Friday, January 31, 2014

Steven Kunert- Three Poems

Drinking on the Oregon Coast

The ocean is gray as I’ve ever seen it.
Black storm clouds—the weatherman said
lightning and thunder were possible
this late afternoon in Yachats, a rare event
here—have rendered the Pacific this bleak hue.

I’m reminded that a few weeks ago two fishermen
out for halibut from Depoe Bay disappeared in a storm,
their old boat all the Coast Guard found.
Now there are big white breakers heading continually
toward the shore, bright waves to mitigate the bland dark water.

I’ve been sipping Wild Turkey all afternoon, I’ll admit.
And now those breakers feel like human souls to me—rolling, spiraling
and speaking nautical words, words I never would have comprehended
had I not taken in the revelations from this bottle
I plan to keep working on until dusk is almost dawn.

Only Anna

explored my entire body,
for three years
surveying from scalp
to toes.

No other lover
was such a topographer.
Only Anna comprehensively
mapped my geography.

She’s long dead,
her traversing fingers
and perusing palms
handed back to earth.

And my body is old
and different, a revised atlas,
Anna’s cartography
forever archived.


When I want to see you naked,
I look at you in clothes.
When I want to hear your voice,
I listen to your silence.
When I want to touch you,
I take my fingers away.
When I want to taste you,
for instance, the skin around your nipples,
I demand my tongue dance,
like an airborne ballerina,
her toe circling two pink planets,
an agile satellite probing,
never landing, relishing wanted unknowns
I already know so well.

BIO: Steven Kunert has written and published poetry and prose for over 35 years, most recently in The Apeiron Review, Wordriver, Fogged Clarity, Poetry Super Highway, Six Sentences, decomP and Word Riot.

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Midnight in the Garden of Envy
It's hot in our bedroom this midnight in June.
The air conditioner died but my wife sleeps on. 
She spent the day weeding the garden.
finally decide to open a window
and pray for a breeze.

No breeze but I hear roses and lilies
arguing about which is the prettier, 
which of them deserves more space 
in the garden to unfurl their beauty,
petal by petal, like Gypsy Rose Lee.

The peonies mock the roses and lilies,
claiming peonies are the prettiest of all.
The petunias along the borders yell
not to ignore them because they're not tall.
Suddenly there's a ruckus among the hibiscus.
They, too, claim they're the most beautiful.
They want more space, as do the hydrangeas.

The roses decide to offer a compromise.
Tomorrow they promise to count 
which flower in the garden attracts
the most butterflies and honeybees.
The flower that attracts the most 
will be named the most beautiful 
and be given more space in the garden  
and won't lose a bloom to bouquets. 

The other flowers discuss in a whisper
the compromise offered by the roses.
They take a vote and agree to comply.
Finally, silence returns to the garden.

I tell my wife in the morning to hide out 
in the yard with a clipboard to confirm
which flower attracts the most 
butterflies and honeybees.
We can't trust the roses, I tell her.
They'll cheat on the final results.

I ask her to keep an eye on the sunflowers
since they didn't join the furor at midnight 
over which flower's the most beautiful.
tell her more butterflies and bees 
will visit the sunflowers tomorrow
than any of the others because 
sunflowers at noon leap in the air 
and kiss every cloud in the sky.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Seamas Carraher- A Poem


i try to dance
but i'm stabbed by my bones.
They knife me just
as i am about to fly.
i am a bird with my joints
a butchered bird with a song of starving.
i stumble thus into my poor body
this bag full of guts and terror.
i crouch in unbelievable poses.
What can i call this dance?
only the dance of the Human
Being? Dissolves
in this sharp skinning space
like a scream
in these pieces
that then fill the room of my life
both particle and wave
so i am nailed to the floor
in a flood both of love and stoning.

This is the dance of the body i was.
A severing dance, a dance springfull of ruptures.
The being i was!
This is my fall without limbs,
the fall deeper than the hollow of my bones
where i hid.
This dance is the dance of
my battering bones,
the dance of my butchering
though no one is here.

Who caused such carnage?
That these crude claws
tear my face from its mirror?
Such a question shakes the strings of my
This faceless me in the sack of my dimensions
reminds me of
falling once
long ago
like a bird or a child
dismembered in flight.
So all the parts, my beautiful parts,
flew on, flew on,
(each one like a philosophy
for what had become of the other?)

On my 39th birthday
i danced the dance of my broken parts
plus my head who was
vomiting at the sink
(like a woman pregnant with the ghost
of a child)
puking on the potscrubs and dishcloths
that threw up my flight like
a blinded creature
tunnelling without light,
what else, in my downward descending,
from the belly of the beast
but to dance myself sane in the shivering light?

Oh, this is a dance that is less than a dance
more a war in my electrons ‘til
i see the light.
More a falling from the sky
to a crowded memory
of hands and feet and tongues
all beating and lashing and grinding,
that claws my spirit from this poor body
like paper shredded into leaffall,
at wintertime, all darkness too.
So i never stop falling, down
this motherless tunnel towards the night.
No matter how many corpses i wrap in wool
in the screaming black voices
saying "you're dead, you're dead"
like my face in a fright
and all the ashes are cold and what of
this puke in a sink?

It's my soul i leave hanging on an old coathanger
with its arms jointed and ready for flight
and myself wrapped in this cloud of a night
so i still tried crazy
like a wind in my eye
settled softly on the ceiling
on my 39th birthday
to dance:

watch this flock of
fearful birds
in howls twisting
rise the walls
the sky, the earth
into a shape uplifting
like a gust, or this tear in my eye,
that might well blow me human

Somewhere far from here,
O my great great great great starving grandfathers,
and this father who rapes me with
the blinding in his eye.

Séamas Carraher was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1956. He survives on the Ballyogan estate, in south County Dublin, Ireland, at present.

Destiny Schmidt- A Poem

The Longing

The longing
To hug
The longing
To kiss
The longing
To scream his name
The longing
To cry
To scream
To bleed
To give my heart
The longing
To hold
To laugh
to speak
The longing
Yet to wait

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ralph Monday- Three Poems

A Touch of Sin

Woody Allen’s films always express unconscious
Sexuality, a dive into the flowing liquid of mind
And desire, where Puritans walk, 17th century
Schizophrenia worrying over women’s underwear.

Hollywood, ambivalent, continued the articulation
In 75mm cinemascope, walking between the femme
Fatale and Mamie van Doren.

Striptease became vogue with Jekyll and Hyde,
Confused lovers, developing a Victorian oeuvre—
Violence amour.

Where Eve ate the tainted tamarillo,
Lilith huffed off because she couldn’t ride, the
Cinema skirt now must fall on her knees.

There are many frames in the garden, bad women
Directing the scene. Hysteria rampant, Hitchcock
Transforms them all into androgynous voyeurs,
Watching through the window.

There has to be a show, you see. Cinderella just
Won’t do. National identity constructed in
Rehearsals behind stage left, the female body,
Object floating in space, sexuality sown between
Twin beds.

This is no comedy about a group of losers, no
Black film eroticism, or 5 Great Queer Ladies
Waltzing to videotaped pomo.

Just ask France—they kicked the Puritans out—or
Was it England? No matter, anxiety for woman, her
Insatiable desires, is an ongoing matinee, neo-whore
The star attraction.

Christmas Card for the Dead

The card lies sealed, unopened on my desk,
reversed harbinger, Christmas herald of
my aunt and uncle’s passing this past
late winter.

A Christmas card for the dead, hermeneutically
sealed, as they in tombs, no longer gasp for air.
The return address is Plymouth, Michigan, and
they permanently sojourn, kin to the Plymouth
voyagers who crossed an ocean to land on rock
and trade beads for land.

In the tradition of the cross that they embraced
there is an inherent foul irony like beads of
castor oil rolling from the tongue. They will not
know the return of the sun, its resurrection mated
more to the Indians’ belief than their own.

The card is light, white like yule snow, its
unread message a Sisyphus joke, boulder
rolled to nowhere, memento to hang temporarily
like a Christmas ornament in the long days of
a silent sun.

Communion of the Dead

The world is November white this morning.
On top of Jellico Mountain driving a F-150
like a steel arrow, no other cars on the interstate.
It is as though the land birthed this daybreak,
wrung from the womb as in the beginning;
mountains to either side jut upward like the
back plates of buried stegosaurus, the air ice
blue, trees black, bitter naked skeletons.
A Peary artic world, unreal, as though some
mad god severed the veil between the actual,
spit out a sour conjuration calling forth all
the ghosts of the earth to cry for relief.
The ear can almost hear them stirring, there
in the ground, brittle bones a telegraph to
the few that receive the thin message tapped
out in the Morse code of the dead.

All these voices crying out from cemetery world.
Tongues before the white man, drumbeats from
buried rock, bones lying with fossils, cymbals
measuring the beat of stilled hearts, flutes played
by vanished lungs—dripping water a metronome
keeping time with smoke signals puffed up like
fogs breathed into bottles. They would phone
the living, for only in memory is vitality injected
into the lost. Here the loam womb pretends for a time
that gestation is imminent—only for the moment
before rubber treads mark out the tracks.

Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. This fall he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and is represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review and Poetry Repairs.

P.K. Deb- A Poem


Development – a decorated vehicle,
used by human civilization-
fuelled up with ever-increasing hunger,
geared up by consecutive inventions
and destined towards a permanent dining hall-
full of hungry crowd-
irrespective of rich and poor.

All are seemed to be greedy too
in longing for something more,
over ambitious to make lives
happy, happier and happiest.
Enthusiastic is the vehicle too in movement,
keeps a simultaneous pace        
to reach the attractive dining tables 
soon ,sooner and soonest,
blind in sustaining an endless rivalry
between hunger and inventions.

Ever active are men and machines
in assembling the parts of development,                                                           
polishing it to give a new glow and name daily
and enchanting themselves to exhibit
a never ending game of blanking and filling-
in the name of so-called Development.

Pijush Kanti Deb is a new Indian poet with more than 100 poems accepted or published in many national and international magazines and journals- print and on-line since June 2013.He is an Associate Professor in Economics.

Douglas Polk- A Poem


Tsarist Russia,
birthplace of the vanguard,
of the workers of the world,
a place where the gulf between peasant and nobility,
day and night,
wealth created for one,
while the other slaved with all his might,
the nobility,
the original one percent,
true in every sense of the word,
owning body and soul,
the essence of another,
a hundred years later,
the one percent still exists,
inequality increasing on an exponential rate,
Tsarist Russia,
revived by Putin,
while the American Dream slowly dies,
Obama confused,
serfdom revisited as a way to survive,
the economics of the 21st century.

Duane Locke- Three Poems


The future is dangerous,
The future is dangerous,

Extremely dangerous if
Love and poetry are loved.

Be safe, on streets, in living room,
Love pornography.


God, naked, walked into church;
The preacher quickly
Turned off all the lights.


At YMCA, someone who called me “My brother,”
Stole my portable CD player,
And that night, I had to do my own singing.


Duane Locke lives hermetically in Tampa, Florida near anhinga, gallinules, raccoons, alligators.  Has had published 6,836 different poems, none self-published or paid to be published.  This includes 32 books of poems.

His latest book publications are DUANE LOCKE, THE FIRST DECADE, 1968-1978 (First 11 books—Order from publisher Bitter Oleander Press or AMAZON---YANG CHU’S POEMS,

He is a photographer of Surphotos and Nature.  Has had 417 photos published,
Some as book covers.  A book of 40 of his surphotos  has been published by BLAZE VOX,

His paintings have been described in Gary Monroe’s EXTRAORDINARY INTERPRETITONS,
Published by University of Florida Press, and are in many private collections and museums.

He is a student of philosophy—favorites: Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty,
Jacques Lacan, and Jacques Derrida.

B.Z. Niditch- A Poem


In Soho tonight
a winter wind grabs
the arm that I make
my moves on
when I play sax,
and the love
of three orange I carry
on my motorcycle
are almost murdered
by a rain storm
on the jazz corner
for my midnight gig,
yet a surreal poet is still
walking the Beat for life
in his runaway suit
hiding in an apex of light
near his city's downtown club
unable to drive,
with no more gas,
yet he fixes on his riffs
moving as tiny snow flakes
hugging the window blinds
at the pub's opening
hearing a sped up recording
of a Coltrane tape,
a stranger out of nowhere
with a cool French accent
sees me stuck,
supplies my gas
knowing these temporary
blues and blahs
will not outlast
my poisonous
brief loss
of mental direction
as I invite this snappy guy
to my underground gig
knowing jazz riffs
will soon beat out notes
from my body heat
hotly simmering
inside my jacket
to play improvisations.

Michael Cluff- A Poem

College Sights 8:55 a.m.

Atop a pomegranate red table
outdoors near the hub of campus
the surface contains a second tint
blood from a somewhat gutted
gopher, eyes now ever shut
and paws raised in a near prayer
of hopeful deliverance
trinkles and then drops
from near suspension
onto the cold cemented
unconcerned earth.

Nancy May- Three Haiku

fluttering butterfly
asking you
on a date

spring dawn
baby’s bottle

Iris in season
your daughter’s
wedding dress

Nancy May has haiku published in Haiku Journal, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Inclement Poetry, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Vox Poetica, Eskimo Pie, Icebox, Dark Pens, Daily Love, Leaves of Ink, The Blue Hour Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Kernels, Mused - the BellaOnline Literary Review, Writer’s Haven, Danse Macabre – An online literary magazine, Lyrical Passion Poetry E-Zine, High Coupe and A Handful of Stones. Haiku will soon appear in The Germ and 50 Haikus.
She has reached The Heron’s Nest consideration stage twice.  Haiku is published weekly on Haikuary.
She is working on her first haiku collection.

Daniel N. Flanagan- A Poem

Tyler Durden

& I was staring and glaring
Glazed over and
Staring still
At my bright computer screen.
I blinked with force!
& she appeared before me
A subliminal message
Slipped into my subconscious vision
Ahh…but she was too slow!
I saw her this time round,

In a chair she sat
Slicing her wrist she was
Showing me she had no fear
I feared her
She appeared in black & white
And so I drained blue & white
Until my liver was black and my piss was

I turned up the volume and
Let Netflix alleviate my mind from

Daniel N. Flanagan is a Worcester, MA native. He is the author of the short story "Daddy's Girl", located in The Commonline Journal, and sixteen poems, featured in Poppy Road Review, Three Line Poetry, and more. He has five stories and six poems scheduled for publication by various journals, including Stone Path Review. Check him out at and follow him @DanielNFlanagan.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Lola Gerber- A Poem

Monsters: A Prelude

Once I took a shower with a girl
who had dirty fingernails. I did not love her,
and the dirt did not go away. She stood beneath
that falling water for years, laughing

because I would not eat
anything but Raisins and water. I could not swallow
communion wine or chocolate; I could not
wear short sleeves or sleep without shaking.

After four years of this laughter I made a fire:
splintering matches, a scent of gasoline to take away
a lacy white pillow splattered with rust-red blood,
magazine eyes, boxes of empty red Raisin boxes.

In that smoke I saw
the horrible gap between her teeth and I saw
how the senseless pattern of her freckles and I
hated her in the all the small ways that matter most.

Here I am, searching
for a new means to be cleansed,
white ash filling my mouth, my tongue
a charmed cobra, writhing, licking, swilling.

I earned a MA in Poetry from Southern Illinois University, and am currently an MFA student at Naropa University, and have had my poetry published in various journals, both print and online, including PoemsMemoiresStories magazine, Monkey Puzzle Press, and Mixed Fruit Magazine, and have self-published a novel titled Serrated Soul.

Shaquana Adams- Three Poems

Jungle Man

Damn near six feet tall, muscular, and hairy from head to toe,
A Tarzan gentleman if you will
Big feet with an arch so huge,
The better for walking away
Tree trunk calves, 
To help with the lifting of heavy burdens
Huge thighs of muscle,
To later help toss off those burdens
A crotch that is covered,
Only to fool one into thinking it has nothing to do with who he is
A flab of stomach skin, the only soft spot on his body,
He’d laugh if one touched the belly button; he’d laugh at most things
Above the flab, some abs. How lovely.
The better to attract his mate(s)
Next, a chest with pecs, 
One would assume a heart under all that muscle
And attached, long arms for holding,
And later breaking
Further down, gigantic hands,
For touching of course
Between the shoulders lies a neck one can’t help but notice on a man
Just right, not too muscular, but dare I say, gentle
And next his face,
His goddamned beautiful face
The part that pulls you in and makes you believe
Half full lips,
Just right for kissing
A bright smile, 
That erupts one’s own happiness
A soft voice,
Almost velvet, for seduction
Facial features that are soft and say: I come in peace
But instincts say: He will leave you in pieces
Green eyes that send the looker into another realm,
They cried once
And last his hair
Dark, wild, static, crazy
Soft, smooth, dark, wild
Smooth, dark, wild, crazy Wild, dark, crazy, soft
Dark, crazy, wild, static

I’d run my hand through it
He is a modern Tarzan, and like any jungle man he was an adventure

That’s what we will call him

An adventure.


That horrible feeling,
the nurses outside the room,
the frowned wet faces.
Hold, hold.
Don't speak it.
For that would make it real


If the man you love can lie,
To your face when you ask why,
Or if he loves you at all,
And then dares to have the gall,
To say he never meant you pain,
But your heart lies there slain,
And he doesn’t feel a thing,
Because you were just a fling,
Then Karma should come back,
With a bat and give him a whack,
Because it’s hard for you to heal.
Yes, that’s how I really feel. 

*Jungle Man was previously published in The Snow Island Review, 2011.
*Honestly was previously published in The World of Myth, 2012.

Robert F. Gross- Two Poems

Mister Wizard’s Nordsee Experiment

Today there is something impersonal and ruthless
the wiring of catatonic rats in series

Each one of them draped in inkstained cheesecloth
the respiration of innumerable dreamers

Hillock upon hillock reaching into winter
already put on ice and vivisected

He moves the finger of the galvanometer
like a robotic fiddler’s tremolo

The five-watt bulb shudders convulsively
into enfeebled, intermittent transmission

Olivia’s Willow Sampler

The rats furnished her with calling cards;
one would have cried from beginning to end. She

Neither thought of her brother dead nor branches
nor facts in his forehead good as she would ever have:

A root cellar of meditation with a world on the side.
Several days to spare as good a moment as any

Lost connection in the dark near the lake
under the clouds trees lawn down to her very hands.

Robert F. Gross leads a nomadic existence nowadays, writing and directing, meandering across the landscape, and on the lookout for collaborative projects. He is currently involved in the development of Julius Ferraro's Micromania for its premiere in Philadelphia. He has recently published poems in Black Mirror Magazine, The Camel Saloon, Sein und Werden, Philosophy after Dark, and Danse Macabre. 

Michelle D'costa- A Poem


Rusted swings

Their seats
Too small
For my grown kids

My ears
Their laugh

As I propel them
With my wrinkled hands
To achieve greater heights

My ears
Their cry

When they fall
From those heights

But all I smell now
Is rust

Very soon
This too
Will only be a memory
Just like my kids

Michelle is 22 yrs old. 
She never imagined she would be writing so much someday. 
Follow her fiction/poetry here 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Gene McCormick- Two Poems

Macy’s Cosmetic Counter

It’s silliness, beauty counter sales clerks
applying lipstick and other make-ups
to consenting adult shoppers then seriously
checking their handiwork from all angles,
putting a mirror in front of the
makeover patron who always smiles.

The department manager is unsmiling,
shuffling paperwork, opening, shutting drawers,
brushing makeup dust off the counter,
retrieving soiled tissues dropped to the floor
as sales associates joke with
one another while applying colors
to anyone willing.
Have a great day the manager says to customers
leaving with purchases and red lips.

The manager is the only one whose face
is not decorated like a geisha,
and is the only one wearing a wedding ring.
A passing shopper asks for the time
and as she squints at her wristwatch
two clerks pull out smart phones
and flash the time.

Up In Smoke

First thing he did after the service
was deadhead home to the refrigerator,
not bothering to put the car in the garage,
squirting the remnants of a can of Reddi Whip
down his throat until it runs
out the corners of his mouth,
up his nose and down his chin.
Swiping the excess with the back of his hand,
it smears across his smile like Barbasol.
He licks it with his tongue in a circular motion,
wiping his hand on polyester suit pants.

Lighting up a double corona cigar,
Ed looks around: the house sounds hollow
against his racing thoughts.
She hated smoking which was why
he didn’t have the body cremated:
she would have bitched like a banshee
knowing she was going to end up as a
pile of ashes even though it would have
saved him a shitload of money, and the
handful of visitors would have been spared
a final look at the chemically bloated face.

Taps a half-inch ash from the corona,
questioning why people still use the term
coffin nails. Haven’t nailed shut wood-slat
type coffins for the better part of a century
and most of ‘em are now metal or plastic.
Just use latches, he supposes, but at any rate
she can’t get at him now.

Brief Bio: Gene McCormick has never dated Meryl Streep, has no intention of doing so, and has never even met the lady. Same applies to Julia Roberts.