Noah David Roberts

Movement and Play

Will you write a poem about me, 
I want to be a muse

I move through desecrated boneyards
through empty vessels

I move through the memory
of time and what time is,

the burden of healing is upon me
and only me, generations of

will you write a poem about me,
I want to be a muse

cast upon the month of April
cast upon the sea

cast upon the water, dark water
which seems to be the whole world,

wearing nothing but a kimono
in dim thunderstorm evening,

I move through deserted cobblestone
move through drunken alleys,

move through play and ropes,
move through nurses and klonopin,

move through eternity with one eyeball
locked upon the sunlight

casting shadows upon darkness,
I want to be a muse

will you write a poem about me?

Jay Passer

Toasting the French Symbolists with Phony Absinthe at Vesuvio’s on Columbus

I hate poets, I said.
why do you write poetry then, she asked.
because I’m one of a kind, I said.
what about the Beats, she asked, what about Emily Dickinson.
you want Chinese? I asked. Yee’s is good, and cheap.
you said you idolized e.e. cummings, she said, when you were in high school.
I’d rather talk to a painter any day, I said. poets are filthy animals.
but one of a kind, she inclined, like from Noah’s Ark.
don’t be funny, I said. let’s have a toast.
why’s this stuff green, anyway, she asked.
the leaky brain of Verlaine, I said, with a hotshot of Rimbaud.
how about some pasta, she said, how about Little Joe’s.
I’d commit suicide, I said, if I could afford to.
you could jump off the Golden Gate, she offered.
but that would tarnish my renown, I pointed out, as a maverick.
I guess it’s easier than getting a job, she said.
fuck the police, I said.
speaking of, she said, how’re we gonna pay for this.
toilets don’t clean themselves, I said.

Harley Claes

Reflections on Willing Affliction

I pick and choose my captors
make them a merciless muse and a dear of a drug
i like to be captive to that endless flow
of literary jizz from the collective jazz mind
that is the backdrop to teacup terrors
smashing plates as i avoid mirrors

I adore the toxic defined
and refined me as little I as can be
the guardsman of my heart keeps me in check
and travels away from me not more than a sec
so i do not have to fend on my lonesome
for heart scraps and sympathy
like the victim complex they labeled me
pity PITY!
I do not want your pity,

I’ll keep to his pride and tend to it
like an overgrown garden
because i pickpocketed this project
it keeps me busy and writing
effortlessly in my journal,
with inspiration riveting
from every isolation

Those hard-hearts had left me
i’m content with this burial i arranged,
they already fashioned the hole
and pre-ordered the flowers
i liked for my gravestone

And now the knight is mine
he felt it was safest in my tower
if he was there
and placed me in his lap
his pride and joy
his queen the spazz

Kristin Garth

Plastic Girl 

She could have been a plastic girl.  Left bruise 
blue sheets for an artificial world of 
synthetic putting greens, some lighter use 
by an aged man of means.  He might love 
her if she would submit to rhinoplasty,
breast augmentation or at least a lift,
a tummy tuck, nutritional regime.  The 
nude photos she DM’ed  show an adrift
corn fed abused nineteen year old he’s consoled
so many nights via chat room/telephone 
in her childhood bed.  Could she give control 
to some old man in Hilton Head who’d own 
a waif or a synthetic blowup doll 
just not the ordinary girl he saw?

J.J. Campbell

such luxuries

a parade of rain

high heels on a 
freshly tiled floor

like fingernails 
digging into 
your back

this is why you 
work the extra 
hours

so, you’ll be able 
to afford such 
luxuries

the pain is a gift

enjoy, lean in

with any luck
she’ll give you 
a discount

another punch 
on the card

three more visits 
and you’ll actually
get to use your hands

John Tustin

RANTING AS THE CLOCK STRIKES THREE

It’s another night where it’s too hot
But not so hot that I can comfortably 
Sleep naked
So I don’t sleep and the fan overhead
Whispers almost imperceptibly 
Whir whir whir whir whir

Tomorrow will be another morning
With either the sun like a cudgel
Coming down on my body
Or the rain an endless rasp of tears
Crying down to the oblivious earth
Or, worst of all, both alternating

Sometimes I think no one wants me
Sometimes I can’t be alone enough
Sometimes I wonder when they’ll come 
To get me
And now I can hear them trying to get
Deep inside

They’re in they’re in
I feel like they’ve gotten in

They’re going to kill me because they think
I know too much
And I want to die
Because I think I know nothing

I’m floating in the river of shit
I feel right at home

I’m falling asleep

Danny D. Ford

Waiter Poem #10

you hear all sorts
in kitchens
tall tales
of chefs
fingering 
women
without 
washing 
their hands first
fire! fire! fire! 
mythical sirens
wailing through the ages
passed from employee
to employee
you hear 
of elite professors
& their imaginary dogs
about train drivers
speed stripping naked
of fathers pretending 
to be homeless
about the seemingly homeless
out of breath 
& blotched red 
losing their clothes
in the name 
of Christmas 
hilarity

you hear of spice girls
in hotel rooms
& second hand 
cars that come with 
dinner plate sized 
spiders
free 
of charge
you hear 
all sorts
of weird ass shit

and sometimes
you hear something useful
about wine

Harley Claes

The Divide

I want to taste the perfume of your mouth 
until I go numb with pleasure and pain
I have become
An echo of past reckoning
The un-being of a person
Pleasured by my own undoing
By a boy with a vendetta
Against the many wombs
Who conspired against him 
and his brotherly abode
In the world of men this was an unspoken treaty
That man and woman
Lived on separate islands
Bridged between their only similarity
The sex:
That new beginning

Dennis Geoffrey

I Water My Garden with Thanks to Witches

The dust,
And the ennui of innocence –
At some point they become insufferable.
I thought of summing it up in a boo hoo memoir 
Like, -Diary of a Swatted Fly- 
Yeah, my good news awakening gifted to other 
Ever after at a loss assholes.  
I tell ya, that Catholic soot, ain’t no amount of sin 
That can scrub it off. 
Into the confessional.  
The raspy voice, 
Issuing from the other side of the grille, 
I can still hear it clearly. 
‘And now I want you to say one Our Father, 
   one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be, 
Very s-l-o-w-l-y.’ 
And is the tempo supposed to make it any 
Fuckin’ holier, Father?
Me, any fuckin’ sorrier? 
By tomorrow my soul’ll be dripping wet with the 
Same sorta transgressions.  
And I treasure that wetness, the water right outta Jezebel’s 
Cooze, cuz it washes off the dust of your reset;
Your ‘state a grace,’ which only cakes up under my 
Fingernails.  
No wonder I gotta bad habit of scratching others. 
Let my prey thus be anointed! 
It’s easy, when ya cease to be haunted by a god so 
Breathless running down the centuries he can’t answer 
You in prayer. 
The image of matted hair crowning a rusting antique which, 
If it could speak, might sound like a cross between Dustin 
Hoffman and Russell Crowe- it don’t bother me like before. 
Cuz I left my innocence with a litany of witches, 
Left it drowning in their blood. 
Hey!  Your words, my Lord: 
   ‘Thou shalt not suffer…’ 
I love my modus of twenty-two exits. 
The sharp tip goes in, then comes out.
Out!  Out of time, out of love, out of rust and 
Dust and suffering and penance and…Flies! 
From the witches’ wounds grow the trees of 
My new Eden. 
   ‘Bless me, Father, for I have made a garden where 
neither Lord nor larvae can flourish.’ 
Already I’m bored again. 

James Diaz

I’ll Leave it at That 

What are birds
In the night 
If not air’s flat iron 
Of bone, the river’s mercy 
Sings, a darker cadence – 
Do you know
The place I mean
No trains run there
There are no birds to speak of.

At first glance the world is always terrifying 
Then beautiful, then terrifying again – 
Where do they put all of the things we’ve seen
After we go, who will speak of the snow
That fell across our life
In perfect layers of mute blue hush

It’s dark 
Here. It is morning.
It is almost as it never was.

I was happy to have seen 
What little of the world I saw.
Pain gave me more than it took.

There was never enough beauty 
For any of us.

I could say more
But the words don’t feel right. 
I’ll leave it at that.