Sunday, October 2, 2022

Three Poems by J.J. Campbell

a tornado watch in february

here comes
the thunder

the wind that
damages more
than just money

cats and dogs
running for
cover as the 
bones start
to ache

nothing quite
like a tornado
watch in 

the parking lot of the grocery store

i was pumping gas
the other day and 
i swear i saw a duck
get on top of a car
off in the distance

for a second, i
thought maybe it
was another acid

when i got done
pumping and got
my receipt, i drove
over into the parking
lot of the grocery

sure enough, there
was a fucking duck
on top of a red car

happy and warm
in the sunshine

too bad it wasn't 
a damn convertible

consumed with war these days

i sit back and
watch the birds
fight outside
of the kitchen 

every living thing
consumed with
war these days

i wonder what 
god pissed those
birds off

the rain starts to 
fall again

i better get out of
this chair before
arthritis says no

in the front yard

a squirrel is
one giant leap

the stupid fucker
is about three
moments away 
from his death

J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) is currently trapped in suburbia, plotting his escape.  He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Synchronized Chaos, Terror House Magazine, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Rye Whiskey Review, and The Beatnik Cowboy.  You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (

A Poem by Alan Walowitz


We've made the soup-of-the-day ourselves--
this bouillabaisse--now brought to a slow boil.
For good measure, the undersized fish will not be thrown back,
but will be wrung out and allowed to steep in the broth.
A cigarette butt tossed in carelessly, somewhat like a bouillon
but more in the manner of Belmondo--for presentation alone--
and no sign yet of a change in taste,
cool is still so hot, and as yet no answer to the occasional but insistent query,
what's to become of the lungs of the world?

Our own reflection on the surface distorts everything below,
as it has since the beginning
when we were a tiny piece of sludge, magically delivered,
which managed, improbably, to hold on, though barely,
and take dominion everywhere.
We were born of pot luck--
twigs, lichen, limbs, nail clippings, a communion of spare parts,
on occasion, whole carcasses of creatures
lit by the lightning of our wildest dreams,
and then stirred by time and the current we could never control.
Oh, this is ours--and must announce it for the world to hear
every chance we get.
Now it's just us and the trout--
this year the cutthroat, a beauty stocked by our benefactor
who, it seems, cannot bear the loneliness,
and, we're certain, will always give us one more chance.

Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry.  His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, comes from Osedax Press.  The full-length, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press.  Most recently, from Arroyo Seco Press, is the chapbook, In the Middle of the Night, written with poet Betsy Mars.

Two Poems by J.B. Hogan

Falling Back

Down any road, back country or town,
grass pushes at concrete,
trees form lush canopies,
taking back what had been
surrendered unwillingly,
reverting, decaying, letting go
order, structure, seeking
primal existence, wild,
unbound, untamed,
before thought or reason,
before plan or hope,
before vision or design.

Nairobi to Amboseli

Down Highway 104, narrow blacktop road,
Nairobi to Mombasa through
semi-arid land of grazing animals,
tribal herdsmen tending cattle
one, tall, thin Masai cow tender
jogging toward the road from far afield
playful, aggressive, spear launched
at passive vehicle, laughing
waiving, scaring up a dik-dik
hiding in the bush.
On to Kajiado through Arizona-like terrain and
toward the Tanzania border;
Namanga, Mt. Meru in the distance hovering,
tourist town, turn off for Amboseli,
long dirt road to lodge, a dry land,
dust devils in the distance, 
whirlwinds rising into the sky,
half-filled lodges below Kilimanjaro,
its peaks under foggy shroud,
animals on the plains, tourist vehicles
clogging roads, lion kills,
bright sun slowly burning clouds
to reveal the great mountain's Kenyan peaks:
mighty Kibo, the lesser Mawenzi,
towering over the plain, their dual power
awesome, majestic, image seared in
eye and forever sight.

J.B. Hogan has published over 290 stories and poems in eleven books, including Bary Harbor, Bounty Riders, Time and Time Again, Mexican Skies, Tin Hollows Living Behind Time, Losing Cotton, The Rubicon, Fallen, The Apostate, and Angels in the Ozarks (nonfiction, local professional baseball history).  He lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Three Poems by Paul Tristram

Transitional Fledglings

. . . and somewhere, just a little further,
down this strange pathway of life.
When the day is so full of self-esteem
that the top button keeps popping open,
and it's hard to speak for smiling
I'll remind you of back when we met,
a couple of nest-leaving fledglings
all fresh with hope and adventure-ready . . . 

Aerial Combat (Using The Page As Platform, Medium, Stage)

Bloodied underbelly-feathers,
I talon-scratch
an upside-down arc, perfectly.
SPIN, momentarily
(Nailed to the exact same Spot),
like a heart attack,
a bulleted-target . . .
then, I wing-cut,
at an impossible angle,
all rapid momentum
and focused-motion.
My Reaper-eyes
are The Old Testament.
There should be Screeches
and Ripping audio-tears
trailing in my wake . . .
but, I'm shifting muscle
and sinew gears so fast,
whilst mentally-balancing
acceleration and murder . . .
that there's no time for anything
other than approaching IMPACT!

Barbaric Sympathy & North Node Unfolding

Un-connecting from the Countryside
around you . . . 
as your Footsteps regain Steadiness
. . . and your Mind
holograms Back
to partial Grounded-ness . . . for now.
It is time to stop [absently] talking
to the Watchers of your Walk
. . . as you Emerge once more,
to mingle [Lost] amongst
the [Heavy Drudge of] Regular Fold.
So, 'Madness' is a Portal
if Persevered through the Sickness
. . . and a 'Scald' or 'Burn'
upon Memory differs to actual Flesh
. . . as 'Adversity' gives 'Strength' . . . 
'Insanity" brings 'Self-Honesty',
"Clarity' and 'Shamanic-Detachment'
. . . Crucial in Soul-Development
past 'Normal Boundary Restrictions'.
'Mediumship' and 'Clairvoyancy'
are simply 2 more 'Feathers' . . . 
in the 'Cap' that you have Earned.
Your [Freshly] 'Blossomed Brain'
will never fit back inside that 'Box'
. . . which your Inner Travelling
took it [Rupturing] out of . . .
you have become an entire Universe
roaming around [inside] a New World.

Paul Tristram is a widely published, Welsh writer, who's currently up to his elbows in Magic, and long mat it remain this way.