Archive for June, 2014

Dead Ends by Pris Campbell

Posted in Pris Campbell with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot




When the road behind you
is littered with bodies
of those you once loved,
when dead end signs loom
over each hill, when age
pockmarks your morphing skin,
the mermaids swim to shore
and call your name.

Seaweed ’round their necks
they lead you into waters where dolphins
leapt and great whales spewed,
past junk-cluttered reefs, dying
fish and great turtles struggling
in plastic and hooks.

Your tears blend with theirs
as they return you to shore, back
to your road where night shutters
down over pale-eyed scavengers
and lost yellow dogs.

Two Poems by Lynne Savitt

Posted in LYNNE SAVITT with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot



under your parents’ roof
you become a child again
parenting the children
they’ve become drowning
in the thick power
of the last moments
of their arduous swim

you’re in love with the towel girl
the tropical oil she carries
in her little striped beach bag
her coral toenails showing
through her brown leather sandals
make you giddy

everything tingles with the
backstroke of passion
on the shore of death

afternoon sun & medication
transform the ordinary
into ultra poignant relays

you’re always out of breath
out of sorts patience understanding
but not out of humor or lust

intensity makes you attractive
the towel girls thinks so too
she wets your thighs with oil
for the reading of the will

your parents are calling
they want sandwiches without crust
lemonade with little umbrellas
the sound of your recognizable voice

the heat & salt water exhaust you
yr postcard reads, “ sometimes i wish you were here’’
the tower girl licks the stamp before you mail it
summer won’t last forever




i can only love
you as much as
i love all the others
& dear, there have been
many other than you & him
& seeing you frail beauty escapes
description when hard passion
softens like apples left on autumn
ground near where you sit soaking
sun you always loved the burn
now radiated by machine hearts
that can say goodbye can’t be
broken by gentle kiss on your chemobald
head feels like gramps after the last stroke
your wave weak as tea & i couldn’t
wave back my wrist too rigid to banner
so long a finger puppet clutching
my cracked porcelain blue tinted
heart in a thousand tiny pieces
i cannot form the word but
i can only love you
as much as i love

The Killing Floor by Jim Chandler

Posted in Jim Chandler with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot



they drew him out
to the killing floor
overcame new strength
bred by the
smell of blood
& death

eyes walled round
like mad moons
he foamed & fought
against the ropes
& men laughed
in bloody roars
making sport of
his final moment
of horrid wonder

wretched & cold
on stained concrete
with the evil smell
parting curtains in
his shattering mind

he had no logic
to brace for
the blow
swung in simple
hard arc
the sledge
coming round like
a freight
in the wind
on bending tracks
& finding bone
between his eyes

vibrating his world
like the time
he ran
into a tree
playing across
the field
young & dumb
before he knew
his fate to come
before he saw
the others go
one by one
up the ramps
& away forever
before he
smelled red stench
in the wind

collapsed down now
on front joints
as visions swam
behind his eyes
he remembered
the tug of
his mother’s teat
& romps in
baby green
the nudge
of noses
against him

now on& on
riding the breeze
of blowing black
swirling mystery revealed
in flashing lights
the spell gone
around the walls
of nothingness
just the sweet drop
to sharp steel
and the caress
of mother oblivion

long & soft
lasting forever

Two Poems by Jason Hardung

Posted in Jason Hardung with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot




My cat is about to die and it’s raining again. The sky opens, I pet her cancer—xylophone keys, a bag of knuckles and a beautiful soul transmitting in there. I feel the wind of the desecration angels hovering above. I am terrified that the hat I became me in, will blow away. We always want just one more day. We plead to the wind, just one more day. We point to the sky and make deals, “I’ll quit smoking if you give me one more day. I’ll stop asking for anything, for one more day.”  When everything but heroin gave up on me, my cat was still there. When I was too fucked up to even feed her and the other cat escaped out the window, she rested on my chest, positive she could still hear a heart in there even though it was faint—church bells ringing through a hurricane. Soon, I will fall through terra firma—a libertine dog-paddling through white noise. I am lost without satellites. Somewhere someone is climbing a mountain while I have nothing in common with youth anymore.  I want to be celebrity enough to receive backlash for being politically incorrect but most of all I want my cat to put on weight and run through the sunflowers, one more day.





There’s a dead robin out here, on its back, one talon reaches towards the sun—like, “If there is a bird god, please help me.”  But no one comes.  There’s a constant threat of war out here and we all reach for something that’s not within our reach. I stare at my feet and wonder how far they could actually take me. There are lilacs out here, blooming over the sidewalk, I smell them and just like the two seconds during an orgasm the future reads like anything is possible. Hope is never a solid line. Hope rattles off in Morse code—a dot here, a dash there—radio silence and then we wait for the next pretty thing, the next two seconds to vault us through the next gate. Just one more time let me love something so much it kills me, from the nerve endings outward. There is a guy out here with a grey beard and a cardboard sign cut into an arrow; he says he was sent by god. Really this guy just loves to hear himself talk about god. When the arrow is pointing to the ground, that side reads, You deserve hell. When he flips it around  it points to heaven.  It reads, Repent now! Ask me how! I realize people with the most passion sometimes say the most useless shit. Just because you use a dictionary’s worth of words doesn’t mean you are saying anything. They conjure words from deep in the diaphragm because passion doesn’t derive from the mouth—bacteria does. Say it like you mean it and people believe you. There’s a woman out here that used to have short hair and smells like vanilla. She asked me if she could take me to dinner. “Sure, I like food. Why not,” is how I replied.  She stood me up and I haven’t heard from her again. I wasn’t convincing enough. Just remember—you may smell good now but when we rot, we rot the same. I don’t want to run from war and I don’t want to be the mouthpiece for the creator. I want to create. There’s a need for art out here.  An artist is a guy who takes photos of 101 different vaginas, frames them, hangs them on a white gallery wall and hands out wine to people that pretend they understand him. A pervert is a guy who takes photos of 101 different vaginas, drinks wine and hides the photos in a shoebox under his bed knowing nobody will ever understand him. I don’t need a Buzzfeed quiz to tell me who I really am. I am out here sniffing lilacs in stranger’s yards—over and over until I make it through.

Sabor de la Muerte by Misti Rainwater-Lites

Posted in Misti Rainwater-Lites with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot



God grants me a macabre bakery
I never asked for.
I get unlimited free samples,
tiny tastes of death
to prepare me
for the grand finale.

Like last Mother’s Day,
packing all my shit in Wal-Mart bags
once again as the only man
I’ve ever loved to exhaustion
sat at his table eating breakfast
watching examples of acceptable mothers
on the television I gave him.
Then sitting through a man in a wheelchair
playing “She’s Got A Way About Her” on the church piano
as my six-year old son clung to me,
knowing I’d leave him again soon
because Mommy is a vagabond witch
without a magical pillow.

At my mother’s ranch I am given a sea of salt
for each wound
more nails for my cross
just in case I was thinking
of climbing

I drown each day in the particulars.
I fucked up here I fucked up there
but there’s no time to consider the considerable
error of my ways
because there’s a redneck for Jesus on my ass
and I’m late for Disenfranchised Bitch 101
at the welfare bingo beauty parlor
across from the trailer park
I keep returning to
resplendent in last night’s vomit.

Someday I’ll really be fucking dead
and I’ll fucking know it.
My phone will start ringing
and it will be Daddy.
“It was all a joke, baby girl. You are truly loved.”

on visiting the HR Giger Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland — April 27, 2008 by Norman Olson

Posted in Norman Olson with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot


my fingers twitched
patterns of black shapes
in webs and layers of translucent
hours crawled up the walls like spiders.
a cute boy in a black
shirt typed
cryptic equations into a
cash register and light slipped through the
like a ghost made of alpine snow.

airbrushed rivets and girders beat bound flesh with straps and snakes

I imagined the staircase
without walls, my knee hinges flexing
on rubber steps. in my scalded skull, a dizzy brain
as I stumbled upward
on a flimsy staircase high above the
and the camera cobbled streets. mountains
in the distance danced
like zombie teeth
and the sun shone
like the glazed
dazed eye of a Geneva junkie
as the needle digs
again into the familiar ruin
of flesh poisoned, decaying and
torn by
terrible dreams. invisible screams
whirled in the mountain

CARTAS DE AMOR by Mather Schneider

Posted in Mather Schneider with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot



The other day I was riding my bicycle
and I imagined what I would feel like if Araceli died
and left me alone in this house
I thought it would be the end of me.
I had no idea how I would go on
I thought about sitting alone here
writing letters to her ghost
a whole book of letters
in her Spanish language
even though I don’t know it very well
I figured she would understand me
even from the grave
like when we first met how we communicated nobody knows
not even us
but we did and it was easy and beautiful

and I came home from that bicycle ride
made some notes about it
left the paper on my desk
and when Ara came home from work she found it.

I came into the room and she was crying
she thought I was writing a goodbye letter to her
thought I was leaving her
thought I was going to sell the house and go away.
It took me 30 minutes to convince her otherwise
and when she finally believed me
understood that I was thinking of writing an imaginary
book of letters to her after her imaginary death
well that didn’t sit too well either
and though the tears stopped
she looked at me like she didn’t know who I was

and was distant and strange later in bed
like she thought I might kill her in her sleep.

Best not to imagine your love dead
or to think people will understand what goes on inside you
best not to put literature ahead of life
best not to write certain things down
or if you do
best to burn them
or hide them
for some cold cold day.

NEVER SAY NO by Thomas Brzezina

Posted in Thomas Brzezina with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot




My father’s father
worked the coal mines
in Poland,
then in Pennsylvania,
before he moved to Detroit
for the factory pay.

Here, he became
a committed union man,
attended secret meetings,
and made impassioned speeches.

There was a story (told to me
by a neighborhood woman)
about him jumping out
of a window,
narrowly escaping
the anti-union thugs.

He had a rose garden.
He collected coins.
He made Christmas soup,
with prunes and lima beans.
He called bad drivers, hillbillies.
He once told me, never say no.

When he was dying
of emphysema,
his children dutifully enforced
the doctor’s ban on smoking.
He would pound the table,
vehemently demanding
cigarettes in Polish.

I caught him once,
alone in the kitchen,
staring into the mouth of a coal mine,
lighting matches,
and dropping them into
a black ashtray.

i should taste lava (for scott) by tj jude

Posted in tj jude with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot



i’m sorry
i’ve never been
a fan of
john prine
and it’s not like
you had a voice
to write home about
so the second time
i heard you sing
before listening
to you read
i found myself
how many damn verses
does this fucking song have
and does this guy really think
he can fuckin’ sing fer shit
’cause i beg to differ.

well, fuck me.

but that’s my story
so i’ve got to
stick with it.

Continue reading

End Note by Winnie Star

Posted in Winnie Star with tags , on June 3, 2014 by Scot




I watched mother breathe
in death’s sleep
living in last thoughts

I imagined she drew on
memories of her long past husband
wishing her exit would hasten
so she could face him again

heave, sigh, sputter…

I envisioned her glimpses
of children
estranged by personality differences
and realities of strong will

puff, blow, cough…

I perceived her thoughts in end stage
must be of the many pets she raised
to be obedient creatures of the lap
and free souls to run the plains
off leashes to freedom

gasp, choke, gurgle…

I felt she must dream
of the many houses she
with nuances of the decades
our homes

rise, fall, breathe…

I hoped she’d have glimpses
of what she was
before a mother:
teacher of gym, swimming, hockey,

push, pull, struggle…

does she feel her body
ready to fly back to where it started
a mold of human flesh
ready to mesh
with the Gods of wonder?

would she wish
to turn off the machine
hasten the end note
join her master in angelic form
put it all behind now
to sleep?

the last breath came
in the early morning hours of
hospital doom

and we then buried
dear mother
next to
dear father