Monday, 30 June 2014

Conclusion by Klaus J. Gerken

sometimes the truth is out there
plain for all to see
sometimes it remains hidden
a perfect mystery

sometimes the cupboard's empty
sometimes it is full
sometimes fruit grows rotten
when we leave it in a bowl

sometimes the tide is gentle
sometimes a raging storm
and the sunshine by the shoreline
doesn't keep you warm

i know i've had adventures
like everyone has had
no regrets i gather
even for the bad

so wish me well i follow
the path to its clear end
there will always be a morrow
i cannot comprehend

Klaus J. Gerken lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Editor/Publisher May 1993 to present Ygdrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts Founded in May 1993, Ygdrasil is the first Literary Journal to be published on the internet.

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Tiny Dreams by Meg Sefton

There were lots of people she used to sing for but now with the thyroid surgery, her voice had changed. She could talk, and whistle, but she couldn't sing which was why the song of the caged parrot down the street inspired a sense of loss she would not have been able to describe had someone cared to ask. Whenever she walked her dog she would hear it. She had always wanted birds - finches, or even a parrot or cockatoo, - but now it looked likely, because of the cancer invading her body, any bird she may adopt now might outlive her.

A man in town sold pet health insurance and she was beginning to make her plans. She wanted her son to have her little white dog and knew he would need money to take care of her. He was not old enough to pay these expenses on his own. And a parrot was out of the question at this point. They could live to be 100 or more and she would be dead at 46. She felt it, no matter what people said, no matter how much they told her to have a positive mindset. Buying a parrot now was an act of faith bordering on the ridiculous.

Every morning the parrot chirped from the third floor balcony down the street where she walked her dog. The bird was a part of how the real estate company was staging the property, he was part of their plan to sell the new orange painted homes. Not far away, a woman was mauled by a black bear as she walked her dog. The cancer was about the same thing. What difference did it make, she would be gone, taken by something - whether it emerged from the forest - a madman or bear - or a malignancy in her body that grew until she succumbed. She hoped, at least, in the case of the woman confronting the bear, the dog managed to get away.

Which was why she sat across from the desk of the pet insurance agent. She signed every paper. She paid. She set up a plan for payments. The agent had no ring. She asked him to lunch. They ate nicoise salad in a restaurant where unlit chandeliers and stained glass panels hung from the ceiling. He said he had old movies on reels at home they could watch. He said they could dance to music on his jukebox.

A shaft of light poured in through the basement window where they were dancing. She was not expecting this. She considered asking him to draw up a separate policy for a parrot. The agent had nice leather shoes, smelled of bergamot oil, had a curl against his ear.

Meg Sefton lives in central Florida with her son and little white dog "Annie" a Coton de Toulear. She blogs irregularly at Within a Forest Dark and also appears on-line under her Scandinavian pseudonyms Gry Corvin and Quenby Larsen.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Emotions by Paul Beckman

     Mother Abromovitch cried making dinner—so happy her whole family would be together. Father cried during dinner because his wife cooked one of his late mother’s recipes, his favorite, flanken and borsht—Sadie style.

     Annie and Jake cried when the family oh-oh-ed over little Aaron. I cried from all the fucking tears around me, and my girlfriend, Margo, squeezed my hand as tears slowly spread down her cheeks.

Do you have any idea what a toll it takes coming from a crying family? You can’t possibly know unless you’re also from one.

     My friend, Anthony tells me I have it good because my family cries from happiness. His family, he says with much rancor, finds the men yelling at their wives and daughters and being free with the swats to them and the boys.

     Anthony loves to have dinner at my house. My mother makes such a fuss over him his eyes tear up and he struggles to get control of himself. I, on the other hand, when I go to Anthony’s house, as infrequently as possible, never cry but I feel a sadness envelope me when his father and grandfather yell at their women for more potatoes or water and never ask for anything and never say thank you or what a fine meal.

     I want to drug those bastards and while they’re drugged spirit the innocent family out of their New Jersey flat and to the mid-west where they will be treated humanely, but Anthony tells me they wouldn’t feel loved or appreciated if they lived in a quiet and polite atmosphere. “They learned from previous generations,” he says. “Accept it.’

     “Are you going to turn out like this when you get married?” I ask him knowing full well it wouldn’t be likely.

     “Probably,” he says. “I’m all ready starting with Marie and the “fuck yous’ go flying back and forth during our time together. And not only at dinner but sitting watching TV or taking a drive. A little pushing around goes a long way in a relationship.”

     “Why?” I ask him.

     “Who else could I model myself after—you’re family? C’mon, Italians are screamers and Jews are criers.

      We both wear our emotions on our sleeves but in different ways. I accept your family; you have to learn to be less judgmental of mine.”

     Me and Anthony saw less of each other and never again over dinner at the other’s house. I went to his wedding and stood by as two fights broke out—one during the ceremony and one during the reception toast. He came to mine and left early, without even making an excuse or saying goodbye, as my bride and I were held aloft on chairs with families singing and crying with joy.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

We Walk by Amber Decker

along the Potomac River at sunset,
his fingers dipping under 
the hem of my t-shirt,
tracing circles on my back.
Turtles bubble up 
to the surface in the brown water,
red and black-swirled shells reflecting 
the soft glow of lights 
from the Interstate bridge
suspended above. 
As the dark settles in 
and the rush of traffic slows, he 
slips his hand into mine, pulls me 
down next to him
in the mud and grass
and suddenly we're kissing,
making out 
like horny teenagers, 
lips and tongues and hands
frantic and everywhere,
until even our speech
has dissolved into wordless
animal warbles, 
with nothing but the water
and the sky
and the turtles
left to tell anyone how
sweet the night air feels
running loose 
across plains of bare skin
and how even the coyotes
in the fields nearby 
fall quiet
and leave the moon for us
to sing to.

Amber Decker is a poet from West Virginia who has been published extensively in both print and online venues. She is a lover of horses, hooded sweatshirts, dark chocolate, fantasy novels, werewolf movies and red wine. She also spends a ridiculous amount of time at the gym working on her anger management issues. Her most recent chapbook,True North, was released in September 2013 and is available from Maverick Duck Press.  

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Flower Hustlers by Subhankar Das

Don’t buy those roses
sitting in your car
waiting for the lights to go green.
They hustle those flowers
from the Park Street graveyard
and often paint it fresh.

Of course it doesn't matter really.
It is just a show of love
for a living or a dead
and it's few bucks cheap as well.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

mgversion2>datura: mgv2_77 | 07_14 Pen is Envy Cover Revealed

mgversion2>datura: mgv2_77 | 07_14 Pen is Envy Cover Revealed: Coming pretty soon...

Cover illustration New York Ira Joel Haber

Inside illustrations by Alexandra Bouge, Sophie Brassart, Ira Joel Haber, Flora Michèle Marin & Norman Olson


Paul Beckman, Alexandra Bouge, Sophie Brassart, Chloé Charpentier, Denis Emorine, Ron Fischman, Mathias Jansson, Steve F. Klepetar, Roger Leatherwood, Karla Linn Merrifield, Peter O'Neill, Norman Olson, Emeniano Acain Somoza Jr, J.J. Steinfeld, Marisa Urgo, Yvette Vasseur, Walter Ruhlmann

Interview series: Those who have something to say -- Guest : Marie Lecrivain

Daniel N. Flanagan's debut poetry collection Stale Angst, introduced by Amber Decker,
three excerpts

Alexandra Bouge's novella La peau, introduced by Walter Ruhlmann,
three excerpts

Walter Ruhlmann's poetry collection Post Mayotte Trauma, introduced by Patrice Maltaverne, three excerpts

Monday, 9 June 2014

Untitled II by Bekah Steimel

Under the microscope of self-pity
every injury is amplified
and mutates into excuse
simple is the conjuring of justification
difficult is the trick without illusion
the truth without illusion
sobriety is the hat
addiction is the rabbit
watch me wave my wand
and saw my life in half

Bekah Steimel is an internationally published poet living in St. Louis, MO (USA). Find her at

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Flash Burn by Tamara Fey Turner

Waited for the ring
Eternal never-ending band
To come home with him
After every trip even
Looking once so certain
To find it tucked away
Safely in some luggage or
Briefcase as he couldn’t
Re-pack quickly enough
Get away from me quickly
Enough going on next trip

Tamara currently lives in southern California with her favorite grey tabby, Gus. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Slash for the Lowlands #3 by Glen Armstrong

Hang up your pants.
They should be placed soundly
in space, green against black,

away from the three-ton dog
or any voiced concerns about the gravity
of the situation.

Depending on what that means,
the size of the airport, the amount
of skin and the available combinations

of frames and mattresses,
the dignity of squares where people
used to meet

are all up for interpretation.
That mix-up between the visible
and the abstract still needs to be resolved.

All fables based on human interaction are on trial. The man who hangs the microphones does so for money paid by secret societies that exist to promote safety at the expense of sensation.

Glen writes, teaches and edits Cruel Garters just north of Detroit.

Friday, 6 June 2014

D-Day 70th Anniversary Anthology Foreword by Walter Ruhlmann

In 2012, I started this new collection of the D-Day Anniversary Anthology. That year, many contributors offered their work to appear in this first volume. For this present volume though, I did not have as many submissions as I had back in 2012. I cannot explain this. What is noticeable though is that the contributors this time gave the best quality work I had not seen for a long time. I am not saying that the previous anthology was not provided with quality work, don't get me wrong.

All I am saying is that in these almost 100 pages of fiction and poetry, to commemorate both the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing in Normandy, and the centenary of the start of the first world war – two unforgettable slaughters, one of which was probably not necessary compared to the other, one can feel how many human lives were spared and wasted behind these atrocities.

In this anthology, you won't have the supposedly awaited bowdlerized version of the “winners” only. Not at all. T. Fox Dunham is one of the contributors who gives a German soldier's point of view, as he wrote to me in his cover letter: “I suspect you’ll be getting a lot of work from the Allied point of view.” That was quite right.

Nonetheless, the contributors did not focus on the victory, but on the human beings and the tearing apart of people, couples, lives, and history, or stories rather.

This anthology, as most of you know, is something of utter importance to me. Not only because I was born and raised in Normandy, and have always been bathed in this past wherever I was in or around Caen. It is also because both my parents lived this second world war and that both wars have always been a matter discussed and remembered many times in my family circle.

I have to thank all the contributors who shared their work with us in the only purpose to contribute to a duty – the call of memory duty – but the contributors I'd really like to thank for this anthology is its illustrator's son.

Tim Tobin sent me his father's drawings, and allowed me to use the portrait of Russ Tobin in uniform, a photograph rendering both the humanity of the times described and narrated in these stories and poems, and the dark horizon towards which these men – these boys – whatever their nationality was, were sent. Many of them never to come back.

D-Day 70th Anniversary Anthology
Paperback, 97 Pages
Price: $5.00

Order it from

Walter Ruhlmann works as an English teacher, edits mgversion2>datura and runs mgv2>publishing. His latest collections are Maore published by Lapwing Publications, UK, 2013,  Carmine Carnival published by Lazarus Media, USA, 2013 and The Loss through Flutter Press, USA, 2014. Coming up in 2014 Crossing Puddles through Robocup Press, and Twelve Times Thirteen through Kind of a Hurricane Press.
His blog

Thursday, 5 June 2014

The Card-player by Martha Landman

for Michael

A fearless card-player


his furacious jonquils
his dead horse

in the Warrego River
dada’d with bloodied tenants.

He whistles prophetic rebuke and excessively petitions dead-wind circles
loses interest in the offensive pleasure and
bites honest faith.

Next door September sails
past religion,
Malaysian trees and a self-polluting Englishman

selling freedom
to a French drifter.

The card-player found betrayal
in the sticky red disease outside an Israeli house

a clash between a fallen world
a sinful aboriginal and a boat storm
angers his poetry

This is where he weaves into joggle mode
and buys healing plants

Besides his enormous unfaithful hormones
he shoots into her cabin and unfolds true love-images excessively / gradually

the water level drops
& rises

November flowers decay
like yellowing ideas
on the ground

The card-player nestles
his head between other people’s loneliness
his incredulous laughter revolutionises the French sky.

Martha Landman writes in North Queensland, Australia. Her most recent work has appeared in Jellyfish Whispers.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Jotunheim by Fred Pollack

I pass as a scholar
among my kind. Which means
they trick and trip and beat me
with less humor
than they show each other, which is little.
I make myself useful, endlessly
strategizing trolls,
cold, wolves, the Great Wolf, the World-Serpent –
our friends on the Last Day.

I also theorize the humans
we eat, rape, crush, and otherwise
ignore. They are so wearisomely
busy, having to hunt,
work, move about,
unlike us, who simply are.
There exists among them a practice:
they pretend before each other
to be other humans – kings,
beauties. Peering
unnoticed, disguised as a mountain,
at this the first time, I saw
behind these players a painted mountain
and thought it was the star.

I also – mocked, unthanked
for my advice, which is nonetheless taken –
keep an eye on our enemies,
the gods. An eye
hurt by the glare
and color they live in. They assume,
presumptuously, they too are colors –
the One-Eye’s love of knowledge,
the Hammerer’s usually justified
boasting, the kindness
of the shining-haired woman
who brings fruits, even Loki’s evil –
not merely painted props,
and thus superior to our greyness.
They will learn better at the end of this cycle
when we both march to one doom.

Author of two book-length narrative poems, THE ADVENTURE and HAPPINESS, both published by Story Line Press.  Other poems in print and online journals.  Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.

Monday, 2 June 2014

Inspection by Trista Hurley-Waxali

He comes in to discuss my mouth,
panning through my X-rays as Pandora’s new age music
echoes to ease the tension.

He knows I can’t run
from my genetic adaptation,
pointing out scars
of grounded down enamel.

He starts questioning my cleaning habits,
I’m confessional at best.

I tell him that my routine is just that, my muscles
reacting to my body’s need for sleep.
Scrubbing off the red wine
to be a clean slate to onlookers.

“Okay, smile” he demands, with an index aiming for my gums.
Latex gliding and probing, “everything looks good
from here.”
I nod, a little unsure what else to do.

But it’s the lack of flossing that ties me down from being in the clear.
I promise him I’ll do better,
I lie
and he knows it.
He smiles back and leaves me holding out
for a white-labelled toothbrush.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Concrete Angels by Jeremiah Walton

Fist fighting concrete angels
in narrow alleys of the soul.
Should be happier because of sadness
Let me preach joy and
when no ones looking
sneak sleeveless quickies
with her, Joy,
the abusive mother fucker,
insidious band-aid
serial killer, scab chewer.
The flying vision of literature
converted to a missing plane.
Plucking feathers
with pliers
till stomach empty
and there's no more puke to vomit.
Walking empty am streets
buried in mundane bullshit,
hopeless shovel screaming
about the angels,
and the mutilated wings.
Singing for freedom
to the tune of irony.
Sung myself a cage,
rattle the bars with
cigarettes and romantics.

Busted eyes,
open sores.
Busted love notes,
open road.

Apathy's frost settles.
At least rats in a maze have a goal.

Jeremiah Walton graduated high school in spring, 2013.  He is the founder of Nostrovia! Poetry, and works with UndergroundBooks. He writes at Gatsby's Abandoned Children.