Monday, September 30, 2013

Two Poems by Rick Hartwell

Like Human Adolescents
Two hummingbirds, dramatic iridescence,
playing at sexual tag in the backyard, yet
way too late for the pull of spring incubation.
They may each have lost a mate to predation’s
insecurity; I’ve never noticed hummingbird
infidelity, then again perhaps they are just horny.

Shadows creep up on you surreptitiously and as
dawn rises to noon they trip and fall to their knees
performing silent obeisance at meridian, thinning out
towards an eastern infinity as day fades to dusk and then
into splendid sunsets: purples, reds; retinal sensuousness
dispelled by knowledge of particulate matter and vapor.
There are shades to shadows too, not just from sun, but
of moon and stars and fog; of dispersed, elusive fractals,
water beads skittering, grey fog phantoms trying to hide
in peripheral vision, trying to capture you unaware.
Moon shadows sway like the tides; adding, ebbing,
flowing through night and imagination until fleeing.
Star shadows exist, but can be seen only by night
fairies and fireflies when switched off, both keen
seers of the heavens when Selene hides her face and
stellar sylphs rule the night until her bloom’s restored.
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 be still tailing plywood in a mill in Oregon. He can be reached at

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Three Poems by John Roth

A Geisha Reminisces Over an Illicit Love Affair

On leap years,
we used to romp through oriental gardens.
Such slipshod footing, lovers tumble headfirst
from airy gables.

We were blind,
our eyes congealing from the star-smeared visor
that once held a promise for the future, one 
of tortured romance. 

But instead,
our passion soon deteriorated―
An ancient scroll with burnt tea stains, frayed tassels
eaten by silk moths. 

Only now,
do shadows weave between the green bamboo thicket,
where hibiscus flowers loll their citrine studded tongues
like a yawning corpse.

Drowsy gnats.
Shapeless mantles of light suffuse a pond’s dark edge.   
Puffs of white mist float like Chinese lanterns,
a moonlit paper nest

for swallows.
Mirror-scaled koi flick their whiskers at the sky
as water sloshes over a lipped-rim bowl of clay,  
nourishing silt.

Red crowned cranes
stalk the muddy banks in search of a lost mate.
Long necks stretch, trill cries erupt into the night

cherry blossoms litter the small pagoda
where our hearts bled into rose tinted vials.
Mingling souls

but keeping bodies apart.


It starts with a dry spell,
a nagging cough,
and soon becomes
a burning hole
in one’s throat.
The desert gargles
sand in its mouth,
picks the blisters off
its scorch-split tongue.
If only it had tears
to spare, some hidden
reserve of water kept
deep within itself.     
Some way to taste
of its own sorrow.    


The sun hangs low
like a gold medallion
looped through a blue
prize ribbon. 

There is nothing
to be won but red dust
and desert flies, rubbing
their greedy legs together
like dull violin strings.

A stone-painted lizard
sleeps flat on a pillowed
rock bed that’s been drunk
bone-dry by mouthfuls
of burning sand. 

The land cries out,
then comes
a noiseless surge
of black-bottle storm-clouds,
descending from the splintered
planks of sky like anchors flung

Then comes
white lightning, shackled
to earth’s hot ground plate. 

Then comes
the calming hush of rain.

John Roth is a poet from Ohio whose work has mostly recently appeared, or is still forthcoming, in The Orange Room Review, Boston Poetry Magazine, Bone Parade, Aberration Labyrinth, and Dead Snakes, among a few others.  He hopes you have a nice day.  

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Poem by Paul Tristram

Craddlegap The Cormorant

Upon dark
seaweed crowned
He stretches
his coal black wings
in sudden symmetry
East & West.
sloping to serious bill
eyes thoughtful
in the estuary’s
misty morning
cold grey imagery.
He takes off
like a grumpy old man
of the sea
dressed in rags
of black velvet.
Away from the Little Egrets
to find his sport
in the freedom
of the choppy
Atlantic sea.

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories and sketches published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight, this too may pass, yet.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

A Poem by Mike Cluff


Wearing the water down into dew or dissolvement
the rut between Aqua Luz and Pokerville
is now filling up without sound
with shoe polish and lettuce
the battle has released
from the gulley
where slaughter

Mike Cluff is a writer living in the inland section of Southern California.  He is now finishing two books of poetry:  "The Initial Napoleon" and "Bulleted Meat" -- both of which are scheduled for publication in late 2013/early 2014.  He believes that individuality is the touchstone of his life and pursues that ideal with passion and dedication to help the world improve with each passing instance.  He also hopes to take up abstract painting in the next several months.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Poem by Ryan Kauffman

Sunset in Morningview, KY
crawls - like
a toddler slowly scoots
toward curiosity - over the hills 
that have become a shelter for the declining sun.
fractures and
re-fractures into a million
shades of purple, pink, orange and red,
distorted by the wonderful atmospheric prism.
burn hot in
the surrounding valleys,
sending the natural sap-tinted
smell of renewal floating through my nostrils.
newly plowed,
give off the scent of
fertile soil, as if the earth has
been ground down so finely that it too can fly.
fresh from the dirt,
taste like sweet onions,
causing my mouth to water and rejoice
in the bountiful flavors that nature has provided.
not yet ripened,
tease the taste-buds with
the promise of the juice induced
happiness that will come in just a few more days.
falls like silent rain
over a bed of grass and
leaves that have parachuted from
the tip-tops of giant Oaks and ancient Sycamores.
gentle and comforting,
quietly gust and cause little
bumps on my arms and neck in delight
at the temporary relief from the valley’s humidity.
harmonious howls
echo through the valley like
the violins reverberating in Beethoven’s mind.
Crickets chime in with their chirps of up-tempo percussion.
and red ones alike,
tweet their evening song
as if wishing the world fruitful dreams and
giving a final melodic offering to the emerging full moon.
Ryan Kauffman is a first-year MFA candidate at Northern Michigan University. His previous work has appeared in Mused: The Bella Online Literary Journal, The Western Online, The Fringe Magazine, Writing Raw, and Haiku Journal. He currently lives in Marquette, Michigan.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Two Poems by Normon J. Olson

a view of Nova Scotia from Prince Edward Island
I saw Nova Scotia
prostrate on the sea,
like a fallen angel with her
head pillowed on the blue tinted horizon…
sunlight danced across the
ripples and painted deep blue
with flecks of gray and silver
the fish have gone, turned by
greed and
the bellies of gourmands into
shit… the shit is also gone…  fishing
boats rot in the bushes
or sit in hopeful desolation with
a fly specked sign that reads
“for sale / best offer”
flying from LAX to DTW
flying first class on an employee
sipping a cold drink as the
flaming GE vortex and vast
Boeing wings bring our
aluminum tube up, over
the white line of El Segundo
surf, through the overcast
into sunlight, like the bang of a ladle
on a two quart saucepan…
over a wrinkle of mountains
soon circles of irrigation fields fill the
flat country
then the green of Minnesota… 
Lake Michigan looks like a flat zinc plate
the face in the window mocks a fat
old gap toothed man
who does not really belong in
first class,
or anywhere
else for that matter…
Detroit is another story…
Normon J. Olson is a 65 year old poet and artist and since publishing his first poem in 1984, has published hundreds of poems and drawings in literary print and ejournals all over the world...  a current publication is the cover drawing on Poetry Repairs at