Monday, June 30, 2014

B.Z. Niditch- A Poem


Sensing warmth
in the earth
a young widow spider
climbs up the rose bush
sunshine devouring
everyone dazzled in sight
the boy on the bicycle
now fixes a tire
near the gazebo on the dunes
watches the flute player
with urgent fingers
hob nobbing with a young 
soon the musician passes the plate
to the veteran card player
for his last supper
on the island
before the rainy season
grows utterly dark.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Neil Ellman- Three Poems

Black Fire I
(after the painting by Barnett Newman)

At the beginning white
the end black fire
the eyes see only darkness
invisible flames
not what they wished for
behind translucent lids
their lives eclipsed
by too-red fire
too hot to feel or see
too black to understand.

Double Gray Scramble
(after the painting by Frank Stella)

The opposite of opposite
its opposite
attracts multiple
the warp and weave
in the waves of time
possibilities converge
contradictions emerge
itselves diverge
observe the paradox
of opposite lives
chaos to matterless matter
nothing matters
but this me and now.

What is Gravity?
(after the screenprint by Ralf Winkler
aka A.R. Penck)

Whatever it is
It keeps me here
hog-tied, bound and fettered
like a rodeo calf
or a dog on a leash
unable to move or escape
your arms.

Whatever it is
I am Newton’s apple
fallen from a tree
to lie by your side
and hug the earth
shackled to your body
never free
of your embrace.

Whatever it is
we are together now
and forever
hamstrung and betrothed
till death do us part.

Neil Ellman, a poet from New Jersey, has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net and the Rhysling Award.  Close to 1000 of his poems, many of which are ekphrastic and written in response to works of modern and contemporary art, appear in print and online journal, anthologies and chapbooks throughout the world. 

Brad Middleton- Two Poems


They know who they are, the bastards
Those who claim to be an original, even an outsider?
For as long as you obey the
Values of your labels you’ll never be
Worthwhile or free or interesting to me
The people I value are the mad
The damaged and those outside
Your elitist label obsessed life
Yours is the life of someone
Who doesn’t understand that to
Be an original you need to stick out
But not just in what you look like
Be brave and speak your mind
The mad, the damaged and us on the
Outside speak our minds as if it’s
The truth cos our belief is based on conviction
We are the mad, damaged outsiders
Who will confuse with our words
Antagonize you with the way we look
Confound you with our life choices
As we march on in the search for truth


I’ve wanted to speak to you for a while now
To tell you it’s over; our friendship is no more
I just can’t take your flakiness any longer
No more questions of ‘out tonight?’
To which I used to reply but which would always
End with… nothing! No going out with you
To the bar, just idiocy

Come round you say and we can play with
The most trivial of pursuits and the worst of minds
I cannot tolerate how you treat me
For example when I tell you some news
I’d like a reaction but all I ever get is more about you
YOU! That’s all you ever care about
I was willing to be a friend when I didn’t know you well
But now I can’t get far enough away from you
And the boredom you bring
I’ve had enough and just want to get on with life

Paul Tristram- Three Poems

Mad Cow Disease

I remember being in a relationship once
that was disastrously ‘On The Rocks’
We drove to a campsite somewhere
out in the wilds off Bodmin Moor
to try and patch things up again.
‘We spend all our time in the pub’
she had said like it was a bad thing?
‘Drinking and fighting and generally
creating a bloody mess and disturbance’
‘But I like that’ I had replied with a smile.
‘We’ll pitch the tent and go off walking
in the vast, beautiful British countryside
and breath in deeply the fresh summer air.
We’ll have time to talk about other things
like baby names, home decorations,
furnishings, TV soap dramas and work’
When we arrived at the place we were
notified straight away that all walking areas
directly outside of the campsite were now
completely out of bounds for the foreseeable
future because of  Mad Cow Disease.
That they currently had no fun activities
since the woodland and lake closure
but they did have an on site public house.
I took it as a sign and walked over to the bar
laughing loudly as she scowled besides me.
And it only took 6 hours of serious drinking
to finally find a solution to our problem
and say goodbye to each other permanently.

© Paul Tristram 2014


Run Down, Run Over, Run Out

He was just one of those dirty old drunks
that you see wandering around town
wearing a big overcoat even in the Summer.
He was married to my Grandfather’s Sister-
on my Mother’s side-until he went destitute.
They’d given my Grampa two and a half years
in prison for stabbing him before I was born,
my Mother still has the newspaper cuttings.
He never even said ‘Boo’ to me when I started
drinking in the Skewen pubs, knew who I was see.
It was in that backstreet behind the old Co-op
in Neath centre just down from the Taxi Rank.
It was one of those big delivery trucks that did it,
around 4 or 5 o’clock in the bloody morning.
The Driver said he was just laying there
in the middle of the road and looked just like
a bunch of rags so he drove straight over him.
He was my Auntie’s Father somewhere back
on down that long and miserable road of ruin.
Christ, I can’t even remember his name now?
Except when I was a kid the women would spit
and refer to him as ‘That Useless Bastard!”

© Paul Tristram 2014

Pityriasis Rosea

I took off my shirt and there it was
a purple and red rash
made up of little circles
and half-circles.
I had never seen anything like it before.
It was really quite pretty
and very interesting to look at,
it covered my left shoulder.
I stood inspecting it for ages
then I took myself off to the doctors.

“It’s Pityriasis Rosea,
a stress related rash,
I can do nothing for it,
it will clear up on its own!”

I smiled as I left the surgery
walking home via the narrow back lanes
of this little Cornish town
where you had chased me last week
in your car
nearly knocking me down
screaming and spitting like a lunatic.
I smiled because my heart is intact,
I managed to get out of your selfish web
and away from you
I lucked it and escaped
with only a small temporary disease
which like you, is really nothing at all.

© Paul Tristram 2013

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.

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems

broken promises

you were supposed to be
my best friend
but you chose him over me
it didn't have to be
that way;
but it
you broke all the promises we made
that a man would never matter
more than our
but you let me go;
and i'll stand by my sixteen year old self and say
i never want to be married
not if it means
breaking all my promises
and hurting all
my friends—
you changed and became the meanest,
most ignorant person i've
ever known
pushy and bossy;
demanding and ferocious
all you want is complete and utter control over me
to pull my strings taut because you can't
control the chaos
of your married life,
and if this is the way it is then please
forget my name
i've had enough villains in my life, mystique, i
thought you were my friend.

you're gone

lied to myself
i was sixteen
because i've always wanted a family,
and a husband to hold my
for my children to know their
father like i could never
know mine,
and my stepfather tried but he is not my
blood and kin
it's different
no matter how much he loves me
there's still a hole in my heart
where my father
ought to be—
insisted that we didn't need men
because you would never
and you insisted that i'd be married one day
the irony is that you're the one that's
married and i am here
still searching
for the man that is meant to hold my heart
in his hands, the one that makes
these raven's lips tremble
in both love and fear;
because unrequited love has nearly ripped me
he can't do it to me again—
we were friends once
but you are gone
too absorbed in your own concerns you let our
friendship wither,
and it's only because i'm pulling away
that you want to draw

just the same

you're a bully
tactless and rude
insisting that i give, give, give
so you can
take and take and take;
i am a giver,
but even i have my limits
all you do now-a-days is irritate
no, you cannot have everything
for free, and no i will not feel
bad for that;
once we were best friends
shared everything
were there
for one another like no one was there for
and now we've drifted away
you probably blame me
i blame you—
you were the one that put your husband before me
then when he started to irritate you came
clawing back to me,
and you expect that i can just ignore all the times
you weren't there for me all the times you
just ignored my texts
i'm sorry, i can't;
thought that i meant more to you than that
yet it turns out that i'm just a paper
leaf blowing through the winds of a lost dream,
and you're tearing through me
with every word—
i thought you were someone i could believe in,
but you're just like everyone else
you just want to take
until i have nothing left to give.

Douglas Polk- Three Poems


minds empty of everything,
but hate and fear,
terrorism encased in flesh,
and needs,
a problem since the beginning of time,
pawns ignorant,
to be moved and played,
minds empty of thought,
humanity's nightmare.

an Egyptian god,
now a hostage of terrorists,
in every sense of the word.
Cold Blooded

Obama's drones,
Cossacks in the sky,
precursor of a technological KGB,
political dissenters,
and enemies beware,
mechanical legions fill the air,
killing in cold blood,
just as they were programmed to do.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Donal Mahoney- A Poem

Horns Over Hooves

You meet all kinds of women in pubs,
women far different than women
you meet in church on Sunday
when you're in a pew with your wife

which is why I was surprised to hear
this beautiful woman two stools over
ask me if I believed in angels 
before I had ordered a drink

Well, as a matter of fact, I do,
I said, happy to get the small stuff
out of the way before we got down
to business, whatever that might be.

What kind of angels do you believe in, 
she smiled and asked, sipping a Guinness.
Well, I believe in seraphim, cherubim,
principals, thrones, dominations, all 

the different choirs of angels 
listed in the Bible I studied in school.
What about guardian angels, she asked.
Do you believe you have one?

Indeed I do believe I have one, I said,
although I saw no reason why guardian angels
couldn't be women if angels had genders
which as pure spirits they don't have.

And what does your guardian angel do,
she inquired, getting rather personal.
Well, I said, my guardian angel is busy
from the moment I get up at dawn

till I fall back in the sack at night
because Satan or one of his minions
is always trying to worm his way 
into my mind, memory or imagination

trying to get me to do things
forbidden by the Ten Commandments.
For example, whenever I see a beautiful woman, 
Satan always says I should introduce myself

and I always ask my guardian angel if I should
and he always asks what my wife would say
and I always ask if I have to tell her
and he always says I should keep walking

while he does what guardian angels do
and knocks Satan horns over hooves
back into Hades, something he does for me
several times a day, especially when

I stop at this train station pub for 
root beer on ice when my train is late 
and a beautiful woman two stools over
smiles and asks if I believe in angels.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Craig Stormont- Three Poems

The Fig Tree

a sun glazes this still scorched plain
where martyrs walked ages past
scorned in recollection
for their wicked sacrifices

slaughter the legacy
kiddie game king of the hill
a hanging on a cross
see the mad people shout!
they shout from the corners of streets

a fallen brood
we are said
experience to verify
in churches or traffic jam
the other is dust

caveman driven
with motives of armadas
by senators and CEOs
impotent intelligentsia and playful priests
watch the young die for gas

delusions of liberty shield money games 
a hole in the sky grows daily
yet yachtsmen smirk
when informed that the many missed dinner

masses paralyzed by dumb repetition
too stunned or numb to demand more
enduring inherited agony
prove numbers mean shit
unless it’s cash or revolt

serenaded by saints and dollar signs
a graceless embracing of droll routine
leads to what -
trading this for some imagined future bliss
promised by counters?

something notices
twinkle of starlight far off blast
a wink
that they scream on and
dare to dress a god

the ape’s mother

the cruelty humans are capable of
became clear to me at the age of twelve
after breaking a window
when my best friend
- we called him ape -
was no longer allowed to hang around with me

I called ape’s house afterward
pretending to be my older brother
his mother answered the phone
hurling a barrage of insults
realizing it was me
“you’re not Billy”
“you’re bad”
“I don’t want you near my son”

the woman drank a lot and died young
bad karma I guess
but drink or no drink
that’s not something any kid should be told

whatever respect I had for my fellow humans
began to wane then
and yes
I proved her correct at one thing
however bad I was
I became more so from that time on

before long none of the other
kids were allowed near me
they saw through the bullshit of it all
flocking to me regardless

 The Quiet People

the quiet people set their clocks
weary conscience avoids the acts
their taxes subsidize
all is well drudging toward the dinner bell 
hours zombified by television madness
miles from the reality media hides
the fact that things could be otherwise

the quiet people no longer even whine
as they watch the gas prices rise – near four dollars a gallon
the environmental cost worth less than a tax loss for the boss
obscenely they allow themselves to be resigned
to a false sense of inadequacy     a paralysis
instead of shouting for change
        they should rise

the quiet people cannot comprehend
that the national dream of wealth
was designed in mind of profit for one
a deceit that directs their lives   
paychecks waved as if bones to dogs
an easy temptation
in an urban age a terror
allowing continuance of mistaken occupations

only brave solitary voices echo of the fraud          largely unheard
justified rage en masse nonexistent
a nation founded on principles of freedom should mourn
shamed by its cowardice

Bio - 
Craig Stormont is originally from Queens, NY, but he currently lives on Long Island. He began writing poems in the late 1970's before spending the next decade hitchhiking throughout the USA in order to experience life to the fullest. Craig now earns his living teaching college literature and writing courses. He values nature, truth and most of all his young son Harry.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Jim Pascual Agustin- Three Poems

Goat, Rope, Rock

There is a goat in front of a house surrounded by sand.
Its left foot is tied to a rope
attached to a chunk of rock.
The desert town of Jaisalmer grows dark.
It is possible there are other goats
like this one, tied similarly to a rock.
But this is the goat that will not surrender
gnawing at the rope even as darkness reigns.
It will not give up while rope
taunts the limits of teeth. Even when I
am no longer by the window to witness
its freedom.

first published in my book ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (University of Santo Tomas Publishing House, Manila 2011)

BigDog Takes a Walk

Wonder cast in the sea of dreams
caught your fragments. Pieces
with their own limitations were forged:
rubber, metal, wire, glass, plastic.
Their possibilities stretched to bring you
close to something almost alive.

You were born of careful hands,
patient in taking note of countless failures.
Amazement filled your creators
as the dynamics of behaviour began
to thrash inside your casing: pulse of laser light,
hydraulics, sensors, mechanical organs.

It was not the dark heart
of destruction that pushed your limbs
toward those first twitches, and later
into the complex physics
of walking. It was wonder.

But where to? What burden
are you bound to carry?
Whose hands will take command
of the perfect balance of limbs
now able to navigate riverbeds, dunes,
concrete, rubble, sleet?

You have no choice in matters.
The greater powers have predicted
your history. Geopolitics, interventions,
calculated murder. The language of madness
where my fear of you resides.

NOTE: BigDog is a quadruped robot that walks, runs, and climbs on rough terrain and carries heavy loads. BigDog is powered by a gasoline engine that drives a hydraulic actuation system. BigDog’s legs are articulated like an animal’s, and have compliant elements that absorb shock and recycle energy from one step to the next. In separate trials, BigDog runs at 4 mph, climbs slopes up to 35 degrees, walks across rubble, and carries a 340 lb load.The program is funded by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA).
Boston Dynamics
first published in ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (UST Publishing House, Manila 2011)

Village Potter’s Wife
Jaipur, India

in a corner with no shade

she smashes, pounds
old, broken
pieces of pottery
close to dust

fifty years she never felt
the sensuous dance
of earth and water
on stone wheel

her hands know
cut of shards, lick of flame,
burden of sons,
cling of daughters

first published in my book ALIEN TO ANY SKIN (UST Publishing House, Manila 2011) and in New Coin Poetry (Rhodes University, South Africa, 2011)

Jim Pascual Agustin writes and translates poetry in Filipino and English. He grew up in the Philippines and now lives in Cape Town with his Canadian-born wife and their twin daughters. His fifth and sixth poetry books are Kalmot ng Pusa sa Tagiliran and Sound Before Water, simultaneously published in 2013 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House in Manila. The same publisher recently accepted a new collection, A Thousand Eyes. His blog is

Willie Smith- Two Poems


What am I gonna do
now the rent overdue
and in my wallet ain’t doo-doo?
Throw a shoe at the cat,
swat at a gnat, catch
a flyby yellowjacket?
Kick through the morning dew.
Puppies get soaked
as all the bills
soaked up my dough.
Wet, cold, shivery, even forget
where I got evicted from.

Hunt under the bridge for a crumb,
feeling like a crumb.
Rub the backbone of that cur
growling in my bowels.
All I need is duds,
grub, some decent flop.
Not this flop of a life.
The freeway roars, the jail overflows,
the mission by its own bugs devoured.
Me under an eave
in a downpour cowered.
Throw a shoe at the cat.
Step in dog flop.
Go crazy bugs. Catch
in mid-flight hell from a bumblebee.

What am I gonna do
now the blood overdue?
and in my vein ain’t doo-doo?


Eternity dawns at sunset.
Eternity knows,
stitched in the very word,
everything now.
Eternity knows everything new.
Before eternity nothing knew everything.
After eternity everything knew nothing.
Eternity at death rises down
to own the only word
left at peace
with itself:
O, eternity… o.

Linda Sacco- A Poem

Worlds Colliding
“Attention passengers:
Welcome to Melbourne Central Station”
Says the artificial voice
Not one of them hears it
On a night like this
Old friends speak intimately
Standing close
Another is in his own world
Transported to another era
Where trains and exhaust aren’t yet imagined
When he looks up
Dragons and medieval castles will disappear
He’ll see the man in the suit
Walking past briskly
With one hand in his pocket
And the other gripping a casual backpack
A girl on a mobile phone circles me
Chatting loudly with a foreign tongue
Comforted perhaps that I don’t understand
Her smile is conniving
What could she be talking about?
The artificial voice snaps back to life again
The train appears
The platform empties
All disappear into the same setting
Worlds apart between us
Now worlds collide
Barriers between are up
Aided by personal comforts
Enables a feeling of somewhat safety
When worlds overlap

Jude Conlee- Three Poems

I am not left with these
I will think of something
awful and I will have no regrets,
I will have no regrets, and
you will have been a liar
and I will neglect any whisper you made
to state, “think upon your future”.
No, it’s past.
I’ve gone by,
I’m the future I never had, I’m
done with thoughts and
here come actions!
actions and words
words and images
words don’t try
they don’t they never will they can’t
I am one of them,
my own kind call me and I’ll be here
no longer
no longer than it takes for
a word like “forget” to form on the wind
and blow away to its rhyme

Personal failure to breathe results in

Personal failure to breathe results in
a general existence failure that
makes others upset even if they
couldn’t stand your existence while the breath was
still in your body.

Rediscovery Is a Poisonous Fact
cover cancerouskiss,you are no-other to
be taken quite seriously like you knew what
was goingon in the goings on of the ((life you re-discovered
            and quite seriously it doesn’t pay,notforall the world
            to be slip-sliding-self-assured when
                        no one is
                                    going to
                                                see you
fall or
maybe stay
Jude Conlee is a person who puts words together, some of which are born from the writer’s experiences and some of which are born from supposals of lives that are not the writer’s own. Places that have published these words include Otoliths, and/or, Words and Images, and Southern Pacific Review. Aside from this, Conlee plays ukulele, finds almost everything fascinating, and forgets things.

Tamara Fey Turner- A Poem & Photo

Spring Tree
Imposing front yard giant
Stands turning deep lilac
Darkness evolves to yellow
                                                  She has shed a moat 

Tamara currently lives in southern California with her favorite parrot and kitty.

Dah- Three Poems

The way the bees pull apart the Borage
pack their bags and fly off
I raise my head
and pluck the air with my lips
marvel at their weightlessness
at the way they stain the sky
when they swarm
Striking against the sun
their yellow appearance
is a child’s design that floats
from the bottom up
small stars of exquisite bitterness
a wood-fire of stingers
minute eyes of splintered black ice
They have invented the secret
the persuading of waterless pollen
into Royal Jelly
while the queen dominates
with her dangerous sex
the pure poison of ecstasy
spilling a violent sweetness

"Sardines Mesh and Scars"
The freeway shakes with severe
nervousness. Bullets of light
ricochet then strike, like livid eyes,
the sun drops its broiled fruit,
and the cars mesh with one another,
burning the air’s thin garment.
Each face in a window is a dream
that just begins, radiates and dissolves.
The spinning tires run from death,
impatient and burdened.
Dense smears from dark treads
are collected scars on the road’s body.
The metal wheels burn with the furry
of a great applause.
Somebody’s oil is leaking, like black guts
from a belly wound; clashing music
breaks out of open windows,
and everyone is compressed,
as if enormous cans of sardines
in line on a market shelf. 

"Lead and Salt"
So often I come close
then pull myself together
Still no concern for this wrecked world
all I can do is go back into myself
conjure a hole
and caste these feelings to the bottom
where the light is displaced
dries out
where the dust scatters
like a shy apparition
and leaves the world behind
darkness of days
darkness of nights
darkness of lives
darkness of deaths
the unseen void
the obvious severed air
There must be lead in my lungs
or a heavy sea that’s all salt
I could list more complaints more ailments
but what’s the use
cause my weakness is for life
but not for the wrecked world
yet this weakness draws me closer
closer to death 
Dah’s poetry has appeared, most recently, in The Sandy River Review, Stone Voices Magazine, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Orion headless, River & South Review, The Muse, and Miracle Magazine, and is forthcoming in Eunoia Review, Perfume River Review, Literature Today, Poetry Pacific, Zygote in my Coffee, Red Wolf Journal, Deep Tissue Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers, and Rose Red Review. The author of two collections of poetry from Stillpoint Books, his third collection is due for publication in 2014, also from Stillpoint. Dah lives in Berkeley, California where he is working on the manuscript for his fourth book.

Richard Schnap- A Poem


They appear from nowhere
To gather at the terminals
Like birds on a wire

Searching the Internet
As if they’re fortune tellers
Consulting crystal balls

And in the enforced silence
I hear their fingers tap
In desperate rhythms

Trying to find a sign
That will let them know
Where to go next

Ryan Quinn Flanagan- Three Poems

Sex Toes

String theory
would be plausible
if it ended
in sex

Blood flush
and fully extended
like toast
from the toaster.

Ask another Ouija board
who killed Kennedy
in the streets
of Dallas.

buried in the backyard
like cucumber

in a summer


I was desperate, I’ll admit it,
not whiskered soup kitchen desperate
or anything
but desperate enough
to put on that black balaclava
in the middle of the afternoon
and arm myself with a butterfly knife
and accost that garden snail down the street
by the curbside
because humans can run away
while a snail cannot -
an easy target, I thought,
like the muggers of old ladies
like the reader of tea leaves instead of Tolstoy,
but the tiny bugger wouldn’t budge,
he ignored my many knifepoint demands
and when I tried to take his shell
he wouldn’t give it up,
leaving me with a decision to make:
the use of force              
or a quick exit strategy,
and being the coward I am
I turned             
and took off running
down the

Verily proud of that little snail
and mildly disappointed
with myself.

Meet the Parents

She wheels me out into the front room
loads a cannonball in my mouth
and points me directly
at them.

They smile
like their very lives
may depend on

They do not like me,
I can tell.

I can always tell.

Nothing makes it better,
the cheese platter
all for naught.

Those little rounded crackers
that smell like bacon.

Everyone plied with wine.

Something white
and dry
from California.

After an hour or so
of idle chatter 
and many uncomfortable glares,
she wheels me back
into the back room
and closes the door

And I feel at home again,
among her many curiosities.

This old rocking horse
with the painted streetwalker eyes.

A childhood dollhouse -
in the corner by
the window -
full of dismembered Barbies.

Bio: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a wheezing asthmatic who enjoys short walks on the beach. He lives deep in the Canadian Shield with his toaster oven and his muse, believing himself to be eternally hungry as many his poems are about food.

Laura Stamps- A Poem

A Toast For All The Men In My Life (Except The Ones I’m Trying To Forget)

South Carolina, the first day
of March.  Ostara, our Pagan
sabbat, still three weeks away,
late winter slicking palmettos
and pines with a glittering
glaze of ice, while tulips and
daffodils unfurl from the earth,
colorful, defiant.  “I want you
to come to dinner,” he texts. 
This is the message I receive
when Dante creates a new
vegan recipe.  He’s not a
Kitchen Witch, but he likes
to cook.  And I’m his favorite
guinea pig.  Savory fragrances
pour through his door when
he opens it, and I step inside. 
“This is delicious,” I say,
pointing my fork at the pasta
piled on my plate.  “What’s
in it?”  We’re seated at his
dining room table, the emerald
green one, the one decorated
with zillions of tiny pentacles,
skulls, rune sigils, and Gothic
crosses painted in licorice
black, the one he bought at
an art gallery in the Vista
last month.  Dante is a Faery
Witch and vegan, but he
decorates his house in Goth. 
Who knows why?  I think he
likes the contrast.  It makes
him laugh.  He’s good about
that.  “Zucchini, kidney beans,
red peppers, rutabagas, carrots,
collard greens, pecans, kale,
pumpkin seeds, and tofu,”
he says.  “Tonight I used rice
pasta.  I’m avoiding wheat
this week.”  He fills my glass
with more spring water.  “But
it’s vegan, right?” I ask.  He
looks at me like I should know
better.  I do.  But I can’t resist. 
“Of course,” he says.  Outside,
a ruckus of brittle leaves skitters
across the driveway, the sky
already as dark as the potting
soil in my garden, and it’s
only six o’clock.  Ostara, the
spring equinox, can’t come
fast enough for me.  “Then
what’s in this creamy yellow
sauce?” I ask, licking my
finger.  It’s not nutritional
yeast.  It’s not curry.  But it’s
tasty.  “You’ll never guess,”
he says.  “Butternut squash. 
Bake until soft and then toss
in the blender with honey, sea
salt, lemon juice, white beans,
and garlic.”  I wipe my fingers
on the cloth napkin bunched
in my lap.  It’s an eerie shade
of crimson, embroidered with
lavender skulls (of course). 
“Cool,” I say.  “I want this
recipe, okay?”  His smile
flares as bright as the summer
sun igniting the petals of
a daylily.  “Done,” he says
and tears open a rice flour
roll, smearing it with cashew
butter.  I raise my glass.  “A
toast,” I say, “to men.  They
make good friends.”  He taps
his glass against mine.  “Men
are good for more than that,”
he says.  I stab a plump carrot
with my fork.  “I’m trying to
forget the bad stuff,” I say. 
He nods while he hands me
a cashew butter roll.  “True,”
he says, “there is that.”  

BIO: Laura Stamps is a Pagan novelist and poet living in South Carolina.  Her fiction and poetry have been nominated for seven Pushcarts and appeared in many literary journals, including Curbside Review, Half Drunk Muse, Main Street Rag, Iodine Poetry Journal, Mannequin Envy, Poetry Motel, and Word Riot.  She enjoys creating experimental forms for her prose poems, blurring the line between fiction and poetry.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bruce McRae- Two Poems


 Bundle-of-lint, get back into your cubbyhole,
into your linen drawer, your kettle of fish heads.
To the seeping wound from whence thou came.

get back down into your hole of holes.
Return to the smirking mouth of the salamander.
To the bottom of your olive jar.
To the glove compartment of a burning sedan.

Mister-face-like-a-slapped-backside –
exit with the staged play’s walk-on mob.
Back to your shallow-dug grave in the woods.
Return to your shoebox hidden under the bed.
To your gouged hill scarred with aircraft debris.

Go, and never trouble this existence again.
And may your shadow never cross another’s.

                Day’s End

 Sundown, which is a book closing,
which is the last page turned
in a story unwillingly relinquished,
starlings crowding cloudbanks to the east,
the west glowering, so proud of itself
and the great works the Earth has accomplished.

When one moment catches sight of another,
short-winded from breathless passages,
the mind idly strolling about, wandering
toward the swirling mists we term ‘pre-history’,
seeing there the old made new,
long before the slang of our time
and its ream of ambiguities, written in blood
and on stone, their messages sealed always. 

Pushcart-nominee Bruce McRae is a Canadian musician with over 800 publications, including and The North American Review. His first book, ‘The So-Called Sonnets’ is available from the Silenced Press website or via Amazon books. To hear his music and view more poems visit his website:, or ‘TheBruceMcRaeChannel’ on Youtube.

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems

trying to forget

you fancy yourself sherlock holmes
with your pipe and jacket,
but the detective
has a kindlier nature than yours;
you're professor moriarty
convinced of your brilliance—
or maybe irene addler
because you
kill all of my sense until i'm scrabbling
on my knees,
and i know you're bad for me
hate myself for loving you
there's watson always telling me that
i'm mad to care;
he's right, i know, i know—
yet the way you smirk at me, the way you
smile so sweetly
you disarm me with your snark
and your caustic wit
sometimes catches me off guard and makes
me laugh;
you can't help whom you fall in love with
even if, sometimes, it's
with a sociopath—
goodbye, irene, you've already killed me
it's time for me rise from my ashes
solve another crime
forget your face
in the poplars when i walk past;
try to forget so i don't

have you seen the rain?

do you remember, irene?
when you told
me you liked to dance in the rain?
i still dance
sometimes i wonder if you do, too,
wherever you disappeared
and whomever's holding your hand;
it can't be me, i know
even if i wish it could—
humans have a penchant for wanting
exactly what's perfectly wrong for them
i wonder if
that was why i was drawn to you
if one of your most
alluring traits was the fact i could never
have you,
and perhaps there's a part of me
that always knew it would be this way;
loathe as i am to admit it—
thought maybe we could rewrite history or
maybe i could
rewrite you,
but it seems neither of us got what we wanted
as we both stand alone in a crowded room
i can't recognize the person you've
and i doubt you'd recognize me
dancing in this rain
as if it'd bring you smiling back to me.

a love that's foolish

once i died,
but it really wasn't
unlike you
laying there lifeless
never to rise
perhaps, it's a blessing
that your poison
can no longer dance through
me, but i don't think
i miss you,
and i know i shouldn't
because you're long gone and in
the arms of another;
jarring up
emotions i think would be rather
be left alone—
they got it wrong when they said
it was better to have loved
and lost than to have
never loved at all,
it's selfish but i'd rather have a whole
heart instead of this shattered
irene, i wish you could come back to me—
for someone so brilliant
it's foolishness, i know, but when has
that ever stopped me?