Friday, 23 June 2017

Zeus the Action Hero by JD DeHart

Zeus or Poseidon by G Da


They found him on a far-reaching
casting call. There had been a time
when he would pretend to be a swan.
Pretending to be Stallone sounded
cooler. Lights, camera, action,
and it was all thunder and bolts,
fastidiously signing autographs when
the director yelled cut.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

A Very Small Problem by Richard Manly Heiman

(c) Caters News Agency


When the green bug with a lion-girl face perched on the dean’s wine glass, fluttering its diaphanous wings, I stopped listening to chatter about next year’s Physical Sciences budget and the new chemistry fellowship. I could only hear that whirring sound. Then I saw the dean was just about to take a sip of her chardonnay. I stammered incoherently and she just missed swallowing the thing. When it levitated like a dragonfly and bee-lined straight for my face I shooed it away, violently. 

“You all right, Professor?” asked a grad student. Everyone in our cluster stared at me.

“Umm…fine. Did you see that?”

The only response was a bit of throat clearing and raised eyebrows. The dean turned away and struck up a conversation with a post-doc. Apparently not. I mumbled something about being tired and left shortly after.

A week later insect-girl popped from the showerhead, buzzed around squeaking obscenities, then disappeared out the bathroom window. I dropped the soap, slipped and almost cracked my head on the porcelain tub side.

Another day, snoozing by the pool, something wet hit my face. I bolted upright; nothing but mocking laughter trailing into the bushes…and a green slime ball on my cheek. Next came plaintive cries from the kitchen sink. I turned on the garbage disposal, but only faint giggling echoed up—no screams. Another time—well, you get the idea.

Simultaneously, our chair decided against retirement the week before his party. Nobody advanced, no raises, nada. Then peer review savaged my meticulously researched book. Three years of research for nothing. And just when I hoped to get out from under alimony, the ex-wife canceled her nuptials with the surgeon. Coincidence? That these things happen every time that mini-monstrosity appears?

But how to kill what shouldn’t exist in the first place? My brilliant water bucket trap mysteriously collapsed—more derision from it. Filling the birdbath with Karo failed, though I snagged every fly and moth in town. The cherry bomb down the bathtub drain? Bad call, big repair bill. If I could just lure the hellion into the microwave...

Then finally – a brainstorm. Meet Bilbo, my quasi-legal ocelot and Sadie, my peregrine. And if they can’t get the job done, well, I’ve got a recipe for mustard gas.

*****

Richard Manly Heiman lives in the pines on the slope of the Sierra Nevada. He works as a substitute teacher and writes when the kids are at recess. Richard's work has appeared or will in Rattle, Into the Void, Bop Dead City and elsewhere. He is a two time 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee. His URL is poetrick.com.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Shift by Allison Grayhurst



Everywhere I'm looking I meet
the eye of the wall and still I know
I have five fingers to count
and the chance of discovering any colour
other than the ones I'm seeing.
For me, it is tears without compensation
that make me break and smoke the city.
For me, on the subway, in time
hurting and heaving and pulling apart my nest
is the end before the start, before the barrier breaks
and all that remains is the choice of glory
or ultimate slumber.

*****

Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three times nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, she has over 1000 poems published in over 410 international journals. She has sixteen published books of poetry, seven collections and nine chapbooks. She lives in Toronto with her family. She is a vegan. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com 

Saturday, 22 April 2017

a process of transfer by Mark Young



According to the Global
Innovation Index, Blaise
Pascal, a football player from
Côte d'Ivoire, has, by bor-
rowing a foreign syntax &
utilizing mimetic translation
practices, devised a multi-
disciplinary platform so visceral,

so deeply emotional, that it
renders Baroque drama the most
dangerous of all social &/or artistic
endeavors, even given the brilliant
splendors & alluring vices we
have available to us today.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Mountainous by JD De Hart

Double arc-en-ciel sur Le Reposoir by Nestorrefacteur

My friend told me the story
of the Mountain. That was
a nickname, but his real
name did have two Ms in it,
which was fortunate.
One in the first, one in the last.
These letters he decorated
with snow caps when he signed
his name on school papers.
Whatever happened to the Mountain?
My friend did not know, but did
not recall seeing him at graduation.
Do mountains migrate?
One hopes this mountain has not eroded,
merely settling for being a hillside,
but has continued to grow tall.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Long Before Isis by Donal Mahoney

Warm by Nuural Qudus


Thirty years ago, long before ISIS started executing Kurds, Muslims and Christians, I hired a Pakistani Muslim as an art director in Chicago. I was an Irish Catholic editor putting out a small national magazine. I hired him because his work samples were good and he had worked for the United States embassy in Pakistan for more than a decade. The embassy facilitated his emigration to America. It didn’t hurt that he had seven children and I had five. I too knew the misery of being out of work with a family.

Different as we were, Mohammed and I were also much alike. Deadlines and details were important to both of us. Other than the two of us, the staff was female. It helped on occasion to have another man around the office.

After a few years Mohammed invited my wife and me to dinner. His wife put out a big feast of Pakistani food, dishes we had never had. We also had never had Indian food and we know now there are certain similarities between the two cuisines although I remember to this day that a staple dish like biryani was moist in the Pakistani style and not dry as I have experienced it to be in so many Indian restaurants in America. I have no problem with either version but personally prefer a moist biryani. 

My wife and I knew very little about Pakistani culture and Islam on our arrival for the dinner. This showed when I shook hands with his wife, something I found out later to be a no-no although our hosts said nothing and his wife shook hands like an expert. I also engaged her in informal conversation during dinner which again is something of a no-no but she seemed delighted to respond in kind. 

And I probably made a big mistake asking her about a famous Pakistani poet alleged to be a drunk. Mohammed had previously denied this allegation as a complete falsehood. But his wife assured me the poet was indeed a drunk and seemed to disapprove of liquor in general since most Muslims, I believe, do not drink liquor, never mind to excess.

When his wife confirmed the poet was a drunk, I just happened to see Mohammed look down at his empty plate. He rubbed his forehead for a minute and then managed a slight smile. He knew that I did not know any better about carrying on a conversation like this and he loved his wife. It may or may not have been the first time she had engaged an American in an informal way. She was a terrific cook and certainly knew her Pakistani poets, much to the momentary distress of her husband.

Maybe a month later or so, the subject of religion came up at work. Mohammed told me he was sponsoring a cousin to emigrate from Pakistan and they were not close friends, simply kin, and he was obliged to do it. Apparently his cousin was a Sunni Muslim and Mohammed was a member of the Shia branch and the two branches do not get along when it comes to their theology. 

It was just Mohammed and I talking at that time while laying out an issue of the magazine. I can’t recall precisely what areas we covered but we did not get very deep into the vast differences in theology between Islam and Christianity. I may have asked him questions about his faith but I don’t recall that he had any curiosity about mine. But since I had asked for clarification about certain points in Islam, he wanted to make certain I understood what the facts were. I appreciated that and then somewhat facetiously said all was well as long as he didn’t try to convert me.

He paused for a moment and said, “You be a good Catholic and I’ll be a good Muslim.” I knew already that he was certainly a good Muslim. I also knew at that time I had a ways to go to qualify as a good Catholic.

All this took place as I said 30 years ago when there was no ISIS and I don’t recall any simmering conflict at the time between Islam and Christianity. I knew that neither side had forgotten about the Crusades but by and large the Crusades were at most an unfortunate fact of history for Catholics. I did not realize that certain Muslims still burned quite hot about the Crusades and had other resentments against the West and wanted to avenge the injustices they thought had been visited upon them. 

I am happy that Mohammad is still alive despite the fact that we are both long of tooth. I found his phone number today through Google. I saw his picture as well. He still lives in a suburb of Chicago but the picture must have been taken at a religious event because he was dressed in a black robe and black hat not unlike the garments worn  by imams addressing the faithful on the evening news. Needless to say his appearance disturbed me. 

I still might call Mohammad but if I do, it wouldn’t bother me if his wife answered the phone. It’s been 30 years but I think I’d ask her if she can tell me the surname of that drunken Pakistani poet since I remember only his given name and can’t find him so far on Google. And then maybe I’d have the guts to ask if Mohammed was home. If he was, maybe I’d ask him what is going on in the world today, from his point of view, because people like me don’t understand it. I imagine it would be a long conversation. Thank goodness there are no long distance charges on my wife’s cellphone.

*****

Donal Mahoney has worked as an editor for The Chicago Sun-Times, Loyola University Press and Washington University in St. Louis. He has had work published in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, The National Catholic Reporter and other magazines. Some of his online work can be found at http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html#sthash.OSYzpgmQ.dpbs=

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Les diables de François Ibanez

Waning Moon by Ralph Combs


Les diables et les lunes
La pluie grise
Les diables pénètrent la vie
Des lames de glaces et de feu
Et des larmes

Les consistances stationnaires
Révulsent et creusent nos rides
Anciennes et calmes
Les diables irriguent d'un sang chaud
Violet et répudient les étoiles sommaires

D'un regard ils foudroient
L'apparence du monde
En fait le chaos irrémédiable
Le chaos sous la lune
Le chaos fait de braise ardente
Les diables hurlent dans le noir