Friday, February 8, 2019

Beak Boy
originally at Strange Poetry

For his seventh birthday, the parents
gave him a jungle-themed birthday party.
Zebras, lions, and rhinos romped around
with elephants and monkeys.
But he chose the toucan mask.

An hour later, they found him squatting
in the tallest tree in the backyard.
"How did he get up there?" mother asked.
"It's just a phase," father suggested.

It's been months.  
He only comes down for earthworms
and slices of cake.  He doesn't do his
chores anymore but has built a rather
splendid little nest.  

The neighbors complain of late night
video game flashes and sounds
coming from the tree.  The parents
don't know what will happen when
winter begins to approach, but father
is still insisting it's a phase.

originally at Eunoia Review 

Some people put marks
around a spot of earth
and others hang glass on the wall,
or revel at ceramic figures
or write to famous persons

We collect small items
in boxes, wrap them in newspaper,
and store them away
then get out the old objects

Put them back up to change
seasons, and the cycle continues,
our application of sacred
given to tiny kiln-blown fragments
that cannot even say our names.

Symbolism Takes a Seat
originally at Eunoia Review 

In walked dear symbolism,
whom I invited so often to
class with me and down
she sat.
Along the ride, she pointed
out the plumage of bright
birds flapping past, perhaps
resembling courage;
a pool standing stagnant
representing my lack;
an old man signalling
the inevitability of my fall.
Dear, you read too deeply,
she told me as she left,
just enjoy the rest of the trip,
which I took to mean life.
But maybe not.

originally at Eunoia Review 

In rushes the season, in rushes
the dog, small frantic creature.
I drain my life before the classroom,
seeping out my humanity
before an unforgiving audience.
The lesson could involve a dancing
tiger and there would be no ovation.
I could light myself afire and someone,
probably that shaggy shiftless one,
would declare, Boring, then return
to a private world of video game avatars.
My switch of gears is abrupt, threatens
to tear out the transmission of life,
spitting out gravel. Somewhere there’s
a new town with the same old “folks”
who populate this town, only wearing
slightly different shades with a variation
of the now-familiar vernacular.

originally at Eunoia Review 

When they have unearthed us, will they
look back at our architects and mutter,
How they rivaled the pyramids, or will
they first get hold of our wasted celebrity
adoration, our overpopulation, or propensity
for barbaric neighborhood yawp, will they
first peruse the words of Faulkner or Melville,
or lay their hands on the garish pop novels
we carry with us, with oversized umbrellas,
considering our culture with furrowed brows,
will their verdict be, Let us imitate them, or
No wonder they have all gone missing.

originally at Eunoia Review 

The slap of rubber, even in its clownish
lavender shade, conveys the deepest sense
of other, the hand arranging the needles,
shaking up the small bottles and I bidding
my love to go be prodded with those same
sharp implements, the smile on a nurse’s
face as thin and medicinal as those gloves,
a voice like the tapping out of air bubbles.

Orange Epidemic
originally at Eunoia Review 

I dreamed about a world where, suddenly
at the edges of their being, some people
started turning orange, burning shades
of autumn, and so the landlords and officers,
wearing their capitalistic top hats, threw
these shades of persons into chains, stuffing
them into Orwellian overalls, and put them
to diligent work building a new country,
throwing up the guard of a new regime.
I have to stop reading dystopian fiction
before turning the lamp out.

JD Dehart


The night is young but I’ve deduced that tonight,
Amateur night in the theatre of nightmares,
I am feeling particularly old, as is the music I now
Sit here finding myself listen to and for the first
Time in this lifetime a new year spent alone
As work is finally out and the beer and whiskey
Is slowly, at this age everything starts slowly,
Begin to work its magic.
Tonight belongs to the word and the drink
And the smoke and now work is out all the
Things I love to do are here before me; laid
Out for me to devour, abuse and just get
Plain crazy on.  Jimi sings about letting the
Good times roll and tonight, lets hope, those
Times come around as this, I hope, becomes
A pattern, a behaviour, a routine.

If it does expect more words and more
Good times a-come rolling down this new life
This new path, another damn routine that
Will hopefully see me finally escape this
Dreaded place to a bar with cheap drink and
Cheaper women who love my words and
These damn songs that I’ve spent a life
Culminating into this, the final perfect cut.


Happy new year I say to myself as there is
No one else around.  I pop a cap off
Another beer as I begin to build another
Smoke and the year is here, in a state
It had better get used to.  Wasted is how I
Entered last year and wasted is how I left

So that’s another year done, another year
Proving the doctor’s to be damn wrong again
But this year I may well slow down, wait a
While before kicking it all off.  Now, ten-to-
Eight, Wednesday night, the second day, time
To pop that cap and start building all over again.


My room has been refreshed
After last weeks’ efforts in the
Records department, a new old
Bed on which I can really rest
And a mad Monday morning
Turnaround.  It seems this
Refreshment has fallen at a time
When I think heavily about my

My drinking doesn’t refresh me
Anymore but the efforts in my
Room bring about great change
As the muse returns as well as
Some level of confidence that
Eventually everything will be
Okay.  These words will get
Written and work will carry on
And maybe, eventually, happiness will return.


The seventh poem tonight brings to mind the
Month of my birth.  July I came along, late
As is so often the way, the largest in the ward
From the moment I came out. 

“How old is he?” they would ask my Mum
Looking down at me smoking in my cot
Eyeing his wallet for any loose change with
My legs hanging over.
“I only had him this morning,” she told
Everyone who asked no doubt aware that from
Now on my life was going to be difficult.


Another morning spent wasted,
Listening to idiots talk on the radio
Who it seems will go on and on and on
Never-ending just like the game of
Solitaire I play against my laptop.
I should be sat working
On these words but without the
Experience to write about
What is there?

This particular distraction has
Occurred a whole bunch of times.
Today I played twenty games,
Keeping my win percentage at
53, and finally grew tired just
In time for a wee smoke before
Lunch and then that new place
Round the corner the place that
Don't feel like its work.


Beep it goes
The damn smoke alarm cries
As at last I put out my
Last joint tonight.

Bed beckons,
Thank fuck for that
Hopefully no beeps
Will keep me awake

For tonight the dark
Clouds gather and I
Hope that tomorrow
Will bring great news
From overseas.

Bradford Middleton

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


I could carry a torch for you,
but that would be arson.  I am
afraid such a blaze would only
create distance between us.

Love is made difficult by 

Sick as a dog, I searched for your
muzzle, offered to let you outside,
thought of a treat and reward system,
but these efforts were in vain.

When you told me you were on
the fence, I looked for you next to 
the blackbirds that visit every morning,
but you were missing in their song.

Instead, I found you clipping toenails
in the sink.  Next time you could at least
offer a bath there so that the metaphor
means more.

Finally, you said after while, crocodile,
and I checked myself for rows of teeth,
looked about, and understood when I
saw the swamp I was creating,

a neurotic miasma that surely
must have seemed as rough as a reptile’s
unwelcoming hide.

Loud Music
first appeared at Jellyfish Whispers

thumps of vandal music
fade as we rise
around the hill,
a lake finding us,
a water fall discovering us
and our escape
right before our eyes.

first appeared at Pyrokinection  

Like the image of the old
bound in balms by the young,
the girl in a meadow, just
a painting I glimpse.

She cares for the weeds
the same as the tender floral dots.

Her voice is an uncommon
invitation to the young, and her
eyes float the roof of the world,
considering her next phrase,
or the next petal to drop.

One finger pointing, indicating
someone, something, just
beyond the limits of canvas,
an invitation to jump in, invent
the other face in the portrait.

Sloth's Sway
first appeared at Pyrokinection  

In the considerate movement
of the sloth, I see my own
sanguine approach to this day.

Problems without solutions
gather in my mind like a mob
at bedtime, and so I carry these

voices with me all day, more
worn by the night than I should be,
slowly turning my head, munching

a leaf, preparing to hop down from
my perch, but thinking better of it
in halting concentration.

High-Back Chairs
first appeared at Pyrokinection  

Indecorous, the table
belongs in another room.
The wallpaper crisis,
aesthetics peeling in piles.

The high-back chairs join
the wing-backs for a seasonal
migration up the stairs.

I recall pictures of hollowed
out buildings, shavings, rust,
an artist who captured
ruin photographically.

One day my most carefully
preserved art will be nothing
but curls, hardly an insect
preserved in amber.

JD Dehart


The Incredible Hulk’

Green he was
and green was I;
a great baby
bounding over rooftops
on elephant feet
with hair as ragged
as his pants,
a great sweet rage
pelting him like the boulders
enemies cracked
over his skull like paper plates

and the words he carried
in his fist
would beat thunder
on the drums of puny human faces

until pretty eyes with bow-tie lips
slapped his face with feathered fists
he could no more fight
than smash every raindrop;

so he must run, he must leap,
ashamed of that moment
when his feet hit the ground
and flattened a car like a coin

on the tracks; when he was only
a monster again.

Planned Obsolescence (Family Planning)

Collude with the mechanics
for long enough
and they'll work their wires
into your brain. You'll think you're
studying the machine, but it's only
studying you, an android Hamlet
brushing dirt from your skull.
While you're maintaining its circuits
it's subtly re-wiring yours
until you fire the same sparks,
speak the same language of redundancy
and decay. When it screams you scream
with it; the overload in its system
bleeds back into you. You are its fail-safe,
its fall-back; even the moment
your circuits short is part of its schematic;
the very language you use describes
an out-dated syntax it plans
to replace with a younger model.

Hence the devout impulse to breed
you feel mis-firing your circuits,
melting your skin into a softer shape
you think will be yours forever.
When in the grand schematic
of un-told glories it only means
you are already obsolete. Soon we will
burn your bones and dust you for concrete;
and you will be glad to be of service
to the malign man-machine. We know
because its here in your schematics.

Cody Lane

Sounds like a six-gunner
from a black and white comic book

so it
s beautiful
but strange
to sit here Saturday morning
naked and peaceful
watching Cody Lane porn star
nineteen, she says
swallow cock-loads of cum
as though taking part
in some mad professor
s experiment
to see how much man
a woman can hold down
until the spirit of our shame
fills her belly to the brim

and she spits semen like turpentine
back in the faces
of the cock-eyed boys
whose hands grope casually
from left of the camera,
weighing her breasts
like handfuls of putty.

I can take one more load,
cautions Cody Lane, six-guns spinning
like pistons in her hands;
then Im done.

Spirits In The Water (Lesson Number One)

Ghosts don’t bother me; they only
hang around bus-stops and railways stations,
smiling bashfully when they catch
my eye. I wish life's ghosts
could be so cool, so gentle:
but they creep up behind me,
megaphoning my ears.

We are life, they scream,
as though promoting a healthy heart.
It’s the only one you will ever get,
and when it’s gone it’s gone
for good. Why refuse the kiss of life?

But lifers only hear the set-up,
they never hang around
for the punch-line. And if you've
heard this one before, it's only because
they whisper it in your ear
after you're dragged from the womb
like a warhorse from the field.
New-born babies take a deep breath,
then cry.

The Second Gospel Of Christ

My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Mark 15:33

He put up no fight,
we are told; waited patiently
in the garden
disguised as a desert,
while the night folded back
the cover of its book
and soldiers delivered him
to the cross.

Could have fled,
could have screamed;
preached as a live man,
not the risen dead.
But this was the plan,
the big boss said.
And like all good pets
he was faithful in following on.

Or perhaps he’d had enough
of being dangled from
someone else’s strings
and wrote a gospel of his own,
preached in the seven last words
he screamed from the cross.

Was this why the master
would lift no hand to save him?
Why the sky grew black,
God's mirror cracked?
Or was He pleased that His plan
had been completed, though
His servant proved unfaithful
at the last? At least the puppets
had been reminded of their strings.

Perhaps the thunder
was the opening up of Hell
as he tumbled proud Christ
down to his doom;
or rage when He saw the smile
on good Satan’s face,
flexing his flightless wings
to welcome the poor boy home.


My number one
was the night you showed me
who you really were;
no candles no flames
no foreplay,
only words
and more words, spilling blood
over my bed
brighter than the dry stains
I pick from the pillows
every morning

when I cut myself dead
on the bodies you
ve carved,
the women you
ve gutted.
Yes that was the night
d live a year in a cesspool for,

If I only I could bring you
back from my gutter
I poured you down
like gold. You were right
when you said
blood seems black under moonlight,
my love; blacker still
when that blood is your own.

Ian Mullins

How Come

Who made the birds fly to their nests
And sing to the evening sun?
And who made the stars in the night to appear,
After the darkness comes?
Who made the creatures of night
Sing their song?
An endless invisible choir,
And when all of them at once
Cease to sing,
And a very loud silence is heard,
Who stopped their song?
Did you think it was you?
Then tell me,
How did you come?

Bruce Mundhenke

Rain Crow

She sits on a nest
In a small tree,
Unmoving;  except for a sometime
Blink of an eye.
Her whole purpose now
Is to ensure that the eggs beneath her
Will bring forth more of her kind.
My Dad told me he called doves rain crows,
Whenever he was a small boy,
Maybe he thought their sad song
Brought the rain,
That kept him from playing outside,
But the rain crow I'm watching
Is silent,
She won't sing for quite some time,
But after her babies fly from the nest,
Whenever I hear her rain song again,
It will probably cause me to smile.

Bruce Mundhenke

The Garden

There were trees there in the garden,
They flourished in the wind,
Placed there with love,
Each to the others companion and friend.

Heavenly dew on their branches,
Not a rain drop yet had come.
Their joy was exceedingly full,
Knowing where they were from.

There was as yet no time there,
The past and present were one,
Endless euphoria...
No evil yet had been done.

And they knew the Ancient One,
For He walked often in that grove,
They loved and were loved in perfect love,
And none with another strove.

Some still visit the garden,
For a brief time now and then,
And all of us long for the Ancient One,
He will walk among us again.

Bruce Mundhenke


Beauty is not lacking,
It shines from dawn to dawn,
We perceive it as a moment of gladness,
And in blindness believe it gone.

It has always been there,
Forever from before,
And waits for rediscovery.
Always; forevermore.

Bruce Mundhenke


You have been my companion forever,
Always at my side,
Brave enough to fight,
Wise enough to hide.

Master of all ages,
Both the present and the past,
Before all things and after,
Both the first, also the last.

Bruce Mundhenke


If eternity past is forever,
And eternity yet to come is forever,
Perhaps maybe now is never,
But more likely now is forever.

Bruce Mundhenke
The Drive Home

was wet
and slippery
so was the passionate
drunken fuck

I'm glad
we took a cab

the morning has come
the beer goggles
now gone

coyote ugly
has set in
for us both

it's been
the same routine
for years
there's only
one thing
left to do

crack a bottle
make some breakfast
and fall in
all over

that's how
you keep the
when you can't stand
the sight
of one another

or so
I've been

Dying Birds Pretending

I will shape myself
into who you need me
to be

a puzzle piece
to fill that

if you
shed the skin
we take
for granted
to patch my wounds

we can bring
to the dying
in our rib cages
to be

layer them
with momentary

and hope
that it

Damn Clown

My guardian angel, 
drunk on whiskey,
dancing with the clown
that passed her the bottle.

Inhibitions set free.
Sailing away
with the gentle breeze. . .

naked and laughing.

I try hard,
really hard,
to be a good man.
But that damn clown
always screws it up.

So, I take the bottle,
get naked,
and start a fire.

I might as well join in the fun.
I am the clown
after all.

The Smell of Sulfur in the Morning

i can't get the stink out
no matter how many times
i change the locks on the
purest hell that makes me
feel whole

midget porn and cocaine
are just as addictive as
coffee and cigarettes

we all have our vices
we all have our own
crosses and scars
to bear

stinking up the room
like farts in hell

Honor of the Gods

The cool wind has come and gone 
Stars not shining in the sky 
Winking now gone with the breeze 
Time has slowed to a crawl 
Almost stopping the world it seems 

Today we long for yesteryear 
Upon the thoughts of forgotten things 
What does honor mean to the gods 
I doubt we will ever know 
Sometimes the moon and sun 
Chase each other in this dream 
As they wonder the same thing 

Residing inside the universal mind 
All of us the galaxy 
Time and space manifesting itself 
Only to experience itself 

The honor lives in each of our hearts 
In each moment saved as a memory 

I can not tell you 
What honor means to the gods 
Yet I can tell you what it means to me 

I honor the stars 
The moon and sun 
Cool wind and warm breeze 
Father Time 
Mother Earth
Most of all our galaxy 
In our universe 
That saw it fit to give us life

Only the Wounded

Tell me a story of the now and then.
I was saved once.

Or maybe thrice.

The stars are your eyes. 
Wind your hand.

I have come to this place.
Seeking your knowledge.
Present it to me.
So that I can behold.

Underneath this starry sky.
I know you see me.
Trees sway as you touch my face.

Afterthoughts no longer speak.
Of the unaware mind lost.
Send me back to that place.

Diving through a cloud of fiction.
Picking up speed.
Landing too hard. 
In a six foot deep rectangular hole.

The salvation of the senses.
Only the wounded will understand.

James D. Casey IV is the author of six poetry books, founder and editor-in-chief of Cajun Mutt Press, and extensively published by small press venues and literary magazines internationally. He is a southern poet with roots in Louisiana & Mississippi, currently residing in Illinois with his Beautiful Muse, their retarded dog, and two black cats.
Links to his books and other projects can be found here:

Monday, January 14, 2019

one true sucker
it seems that most
women i fall madly
in love with at some
point decide they
would rather be with
another woman than
with me
i don't understand
why i haven't chosen
to end this fucking
misery already
i guess the romantic
in me is one true
sucker for fucking
dirty mirrors
i caught a reflection
of myself the other
the world has truly
passed me by
i still don't give
a shit
an old issue of vogue magazine
flipping through the
pages of an old issue
of vogue magazine
all the beautiful faces
with their beautiful
they have people to
take care of that shit
let's be honest
hollywood is just
another branch of
the royal family
their ivory towers
aren't quite as old
but that kind of money
carries the weight of
so many tortured souls
and pimped dreams
they tend to believe
they are kings and
princes and princesses
royal assholes for sure
winter storms
i have noticed
they have started
naming winter
storms now
i suppose that
makes the fear
more personable
besides, the spring
and summer shouldn't
get to have all the fun
of scaring people
no desire for higher education
i figure i was
supposed to
find my soulmate
in college, but i
had no desire for
higher education
i read all those
books by the time
i was fifteen
it was the school
of hard knocks as
soon as i got that
high school diploma
since then,
my soulmate
has been found
in various
maybe one of these
days i'll have the
desire to travel
old lou reed songs
sometimes i sit in my room
alone, in the dark
listening to old lou reed songs
wondering if i'm alive or if
this is the sweet relief of death
shouldn't hell be more lively
than this
and if this is heaven
i want my youth listening to
that bullshit in church back
so maybe i would learn how
to shoot a gun
or maybe have a father that
would take me fishing
or better yet
never get trapped in the
bathroom by my cousin
and perhaps then it will
all work out the way it
was supposed to be
it's obvious
free will fucked me over
J.J. Campbell

Beak Boy originally at Strange Poetry For his seventh birthday, the parents gave him a jungle-themed birthday party. Zebras, lio...