Archive for June, 2010

Falling Down by Ally Malinenko

Posted in Ally Malinenko with tags on June 29, 2010 by Scot

I made a promise,
that I would stop thinking of my life
as a holding pattern
between good news and bad news
or lately, being bad news and worse news.
And I will live in the moment for what it is. Not what I hope will come.

And I’m trying.
But it’s not easy on a Sunday night,
when you have left the room,

because of the neighbor’s television

and I’ve given up
rather dramatically

and listen to the mumble through the wall,
knowing she is old
and probably going deaf,
and how little compassion I really have. And how terrible that makes me.

I tell you later, in bed,
that this year has started out pretty bad.
Sad and frustrating, I describe it.
And the writing, which is all I’ve got most days,
is letting me down.

And you agree and we lay in bed,
not touching, staring at the ceiling
and I realize I probably lied.

Places can turn their back on you. Just like a person can.
It’s then when you realize that the foundation is bad
and rotting, that termites have fed through the ground
and you can see how the whole thing will look
when that last plank snaps and it falls like a dying thing.

I realize over and over again, with horror,
that there is no guarantee that any of this will work out.

And now, I don’t think I can live in this moment for very long.
I don’t think anyone should.

Trust Issues by Mike Meraz

Posted in Mike Meraz with tags on June 27, 2010 by Scot

I don’t know if I can write this poem.
I mean, what if the paper doesn’t hold?
or what if my pen starts to run out of ink
half-way through a word?
or what if my hand cramps up
and I can’t finish it?
it’s just better that I not even get involved
in these poems.
so many things can go wrong.
I might get hurt.

Sunrise Blues by Bradley Mason Hamlin

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

was a musician
West Mississippi
of skin
and light of heart
blues harp
and sang
with a deep baritone
that sounded
like a fallen angel
bound to earth
with iron
chain-gang shackles
whiskey & lemonade
and on good
he made enough coin
inside his
lucky hat
to bed down
a whore
until the sun rose
and he’d be off
one foot in front
of the other
to the next town
to entertain
someone else.

Two Poems by Alan Catlin

Posted in Alan Catlin with tags on June 23, 2010 by Scot

Storm Story

Older woman
with walker
caught in sudden

crossing major
against the light

heading for Rite
Aid pharmacy

two packs of
Newport Lights
a Tall Boy single


All the roadside way stations
deserted, strip malls, shopping
plazas, ghettos for homeless,
canned goods tomb raiders,
scavengers of grocery store shelves,
warehouse rats; outside, highways
like McCarthy’s Road or the longest
tracking shot in movie history:
Godard’s Weekend as the end of
civilization, consumerism’s unnatural
end, seven hellish minutes of wrecked
cars, the dead and the dying, overturned
emergency vehicle silk screened sixteen
times, fragments of he future now or
as Cortazar saw it: life as we know it,
going nowhere.  At the information
center the map says: YOU ARE HERE,
but you’re not here, there’s no here, here.

Like Father by Robert S. King

Posted in Robert S. King with tags on June 22, 2010 by Scot

My son has my eyes, but not yet my vision.
He denies I can see through him,
tells me how blind I am,
how hard to breathe it is
when I’ve sucked all air from the room.

Men offer tough love, but don’t say that word,
just its euphemism of “what’s best for you.”
It’s the kind of love that makes money
of the world, testosterone of tenderness.
I have already spent my future,
spent everyone in it.
My eyes burn with clarity.

You can see it in his eyes,
how there’s no time like the present.
He chooses a wife as costly as himself,
a southern bell to give him hell,
like him, one who wants it now,
he says one who nags for now.
Soon his apologies are the only currency for sex.
Soon he feels money would be cheaper.
He slips out with a pocketful of anger,
swivels the barstool toward a closer, fruitier perfume.

Tonight Peaches is her given name, a fog of fragrance and gin,
dolled up in shiny, fuzzy hair and rouge over the bruise.
Peaches can’t forgive either her father or her ex
(twins she calls them)
but warms to his staggering new cologne of Old Spice and rum,
this one of such tightly focused eyes.
She just wants a free drink and a lover with a long future.

And so the future goes.
He drinks more and goes home less.
He talks less and stalks more.
He chases every face that shines,
except the mirror.

The Road to 129

Posted in Alarie Tennille, The Road to 129 with tags , on June 16, 2010 by Scot

This road began in Atlanta when a homeless man followed me up to Peach Street and asked for $1.29 for his wife’s operation. What followed was an anthology by America’s underground poets entitled Poems for $1.29. Yes it sold for $1.29 and no, it didn’t make any money. Then the idea was picked up by the Writers Place in Kansas City, expanded to include anything related to ―129‖ and used it as the theme in a poetry reading to benefit the Crystal Field Scholarship.
It did however, make some money for a creative writing student at UMKC and that is a good thing.

(Click on picture to view chapbook–then click on FULLSCREEN, then use mouse to turn pages on the right)

Two Poems by Harry Calhoun

Posted in Harry Calhoun with tags on June 13, 2010 by Scot

The one

She sleeps beside me
in this enchanted
sun-drunk afternoon,
shades drawn
her hair stylish short
but the face that of an angel

sent to save me

her hands meet
between her breasts
and her neck as if
in prayer and I can’t

sleep before I record this
but I can’t wait
to go sleep beside her
secure that I’ve found truth

in this artificial



You’re away on business again
and I’m sitting up on your bolster pillow
in our bedroom and working crosswords
and reading and jotting down poems

and Alex trots his 90 jet-black pounds
into the living room every few minutes.
When I go out to check on him,
he is sitting looking through the slats

of the blinds in the living room,
doggedly waiting for you to come home.
I tell him that you aren’t arriving
until tomorrow, but every few minutes

his big clapping paws slap on the hardwood
on his way to that window. Eventually,
I close the blinds. But you know if I wasn’t human
and didn’t have the distracters of puzzles

and books and poetry (and more recently brandy)
I’d be sitting out in that window with him,
keeping the vigil I have in my heart,
with the sweet expectant innocence I see

in Alex’s honest brown eyes.

Zippo Lighter Fluid Is My Favorite Smell by Cassandra Dallett

Posted in Cassandra Dallett with tags on June 11, 2010 by Scot

I remember or dream I do
Mom painting
a fuchsia colored flower
on the ceiling above my crib also
unwashed bodies in unwashed Levis
belt buckles and soft leather worn blue t-shirts
with a front pocket for Camel cigarettes
the Zippos comforting clack and close
our refrigerator black
a red and white STP sticker stuck on it
Dad’s chair sit in it if you dare
a good solid wood table
legs speckled like ostrich eggs
spilt coffee and beer glaze
illuminated by a coffee can light shade
over a single bulb
the pile of junk on the kitchen table
threatened avalanche
homegrown kept in a Buglar can
sat high on a shelf
wood smoke and creosote fires
driving us from the house on frigid nights
wrapped in blankets mom would hold me
while Dad got the fire out of the chimney
some nights on the way home from a party
barns burning
not immune to the starry spark
flying embers we’d slow
mesmerized by molten beams
insatiable flames eating up black sky.

punching a fourteen-year old in the face by John Grochalski

Posted in John Grochalski with tags on June 8, 2010 by Scot

i tell him
you wait and see, man
when you turn eighteen i’m going to rent a car
no, a limo, motherfucker,
i’m going to rent a limo
and have him drive me all the way out here
because i’m sure you’re not going
to be in college
you probably won’t even be in high school
and i’m going to have that limo
drive me all the way out here
on my dollar
and i’m going to have him park the limo
right in the middle of the street
so that all your neighbors can see
then i’m going to casually walk up
your driveway
ring the doorbell
and then when you open the door
i’m going to just haul off and punch you
right in the face
how do you like that?
right in the goddamned face
with a limo waiting in the middle of your street
and all your friends and neighbors
lingering outside their doors to watch it
what do you think, huh?
oh, you think it’s funny?
you think i’ll forget?
you just wait and see, man,
because fate is a bitch
and i have one long ass memory
and little else to do in the ensuing four years
but mold and shape this plan
so you keep on laughing and smiling
and thinking i’m just a drunk old fool
but you’ll see
four years from now
a limo and everything else
parked right there on your street
and you knocked out cold
wondering what in the hell just happened
and then you’ll remember, kid
you’ll remember this moment like all hell.

Karl Koweski…Two Poems

Posted in Karl Koweski with tags on June 7, 2010 by Scot

the death and rebirth of a mechanical engineer

Jeff returned from
tending his garden
florid faced
his chest constricted
with pains he blamed
on acid reflux

ten minutes later
he laid between the
couch and coffee table
dead of a massive
heart attack
believing to the last
it was just something he ate

you can look through
the glass of his
office window and
see his safety glasses
folded on his desk
surrounded by a
conspiracy of
yellow post-it notes
bearing neatly printed
numbers and letters
that lost all meaning
last Saturday afternoon

the pictures of his children
like three little Jeffs
trapped in cryogenic sleep
their faces frozen in
perpetually staged smiles
lacking any conception
of a fatherless future

the tongues hang out
of his work boots
laces crossed like
autopsy stitches

no one will ever
wear those boots again
leather and flesh
rendered equally useless

he left Friday
with no doubt
he’d return Monday

two weeks from now
there will be a new body
occupying the empty chair
rebuilding a confederacy
of pink post-it notes
with a hieroglyphic trove
of important numerals
and another
cryogenically slumbering
brood no less unaware
of the surprise
party mortality
waiting to be sprung


judas kiss

widow’s peak and fingers steepled
before the Satanic church of her lips
a congregation of mischief seated
behind the blue green altars
her neck adorned with flowers
forever fresh and scented with poeme
and I am the priest
the monsignor of this one church,
one goddess with a hundred administrations
I light her candles for evening mass
I kneel before her open gospel
reciting my favorite passage
to a litany of hallelujahs
I kiss the seven stars leading to heaven
nightly, I ordain myself in her ministry
I cloak myself in the vestments
of her omniscience
her faithful servant
until the seas run red with blood
and the dead walk the earth again