Daily Archives: February 7, 2016

9 posts

“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.

“Winding Way” by Robert Bartusch

The road declines to tell me
Where I’m going.


This road just winds
And takes me
Where I am.


I know that you don’t understand
Where I’m going.


You know I won’t tell you
Where I’ve been.


Would you believe me
If I told you I’m just walking up
Hills in a park,
Enjoying the sunshine this spring.


The road just winds and takes me
Where I am.


Road, we don’t have
To disagree.
I know you’ll always take care of me.
Just wind and
Take me where I am.








Robert Bartusch is a bar manager in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has a BA in English from Ohio University and has been writing in his free time while working in bars and restaurants for 17 years. He is also a songwriter for the rock band Hurricane Hotpants. twitter.com/hhpants

“Skin’s Love Note” by Andreas Fleps

As I kiss the godly curvature
Of the nape of your neck,
Tiny beautiful bumps of Braille
Protrude from your soft flesh,
Beckoning me to place my lips
Gently on you once again
And slowly read the message
You have written for me only,
Which is always this,
“I love you.”








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

“Going to a Funeral in Another World” by Joseph DeMarco

The scene is all too familiar
(Except for the purple sky).
Has this happened before?
Deja vu on the edge of a waking dream?
In another life,
Or maybe all funerals are the same?


The same ceremony.
The same casket.
(Well this casket is made of Phantom-wood.)
The same sadness, fear and joyousness,
From everybody that it is not
THEIR funeral.


We are all lined up
(Along the blue grass),
These familiar strangers.
They look like neighbors from past lives.


The lady next to me looks like
My 1st grade teacher.
(Except she has five noses.)
She doesn’t seem to know me,
Why would she?


Didn’t I used to deliver newspapers to that man?
(Except without the eyes in the back of his head)
Not in this life.
Maybe that was lifetimes ago.


On the way in
I brushed past the doorman
(Who looks like this kid I used to play hockey with,
Except he is thirty years older),
But we say not a word to each other,
As if we don’t know each other
(Or never did).


The funeral is sad and I cry,
Even though I never knew the boy in the coffin.
I cry because things have to end.
Why can’t they be endless?
I cry because death is heart-breaking.
I cry for his family’s pain.


And I am glad to go back to my world,
Where we never die and love is endless.








Joseph DeMarco was born in New York City; he lived most of his life in Buffalo, NY. He now teaches seventh grade on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. He is the author of the novels Plague of the Invigilare, The 4 Hundred and 20 Assassins of Emir Abdullah-Harazins, At Play in the Killing Fields, and Blind Savior, False Prophet. He is currently working on several new projects.  (authorsden.com/josephdemarco)