Thursday, March 31, 2016

David J. Thompson- A Photo

                                             "Poster, Malaga"

Ananya S. Guha- A Poem


There are no impediments
to poetry only raucous running
of voices and crackling spell 
of dreams. Sleep is hangover
words orchestrate the fun 
into livid flesh of breathing
noiselessly, they fall into arms 
where it  takes umbrage
then  the speaking begins 
a child curdled in mother's lap.

Ananya S Guha
Shillong, INDIA.

David S. Pointer- A Poem

 Suit Form Compassion

Who here can outshine    
                                            high office
                                            place haloes,
                                            bot drowsiness,
                                            bit cloudiness,

radiating mirrored images inside money,
emanating solutions by Pithecanthropus
refueling speedy international selfishness
benighting straightforward backwardness
inside unzippered American appendages
xeroxing blood, mud and patty cake memos
warmly supported by all repeat customers
wearing cyber-bells in the latex condom lines
restocking consequences to future generations

About the Author: David S. Pointer has been writing for the “Littles” for a long time. Recent work included in such places as “here and there.”

Michael Marrotti- A Poem

"Fanboys United"

It's a sight for
insecure eyes
The manifestation
of flattery
Under the guise
of solidarity
Digital high fives
when they know
deep down in
their shallow souls
that their writing
is as bad as my own
It's a special group
and to be honest
in which pertaining
to them (fanboys)
Honesty rarely occurs
I'm without the
What good am I
when I trimmed
my nails
I can't scratch
their backs properly
Fanboys united
The fallacy
has been
to their writing
I've been ostracized
I feel so alone
At least I still have
my old friend candor
As they cliche away
I know everything
is subjective
But at the end
of the day
we'll never progress
If all we have
is the fanboys united

Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When he's not writing, he's volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man's work, please check out his for his latest poetry and short stories.

Stephen Bone- A Poem

Fern Fever

Joints crackling
like winter bracken she lifts
heavy glass domes, mists

trembling plumes
of maidenhair, asparagus;
is taken

back to damp cool woods,
a warm steadying hand;
remembers specimens glued
to ivory vellum

sent from far-flung counties,
names that startled, thrilled -
broad buckler, moonwort,
adder's tongue - black inked
beneath in faultless copperplate,
then gifts,

a pearl handled lens,
exquisite framed diagrams.
Fern fever they had called it,
this passion

for foraging, to identify;
the hope of finding
some thing rare.

( Fern fever was the name given to the Victorian craze for fern collecting )
This poem was first published in The Dawntreader # 34
Stephen Bone's first collection published by Playdead Press 2014.

Ally Malinenko- Three Poems

Collateral Damage

You’re never going to connect to anyone ever again.

That’s what the storyteller says
as I watch him talk about
the black bird of cancer
and just like that,

I know it’s true.
I can feel that wall now
the one I keep walking into
rubbing up against me
and even last night

I felt it again
as we were on the couch,
the wine bottle half finished
the boring movie shut off
Neil Young on the radio
and you and me talking about
music and art

not cancer for a change
and you remember

that I said I had something to tell you
and you remind me

you say, what were you going to say before
and my mouth opens
and closes
and opens
and closes

You are never going to connect to anyone ever again.

and I say nothing
because maybe
the storyteller was wrong.

And I smile and
say, I don’t remember.
And I pray for the storyteller to be wrong.

The Waiting #1

When it is Monday
I am both too close
and not close
enough to Wednesday
which is the day
I should get the call
about the biopsy.

And I am not doing well,
one drink away from tears
or stupidity
and you are trying
telling me it’s fine
and I am nodding
wanting to grab you
and shake you and

It’s fucking cancer.
I know it.

I saw the doctor’s face
when she turned
to wash my blood off her gloved fingers
after dropping bits of me
into a jar for the lab
and I said,
Hey Doc, you’re not worried are you
craning my neck
to see her face
from this operating table

and she said
Yes, Allyson
she used my whole
name the way people
who don’t know me do

she said Yes Allyson, I’m very worried.
before yanking off her gloves
dropping them in the sink
and walking out the door.


I watch videos online
during my late night at work
of girls explaining
how to tie a head scarf
so it doesn’t slip off your head.

Avoid silk they say, rubbing their bald heads
talking to the camera.

They are good at this,
nimble fingered
and careful.
Each one they tie
looks great,
if great is a word that can be used here.

I email a few to my mother.
I tell her not to worry about the chemo
I tell her to be strong
To be brave.
I tell her all the things that I whisper to myself late at night.

I send videos to my mother
so she can learn to tie a headscarf

I save a few for me. 

Matthew Borczon- Three Poems

Matthew Borczon is a nurse and Navy sailor from Erie Pa. He served in the busiest combat hospital in Afghanistan from 2010-11. He writes about his experiences there and the difficulties of living with PTSD. His work had been published in dead snakes, the yellow chair review, Rasputin, busted Dharma, Red Efts, Dissident Voice, Big Hammer and Hanging loose. He won the Yellow chair reviews chap book contest for 2015 and his book a Clock of Human bones is available through them.

early morning rain

in this town
banjo strings
connect the
power lines
and black
crows play
mountain odes
as they caw
into the
orange sunrise
waking me
from my
dreams of
gun fire and

my nights
belong in
the desert
in my
days I
dream of


spent a
sleepless night
ghosts of
dead soldiers
as bombs
exploded on
my TV
and oxycodone
numbed pain
from a
tooth I
had extracted
after it
under the
blue glove
of an
oral surgeon
I have
drank enough
blood in
one day
to last
a lifetime

this time
at least
it is
my own.
March 2016


I’m tending
the graves
again tonight
cleaning sand
off stones
with a
hand broom
in a
yard of
crosses with
no names

and I’m
checking equipment
tonight 872
suction pumps
and drip poles
serviced nightly
for the
ghosts of
the dead

and I’m
writing letters
for the
tonight using
words I
don’t know
to describe
things no
one should
see for
without eyes
or hands

and I’m
serving meals
to Marines
too weak
to eat
again tonight
hoping to
get enough
inside so
they can
rejoin their
unit in
time to
attack my

Melanie Browne- Two Poems

Rescuing Naked Barbies from Goodwill

I see their faces first,
in gallon-size ziplock bags,
mashed together like
one brutal S&M orgy,
I long to rescue them,
give them all a hot bath
then dress them in
some second -hand gently worn
but I can't
save them all,
I am not Therese,
the patron saint
of naked thrift store Barbies,
if someone nominates me
I doubt if I will turn it down

Arguing with My Mom on Easter

I am in a heated 
discussion with
my Mom about
whether the infamous
Madalyn Murray O'Hair
met her ultimate
demise with the
help of a
wood chipper,
I read her the 
Wikipedia article,
but she isn't
It's Easter,
I say,
this isn't a 
suitable topic,
and neither of us
can remember how
we got here,
from point A
to point W,
so we drink our coffee
and eat the ham
and peel the
shell from 
the hard boiled

Charles Rammelkamp- A Photo


Christopher Hivner- Three Poems

Christopher Hivner writes from a small town in Pennsylvania surrounded by books and the echoes of music. He has recently been published in Anti-Heroin Chic and Syzygy Poetry Journal. A chapbook of poems, “The Silence Brushes My Cheek Like Glass” was published by Scars Publications and another, “Adrift on a Cosmic Sea”, was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press. website:, Facebook: Christopher Hivner - Author, Twitter: @Your_screams

I Wrote This One While Listening to One of my Favorite Songs

It is languid
the song that keeps me in reverie,
speaking a language
I understand too well,
wished I’d never learned.
When the guitar
has its moment in the spotlight
it drives the point home
that I am wallowing
in the cool mud
of the past.
It paces my skin
with succulent frissons
leaving me with the notion
I am still alive.
There is an accordion
in the background
haunting the melody,
pulling me along to the end,
another five minutes spent
thinking of things
I don’t have anymore.

Cassiopeia and a Virginia Slim

The two of us
on the porch
that night,
she’s smoking a cigarette
and freezing.
I’m watching the stars
wishing I could remember
the constellations.
She says something about
not wanting to smoke anymore.
I wanted to put
my arm around her
but we weren’t us now.
She mumbles that
she wants to go shopping
for a new coat,
I want to kiss her
but its too late.
She doesn’t like shopping,
says she never sees anything
she likes.
I shake my head
at the familiar refrain.

That Edge

“I know, I’m going to hell,”
my friend always says
after telling one of his jokes
that make me laugh
and cringe
at the same time.
He gets away
with saying things
I never could.
I wonder sometimes
if I secretly
want to be him,
just for a moment,
to exist inside
that edge,
feel the blade
slice my skin
and draw blood.
Someone pours alcohol
in the wound
to punish me
for my sin,
but I don’t repent.
I laugh harder
than everyone else
feeling my horns
form under the skin.

David J. Thompson- A Photo

                                            "Malaga Mural"

Luis Cuauhtemoc Berriozabal- 3 Poems

Luis works in the mental health field in Los Angeles, CA. His next chapbook will be published by Kendra Steiner Editions in April 2016.  His first book of poems was published by Pygmy Forest Press.
You are a night mirror,
sometimes a circle,
sometimes red or yellow,
a silhouette in the day.
Your reflection in the lake 
looks like a glass plate.
If you had a voice, I'd
imagine you would complain
about the setting sun and
growl at your reflection and
unaccomplished dreams.
High above the hills you are
followed by shining stars.
I will leave you my good thoughts 
and not my sleepless days.
I won't complain about the years 
I wasted being in love and almost
going mad.  I will leave you
a prayer and my best wishes.
I won't leave you my desperate 
dreams or tear filled eyes.
I won't leave you sad thoughts
or throw sand in your eyes.
I long to see you happy and free.
I leave everything that is positive 
in exchange for hearing my secret
that I will always feel love for you.
I made my great escape.
You should too.
What's another minute
or two going to hurt?
I left the cubicle
of death and
found my way out of here
with my head held real high.
In the morning I will
be back for
another round in this place
where trouble never ends.
Now and then I make the
great escape
a minute or two early
for my own peace of mind.

Charles Rammelkamp- A Poem

Tattoo Torture

Once in a smooth gray sheet of drying cement
in front on a campus convenience store
so like the surface of a placid pre-dawn lake
I etched “Charles Loves Liz” with a sharp stick,
a girl I had a crush on,
the graffiti a confession,
a declaration to the world,
then fled like the vandal I was,
sneaking back every few days
to look at my work,
as if poking an aching tooth with my tongue.

Sometimes people speculated,
but nobody guessed,
who this Charles and Liz were,
but of course nobody knew for sure:
amazing the number of people with those names.

Later everybody talked about Barbara Cook
coming back to her student apartment
to find Liz in bed with Reed Jones,
a campus scandal for a week or two.

Just before the school year ended,
I remember seeing Liz walk over the graffiti,
fingers laced with Roger Castleman’s,
my jealousy just as tangled as those hands
with the relief that at least
I hadn’t gotten a tattoo.

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

The POTUS in Argentina

With a smile, the POTUS
tangoes in Argentina 
while in Belgium and 
the rest of the World
people try not to cry.

Bill's Socks

Hillary was at the podium
setting the record straight
for people who have a problem
with the tone of her voice.
She said when Bill was 
president some folks said
she should have stayed home
and matched up his socks.
No way, fans in the crowd
booed their response.
But in a city far away
a husband at home 
watching on TV 
leaned over on the couch 
and whispered to his wife
he’d bet anything  
Monica would have put
those argyles together.

All Flags Flying

Wally and Stan
neighbors on the same block
for 30 years never

had a problem until 
Wally asked Stan over
big steins of beer

why he never lets
the American flag fly
from his rooftop

the way everyone else 
on the block does
on holidays especially

and Stan paused
sipped his beer and said
he saw no sense

in preaching to the choir
but when he migrates to Arizona 
he will fly it every day there.

Donal Mahoney, a native of Chicago, lives in St. Louis, Missouri. His fiction and poetry have appeared in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Chicago Tribune and Commonweal. Some of his work can be found at

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                               "Wall Angel"


Ananya S. Guha- A Poem


The rains are here
predestination of those wind 
blowing monsoons
and I suffer delusions of memory
as the mind whirls into myths of past stoppages, slushy 
fields, the old school building and the swimming pool 
with shades too blue
as the rains rattle window panes 
I heave breaths of ponderous time movement
of these hills as their greenish blue colours 
take time for spin off into blurry past. 
The Monolith festival will be on soon
and man's neolithic age will be proven
by researchers. But how these hills anarchic 
took off into time will be a question
best unanswered. For they came before primordial 
time pushing out history with elbows. 
And left scars and wounds as witness.

Ananya S Guha
Shillong, INDIA.

Joan McNerney- Three Poems


There is a
witch living
on the corner
where the four
roads meet.

Her eye is
evil, her
nose crooked.

She lays down
the tarot
with wrinkled

Asks "do you wish
tea of wormwood
or henbane?"

She will enchant
your mind now
into fields of
wild roses.

I planted my garden

on the wrong side
of moon forgetting
tides of ocean
lunar wax wane

only madness
was cultivated
there underground
tubular roots
corpulent veins

flowers called
despair gave off
a single fruit...

I ate it
my laughter
becoming harsh
my eyes grew

Methuselah Speaks

Living in shadows I scarcely stir.
Each motion brings pain with fear
of falling, breaking brittle bones
or bruising my spider web skin. 

I see so little.  Sunlight blinds my
rheumy eyes.  Night dims my world
leaving just vague outlines.

Food is stale, bitter.  Thirst savage. 
No liquids quench me.  My bodily
functions often fail befouling me.

All these years weigh down my soul.
Hearing faded,  everything in whispers.
My breath is raspy, without strength.

My mind dull with defeat.  I count only
my losses and remember nothing
but the dead.  My memory is pain.

I cannot celebrate births. My great
grandchildren died so long ago. 
Why must I always wait here?

God, have you forgotten me?

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Camel Saloon, Blueline, Poppy Road Review, Spectrum, three Bright Hills Press Anthologies and several Kind of A Hurricane Publications.  She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net. 

Sunil Sharma- A Poem

Machine-human interface

Humans revolving in solitary orbits/single bandwidths.
Clustered in pairs, threes/fours and groups
Or, alone on a table waiting for the order to be served
Yet, real-time disconnected.
Religiously punching hand-held tiny machines called smart phones, slim-slimmer
Metal---so erotic; cellphones rendered sexy 
For the dysfunctional.
Busy men women kids---mere traces in the cyberspace
Cooing intimately to the gadgets; ignoring their peers.
So surreal, this high-tech culture!
Cold machines taking over
Antiseptic corridors of power and communication
Androids glassy-eyed, everywhere!
The versifier---longing for humans.

Richard Schnap- A Poem


Sometimes I see it
In the eyes of cashiers
A roulette wheel spinning
Where every number’s the same

And sometimes again
In those of cabdrivers
A pair of dice landing
With a face that speaks death

And sometimes once more
Within telemarketers
A slot machine promising
And then changing its mind

And sometimes they’ll win
With a thrill that soon dwindles
For the mastery of one’s fate
Remains a loser’s game

Eric Robert Nolan- Three Poems

"The Writer"

At night he dreamt of birds, thou­sands of them,
impris­oned in his house.

Ravens screamed in the attic.
Spar­rows pan­icked in the hall.
He sat at his desk.   A Jay pecked
Fran­ti­cally at his shirt sleeve.

The base­ment door revealed
Tor­rents of finches, erupt­ing in the dark
A loud gray storm
Of beaks and tiny claws.

Seag­ulls suf­fered in the cup­boards.
Para­keets in the rafters, trapped,
Raged in Etruscan.

He crossed the room.
Moaned under the floorboards.

Twelve red car­di­nals
Lined his kitchen shelves –
A dis­cor­dant jury.

Pea­cocks plead in the oven.
In a jar of sugar
Tit­mice strug­gled for air.

At his desk were
Pho­tographs, let­ters
Pens and a half dead Marten.

He reached for his old brown afghan but felt
Bone and feather
The heav­ing brown breast
Of a starv­ing eagle.

Some­times the scratch
Of pen against paper brought
Respite from birdsong:

Two less wings against the silence
One less voice in that
Trou­bled aviary.

A par­rot perched
On his paper stacks.
“Remorse,” it offered fee­bly.
“Regret,” he answered back.

"The Secretary"

Skin and cir­cuitry,
Metal and flesh.
Her dreams of child­birth were
Relent­less, recur­ring.
Push, push, push
Said a midwife’s mechan­i­cal voice.

Flu­o­res­cent lights flick­ered,
Then mur­mured dis­cor­dantly.
Coarse starched sheets
Scratched her knees.
Machines hummed in corners.

She pushed.
The prod­uct of her womb was hard —
Edges and angles
Against her inner thighs.

And at the end of that dif­fi­cult birth, look­ing down,
She saw coils and coils of bright cop­per wire.

By day, she was a sec­re­tary.
Peo­ple liked her.  Not enough, though,
For Valentine’s, dates, anniversaries.

With furtive eyes, she observed
All those lit­tle moments
That enchant a com­mon life.

So, she only worked.
Phone, file, phone.
Push, push, push.

At times, she imag­ined her womb
As a ges­tat­ing clock.
Its metic­u­lous gears
Marked the pas­sage of time.

Bat­ter­ies moved her limbs, her veins
Were wires in her skin.
She hid cir­cuits
Behind her eyes.
Elec­tric­ity rid­dled her brain –
Warm lightning.

Return­ing home one night,
She passed a fac­tory on her right.

Its smoke­stacks vaulted up
Like tur­rets.  The lights there
Were stacked stars.

Its fence hummed.  The smoke­stacks
Exhaled rhyth­mi­cally
Push, push, push.

A metal shed was there –
She imag­ined it had
A piston-​​beating heart
A mus­cled metronome –
Life in a bright steel box.

Arriv­ing home, her spine
Tick­led with cur­rent.
She reached her garage and parked.  Blue sparks
Danced in her sinuses.
Push, push, push,
Said a mid-wife’s mechan­i­cal voice.

She pushed some oily rags
To seal the open spaces
Beneath her garage door.
In her brain,
Machines hummed in corners.

She pushed the car’s igni­tion.
The air there nour­ished her, then.
The car­bon monox­ide
Push, push, pushed her.

She shut her eyes.
Her gears slowed softly.

"The Bureaucrat" 

Amity in his veins,
The gray, aging bureau­crat
Lit a cigarette.

He spied ice on a win­dowframe
How unlike its blue-​​cold form
Were the words of indus­try – warm.

Like sun­light on a mon­u­ment,
The bright hues of a flag,
Warm – like the ring­ing endorse­ment
Of a prod­uct or a plan.
Like the gaily col­ored cov­ers
Of an annual report.

Warm – like the newly dead.

© Eric Robert Nolan 2013


BIO:  Eric’s poetry and short stories have been featured by Dagda Publishing, Every Day Poets, Every Day Fiction, Illumen, Under The Bed, Dead Beats Literary Blog, Microfiction Monday Magazine, Dead Snakes, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, The Bright Light Cafe, Aphelion, Tales of the Zombie War, The International War Veterans’ Poetry Archive, and elsewhere.  His poems were also included in anthology format in Dagda Publishing’s “Threads” in September 2013.  Eric’s science fiction/horror short story, “At the End of the World, My Daughter Wept Metal,” was published in January 2014 in Dagda’s short story anthology, “All Hail the New Flesh.”

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Bruce Mundhenke- A Poem

First and Last

Have you heard the wind blow,
Or listened to falling rain,
Have you known the solitude
Of walking a country lane.

Have you seen the stars shine
As you look at the sky at night.
Do you know which ones still burn,
Or which are only light?

Have you touched those things around you,
And felt that they were real,
Yet knew them transitory things
In spite of how you feel.

Stars are born and stars will die,
People come and go.
Everything will pass away,
We all know this is so.

Only the Spirit is forever,
All things must surely pass,
Even so, the Spirit will gather,
The First and with the Last.

CL Bledsoe- Three Poems

Bio: CL Bledsoe is the author of a dozen books, most recently the poetry collection Riceland and the novel Man of Clay. He lives in northern Virginia with his daughter.

Movie Hut

Tucked in a strip mall between a nasty taco
joint that made a mean biscuits and gravy,

and a hair salon full of bored 20-somethings
who spent the whole time trying

to upsell you. The carpet was some faded,
filthy shade that might’ve once been green

and brown or just years of stains. Tuesday’s
new releases up front, crowded and picked clean

by Friday afternoon. Maybe you paused
in the classics, but everyone’s seen those

or decided they never will long ago. Maybe
you try the drama or action but those are just new

releases that are no longer new. In the back,
on the wall: the true destination. A video shop

could be judged by its horror section. Obscure, silly
titles you never heard of, imported Italian insanity.

Every once in a while you find that low-budget
gem that makes the night worth wasting. They

had overpriced popcorn covered in dust. They
had sodas flatter than the earth. They had used

VHS for sale to make room for DVDs sometimes
cheaper to buy than to rent. When they were gone,

they weren’t going to be replaced.

Salad Days

Friday nights, before we had our licenses, we’d wait
till Dad was asleep, borrow his dirt- and oil-stained
truck, and cruise gravel roads to the old Tastee Freeze
on the edge of town. They had ice cream cones dipped
in fudge. They had tattered onion rings that tasted
like salt and grease, burgers that came hot and drippy.
We’d pay in change, borrowed money, any way
we could. All of it squished into a greasy bag, too hot
to eat until we got home. We’d cut the engine and roll
the last few yards, lights off, to the house; push the doors
to quietly, butterscotch milkshakes already empty,
tiptoe back into my bedroom to scarf our lukewarm
grease and play Super Mario Bros until we passed out.

The Yellow King

Everything smelled like grease, even
on your day off. I worked there for two
days. On the first, a coworker got into
an argument with a plant in the lobby
while I was on lunch. It looked like
the plant got the better of him. When
I went back behind the counter, the shift
manager with the piercings in her cheek said
he wasn’t violent. The others gathered around
her as she pontificated in mumbled slang
about high times in the trailer park.

I was going to New York the next day,
a trip I’d planned before getting the job.
I would eat my first veggie pizza—just bread
and plants, really—try calamari, drink six
dollar beer, be felt up by strangers in a city
where everyone wears black and hates
everything. Just because I would never be one
of them didn’t mean I would only ever
be me. When I got back, I worked one
more day with the familiar smell
and the boredom. I took my shirts back
when I picked up my check. No one cared.
It happened all the time.