Thursday, September 18, 2014

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

by Lawrence J. Krips






Your article from February ninth
said nothing of how our terrorist search
protects no one but brings internecine fear
and what is it we teach?
So your author says of all the foiled plots
homeland has been saved many a day
not mentioning we’ve lost our country;
the freedom to be free, the world in dismay.

                        ~

I read your editorial on peace
and wonder when our nation will love,
love some space, just one small piece,
love even ones we hate.
My suggestion for your readers
is to start with loving us,
then we will stop killing our leaders
and then cease killing every one else.

                        ~

All I can say
is bless the N.R.A.
Who else to defend our rights
against unconstitutional insights?
The best protection is to arm.
More automatics keeps us from harm.
The radicals steal our guns
by stealing our rights one by one.

                        ~

The drones,
the killings,
the Americans.
Robot dragons
spit their fire.
the haste of death.
Blood spattered dreams –
            whose?
have died.

                        ~

We need to keep drilling.
Capitalism runs upon it.
We need to keep on killing.
This control is our ace in the hole.
We need to have more money
to serve the people who deserve.
We need to have soldiers in the army
to protect our preserve.

                        ~

Your anorexic take on modern psychotherapy
left me less than informed or cheered.
The lucid truth is therapy
is as good as the therapist.
And despite your insecurities about process
those that remain in the land of effects
remain in a territory tending toward death
instead of here in the thick of the juice.

                                                                                                                                             
Lawrence J. Krips is a writer and an empowerment coach.  His poems have appeared in Rhode Island Writers Circle Anthology, Origami Poems Project and Tifferet.  In 2012 he was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in poetry.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SPLIT IMAGE

by Susan Roney-O'Brien



Photo by Phil Plait, Bad Astronomy


Birds rise, sun in their throats,
and each note sung
closes day.

The mother sobs.
Her son is dead, murdered by police.

Catalpa flowers’
whitest cupped petals
float silent onto grass.

A woman raped,
hanged, her eyes opened. A priest nods.

On the pond beyond green bank
oaks reflect; fish
pass through shade.

Isis annihilates homes,
beheads an American journalist.

Before baling, the hayfield’s
crumpled waves break
against light.

Forgiveness bleeds out.
Dawn clenches clouds like fists.


Susan Roney-O'Brien lives in Princeton, MA, has won the William and Kingman Page Poetry Book Award, been nominated for 5 Pushcart Prizes, been selected NEATE's Poet-of-the-Year, works with young writers to publish their books, and has published widely in literary magazines. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

A HARD SHARP BLADE CUTS

by Gil Hoy


Photo by Mike Batterham, Gold Coast Bulletin


through pulsating flesh, as
the hot orange sun glistens
on freshly red-tainted steel.

No moans, no cries, no gasps,
as the core of a rational caring
man drops to the ground
with a sickening thud.

A Prime Minister recoils in
disgust at an uncivilized war
and the provocative evil
natives who dared to show

the world what a savage
brutal killing entails.
The monstrous revenge of
bombs continues to rein on

villages of the weak, who have
no say over anything, and have
been moved into the firing zone,
their killing ordered by faceless

masters they will never know,
unconcerned with the day’s
politics, just wanting another
day’s food and shelter.

A smiling child skips along
the beach in her wildly carefree
exuberance, dexterously
dodging the remaining sea tide

of welcoming puddles, not knowing
about the boys coming home in
body bags from ruinous
wars that she never would have

wanted, awed by the rhythmic
tidal sounds and smell of sea
salt, as a bagpipe player
in full regalia thinks about

the way the world still conducts
war and plays haunting songs
in the sand. A disgraced

soldier receives God’s
commendation for abandoning the
flag and disobeying a command,

while an inquisitive circling seagull flies
overhead looking for something
fresh to eat in the sea’s puddles.


Gil Hoy studied poetry at Boston University, and started writing his own poetry in February of this year. Since then, Gil’s poems have been published in Soul Fountain, The New Verse News, The Story Teller Magazine, the Clark Street Review, Eye On Life Magazine, and Stepping Stones Magazine.

Monday, September 15, 2014

CORPORATE CRUSADER

by Richard O’Connell


Darkness over NYSE by Fernando de Otto


Prodigal of blood and treasure not his own,
He beats the drum for war and martyrdom.


Richard O'Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida.  His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Measure. National Review, The Texas Review, Acumen, The Paris Review, The Formalist,. His most recent collections are Dawn Crossing and Waiting for the Terrorists.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

RAIN NIGHT

by David Chorlton





The streets flowed easily,
one into another, and the full moon rolled
behind the clouds. Thunder
beat against the door
to wake a sleeper who had been dreaming
disconcerting dreams
and who rose to ghost to the kitchen
through the living room, whose darkness
was tempered by reflections
coming from the raindrops as they filled
with light from the streetlamps
coming down.
                     The house was floating
on insomnia. A television
flashed on, and the evangelist who never sleeps
strode up and down a stage
wearing a suit cut from sharkskin and stars
while he turned a Bible’s pages
as if counting money. The next
channel showed a drama
in which throats were slashed
convincingly, and the story turned back
on itself until the guilty party
took her own life with a gesture
worthy of an opera. It was a fine
entertainment for the hour
                                         preceding
the early local news
that revealed the city under water
with nightlights and headlamps and searching
while saguaros took in more water
than their roots could hold
and tumbled with a splash
onto the ground. By dawn’s early light
on the freeway,
                        car roofs broke a surface
so calm it was more
beautiful than the usual
rush to be somewhere
other than here. The bickering
over climate change stalled
with the traffic;
                        replaced by this new
experience leaving everyone
impressed by nature’s power.


David Chorlton came to Arizona in 1978 after living in England and Austria. He has spent more than three decades stretched between cultures and writing poetry, the pick of which has just appeared as his Selected Poems, from FutureCycle Press.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

SCOTLAND FOREVER

by Mary McLean






As we drove home from Edinburgh

following the Fringe,

romantic jingoism sparked

a Scottish music binge.



Our CD player blasted out

the Corries' famous song

putting Proud Edward in his place,

and we both sang along. 



We chose Proclaimers' Greatest Hits

to carry on the mood,

neglecting to eject the Corries

first. Now both are screwed.



The Corries, on the bottom, we

can listen to; but then,

no more CDs will ever ever

ever play again.



Think about it, Scotland, in

the coming referendum.

A Yes vote might feel satisfying

now, with the momentum



of national pride; you'll still have oil;

you'll win some golds at curling;

but do you want to live your lives

stuck On the Brig o' Stirling?


Mary McLean grew up outside Washington DC and now works as a scientist at the University of Cambridge. Her poems have appeared in Mezzo Cammin, Light and Lighten Up Online.

Friday, September 12, 2014

A SQUARE IN RAQQA, SYRIA

by John Guzlowski



ISIL beheads civilians in the city of Al-Raqqa. --Syria Newsdesk


The corpse in the street
Is headless

Flies do their business
Sow their seeds

Nearby a man sells
Tea and cigarettes

There is no place
For irony


John Guzlowski’s writing has appeared in The Ontario Review, Atlanta Review, and Exquisite Corpse.  His poems about his parents’ experiences in Nazi concentration camps appear in his book Lightning and Ashes.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

9/11 REMEMBRANCE

by Charles Frederickson





USAge of rAGE September 11th
GMT ocean apart November 9th
Bloodied souls hearts of darkness
Infected scar wounds never heal

Unforgettable demonic horrors ghostly afterimAGEs
Haunted nightmares still under siege
Chaos confusion consternation almost coming
 To terms with unsaid goodbyes

Unsung heroes turn next pAGE
Keeping on fighting valiantly never
Giving up or giving in
That’s what makes them heroes

Incredible boundless voyAGE lone survivor
Stranded indifferent drowning pool wake
Awakened fathomable dreams in-limbo RIP
Perfect stillness breathless last gasps

If only this was mirAGE
Never knowing anything but sand
Sunshiny glare parched thirst unquenched
Deserted foolish delusions of oases

EncourAGEment lovingly learned by hearts
Cherishing mutually shared family moments
Never stopped being each other
Unanswered prayers one less “Amen”

Revitalized existence bitterness resilient resolve
Intent on rewriting happier ending
Being moved eventually moving on
Treasured forever friends invaluable support



No Holds Bard Dr. Charles Frederickson  proudly presents YouTube mini-movies @ YouTube – CharlesThai1 .

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

AERIAL

by James Penha


At the 9/11 Museum in New York, a 47,000-pound chunk of the antenna from the north tower of the World Trade Center.


                                                                                  “Stasis in darkness.” --Sylvia Plath


Charred
tumbled
mangled
fractured
fingers reach out gravely wirelessly magnetically
more cathartically than in decades of prideful
programming
atop the tower
broadcasting
now its own elegant and meteoric
fall.


James Penha edits The New Verse News.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

RIDE AT DUSK

by Tracey Gratch


For their first event of the year, J Street Swarthmore gathered with other student organizations for a vigil in memory of the Israelis and Palestinians who lost their lives this summer. Image and caption from J Street on FaceBook, September 6, 2014.


i.m. Daniel Tragerman


A distant recurrence
brings death to the door;
hollow, the victory,
made brutal by war.

With darkness descending
and cars rushing past
I pedal, ascending,
as images flash

chiaroscuro through trees
now fading to gray;
there's one that remains
at the end of the day --

His soul will be borne
in a scrapbook of hope;
a mother will mourn,
sustaining the trope.

 Chickatawbut Hill looms;
 I'm going for broke.


Author’s note: This poem came while biking through the Blue Hills in Milton, MA at dusk, shortly after reading the story of the death of Daniel Tragerman, the 4-year-old Israeli boy who was killed in his home on August 22 by shrapnel from a mortar shell fired from Gaza.


Tracey Gratch lives in Quincy, MA with her husband and their four children. Her poems have appeared in various and sundry publications including, Mezzo Cammin, The Literary Bohemian, The Flea, Annals of Internal Medicine, Boston Literary Magazine, The New Verse News and The Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine. Her poem, "Strong Woman" is included in the American College of Physicians, On Being A Doctor, Volume 4.

Monday, September 08, 2014

ABRAHAM'S PLAN, SEPTEMBER 2014

by Jed Myers


Detail of “Abraham” (1502) by Filippino Lippi at the Strozzi Chapel, Santa Maria Novella, Florence



I might beseech Ishmael, by my old body’s language,
to take the cushioned seat by the window, the one
where I think he’d be the most comfortable. But the sun
in his eyes at that angle? I don’t know. And the carnage
in midday glare—how could that view leave him sanguine
to talk with Isaac at all? I could draw the shade,
or suggest the carpeted floor, like where they once played
under both mothers’ gaze. Oh, how could they hang on
to those days like I do? Isaac will call for a chair
too far from his brother, not in the same light. So I’ll offer
dark tea, sage water, or something stronger,
to soften the crystalline disdain in the air.
This could be the day they discover, neither is tougher
and neither can have his way. Or must we go longer?


Jed Myers is a Philadelphian living in Seattle. Two of his poetry collections, The Nameless (Finishing Line Press) and Watching the Perseids (winner of the 2013 Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), are being released in 2014. He won the 2012 Mary C. Mohr Editors’ Award offered by Southern Indiana Review, and received the 2013 Literal Latte Poetry Award. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod International Journal, Crab Orchard Review, Fugue, Atlanta Review, Crab Creek Review, Sanskrit, South 85, The Tusculum Review

Sunday, September 07, 2014

BUDDHA HAD IT EASY

by Michael Mark



The Bergin University of Canine Studies Puppy Cam


It was so much easier
to become enlightened then.

They didn’t have the
Puppy Cam to deal with.

Buddha could spend all day under
the Bodhi tree with no thought
of puppies wiggling and
tumbling.

So cute.

Puppies sleeping in piles.
Puppies waking up.
Puppies blindly crawling
over each other to get food.

Each move updated in
real time,
to your phone, iPad, laptop
right to your HDTV!

Puppies peeing.
Puppies’ eyes opening.
Puppies barking and
scaring themselves.
So cute.
Puppies being licked
clean by mom.

That’s how he was
able to concentrate with
such precision, for so long.

Cobras encircled Buddha.
Elephants charged him.
Mara sent his sexy daughters
to be his concubines.
He didn’t blink.

But Buddha didn’t have
the Puppy Cam.


Michael Mark is a hospice volunteer and long distance walker – his latest journey was the Camino De Santiago. His poetry has appeared or is set to appear in Angle Journal, Awakening Consciousness Magazine, Empty Mirror, Everyday Poets, Forge Journal, OutsideIn Magazine, Petrichor Review, San Diego Poetry Annual, Ray’s Road Review, Scapegoat Journal, Spillway, Red Booth Review, Red Paint Hill, Sleet Magazine, The Thing Itself, The New York Times, UPAYA, Word Soup End Hunger, Wayfarer and other nice places.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

UNTITLED AMERICA

by Scott Jessop



Pantalone

evicted the widow and roasted her children     his giant proboscis gleeful his lips smacking as lovers parted as he slithered into the marshlands of stories taradiddles flowing from his cup whetting tongues of hopeful ears and disappeared in darkness and memories of cultural gray matter dumping grounds     Cry for our villains     the Joker had an abusive father Lex Luthor was unloved   Dracula was only defending his home   the cop who murders innocent Black boys on empty streets cares for his sick father   the boy stole cigars you know   the terrorist is disaffected    the racists had his cattle confiscated by jackbooted government agents wearing black designer Hollywood costumes    hear the sirens City of Compton nine bullets the investigation was closed before it opened     our poisoned food employs fracking geo-techs belching coal soot to keep Kentucky happy while polar ice caps burn in the San Gabriel Mountains above jungles of Starbucks and trees of In and Outs    but we must understand why the father beat his daughter to forgive the priest who raped his son    why the cop shot that unarmed boy and the 19 bodies in the backyard    Because our hero is a serial killer or meth dealer or convict or Drax the Destroyer    because Hitler made the trains run on time and Mussolini did it for the glory of Italy and Franco did it for himself  and the Glenda mistreated the Wicked Witch
          vigilantes walked through Roman streets with fasces beating Black boys in hoodies with candy in their pockets and Batman is a vigilante and TV cops shoot but cut to commercial before Castle sees the body and the Badoon invade    the panel shows collapsed buildings but the streets are clean   as the Towers fell I saw no bodies    General Zod wiped out half of Metropolis but no bodies were seen    a blood-free massacre as all our massacres are because Marcellus Wallace is cool and Coke is the real thing (never mind the diabetes) I want my

archetypes

sympathy is for the devil and forgiveness is mine sayeth the Lord.
Man plants evil.
           Waters it    weeds the garden and hoes the row    stories myths teach us the night and day of morality so we can see it in the diminishing sun of twilight    the hero understands the hero is compassionate and God-like in his forgiveness    but knows that evil is not marginalized or homogenized or realized    Evil is not ambiguous.

Malus malo est

Pantalone


Image: Pantalone costume design  by Serge Sudeikin (1925) for Stravinsky’s Petrushka at the Metropolitan Opera, NY. Image source: WikiArt


Scott Jessop lives in the 135-year old, haunted Midland Railroad station in Manitou Springs, Colorado with his daughter, Kathleen and his cat, Jack Kerouac. He is a corporate video and TV commercial producer, poet, spoken word performer, and Pushcart Prize nominee for Penduline Press for his short story "Mephisto".

Friday, September 05, 2014

SPLIT SHIFT

by Michelle Marie


Protesters demand higher pay at the Tenleytown McDonald's. (WTOP/Savannah Simons)


this poem is sick but
goes home without pay

the bleach bucket, no
time for a scrub, scrub clean

these working conditions. scrub
this median wage of $10 per/hr
tips included//

this poem makes 44% less
than most poems, turn your head, scrub

clean that busted look on your
face & those
anxious demands

what it's about//the customer?
that can afford to eat out/ but
not tip? that busted

institution, the restaurant industry

your demands aren't better pay
benefits
pensions
citizenship

       but a different table
       lemon slices
       this poem's favorite thing on the menu
       an extra side of _____
       a raspberry vinaigrette
       the check, faster

though you couldn't have
eaten slower


Michelle Marie is author of countless protest letters archived at americanlemon.blogspot.com and a weird piece called "Fucking" in Bluestockings Magazine Issue 4.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

ANNEXATION

by Stefanie Bennett



Israel appropriated a swath of 990 acres in the West Bank on Sunday and declared the Palestinian area south of Bethlehem to be Israeli "state lands," local media reported. --LA Times, August 31, 2014 (Image source: Peace Now)


In 'My Mother's House'
A deceptive land,
An impulse
Waxes lyric -,

While unencumbered
The axe-head
And wood-block lie
... Seen only
                   From
The bi-fold window.

There, time steps through
The filament's
Grasping squall, and
It's found

How I am, now -,
Twice as able
As once was

Cain...


Stefanie Bennett has published 18 books of poetry and 1 novel. Of mixed ancestry [Italian/Irish/Paugussett-Shawnee] she was born in Townsville, Queensland, Australia 1945. Stefanie's latest poetry title The Vanishing is due late this year from Walleah Press.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

THE PERSONA POEM HOLDS AN EMERGENCY PRESS CONFERENCE REGARDING ITS LEAKED NUDES

by J. Bradley



Male Nude by Roz McQuillan


You’re jealous of the way I make
an empty bottle of merlot a bearskin rug,
how the crook of my tongue incites stampedes.

You’re designed for, fueled by pollution.
You require the excuse of a god to shed sin,
then wag your fingers like thrown stones.

Please, pick up your jaws.
You’ll catch open jean flies that way.


J. Bradley is a Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose work has appeared in numerous literary journals including decomP, Hobart, and Prairie Schooner. He was the Interviews Editor of PANK, the Flash Fiction Editor of NAP, and the Web Editor of Monkeybicycle. He is the author of the poetry collection Dodging Traffic (Ampersand Books, 2009), the novella Bodies Made of Smoke (HOUSEFIRE, 2012), and the graphic poetry collection The Bones of Us (YesYes Books, 2014), illustrated by Adam Scott Mazer. He is the curator of the Central Florida reading series There Will Be Words.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

HOFFA, AFTER LABOR DAY

by David Feela


The arrow points to where Anthony "Tony Z" Zerilli says Jimmy Hoffa was buried in Oakland Township, Michigan (Oakland Press, June 17, 2013). Other reports claim Hoffa was "garroted by Anthony 'Tony Pro' Provenzano, a notorious New York mobster" in Inkster, Mich., and fed into a wood chipper (Huffington Post, June 21, 2013).


The ground is hard,
not worth turning,
and of the mystery
the air has cleared.

We gather at the lake,
park, or every backyard
we ever mowed,
all our sorrow at the passing
of summer served up cold.
 
The celebration lasts
three days, but Tuesday comes
and we take our places
in a line of expectations,
the ones we formulated
for the future against the ones
imposed by bosses.

“How was your weekend?”
Fine, great, stupendous,
we claim, but the truth,
like Hoffa is that the time,
it just disappeared.


David Feela writes a monthly column for The Four Corners Free Press and for The Durango Telegraph. A poetry chapbook, Thought Experiments, won the Southwest Poet Series. His first full length poetry book, The Home Atlas appeared in 2009. His new book of essays, How Delicate These Arches  , released through Raven's Eye Press, has been chosen as a finalist for the Colorado Book Award.

Monday, September 01, 2014

HOMO NON SAPIENS

by George Salamon



A 2008 cartoon by Simon Farr (The Guardian)


Seventy-five years ago,
in a dive on Fifty-Second Street,
on the day Hitler's Panzers rolled into Poland
W.H. Auden lamented the end of
"a low and dishonest decade,"
with "waves of anger and fear"
rolling over the earth's "darkened lands."
And here, in the middle of another low and dishonest decade,
I sit at my computer desk in St. Louis, Missouri,
sniffing the same "unmentionable odour of death"
as Auden did, this time rising from the sandy dunes
of Iraq and the glutted bloodlands of Ukraine.
I endure the same "negation and despair,"
as blood flows instead of milk and honey
promised us by psychopathic gods we worship.


George Salamon lives and writes in St. Louis, MO and contributes to the Gateway Journalism Review, Jewish Currents and The New Verse News.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

WAR STORIES

by Richard O’Connell


Image source: How Stuff Works


         Lindeman

Lost most of my hearing
In the Bulge.  I forgot
to wear ear plugs firing
a One O’Five.
                        After a while
 I didn’t need ear plugs.


         Leveler

Couldn’t stand to see
a building standing
no matter how small
—not a stone, but
wanted all down
to the geometric line
of earth and sky.
 

       Winter Offensive

Slipped our condoms on
the barrels of our carbines
in the snow-packed Ardennes,
stretching, snapping tight
to the butt.
                        Worked great,
Keeping out the wet and dirt.


Richard O’Connell lives in Deerfield Beach, Florida. Collections of his poetry include RetroWorlds, Simulations, Voyages, and The Bright Tower, all published by the University of Salzburg Press (now Poetry Salzburg). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, National Review, The Paris Review, Measure, Acumen.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

WAR

by James Bettendorf


“Suffer the Children” by Janice Nabors Raiteri (2007)


I cannot see the sun rise
            red white yellow horizon
                        I see blood of children
                        form rivers in the streets.

I cannot hear the muted moans of lovers
            passion arms legs tangle
                        I hear keening of mothers
                        Sons, daughters ripped from their arms.

I cannot taste the melon or berry
            sweetness tongue juice chin
                        only the dry residue of lead
                        cannon smoke clouding my face.

I cannot smell the aroma of lilacs
            roses garden blues lilies
                        only the acrid cordite of gunpowder
                        copper odor of innocent blood.

I cannot feel warm breath on my cheek
children grandchildren friends lover
                        only the sharp pain of shrapnel
                        tearing holes, shattering bones.


James Bettendorf taught math for 34 years at various levels and in his retirement begin writing classes at the Loft in Minneapolis, MN. He was accepted for a two-year poetry internship in the Loft Master Track program in 2006 and has been working on a manuscript with his mentor/advisor, Thomas R. Smith.  He has had poems published in Rockhurst Review, Light Quarterly, Ottertail Review, Talking Stick Vols. 18 - 23 and Free Verse.