Monday, 20 August 2012

Christy Hall

I’m thinking of Chub again.
The mood has settled on Chub.
So strong and persistent;
made of sterner stuff
than me –
some river-hardened flub.
But still supple –
illusive to worm and hook.
The head’s saying snub nose,
the other end all silver-butt.

Peering over this bridge
down into the white water,
with you,
I can see nothing but Chub.
Two dozen or so;
they’re fighting the current,
doing the side-winder.
A pair break off, nose-diving the silt –
suddenly gone.
I turn back towards you
and think about following suit.

Christy Hall, 24, lives in Beverley, East Yorkshire, where he is currently the tenant and manager of a rural, drinker’s pub. He graduated from the University of Hull with an MA in Creative Writing before becoming a publican. The band that currently inspire him most are Modest Mouse. He is also an avid Chelsea fan.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Bill Roberts

Staring Into Space

No reason why a person can't have
the freedom just to stare into space,
night or day, looking for whatever.
Falling stars can't be seen in daylight.
Or can they?  I've never before looked.

The old guy over there looking up
into the heavens, here in broad daylight --
seeking a falling star?
Maybe.  Maybe I'll just ask him.
No, on second thought, leave him be.

He seems happy, unconcerned, just...
Why should I care that he's staring?
His business, not mine.
But now he's got me staring up, too.
The sky is beautiful, nary a cloud.

It's crisp, leaning toward cold today.
I briskly rub my gloved hands,
keep staring up at blue sky.
A little old lady pauses beside me,
asks, What are you two looking at?

I curb my sharp tongue, have to answer 
honestly:  I don't know, I admit,
but when I see it, I'll let you know.
I hear her fading mutter, Old farts.
Two crazy old farts.
 Bill Roberts has had over a thousand poems published online and by the small press, some nominated for Best of the Net and Pushcart Prizes.  He annually hosts readings to honor women poets, the series "Strong Voices, Strong Women," and to benefit battered women's organizations.  Bill can be reached in Broomfield, Colorado at .

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Sy Roth

Track 17
4:00 a.m. and the ghostly track
Empties somewhere into the darkness.
Diffused light shines above
barely warming the platform.
Instead a breathless chill pervades the platform,
An arctic of ills making waves as they pass.
Elusive safety beyond the yellow line---
One waddling step beyond it eternity.

On the other side a rumbling train passes,
brakes protest jarringly rumbling the walls
and ears that care to hear.
It protests at having to embrace the rails,
giant magnets,
a mother refusing to release her child to a Nazi guard,
an eternal conjoining
beating a steady cadence on a kettle drum,
a 4/4 thumping life-flow
that won’t pardon the tracks from its allure.
Fusty trains and musty corridors
Smoke filled with ageless scrapings of humanity
Build a cocoon of birthless intimacy
praying alone that the silence will end
and the world will collide
into existence on Track 17
beyond the yellow line.

Sy Roth is a retired school administrator and has finally found the sounds of silence and the time to think whole thoughts. This has led him to find words and the ability to shape them.  He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Mad Swirl, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre and The Eloquent Atheist.  Recently, he won a poetry contest sponsored by Newsday.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Harry Calhoun

And I Say

And she asks me, falling asleep in my arms,
“Where will we be when both of us die?”

And I say, “We’ll find each other and be together
somehow.” And of course she says that makes no sense.

And I say, “Neither does any major religion.”
And this goes on a while, as it has for the ages.

Alan Watts said, “Belief is clinging. Faith is letting go.”
I am somewhere in the middle now, clinging to her,

letting go of the fear of losing her
on this small and sometimes choiceless world.

And I say, to myself I guess, I never want to give this up.
I want to wake next to her every morning.

And this goes on a while, as it has for the ages.

Harry Calhoun has had work published in various poetry journals over the past 30 years. His books and chapbooks include I knew Bukowski like you knew a rare leaf, The Black Dog and the Road, and Retreating Aggressively into the Dark. Recently, he has had two Pushcart nominations, a Sundress Best of the Net nomination and publications in Chiron Review, Abbey, Orange Room Review, Gutter Eloquence, Lily and others. 2012 has seen the limited-edition chapbook Maintenance and Death and the collection of poems from the ‘80s and ’90s called Retro from Propaganda Press.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Kevin Ridgeway

Acid Flashback

Blue-tinted glasses
checkered pants
and a t-shirt
screaming opium haze
were the components
of my drug-induced

my cartoon eyes
bulging out of their
the walls a night gallery
of distorted faces
cracking the paint
with their smiles

I stand staring at
my reflection in
the mirror,
my own face
slowly melting
like butter on
a toasted skull,

I adjust my glasses

and begin
swimming through
the molasses air
breathing slowly
and pop corn snaps
of gibberish words
drool out the ends
of my quivering mouth

I took too much,
tell me
and as they put me to
bed I watch the posters
of dead rock stars
revive themselves
from the great beyond
singing strange songs
I’ve never heard before
and never will again

Kevin Ridgeway is a writer from Southern California, where he resides in a shady bungalow with his girlfriend and their one-eyed cat.  Recent work has appeared in CARNIVAL, Gutter Eloquence Magazine, Black-Listed Magazine and Bank Heavy Press:  Robo-Book.  His chapbook of poetry, Burn through Today, is now available from Flutter Press. 

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Kenneth P. Gurney

Stand By

In the future we all think about the past.
We shelve ourselves on the internet.
We prefer the apocalypse over birthday parties.
We prefer to reread old wars instead of having new ones.
In the future we look for that X that marks the spot.
The spot where we buried our courage,
where we buried blind ignorance,
where we buried faith.
It is one hundred and fifty seven years 
from when you read this 
and you feel as if you are caught in a time loop
because I keep telling you
I wrote this piece tomorrow.
In the future you have a wife
in Valparaiso, Indiana,
in Port Angeles, Washington,
In Frederick, Maryland,
but the one on Prince Edward Island
passed away and was buried at sea
with full maritime honors.
I tell you in the future there is a pill
for being stubborn,
and one that cures curiosity,
and one that causes you to remember
all of your wives birthdays.
You ask me to tell you something
you haven’t already forgotten,
so I say, “My dog ate my homework,”
immediately after I hand it to you
because two lives from now
you are my pet German Shepard.
Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA with his beloved Dianne.  He edits the anthology Adobe Walls which contains the poetry of New Mexico.  His latest book is This is not Black & White.  To learn more visit

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Maureen Kingston

The No-Account Stick Figure

a stray to be corralled=tallied=the prison door’s crossbar

            This old man, he played one,

the lone fuse=sizzing atop the cartoon bomb

            He played knick-knack on my thumb;

his hash-marked torso=proof no prod was spared

            With a knick-knack patty-whack,

the mutt basting his dead shin=imagining shank en brochette 

            Give the dog a bone,

the vagabond=hanged by his vowels=in a child’s guessing game

            This old man came rolling home.

Maureen Kingston lives and works in eastern Nebraska.  Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Centrifugal Eye, Constellations, Emerge Literary Journal, Lily, The Meadowland Review, Psychic Meatloaf, Stone Highway Review and

Monday, 13 August 2012

Ben Nardolilli

Thanks to the Design

Did you choose this alignment

Or was it the architect
Who dreamed about us standing
Apart from one another,
You on the deck and me by the door?

Thanks to the design you gaze out

And I can stand inside looking at you,
Praise the clear window,
The house that opens up its walls
But does not collapse on me.

I will be forever grateful for the power

To form this one last image:
You looking off to the branches
And leaves of your backyard
While I quietly depart to the cab outside.

Ben Nardolilli currently lives in Arlington, Virginia. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Red Fez, The 22 Magazine, fwriction, THEMA, The Minetta Review, and Yes Poetry. His chapbook Common Symptoms of an Enduring Chill Explained, has been published by Folded Word Press. He maintains a blog at and is looking to publish his first novel.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Simon Perchik

Again this snow, its cry
seems to come from a bird
from a simple sip at the headwind
and melting cramp -I have forgotten

plant empty jars, opened boxes
-it's useless! a branch from nowhere
and the sun's cut through :a scalding rain
half feathers, half ashes, half gravestones

-I forget, rinsed cans and plates
still buried, filling with snow
and the Earth each Spring heavier
an underground stream somehow
wandering away -I water the lost
-I water and from my other hand

and under the snow
this raging hillside tightening
-I still collect cardboard flaps
stuffing lids and bottle tops
wait at the holes the way I once called out
sifting each damp shadow.
You were always thirsty. 

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review,The Nation, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. For more information, including free e-books, photo, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” and a complete bibliography, please visit his website at

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Jeffrey Park

Water Dogs
And then the water dogs stalked into town.
No short leashes for these snarling, snapping curs
foam bubbling gently from their noses.
They do not wag their tails
and you wouldn’t want them to either,
hard-bitten strays of the Big Muddy,
slippery junkyard pups.
Riverboats beware:
these dogs will have no truck with riverboat jazz
not even a little bit
not even on a warm Friday evening.
Baltimore native Jeffrey Park currently lives in Munich, Germany, where he works at a private secondary school and teaches business English to adults. His latest poems have appeared in Requiem, Deep Tissue, Danse Macabre, Crack the Spine, Right Hand Pointing and elsewhere, and his digital chapbook, Inorganic, has just been published online by White Knuckle Press. Links to all of his published work can be found at

Friday, 10 August 2012

Rich Murphy

Police Convention

Eyes and ears locate and identify
misbehavior and apply
the appropriate institution.
Drones tag with labels rebellion
in the spleen or with arms.
If not video cameras, then the sleeping
commuter taking the subway
should prompt docile but capable
from the punk with the spray paint.
The slums fill with artwork
desperate to speak to Justine.
Family, schools, police service
the greater and lesser states
with pillowcases filled with oranges,
knuckle measurements,
and solitary refinement.
Probes prod the less-than or more-than
for the hinges along the backbone.
The training wheels stay on
so the do-it-yourself kits
won’t need to kick in.
The mantras for every sense
don’t distract but erase perspective
and focus envy on goods and services.
Any way among the matrix
leads to the dream that runs amuck.

Rich Murphy's first book was The Apple in the Monkey Tree (Codhill Press). His second book Voyeur was published in 2009 (Award Winner 2008, Gival Press). His chapbooks include Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing) and Great Grandfather (Pudding House Publications). Recent poetry may be found in Pennsylvania Review, Fjord Review, Otoliths, Epiphany, Euphony, The Straddler, James Dickey Review, and Trespass. Recent prose scholarship on poetics has been published in Imaginary Syllabus, Anthology chapters, Palm Press, Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, The International Journal of the Humanities, Fringe Magazine, Reconfigurations: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, The Journal of Ecocriticism, Folly Magazine, Imaginary Syllabus, and “Reading Wisdoms: Mick Jagger, W.B.Yeats, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak” will be published by New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Carol Hamilton


Lemon cucumbers lift fat leaves
below the climbing peas,
plumping up their sweetness
inside lime green pods,
this space shared between seasons.
Soon the cool damp
gives way to fierce blaze
when other species can survive.
I kneel to nurse each,
ask each to challenge its limits.
The sun hides or shouts at whim,
and I, the jester trying to jolly
my way past the king’s bad humor,
know I’ll bow to the will of heaven,
my dream of a green thumb
such a frail stay against each day’s
raucous cosmic laughter.

Carol Hamilton has recent publications in South Carolina Review, Poet Lore, Tulane Review, slipstream, River Oak Review, Tar River Review, San Pedro River Review, Willow Review, White Wall Review, Bryant Literary Review, U. S. Newsletter and others. She has been nominated five times for a Pushcart Prize. She has published 15 books of children's novels, legends and poetry, most recently, Master of Theater: Peter The Great and Lexicography. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Michelle Matthees

Vladivostok Apartment

A member of the Russian Actress Guild
Said to me, “Poets die young,
Because they are worn out from talking to God.”

I’ve no part left to play, drunk
And smoking on a post-Soviet couch.
Foolishly, I’d worn myself out

Listening to the whistle of your tea kettle,
Too polite to ask
Which of us should shut it off?

Who should slice the lemon, etc.?
Then a patch of plaster fell
And you, God, you stared at it.

Michelle Matthees' work can be found in PANK, The Prose Poem Project, The Secret Journal, The Bellingham Review, Bloomsbury Review, Proof, and elsewhere. When she isn't wandering through the former territories of the Soviet Union, she can be found living in Duluth, MN, USA.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

William Doreski

Sleeping in the Ruined Mill

Sleeping in the ruined mill,
night-wind slipping through windows
blinded years ago by fire,
I dream that you arrive with food
in a plastic cooler and unroll

a sleeping bag and drift off
and dream that I arrive with wine
in a paper bag and uncork it
and pour it on your shining body.
You awaken from that dream but still

in my dream lean over and slap me
awake. The wind has died. Mice creak
in rubble of brick and charred timber.
Alone with the dapple of stars,
I rub the cheek you slapped but

feel nothing. A red and white
plastic cooler rests beside me.
Maybe I brought it here myself.
I pour wine in a paper cup
to rinse away the sleep-taste.

A few yards away the mill-race
snores along at terrible speed.
Even to dip a hand in it
means an abrupt and icy death.
I’m not fool enough to believe

you dropped by and left this cooler.
The wine bottle is almost full.
I haven’t poured it on anyone,
I swear. Something larger than mice
or rats moves in the rubble:

someone as homeless as I feel
at this moment, the last tatter
of dream-life snagged on broken brick
and a shadow overlapping mine
in a snarl of useless gestures.

William Doreski lives in Peterborough, NH (USA). His poetry, criticism, and fiction have appeared in many journals, and his most recent book is June Snow Dance (2012).

Monday, 6 August 2012

Gary F. Iorio

Midnight Matinee

Denial, anger,
bargaining and depression.
Acceptance? I’ll take

Laurel and Hardy.
As a child she could name all
who had played the great

Charlie Chan, also
the sons always at his side.
Now, in the dark, I

Number One Son still
remain her child; to take note
and please her again. 

Gary F. Iorio was raised in Brooklyn and Massapequa, NY; he has an MFA from The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Mr. Iorio works as a real estate attorney. His fiction, poetry and memoirs have been published in various publications including San Pedro River Review, Fiction at Work, The East Hampton Star, The Wisconsin Review, The Mississippi Review, Front&Centre Magazine, Echo Ink Review, Black Words on White Paper, Mused, Crack The Spine, and Poetry Breakfast.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Esther Greenleaf Murer

Box fugue 

If I were to venture outside this box,
no way would I spend my time thinking. 
I’d make mud pies, play water backgammon,
carve driftwood splakes and picaroons,
yodel from the tops of skyscrapers,
dance a Highland Fling in Tiananmen Square,
hunt gamelan in Borneo, weave a spell
to break the Curse of the Golden Jackhammer.

And once the curse was broken,
Then, O then I could stare in peace
at a corner of my box where walls
and ceiling meet, three planes
in sundry shades of white, three lines
that shift with the rolling of my head.

Esther Greenleaf Murer has been writing poetry forever, and got serious about learning the craft when she turned 70.  Since then her work has appeared on numerous ezines; links may be found on her blog.   She published her first collection, Unglobed Fruit, in 2011.   She lives in Philadelphia, PA, USA.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Kenneth Pobo

Moving Target Dindi

At high school parties I learned
the intimate secrets of avocado dip,
danced rarely, got by because kids

considered me nice, didn’t see
that I polished a pistol
behind my eyes.  After graduation

I went to Nicolet Area Technical College
in Wisconsin, dropped out,
dropped back in, ended up in

Ann Arbor, had lots of lovers,
or did I?  Maybe they were all
dreams.  I cursed my bad luck—

surely someone will stay,
but I was a moving
target, saw women in Escanaba,

worn out from love and diapers. 
Decades, an icy sidewalk under
a high heel.

Kenneth Pobo won the 2011 qarrtsiluni chapbook contest for Ice And Gaywings.  Forthcoming is Save My Place from Finishing Line Press.