poem13 Nov 2022 06:02 pm
generated by Dall-E 2

Avra Margariti

Cauldron alchemy of sizzling wormwood
heart-sparks glowing like sixth magnitude stars
which is to say not bright at all
salt sulfur mercury
the yin yang and beyond
blood drawn from meaty bottom lip
the missing ingredient
Grandma Spider instructs
I fill a bowl with boiled goat milk and
drop three of her raisin-black grandchildren
into the viscous liquid.
The spiders gurgle as Grandma watches
from her webbed throne.
Now, she says. With scalded fingertips I fish them out.
They walk across my workbench, arachnid-bent legs
weeping white across the swirling woodgrain
spinnerets spitting brittle silk soaked in milk.
The spiders crumble and die and I cry, I cry
but Grandma Spider shouts, The spell, girl. Focus on the spell.
Soon enough, the drenched threads weave
a shape on the table, the lost
last ingredient. Grandma Spider nods, perched high
in all her ancient glory.
I gather the gossamer flower embroidery onto my palm
swallowing it down whole.
poem16 Oct 2022 04:02 pm
generated by Dall-E

Rebecca Bennet

“When did you stop looking at the moonlight?”
He asks from behind the cash register of a family store 
remembering a shadow of us 
in formation on the field 
echoing the same howls of our fathers 

He’s looking at a body no longer lithe and hairless
sees I’ve copied my father’s yawns instead
and knows that howling is meant for 
girls with bleached incisors
with makeup as sharp as a claw

I don’t say there are other blood calls now
new places that make my heart thrum
people who make my insides itch
I don’t tell him that
he’s still howling but hasn’t shifted
poem26 Sep 2022 05:08 am
Image generated by Dall-E

By Jordan Kurella

Choose words like thread
Only the brightest will do
The boldest are too brittle
Too weathered for the force of his storm
Weave words, cast away suitors
Wait for your love to return
Work long at this tapestry
& then cover yourself in its conversation
Each night, pick it apart
Search for the thread
(the skein?) of where you went wrong
As it was you (always)
You who went wrong
Then return
Rescue your work in the morning
Say "I love you" over the telephone
Over morning coffee
With a brush of the hand on his back
Over the shuttle
Over the wake of his ship
Your suitors still flood you with gifts
So many hearts in so many colors 
Three different gifs of showering confetti
An old photo of a girl on a skateboard, yes, Killing It
"This is you," they say
"This is meant for you," they say
So you weave them in
And you breathe them out
Another shuttle across the threads
Another tick in the loom
But no, this is not you
You wait for the one you love to return
Tapestry unwoven, picked apart
Conversation managed: wrongs righted, rights wronged
These threads were broken against his chest
Tested, over and over, with devotion
He is ready to be met
Take your words to his thunder
Say, "I love you," again
Do not flinch as his maelstrom rises up
And swallows your truth whole
poem05 Sep 2022 05:53 am
Image generate by Dall-E

Ursula Whitcher

Sue's grandkid asks, "Will it be hard for you, learning a different language?"
and Sue says, "Honey, Fargo is America," but you say, "Oh, I've done it before."
The new boxes were Sue's—black Amazon arrows, that navy apron
like an eared robot—and the books go in, The Bread Bible,
the Greek Bible, the free Koran from the booth at the fair.
You have liquor boxes from the last move, the housing crash;
you kept the Bacardi ones, because you felt
some kinship with the bat. Linens in those, mostly, and clothes
that mostly fit. "It's been ten years," Sue says. "You don't seem
to have aged a day." You smile and pat your hair. You've bleached
the roots, of course. Dot-com boxes next, Pets.com,
FreeTShirts4Ever. You wrap the Far Side coffee mug
in tissue, and the teacup with roses
you say was your grandmother's.
Liquor boxes again, and you're packing the vases
you never managed to break. The tape crinkles and tears. You miss
the old, heavy Scotch-brand stuff. You miss the twine,
the crates, the boxes for each hat, your steamer trunk
with its heavy latch. "Do they speak English in Alaska?"
another child asked, once. Before that, "Is it hard
to learn American?" You miss the straw you stuffed
around the teapot, the Book of Common Prayer, all that time
you spent at graveyards, leaving roses, with their stems
wrapped in green ribbon, back when you still thought
you'd end there, packed under stone and grass.
poem28 Aug 2022 06:00 pm
image generated by Dall-E artificial intelligence image generator

Claire Smith

Summertime - Persephone strides
through parklands
blazing sun ripens flesh.
She picks a pomegranate
rips it in half with fingernails,
sucks out sour seeds
licks acid aftertaste –
juice dribbles round her lips.
She meets him fishing the lake:
torn combats, faded
rugby shirt, baseball cap.
He knows how to talk sweet  
through a transparent film
of roll-up cigarette smoke
to the young Goddess. 
Autumn – he romances Persephone:
bags of fruit bonbons, pear cider,
A posy of sycamore helicopters
he rests on her head,
crowns his queen.  
He makes her laugh
with his game of ducks ‘n’ drakes.
No stones thrown –
he uses conkers to skim across the water.
Her heart reeled 
along with carp, roach, perch.
Her mouth hooked   
as he kisses her –
this odd mortal.
Christmas – he invites Persephone
down to his basement.
Furnished from strangers’ skips:
water-stained couch,
mattress torn, cooker red with rust.
She stares at the ceiling,
Persephone and him coupled – ends.
He rocks her body:
clammy, breathless, worn out. 
Puzzled; she wonders is this all mortals do?
Pluto’s waiting in the Underworld
for his Persephone to reappear.
Her lesson is learned –
The earth a place too cold, tiresome, flawed.
Return to Pluto’s Underworld she would... 
poem15 Aug 2022 05:02 am
image created by midjourney AI software, midjourney.com/app, under Creative Commons Noncommercial 4.0 Attribution International License

Gretchen Tessmer

afterwards, she locks the casket
by silver candlelight
which bounces in enclosed spaces
casting shadows
over all this gargoyle-gothic
New Orleans masonry
with swamp water
condensation puckering up
the mold that fits in
shallow sea-caves
trapping blue-green beads of
salty, selkie dreams
in curling beards
of gray algae
her family said they’d never last
she, shackled to tides
he, buried without sunshine
all blood spatter
on oyster pulp
and leather-skin kneading
damp-rot bones
purple rings beneath his eyes, cobwebs on her water wings
(it’s the little things)
she hangs the key around her neck
and leaves the crypt so quietly
poem08 Aug 2022 05:57 am
generated by crAIyon

Tony Daly

On an interstellar transport 
at a distant way-station, 
a female android with immaculately 
polished surfacing and pre-programmed smile 
helps a tentacled man slither on board.

He wears an elegant moth eaten vest 
over a compression-suit with frayed seems, 
an aqua-tube over dehydrated gills, 
with an overly lathered proboscis 
pickled in a perpetual frown.
He flinches from her touch.
In private quarters 
calculated to his planet’s specifications 
is a water chamber 
with manicured seaweed gardens, 
and an extensive shellfish menu 
with impeccable service 
by a cyborg mermaid.

But none of it is good enough for him: 
the water’s ph balance is off, 
there are pebbles in the garden, 
his crustaceans aren’t fresh, 
his mollusks are from a different ecosystem.
He flinches at the site of her. 
In the astral dome 
where passengers gather 
to gaze at the stars 
while engaging in conversation, 
he drinks too many celestial rum-runners, 
extols the inferiority of the “air breathers” 
and “circuited freaks” with whom 
he’s forced to associate. 

When his aqua-tube malfunctions 
nobody offers assistance.
The automated investigation system 
finds no evidence of tampering 
or malignant play.
In docking bay H-311,
a janitor mech lays his body in a disposal pod, 
seals the hatch, 
sets the program to “incinerate” 
and launches the ash into the transport’s wake. 
His spirit set to wonder the cosmos, alone, 
absent the “air breathers” and things he detests.  

poem08 Aug 2022 05:25 am

I’ve been having fun creating illustrations with artificial intelligence drawing program, CrAIyon. I will probably go back to the classic illustrations I usually use after this, except for those cases where I have an exact idea of what I’m looking for or where I can’t find a fitting painting. But this has been fun!

poem01 Aug 2022 08:00 am
image generated by craiyon, AI drawing images at www.craiyon.com

Hester J. Rook

Still yourself;
the moment you stop moving
the world is only breeze and your own soft breath.
not even the insects sing out here.
The sleeping giants roll across the sky and when
it rains the space before them pearls
with fishtailed light.
This is a spell place,
here, among the thumbprint birds
the damp sheen rising from the hills.
So, love, make your spell;
plant ferrets’ teeth into the bank - there,
push them deep
feel their edges sharp against your fingertips,
push, til the land rises up to meet your palm.
Draw out the shapes in the wet earth
you know the ones - you chose this calling, after all.
Pause and bless the moss with your gold-brown gaze
feel it quiver and sigh at your attention.  Stand
your own two feet in the stream and let the water bathe your soles
(who said a spell needed anything but your own charms, your own
gentle purpose).
There.  Pick the wildflower and slip it behind
your light-warmed ear.  It is done.
Let the giants sleep and your feet walk you home.
poem25 Jul 2022 05:54 am
Photo by I, Sailko, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3614837

Michelle Muenzler

It's not really a gun unless it's loaded, your father said
which doesn't make much sense the more you think about it
what with the silent zzzt of your rifle
whining in your ear, battery charger dangerously low
and your opponents
those octopodal bear-backed who-knows-whats
slinging shells from tubes that increase in speed the further they fly
as though inertia has no meaning
and maybe for them it doesn't
because where is the meaning when it's just you and them
and their closest galactic ally
some species you have yet to even identify
but mostly reminds you of a bathtub gone to rust
and trundling about on five legs, towing behind it
a half-ton rod
and if the rod intersects space and time, disconnects
and when it reconnects evaporates your companion beside you who was only
clinging as best he could to the laws he knew
to the weapons of familiarity
then yes, if said rod should break physics as well
and then reappear all handwavium aback that awkward creature once more
then is it not also a gun?
Did it not speed its target to an unlikely end
there and gone in a flash of powder as the dust of your mate collapses behind the bulkhead
Maybe it did and maybe it
it's hard to say in the chaos of combat
but if it did then maybe you can too
simply appear like a bullet, lodged in the soft appendages you think might be
your enemies' hearts or whatever is most important to them
your fist a precision rifle, death reloaded, 18 plasma charges a minute
melting your opponents and turning them into so much slick paste
running down your fingertips
And maybe you're all guns here on the battlefield
whether loaded or not
or maybe, like your father's words
none of this really matters because the battle is now
your aim is poised
and the intent to kill is etched against your finger
a bullet of its own

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