Monday, July 21, 2014

April Salzano- Three Poems

Inside Looking In
The mountains have not mattered
since Monday. I have been alone
in my empty house of cards, holding
my breath, protecting my walls.
The truth is on the bathroom floor,
writhing in indifference, loose hair,
speck of dust, so much standing
water, I have to turn my head, wade
through currentless suds. The vanity
is made of rotted wood, pine
that loses its knots, knobs
that loosen at every turn. The door
is locked from the outside.

Our Bodies Are Baskets
carrying everything that is
put inside, holding tight
as membranes. We are
snakes, engulfing prey twice
our size. Our jaws unhinge,
we expand, sated on meat
of miracles.

Before Dawn
My lungs are on the floor,
a pair of kings, played
like bagpipes with accordion precision.
The moon is in my eye, a wafer, a penny
candy. My heart is a piñata, its destiny
hanging in the balance. I breathe
feathers, exhale wings in terrible song.
Then someone decides to run
the vacuum cleaner, clear the room.

Bio:  Recently nominated for two Pushcart prizes, April Salzano teaches college writing in Pennsylvania where she lives with her husband and two sons. She is currently working on a memoir on raising a child with autism and several collections of poetry. Her work has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle. The author also serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press (

Paul Tristram- Three Poems

A Rat Named Ben

When I was around 19 or 20 years old,
three of us shared a house in Allister Street
just off the top of Winsor Road in Neath.
We had a couple of cages in the living room
with a black hooded rat living in one of them
and a smaller brown hooded rat in the other.
They used to be in just the one cage together
but we had to split them up because they had
started breeding like…well, like rats actually.
We ended up giving away the babies for free.
It was the male rat that I had for the longest
his name was Ben (Yes, just like the film!)
He was massive,  just as big as a rat could get,
from my wrist to my elbow, well not quite
but then again not too far off of that either.
And he was just so placid and friendly,
the female you couldn’t have out for too long
because she wouldn’t keep still for a second.
Whilst Ben on the other hand would just sit
on my left leg, up towards my knee drinking
the occasional 5% beer drop off my finger
chilling out with us listening to sleaze music.
If I remember correctly, I think his favourite
song was ‘Babylon’ by ‘Faster Pussycat.’

© Paul Tristram 2014

The Moonlight Bounced Off The Roof Slates With A Bang!

As I slunk surreptitiously and delusionally
DOwn the confused cobblestone road
‘shhh-ing’ myself through yawning giggles.
Focusing then un-focusing through and around
the late evenings pear imitation raindrops.
A woman in a Welsh bonnet and shawl
whispered sideways in Napoleon’s voice
“Vermin and lice and all things nice!”
as we passed in the dark tangoing shadows
which loiter under Rolling Pin Thug Bridge.
“Didn’t hurt one bit!” I smiled in reply
then mournfully realizing that the Damned
‘Walking Cane Thief’ had struck once more
I sighed mournfully and oblongly thrice
then finally changed my determined mind.
“We need flowers blooming at midnight!”
I decided with barely an hour to lose,
so I swung left then right then left again
neurotically and at a pace up Crooked Lane.
Chasing my colourful, cartwheeling brain
back to the One-eyed  Beggar Slut Laboratory,
where I rolled up my shirt sleeves once again.

© Paul Tristram 2014

The End Of That Means Nothing

I feel nothing for you now!
Even the disgust has evaporated.
‘Time heals everything’ they say,
Well yes, it does, completely.
The only thing left is my wonder
of how I could have been so blind?
You are the most spoilt, selfish person
that I have had the misfortune to meet.
It’s like ‘The Picture Of Dorian Grey’
except the picture is not hidden
away in some dark attic somewhere,
the picture is your rotten soul.
The ugliness is like a cancer
you are riddled through with it.
I’m just lucky to have escaped
with merely minor bruising.
God help anyone who goes near you!
Good riddance, they are welcome to you
all of those poor demented souls.

© Paul Tristram 2013

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.

Linda M. Crate- Three Poems

the raven's flight 
she was a laugh
always a laugh
always cascading down 
her lips,
but you told her to be quiet
not to laugh so much
she then became serious and
that wasn't right, either,
you told her to laugh
she remembered
well that you were the one that told
her to stop
so she merely raised her eyebrows—
in her gaiety she had not
been enough for you,
and now she was still too flawed
to impress a smile upon
your features;
so she flew away
left naught but one white feather
the color of the most
perfect cloud
to remind you of her imperfect
should you deign to miss her.

a free bird 
she's so gone
that girl that fell in love with 
demure and sweet
with golden rivers of laughter
deigning to listen to your
most haughty words
she's so gone
that girl
believing every word that flowed from
your lips was honey,
and that you were some kind-of god
on earth
that girl is gone;
i am here now with all my wisdom
and i have laughter
but it's not for you
she's so gone
that girl that waited for your every whisper to
disrobe her in the heat of the moment,
she's so gone
that girl that laughed a little too much
at words that weren't of any
she's so gone,
but even now i care too much
wondering what happened of you but
she's so gone
that girl that trailed her tulips
'round your windows
hoping you'd
fall just as desperately in love with her
because i'm so glad you freed
from your wicked
games, your unkind spell
the birdcage that was too thin to hold
anything but desire.

monster in the mirror 
maybe i danced too close to the
devil in your eyes,
but i didn't believe you'd hurt
me as badly as you did;
ravens have
but i didn't have the heart to claw your eyes
out even if you devoured my heart—
don't ask me any questions
you told me too many lies,
a piece of my innocence
with your insincerity so sincere it fooled me at the time;
but i am no longer your fool
my white feathers
will not bury the black of your disease—
you think i'm crazy?
well, that's not fair
the thought process encompassed in your mind
if you have no intention of marrying someone,
then you have no right to be with them;
you're a gorgeous nightmare,
but i'll go a step
with my insults
i want you to free every girl you've ever trapped in your dreams
like you did me;
we all deserve freedom from your fangs—
i didn't deserve destruction,
but neither did they
one day,
you'll see yourself when you look at your reflection
instead of a man
there'll be a monster looking back
at you.

B.Z. Niditch- Two Poems


We  slow danced
to the Penguins
"Earth Angel"
smothered by
my first love
lowering our voices
and eyes,
we realize
that young crushes
rarely go anywhere
except in blushes
or in the bushes
and Linda
called me her Prince
and I composed
lyrics to her
as my teen lover
she eventually moved
out West
and a Hollywood star
and years later
when I worked
on film scripts
as a summer job
for my uncle
we recognized each other
at a party
on Fairfax Avenue
in West Los Angeles
at a when we were 
both tranquilized
by all the guitar glitter
and rock energy
when the crowd
became so loud
in glamour and clamor,
we walked outside,
and I sang to her
from "Earth Angel"
and asked her
to be my bride.

On Shepard Street
in Harvard Square
where we shopped
as runaways
for wine and cheese
when on sale
these poets came
to this apartment
we were told
by neighbors
to share their stuff
Aiken, Eliot, Lowell
and after that
Plath ,Sextant, Bishop
it was rough to stay up
even in the chatter
but there was always laughter
in the highway
by our small studio flat
there was vocal jazz 
they called scat
in improvisation
here where I was at
as a young Beat
but when you 
are young and in love
does it matter 
when there is little to eat
I asked my friends
for a welcome mat
and a next door neighbor
who did psychic readings
came through for us
though the prophecies
in the parlor never came about.

Donal Mahoney- Three Poems

Two Flying Saucers

A flying saucer whirrs 
through the kitchen air
almost hits him in the head

flies out the open window
followed by another saucer
sailed at him by her 

angry that he's earthbound
can't take her to the moon
one more time tonight.

He's getting old, he tells her.
She should have come aboard
when he was 23 and flew

all night from star to star.
He ducks again and gasps,
"Once must now suffice."

No Bigger than a Pepper Flake

I could kill him but I won't. 
This tiny spider 
no bigger than a pepper flake

has spun a web so fine
I can't see the strands 
falling from a hook

near the basin where I shave.
He appears to levitate.
I could kill him but I won't.

He will be an inconvenience 
for my wife when she spots him 
but not an inconvenience

like the fetus in the womb 
of my daughter's friend next door.
She goes back to school this week. 

Both Sides Now 

I told my wife today
I won't leave the house again
except to feed feral cats that gather 

on our patio at dawn
to yowl for grub and water.
Otherwise I'll stay home except 

to go to church on Sunday.
At the very least I want to say hello.
The day I die, however, I'll go right

to Feldmann's Funeral Home.
I'll need a lift, of course, but 
I paid Feldmann's long ago 

to wake me on my stomach, 
pants pulled down around my knees 
so folks can read my new tattoos, 

one ablaze on each buttock,
easy to read in red calligraphy.
The left one screams "Kiss this" 

and the right one shouts "Or this."
I'm pro-choice, I guess, 
when it comes to this.

Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.

Brittany Zedalis- A Poem


fingertips that have
         seen fierce days
    beneath the sun
             brush away strands of
                        my hair
             as rain cascades
                            around us
                 hazel eyes so intense
           and familiar that they
                         could only be
                            meet my own
               as your lips meet mine
                           and my breath
                        is stolen
                              along with my

Brittany Zedalis is a 21 year old college senior who is studying to be an elementary teacher. She has been writing poetry for 7 years. She has a poetry blog at:

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Gene McCormick- Three Poems

Red Umbrella In The Rain
Impressive, a round umbrella
spanning one-and-a-half people
as shelter from pattering rain.
And red! Not bright red, but red
with deep scalloped edges arched
like tunnels and tines arcing
to the apex of such tunnels.
It speaks élan with its circumference,
red covering, ebony shaft
and highly-grained wood handle.
Sidewalk passersby make do with small
fold-up black polyester umbrellas,
some with prints of ducks or fish;
a few hold a soggy newspaper overhead.
Hoodies are raised and tied.
In a jostling crowd the red nylon disc
is safe harbor,
keeping things as they are not.
Rite Of Passage
Landscape crew arrives first week in May,
not to sculpt the yard or do plantings
but to clear winter’s fallen debris
and mow the yard, turned from brown
to green and patchy dandelion yellow.
Sweaty hands, some with fingers missing,
reach for the offer of cool bottled water.
English not spoken; smiles and nods.
Push mowers haven’t been used in the
neighborhood for decades, not for trimming,
not for nothing.
Everything is motorized, gas fueled,
taking a tenth or less the time
of manual equipment at 10x the noise
as the  harbinger of spring
stamps an old man’s rite of passage:
grass and time is short.
Power equipment loaded on the rickety trailer,
the crew drives off, engine oil smoke
covering the scent of new mown grass.
Good while it lasted.
Center Stage
Walking up and down the short sidewalk
in front of the library,  she’s on her cell phone
holding a sheet of white paper in her
free hand. She looks down, straight ahead,
talks continually, nodding and smiling.
What’s up with the paper?
Waving it for emphasis, the breeze
blows it about her wrist but she doesn’t let go.
Tired of pacing, she sits on a bench designed
to be uncomfortable but she has some padding
so keeps the cell conversation going,
wafting and shaking the paper,
looking absently across the parking lot.
What is she doing with the sheet of paper?
The sheet would blow off if she
were to set it on the bench so she
squeezes it between thumb and forefinger,
occasionally resting her hand in her lap.
She is wearing Bermuda shorts
and her legs are pale. So are her arms.
Her face is, too.
As the late summer temperature cools,
she gets up, an imprint from the bench
on the back of her thighs below her shorts,
ends the conversation and folds the paper
twice, sticks it in her back pocket
and walks off.
BRIEF BIO: Gene McCormick is a child prodigy who recently celebrated his sixth birthday. He cried when he couldn’t blow out the half-dozen trick candles, but became very happy when his nanny gave him a birthday spanking.

Richard Schnap- A Poem


I ride in the back of a bus
With no beginning and no end

Watching robots in designer suits
Cruise past in camouflaged limos

As rows of cardboard boxes
Crowd sidewalks with “For Rent” signs

Under giant animated billboards
Advertising homes on Mars

And just when I think I’m dreaming
I hear a mechanical voice

Announcing the show around me
Is one that has only begun

Ally Malinenko- Two Poems

American Pastime

I will be out of this country for just two weeks.
14 days.
336 hours.

During that time
a car will be driven into a day care center.
A 4 year old girl will die.
14 people were be injured.
In Texas, there will be another shooting in Ft. Hood.
4 people will die.
16 will be hurt.
In Pittsburgh 24 people will be stabbed inside a school.

A place for learning.

All of this will be reported to me,
on the other side of the ocean
listening to people talk about
my fellow citizens
and their actions
like talking about a tribe they don’t understand.

When I come back
the only music store left in NYC,
a cultural institution for 75 years will be shuttered.
I will hear about an art supply store closing
as well as yet another bookstore.
No music.
No paint.
No books.
I will wonder if in its place
gun stores will spring up.
Why not? That is our new national pastime.
We have no artists,
only killers.

I will watch this country
like a woman watches a deadly car crash
for my own safety
from behind
bullet-proof glass.

Emma Sings in Church
We take our seats in the church,
here for the noon day free concert
that they’ve been offering for 75 years.

It makes me wish the churches back home did this sort
of thing and then I remember that if they did
I wouldn’t be free at noon on a Tuesday anyway.

My weekdays belong to someone else.

I fidget, squirming in my seat
like a child,
behind me the pipes of the organ shine.

When the musicians come in I start.
They are all so young,
long hair and nervous smiles.
You can see the energy wafting off of them.

I look around the packed church,
my husband and I are the youngest people here
but we are not young,
not like these girls
who tuck their violins under their chin
fingers quivering with so
much potential.

When the soloist comes out,
her voice otherworldly
exactly the way Handel would have wanted
I feel something shift in me,
and for a moment I wonder if I will make it home
or if my plane will fall out of the sky.

I look at the program.
Her name is Emma,
this small girl full of so much sound
that I can feel myself breathe it in.
It tastes like buttermint and time.

It tastes like all that life
still ahead of her
begging to be filled.
For a moment I remember what that felt like
and then I close my eyes
and beg it to stop.

Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry collection The Wanting Bone (Six Gallery Press), the children's book Lizzy Speare and the Cursed Tomb (Antenna Books) and This Is Sarah (Bookfish Books). She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the poet and novelist John Grochalski.

Douglas Polk- Two Poems

The History of the Islamic Extreme

In Egypt,
Sadat murdered,
the Shah falls in Iran,
while political thugs grab power in Libya,
and Iraq,
the Ayatollah receives western help,
living in France,
Afghan freedom fighters armed to the teeth,
by America,
battle the Soviets to a decisive draw,
the land left,
a mass of craters,
and a political void,
poverty rampant as America turns its gaze,
and the money leaves,
the region ignored,
until explosions occur in New York,
and Washington D.C.,
The American gaze,
now an angry glare,
the weapons and money once more return,
battling freedom fighters,
no longer considered free,
Hussein and Qaddafi swept away by western guns,
in the name of freedom,
a region once stable,
now in turmoil,
replaced by the Arab Spring,
opening the way for the Islamic extreme.

The Scourge

hear the cries of the souls of the unborn dead,
ripped and sucked from the womb,
dying painful agonizing deaths,
before their first breath,
pregnancy must be a horrific disease,
incurable and unpreventable,
a pox upon the land.