Monday, September 29, 2014

Bradford Middleton- Three Poems


The drinking got me writing again
And man do I need to vent
Cos life right now truly sucks
The job is at its worst with threats
From bosses and me contemplating a big move
Back to London for better or worse

But I cant go back
Not enough money for a start
And where would I live?
In a hovel just as bad, if not worse, than here

This rented room is a nightmare
Full of jobs to be done or possibly just give up
Either get used to living in this dump
Or get out for good
Out to the suburbs for another rented room
Which I can grow used to just in time to move on again


The sun is hurting my eyes
But it’s the only thing keeping me warm
Because when the wind and rain return or
Night time falls it really makes
It a struggle just to stay in and be warm

This is 21st century living on the coldest of days
Not enough money to keep me warm
So I have to use the warmth of the sun
To stop me from freezing to death
In the battle of Mother Nature


When times are hard I find it easy
As I’ve never had it any other way
Hard times are difficult for some
Especially those who’ve had it all
But me, I’ve never had anything

Outside of my beer and my food
And those narcotics I need
I really don’t need anything else
Just a roof over my head and some
Pennies for my heater

Hard times aren’t good times
Like some would have you believe
They are just easier to deal with
If you started out with nothing
Like I do and always will

This isn’t how life is meant to be lived
But at the bottom it’s always easier
To own nothing at all
As at least then you ain’t got anything to lose
When the times get hard again

Sergio A. Ortiz- Three Poems

for Gertrude Stein

yes, I was cancelled,
an abyss below my bed
yet I was cancelled
nobody came, nobody came—
unknown shore— I’m enraptured

for Baroness Elsa von Freytag Loringhoven

bane aging
hip pains -- walk
 -- -- -- S. O. S.  memory
treads caution

Tribute to Cid Corman

There is a voice
in the dense space
of silence,

leaning on the sun and

in the community of words,
that weave simple possibilities.

Sergio A. Ortiz is the founding editor of Undertow Tanka Review. He lives in San Juan Puerto Rico.  He is a four-time nominee for the 2010-2011 Sundress Best of the Web Anthology, and a two-time 2010 Pushcart nominee.

Robert Lavett Smith- Two Poems


"As to the amount of strain on the intellect now.
Was you thinking at all of poetry?" Mr. Wegg
inquired, musing.
"Would it come dearer?" Mr. Boffin asked.
"It would come dearer," Mr. Wegg returned.
"For when a person comes to grind off poetry
night after night, it is but right he should
expect to be paid for its weakening effect on
his mind."
—Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend

The Psalms have always
been good enough for him.

This new stuff doesn't make sense.

Why, for instance, is April,
season of lilacs and gauze-pale skies,
the "cruelest month," unless
it has something to do with income tax?

How much could possibly depend
upon so insignificant a thing
as a red wheel
probably already forgotten
by the unseen farmer—
and maybe even by the poet,
since it only seemed to warrant
eight short, simple lines?

Fog, as far as he knows,
doesn't have feet,
feline or otherwise.

And some poems he finds
even more ominous
and disturbing.

Take Allen Ginsberg, whoever he is.
Igneous knows the King James Version
chapter and verse, fore and reverse,
from beginning to end,
but can't help feeling
that something besides the righteous
indignation of the Old Testament
may underlie the bit about a:

...partition in a Turkish bath
when the blond and naked
angel came to pierce them
with a sword...

Frost, he remembers at the inauguration,
Reading his wind-blown verse before the nation.
(No one could make much sense of it, it's true—
But at least it rhymed, and had a rhythm too.)

The Belle—of Amherst—
Makes him think—
Of members—of his flock—
Secretly much—consumed—by Drink—
But never—prone—to talk.

Still, he draws the line at:

What a thrill———
My thumb instead of an onion.

The rest—red plush, hinge of skin—
is quite disgusting, and written
by a woman, no less!

The good Reverend pushes
the library books aside
in despair, bewilderment, and revulsion.
Perhaps the Sunday School
will have to do without a special reading
by their Senior Pastor, in honor
of National Poetry Month.

Alone in his darkening study,
Igneous takes down
his well-thumbed Bible
and begins to recite aloud.
His voice, rich as warm molasses,
fills all the shadowy corners
of the room:

Yea, though I walk
through the valley
of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil...


"It's wot's behind me that I am."
—Krazy Kat

He remembers the comic strip fondly
from a strange little book he found
while playing in his grandmother's attic
as a boy: the faded cardboard covers
warped, the curiously wide pages intact
although disfigured by a brown
blossoming of water stains.

From the first words,
this unassuming volume
spoke to him—directly,
without artifice or pretense:

Krazy Kat was a simple soul
who didn't understand much
that went on around him.

A few years later, on Saturdays
at the local matinee,
he laughed with schoolmates
as the antics of Mrs. Quakk Wakk and Offissa Pupp
flickered across a buckled screen.

But it was Ignatz Mouse
whom Igneous most loved—
perhaps because the broken name
so closely mirrored his own;
perhaps because Krazy Kat,
her very gender shifting and ambiguous,
her dialect all jumbled vowels,
was apt to refer to her crony
as "Ignatz Mice,"
somehow suggesting multitudes
contained within one tiny form.

Mostly, it was the name.
As a young child, Igneous
had disliked his, reshaping it
through endless permutations
into things his restless childhood
might find an easier fit.

But like Ignatz, he had come to see it as:

A name with euphony.
A name with harmony.
A name with dignity.

It was not until many years later
that Igneous, well into middle age
and pastor of a large and thriving church,
discovered that the cartoonist,
who signed his drawings simply "Herriman,"
with a scrawled "H" whose multiple crossbars
resembled the rungs of a ladder,
had been a man of color, a Creole
from New Orleans whose parents,
of French descent, had been listed
in the registries as mulattos.

Again, the suggestion of multitudes.
Igneous felt an even closer kinship
with Ignatz Mouse because of that.

But, although the Reverend Igneous Rock,
in the boundless charity of his Christian heart,
would be loath to admit it,
there is also the matter of the bricks.

To return to that book
he loved in childhood:

...when Ignatz was annoyed
he threw bricks. In fact,
Ignatz threw bricks when
he wasn't annoyed. He just
couldn't help it.

Igneous Rock always chuckles
when he recalls that pearl of wisdom.

The Reverend is not
a mean spirited man.
Not in the least.

But he likes it.

He just does.

Raised in New Jersey, Robert Lavett Smith has lived since 1987 in San Francisco, where for the past sixteen years he has worked as a Special Education Paraprofessional. He has studied with Charles Simic and Galway Kinnell. He is the author of several chapbooks and two full-length poetry collections, the most recent of which is Smoke In Cold Weather: A Gathering of Sonnets (Full Court Press, 2013). A new collection, The Widower Considers Candles, will be forthcoming from the same press in 2015.

Gene McCormick- Three Poems


Sitting on a straight-backed armless wooden chair
moved from the kitchen table to the living room
beside an open window facing west,
the sitter’s face is half-hidden by an evening shadow
rendering features vague
if not unrecognizable. Hands clasp,
unclasp, clasp, feet flat to the floor.
A book lies open, facedown on the hardwood floor.
Next to it, a tipped over glass.
From outside the window, a sound;
it’s nothing. Nobody is looking out
nor does anyone look in.
Just rain tapping the sill.
In the far corner a cardboard box
of books, red, blue, green, all colors.
The sides bulge; unpacked, the box
has been there for years.
In five hours it will be Wednesday.
In eleven hours, daybreak.

Wine & Cheesy

Don’t leave. Stay a while.
I’m celebrating.
At a social function last night,
wine and cheese,
I propositioned two women
who both said Yes
after much wine.
One married, one single.
I lied about my age;
so did they.
Exaggerated my capabilities;
so did they.
Cheryl and Shelly
are their names.
Only one of them
asked mine.

Coffee Break
After having sex with his secretary or another co-worker (but usually his secretary) in his mostly private and fairly soundproof yet accommodating office, it’s his habit to walk down the seven flights of stairs to the street level, jaywalk to the used bookstore and select a children’s book to read, always fully illustrated with bright colored drawings of pre-schoolers at play with yellow tops, red pants or skirts and running over green grass with happy faces. He then goes next door to the independent coffee shop and slowly turns the pages, running his hands over the primary-colored illustrations, and drinks a large cup of black coffee while sitting at his favorite corner table. He does this once a week or so, on a Tuesday or Wednesday. When he leaves he sticks the book into the magazine rack for others to enjoy.

Jennifer Lagier- Three Poems & Photos

Chihuly Canoes
This is a voyage caught in the doldrums,
bright floats mounded inside a white row boat.
No sun or moon, blank black horizon.
Shrunken glass planets have been demoted,
dropped from cosmos to unmanned canoes,
float upon onyx, mingle with marbles.
Stacked spheres hatch fantastical tentacles,
lime green, cobalt blue, grasp infinity
within watchful darkness.

Chihuly Daisy Patch
Metallic daisies mingle with spiders.
Red claws splay, cup a curdled sky,
surround a silver dome seen in silhouette
as a passing monorail hums in a circle.
How crude our dreams--cartoon
machinery once cutting-edge fashion,
leftover artifacts of a futuristic world
now outdated, transcended.
Manufactured simplicity juts from
flower beds, abstract flora and fauna.
Robocop meets Rousseau;
artifice forms a fantastical garden.

Chihuly Undersea Vista
Scarlet kelp hangs from
a black velvet ceiling,
corrals yellow lily pads,
lime-green vegetation.
Blue and lavender tentacles
mime octopus and squid.
Faux anemones encircle
pink anchovies, violet jellyfish,
minimalist herons.
Two-toned seaweed ascends,
spirals to the apex
of cresting glass waves
where white spindrift spills,
orange coral flowers.

Jennifer Lagier was seduced by a serpent at an early age, transforming her into a Dead Snakes groupie.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Felino A. Soriano- Three Poems

from Forms, migrating


night’s midday
           of sun’s elaborate
longarm                         walk toward a misshapen arrogance
                   caught within
angles of an hour’s curving

summary              (discover               delusion              , )

halved                   hours         relocating
distributed functions of necessary
reactionary fulcrums

           deliberate                                         hands, their warming friction


rise    ALL

toward syllables’ renditions of persuasive sounds and their
ability to articulate absence of what causes _____________,


Which chronicles selected
           more so than the

spectrum of attention’s familiar
connectivity?  Of

certain spirals                          containing dialectical diagrams
                                       paradigm progress                  (eventuality of the plural                                                                                                          positional
acknowledges hand
or hand of dual

understanding                                            from strength this tone and sitting


above what these

tenses proclaim as contextual correctness

a wave undulates within understanding’s evocation

orbit-sustenance                      tributary rhythm-hold horn-bell copper

smoothening                                                these textures tell well

alliance of mobile articulation


                   an after —death’s denial of what lived within
intuition’s role as modular performer,

—an expectation highlights vocal italics
readying sound as paternal designation, mobile            mature

posturing in the risen riches of admitted holy rounding

pivotal in each hands these
ricochets align with bounce
-bounce hankering of sound’s reaching toward
spectral understanding

Felino A. Soriano is a member of The Southern Collective Experience.  He is the founding editor of the online endeavors Counterexample Poetics and Of/with; in addition, he is a contributing editor for the online journal, Sugar Mule.   His writing finds foundation in created co√∂ccurrences, predicated on his strong connection to various idioms of jazz music.  His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology, and appears in various online and print publications, with recent poetry collections including Mathematics (Nostrovia! Poetry, 2014), Espials (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and watching what invents perception (WISH Publications, 2013).  He lives in California with his wife and family and is a director of supported living and independent living programs providing supports to adults with developmental disabilities. Links to his published and forthcoming poems, books, interviews, images, etc. can be found at

David S. Pointer- Three Poems

Flameout Academy

Another rapid dog catches paper
plate frisbee-packets inside addict’s
next syringe soon trampling telescopic
nightsticks overwhelmed by desecrated
      under windowsills, under the
star spangled radar, under the
sink holes to nowhere, under
funeral cooling box toking incineration

Nightmare-Mode Service Provider

Slaughterhouse Hells
Angel said employees
tend to burn off under
cover of fake coughs at
three month saturation
period from twisting off
chicken heads, hearts
served up to the meat
masters of commerce,
enumeration vapor not
supporting any roadhouse
habits without parental
or biker babe subsidies
before happy hour-sauce
blackouts lead only to
nauseated time clock pop,
but he’d started killing
humans at 13 and could
handle some more shifts

Obscurity 101

Dragon castration specialists
commanded no annual budget
or surveillance equipment, were
not allowed to speak fumes or fire
into any major cameras, were not
welcome at the village idiot’s house
as he was ever reclined ambassador
of fine leisure lifeline-agenda for
rapid speech, constant head bowing
while impersonating brave face
mass discharged from formulaic
hospital called American high school

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems

i miss you

love those moments
of us buried deep inside me
no one cane take away
from me,
and though i wish we could still
be friends
i have made peace with
the fact that may never be;
we used to laugh on the
sunsets of the sun's
breathing in the song of the stars
as we danced with
the moon,
and everything in the cosmos
sparkled like the charisma etched
in your every step
and you inspired me to dream bigger
than ever before
make these dreams of mine
a reality—
too bad you can't see it all
and maybe it's foolish,
but i have hope that one day
we'll meet again
become fast friends and
chase sunsets
with mermaids again.

the giver

remember once
you told me that you couldn't wait to
read my books and see them
on the best seller's
list one day?
i hope you still feel the same way,
and i know i hurt you
i'm sorry
even if it isn't enough for you to forgive me
i wanted you to know that;
once we were sisters
i wish we
were still—
yet time can be a cruel teacher,
and the heart
remembers what the mind wishes it could forget;
i recall everything
from times spent together in edinboro and erie
to those spent in philly, too—
i recall meeting
your parents and your best friend
and everything seemed right in the world then
everything seems so wrong now,
but i know i'm the one
that messed it all up
with all my doubt and mistrust and insecurities
i pushed you away without meaning to;
and now when people tell me
they'll stay forever
i think of us and how you once said the same
and i cannot believe them no matter
how hard i try—
i never was good at trusting people
because i have a loving heart and i dote on people
i love to give
but takers never set limits
and my heart
gets exhausted of it all.

fractured heart

you were the nova
lost in the sunset of an edinboro sky
sparkling personality and all
in the charisma of your
and i always admired your courage and beauty
felt so honored when you chose to be
my friend,
and i'm sorry if i put you on a pedestal
only to knock you down
i never meant to
hurt you
please know that—
i'll always remember you even if you
cannot remember me
because you were the first person
to accept me for what i was
flaws and all,
and you were the one that taught me
scars were beautiful;
i miss our little talks and our autumn walks
shopping at the malls and dancing
at raves
discussing everything and nothing at all
all of life's little mysteries
to our rants about people and all the things they
didn't understand—
most of all i just miss you and your
because you were always
supportive and even when i was wrong you stood by
my side because that's what friends do,
and to this very day
i've never met anyone who has ever taught or meant
so much to me as you do and did
once upon a time
before i shattered our fairy-tale friendship
into the dragon's maw
burning it past the point of repair.

Seamas Carraher- A Poem


Mention now these
in their unredeemable stares
who swear with their sweat
worked long and harder
as cold as ice cut fog
into their chests
for these precious minutes
nailed like Hegel’s mask on
the cover of a book,
how we slaved and saved
each of these oddments.
You, who would give everything
but the meditation of ruin
leaving your ghost
to God
and your children to damp clay.
A book, a mothtorn cloth
of Engels facing a vase of dead
rich in their assorted ruin
as if such trivia in the
unmentionable heart of our
could wake history
a minute too soon,
believing in the quiet and
careless desperation
of dying men
(that it had all mattered):
a light pulled from its opaque
as also this, our antithesis
in these cheap and gaudy images
for us
who are all men labouring
with their own despair.

S√©amas Carraher was born in Dalkey, Ireland in 1956. He lives on the Ballyogan estate, south of Dublin city, near the Dublin-Wicklow mountains, at present. 

Martin Tomlinson- A Poem

American Dream

I needed to leave the computer
To stop it’s pulsing, obsessive rhythms
Hush it pointless info rush
One drug uniting us
Telling us to be independent and sexy
Taking away our freedom
One more day
And I will be lost
Into a world of 1’s and 0’s

Martin is a teenage poet and musician from the Midwest his poetry has been published 11 times and he has performed on stage multiple times at the Walnut Valley Festival.

Joe Brennand- Three Sweet Haiku

leaves roll
in a spring breeze
train doors open
hand on hand
exchange of vows
to each other
church bell
sways of blossom
old photograph

Bio: Haiku published at The Camel Saloon

Joseph Altamore- Three Poems

[The Real Question]

look I really don't need
to tell you this

dear reader,
the answer is just
you do not need
to know

don't you want to hear
about the miracle
of love?
about the eternal struggle
to succeed in the
face of failure?
what about the great
tides of fate
how they twist and turn
fragile bodies
through time and space
on an aimless
without cause?
without reason?

isn't all that
interesting to you?

I refuse to be
your whore!
you should be
of yourself for even
such a question!
I will not
to sharing such


it's about
six and a half

[The Surprise]

"wait right here and don't
leave this bed"
my girlfriend tells me

"I have a
surprise for you,

I hadn't really
planned on leaving before
if she'd let me alone
I'd have had
far less a desire

to creep downstairs
and find out
what exactly it is she's
pouring for me

I was never very good
with surprises

it never seems to occur
to people that
their surprise could be bad

what if your surprise
is a couple of
good slugs from a .38
a breakfast laced with

as a child
growing up in a
traditional italian
I was always waiting for
my father
to really lose it
and kill my mother and I

you have to be ready
for these things
just in case

I kept my bat
a louisville slugger I had
gotten on our trip to
under my bed
and stuffed dirty clothes
in the
crack beneath my door
to make it more difficult
to open
then I'd wait all night
for sudden noises
always ready to grab the bat
and run into the closet
adjacent to the

to pounce when
he least

now my girlfriend
comes back
upstairs with a tray
"good morning, baby!"

she sits the tray
with assorted foods
right in my lap

ah, breakfast in bed
do I dare?

I look at those sweet
young, earnest
ardent and lovely

I dare:
I plunge my fork
into a yoke

one day, ellie,
you will
kill me with your

[Nice Bathroom]

my friend
has a nice home
he has
the kind of sprinkler system
that turns on
ever other
of the week

he has a
women say they love


this friend,
I was over at his house
drinking something
from peru or
bermuda or

some country where the u
is pronounced "oo"

I needed to

"I need to
I say

he tells me
"4th door down
the hall
on your left"

"how will I know
if I've gone
too far?"
I joke,
half serious

my friend only laughs
a little

rich people
don't like to joke
about being

they are
afraid the
lavish lifestyle of luxury
will be
taken from them
the second they plead
the crime of wealth

I walk down the hall
portraits of people
that do not
live here
and mirrors
(to make the already gigantic
house look
to the bathroom

I open the door
(they are the kind of
people that keep
all the doors
and a pungent
of something,
some flowery smell,

the bathroom is the
best smelling
room in the house
with a shiny
and the toilet

the fucking
flushes itself!

I use it
and leave without
my hands

I return to my friend
"nice bathroom"
I say

he says

knew what
I meant

I don't think
it's related, but we haven't
seen one another
since then

I should probably
phone him

I miss
he and his bathroom

one a little more
the other