Sunday, 3 February 2019

Summer, Lower East Side by John Grey

Cliff Dwellers, oil on canvas by George Bellows (1913)

Hot as a forge, a searing wind swivels
up Avenue A, corkscrews the laundry
dangling between windows,
swerves in and out of the slug-like traffic -
clouds thicken into
the wistful decay of Barney's Pool Room
peopled with genuine tough guys
chalking up cues, bumming smokes off
each other, feinting the usual punches
while they grit their teeth over old grudges,
rub balding skulls where hats used to sit -
East River bridges soar high and remote,
the deep tan of the surface more the style of
the homeless who gather by banks wainscoted in foam
one died in the last war and yet here he is,
another figured the big money would come
to him someday - he's still waiting -
another was married once,
is now blacklisted by his own life -
in the quiet light of a bronze moon,
they work on forgetting their names,
summer air like a steel staircase
spiraling in a neon-washed majesty
to the cheap darkness of the sky's upper floor;
coughs, health on the wane,
handsomeness and beauty
traded in for pigeon shit,
it's drinks all round at Lenny's bar
for anyone who never was.
junk oozing up from the shadows,
city takes its medicine, one arm at a time;
subway rattling underfoot,
kid bouncing a basketball on glass,
barges hauling, guys brawling,
the first drops of rain -
so glad they could make it.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Harpur Palate and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly. 

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Bible verses about Cold Weather by Mark Young

For those who are homeless, & have no options for shelter during the cold inclement months, why not stream tracks & playlists from Balaclava Microfibber to your desktop or mobile device to raise your spirits?

When your asshole feels as if God is tearing through it, remember dog breeds with thick coats & body fat can cause muscle stiffness & spasms if you have multiple sclerosis or suffer from spasticity.

If you have a cold room, or a basement that is partly below ground, you may be able to cancel the buses & instead keep an underground cheese cave that relies solely on the soil temperature.

Gaming Sites must not disconnect, & must reconnect, the utility service of a residential customer during the weekend after Thanksgiving.

More stringent citizenship requirements fit smoothly under a helmet & normally serve up some of the best marathon-racing weather in the nation. Find out if you can claim $25 for every cold week this winter.

Royal Marine helicopters landed on the grounds of The Mountain & Cold Weather Company to take the governor to task for hiding behind unnamed sources in that attack on City Hall last week.

A cooperative electric association in Sacramento, Calif., then took the governor to task for getting a job at an ice factory because of its deals on insulated camouflage jackets & coats.

Buff® headwear, with its variety of jewelry accessories at great prices, is one of the most exceptional organizations you'll find in any Army ROTC unit in the country.

Weeknight dinners are a breeze when you plan ahead. Nobody was more disappointed than God when Sandberg chose to walk away from the Phillies when he did.


Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry for almost sixty years. He is the author of around forty-five books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are les échiquiers effrontés, a collection of surrealist visual poems laid out on chessboard grids, published by Luna Bisonte Prods, & The Word Factory: a miscellany, from gradient books of Finland. Due for publication are Residual sonnets from Ma Books, & an e-book, A Vicarious Life — the backing tracks, from otata.

Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Penthouse by Susan P. Blevins

Crowds with flags lined the city street waiting for the motorcade to arrive.  In the early evening light, swallows darted over the people’s heads, snagging insects that were fatally attracted to the street lighting.  Quiet murmurs and some laughter could be heard, as everyone awaited the arrival of the man. 

The armored limousine appeared in the distance, its pennants dancing on either side of it, cleaving a path between the curious crowds.  It pulled up in front of the new luxury hotel built by the man, his latest in a string of hotels and resorts that stretched across the globe.

The hotel honor guard stood to attention beneath the garishly lit hotel name, a red carpet in place.  The manager hurried to his position alongside the limousine and opened the door for
the man himself, traveling alone.  His tall, bulky figure eased itself out of the vehicle in his customary ill-fitting suit, his curtain of hair blowing across his puffy red cheeks, temporarily obscuring his familiar truculent expression.  He turned to wave to the crowd that he saw before him, ignoring the signs protesting the construction of the hotel. Hundreds of families had been forced to evacuate their homes in order to make way for this new vision of steel and glass, and their compensation was more a gesture than one of substance.  There were other signs there too, protesting a multitude of various things he’d done which had hurt people, but the man was blessed with selective vision and hearing, so he smiled and waved, always at his best before a crowd.  He shook hands with the manager, and strode rapidly into his new hotel.  Alone in that moment, his slightly slumped shoulders betrayed possible awareness of the subdued hostility the crowd was afraid to display, for fear of being arrested.

The manager ushered him through the ostentatious lobby, a glittering statement of wealth and poor taste, emptied of people for the occasion.

“Please allow me to offer you a cocktail before dinner in our magnificent Victory Bar, and then I’ll show you to your penthouse,” murmured the manager with a touch of subservience.

“You’ve forgotten that I don’t drink, but I’ll take a look,” was his impatient, clipped response.

He peered round the corner and surveyed the partially filled space.  Seated at the richly appointed mahogany bar itself, was an extremely beautiful and alluring woman, revealing her ample charms in a dress that she must surely have poured herself into, her cleavage an overt invitation to any man of substance.

“Don’t go anywhere,”  said the man, “I’ll be down in a few minutes after I’ve washed my hands and checked my penthouse, and I’d love to offer you a drink on the house.”

He followed the manager to the bank of elevators, and watched as the operator tapped the button for the seventy-fifth floor.  The elevator ascended, silent as an illicit whisper, and in a moment they stood inside the lobby of the gaudily decorated penthouse.

“Allow me to show you your bedroom,” said the manager quietly, leading the way across the ample space, filled with faux Louis XV furniture,  upholstered in gold brocade,  yet another testament to the vulgarity of the man.

The manager reached the door and held it open, his hand resting on the back of the man’s shoulder in an apparently deferential and protective manner.

The man angrily shrugged off the intrusive hand, and entered the room. He turned to address the manager, but he was gone, and instead he heard only a click as the door locked behind him.  He looked around, saw the drapes were drawn, and went to open them.  They revealed no windows.  He looked more closely at the room, and felt his blood pressure rise precipitously as he realized where he was.  He felt a stabbing pain in his chest as the oppressive fear, that only a bully can feel, swept over him.

He had just entered a padded cell, and he knew he would never leave it.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

That Guy in the Office by John Grey

You are expecting that someday
you two will be a couple.
For now, he feigns ignorance
of the possibility.
In fact, that ignorance
grows exponentially
with the passing of time.

You express your willingness
to be half of a couple
by dogging his heels,
trailing him everywhere,
smiling at him
every chance you get,
even cruising by his house at night
to see if he's home
and with whom.

You call at odd hours
to make sure he's there
though you remain silent
on your end of the line.
You slip scraps of paper
under his door,
mostly 'Guess who"
in disguised handwriting.

Next step is to shave your head,
wear low cut blouses
and short-short skirts,
and parade before his desk seductively.
Either that or burst into
shaved, low cut, short-short tears.

Either way,
he has you right where he wants you.


John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Harpur Palate, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.

Friday, 9 November 2018

The Whale in the Sky by J.D. DeHart

To live in a world where
the pale pearl of a cloud might
be filled with the shadow presence
of a whale,

swimming through the sky,
rising and falling in massive
flight, spouting cumulus from a cavern
mounted on its considerable frame,

and meanwhile, on the earth below,
only beautiful animals, no more slithering
creatures tapered at one end and filed
like knives on the other tip,

ready to cut us down, undulating
threats moving with soiled gleam.


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He has a new book of poems, A Five-Year Journey, available from Dreaming Big Publications.

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Fern G. Z. Carr about 300K

300K is a fascinating anthology of poetry designed to serve as a legacy of mankind's presence on Earth.  While Editor Walter Ruhlmann questions whether or not this collection realistically would survive a cataclysmic event, he nevertheless decides to take a chance and moves forward with his very appealing proposition.

Ruhlmann strikes a perfect balance of poems written in both the English and French languages.  Topics range from the microscopic to the macroscopic – from our RNA to the infinity of space. The poetry in this anthology is not only entertaining, but also gives us pause to ponder the nature of our existence on this planet.

Fern G. Z. Carr


Saturday, 20 October 2018

300K: une anthologie de poésie sur l'espèce humaine/a poetry anthology about the human race

300K A Poetry Anthology about the Human Race Une anthologie de poésie sur l'espèce humaine. French-speaking and English-speaking poets from the 21st century meet in this incredible anthology that wants itself to be another stone on the suicidal path sapiens took 300.000. Des poètes francophones et anglophones du 21ème siècle se croisent dans cette superbe anthologie qui se veut une autre pierre sur le chemin destructeur que sapiens a pris il y a 300000 ans.

ISBN 9780244720759 Copyright Beakful & contributors (Licence de droit d'auteur standard) 
68 pages 10€ (+ frais de port)


Our origins are not that well known though not totally obscure. Yet, recent discoveries in Morocco have pushed our ancestry from 200.000 years ago to over 300.000. Yes, we've been that long on Earth, and yet, this is a flea's leap compared to all the living and non-living things that were there before us, some of which still are, others we have more or less slowly but thoroughly wiped out or disfigured for the rest of time. You can also refer to Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction (especially its introduction) or Yuval Noah Harari's A Brief History of Humankind.

Are we doomed? I am a pessimistic person and my own personal answer is yes. That's why I wanted to publish this anthology as a mark, a sign, a trace of our - yours and mine - passage on this planet. Think about petroglyphs, cave arts, artefacts, all the traces we have left here and there, all around the planet. Instead of chemicals, microscopic plastic particles, soda cans, gas jerrycans, used solar cells, full of silica, that no one knows how to recycle efficiently, smartphone parts, laptop bits and pieces... why not leave a book of poetry that will probably get lost in nothingness as many other books or objects before it, but that some descendants of the human race, or one of its creations (a mobile, self-conscious, artificial intelligence) or an alien civilisation might stumble upon in, let's say, another 300.000 years from now; who knows?
Maybe your answer to the above question was no, and you are more optimistic about and in awe at us, i.e. humans, homo sapiens. Indeed, we have lived so far and also achieved many great things: pyramids or huge monuments all over the world, some humans were inventors, scientists, intellectuals, philosophers, etc. have acted for the good of their peers. You may have wanted to see the bright side of the modern human species, and you were as much welcome as if you had been as pessimistic as I am.


Nos origines sont encore obscures bien que pas totalement inconnues. De nouvelles découvertes au Maroc ont repoussé notre présence sur Terre de 200 000 à plus de 300 000 ans. Oui, nous sommes là depuis aussi longtemps et cela n’est pourtant qu’un saut de puce à l’échelle des autres choses vivantes ou non qui nous ont précédés et sont encore là ou que nous avons lentement mais sûrement anéanties ou défigurées pour toujours. Vous pouvez aussi vous référer aux livres d’Elizabeth Kolbert La sixième extinction (surtout son introduction) ou de Yuval Noah Harari Une brève histoire de l’humanité.

Sommes-nous condamnés ? Je suis quelqu’un de pessimiste et ma réponse très personnelle est oui. C’est pour cette raison que j’ai souhaité publier cette anthologie comme une marque, un signe, une trace de notre – le votre et le mien – passage sur Terre. Pensez aux pétroglyphes, aux peintures rupestres, les artefacts, toutes ces traces laissées ici et là partout dans le monde. Plutôt que des traces de produits chimiques, d’hydrocarbures, de particules de plastique, de canettes de soda, de bidons d’essence, de morceaux de cellules photovoltaïques, faites de silice, que personne ne sait encore vraiment comment recycler, de déchets de téléphones mobiles, de bouts d’ordinateurs portables… pourquoi ne pas plutôt laisser un livre de poésie qui se perdra certainement lui aussi dans l’oubli comme tant d’autres livres ou objets avant lui mais que quelque descendant de la race humaine, une intelligence artificielle mobile et consciente d’elle-même, ou une civilisation extra-terrestre redécouvrira peut-être dans, disons, 300 000 ans, qui sait ?

Peut-être que la réponse à la question ci-dessus est « non » et que vous êtes plus optimistes et ébahis au sujet d’homo sapiens. En effet, nous avons tenu tout ce temps et avons aussi accompli des choses merveilleuses : des pyramides ou des monuments gigantesques à travers le monde, des inventions, des découvertes scientifiques, des courants de pensées, des conquêtes sociales pour le bien et la grandeur de l’Humanité. Vous avez peut-être voulu voir en l’Humain son côté le plus positif et égayerez ainsi cette anthologie si vous êtes aussi optimistes que je suis pessimiste.