poem16 Sep 2019 08:00 pm

Anthony DeGregorio

Ghosts in the windows of apartment buildings
Along the Metro North Harlem Railroad Line
No longer look up or scramble to spread the curtains
For a better view with every rumble of each passing train,
Or to scare a weary commuter, or the 
Weekend passengers heading to the city 
For a play and dinner perhaps, maybe just a stroll
Through Times Square to observe lives and sights
They would never see back home in Valhalla, NY,
An hour north of the city, who may casually glance
Upward in the darkened direction of a broken window, through its
Spiderweb of cracks, and into a sagging cobweb of time-
Infested silence, catching a hollow eye socket or two 
Of the lonely apparitions.  
They have grown bored with life they no longer possess,
And remain suspended before TVs
Tuned to seventy-year-old movies
Whose stars are as dead as they are.
Translucent couch potatoes, their
Skinless feathery fingers 
Attached to complex remote controls
In futile attempts to depress the proper buttons,
As they drop Princess Leia vinyl wine glasses of Scotch, or
Neon-red Elmo Sippy Cups of vitamin-rich carrot juice
They’ve forgotten how to grasp or even drink from,
Struggling with anything tangible in the urban morning darkness
Of abandoned rooms and vacant lofts.  An orange aura of 
Juice-infused mist veils the simmering air.  A warm carotene pulp oozes, 
Puddles on the floor, condenses where their feet once felt the plush carpets and 
Stained hardwood of the living.  Exasperated, they head to windowless bathrooms 
To squat and rise repeatedly upon sinks and wicker hampers, their vacuousness 
Twerking to the moist drone of lavatory Muzak from ventilation fans.  They 
Long for an assumption into the fetid rapture of humidity’s exhaust 
Before finally giving up after unsuccessfully trying to flush themselves 
Down high efficiency toilets, and squeeze through hair & scum-clogged 
Drains, sadly unnoticed amid the uncanny melancholy of afterlife.
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poem09 Sep 2019 08:05 pm
A Jolly Dog by Currier & Ives

Betty Hufford

When the aliens pick their pets,
they won’t choose me.
I am no pup
with Jack Russell energy.
 
Despite frequent brushing,
I shed prodigiously.
I’ve been known to snap,
talk politics around me.
 
I dropped out of obedience school,
having laid down long enough.
I do enjoy a walk
but abhor the leash.
 
Perhaps there’ll be a no-kill shelter
run by some lonely ET
who finds me cute
in an other-worldly way.
 
I’ll nest in worn blankets until
I bite the hand that feeds me.
One small bite for mankind.

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poem02 Sep 2019 08:12 am
By John Haslam – originally posted to Flickr as Local Wildlife – stained glass window, Dornoch Cathedral #1, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7853097

Shveta Thakrar and Brittany Warman

For Sara Cleto
On dappled wings,
Dusted with snow, with secrets,
She drifts through the dreaming,
Through mists to home.
 
The stars blink, placid,
As she plucks them for her feast.
Hungry her belly, hungry her heart,
She gulps down light like berries.
 
It is hard as tree bark, as unforgiving,
This journey of wind and wonder.
The owl maid bared her truth once, twice, thrice,
Unfurling her majestic cloak of feathers.
 
But so few men dare to see true,
Past the plumage they might snatch,
The secrets to expose, the soul to ensnare,
Into the rich depths of shadow and spark.
 
And so she leaves offerings for a peaceful solitude,
For freedom: silver coins and blue shells
Meant for witch goddesses and fairy godmothers,
Quiet prayers for indifference, for strength.
 
The owl maid soars on, wings embracing the sky.
Fools are soon forgotten, even friends,
All left to mutter of the one who stole away,
While she seeks out new hearths, new homes.
 
She is free, she is whole.
Her soul needs nothing but
A feathered nest, an adventure,
Stardust and stories.
 
But long nights can still grow lonely—
And dreams of gentle fingertips on down,
Gentle laughter, the man in the moon,
Become whispered spells in the dark.
 
What lips could shape a spell for her,
She who is wild in ways, fierce in will?
What heart would not quail before her mysteries
But only ever extend a kind hand?
 
And then, one summer night,
Sunshine echoing in each star,
The owl maid opens her eyes
And discovers an old, dear friend beside her.
 
Here is one who knows her truly
As she knows him.
Here is one who knows the spells,
Has only to speak them at last.
 
“I know owl wives are rare,”
He says with a smile,
“Too bold for domesticity,
Too enchanted to hold in your hand.
 
“But if you will fly with me
On nights like these, and nights darker,
I will give you adventures, stories, and stardust.
I will help you build your nest of feathers.”
 
The owl maid gazes as only owls can,
Finally seeing the magic right before her eyes.
She plucks from her cloak a single spotted plume
And places it firmly in his palm.


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poem26 Aug 2019 08:00 pm
Depiction of the demon Belphégor, a demon of discovery and of ingenious inventions who often takes the form of a young woman, from J.A.S. Collin de Plancy. Dictionnaire Infernal. Paris: E. Plon, 1863. Page 89.

by Robert Borski  

Behind, and forward, 
the two symmetrical strings 
of zeros splay out like
triskaidekal scourges,
but now, half-way through eternity
(for this is how long it takes
to summit the midpoint of 
[10^30 + 666 x 10^14 + 1]),
the Number of the Beast
has finally been reached, numbingly
recited by the scorched lips
of those condemned to count
to the prime's terminus as punishment.

Nicely done then, my pretties,
says Belphegor -- accountant-prince of Hell
and prototype of every math teacher
who ever wielded chalk and found
sexual satisfaction in the thorn bushes
of differential calculus. But he, in fact,
can barely wait to announce 
his next assignment --
prove the primality of the number 
named in his honor. 

Just be sure to show the math.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belphegor%27s_prime

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poem04 Aug 2019 06:58 pm
The State Ballroom, St. Patrick’s Hall, Dublin Castle. F.J. Davis, c.1845.

Davian Aw 

the ballroom is blue with the glaze of evening
white marble ethereal beneath chandelier lights
on the stage, the poor, savoring the final few
moments as themselves.

announcer at podium playing the crowd-
ten thousand six! ten thousand six hundred
from the lady with the cat; do I hear twelve?
twelve thousand?


hammers fall amidst cheers, over and over
crystal vials fixed in place, gears turning, that cursed
machine building up to a deafening roar;
bodies drop to the floor in a grey haze of grief
vials glowing bright with stolen gifts.

bidders claim their prizes.
on the stage, a young girl
hears her voice emerge in sweet melody
from the throat of her buyer,
bowing to thunderous applause.

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poem15 Jul 2019 08:00 am
Dead Soldiers, László Mednyánszky  (1852–1919)   

Andrew L. Roberts

Unexpected
the dawn chills the air and lays her veil
soft upon my upturned face
 
shattered stones and blasted bits of mortar press
sharp against my broken spine and I am surrounded now
by the damp nutmeg of your sycamore leaves and ashes
 
how did you find me among so many?
was it fate that brought us together in this place
or only chance after all?
 
I did not want this kind of ending
my flesh and bones left to become anonymous
and lost forever in this foreign patch of dirt
 
but the choice was never mine was it?
or if it was I must’ve missed the moment of its choosing
to have stumbled so blindly into my own un-dug grave
 
yet here I am and here I will remain
and here you are with me this morning
caught in the worst kind of affair
 
your whispered words are meaningless in my ear
dead words from a dead language for a dead man
how can they sound so sweet?
 
tenderly and with more love than I have ever known
your cold hands enter the wound in my chest
to find and cradle my heart
 
you say my name
and that word at least I understand
you say it three times over and then it’s done
 
breathless I can no longer see the sun
only those cold stars in your dark eyes
as you press your lips to mine in this our first and final kiss.
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poem08 Jul 2019 03:16 pm
from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1000s_of_Shopping.JPG

Josh Pearce

The so-called "Sapiens sapiens"
lived in a system of cave dwellings
called "Department Stores"
set in strip malls pop-
ulated by the ubiq store whores


who snapped their bubble come
as they engaged in open market,
bartered for pigskin leather,
chewing their cud gum,


buying the flayed skins
of their latest kills
:they dance now:
clip clop clip clop
jiggity jog


and rubbing the fatty perfume
glands of intelligent mammals
all over themselves
to mask the sweat
of their own arousal
:now they dance again:
clip clop clop clip
jiggity jig


supreme desire for glittering
necklaces of glass
and bone, worthless things
to show sexual prowess
and mental subservience


all their food is candy,
liquid, and ingested
in two-liter doses injected
to the bladder directly


and sapiens' impressive discovery
in geometry
that increased surface area
is perceived significant
only by the ignorant
Q.E.D. "big screens equal little minds."


The last Irrational War
was fought only with dropped
atom malls—what they called
"City Killers"—into the suburbia
by general execs in bombproof
coke bottle terraria


(The ghost says, "Wipe out our termite-
mound boroughs with cleansing waves,
so proud we were of our fungus tea gardens
and of our aphid slaves.")











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poem24 Jun 2019 08:02 am
Peasant carts before the puddle (detail) by Alfred von Wierusz-Kowalsk (1849 to 1915)

Paige Smith


when it rains
it pours
when it rains
we hide
inside
water unwinds
our space-time
water drips 
down the bark
and buildings
streams
from the gutter
forms puddles
on the sidewalk, in parking lots
on country paths, in backyards
we lock the doors, keep the kids in
pray for the sun

2
hands appear
from those puddles
heave themselves
from the rim of those
little innocent lakes
onto sturdy land
up climb those heavy
beasts
from elsewhere
smelling of
ancient agony
dripping in decay
heavy-footed, 
slither-hairy
their insatiable weapons
scraping our streets
the places we reserve
for the sick
the places in front of 
our mailboxes
the places where
children draw in chalk
in these stolen drenched days
they walk amongst us, sniffing for meat
shaking off their radiation
in the showers of this world

3
and from the puddles
we glance
their netherworld
green-glowing
alien aurora borealis
vomit-colored sky
over stricken slums
where surely
some apocalypse 
has already occurred
surely their rains
descend in acid-flavor
and they see
in their streets
the greenery, the lushness, 
mysterious portals where we
fat-covered folk, so juicy, live
they decide
to step through.

4
sometimes they seize
someone 
a prisoner
a dinner
shoving them
into gutterless space
someone
makes no splash
they tumble down
into the horrored space
across what we know as space

5
we were blessed
by drought
for a long time
until
invariable and threatening
the clouds
rolled in
faster than the future
and opened 
themselves up
like jaws
eager to feed
the dry earth
eager to feed
us to the beasts

6
in the vast
cracked 
asphalt sea
the grocery store
parking lot
my wife
had no chance
snatched before
she could reach
the handle of the door
pulled down
by the non-faces
and digitless hands
from the nightmare planet
the hands of hell.

7
the rain
now down
to a drizzle,
the worst 
passed,
the formless 
aliens
retreating 
to their disturbing corner
of the universe
perhaps
our brutal future
perhaps
our savage past
I walk
down my secure 
street
the neighbors
dare not look
through their windows
I bring myself
to the park
so dug-up
by dogs,
find a me-size hole
fearful puddle
I peer into
that improbable 
mirror
dust-stormed
hazardous 
wasteland
their world
might have been
like ours, once
might have been
friendly, green.

Some of them
might be merciful
still.

Only one way
to know.
I step into 
the rain
water which is not wet
I step into 
the doorway
and disappear
from this earth.
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poem17 Jun 2019 07:23 am
Painting of Figs and Beetle, by Giovanna Garzoni (1600-1670)

Colleen Anderson

She organizes, mindlessly
scurrying back and forth
bringing in groceries, creating lunches
filing, ensuring all things ordered
sometimes it seems she’s rolling shit uphill
when no one watches she stretches
an extra set of legs, pretends to dance
yet worries discovery means more work
 
She clicks her teeth
a hard rasp, mandibles to cut
her frustration, dirty clothes on beds
soiled dishes on counters, ties
to obligations, her self unattended
the reasons he can’t paint, or clean or love
she may as well be a bug, a beetle
for all she gets underfoot
 
She is good, so very good
staying in line, following the rules
they don’t notice her eyes watching
everything, the many facets
as she sits so very very still, pinned
as if under glass, inspecting every grain
the small secrets under the bed
tucked in a pocket, hidden in an external account
 
She has her own secret
wedged beneath her strong chitin shell
the beautiful clothes her city camouflage
feelings shielded from a careless brushoff
how she’s kept her hopes, desires to change
release erotic dreams burrowed away
and most of all her wish to be alive
not just a jewelled makech on a chain
 
Some day soon she will spread protective elytra
drop the guise that she cares
reveal her inner self, the vestigial heart
stretch out her wings, fly high
into the woods, a city, another home
where she will change, be seen
for what she is, no longer hide her strength
and what she will become 

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poem10 Jun 2019 08:02 am
Amazing Stories Cover from 1927

Robert Borski

Sorry, Mr. Bradbury, there are no lemonade
stands or white picket fences here; nor 
will you find sterile encampments or fields
of shitatoes, Messieurs Musk and Damon.
Rather, this is the other red planet, the one
that exists on the underside of the Arean dream —
reality TV Mars.

Here there are neither pristine lakes, 
nor carefully-manicured ski runs at Olympus Mons, 
but used condoms in the canals of Schiaparelli,
and the broken warriors that smile back 
to you from skid row in downtown Helium
(at least the ones who made it back
from the Battle for Grover’s Mill) have
the meth-head dentition of that other Burroughs.
(Bill, not E.R.)

Meanwhile, even as trailer trash princesses
proclaim their right to choose (“You can’t 
have an omelette without breaking eggs”),
the royal family of John and Deja Carter-Thoris
attempts to suppress photos of their piss-drunk 
son passed out in a smashed rocket-sled, 
and are still clinging to the diversionary tactic 
innundating the airwaves about how planetary 
hero and pride of the Space Corps, 
Commander Marvin Martian, is about to fake-
land on Phobos with his robot dog. 

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