December 30, 2008

i sometimes wish i was never eight

Mom dressed up like a clown
and arrived at school during recess on
my eighth birthday. She had this
plastic horn that she thought the kids
would like to hear her honk. Maybe she
thought the kids would be happy
to see a clown, but at eight you
are already miserable and jaded.
You already hate clowns, santa,
and angels. Your job at eight is
to be a snot: your work is to make
shitty volcano models out of clay
and make them erupt with baking
powder and vinegar. Your job is to
have a shitty attitude on the play
ground so no one would guess that
you still suck your thumb. So when
mommy shows up looking like an
asshole that is exactly what you
let her know. You take the cupcakes
without saying thank you and when she
leaves defeated you laugh at her,
unaware that twenty years down the
road you'll still be regretting that day
because she was the only person
to ever bake you a batch of your favorite
chocolate frosted vanilla cupcakes.

kristin dombrowski (New Haven, CT, 1981)

December 23, 2008

poem #47

for James Catto

breed and blend in-house talent
with the purity of instincts
avoid dilution, stop confusion,
stir the malt

the highland creams and afterthoughts
of an artisan becoming wizard
and man turning a refined beast
for good

a scotch in my hand
some money in my pocket
lust printed in black ink
across my carved forehead

confections and inventions
swim inside a green bottle
i presume, you keep blending
and it all boils up

distilling pain works this way
taking longer rides and easier girls
selling your craft to millions
happiness not included in your golden elixir

a nasty accident, lazy heirs
and vicious company lead a man
to fatal crossroads
and the sound of a bagpipe mourns the expected

we're all so proud and silly

drinking to your memory and trying hard to forget it may just not be today

victor chapman (Chicago, IL, 1982)

December 19, 2008

morning coffee

I missed you like summer
to a frostbitten

I missed you like a limb
lost to the jaws
of an alarm clock.

I missed you like
the spoiled flesh of young love
in the haze of separation,
and, though our divorce
was to be permanent,
your custody
of my consciousness
left me in a world of constant dark.

What good is a poet
without a cup of something?
in the evening,
or in the nearing dawn when creation stretches long,
but an early-hours citizen of a
I am not.

Returning to you,
carried like a queen
on the able-bodied shoulders
of your aroma,
you are again the warm sunlight
on my nearly withered leaves;
my steaming mug of photosynthesis
with a little
cream and sugar.

bryan borland (Little Rock, AR, 1979)

December 18, 2008

honey bear

after truffles we met
in pecan toffees we laughed
and slurping ice cream
remained silent, coy

I was prone and he was eager
but still we stood
four fruit jelly blobs away
from a first and only kiss, cherry

the grass felt like spikes
his shirt was stained, chocolate
there was mint in the air
and he was hot pepper

only one kiss
a fruitful red and cherry kiss
turned him into a wild bear
a young bear, unaware of the perils

of daring into the hive
sticking his nose
the honey pours
sweet savoring

ready for sting

audrey villisac (Indianapolis, IN, 1988)

December 17, 2008

a hiss

lean over pressing ear to wall
why, does it hurt?
stop breathing and hold your stomach still
hear the sound of disapproval
how loud it can be

one finger for a sunbeam
a palm for a custom personal eclipse
the grass has turned yellow, pale
why, are you scared?
are you alone?

(it's such a pity things turned out this way)

ride home sitting on the D1 bus
smile at the neighbors
smile at the kids
eat frozen patties
that taste like plastic
one pain at a time
check e-mail

the same sound
the contempt, the disapproval
the lonely crowd heckling at you
the turnstiles and your purple hip
the walking inside a studio apartment
that can barely fit one
so it was never apt for two and you

the same sound when you lean against the wall
why, it hurts?
the hiss
the roaring silence of a room with no view
same sound lean wall roaring black silence
and you deal with it

brian chen (San Diego, CA, 1978)

December 16, 2008

weird stuff going on when you're around (part iv)

a beautiful poem laid here,

and it just vanished.

berenice storn (Conroe, TX, 1973)

December 15, 2008

night lights

null is all, twenty somethings
bored, starved unhappy
a pocket grin sour
crippled athletic
a balancing act for decibels
pushing eardrum, a pin-up girl,
a skeleton dream
night lights

null is legions of them taking over
filling the gap, clearing the social
divide, saying we are this whether you
like us or not
whether you starve as well but live
night lights tearing the sky open
and again, we are etherized

null is crap mind bending tunes
peeing the walls
peeing the stores
peeing your American dream
and your American bidet
saying we are peeing our hot yellow pee over you
whether you like it or not
these are our very own home brewed fireworks

night lights
a plastic hope for the masses
amazing giant ant colony
cheap soda
rubbish all over
black sand is the shore
of languid brown river
illuminated by night lights

one deadly summer morning
a party of zombies
a piercing stomach ache
headlines and helicopters
bleeding nose
the sparks of Eden in lackluster comeback
noses up in the air pointing to the sky
to see nothing

to hold hope up in the air
like rotten corpse

christopher jenkins (Augusta, ME, 1976)

December 11, 2008

1 2 3

one abortion was bad luck
two abortions is, like, totally uncool
three abortions is you're being downright stupid

i don't really know you anymore
know not who you're hanging out with
what ever happened to your artistic ventures?

you freaked out you say
you cracked
lost all joy

i think to myself (this you don't know)
you never let me kiss you
not even touch your hair

i tell you on the phone (this you hear barely,
because of the cheap calling card)
that three is being downright stupid

you cry and suddenly
you're next to me
wetting my shoulder

we are older and what was light wear
turns into scratches and tear
our backpacks are not fashionable anymore

heavy burden, broken dreams
in ziploc bags standing
at the very bottom of our frozen hearts

i can't afford to fly there
and embrace this avalanche with you
you are a faint broken voice on a speaker

until a woman's voice speaking spanish
is saying something like credit is over
and then i heard a busy tone

bruce silverton (Rapid City, SD, 1977)

December 10, 2008

paper due six years ago

never absent, never late
is the sort of award
I could have never won
forget about it,
you're doing dishes

she said
and I'll take care of it
so I hide and put pen to paper
a paper due six years ago
a letter I should have sent right upon arrival
but I just didn't know better
stop, rewind, start over again:
clean head, clear mind, silly laughter
it's been six years now
why would you be waiting?
life goes on but I am stuck on you
there's no way you're going
a hamperful of dirty clothes is waiting for you

the silly laughter and then she grunted something else
and then I had to stop doing whatever I was thinking
I was doing
stop, rewind:
it's been six years now
and I'm still stuck
I'm running a house but I'm a mess
I'm always absent, always late
why don't you just shoot me?
don't forget tomorrow is mom's birthday
and please, darling, Xinto needs to be walked
at least three times a day

randall m. brown (Washington, DC, 1974)

December 9, 2008


Off to Middlesboro for the holidays
In the middle of nowhere
A road trip intrepid
I'm going back to old Kentucky

They know I'm visiting
I fear they are expecting
Someone else
The plains salute my pain

A flat tire makes me lonesome
Saving my last Nicorette for the
Six hundred miles or so before
I get there - home?

Who knows what ghosts await me
Not even God visits Middlesboro these days
The weather is nice, though,
But this journey is marked by disgrace

The ugly face of truth is wrinkled
Paths not taken have become interstate highways
Returns are not as epic as they used to be
Who would ever welcome the ungrateful? Missed exit.

Navigation screen goes blank
I regret not bringing a real map
A piece of paper with charted itinerary
Stretching over real distance, the one that hurts

Middlesboro I'm heading your lost, fateful way
I can hear them dogs barking
Wind is chilling and there is no moon
I must be getting there

seth ambrosio (Knoxville, TN, 1983)

December 5, 2008

a girl named yasmine

pearling away in the blue waters
against a giant rock
a piece of my heart hanging
from the wall

dwelling into cities underwater
fish, sand and amazement
for all this was here since
a snap after the beginning of time

a clock ticks and burns morale
magic wands turning your feet away
humming songs unheard
she then walked in, like swimming

she was a smile
a ray of light piercing into your stomach
melting your every sorrow

i dive again looking for pearls to match her eyes
yasmine turns serious for the first ten seconds
where you heading at?
i don't know, i'm resting now

hit me in the head
shake my boiling blood
and take me by the hand
shall we ride bikes?

yasmine brings the summer
though she is nothing but spring
and letters with fragrance
of a name so dearly remembered

again i try get hold of her
one arm at least
the child within whines for attention
then she levitates

wind entails and gale becomes
a clouded nightmare
isn't the weather crazy, she asks?
the rain makes yasmine come down

lightning tells us go away
families rush
we walk slowly
and i can't wait

thomas flack (Tacoma, WA, 1978)

December 4, 2008

return of the prankster

for Marcia Walker

we don't want collision
not even late admission
since beverages are not included
and i'm thirsty and a professional stalker
a horndog with certified pedigree

women run scared and i've shown
only the tip of the melting iceberg
hell is cozy but rates are soaring
hell, i'm cleaner than politicians
and some kinky priests i've met

have you seen a monk in briefs?
they look funny yet scary
my soul will rot not before long
if i had a bullet inside
at least i'd be the poor man's iron man

the prankster is not funny anymore
the prankster got online degrees as
heavy duty sinner for the cynic age
lightweight telemarketer for the digital age
unionized actor for the porn age
(there eric, this is the porn age)

touch yourself, touch evil,
washed out sperm from the nation's couches
eating from dumpsters
squeezing squirrels for the fun of it
going to hell in a two stroke japanese bike

sodomize the squirrel
fuck the prankster
he's so over the top it's overkill
call it a day, call it an age

this is the porn age
and it feels so great i'm jacking off

ralph p. giddens (Minneapolis, MN, 1975)

December 3, 2008

i don't want your love, i want your records

spin and pinch,
you know i go around,
this time i will set it straight
and tell you in 45 RPM:
i don't want your love,
i want your records

CDs blow big time
and listen now
the frying pan,
diamond head is twittering
sheer audiophile pleasure

it's ok, we might as well go to bed
but i just want your records.
vinyl freak, record fetishist,
call me what you will
i am here for the round plastic
twelve inch tarts

the gorgeous artwork
in all its glorious square sleeve
black, clear, pink,
can you smell it?
i don't want your love,
i want your records

jack tenell (Pittsburgh, PA, 1987)

December 2, 2008

rude little girl

She shy but She shoots
hits target anywhere
leans against the purple wall
runs off in taxi cabs
models her own little world of broken stars
fancies a leaf out of gold medals
loves tv her blank stare

rude little girl
She talented and brave
but She won't dare admit what She spares
drawing loveless figures, period pieces,
pleasures gone wrong, visions turned bitter,
trimmed fingernails, vacation at will,
caged in fear, haunted, coveting

when you decide not to say hello anymore
don't forget I stood right there
when you decide to turn your back on me
don't forget the pain we shared
and one day, when you realize you have it all
don't you regret our trips together
don't you dare say I did not care

I was pierced and silly I know
and still very often I dream about you
rude little girl
our sudden trips and long goodbyes
I guess it was a big mistake

but enough I remember to say:
She not shy
She lost and wounded
from greater pains
She cannot bear
from older pains
She'll never share

vivian woods (New York, NY, 1982)

December 1, 2008

envious jealous impotent

gertrude stein can tell you what the box is like in her modish lavish style — i can tell you what living inside a box is. nothing to be proud of. nothing to brag about. twenty five square feet —bathroom included— of pure solitude and seclusion. t.s. eliot can break new literary grounds, win praise, the nobel prize, change the poetry world forever writing about a waste land — i can tell you what living in a real waste land is, true coexistence with flies and feces, organic refuse decomposing at an arm's length, the never ending stench of a dead horse, the slippery path, oily muds and grease. nothing to be proud of. nothing to brag about. allen ginsberg can howl and tell you what this skeleton said and what that other skeleton said. i can tell you what a really soul chilling howl sounds like: it's the outcry of a mother mourning over her dead baby, a brand new skeleton wrapped in dry flesh. a brand new skeleton that will never ever utter a single word. nothing to be proud of. nothing to brag about. poetry is embedded with a kind of subtle treason. the beauty of the profane. the lightness of words. the banality of beauty. i am deeply resented. envious. jealous. impotent. boxed. blocked. actually, not being able to tell you anything but a hint of my pathetic self.

ian svensson (Detroit, MI, 1974)