Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Strain and Thursday by Shannon Peil


I didn’t agree with why he went
Or that he was going back
But I could appreciate his stories
What he had gone through
The look in his eye that acknowledged he’d seen war

At times I empathized with all he had seen
And the closeness to death
But others I wanted to scream at him
Tell him if no one agreed to go, none of this would have happened
So what came first, the soldier or the war?
What came before that?
The patriotism or the fear?

And his friends that died
Was it their fault they went
Or mine that I didn’t?

But we never mention any of this
I have a feeling he knows I’m not necessarily afraid of death
But I’m terrified of dying for the wrong reasons
And for the sake of friendship we talk of anything else we can think of.


I contemplated spending today
among the coffee shop people
the café patrons sipping expensive drinks
the discussions you overhear are average
but occasionally surprising
kids gossip and whisper a little too loudly
explode into laughter and occupy corners
the elderly read newspapers and have gentle talks
everyone else discusses topics they barely understand
stroke each others egos and look down their noses

I contemplated spending today
among the midday bar people
hushed voices or silence and old jukeboxes
nod to the waitress who sees them ever day
and play pool until the evening
it’s noon on a Thursday and this song has played twice
since I’ve been sitting in the corner
and I’m never quite sure whether I’m being watched
this is just another place that I’m an odd sight

I spent today outside both places
smoking to calm the coffee, and the beer
more comfortable without being stared at.

Bio: Shannon Peil gets published occasionally but rejected more often. He edits for people who actually know what they are doing at http://amphibi.us.

syringe mauve light by Jack Ohms

in the purple vein light I find myself alone
and a young boy
maybe 12
he's pissed in one of the stalls and not flushed
the piss is like a light - flourecsent yellow-green
in the vein light, the thin vein light
he looks at me with my CARRIER BAGS
I lock the door
piss into his piss
into his piss
into his piss
it marbles in there
I flush
he's gone
the gap under the stall door is almost a FOOT
who the fuck needs to know where I am!

I drink from the taps
pick up my piss-bottomed carrier bags
and get out as jowel man comes in
looking me
and down
in the vein light
cunt looking over his shoulder
from the vein light
from the vein light
cunt always looking over his shoulder

Monday, March 29, 2010

Give me the Horn,Rain,today and After the Flood by Paula Jones

Give me the Horn

Keep your long wooden necks

and your nylon strings.

Throw your thin sticks to the sky.

Leave the cymbals tight-lipped,

toss the triangle, snap the bow.

Give me the horn-

pucker up and blow.

Press lips to the smooth brass

and blast your way through.

Let breath become throat

become mouth and song.

Purr the smooth black silk

of a single spoken word.

Scream like a wildcat

on a brick-faced wall.

Grieve the tears of a woman

in the close-throated night.

Pack away your flimsy reeds-

the new hero is horn.

Shine him with your sleeve,

finger his strong metal bones.

But mostly, let him dance

in the click of your heel.

Rain, today

They said it wouldn’t rain today,

the man on the tv told me;


and smugly dressed.

They said it wouldn’t rain today,

but here it is;

as slow and thin

as memory,

as light as a sigh.

The dogs pace the

cold wooden floors,

whistling their discontent

through flared nostrils.

They said it wouldn’t rain today,

I tell the dogs,

watching my boots by the back door

fill up with rain,

and your limp shirt on the line.

The birds have left the sky

though I hear them calling still.

They said it wouldn’t rain today

but here it is

cold as kisses

warm as blood.

After the Flood

Laughter like a winter creek

sadness like a flood

I'm crying you a swollen river

bursting banks

tonguing cheeks

I'm filling up the belly

with this brackish overflow

brimming the cup

spilling the milk

tipping the ink

And this dark perfume

rotten, peeling bark

where once we lemon-sipped

Sink like a soul

made of smooth stone

and the sound, the sound

like a faraway kiss

Friday, March 26, 2010

Professorial Dirge by Donal Mahoney

In this college town
three girls of Spring are fresh bread
brown before the noon of May.

In pink and yellow frocks
with hair unfurling in the breeze,
they laugh and glisten in the sun.

Good daughters all, they wave
to an old professor on a bench
waiting for the end of day.

He waves back and smiles his best,
knowing girls like these, once close,
now wander many miles away.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Listen Closely,Quarantine and Abyssinia by Paul Harrison

listen closely

never presume
nothing is written
one thief was saved
the other forsaken


they look my way
as if i were contagion
the beautiful people
the people i hate
could love i mean
as if my smile
were blood borne
as if around my neck
read nil by mouth
and i were quarantined
in heavy water silence
as if just talking
meant crossing
a knot of crime scene tape
and i the victim/suspect
was spilling his guts
all over their dream
as if this beating heart
this lonely hunter
was rancid meat
past use by dates
and best before
as if somehow
i was different
indifferent to it all



Bio: paul is an irish guy living in perth, western australia, the world's most isolated city. fragments of his bio can be found at http://thelastdisciplefirst.blogspot.com/ or you may have read some of his shit here and there.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Blue House,Burning The Tree and What I Saw by James Babbs

Blue House

she’d be sitting on the porch
when I walked by and
when I got close enough
she’d smile and wave but
never speak until
I said something first
then I’d make my way over there
leaning against the rail
enjoying the way she kept
pushing her hair back
behind her ears and
how she threw her head
back and opened her mouth
whenever she started to laugh

Burning The Tree

he knows it will take hours to burn it
so he begins in the morning to give himself
plenty of time before night falls
he cut the tree down last fall
after most of it had been
blown down by the wind
the trunk rotten on the inside and
it had been losing limbs for a long time
the way some people lose their hair as they age
after a storm passed through he’d go out and
gather the limbs from the lawn
but now it’s almost gone and
he hears the songs of the birds and
the sound of Johnny Cash playing in his head and
now and then the passing of a car or
the high-pitched squeals of children
out riding their bikes and having fun

What I Saw

what I saw
when I drove past
were his shoes sticking out
from beneath the blue tarp
EMTs waiting next to
the ambulance and
the lawnmower silent
against the tree
where it died
after running out of gas

Bio: I work for the government but don’t like to talk about it. I like getting drunk and writing. I like Fall better than I like Spring. I like it when the tomatoes start getting ripe. I don’t like okra and never did but I could eat lima beans every day of the week.

Some recent poems have appeared in-Abbey, Gutter Eloquence, Underground Voices, Verse Wisconsin and Zygote In My Coffee.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Geppetto’s Burden,A Poem for a Cow,A Snake in My Bathroom and Ants by Paul Hellweg

Geppetto’s Burden

I’ve seen all too many older drunks
with noses that look like a
Proboscis Monkey on steroids.
Now every time I take a drink,
I run fingers along my snout,
feeling for new growth,
dreading what I might find, and
I remember Pinocchio,
the innocence of my childhood under siege,
thinking, my god,
could it be?

A Poem for a Cow

Driving down Interstate 5
snacking on turkey jerky,
I pass a cattle truck.
All the cows stared at me
as I stuffed another piece in my mouth.
I tried to explain
it wasn’t beef, but
I don’t think they understood.
I also don’t think they know
where they’re going,
but then,
neither do I.

A Snake in My Bathroom

Opened the door
intent on taking a leak,
saw a gopher snake curled up,
imitating one that rattles.
Startled the snake,
but not as much
as it scared the shit out of me.
I scooped it up
with broom and bucket,
walked it out
a couple hundred yards
into the forest,
turned it loose,
I wish all my fears
could be so easily
and conveniently


Camped at Movie Stringer,
drinking Scotch and water,
sitting on a rock,
ants all over the fuckin’ place.
I was afraid they’d get into the Scotch,
but it doesn’t seem to interest them.
I guess the ants of this world
don’t like to drink,
one more reason I do.

Bio: Paul Hellweg has had over 50 poems published since his debut in 2009. He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and he won the 2009 Famas Poetry Prize (sponsored by Literary Chaos, an online magazine). He thinks all this is pretty cool.