Poet’s Haven to be at AWP Bookfair, debuts 4 new books

The Poet’s Haven will launch its 20th Anniversary celebration with a table at the AWP Conference & Bookfair in Washington DC!  We will be debuting four new books (three Author Series titles and one Archive Series title) at table 144-T.

 

Lucy Chau Lai-Tuen - Ungrateful - A Paper Daughter  Janet Snell - Twice Told Tale  Bruce McRae - Hearsay  John Burroughs - Water Works

 

If you’re in DC for the conference, come meet publisher Vertigo Xavier and talk about what’s coming up from The Poet’s Haven!

 

 


“My Chest X-ray” by Joe Bisicchia

What constellation,
what stardust fireworks,
what dying star, black hole,
what light travels
deep to my soul?

 

Come see and be lost in me.

 

Find space where we may share
a breath of universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Bisicchia writes of our shared spiritual dynamic. An Honorable Mention recipient for the Fernando Rielo XXXII World Prize for Mystical Poetry, his works have appeared in Sheepshead Review, Balloons Lit Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Black Heart Magazine, Dark Matter Journal, Poets Collectives Anthologies, and others. The current public affairs professional in New Jersey is a former award winning television host who also taught high school English. He also co-invented an award winning family card game.  www.widewide.world


“Q&A With a Sleeping Monster” by Holly Day

reclining in his midnight coffin
satin forms his favorite
pillow, elvin frail and pale
as death—”what’s happened to my son?” she

 

screams and tries to look behind the smile
the eyes, so tightly closed she pulls the
lids apart in hopes of finding answers
to questions she should never ask.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holly Day has taught writing classes at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota since 2000. Her published books include Music Theory for Dummies, Music Composition for Dummies, Guitar All-in-One for Dummies, Piano All-in-One for Dummies, Walking Twin Cities, Insider’s Guide to the Twin Cities, Nordeast Minneapolis: A History, and The Book Of, while her poetry has recently appeared in Oyez Review, SLAB, and Gargoyle. Her newest poetry book, Ugly Girl, just came out from Shoe Music Press.


“Flour, Water, Love” by Daniel Lombardi

Water.
A lake upon a fire.
This lake lies undisturbed.
The still begins to boil.
A bubbling cauldron;
Now its time for pasta.

 

The swirling, knotted shapes,
Cascading into warmth.
Each piece is kissed by time,
Made soft by water’s hold.
A spoon dips in, for taste.
Perfect.

 

Drained.
Wisps of steam escaping,
Unfurling up with haste,
Eager to float away.
Fragrance wafts through senses,
Back from an older time.

 

Smells to thoughts to mem’ries:
Back in a house in Queens,
Another pot was boiled,
By Nana’s caring hands.
Moving with tasked purpose,
Sprinkling crystals of salt,
Soon.

 

Ready.
The tender butter melts,
Fusing in love and care.
The bowl is lowered down,
A smile on her face.

 

And suddenly I’m back.
And mom hands me the bowl.
As when I was a boy,
Delish’ and meaningful
Yum.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel Lombardi is an aspiring graphic designer and guitarist from Morristown, NJ.


“Renoir’s Women” by John Grey

Renoir’s women,
fulsome and draped in pink,
their nakedness, less undraped
than lifted out of
the clothing-slighted body

 

Unlike the older masters,
the pores are done away with,
no veins, no sinews beneath the skin,
just light.

 

Reflection is swathed in a blanket.
Exuberance bathes in the sea.
Gentleness fixes its hair.
Innocence lifts the whitest of legs
over the edge of a tub.

 

I’m as close as the stillness
around their lips and breasts.
I could almost… but I can never…
my favorite situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions, and the anthology No Achilles, with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review, and Nebo.


“The College Caravan” by E.V. Wyler

Last night we loaded the minivan with her
suitcases, Rubbermaid vats, and chest of plastic drawers
stuffed with clothing, toiletries, school supplies, and posters.
While our vehicle is tightly packed, her room stands hollow;
drained of stuff and spirit, except for the furniture she left behind
like the last icicle melting unnoticed in the spring thaw.
Morning’s excitement, today’s foreseen guest, found her passkey
so early, she displaced the alarm clock, announcing her presence.
On the verge of adventure, our cramped van vacates the driveway,
eager to meet the other jammed vehicles joining our journey.
Sporadic chatter splinters moments of spurned monotony,
spanning the miles amassing in our rearview mirror until…
A hatchback hauling a heavy load leads our line exiting for the rest
stop, where the parking lot hosts vehicle after vehicle stuffed with
suitcases, Rubbermaid vats, and chests of plastic drawers…
Our re-entry acceleration runs smoothly, courtesy of a
clamshell-covered car graciously slowing to permit our advance.
From sedans to SUVs, the right lane is flush with fenders and
families, forming a cohesive chain whose links approach “The Exit”
signaling for the deceleration lane.  The college caravan, flowing
onto the exit ramp and through the green light, turns and winds
along Main Street.  As the minivans, hatchbacks, clamshell-covered
cars, and SUVs pour onto college campus USA, they’re carrying
suitcases, Rubbermaid vats, chests of plastic drawers,
and, of course, the proud, nervous parents…
escorting the Freshman Class of 2015.

 

 

 

 

 

E.V. “Beth” Wyler is a middle-aged homemaker and poet who lives in New Jersey with 3 children, 3 cats, 2 beta fish, and her husband, Richard. Her poems have been featured in The Storyteller, WestWard Quarterly, Feelings of the Heart, Nuthouse, The Pine Times, The Pink Chameleon, and The Rotary Dial.


“Individualism” by Gary Beck

The Information Age
allows us to march
to the beat of a different drum,
as long as we purchase
the same goods and services
as everyone else.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director, and as an art dealer when he couldn’t make a living in theater. His poetry collections include: Days of Destruction (Skive Press); Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press); Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines and Tremors (Winter Goose Publishing); and Conditioned Response (Nazar Look). His published novels include: Extreme Change (Cogwheel Press), Acts of Defiance (Artema Press), and Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), as well as his short story collection, A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications). His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes, and Sophocles have been produced off Broadway. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He currently lives in New York City.


“Some Call It Passion” by Scott Thomas Outlar

Bleed for me
a dying wish
of life that will never be
while I comfort you
as best I can
and pretend
that your madness is beautiful

 

Sleep beside me
in broken dreams
that haunt and linger with chaos
while I stay awake
for days on end
and laugh
as each neuron snaps in turn

 

Scream at me
with vicious tongue
your anger and your sadness
while I drift softly
through the shadows
and crawl
into the next wave of entropy

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scott Thomas Outlar spends the hours flowing and fluxing with the ever-changing currents of the Tao River while laughing at and/or weeping over life’s existential nature. His chapbook Songs of a Dissident is available from Transcendent Zero Press, and his words have appeared recently in venues such as Words Surfacing, Yellow Chair Review, Dissident Voice, Section 8 Magazine, and Void Magazine17numa.wordpress.com


“Second Hand Chance” by Colleen Redman

I’ve written this poem before
It’s like a movie I saw when I was young
that I can’t remember the end to

 

There’s a worn pathway that’s easy to find
but there’s also amnesia
and I can’t take my eyes off
the point of remembering
as it is happening again

 

I flip TV channels
while the monarch butterflies
fly 3,000 miles fighting weather
and songbirds raise their pitch
to be heard above the human chatter

 

Second movies are like second teeth
We call second round children grand
because they bring a second wind
to the lucid dream of life

 

Some of us will have second childhoods
Our car keys will be taken away
We’ll eat too much sugar
and walk around in one slipper

 

I’ve written this poem before
I’ve written this poem before
But I can’t remember the end

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colleen Redman writes and provides photography for The Floyd Press newspaper in Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Mothering Magazine, We’moon Journal, Floyd County Moonshine, and Artemis Journal. Online publications that have featured her poetry include Della Donna, Poetry24, and Clutching at Straws. She blogs daily at looseleafnotes.com. “Dear Abby, How can I get rid of freckles?” was her first published piece at the age of 11.


“Beyond this Cancer” by Joe Bisicchia

Beyond this cancer

 

You love me.

 

All of me.
Despite the parts that are not me.

 

Erase
all that was and find what is
always ready to be made.

 

Soon,
so much drifts away.

 

Not us.

 

We shall stay.

 

Love is built that way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Bisicchia writes of our shared spiritual dynamic. An Honorable Mention recipient for the Fernando Rielo XXXII World Prize for Mystical Poetry, his works have appeared in Sheepshead Review, Balloons Lit Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Black Heart Magazine, Dark Matter Journal, Poets Collectives Anthologies, and others. The current public affairs professional in New Jersey is a former award winning television host who also taught high school English. He also co-invented an award winning family card game.  www.widewide.world


“Worry” by Bob Lind

What if I open the door and find
My home full of snakes?
What then?
Hundreds of serpents,
Slithering around every room.
Rude serpents at that.
What if I ask them to leave and they won’t?
What then? What, I ask you.

 

I suppose I can hire a gang of mongooses (mongeese?)
To come and chomp down on them.
That will solve it.

 

But where will I get the money?
Do mongeese even care about money?
And what if the mongoose gang likes my place
And moves in?
What if they leave the cap off the toothpaste
And dump their ashes in the butter dish,
Stuff like that?
What then? What then?

 

I can buy a gun and shoot them.
But there’s a three-day waiting period.
Three days of abiding with sharp-tooth rodents
Who probably don’t like me to begin with.

 

And when I do get the gun and shoot them all,
My place will be full of bullet holes. (I’m not a good shot.)
The neighbors will call the cops about the noise.
Maybe there’s even some kind of
Anti-weasel-shooting ordinance in the city
That extends to mongeese.

 

I’ll get thrown in jail.
What if the jail cell is full of crocodiles?
What then?

I suppose I can bribe a guard to get me some croc poison.
I’ll sell my gun and remaining bullets to get the money.
I guess that will solve it.

 

Man I feel relieved.
It never hurts to be prepared.

 

But what if the crocs outbid me and the guard poisons me instead?

 

I’ll have to think about this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Lind is a musician whose songs have been covered by more than 200 artists, including: Cher, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithful, Glen Campbell, Kingston Trio, Dolly Parton, and Nancy Sinatra. His lyrics have been taught in colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada.  He won the Florida Screenwriters Competition with his script Refuge.  He won the Southern California Motion Picture Council’s Bronze Halo Award for his play The Sculptors.  He also has poetry published in Iodine Poetry Journalwww.BobLind.com


“Privatio Boni” by Andreas Fleps

Most of the time,
I speak with searing silence,
Because spoken words
Are not remotely eloquent enough
To fully express the countless dire sentences
Being scribed within me.

 

Thus, I must conclude
That our loudest cries are the ones
Nobody can hear
And pain-riddled quiet
Can puncture eardrums.

 

My ears incessantly ring
With unremitting unvoiced thoughts,
Dropping like hushed bombs detonating
Along my fragile mind’s landscape.

 

 

I am a concoction of craters,
A manifestation of absence…
A lack of what ought to be,
And with every noiseless explosion
My loss deepens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andreas Fleps is a recent college graduate from the Chicagoland area. He has a theology degree from Dominican University.  andreasfleps.com


“Out of Misery” by Mike Nichols

Shhh.
I want to stay,
sleeping, senseless.
But your absence
flips the lids on its
stunning baby-blues
and begins to chant
its untrue news:

 

“Good Morning, Good Morning,
Good Morning,”

 

like an abscess, throbbing.

 

And I cannot jam
the bloodied nibbled nubs
of my fingers
deep enough down
to staunch the sound.

 

I can’t continue
to accede
to the make-believe
that you
still stand,
at the stove,
scrambling eggs
in your too short bathrobe.

 

Your shadow
giggles and hides,
bats its lashes like some
exasperating child caught cheating
at hide-and-go-seek.

 

There. Behind the mustard
in the fridge.
There. Behind the bear
on the toilet paper package.

 

Your apparition
activates an aggressive part of me
which thinks it somehow
can get free.
Crouching, like
a wolf worrying away
at its leg twisted in the
steel toothed trap.
Hunkering in my head
its panting, an unrelenting:

 

Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh-Uh…

 

When I struggle
tarnished teeth begin
stripping off the skin,
rolling it down like
a red striped tube sock.

 

Still, I can’t seem
to make myself
gnaw my own leg off.
Any decent woman would
put a living thing
out of its misery.
Wouldn’t she?

 

The drugs
and the bottles
and the drunken others
lined
atop the glass,
atop the bar,
atop my bed,
barely blunt
the aching absence
of you,
within my head.

 

I guess I’ll get up,
again,
scramble my own eggs,
and remind myself how
I don’t need a bullet
with your name on it
to cut a new track
for my
train of thought.

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Nichols was born all in a rush just after midnight, with no assistance from doctor or midwife, under a waning Tennessee moon on a chill October night behind a partition at the back of a tar-paper shack in which his unwed mother had holed-up for a time. Mike won the 2014 Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize. His fiction and poetry may be found at Underground Voices, Bewildering Stories, and Black Rock & Sage.


“The Dragon” by Cara Vitadamo

The scales fall away
Like memories into the dark abyss.

 

If there was light in this awkward sphere
There would be a beautiful shine.

 

But the black stigma hides the gleam
Of thousands of twinkling gems.

 

The beast cannot see her luster
And craves her satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

 

Cara Vitadamo is a registered nurse that enjoys poetry. She has been published in Torrid Literature, All Things Girl, and Mused a Bella Online Literary Review Magazine.


“Survived by His Parents, James and Audrey” by Bob Lind

The night moves by, withholding sleep.
And in the cloudless dawn
He sees the loaded gun pressed deep
Into the cobalt sky.
Its barrel, longer than the Rio Grande.
Its handle, thick as all the heat-forged
Iron in Detroit.

 

Even when authorities remove it, the imprint
Stays indented in the morning blue,
Embarrassing the busy sun on its way out
To pat and reassure the nervous afternoon.
“It’s over with,” the shadows say,
“Go on about your life.”

 

But the tabletop where his numb hands rest
– The tabletop where other, younger hands
Once bongo-ed restless rhythms –
Has as turned to ice.

 

Across that frozen lake, she looks away.
Looks away from him, looks away toward
The door, looks as though almost expecting,
Expecting still, her coffee cup a little tombstone
There between them.
Her smile is smoke; her hands are lead,
Her eyes deserted playgrounds in her head.

 

The stars are bursts of flashing fire tonight.
Bullets grow in that once-hopeful garden,
Choking out the roses that bloomed before
Beneath the clean and dentless azure.

 

“You loved me once,” he says.
“Love has bled out,” she says.

 

The dawn comes back and comes again.
The morning birds refuse to sing or fly.
And over all the tired world,
The clouds that gather
Still can’t cover
That reminder in the gun-case sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bob Lind is a musician whose songs have been covered by more than 200 artists, including: Cher, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Marianne Faithful, Glen Campbell, Kingston Trio, Dolly Parton, and Nancy Sinatra. His lyrics have been taught in colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and Canada.  He won the Florida Screenwriters Competition with his script Refuge.  He won the Southern California Motion Picture Council’s Bronze Halo Award for his play The Sculptors.  He also has poetry published in Iodine Poetry Journalwww.BobLind.com


“Night Ride” by Tara Dasso

The moon roof is open
A gentle breeze creeps in as we drive down a lonely country road
The scent of wildflower permeates the night air mixed with just a hint of manure
Classic rock crackles in and out on the radio
I prefer jazz but say nothing,
Content to sit in companionable silence

 

We are in the beginning chapters of our story
More in LIKE than in LOVE
We are tentative of what our next steps should be
Your hand is on my knee
As I trace slow circles on the back of your neck with my thumb
I look up at the stars and make silent wishes

 

The landscape is pitch black, flat and forlorn
Broken up only by small patches of light
That spill from farmhouse windows
From a distance they look like antique dollhouses
I have to repress the urge to sprint from the car
To get a glimpse at the people inside

 

 

We turn left onto a main drive
The bright lights break my pensive reflections
I reach over to change the radio station
You give my hand a playful slap and grin
I stick out my tongue and smile back at you as we continue on
Not sure where we are headed
Just grateful to be on the journey together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tara Dasso is a poet residing in western Massachusetts with her son and fiancée, and teaching in the Springfield public schools as a special education teacher. Although she has been writing on-and-off since her teens, when she began to lose her hearing she began to write more frequently as a creative outlet. Her writing is inspired by interactions with her family, her students, and the world around her. She is member of the Florence Poets Society and has been published in their Silkworm anthology.


“Lesson Number One” by John Grey

My Uncle George’s right hand surely has a dozen fingers.
They spread across the strings like spiders
while his left is so precise and stalwart,
holds down the wires against the frets,
from fat E to its skinny namesake.

 

I listen as if in a wondrous heathen church
and the melody is its sermon,
the chime of metal amplified through wood.
He plays guitar, an instrument
invented by the Spanish centuries ago
but still so thrilling in the here and now.

 

My eyes can’t leave his deft plucking,
the surprisingly long nails
that sometimes stroke,
sometimes hammer.
He’s rapid, then slow,
shaking off one tempo
to dive straight into another.

 

Here, in our parlor,
he floods me with the joy of music,
of being.
My thoughts fill with,
“If I could only play as he does.”

 

He is so lost in his picking
but then looks up suddenly
as if called to attention by my mute question -
“How is it done?”

 

He finishes the number
then encourages me to sit beside him.
It’s time for my first lesson.
My arms can barely wrap around the instrument
and the pressure of the steel
hurts my soft pressing finger.
So that’s how it’s done.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Perceptions, and the anthology No Achilles, with work upcoming in Big Muddy Review, Gargoyle, Coal City Review, and Nebo.

 


“Hope is More than a Placebo” by Joe Bisicchia

We’ve been up before the sun,
and stand here now aside the forsythia
spotlighted by ray of lamppost
here outside the hospital.

 

And we pause, not late, enough awake
to discover the tone of light at horizon.
So much ahead.
So much already here, we see each other.

 

And in the moment now long enough
we find the white fluff of spring
fall like snow here as it does at home,
like magic, but simply real as life.

 

Seeds take their best hope onward.
You see the rising orange hue and I do.
With a knowing smile and breath,
we walk through the glass doors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Bisicchia writes of our shared spiritual dynamic. An Honorable Mention recipient for the Fernando Rielo XXXII World Prize for Mystical Poetry, his works have appeared in Sheepshead Review, Balloons Lit Journal, The Inflectionist Review, Black Heart Magazine, Dark Matter Journal, Poets Collectives Anthologies, and others. The current public affairs professional in New Jersey is a former award winning television host who also taught high school English. He also co-invented an award winning family card game.  www.widewide.world


“Lost Notes” by Robert L. Porter, Jr.

The keys are touched, and a chord is played,

But not as he did in a past decade.

Sounds discordant; a melody is lost.

Chords are forgotten — an old age cost?

 

Some tunes remembered, but not the bridges;

His hands are crusted with deepened ridges.

His mind through fingers is slow to create;

Memories of tunes are hard to locate.

 

“These notes don’t go here; this chord not there.”

He hears his mistakes everywhere.

“Does a major or minor chord go here?”

Tough for old-timer to play by ear.

 

His hands grow tired, and his memory is blurred.

To forget this much seems so absurd;

He gives to himself a carping critique,

But — he’ll play again soon, perhaps next week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert L. Porter, Jr. is retired. He spent many entrepreneurial years in the computer industries, but retired as a vice president in the financial/brokerage industry. He has written poems for over 40 years, but only began seeking publication in 2015. He had a father who read stories and poems of the masters to him; and he developed a fondness for Longfellow, J. W. Riley, Poe, and many, many others. After escaping the business world, Bob has had more time to spend with his life-long passion: poetry. Improving the style and substance of his poems is his continuing focus.


“Witness” by Daniel David

A witness to that gray moment

In Cleveland, incised in memory,

Not a requiem, a vision:

Saint Teresa pierced with her arrow,

No! There’s no ciphering it.

 

Not your kiss; that came

Years later, etching an entirely

Distinct resonance, a soft, heady

Andante, but never quite the pitch.

 

It was in painting class, mythical

Forest of easels, aped inspiration,

Spreading butter on bread, aimlessly

Pushing hues around canvasses.

 

You’d just returned from Kentucky,

Your little brother gone,

The last, black and white silhouette

Icon near his sisters’ rooms.

 

Across the studio I’m stunned

By your wild-eyed bewilderment,

Vicious puncture through the breast,

Enormous tears on deluged cheeks,

Engraving indelible fissures.

 

Too young, too lucky, too oblivious

Yet to hear Death’s relentless dirge,

My empathy too naïve, my words,

Leaden lumps of useless ore,

 

(Eventually, he noticed and whispered

sad tunes through my days.)

 

Still, I recognized this grim chorus,

Harsh, metallic flavor on the lips,

Your little brother, little boy reflection

To another, my butchered innocence.

 

In that gray moment, now three

Decades past, I comprehend the bond.

My sister, when your fingers fly

Over the keys, you play for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daniel David is a writer, artist, and professor living along the southern shore of Lake Erie in North America. His poems have appeared widely in a number of venues across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. His publications also include articles in the Journal of Creative Behavior; chapbooks Close to Home and Two Buddha, and his novel, Flying Over Erie.