Archive for December, 2010

Three Poems by April Michelle Bratten

Posted in April Michelle Bratten with tags on December 29, 2010 by Scot


Only ghosts are outside for tea
this morning,
under the still-lit Christmas lights
from last night,
scratching their see-through beards
on the snow covered porches,
their hands frosting the glass-topped

Trucks pass by, sloshing the street
in front of them,
gray hairs shuffle in the snow,
smushed faces in scarves,
hands jammed in pockets,
breaths hard and visible.

The ghosts just raise their old cups
to dead lips,
watch the morning slide like hot oil
into the afternoon,
and smile at their luck.



the red park bench
pecked at my marriage
like a rooster
hungry for some cracked corn
or worms
or whatever it is
that roosters eat.

and autumn made a bed
out of the park air,
became intimate
with the yellow chill
and the yellow trees
and the thin yellow oxygen.

it was there
in a different color
where I found myself
six months away from you,
my knees muddy in the golden earth,
my hands alive in the dead grass,

trying to see
how big
the gosling had grown
since last June.


The Quiet Room

And I swear to God if I ever hooked,
ever blood-rushed the machine,
my sex would be valid,
unlike the average dirty bird-whore,
pecking, peck, pecker.

Love remains belly-hidden,
the cocked neck of nothing,
as the stomach, long, and blind, and forever,
poses as a highway for quiet thumbs,
but no thumbs have ever been willing,
and I remain untouched.

When a book goes unread it turns into a body,
a woman,
a dry poison of scattered lady parts,
a block of dead air,
an empty bladder that can not let,
nor drain any of its usual tendencies.

Oh, to be a fresh fuck!
A name, a date, an idea,
one drop of finger, toe, or chest,
one man,

a waste of time.

Two Poems by RD Armstrong

Posted in RD Armstrong with tags on December 26, 2010 by Scot

Thoughts on a Sunday Afternoon

It’s looking like it’ll be a wet Christmas
And here in the hovel
On a very wet Sunday
With one bucket
In the kitchen and
One behind me slowly
Filling with water
I find myself lazily
Drifting around the
Apartment I’m trapped
In today

The livingroom / bedroom
Looks like a mess
A reflection of my life
I suppose

The kitchen which I
Redid in June to add
More counterspace has
A bucket sitting in the only
Open spot catching the
Drip drip drip that drops
From the ceiling

On top of the bottom
Sash of the window
A spider web floats
Halfway across looking
More like a breath of fog

It’s cold and my shoulder hurts
I have a lot of fires to put out
Ironic that I chose a rainy day
To address this but such is
The luck of the cards

Outside I can hear the plink
Plank of water dripping onto
Metal sheds and debris strewn
Yards such is the expanding
Mess of my life

And as this year draws
To a close I
Wonder if I’ll have
Enough money to
Pay the
January rent
And another


Winter Solstice in the LBC

A police car backs up
Obispo with lights
And siren going
Can it be the start
Of the celebration
For the shortest day
Of the year
A time celebrated
Through the centuries
By pagans and other
Non-believers in the
Officially sanctioned
I stand on my balcony
Half expecting to see
A rotund half-naked
Man (like the guy who
Runs the Yoga studio
On Fourth by the
Theater) with a long
White beard standing
In a sled pulled by
Four stags and
Surrounded by cavorting
Nubile elves and fairies
Like the scene in A
Midsummer Night’s
But no
It’s only some fool
Skidding through the
Neighborhood on the
Rainslicked streets
With Long Beach’s
Finest hot on his tail

It’s the sixth day of rain
And everyone is getting
A little crazy

I go back inside and
Listen to my buckets

It’s beautiful

Two Poems by Travis Blair

Posted in Travis Blair with tags on December 26, 2010 by Scot

Chasing Dolphins

We rode Harleys to the wharf
that day we chased dolphins
south along the coast.
Those sleek streamlined mammals
leaped and dived, followed by egrets,
pelicans, and half a dozen boats
with cowboy captains at the helm.
I snapped pictures of you
in a deck chair, your hair whipped
by saltwater wind.  You said
I looked so Hemingway
but I felt James Dean.

By sunset we crossed
into Mexico and the sky glowed
as feisty red as our sunburned skin.
We turned back up the Gulf,
docked our boats at Laguna Madre,
drank shots of Don Julio at the bar
and danced till after two AM.
Before sunrise we staggered
to our room and collapsed.
I have no idea how we got back
or who brought the Harleys home.

Poached Egg Blues

I think of her when I poach an egg
Court of Two Sisters style.
She learned how in New Orleans
watching a white-clad cook
crack an egg, drop it in a pot
of boiling water swirled clockwise
with a wooden spoon.

In wide-eyed astonishment
she watched the egg tumble,
swim laps around the pot,
its skin whitening over yellow yoke,
then ladled – perfectly poached –
onto an English muffin.
She brought it to our courtyard table,
grinning, eager to teach me
when we returned home.

And for a week in our kitchen
she practiced until perfect,
then served me her culinary treasures,
smiling like a cat, proud
of her new found skill.

My Mockingbird By Claudius Cloyd

Posted in Claudius Cloyd with tags on December 26, 2010 by Scot

There was once a guy I knew
Who had a bird in his heart
But he hid it away
To make sure that
No one heard it sing
And if that weren’t enough
He poured booze and blew
Smoke on it too
So that it wouldn’t fly away

But I don’t smoke
And rarely drink

I try to encourage him
I bring out the guitar
And play his favorites
To coax him into song
But he just doesn’t
Seem interested

“It’s a world of cats
Cutthroats and cages,”
I tell him
“So there’s no point
In getting down
About it.”

Oh and by the way
He doesn’t fly
Away either

His feathers are falling out
His wings have grown
Into pudgy stumps

So he mopes around
The apartment
And stops at
A window
To gaze at the
Other birds
Soar about and glide
When it occurs
To him that
It isn’t
So much a case of them
As it is a case of him

And what can
I say to that?

The Open Letter Possibility by E. Jones

Posted in E. Jones with tags on December 26, 2010 by Scot

thank you
for this Armstrong paint
these watercolor drippings
on the tile of my room

this elbow branch
of my practice tree

made forked and leaving

here and gone
as lightning

less blue

this base of silkworm
and hog grass
pubes up
stretches out realistic

to give me smoked Thursdays
that burnt hung dawn
that muddy gray didactic meat

try unavailable, how about

try spike heeled
asphalt mix

put it all together

now breathe

Three poems by A. Molotkov

Posted in A. Molotkov with tags on December 21, 2010 by Scot


when I saw you last
you were so small
like a raindrop
with an IV

yet over the years
you have grown
into an ocean
in the teacup
of my memory

when it’s my turn
to be a raindrop
will you welcome
into your ocean?

Remote Things

I was submerged in thought
when a strange whistle
pierced the air
insistent yet remote

the teapot?
must I run and handle it?
did I put it on?

then I realized
it was an ambulance
a block or two away

I was relieved
no need to run
no need to handle

then I realized
may be dying

Five Haiku

being in love is a lot of work
but who wants to remain

you go away
one thought at a time
one word at a time

cigarette smoke
mixing with the fog
a small contribution

my son’s tenth birthday
his first in two digits
my first a thousand miles away

bird on a wire
why is time so transparent
whistling by?

Three Poems by Scott Owens

Posted in Scott Owens with tags on December 14, 2010 by Scot


Nothing smells as wet
as peanuts boiling
in a blue metal pot
on an iron woodstove
surrounded by old men in overalls
and farmboys in caps
in a country store named Crooks or Norman’s
at an intersection with no light
in a place that couldn’t be called a town
but still has a sign that says
Midway, Stony Point, or Mock’s Corner.


Misunderstanding Elvis

We’re raising Sawyer Jewish,
but living in the South,
you can’t escape Christianity,
and she’s heard enough of Christmas
to know a bit about elves,
so when we visit Dairy Queen
and the local Elvis is singing
along the edge of the road,
she concludes he’s too big for an elf
and asks why Santa Claus
would call someone a Hound Dog.


According to Hollywood

They don’t ever get it right in the movies,
the places where poor people live.
All the dogs there have mange
and most of the houses too,
crumbling foundations, paint
cracked and peeling, blinds
that won’t close, front porches
packed with worthless junk
they’d never throw away,
yards cluttered and bare.
Even some of the people have mange,
missing arms or eyes,
smelling of booze and diesel fuel,
fingers stained by cigarettes,
faces older than their days.

We never owned a lawnmower,
not until I was seventeen.
Apartments never had lawns,
and nothing but scattered weeds
would grow from rock yards
along the tracks or up
from sand beneath pine trees.
And something was always broken,
reaching through the hole in the screen
to open the door, carrying
water from stove to tub,
leaving the lights on in one
room to illuminate another.

According to Hollywood
being poor means little more
than no shoes, a single-wide
trailer, clothes that are too big,
and a smudge that only helps
to make you even cuter.
In the movies, even the poorest
of kids are miraculously clean
and always happy despite
being hungry in all the ways
a child can be hungry.

Getting Ahead by Joseph Farley

Posted in Joseph Farley with tags on December 14, 2010 by Scot

The ability of a person
To get on his knees
Or better on all fours
to deliver so many votes
Or dollars
To a political campaign
Should not be
The overriding factor
In getting
A political appointment
If the pimp candidate
Is elected.

How much easier it would be
To be a farmer shoveling dung
Than to be fated to wait upon
The beck and whim
Of a political whore
Appointed to office.

Driving Home After Drying Out by Antonia Clark

Posted in Antonia Clark with tags on December 14, 2010 by Scot

Towns I’ve never heard of pop up
on exits — Temperance, Dryden.
No one risks a joke. My mother
insists on music — loud AM
country, full of losers, heartache,
hard living. The words, she says, just
kill me. I read the warning signs
ahead: Caution. Slippery When Wet.

Between the Moon and the Sidewalk by Tyler Gobble

Posted in Tyler Gobble with tags on December 7, 2010 by Scot

I was the first to tell you the moon is not a hole
in the sky. Twelve years old, the blip blip
of your light up shoes. You climbed higher and higher
in the apple tree on your front lawn.
The fruit is the freshest at the top.
Hey, bring me some too, I shouted,
never any good at climbing, like you,
saying so close, kicking the tiny apples down,
each one hollowed out by ferocious ants.
Your body had a shape for the first time
that night. Your mother’s 9 cats and their 81 lives
climbed with you, the green leaves and brown branches
spotted with your foot sparkles and the splotches of white, tan,
grey, black kittens, them too making their first trip
that high. Today, outside a window, I saw you
staring at a tv broadcast of the recent shuttle launch,
exhausted fire trembling the ground, pointy tip
like a finger shooting up. I slapped your back, said,
how about that, pal? The sound thudded
like the drop of old old fruit.