Sunday, May 31, 2015

Three Poems by Ralph Monday


After the fire was roaring in the fire pit
false red and orange suns, the
hemlocks frozen, green-crusted by
falling snow, I listened to the whisper
of snow sifting through trees, the
uneasiness of blackbirds picking at
brown stubble in the garden.
I knew that this Octavia, this winter
storm, was not the same as the wife
Mark Anthony divorced--but yet a
strange connection--in the way of
the world--for both came to icy
completion and passed away.
My hands warmed by the fire I am of
winter-mind:  Old High German wintar, Goth
wintrus, Old Norse Vetrardag--more than
fifty winters I have loved.
This Octavia connects the past with now,
her billowing white skirts settling over the
land like a wedding dress, not a funeral
shroud, for this white time is not the moment of
hibernation--instead a steady tick of ice, sleet,
snow writing the book of winter, snow February
moon, there hidden deep behind thick
clouds.  The modern masses huddle in consternation,
but I, I laugh with those in all the past who left
snowprints through forests, and would know
today the many arms of Octavia
saying these are my wintry breasts, my
snowmilk to nourish.

Winter Wind

We walked on the frozen trail through
the woods, when I stopped and said
do you hear?
A far off roar, like a tornado coming
closer and closer.  Then the treetops bent and
swayed as the mighty presence rushed past--
wind through the treetops like some
hurried god late for a
so strange, only a few trees but one in particular,
a great red oak bent back and forth like the
ticking hand of a clock as though singled
out.  The force swept away as quickly as it
came.  I knew that this was a living presence,
something on a mission that sought out that
tree like a Druid priest.  We weren't supposed
to be there, to have witnessed this god of
air as it exhaled the potency of dim, far stars.
          See see, I felt it say.
You are frail avatars waiting to be
spliced within the seeds of the
earth.  Shadow smoke rising from a 
wood stove, vapor, twice-made silhouettes beneath
heaven's windows--spirits moving on and away.

Morning Psalm

She wrote the psalm for the morning
on her palm where the forest dripped
sodden tones, tree roots buried tongues,
moss her sage gown that sweeps along
a wild ballroom floor the way she once
danced to manifest notes, childhood
memories of girlhood:
long skinny legs, an imagined ballerina's
pirouette on bone white river stones,
antlered arms reaching out to embrace
the lead in the Black Swan and
trees bow down, cry out for more after
the curtain call where the river sweeps
by singing the last morning hymn.

Ralph Monday is Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN, and published in over 50 journals.  A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014.  A book, Lost House and American Renditions, is scheduled for publication, May 2015 by Aldrich Press.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Three Poems by Phil Wood

A Gull Lost in Rain

membrane     slashed     shell cracks
     hunger     untethered     again
nest clinging     in cleft     of white cliff

          a fledgling     pulsing     ghosted
with flight     blood threading     to wing
          in feathered strain     slap and smack

of waves     claw of wind     glides
     beyond spray     weathered     herring sky
above     screech and beak     circling

weary     beckoning     sullen rock
     spiralling closer     that final     nest
ever closer     that kiss     of rest

The Fisherman's Wife

Soaping her hand gave pause for thought.
Agreed, it was obvious.  Gilt-heads
grinning, demise brimming bright-eyed
belief crisping beneath the grill.

They almost anesthetized her.
Almost.  But seeping under the scent
of saffron rice, beyond these fish
dreaming of Mediterranean blue

her hand gave pause and so she found
a bruising bit on her banded finger.
The Persian cat flicked its tail,
the bowl of bream began to swim.


across the blue blush of waves
a school of dolphins mouth
polystyrene cups

a sense of

Phil Wood works in a statistics office.  Enjoys working with numbers and words.  Recently published poems can be found in London Grip, The Stare's Nest, The Lampeter Literary Review, and The Open Mouse.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Three Poems by William G. Davies, Jr.

The Pursuit of Happiness

They file intrepidly
into the bus.
These gentle souls
with one foot
in a trenchant world
and one in another.
Nurtured by
celestial caregivers
who orbit their love
around scintillating universes,
kindred to the most eclectic foibles
as they encompass each other;
truth and beauty.

A Winter Mirage

The hill is
a white tsunami
about to bear down
on a crow, braced,
like the student
in Tianenmen Square.


The pine tree
died over winter,
Like Stalin under glass,
its decay ambient
skipping petrifaction
for those silvery nights
when sap glazes crimson
and stars nest in its boughs.

William G. Davies, Jr. is the current Poet Laureate for Perry County, Pennsylvania.

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