Monday, May 25, 2015

Three Poems by Ken L. Jones

Slower and Slower

The robin red breast preaches away in a pulpit of fall leaves
As unwary as a baby doll in his vanishing fiefdom of warm breezes
That are like going to the best Goodwill store you ever saw
And here the utterances of a magic word invokes a golden ladder
That is too soon consumed by the black ink of the coming light
As it sighs like the harvest of fruit near the horse fields
Beyond the mountains where the moon and stars are like
An extra warm blanket on the coldest of nights

Showered with Roses

Sprawling September rides the rails that serenade
The first harvest of the fishing piers
That are so close to the vibrant sliced streets
That rotate upon jellied skewers
And the night sky universe is like charred corn
Above the crispy mountainsides
Lost in the starlight that reflects upon the soft sands of the beach
That spoon up all of these shipwrecked thoughts of mine

As Fragile As Nostalgia

The seaside's outlaw chimes echo with rainbow coral and cicadas
And not even the lamenting claws of candles
In the mansions of the tides can smother Handel's Messiah
Which the nearby thick woods are slowing reclaiming inch by inch
On these galaxies of clear nights

For the past thirty-five years Ken L. Jones has been a professionally published author who has done everything from writing Donald Duck Comic books to creating things for Freddy Krueger to say in some of his movies.  In the last six years he has concentrated on his lifelong ambition of becoming a published poet and he has published widely in all genres of that discipline in books, online, in chapbooks and in several solo collections of poetry.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Three Poems by April Salzano

Sailor's Warning

In the sky the ocean
of morning, all pink
hues and striations conjoined
without pretense, without desperation.
Here goes my soul, awkward
at dawn, awake and waiting for enough
light to erase this notion of perfection.

April Showers

The cruelest month is coming to a close.
Finally, what began in snow will end in rain.
Red tulips have opened their mouths to swallow
sun, following daffodils' bloom in roadside surprise.
Phlox begins to spill lavender flowers over stones
attempting to confine their growth.  Purple
bells spout spontaneously in grass, wild-
flowers mark the true beginning of a long awaited
season.  We are still cold, but remember what it feels
like to be warmed by natural light.  Lengthened
days, however short-lived in the north, are as welcome
as bright colors of perennials.

I Woke to Slanted

snow, wet and less hypothetical
than a percent or probability.
Trees penciled in white stood buried
trunk-deep, driveway, vanished.
This season tests our resolve, freezes
our sense of humor.  We have had more
school delays, cancellations, than any
other winter.  Stoicism is a memory
hiding under a hard ground, waiting
to split open in spring.

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 been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in journals such as Convergence, Ascent Aspirations, The Camel Saloon, Centrifugal Eye, Deadsnakes, Visceral Uterus, Salome, Poetry Quarterly, Writing Tomorrow and Rattle.  Her first chapbook, The Girl of My Dreams, is forthcoming in spring, 2015 from Dancing Girl Press.  The author serves as co-editor at Kind of a Hurricane Press (

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Poem by Douglas Cole


Behold the sun exploding over high grass,
this field, these arms raised
to that opening from which I've come.

Alligators prowl the shadows.
I will sing you a song of the blue man
in the words of our mother tongue.

This is what the willow knows.
A dog leaps out of the glare,
running in the pure fury burning

elemental in his limbs.  I know
this fire, the crows stunned into flight,
the black wings expanding into light.

And I go out, sent out with a compass
and a coin for the toll, my only
orders to come back by darkness.

Douglas Cole has had worked in The Chicago Quarterly Review, Red Rock Review, and Midwest Quarterly.  He has more work available online in The Adirondack Review, Salt River Review, and Avatar Review, as well as recorded stories in Bound Off and The Baltimore Review.  He has published two poetry collections, Interstate through Night Ballet Press and Western Dream with Finishing Line Press, as well as a novella called Ghost with Blue Cubicle Press.  He has received several awards, including the Leslie Hunt Memorial Prize in Poetry, the Best of Poetry Award from Clapboard House, First Prize in the "Picture Worth 500 Words" from Tattoo Highway; as well as an honorable mention from Glimmer Train.  He was also recently the featured poet in Poetry Quarterly.  He is currently on the faculty at Seattle Central College.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A Poem by Bill Jansen


at Les Schwab Tires
the howling lug nuts
the balancing
the siping
the flat screen tv
the warranty
the free rotation
the display jar
full of screw and nails
the air
Christ breathed
the the
the that
the its ready
parked out front
here are your keys.

Bill Jansen lives in Forest Grove, Oregon.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Two Poems by Simon Perchik

There is no tunnel, you crawl
the way a turtle takes hold
and from the sidewalk a dry breeze

smelling from salt and two in the afternoon
--the crowd thinks the cup is for beggars
fill it so the air inside

will rise and you can breathe
one more time:  a tide
lets you survive in the open

though one cheek is dragged
over the other till your mouth
becomes a shell--all you can do

is drink from it
do what skies once did
filled with thirst and emptiness.

Without any flowers
you are still breathing
--without a throat

still eating the warm air
though what's left from the sun
is no longer blue

hides the way your grave
is covered with stones
and still hungry

--you could use more stones
a heaviness to become your arms
one for working harder

the other invisible
leaving, your heart
lifts from the dirt

your mouth, your eyes
and the sky letting go the Earth
as if you weigh too much.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, The Nation, Osiris, Poetry, The New Yorker, and elsewhere.  His most recent collection is Almost Rain, published by River Otter Press (2013).  For more information, free ebooks and his essay titled, "Magic, Illusion and Other Realities" please visit his website at

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Three Poems by Patricia L. Goodman


As if from nowhere the sky
blackens with many-thousand

starlings, grackles, red-winged
blackbirds.  Their raspy harmony

overspreads the world
with unrelenting song,

like it could lift me, carry me
with them to freedom.

The clatter quiets as the birds alight
above the creek, bare trees

leafed with dark bodies--a theater
gone silent in the middle of an aria.

Then in a new swell of sound,
they lift again, swoop, swirl, vanish,

leave behind a haunting, a vacancy,
like waking one morning

your husband beside you, and falling
asleep that night, a widow.

Hawk Watch

It's a difficult kind of sky
the expert declares--no clouds
for reference, glare too bright.

Warm sun, slight breeze,
it's perfect for anything else.
Bald Eagle streaming south.

I raise my binoculars, can't locate
the bird.  How well
I remember learning

to distinguish house finches
from house sparrows;
different flight patterns

of woodpeckers.
It takes work.  Kestrel
heading our way from the notch.

This I see, rapid wing beats,
rusty back flashing in the sun.
When will I recognize

the darkness that deepens
as each August approaches--
the month he took his life?

The Lady and the Lion

For five days mountain lion tracks eluded us.
Narrow roads wound, claustrophobic,
between steep mountains.  Frigid streams

barreled through snow and ice
with the bravado of teenage boys
at a carnival.  Noses, fingers, toes grew cold

beyond feeling.  But there were still
no lion tracks.  On this Utah hunt a reporter
from Big Game Sport followed my husband

and me, his already-titled story to chronicle
a strong young mother braving the elements
to succeed in a man's sport.  Late on day five,

a gift--lion prints in crusty snow.
The dogs picked up scent, took off, treed
the cat in a tall pine.  I can't see it very well,

our guide told us.  It's not a big cat,
not what we were hoping for.  It looks young.
I'll leave it to you.  So it wasn't going to be

the monster male of every hunter's dream,
but we needed success, at least
for the reporter.  I would strive always

to be a good wife, ideal companion.  In truth
I was happier watching birds, listening
to trees breathe, didn't relish the killing . . .

What would you have done?

When the animal slid, lifeless
from the tree, it was just an adolescent,
last season's newborn, now on his own,

years from maturity.  At the moment,
I became blood on the snow, a starving
child in Siberia, a baby on a bayonet.

And I was the shadow walking silent
to the truck, riding cold back to camp,
willing that bullet back in the gun.

The reporter left, The Lady and the Lion
destined to be notes forgotten in a file,
photos undeveloped.  It was the last time

I fired a weapon.  Sometimes a martyr dies
and no one realizes it,
              not even those responsible.

Patricia L. Goodman is a widowed mother and grandmother, a graduate of Wells College with a degree in Biology and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.  Her career involved breeding and training horses with her orthodontist husband on their farm in Chadds Ford, PA.  She has had poems published in the likes of Aries, The Broadkill Review, Sugar Mule, Requiem Magazine, Jellyfish Whispers, Fox Chase Review, Mistletoe Madness, Storm Cycle, Poised in Flight (All from Kind of a Hurricane Press), On Our Own (Silver Boomer Books) and The Widow's Handbook.  Her first book, Closer to the Ground, was a finalist in the 2014 Dogfish Head Poetry Competition and she has twice won the Delaware Press Association Communications Award in poetry.  She lives on the banks of the Red Clay Creek in Delaware, where she is surrounded by the natural world she loves.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

A Poem by J.K. Durick

Feeding the Birds

Of course, there are thankless tasks, ones
That must be rewards in themselves, without
A wave or smile back, ones we always do
With nothing in return, and then wonder why

But it's a bit different with birds, they watch
They wait; anticipate our arrival in songs of
All sorts, the chirping chatter that passes for
Morning, for welcome if you listen carefully

Blue jays are first, would jump the line if
There was one; I've seen them put two whole
Peanuts in their mouths and try for a third
Push and flap the smaller, quieter birds away

Smaller birds are more persistent, trust that
There will be more after the jays and the crows
Have their fill, sparrows and juncos mostly
A finch or two, chickadees after a little while

Pigeons arrive later, whole clouds of them
Moving in unison, the slightest thing will send
Them flapping to the neighbor's roof, to coo
The annoying way they do, together in all this

We know them like this; they know us as well
Balance their begging with their beauty, flock
To us like loyal friends, greet us each morning
Like daybreak they thank us with their presence.

J.K. Durick is a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor.  His recent poems have appeared in Thrush Poetry Journal, Black Mirror, Third Wednesday, Shot Glass Journal, and Eye on Life Magazine.