Friday, August 28, 2015


artwork: ralph murre

by Susan Tepper

I say we are one
And the same


Huddled under
The same blanket

Sooner or later
The same crimes—

So why try and
The inevitable yolk
From the white

When all around us
Brethren die gasping

What seems to be
The forgotten path.  

~ previously published in The Stony Thursday Book

Wednesday, August 26, 2015


the pharaoh "narmer" from a photo by keith shengili-roberts

by Jefferson Carter

I like being called “brother”
by black men.  I like walking past
Land of the Pharaohs
& being invited in by the brothers
to bless them with a poem.

“Brothers,” I say, “brothers,
please, no keyboards, no congas,
let me lay something white & uptight
on you brothers.”  I recite my poem
about Martians & Geiger counters,
its conclusion an ironic invitation
to Jesus to drop by some morning
for coffee.  They hate it.

The brothers hate it
but they’re polite, not like Kerouac
at the Living Theater,
heckling Frank O’Hara
or the Academy Awards audience
mocking poor Sally Fields
when she said “You
like me!  You really do
like me!”  The brothers forgive me
as they’d forgive a flying nun
who alighted among them
& roosted, preening, while a brother
recited his hip-hop poem called
“Kill the Honky Muthafuckers.”

~ previously published in Get Serious

Sunday, August 23, 2015


artwork: edward hopper

by Mary Jo Balistreri
            after Edward Hopper

Let me linger a while longer
in the sun, this warm summer breeze.
On the threshold, before you brand me
with your label, I rest my arm on stone.

You call me easy. To say I could have chosen
differently is too easy.

Let me linger a while longer.

I like the way my straw hat protects,
its ribbon trailing down
my back. I’m beautiful in my white summer dress,
good patent leather shoes.

You too are capable of what you disown.
But let me linger while you stare.

You see a naked woman in a sheer white dress.
Big tits and fleshy thighs, the dress a cover up,
a come on.

But let me linger while you stare.

I am stony determination, black isolation.
The confines of my prison and my loneliness,
my bare subsistence—I offer what I can. 
Let me linger a while longer, my full red lips,
almost ready, my foot about to step down.

~ first published in Mobius: The Poetry Magazine

Friday, August 21, 2015

Sound Catcher

photo: ralph murre

Sound Catcher
by Karen Stromberg

               After 39 years this is all I’ve done.
                        Dylan Thomas’ final words.

Dylan, Welsh god of the sea, what have you done
but drown yourself in sound and longing,
stroking the arched backs of words, seeking the ones
that curl together like cats on the tongue,
the ones that electrify the dark, that spark
the spongy dryness of the mind. But all your meanings
within meaning cannot disguise the fact
you did not rage against the pain. You slid
down the narrow neck of anything you found,
glass and flesh alike, and you drowned, you
who knew why water throws itself against the shore,
spurred your own demise, taking your sweet syrup
of sound, half-hidden on that agile tongue
upon which all your honey’d words were hung.

~ first published in qarrtsiluni

Monday, August 17, 2015

VW Microbus, Burning

artwork: ralph murre

VW Microbus, Burning
by John Sierpinski

We are (my wife and little girl)
at the auto repair garage, again. 
It’s Monday afternoon, and they
want another four hundred bucks
that we can ill afford.  “If we need
to…” I finally say.  “We just have

to do it,” she says.  Our daughter
has found a purple thistle sticking
up through the asphalt lot where
other broken-down cars sit.  She
touches it with her index finger.
She makes a face like the sad

mask, sniffs, but doesn’t cry.  Then
she finds a pebble.  Last night,
our battery had shorted out in West
Hollywood.  Believe it or not,
the entire rear engine compartment
became engulfed in flames.  After

I got my wife and daughter out of
the bus, I ran over to a liquor store
for water.  The owner looked
at me, skeptically, then said he
had none.  Aw, come on, I thought,
then once more outside, I snatched

his rain bucket and doused bright
orange flames.  Do you believe
he had followed me outside, grabbed
his white bucket and said, “All you
damn hippies are alike.”  The flames
had gone out, but of course the bus

wouldn’t run.  I hatched a plan.  “Push,
Honey, and I’ll walk and steer.”  My
wife had on very tight shorts.  After
a few feet, a man in a white jacket
showed up and gave us a push with
his car.  That was last night.  Now,

we’re back again.  The garage
abuts the chain link fence
to the Santa Monica Freeway,
I-10.  I can smell the acrid odor                                                           
of car exhaust.  It burns my eyes.
The noise is near deafening. 

My daughter’s soft, round face
looks through the fence.  We’re
forced to spend the money, and
get back into the insanity of the
non-stop freeway.

~ first published in Into the Teeth of the Wind

Friday, August 14, 2015

August, 1945

artwork: ralph murre

August, 1945
by Peggy Trojan

When I was twelve
we stood around the radio
to verify the news.
Japan had surrendered.
The war was really over.

My mother wiped tears.
My father was quiet.
He wasn’t even
in the war,
having lost sight
in one eye at ten.

I rode to baby sit
in Mr. Anderson’s boozy Ford.
When he jammed to a stop,
all the beer bottles
on the back seat
crashed to the floor
in celebration.

~ previously published in Dust and Fire

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Capture the Drops

photo: cristina norcross

Capture the Drops
 by Cristina M.R. Norcross

Sometimes love feels rationed –
doleful, little cups
from an inattentive lover.

The forgotten word –
the rush out the door –
the, goodbye
without, I love you, too.

There is a well
that gathers affection’s rain.
Years of held hands,
of walking side-by-side –
a trail of crumbs
to remember the road,
when it wasn’t this lonely.

Cup your hands
to capture the drops.
Retrain the heart
to give a little –
a soft reed in the wind.

It all flows back.
The touch on the shoulder,
the glance back before opening the door,
the notion that
years collect –
they gather in a semi-circle
of love remembered –
love that insists on staying.

~ first published in An Ariel Anthology (Ariel Woods Books)

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Donald Trump, Sr.

Donald Trump, Sr.
by Mark Zimmermann

A small man’s monotonous lot
amounts to a rut on a dull map.

A Trump man’s dollar amount
maps a natural surplus.

A small man prompts no plan
to add onto unsold land.

A Trump man puts
a dollar amount on all land,

touts an all-out proposal:
Ad plan     Dollar plan


~ previously published in Impersonations (Pebblebrook Press)

   (a book of lipogram poetry in which only those letters in the
     subject's name appear in the poem)

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Snapping Turtle

artwork: jeannie e. roberts

Snapping Turtle
     by Jeannie E. Roberts

Here, where countless creatures
weave through these waters,

where wild jewelweed
and Oswego tea

explode like fireworks,
where cattail spike  

and wood ducks float
quietly, here, you hide

near lily pads, soaking
your vicious temper,  

your mighty jaws
mid these muddy waters

you call home.  Here,
something ancient rises,

unchanged, stalking,
tearing turbulently

with aquatic skill,
reptilian toughness

and cold-blooded instinct.
Here, where your life

means death
to countless creatures,

where final breaths
weave peacefully 
through waters,  
shining home.    

~ first appeared in Nature of it All
    (Finishing Line Press, 2013)