Thursday, July 30, 2015

Melanie Browne- A Poem


Hashtag Shark Bait

people spending
summer dollars,
don't want to be
inconvenienced,
don't want to lose
an arm or leg
or part of their stomach,
& stay close to the shore,
politicians gearing up
for the 2016 race,
spending summer dollars,
throw bait in the water,
wait for the people to come,
then once elected
they head back out to sea

Douglas Polk- Three Poems


Secretary Savior

John Kerry,
the savior returned,
testifying before congress,
a lifetime cross to bear,
a social elite,
grilled and abused,
by peasants,
lesser men and women than himself,
justice his own,
railing against the war in Vietnam,
when a young man,
telling lurid gossip,
hard to believe,
now years later,
back before congress,
and in favor of treating with Iran,
obtuse in his arguments,
a common mind,
spewing concepts,
more akin to a spider's web,
than a foundation for logical thought,
still arrogant,
and ignorant,
after all these years,
a life wasted,
trapped in a web,
of his own making,
the savior secretary sacrificed,
aloof and alone,
but no one cares.



The Schooling

professor Obama,
schooling us all,
in the logic of ivy tower diplomacy,
the real world ignored,
while an illusion is formed,
pages and pages of paper,
construct a world of rules and regulations,
a house of cards,
life the ideal,
lived between the typeset lines,
the suffering never actually seen,
security,
paper thin,
created and enforced,
by the printed word,
lines in the sand,
no longer exist,
instead,
sentence after sentence,
filled with nouns and verbs,
interpreted as each nation chooses,
while the professor hides in the ivy tower.



Secretary Moniz

the hair brings to mind,
a beatnik poet,
but sadly his words do not flow,
immersed in science,
he answers the trivial,
with rambling statements,
sentences of uncertain beginnings,
and confusing ends,
knowledgeable in nuclear physics,
unfamiliar with history,
and seemingly unaware of right or wrong,
or morality,
a high priest of science,
isolated from the day to day,
a child taken advantage of,
across the negotiating table.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

John Grey- Three Poems


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions and Sanskrit with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Owen Wister Review and Louisiana Literature.   



FROM THE REAL BATTLE ZONE

Her nail fought hard against the itch
in her right shoulder. And he battled
the lint in his sweater to an honorable
draw. The kids were the combatants

who actually got to lay hands on one
another but just a push here, a kick
in the shins there. And just as prelude
to the real war: the boy versus all

fifty state capitals, the girl against
the knots in her hair. These were
skirmishes the news forgot in its lust
for bloodier confrontations. No suicide

bombers but a wine glass fell and shattered.
No bodies on stretchers but Band-Aid on
finger cut, dirty clothes in hamper.
According to a reporter in Iraq,

people are afraid. The streets are empty.
So the world is a dangerous place.
But try living elsewhere.



LOVE AT HIS SPEED

The speeding tickets in the glove compartment
don't say much for his obedience to one law at least.
He collects them like…
you bite your thought like it' s a tongue,
before the word "women" slips out.
He ignores the signs.
Should you ignore the one you made -
"Brenda, are you sure?"

And then he accelerates that convertible
on a straight stretch of highway
even though you beg him to slow down.
Your feelings, his needs,
and only one steering wheel.
Will it always be like this?
A crash? A breakup?
Blood or tears ~
they both pour from a vein.

He's going even faster.
Your heart plays ping pong with your throat.
You love him,
but not at this speed.
He slaps the wind around
like it's your face.
And whatever's in the rearview
gets what it deserves.

Finally, he stops, parks by an overlook.
"Lovely," you both say,
he for the drama,  you for the stillness.



OBLIVIOUS

The cemetery forgets itself.
Every stone, every angel,
even that rich man's mausoleum
gleam with sun.
Where is the gloom my emotions promised?
Am I in the wrong place?

In truth, I expected rain.
Not everywhere,
just here,
a gray cloud drooping
over the graveyard
as if pulled on
by the unwitting magnetism of the dead.

But the sun shines broadly.
Amid all these names and dates,
it still finds time for photosynthesis.
It follows me and my bundle of flowers.
Then it's at my side.
And, finally, it somehow reaches
the grave ahead of me.

Is it playing devil's advocate?
Or more likely, it's antonym?
I'm here to be nothing but morose
and yet it offers a presence
at odds with those buried below me.

All around, there are pools of brightness.
Even the willows give up
all pretense of shade and shadow.
Can I really place my bouquet
and be happy doing so?

The word is dark, dammit.
Or if not, the last word in oblivious.


Robert Lavett Smith- Three Poems



I HAVEN’T LEARNED TO LOVE MY SOLITUDE

     “O, que j’aime la solitude!”
          —Marc-Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant (1594-1661)


One Marc-Antoine Girard de Saint-Amant
Praised places he called “sacred to the night,”
Far from the city’s stale, degraded light:
Festering marshlands, ruined battlements.
I know the holy quietude he meant;
Enraptured by his lines, I tried to write
An eloquent adieu to all things bright,
But I was much too young, my time misspent.
I haven’t learned to love my solitude.
The dull dead throng around me every day:
I know the scent of almonds they exude,
The gentle resignation of decay.
I know they come to comfort, not to brood—
I also know they haven’t come to stay.



HORSE SENSE

Dad’s fatherly advice was always wrong.
Raised on a dairy farm in New York State,
He never managed to anticipate
Trouble, hocking his horse sense for a song.
The safest bet was just to play along—
His harebrained schemes weren’t open to debate,
And I learned early not to take the bait:
Decades of stifled laughter make one strong.
I had to draw the line at his insistence,
When I was struggling as a book store clerk,
I sacrifice my weekend on the chance
The boss was grateful for my unpaid work—
A doubtful move in any circumstance.
I loved my Dad, but he could be a jerk.



MUSIC SET ASIDE FOR TWENTY YEARS

The throats of muted trumpets do not fail,
No hesitation mars their silver voices;
The singer’s instrument has faced hard choices:
These last eroded notes are cracked and pale.
The orchestra’s quixotic clarity
Sounds brighter now that ever in the forties—
And yet the croon that loved to tempt and tease
Seems ragged, strained, and frankly, elderly.
Though something of his swagger may endure,
This music, set aside for twenty years,
Surprises: unexpectedly one hears
Discordances not evident before.
It seems a lifetime since The Voice fell dumb;
No one believes the best is yet to come.



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 the late Galway Kinnell. He is the author of several chapbooks and three full-length poetry collections, the most recent of which is The Widower Considers Candles (Full Court Press, 2014). Two poems from this newest book have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He has recently begun work on an new collection of sonnets—his second foray into the form—which is entitled Sturgeon Moon, and which will hopefully be published by Full Court Press at the end of the year.

Jonathan Beale- Three Poems


The Winter Bouquets

After the painting by Morris Graves’

Surrounded by four dull walls
On one hung a view, a looking eye:
The glass: stemmed of thought –
The sticks brittle in the air and water.

Pieces as thoughts
Like a Japanese poem:
The parts of nature segmented
As if intended by a mischievous deity 
Looking skyward or hell bound.
Is the mind set of man.
Corrupted simple forms in a game.

A hard woody exterior
Displaying nothing
Brash edges
Forgotten by the artists
hand and eye 
And cut off from nature’s breast.

Leaving the room I looked back
At the winter to come against the summer sun.


Brighton

The old woman that lives at the end of the lane.
As she has... forever.
Eternally stamped and as dishevelled
as the sea washed seafront.
Youth subtly avoiding her. 

As she, hangs her washing on the line.
Ignoring the winds kiss.
The ceramic walls
Of her home she decorates in her evening wishes
Cheroot’s plastered over the floor.

Along with the oils and colours
Of paintings she creates.
Her time split between -
Incessant, loquaciousness, and monastic silence.
In this cul-de-sac.

Of forgotten dreams she labours.
Against times idling thumb twittering.
And as the wolf whistles
To the girls into the night
She stares blankly through the gin and cigarillos.

Within the antique d├ęcor
She lives by breathing the briny air
The turquoise and white as her eyes
Her life is slipping by, like the quayside ropes
Of the leaving ships.

Her grammar of life, now no longer understood.
Her anger, raw as the marrow, red as paprika.
Growing life pressured by the lost leaves of her life
The rickety old rocking chair goes on – rocking - just.
The world unseen through smoke stained glass.


The Rosewater dew

The rosewater dew
Falls on every diesel engine and rust smothered piece
Of man’s metallic creativity
Breathes life into and through every leaf

The Living and loving are asleep
The dreams slip in and out through the ears and eyes
The sullen poets cast their rod & line
To catch a word on a line 


Mel Waldman- A Poem


AN AUTHOR

ENTERS

HIS MANUSCRIPT


On the night
of
the jabberwocky universe,
beneath
a
full moon,
an author
enters
his unfinished manuscript,
a mansion
of
infinite rooms

 where
he meets his mad characters
that
 speak to him,
reveal
flaming secrets,
&
advise
the psycho creator;

&
now,
he scurries
through
burning labyrinths,
in search
of
vanishing truths
&
an obscure identity
buried
before
his birth,

before
he became a rabid character
in
his unfinished manuscript
&
disappeared
on
the night of the full moon,

when
the universe
swirled unfathomably
into
the flames
of
Hell



Dr. Mel Waldman is a psychologist, poet, and writer whose stories have appeared in numerous magazines including HARDBOILED DETECTIVE, ESPIONAGE, THE SAINT, PULP METAL MAGAZINE, YELLOW MAMA, and AUDIENCE. His poems have been widely published in magazines and books including LIQUID IMAGINATION, A NEW ULSTER, THE BROOKLYN LITERARY REVIEW, THE BROOKLYN VOICE, BRICKPLIGHT, THE BITCHIN’ KITSCH, CRAB FAT MAGAZINE, DEAD SNAKES, SKIVE MAGAZINE, ODDBALL MAGAZINE, ON THE RUSK, POETRY PACIFIC, POETICA, RED FEZ, SOUL-LIT, SQUAWK BACK, SWEET ANNIE & SWEET PEA REVIEW, THE JEWISH LITERARY JOURNAL, THE JEWISH PRESS, THE JERUSALEM POST, HOTMETAL PRESS, MAD SWIRL, HAGGARD & HALLOO, ASCENT ASPIRATIONS, and NAMASTE FIJI: THE INTERNATIONAL ANTHOLOGY OF POETRY. A past winner of the literary GRADIVA AWARD in Psychoanalysis, he was nominated for a PUSHCART PRIZE in literature and is the author of 11 books.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Jennifer Lagier- Three Poems & Photos





Cambria Pines

The trees are whispering,
murmur intimations of rising wind,
cicada symphonies,
drippy incursions of fog.

Ground squirrels patrol parched terrain,
as hikers approach, whistle, sound the alarm.
Jays curse from dusty oaks,
pursue one another into yellowing boughs.

Dry forest creaks, dances in the breeze.
Needles spill from stressed, rusty pines.
Red-headed woodpeckers drill dying limbs,
dismantle diseased wood, fallen logs.





Sweet Water Springs

Fog lifts from wetlands, wraps itself
like a lavender scarf around Morro Rock.

Lanky egrets wade through shallow lagoon
escorted by a flotilla of mud-colored ducks.

Drought has diminished both sweet water ponds.
There are no turtles, tadpoles, or golden-eyed frogs.

Stressed pickleweed fringes estuary waterways.
A single wild radish blooms beneath coyote bush.

Small birds flit among silver eucalyptus, lift the heart,
fill uncertain morning with bright, promising songs.





Poison Oak Path

A spooked doe bounces over fallen logs,
vanishes into scarlet blear of thick poison oak.

Sunrise pulses mysteriously behind drifting mist.
I follow a thin deer trail that loops between pines and sea.

From gold ridgetop, I see rattlesnake grass thickets,
hear the suck and sluice of invisible waves.

Something clatters among dry seed pods, shattered cones,
morphs to brash stellar jay as waking squirrels stir.

Blackbirds and bunnies make themselves known.
Unwritten adventure hides behind foggy scrim.

Cameron West- Three Poems


"The Hands of Time"

The times passing by from a minute to an hour,
gathering courage is what people do after they cower.
Whispering to others about false information,
but doesn't connect to the truth for a direct correlation.
People go by suffering from an illness or more,
Time comes in, to present anew which isn't a bore.
Sometimes thinking it can be over in an instant,
but actually lasting for several decades (hmm...) that's maleficent.
With numerous objections with deep mindsets, 
coming and going just like trading in bets.
As Time goes on, we will soon be told,
people tend to be sly and rude but underneath, they're actually bold.
Time controls all inside a swift moving sphere, 
being the shape of the Earth, but like a movement of a spear.

"The Blue Moon Sensation"

Out of the whole year, there is one day,
where people seem to have the need to speak and say.
Thoughts and emotions flowing in and out,
conversing therapeutic words around and about.
One ear in, one ear out, expressing 'you' only,
saying that you need no one, but feeling lonely.
Asking someone to go on a date for positivity,
seeing that it only added towards yours curiosity.
Feeling like you're entering chambered doors,
just like being trapped inside and out with no one to hear your roars.
Viewing all the actions about your past,
wishing you could control Time, knowing it's your last.
Lights flickered, water poured, darkness scattered,
glass cracked, embers sparked, and minds battered.
Once every blue moon sends combinations,
but once the day ends, it comes with congratulations.

"Bleak Winter"

Windy thoughts coming from above,
flying through the clouds such as a dove.
Cold winters chilling to the bones,
polar caps and ice tips are just winter's cones.
Sounds and emotions bouncing off the walls,
waiting on the morning  blues to interrupt the echoing calls.
Using the knowledge already gathered at the edge,
falling down into a snowy abyss from a ledge.
Cold-minded ideas flaking off the brain,
shivering for warmth of the body to sustain.
Storing and rationing for the sake of survival,
beginning to view the native mind as a tribal.
On a quest for clearance and understanding,
but can't be too forceful and demanding.
Polar ceramics framed in the lighthouse,
all inhabitants frozen to the bone and quiet as a mouse.
 
 
 Bio: Hello, my name is Cameron West and I have had a passionate interest in poetry with great creativity ever since I read the graceful poems "John Donne's Statue" by John Peale Bishop and "The Ceiling" by Theodore Roethke as these poems reminded me of quite deep characteristics of my interests. The reason of why I want to submit my poetry to this publication is from the interest of sharing my stored poems to the world to see and for those effected to grasped the ideas I share to them.
 
 

Alison Ross- A Poem


Empathy for the devil 

There is sympathy and there is empathy and then there is the hole inside my head. The devil told me he'd take a look at it, but he doesn't do house calls and anyway, my kitchen is a mess. So I rang the doctor instead, and he prescribed a large dose of apathy, and plenty of restless sleep. When the devil called asking me to a dinner party at midnight in the garden of pseudo-evil, I yawned and fell back into my Baudelaire nightmare, where the flowers smell like narcissism and the wine tastes like the aftermath of excessive calculation. 

And besides, I never really liked solving equations, which is maybe why I have this hole inside my head. 


Author bio: 

Clockwise Cat publisher and editor Alison Ross has been published here, there, elsewhere and nowhere. She experienced rave-levels of ecstasy when she found out she was shortlisted for the 2014 Erbacce Prize among 20 others, down from 5,000 entries. She was also giddily bemused when was nominated for the Best of the Net a few years back, though she lost out to savvier scribes. Alison's chapbook, Clockwise Cats, released by the venerable Fowlpox Press, will subvert your dissonant dystopia into a euphonious utopia of Zen-Surrealist bliss. 

 

 

Brittany Zedalis- Two Poems


Midnight Eyes

During a trek through a frigid woodland,

something flashed before my eyes, white,

ripping me from silent solitude,

an owl starkly contrasted against the earthen tones,

I watched, devoted and inquisitive of this enigma

as its claws touched down just before me,

midnight eyes fixated on my own, motionless,

my feet fastened to the soil beneath,

I struggle to pull myself free, to reach beyond the barrier,

while the creature continued to stare, in such silence

that I was sure I must have been deafened,

my fingers outstretched, straining,

longing for just one connection, however brief,

and with the distance scant between,

its wings spread in blinding light, vanished,

restoring my solitude



Quietus

Today, as the clock strikes twelve,
 
I am thrust through starlight and nebulas 

back to an era long since past, 

where freedom rang from the sky above 

and your voice was the very foundation beneath my feet, 

your long, slim fingers grasped my hands, 

lifting me from perdition into light,
 
again I am swept away into memory, 

as once again you lifted me up, 

instead in this moment it was to cheers
 
and tears fell down your cheeks in pride, 

violently I am ripped from peace, I remember, 

the consistent clicking of machines and staff scurrying by, 

anxious, waiting, pacing, 

then relief so brief filled my heart as yours continued on, 

but in finality, I stumble into the darkness, 

 your heartbeat beating on so slowly 

that I felt mine would stop if a moment of silence passed, 

and suddenly I am choking, I am pleading for air and life 

while reaching for those long, slim fingers that once lifted me up, 

I crash, and I am fallen.


Brittany Zedalis is a writer residing in North Carolina. She has been writing poetry for many years and it is a part of her down to her bones. Previously, her poems have appeared in The Camel Saloon, Haiku Journal, Mad Swirl, Leaves of Ink, Verse Land, and in one E-Zine interview.