James Croal Jackson

Anytown, USA

this country music’s gunshots slinging through the wind wrapped around Anytown, USA where I’ve never been anywhere outside my own mind traveled everywhere within this bag of skin and blood bound to family I become further and further away from each day I bleed out my own legacy owned by money by the river by the body bags I see everywhere I see a witness

Marco Giovenale

shells on a bed of salt

girls, i ordered shrimplastic ham. we all chopped the subwoofer.

then went into the last car we bought, ts eliot and me. we had a fair amount of space. went to comics connection. out for a week or so.

his girl was funny, she wore an adorable copper gown and sang yodel gospel vowels.

all those european coins around. i finally just wrote a letter to athena. I'm getting tired, phantom, just take the train and come here, hun, cleverly hide yourself in a plastic easter egg, do not speak, we’ll make their hair turn white. the ninja egg.

i know how to wrap the cheese in foil, squeezing lemon on a spoiler on the back.

come and hate her fried vampires. follow my instinct.

a cool stereo system implies suicidal jumping from the bridge, down to the easton immortal portal.

so i accidentally shot ts eliot in the head. for i was twelve or maybe thirteen and I couldn’t know how to handle a cow-shaped gun. consider your age. the aquarium in genoa is the most relaxing thing in the world.

it makes you think of the death of god, and all those related songs.

Yrik-Max Valentonis

A Whim

A whim guides an
optimistic phoenix beside the annoyance
the chickens have escaped
fool afternoon fields

familiar rice mediates
admire equity among
the country status
the flesh a smiling populace

distance solves the flower
night shall pipe
analog method smart
oil thirsts under graveyard mettle

hair up let her in arms
carpet cupid cemetery snake

Charles Perrone

Sea Side Advice

Oh dear friend,
You should shun
the deceptions of the ocean.
Reject the Sisyphus
of eternal tides.
Wave goodbye to rides
out and back in again.
Act as if pride were
the special portion of potion
of your rectified reception
in the sea of being
yourself.







Fashionable Words 11-13-20

I was almost fifty years old when I added the word sartorial
to my supposedly-superior vocabulary. If I am not mistaken,
I was wearing on that occasion the legendary T-shirt and jeans,
or something of that sort or of those means.
Nicely-tailored lexical item that I was fortunate to befriend,
for it even provoked rumblings in the well-worn memory banks.
So, like, I was truly a motley teen, in myriad ways.
I even had a sartrian phase, though I would've spelled it Sartrean.
I'd barely begun to shave on a daily basis, yet I was reading,
what was the title? ... The Transcendental Ego I do believe.
Uh, no, sorry, that should be The Transcendence of the Ego.
Get beyond it and for that matter your self while you're at it.
There's a difference, a coated voice says, you dressed-down dope.
Next, little hope for you, averred a former college roommate
upon our unplanned reunion, you still take the prize
for worst-dressed person in the room and in the class.
And on did he babble about some disheveled playwright from Spain
named Alfonso Sastre who sewed together versions of Irish plays
and came to publish dramas in New York even though in Spanish
plus a few scissored translations with such endearing titles as
"Death Thrust" and "Tragic Prelude". Morbid stage mood indeed.
At least you've avoided that level, mumbled, decades later,
my exquisitely-clothed physical therapist while he tried to sort out
my real sore maybe torn tendons, as I lay in my grey jump suit,
adding that I was lucky, sort of, not to have aggravated the sartorius,
a connective upper-leg muscle about which I learned
absolutely nothing in my philosophy, drama, and anatomy courses.

AG Davies

sad, fallopian aquariums decay in my cyclical anemia,
fibrous and fleshy pumpkins hemorrhage sunny, purple symptoms
the anger of controversial emotions disguised as vulgar poems tied between dirty
slums:
your body, my body
we burn all your precious words
we eat in the poisonous temple satirically,
and let the cautious beggars pass the sweetest nectar within their imperial cages

the air around the sharp funnel captures your laughter,
as the side dish discharges the bitter filling of the final orchards,
slack temples camouflage in the neatness of your cuts

this address is in dire need,
can you tell?

and then-

spraying medical sheets as low-body catacombs, reproaching the attitude of
material flight in comatose 'whys',
daring artificial combustion rests between your thoughts
the covered gauntlet of tangled cadaveric beams sloughs high in sterile surfaces
of lava-like snowstorms

loop freely a healthy relaxation:

she walks around under his brusque torch

she ignites the vintage lights spinning around your somnolent hips

and the position escapes as tightly as wrapped gifts in kettle boiled
tombstones

DAH

Invention Of A New Meaning

 Humans are in the wrong place
 , we don’t belong here
 , this is not our home , we must
 disengage from gravity .
 We’ve been tricked into believing
 otherwise
 , we don’t belong here : disengage .
 We are in the wrong place
 : recharge your imagination , let go .
 The truth has been lying to us
 , take comfort in knowing this .
 If we stay here
 we’ll lose our sense of logic .
 The truth has lied
 , we don’t belong here . This is
 not our home .
 We need a new truth : use your
 imagination .
 We need to silence language
 ––use your imagination
: the truth is lying. 

Martha Deed

A Lethal Mutation

Intelligence is a lethal mutation,*
Ernst Mayr says, but bird
watching, say I, is soothing
in its certainty. You see it.
You take its picture.

When you look again,
it stays the same.
It does not slither around
like expedient Truth
ready to escape its skin
and don another.


*Ernst Mayr. What Evolution Is.
Interview. http://www.edge.org

Mark DuCharme

Winter’s Crucial Mischief

 One table for your favorite griot
 Who would soon dance
 Like rhinoceroses in haciendas
 Somewhere east of the posthumous Sahara
 Of the seas, to celebrate the lost
 Art of instructional videos
 Downloaded coldly on a night in
 Winter’s crucial mischief
 Like Nicholson on a nitrous oral
 The truth is a matter for noxious strangers
 & The way you look when night
 Is a metaphor for crowd control
 & The wind looks just the same
 Cauterized by rain

Mark Young

The Night of the Caribou

 There are fewer than ten days
 left. We are heading out for a
 post-dinner stroll before contin-
 uing on to breakfast. The status
 quo has rusticated & cows now
 graze along its edges. In exchange
 for food we have been given
 shovels to clear away the expanse

 of bovine shit that has accumu-
 lated since the last patsies they
 could find departed. Our native
 land recedes in memory as the
 inability to return there increases.
 So far we have seen no caribou.

Eric Mohrman

Aftermath

 There is a stately brick
 home. there's a breeze. there's a breezeway. there's a bronze
 stairway spiraling
 up to a balcony with a balustrade. The
 night wraps ringly around her
 finger. inhale. the fire
 at the tip of her cigarette crackles and grows
 briefly brighter. exhale. the
 smoke sinks like a semisolid. There is a
 broken promise disguised as a broken
 bottle. the
 shards float freely away.

Eileen R. Tabios

HOPE: First 2021 Poem
 
Once upon a time, 
as a poet I was a maximalist— 
I considered the haiku a corset 
 
The gods were bored, 
thus, played with me— 
they made me invent hay(na)ku. 
 
I didn’t think it funny 
but the gods slapped knees in laughter— 
I am not a god, thus, gritted my teeth. 
 
But I refuse  
to forget— 
Today 
 
I 
excel in 
writing poems blasting  
 
gods off pedestals, 
like XYZ 
whose


slitted but salivating
eyes and
tongue

reign with a 
deadly combination: 
cruelty  
 
with mischief—thus, 
the year 
2020. 
 
Well, the god-slayer 
have come,
am
 
here*: I grasp
bouquets of 
roses,

voluntarily clasping palms 
around thorny  
stems. 
 
My blood drops 
to shivering 
ground 
 
as seeds more 
deceptive than 
cats 
 
eating raw mice 
in gods’ 
bowls. 
 
This seed is 
buried deep 
for 
 
sprouting deceptively-perfumed blooms
where nobody
expects:
 
if you are
not cruel,
if
 
you strive to
do well
by
 
your fellow Kapwa,
if you
still

believe in ethics,
I am
here,
 
grizzled, snow-haired, unafraid.
“Happy New 
Year!”



 
(* after Jose Garcia Villa)

Sheila E. Murphy

How Do We Unrest


How do we unrest together? Form
fitting innocence delimits our
research
aspiring to a feigned rapport,


shuttering the views of
youth in peril
seeking to distinguish flowers
from devouring clans who pluck them.


Set the tone with pursed lips making
points sans impact vocalizing to the
empty chairs chastising


gravitation light and whims
downsized to form
a colony of dogma leaving home
a glut of old codes that demand a clash


    

The Way Jim Worked


He allowed daylight to be itself. He took in glimmers of the depth and surface and arranged them for a while. He spoke longhand in a gentlemanly way. Fruits of his labor were to come. I know the leisurely approach would warm us as we waited for the chime, seeing a finished thing not about itself. It was about the way he thought. This long-term way of seeing that perfection might occur as soon as summer or whatever season he forgot. Each part came true, meant not the whole until. I see his voice instead of hearing it. He came into the building where I write. He stayed. It was a quiet rather southern time.

Waiting for arrival just the same as waiting for another time and place

Glenn Bach

from Atlas

About this light: a million dirty moons
in the sweaty air, a thousand cattle in the hills.

Cat shriek, overspill of TV just out of ear-
shot, breakers of traffic in the cool still.

Palms never sleep as buildings roll on ball
bearings, coils thick as twisted torsos sway

like reeds in the dusty breeze of the big one—
—quakes hop-scotch across faults as P waves

rearrange the topography: down suddenly
and sideways: liquefied soil like so many

drunk molecules or strings of energy shifted
into new social circles. Concrete loses to weeds

of rising rents in L.A., of the lifeless air within
this structure, rugs over carpets below stairs

worn in patterns, in pathways, in dark streaks
down the middle of each freeway lane.

Stephen Bett

Phyllis Webb: The Spit

And spit
give me water for spit.
Then give me
a face.

Solitary Confinement1 ―Phyllis Webb


And spit
broken glass
for shards
to speak

give me water for spit.
Gloss this mal du
doute     … never
was spat out

Then give me
ash in time
to witness
its burn

a face.
To spite
itself
still








 1. This section of Webb’s poem 
starts, “Let my tongue hang out / to 
remember the thirst for life. / Let my 
togue hang out / to deliver itself / of 
the bitter curd. / And spit / …”



J. D. Nelson

garbage bag home to the lemon is the pie of the world

we found the dollar bugs
to beat the egg with the shimple pooh of that trying randall

spaghetti yarn to marble a bacon
to get the rice of the comma

oink never a shield of the tomorrow egg
the cosmic angle of the new day

to be the people of the world
a mite now of bexter

triceratops the king of the ice
the oven is a mirror of the sluppy time to crock

Michael H. Brownstein

Levidrome


In the aftermath
of aftermaths
there came a man of math
who knew after-maths


shtam-retfa wenk oho
htam fo nam a emac ereht
shtamertfa fo
htamertfa eht ni


and so it went
dog begot god
god begat dog


looped pool-ed
level reap level pear


ton of (k)not(s)
was (a) saw
and so it is


htam retfa emac ohw
nam a saw ereht tub
htamertfa rehtona ton saw ereht
htamertfa eht fo gninrom eht ni


in the morning of the aftermath
there was not another aftermath
but there was a man 
who came after math

Cheryl Pallant

Featherbone Hitched Hole 

when it comes to feet, liver, 
genitals, intestines, brains, my 
stomach drips over the rice bowl 
                                          politely 

the absence of midair collisions 
raises citizens out of poverty 
and radishes maximize land use 
transmitted through cell phones 
soaked in pepper sauce 
                                          gruesomely 

resist fate already eaten by worm 
larvae master shape shifters devoted 
to seaweed or a convenience to 
finger and spoon 
                                          nonchalantly 

inspire awe through the 
intestinal track three 
stories high intended for 
export 
                                          ambiguously 



Yash Seyedbagheri

Dear Persians

Dear Persians,
I sit upon the periphery  of a sofa
while you conceal parlance
in seagull-like laughter
I didn’t get the joke
                                              no man is an island,
except for the American
of Persian descent the bad son, cousin, acquaintance
 who doesn’t deign to learn the language

                              what are you saying
why can’t you ask one question
that I can answer
in parlance 
all my 
own
    how is your writing, 
what   do you want from 
life
do you
want
                      from
         a glass of wine
let me tell you about this Persian scholar
or that
 poets who made Persian powerful
come join us, 

ask me why I’m not smiling
Dear Persians, why can’t you open your laughter
and let me step inside
but you just keep laughing
and 
you 
tell      me
    smile
just 
   keep 
         laughing
and I  from
move periphery
to the floor
while the laughter rises
and you take to the dance floor
reciting choruses
all around me

where else can I go
but the floor



at least it’s a space