
but I start thinking about all
the times I felt like
my soul had eaten a giant boulder,
or a megalith,
and I realized I never
practiced what I preached
The Search
I am searching for you,
looking through emails,
pictures, and my dreams,
I find bits and pieces of you,
like confetti at a birthday,
I sift through,
it drops to the floor,
I sweep it up and
try to glue you 
back together