Friday, December 16, 2011

poems by linda m. crate

she laid buried there 
underneath the point where
the truths started and the
lies began; you all ignored
that as you tittered your
adulations in birdsong as 
if ignoring her dead body
would make it go away 

imbibed leaves burn her
throat, her body would thrash
if she weren't already dead;
her lips the blue of azure skies
dipped in loving white clouds -
still you hold hands and laugh
as if she never existed there;
the lilting songs of disaster 

clinging to her lips in an unsung

hymn that you all feign to have
forgotten; she lays there in a sprawl
of gold and scarlet, her hair the
petals of the sun birthed upon
grey rocks that cover her more
prettily than her fine clothes
torn to tatters by wolves,
you have no silver tears left for her.

unearthed  by shaking hands
some years later, a strip of pink
is the only thing that separates
her skull from that of a wild
animal; his fingers trip over her
syllables like a laughing girl, he
discovers the truth hidden in her
marrow and he is rendered mute. 
- linda m. crate 

cyanide lullabies 
cyanide lullabies cling to her lips
in rivers of red lipstick, she knows
no other color of passion but scarlet -
she chokes on cardinal feathers simply
so she can feel the vibrancy of being 
alive; she does not know that love isn't
a heart attack walking on egg shells or
a victory march, but something a little
less grand yet in it's simplicity even more
beautiful than her lovely dulcet hued lips. 
- linda m. crate

the clock was dead
the hands of the clock were fixed -
they could only tell the right time
twice a day; every other hour they

lilted in dulcet tones the exact hour
of impropriety, a weirder shade of
midnight sung on pomegranate seeds;

the eyes of one and two ever staring
in their stained maroon, a garish hue
loud enough to make babies lament.
- linda m. crate

they made their pilgrimage
through the town dotted with
churches, their hearts twisted
in an odd shade of pomegranate 

the memory of love brought back
only bitterness, it left it's stain in
garish maroon hues they could
never wash from their souls, they

recalled the impropriety of the
priests that called themselves men
of God, remembered their sins went
unpunished by men, it brought the

tang of anger darting to their tongues -
silver rain fell upon stained glass
windows, as alms of their anger poured
forth in rivulets of angry words; the

men were happy when they returned
home to a place where only bars had
sprung their wooden hands, drowning
out their disdain with a bit of needed ale.
- linda m. crate  

drowned in the ale of silver
rain, she made a promise to
let it wash away the stains of
every garish yesterday that 
had painted her in it's ugly
obsidian hymns sometimes
streaking her with pomegranate
other times with royal blue; 

she took her life back in a
breath of fog, let the white
mist swallow what was left
of her pain; let the rain mingle
with the salt of her eyes, it
made a good fertilizer for
the flowers that grew beneath
her feet in dulcet pastel hues.

she knew that God would one
day heal her broken heart, 
until the doves came she 
would sit here in the field as
she sipped on the liquor of 
the clouds; letting the pain
blossom forth so it could be
washed away by wet fingers.
- linda m. crate

poems by Donal Mahoney

The Next One Like You
I’ve found no new woman,
as you’d like to surmise.
But the next one
who braids
my mind with my heart
won’t get away,
not even if she’s a nun.
The next one like you
I’ll lock in a room
near the sky and there
will I kiss her until
she is certain
a thousand butterflies
one by one
are lighting
all over her body. 
Donal Mahoney

On Taking Secretaries To Lunch

If you live in the valley
know the lava above
has the tact of Comanche
demeanor of dove
Hoe furrow
don’t sprinkle
your seed
then enwire
Post sentry
tall criers
Go home
to your love

Donal Mahoney

When The Words Begin

It always begins
like indigestion,
slowly at first,
then full bore.
Either way,
I need relief,
no question.
But no antacid
can abort a poem
so I have to stop
and take dictation.
I’m no Matthew, Mark
Luke or John.
They wrote the Gospels
by Divine Inspiration.
I’m on my own;
I have to listen.

So when the words begin 
I grab my quill.
I have no choice.
I have to stop
and take dictation.

Donal Mahoney
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. A. His poetry and fiction have appeared in a variety of publications, including Public Republic (Bulgaria), Revival (Ireland), The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey), The Osprey Journal (Scotland), The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review and other publications.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Poems by A.J. Kaufmann


The seraph, the tempest, in cobbled sky
avert in milky mourning 

thumbs up, 23
still wedded under
hope signs

Strands and days of marriage
jazz your blues
out of the moon
cheering wrecks
in harvest

Starlight reclaims
mind's burden
suicide hipsters
where nightfalls 

Soul's fire showers
stigmata whirled in sands
in the whirlwind
driven to flame

Fountains pitched in the lightning
exile Deutschland!
while mercy reigns
on Saturday heaven
Body be our pride
black sex
chalk stain
lions in lettering light
penthouse pain

Palms crash
your madrigal flesh
granite soul
a quarter of earth
you’re ink sketch Christ

Exile Deutschland!
for the years we spent
on bitter surf


Wake up to the burden
feel pain in everything wild
Polaroid electric smile

Round formless river eating herself
drinking with sadly late some
enduring in parade of poker

True fat age
shows through winter covers
tight family suits

Stormy days of heavy past
gather round
mouth meat
hearing fellow sounds
of a rat reel

Money, air, eccentric ink
with little sun painted squeals
brown bowdlerized
dinners rose
to prove
you’re eating noise

Night knell for the clowns
hard-earned peace
in clattering thoughts

We suddenly stop stealing
savage states
hitching strange 
rags of times
tuned with low
sailor days’ cravat

One frightful April
policeman laughing at
a nameless death
climbed, in face anguish
to the silence jury doodling:
talk of the pigs

Cold everything, muffled sick
shelved to watch
worried women
insects, booze
blue, burnt blankets
The frantic wait 
of sharp cruel dogs
dead city thirst
war sick divers
playing the old
patriotic drum

On far German deserts
of circus love
in begging eyes, serving
the glare wheel
you soberly walk
round twirling of words
the shadow boys’


Murmur of leaden wings
dead edge
of a coffin

Thru whispers mad
we know you

Little pitiful
body death
a warm strange hand
in the night

Between incense
and the dark
blood is the flame
you burn

In waking moments
carefully watching
the blade
Rarify ecstasy now
then you don’t exist


Ashes she describes 
her white and smallest you
light unwraps your head
every ornament
of intellect
childlike, translated

Guiding lady hybrids
thru satisfactory ages
burning sand in your eyes
days to their palm
anxious, demoralized

Simple cracks, like us
subtle to destiny
practice monotony
against the shades
of reply 
this black, nauseous

Parting with the quiet life
long, indigenous months
make me feel resigned
but I hold my true Bombay
in words timidly


Yiddish ghetto flower
old twilight bird 
searching eyes
in irony of vision

Cities forgotten
in velvety gleaming night
are slow side
phosphorus flesh psalm

Ridiculous, gone 
gleaming without a world
as ancient darkness saddles
our thought

Empty sunken stones
parade red words 
creeping up our fine cold skulls
blocking books and harmonies

Garbage goblets, mirrors
dull, ephemeral beauty
shocks the stars, screaming grapes
on vermilion black surface

A.J. Kaufmann is a young poet and songwriter hailing from Poznan, Poland, whose debut poetry chapbook, "Siva in Rags", was published on June 28, 2008 with a small American publisher, Kendra Steiner Editions. Since then he has published lots of poetry chapbooks in the USA, UK and Poland, including “Saint of Kreuzberg”, “Cut-up 2010” and “I’m Already Not Here”. His debut studio album, "Second Hand Man", appeared on the Polish music market on October 2, 2011.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

poems by Michael Estabrook

frogs and the Boston Strangler

I’m at work, at my desk, finishing up a poem
about frogs (Everything in my life ends up
in a poem it’s sad yes I know it is a very
sad thing, but what can you do?)
when one of my fellow-workers sticks
his bald, shiny head into my office and says,
“Hey I heard this great joke
on TV last night about a frog . . .”
Of course I’m stunned by the coincidence
but can’t say anything about it because
nobody at work knows I’m a poet
when I’m not at work,
like the Boston Strangler was
a strangler when he wasn’t driving a cab.

Alpha-Male on the Beach

Yesterday the water was cold
and the waves choppy, but I went in anyway,
I went all the way in anyway,
the only one in.

I swam along the shoreline,
half a mile or so, my wife and granddaughter
following along on the beach.

"Wow," her eyes sparkled, "You were like
a triathlete out there." She took
my hand, so proud of me.

So today, the same situation, only with
the water even colder, the waves choppier.
When things calmed down, everyone finished
with their snacks and flying their kites,
I stood from my beach chair,
stretched like a waking bear,
swung my arms around and around
over my head so everyone could see me,
flapped them like Michael Phelps does
before he dives in.
Then I popped in my ear plugs,
strode out solemnly, so bravely, so manly
(the alpha-male on the beach)
through the rocks and seaweed,
cracked shells and snails,
finally diving into the churning frigid sea,
swam out and fought my way
along the craggy shoreline just like yesterday,
only this time nobody even noticed.

Pink Ribbon

I brought her her birthday present,
flew all the way across the country
to give her a belated birthday present.

I'm waiting out on her deck to surprise her.
She finally comes home from work
up the side steps to the deck,
smiling and giggling and chattering
with two of her girlfriends
just like the 13-year old beauty I knew so well.

Her hair is dark and long with a ribbon
holding it back, a pink ribbon.
She's wearing a white sweater.

I'm waiting for her on the deck at the top of the steps.
I thought she would be surprised to see me,
surprised and happy to see me,
waiting there with her present out on her deck.

Suddenly she's quiet,
stops talking with her girlfriends.
She doesn't seem to notice me,
(but I know she does),
doesn't even look at me
as I'm standing there all excited to give her
her present, to see her again after 47 years.

It's as if I don't exist, and in reality, I don't.
She rejected me a long, long time ago
and that's how it still is.
Some things simply do not change with time.


Truth of this matter was
I was far too frightened
that I'd lose her for good, forever,
if I stayed away, testing to see if she'd miss me.
What if she didn't miss me, what then?
What if after she sent me away
so she could date that other guy,
I stayed away until she missed me enough
to want me back, and she didn't?
What if I didn't come around
for a couple weeks, didn't call her
or write to her and she liked it!
What if she liked her freedom (from me),
like a songbird released from her cage, finally free,
free from me, free to flap her wings
and fly wherever she pleased, away from me,
unimpeded by me, free, forever free?
Where would I be then?
Certainly not here, lying in bed next to her
listening contentedly to her soft sweet snoring
and marveling once again that she married me,
agreed to spend her life with me,
agreed to being my girl till the end.
No, I couldn't risk it. I couldn't risk losing her,
that's why I didn't stay away,
why I returned almost the very next day,
coward that I am.


In church for our grandchildren's baptism,
an hour, a long, long hour of the Benediction,
the New Testament Lesson, Pastoral Prayer, Offertory,
and the One Voice Choir singing ancient tunes.

I'm reminded of why I don't go
to church anymore -
anachronistic, old-fashioned, out-of-touch
with reality, feeling like I'm back in time to 1860.

But some people love it, feel fulfilled,
so I am happy for them,
wish I could be more simplistic and feel
the same way too, but I can't.

Brief bio:
Michael Estabrook is a baby boomer who began getting his poetry published in the late 1980s. Over the years he has published 15 poetry chapbooks, his most recent entitled “When the Muse Speaks.” Other interests include art, music, theatre, opera, and his wife who just happens to be the most beautiful woman he has ever known.

Friday, December 2, 2011

poems by Kevin Heaton

 Ageless Issues
                    from natural springs

The first placenta pardoned sweet

water through mother’s earth canal

onto thirsty feral parchment.

A natural spring preened velvet green

clusters tickling sweet gum toes,

and spit-shined flint-flaked remnants

etched into sojourner missteps whisked

away on the current. Errant time

traveller tracks not yet held to account

were foot-washed unto salvation.

I stood hushed inside the terminus seeking

truth, and ponderd mysteries entrusted

to ageless artesian Samaritans summoned

by holy men. There, I wet the nib

of my hopes in quenching second chances,

and absolved solace of mortal restraint.         

The Fountain of Youth

The ghost of Juan Ponce de Leon
possessed the serpentine tongue

of a python. It told the Moorish
tale of an everafter fountain

along the River Euphrates 
in The Garden of Eden beside

the tree of good and evil, formed
by strange tides and divers tidings,

where scarlet parrots cleanse
their plumes in the refilled Cup

of Christ and splash Templar
wine on red flamingos panning

for watercress at Alexander’s
well. There, forbidden fruits dine

on carnal flesh without conviction,
and fabled springs extend the life—

                             of each inquisitor.

Westward Ho!

Sodbusters burrowed in Mississippi

mud and found comfort on the backs

of True People. The brittle dead fingers

of Custer’s Elm branch splintered

wanderdust into dream seeker eyes.

Peyote pricks from a cactus rose thorn

grafted trances onto sage seer visions:

hinting moonlight glints through

a bullsnake’s reflection; sidewinding

snips at the nib of an owl. Deer antler

tips neath a rolling flint hill flaked

the frontier edge of an oak grove cusp.

Lies and tall tales agreed to split hairs

on the gist of a small Kansas town.

Roman Nose

Nephilim fell to Mount Olympus

and sired her a warrior son.

Through halcyon days on phoenix

wings swaddled warm in fox fur.

Principle god of prairie wars

sent to stir the great Cheyenne

and let the squatter vein. His talisman:

a Spencer carb, breech-clout lashed

to four six guns. A compound bow

drawn near to splinters; sentried

at the left hand. Where legends legion

he lingered long beside Platte water

counting coup. His blood-tipped nose:

a Roman lance; to preen the blue

in yellow eyes, and snipe the aim

from soldier awe.

The Godfather’s Soul

James Brown died with his cape

on. God cast him in bronze, booked

into a night gig on Broad Street;

where re-glazed burnt sugars sweet

roll johns’ dough in crack-alley pink

cadillacs, and homies sift dust

on the hood. They tend ‘The Father’s’

soul for a blessing and spit shine

his brass with crepe myrtle dew,

then deal salvation to pimps

and pisspot prophets with gold

lamé teeth, while baby mamas

suffer their little children to rap

a few beats wit ‘Da Man.’

Pushcart Prize nominee Kevin Heaton was born in Kansas, and now lives and writes in South Carolina. His fascination with history and love for the outdoors have led him on a journey to better understand life beyond the city limits. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in 150 publications, including: Raleigh Review, Foundling Review, The Honey Land Review, and elimae. His fourth chapbook, Chronicles, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in early 2012. He is a Best of the Net 2011 nominee.