Archive for July, 2016

Four Poems by Michael Grover

Posted in Michael Grover with tags on July 16, 2016 by Scot

I Have Walked Through Wars & Never Seen A Thingme reading
We are a culture of great wars
Seen nothing but war
For a very long time
Vietnam when I was born
We have never seen war
It is a far off place
& those that do go off to see it
Never come back the same
I don’t see much use for this war
Except to rally the troops at home
But what do I know
I am just a Poet in Toledo, Ohio
Watchin’ as the World burns
There’s a war on tv
But that’s not the real war
The real war he’s a tough son of bitch
Cold & hard as stone & steel
Too hard to show the real war
& the sacrifice it demands
I’ll be honest, I hope I never know war
I’ll be honest, war terrifies me
Like cops with lasers on their guns
That’s right, I am scared of war
I am scared of war
Like I am scared of cancer
Like I am scared of dying alone
Like I am scared of things that I cannot control
Things that control me
Like war
But I think it’s time I face these fears


All Of These Things Are Nothing

There are some days when cancer kicks my ass
There are no days when I kick cancers ass
Everyone tells me to fight cancer
What does that even mean
These days it’s a struggle to stay active
Little things like walk the dog
Or those dirty dishes are still in the sink
There are days I must push myself over the smallest hills
There are days that writing would be hard to pull off
This can last for days sometimes
I can go crazy going days without writing
Waiting for some kind of release
I am learning to be patient wait for it come back
I am learning to deal with cancer on the fly
It’s something I’ve never dealt with before
As is most of life I guess
Chewing you up & spitting you out
That cold, hard march toward death
& all around you your friends dying
Everybody dies
You start to see the truth
That it doesn’t matter
That purpose you were given by someone else
All of those purposes
That tug of pride you felt on nine-eleven
Or was that fear
Just watchin’ the tv
Thinkin’ it could be down the street
It was all nothing
Now it can’t be changed



Silent killer
Ticket to the death lottery
Slow painful death
You stir, you kill
Don’t need a reason
There is no reason
Unluck of the draw
Years of good poor livin’
Like we had a choice
Maybe the places we’ve seen
Things we could never unsee
Building up like a ball of negativity
I have seen too many eyes lost
There is no reason
Eyes that know you
Distant eyes
Every time I look in the mirror
Those eyes
At the treatment center
When I go in for a shot
So many lost eyes
There is no reason
I hear this god would never give you anything
That you cannot carry
I would like to have a talk with him
I don’t think he’s listening
He’s got an army of snake oil salesmen
He must just not care anymore


For The Outlaws
(For Doug Draime)

These modern outlaws
Busy patting themselves on the back
For that Poem they wrote years ago
Still rocks the crowd when they read it
Got nothin’ remotely controversial to say
But they’re oh so edgy
In fact they will tell you as quick as Laura Bush
as quick as the government
That there is no place for political Poetry
That there is no place for us Doug
I thought I watched you die unheard
Which would be an outrage
But I read your words tonight
It lit a spark
Which became this wildfire of a Poem
I know your fire will forever burn
I know we will keep that fire alive
Spread your name like wildfire
We will pass it on to the next generation
A message to the outlaws
We are an army
We will not be quiet
We will say what we want
When we want to say it
As Poets we are bound to the truth
No matter how dark that may be

american obligation by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on July 11, 2016 by Scot

another invisible man
lies crumpled
in the front seat
of his car
life leaking
onto the black
floor mat
his blood-covered shoes
blinking eyes
gaze up
from the bottom
of death’s dark hole
into the imaginary
soul of a cop’s
video camera lens

as the movie unwinds
his scattered mind rolls
like a broken wheel
frantically trying
to make sense
of what just happened

about a broken tail light

or was it only a dream
about something broken

in the backseat
his daughter is crying
is she broken
somebody help this little girl

or maybe
he’s dreaming
about his daughter
crying in the night

why is she crying

is she crying
for him
is she crying
for you

is she crying for us all
because we live
in a place
where many
have forgotten
what it means
to dream
a cold place
where some of us
will forever be judged
by the color of our skin
& not the content
of our character

he cries this last time
because his daughter
will continue to have tears
in her eyes
as she grows toward
more bone-cold discoveries
concerning old promises
new lies
& american obligation

somebody help this little girl
she cannot stop crying

petrol station by Matthew J. Hall

Posted in Matthew J. Hall with tags on July 11, 2016 by Scot

I took a job at a petrol station
I needed a job
I’ll stay for six months, I said

four years of ill-feeling later
I left

you’d think
a job like that
where time was measured
by all those thousands of interactions
that the poems would flow

but they didn’t
they wouldn’t
no matter how hard I tried

there were very few stories
in all those dead eyes
and seldom a poetic line
from all those loose mouths

there was nothing to say about the functional drunk
who fashioned a habit out of interrupting
my cigarette break
who’d lecture me on the unethical practice
of selling booze from a petrol station

it’s the oil industry, mate
I’d say
as soon as we step foot on the forecourt
we’re on morally shaky ground

he’d pretend not to hear me
and make a big production
out of paying for his generic vodka
with a credit card
which, without exception
never failed to decline

he’d reach inside his jacket
rummage around in there
pull out half-smoked cigarettes
betting slips
loose matches
a well-used handkerchief
and finally a five and change
all of which he’d put in a pile
and invite me to extract the necessary funds

I thought, perhaps the beggar
the one I slung a quid to on occasion
might do or say something of note

the one who came into the shop late one night
looked at the price of confectionary
called me a cunt
paid for a 75p bar of chocolate with a score
picked up his change with fussy fingers
muttering under his breath about,
this cunt’s ripping me off

I thought I might get a poem or two
out of the school boy in uniform

a handsome young fellow
whose eyes bulged at the sugary treats
I was sure I’d get a page or two out of his greed
and how I related to it
something about the early stages of addiction
and the unfortunate path he had started on
but I was wrong

there was however
something to be said
about the chronic alcoholic
big old piss-patch on his trousers
and fear in his voice
a good man but easily distracted
kept threatening to bring on over a batch of his short stories
and read them to me, out loud, right there in the shop

and maybe
if I’m lucky
at some point
I’ll get a few stanzas out of the chef
who always stank of spilt wine
yet never appeared drunk
he told me he couldn’t cook for shit
but knew how to gamble and drink

there was always Cathy, though
she was an open book
from which I willfully stole
line after line
poem after poem

and some of those poems were picked up
by small-time publishers
placed in magazines
and a couple of hand’s full of people
read all about Cathy

they read about her true smile
and her rotten teeth
about her undeniable freedom
in spite of her obvious bounds

and the dirt on her eyelids
and her worn down heels
and the sadness of screaming failure
and her girlish innocence
of which she had no legitimate claim

and in other poems
which weren’t picked up
they didn’t read
about her fascination with fire
about the burns and soot-stained skin

they didn’t read about the bruises
all over her neck
how she told me,
my friend grabbed me there
and tried to twist my head

nor did they read
about the time she told me,
I love you
she hadn’t meant to say that

she’d come into the station
to tell me she didn’t have any cigarettes
knowing full well I’d roll her one of my own
which I did
as she left, she said it, she said
I love you

all in a flush of red she retracted
I mean, I like you
I mean, you’re a good man
I mean, thank you

I wanted to say
I know
but I just stood there
with dumb-grinning eyes
and watched her leave

the first time I met her
she approached the point of service
with two pockets of jingling change
she dug deep in there
and spilled all those one and two pence pieces
over the counter

I counted up the money
and swapped it for
a five pound note
a 50p
a 10p
and a 5p
and she smiled

and the smile cracked the grime on her face
from the corners of her thin mouth
all the way up to her deep crow’s feet

when she left
the manager, with a smug sense of self, said
I have a theory about her
I think she’s the local prostitute

any half-idiot could see
she was no type of scrubber
for sure, desperate times
demand desperate measures
and she may well have knelt down
given some head
but that didn’t make her a part of the oldest profession

the manager, however
was a whole idiot
and couldn’t see much of anything at all

a year or so later
at the end of a night shift
when the morning people
were fueling up
buying newspapers
coffee and the like

I stared out of the big glass window
and watched Cathy saunter up the street
she stopped at a bin and rifled through it
discarding the rubbish on the floor
at her feet

once she was satisfied
that the bin held nothing of worth
she picked up the litter she had dropped
and put it back into the bin

there was a delicacy to her movements
she was the crippled ballerina

a regular customer
nodded in Cathy’s direction
crack head, he said
sorry? I said
she’s a crack head, he said
oh, yeah, I said
it’s ravished her body
but is yet to chew through her soul

the regular customer looked at me
as though I’d shit on the counter between us
paid for his coffee and got out

sometimes when walking to work
or walking home
or just walking the city with neither plan nor purpose
I would see Cathy asking people for change

and when she saw me
and saw that I’d seen her
she’d wave bashfully
and I could see she was ashamed
so I’d pretend not to have noticed her
and I’d walk the other way

Cathy was the only line of poetry
in that box of artificial light
built on a foundation of greed and illegal practice
there was nothing else to say

working at the petrol station
suicide was often on my mind
I was often bored
more often depressed
and more often than not,
disabled by a raging sense of anxiety

I realised early on
that the general public’s common stupidity
was symptomatic of lots and lots of
individual selfishness
and their anxiety was contagious;
the human condition is a terminal illness

they were all in a rush
wanted to be first
wanted to win a fight that didn’t exist

the factories and the warehouses
put me in good stead for the boredom
and depression is a waiting game
but anxiety is a wild and unpredictable beast

occasionally, customers would stand waiting
at an abandoned till
while I hid in the storeroom
with the Coca-Cola and crisps
and tried, with limited success
to stop crying

I longed for a fire
a big fuck-off forecourt explosion
or a gun-point robbery
or an honest-to-goodness lunatic
who’d tie me up in back
and subject me to prolonged acts of obscenity
anything other than the dead line of repeated routine

but I was a coward
stuck in a rut
too scared to move on
yet petrified of living out my days
activating pumps
and printing VAT receipts

I learnt
not too long ago
through a mutual acquaintance of ours
that they’d finally come along
and taken Cathy away

she’s in the mad house
he said
she got herself a nice wee flat
he said
and she burnt it to the ground

what hospital is she in?
I asked
don’t know and don’t care
he answered

I could have easily found out
gone for a visit
taken her some cigarettes and flowers
seen about that true-smile of hers

but I didn’t
and I won’t
because I’ve left the petrol station
and I’ve exhausted its poems
so the next line
will have to come
from somewhere else

SEX CHANGE by Alfonso Colasuonno

Posted in Alfonso Colasuonno with tags on July 11, 2016 by Scot

He looked like
a Kennedy.
Spoke like
an American.
But his
colors ran
when his
girl told him
she was going
to be a he.


Posted in John D Robinson with tags on July 11, 2016 by Scot

Born in Havana in 1891 to farming
labourer parents; he emigrated
to Miami in about 1920;
his livelihood was cigar rolling and
tobacconist and then he
moved to NYC and then
finally to Philadelphia;
he married and gained a son
and everyday after a 10 hour
shift of factory work he’d
return to his small and
humble apartment and
create breath-taking; astounding
works of art
and he never showed another
living soul these works;
never uttered a word to
anyone; kept no correspondence
with anyone; did not know
or socialize with artists and
he stole materials from the
factory to make beautiful
and astonishing collages of
human condition and political
absurdity and it is rumoured
that his son assisted with some
of these works and in
1983 some 20
years after his death,
discovered in a garage-sale was
nearly 800 works
from the artist, the healer, the man
who produced for the sake of
beauty; pleasure; love; pain;
creating not for money; fame; ego;
and now his works are
analysed and priced far
beyond the means of any
factory worker and maybe
Felipe Jesus Consalvos
would feel really pissed-off
with this bullshit.

Stupid fucker by Sissy Buckles

Posted in Sissy Buckles with tags on July 4, 2016 by Scot

yeah that’s me
alright, walking around
with my love
blinders on once again
wishing that his desperado
yackety yak
has just gotta be
bona fide like that erstwhile
beau of mine, Hawk
(whose real name was Jim) and
always reminiscing
about old kicks and grins
back when he proudly flew
his colors to impress
the chickadees at
Dumont’s tavern aforetime
proprietor Eunice got his felony
conviction and a prison
sentence to boot,
ironic painted flames
crimson licking the
crumbling plaster facade
outside the very same building
on El Cajon Boulevard
two doors down from
their clubhouse that the feds
blew up a few years back;
then, too high on weed
and trying to push me off the
back of his bike while
riding through Anza-Borrego’s
arid wasteland for some
bogus paranoid
reasoning filled with
illogical fallacies
and loosely cobbled
ancient biker grievances and
all the while thinking
you’ve actually seen a man
who could by God stand
on his own two feet
how high the moon?
But I have no ill
feelings in my
heart honey, I know
it’s a rare
individual who can
face the stark
accusations of the
callous world and look
I completely
understand your fear
and trembling dread
when the outlaws
challenge your precious
status quo you know
I can be sympathetic
as hell but man, don’t even
try to gaslight me
so you come out smelling
like a rose.
Shit won’t fly, that’s it
yet, so easy
just to be cool
with things but it’s
always the same sorry
con story, folks
dragging the world down
to feed their own
repressed trip,
stealing joy,
bleeding offal and crap
merrily along
the moral highway the
bell tolls
for thee cholo
Kell Robertson’s
trigger finger
is more renegade
than you’ll ever be,
and class politics
aside you should have
just treated me
like a queen
I don’t ask for much
how truly simple
could that not be?
But this morning
I woke up
fiercely Greek as
Aeschylus’ Clytemnestra,
refreshingly vicious,
grimly unrepentant and
emancipated in her
grief surveying the
wreckage she made
all by herself,
I’ll show you transparency
pal, one more nail
in my coffin, see don’t
you understand
my life is a fugitive
train and I’m just trying
to get it back
on the damned rail
the word ‘traitor’
on the tip of all their
filthy tongues and always
waiting for the next hard
rain to fall, still
wondering what I do
so bad
just acting
like you,
some infatuation costs
way too much,
and hyperventilating sweet
relief palpable
rushing from my dark
blonde roots to
chipped blue polished
fingernail tips pointing at
the next right indicated thing
is to plug in my 1980s
vintage Peavey garage
hair band amp
and ebulliently
shake up
the neighbors again

Fireworks after by Donal Mahoney

Posted in Donal Mahoney with tags on July 4, 2016 by Scot

Joe went to the mall yesterday
and found a big tent pitched
at the head of the drive.
Someone selling fireworks.
The sign said discounts
for all veterans.

Joe thought of his brother Bob
after his return from Vietnam,
a victim of Agent Orange.
He would shake if he heard
sudden or violent noises.
He got rid of his guns and
never went hunting again.

Bob didn’t want rifles
shot over his body after he died,
an honor some veterans prefer.
His wife wanted the ceremony.
Joe cried when the volleys were fired.
He could feel his brother
shake inside the urn.