Bertram Allan Mullin – 1 poem 

You Validated Destiny through Happenstance

By Bertram Allan Mullin

 

A car crash in Houston

A violin song . . . dream:

Beelzebub stealin’ my soul

Bubble cage

Glorious shadow girl,

Glorious rock ‘n’ roll background

 

Awesome spin kick  

Abbadon scared away

by her might

Blast of sakura leaves

Escape from a dungeon,

embrace we did

 

Awake, I wrote you

actually, in my novels, a character:

became

Basically you:

Classic rock lovin’

Cool martial artist

 

Named for

none other than

  a violin player

  and I moved to Japan

You walked out from

yonder shadows post our embrace

 

Same name

Same loves

I became a first time believer in . . . that is

I saw validated destiny through happenstance

Overreacted, slightly: a letter a song

Obsession made you not crazy for me

 

Unbroken by choices I didn’t like

Up to God, my hands in the air

Three more times, you and I by chance

Then I saw . . . undreamed youthful reality

free will

free eyes

Request

   reiterated here

Get to know me

Go beyond the norm

It’ll be fun — otherwise,

 I’ll move on and forever wonder: why 

 

 

🍃

   

Bertram Allan Mullin or BAM’s work can be found here, there—many pieces being featured or contest winners. Some of his poetry can be found within Antiphon Poetry Magazine, the UK Online Archives, Silver Birch Press, With Painted Words, and Syzygy Poetry Journal where his piece, “X+Y=Z” won the Poetic Excellence Award. BAM teaches kids English and writes novels in Japan. Social media:www.bamwrites.com,facebook.com/bamwrites,twitter.com/bamwrites

Cordelia Hanemann – 3 poems 

Song of the Fish

 

You should join me here. The cool

green deep of my underwater keep

holds me close. I circle the pier,

waiting for you. If only you’d look,

you’d see me, a silver of reflected light

among the currents of the lake.

 

I watch you fix your rig,

select the bait to hide the hook.

Your arc is pure from shore to lake

like a dancer in an arabesque.

 

You are such an artist.

I cannot resist.

I’ve seen this worm before—

my lips are shreds of broken skin;

gills, heart, organs torn;

still, I hunger, lunge, and swallow.

 

You pull me in;

pain never felt so good.

The gentle way you work the hook,

your hand so warm, so firm

on my naked skin: you hold me,

like a treasure.

It hardly hurts at all.

 

How could I know

you would slit me open,

eat my flesh,

spit out my bones?

 

 

 

🍃

   

Sometimes a small light makes

the dark more terrible.

 

Headlights show only the swath

of road yards out; they seem to make

the dark more real, the way less clear.

Shapes crowd-in like hunter-demons,

bearing arms to take us down, take

us back. The car is dumb and warm

and close. Highways hum along under

us, indifferent, but familiar tunes;

our ears fill with the weary whine of tires,

the drone of old stories. Home is the place

where the road ends, where the door beckons,

but for the wanderer, the road goes on

criss-crossing earth’s face in complex

geometries of loneliness.

  

 

🍃

 

Defunct Tractor

 

The night sky burns with stars, dead

a thousand years; the cistern beside

the house, boasts its haul of icy dread,

blackening in the broad-bellied barrel.

 

Abandoned to an open field, iron beast,

like a scarecrow stripped of human cloth,

angular and alone, bearing no one’s travail,

a skeletal silhouette indifferent to night frost,

 

stands, grim and unmoved, succumbing to rust,

its steely black stillness a reproach to all

that spreads out from its mute paralysis:

a landscape, sere, naked, without conscience.

 

In waning night, earth refrains from judgment,

proffers no solace, no absolution, no Truth. 

 

  

 🍃

 

 A resident of Raleigh, NC where Cordelia is a practicing artist and writer, she have taught in elementary and high school and been a university professor. A native of Southwest Louisiana, she has lived in Japan and London as well as in the US. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, among which areSouthwest Review, Mainstreet Rag, andThird Wednesday Magazine; anthologies, most recently, The Well-Versed Readerand Heron Clan IV; and in her own chapbook, Through a Glass Darkly. She was recently the featured poet for Negative Capability Press, and The Strand Project presented, this summer. a monologue she wrote for performance. She is also working on a first novel, about her roots in Cajun Louisiana.  

Sneha Subramanian Kanta – 1 poem 

Notes from a Vanity Van


I imagined a golden ray from the sun struck interiors

of the vehicle I rehearsed dialogues in while dark

 

shadows outlined reflections cast. A tinge of subtle

eye-shadow was smeared and rubbed, to underline

 

the rooms of conscience. Halfway through, brief

scriptures over the face of a lake summoned: it was

 

the moment to weep insanely, with thorough use of

propylene glycol. I laughed before drowsiness sunk

 

into figments of dust pores, visible through sunbeams.

The people — were talking and talking, hollowly, and

 

I retired into the little wood. I sat nearby at the foot of

a small hill, my white costume in speckles of damp soil.

 

A little dandelion I watched, disperse its wings as I looked

at my wrists — waited for a touch, and a gentle raindrop fell.

🍃

 

Sneha Subramanian Kanta straddles paths from linear and discursive lines. Ghettos, immigrants, nations, untold refugee tales, the manufacturing of otherness and writing from the margins are some subject matters of resonance. Her work is forthcoming in Fallujah Magazine, EPIZOOTICS, Erstwhile Magazine, Sahitya Akademi, Noble/ Gas Qtrly, Epigraph Magazine and the first print anthology of Peacock Journal. She is a GREAT scholarship awardee pursuing her second postgraduate degree in literature in the United Kingdom. Write to her on s.sneha01@yahoo.in 

Sarah Shupack – 3 poems 

Roller Coaster Road

 

 Do you remember those nights

when I was a sophomore and you

lived on my futon.

You used to wake me up at three in the morning

and we would get stoned

and drive up and down roller coaster road.

I heard someone got killed doing it once.

 

Even the next morning when I had to chug

three Redbulls to make it through

my finals, I would just laugh,

intoxicated in sweatpants.

 

The doctors could never cure you,

and maybe your new boyfriend did;

but sometimes when I wake up

in the middle of the night,

all I want to do is call you up,

‘cause driving alone on roller coaster road

isn’t as stimulating as it was when

I was the passenger.

 

🍃

 

South Virginia

 

 I could hate your girl,

I could tell you I think she’s

real pretty.

I can hope that you are still

sleeping on the couch in your mother’s

basement, watching the

Discovery channel and Conan O’Brien.

 

I still want to sit in your body shop for hours,

watching your black shirt get dirtier,

thinking about how hot it would be to fuck you in between

all those broken down cars.

 

Instead I wrote you poems in the dust

of the windows.

And you welded

“Marry Me” onto a piece of metal, because I told you

it was better than a text message.


 

🍃

 

Airplanes

 

 I want to spill into your arms

let my bones hang out of their sockets

over the bend in your elbows

and where each shoulder meets your neck

 

I want my muscles to seep into your pores

and melt into your skin

and spasm in your nervous system

 

I want  my red blood cells to dance with your

white ones

until our veins turn purple

and create wrinkles

shaped like airplanes.

🍃

  

Sarah Shupack has written poetry since high school, inspired in part by her twin older brothers who have schizophrenia. She is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College in liberal arts/creative writing. She currently walks dogs for a living, while writing as she has time. She lives in Woodbridge, Virginia with her boyfriend Brian and dog Topanga.

Neil Leadbeater – 2 poems 

The Anatomy of Linen

 

She knows that it all boils down to flax

that it has a long staple relative to cotton

that the word is predominantly West Germanic

and cognate to the Latin

that it has a high natural lustre

that, broken down, it assumes the form

of irregular shapes

which contribute to its texture…

 

The mechanics of rippling, retting and scutching


are way beyond her now.


Easing into the arms of another


she slowly gets the measure of it.


It might be clothing or it might be bedsheets


spinning dreams into yarns. 

  

🍃

  

On The Conversation Of Farm Machinery

 

The loose chatter of the combine-harvester loud-whispering the wheat.

  

🍃

Neil Leadbeater is an author, editor, essayist, poet  and critic living in Edinburgh, Scotland. His short stories, articles and poems have been published widely in anthologies and journals both at home and abroad. His most recent books are Librettos for the Black Madonna (White Adder Press, Scotland, 2011); The Worcester Fragments(Original Plus Press, England, 2013); The Loveliest Vein of Our Lives (Poetry Space, England, 2014), The Fragility of Moths (Bibliotheca Universalis, Romania, 2014) and Sleeve Notes(Bibliohteca Universalis, Romania, 2016). He is a regular reviewer for the on-line journal Galatea Resurrects (A Poetry Engagement) (USA) and his work has been translated into Dutch, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish.

William C. Blome – 3 poems 

ETUDE 13 

 

Once upon a time in Pennsylvania near a battlefield, you

Cast your blouse to the wind of a stereotypical March day

Where bluster grabbed the green of silk ’cause nothing else

Was green enough to grab. Flight’s a wondrous thing

If it’s relatively rare, and you aren’t a pilot, a cormorant,

Or a flying squirrel, and—No thanks, I don’t need scissors

To cut through the spaghetti straps of your slip, that’s what

God gave me a great big mouth for, and yon cannonballs defy

The atmospheric elements entirely because we still believe

Their time to fly is imminent. Well, it’s time for us to make one

Another feel much, much, much the better; it’s time to bring

ourselves to a lovely, rolling boil: My oh my what you can do

With your breasts, your tongue, your toes! My oh my the feast

You serve heaped up between your hands! My oh my

The flights you cause above the grass at Valley Forge! 

 

  

🍃

  

JULY FIFTH

 

Some roman candles that would not launch now get the heel of my yellow boot. Can you imagine flame biting deep into these colorful bad boys and then finding no retort of any kind posting through the nighttime sky? So I raise my foot and pound it down again and again, I stomp dud fireworks into the ground, and now you murmur in my ear that multi-hued corn can grow and flourish here if we drop a kernel or two on top of the ground-in candles. I say to you, “Understand, lovely pear, I really don’t give a shit, the theory sounds phony and melodramatic to me, but no problem, no problem, I’ll certainly go along. Let’s use more than one ear of that dried-out maize.” At the same time, I keep saying to myself, sure, if tossing corn on fucked-up fireworks can warm her little heart—can bring my head ever-closer to that fluffy prize—then bombs away, my-one-and-only, let’s toss out oodles of your pretty seed.

  

🍃

  

MY MERRY WAY

 

All my late and recent life

I’ve wanted women ever younger,

Ever dumber, ever wider,

Ever richer, ever weaker.

I’ve carved your nickname

In a fencepost near my ex-wife’s hacienda,

Though I’m not worried about her reading

What I call you, or scraping up the money

To find my distant, graffiti-ed ass.

Rather, it’s your butterball, retard, infant

Neighbor in diapers wove of platinum thread

Who’s grabbing me tight as bondage now

And won’t soon let me go

Along my merry way. 

🍃

  

William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as Poetry London, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers and The California Quarterly. 

  

Robbie Masso – 2 poems

Ghost

 

Don’t think I don’t care about you, darling,

I’ll just always be married to death.

I can’t imagine a greater feeling or thrill

than attending your own funeral.

I long for that eeriness more than love. 

 

🍃

  

City

 

“Show me the city.” I said to her.

She smiled and grabbed my hand.

“I’m ready to be spontaneous.”

“I’m the one to be spontaneous with.” she winked.  

 

 

I bought a ukulele, just for the hell of it,

at an old Spanish music store.

What would I do if the strings broke?

I didn’t care.  

 

 

I didn’t want to fly back home with it.

I also didn’t want to leave it for her.

She already had one.

I’ll guess I’ll have to live here  

 

 

because of the ukulele – not her. 

 

🍃

  

Robbie Masso is a twenty-year old poet and artist from New Jersey. He has work published on Spillwords.com (Spillwords.com/author/robbie-masso) and has further work on his social media (Facebook: Poetry by Robbie Masso, Instagram: @robbiemasso).  

 

Linda M. Crate – 1 poem

MY WEAKNESS & STRENGTH 

No one

wants to hear the

story of how

I sewed myself back

together

after the throes of lust

nearly ravaged 

me into ruin

they only want to hear that

I am “fine” when they ask how i’m doing,

but I’ve never been the type

that can hide my emotions and why should

I want to?

why is it so wrong to admit

that I feel

as deep as the earth holds her roots or as high as an

opera singer can psalm or as jaggedly as an

quaking mountain?

my strength

is my empathy, my kindness, my love, 

and my caring;

I will not cut that part out of myself because it makes

some uncomfortable or insecure or vulnerable

I will not be ashamed of feeling

because sensitivity is both a weakness and a strength.

 

🍃

 

 Linda M. Crate 

M.A. Schaffner – 5 poems

Received Wisdom

 

Didn’t we have a time that decade we don’t

quite remember or agree on? You know,

the one with that weird dance, or was it song?

A buzzard never changes style, nor do squirrels.

That’s why we call them both inferior

as we study them on our way to work.

Whoa there, fella. Row that leaky boat ashore

and come in out of the rain for a drink.

We need to recall which era it was.

Our people were here before the Indians,

supping on codfish and mastodon pie,

chipping beautiful spear points and losing them.

It’s all in the epic we learned in school

and then recited by heart. Or maybe

none of that happened. Or maybe just some.

 

🍃

 

 Value

We’ll have the cookies till the drugs kick in.

Your organs aren’t failing, just dropping off

into a state resembling work to rule

or whatever we do in lieu of caring.

Already have insurance? Not enough

to live forever unless you have faith

or a related disorder. Funny,

but people burned or butchered each other

just for the ratings. In time we grew up

into commercial metastases,

a kind of consumerist zoo. And today

the king offers his horse for freezer space

and a place in the country where the walls

enclose a ceremonial golf course, lakes

with seasonal fish, and a club house filled

with peers and medicinal beverages.

Almost a life, it takes his mind off death.

 

🍃

 

 Invisible Wing

One definition of street had become

a community of shopping carts leading

to a cluster of depots and barracks

of the Grand Army of Consumption, which

promised ongoing ultimate victory

ultimately fueled primarily by

the fantasy that it was possible –

life as an unending tipsy orgasm

with production devolved to Alberecht

and his Third World dwarves. We’re so beautiful,

the films made in our praise are infinite,

though only a minute long, and billboards

greet us with gifts from every building filled

with our twins. They simulate work as we

text them from the neighboring block. It works

only so far as we don’t, then it falls

like a hawk who has forgotten to fly

and doesn’t know it yet, but loves to dive.

 

🍃

 

Civic Dedication: Lessons From The Lincoln Conspiracy

Not as buyers, but with ideas we keep

the future of the republic secure.

Let’s not, but say that our fierce rivalry

has implications beyond breakfast foods.

Notice how we mature – from sippy cups

to morning take-out beverages with names

evocative of foreign vacations

on ever less sleep because time presses.

Everything is an obvious casualty

of having traded species for product,

and the latest hour of decision looms

like an appointment to have one’s teeth cleaned.

Each franchise leader goes to market with

a “radical” proposal. Each network proclaims

a belief in people in the abstract.

I believe in me as an abstraction,

not a sentiment but a strategy

for surviving the inevitable storm,

for calibrating hope and affection:

not what Booth said, nor Boston Corbett did.

 

🍃

 

 Annual Report

An air of righteousness unjustified

by the underlying contribution,

like masses for those who’ve already died —

no matter how often the name comes up

this is about the organization

and its loyal staff, starting at the top

and ending not far below. It’s a law,

not of nature but of information

pertinent to most managers who draw

little lines from labeled box to hollow square

with steadily less consideration

for whoever might be working there,

though often praising their contributions

in speeches that thud like clods on coffins.

 

🍃

 

 M. A. Schaffner has had poems published in ShenandoahPrairie SchoonerAgni, and elsewhere — most recently in Former PeopleRaintown Review, and Rock River Review. Long-ago-published books include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia juggling a laptop, smart phone, percussion caps, pugs, and a Gillott 404.

Michael Lee Johnson – 3 poems

Sing it Frank, Physical Therapy

 

Sing it Frank

I’m busy at physical therapy

struggling with back spasms

looking out this window, these clouds

this rain, slice this thunder,

listening to your songs over again

on the Muzak for this 6th week in a row,

peddling this mechanical bike,

might as well be a mechanical bull

with a heat pad on my spinal cord.

I’m deep inside your larynx 10 minutes

3 times a week tickling it back and forth,

jousting and reviewing those playgrounds

of all your illicit affairs.  With a few shots of vodka

peddling these wheels with intensified pressure

I can appreciate Lana Turner, Judy Garland,

Lauren Bacall, even Marilyn Monroe.

“This is my kind of town Chicago is,

my kind of town Chicago is.”


 

🍃

 

 


Give Me Booze or Give me Jesus

 

Give me booze or give me Jesus

If we listened to the bottom of the vodka bottle,

or finished the last chapter book of Revelation,

the spirits toss in the cards, the chips-

pray for a gambler.

Listen to summer sun, birds that chirp,

these are the beginnings and where it ends.

Maya calendar.


 

🍃

 

 

Journaling, Labeling Theory

 

Breaking news this just in,

1:15 PM December 15, 2013,

I found out labeling theory

has a personality.

It has impact of its own.

I love today because I

found out I have a mental illness.

Formally, diagnosed,

now I am special.

Shrink, Dr. Pennypecker, knows me well.

We visit 15 minutes every 3 months.

I have known him for 9 months.

Simple sentences just make more sense.

Simple sentences make me feel more secure.

After 9 months he says, “I’ve sort of figured

you out, you are a manic depressive, stage 2 hypo-mania.”

I ask my shrink, “can I cast my vote?”

In this PM news, I gave him permission.

Life is a pilgrimage of pills.

I cast out my net to catch myself,

save myself.

Life is a pilgrimage of prayers.

Note:  it could end here.

He does not know the difference

between manias, verses six shots of vodka.

I suffer from a B-12 deficiency.

I need extra thiamine symptoms psychosis.

I place my lid down on forsaken table,

foreskin, I forgive.

A dead shrink, middle of the road.

I crack my knuckles,

pass sleep two next night.

Creativity flows fragmented.

I kick gravesites up then down.


 

🍃

 

 

Michael Lee Johnson lived ten years in Canada during the Vietnam era. He is a Canadian and USA citizen. Today he is a poet, editor, publisher, freelance writer, amateur photographer, small business owner in Itasca, Illinois.  He has been published in more than 915 small press magazines in 27 countries, and he edits 10 poetry sites.  Author’s websitehttp://poetryman.mysite.com/.  Michael is the author of The Lost American:  From Exile to Freedom (136 page book) ISBN:  978-0-595-46091-5, several chapbooks of poetry, including From Which Place the Morning Rises and Challenge of Night and Day, and Chicago Poems.  He also has over 108 poetry videos on YouTube as of 2015: https://www.youtube.com/user/poetrymanusa/videos  Michael Lee Johnson, Itasca, IL. nominated for 2 Pushcart Prize awards for poetry 2015 & Best of the Net 2016. Visit his Facebook Poetry Group and joinhttps://www.facebook.com/groups/807679459328998/  He is also the editor/publisher of anthology, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1530456762  A second poetry anthology, Dandelion in a Vase of Roses, Editor Michael Lee Johnson, was released in January 2017.