Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Gene McCormick- A Poem & Art


Mandy, here’s the deal:
if you don’t get downstairs
and do some work
we’re not going to do
your laundry any more.

But Mandy is in bed,
curled tight on her side
in a ball,
arms clutched about her.
Her eyes are open.

Mandy comes downstairs,
doesn’t speak, goes directly
outside, splashes soapy water
on the family car and briskly
rubs the same spot for five minutes
in a small circular motion.

Mandy tosses the washrag down,
walks into the street,
the middle,
and stands there,
straddling the center line.

Mandy gets hit by a car.
She’s dead.

Brief Bio: If there is one thing that annoys Gene McCormick, a/k/a/ “Mr. Road Kill,” it’s young women who stand in the middle of the street and get in the way of his front bumper. Actually, other things annoy him as well.

Gregg Dotoli- A Poem

Swift Summer Flight

there's a calmness 
in watching sandpipers
zooming in tandem
over the summer ocean
searching and playing as one
not a flock but in harmony as one 
yes the whole is greater than the sum
flash-turning diving up and around
coordination genius
a miracle in wings
landing simultaneously
on golden warm shelled sand
teamwork taught by Mother Earth 
a lesson humanity dangerously failed 
as we gaze at our eco-sick planet

B.Z. Niditch- Three Poems


In the Parisian sun
with a hopeful sun
through my French
jealousy window
reading a Modiano novel
"Missing Person"
about the Occupation
nervously alone
by the shadowy memorials
awakened by these lives
like my courageous cousin
Mendes- France
who fought in the Resistance
in thanking you
by furtive corners
transfixed by your images
from my tearful eyes
melted by own loneliness
about the poisonous informers 
and generous heroes
as echoes of the struggle,
now from your geography grave
where humanity spills
its locution
from a grieving time of fascism
you bring memory to life.


Your Beat language 
follows me spinning poems
when all time pieces come alive
up the watching stairs of a gig
you share your verses
in hollow coffee houses
where poisonous gossip
of rivals do not have your back
as you try to survive lust
on the dusty road
drinking cups of ale
in the 1950's cafes
like here at the Red Drum
where your grief fills
huge beer mugs joined
in the sublime smooth jazz
with your riff of notes
by sailing on landscapes
on pockets of wavering verse
in a kayak near the open seas
of our likely correspondence
offering us uneasy poems
when your shirt
is taken off on the road
and you fall near a mountain
on your motorcycle
between life and departure
yet remaining the same body
from the century's dust
as visionary flavors
at your wake
crowd forty candles
of a murdered birthday cake.


By the hotel elevator in Paris
on an impalpable holiday
is the loneliest scene in May
as sleep walkers
hearing the AM. Muzak
as a voice speaks of raging war
ethnic cleansing
final solutions
as tranquilized survivors
by half -open faced sagas
of oblivious tourists
sandwiched between
bar and lobby
provide and divide space
to these seasoned travelers
reaching for teapots
or glasses of white wine
doled out with napkins
under doubled chins
from slow kitchen helpers
because it is always cold
on a long trip
even from another's hands
like my lost girlfriend Kate
looking up to the balcony
at the latest fashion show
losing herself in mirrors
of soft lights moving 
now stumbling up the steps
while I'm in my inner sanctum
singing the words of psalms
to celebrate joyful sounds
of those who love the Lord
even lost appearances
sauntering in lost thoughts
by inhabitable towels
undressed by the sink
my Messianic mind intact
or awakened by the rush
heavenly birds
of blinded window last light
from Kate's secret location
in a clock's late panic attack
from a glance's view
of new gossip information
as yet unknown saga
about Kate's romances
yet may be true,
my vetted apology
to atone only to you, Lord
from any regretted vocation
or out of heaven's pardon
here among the sea rocks
thinking of childhood days
in my English garden.

Steve Klepetar- Three Poems

Steve Klepetar’s work has appeared widely. His poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Recent collections include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press, and Family Reunion, forthcoming from Big Table Publishing.


We walked to the river, whispered
to the trees. “Our ritual,” you said
as wind tossed brown water onto our

shoes. Silently, I admired your hair,
the way it shone in the buttery sun.
Holding hands, we followed a path

to the peacock cage to see the strange
white bird and small, brown chicks.
“A genetic mutation,” you said, reading

from your phone, but why these caged
peacocks in the park, no one knows.
One lady spoke to them, over and over

telling them how beautiful they are,
as if it were something they needed
to know. She spoke with that odd little

voice some people use with children,
until rocks broke from the hills,
cascading in a shower of broken shale.

All night in the cold, her mad eyes shone.


Somewhere a door has opened
as you wait in this quiet
neighborhood in a town of rivers
and leaves. Slowly, the day has grown

hot, and now in the long afternoon
every road seems entangled in a web
of dreams. You have tumbled 
out of history. Can you feel shockwaves

as the threshold looms? Your feet
tingle; they have fallen asleep.
So painful to stand, but someone
has nailed your boots to the floor,

clarified exactly where you must
attend to your blood as it pulses
through the airways of your flesh,
its tides controlled by a merciless moon.


“I’ve got to see someone about this sleep,”
my mother says. “When I just sit down,
even for a second, I fall asleep, any time
of day.” But there’s no help for this at ninety-nine;
it’s part of what the doctors call “debility” –
congestive heart failure, kidneys slowly
shutting down. “And when I sleep, I dream
so vividly it becomes hard to tell what’s real.”
She dreams of the dead, her sister gone for
nearly forty years, a couple, two good friends
from her days in Shanghai, her lover dark-
haired and fit, with his demanding voice
and tears. It’s easy to see where they come
from, our noon-day ghosts, inhabiting this last,
small room. They don’t beckon in a tunnel
of light or emerge as terrors from darkness
and mist. It’s pleasant to see them. All the same,
they wait, blurring into the fabric of unraveling days.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Brianna Allen- A Poem

Morbid Angel

once I met a dead man
who said his name was Clyde
he knew of devils and of angels
and everything inbetween

he lost his Bonnie
to a demon
in Saint Georgia
and then he lost his way

Johnny was the first
he rasped from underneath his dusty hat
and I’m gunna be the last

but he didn’t know who I was
I was the morbid angel
the kind demon
the monster hiding under beds and in closets
the hell hounds scratching at the door

So I leaned in and whispered
You so sure about that cowboy?

Neil Ellman- Three Poems

Introducing the Miracle

(after the gouache by Paul Klee)

There are too few miracles
that have the substance of a tree
its revelation of wood and leaf
the bend of its branches
in the wind
and history rooted
in the earth
no coincidence or accident—
of bleeding stone
but flesh and blood
fire and ice
a newborn child  
like a star
in a palpable sky.

Circus Sideshow

(after the painting by Georges Seurat)

I am no weirder than you
and you than me.

We are pinheaded brothers
under reptilian skin

and in the marrow
of our misshapen bones

half-woman, half-man
connected at the hips

we are no weirder
than a platypus

a giraffe on fire
in a surrealist’s dream

the croaking sound
that a bullfrog makes

and the path of light
as it bends around the sun—

how ordinary we are
under the circus tent 

alongside elephants
and human cannonballs                    

in the sideshow
that is life.

City of Churches

(after the pencil/watercolor by Paul Klee)

In the city of churches
gods walk
among the shadows of steeples
and spires
like ordinary men
unrecognizable, nondescript    
to toil in the shops and fields
with nothing of the manners
and attitude
that speak of their divinity—
in the city of churches
all men are gods
under a stained glass sky.

David J. Thompson- A Photo

                                  "Tree And Telephone, Kansas"

Bruce Mundhenke- A Poem

Those Days

In those days,
Everything was new,
The smell of fresh cut grass,
And spearmint....
We sat outside,
Listening to AM radio,
Transistors, playing top 10 hits,
Or baseball games.
At night, we watched the stars
With wonder, wondering....
Death was far away,
And love was just
The way we lived.
Laughter all the time,
Embracing what was seen,
Never fearing what was not.
Anything could happen any day,
And in those days,
Something always did.
In those days,
We were living the dream....

DB Cox- A Poem

last chance motel

a rundown motel
clings to the shoulders
of a narrow highway
a blinking neon sign
shoots holes
through the middle
of a mississippi night
enfolded in the semidarkness
of a lamp lit room
a man leans over a table
etching straight-razor phrases
into the pages of a motel notepad

mind overturned
and burning
somewhere near kamdesh, afghanistan
can’t find his way home
past the possibility
of finding things to count on:
like the orbit of the earth around the sun
like moon-swung oceans guided by gravity’s hands
like a lucky star to steer his feet
past lonely streets
that lead to places
like this last chance motel
where he sits
with pen in hand
a pistol on the table &
a bible in every room.

Charles Rammelkamp- A Photo

                                   "Memorial Day Mannequin"

Sunday, May 29, 2016

David J. Thompson- A Photo

                                       "Central Detroit Glass"

Ramona Thompson- A Poem

Ramona Thompson has been writing for more then 20 years. Her past credits include Calvary Cross, Dead Snakes, Blood Moon Rising, Infernal Ink, This Ain't No Rodeo and many more.

Readers/fans may stalk her on facebook or her e-mail reddstar111@gmail.com

A Dead Snake's War

You can't keep on fighting
Leaving us behind
Just to get even with them
Your time and your energy are wasted
You've become
Just another tool
Just another mindless robot

It's a lost cause
It was lost long ago
What's the use in denying it?
Lie to yourself
No longer
Lay down your weapons
Make a fresh new start

We're here
We've always been here
For your return to sanity
And to the land of the living
Gotta face it sometime
Might as well be now
Some battles
You just can't win

So give up
And come on home
Don't you think?
It's way past time you should?
Time marches on
Now so must you
For it's sad but true
No one man can conquer
A dead snake's war

2016 Ramona Thompson

Paul Tristram- Three Poems

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.
Buy his books ‘Scribblings Of A Madman’ (Lit Fest Press)  http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1943170096
‘Poetry From The Nearest Barstool’ at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326241036
And a split poetry book ‘The Raven And The Vagabond Heart’ with Bethany W Pope
at http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1326415204
You can also read his poems and stories here! http://paultristram.blogspot.co.uk/

Winter Inside

There’s an angry river
within her twisted psyche
where brittle thought patterns
break and freezer burn.
An icicle instead of a heart,
North-westerly winds
ravine the empty trench
where a conscience should
Compassion is a sickness,
friendship a weakness.
Every Moral and Rule are Lies
layed down to subserviate,
break and cattle heard you.

© Paul Tristram 2016

Half A Minute Now
You come ‘round here tittle-tattling
with your guilty pointing fingers.
Casting stones and accusations
from the broken glass houses
of your own corrupt lives.
Your bedsheets are just as dirty
as the next persons.
You want something to gossip
and slander about?
Come here within clawing distance
I’ll have your sodding eyes out.
Mind your own business
and scuttle back
to where you slithered from.
Not one of you is innocent
or in any position to pass judgement.
She’s served her time
and is now back home
where she belongs.
If I have to call my ex-husband
you’ll rue the cowing day
that you found the strength
to crawl out of that abortion bucket.

© Paul Tristram 2016

They’ve Changed The Ironmonger’s In Town Into Another Funeral Parlour
(They’ll Be Importing Coffin Nails Next To Finally Bury This Dying Place!)
It was the Greengrocer’s first, see,
no more locally grown fresh fruit and veg,
you’ll have to walk to Lidl’s now.
Then the Banks started dropping off one by one
but the city centre’s only five mile away
and they have main branches down there.
There’s a terrible rumour about the Post Office,
that’ll be the heart gone, that will.
The top end Butcher’s is just hanging on
by the width of a sausage skin.
(They still call it the top end one
even though it’s the only one still there!)
You can really tell the economy in the area
is knackered when they stop serving
Sunday Roasts and introduce Happy Hour
in the Country Family Public Houses.
It’s sad to see the old place go to the dogs
but on the bright side they’ve opened
three more off licences, a Burger King
and soon we’ll have a second Cash Convertors.

© Paul Tristram 2016

Russ Cope- A Poem

Ancient Romans

Let us watch
them, the announcer
says, as the false
gladiators enter the cage

Pretending to be
ancient Rome
for just a few fleeting
hours of entertainment.

Lily Tierney- A Poem


Waking to a full moon on a clear night.
The stars shine and all is ablaze.

I embrace a shooting star as it takes me
to where you are.

The night is timeless
as my world evolves around
memories of you.

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                        "Cannery Row mural"

Linda M. Crate- Two Poems

don't put me on a pedestal 

you insisted i shouldn't 
put you on a pedestal,
but expected me
to sit on mine
perfectly refined and docile
as a proper lady ought;
but i am wild
never have i ever been able to sit still
always sitting on the precipice 
of a moment i've been
without knowing what or who it is
to expect
burning with the passion and heat of stars
a wild raven whose wings
you clipped
as you shoved me in your gilded cage
until a moment you thought you
could devour,
but i refused to die because there's still much
for me to accomplish;
just because your dreams are dead and dying and distant
doesn't mean we should all suffer for them.

dead moon

you are a dead moon
distant and cold
selfish and cruel
wishing to swallow away
all the light
perhaps nehelenia is your
sister and you used to 
love mirrors together
until the image
was broken,
and you realized the monster
you'd become;
i have never been afraid of the moon
for i am a moon child,
but i do not care much for your moon
because it doesn't dance kind
as it ought to
because even the heart of night 
should be kind.

Robert Cooperman- A Poem

Trump Drops the Big One

Here, Ivanka, read me the bomb codes.
Five more minutes and those bastards
will be vaporized, their whole damn,
prissy country will be a burning scab:  
no way they’ll be able to call my policies,

“The ravings of an imbecile.”

I’m the freaking leader of the free world,  
Commander-in-Chief of the greatest nation
in history.  You screw with me, you screw
with my whole country that I’ve made great again.

Just ask my fans in Oklahoma, Texas,
Mississippi, Arizona, and any other states
there are that I can’t remember the names of,
with more important stuff to think about right now.

Okay, are we ready?  So all I gotta do
is press this little button and that’s it?
Okay, here goes.   Wow, even better than sex!  
So much for the losers that spawned Shakespeare.  

Anyone else got any complaints?

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Hot Spots in the City

I turn on the news to see 
who won the game last night
but first the scores from 
hot spots in the city.

Two people are killed 
and a house is set on fire. 
An infant burns to death.

Two men hijack a car 
and a mother is killed. 
Her baby is tossed 
from the car and
found a block away 
alive in a car seat.

The mayor says 
we need more cops.
Money’s the problem.

The police chief says  
he’s sending more cops 
to hot spots in the city.

The anchor says at noon 
a demonstration at City Hall 
for Black Lives Matter.

He doesn’t mention 
any demonstrations at 
hot spots in the city.

Bill of Indictment

According to reports
certain White House interns
past, present and future

are asking Americans
not to vote for Hillary 
because that would put Bill

back to the White House.
He has a feel for the economy, 
the interns say, and other things.

An Epidemic, They Say

Where I live the press says 
teen use of heroin is epidemic. 
thought an epidemic

was a widespread disease
afflicting thousands caught in 
the wrong place at the right time

as might happen when mosquitoes 
bring in the zika virus and inject 
as many people as they can. 

There’s a difference in the two.
Unlike victims of the zika virus, 
teens inject heroin themselves.

Donal Mahoney

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri,
not far from Ferguson, Missouri, once the 
home of Michael Brown.

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                   Sunbathing ground squirrel"

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Wanda Morrow Clevenger- Three Poems

Wanda Morrow Clevenger is a Carlinville, IL native.  Over 356 pieces of her work appear in 129 print and electronic journals and anthologies.  Yes, she does the math.
3 am cause
those months dragging on
to spare you further anguish
I wept into your pillow
the atrocities – preview
of more to come
the furnace cycled on
and off
the sun still afraid
to show its
yellowbelly face
your pillow was soft
and smooth, cool
on my cheek
more than sympathetic
to the 3 am cause
Breakfast in Boonville
We take I-70 west to visit our kids.  The adult store
and gentlemen's club strip from Missouri to Kansas
where notorious billboards elbow dine-n-dash and
antique alleys: Artichoke Annie's, Enchanted Frog,
Good JuJu . . . and W.D. Pickers Antique Mall where
pickier pickers pick.
And we did make an antique shop this trip –
Ridge in Shawnee;
right arm for jadeite but they kindly cut us a deal
on an orphaned iron porch chair.
Seated along the window wall under a Triple “AAA
Rootbeer sign in Cracker Barrel this side of Kansas,
I watched a woman place a paper napkin on the table
then salt it like a corncob coaster for her iced tea. 
I said to Monte, “There's something you don't see.” 
Traveling east home, in Boonville at marker 106
we landed on a great breakfast spot easy to spot,
same exit as an adult store
near enough the interstate to sans signage;
the XXX painted on the roof
stuck out big as braille.
please show interest
sales manager
Mr. John Fan represented
a business vivid
in China for years
a new product of
quality and best price
–– cardboard coffin
boxes by the net––
raw materials friendly
to the misspelled envirement
best corrugated composite panels
competitive in my
American market
size 210x71x42cm
bearing at least 200 kg
color: cherry, oak, black
and interior decorative material
all custom
as requested
the product replaced
expensive wooden coffins
suitable for burial
and cremation
a gifted pitchman,
how Mr. Fan knew
of my recent trysts
with death
was uncanny
he solicited if I might please
show interest of attachments
as he also provided caskets
              for pets

Stefanie Bennett- A Poem

Stefanie Bennett has published several volumes of poetry, a libretto, and a novel – and
her poems appear with The Provo Canyon Review, High Coupe, Illya’s Honey, Snow
Monkey, Shot Glass Journal, Mad Swirl, Carcinogenic Poetry, and others. Of mixed
ancestry [Irish/Italian/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Queensland, Australia.
Stefanie’s latest poetry title is “The Vanishing” published by Walleah Press 2015
Wild fruits fall once again
And time passes its orcharding.
Leaves, their shapes like hieroglyphs,
Make little of the future.
Where is the Golden Child; the one
Who inherited my uppermost branches?
Who swayed and sang
As only innocence can?
Perhaps he’s grown past recall.
Past the old vibrancy
Of a lover’s gaze. Stepped out; over
Grief’s cleft and into another...
Utterances from a distant star.
They’re shooting hearts
Into the frost of space!
It’s no more than a rumour:
Something to
                     Taunt emotion...
Lead it away
         From the self without self...
A horizontal shriek and gash
Streak across
This horizon!
It is not my kin... it is
Not my valuable. He lies
Beneath the pressed foliage.
The brown earth.
The departing seasons.