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“What I like in a good author is not what he says but what he whispers.”
Logan Pearsall Smith

featured poems

Golden Grove

Wooden swing, sandal toes.

Willows.

Swaying.

Sweet
water
running.

A silly, sinking feeling.

Sun saved Boat's neck.

Sun saved Boat from Night,
from shipwreck.

Harbored.

Beached.

Bobbing,
beat of red dawn drum,
tune of tangerine rind tenor.

Wheeze.

Sea breeze.

Breathe.

Sugar soap.

Sun drop.

Exfoliate.

- Shashank Virkud

(added 10.22.14)

editor’s note: Safe harbor in a swing's sway; sweet redemptress. - mh

 

There Are No Apostrophes In Plurals

“So, I finally got him to answer his mobile phone
again last night and I said to him,
'Look mate, you cannot have really meant it
when you dumped me last weekend
because the reason you gave was being bored.
You’re a poet man, you could have come up
with a much better excuse than that one.
I mean, you could have told me that there
are no apostrophes in plurals and that it was
all my fault or something brilliant like that!'”

“Hey Girlfriend, that’s clever…what does it mean?”

“It means that he didn’t put much thought into it
because he didn’t really mean it at all,
he’s just being moody and away with the fairies,
artists are like that, insanely temperamental!”

“Cool, so what did he say this time?”

“He said that it wasn’t an excuse and he’s still bored.
Then turned off his phone and Facebook blocked me!”

“How frustrating, he’s really making you work, isn’t he.
Well, you can’t have that can you, I mean it’s not fair?”

“Hell No, I’ve downloaded a ton of Meatloaf tracks,
I’m going to listen to them all night, like really listen,
then write him a love sonnet, play him at his own game.
I’ll have him in tears before I’ve finished, you watch!”

- Paul Tristram

(1 poem added 10.21.14)

editor’s note: With Meatloaf as muse, this girl is gonna take that poet down. Shoulda played your apostrophe card, mate! - mh

 

intruder alert

WE JUST “POPPED” IN TO CHANGE YOUR AIR FILTER
AND CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARM—

This on a slip of paper atop the kitchenette counter,
greeting me upon my return from work,
triggering mucho panic;
I can’t help but wonder
what else they did
while popping in,
so I inspect my toothbrush
for signs of sabotage,
sniffing the bristle,
then it’s on to my smut collection,
checking for pilfered porn
before scanning my library,
focusing on Bukowski
as we all know his stuff
attracts thieves;
finally concluding at the liquor cabinet
where I examine myriad levels,
breathing a sigh of relief;
everything seems cool,
just another attack—
I really should get help;
if I had a sex doll
I’d lock her chastity belt
and swallow the key
with my morning
coffee.

- Ben Newell

(added 10.20.14)

editor’s note: Worry over what popped out from a popped up pop-in. - mh

 

windchimes

despite leaves turning toward her silently
mouthing words to string quartets she sighs
gardenias fill the air with attention
their aroma seeps widely the office
calls unaware our conversation shifts
necessities prevail over coffee

apart from the filament connecting
two hands along gravel studded lamplight
only her eyes finely hint these railways
speak multitudes past breezy boulevards
eventually maps reach their limits
rumor has it her friends plot the journey

rivers away the department debates
whether she should have written that letter
delightful strands perhaps the rope bridge holds
the climber pulls her aside to inquire
while gliding through stark cornfields we notice
reflection heavy upon our shoulders

desk drawers alight with anticipation
supervisors discuss their agendas
love beyond burdened glass the cubicle
too fierce to touch watching from the break room
cellos their last streams warble around us
she follows the tune as it wanders past

- Michelle Villanueva

(added 10.19.14)

editor’s note: Too often, missed goes the music, hunkered down in a cubicle trench, fighting a paper war. - mh

 

All I've done recently is apologize.

Sorry, honey
Sorry, ten guys beating me
Sorry, police who made me sit in my own urine
Sorry, guy who bought my bar and got a criminal charge brought against me by driving a kid to the hospital who ripped the tendons in his ankle by kicking me in the ribs
Sorry, foreclosed landlady for giving you money to repay the loan you defaulted on
Sorry, to make you sue me for 3,000 when you owe over 300,000
Sorry, loan shark, Sang Il, who is suing my landlady
Sorry that my landlady didn't take the rent money I paid for three years and use it to repay the original bank loan
Sorry, new owner that you have to kick us out
Sorry, Israel for my support of Palestinians trying not to be refugees by repeatedly mocking your dumb rhetoric
Sorry, Mayan Indians, Triqui Indians, and all others who have been displaced

In Korea you see old women carrying babies on back (but they'll never forgive the Japanese or Americans)
But in the refugee camps in Chiapas you see babies on the backs of young girls cause siblings care for siblings after their parents and grandparents are gone

Sorry, bitchy woman in restaurant for being too loud playing with my son
Sorry, sorry, sorry, for all of it
You're right, honey, it's all my fault

- Ralph-Michael Chiaia

(1 poem added 10.18.14)

editor’s note: De nada! - mh

 

Big Green Moon In North Laguna

Dodging shiny tank-sized SUV’s
and their texting, latte-sipping,
GPS-distracted, cell-phone chatting,
high on prescription drug driving,
foie gras artery clogged,
utterly miserable, corporate
pencil pushers and peons,
of which I was once one,
I maneuver across a highway of road kill,
through wooden skeletons
of tract housing,
under rusted, barbed wire
that once kept back the cattle,
but now just cut through my jeans.

I continue through cool chaparral
foggy ravines with cottontails
frozen like statues,
black stink bugs,
vines with dried hollow gourds;
once drinking cups for Indians,
the bones of whom lay far beneath
this Pelican Hill Golf Resort,
too green and manicured,
from which fertilizers seep down,
eroding sand cliffs,
poisoning the tide pools below.

I breathe in deeply;
earth peppermint coolness,
salty sea mist,
and dance along the cliff,
arms spread wide like a
yellow-beaked, red-clawed hawk,
over a narrow, rocky beach,
vast darkness of ocean
and beyond that;
a big green Laguna moon,
I can almost touch.

- John Szabo

(added 10.17.14)

editor’s note: Dodging destruction to dance in the moon. - mh

 

Back Then

Most days, it was a secret.
As the sun sank the light dimmed
and died out, but the numbers on my digital clock
buzzed, burning redder as the dark wore on.
A bulb from the hall lit the crack
under the door, but, that too, slowly, eventually,
flickered and went black.
When the house was dusted with silence,
I opened the door and crept out.
The beat of blood against my head
crashed like waves upon the shore,
yet I could hear every grain of sand shift
under my feet as I tip-toed down the hall.
I made my way outside, careful to not disturb
the motes of silence floating
in the absence of moonlight.
I made it.
I ran, feeling roots and grass with my feet,
and the sparkling stars prickling on my skin.
The space of twelve and five between
the hands of the clock were now mine.
The crack under the door lit
with the suns admonishment
and its rays fell on me: asleep.

- Tom Freeland

(added 10.16.14)

editor’s note: A dreamed escape, a dreamscape, a dream... - mh

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