Sunday, 30 December 2007

December, 2002 by Alan Britt

Whoever heard of a photograph
staring back at you
making you uncomfortable?

I mean, what’s that all about?

Making you nervous,
like you needed to stand up
and perform some official duty?

Damn photograph just found me
in my burrow
deep in December.

Alan Britt, MD, USA

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Child by Christian Ward

The curiosity of a child
new to the world is musical.
Notes are composed
with images from a world
we keep in our back pockets:

shadows on a suburban
lamppost, clouds casting off
their uniforms over shorn
fields. These are tossed
like unwanted Polaroids,
ready for the daily sacrifice

of dust and dark. To prepare
ourselves for becoming human
we must unlock each song,
connect it to our cities of flesh
and bone. And be still, be still.

Christian Ward, London, UK

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Yang Chung's Poem 72 by Duane Locke

Tea leaves, a lacquer-black, crossed
On cups
...........Orange coolie hat bottom
The words that clothe
............................The sounds
Of wood pigeons
.........................By the woodpiles
..........Irregular round edges, the ends,
Are lit
Evening fireflies and a reflection
A rooster's red comb.

The sun and her blonde hair

Are both wet.

Duane Locke, Florida, USA

Friday, 14 December 2007

Caricature Of An Early Planter by Michael Lee Johnson

(Edmonton, Alberta Canada)

He is a gardener
with a spyglass.
With an ice pick
cavities are chopped
out of the earths torpid
mouth, dry seeds are packed
in with frostbitten fingertips.
He rakes his yard clear
of all snow in winter
so green blades of grass
will pop through frozen
He will weed, thin his garden early.
He is a realist; he writes poetry also.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Nose in the Wind by Mike McCulley

We call the dapple-gray
Snow-Ghost, we ride
her in the night

where the winter storms go.
We call the dog

Mike McCulley, WA, USA

Sunday, 2 December 2007

The Snow Diary by Christian Ward

Snow slipped out of the straightjacket
of my diary when Father left. Morning

came and I found tracks on its pages,
along with a fox peering at me, wondering

why I had never noticed it before, why
it had never been so cold before.

Christian Ward, London, UK

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Friday, 23 November 2007

Manic is the Dark Night by Michael Lee Johnson

Deep into the forest
the trees have turned
black, and the sun
has disappeared in
the distance beneath
the earth line, leaving
the sky a palette of grays
sheltering the pine trees
with pitch-tar shadows.
It is here in this black
and sky gray the mind
turns psycho
tosses norms and pathos
into a ground cellar of hell,
tosses words out through the teeth.
"Don't smile or act funny,try to be cute
with me;how can I help you today
out of your depression?"
I fell jubilant, I feel over the moon
with euphoric gaiety.
Damn I just feel happy!
Back into the wood of somberness
back into the twigs,
sedated the psychiatrist
Scribbles, notes, nonsense on a pad of yellow paper
:"mania, oh yes, mania, I prescribe
lithium, do I need to call the police?"
No sir, back into the dark woods I go.
Controlled, to get my meds.
Twist and rearrange my smile,
crooked, to fit the immediate need.
Deep in my forest
the trees have turned black again.
To satisfy the conveyer.
The Lord of the dark wood.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Thursday, 15 November 2007

First by Frank Praeger

But first, not always loss,
rhapsodic claims,
a cow inflexible but for its tail,
a horse's reply.
But first, compelling as a thought,
desire for unspent inner spaces
that neither mountain scapes or waterfalls satisfy.

A customary smile restored,
a zeroing out of each interrogation.
But first, braced for the next,
as an inattentive prompter looks away.
A permanent remorse settles.
The sky closes down
to grosbeaks on a branch,

to a stream's asynchrounous beat.

A lengthening shadow comprising three parts magic
covers an unfettered inside.
Coifed hair,
collapsible chairs
characterize a sun stunned patio.
And who was it that was once there,

who was it that collaborated in timely banter
as any two heads deal in closely held secrets?
What singular event holds steadfast?

Black-capped chickadees feed at the birdfeeder

A crow tops off a telephone pole.
Interpolated, dispelled,

whispering from among the fallen.
Results tabulated are inconclusive.
Still, the sky is breached,
an ancient resemblance redeems,
the shore clear of debris.

Frank Praeger, MI, USA

Thursday, 8 November 2007

A Poem of the Night by Michael Lee Johnson

a poem
is a thought
of flowers
near frost,
dangling stiff
bitten by
the vampire of
late fall,
hanging desolate
near dusk
from a pot
on a patio porch-
with a yellow bulb
light beaming
conspicuously outward
over chilled
yellow green
glazed grass.
While my cat Nikki
hunches over a coffee
table, toasty & warm,
nose pressed
super glue
to the window
on guard for
passing birds,
utility vans
with large bubble eyes.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Monday, 5 November 2007

Firewirks owre Bressa Soond by Christine De Luca


Licht fades peerie-wyes i da simmer dim;
hills cut-oot, black on a egg-shall sky.
Toon lichts mirl, da Soond flat calm.
You hadd your breath an Shetland sinks
her clooers athin you, beds her doon.
At da crack o firewirks fae da Bressa side
a sel skoits, dooks him ithoot a soond.
Rockets burst heich owre dark watter
een eftir tidder. Abön wis, da sky is
a swirl o cotts, a birl i da darknin.
Der somethin aboot beauty poored oot
at catches i da trot; aboot da prodigal
at laeves wis moothless, winderin,
lik wi da ocean, da lönabrak.

Fireworks over Bressay Sound


Light fades gently in summer twilight;
hills cut-out, black on an egg-shell sky.
Town lights shimmer, the Sound flat calm.
You hold your breath and Shetland sinks
her claws in you, beds down.
At the crack of fireworks from the Bressay side
a seal scouts out, slips under soundlessly.
Rockets burst high over dark water
one after another. Above us, the sky is
a swirl of petticoats, a whirl in the darkening.
There’s something about beauty poured out
that catches in the throat; about the prodigal
that leaves us speechless, wondering,
like with the ocean, the breaking surf.

Christine De Luca, Edinburgh, UK

Monday, 29 October 2007

Fire Ranger by Bob Bradshaw

From here it feels like I'm living
in a bonsai garden. Mountains
in the distance are smooth stones.
Scattered clouds
glow at sunset like Japanese maples.
Deer move through the grounds.
Headlights on the roads below
are as fuzzy as paper lanterns.
From this nest in the Sierras
I see a green cloudscape
of forest. Are you lonely?
everyone asks.
It isn't lonely in a tree house,
I answer. It's peaceful. Smoke
threads up through the trees
like smoke from a pipe.
My job's important. It's not
an escape, as you suspect. Why
don't you visit me more, you ask?
I'm not living on the upper floor
of a fire station, with a fire pole
to slide down from.
Don't worry. We'll keep in touch,
I promise. But friends up here
are like birds on a roof.
One by one they disappear
as the snow flies

Bob Bradshaw, California, USA

Monday, 22 October 2007

Jesus Walks by Michael Lee Johnson

Jesus lives
in a tent
not a temple
coated with blue
velvet sugar
He dances in freedom
of His salvation
with the night and all
days bearing down with sun.
He has billions of ears
hanging from His head
dangling by seashores
listening to incoming prayers.
Sometimes busy hours drive Him
near crazy with buzzing sounds.
He walks near desert bushes
and hears wind tunnels
pushed by pine stinging nettles.
Here in His sacred voice
a whisper and
Pentecostal mind-
confused by hints of
Catholicism and prayers to Mary-
He heals himself in sacred
ponds tossing holy water
over himself--
touching nothing but
humanity He recoils
and finishes his desert
walk somewhat alone.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Sunday, 14 October 2007

SCAR by Howard Good

I can’t explain how I got it
I was too young I don’t remember

and the people who might be
expected to know

they’re dead

It’s a kind of hieroglyph
unfathomable until

you touch me
here and here and here

Howard Good, New York, USA

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Forked in Itasca by Michael Lee Johnson

I am so frustrated
I want to chew
the dandruff
out of the internet hair implant
and dislodge it,
for a lost love affair I never cared
about and hardly knew.
Don't tell me about my sentence structure,
I am human in these simple words.
I swear to you I curse.
Then the ram of my affair falls short
frustrating my approach to the world
at my fingertips.
No Yellow Pages here my love.
The dial up of my local connection
is wretched, stuck unincorporated
in the land I approved to live in,
monopolized by Comcast the
robbers of the poor and the humbled.
All I hear is the rambling of the railroad tracks.
I grow numb in my deafness faint with my hearing.
Did I ask for your opinion?
I am a frustrated foreign camper
in my own community.
Of a village I don't live in,
but I love this local village I lie about.
I am estranged.
I tie knots in contradictions
when I travel light and far,
visit home I long for a journey
past where I have never been.
Is this the reason I am lost
forked in between
the poet I think I am
and the working man
my bills dictate?

Michael Lee Johnson, USA

Friday, 5 October 2007


October is a stadium
of flashbulbs
going off

trying to get a picture
of that quarterback,
throwing a pass
into the end zone,

trying to freeze-frame
the ball
in perfect mid-arch

before it descends
and crashes
into winter.

Linda Jacobs, NH, USA

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

haiku by J D Nelson

after the shower --
just a few scattered blackbirds,
a low-flying hawk

J D Nelson, Colorado, USA

Saturday, 29 September 2007

If I Were Young Again by Michael Lee Johnson

Piecemeal summer dies.
The spread of long winter blanket again.
For ten years I have lived in exile,
Locked in this rickety cabin, shoulder
Pushed up against the open Alberta sky.
If I were young again I’d sing of the coolness of high
Mountain snow flowers, the sprinkle of night glow-blue
I would dream & stretch slim fingers into the distant nowhere,
Yawn slowly over the endless prairie miles.
Prairie & grassland where in summer silence grows
& spreads eagle wings out like warm honey.
If I were young again I’d eat pine cones, food of birds,
Share meals with wild animals; I’d have as much dessert as wanted,
Reach out into blue sky & lick the clouds off my fingers.
But I’m not young anymore & my thoughts torment,
Are raw & overworked, sharpened misery from torture
Of war & childhood.
For ten years now I have lived locked in this unstable cabin,
Inside the rush of summer winds,
Outside the air beaten dim with snow.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Friday, 28 September 2007

Throw Aways by Frank Praeger

Such mournful music
over throw aways,

over the unfathomed,
neglected. . . undone.
Dirge for the abandoned:

expunged -



drums on.

Frank Praeger, MI, USA

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Love in a caald climate by Christine De Luca

Hit wisna his widden palin
nor da openwark o steyns set
ta brack da wind, nor
da hedder he prammed
atween fences; nor

da tang he tör fae da ebb
an turned an turned, nor
his fingers brackin clods;
nor wis hit da sun scrimin
peerie-wyes. Na, hit wis

da draem shö planted
an a rösin ithin her luik
as shö stakit hit, willin
da wan rose ta oppen,
ta hadd mirknen.

Love in a cold climate

It wasn’t his wooden paling
nor the stone latticework set
to break the wind, nor
the heather he stuffed
between fences; nor

the seaweed he tore from foreshore
and turned and turned, nor
his fingers breaking clods;
nor was it the sun making things out
gently. No, it was

the dream she planted
and the praise within her look
as she staked it, willing
the one rose to open,
to hold twilight.

L’amour sous un climat froid - translated by Jean-Paul Blot

Ce n’était pas sa palissade,
ni le mur en pierres sèches
pour couper le vent, ni
la bruyère pour boucher
les clôtures, ni

le varech qu’il tirait depuis le rivage
et qu’il tournait et retournait, ni
ses doigts brisant des mottes ;
ni le soleil faisant doucement
ressortir les choses. Non, c’était

le rêve qu’elle plantait,
encouragement dans son regard
tandis qu’elle l’étayait, désirant
que s’ouvre la rose,
qu’elle retienne le crépuscule.

Christine De Luca, Edinburgh, UK

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Leaves by Mike McCulley

I walk a moonlit path,
listen to eastern voices
and sleep in the day.

I'm like fallen leaves
scattered by an autumn wind,
not to be together again,

not to be a tree again,
not again to be with blossoms
that went before to earth.

Mike McCulley, Montesana, WA, USA

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The Enigma of Arrival by Howard Good

Night coming down,

and I’m crossing a bridge
where suicides wait their turn,

climbing steep stairs
that lead to no discernible good,

while the storyteller loses
the thread of his story

and you, who walk beside me
but whose face I can’t see,

pretend to be interested
in the sound of still leaves

Howard Good, New York, USA

Sunday, 16 September 2007

The Day I Googled Nicky Boehme and Discovered - She's a Woman

What kind
of self-loving
gay man has a portrait of a church
fixed above
his head-board?

Autumn-kissed leaves?

Patches of flawless

A glimpse of a blue-black
by a cool, protective
gray, rock bridge?

The kind of
gay man
who realizes
the frame
by itself
without the Nicky Boehme
painting, sells
for more
than $4,000,


You don't have to be
a lesbian
to be able to

them earth-tones.

Bryon D Howell, Connecticut, USA.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Among the Lesser Loves by Ray Succre

A voyaging mind bickers through cold
rooms. Its woman grasps at pictures
and speaks in American south idiom.
What she says is also cold, and the pictures
show drinking people spanning chairs.

She curdles inward about a pretty man
she once knew that could make her
skin tip over with a certain touch.

A cartoon man walks from a woman
into a bar. Timely music plays.
Then the bar twists in half and people
fall out like drops from a dilated lime.

The woman grasps at pictures.

Ray Succre, Oregon, USA

Monday, 3 September 2007

The Writer As Libertine by Paul Squires

(A honeymoon waltz)

an idea like a decadent intoxicant whereby,
in character, one can discover
that armed with acoustical resonance, one
can conjure a silk future too
in which wigs and wit return us
to Versailles.

(after, with memories of eminence, I manifest
Caliban in a nightclub amid sprites, raging
Against Curs’d Fate which enslaved his witch mother
to the arrogant masteries of Prospero
and experiencing epyphynys
with dancers whose nakedness
hid a naked life.)

then Strauss in Vienna in August
as autumn turned in on itself and
under white lace décolletage
the masked ladies
soft skin touched by delicate ribbons of
sound, by the waltz and the sense of eternity
in the architecture, shivered,

the last age in which eminence was celebrated
gives way inevitably to a chaos
of hangovers in sunlit motel rooms
surrounded by bottles and two bodies strewn
in velvet dressing-gowns, ours,

Remind me again of the Russians,
The Hermitage, the tears which struck that marble floor, ours,
at one man’s slender
tenderness for his new wife,
in white marble, in the waltz,
etheria made eternal

thru violins in gypsy camps at night
since Europe is in decline,
in Prague,

where finally, in a garden, we slept
glowing under chandeliers of stars.

Paul Squires, Australia

Saturday, 1 September 2007

the slow machine by Jeff Crouch

the slow machine
when a glacier
on sight

to rescind
all things

the summer’s end

I photographed
your firm
your tender skin

traced the wrinkle
by way of increase
to reach no socks

there you were
posed again

when I tried to reach
your response

Jeff Crouch, Texas, USA

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Home on the Water by Tina Trivett

Heron flies
on auburn skies
misty water calling me home

Magnolias blooming
bullfrogs crooning
misty water calling me home

Georgia heat
cool bare feet
misty water calling me home

Tina Trivett, Georgia, USA

Monday, 27 August 2007

A Sort of Song

Where the headstones
wait for our names

under marigold clouds

as leaky as pockets
turned inside out

what is what isn’t
requires more

discernment than
compasses possess

but just because
we can’t see them


like the ragged red campfires
of cowboy angels

doesn’t mean love
the stars aren’t there

Howard Good, New York, USA

Friday, 24 August 2007

tanka by M Kei

his heart
is a skeleton key
that unlocks doors
that should never
be opened

previously published in Fire Pearls, 2006

M. Kei, Maryland, USA

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Cell Phone Mania by Michael Lee Johnson

Hollow people,
small people with big ear openings,
aisle walkers of endless babble-
big heads, small heads, big thoughts,
no thoughts at all, mounds of
words piling up on each other.
Free time is cell phone time.
Jaw bone structures jumbling up and down
like pairs of disjointed loose lips;
skeletons of moving gestures
fingers, and hands dancing in the air
pointing to here, pointing to there;
scare those who walk beside them
scare those who sit beside them
in moving cars.
Peapods cell phones jammed in and around
earlobes like miniature rubber mallets.
Speaker phone gadget grinding against white teeth
Conversations, at the grocery store, dripping out
of dried mouths about brand cans of peas or pears,
which softness of diapers preferred for the babies ass.
Free time is cell phone time.
They roam and talk everywhere seriously about nothing.
Weekends are free times for ignoring the rest of the universe.
Babies carry deactivated phones with 911options
in grocery push carts designed like miniature cars.
The world is a plastic phone shaped and held
like a household fixture communicating
with no one, no one of consequence
or importance.
Free time is cell phone time.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Friday, 17 August 2007

Dam by Ashok Niyogi

after they built the hugest dam

they’ve given us Korean TV sets
in lieu of disconsolate unlivable homes
and decimated steep goat track
for acceptable protected gradients
of organized plastic-meshed marigold

now many wild fish dutifully worship
at drowned temples that inconsolably weep
even while young empowered waters roar
and we make modern desperate love
in the sanctioned pitiable aftermath
of a popular elongated family serial
on sponsored and fair and lovely cable TV

Ashok Niyogi, California, USA

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Desert Mirage by Srinjay Chakravarti

Mosques and palaces,
towers, turrets, miradors
etched shimmeringly

in bas-relief.
Sun and air
act as conjurors.

The haze dislimns
date trees and dunes,
the breeze stained

with smoking sand.
There is more to it
than meets the eye:

mirage or oasis,
illusion or thirst.

Srinjay Chakravarti, Calcutta, India.

This poem was first published in DONGA (South Africa). It has been republished in DALITYAPI UNPOEMED: MAKATA (the Philippines).

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Every Day by Ashok Niyogi

in an oasis of white light
a mantelpiece ticks seconds
the living room is a black cavern
with comatose Matryushka dolls
the calling bell tolls
I shall not respond

a kitchen tap drips
horses trot on my unmade bed
my demons rise
and are methodically cut in half
by rotating blades
of the ceiling fan
that circulates fetid air
will do so until its motor overheats

I have two pillows
between which I hide my head
grotesque with uncut hair
that bites into my scalp
and Medusa is a teddy bear
crowned with thorns that live
until they die

Ashok Niyogi, USA

Friday, 10 August 2007

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Battered Behind Dark Glasses by Michael Lee Johnson

An otherwise beautiful lady
with eyes matted & closed
is not exactly sleeping.
The trouble goes deeper,
the doctor has a laser
light drill penetrating her eyes
That have turned thunderstorm
Black with smudges of red & pink.
She tells herself this will never
happen again, there will be no
rebirth with him.
In idle hours she self-nurses
a cave of hurts. The lights are off;
her eyes are bruised & burning.
In the morning, still in bed she looks in a mirror,
Her face thickened with puff & irony-
she weeps splinters sounds.
Above her head on the lamp desk the alarm clock keep ticking,
across the room, around the corner, the refrigerator keeps humming.
The man who had his way is dark in her, like distant echoes
embedded in a memory or shadow.
She owes him nothing. He hears none of her sounds.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Friday, 3 August 2007

Long Gone by Ashok Niyogi

roaches scurry frantic
bodies on fire
upturn or plummet
legs frenzied
dance at a cobwebbed
ceiling heavy on horizontals
crisscrossing the sky
roaches spawned in pesticide
stiffen and die

incessant mindless sing song
of your name behind darkened eyes
panicked wrestling with doubt
festering in want of
some amputation a little gangrene
to spice up a cloistered day
torture with red hot tongs
of frail widows in submerged white
cymbals clash taut on string

while breaking out
into spontaneous praise
of the sweating sun
at midnight

on smelly bed sheets
at midnight
one more trough
between pinnacles of faith
hysteria is a terrible weight
on a crushed chest
the grinding
of rib cage into spine.

Ashok Niyogi, California. USA

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

tanka by M Kei

once there were so many
grasses swaying in the sea,
beckoning to traders
who never thought
their pleasures would end

M. Kei, Maryland, USA

previously 'Editor’s Choice,’ Nisqually Delta Review, 2:2, Summer/Fall, 2006

Sunday, 29 July 2007

City Tableau #15 - Felino Soriano

The systematic lake rippled towards dying grass,
an attempt to rectify the connection of once holding hands.
Above the quasi sentimental scene between
color wheel representation, oil brown, thick oak
branches hang in a language of obscurity.
Wind shifts its silence into vernacular of discontent,
shaking the branches into intelligible voices of
releasing myriad of birds.
Asymmetrical variations of
avifauna assume varied positional chance,
just as the wind untangles the fingers of the apologetic
lake and dying grass, whose meeting symbolizes
regret and disillusioned disappearance.

Felino Soriano, California, USA

Friday, 27 July 2007

Autonostalgia by Ray Succre

At perch in buckets by the hour,
and on filmy cola rims,
I snapped a shutter, daylight caught
atop the water in a boat,

and there between my eye and next,
and there in the nightcrawler-mulch
on my sleeves, and farthest into this
wind-stripped memory, nothing
so large as my father’s presence.

Nostalgia has its life in hundreds
of flashes, so strangely reduced
as to admire pebbles,
and though in warm memory
my father dictates, I, myself,
in them barely seem to infer a soul.

Most of the memorable me
will only be found in other heads.

Ray Succre, Oregon, USA

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Relics by Cortney Bledsoe

I have no memory of your voice. I can't rewind
and play it back like some tape recording in the spinning cogs

of my thoughts. I have no records, no paint
splattered on the walls of the cave

hollowed between our lives.

That cry I uttered when I was pulled from you,
splayed before the world is also, I assume, forgotten.

So we are even.

The echoes have been long going,
but are now terminally forgotten, and I can mourn

the colors of all the days we missed by keeping eyes
solely on each other's throats, but they've passed.

Mother, outside, today, there was a purple fire
like Mars riding down to trample us all. The world burned,

and was renewed in light.
I just wanted to tell you.

Cortney Bledsoe, USA. Editor of Ghoti Magazine

Monday, 23 July 2007

Waiting by Rethabile Masilo

Our bowls clanking
like ghost vessels,
we stand against sun and wind,
and death that loops over
to take our vision;
when all else has deserted us
in the blankness of the hour
the horizon, our last scene,
comes at us
from where no sun
will ever rise.

Rethabile Masilo, France

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Echoes from Tomorrow by Sue Turner

Tagged by a developer’s ax,
moving like a celeritous tune,
black cedars slide from hillsides
beneath a graphite tinted sky.
Nothing slows the stride of time
and none can stop the wind.

Sue Turner, ID, USA

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Running Baby Sea Turtles into the Surf - Bob Bradshaw

I'm down on my knees watching.
She is like a child digging
on a beach, flipping sand
into my face. Weeks later,
under a sky warped
by the shrieks of sea birds,
her baby turtles scramble
toward the surf.

Off shore
the sharks have gathered,
to gorge on them
as if they were floating dishes.
But before that happens
the sea birds are relentless,
plucking the baby turtles up.
I drop a turtle as I run it towards the water
and before I can snatch
it up, a frigate flies off
with it.
I'm like an armored truck's guard
trying to pick up
the scattered cash,
the truck turned over,
and the neighbors

Bob Bradshaw

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Blue – Oil on Canvas by Ashok Niyogi

a molten yellow moon
throws jagged crescent light
on eyelids stretched thin blue
over infinite observed sadness
snakes writhe in total delight

with my third incandescent eye
I contemplate a blue ocean
of immortal nectar
in which is submerged
this beautiful blue world

coiled white underbelly
of the final serpent
is a bed for the ultimate
blue god whose navel sprouts
blue lotus with a thousand petals

on which I squat
four headed and beget
the will to populate
all directions of the blue wind

our world has risen from the deep
on the tusks of the infinite blue boar
in an eternal blue sky
time germinates in blue flame
the god into whom I was to devolve

even after
I go about collecting accumulated sin
I covet
and get

poison distilled from blue ocean
and this is my offering to his divine throat
that turns blue
what remains is nectar
to nourish blue lotus
on which his blue feet will rest

this truth
is best……………………

Ashok Niyogi, California, USA

Friday, 13 July 2007

While the Seashells Listen, I Think I Love You by Michael Lee Johnson

Lost love letters
lost to the rolling blue sea
of early morning seashells
of late evening driftwood
whenever waves roll high upon sand dunes
or bring forth new sand at low tides recession,

whenever the sea rolls...
I think I love you.

Your memories echo in the seashells-
your love splashes back at me
on the rolling whitecaps
all day long
while at sea
and disappear each night
as the white foam washes
back out to sea.

Or just at home, on a shelf,
one seashell echoes-
I love you
a thousand echoes roll
I love you.

I'm a long way from the sea now,
will you listen for me­-
while they wash in
and wash back out again?

The seashells roll.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

The Living Sea by Christine Bruness

Constant movement
kinetic strength
its force
does not discriminate--
it just is…
a bounty
of nourishment
for nothing
in return…
the least
we can do
keep it clean.

Christine Bruness, New Jersey, USA

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Lost in a Distant Harbor by Michael Lee Johnson

once beside me


lost in a
distant harbor

calls out into the night
crawls back into the fog.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Thursday, 5 July 2007

Ocean by Anthony Liccione

her arms
an open ocean,
waves me in
lets me go;
my blues
of forty knots
how we men
like to throw
them back
to the water
these woman
that stir the
simmering pot,
before it cools–

you dare not
ask for
a compass,
if ever lost
at sea,
she will be
a storm of tears.
but you recoil
and hold
the boat steady
stay in the center
of her arms,
where fish
keep searching
for hooks,
lured with love.

Anthony Liccione, Texas, USA

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The Sea by Melanie Bishop

Mist rises from the ocean's depth.
The sea, green gray, dark and deep.
Each wave rushes towards me, then
like a forlorn lover recedes again.

Sprites, sirens of the night call to me

as they dance upon the white foam.
Glittering in the darkness.
And I watch the enigmatic moonlight
change the tiny beings' colors, sliver gold.
As they like dancers in the dead of night,
leap from wave to wave.

Crystalline laughter echoes softly. Almost
lost in the surf's sound. My feet, naked, buried
deep within the sand that pervades my flesh with
And I wait.
Wait for the tide to once more slip slowly
back into the murky sea.
I wait and dawn breaks to warm my cold still body

Melanie Bishop, New York, USA

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Mabota by Rethabile Masilo

One day the Mnandi sea
broke the southern crag,
and washed it, washed it
with soapy suds and
I saw brought down, by a jazz
ensemble, the walls of Jericho.
On that day, I went down
to the beach and listened,
half hoping for words to
appear, some pure clue to give
sense to our predicament,
a sign to be acknowledged,
cherished, held most dear.
On the contrary,
among spaces and old worlds
you can watch them keep
their outdoors from coming in.
If they spoke at all
we’d know why the child died—
it would be revealed to us—
if they as much as cracked
such code of silence.

Rethabile Masilo, France

Friday, 29 June 2007

The Faraway Place by Kirsten Anderson

In the soul there lies a faraway place
where unknown roads wind and weave
into the horizon above distant fields;
where dreams dismissed fall into lands
marked by monoliths of strange metal,
alive with animals gliding through jungles;
where a small child sits in a temple
piping melodies that burn the night sky.

Kirsten Anderson, California, USA

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Three by Alan Dunnett

a second day begins
a simple measurement
how many swords
are left
imperative to get back
to the castle no spell
will serve the winter sun
lights carrion
maiden at the high window
kneeling one lord
is master of all
in gold every time else
see children die her love
is outside
north-east possibly
dead some troubadour
takes his chance

too late the bell
a voice
too late
the frozen warrior the broken
helm the heart
beat held
silence then she
forgot the purpose
of prayer

Alan Dunnett, London, UK

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Future Hope by Gary Beck

Someday of visions
we shall see
wondrous towers
of marvelous construction
rising from the rubble
of neglected cities,
sheltering our people
from casual destruction

Gary Beck, New York, USA

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Job Interview Tip #3 by Howard Good

for Graham

They’ll ask if you have a thief’s heart,

a knife hidden in your boot,

something else you’d rather do.

I myself am bad at riddles,

but before you answer,

consider just how you’ll feel

when the towers begin to rise

and the sky turns impossible colors

from all the ash in the air.

Howard Good, New Paltz

Friday, 22 June 2007

Public Education by Lisa Zaran

Look how lovely the children are
sitting in their classroom,
staring at the wall, the clock
on the wall, out the window
where the breeze has been
masturbating with the leaves
all morning.

See their little round and yellow
faces. This one with crooked
teeth trying not to fall asleep
and that one over there, his
wooden desk pulled front toward
the wall. Are those matches
he has in his hand? How sweet.

Notice as well their teacher.
Almost like a zombie isn't she?
Slack expression, tired hair,
voice droning with the flies.
I bet she does this on purpose.
Maybe her students like boredom,
she should win teacher of the year.

I wonder what they're learning,
their minds are open doors you know,
anyone can walk through.
Maybe how to be the next President
of the United States. Imagine that!
Maybe how to start the next world war.

Lisa Zaran, Arizona, USA

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

We Hear by Corey Cook

whoosh, whoosh of unborn
baby's heartbeat - only sound
we hear for days, weeks

Corey Cook, New Hampshire, USA

Friday, 15 June 2007

The Friday Cycle by Eugenia Andino

Dance with your eyes closed.
The smell, the music, the heat
Are all you need to see.

Baila con los ojos cerrados.
El olor, la música, el calor
son todo lo que necesitas ver.

I like your blond skin
I want your blond smile.
I’m looking for some blonde fun.

Me gusta tu rubia piel
Me atrae tu rubia sonrisa
quiero divertirme rubiamente

“How can we know the dancer from the dance?” (W. B. Yeats)
Do I dance better if you watch?

¿Cómo distinguir el baile de la bailarina?
¿Bailo mejor cuando me miras?

Dawn sets the sky on fire.
Day comes to stop all parties.
Survivors crawl out.

El amanecer quema el cielo.
Sobrevivimos a la noche.

Eugenia Andino, Seville, Spain

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Vagabond's Vision 30 by Felino Soriano

Prior to my wandering life,
I traveled through myriad of ornamental
gatherings, wearing cloaks of misery
involving fooling those wearing horizontal
X-shaped ties, socializing with reprobates
who behind facetious smiles,
faces resembled broken façades.
Today a bat wearing black and
peculiar moments of wanting
to converse grazed the shoulder
of a naked moment.
We braided thick and
specialized glances before
an on comer caused sudden disappearance,
death to our visual conversation.
As the black flashing bat vanished,
night cloaked me with long
strands of light weight webs,
but this night did not involve

Felino Soriano, California, USA

Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Ampersands & Pretzels by Rethabile Masilo

When it's over, when the lover's poems fail,
passion slips under and drowns.

—or is it helped down?

In a casket made by a missionary long ago
I sent all verse beneath the loch,
I banished it there,
saw it slip under and drown,
built a fig-leaf bonfire on my return,
piled chronicles on it, danced nude
beside the pyre.

I long for days of
long physical exertion, arms reaching out
to ampersand the legs, to bare yearning
down the middle.

I like it when you as pretzel master,
let me knot you to my mood, saying,
swivel me! I un-bun my hair
to eat you of course without silverware.

Rethabile Masilo, France

Sunday, 10 June 2007

The trap by Janet Butler

A tipsy god stumbles
and confusedly mumbles
after an evening in Paradise,
drunk on sweet wines
from perfect vines
that he drank, he admits, more than twice -
offered, it seems, by a certain Snake
who now shakes in quiet laughter
for Eve followed suit
and bit the bright fruit
while poor Adam wept
at the wily trap set
to drive them away
this day

Janet Butler, Pittsburgh, USA

Friday, 8 June 2007

Blinkbonny farm, night by Dan Shade

In this night garden, silence
Creeps through nettles,
Pauses screech
Owl lit through trees,
Scenting the hour with pine
Or navigating thistle
And willowherb
To scurry into the wells
Of darkness.

From where I stand
Stilled fireworks define the town;
The river, valleyed black
And subtle changing, hue
Reflecting the starlit skies,
Uncertain with distance

The stars apparent, perennial
In any sense applicable to man,
Pass unmoving above the racing hour
And tint with blossom
The brightening air.

Too soon, the dandelion sun
Brings glory and wishes:
The sleepers stir,
As dawn silhouettes
The hill gentle horizon,
Forgetful of these fragile hours.

Dan Shade

Thursday, 7 June 2007

Backyard Blues by Bryon D Howell

I used to feed two squirrels in the yard -
in six short months I trained them both too well.
To earn their trust took love but wasn't hard.
I called them, they would come - and all was swell.
I never missed one day in six months time.
They ate too well and even gained some weight.
Some warned me feeding them should be a crime -
that I should stop before it was too late.
There's something to be said for let it be.
I earned their trust in six months time, it's true.
They must have thought all men were just like me,
they thought it wise to trust some others, too.
I meant well, yes - I made a big mistake.
Some think of them as pests, not friends to make.

Bryon D Howell, Connecticut, USA

Thursday, 31 May 2007

jazz cricket by Rethabile Masilo

on the
way home I
a cricket
in the park,
and stopped
to see how
it placed
the yellow
brass to
its lips; I
stood there
on the grass
a while,
how flowers
tint cloth,
blend scent,
scissor their
to good size.

*kangas are the sarong type cloths worn by women in various parts of Africa.

Rethabile Masilo, France

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Un cor by Johannes Beilharz

In memory of Catherine

On the toe between your middle toe and your little toe of your left foot
(the »ring toe«)

You, as a whole, the one I said I feel like eating entièrement sometimes

And, if I'm not mistaken, an instrument, brass

The on-and-off honking of cars I hear while we’re on the phone, cruising going on along a desolate main street in Haute Marne, yellow lights impinging on dust and the occasional dog

While not a noise is heard behind the hermetic glass panes of my far-away empty house–

Johannes Beilharz, Germany

[Poet's Note: This plays with French to an extent that might make it meaningless for readers not familiar with French, hence a brief explanation:“cor” can refer to a corn, the undesirable thing one might have on a toe, or to a horn (musical instrument). The word “corps” (for body) is pronounced the same as “cor”, and there is yet another phonetic similarity – “un cor” and “encore” (still) – the title plays with.]

Monday, 28 May 2007

Bamboo Hut Poem by J D Nelson

Small aircraft overhead,
trucks rumbling on Hwy 7,
lawnmowers --

The poets of old
didn't have these

(The whine
of a Japanese
motorcycle engine)

J D Nelson, Colorado, USA

Sunday, 27 May 2007

A Gift Of Desert Sand by Michael Lee Johnson

I wish to offer you
a possession, but all
precious things have
been given to you-
diamond rings from weary strangers,
fine linen weaved by foreign hands;
but a nomad owns little,
scavenges much.
For this reason, I write
warm words in dry wilderness,
hijack a private plane,
parachute down to you
this short poem, a gift
of desert sand, a gift
from desert sky.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Friday, 25 May 2007

towards summer by Janet Butler

minutes grow heavy
plump with promise
late spring blues packed in tight
weighted with white sands
burnished by winds
that drift from there
just there beyond that line
bursting now to color
then fading to night
momentary demarcation
where sight becomes vision
and longing drifts hungrily towards
the ever-desired elusive perfect summer

Janet Butler, Pittsburgh, USA

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Late Spring by Mike McCulley

Morning sky is bright,
shadows are deep along my way.
A butterfly leads my eye
to hidden blossoms.

Mike McCulley, Montesana, WA, USA

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Casket of Love by Michael Lee Johnson

This moon, clinging to a cloudless sky,
offers the light by which we love.
This park, grass knee high tickling bare feet,
offers the place we pass pleasant smiles.
Sir Winston Churchill would have
saluted the stately manner this fog
lifts, marching in time across this pond
layering its ghostly body over us
cuddled by the water’s edge,
as if we are burdened by this sealed
casket called love.
Frogs in the marsh, crickets beneath the crocuses
trumpet the last farewell.
A flock of Canadian geese fly overhead
in military V formation.
Yet how lively your lips tremble
against my skin, in a manner no
sane soldier dare deny.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

haiku by J D Nelson

a goose calls out twice
as Orion disappears --
just before sunrise

J D Nelson, Colorado, USA

Friday, 11 May 2007

Proof by Rethabile Masilo

Tell me--
it was proof
you wanted
that day
at the lake
wasn't it?
and so
in our room
one of your
mood trips,
with a
slick move
(I swear)
lest it get
too late,
I lassoed
the moon,
put it on
your roof,
told the stars
to wait.

Rethabile Masilo, Lesotho

Eclipse of Thought by Michael Johnson

Wing tipped
by the sun-
I see a different
version of the moon.
A movie not yet seen in darkness.
A story not yet told by prophets.
No movie mongrel
has siphoned the
joy from the wing,
the eclipse.
Clever this fore night
how the transition
of sun and moon
cloud my thinking-
create this poem.
Somewhere in between.

Michael Johnson, Chicago, USA

Thursday, 10 May 2007

Pitch by Sue Turner

inside amber honey
biding the millennia,
sages with loupes
enamored by eons,
in the glow of suns
the echo of moons,
preserved. unchanging.
embraced for eternity,
the birth of all time
in the numen of amber

Sue Turner, Idaho, USA

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

fourteen by J D Nelson

I forget how many shooting stars
I counted last night.

I woke up at dawn
on the living room floor.

I stepped outside
into the new light.

(a planet
& two suns)

I set my alarm
& went back to sleep.

J D Nelson, Colorado, USA

Monday, 7 May 2007

Vagabonds Vision 29 by Felino Soriano

Soaked by sunlight, antithetical
to last night's downpour of
slanting, descending, silvery rain.
I prefer this day's disposition,
its rays of multilingual hands of
drying day long arduous work.
Muttering toward myself
a language of content,
dragonfly swoops within
view to attract my eyes and
obtain serenity's circular shape
of illusion, interaction
with turquoise impression.

Felino Soriano, California, USA

Sunday, 6 May 2007

hazy dawn by J D Nelson

the scent of smoke

last night,
the moon was
a sick neon pink.

the sun's been up
for almost two hours --

the bats think
it's still dawn.

red Martian sky

J D Nelson, Colorado, USA

Friday, 4 May 2007

train ride by Janet Butler

A momentary sun shines
on a world lighter, brighter,
half-glances almost meet
to slip to nonchalance
as eyes shift
feigning interest in passing things
heart beats
in fluttery stops and starts
a tightness
where longing sits
the pit
where dread
electric wires
of desire.

Janet Butler, Pittsburgh, USA

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Identity by Alan Dunnett

At night, I think I hear this child, a sound
among the deep still dark and yellow windows.
No one stirs. I used to think the cats
were children, very small children crying insistently
and insane. I saw the cats. I heard them.
But now I hear a low, slow intermittent running
in my inner ear; molten, worm-like. It is not sour wax.
My ear turns into a chrysalis whose shell bursts apart
and in a floor of the air stands the voice of the child,
heard only by me, impossible to prove! If I make you see,
it becomes nothing: a conjuror's coin disappearing between fingers.
A smudge of sweat at its last, greasy glistening in the palm.
You are here, beside me. Welcome. I am in your spell,
I am outside your spell. You smile. Whatever does that mean?
You believe I asked you here. Perhaps. One thing is clear.
There is a sound. Look out. Look down. I am outside
like Nebuchadnezzar, ugly in excrement, head
cocked. My pupils are the orange edges of doors.
Yet you say, if you hear anything, it is only a cat.

Previously published in Interpreters House

Alan Dunnett, London, UK

Sunday, 29 April 2007

It's Been a Rotten Millennium by Lisa Zaran

His absence makes my presence
in the world seem artless and obsolete.
I sift and sort through memories,
the scuttle of pigeons across my mind,
labor without delivery-
sweeping the broken floor
of my heart, convinced
somewhere I will find a remaining
piece of his love, a shard of glass
that I can use to cut myself.

Lisa Zaran, Arizona, USA

Friday, 27 April 2007

Leroy and His Love Affair by Michael Lee Johnson

Girlie magazines dating back to 1972 are scattered across the floor.
The skeletons of two pet canaries lie dormant inside a wire cage.
Bessie Mae died 8 months ago.
From her lips, and from her eyes comes nothing like before.
Leroy, her lover and her only friend, the man she lived with for
over 30 years locked her body in their bedroom because he
didn’t want to part from her.
Leroy has no friends to detect anything that might be suspect.
He wants nothing between the two of them at all, and no one
comes near to interfere.
Their bedroom is padlocked, stale, stagnant with mildew, looking
the way it did before she died.
Foul odors ooze up through their bedroom ventilation ducts,
Leroy contends that a dead rat in the basement is causing the odors.
Leroy loves to lie about his sacred love affair.
Layers of dust blanket over the mahogany floors, and the maid doesn’t come
here anymore.
Bessie Mae’s remains are wrapped in a scarlet housecoat,
Dried blood sleeps in a small pool beneath her bed.
In time they both will sleep, sole witnesses to the fiasco
their lives will catch them in; enduring it, holding
their tongues till time matters no more.
Nothing appears changed, lovers unwilling to depart.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Bearing Us Away by Taylor Graham

Nothing is certain but death and
questions. How many of those
we wish to ask the newly departed –
the secrets they take with them,
all those things they tried to mention
when we weren’t listening.
How my sister loved horses, and I
could only hear hoofbeats
beneath me. How the earth rings now,
metal making divots in soil
under the reverberating grass.

Taylor Graham, California, USA.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Hoping by Christine Bruness

His white dress shirt
I washed and ironed
after his father's funeral
stayed on a hanger
in the cellar
for weeks on end...
I finally entombed it
in the back
of his closet
he won't need
it again
any time soon.

Christine Bruness, NJ, USA

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Dependent by Chris Major

In barely
six and a half
months it's just
'fix' to 'fix'.
Of course supply
'round here is
no problem.
Day and night
curled and motionless,
woken by withdrawal
or the shouts
and screams
which penetrate
thin walls.

Eventually hospital;
Being told
that i'm
"a little baby boy......"

Chris Major, Staffordshire, UK

Friday, 20 April 2007

From Toronto To Ottawa by Michael Lee Johnson

She comes,
and she goes,
She walks,
and she talks,
to no one.
Her night is
the long city street
sheltered & protected by neon.
She amuses
& she entertains,
swaying her slender body,
…but no one offers,
& she shouts out

for no reward.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Cinderella's Mother Explains by Kirsten Anderson

You need to know that it was
Lack of spirit that killed me,
Why I left life so soon.
From my place near the tree
I sorrowed to see her abused,
Ash-smeared and head low
Spirits falling onto the hearth.
So I sent forth my soul pieces,
Remnants of lost dreams:
A silver dress pearled,
A pair of glass gold-heels,
Pumpkins coaxed into coaches.
Because I wanted to teach her
What I learned too late,
That to find a prince one
Must already be a queen.

Kirsten Anderson, California

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Chicken Shit by Corey Cook

She calls & asks me to come
over, the girl who wears light
blue Spandex shorts 3 days
a week, who wears a dark pink
shirt that is too big for her
2 days a week & no bra. The
girl who bent down to pick up
an eraser that Brian intentionally
knocked off his desk, the girl
we all want to dance with, the girl
we all want. She calls me
& I bike there - peddle as fast
as I possibly can. She meets me
at the door & leads me across
the lawn, through the barn, up
to the hayloft. We take turns
swinging on a rope tied to a beam,
swing through the dim, dusty
expanse. We shoot a couple
baskets & she takes a seat on a hay
bale. She takes a seat & I get
the sneaking suspicion that she
has rehearsed this. She takes a seat
& pats the space next to her with
an expectant look on her face -
dust trembles in the half-light. "I
really need to go home" I say
& leave her poised on that hay bale.

Corey Cook, New Hampshire, USA

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Sawmill by Taylor Graham

Gone the west wind’s lilt
and laughter, the forest-sighs
of trees

as twisted woodgrain meets
the screaming blade
and wallboards tremble

at the exact moment
late afternoon sun comes
angling through

an upper window, motes
go flying in light-
struck splatters,

a galaxy that swirls
and settles
sawdust on the floor.

Taylor Graham, California, USA

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Indiana Poem by Michael Lee Johnson

A few tales
of the reasons
I love Indiana.
Breaking loose from the state line
of Illinois, bursting down the Indiana
toll road , near Lake Station
heading south,
smelling smoke of old
gray steel mills
seeping out
of Gary,
left behind me,
steel men, strong men,
ribs of fire, courage of
union dreamers,
long gone & most laid off,
pension plans stolen,
now gas station employees,
travelers of the
past, snuff chewers,
& labor wages,
small lakes & fishing ponds
with half sunken boats
with tips pointed sky high,
& memories dripping
off the lips of clouds.
I’m banging out 75 mph,
in my raspberry
Geo Tracker;
but as Jesus said: “I tell you
the truth“:
nothing ever changes in
Indiana but the seasons
& the size of the corn ears.

Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA