Monday, February 8, 2016

J.K. Durick- Three Poems

J. K. Durick, who lives in South Burlington, VT, is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Pyrokinection, Record, Yellow Chair Review, Eye on life Magazine, and Haikuniverse.


They can show it in color now, divide it
thematically, begin with parades, the heroic
vanity of it all, saluting and banners, lines of
perfectly timed marching, cheering crowds,
speeches, we see in pantomime mostly, lips
moving, gestures, pauses, well-orchestrated
masses saluting, cheering, bringing it on to
themselves; then invasions and troops moving
into place, into places cheering crowds wanted,
air power, navies and tanks, explosions, bullets
then bodies, piles of bodies, prisoners lined up
marching off; this was the part all the cheering
crowds, from episode one, didn’t know came
after, this black and white of war, the bomb
craters, the smashed and smoldering building,
gaping holes in so many lives, so many lost;
we see them, their faces at war, some smile, even
wave to the camera, some cry, some just stare
seeing things very much in the color of their lives
what they came to; and now the lesson is there for
us, no longer just in black and white, but in color,
the color people can make of our pallid world.

Someone once asked me what a poem is.
I said that a poem is what a poet writes.
So he wisely asked what a poet is, but
the answer is simple: a poet is a person
who writes poems. It’s like the chicken
and the egg, the dancer and the dance,
the dinner and the dining, the wallet and
the walrus, the large order and the small.
It’s one of those wonderful balances we
have all around us: the quaint and the odd,
the limber and the lame, the war and the
warrior. It all matches up somehow, but
there could be a poet sitting in front of
a blank page, his poem of the moment,
and there are poems, I’m sure, out looking
for a poet, the right size, the perfect fit.
We all know there are wars out looking
for warriors; we know the warriors out
there looking for wars to cook up, like
a dinner, a large order of wallet, a small
walrus. We’ve met the lame dancer,
the quaint dance, and the limber oddity.
Can anyone tell the poet from the poem?
Well, let’s hope so.

I put a word down
On paper
There it was
But it was alone
So I started to fill
Piled words on
Stack ‘em, stored ‘em
Became a planner
A builder
Wrote full lines stretching out across the page like this and then
Some abrupt
One liners or
They began to
Fill space and time
Some linked up
Some fell apart
Some seemed smart
Others numb
Some graceful
And others, clumsy
They filled
The emptiness
Emptiness in me
And around me
Made use of
All the silence
Drew pictures
Tried emotions
Did the things
I do
Did the things
I wished
Became an end
In themselves
One word to words
To an end
Like this.

Steven Kunert- Three Poems

Steven Kunert, of Corvallis, Oregon, has been writing and publishing his poetry and prose for over 40 years. He previously published poems in Dead Snakes in 2014.

Bird Mama

I was about eight when the young hawk
died in Mother’s hands, and she said
Death always hangs there
but life always hovers higher.
Later, she fed a fallen cedar waxwing nestling
from an eyedropper filled with orange juice and apple mush,
while in a cage next to her
a once lame sparrow chirped, I’m ready.
I saw them come, injured or half dead.
I saw them fly again or go to the dirt
in our yard, where she always put those.
One day I pointed to a robin’s feather
rising from under the soil.
No worry, she said. It will go up
or it will stay down. Either way, you’ll be fine.

The Old Poet Said

You don’t know where you’re going
when you start, but never to some planet
still and silent and without air.
Doing a poem, doing a life,
is encountering a succession of impulses
and perceptions and surprising thoughts
upon simple encounters. Take the quiet,
then realize you are different from other people,
how you treat all things like the purpose of breathing.
Take the quiet, then write because you need to gut someone,
drill into their soul, kill their hates.
Take the quiet, and some undisturbed current
of your life will make its way into the interval
between the pencil you hold and fingers that strum time.
Take the quiet, see the first words
your subconscious calm puts down,
and watch them go, maybe even veer
into some doing paper never knew.

The Young Authoress

Her mother complained she was too self-important,
and her Dad said, Lord save you.
Her brother called her a weirdo
and her sister stressed: don’t show me.
Her best friend didn’t get it,
her cousin Gina suggested therapy
and her boyfriend shrugged, whatever.
Uncle Jim said, you’re pretty darn good
but then I’m no expert,
while Aunt Emily preached that God
expects much more from you.
Grandma said, help me, dear, with this,
and Grandpa had no comment.
Her self-inflicted wound delved
unexpectedly as her final note,
the coroner wrote.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Jennifer Lagier- A Photo

                                            "Plum Blossoms"

Sy Roth- Two Poems

An Asp Lusts

Fall’s smells fall under a frigid sun.
Crisp air glides along ruffling the fallen leaves
Rides them like a surfer aloft on a wave.
The wind waves a farewell to once fulsome trees,
Weep of an impending sleep.

All gathered at the dance,
Brushed and content in the hokum of their lives,
They revel in the gift of an early-morning tryst.
Arms uplifted in a Freitag stretch,
They lust for toothpaste at the local CVS
And morning Star headlines,
And the Chiron-streamed news on Fox warning of fiscal cliffs,
Isis Caliphates
And slithering, saturnine, sand castles that beckon them.

Somewhere she dies alone
Last words a muffled scream,
Hair splayed like bloody splatter on her morning pillow.
A cacophony of brooding silence follows.

He meets the crisp morning,
Mother’s ruby-luscious lips fresh on his mind.
An asp slithers in a frozen garden,
Sibilates a silent message.
He runs his tongue over his sandpaper teeth and spits at the world.

A loudspeaker slices the glaciated, silent halls.
She assuages the Gorgon-headed storm,
Shoos the insistent boogieman that conjoins them in his inferno 

My Laugh Growled

My laugh growled.
She wiped it clean with her magic eraser.  
Once called a happy idiot.
Smile tattooed by an artist
With broad brush strokes
Thick glob of black ink
At the end of his hake.

Sweeping, swift grin
Once curled at the edges
hung like a string Christmas bulbs
In long sweeping arches.

Feathered ends twitched in amusement.
Now in Schnauzer growls
Yips ,
Teeth bared,
Yelping displeasure.  

Anonymity sought among the racks
Wrapped in polyester laughs
And combed cotton guffaws
Amid gleeful shrieks of uncovery
In a twill and cottony flea market.  

Set there like a Greek statue
In ancient repose
fig-leaf crushed  
Lost in a cloud of silence,
a shroud.

David J. Thompson- A Photo

                                   "Cathedral Window, Prague"

Edilson A. Ferreira- Three Poems

Mr. Ferreira is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than Portuguese, in order to reach more people. Has been published (or upcoming to) in venues like  Right Hand Pointing, Boston Poetry Magazine, The Lake, The Stare’s Nest, The Provo Canyon, Red Wolf Journal, Subterranean Blue, Highland Park Poetry, Whispers, Every Day Poems, Indiana Voice Journal, Synesthesia, Dead Snakes and some others. Short listed in four American Poetry Contests, lives in a small town with wife, three sons and a granddaughter and has begun writing after retirement as a Bank Manager. He is collecting his works for a forthcoming book. 

    -The first enchantment and its punishment–

When we and this world were young, long ago,
God inhabited the Garden of Eden and cared us.
He loved man, but so stern was His affection.  
Once, woman tried to raise her companion
more close to God,
more equal to Him.
Had not He created man to His likeness?
Indeed, she looked for security and plenitude,
perhaps a kind of a fellowship with their Lord.
Then, she taught man science of good and evil,
-         The science of life    -  
changing his role in the play from man to human,
and from companion to husband.
Plenty of delight, he jumped, danced and sang.   
God heard and asked - what this carol?  From whom is it?
Astonished and without clemency, He banished them,
saying – “you will eat bread with the sweat of your face;
toiling the land, you will suffer with thorns and thistles;
your sons will come to light with suffering for your wife.”

Oh, God, You created wise and beautiful a woman
and surely your son has had no other choice than
madly fall in love with her!
Would not be time to forget and forgive, disarming                                  
some cherubims’ flaming swords?

The Christ I love more

We surely must follow Christ, learn from Him,
unquestionable Master of love and tolerance.
Son of God, yet a brother, He bequeathed us
divine words and deeds that survive forever.
The way He loved us, great and pure,
no one had or has ever equally leveled.
His sacrifice on behalf of humanity,
that of then and of coming times,
unworthy and infidel ones, perhaps,
just by this,  
took Him to redeem us from bitter destiny. 
But, aside from His Divinity,  His Grandeur,
do not forget the passage of Mathew 21-12,
when He entered the temple of His Father.
Then, not by a converse or dialogue; there,
“He cast out all them that sold and bought”,
 “overthrew the tables of the moneychangers”.
I love this Christ,  so human and so brother,
Who did not conceal His anger, as one of us.
By now, in our time, to honor our Lord,  
we have failed to call out one Saint Fury,
like that of our Savior.

Published in TWJ Magazine, October 2014 issue.

My History says

I hear from silence, the more silence I have,
the more I hear.
Then, my soul connects with every sort of souls,
some I am acquainted to, some unknown.
Mainly when I am at my church, no mass or cult being,
angels and saints say they know me since my early days,
yet before I was born; even before I was conceived  
and only drawn in the dreams of young loving couple.
They say they do not forget joy and hope I caused
and that this is spelled with all words in my history,
forever and ever.
I believe in their words, are not they angels and saints?
Then, a renewed man goes home.
A defiant and reliant one.

Published in The Lake, December issue 2014. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lily Tierney- Two Poems


An invitation to the future
replaced  an uninvited past.

She is still a moment
in the present.


Time has consumed
this space.

Let us believe,
unfolding destiny
as a guest in our
rainbow of lights.

John Pursch- A Poem

John Pursch lives in Tucson, Arizona. Twice nominated for Best of the Net, his work has appeared in many literary journals. His first book, Intunesia, is available at Check out his experimental lit-rap video at He’s @johnpursch on Twitter and john.pursch on Facebook.

Bora Bora In-Between

Feline glacial sauntering
giggles from a nearby tent
tumbling laundry button clacks
and distant roar of surf beneath
the drone of lazy honey bee
and house fly numerology
spun softly in the wind.

Snorkeling moon reveals
the sheen of sweet lagoon
reflecting coral in-between
the sky a blue mandala.

Twilight brings the solitary
wanderer to thatched café
lagoon fish in a silver bag
melting down to buttered
daze of leis and ukuleles.

Swim in stars across the sea
burst of arcing doves release
a thunderstorm beyond the reef.

M.J. Iuppa- Two Poems

 One Apple Among Many
If my appetite matched my eye’s desire
to smell, to bite, to taste
what I’ve picked
loose from a branch high over my head, I
would hold its shape of plenty close
to my chest, hoping for a moment where

I am completely calm and able to carry
this apple, cradled among many, back
to the kitchen sink without letting

it fall with certain explosion
onto the orchard’s eternal grasses.
— my whole life has wagered on
the conditional tense— what would
happen if I took a bite? Would I
be closer to the man who taught me

how to dream?

How Do You Stop Her?

Bird fidget— bony hand splayed open then closed, thumb
curved in a lie: how do you stop her?
She pretends to know a great deal when she sees it:
the box of loose baby doll parts found in Goodwill.

Stuck eyes, smudged porcelain heads, matted hair, limbs
akimbo, such a shame.

A puzzle that’s out of place, finds a place on her shelf.
She’s sorting it out on Instagram.

Ne’er do well friends send her cryptic notes that she
reads with her lips to a cold glass chardonnay.
You’re not touching this baby, she twitters.

M.J.Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. She is Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor at St. John Fisher College.  Her third full length poetry collection Small Worlds Floating is forthcoming from Cherry Grove Collections, August, 2016.

Raymond Miller- A Poem


She would come out of school
with portions of food attached
to her skirt, cardie and tie.
Pie, she’d reply, when asked what it was,
curry pie, pie lasagne, pie‘n’mash.

Every lad in her set
was her boyfriend –though  she’d forget
which one was which. They remained unaware
of the status they shared
or so scared they’d pretend to be sick.

Now she’s learnt to discern 
between pancakes and pizzas,
give spag bog and risotto their names,
we note a sartorial difference -
she arrives home free of food stains.

Can naming the dishes which we consume
help us proceed with more caution?
Was it luck, an alignment of sun and moon?
We hope for some correlation:
next term it’s sex education.