poem30 Mar 2020 06:23 am
By Seitei (Shotei) Watanabe 1851-1918

F. J. Bergmann

There is always some madness
in love. But there is also always
some reason in madness. There
is some reason in the universes—
there must be—which brings me
to you, sweetheart, my princess
of pure and untrammeled reason,
I can almost feel you beside me,
denunciation membranes pulsing,
as I write this letter, and I even
dare to imagine the pleasant yet
hazardous scent of your lurker
perfume bombarding me with
mixed signals. Last night in my
dreams I saw you convulse on
the dimensional launching pier.
The aether wind was blowing
long shards of obsidian through
the intricate jacquard of your hair,
and your multitude of eyes held
the fading, actinic sunlight. I was
speechless, deliquescing slowly
as I watched your twelve auxiliary
monitors looking somewhere far
away, perhaps back into the mad
reality from which you claimed
to have come. You are a remarkably
elegant contrivance, I thought as
I saw you, onslaught of a vision
that I could never find in anyone
or anything else. In a paroxysm of
unseemly compulsion, I slowly
began to walk toward you, and then
you finally turned to me, lurching
as you revolved like some single-
sun system where all the orbits
are decaying. I noticed that others
had been watching you as well
as they could, given their awkward
weapons of contravention and
the radioactive glare emanating
from your slim and girlish figure.
“Do you know her?” they asked me,
pointing at you with their tendrils
of office and repeating hot gossip
about your mating practices,
gleaned from the yellow journalism
of an adjacent spiral arm, in jealous
whispers. Then you smiled at me,
incidentally bedazzling them
with the sheer resplendence
of the array of crystalline teeth
lining your primary feeding maw
that have long captivated me,
as you swiftly disabled their entire
planetary defense array, all the while
ignoring their ineffectual protests,
and I simply answered with the even-
simpler expedient of pointing out
that you were, as we chatted, biting
their heads off. The truth is that I
have always known you (“Better than
I know myself,” as a platitude goes),
known you perfectly, since you
are one of my many—nay, infinite—
incarnations. I am waiting for you
to devour me, here at the end of time,
that we may begin the dance
of eternal renewal and decay again.

poem02 Feb 2020 07:15 pm

Michael Fosburg

He comes when the light turns sour 
as through a throb of starlings 
or bruised clouds hunched with rain,  
Clad in shapes that twist the eye 
like wind-bent smoke. 
He seeds the honeyed madness. 
Centaur stink, cloven wanderer, 
hump of dappled shadow. 
You breathe him in— 
(the remembered terror
claws constricted veins,
scored eyes search
through darkened trees,
teeth like spears 
tear innards strewn 
across ancient dust)
and you are no longer. 
What remains are just shapes
the blood remembers.
poem06 Jan 2020 07:15 am
Cropped and edited lobby card for Lost Continent (Lippert Pictures, 1951)

David C. Kopaska-Merkel  and Kendall Evans

I doubt the dinosaur will notice us,
Said Kyle but he could not have been more wrong,
Tyrannowhatsit’s nostrils flared; it turned,
And fixed us with a huge slit-pupiled eye,
It took a dainty step and then one more,
I longingly remembered Uncle Dan,
His case of dynamite, his gun, his axe,
His foot and entrails strewn across
This Mesozoic era, what a mess.

I’d only had to outrun Kyle and Sue,
I spun the dial and punched the button: go!
But, oops, I’d meant to follow time's arrow
The other way; I've traveled
Deeper in the past, not back toward my own future Now.
Too late, I saw my journey’s final end,
4 billion years before Christ’s fabled birth,
There’d be no oxygen for me to breathe,
I’d have to hold my breath, re-jump, and hope!

Problem is,
My re-jump efforts failed,
I'm stuck in this eternal moment:
Bare earth and lifeless sea,
It'll take long hours before
The solar batteries recharge,
I'm pretty sure I cannot hold my breath
that long….
poem30 Dec 2019 08:00 am
By Boris Kustodiev – http://www.zeller.de, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15720327

Christina Sng

“There’s always a price to be paid
For everything a man gives you.”
My mother told me when
I was old enough to listen.

But of course, I was foolish
Like most girls in love,
Never noticing the jaded faces
Of those long-suffering wives

Of the elders in the village,
Trying to muster a smile
When they heard
I was to be married.

I regaled them with stories
Of his time as a Beast and
How my love changed him
Back into a Prince.

They bowed their heads
And bit their lips,
Telling me a child
Would be my life’s blessing

And truly, she is,
My beloved daughter,
Beside me here in the tower,
The same age as I was

When my mother
First warned me
Of what I know now
To be true,

For my Prince
Is once again a Beast
Despite his human face,
Snarling and slashing

With his once-clawed paws,
Throwing me across rooms
If I ever dared to be brave,
Standing up to his angry tirades,

Defending our daughter
From his scorn, 
And comforting her in my arms
When he was done and gone.

I realize now there was a reason 
Why he had been cursed:
To show the world 
The Beast really was his true face,

For nature does not simply
Conjure beasts out of thin air. 
The monster could never
Have been summoned

If he wasn’t already there.
Too late for me now, trapped
And caged at the mercy
And whim of a mad king.

No long thick braid 
Or a dragon to escape,
But an endless fall
Down the tower.

But perhaps… wait.
One day,
We might be able
To flee this place.

My daughter’s hair
Has now reached her waist.
poem22 Dec 2019 05:12 pm
Department of the Interior. Patent Office. 1849-1925
Artificial Christmas Tree
6 July 1911

David C Kopaska-Merkel

The office-party planners,
not in the mood to waste
a perfectly good plastic tree,
Didn’t take it down post-Christmas.

They repurposed it for Valentine’s Day,
using heart-shaped lights and beads
and red decorative balls.

For St. Patrick's day the tree
wore a green sequined hat,
rainbow fringe, and individualized elves,
bearing the faces of the office staff.

Next, for Graduation,
they made miniature caps and gowns,
and improbable resumes;
my favorite work experience
was Orca groomer.

Independence Day, a fire hazard,
had to be canceled,
but Thanksgiving was a hit,
with construction-paper hand turkeys
favorite recipes, food pix cut from magazines,
and real chocolate-chip cookies.

The tree was not taken down until 2036,
and then only because
of the predatory mutant fungus.

But by the time they burned the tree,
it was far too late.
poem08 Dec 2019 02:53 pm
Die Gartenlaube (1856) 

Marge Simon

Once upon a time,
a child is given a snow globe
by an aunt or an uncle,
he can't remember which.
Inside the globe,
a little man sits on a bench
looking at a little woman
with silver slippers,
her arms are outstretched
as if to embrace the sky.
When he shakes it
the world inside
becomes alive.
He thinks it’s magic,
but he doesn't know for sure,
he is only a child.
His conscience, a cornucopia of hopes. On this night, he shares it with the graceful woman in

silver slippers. He takes her hand, for he has much to say. She listens attentively, but she
already knows what it will be. She loves the way his hair fall across the small scar on his
cheek. The way he smiles before a sentence, as if to be sure she is following him. He has so
much to tell her, but the snowing always ends too soon. There's never enough time.

Tomorrow, she says, we’ll stretch our arms farther across the infinite, to be born again

within the past. Skirts whirling, she turns round and round. Her slippers dissolve in a slivery

blur. A snowfall of stars descends.

The child is sleepy.
He stops shaking the globe,
places it carefully on his dresser.
But before climbing in bed,
he looks again at the snow globe.
Just for an instant, it seems
the little man is waving
as if to say goodbye.

poem24 Nov 2019 05:17 pm
Selene by Albert Aublet, 1880

Sara Backer

At twilight, my dogs run ahead on slopes of scree
while I walk the train tracks. The ties are spaced to thwart
my gait: too close for one step, too far apart for two.

Between two pines, the full moon reflects the dark side
of the sun. Parallel rails echo moonlight—twin silver serpents.
Hypnotized, I travel into my past.

I am again a young virgin hunting love
alone at night, believing in Keats’ magic hand of chance
and some unknown good destiny resulting from my twisted path.

Again, an insecure flirt, dressed to dance
with men who twirl me once or twice,
failing to find romance.

A crone with an aura of frizzled silver hair appears,
neck and brow splotched and wrinkled, glad for the silent
awareness of tending two retrievers.

My convoluted path turns into a track so straight and strong
the rails bear the weight of trains. I understand the hazard
of navigating by the moon, meandering like flotsam.

I whisper to my former selves:
use the sextant, do the math,
the stars will steer you safely!

But I can’t listen to my self, bedazzled by illusion
that makes this huge white cratered orb
seem close enough to kiss.

poem28 Oct 2019 08:00 am
By Unknown – Popular Bible Encyclopedia of Archimandrite Nicephorus (1892) RSL, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67647037

F. J. Bergmann

We had become convinced
of their existence, as one who,
without opening his eyes, feels
the weight of the gigantic
arachnid on his paralyzed breast. More
than human. Or possibly something less.

They sent no advance notification
of their arrival or intentions:
telephones rang with a hush
on the other end of impulse;
intransigent monitors and speakers
flared with oily white noise.

We had been unable to sleep
for countless nights, due to uninvited
nightmares. At least, they had the heads
of horses, but the bodies of huge
female spiders with sleek ebony pelts,
weaving their own milk-white silk

adhesive saddlecloths strewn
desultorily about the sleeping-chamber
(nor were our fatigue-induced waking
hallucinations any more pleasant),
gauzy as the opalescent haze
manifesting among the ghostly astilbe

at the bottom of the frozen garden.
Certainly they must have been there,
as animate vapors in the chilly mist
subliming from the rime-laden lawn.
A nacreous quality in the haze
gave the lie to their deceptive absence.

We met them again as vibrations—
compressions and rarefactions of dank air
spiraling outward from condensation
that splashed into shadow wells
far below ruins overarching
the craters where we stood.

With our eyes firmly shut, we believed
we heard them enacting rites performed
at an ancient temple now indicated
only by broken curves of marble
and melted, mangled pipework coils
from which the wine no longer gushed.

Perhaps they might have spoken
one of the legions of languages we had
lost. Possibly, if we had employed
those devices rumored to have been
developed for military malfeasance,
they could have been persuaded

to materialize in tangible form. Maybe
we could have evolved receptors
capable of detecting their emanations,
given time. They made their final,
ostensible contact with us as creatures
indistinguishable from dead leaves.

The flock rose up in a storm-driven gust,
fleetingly brushing our cheeks and lips
with their crisp tendernesses, whispering
what we took to be their goodbyes.
For hours they streamed upward,
onward, into a steadily darkening sky.

poem21 Oct 2019 08:00 am
The Love Potion by Evelyn de Morgan

Mary Soon Lee

Chose this path,
the barred doors,
her father's face averted
as she left the village.

Cast herself out
to the hut in the wood,
the cold corpse of the crone
who was witch before her.

Hard hours digging a grave,
the earth iron with frost;
hard work, a hard price
so that no man would own her.

Hunched at the hut's hearth,
chilled beyond bone;
back, fingers, arms aching
from her grim labor.

A blackness darker
than the shadowed shelves
slipped loose, edged its way
to an empty bowl. Cat.

Cat's accusing stare
as quietly, slowly,
trying not to startle it,
she offered it food.

Cat's small softness
beside her when she woke,
a gentler, older magic
than any she learned after.
poem07 Oct 2019 06:00 am

Ken Poynter

We hit it off from the start,
Cinderella and I.
At first boot, one light’s length after her
Self-diagnostic, she began
To map everything she could of me,
To sort and prioritize her dataset about my proclivities
Better than my own memory could muster
Using its own rounded pictures of my past.  Events
Which make me who I am, and which
I have long since forgotten,
She has in binary instantly fixed.
She completes me.  Within days
She understood my many appetites,
Knew the signals not even I expected
For silence, conversation, solitude or sex.
Perfect on the outside, it’s the miles and miles,
Rack after rack after rack
Of programming, that I fell in love with.  Our initial
Two weeks together were the best two weeks
Of my little life, so far; but, when we get
Slung at last out of this Earth’s gravity
To begin in full our journeyman’s trek to
Andromeda, I will happily unpack each element of her,
Begin to enhance my primitive biological,
Sweat and sweet life ever thunderously more
With countless crossing subroutines,
And the microcode of cozily programmed joy.

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