Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Heart as a Geometric Shape

by Rebecca Schumejda

Since what pushes us out into the world
can’t pull us back in, I’m envious
of how our daughter is drawn to you.

Einstein said, “gravity is the result of
the curvature of space-time geometry.”

He also said, “gravity can not be responsible
for people falling in love.”

For months post surgery, when I couldn’t lift her,
you placed her in my arms after she fell asleep,
so I could marvel over the world we created
spinning under her twitching eyelids.

Nonetheless, we do not own our inventions
unless something goes wrong.
Ask the parents of mass murders
how their names at the bottom
of birth certificates sealed their guilt,
like Einstein’s signature on the letter to Roosevelt
recommending atom bombs be made.

If only our daughter’s emotions
could be expressed
in a mathematical expression,
simple like drawing the heart (lobes pointing up)
cutting the geometric shape in half
and calculating the value.

*Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Falling Forward, a full-length collections of poems (sunnyoutside, 2009); The Map of Our Garden (verve bath, 2009); Dream Big Work Harder (sunnyoutside press 2006); The Tear Duct of the Storm (Green Bean Press, 2001); and the poem "Logic" on a postcard (sunnyoutside).


untitled #3

by Randall Rogers

Taliban plan
to Allahup
types like me
who is with Jesus
and her Trinity
because confusion
is better n

the world universe
inward all is

a goiter

ridin’ slim pickens
style on back of
nuclear turtle.

named Kubrick.



untitled #2

by Randall Rogers

you earthlings
bout your Allahs

got to remember
to forget
that we
is tryin’
to kick the dancing
Jesuses, too

in the ethereal

for you

so kool your AKs
behead ahead
of the party

in the mind’s sky eye

within the layers

of you who who who…

Friday, February 26, 2010


by Randall Rogers

the minds
of madness


in complete

the offal

and where will you/we

be when it all starts


it hasn’t


after the finish

which is nice

for a while

rest. free dream

before not begun again

The dying Field. Renewing


a Shiva wheel

page won’t display



and hallo

to all of you
unformed uniformed


to bust out

of jail.

yeah, where to come

before I guess we gotta go

or do something

no change

is coinless

a coverup
to convince


don’t think

with no head peace.

Lament of the Bird

by Lisa Cole

Sneaking wine coolers

And beer cans

Into the theatre
After a day of sobbing into a pillow.
Stifling screams, dreams, seams splitting.

Seems to be a habit, this.

The bird



So, the truth,

the theatre: black, clandestine
Guzzle drinking cold.
And she goes.

Would rather be back in dressing rooms,

The closet, the bedrooms, door frames, showers,
Kama Sutra


But instead, flashing lights, pictures
Familiar voices, stained seats,

Moving, moving.

More darkness, darkness.

Hanging with Molly Ringwald the day after the end of the world

by Melanie Brown

Molly Ringwald & I
Were the last
two people
Left standing
After a nuclear

Most of the
And stores were
Still open
So we went and got some
Cheesecake and coffee
We weren’t stressing at all
Then we did some shopping

There were no cannibals
No road warriors
Everything was clean
The sun was shining
A beautiful day really

There was no dog poop
Because all the dogs were dead.
It was a lot of fun

She said we could hang out again
The next day

Thursday, February 25, 2010


by Lyn Lifshin

plastic of course,
not wooden,‭ ‬leaning
against the gray wall
near the stain from
the Vaseline to make
it fit you as I kept
trying to.‭ ‬From your‭
all night radio show
I knew about the‭
grenade,‭ ‬those years
in the hospital.‭ ‬And
I knew I wanted the
you that talked from
midnight to dawn,‭
told stories of your‭
first day out,‭ ‬how‭
your prosthesis twisted
out at an odd angle,‭
knocked the man‭
on a stool off with its
swing and a little boy
saw it and said Mama
that man is walking‭
forward and backward
at the same time.‭ ‬I lured
you with words,‭ ‬with
poems.‭ ‬Did I wonder‭
how it would feel‭
touching‭? ‬It’s a blur I
don’t remember.‭ ‬Only
how I slithered from
leather jeans as you
held me said‭ ‬you know
Lyn, I can get closer,
deeper.‭ ‬How there are
things‭ ‬he said there
are, Honey, some things
I can do better
without it

*Lyn's website:

Sunday, February 21, 2010


by Michael H. Brownstein

Good bleeds anger through us,
One long paragraph of static,
Run on sentences. So many
Words, letters, litter,
Vowels with silent sounds.

Mercy is a word after the killing
Is done; prayer, the wounding of earth;
And one day we forget
Our ancestors. I am a happy man.
It is you who has the problem.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


by John Grey

I sit way at the back,

spend the school day

chiseling pentagrams in the desk,

jabbing dolls,

muttering curses under my breath.

The teacher never calls

my name for anything

and I don’t volunteer.

In fact, he’s afraid of making eye-contact

which suits me fine.

Besides, I’m after bigger game than him.

I haven’t bagged myself a teacher

since Mr Hopkins hung himself

back in the fourth grade.

My goal is four politicians,

three religious leaders

and a pop star by the time I graduate.

Spontaneous combustion,

toppling marble lion,

bat bite, bathtub drowning,

even something pseudo-self-inflicted

car in the garage, strychnine shots.

Creativity is nine tenths of black magic.

And unexpected heart-attacks are so passé.

Besides, natural causes racks up plenty of those.

And I wouldn’t want to mess around with that magic.


by John Grey

Late at night,

alone in my kitchen,

I imagine I talk with

my jailers,

raise questions about

the waning of the light,

the lengthening of shadows,

even the radiator burps

and the creaking of the floorboards.

I’ll pour them a drink

and slide it across the table.

I’ll thank them for

removing the handcuffs.

I’ll show them something I’ve written.

They’ll ask,

“What do you think about

the Turkish man

beaten to death by skinheads

in Germany?”

I’ll say, “Is that what

I’m in here for?

To come up with an answer?”

As usual, they fall asleep waiting

for my reply.

As always, I finally

stumble up to my bed,

slam the cell doors behind me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Scoville Organoleptic Test

by Kumari de Silva

Road ragged vagabonds rely on cyber synopses
to discriminate between bland franchise inns.
Who can distinguish Austin from Phoenix when
Motel 6 hosts such predictable repetition?

I drive on the I-10 westward 920 more miles,
diverse terrain peppered with redundant idles.
Only fellows on the trail, kind enough to post
can throw up the unregulated info I crave:

alerts to Capsaicin laden pizza available next exit
singular to New Mexico, unique in spicy flavor.
The hotness of chilis dances excellently across
thick tomato sauce. It's heaven served burning.

Maybe Therapy

by Kumari de Silva

Playing with the Ouiji board
spelled trouble. Gave shape
gave voice to demons hitherto
unrealized. An incubus broke
across the threshold demanding
corporate benefits: vision plan
401k, stalking angrily out of
ether staining our imaginations.

“I’m not playing!” He threatened.
Ok, maybe therapy; could restore
common ground. We exchanged
our feelings. “Look,” he implored,
“Try to be reasonable. It starts
with an ‘f’ ends with a ‘k’ it’s
no guarantee for retirement, just
a new way to screw with people.”


by Eric Harris

He was an expatriate
and loved among his rivals

He found himself
in a morgue
with spiteful words
for a shortwave radio

There were uncharted places
encircling him like wildfire
he brushed away dead skin

his broken watch was swimming
hands towards living reminders
landlocked priests of predation


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cathouse, The Series

by Paul Hellweg

Watched it on DVD,

thought for a while I was gay;

naked babes everywhere

not one caught my eye

the fake boobs

forced smiles and

plastic faces

were a real turn-off.

Then wham, bam, thank you ma’am

I was hetero for sure

aroused by one with

natural breasts

little makeup

glorious muff

and man, I thought,

I gotta go to that place,

then I learned the sad, hard truth

the real woman was a patron,

not for me, not

a working bunny.

Facebook Invites

by Paul Hellweg

Some people collect Facebook friends

like I once collected postage stamps,

now I’m collecting Facebook invites,

twenty-seven and counting,

each time declining politely

saying I’ve heard of people becoming addicted

and I’m afraid of that,

which is true,

but the greater truth is

my cerebral cortex

is already too cluttered, and

I’m trying to save a little space

for imagination.

I have

no television

no iPod or iPhone

no satellite radio,

nor anything that needlessly occupies

my neurons and synapses.

All I have is





and a penchant

for creating art


only to those

who need a little day-dreaming

to make it through

one more


*acknowledgment: inspired by the poem “Engulfed” by Alishya Almeida, published in Asphodel Madness.

Friday, February 12, 2010

plea for the consumption of no one

by Michael A. Flanagan

decent, kind, pretty,
my wife there isn't
a single thing i care
to hear you say.
sixteen years you
have complained
about my habits.
slowly i let them
all go. what is left
of me, i don't know.
today i beg a
crowded city, dive
bars, sirens, broken
heeled girls on
cast iron beds. go
on, keep the silver-
ware, the pets, the
lawn mower, the
pool. this tree lined
street can go to
hell. i'll crawl
the dirty hours
backwards, find
some sudden
dawn, let it
rain upon me

heroin days

by Michael A. Flanagan

twenty dollar bill,
crumpled in the left
pocket, found while
picking your jeans
up off the floor

the twenty will get
you two bags, with
that you can work
two more on credit

there's pain near
the kidney though,
on the left side

you're not sure
you can walk very
far, not even sure
you can sit up
very long

you put your jacket
on anyway, open the
door and go


by Alishya Almeida

Outside the cage, I am
engulfed by the disasters
you report to me, a hand shoving
everything into spaces i had
left for imagination
days meant for riding trains or
empty buses through the city,
or fumbling back in the past
for my mind to rewrite things,
make them alright
but there isn’t enough space
left because of you

so i speech myself
another existence
feel the sky in my lungs

and double check
as i run out the front door
to see if you’re following.

Wild Unstable Sluts

by Paul Hellweg

Wild unstable sluts

get off in stables.

It must be true, at least

that’s what the e-mail claimed,

but I hit delete too quickly,

now I’ll never know for sure,

so I leave it to my imagination

to fill in the details,

dreaming myself, of course,

the stallion.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


by Erin Cole

Her world splintered,
broken dreams, a love cut
from her arms.
Blood spilled,
ashes gust.

She stood, didn’t look
back, even as hope
hemorrhaged promises
and desertion seeped in,
viscous and hostile like
black tar.

Hungry mouths demanded
attention—lost hearts
needed guide.  She keeps
in the moment, braving
a blinded future, rotted
by the cavities of
frailty, confronting real
fear with open eyes. 

She makes it through the
dark, though by faking it is
only the rain on her face,
she makes it through the dark.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


by Lyn Lifshin

Old men’s dreams
in the bedroom.

Women who
held them once
in that cradle,
their hips

rocking all
night, shadows
sucking. The

walls press
on pillows
like hair,
empty cradles.

wet stone,
ash blowing

back into the
room as if there
was something

outside, trying
to come back,
trying to

be that
warm again

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


by Damien Toman

Whiskey-soaked tobacco,

Pinched and withdrawn from

A bronze-bottomed glass,

Is flicked to the floor,

Not brought to the lips:

And so, whiskey-soaked,

Am I wasted.

I meditate on this and then

I meditate on He

Who, whiskey-soaked from His

Bottomless grail,

Spoke soberly of the threshing floor,


You, too, will be beaten

With rod and with flail,

Hacked from the husk

And mashed

Into host, my body;

Consumed. It was Sabbath day.

His disciples, half-drunk,

All had appetites.

The husbandmen were horrified,

And His heresies were numbered

By the hungry, mumbling Pharisees nearby.

*Damien's website:

Saturday, February 6, 2010


by Lee Lincecum

i wake up
smelling like the Middle East
and in your patient bravery
you are already fully clothed
in a perfect Autumn shroud

sometimes i get jealous
of the paintings on your wall
how lucky they must be
to get to watch you all the time
and know all the secrets
i could never know
even if i spent
an eternity
inside you

i was stranded in a snowstorm
in a truckstop
in Menomonie, Wisconsin
for three days
i thought i would freeze to death
before i could make it to the door
the kind of cold that takes your breath
don't you see?

is kind of like that
except i'm already inside
and the only thing i fear now
is the other side of that door

as i leave
i just want to take something,
one of your coffee cups,
a book from your shelf,
one of the figures from your mantle,
that mask hanging on your wall,
even if only to hide my fear

(maybe one of your kitchen knives?)

and that's what i'll use
to cut this one last heartstring
i'm using
to so desperately hang on
to you
and once i do
i'll fall so far
you'll need a snowstorm
to obscure my chalk outline
from the surface of your heart

or maybe i'll just leave the knife behind
kneel down in your room,
and beg you to cut me,

when you do
leave a scar
so that i will have
to remember you by

*Lee Lincecum is co-editor of Whisper&Scream

Friday, February 5, 2010

Diana and Her Kind

by A. J. Kaufmann

There's an orange kingdom waiting
In your oceans of blue
A bed of stars I've built on tears
Especially for you
Given names, a crying shame
You can't remember me
Yellow tears from frozen eyes
Turn my seas to milk

Johnny Teardrop takes the word
Takes it to his gal
She's no beauty to his streets
She's just unusual
You love her for your tiger's skin
Devil's spiderwebs
Man, you're round, like good old sun
Stoned out of your breath

Crazy airplanes in the sky
Melting down to sleep
If you're bored with her healing thoughts
You can steal a line from me
Cause I've written all my songs for her
I've waited quite a time
Orange kingdoms waiting for
Diana and her kind

So don't confuse perspectives, love
I'm not of broken minds
I'm just the title for older words
Mythologies of crime
Poseidon, Neptune bow their heads
Diana and her kind
Diana splits her seas again
For wanderers in tribes
Moons in Egypt slowly veil
Her twenty-seven lies

Germans Can't Dance, Poles Can't Sing

by A. J. Kaufmann

Oh you know the Germans can't dance
It's a well proven fact, there ain't no hidden quality to it
You know Germans can't swing, they just march and march
Ain't nothing new, marching East all the time
Finding locked doors, but knocking still, knocking loud
Finding empty windows, looking for a thrill or two
Germans can't dance, they're masters at will and war
They just need a wife, oh, it better be a white one
Make her blonde and make her wear high heels
Ooooh, Germans like the leather

Germans can't dance, and their Germanic queens
Have grown to be absurd commercial bitches
They're too high to see the light, to wash their dirty coats
Or be honest wine or salt or pepper
Germans can't be seen from behind their Himmler screens
Of dreams and silent Tempelhofer landers
Kennedy is dead, does nothing to my head,
Politics and music must differ
Germans can't dance and Poles can't sing
Ain't no promise of a good vibration
You'll get lots of toys and a lot of boys
From a fucked up German radio station

Poles can't sing, they just hold on their strings
Hanging from Hitler's lucky piano
Bloodlines mixed and bourbon fixed
Ain't nothing loud enough to stop these cellos
And me, I don't need soda, ice, don't need your bed of thoughts and lice
I just might find myself a decent woman
Don't need your collocations, divine interventions
I haven't seen these German cowards crawling

Kiss my ass and smoke my past, don't ever find my room again
German voice is bitter choice
To get rid of wartime frustrations
Build another wall, of fragrant alcohol
Dig the fun, Slavic spirit now commands the Sklaven