Undun – a modern folk tale by Sissy Buckles

Posted in Uncategorized with tags on November 10, 2015 by Scot


His gentle voice in bed
crooned hypnotic, a warm
soothing baritone caress
that used to make me feel like
I was completely safe and
there was nothing
that could harm me
in this vast detached world
as long as I was with him,
the man I fell in love with
over twenty years ago —
does he still exist,
the same man
whispering close one night
last month that he might stick
poison in my food
while he held me tight
in his arms, like a tiger
licking my ear, the vicious
kicks slamming me fierce
awake in the middle
of the night that he
miraculously disclaimed
as his mere restless dreams
the next morning
deciphering my doubts
and tilting reality
over innocuously shared
breakfast coffee “it’s all
made up in your mind, honey”
so that all I know
is I feel serene with him
right now, his banal tone
quieting me effortlessly
and how the good times
are placed over the bad
like an innocent Band-Aid
and it’s enough to just
feel good to relax a bit and
let down my ever present guard
for a brief moment
shake off the ceaseless
taut racing thoughts;
calm, even though this weekend
he talked about wanting
to take the Remington 1100
into the woods on our
property and shooting it
until he got his frustrations out.
His gun obsession seems
to be having less and less
of an effect on me, but
after all I was born on a farm
my daddy taught me
how to shoot safely when I
was mere ten years old,
still immaculate,
or am I just benumbed,
my anger stuffed down
where it used to boil inside me
like a wild animal,
far easier to mantle him with
emotions he’ll never have,
closing my eyes to the
ever present train wreck
headed my way.
He has stopped ordering
firearm supplies for now
and ended up with only
six shotguns, three revolvers and
his latest a mean looking
Ruger semi-automatic pistol,
tried to shoot a possum
crawling on our compost pile
and either missed it
or wounded, still smelling
the bloody kill fresh
from the week before when
he’d smashed one to grisly bits
along with her nest of babies
crushing them brutally
raising his heavy shovel
over and over and over
maniacal breathing so hard
I’d hoped he would have
a heart attack right
then and there
and he was so excited
to see another one today
through the kitchen window
couldn’t wait to run outside
kill it like a kid with his
new toy, not a dangerous
abuser with a deadly weapon,
and I, not living,
barely existing, waiting…

Siempre by Robert L. Penick

Posted in Robert L. Penick on November 10, 2015 by Scot

I remember you touched by holier hands
than mine and leaning into that void of
helplessness, your brown eyes scared with
the realization of who you were not and
what you were not becoming. Your hands
would clutch at any icon: The crucifix,
the phallus, the bottle of mad misery
you poured yourself into, always hoping
for relief, wishing for a cure some magic
to change you from poor desperate creature
wash your insides bleach your heart put
back the broken and empty pieces and make
you clean and whole again your hourglass
refilled your high school yearbook face
unlined sixteen years old before everything
went away leaving cold night increased
gravity gut a wet mop inside you twisted
wringing wet and always slowly unwinding.

I remember you sad and proper, reminding yourself
Not to beg when the scraps were yours to keep.

Two Poems by Bill Gainer

Posted in Bill Gainer with tags on November 3, 2015 by Scot

An Afternoon Nap

The flight didn’t really last that long
but there was that moment
that one moment when it felt like the sky
had no bottom.
Looking down
there was nothing to see
blue, gray, a mist of pink
no birds, dust, leaves blowing
just me, for a moment free
from whatever it is
chains me to myself.



The Long Goodbye

She had that smile,
you know that smile,
the bad news smile.

She told me what they said
the best results
things they could try.

I wanted to say
I’ll miss you
but you don’t
you don’t
say those things
at least
you’re not supposed to.

We set close
one tear away

wanting to know
and hoping
would take a long
long time
to say.



Bill Gainer holds a BA from St. Mary’s College and a MPA from the USF.  He is the publisher of the PEN Award winning R. L. Crow Publications and is the ongoing host of Red Alice’s Poetry Emporium. Gainer is internationally published and is known across the country for giving legendary fun filled performances. His latest book, Lipstick and Bullet Holes, is from Epic Rites Press, Canada (2014). Visit: billgainer.com.

DIANE DI PRIMA by Neeli Cherkovski

Posted in Neeli Cherkovski with tags on November 3, 2015 by Scot



Orbs of trees
Splendid Light patches
Pinwheels sunflower
Worn sunlight brazen tune
Stern strong shoreline
Empowering and thoughtful
So much night falls
Over the fence
Here tundra powerful grass
Of lower Manhattan
She sweeps the upper
Atmosphere and
Throws the moon
Into the Hudson

Atlantic swells
In realms of
Imagination’s proud island
When you loom down
Beyond the gate

Heroic sight in hand
Turns summer into fall
At midnight
After the storm
Past sleeping fathers
In the churchyard

Daughter for winter’s
Handsome mirrors hung
Where white tips
Read trees on banks
Of a wild River
South of the
Roaring iron ribs


When she was young
Diane makes her way
To Ezra Pound incarcerated

Under the shade
His voice a crackly jolt
Birds settle

Asylum’s stand
Of trees
so many birds
Two poets
In the land of brazen
And distant cat-calls


Ezra worn from
Traveling to
Where stubborn Bulls
Pace the odes

Young Di Prima
Sitting on a piano
In the niche, her
Smile rests
On my palm

Now the sad rain
Hits our window
Down Bernal Hill
We meet for lunch
With Landry on
24th Street sweet
Moment cherished
Read for your birthday
You kissed me when I said
She raised the bookshelves
Of the neighborhood library
and later found
Duncan and Olson
In the monolithic fable

We be fine

We live in this fire


On our island stronghold
Ships arrive

One fatal day mortality
Gloom rude tule grid
The shipyard struggles
A poet bleeds
Under light rain
Every drop
a momentary ocean

Your mind voyaging
Intimate rock forms
In the middle
Of a word
Over darkened slope
Of a hillside

Your voice of liberation
On granite plates

Watch out
Wall Street
The lady brings
Solitude and splendor
Through a door
To the redwoods

Diane I feel
Words riding clouded
So much precision
In right moves, window
Wide open
You were torn
For the poem

Born into traffic
Of sons and daughters
Your library brightens
Single letters words
Like wood finches
In a light snowfall

Back east, one eye
On Whitman’s ponderous
Stone a hand
In ecstatic silence
As seagulls measure
The footsteps
Of a fallen star

Last Night I Dreamed About My Mother by James Babbs

Posted in James Babbs with tags on November 3, 2015 by Scot

last night
I dreamed about my mother
but not the way she was
at the end of her life
when she was confined to her bed
in the nursing home
the scarred tile floor
going from the front door
all the way to her room
this time she was young
her long dark hair falling
down past her shoulders
and she was able to walk again
moving around the room
waving her arms in the air
while I sat at the table
watching her
I was a little boy again
and she kept trying to make me laugh
most of the room
was hidden in darkness
and I wanted to touch her
but every time I reached for her
she was too far away

TALKING TO LI PO by Neeli Cherkovski

Posted in Neeli Cherkovski with tags on July 27, 2015 by Scot


Dear Father
of drunkenness
and poesy
some of us
idolize you words
as they step into English
on a high wire
over raging rapids
of an anonymous river
that has cut a deep gorge
through the ceramic earth

we bow in reverence
to the gods of mercy
who lay us low in due time,

I want to ask you
if there is any reprieve
because the beams of death
do not fit
they seem so ill
with faint deception
and wild eyed delusion

mercy is
is a flower
you tickle on the trail

as you ascend
to the snow field
past the last
hearty pine tree

your jacket is
fine, you stop for water
from the canteen, your
leather-faced father
smiles, an elderly priest
hikes on past us
at the cosmic tear
in his complex
system of belief

he must be well over
one hundred and thirty
five years of age
by now in 2015, my father died
at ninety-five, an old
hobo, son of Russian Jews

we had no money
but we had plenty of
honey which he has passed on
for me

at thirteen thousand feet
above sea level he handed over
the tough sky and the hard slate
of the mountaintop

for the children I will
never have

Kitty At The Poetry Reading by Aurelia Lorca

Posted in Aurelia Lorca on July 27, 2015 by Scot


I am listening,
but cannot help but notice
a calico cat slinking through the audience:
Of course she stops and rubs against
the legs of Joel Landmine, who reaches down
to give her a little scratch without
taking his eyes off the poet at the podium.
The kitty moves on, she does not mean to be rude
or distracting. She slides against MK, the birthday
girl of the night, and purrs for a moment in appreciation.
I lose sight of her after she circles around Razor’s feet.
He later says how the same kitty had once
sat on his lap through an entire reading,
though what he read made it kind of odd.
I don’t know, I just think that like all cats
she embraces the ineffable effable deep and inscrutable
way of things and people and in other words,
has some damned good taste.


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