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Monday, December 17, 2018

Wil Michael Wren ----- two poems

                                                                                                              Wil Michael Wrenn

Into my soul,
Into my soul,
The flow of life
And death.
I breathe in
And out again.
The breath of the cosmos
Flows through me,
And its life
Becomes my life.
I breathe through it,
And with it,
And it breathes in me.
And when I no longer live,
My soul will depart,
My breath will depart,
And become one
With the soul
Of the universe,
With the breath
of the universe.

                                                Wil Michael Wrenn

I Have to Write
I have to write…
Fragments of thoughts,
embers of feelings
join together,
flare up and overwhelm,
I have to write
to release the pain,
the sadness of brokenness –
broken hearts and souls,
broken hopes and dreams,
broken wings.
Oh, who will save me
from this endless loss
and fill me up with joy,
complete in love
so I’ll never, ever
again have to write
unless I write of beauty,
mended hearts and souls,
hopes and dreams,
and healing wings.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Thomas Hubbard ----- two poems


Back in the car he wipes his eyes,
checks the rear view mirror and
starts the engine….

That old curtain story worked again,
quieting her sobs, bringing her back,
partly, from the fear in her eyes, the
uncertainty she inhabits nowadays…
back to bedsores that heal so slowly…
again he complained, they promised,
but nothing changes… since he
brought her to this “rest” home, the
only one nearby with a vacancy, with
promises of great care, cheery rooms…
providing negligent, dingy spaces, at
a price higher than his income.

So passes another day, another visit,
so comes another evening on the couch,
a night alone in his house of memories…
driving home he detours past the factory,
stops in front of the Second Shift bar,
sits in the car, can’t go inside, no use,
gives it up, motors on to the house,
Into the drive, shuts the engine down,
sits and stares, lights a forbidden smoke,
puts it out, walks to the front door and
steps into the rooms they shared,
rooms where happy voices still echo.

Sitting at the same desk where he
filled tax forms year after year and
worried, in those early months, about
house payments, car payments,
doctor bills, school clothes for the kids…
he runs fingers through his greying hair,
sips the last from a glass of bourbon,
pushes back the chair, stands to
carry the glass to the kitchen for a refill,
which he carries to the couch,
stopping to turn on the TV… world news
while another day fades.

Two pretty girls and a very earnest man
discuss the world’s events and local news
as he stares into nothing….

Fading to Blank

Her voice gallops across air,
big-eyed from the uncertainty,
nearly silent ….

Vapors of fear, questions,
where is this? who is this?
which this is this? and still
comes nobody through this
confusing door which leads,
on the dwindling good days,
to those kitchen afternoons 
watching Mom, waiting as
cookies swell behind the
oven door’s foggy window, or
listening as supper sizzles
in the big cast iron skillet.

Comes no greying man who
claims to be her husband, to
remind her how she sewed
these bedroom curtains so
far back along the hallway of
years, that same hallway
leading to Mom’s kitchen and
schooldays, and the wedding,
the children… the hallway
that can’t recall her name,
that sometimes takes her to
the porch, not the bathroom..

Her eyes watch strangers now,
who come when it’s daytime,
making her exercise, even
bathing her, changing her gown,
gently combing her hair and
telling her she’s pretty… lord,
how can she think about pretty
when thoughts run away like
her naughty children who
never visit anymore, but send
sad-eyed strangers to sit
on the couch and act happy?

Her galloping voice gradually
slows, then halts, quiet as she
vacantly stares….

©2018 Thomas Hubbard

Sunday, November 4, 2018

The Hand by koon woon

The Disembodied Hand

The hand that moves across the sterile hours in a ward for the insane…that wanders over the bare breasts of mad women hungry for a touch behind locked doors forever locked out the consciousness of those who toil in broad daylight for a loaf of illogic just so that the fat mouths of children can go on sucking…
The hand, the hand that is stationary on the defunct clock indicating ill repair…
The mistakenly purchased hand from a second-hand store made of plastics fabricated in Hong Kong in the impoverished sector of town for the Asian immigrants who have not been here that long nor is there a place of permanence in their hearts…
The hand that is penning this, the tired, effete, worn, and calloused hand that betrayed a heart that is now becoming as calloused as the opposition itself that calls for its severance from the body politics that hand previously fed it…
The hand that is tired of being judged, the abandoned, locked-away hand, the hand, the disembodied hand that belongs to no one and belongs to everyone…
The hand, the hand, the hand….
The hand that will finally pick up a weapon, the disembodied hand that belongs to no one and belongs to everyone… the hand, the hand, the hand…

koon woon

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Five poems by John Gorski

Mash-Up: Mary Shelley’s Letters / Nightmares Across the Centuries

From the bustle of Pimlico, Mary writes
to Jefferson -- “My baby is dead.”
Then, I recall a dream late in the next century
of three translucent babes,
with broken teeth and crooked smiles,
chewing on my wrist
as I awoke before dawn
in a wintry bed in Ohio.
“The sun is set in the dark”
like a tarnished gold coin
tossed by a giant
into the vast March night
where its glinting dies by moments.
“Shelley calls to me from another room;
I shudder to think of him in London.”
There attorneys have placed spies
coldly whispering of his debts
among mendacious crowds teeming in the streets.

Mary and Shelley escape
by crossing the gray-green seizures
of the Channel’s waters.
Outside of Paris, they stop
at a moon-faced hotel
white as a mirage of Mt. Blanc;
there her sleep pictures green champagne
sparkling in Lake Geneva.
Another night they stay in Les Rousses
at a squalid inn
of blown-out candles and unmade beds
where she sees herself
high in the Alps with Shelley and Byron
writing paranormal fables
on an evening of pelting rain
and thunderous omens.

Two hundred years in the future,
I wake to a nine-foot ghost
like an inflated circus clown
severed from an old parade.
He looms over me,
an off-white presence that disappears
in seconds into a filmy, 3 a.m. vacuum.

The Green Chair and The Miller High Life Glass

“I hope no one kamikaze strafes your apartment.
It’s so dreary,” my girlfriend groused.
She had wanted to go to Vito’s for dinner
but we were both on SSI and mendicants
of the food stamp culture in 1977
when I first lived in Seattle; so, I was wary of expense.
Later, we headed into the March wind
on Madison St. toward downtown
and the ragged, yellow banner
of Burchfield twilight blowing above Elliot Bay.
“The photo on your Metro pass makes
you look like you just got off
the swing-shift at a concentration camp,”
she remarked as we waited at 2nd
and Union for her bus to Tukwila.
Perusing that picture years later, I would say
it made my unshaven face -- gaunt on Elavil -- appear
like an apprentice to an anorexic werewolf.

Back in my kitchen, I reached for
the Miller High Life glass
but fumbled it and watched that vessel
from Woolworth’s shatter at my feet.
Then I went into the main room
and listened to my portable GE radio
while reclining in the green upholstered
easy chair I bought the August before.
A few weeks earlier, my girlfriend nodded off
on her anti-seizure medicine and burned
a hole in the arm rest with her cigarette.
The soft-rock station was playing Barry Manilow’s
“Trying to Get the Feeling Again” – soothing me
with its plaintive flute intro I had heard on
air plane headphones when I flew out here.
After my girlfriend and I broke up,
we swept aside the shards
of our downbeat time together by telephone.
Other friends from the day treatment program,
we were both in, would visit then
and we’d talk about Pink Floyd and paranoia.

Sometimes when I hear that Manilow song
unexpectedly, I see her and other faces
I knew when I first roamed these streets
under long, gray clouds like apparitions
above the forty-seventh parallel.                                             
Turning Up the Debussy

My mother was heart drunk
with the Impressionists
with the Afternoon of the Faun
and the musicality of W.H. Auden
when he walked out one evening
into the Time haunted streets of Birmingham.

My father, on the other hand,
was inebriated with the Brooklyn Dodgers
and the cheers of Ebbets Field
that faded into history.
Then he rooted for every team
in the different cities we lived
and sat in a trance
before the televised play by play –
not noticing when mother slammed
an adjoining door
and turned up the Debussy.

Daydream and Shadow

After the Pledge of Allegiance,
the class sang “O’ Maryland, My Maryland,” –
our state anthem of hackneyed praise
set to the tune of “Oh, Tannebaum.”
And then we sat down to arithmetic
but I thought of peanut-butter cookies
waiting in the cafeteria
and my mind flew off
with the balmy, September sky
pouring through the windows
with a sun-lit haze of ADD
that scrambled the numbers of the lesson.
But my slightly taller shadow
whispered incognito: “follow
the instructions and finish;
that’s how you get along.”

Sometimes, a cold wind blew
down the coast from Sheep’s Head Bay
to the Chesapeake with rainy syllables
hectoring on Saturday mornings
when my father checked my math assignment
like an East Prussian pedagogue
in General Electric light.
Then I wanted to bolt
to the fair-weather recess fields
of Glendale Elementary
where I could play baseball
with my friends or go further
to a silent, vacant place
under the halcyon vault
that was the absence of my parents
and sing an epiphany of notes.

But then, my shadow-self arose
like voices from open windows
in a thousand Brooklyn apartment buildings
that chorused: “Your parents are looking for you.”
On a street corner, a pay phone rang.
I picked it up and heard:
“This is your father; your mother and I
have been worried sick about you.”

Ball Park Frankenstein

Maybe you’ve seen him in left field
during batting practice
shagging would be homers –
lumbering toward the white spheres
flashing out at him like lasers.
He likes it best when shadows
fall long and cool upon
the manicured green
to provide a peaceful haven
where his dread visage can’t be seen.
Made as he was from the cold flesh
of the dead, he will come
alive when the scoreboard
charges his brain with the electric
message that his team is ahead.

He used to work in concessions
carrying metal trays
of peanuts and root beer
but beneath a long-billed cap
his face always inspired fear.
He likes the rainy evenings
he spends on the ground crew,
rolling the tarpaulin
like a heavy shroud on base paths
under the liquid gray heavens.
For love of the game, he stays on
in this loud stadium –
a continual fright --
and can be an icon only
on Halloween bobble-head night.

See him far out in the bleachers
under a bucket hat,
drinking cheap red wine –
ball park Frankenstein.

Monday, October 15, 2018

A drinking poem by John W. Gorski

Anyone for a Beer?

On that silver chalice Sunday,
his thoughts sometimes clunked
upon hearing the sermon after
waking from a black-out drunk.
It had been another kegger
the night before with Mark and Squi,
in their suburb east of D.C.,
where he and his dark-knighted jock friends
apprenticed their male ideal
by jumping on young women.

He studied hard at Georgetown
all week, dreaming of Yale law –
this football playing, hormone-robot
preppy named Kavanaugh.
On weekends, he would break loose –
downing drinking horns of Michelob
while joking of his black-robed
quest to slay Social Security
and leave the minion realm to quaff
their poor cup of misery.

Now, he’s not playing Saturday
night drinking games anymore
or reveling in the beer blast suns
along the Maryland shore.
These days, he’s an agent from
the Federalist Society –
a parasite self-righteously
burrowing into the judicial
system to infect the civil rights
of unprivileged people.

So, he will climb to the high court
and allow industries’ pall
of chemical smoke to suffocate
the skies that once shone on all.
Then when all the televisions
are playing the channel of fake news,
the judge will serve his good friends brews
and they will break into evil cheers
and then toast him – their drinking horns
brimming with gold, Lo-Cal beers.

2018                                        John Gorski

Monday, October 1, 2018

Julie A. Dickson ----- five poems

Weather the Storm

Shift thinking toward major change
to rearrange, no more head shaking
or dreaded loneliness impending,
but together we will weather
the storm of locusts, never torn from
one another’s arms, we hold fast
as life’s tempest tosses our souls,
like balancing a bowl on our knees,
we seize every moment to embrace,
to chase the worries of the world
until a calm smoothes the lines
from my weary face, wind declines
leaving a rainbow of colors,
we revel in the yellows and blues,
we choose to weather the storm,
laughing at the sea; it will not
dislodge the mast, will not cast
us into deep waters, we will swim free.

Julie A. Dickson 


Hot Days Farewell

Away with stress, the things of man
down the road, a plan to drive far,
along highways on our way to fields
of green, where cows nod heads,
bow their hello from pastures
yet to mow, harvest still a-ways off,
looking forward to falling back,
when Autumn equinox hums a song,
bidding hot days farewell, dog days
give way to crisp apples in fall air,
I declare my favorite time of year.

Julie A. Dickson


Almost Full

Above the trees haunts,
as in a scary tale,
skeletal branches
like arms beckoning -
come closer;
almost full moon,
eerily lopsided,
warped in its beauty -
stares out of night sky,
questioning why I
would ever think, even
in the absence of stars
moon would not shine
its hello to the pre-dawn.

Julie A. Dickson

Haiku Triplet

Beneath scudding clouds
Feel vertigo motion
Despite solid ground

The world intervenes
Un-meditated, I sway
Hearing mind clutter

Surrender to sky
Consciousness finally wanes
Contemplate silence

Julie A. Dickson

Poetry and Shrimp
[Reaction poem to The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy]

Before I knew of the prince
in an unfamiliar low land,
I already loved poetry and books.

Then I heard his words spoken
like whispers at low tide,
a fishing net was thrown over me,

dragging me into the boat
with writhing shrimp and cod, but
while they struggled for air

I breathed for the first time.
The melody of his story wrapped me
in a rough-weather foulie.

Brine permeated
my thoughts, though my skin
shed the water like an oil skin.

Now that I know the prince’s tidal pools,
fluid, the language of poetry and shrimp,
I feel the rope burn my hands and salt on my tongue.

Julie A. Dickson

Friday, September 28, 2018

Simon Perchik ----- five poems

East Hampton, NY  11937

Lost and you watch the sun worsen
already falling as the nights
too weak to warm your shadow

though you read only in the afternoon
crouched under this kitchen table
with nothing on it that could sag

and without a sound weigh too much
let you open the mail, return to life
the window left in this small room

–you can tell from the stamp
it’s easy to fear
–so frail is its darkness

only your hands can be seen
holding your forehead, pushing it back in
to remember where you live.

By yourself though the sun
still needs more water –all that land
dried for just one afternoon

sent back alone and every morning now
you let the coffee try, boil
the way this table is spreading out

become the dirt for what’s in store
ready made as that small mouthful
that swallows you whole

to look for thirst inside a cup
side by side this one kept full
as if it was at home.

And though this pillow is enough
you still come by at night
safe from sand and salt

–with both elbows on the bed
your clothes in a heap
–what you can’t say

is soaking in sea grass
and her clothes too
no longer moving, piled close

for encouragement, lift your head
–on a dark bed, stroking an empty dress
Mickie, Mickie, Mickie

as far as it can reach
with her hand over your mouth
one sleeve at a time.

You no longer dig for shadows
as if this hillside depends on you
for water –what you hear

is trapped between two suns
one circling the other till nothing’s left
but the afternoon and beneath

letting its pieces fall off –you dead
are always listening for the gesture
the lowering that sweeps in

those pebbles mourners leave
as words, overflowing, certain
now is the time –it’s not the time

this dirt is afraid to open
become a rain again, be a sky
let it speak by throwing the Earth

and over your shoulder, eyes closed
though there is no grass
and your arms a Weber, Miller, Marie.

Even as silence you dead
favor knots, brought here
the way each grave is tightened

counts on constant gathering
and the arm over arm
that hold the skies together

as if some nesting bird
would fly out from this hillside
and leave behind its wings

spread-eagle, letting go
those small rocks mourners bring
for your shoulders –you want rope

not for its name but the weight
still taking shape inside, kept empty
and all around you the lowering.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Lisa Yoon Les -- poem in three languages

사계절 (부제:장례식)
 -  by Lisa Yoon LES 

내 섬에 음악이 내렸다.
- 아름다운 선율로

내 섬에 꽃이 내렸다.
- - 눈부시도록 더디게

내 섬에 그가 내렸다.
- - - 잔인한 황홀함으로

나, 이제 떨리는 사람 내려 두고 
한 줌 햇살 가슴에 품은 채
겨울을 비상하는 새가 되련다. 

Four Seasons (subtitle:Funeral) 
 - by Lisa Yoon LES

Music came down to the isle of spring
- With a beautiful melody.

Summer flowers descended on the island
- - Dazzlingly and slowly.

He landed on the islet of yellow leaves.
- - - Wearing cruel ecstasy.

I, now left my beloved behind
Holding sunbeam in heart.
Be a winter bird flying high in the sky.

Quattro Stagioni (sottotitolo:Funerale)  - by Lisa Yoon LES

La musica è arrivata 
all’isola della mia anima
con una bellissima melodia.

I fiori estivi sono scesi 
sulla isola del mio cuore
elegantemente e lentamente.

È atterrato sul isolotto della mia vita,
indossando un incantesimo crudele.

Io, ora ho lasciato la persona amata dietro
avendo un po’ di raggi di sole 
nel mío cuore,
diventerò un uccello invernale 
che vola alto nel cielo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Hamish Todd ---- two poems

A Wedding Prayer

This prayer is a river
It leads to the ocean
And has no end

This prayer is a river
It leads to the ocean
And has no end

Ask for nothing
A bird in flight
Is giving thanks

Love is a blessing
People dancing
Another chance

This prayer is a river
It leads to the ocean
And has no end

Ask for nothing
A bird in flight
Is giving thanks

The Sea Gulls of Alcatraz

The Sea Gulls of Alacatraz
Don't have any fond
or Bitter memories
They're glad to have a rock to stand on
To watch the city
Across the Bay

                        For my girl,
                        because every day's a gift

Saturday, August 11, 2018

New poem by Julie A. Dickson

The Curve

It is wise to knock down pedestals of power,
wipe away entitled glances, the way they glower
at those deemed less worthy
in a world where straight is perceived as best,
where the curve of alternatives is frowned upon.
Caucasians compete for supreme power
over those berated for belief or race;
they remain blind , refusing to face diversity,
in a world where white is becoming a minority.
Their narrow views are firmly rooted,
while others yell, “me too”.

Victims long silent, skewed justice prevailed
under guise of religion or truth; assailants of the curve -
non- straight or dark complexions hated,
no ability to accept or assuage fear,
that women and people of color will persevere.

With demographic information to peruse,
clear statistics stated, but some still choose
not to see countries that surpass white by far.
Those in power, deluded by grandiose illusions,
in cloud-minding towers- look down
at the masses they deem below them.

We, the curve - seen as Troglodytes
who speak in foreign tongues,
walk among them…waiting.

Julie A. Dickson
Exeter, NH