Saturday, April 30, 2016


in time and ticks
with lines
and a few stage
the story unfolds
played on screen
drawn to gigantic
celebrity detail
eschewing life.


there is an object
over the crest
of my dreams

I do not know
its occupants
I do not know
its origin

I let it bathe
me with light
and mystery.


one step
on the ledge
and we are angels
tumbling down
to the filthy earth
we are reaching
the deep river
beds from heaven's
open gate.

Friend Zone

with musty socks
and hordes
of hormones
listen to them
complain over
grease and ice cream
about their
pretend life problems.


on the surface
we bathe
like those small
insects that can
somehow suspend
on the skin of water
on the edge of light.


crazy haywire
cold hard wild
we go
for an hour
of free write

oh muse
send us spinning
into our brains
and flickers
of fire memory

still smelling
of idea
and smoke.
Angelica Fuse

remain silent 
silence looks good on you
you almost seem
with those breathless parted
lips and bright blue eyes,
and long white blonde hair singed
with a few pieces of gold;
as distant as a dying
which suits you as you carry distance
so well in your steps
only striving to create divides between you
and anyone foolish enough to
love you—
when you speak
it's only to expound your brilliance
upon the world or to prove
all the ways in which the other person you're
speaking to is inferior,
and i tire of your
silence looks good on you
i can almost forget all the hateful, hurtful things you
said to me and how you blamed me for breaking
my own heart when you cheated on me
and told me nothing but lies.
- linda m. crate 

won't be your shadow 
i come alive
when i think of all the ways
i'm going to choke
you in a novel
of all the words i can lace into your soul
like arsenic to erode away 
what little of you
still feels,
and i come alive when i think of all the ways
i can slap you in the face with
knowledge and tear your masks into a thousand
pieces and shove it down your throat;
as i force you to see your own
then i remind myself that'd only make me a monster
like you,
and i aspire to be something higher than this
won't be your shadow
so you can have your fangs
i'll take my success.
- linda m. crate 

cannot tame me 
you fancy yourself rather clever,
but for you that'd be
a difficult endeavor;
these ties i'm all so glad you severed
because i would have hated to
remember myself
as your wife—
i was already your fool once,
and that's bad enough
to be a fool of a fool;
i cannot wrap around my mind how silly i
must have looked—
at least i regained my senses
realized the folly and the shame of what i
had done,
and it hurts that i gave you my naked heart and soul
only to have it rejected;
but i realize your love was only ever a gilded cage
because you didn't know how to
so you really did free me
when you freed
i'll never thank you for the cacophony you put my
heart and soul through as it was all so needless,
but thank you for setting me free;
i am a wild bird
can never be tamed
especially by a man who cannot temper his own soul.
- linda m. crate 

let him 
let the wolf have his pound of flesh
it'll only serve to burn him
because i am a raven
with a phoenix soul
all my feathers
can dance through the ring of fire
let his fangs melt straight
from his face
because he doesn't deserve to steal the 
song from my wings,
and i hope he
is blinded by my rising because he's already
seen my fall;
i may stumble and i may land face first but i will
never stop rising like air—
let the wolf have his pound of flesh
it'll only cause him to regret later
as it burns him
with memories of yesteryear 
reveals to him that he is a boy masquerading as a man
so let that wolf give himself indigestion and starve
himself on regret.
- linda m. crate 

wicked one 
so glad that you've
i'm flawed;
forgot you were born
without flaw
and to be worshiped 
sacred and pure
a god
that i was never worthy of—
you make me sick
wish i could have seen straight through
your every deception,
but my heart fell for you and it fell
mulled it over and i decided
you were right about
you were and are and always will be a knave
because you don't aspire for anything
so stay stuck in your stagnant sea
paint me your villain
still i'll rise
because i'm not truly the wicked one.
- linda m. crate 

you lied about everything 
when it comes down to it
i was constant as the
and you inconstant as the moon;
i was light and you were
swallowed into shadows and voids
i tried to help you
and you showed me only 
i guess i thought that perhaps
we knew the same
tragic lullabies
once in the past because i am a daughter of
the moon and of the stars
i thought perhaps
we could
understand one another,
but your claws and my talons were too different
oceans separated us
each with their own hurricanes;
maybe it was just wishful thinking that made me think
you'd understand my song—
i can't say it's surprising we fell apart,
but it hurt like pulled wisdom teeth and it cut like
the floss that took longer than two weeks
to dissolve;
i suppose i just wanted to believe you could be different
because it's what you promised but you lied.
- linda m. crate

I am numbed
to the world
unsure of why
I cannot tear
up at a funeral,
so struck by
my strange
often smile in
the face of 
trouble, blaming
it on too much
television or
the taste of 
chemicals in
my food.

Spinning Plates

Give me a second
I will turn the world
Give me a second
I will find your lost
Give me a second
i will make you hear
what you need
Give me a second
I will solve the world's
Give us a second
they will crop back

Public House

Meet me at the
corner of never
and not yet,
the public house
we always
and never knew,
tell me you almost
love me one more
time, tell me
my face almost
looks familiar, forget
me by your bedside
as you drift away.
Nate Maye
Narrative Creature

born of story
built together, sinew
to sinew, by word,

page by page, stepping
and stomping, becoming,
until given a name

then scratched out
and tossed into 
a wastepaper basket.

The Never Knows

I don't know,
they want to say, I 
or even, I can't know

always asking, 
Why don't you know,
What can't you do,
if one day you decided

I could know, I could do,
just not yet.

A Jo Bell Poem

yes, the family
was far-flung, the wounds
were made deep

what he built
was decidedly razed

he was the subject
of much celestial debate

a whirlwind appeared
to him, inciting questions,
others could not answer
so they went away.
JD DeHart

Friday, April 15, 2016


In a wooded area
she ran as fast
as she could.

Out of breath she
turned to look
back tripping over
a log.

She fell forward
near the water
of the lake.
The reflection she
saw had already
caught up to her.

As the rain came

An umbrella of happy
moments shined through.
Lily Tierney

Always thought that you knew,
Why wind moved through the trees
As it blew.

Always felt that you had some insight,
About the stars
That fell in the night.

Always felt that the sea,
Would deliver you
Where you should be.

Always made every mountain a hill,
Thought that falling
Could never be real..

The wind is blowing where it will
As stars fall from the sky,
The sea is deep and living,
The mountains are quiet and high.

But you...
Forgot that you came from the wind,
Didn't remember to bend,
Now you're left with nothing to send.

And you...
Forgot that some stars have to fall,
Falling stars
Are a part of it all.

And you...
Forgot that the sea is alive,
And sometimes
You never arrive.

And now...
In your nightmare, the hill is so high,
As you fall
You are praying to fly.

The wind is blowing where it will
As stars fall from the sky,
The sea is deep and living,
The mountains are quiet and high.

Bruce Mundhenke


Stones on the way in through the tunnel,
Stones on the playground at school,
Stones for even the wise man,
Many more for the fool.

Stones for the woman that chooses,
Stones for the one who does not,
Stones for the woman of purity,
Stones for the woman who's bought.

Stones for the young men who follow,
More for the ones who do not,
Stones for the men who make their own laws,
More for the ones who get caught.

Stones for the young ones who hunger,
Stones for the old as they die,
Stones for the victims of senseless hate,
More for their loved ones that cry.

Stones for the kings as they gather,
Stones for the peasants without,
Stones for every believer,
More for those in doubt.

Stones for all who are dying,
Stones that haven't been made,
Stones in rows on the fresh green grass,
Stones that burn in the shade.

Bruce Mundhenke

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A Better Way for America

I like to watch master chefs 
on television do their thing.
My favorite is Jacques Pépin
when he has to chop an onion.
No one chops an onion faster. 
At 80, the man’s a guillotine.

When I saw him chop one today
I thought of every state in America
that has halted the death penalty 
because they haven’t found a way
to execute the condemned
humanely and efficiently. 
I say hire Jacques Pépin.

Shave the head of the condemned
and lay the fellow on his belly with 
his head up like a Spanish onion
and let Jacques do his thing.
Unless you think there might be 
something wrong with that.

Donal Mahoney

A Harmless Obsession

The nice thing about crossword puzzles
as an obsession, Phil tells Bill, is they 
keep you away from other obsessions 
that might engage your attention and 
benefit no one. For example

Phil was molested by Mark as a child, 
he tells Bill, and Mark’s still alive 
and Phil could go find him but that 
would be a mess at best 

and Steve took Phil's parking spot 
at work and is probably still parking 
in that same spot even though Phil 
retired years ago

and the old shrink who said Phil 
was a borderline psychotic 
still has a practice close by 
and might be worth seeing again 
to revisit that diagnosis

but as Phil tells Bill every week
it’s better to work crossword puzzles
than to look for these people unless 
he can’t finish a puzzle and 
these tasks require his attention.

Donal Mahoney

A Mountain on the Lawn

You have the back rent 
and come home from work 
and find everything in a mountain 
out on the lawn with the kids
sitting on the curb crying
unable to get in after school.

You spend the night in the car
with your wife and the kids.
They’re all scared
and you wonder what 
to do in the morning.
You can’t go to work with 
everything on the lawn.
Neither can your wife.
What about the kids
and school?

Storage costs money
but that’s your back rent
or maybe rent for a new place.
How would you move
all that stuff anyway?
Who would help?
You tell your wife
everything will all work out,
both of you knowing
it’s all just begun.

Donal Mahoney

A Poor Woman's Best Friend

Story in the paper this morning
almost ruined breakfast.

In a rural county far from where I live, 
the natives shoot stray dogs on sight.

In my city, an agency picks up stray dogs, 
gives them shots, offers them for adoption 

and kills them when they aren’t adopted.
In the county where stray dogs are shot

there’s a lady who takes them in 
but she’s too poor now to feed them.

The agency in my city sent trucks 
that brought back 17 starving dogs. 

They say they never saw such poverty 
as the dog-loving lady lives in.

What will happen to these dogs if they 
aren't adopted? And what will happen 

to the lady too poor to save them?
No trucks have been sent to save her. 

Donal Mahoney
What arrived

What arrived at the beginning
was a ship carrying young blades 
crowing about their amorous adventures –

snaps of the stunners in their pouches
corroding like the ethereal yesterdays.

The beach hooted along with the seagulls,
perplexed and stammering
in the company of strangers.

The forests answered,
but not what they were asked.

The young in the bunker who danced,
banged drums and had fun-fights, were
stunned to see an enemy.

The son asked the father: Who
The father asked the grand-father: Why

Using sorcery, the dead great-grandfather
who was desperate to know,
summoned his forefathers to the family grave.

After sipping toddy and folklore
on a moonlit night, they left smiling:

After all, a question is as good as a prayer
that follows the rain only until it seeps—

and we kissed the soil until
it dissolved in the earth’s cheeks,

meditating death
in the deepest of our prayers.

Aditya Shankar,
 Underwater, Still Breathing
There is an underground current
a noisy empty room
red drops hitting the oak floor
odor of damp wood
A stretch of breeze saturates
the morphing darkness
There is something simple
being whispered
something vague and sadly beautiful
We listen to the faint sound
of a mosquito
rising above our lovemaking
Bodies of reeds
arching with the current
I lift your thighs to my lips
the way a wine glass is lifted
to the deep warmth of a mouth
Your breathing swells
A chilled rain breaks
we float to the bottom
still breathing
trying to outlive death
Your sex in my mouth
is keeping us alive
When I resurface
the empty room is myself
A tipped over wine glass
bleeds across the floor

Yard Sale
There is a spy within me
tapped into suspicions
one eye zeroed in
round the clock
There is a ward
of smuggled wounds
convalescing in my notebooks
smudged so badly
that only I can decipher
the blood
I wake early
before family commotion starts
before the endless
mandible chatter
rips apart the silence
because my mind is groggy
standing before sunrise
because birds flutter
in such a manner
that my center loses grounding
My eyes are sky
pulled away from my brain
morning fog clogs my head
I am an old basement
damp and dripping
Maybe a yard sale is in order
to rid myself these shabby feelings
these ragged doubts
Today’s High Temperature
I threw flour into the snow
as if to say
this is white and this is white
only, one is more sickly
A yellow line crosses winter’s face
Fever is an atmosphere
as if to imply
the power lines are covered
with ice
heavily coated, frozen blood
diverting heat
to a small fist in the gut
First the ice breaks into fire
in the same way
the future breaks into war
The body’s earth fractured 
as though to move the enemy  
into the open
Then the mind is discolored
with bruises, voices
flushed out of graves
the heart stripped
In time, a clear weather front
moves in
a pale swamp of calm, breath
becomes fertile
only to say
I have given birth to spring
my mind buoyant in sleepy rain
my body in cool stillness

In downtown Santa Cruz
a tribe of runaway youths
drift along the uniformed streets
or sit in doorways, injured pigeons
wingless and grounded
A few of beg while others
exist as tongue-tied bandages
on emotional wounds
They stare with the frosted glaze
of winter’s windows
on broken down homes
hopeless and filthy
Runaways make their way
from mornings to evenings
and back to mornings
connected to one another
like seconds to minutes
and each moment’s lost time
will never be retrieved
Some are provocative beggars
shouting derogatory insults
as if entitled
to a hardworking persons cash
Others accept their poverty
in silence
as if their blood is polluted with it
A teenage girl
in ripped, shabby clothes
sits cross-legged
head to her knees
hands over her face
dirty brown hair knotted, clumped
She exists as a dry well
A beaten and bruised boy
of fourteen
assorted purple scars
across his impassive face
chain smokes used butts
he picks from the sidewalks
The Alpha male
a gruff tattooed boy
in his mid-teens
throws dice against a wall
while speaking gibberish
to his younger crew
all the while catcalling
at women passing by
His explosive arrogance
as unapproachable as a landmine
and each hour these children grow older
in their derailed lives
grow older against the unspeakable
of what made them run

Everything never happens. Nothing
forever, uncertain, anxious wisdom,
idols, icons, Infinite Poet.
Every mystery is free, is distraction
is necessity. Tomorrow begins
a blank New Year.
I am ready.
I think I'm ready.
So many mind spurs, kicks
and blows, footsteps
of words, heels of words
toes of words. Soul. Nonsense.
there, full center
ah, star-ashes spawning life,
unnameable, unknowable, unwritable.
I repeat, everything never happens,
it is true, it is not true, Seers, Prophets
Demigods. Choose a belief,
for example, everything chooses itself.
Across earth, droves of unrest,
disordered, unsettled. The future’s
jammed thoughts, brazen, agitated,
defiant, full thoughts with thrust,
bounty and punishment.
Big seeds of ego.
There is no truth that is not corrupt   
in a psychoplastice world,
in the muddled meaning of being.
Perhaps true, perhaps not. All-in-all
it worships and moralizes
O slippage of truth, half-truth, false truth,
plugged into nothing.
Ah such gratifying relief. Nothing.
So unassuming … nothing.

The spirituality of sound
of a gong

of a loon

the impossible grieving
of morning doves 
the cracking of ice
the drone of urban streets
trucks rumbling
over wooden bridges 
a cat’s purr

There’s a need to hold sound
to feel its pulsation

to see colors of sounds 

or to hear the sun mounting

the sky or

the bloodless and wicked 

sound of lightning

Ah, the overflowing tapestry
of sounds

with their invisible force

or the unconscious sounds 

of the dead

diffused and distant

or the meandering of echoes 

the broadcast, the transmission
the longwinded sermons
the cry of newborns 

the utterance, the announcement

a city’s cacophony, the uproar

the dissonant chord

the rhetoric of schizophrenics 

or Purple Passages of Deep Purple

psychedelic or progressive sounds

Om, a sound of guidance
the chant, the mantra, the moan 

of orgasms, the gasp, the scream

the subtleness of a whisper

Dah Helmer

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...