Friday, March 27, 2015

Alan Catlin- Three Poems

Partially Obstructed
Settling in center rear of the second-run
movie theater as house lights dim,
rows ahead and behind clear, no partial
views, meddlesome commentators, moronic
super-sizers, soda slurpers, ice chewers,
Macadamia nut fanciers, clear sailing through
trailers until Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in his traded-
to-the-Lakers Afro days sits down directly in
front and all of his teammates six foot nine
and above with him, even Sven Natar from
his UCLA days along for the flicks, so we
decide to move but our row is blocked by
the first seven footer to play on an NBA court,
Walter Dukes and with him, his NFL counterpart,
Ernie Ladd "Bigger that Dad" the first seven
foot, 300 pounder in his league and I think,
"This can't be.  These guys are like long dead."
And then I see Wilt "The Stilt", and Dave D
from the Knicks, the bartender's son, and George
Mikan and Walter Bond, definitely not to be
confused with Ward Bond the actor, no this
is the baseball player, all six foot eight of him
in playing shape from back in the days when anyone
over five eight was considered a giant and now,
I'm like really worried, as all of these guys are way
dead too and I wonder if maybe this is the wrong theater,
that the Marx Brothers Retrospective we'd been
dying to see is actually a Karl Marx Retrospective
and the Main Attraction is neither Horse Feathers
nor Monkey Business but colorized versions of
Battleship Potemkin, followed by colorized
copies of Alexander Nevsky and Ivan the Terrible
Parts 1 And 2 and I'm thinking, "How could they do
this to Eisenstein and someone says, "They colorized
Casablanca, didn't they?" "Did they ever!" I think,
"Not that you'd ever catch me watching something
like that in this life." And everyone around us starts
laughing as if I actually said something funny and
I know now, we are in the wrong theater for sure
but we are way beyond too late to leave.
White Evil
Ouzo, Tequila, Bailey's Irish Creme
If Death were
a man wheedling
a bartender for
a complimentary beer
and pocket change
for cab fare to
the Greyhound Station,
more than likely closed
this near Last Call,
he would be this
mostly blind man
sighting the industrial
wall clock with
a retractable magnifying
lens with his good eye,
the all white one
rolling nearly loose
detached in its' socket
as his high pitched,
pleading voice suggests,
"Just one more.
Come on, you know
you can do it.
Another one won't kill
you.  I'll go away if
you do." And it seems
almost plausible that he might,
as the beer flows his way
and his metal guiding
stick rhythmically taps
against the brass foot
rail, a kind of artificial
heart beating, "This place
got a juke box? I know
there's one in here somewhere.
You got some quarters?
I need to hear some Mu-
Zic- before I go." and that too
sounds almost plausible,
the barman is so anxious
to have him gone, so desperate
anything could be plausible,
"What's your name?" the blind
man asks, his wide, featureless
eye so grotesque, so unnatural
it is impossible to look very
close, "I really have to know.
I need to write your name
in my book." And the barman
wonders: should I speak or not?
but it doesn't matter much either
way, he's doomed no matter what.
The Firebird
Pepper Vodka and Cranberry Juice
She was wearing
this amazing short
short skirt with a
low cut top to match
made from fabrics
so way beyond loud
it made you wonder
if she was cheerleading
for some spectator
sport organized in
another dimension
parallel to ours
and she was  so
bubbling over, effervescent
trying to make whatever
it was she wanted
understood, she spoke
in a tongue not readily
recognizable as something
that was spoken here
on earth, her efforts
made more complicated
by her warp hyper speed
buzzing and The Boss
screaming something
about being born in the USA
as if that were a big deal
in the background, so I
try hand gestures to help
out, pointing at items
behind the bar asking her
to select but it doesn't
work out, becoming more
and more like some colorful,
futile game of charades
conducted by two inmates
of a locked-in ward.

Bud Faust- Three Poems


Snakes in my head
and I’m getting dizzy.

Snakes in my head
with caffeine and bad skin.

Snakes in my head
and I guess I’m getting
used to it.

someone is leaving
without saying goodbye.

an angel smiles
in her sleep
as the city lights grow dim.

Doesn’t everyone
want to watch the girls
eat each other?

Doesn’t anyone
sleep with the radio on

Doesn’t it feel good
to feel everything
and imagine it’s nothing?

Doesn’t it?

Looking for Atlantis

Everything is broken
and well beyond repair –
the car,
my shoestring (finally),
all of the plastic forks
in the kitchen drawer.

Everything we create
is disposable,
most notably ourselves.
Every step in the
wrong direction,
further away from
the shoreline,
further into the
thickening weeds.

All afternoon I studied maps,
looking for Atlantis
in piles of prehistoric dirt.
Anything not so damned
ordinary would be nice –
a siren screaming at
the windows,
a meteor shower
through the roof,
a neighbor cursing
at his dog
in a foreign language.

but mostly broken.

I’ve got a pack of smokes
and a roll of duct tape.
We’ll hold her together
as long as we can.
Someone get word
to the captain.

We’re going down.

Or something like that

With my luck,
she said,
I’ll probably leave you,
you’ll start working out again
and lose a bunch of weight,
finally find a decent job
and start making a
shitload of money,

or something like that.

It was right then
I knew for sure
there was no hope at all
for any of us crooked creatures,
crumbling cross-legged at
our imaginary altars,
begging for providence
undeserved and impossible,
thirteen thousand years into the ether
in an instant,
birds circling above, pissing
everywhere like rain,

but it doesn’t make a
damned bit of difference because
nothing’s going to grow
down here anyway.

She’d swallowed
a lot of things,
but she’d never be able
to swallow that.

Paul Tristram- Three Poems


I witnessed her open up that coffin-shaped box
buried deep within her heart
and let all of that shit and misery out
in one Gigantic flood of despair.
Briefly compose herself with shudders and tears
then suck strength, bravery and self-esteem
back up into its spring-cleaned place.
As frail and fragile as she was in stature,
I shook my head in admiration and respect
for I was now in the presence of a Warrior Soul.

© Paul Tristram 2014

Old Swansea Town

Another late afternoon and early evening in Abertawe.
The prison stands on Oystermouth Road
like broken teeth in the front of a scowling mouth.
Cobbled, Constitutional Hill, almost vertical
and an adventure playground for the drunks
trying to climb home to womanless rented rooms
with chip-fat gloom and out of date library books.
‘Scrubbers Laundromat’ at the bottom
where I used to bum cigarettes off the working girls
brave enough to face the South Wales winds
in short sleeved tops and mini skirts
back when I was seventeen years old and lost myself.
The Battlegrounds of The Kingsway every Friday
and Saturday night, my God, I’ve seen it all
a dozen times or more upon that lit up stretch of madness.
Carlton Terrace, where I once lived in an attic,
Dai and Pie’s Tattoos up on top of the cold High Street,
The Quadrant and cockles from the indoor Market,
Castle Gardens the way they were before the concrete.
She lives and breathes aloud, that ‘Hard As Nails’ Town
and cwtches her battered head into the arm and shoulder
of the ‘impossible to drink in one go’ Mumbles Mile
as the Pier reaches out across the water, forever.

© Paul Tristram 2015

The Pissed Misanthropist

He had the Christian name of a Bible Baptist,
was one of the two Tramps living in our Town.
When he was younger he was on his way
to becoming a professional football player
but instead, had some sort of devastating breakdown
and could not seem to ever fight his way back.
The ‘Men In White Coats’ would lock him up
every few months or so and you wouldn’t really
notice the disappearance until he returned.
Then, all of a sudden, there he would be in the park
in the middle of the afternoon on Giro Day
with 10 Regal King Size, a flagon of Strongbow
and a cheap plastic football, drunkenly foot-shuffling.
You rarely heard him talk, Tourette a bit only,
he’d just kick that ball across to any kid passing
hoping that they would kick it back and fore with him.
People always said he was mad (I’m still on the fence
with this one?) for sleeping rough down The Melyn,
what with all the crime, drugs and gang activity
but we all looked out for him, we slapped these two
Port Talbot boys around once when we caught them
hitting him with sticks as he slept on a wooden bench.
I use to find it fascinating to watch him ‘hunting’
he would wait a few doors down from the chip shop
for teenagers to come out with their meals open
and steaming salt and vinegar into the Winter air,
then he’d barge straight into them with a “Sorry!”
then walk around the block to return and pick it all up
off the dirty pavement like a King eating venison.
Every Saturday, he’d go up to Woolworths in Town
and take a football out of the basket in the middle
of the shop and start kicking it up and down the aisles.
While they were throwing him out 5 minutes later,
the glue sniffers would be loading up their pockets
with solvents and freezer bags…an unknowing decoy.
I saw him walk into a café on Windsor Road one morning
with a raw half chicken in his hand, no wrapping
just the chicken and beg the owner to cook it, claiming
“I only want the bad half of it you can sell the rest?”
We were all playing the Space Invader machines
after a night of magic mushroom madness and shouting
“Cook the bloody thing for him, mun, c’mon!”
The Park Keeper of Victoria Gardens came up to us
laughing another morning and told us that he’d opened
the Public Toilets at 6am and by 7am they had to call
the Fire Brigade because Matey had staggered in there
drunk and got his cock stuck in the drain grating
in the middle of the floor, he claimed that he was pissing
in the urinal and staggered backwards four steps,
pissing over himself and turned around while falling,
Wham…Stuck…they had to cut him out of there.
I only ever spoke more than two words to him once
and that was the evening before I went to prison
for the first time, I was sat in a warm laundrette
with a girlfriend drinking cider when in he came
out of the rain, he looked cagey at first but then asked
“Who’s ‘Top of the Pops’ this week, then?”
and offered us both a cigarette which we refused
(I remember it well, they were long, thin ‘More’
liquorice cigarettes, women used to smoke them!)
I gave him half of one of my flagons of cider
and talk soon turned ‘round to prison, he said
“You’ll be alright boy, I can tell, just take no shit
off of no one. They’ve got a TV and a pool table
in the ‘Young Offenders Unit’ happy days!
The biggest problem you’ll have is that you’re locked
up 24/7 with other people, it’s enough to drive you nuts
if your not nuts already, God forgive me but I hate
other people and the more of them the worse it gets!”
Anyway, I was alright and a few years later I Gypsied
away on my Travels but I was back there a couple
of years ago and he came up in the pub conversation.
Some of the people had clubbed together and bought
him a wooden garden shed and stuck it on the marsh
down by the side of Neath River away from people.
He was happy living there alone for a few months
until Guy Fawkes Night came around and some idiot
school kids went down there and burnt it to the ground
whilst he was drunkenly and peacefully sleeping inside.

© Paul Tristram 2015

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.

You can read his poems and stories here!

B.Z. Niditch- Three Poems


Uprooted by first light
in the Green Mountains
by mushrooming
pockets of dreams
yet redeemed by sunshine
on blankets of snow
of stolen nights and dawns
wearing animal skins
amid a stunning sun
in a collapsing coat
and carefree hood,
trying my hand
at a play about Whitman
with blue-penciled verse
now featured in photos
taken by a distant mutineer
with his St. Bernard
and my recusant energy
cold shouldered for now
up for a ski jaunt.


Bruised conversation
on a local show
of this poet years ago
on a stolen spring dawn
in his polished boots
among camera lights
a heavy silence
of reverie takes me over
mesmerized by camera
with Laddie his sheepdog
having his media debut,
I take out my early collection
of poems, "Freedom Trails"
about revolutionary Boston
and speak, sigh free
hopefully grounded
by questions and answer.


In a void
from cabin fever
unable to venture out
and seeing the green fir trees
among the shadow
of pure white drifts of snow
hiding my body
disclosing my eyes
like a forest brown bear
hibernating by a mirror
a poet in a faithful minimalism
of animal magnetism
trying to save the earth
and the overflowing oceans
from man's pollution
while hardly saving myself
from a child's confidential time
as my shadow stretches
for a once mile run,
it seems like a miracle
just to eye the sun
from my absent green eyes
against the seasonal pull
pleading for any harbinger
like a Canadian robin
on my dark corner sill
where a few geraniums
still survive
in my sound proof studio
aching for first light
of spring to take a picture
of bird watchers or ice fishermen
at the slippery edge of the dock.

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Waiting in Hospice

This time why
doesn’t matter
all that matters is

what and when
it’s finally over
he'll know

who was right
the last time
he saw them

at the wake
20 years ago
his big sister

the atheist
his little brother
the monk

The Canyon Dwellers

There’s this canyon
between two cliffs
and Tim Boyd has a foot
planted on each cliff.
He’s spread-eagled
but very steady.

He's been stretched
over the canyon since
he got back from Iraq.
After he took his position,
he thought someone
would eventually look up.

There are others
spread over the canyon
in front of Tim.
They’ve been there
since Viet Nam and
getting a bit wobbly.

In back of Tim
are the new arrivals
spread-eagled as well.
They’re fresh from
Afghanistan and they're
getting their feet set.

The rest of us below
have jobs and are busy
with families and lives.
When a canyon dweller falls
and makes a terrible mess,
we find the time to look up.


Professor Burns is interested
in macro issues only,
no minutiae for him.

So he asks students
on the first day of class why
water swirls counterclockwise

when you flush a toilet
anywhere in America
and to determine as well

by midterm if the water swirls
clockwise elsewhere in the world.
Or if the counterclockwise swirl

is uniform all over the planet.
Extra credit will be given
to the student who proves

the counterclockwise swirl is
a conspiracy of plumbers.
The final exam, he says, is

an essay question asking if ISIS
will reverse the swirl clockwise
when it takes over the world.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

John Swain- Three Poems

A Throwing Veil

After fishing the beach
the eagle turns to light
behind the pines
like a bright sun to the west
chased by crows.
I put my face
to the darkening waves
beginning to rain
in consummation.
I see you naked,
the black mist lifts
a fragrant throwing veil.

The Angle of List

Thunderhead storm winds build in the evening
as the sea of lightning shakes a gull bone rattle,
the waves break in white spray trailing.
Ring of vision
with the grey sky and waves prostrate
as the osprey cries your brother of the Atlantic.
I dissolve in the salt like the pillar of a woman
seeing angels
swim with the ships ripping their sails.
Origin of our source this dark migration route
extends the horizon
from body to body, face to face, hand in hand.
Then the severing overwhelms
the myth of contentment, the myth of oneness,
and we continue the angle of list.

Sea Island

The sea island bells
for the fog in the harbor
dredged onto barges.
Caroline, your twin,
Susannah has gone
back to the mountains.
I loved in a misuse,
I took my confession
from the ghost on the water.
A still quiets the bells
like a name vanishes
with the childless.
Black oaks hold
the world submerged
in the grey dawn.

John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Red Paint Hill published his collection, Ring the Sycamore Sky.  

Stefanie Bennett- Three Poems


The last conversation
I had
With a fossil
Escapes me –.

It’s either or
Of us
Being known

To the other
Counts as
A bit

Of a bother.


Late in the day,
And slightly
Humped over

My shoulder
... If I am

Of whale descent

Water –.


Inside nothing and beyond
The brink
                 I find
An unpaid
Promissory note
That said

You’d return around
The time
The rains

They’re here...

Matt Margo- Two Poems

bombshell vocations

at the nightclub dances
the prettiest matter
across a summit of storms

a modish windmill at the diehard café
taming waves and riding tight corners
in an underground room
on a wordless night still transient

like ghost hands over heavens
hammering out an age
of permanence or fence
sustained in isolation

let me push this trial and at once
kowtow to these arabian cascades
and sidewalk muses
for their large-scale wisdom
told after the heavy rains

against a backdrop
the monuments glisten
with light spring rain

the hands rise over a snowstorm
loftily living and blooming
safe from harm in a simplified city
rasping into a saw-like slip

of vintage wear and leisure time
cloaked in ameliorated cleanliness
they echo oral accounts of love said aloud
forbidding any unexpected fish farm frost

yapping about quick friendship
and the slow dark moon
vultures speak in heated murmurs
their lowly souls with salty patches
into slow synthetic synthesis

the old adage is nothing more
than a true hope shudder
bluish flags treading water

bliss is not fixed in passing canisters
of gin or the sap of the sin
that came to humanity
in punctured lines

chiming of different times
at a monday morning’s rally
the comedians and magicians
come together in search of footprints

as they move on
they recite their own songs
clacking and passing jars
to make ready
for the revolution of thorns

do-it-yourself make-a-wish foundation

to whom it may not concern:
it concerns me
and that is that
if your hand is as big as your face
it means that you have cancer
and if you ask me to marry you
then the answer is yes
yes i am an ugly human being
yes i do have a heart

Both poems published in Metazen November 2012

Matt Margo is the author of the poetry chapbook what i would say (Peanut Gallery Press, 2014) and the book-length poem When Empurpled: An Elegy (Pteron Press, 2013) as well as the editor of the online poetry magazine Zoomoozophone Review and the literary blog experiential-experimental-literature.

Adreyo Sen- A Poem

On a Rainy Day

On days when the sky is a wall of rain,
you find the nearest window seat
to curl up on.

Perhaps in those moments
you are thinking of a little house
and a little school
and a boy who loved to hold you
in his arms.

There are days when it rains
both here and where you are
and on those days you must
kiss the glass
as you used to kiss me.

For in those moments
when the rain curtains you and me,
there will be no glass between us,
no oceans raging and deep.

And you'll be warm
with all the love in my smile.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Noel Negele- Two Poems

Some More Bad Poetry.

We were on that Mercedes-Benz Sprinter truck again
All three of us, next to each other
The driver already on his third coffee
My brother leaning his bald head against the window
Trying to grasp some minutes of sleep
And behind his bald head
An ugly city gave away to viridity
I was on my fifth sober day
And it was the little things that broke me inside
Like say
The alarm clock at 6 in the morning,
The potholes in the streets,
the morning faces,
the beeping sound each time
I started the car in the morning
Indicating the perennial lack of petrol
or when we all loaded the equipment
on the truck
silently and synchronized
and it was the history of repetition that this fact
that drove me mad
We went to a suburban nursery school on that day
Because the prime minister had a speech there
And we began to assemble the cameras
And the jimmy jib triangle crane
on their proper places
and it was a difficult task to keep yourself
from having a fit
when there’re so many kids around
and they had clowns too
and one of them had a fat gut
which made me feel good about myself
and realize
there’s always worse
But the kids were curious
About the cameras and the crane
About everything
And I had a bladder issue
And the coffee was awful
And I was trying to maintain a mental balance
In a sea of frenzy children
But the only way of managing
Was to push them away
Without manners:
“ Just fuck off to the clowns over there!”
At some point I went to the truck
To grab a piece of machinery
And while returning
I stopped in front of a closed door
And started smoking,
Half way on my cigarette
The door opened
And an ugly lady exited
Not quite closing the door behind her
Leaving a small gap
And through that small gap
I saw an impeccable flower
And it’s not a good thing
To see such a beautiful woman
Without being prepared
Because impulses begin to stem
And you’re suddenly
On the verge of doing something
really stupid that will get you in a lot of trouble
Of course she didn’t care to look at me twice
And of course I was thinking about her for weeks
Until the next equally indifferent flower
Would take her place in my mind
And when the prime minister came
And told all that bullshit they want to hear
All of them
Children and adults
And her
Looked at the prime minister
Actually listening
Actually expecting
And the only ones who didn’t care
Was me
That fat clown
And I could see it
In his face
He wanted a drink
As badly
As I did.

In The End Very Little To Nothing Is Left.

She showed me some letters I had once written to her
from years of which I remember nothing,
and I read those letters under her examining eyes
words of crying and groaning
loaded with what the writer once thought as essence
and I was amazed by the writer's certainty of his love
back when us seemed like an unbreachable fortress
back to now
where all the words of love seemed so terribly empty.