Daily Archives: January 30, 2016


“Talk to Me” by Mike Nichols

These jagged, oval walls I climb
toward the haloed light of sky,
but the voices ease me down again
shifting, settling inside my mind.
Keeping me company
though I don’t want any.

 

They showed up,
skulking one by one
like junkies
propped against the payphone
outside the Kwikee Mart.
Always getting words in
edgewise or otherwise.

 

Lately, I worry.
What if there’s only one?
Some Rich Little type
muttering allegations,
his impersonations soured
with the subtle flavor
of martyred mother.
And I say, softly, to myself
Here, mom.
Take my hand, mom.
Don’t be afraid, mom.
Come down off the cross, mom.
We need the wood, mom!

 

Whatever.

 

An orderly bunch
these voices are
like an A.A. meeting,
no leaders only
trusty servants – twisty serpents.
And the voice who showed up first?
Yeah.
He’s the worst.

 

I was three or maybe four
and half asleep
lying on the floor
when he first pressed into me
like a palpitating marshmallow
his bouncing bass beat.
Whispering:

 

Life – Is – Dangerous. Repeat.

 

 

His voice lucid,
sensible if insensitive,
inserting reproving tones
inside my frightened child’s head.
He coerced me
down into the well,
safe from…
death by car and
addictive drugs and
brass cased slugs and
feelings that frame
hospitals
aortic holes
sickly reddish iodine and
teenage suicide and
cells that have metastasized and
one-ton bedroom doors behind which
Cancer sits up, cries out, VICTORY
and the brimstone and fire of eternal hell and
this earthly hell in which we dwell and…

 

Huddled in darkness
Let me rest
and cool my cheek
my child face pressed
against these jagged walls.
Then I’ll stand
to climb
with ragged hands
because

 

It’s cold. I’m lonely. I can…

 

Shhh.
There, there.
It’s safer.
Down here.
In the well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.


“A Measure of Time” by Miki Byrne

Time is measured.

Poured from an unseen vessel

volume unknown.

Doled out in random offerings.

Some drink their fill,

paddle in a surfeit.

Others receive enough

for short sustenance.

Many take only a sip.

Never reach full hydration.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miki Byrne has written three poetry collections, had work included in over 160 poetry magazines and anthologies, and won a few poetry competitions. She has read on both radio and TV, judged poetry competitions, and was a finalist for Poet Laureate of Gloucestershire. Miki is disabled and lives near Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, UK.


“Palomino” by Rose Marie

On a beautiful
80 degree day,
That breathtaking Palomino horse
Is waiting to come out of his stall

 

I set him free

 

But he comes back to me
Big round innocent eyes
meet mine
and it’s like I’m in another world
where sadness no longer reigns

 

His gallop so soothing
I ride all day
No place I’d rather be-
That Palomino

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rose Marie is from Valley Glen, California. She loves barrel racing and has two horses of her own. She says she’s extremely fortunate to come from a Mexican family: the food is delicious, the music is irresistible, and the people are very humble. She also enjoys hiking the desert hills and spending valuable time with family and friends.


“Chances” by Bob Lind

The stars held still in their places.
Below them, the majestic earth
Rolled easy through the night,
Moving with purpose but in no hurry.

 

On the ground, there were
Lilacs and Poinsettias.
There were spaces between
Peaceful, strong-limbed trees.

 

And in those spaces, endless
Opportunities for joy and well-being pulsed,
Chances to dance; chances to smile,
Happy life waiting to bloom and stretch
And reach out beyond itself.

 

Between the Earth and stars,
He scowled at his watch,
Slammed his tray table up
And thought he might be
Catching a goddamn cold
About five seconds before
The plane began to crash.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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


“Learning and Studying Went On Far Into the Night” by Avagyan Ester

Learning and studying went on far into the night

as if the height of my knowledge reaches the Tower of Babylon.

But at the end, we all sit next to the Socrates,

Tapping on his shoulder because it seems he was right about humanity

knowing absolutely nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avagyan Ester is situated in Valley Glen, California. She is intrigued by poly-syllabic words; ancient, rusty time pieces; and novels about ancient, rusty time pieces that include poly-syllabic words.


“Worthwhile” by Tom Pescatore

You type
what comes first,
then you print
labels, pull those out
of printer smelling of
heated glue and paper,
smelling like newspapers
and running belts and wheels,
smelling like childhood memories
you can’t quite recapture
with the smell gone so
suddenly leaving.
Afterwards you remove
labels, place on folders
and stamp times new roman
red letters once
for stampings sake.
Place the folder
in its categorized,
alphabetized place
between other folders
placed in their
categorized,
alphabetized place.
Then you leave it
alone, knowing
that you may
never go back to it,
knowing, maybe,
it’s possible that
no one else ever will,
knowing that this folder
will outlast you,
and your children,
and your children’s children,
knowing that what is in
that folder is less than
worthless,
knowing that all of
your effort is meaningless,
knowing that eventually
everything but those
folders will die.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Pescatore grew up outside Philadelphia, dreaming of the endless road ahead, carrying the idea of the fabled West in his heart. He maintains a poetry blog. His work has been published in literary magazines both nationally and internationally, but he’d rather have them carved on the Walt Whitman bridge or on the sidewalks of Philadelphia’s old Skid Row.


“The Godess of Night” by Cara Vitadamo

The Goddess of night
weaves around mindless, black light.

 

She waits for brass heroes
that talk in riddles
to make her Queen
of a castle with no moats.

 

Anticipating her change,
she found she makes her home
beneath rocks
as ruler of cadavers
and worms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.


“Change Entrails Green” by Twixt

The wary and tarry of change succumbs
to what it is weary and teary of.
Change is digestive tract: the lovat of
caterpillar purtenance dissect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twixt is the mononym-onym of Peter Specker. He has had poetry published in Margie, The Indiana Review, Amelia, California State Quarterly, RE:AL, Pegasus, First Class, Pot-pourri, Art Times, The Iconoclast, Epicenter, Subtropics, Quest, Confrontation, Writers’ Journal, Rattle, Prairie Schooner, and others. He lives in Ithaca, New York.


“Shaker Furniture” by Ruth Z. Deming

(at the Philadelphia Museum of Art)

 

Narrow wood
and fair
cut from trees
of another America
furniture
plain
worn at the
touch points
shy furniture
caught behind the museum’s glass wall
like a ballerina hooking up her dress.

 

The desk and rocker
the candelabra
upended like a bird on wing,
flow without order or design
in their latest
retirement place. Another
room, dark as
a porch in twilight
houses a high, narrow bed.
We can’t go in.
Who warmed their legs beneath these sheets?
Or dreamt of forbidden touch?

 

Really, it wasn’t so long ago that
they left, half a century merely,
the Great Ones, sitting in
the farmhouse for
their last regal portraits,
turning their ancient heads
like captive eagles
listening
still listening
for the scuff of shoes
on the kitchen floor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Z. Deming has had her poetry published in literary journals including Metazen, Mad Swirl, River Poets, and Eunoia Review. A psychotherapist and mental health advocate, she runs New Directions Support Group for people and families affected by depression and bipolar disorder. She lives in Willow Grove, PA, a suburb of Philadelphia.


“Dawn In Palm Springs” by Robert Halleck

As light slowly appears
dawn is approaching.
Above are streaks of lightening
followed by thunder.
It’s 6 am in the land
of second homes.
The sprinklers start
as raindrops dot
the sidewalks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Halleck is a hospice volunteer and retired banker. He has written poetry for over 50 years. Recent poems have appeared in Bluepepper, The Camel Saloon, and the 2014-2015 San Diego Poetry Society Anthology.


“Hapa” by Sam Louie

I don’t quite fit in,
not 100% Asian,
nor 100% “American.”

 

Call me, “Hapa,”
Hawaiian for mixed,
half-breed,
bi-racial,
rejected, not accepted,
unwanted,
no tribe to call my own,
all I want really is to belong,
a place, I can call home.

 

I live in the land in-between,
Like the Hebrews during Exodus,
wandering in the desert,
looking for comfort and rest,
searching for my identity,
only to have others say quizzically,
“You don’t look like me!”

 

Not White enough to fit in with the mainstream,
nor Asian enough to be a minority.
I’m constantly teased,
not comfortable being just me.

 

I’m confounded,
conflicted,
cursed,
caught in a cultural cross-fire.
Who will leave me alone?
Better yet, who will accept me as their own?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sam Louie is a first-generation Chinese-American psychotherapist with a focus on Asian addictions and cultural issues. He is also an Emmy Award-winning former journalist who currently writes for Psychology Today on issues related to race and culture. In addition, he writes and performs poetry addressing issues related to immigrant experiences, culture, addictions, and recovery.  samlouiemft.com