Rumors of my death have been largely exaggerated.
Eleven months since the last time you saw me, Poetry Issue # 152, resulted in my first published book of poems, “Random Acts of Terror” published by Citizens for Decent Literature Press, a bachelor’s degree in journalism, a better understanding – politically – of just how fucked humanity and all its oppressed and exploited people are. A higher education resulted in already-formed philosophical convictions.
But I digress.
Now, with more time dedicated to putting together a crème de la crème of poetry submissions on a regular basis, you will see new and established and pseudo-established poets offering their literary blood, guts and other organs each month. Ten poems per issue, per month.
Enjoy the issue.
vika g: germinate?!
By Angelica Guillen
Note: what gave birth to this poem?—i saw a photo yesterday (2/10/13) of a
local mexican woman holding a basket of vegetables she had harvested,
standing beside her was her “farmer/teacher/landlord”. La Mujer Mexicana
was smiling sweet, while her eyes were stone cold in defeat. This poem is for
her. germinate? … white hands direct brown hands into tierra
madre teaching??? >>> mexican field workers >>> to farm? to germinate
life into earth to maneuver tech tools, handle ancient tools, buy made in
china tools teaching the learners, you say in interviews, “i work with
the oaxacans” “i work with the mexicans” “i learn them to farm”
thoughts ger/ mi/ nate “perhaps you should notice oaxacans, mexicanos
>>> work at you to indigenize your learnedness of SACRED mother earth
I watch your eyes as you public speak of germinating “future” farmers
sad this man-made, un-organic seed you plunge in growing fantasy into
earth marrow of your heart bronze hands plant life into your
non-profit-less profits off of which you survive??? “future”
farmers???! before time was time we gente bronze harvested
culture life from earth’s deep and generous love germinate
germinate harvest truth into your farmer-teacher -landlord identity
we were earth long before you called it farming long before you
GER/MIN/ATE/D it into IN/ DUST/ RY
By Jay Sizemore
these words don’t mean anything,
they are just words,
just ink pressed into paper,
just black shapes
folded into the pixels
of white light trailing
behind the blinking cursor
on this LCD display,
they’re just sounds,
associated with sunsets,
with emotions and oceans
which can be one and the same,
these words won’t make you cry,
they won’t make you smile,
they won’t fill your heart
with winter breezes
or send you falling
through continents of ice
to the center of the world,
they’re just words,
your mind gives them substance
as it would dissect
the texture of a tree stump
pressed to the fingertips
autobiography in the rings,
these words could mean anything,
so define them,
and discover yourself,
wash your face
and feed your eyes
with these lines
carved into the page
and into your palms
like the DNA strand
of conscious thought,
the lucid dream
the closing fists
crushing the white sky
of infinite ideas
while waking up to find
that this poem and poetry does not exist.
The Ashtray is Full and on Fire
By Brett Stout
the ashtray is full and on fire,
the sun never shines anymore these days
blackness all the time
it soon brings the boredom and feelings of
isolation and laziness with it
I sit here
nothing to do
no one worth talking to
sitting in stained blue underwear
finding comfort in ginger ale and cheap cigarettes,
the ashtray is full and on fire,
box cutters and two cigarettes left
an ink pen that doesn’t write anymore
the bleeding can only come from me
spare change and a lottery ticket
that didn’t make me a millionaire
a clothes pin that never held clothes
and three dollars that haven’t paid for anything yet
three pairs of scissors that may kill someone
one day but not yet,
the ashtray is full and on fire.
Bio: Brett Stout is a 33-year-old writer and artist. He is a high school dropout and former construction worker turned college graduate and paramedic. He writes while mainly hung-over on white lined paper in a small cramped apartment in Myrtle Beach, SC. He published his first novel of prose and poetry entitled “Lab Rat Manifesto” in 2007.
By Mitchell Grabois
Kafka said he was a cage
in search of a bird
but Calvin Coolidge (Cal) Worthington
just wanted you to buy a car
If you want a better deal
go see Cal
If you want a deal that’s real
go see Cal
was the poetry he spun
in the So Cal sun
like the scent of red bottlebrush
by the hotel pool
while Bob Dylan droned on
…how does it feel?
Cal never wanted to sell cars
He wanted to be a flyboy
but was too nearsighted
or too fat or short or something
so it was cars
and beating his competitors out
If another guy had a pet dog “Spot”
Cal had a pet hippo or alligator
If Cal had a bird
it was a turkey vulture
and he didn’t want it anywhere near
his rib cage
What kind of bird did Kafka want to assuage his loneliness?
I’d guess a peach-faced love bird
like the one that magically
arrived on the rail of my back porch
and sipped out of my orange juice glass
with no existential self-consciousness
I brought him in and put him in the empty cage
recently vacated by my
seventeen-year-old cockatiel, Mickey
who died with his boots on
like John Wayne
one of Cal Worthington’s heroes
The New York Times ran Cal’s obituary
two days running
he was that important
Kafka still sits in his room the cage door open
but so far
Poem for Dorothy Parker
By Bradley Mason Hamlin
By Tracy L. Lyall
‘I remember you were laughing’.
I was not laughing, I was trying to cry.
It was that goddamn bus; the other car came from behind
and smashed our back fender, sending plastic toys flying into the backseat
where they were buckled.
Zane says he remembers his seat flopping and Kira remembers blood.
A Harry Potter scar of gaping flesh, skull, and blood.
We squatted in the parking lot, ‘cry, cry, stop staring at the blood, people will think you’re nuts if you
She was strapped down Popsicle style and rushed to the hospital where we sat for four hours
with it hanging open –
‘tape it up or something, gawd.’
8 stitches and a scar.
It was supposed to recede to the hairline by 12, but never did.
2003 their father brought us back from the mountains to this hellhole,
left us to be evicted, moving from the ghetto and elementary kids telling Kira,
at the age of three that they would kill her.
It was a week before Valentine’s Day; he wanted to be with his new girlfriend,
the online one he met when I told him he couldn’t bring beer into the house.
All those speeding tickets, credit-card debt, school debt, and past romances lying dormant
on the kitchen counter.
It was for all of us; forever on her forehead.
By John Grey
There are no executions in the square.
Just look at this town center.
Not a gibbet in sight.
No bodies pierced by poles
like in the days of Vlad the Impaler.
There’s even public toilets.
Take that crucifixions.
And the businessman
in double-breasted suit
eats his lunch on the park bench
without fear of soldiers interrupting,
or priests, or lawyers,
or the Grand Inquisitor.
He even feeds crumbs to the pigeons.
And out of the goodness of his heart.
Not so he can draw them near
then club them.
Not that everybody’s happy
but those grimaces aren’t the nasty work
of rat-borne plague
or suspecting their neighbor is a witch,
Mostly upset stomachs
but what’s to be upset about.
There’s even an orator on his soap-box
threatening the unbelievers with hell and damnation.
And what’s “Hell and Damnation”
but the name of the latest trendy disco.
Hard to believe the country is at war.
Where are the war-like faces?
There’s just an old soldier
burrowed in a tenement stoop
with his gin bottle.
He’d be homeless
if America weren’t his home.
Color Of The Month
By Joseph M. Gant
caner now commercialized.
rotting breasts of capital
sell Chinese trinkets by the bunch.
and so we buy what’s advertised—
breast cancer awareness on the plate
like Pepsi, Coors, and Windows;
and we wear receipts of our purchase
on shirts, our wrists, and on our cars.
I’m sorry that your tits are gone.
I’m glad insurance paid with plastic.
but go away, I just don’t care
to celebrate the tumor that is blindness and en vogue.
I knew a woman. she rotted like the apple of a foul, debunked myth of Eden.
rouge cells that didn’t care to know
the color of your fucking bracelet
or month in which to be aware
spread blackness though her.
then she died all sorts of colors—
stains on sheets of
I will not buy these spurious condolences;
awareness doesn’t fit me off-the-rack.
Shadow of the Train
By John Thomas
Waking in a sand blast of bad sleep
past some blinded Sphinx
I hear the chalkboard scream
of a yard pigeon dying
as bars slam through orange,
making the same sound
as teeth rubbing against stone.
I know one thing vaguely
as ever; I am inheriting
these stems of your dementia
Cell by cell. For want
of ritual plastic burns,
Mop wigs, kool aid lip balm,
bored with sharp origami
in a men’s colony, you pause
a moment in rec time
to fingerpaint a wail
wide as a rude thumb
in a block that moves steamed
as a train, and the bars shadow
breeze by in one Rorschach spill,
with my head smudged
in one hexagonal smatter.
You always loved our
Aztec books at Christmas,
the gloss of rolling limp prey
down estuary steps.
Here I am in these
of civilization killing
time, wailing, bloodletting
with your barbed wire.
It’s Best to Forget
By Holly Day
We must not speak ill of the dead. Even if
she was a fucking junkie slut who
beat the shit out of her children
abandoned them for weeks at a time to
entertain some big talking high-roller from Vegas
some borderline pimp who wanted to show her the good life
or just another junkie who was in the mood to share
we must only speak of her accomplishments,
the good things she did
the charities she worked for
the people whose lives she touched, people that would have been worse off
without her good example and personal strength
because we must not speak ill of the dead, even if
he was a fucking drunk who beat his wife
put her in the hospital so many times
he should have been picked up by the police
who eventually smashed his car
into the back of a minivan full of kids
put their mother halfway through
the front window of the van
we must only speak of the good things he did, the way
he could always be counted on to pick one up from the airport
even at the last minute
the delicate woodwork he designed for the church
the way he reinvented
the blues harmonica
we must not speak ill of the dead, even though
we know in our hearts they won’t come back and haunt us
if we tell the truth, even if we tell
all of it.