Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Poem by Brandon C. Spalletta

Thinking About Laws

I just brushed the dust
From my journal today, and sat
At the open window to feel
Spring reborn and watch my white dogwood tree
Do its impression of a snowfall,
Despite the scorn from the rose's thorns
At being discarded
Lingering in my fingers.
Quickly, I heard a bird's song,
Spotted the performer atop the dogwood,
And it reminded me of my father
Beaming once about my grandfather's
Legendary skill with the alto sax
When we had heard a similar song,
And I thought of Newton's law
That reads, "Energy cannot be created or destroyed,"
And because the wind was slowly drifting
I thought, as unbidden as Spring
These joyous moments of long dormant peace
Must come from somewhere else,
Where my journal doesn't collect dust, and my study,
A museum exhibit's worth of cobwebs,
Where my grandfather's music
Accompanies a multitude of dogwood petals
On the wind's journey around the cosmos
As energy to fall off the tree outside my window,
A place where hardened roses bloom in winter,
And can never be discarded.

Brandon C. Spalletta is a poet from Herndon, Virginia, and lives with his beautiful wife and best friend, Ashley.  Check out his homepage at www.allpoetry.com/BrandonSpalletta!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Three Poems by Diane Webster


Snow surrounds this pond
reflecting aspen-leaf survivors
and a sky diagonaled with jet trails
until a duck swims across
causing ripples to mimic heat waves
once prevalent in summer.


Frost startles
the October morning
as much as the flashlight
disturbs the sparrow
once huddled in the bush
now panic fluttering
through leaves and branches
and the walker puffs
triple-heart-rate breaths
vanishing before sunrise.


In the lot snow
parks unticketed
across two spaces
until spring tows
the wreck away
leaving shards
of gravel like glass
littering the scene.

Diane Webster's goal is to remain open to poetry ideas in everyday life or nature or an overheard phrase and to write from her perspective at the moment. Many nights she falls asleep juggling images to fit into a poem. Her work has appeared in "Philadelphia Poets," "Illya's Honey," "River Poets Journal" and other literary magazines.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

A Poem by Marianne Szlyk

Further into Spring

The trees by the metro
are chilled hands in fingerless gloves,
evergreen ivy wrapped around
their knuckles.

Smaller trees are fingers
wound with vines
like rosaries;
the old leaves are beads.

Trees wait for the wind to stop.
They wait for new leaves.
They wait to touch the warm sun.

The trees in our neighbor’s yards
grow fat crows
and fuzzy red buds.
These trees are not cherries
or dogwoods.

They are black locusts
and red maples,
ordinary shade trees in May or June.
They are not waiting for anything.
Their time will soon be gone.

The new tree in our yard
spits cherry blossoms
into the air
as the sun sets.
This tree does not wait either.
It’s time to bloom.

Marianne Szlyk is an associate professor of English at Montgomery College, Rockville as well as an associate editor at the Potomac Review. This poem is a sequel to "Winter into Spring," a poem that appeared in Jellyfish Whispers. Most recently, her poems have appeared in the Ishaan Literary Review and Aberration Labyrinth. Other poems may appear soon in the Blue Hour Literary Magazine.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two Poems by Dawnell Harrison

Indigo blue night

The sky blackened with crows
As the night dissolved bit by bit

In an indigo blue light.
My breath lay vaulted in the spring

Air as the street lights lit up blocks
Inch by inch, corner by corner.

One great dive

You unbuttoned my bones
With your tender hands

And I handed you my heart
In one great dive

Into the sea’s waves.
The tides blew spindrift

Across the ocean’s mayhem
And the winds coughed

In one fantastic breath.
I lay before you warm and

Wanting as your hands touch
My translucent skin
In a quivering ball of desire.

Dawnell Harrison has been published in over 100 magazines and journals including The Endicott Review, Fowl Feathered Review, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Vox Poetica, Queen's Quarterly, The Vein, Word Riot, Iconoclast, Puckerbrush Review, Nerve Cowboy, Mobius, Absinthe: A journal of poetry, and many others.  She has had 3 books of poetry published through reputable publishers titled Voyager, The maverick posse, and The fire behind my eyes.

Friday, April 26, 2013

A Poem by Rick Hartwell

When Watchful Gods Watched Me

When runners, trees, and days were young,
You used to pump your way to search the sun-shrunk mists,
For an instant I would lose my sight of you within the trees, as wild-eyed
You’d hesitate, pause, then shake the hands of watchful gods
Be with runners, days, and trees.

First slowly, then with growing speed
You’d swoop again, avoid the ground, rise away from me,
Not clutching either rope, you’d rock, pump and slide from sun to shade,
I below with knotted-throat would anxiously watch you,
Watching gods within the trees.

With ever-lengthened arcs you’d swing,
Not touching me but gods, as I stood by and feared the time
When shadows, days, and legs grew long and set your swinging free,
I would know you’d lose the need for watchful gods,
A swinging tree, and me.

Now in my dreams only the rope swing hangs
And the watchful gods can see
Such a curious admixture
Of runners, trees,
And me.
Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school (remember, the hormonally-challenged?) English teacher living in Moreno Valley, California. He believes in the succinct, that the small becomes large; and, like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, that the instant contains eternity. Given his “druthers,” if he’s not writing, Rick would rather still be tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Poem by David McCoy


I admire the women who daily come to the beach;
They must feel a need to empower Melanoma.
The Goddess will happily turn their skin lovely brown—
And in some cases, before they know it, black as death.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Two Poems by M.J. Iuppa

Without leaving home

I have traveled—watching white sails

hooked by a lee wind

A matter of geometry—what lies
entwined                       the anchor &

its rope           attached to caution


Three days gone, the deer’s
carcass disappears bit by bit–
its rib cage exposed in this

least-winter light– gleaming
within its chest like a stop-
watch, a sharp-shinned

hawk sits– unmoved by
the hum of traffic, looking
like radar, causing us

to slow down.
M.J.Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Her most recent poems have appeared in Poetry East, The Chariton Review, Tar River Poetry, Blueline, The Prose Poem Project, and The Centrifugal Eye, among others. Recent chapbook is As the Crows Flies (Foothills Publishing, 2008) and second full length collection, Within Reach, (Cherry Grove Collections, 2010); Forthcoming prose chapbook Between Worlds (Foothills Publishing) She is Writer-in-Residence and Director of the Visual and Performing Arts Minor program at St. John Fisher College, Rochester, NY.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Poem by Sandy Benitez

The Hours

Boredom is such a nuisance.
The hours--rare and silent,
fall like orchid petals
to their private deaths.
The earth consumes what is left
after the insects have their way.
We search for the elusive muse,
something that will move us
and carry us towards enlightenment;
a whisper in the wind,
a prayer spoken through bleeding lips,
an empath interpreting aura.
My heart remembers the heaviness
of writing verse to a poem
or a letter to a loved one;
the pauses that wrap around my thoughts
become the roots of an old tree
and I suffocate beneath the pressure.
As the clock ticks,
pieces of me drop--one by one.
I am shedding myself of the past,
growing new skin in the present.
The future can only be imagined
dangling precariously from a rocky cliff.
Sandy Benitez is the founder and editor of Flutter Press and Poppy Road Review. She has authored a full-length collection of poetry, five chapbooks, and published in two anthologies. Sandy resides in California with her husband and their 2 children.

Monday, April 22, 2013

A Poem by Dawnell Harrison


Disappointment has another mouth
to feed and the earth is encumbered

with barbed wire.
I hear the echoes of despair

in this chilly December evening as
the crows drag their black dregs

behind them.
my pain dissolves in a quivering circle

as the night bends a band of blazon
snow hanging on the horizon.

Dawnell Harrison has been published in over 100 magazines and journals including The Endicott Review, Fowl Feathered Review, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Vox Poetica, Queen's Quarterly, The Vein, Word Riot, Iconoclast, Puckerbrush Review, Nerve Cowboy, Mobius, Absinthe: A journal of poetry, and many others. Also, she has had 3 books of poetry published through reputable publishers titled Voyager, The maverick posse, and The fire behind my eyes.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

A Poem by Richard Fein


I shot a seagull not with a bullet but with a click of the lens.
Eye to viewfinder I slowly invaded their space,
twenty gulls seriatim on a bayside rail.
The nearest ones started twitching their wings, twitched, twitched again
then spread their feathered sails and erupted into flight
to circle over the harbor waters.
Six feet between anyone of them and me
seemed the boundary between peaceful perch and panicky flight.
But not the last holdout. Lone tough bird on that rail.
Goliath versus gull, but sans slingshot.
Rather a refusal to even twitch or loosen a talon from the rail.
Five feet, four, three, finally at two a twitch,
and only at one did it launch itself stately over the bay.
But cawing loudly it dared circle me.
And then the dive, I twitched then ducked.
I shook my fist and cawed back.
Only then did that David gull weigh discretion against valor's better part.
Only then did it flee Goliath to rejoin its cautious flock.
Bold but foolish defiance, for if I had been a hungry hawk or ravenous cat,
it would have been naturally deselected
and from then on forever vacant from this bayside rail.
Which is why avian boldness is rare. Which is why any boldness is rare.
For most boldness is a mere moment's forgetting of fear.
Darwin might be smiling at his own wisdom, but I'm not.
As a nature photographer I'm unfit.
All my photos of that seagull's singular sassiness are out of focus. 

Richard Fein was a finalist in The 2004 New York Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition A Chapbook of his poems was published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He has been published in many web and print journals such as Cordite, Reed, Southern Review, Roanoke Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Paris/atlantic, Canadian Dimension, Black Swan Review, Exquisite Corpse, Foliate Oak, Morpo Review, Ken*Again Oregon East, Southern Humanities Review, Morpo, Skyline, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain Aroostook Review, Compass Rose, Whiskey Island Review, Oregon East, Bad Penny Review, Constellations, and many, many others. 

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A Poem by Bill Jansen

When yellow leaves

It was that sort of serene Fall day
when you expect to encounter Vivaldi
in yellow leaves under widely spread buckeye trees
exercising his faithful dog, Giuseppe.

A youthful, alert companion retrieving a violin bow
over and over with insatiable animal happiness.

Ruefully, I remark to myself that I have no pet,
unless you count a litter of peeves.
Which denotes me, I suppose, as a trivial misanthrope
in a world of tortured confessions signed with a smiley face.

But what a cozy, gee whiz, blue sky above us today,
under which to walk aimlessly through yellow leaves.

Or pause at a cello somber pond,
a wide ditch really, brimming with paling lives.
A pair of birds, of a type I don't recognize,
sheltering on the opposite verge.

Below, there is perhaps an aquarium Pub,
a literal watering hole, which I should try.

Why not go there now, sit at a corner table,
sip a pint of fermented air,
and observe quietly a game of snooker
being played by retired carp or tipsy bluegill.

Perhaps then I can finally make a good beginning
on a poem about you, a brief stanza or two,
reconciling somehow the absurd difference in our ages,
and why your beauty should not matter to me.

Refined shadows will fall across the page
I am writing on, like dense musical notations
cast by insects striding on the wavering ceiling above me.

A darting waitress might turn on a remastered aria
performed by Caruso in his prime.

I'll try to think of a nice, tight, gee whiz ending.

But for now another flurry of yellow leaves
has reminded me that somewhere Winter's soloist
is unlimbering an icy, darker bow.

Bill Jansen lives in Forest Grove, Oregon. His works has appeared in various ezines and journals, including Cirque, Trigger Fish Review, and The Centrifugal Eye.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Three Poems by J.K. Durick


They’re easy enough to pick up.
Grab them mid-shell and lug ‘em
across the road, like some careful
god out of your machine meddling
with fate once more. As if destiny
placed you properly for this once.

The one I picked up to save, flicked
his head from side to side and
opened his terrible mouth to snap
this way and that, flinging and
waving his feet as if he were trying
to crawl away, swimming in the air
all the way to the other side
where I set him down, away from
the cruelty of cars and kicks.

Later when I looked back from
up the road a bit, I noticed that
he had turned around and was
heading right back across the road
and he looked just as determined
and as fragile as he did before
I bent down to save him from
things that must be inevitable.
Life too often seems like that.


I’m not some roadkill attracting these crows,
but they’re ominous, nonetheless; like now –
the cawing, stiff legged walk of them,
their eyes, the certainty of it all,
their color, the color of our fears.

Perhaps it’s primal, the lesson our ancestors
absorbed in their blood with birth,
then spilled, swilled on endless battlefields;
or the explorer in us, the wanderer who
took the wrong turn in confusing woods;

or the family out on the frontier,
when their food ran lower and lower,
and they were all that was left for them;

or the suicide we found hanging
off the path to the beach that summer
weeks after he gave up his eyes to them;

or the parts the police identify
by the old logging road,
that unidentified person of pieces
we know by looking at ourselves.

And they are watching us, even now,
cautiously, with calm certainty –
for crows landing will be
the very last thing we see.


Been tugging on this line seems like
Forever this afternoon waiting for
a nibble to remind me why I'm here.

J. K. Durick is presently a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont and an online writing tutor. His recent poems have appeared in Literary Juice, Napalm and Novocain, Third Wednesday, and Common Ground Review.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A Poem by Tom Hatch


The afternoon of the new born fawn
Climbing skinny unfolded legs
Up rocky hilly pattern of weave
Wanting a leap back into the womb
Drawn possibly by Aubrey Beardsley
Umbilical cord swirls illustrated
Hoofs becoming dirty earthly
Strident with life sees the filtered light
Of the forest
The taste of mothers milk
Feeble to strength in the spring to
High summers grasses brown spotted blending
Camouflaged in the landscape of the hunting wolfs
her fear to go has turned survival stayed standing
In the dusty fibers of the tapestry my grandmother
Left me
Now on the floor next to the bed
Hearing the wolves chewing bones filled with marrow
In my to sleep every night woven from my grandmother's dreams
Wolves surrounding the frightened fawn
Still there in the morning stepping someday
Over crushed, broken, gnarled bones that
Cannot be sustained forever lying on the bedroom floor
As the fibers break down the wolves get closer to the fawn everyday

Tom Hatch paid his dues in the SoHo art scene in the 70s, 80s and 90s. He was awarded two NEA grants for sculpture back then. And taught at various colleges and universities in the NYC metro area in art including Princeton U. He is a regular at The Camel Saloon and BoySlut. He had recently published The Mind[less] Muse. He lives in CT with a few farms up and down the road works in Manhattan. His train ride to and from NYC is his solace, study and den where it all begins and ends.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Poem on M.A. Schaffner

The Point Of Picking Berries

All for a handful of berries the walk
sidles up the mountain top on paths
beaten by boots and occasional trucks.

Hikers and cops, bicyclists and hippies,
whole families from the cities now astray
playing One Of These Things Doesn’t Belong Here.

Nothing belongs here but the berry clone –
a single shrub that seems to be thousands,
and covers acres, and which draws us in

where anything hungry could watch for us,
including this plant whose fruits seem to lead
ever farther from the trail and the homes

from which we often drive to shop for berries,
never fearing the bait or the hunger
we feed because it seems to be our own.

M. A. Schaffner has work recently published or forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, Magma, Tulane Review, Gargoyle, and The Delinquent. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Two Poems by Marianne Szlyk

Under Construction

Without their leaves, trees look like scaffolding.
Naked bushes become barbed wire fences.
The only colors are empty wrappers caught in the wind.

Men in masks disassemble the long-vacant house.
The front yard fills
with broken plaster and boards,
with window frames and glass.
Papers blossom like mold.


The grass will be green, first pale, then darker.

The bushes will bristle with waxy thorns,
forsythia’s yellow dots and dashes against the papery sky.

Crocuses will snap up in purple and white. Hyacinths
and lilacs will follow,
their sweetness infusing the wind.

A larger house,
one with bamboo floors, a sunken hot tub,
and walls the color of abalone flesh,
will rise from the ruins.

Marianne Szlyk is an associate professor of English at Montgomery College, Rockville as well as an associate editor at the Potomac Review. Her poems have been published in the Antigonish Review, the Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Atrium, Eos: The Creative Context, and Aberration Labyrinth. Other poems will appear in the Ishaan Literary Review and the Blue Hour Magazine.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Three Poems by Eric A. Weil

Oak Burl

A recent storm blew
a large oak limb
down on the trail.
Now I must step
over this limb, which
has a one-foot burl,
a great, warty wound,
scar of ancient oak wars,
covered, but not hidden.
I can reach halfway
around the trunk
that sacrificed this limb.
Standing at attention,
it can afford this loss
better than most.


Late October Soybeans

As I drive to the store,
the hairy pods dangle,
arthritic fingers
awaiting the reaper.
The once-golden field
brown and leafless,
the stalks stand
like a tangled hedgerow
of bones exhumed
from a mass grave,
and I check my list.


The barred owl,
silent as a sniper
swiveling, watchful
in that sweet gum,
glides to the broken
cedar -- watchful,
swiveling --
lets me pass.

Eric A. Weil lives and teaches in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, on the edge of the Great Dismal Swamp. Recent poems have appeared in The Hurricane Review, Wild Goose Poetry Review, and New Verse News. He has two chapbooks: A Horse at the Hirshhorn and Returning from Mars.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Three Poems by Adreyo Sen

The Absence of Silence

Today the cuckoo will stutter and hover uncertainly
as it sings the joyous tidings of the new dawn.
The tribal women will hurry past the closed gates, heads bent,
for his quiet smile won’t greet their mischievous mango-stained laughter.
The baby next door will gurgle expectantly for Nana,
as she stares out of the window, only to subside into a woeful quiet
that requires all the comforting powers of her mother.
The squirrel won’t come out of its nook, only stare,
with dim, beady eyes at the once well-fed street dogs, wandering aimlessly.
The passersby will hesitate as they cross his gate,
their mouths opening in greeting. Then they will briskly walk away.
He has gone now. He has finally left the sun-baked red soil well-trodden by his feet.
This fall, you won’t see him fragile and bent,
slowly picking the strewn leaves of gracious old Dorothy,
only slightly younger than him.
We knew him not, whence he came from, his age.
He was as timeless as the rippling brook flowing from weathered rocks,
greeting generations of passersby with a gentle morning nod.
We knew his presence, we knew the soft silence
that greeted us as we passed his gate, his cheerful eyes making us feel secure
No more…

The village is silent and ill at ease with itself. The silence is tense and heavy.
And the young white-clad woman tries to push away the violent stillness
Attacking her as she softly covers her father’s withered face.

The Forest Comes Alive
Dawn comes, the sky is tinged with black
and the colours of the rising sun,
new and yellow, coming to command the stars.
Somewhere a bird, for all birds
seem the same to me over here,
breaks into a twitter, timidly, for
it’s an ordeal to be first, to break the silence.
She’s followed and a storm of twittering
blasts through the silence. The sleepy dog
cocks an eye and gets up with a moan.
He shakes himself and ambles on.
The trees start rustling in tune
to the fresh, sighing wind.
that seeps through the forest.
A buzz of activity somewhere.
A scamper of feet and then silence.
Two boys come along the wet road,
their eyes aglow with excitement,
off to get their daily milk.
Grey wisps of smoke float somewhere,
a red flame burns steadily behind the bus
and people warm their hands at the fire
They do not talk. There are no words required.
Their faces reflect the peace of the morning.

Not for long. Somewhere in the tents
A babel rises, the day has begun.

Village by the Sea
The discordant symphony of water and pebbles
ushers faint whiffs of the Raat Ki Rani.
A distant rumble rolls through the tense skies
as a white streak passes across the velvet blackness,
only to vanish in silence.
The sea roars back, stormy waves surging forth,
its enraged froth fast drying on the parched white sands.
A dull yellow blur grows larger along the mountainside,
revealing the centuries-old path of lovers.
Her ebony hair and clothes plastered to her skin, a girl calls out,
to the scattered white specks, her eyes smiling.
They come together in a final sonata of cowbells.
In the scattered mud houses, the black-red stoves
burn steadily to prepare the night’s meal.
The cicadas pick up their personal quarrel,
stilling the night with their evil shrillness.
And as the last glowing embers of a long day slowly fade out,
The far away city’s giant causeway of ebony-stained yellow lights
Is reduced to empty darkness.
Adreyo Sen, based in Kolkata, hopes to become a full-time writer. Adreyo did his undergraduate work in English and his postgraduate work in English and Sociology. He has been published in Danse Macabre and Kritya.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Poem by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Desert Flowers

hours into the desert
spilling sun

dusty road wheeling into sand
wrenching spinning tires under
into a final lunge

car revving
heat vapors over the hood

turning the engine off
sighing with the windows down

where I want to be

opening the door to
all the answers

walking barefoot
breathing easily

a loner, rebel,
thinker of how it should be

I squat on a soft mound
drawing a picture in the sand

others have been here
tortoise, lizard, snake

skin rags
clinging to skeletons

listening to
hoarse winds
telling me to dig my roots very deep.

Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to stay up all night and write with lightning bolts until they fizzle down behind the dark horizon. His poetry has recently appeared in a handful of stones, The Camel Saloon, The Rainbow Rose, protestpoems, Black-Listed Magazine, BoySlut, Orion headless, The Carnage Conservatory, and Aphelion.  He is the editor of Dead Snakes at http://deadsnakes.blogspot.com/

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Poem by William G. Davies, Jr.

The Feeder

I open the door,
the birds skitter away
even though I hold
a bowl of seed,
for all they know
I may be harm
approaching silently
the way peace
can sometimes lull.

William G. Davies, Jr. has published in numerous literary reviews such as The Cortland Review, Wilderness House Review, Gloom Cupboard and most recently, Miller's Pond and Absinthe.  He lives happily with his wife on ten acres in rural Pennsylvania.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Poem by Tom Hatch

Coyote and the Catfish

Near the edge of the pond walking
On tip toes, on the sand begins to run

Leaving tiny lean toed paw prints
Stopping suddenly as his head bends

Stare into the water still as his body turns
Tail end making a radius puts his omnivorous muzzle to a halt

Pointing precisely motionless silent
Between the reeds his look

Does not waver
Tail posing as ballast for delicate balance

Little steps bit by bit paws move one at a time
Lifting just the right height placing the next foot

Forward that equals the height as if drawing
A circle precisely in a square

His head lowers decreasingly below
His thin sharp plow like shoulder blades

Not making a sound in a deadly tacit silents
His perceptive eyes do not blink

Keeping the pace all so long-drawn-out
Then he hits the water with a paw appearing almost like a cat

Pulling back knocking a fish out of the waters edge
As it lands it breaks the reeds flat sets flies buzzing in flight

Fish's tail flipping up sending white sand on a shiny black body
The performer grabs clutching the flopping fish between his eager teeth

Black thick catfish whiskers
Feeling the canines hot breath from thinner whiskers

He turns around basking through a curtain of
Long low hanging young golden willow boughs

Then he bows and without a doubt will not make a curtain call
The dog and feline fish and day have exited the stage

Tom Hatch paid his dues in the SoHo art scene in the 70s, 80s and 90s. He was awarded two NEA grants for sculpture back then. And taught at various colleges and universities in the NYC metro area in art. He is a regular at The Camel Saloon and BoySlut. He had recently published The Mind[less] Muse. He lives in CT with a few farms up and down the road works in Manhattan. His train ride to and from NYC is his solace, study and den where it all begins and ends.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Poem by Agholor Leonard Obiaderi


In the ash-coloured dawn, I
have stared at the sequence of
petals, their ring.
To discover what will stand
erect as a tree trunk or lie flat
as the horizon.

The crimson-cheeked flower
possessed little knowledge of it.

I have gazed at the long road,
its endless hours rolled into
open-ended pouches.

A hope for something I
could hold up to the

I have stood by the roadside,
no sparrows
awaited the hatching of the blue-yellow-reddish
Until my investigation
turned the gloved hand
inward.I dipped into me,

touched something equidistant
between the heart and the mind.
Something that could stand upright.
It was coloured

red by blood but absolutely
stainless. So, I knew I
could never find the shape of my tomorrow,

waitng by the roadside, gazing up at the
stars reading meaning into
floral patterns.

Agholor Leonard Obiaderi lives in Nigeria. He loves poetry and crime novels though he has no criminal friends. He has been featured as poet of the week in Poetry Super-Highway and Wild Violet Literary Magazine. His poems have been published in Storm Cycle Anthology of Kindofahurricane Press.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Poem by Marianne Szlyk

Winter into Spring

Across the skim of ice,
the trees are bare fingers
in the grating wind.

The bittersweet berry
fades far past
the orange of carrots.
The leaves left on the vine
darken to brown.


The fog inflates
and expands
over the pond.

Walk away.
The fog lifts.
Branches glisten.
Lichen clings.


The wind across the pond
no longer grates
on bare-fingered trees.

Walk slowly
this time.

Yellow and purple
crocuses rise up
like mushrooms
after rain.
New mulch sours the air.
Marianne Szlyk is an assistant professor of English at Montgomery College, Rockville as well as an associate editor at the Potomac Review. Her poems have been published in the Antigonish Review, the Linden Avenue Literary Journal, Atrium, Eos: The Creative Context, and Aberration Labyrinth. Other poems may appear soon in the Ishaan Literary Review.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Two Poems by Emanuelle Cartagena

Crossing the lines in the sand,
go stamp with
Irregular gait,
while carrying the dead Arizona dry air,
Flourescent green cacti greet you,
enticing knowing what they store.
Tumbleweeds wisp in the-
burning hot wind flushes face full of red,
biting the pores and stinging the open wounds,
lashing up into your face.
The particles flash their warning signs.
Atmosphere like venus,
hovers its oven bake ready heat,
clinging to your heart,
and wrapping the shackles on it.
Ever omnipresent,
your delirium nearing,
as your thoughts melt into pools,
and the water evaporates from your skull.
Secluded from life,
orange-brown tinted soil spans for miles,
so much so,
it leaves your imagination,
to do its work.

Tethering away the air splits in two,
Spherical sky objects warp,
ovals, squares, and Native Americans,
or hippies frolicing around,
chanting old hyms for survival,
and reciting one haunting line,

"Welcome to the desert.
It may be the last welcome you hear."
A Good Day

I noticed the bark on every tree,
sitting so still, placid.
Orange syrupy sap seeped into the dirt.
Stumps stood strong like a lumberjack's torso,
never sturdier.
On this gloriously sunny day,
filled with dry air and blooming fluff of cumulus,
Trees won most,
gulping the rays and sapping the oxygen.
I also noticed........
Background calls,
crept into the forefront.
Bulky, piss-yellow bulldozers readied,
waiting for the final signal.
Three, two, ONE!
Sharp, metal claws raked into the once peaceful bark,
and the crunch made sure you knew,
quiet was finished.
Wheels pressed up against the stumps,
and rammed into the wood and sap.
Leaves rustled, tumbling down into the vehicles.
Foundations, roots all snapped,
two, five, seven at a time.
Noise was like a thousand homes toppling at once.
WHOOSH! RIP! and a fall, many.
They all fell for a reason,
The real estate signs, suits,
and the smiles proved it.
Emanuelle Cartagena is an aspiring, up-and-coming poet with a passion for words and how to use them. He has been writing for about 8 years now. He's also performed his poetry all across the state of PA. Manny has been published in Pigeon Bike poetry, Linden Avenue, New Plains Review and online with Earthborne poetry and Haggard and Halloo.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Two Poems by John Swain

Cavern Saint of Wild Beasts

After all the pathways of air
lain on land and sea and bird,
I curled to the worst
becoming one with every sin
and hurt.
The rain came
apart like a speechless child,
I ran beaten strangled and born
through the molten trees
before two candles burnt down
against my throat
and raised a choking fishbone.
Who was me must now forget
the love and wanting
in a green night bowl of stone
where your eyes were owl,
I learned not to wait for God
in our seeing, touch to listen.

Day of the winds
avalanche of leaves,
the juniper singing
with red blackbirds
telling the spring.
I closed the door
and walked the creek
following green steps
freeing the land
to choose movement.
Sun cast my shadow
beside and forward,
almost a friend
like we had joined
in another lifetime.
Buried you said
love could only live
in never owning
all that was given
from source to end.
The broken stones
poured down water
for light’s mirror,
we changed there
paled until always.
John Swain lives in Louisville, Kentucky. Crisis Chronicles Press published his most recent chapbook, White Vases.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Poem from the Editor, A.J. Huffman

Walking with Birds

Their language of song and sounding drew me through
the fog.  I followed – no, I flowed
with their foraging flutter.  Soothed by the surf
and their surfacing chatter.  We were one
on the sunlit shore.  Feathered or not, we forgot
our flight.  For a moment,
the sand sealing us in safety as we countered
its calming crests with our silent fleeting.  Call
to the wind:  arm and wing raised.  A prayer
for peace.  Startled,
the scene breaks.  Scattering in several silhouettes
of free.

A.J. Huffman is a poet and freelance writer in Daytona Beach, Florida. She has previously published six collections of poetry all available on Amazon.com. She has also published her work in numerous national and international literary journals. Most recently, she has accepted the position as editor for six online poetry journals for Kind of a Hurricane Press ( www.kindofahurricanepress.com ).

Friday, April 5, 2013

A Poem by Dawnell Harrison

Still of the night

In the still of the night
when the moon rages

its harvest orange hues
to the ground I write

sleepily by a red light.
I labor out of the love

of words grazing the
tips of your ears

with a beacon of light's
gilded colors.

I write on spindrift
pages of white harboring

just the right tone,
just the right syllables

to connect your soul
inexplicably to mine.

Dawnell Harrison has been published in over 70 magazines and journals including The Endicott Review, Fowl Feathered Review, The Bitchin' Kitsch, Vox Poetica, Queen's Quarterly, The Vein, Word Riot, Iconoclast, Puckerbrush Review, Nerve Cowboy, Mobius, Absinthe: A journal of poetry, and many others.  Also, she has had 3 books of poetry published through reputable publishers titled Voyager, The maverick posse, and The fire behind my eyes.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Poem by Nathan J.D.L. Rowark

Humanity, our nobility
Privileged we sit beneath out trees of florid green;
hands outstretched through blades of grass, as ants construct unseen;
networked tunnels underground for an empire to connect;
just like the spires and dome's above that  house our involved spec.
Holding seat, top of chain to shudder at the wonder;
to give and take the beauty held from Heaven and asunder.
Blessed are the ones that smell the dew drops in the morn;
for how could anything compare to such garden we are born?
Let the future words escape and give impatience now;
the magick of things yet to come, to your majesty we bow,
and even as we hold the keys to scientific garble,
remind us to take care at times of this ancestral seated marvel.
Nathan J.D.L. Rowark is a horror writer, and editor of Horrified Press.
Nathan first started writing poems and stories when he was six years old, and has always been a huge fan of  the fictionally macabre.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Poem by Diana Woodcock


Golden green in setting sunlight, sedges
shimmer as soft rain falls. The black bird
once dull now glows with a purple iridescence.
A Tri-colored heron stands in dark blue-grey
contrast beside an all-white morph.
The symphony begins—stereo sound,
cinematography in the round: bleating
Narrowmouthed frogs on the left; marble-

clicking Cricket frogs on the right;
grunting Pig frogs hunting crayfish;
rumble of two alligators vying for their
favorite resting place. Binoculars and
umbrella forgotten, I walk awestruck,
grateful for my stroke of good luck:
having it all to myself. One skulking Green-
backed heron swoops down, checking me out—

so close I hear its wings flapping.
Baby alligators surface and stare, curious
as to why I’m way up there. At peace
in the midst of all this wildness, I ponder
prisoners plotting escapes, aging parents
housebound, myself pacing a classroom nine
months a year. Caged in—all of our wings
clipped by society, tradition, religion. Free now,

I bask in just enough remaining light to ignite
the Lubber grasshopper making its way from
Swamp lily leaves to its bed. Enough light
to detect the cardinal at the tree island’s edge,
two green Pond apples ready to fall, Soft-
shelled turtle just below the surface, ready to feast.
One must stay alert—focused on margins,
shallows, uppermost branches. Take chances,

leave behind everything familiar, and though partial
to the ocean, explore where one’s never gone before:
sawgrass marsh, wet prairie, slough.
Too soon one’s time on Earth is through.
Leave now, you can make it for tomorrow’s
performance—same time, same venue.
As for me, I’m flying off to Cape Sable if
weather permits and I’m physically able.   

Diana Woodcock’s first full-length collection, Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders—nominated for a Kate Tufts Discovery Award—won the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux International Poetry Prize for Women and was published by Little Red Tree Publishing in 2011. Her chapbooks are In the Shade of the Sidra Tree (Finishing Line Press), Mandala (Foothills Publishing), and Travels of a Gwai Lo—the title poem of which was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has been teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar since 2004. Prior to that, she lived and worked in Tibet , Macau and Thailand.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Poem by Tom Sheehan

Hawk, Poised

World-viewed incandescence; sun under his wings with last quick volley,
slipping through a hole in the sky, lilting the soon-gray aura without a sound,
an evening hawk appears above us. From Yesterday he comes, from Far
Mountains only Time lets go of. Under wings steady as scissors a thermal
gathers, not sure the joy is ours, or his. It flings him a David-stone, racing
the Time-catch at heart, at our throats. There is so much light falling down
from him, from wing capture, we feel prostrate. To look in his eye

would bring back volcano, fire in the sky, a view of the Earth Earth has not
seen yet. In apt darkness chasing him, in the mountains where gorge, lake
and river give up daylight with deep regret, his shadow hangs itself forever,
the evening hawk sliding mute as a mountain climber at his work, leaving in
our path the next hiker’s quick silence, stunned breath, the look upward on
a frozen eye and a drifting wing caught forever only by light

Tom Sheehan served in the 31st Infantry Regiment, Korea 1951 and graduated from Boston College in 1956. His books are Epic Cures; Brief Cases, Short Spans; A Collection of Friends; From the Quickening. He has 20 Pushcart nominations, and 330 stories on Rope and Wire Magazine. Recent eBooks from Milspeak Publishers include Korean Echoes, 2011, nominated for a Distinguished Military Award and The Westering, 2012, nominated for a National Book Award. His newest eBook, from DanseMacabre/Lazarus/Anvil, 2013, is Murder at the Forum, an NHL mystery novel, with two more mysteries due for 2013 publication, Death of a Lottery Foe and Death by Punishment. His work is in Rosebud (6th issue), The Linnet’s Wings (6th issue), Ocean Magazine (8th issue), and many internet sites and print magazines/anthologies. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Poem by Jason Sturner

Promise of an Eagle, to a Friend
for Rita Hartje

Sin & Confession

You’ve asked me to speak of eagles.
Of diurnal flight over moonlit valleys.
I was to offer you the brazen talon
of its faith, hope, and love. As a song.

But I lied when I said I could spring
this bird from my heart willingly.
I betrayed myself into thinking
I was the keeper of its valor. I am not.

In truth, it flies through me but doesn’t see me.
A ghost of old tears reflects from its eyes.
And though my soul is wretched and my ego has lied,
I long for your unconditional love. In dreams…

So many nights I’ve fallen asleep in your heart!
Awoken in the world your words have built.
I can’t kiss your angelic face, but I hear its soft music.
It sings that our distance is illusion. It’s not real.


You’ve asked me to speak of eagles.
Of nocturnal flight over sunlit peaks.
To take your hand, guide you across clouds,
and illustrate the strength of God. I have. In you.

With faith, hope, and love under wing,
you have flown softly, quietly through me.
The embers of your saintly energy
raining down upon my soul. I weep.

Because you, my friend, are the eagle.
You see me.

Jason Sturner grew up in the concrete jungles of Illinois, where he has been a rock drummer, elevator operator, graphic designer, and botanist. His poems have appeared in such publications as Space and Time Magazine, Aoife's Kiss, A Prairie Journal, Liquid Imagination, Blind Man's Rainbow, and Sein und Werden, among others. He currently lives near the Great Smoky Mountains. Website: www.jasonsturner.blogspot.com