Monday, December 31, 2012

Michael Mc Aloran- A Poem

Scene Eleven is rupture:

Headlong, torn vast, till shimmer, asking of until to numb’s becoming, scarred unto existing, barely a life, in void of naught’s shadow, claustrophobic traces, endless, subtle then…

Claim/ claim then, in night’s devour, breaking the bone dice laughter of violent appraisal, skinned lest the hollow bleeds, trace of desire, a trace of desire, flesh upon flesh, scars upon scars…

We laughter long, the breathing of the I deeper than emptily, deeper than the ice in the veins cleft as the bereft static of following on from, -what step, as if it could…

(Rupture will…headless arc…restless the eye’s bleed…exhalation of some dead foraging…)

Pause, step back, back into no no way forwards, till step’s rupture redeemed, in an echo of shadowing, till silenced, a snag of broken lights, release/ absurdly the eye/ I/ we, drowning in the hearth of blind binding…

Cleft, then, till reek and havoc spell, in the bitterness of turning to face the one, the murmur, the twisted nerves in damage seasons of the membrane, all fallen, kaleidoscope of breath…

I/ eye, or none, in the spit of sun light,  we or else, breaking without laughter, skinned a-piece, such was the longing of, the rupture of, claimed or not claimed the fucking difference is none, balk and be done with it…

(said aloft…)

Michael Mc Aloran was Belfast born, (1976). His most recent work has appeared  in ditch, Gobbet Magazine, Ink Sweat & Tears, Ygdrasil, Establishment, Carcinogenic Poetry, Primal Urge, A New Ulster, Slit Your Wrists, The Galway Review, Turbulence Magazine, Unlikely Stories: IV, Eratio 16, etc. A second full length collection, 'Attributes', was published by 'Desperanto' in 2011. 'Lapwing Publications, (Ireland), also published a collection of his poems, 'The Non Herein', in 2012 & The Knives, Forks & Spoons Press, (U.K), will release an ekphrastic book of text/ art, 'Machinations' early next year. He also has projects forthcoming from Quarter After Press...He edits Bone Orchard Poetry, a webzine of the bleak/ the dark/ the surreal and the experimental...

Ross Leese- A Poem

try to smile

love was always
a lie

and the dirtiest
trick of the

there is no electricity
in a fleeting
brush of



there are simply
sands of

and they wait
for no-

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Mark Jackley- Three Poems

In the weeds (and I do mean weeds) of Greg Allman's life
story, I thought of you when I read the part
where he posed with Red Dog, a roadie, at the crumbling
edge of the Grand Canyon, where once I also stood,
wearing a fake war bonnet, fake war paint on my face
like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now as you held the camera, 
shaking, green from drink, and I see the look you shared
with one of the better white boy singers of the blues, a style
best practiced on the edge of sin and fear, two things you had
in ample stores as you weaved your Ford Econoline van
through the desert to jump-start me as I thumbed back East,
fear and sin that bloomed like sage after rain or fire-
vomiting Martian demons after a tab of acid,
after tomorrow stubbornly came, again and again, along
with stories that started trickling in like the smoke-filled years:
you riding your ten-speed bike on Interstate 95,
or setting a roof on fire with an acetylene painter's torch
and jumping from the blaze, you actually being tarred
and feathered and I believing it might actually be true.
It's dawn and I am reading, friend, in a parking lot,
thanking Henry Ford for the unintended gift
of stillness. Every word is bright in the ear inside
my skull; the sun sets fire to dandelion heads. 
I'll never stumble upon the glossy story of your life
in library stacks or hear it moaned in twelve ensorceled bars
as drunks close their eyes and grin, and groupies sway. I leave you
with this little flame, what I’m waving in the dark.

Let us be dogs, lie around like dogs, pant, drool and hump like mutts,
for the dog days are here and honey, there is nothing else to do.
The summer storm that blasted through like a psycho-killer
named Jeb Wayne Lee or Jeb Lee Wayne has left us without power
and air conditioning and ceiling fans, has melted the coffee ice cream,
and the beer is getting warm. Let us lap it up like dogs.
Let us comfort our dogs, who whined, who whimpered and cowered in fear
as Jeb Lee Storm pulverized trees and flashed and roared because,
well, no one knows, not the weatherman babbling
about super cells and cloud-to-ground but who can never explain
violence, why it exists, how it bares its teeth like a dog.
Let us lift our legs on science. Let us snap and snarl
in boredom on this simmering day and woof when the other speaks
humorously. Darling, you can sniff me anywhere,
it's perfectly fine, why not, the TV is out and the stereo too
and both PCs, oh honey, let us do as they knew to do
when our ancestors grunted and dropped from trees
and barbecued dinosaurs.  I can almost remember the darkness,
what roamed its edge and howled.


Bring me a pile of pills as colorful and insane
as the Christmas lights that make my baby crazy and sad each year,
oh bring me a year, a new one, more May than January
hardening like a mound of snow in shadows and festooned
with motor oil and nameless crud, a hangover month, let's face it,
Santa, bring me some life, I am old but I am hungry
in the silvery mist that should be snow, which yes reminds me
it's mid-December and seventy-two, please bring a brand new planet,
we've fried this one. My sister, the one in lower Manhattan
dons a hazmat suit these days to rehab moldy homes
in the Rockaways and Santa, I'm sorry to piss and moan,
but I haven't bent your ear like this since 1967,
when all I wanted for Christmas was my balding daddy back
from the Central Highlands and the Delta in one piece
and you came through, never mind he spent a solid decade
in a piss-poor mood and pills were less abundant, but
thank god for booze! Santa, if in fact you're fiction,
will someone let the Easter Bunny know I have some questions?


Mark Jackley is the author of several chapbooks, most recently Every Green Word (Finishing Line Press), and a full-length collection, There Will Be Silence While You Wait (Plain View Press). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rougarou, Sugar House Review, Pebble Lake Review, Tirage Monthly, Body and other journals. He lives in Sterling, VA.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kushal Poddar- A Poem

Agreeing To Anything Today

More tomorrows from one
who served leftovers lifelong-
happy New Year aunt sunshine. 
We passed the old tea shop
and will reach you by morning.
More tomorrows, you will insist.
More tomorrows we shall shove
under our dishes
since your faithful dog
died from too much medicine.
We will hear the wind howling
in your vegetable garden,
not willing to stir the things buried
beside some yellowed bones
waiting for a retriever.
More tomorrows, you will say.
We shall agree.

Kushal Poddar (1977- ) resides in the city of Kolkata, India. Apart from poetries, he has written fictions and scripts for television mini-series as well.
His English poems have been published in various online and print magazines all over the world. He is the author of “All Our Fictional Dreams” and been published in “Poor Poet’s Pantry: Collaborative Poems”. The forthcoming book is “Surviving Cyber Life” and “Five Poets: An Anthology”

Ross Vassilev- A Poem

cherry blossoms

don't know what I'm doing here
as the clouds swim through blue sky

it's good to drift through life
whether you're a cloud
a whale
or a Bodhisattva

and you can ponder the meaning of nothingness
till your eyes devour the Hiroshima sunrise

cuz it helps when there's nothing around
but screaming insanity
and angels are falling from the sky
on broken wings

and at times such as these
there's really nothing left to say but

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Take Me to the Taxidermist

I told my wife the other night
when she came back to bed 
my feet were cold so now's 
the time for me to tell her  
not to bury me or burn me 
or give my body to science.

Take me to the taxidermist 
and have him dress me in  
Cary Grant's tuxedo, a pair 
of paten leather shoes
from Fred Astaire and a 
straw hat from Chevalier.

Once I'm a Hollywood star, 
stand me in the garden with 
that chorus line of blondes, 
brunettes and redheads 
I stationed there the day she
flew home to Mother in a snit.

Years later now, my dancers still 
kick high enough to lance the sun. 
I plan to hold a last rehearsal 
once my wife motors into town 
and finds a priest who'll say 
a thousand Masses for my soul.

Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in a variety of print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. 
Some of his earliest work can be found at

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Jack T. Marlowe- Three Poems

still life with cubicle
by Jack T. Marlowe

a casket
without the
comfort of
satin or

a burial
without the
or the
of freshly

a stinking
corpse flower
rooted in a
tragic plot

a living

a loss

you should
be more

they say

as a light
rain falls

a drizzle
of nickles
and dimes
upon the

street salvation
by Jack T. Marlowe

a crusty
its slam-
ming lid
with the
grace of
a make-
shift kettle
drum, the
of a would-
be street
hymn, a
tered, as

the Stop-
then falls
silent, fills
his mouth
with the
crumbs of
a handful
of salvation
for a hun-
gry soul

his grateful
belly hug-
ging the
bible in his

while the
crack pipe
in his
to be

a dog named Silence
by Jack T. Marlowe

the sound of
hasn't been
heard in this
in almost
four years
and the lady
next door
has a dog

the relative
calm here only
broken by the
boombox on
wheels, the
shouting at
her man, the
laughter of
vatos, the
mother call-
ing her child
to get your
ass in this
house NOW

the cartoon
music of los
the savage 
scream of a
down the
alley, and
the jarring
comfort of
sirens on
this street
the lady
next door
has a dog


Jack T. Marlowe is a gentleman rogue from Dallas, TX.  A writer
of poetry and fiction and a veteran of the open mic, his work has
appeared in A Handful of Dust, Thunder Sandwich, Rusty Truck,
Red Fez, The Vein, Bone Orchard Poetry and other zines (online
and print). Jack is also the editor of Gutter Eloquence Magazine 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Hal Sirowitz- A Poem

Downsizing the Relationship

I was excited about girlfriend number 12. The way she kissed me only added fire to my imagination. I kept singing before our date Neil Young’s “Tonight’s the Night” we would become intimate. But I had to keep altering the song to ‘Next Weekend Must be the Night” when she sent me home early because she claimed she had to study for a math test. The only math I cared about was one plus one equals two. But she was long past simple economics, wanting to engage in complex formulas. She worked for a financial analyst, whose specialty was downsizing businesses. I don’t know how much she helped him, but she certainly downsized our relationship until I had so little part in it there was nothing left for me to do but leave graciously.

Hal Sirowitz is the co-winner of the NoirCon 2012 Poetry Contest, selected by Robert Polito. He's also the author of a new book of poems from Backwaters Press, "Stray Cat Blues."

Clyde L. Borg- A Poem

The reaper keeps time,
Watching, noting.
Fools waste time.
The inane kill time.
The reaper keeps time,
Previously published in Infinite Windows Online Journal, September, 2010.
Clyde L. Borg is a retired high school teacher and administrator.  He has been writing poetry and nonfiction since 1998.  Some of his work has appeared in History Magazine, Fate Magazine, Vox Poetica and Capper's Magazine.  He resides in Fords, New Jersey.

Robert Demaree- Two Poems


There are twelve of us for Christmas,
Three generations, ours the oldest.
A benign weariness:
Food and gifts, family jokes and tales,
Small stresses let quietly pass.
Cousins cavort, careen, compete.
Our daughters, friends too, consider vegetables;
Their husbands assemble a soccer goal
While the gravy cools.
As we are leaving, I think I see
Traces of a tear on Julie’s cheek;
Her smile lingers, quiet, faintly moist.

“Christmas Night 2007" appeared in Ad Hoc Monadnock, October 2009


 after hearing lectures by Steven Reinhartsen and Elliott Engel

Guys from the East, headed for Bethlehem,
Three of them, maybe more,
Educated men with expensive gifts.
Wait a minute, says one:
Perhaps this is not such a hot idea.
Whyever not?—presents for the new baby.
One day someone might use this
To excuse a TV spot
That urges men to buy their wives
A Lexus SUV.
Well, the other says, let’s do it anyway.

So Dickens inspired the Christmas card
And the snowy, cozy Yule:
What we believe, culture’s accretion,
Mistaken but not wrong,
At some remove from what happened
In a still blood-soaked land,
In a hot, late summer,
A long time ago.

“Winter Solstice” appeared in Hazmat Review, Fall 2009

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 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Paul Hostovsky- Three Poems


She threatened to sue him over his sonnet
for libel. Because he used her real name
in his poem about the good old days
when she was bad and beautiful. He went
into such poetic detail in the second half
of the octave, that the reader felt a sweet
gasp in the loins to read it. But he told her
he would be honored—it was quite the turn—
to be sued over a sonnet. Maybe it would set
a precedent. Maybe it would make him
famous. Then he argued that the poem praised
rather than defamed her, that if read properly
she was its hero, and that though he published it
in a magazine, they never paid him a cent.


We’re doing the Periodic Table
of Elements and Mia got Aluminum.
I wanted Aluminum. I'm mad at Mia now
for taking Aluminum when she didn't
even want it. Not the way I did.
I really, really wanted Aluminum.
Because I like its name and its atomic
number. Which is 13. Instead I got Boron
which is boring and rhymes with 'moron'
and I just know somebody is going to
think of that. And everybody has to fit
their Element on an 8 x 5 index card,
with its name and chemical symbol
and atomic number on the front, and the story
of how it got discovered or isolated
on the back. Aluminum's chemical symbol
is Al, which looks like A-one, like A-plus
one. But Boron's chemical symbol is just B
which is blah, and its atomic weight is 11
which is the age of my older brother Josh
who's mean. And on top of everything Kelsey
got Carbon which is so unfair because
her father drills oil wells for a living,
and she's already like the most popular girl
in the whole school and she lives in a big
house on a hill and I hate science now because
it’s so unfair and it makes no sense at all.

Paul Hostovsky

H, O, S like Sam,
T like Tom,
O, V like Victor,
S, K, Y. My mother
always spelled it like that
whenever people asked.

I was an only child with many
imaginary friends to my name.

Rainer Maria Rilke said
we must all eventually
lay aside even our own name
like a broken toy.

Maybe for a man with
Maria for a middle name
this was something to look forward to.

As for me, my toy
is at the top of its game,
and I take my rightful place
in the organization
of living things. There are

many species in a phylum,
there are many Pauls in a phone book,
but there was always only one
Hostovsky in the class,
and only one Paul Hostovsky
in the whole kingdom.

(Paul Hostovsky is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Hurt Into Beauty (2012, FutureCycle Press). His poems have won a Pushcart Prize and two Best of the Net Awards. Visit him at

Thursday, December 20, 2012

J. Williams- Three Poems

The Nothing that Returned
It was to return
Mightier than ever
With vengeance and determination
To destroy all that dares question it
All that disobey its ruthless abandon
I remain stubborn
Intensely stubborn
No fear for this mortal
I stood in its path
Arms stretched
Eyes clinched tight
Waiting for its wrath
Then it came with the strength of a newborn
The courage of a coward
And the success record of a blind bank robber
Everything to No One
He is the embodiment of narcissism
from breakfast to dinner
from day to day
the sun would set solely on his will
doing just as he orders
making life for those around him unbearable
Tasks become more daunting
Water levels rising
engulfing the earth
but he stands alone
above the fray
cheating death
king of the world at last
the lone survivor
no more noise
no more action
just loneliness
patiently awaiting for his own slow
and agonizing march towards a miserable death
its a game of winner takes all
only the clear winner is greed
the desire to want for little sacrifice
the need to have without earning
no its not the only way
it is the easiest way
its how the world forms each day
lifting one to the top
while crushing those below
not too concerned with the damage
collateral or otherwise
its hope without the eternal
its summer without the fall
the ruins have been ruined
with nothing to show at all

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Feliz Navidad

Pedro swings a mop all night
on the 30th floor of Castle Towers
just off Michigan Avenue
not far from the foaming Lake.
The floor is his, all his, 
to swab and wax till dawn. 

The sun comes up and Pedro's 
on the subway snoring, 
roaring home to a plate 
of huevos rancheros
six eggs swimming 
in a lake of salsa verde
hot tortillas stacked
beside them. 

After breakfast, 
Pedro writes a poem 
for Esperanza,
the wife who waits 
in Nuevo Leon.
He mails the poem 
that night, going back
to his bucket and mop.

Pedro's proud  
of three small sons,
soccer stars
in the making.
On Christmas Eve 
the boys wait up
in Nuevo Leon
and peek out the window.
Papa's coming home 
for Christmas!

Pedro arrives at midnight
on a neighbor's donkey,  
laughing beneath 
a giant sombrero.
He has a red serape 
over his shoulder,
and he's juggling 
sacks of gifts.

When the donkey stops,
the boys dash out and clap 
and dance in circles.
Esperanza stands 
in the doorway
and sings 
Feliz Navidad.

Nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart prizes, Donal Mahoney has had work published in a variety of print and electronic publications in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. 
Some of his earliest work can be found at

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Joseph Farley- Three Poems

Heretic (5)

in any past age
I could have been burned
at the stake,
though I would have preferred
to be stoned.

all can be accepted
so long as you can find
the right grass
to be buried under.


I keep waiting for the robots,
the ones in the cartoons,
to rise up from Tokyo
like metal balloons,
and float from imagination
to the corner store,
where they will bag my groceries
or stomp upon my car.

Innocent Victims

The old man stepped out
from the optometrist's office,
vision blurred by drops in his eyes.
He walked passed the tall hedge
and sought to cross the street
not knowing the light had changed.
An electric company truck hit him,
and he lay there dead under the wheels
while the police and an ambulance came
to sort out who was who and what was what.
The driver was a former soldier
who had never killed a man before.
He stood there crying
until his boss told him to go home.
The newspaper boy saw it all
and testified so in court
where he had to relive a scene
that had haunted many of his dreams..
No one was convicted,
but those sturdy bushes were cut down.
They were silent until the end,
never confessing to any crime.
Now the corner is barren,
except for commuters waiting
in the frost for their morning bus,
stamping feet against the cold,
checking watches and passing time.

Bio: Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory from 1986 to 2010. His books and chapbooks include Suckers, For the Birds, Longing for the Mother Tongue, and Waltz of the Meatballs.

Paul Tristram- A Poem

Time For Ripeness

She coughed and shuddered
then out it came,
slipping perfectly
like a lollipop
being sucked the wrong way.
It hovered for a moment
then started to float upwards,
she sat in awe
watching the embryo
turn to a baby
within the ever growing
floating teardrop
before her.
She reached out her hand
but the baby changed to a tree
and before the tree had acorned
she had awoken, sat up in bed
and began to weave daydreams
and childhood memories
into the silken smoke
of her first cigarette,
deciding finally
to no longer eat the pill.

Published in the print West Memphis Witch Hunt Anthology in 2007

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who now lives on the Southern coast of Britain, has poems, short stories and sketches 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.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Holly Day- A Poem

Block Captain

I got a call from God today.
He told me He was coming soon
and told me how to get things

The people next door were easy
to catch and convert. I had never
exchanged more than a passing "hello" with any of them
before this afternoon, but they seemed to think me
friendly enough
to accept my invitation to dinner.

I dug the furrows and trenches, overturned a half-acre of Kentucky blue
exactly how the Lord told me, turned my entire back yard
into a beautifully-plowed farm. Into each row
I seeded the families next door, the paperboy
the mailman too polite to turn down an offer of cookies
the old lady across the street. Soon

we will all be together. The pieces of me
fall and mix with the pieces of them. Rivulets of  blood
fill the fresh-tilled earth. The sunset turns it all
red. God
will be most pleased when He
drops by tonight.

Short bio: Holly Day is a housewife and mother of two living in Minneapolis,
Minnesota who teaches needlepoint classes in the Minneapolis school
district. Her poetry has recently appeared in The Worcester Review, Broken
Pencil, and Slipstream, and she is a recent recipient of the Sam Ragan
Poetry Prize from Barton College. Her book publications include Music
Composition for Dummies, Guitar-All-in-One for Dummies, Notenlesen für
Dummies Das Pocketbuch, and Music Theory for Dummies, which has recently
been translated into French, Dutch, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and
German. Her novel, "The Trouble With Clare," is due out from Hydra
Publications in 2013.

Korliss Sewer- A Poem


At 3 a.m., a streetlight rests mortally wounded by the side of a quiet, rain-dampened boulevard. Ripped from the concrete in which it stood vigil for so many years, its stoic form lies silently tethered by a red wire and two splintered bolts. A casual passerby moves it to wet grasses; its fragments kicked curbside by a cowboy boot.

Tomorrow they will come to clean up the shards of glass and twisted metal. But tonight, its unblinking eyes stare upward into a star-filled sky watching satellites
streak distantly.

Korliss Sewer enjoys writing about off-beat topics while watching off-beat people doing off-beat things.

Publishing credits include:  BlazeVOX, SubtleTea, Orange Room Review, amongst a few others.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Ed Higgins- Two Poems

as i was looking back

recently you came to mind 
that summer afternoon 
we floated 
down the Yorba Linda river 
on separate inner tubes
you in a yellow bikini 
as yellow and black butterflies
flitted indifferently along the bank 
where we stopped on a sandbar 
bending back the warm grass 
under bare feet 
the blue sky streaked with white clouds 
as fleeting as our addictive youth
the sun’s heat rising on our lithe tan bodies

Self-deception As Self-knowing

It’s all a matter of
warped mirrors

like the mirror maze
I stood before once

as a boy
at the Fun House

in Playland
near Golden Gate Park

in San Francisco
with animatronic Laffing Sal

cackling her frightful
laugh at life’s very deceptions 

for whoever stood there
entranced trying to understand

life’s delusory concave
and convex images.
My poems and short fiction have appeared in various print and online journals including: Monkeybicycle, Pindeldyboz, Pen Pusher, CrossConnect, Word Riot, Foliate Oak, Dark Sky Magazine, Mannequin Envy, and Bellowing Ark, among others. My wife and I live on a small farm in Yamhill, OR, and I teach creative writing and literature at George Fox University, south of Portland, OR.