Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tony Gloeggler- Three Poems


VIGILS

I hug my mother, try to put
a twenty into her hand,
convince her to take a taxi
home. I feed him a few
spoonfuls of cherry jello,
hold the cup as he sucks
a bent straw. We both feel
better when he falls asleep.
We love each other, but ran
out of things to say last
Monday. We stopped talking
about the time I was five
riding on his shoulders
as he carried me up
the ramp for my first look
at the Yankee Stadium infield
as green and magical as Gates
to Emerald City; or at nineteen
when he changed his seat
at the dinner table, told
my mother he couldn’t keep
his food down while looking
at me and my friggin’ long hair.
I kept staring into my plate,
ate faster. I must have sighed
or raised my eyes to the ceiling
because he charged around the table,
grabbed the back of my hair,
yanked on it and held me there,
balanced on the back legs
of the chair, daring me to make
one more friggin’ sound
as my mother kept yelling
his name, yelling to let me go.

Instead, I watch Seinfeld
re-running on the monitor
hanging over his head,
try to anticipate the lines
that always make me laugh.
Later, I sit by the window,
stare at the buildings
lighting up, kitchen after
kitchen. I nod to the daughter
of the man in the next bed
as she walks in. He’s dying
too. I watch her ass, wish
this was a movie. We’d go
for dinner, linger over
coffee in a nearby cafe,
hold hands while we wait
for a light to change, end up
in her cramped apartment.
But no, there’s nothing to say
or do. Our fathers are racing
in slow motion toward
whatever comes next or nothing
at all. Neither of us sure
if the winner is the one
who fights to stay alive,
or lets go, dies tonight.



NOT THE WORST THING

At dinner, Don’s new girlfriend
talks about the one time she hit
her son. He was five and screaming,
squirming loose of his seat belt harness.
She kept half turning, reaching
behind to strap him back in, begging
him to stop as cars sped by, horns
blared. When she started to pull out,
he grabbed the back of her hair
and yanked. She turned, smacked him
twice. Two years ago and her eyes
show she isn’t close to forgiving
herself. Don strokes Sue’s hand
with his thumb. She’s separated
from her third husband. Each one
sounds more abusive than the one before.
Don stopped speaking to his parents
years before he started to suspect
they did unspeakable things to him.
Somewhere, deep down, he’s measuring
those two slaps and what they mean
to his girlfriend, her son, their future.
I dip a chip in the salsa, ask if
her son ever pulled her hair again.

I agree it’s not the point, but I’d bet
he hasn’t done anything like that again.
Sometimes, a good well-timed smack
across the face isn’t the worst thing.
When I say this, they glance at each
other. The waitress brings the check,
I have to hurry, meet my new girlfriend
in fifteen minutes. She’s half my age
and we ended up in bed too quickly.
We’re learning about each other,
finding out how we fit together
while she lies against my chest
and waits to see if my cock will get
hard again. Last time, she talked
about her white trash Jersey childhood,
the night her next door neighbor called
the cops and her dad was arrested.
Her head had swelled big as a watermelon.
She said it was her fault and she still
feels bad. She kept sticking her face
into her dad’s face and asking him
if he felt good beating up a girl,
daring him to try and shut her up
every time he was ready to stop.

I didn’t know what to say. I shifted
position, leaned on one arm. I touched
her hair, kissed her closed eyes
until she started to kiss me back.
My father hit me four, five times.
I can still feel the weight of his hand,
the sting hitting my skin, flashing
down my spine. I remember trying
not to cry until I made it to my room,
my little brother sitting on his bed,
asking if I was alright and telling him
to leave me the hell alone. Probably
I put on headphones, played the loudest
music I owned and filled my head
with scenes of torturing my father
as he wasted away in a nursing home.
Hours later he would knock on my door
or call me down stairs to talk. I think
we’d apologize, make promises. We might
have hugged, or maybe we didn’t touch
at all. Still, I always felt better, almost
closer, as if we had forgiven each other
something terrible because I loved him
and I knew he loved me more than anything.



 EASTER

I’m up early folding the mattress
back into the couch. My wife is asleep
behind our closed bedroom door.
My stepson is sliding the first
of today’s maybe two hundred videos
into the machine’s slot. Even though
no one in this apartment has any reason
to believe in Jesus, last night
we pretended everything was good.
Jesse wasn’t autistic and Helen
wasn’t falling out of love with me.
We sat at the kitchen table, dipped
hard boiled eggs into plastic cups
filled with colored water. Jesse
crouched, his eyes level with the edge
of the table and he jumped in delight
every time we dunked an egg
beneath the surface. Helen
caught my eye a few times
and neither one of us could keep
from smiling. When Jesse lost
interest, walked back to his room,
we finished the dozen, hardly
talking. She then said goodnight,
took a book to bed while I played
the radio softly, thought about
how hopeless I felt as I bent
down, hid a purple egg under
the bed, leaned over to kiss Jesse
while he slept so perfectly.



"Vigils" was published in Poet Lore and "Not The Worst Thing" was in The Ledge and "Easter" was included in THE LAST LIE

Donal Mahoney- A Poem


Fallout from the War on Women

I was warm and toasty, 
curled up, napping 
in amniotic fluid, 
without a worry 
when suddenly 
this metal thing
came into my room 

poked around 
and pulled me out.
The doctor stabbed me, 
smashed my head,
cut off my arms and legs,  
threw my pieces 
in a bucket 
with the others.
It's been a busy day
at the clinic.

At the closing hour,
a nurse dumped 
the bucket
in a freezer sack,
took it out in the alley
and threw it in a bin.
In the morning 
a private truck 

took the sack to 
the garbage dump.
The driver tossed it 
on the highest pile, 
launching flies,
at least a thousand. 

Sitting up here now
I can tell you 
I don't need arms or legs. 
I can hear 
the angels singing.


Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Richard Schnap- A Poem


POMPEII

When they find me in a thousand years
I’ll be lying before the TV
Tuned to the blank screen of a news channel
As if there’s no more news to report

When they find me in a thousand years
I’ll be holding my phone in my hand
As a mechanical voice says the number
That I’ve reached is disconnected

When they find me in a thousand years
My mouth will be slightly open
As if something I saw before me
Compelled me to utter a cry

And when they find me in a thousand years
They’ll discover a poem on my desk
That starts out like a suicide note
But becomes a love letter by its end

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Jennifer Lagier- 3 Poems & Photos



  
Crone

This old girl has endured storm winds,
salt mist, another cycle of drought.
Time and termites have conspired to topple;
severely deformed, she still holds her ground.
Blackbirds and squirrels invade with impunity,
navigate sagging limbs, explore bark and roots.
Her trunk bends from dowager humps, spine
twisted, branches lopped leaving silvery scars.
Recognizable landmark, she clings to hillside,
keeps hikers on the trail, points lost wanderers home.



Vista Point at Leffingwell Landing

Sun slides downhill toward ocean
as a ranch wagon drawn by
identical gold Percherons
clatters along motel row.
Seagulls and pelicans
ride cooling wind currents,
flaunt aerodynamics, glide
north above radiant beach.
Moonstones rim gilded surf,
accentuate flaming sky,
invoke indigo nightfall
above burnished bay.



Lunacy

Swollen planet glows, silverplates
oak forest, floats above pine.
Crows and turkey vultures vanish.
Woodpeckers have called it a night.
Roof and walls seem claustrophobic.
Darkened patio, chill chaise beckon.
Supermoon awakens odd yearnings,
overwinds the imagination.
Cool sister, shadow doppelganger
of sun, slides across blackened heavens.


Jennifer Lagier has established a sordid reputation as an unrepentant snake aficionado.

Cristine A. Gruber- Three Poems


Empty Nest

I miss the summer evenings
when you came home warm,
a lightness to your step,
a smile a glance away,
a clear twinkle, a lighter air.

There was more noise in summer,
though we never thought of it
as such. It was merely the vitality 
that season brings, resonating 
throughout the hills and valleys. 

Winter is quieter, and colder too. 
We walk through the frost
in black and white moods,
hugging frozen sweaters
to freezing extremities.  
 

"Empty Nest" was first published in The Poet's Haven in December 2013.

 
 
 
Heed  
              
I hear you
through the cries
of stoneware,

each clash and clatter
bemoaning the pains
of a misguided life.

I pause
in sympathy
for the pots and pans,

absorbing the brunt
of the blunt force
trauma. Flatware

fares no better,
clattering
to the floor

as you curse
their innocence.
I cower,

remain behind,
choosing to heed
the wailings of the

cabinet you kick,
the door you slam,
their mutual cries

exuding
fair warning;
stay clear.
 
 
 
After You Left

It took but five days for me
to realize how much I enjoyed
parking my car in the garage,

the newly-cleared space
motivating me to clean house,
take stock, sort through, let go. 

I cleared the closets of all you’d left behind,
donating personal items to charity,
selling the furniture on Craigslist.

Your tools I gave to a neighbor,
while the books I kept for myself.
The food, I ate. The wine, I drank.

Your mail I sorted, then forwarded
appropriately, every decision logical,
each choice perfectly sound.

The broken walls in your study
I accepted I couldn’t restore,
the foundation cracked beyond repair

in your unprecedented haste to leave.
I stayed but a few months more,
then quickly moved on as well

to a new home across town,
a precise miniature version
of all that had come before.

Come the spring of the first full year
since the day you walked out,
I found a pair of sunglasses

tucked away in a near-hidden
compartment in the console
of my car. Never used by me,

the eyewear was yours,
present all this time, but
unacknowledged ‘til now.

I held them but a moment,
then dropped them to the ground,
crushing them with the heel of my red Payless pumps.

The air was crisp and healing
as I finally drove home at last,
clear radio blasting, Let it Bleed, by The Stones.



Bio:

Cristine A. Gruber has had work featured in numerous magazines, including: North American Review, Writer’s Digest, The Endicott Review, The Homestead Review, Iodine Poetry Journal, Miller’s Pond, The Penwood Review, Poem, Thema, The Tule Review, and Westward Quarterly. Her first full-length collection of poetry, Lifeline, was released by Infinity Publishing and is available from Amazon.com.

Denny E. Marshall- Art



                                                     The Weightlifter

Bio
Denny E. Marshall has had art and poetry published, some recently. He does have a website with previously published works. The web address is www.dennymarshall.com. He also has a “Guest Artist Page” on his dot net site if any artist would like to submit. (See Guidelines)


J.J. Campbell- A Poem


naked fools

so many faces
in the crowd

not enough time
to think of all of
them as naked
fools just dying
to hear me speak

sweaty palms
and a dry mouth

nerves

just vomit and get
this shit over with

and since when did
you start drinking
the hard stuff

chasing ghosts will
only get you to the
asylum

you have to become
one to run the damn
place



J.J. Campbell (1976 - soon) lives and writes on a farm in Ohio. He's been widely published over the years, most notably at Thunder Sandwich, Chiron Review, Fearless, Zygote in My Coffee, and Underground Voices. his latest book, Sofisticated White Trash, is available wherever they happen to sell books these days. You can find him most days whining and complaining about something on his blog, evil delights. (http://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Paul Tristram- Two Poems


Broken Fingers

“You wanted me to prove my love for you,
Well I have!
You wanted to know how much I love you?
I love you this much!”
He held up both hands
bandaged and with finger splints
before her gobsmacked face.
“I walked in ‘The Swansea Jack’ 5 hours ago
and declared my eternal love for you
to your brothers, yes, all 6 of them
and in front of the entire gasping pub.
I had to used my bloody elbows just now
to knock on your front door, Jesus Christ!
Well, don’t just stand there gawking like an idiot
it’s raining, let me in or I’ll get pneumonia as well!”  


© Paul Tristram 2014



Those Drunken Heights Of Absurdity & Glory
In Between Hangovers!

The scars, bumps and lumps.
Fractured, broken, flaked and chipped
teeth and bones.
The tattoos both decorative
and gang related.
The days ticked away
in different prison cells in different prisons.
The countless nights dragged in through
and kicked out of
the ‘Wooden-Pillowed Hotel’
revolving police station doors.
Fighting the system, each other
or whoever came along first
both winning and losing loads of times.
Running team-handed down back lanes
well past midnight
escaping the flashing blue light menace.
Nights freezing in skips and bins,
shivering under a thin blanket
of loose cardboard and paper.
The first Roast Dinner and pint of Ruddles Bitter
after a 4 day walk to get home, ah!
Bedding down with deranged, psychotic women
nearly half as crazy as your demented self.
Smiling bravely or sometimes idiotically
through the torrential rain and pain of it all.
Waking up and sharing a flat flagon
with those 2 rigid fingers
that have been sticking up in your face
ever since the hour of your birth.
Insanity, nervous breakdowns, addictions and excess.
The complete fucking derangement and self abandonment
of the mind, body and soul.
The punk rock, the adrenalin, the energy and the vice.
Realizing that both losing and winning
are part of life’s game and not slowing down
because of either.
I would not change any of it, nor spare the rod once.
For on my deathbed I’ll smile because I will know
that I did not waste my life at all,
I experienced it and lived it to the full
and squeezed out every last drop before leaving.


© Paul Tristram 2014 



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.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Douglas Polk- Three Poems


Malaysia 17

worlds collide in mid air,
summer time dreams,
vacations serene,
lost in a moment of naked rage,
hate and destruction no longer contained,
exploded over the sky of the Ukraine,
lives needlessly lost,
the evidence heart breaking,
evil ripples and grows,
expanding across the world,
while bodies collected and counted.
 
 
 
Tomorrow

they talk of God,
and watch children die,
speaking always of a better tomorrow,
when will tomorrow be today,
or what if it never comes at all?
 
 
 
Terror

the wounds inflicted fester with age,
Bin Laden with 9/11,
his death warrant signed,
quietly waited,
knowing the poison spreading throughout this nation,
debate and discord replaced with chaos and fear,
politicians quake with indecision,
hard choices demanded,
but faith in the system gone,
Khrushchev buried,
but not his words,
echoing through the ages,
heard now on new lips,
"We will bury you."

Arif Ahmad- A Poem

For the sake of heavens, for heaven’s sake 
“The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”

The world bleeds around this most chronic ill
The mother of all conflicts
For such little space, a tiny area on the map
The history of hatred is mind-boggling
The central issue, the bottom line, is NOT ENOUGH LAND,
LAND which the World can help create over the sea
Or little some the expansive neighbors can graciously add

If Abraham was to come alive today
Would he not gather his entire family and probably say
“Do it over, do it better, step it up.”
“Come on people, get your act together, enough is enough.”
Albeit
Would his say in this day still carry any weight?

Moses, Jesus, Muhammad
How do I feel they are faring up there?
How do you think they are holding out?
Content, ecstatic, full of joy?
Or disappointed, dejected, thoroughly annoyed?

You are so wrong, I am so right
And together we create
For the sake of heavens, for heaven’s sake
Unending bloodshed, this never ending plight
Never pausing, never thinking
That at the end of the day
It is the same genes, the same blood on both sides of the aisle
One Big Unhappy Family
Where misery is shared and so is the destiny