Archive for April, 2010

growing up by t. kilgore splake

Posted in Splake with tags on April 30, 2010 by Scot

mother reading me
“little red riding hood”
peter rabbit tales
first grade primer
dick jane spot
“look look
see the funny animal”
ted mike casey
kids finding sesame street
bert ernie bigbird
abcs counting to ten
now graybeard climbing cliffs
seeking rogue coyote
looking for wisdom
deep yellow eyes

ghost road by t. kilgore splake

Posted in Splake with tags , on April 29, 2010 by Scot

mother and father
fleeing poor michigan farms
banker owned acres
like midwestern orphan train
‘placed out’ kids
raised in methodist “goodness”
white bread Americana
taught sex not delightful
sunday visits to cemetery
visiting  relatives graves
dad always working
money buying new things
mom pushing culture
piano lessons high school band
rare summer family picnics
sandwiches and lemonade
pressed to get a job
move up ahead
reading books
watching movies
finding my real self
writing poems
what i was born for
young boy
suddenly old man
not believing in heaven
empty eulogy words
waiting morphine narrative
or .357 wisdom
wondering what happened
to ancient family album
faded brown photos
smith and anderson past blood
garage sale bargain
vanished in dumpster
dusty archive shelf

original sin by t. kilgore splake

Posted in Splake with tags on April 28, 2010 by Scot

sunday morning church
young children’s class
coloring inside lines
bible story pictures
never realizing
adam and eve
fucking their brains out

Morning Rage by David Plumb

Posted in David Plumb with tags on April 27, 2010 by Scot

This is not a poem about romancing war
or a lament for dead soldiers.
I can’t speak for men and woman who die
for absolutely nothing
or fake sheiks and oil-slicked dreams
and secret mercenary hutches
and goofy governors swearing
allegiance to gods that kill.
This is not for smirking presidents
This is not about children in empty rooms
wives with no one to hold, credit card debt
Egyptian women who want to drive cars
Christ blow up dolls, the Indian trinket on your rearview mirror
or crying in your beer because you can’t afford
diapers for your parakeet or your mate.
This is not for poets who swoon possums in the night
and collect MacArthur Grants hooting, “Me myself said.”
This poem is not about Legislators wearing Exxon tampons
tacked to retirement packages.
This poem is not trying to clean the windshield that is you.
This is not a poem about driving cars you can’t afford
This is not about the cell phone
you can’t put down for fear of death or loneliness.
This is not about last year’s grief, or me or
lack of confusion, or kings, or queens
or cross–eyed donkeys that hold hands
with your life these days, or is it?

(This is about Sgt. John Mele, 25, from Bunnell, Florida, killed in Iraq
14 September 2007,who left a wife and six year old boy)

lies are like lovers by Bradley Mason Hamlin

Posted in Bradley Mason Hamlin with tags on April 25, 2010 by Scot



Posted in T.R. Healy with tags on April 21, 2010 by Scot

“Maria Roberge?”
Thinnes reached into the canvas bag strapped across his chest and took out a small bottle wrapped with a pink ribbon and presented it to her.
“What’s this?” she asked, puzzled by the offer.
“Something from an admirer.”
“From you?”
Shyly he shook his head.  “No, ma’am, I’m just the messenger.”
Her sliver of a mouth widened into a cryptic grin.  “Well, thank you, young man,” she said, after accepting the bottle.
“My pleasure.”

Moments later, back on his Italian racing bike, Thinnes swerved around the corner and headed north toward the river.  The next delivery on his schedule was to the manager of a vintage clothing store on the edge of Chinatown.  He had three more bottles to deliver then he would be through for the day and would not have earned a penny.  Swift Spokes, the courier service he rode for, had volunteered its riders to participate in a fund-raising project, sponsored by the Children’s Hospital, to benefit heart disease research.  The idea, according to a hospital spokesman, was to spread the message of love across the city.  Specifically, people were encouraged to donate ten dollars for the opportunity to write a love note to someone and have the note placed inside a bottle and delivered to the person.  When he arrived at the banquet room of the hospital this morning, he was startled to find two long cafeteria tables set up with manual typewriters at which people could write their love notes.  He had never seen so many typewriters in his life, only the couple in the attic at his grandmother’s house.  He was amazed how loud they were, making as much clatter as dancers on a hardwood floor.

Abruptly, a horn blared, and on his left a dented panel truck roared by, the driver blaring his horn twice more.
Bastard, he thought, pedaling hard as he strained to make it through the intersection before the light changed.
“Bastard!” he shouted once he got through, though he doubted if the guy could hear him above the buzz of traffic.
In another moment, weaving around a fuming station wagon, he spotted a clock on the side of an insurance building.  It was almost three-thirty and he figured he should be at the vintage clothing store in a couple more minutes.  Curiously he wondered if the manager would be as composed as the last recipient or would she squeal with laughter as two women did earlier this afternoon.  One even embraced him as if he had been the person who sent her the note.

“I can barely make out a grocery list, let alone write something from my heart,” he admitted to her after explaining the purpose of the peculiar project.
“Whatever, sir, you’ve certainly made my day.”
“I’m glad.”
“And I hope whoever receives a note from you is half as happy as I am.”

For a split instant, as he waited to collect his first batch of bottles this morning, he sat down at one of the typewriters and attempted to write something but was unable to put together a coherent sentence and got up and left in frustration.  It was always difficult for him to articulate what was in his heart, the right words proving as hard to find as pebbles in a cloudy stream.

As he swept around the next corner, he spotted a green lantern gleaming above the front door of the vintage clothing store and immediately looked for somewhere to lock up his bike.  There wasn’t a rack in sight so he figured he’d secure it to one of the many parking signs on the block and dismounted and walked his bike toward a bent sign right in front of the clothing store.  Through the cluttered display window he noticed a young woman with frosted hair behind the counter and assumed she was the one who would be receiving the bottled note.  Her smile was so lavish and infectious he was sure she had received many tokens of affection in her short life and doubted if she would be upset if she didn’t receive one today.

Impulsively he got back on his bike, turned around, and pedaled past the store toward Chinatown.  There was a hostess at one of the restaurants there he was very fond of but was unable to convey his feelings to her so he decided to present her with the note intended for the clothing store manager.  Maybe then she would realize how much he thought of her.  It was worth a try, he decided, as he crouched over the handlebars and raced down the narrow street.

31 Foot Bumper Pull by Justin Wade Thompson

Posted in justin wade thompson with tags on April 20, 2010 by Scot

i’ve driven myself nearly mad
chasing roof-leaks
in the rain

staring at stacks of VHS
on a shelf next to
a can of bug-spray

and a small stack of books
someone once published
containing my early, angsty, poesies.

just the other day
a kid flipping burgers asked me how i do it

how i keep on living without working

with a wife
without a job
doing exactly what i want
and nothing else.

i had no real answer for him.

doesn’t he know
that i live in a tiny tin box
and that that’s all a man needs to be happy?

just a woman and a few cans of beans

everything else is just as useless as
the bug-spray and unmarked VHS
on the shelf
leaning against
my bedroom wall.

Your Lime-Kiln by William Doreski

Posted in William Doreski with tags on April 18, 2010 by Scot

You burn me in your lime-kiln
without a twinge of conscience.
Bone regards bone through sweeps
of prehistory impossible
to conceive. You toss your streaked
rusty hair and tip an iced glass
of vodka from your  native land,
that nation of ill-fitting suits
and dentistry without Novocain.

You observe the blue flame boiling
from the kiln, the smoke flushing
the night sky a sickly purple.
Didn’t Hawthorne identify
the ultimate sin? Your townhouse
rattles like a box of candy
as my vacated spirit hustles
up through the chimney to trace
the flight of my sorry ashes.

The chunk of lime left cooling
in the kiln looks clean enough
to atone for whatever crimes
you like to think I’ve committed.

Yes, I’d like another vodka.
But I think we should continue
our discussion in a minor key
on some other winter evening
when you’re not quite so eager
to mortar me into silence
with a handful of my cremains.

Charles Plymell: Eat Not Thy Mind Review

Posted in charles plymell, Reviews with tags on April 15, 2010 by Scot

Click on the pic

To purchase book—here

AN OLD POET’S LAMENT by Terry Sanville

Posted in Terry Sanville with tags , on April 15, 2010 by Scot

Dear Ethan,

What more should I say that hasn’t been said already? I’ve worked with words, lines and stanzas all my life. The world’s language flowed through these spotted fingers that tapped computer keyboards, typewriters, or clenched leaky fountain pens to engrave white pages with verse that few will ever read.

Just what more is there to say? I really want to know. Should I sing the praise of daffodils, stain your mind with analogy, simile, metaphor? Should I rail against the politics of the day, as if Caesar never lived and men never before killed on the Ides of March? Should I paint a picture of personal tragedy – a child lost in a chemical undertow; mutated cells destroying healthy tissue; the suppression of desire? What more should I expect of myself?

I know one thing: I am too old for new crusades, even though the young poetry Turks shy from the lance, from the righteousness of the truth, from the heart of the matter. Where are those who will speak out loud and bold? Are they silent upon a peak in Darien? Christ, is that all I can conjure, fragments of Keats from my youth?

I remember my life on a two-masted schooner anchored in Sausalito harbor, long before Ferlinghetti came on the scene. My father worked as a Navy welder, my mother waitressed at a greasy spoon in the Tenderloin. On calm summer mornings I’d dress in a sleeveless blouse and shorts – my legs were worth looking at back then – and stare across San Francisco Bay. The oily-sheened water looked like a varnished painting. I thought about Jack London on his adventurous fish patrol, about syphilitic Al Capone crouched in his cell on Alcatraz, and dreamt of sailing under the Golden Gate, out past Land’s End, into the deep blue thick of things.

Now, after a lifetime plying literary seas, I need directions on how to find the horizon. My compass swings wildly and I search for friendly shores to beach my craft. Notice my clever use of the word craft, its double meaning. Pay attention; your son might find it on a future examination:
“Explain what the poet intended by her use of the word craft and its relevance to the poem’s overall theme.”
God, nothing destroys the spirit of poetry more than being forced to study it. Yet one of the ironies of my time was that poets became teachers, or got jobs working the docks unloading freighters inbound from the Orient. They wouldn’t let girls work the ships, so for more than half a century I taught creative writing. I admit that being immersed in youth gave me fortitude…and the University helped publish my work. But all that is past. I now step carefully onto ice floes, watch the progress of cobalt blue cracks, or of lumbering Ursa as she approaches, grinning. But mostly I long for adult conversation, something to spark these aging synapses.

I’ve been blocked before. But this time it feels different, feels more final. Don’t get me wrong; I’m grateful that you introduced yourself, an admirer of my old songs. We should speak of the world, of your wife and children and the bustle of life in this fair city. Maybe I should look to those aged scientists and find solace in their proclamation that matter cannot be created nor destroyed. Or best yet, I should remember the English bard’s exquisite counsel:
“So long as men can breathe and eyes can see,
so long lives this and this gives life to thee.”

Maybe this letter is my new this. I have written it just for you. Will it pilot me through the Golden Gate once again? Will I be up to the task of sailing? I end with more questions. I hope you will help with answers, challenge me to write something new, avoid tired old phrases, clean my palette of crusted paint, and breathe out new songs. I must keep writing until the answers do not matter, until some younger voice, separate from the mumbling crowd, does not derail me utterly by asking, “How is your new work going?”

Hoping for patience,


first appeared in the March 2008 edition of The Boston Literary Magazine.