Allan Peterson: Three Poems

Wrong Division                                      
  
Prolate is oblate on its side after a hard day
of arcane political geometries. 
I can visualize the planet but cannot 
see how to solve equations of loss
Some cancel humanity from foreign policy
but I was never good at that 
I always remember in their calculations 
the numerator was always divided by the detonator 

 

Acquittal                                                                                                   
They were all witnesses  They had eyes  They all saw it 
and all agreed wheels because they knew wheels and yes 
something of it turned on itself  Like an island it was said
and yes isolated certainly and fogged over  Well something like fog 
an indistinctness and a rushing like a train  If not train then fire  
that whooshing of outside air drawn to it  Some said it entered
from the right some said left some like pop pop pop 


 
Overstatement                                                                         
Every poem an opportunity to say more than expected
like night is day with the sound turned down
assisted by a certain obscurity and no that is not heaven
that is the original emptiness characteristic of wishes
the origin of cycles so slow we deny change
in dismissive sentences because we expected stability
Imagine our surprise 

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A visual artist and poet, Allan Peterson’s most recent book is This Luminous, New and Selected Poems, a finalist for the Oregon Book Award.  Other titles include Precarious; All the Lavish in Common (Juniper Prize); and Fragile Acts, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. 

Sophia Vesely: “A week in the life of a teenager:”

A week in the life of a teenager:
  
I ate aged lo mein for breakfast.
   The gas pump was too far from my car.
      I ripped a hole in my favorite turtleneck sweater.
         I fell down the stairs in new heels.
            I carried the bones of a mastodon to a secure location.
               I pretended to mop up the water from the hurricane.
                  A pitbull chased me down the block. 

________________________________________________________________________

Sophia Vesely, 19, is from St. Petersburg, Florida. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Girls Right the World, Bridge Ink, Route 7 ReviewOddville PressTriggerfish Critical Review, and Delmarva Review, among othersShe also has a published poetry collection on Amazon.com entitled “The Road to Amour de Soi” that explores the complexities of first loves and heartbreak in order to empower young women through the notion of self-love.

Allison Whittenberg: “Jane’s Veins”

Jane’s Veins
 
Two diaries: one lies, the other dreams until reality
Loops into illusion.  
Neither records terrorist attacks, murder rates, or evolving leaders.  
One contains measurements of her bust size; one holds friendship and love,   
     pursued, sustained, or in need of resuscitation.   
Both contain hate for prettier girls.  
Each smells soft as if sprinkled with powder.
One is black and plain, that’s kept under her bed.
The other is pink and has birds and flowers on the cover that’s often on 
     her desk.
The world is microscopic. Each night as her wrist moves the pages, she 
     scripts with red juice. 

_________________________________________________________________________

Allison Whittenberg is a Philadelphia native who has a global perspective. If she wasn’t an author she’d be a private detective or a jazz singer. She loves reading about history and true crime. Her novels include Sweet Thang, Hollywood and Maine, Life is Fine, Tutored and The Sane Asylum.

Michael Lee Johnson: “Family Feud”

Family Feud

Break
in the rain,
thunderstorms;
bolt angular lightning
slithers away west.
Walking,
nanosecond flash
family memories,
personal,
revert,
tautology fault of style
acerbic chats
daggers in heart these words,
confused,
dicey dungeon sharp spike.
A labyrinth, ruined passages,
secret chambers, cellmates, now
for life.
Wind storms move away,
young willow trees natter—
smallest branches, still snap.

_________________________________________________________________________

Michael Lee Johnson lived 10 years in Canada during the Vietnam era and is a dual citizen of the United States and Canada. Today he is a poet, freelance writer, amateur photographer, and small business owner in Itasca, DuPage County, Illinois. Mr. Johnson published in more than 1098 new publications, his poems have appeared in 40 countries, he edits, publishes 10 poetry sites. 

Christopher Barnes: Two Poems

Fresh

…fortune-bitter.  You sport
a disposition…

     *

…palette knife.  Turf
onto wire rack…

     *

…”Cudgelling fossilized blockhead,”
she lisped…

     *

…our gabber.  Ultimately,
allure…



Bridges Home

…in Crab St.  Rule-book tickles
didn’t…

     *

…not oatmeal.  Fortify
with Quorn…

     *

…history museum,
rubbernecking a colossus…

     *

…I slide back the gateleg,
a torrent of Motown…


_________________________________________________________________________

Christopher Barnes is an award-winning writer and artist who also works in radio and film. 2005 saw the publication of his collection LOVEBITES, published by Chanticleer Press, 6/1 Jamaica Mews, Edinburgh. In May 2006, he had a solo art/poetry exhibition at The People’s Theatre. He has also written art criticism for Peel and Combustus.

Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah: “Freesia”

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Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah, who is an algebraist and artist, works in mixed media.  His poetry, songs, prose, art and hybrid have appeared in numerous journals. He lives in the southern part of Ghana, in Spain, and the Turtle Mountains, North Dakota. 

Scott Laudati: “This City”

 
 This City
  
 I’m not kidding.
 I’m dying in this city.
 I was a prude 
 when thunder struck and 
 gave us memory of spring.
 But now I’m sick of eating 
 garbanzo beans
 saving for rent 
 so goddamn high
 even last year’s ghetto
 has a waiting list.
  
 It’s been too hot 
 to go outside this summer.
 The cats long abandoned 
 by breakups 
 and unrenewed leases
 snore
 under the dumpster,
 ignoring rats swimming for 
 cigarette butts 
 floating like 
 dead minnows in green pools 
 that stay deep 
 without rain.
  
 There’s a bum on my block
 I see sometimes.
 He sits on an 
 orange crate
 and doesn’t ask for money when
 Bushwick crawls home
 after last call.
 He doesn’t ask for money
 at noon when Germans
 ask him to point out 
 Roberta’s 
 on a map.
 He doesn’t have time to hustle.
 He’s too busy
 making drum loops
 on his cell phone.
  
 I said hi to him once 
 and he introduced me 
 to his brother--
 another bum named J Bird.
 He was chewing his bottom lip
 and told me
 “The pigeons here
 eat better 
 than most people.
 they’re fat as turkeys,
 stuffed 
 on the best pizza.”
  
 J Bird was an expert 
 on pigeons
 because he made 
 all his crack money
 off of them.
 He said he crippled 
 the birds with a stick
 and sold them
 (boxed by the dozen)
 down in Chinatown.
 An hour later
 the Chinese would put them 
 on the special menu
 as all you can eat squab.
  
 J Bird told me he must have 
 killed
 a million pigeons.
 But he never ate one.
 “They’re too dirty,” he said.
  
 I thought about the things
 I’d done
 to pay my rent
 in New York.
 All the bags I carried
 and the times even the tips
 couldn’t make
 my back feel better.
  
 You know 
 you’re dying
 when you envy 
 the pigeons.
 Beaten up 
 eaten 
 shit out 
 done.
 They tried to do that to me, too.
 In those hotels I clocked in 
 every day.
 A servant with no chains.
 They tried to do that to me, too.
 And they came close.
 I would sit with the housekeepers 
 on my break 
 and wonder 
 “Why don’t
 they
 just finish
 me off?”
  
 It was my smile
 I think. 
 I kept it on no matter what.
 Even when they asked me 
 to get them ice
 to touch their wives
 to touch them
 when we both knew
 there was 
 no tip coming. 
 I kept
 the smile on
 and they saw
 they could take 
 my back 
 and my time
 but they couldn’t
 take my heart.
 I either stopped it 
 from beating
 or 
 hid it very well.
 Sometimes I had to
 pinch myself
 to see if I was
 actually alive.
  
 I spent most of
 my shifts
 flipping between
 murder and suicide.
 Always one call
 away 
 from telling
 my mother
 goodbye.
 But then it would end
 like it ended 
 every day.
 The moon always low
 and the garbage piled so high
 you could climb it
 for perspective.
  
 I studied it all.
 It meant my freedom.
 It all did.
 Even the rats silhouetted
 at the base 
 of 
 the moon. 
 They were mine, too.
 We were all part
 of the city's refuse. 

_________________________________________________________________________

Scott Laudati is the author of Hawaiian Shirts In The Electric Chair (Cephalo Press). Visit him on social media @scottlaudati 

Kevin D. LeMaster: “A collection of stones”

A collection of stones

your mouth is a stone
of smooth silence

agape and rounded
in awe of the world

your lips repeat words
repeat longing without edges

their sound drips into

a puddle of loneliness

I’ve traversed your valley
under cover of night

more than a hundred miles ago

now I watch you sleep
your neck juts forward

like a small dog, lurching
to take back what is hers

________________________________________________________________________

Kevin D. LeMaster lives in South Shore Kentucky. His poems have been found at The Lakes, Appalachian Heritage, Praxis magazine, Rockvale Review, Inkwell, Birmingham Arts Journal, Constellations, Plainsongs, Coe Review, and others. He has had recent work published in SheilaNaGig online and Heartwood Literary Review.

Howie Good: Four Poems

Autumn’s Menace

A plainclothes policeman, using a pair of handcuffs as brass knuckles, cut the face of a boy who was wandering the city in a hospital gown. Sometimes I think it’s just not true that teaching a child to not step on a caterpillar will make you a better person. Sometimes I think the plainclothesman is going to walk through the door, but he hasn’t, so I keep waiting. The city streets are deserted – no parade floats, no people. In these slow days of unease, everyone is a biohazard.

Past Is Prologue

Paris, January 6, 1938. Samuel Beckett was returning from the cinema that night when he was accosted by a tramp, who stabbed him in the chest, just missing his heart. He wasn’t quite the same afterwards. Maps needed to be redrawn. I’m beginning to understand something about it. The ocean feels a little sick right now. Two teenage boys beat a homeless man to death in the park with their skateboards. Stop talking and look up. Ladders cross the blue sky in a wheel of fire. 

Doe-Re-Me

I am writing
at the kitchen table, 
or, rather, 
struggling to, 
when my wife 
excitedly calls me 
to the window 

and points down 
into the yard 
where a doe 
with a coat 
just a shade 
from golden 
is browsing 

on fallen leaves
that if it wasn’t 
for the hours 
I spend trying 
to make poems, 
I would have 
burned long ago. 



Post-Election Stress Disorder

The emperor’s model army marches on, 
bringing with them the suffocating smell of smoke, 
a darkness like mud, while tens of millions 
of just plain folks artlessly demonstrate their devotion 
by cheering threats of kidnapping and murder 
and parading bright new flags that with each wave
in the lie-filled air grow duller and more tattered,  
and when the light dwindles to a final few hours, 
there will be tweet storms and wild speeches
and the military music of boots stamping on faces.

_________________________________________________________________________

Howie Good is the author of The Death Row Shuffle, forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. He co-edits the online journals Unbroken and UnLost.

ayaz daryl nielsen: six haiku/senryu

six haiku/senryü


melancholy day…
the pathway by our back door
yes, it’s beckoning!


sliver of a moon
it slowly diminishes
holding my wife tighter


a chilly morning…
pulling it over my head
our shabby old quilt


this evening alone
comfort with a long-time friend
path through the forest


beauty of the night
so many pathways exist
sunlight in the east


a new beginning
massive greenways opening
yes, sunrise again!

_________________________________________________________________________

ayaz daryl nielsen, veteran and former hospice nurse, lives in Longmont, Colorado, USA.  Editor of bear creek haiku (30+ years/160+ issues) with poetry published worldwide, he is online at: bear creek haiku: poetry, poems and info. Among other deeply appreciated honors, he is especially delighted by the depth and heart of poets worldwide whose poems have a home in bear creek haiku’s print and online presence.