Saturday, October 31, 2009

Unrequited Dreams

by Paul Hellweg

The dead see what we don’t.
The empty sockets of their skulls
hold the answers and
the knowledge we all seek
while magnolias whip in the wind
fueled by last breaths and
the flapping away of
all those dreams
the dying leave behind
like flattened beer cans
along Interstate 5.

The Game

by Paul Hellweg

I’m 64 going on 15,
all I fantasize about
are women
with Catalina butts and raspberry nipples,
and I understand
most of you
think I should dream
more age appropriate,
to which I just gotta say
if I or you
or any of us
aspire only to what is expected,
then please tell me
why the fuck we entered this game
only for a loss
or a tie,
no hope of
anything better?

Friday, October 30, 2009


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

You always had a way of squeezing
the sanity out of me

all of those you held
to your heaving breasts

then bashing your lovely dolls
against the bed frame and ceiling

waking in the morning on the tile floor
grinning like a fiend

I had you and you had me

could it last?

your answer swift
over a waterfall

splashing all over my room
flooding with floating photos of you

taking yourself to the limit with so many

until one too many formed a line
you couldn't stop

all those leathery guns

their bullets finally leaking
out of your orifice.

Thursday, October 29, 2009


by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Surprising you

the towel off your body

you squeal
then smile displaying

in front of the steamy mirror
the wet of your flesh

shower dripping

I'm waiting in the dark
your latest boyfriend

playing the deviant
you crave to drive mad

pushing me back
falling on the bed

spinning your tits
like propellers laughing

the cops coming
here again tonight

flashlights searching
for the drug in your eyes

finding nothing after a thorough search

you give them a wink
leaving the door half open

down the hall all the neighbors
peeking out with one eye

hard they bleed
on their lonely matresses

while I have you
for a whimper of remorse.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


maybe, mementos that
left a hole. Saved from
boxes and boxes, only
a few, a letter from one
or two, as strange to
another as whether the
moon has a smell. These
words with their own
taste. Letters from the
man I’d marry and
couldn’t stay with. The
California one, ghost of
another who said Albany
like Aeeelbaenie,
another looker but most
lost, the letter, the one
a friend of the one who
mattered too much
wrote: you know Lyn,
as I was miles away in
Virginia taking ballet
before grass became his
quilt at Arlington
cemetery. The one I
banged my knuckles to
blood on, couldn’t
imagine without in my
life, slammed into my
T bird to stalk night at
WGY, begging for a
slice of him. "I’ve never
done this before or since.
And then his "it's not
you Lyn, it’s me" and
so that letter, lost now too,
from his friend saying
it was me, in his last
months over and over,
the one, the only
by Lyn Lifshin

*Lyn's website:

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Tour

by Michael Grover

It was a cold gray day,
The warehouse stood in front of us
Like a monster
Waiting to consume us.

Before entering we stopped.
The beautiful red haired woman
Told us there was not a lot of money,
And the union would take some of that.
We all stayed so we entered.
Passed through the security.

At the door a worker stood.
Once the guides were out of range
He told us to turn back while we still can.
My financial state
Would not allow me to debate this,
So I walked on.

Inside there were boxes
Flying everywhere
Going different places.
We listened as they explained
What was happening
And pretended to be interested.

At the end of the tour
They called us each individually.
The red head called me last.
She asked why I wanted to work here.
I told her I was a writer that needed an income.
She asked me if I had done physical labor.
I said I had dug ditches on a pipe crew
In the Florida heat,
And I was an electrician's apprentice.
She handed me a card
Told me to think about it.
Then call for a final interview.

I passed back through security.
Was spat back out of the beast.
Back into the streets.
I bought a tomato to make a salad.
Thought about the cardIf I should call.
I passed the mission on the way home.
Desperate men sittin’ on the curb out front.
People in the lobby trying to get in for the night
Out of the cold.
I saw my future there.
Said to myself,
“Yes, I should call.”

Alley Cat

by Christine Bruness

After four martinis—
straight up
with three olives a piece,
I embraced the winter air
carrying my coat
content to walk
the three blocks
home alone…
when the moonlight
and broken neon bar signs
the alley cat’s eyes
peering from the trash cans,
studying the other drunks
that were staggering
their way to the street.
I bent down and whispered,
“You’re soooo beautiful,”
over and over until
it slowly revealed
its emaciated body:
gray fur with cuts and scratches
and a weeping left eye.
I scooped it up
in my arms and learned
“it” was a she.
I cradled her inside my coat.
“You’re safe now, little puss,”
I whispered.
She did not object,
only melodiously purred,
paws gently placed
on my forearms
as if she knew
I was and will forever be
a sober and drunken sucker
for felines in distress.

*Christine Bruness is a writer and artist. Her first book: Imbalance, An Experimental Collection of Micro Stories and Poetry, received the Rose/Rosemary Zientek 2000 Award. In June 2008, Christine’s book: Alley Cat, won the 2008 Covert Press Poetry Chapbook Contest and was published by Covert Press.

Writers’ Festival

by George Anderson

I beg you to come with me to the readings
at the Wharf. Some big guns of the
Oz poetry scene are to be there:
Beveridge Kalafa Ballou Jones
You bet me I can’t stay awake.
As we listen to the crinkling new manuscripts
on the grey sobering day I hear you yawn
beside me.
And again.

The readers are tentative.
Serious. Almost apologetic.
Reading their listless verse.
Acknowledging the polite clapping of the audience.
A couple of lesbians take digital photos.
I listen intensely but no images strike home as memorable.
One poem uses a large block of wood as an extended metaphor
related to the creative process & one collection is set entirely in a Buddhist commune in Tibet.

At the end, a greying bespeculed publisher of ongoing
government grants mumbles a few words of tribute and
says, ‘I guess that’s all the time we have’ and the people
quietly file out.
I would love to punch him in the fucken face to gauge his reaction.

I shake you awake.

It’s true what you say about the marginalisation of poetry in this country.
At the top it’s a closed shop reeking of passionless, humorless academic verse.

But I stay awake. You owe me one.

We listen to Coltrane’s ‘Crescent’ in the car
& as you take me in your mouth
his wordless, defiant search for meaning becomes widely apparent
growing ever so bold and swollen-

soon splintering

into the moonless drive of the take-away.

the Madness of Art

by Ross Runfola

is it the madness of art or
the art of madness?
poetry without form other than my imagination
is comfortable to me
but not to many readers
who want to superimpose their
sense of order, desire for acceptance and mediocrity
so my poems mirror their life- not mine.

is it the madness of art or
the art of madness?
art over the edge showing a free spirit
and imagination called wild and irresponsible
but really large and dramatic representations of taboos
drawn by Kelli whose self portrait defines her work:
“Darling, if I were a man, I’d have an 18 inch penis!”

Kelli understands my poetry.
I understand her art.
Kelli understands me.
I understand Kelli.
this is unusual and pleasing
but frightening to me.

I am some kind of strange but
would never violate the incest taboo.
Kelli is so fucked up
it is possible she is my sister.
and I would never fuck my sister.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


by P. A. Levy


laying there
in the sound of your breathing
looking up at the damp stains
in the ceiling

to where bluebottle carcasses
dangle in webs;
above long protracted

pauses. Yet everytime
I tried to speak
in crept
the moment stealers.


Dusty Squares

by Ben Nardolilli

I didn’t sign up for atom bombs,
I never raised my hand
For Global Warming,
Nobody asked me my opinion
About cloning,
Or for my permission,
I never voted for higher rents,
I can’t remember giving
A thumbs up to overpopulation,
Or to devaluation of the dollar,
I never drew lots for these parties,
And said, Yes,
To strip malls and suburbs.

It all came to me one night,
Crept up and formed the world,
While I was too busy dreaming,
I would have rather slept,
Easily awakened,
But I didn’t get to pick the story
And characters out,
The chaos held my attention
While terrible order
Set itself in place.

*Ben's blog:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


by Lyn Lifshin

now even those
ghosts will blur
the ex-husband. I
can’t remember
his hands. Or the
one with me. The
child star, a hunk,
who put me in his
memoir with Joplin,
Bardot and James
Dean. Wrote how
we’d take off for
Paris, or Tokyo
or Berlin. My face
on his web site,
a jolt. Gone, his
letters of what I
wore when he took
the train mid July,
cut out on my birth
day. Most gone,
buried where I could
take the metro in this
town we never
both lived in and now
are buried. One’s
under the nest of
mowed grass and
flags and me under
poems so full of
what isn’t


by Lyn Lifshin

Grey moves in deeper.
Up half the night, I
couldn’t believe I’d
lost the envelope,
letters, scrawled
messages, sliver of
his blue sweatshirt,
less blue than his eyes.
Gone, the strangeness,
not being who I was.
It’s not the man who
says, indelible, my
lean panther hard
thighs around his
body, not the ex who
hardly wrote me
one letter, not the one
who loved Bardot and
Joplin and J Dean but
the one whose stories
on midnight radio air
were with me when
he wasn’t, too often
canceling at the last.
too depressed or drunk
maybe. But when he was
there, he was like no
other with his grin
and those lake blue eyes.
Oh where is Willie
Nelson with his "I’ll
never get over those
blue eyes"

*Lyn's website: